Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / FLOSS

  • Aug 20 / 2014
  • 0

Reports Of The Death Of GNU/Linux In Munich Are Greatly Exaggerated

Here and elsewhere we read that the mayor and M$ are drooling to pave over GNU/Linux with that other OS in Munich…“Suggestions the council has decided to back away from Linux are wrong, according to council spokesman Stefan Hauf.
He said the council’s recently elected mayor Dieter Reiter has instead simply commissioned a report into the future IT system for the council.”
Not so. The mayor is grumbling and has asked for a review of IT in general. That’s a normal part of the life-cycle of any IT-system or version of software. I did that at several of the schools where I worked and the decision to go to GNU/Linux occurred frequently. In GNU/Linux, a result could be to go to a later release of Debian, or to adopt LibreOffice 4.x or to go with thin clients almost everywhere…

Of course, the mayor might get a different result if he accepts voluntary labour from M$ or hires his nephew to do the research, but the council is wide awake and understands the issues, so I doubt there will be some coup in IT.

Further, I can’t see this mayor being reelected if he urges the city to spend ~$30million on returning to the fold of M$ rather than maintaining GNU/Linux for peanuts.

See Ditching Linux for Windows? The truth isn't that simple, says Munich.

  • Aug 18 / 2014
  • 1

M$ Craps On Their Own Servers. Why Trust Them With Your Computers?

It sickens me to hear the tripe spouted here all too often that, “You get what you pay for…”, “Starting at 18 Aug 2014 17:49 UTC, we are experiencing an interruption to Azure Services, may include Cloud Services, Virtual Machines Websites, Automation, Service Bus, Backup, Site Recovery, HDInsight, Mobile Services, StorSimple and possible other Azure Services in multiple regions.” “FLOSS can’t work…”, and “developers with stock options in M$ do better…”.

How can that be when M$ is constantly patching mistakes they made years ago designing their systems according to the whims of salesmen and despite $billions in vested, can’t keep their networks going anywhere close to what a couple of good servers can do with GNU/Linux? Then there are the constant stream of re-re-reboots, malware, bugs, slowing down and endless friction due to the restrictive EULA. It’s all so sad that people keep paying this monster straight out of a “B” horror-movie. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. It’s the right way to do IT.

See Microsoft Azure suffers Total Inability To Support Usual Performance (TITSUP).

See also, The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?

  • Aug 18 / 2014
  • 0

Paying For FLOSS

FLOSS, Free/Libre Open Source Software, is not about software that costs $0. Most programmers need to be paid for the time/energy/resources they invest in FLOSS.“A few months ago, the Heartbleed bug was discovered in the OpenSSL cryptography library, which plays an absolutely critical role in securing confidential online transactions. We then discovered that for years this critical piece of infrastructural software has been maintained by a handful of overworked volunteers. The industry was rightly shocked by Heartbleed, and some companies – notably Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Cisco and Amazon – agreed to donate $300,000 each over the next three years to support the OpenSSL project.” Those most able to pay for FLOSS are the businesses, organizations and users of FLOSS. Unfortunately, because FLOSS is often obtained, legally, by a $Free download, there is no channel direct from those who benefit to those who produce FLOSS. In some cases that doesn’t matter as some developers do it for the love of some application or the joys of programming. In other cases it matters because unfinished or buggy FLOSS is shipped to places that matter.

Businesses have long contributed to Linux because the kernel runs a lot of their equipment like devices found in PCs or servers. Even ordinary users can contribute by obtaining a Linux credit card. Big businesses have not given much support to the GNU or to most FLOSS applications not widely used in business. It’s time that those who benefit from FLOSS pay for it. Several big businesses may now be supporting OpenSSL (Open Secure Sockets Layer) but they should also be supporting FireFox (Google does), LibreOffice, GNU, vlc, mplayer, xbmc, InkScape and all the rest of the organizations that provide and distribute FLOSS (see Debian’s list of packages for a hint). How about the distros, while we’re at it? Support Debian or SUSE or RedHat. Donate or pay for some of their products. See if FLOSS grows or improves as a result. See if the world becomes a better place. You know you need to do it.

See So the internet's winners are finally chipping in? About time….

  • Aug 18 / 2014
  • 4

Real People Now Ready To Accept A Real OS

Christine Hall writes about the evolution of the mental lock-in of ordinary people using IT.“cell phones and tablets have made people less afraid to move away from their Windows comfort zones. Indeed, I think that people have never been in love with Windows, it’s just what they knew. Now that they’ve seen that they’ve been able to learn to use Android and/or iOS like pros, they’re more than willing to move on when it comes to their PCs as well.” She’s seen what I’ve seen, that ordinary people a decade or more ago likely had no clue about anything except that other OS. Now people are willing to try GNU/Linux much more readily.

