Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / google

  • Apr 15 / 2014
  • 2

Chrome OS Could Be The GNU/Linux That Has It’s Year Sooner Rather Than Later

It might be a bit of optimism but Chrome OS could well be the GNU/Linux that takes over the desktop.“for personal computing and BYOD, it’s already happening. The Linux that’s taking over the desktop is called the Chrome OS and it will happen on the Chromebook device.” There are many who see Google as the salvation of mankind for dealing with servers and if you do everything on Google’s Cloud, ChromeOS will do the job for most of us. So far, Cloud has taken a huge share of IT and it’s growth is ensured for years to come. One of those years will the year of GNU/Linux as Chrome OS. At the rate of decline of M$’s influence (they are advertising year-round these days), this could happen in as little as a year and probably will happen within three years. Remember that Android/Linux thing that never would fly??? It did. Google knows what they are doing.

Where’s M$? Pushing an OS no one wants and selling gadgets for a living.

The real competition for Chrome OS is not M$’s legacy technology nor their cloud but Ubuntu GNU/Linux which is selling on a lot of PCs these days. Last year Google mostly flew a trial balloon in USA but this year they could reach any place on the planet with decent Internet connectivity. That covers the bulk of M$’s territory: the Americas, Europe, Asia and cities in all the rest of the emerging markets. Everywhere else is using mobile computing.

The advantages of Chrome OS for most of us are many:

  • nothing to learn but the browser – done
  • low, low, low prices – done
  • no problem with malware – Hallelujah!
  • no problem with re-re-reboots – Hallelujah!
  • no problem with updating dozens of applications and drivers – Hallelujah!

Some tout that needing connectivity is a disadvantage but no one really believes that because we are always connected all the time. Heck! I know people who are deep in the bush and can browse and phone home anyway. Some tout that local printing is an issue. If that were true, we’d all have printers. We don’t. Most of us are walking around with a PC in our pocket and rarely print anything. We can always e-mail stuff to a printer somewhere if we need more trees to kill. Doing away with paper is one of the great possibilities that Chrome OS and highly mobile computing are not only promising but delivering. I have a big, fast colour printer upstairs and I don’t remember the last time I used it. I have computers in every room and can easily view stuff with the appropriate zoom for my old eyes. Chuckle. Chrome OS may not be perfect, but it’s a damned sight closer to perfect than M$’s bloat that they told us for years was absolutely wonderful.

See Linux is about to take over the desktop but not like you think it will.

  • Mar 27 / 2014
  • 0

WebScaleSQL, MySQL on Steroids

MySQL is very popular with small organizations and many users of web applications but it is too slow for many larger operations. “WebScaleSQL is a collaboration among engineers from several companies that face similar challenges in running MySQL at scale, and seek greater performance from a database technology tailored for their needs.
Our goal in launching WebScaleSQL is to enable the scale-oriented members of the MySQL community to work more closely together in order to prioritize the aspects that are most important to us. We aim to create a more integrated system of knowledge-sharing to help companies leverage the great features already found in MySQL 5.6, while building and adding more features that are specific to deployments in large scale environments. In the last few months, engineers from all four companies have contributed code and provided feedback to each other to develop a new, more unified, and more collaborative branch of MySQL.”

Enter WebScaleSQL, a collaborative tweak to Oracle’s as-issued “community” MySQL release.

No this is not a guy working in the basement of his mother’s home… These guys are heavy hitters like Google and FaceBook who already do a lot and who want to share the cost and share the creativity of their staff to do better. This is how FLOSS (other software too) should be done, Oracle… Instead of the world being limited by the imagination of one organization, the world can and does make better software by cooperating instead of hiding the work and restricting input. Instead of trying to get one database/data-structure to do everything, the world can use what works best and if it doesn’t exist, create it. It’s all good.

See WebScaleSQL | "We're Gonna Need A Bigger Database".
See also, their FAQ.

  • Mar 24 / 2014
  • 6

Chromebooks: The New Thin CLient?

I have long been an advocate of GNU/Linux thin clients for efficient IT.“Her complaints have come down to zero ever since she switched to Chromebooks. So something is working right for her. So what does she do? Most of her computing is online. She checks her Facebook, all the time. She video chats with friends, she works on her office documents and spreadsheets. She watches Netflix and plays some games. She listens to music and does almost everything else that most of us do these days.
If these are also the things that you do, then you are a Chromebook user.”
The difficulty of setting up the terminal server(s) has held that technology up a bit and there is a bit of difficulty getting multimedia to work. Then along came the Chromebook. The Chromebook does it all for the ordinary user and just setting up an account with Google does the rest.

Just as M$ fought thin clients mightily a decade ago, M$ now has to fight Chromebooks or lose the client space in a big way. M$ used to lie that thin clients were slow and now they ship their own VDI-nonsense that sells licences all over the place. M$ now lies that Chromebooks are junk and spy on us. The fact is that M$ spies on its account holders and Chromebooks are snappy and easy to use.

See What are Chromebooks? And why you don't need Windows any more….

  • Mar 12 / 2014
  • 9

Google Docs and Sheets Get Smarter

Google Docs is useful but yesterday it became more useful and extensible: “today we’re launching add-ons—new tools created by developer partners that give you even more features in your documents and spreadsheets.” With a public API and folks already busy creating add-ons this could be the last nail in the coffin of M$’s office suite.)

see Official Enterprise Blog: Bring a little something extra to Docs and Sheets with add-ons for some examples.