When I first taught in the North, no one I met had heard much about GNU/Linux and no one had tried GNU/Linux on a desktop, even myself. After a few years of using GNU/Linux in schools, everything changed. I met students, parents and members of the community who had used GNU/Linux before I arrived and I travelled to a new community almost every year. Students and community members also travel and several in each community had previously installed GNU/Linux or attended a school that used GNU/Linux much as I did. That was before Android/Linux and ChromeOS took off…

Today, a good fraction of humans have used Android/Linux on a PC-like smartphone or tablet and they are unafraid. They are used to operating without a EULA around their necks. They are used to an OS that doesn’t slow down or pick up malware like pocket-lint. They are used to an OS that doesn’t artificially raise the price of their PC. They are ready for an OS not designed by salesmen. They are ready for FLOSS and GNU/Linux on desktop/notebook PCs. Suggest they move on. Suggest they visit if they have the functionality to browse the web left in their PC. Suggest they visit too.

See The Time to Recommend Linux & FOSS Is Now.

  • Aug 17 / 2014
  • 3

More, Happening Faster

NCIX just sent me an e-mail announcing a “back to school” special, new smartphones for $99.95…

Look at the features:

Model Features
Samsung Galaxy Note 3™
  • 5.7-inch Full HD Screen
  • 13 megapixel camera
  • 2.3 GHz quad-core processor
Samsung Galaxy S5™

  • 5.1-inch Full HD Screen
  • 16 megapixel camera
  • 2.5 GHz quad-core processor
  • 5.5-inch Quad HD Display
  • 13 megapixel camera
  • 2.5 GHz quad-core processor

Bigger screens with more pixels mean more work for the OS but at ~2.5gHz, it’s taken care of. Oh, yes, Apple’s 5S was in there but it has a smaller screen, for the same price.

What this means in the bigger picture is that many consumers will have all they need in a personal computer in a tiny package for much less cost than a legacy PC even if M$ pays OEMs to install that other OS. We are there. Consumers have choice on retail shelves and M$ need not apply.

  • Aug 15 / 2014
  • 32

The Wintel Treadmill As Seen By Gartner

Gartner reflects on the long time taken by businesses to migrate away from XP. They recommend three alternative strategies to avoid these problems with “7″.

Strategy My take…
“Deploy Windows 8 on new PCs as they arrive, thereby phasing Windows 7 out over time as PCs are replaced — this may make sense for many organizations.” This assumes a treadmill model of PC-deployment, a constant stream of new ones replacing old ones. Why? There is no business case to replace anything in business periodically if it’s still working, not chairs, not tables and not PCs. The longevity of XP was partly due to the longevity of the PCs bearing that OS, nearly 8 years. If the OS breaks sooner, change it, not the PC.
“Skip Windows 8 and plan to deploy a future version of Windows (perhaps Windows Threshold or even a release after that) to replace Windows 7 — we believe most organizations will do this. With this strategy, many will not eliminate Windows 7 before support ends unless they budget extra funding to do so.” This is exactly what businesses did with XP. Where’s the recommendation to avoid XP-itis?
“Deploy Windows 8 on all PCs to eliminate Windows 7 — for most organizations, we see little value in doing this, and do not recommend it without a solid business case.” Exactly! This also means there’s no value in replacing “7″ with any future version. Conversely, one can replace XP or “7″ with GNU/Linux and be better off forever: less malware, fewer re-re-reboots, no Patch Tuesdays, no stream of cash for licensing, forever, etc.

No. The correct solution is to just get off the Wintel treadmill. That makes every move in IT make business-sense. Bolstering M$’s business at the expense of your own makes no sense.

See Plan Now to Avoid Windows XP Deja Vu With Windows 7.

  • Aug 13 / 2014
  • 3

Who Is Himangi Saraogi?

I was wandering through the LKML and found a blast of patches submitted by Himangi Saraogi. “I love coding”This blast started May 7, and so far there are ~300 patches. Many of them seemed related to fixing matters of style and coding faults dug up by “Coccinelle” (Lady Bugs, to me…). But no, this tool is not an insect walking around and eating parasites but a code-searching tool spotting patterns. This is all about fixing the problems that creep in when humans run amok changing things in complex and huge codes. Good! This should improve the quality and ease of maintenance of Linux, one of the wonders of the world of IT.

It turns out that this developer is a female student in India. She is learning by contributing to the Linux kernel! Look out world! She aims to succeed.

See Himangi Saraogi | CodeChef.

  • Aug 12 / 2014
  • 2

iPad vs. Chromebook – No Contest

Recent news about the popularity of Chromebooks with schools may seem puzzling“Schools in Hillsborough, New Jersey decided to make an experiment out of its own program. Beginning in 2012, 200 students were given iPads and 200 students were given Chromebooks. After receiving feedback from both students and teachers, the schools sold off their iPads and bought 4,600 Chromebooks.”. After all, a keyboard is a great input device and writing is one of the three “Rs” but why not just by a notebook PC? The answer is that the high cost of maintaining the legacy PC is too great. Keeping content on the server makes the job easier and with Chromebooks, schools don’t even need to own the server… Then there’s the malware, the slowing down, the re-re-rebooting with that other OS… That makes the ChromeBook a winner in education and probably a lot of organizations large and small, even consumers. Of course, they could get those benefits with “straight” desktop GNU/Linux but it would take more technical knowledge. Again Chromebooks win.

See iPad vs. Chromebook For Students.

  • Aug 11 / 2014
  • 20

M$ Has No Clothes

The story goes that a charlatan sold an emperor invisible clothes. It took a child to see that the emperor had no clothes…“up to 60 percent of PCs shipped in the emerging markets of Asia, says IDC research manager Handoko Andi, have no Windows operating system pre-installed – so-called ‘naked PCs’, which usually instead carry some free, open source operating system like Linux. That compares with about 25 percent in the region’s developed markets like Japan and Australia.” Any child knowing a bit of maths can tell that M$’s empire is in deep trouble. From the days when OEMs put M$’s desktop OS on 90% of PCs shipped, that share has fallen to 75% in much of the world and in a few places has fallen to 40%.

You see, people really do love small cheap computers and that other OS is just too expensive. Things have gotten so bad that M$ is paying OEMs to install “8″ on cheap PCs and smart thingies. That’s good, actually. That’s the only way M$ can compete on price/performance with FLOSS on */Linux. The biggest threat to M$’s domination of some markets is that OEMs, consumers and businesses will demand equal treatment… Why should that other OS cost more on bigger/more powerful/more expensive PCs? It shouldn’t. On the other hand, M$ is telling the world that it supplies the same OS on all devices… Chuckle. Do you pay more per kg when you buy bread in bigger loaves, detergent in bigger boxes, or fuel in bigger cars? Nope. That’s not how things should work in a free market.

See 'Naked PCs' lay bare Microsoft's emerging markets problem.

  • Aug 09 / 2014
  • 3

Oracle Embargoes FLOSS (Java)…

The whole idea of FLOSS is that one downloads the software and has a licence accompanying the download providing permission to run, examine, modify and distribute the software.“Ошибка. Вы находитесь в стране, на которую распространяется эмбарго. Загрузка Java невозможна.
Google translation: Error. You are in a country covered by the embargo. Loading Java impossible.”
In Russia, folks intending to download Java from Oracle find an error message… They don’t get the benefits of FLOSS if they can’t do the download. Of course, folks can distribute FLOSS legally, so the Russians can likely get it by proxy. The GPL, GNU Public Licence, that covers Java explicitly eliminates applying further restrictions on recipients of the software, “You may not impose any further restrictions on the exercise of the rights granted or affirmed under this License. For example, you may not impose a license fee, royalty, or other charge for exercise of rights granted under this License” but that doesn’t force Oracle to actually distribute the software.

So, Oracle is pushing the limits but apparently is legally doing so. Whether FLOSS can legally be embargoed by government is beyond me. After all, the source is out there and can’t be put back in the bottle. Further, if every country in the world had a random set of embargoes against every other country in he world, FLOSS could not be international at all. That would be a crime against humanity. If Java, why not Linux, itself? If such embargoes apply, Russia, Iran, Cuba etc. could just fork everything and go it alone. They certainly have the population to support a thriving FLOSS community behind their own walls.

See Ошибка. Вы находитесь в стране, на которую распространяется эмбарго. Загрузка Java невозможна..

  • Aug 06 / 2014
  • 0

China Seems Headed For Government-Approved FLOSS

Hmmm… After banning “8″ the government of China is going after Apple’s stuff.“the list of banned Apple products include the iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and half a dozen other items, all of which were left off of a final government procurement list distributed in July” While I agree with this move (software patents, backdoors, etc.) it’s a bit strange to have any government ban software or products containing them. Most governments let the markets decide. With non-Free software, that doesn’t work very well, but it is surprising that the government most enamoured of that other OS would make such a public change of course. Why didn’t they do this a decade ago? I guess it takes a couple of five-year plans to figure this stuff out. It’s still a puzzle why something that is a threat to national security is only a threat to national security on the government’s computers…

Better late than never.

See China Issues Ban On iPad, MacBook Pro, And Other Apple Products For Government Use.

  • Aug 04 / 2014
  • 4

Ladislav Bodnar Reports On Some Web Stats

Stripping out his numbers and putting them in a table“A couple of months ago the website published their most recent platform and browser statistics. I thought it would be interesting to compare their figures with those of OSNews is, of course, a more general technology news site than DistroWatch, covering all operating systems rather than focusing only on the free and open-source ones as we do. Nevertheless, it is likely visited by technical users interested in new technologies.” I think I see a pattern:

Site Share of */Linux
Wikipedia 13%
OSNews 21%
Distrowatch 46%

His numbers for browsers are even more startling. Even those who use that other OS to visit these sites are using M$’s browser only a few percent, 9% on Wikipedia but only 2.7% on Distrowatch. The world of FLOSS and */Linux has come a long way and the popularity of Free Software amongst the technologically literate is spreading to the mainstream of ordinary users of IT. Two of the greatest lock-ins that M$ developed are fading rapidly.

See Put the fun back into computing. Use Linux, BSD..