See also, Google opens Docs and Sheets to tinkerers with new add-on APIs

  • Mar 10 / 2014
  • 10

Positive Feedback: M$ Uses XP To Publish The Insecurity Of Using That Other OS

I thought it was some kind of a joke when I read the quotation to the right.“There’s the real possibility that large-scale infections of Windows XP will paint the Windows brand as insecure, fulfilling the implicit prophecy the company made late last year. To most people, Windows is Windows is Windows, with no distinction between XP and the newest, locked-down 8.1. And for those people, Windows is Microsoft because it’s the best known of the company’s software.” After all, I and many others fled to the relative security of GNU/Linux simply because of the insecurity of XP. “What reputation?”, I thought.

The flaw in my thinking, of course, is that others are in the same condition I was in when I used DOS and that other OS back in the day. I just didn’t know any better. I blamed the hardware. I blamed myself, because software I wrote didn’t crash when I clicked on something. I had to be doing something wrong because a big outfit like M$ just wouldn’s ship crapware. Would they?

That’s the point the authour makes. Even if the reputation is false/fluff, it’s what people think they have to deal with using that other OS and they think it’s OK that malware infects a PC. Well, whatever the thoughts, when the ~50K bugs that M$ created in XP and of which M$ has fixed only a tiny percentage, continue to be discovered by motivated malware-artists, knowing none will be fixed… all Heck is going to break loose in the world of XP. M$ is gambling that the Horror will drive folks to buy a new PC with a new version of that other OS but what if folks finally see the light and blame M$ for the crapware that M$ has produced?

I believe a lot will shift to GNU/Linux or Android/Linux or Chrome OS. See, while I had to do a bit of work to discover I had choice back in the day. Current users of XP know there are several choices not from M$. M$ has even been advertising Google’s Chrome OS on prime-time TV… Chuckle. This could be even bigger than I thought. The only way the effect will not appear is if the malware-artists collude to prevent XP bogging down too much, by adding a scheduler for some slice of the free time on XP machines. Nah, that won’t happen. Those guys are greedy and want it all. Besides they are rugged individuals who do their own thing. Some even think they have a backlog of malware they have been waiting to release until after M$ gets out of the picture…

See Perspective: Microsoft risks security reputation ruin by retiring XP.

  • Mar 07 / 2014
  • 44

M$: We Can’t Beat ‘Em, So We’re Going To Snow ‘Em

Ghandi was right. When they fight you, you win…“In an internal memo sent to Microsoft employees Nadella said that the core focus of company is going to be advertising and not software development. He clarified that by advertising he didn’t mean display advertising that Google is into. Under Mark, Nadella is setting up a new department which will get most budget and the core focus of the group will be to create anti-Google ad campaigns.

Microsoft is expected to spend over $5 billion dollars on anti-Android and ChromeOS ads. Microsoft’s previous campaign internally called ‘MTP – Mess The Press’ has already started bearing fruits as even the most noted journalists now ‘recite’ that the company is making billions of dollars from Android, even if there has never been any proof.”
M$’s new plan is corroboration of what I have been writing for years now. M$ can’t beat FLOSS on technology. You just can’t beat Free and $free. It’s too good in price/performance. The obvious thing for a real business to do would be to adopt FLOSS methods and profit but M$ is not a real business, but a monopoly, a fading monopoly. Cornered beasts are very dangerous.

Fortunately, the law is on the side of FLOSS. Deliberately setting out to harm the brand of a competitor is widely seen as a crime in USA and globally, so the cornered M$ reveals its true self, a lying bully extorting the world’s supply chain for decades to remain on top in unit sales. Fortunately, FLOSS has won in the market despite all M$’s machinations. Spending $billions on ads to deny that will be seen by the world as the babblings of a demented old man long past his prime.

As an M$-hater, this is the next best thing to M$’s bankruptcy. I will get to see this train-wreck happening in markets and courts for years to come as I watch my grass grow, flowers bloom, garden bear fruit, hunts feed my family and this blog celebrate the decline of evil in the market for IT.

See Microsoft to cut on software development, focus on ads.

  • Feb 26 / 2014
  • 5


I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Nokia is producing some Android/Linux smartphones “Within Microsoft what I see happening is that the company will start backing off Windows Phone. Kendrick’s right, you see. It is too much to ask Microsoft to support two mobile operating systems, so I think they’ll slowly and quietly drop the least-profitable of them: Windows Phone.”that look and feel like “phoney 7″ smartphones. Certainly, it is interesting that Android/Linux apps will run on them, but this is just like GNU/Linux distros that look like XP or “7″. No one is very excited about those…

I don’t often disagree with SJVN but I think his argument that M$ makes $billions from Android/Linux taxes is extreme. If that were happening, there would be some mention of it in M$’s SEC filings. There’s only this, “D&C Licensing, comprising: Windows, including all original equipment manufacturer (“OEM”) licensing (“Windows OEM”) and other non-volume licensing and academic volume licensing of the Windows operating system and related software (collectively, “Consumer Windows”); non-volume licensing of Microsoft Office, comprising the core Office product set, for consumers (“Consumer Office”); Windows Phone, including related patent licensing; and certain other patent licensing revenue;”. Would M$ dare risk not mentioning something substantial here? I don’t think so. Their case against Motorola is still up in the air: “Motorola litigation
In October 2010, Microsoft filed patent infringement complaints against Motorola Mobility (“Motorola”) with the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) and in U.S. District Court in Seattle for infringement of nine Microsoft patents by Motorola’s Android devices. Since then, Microsoft and Motorola have filed additional claims against each other in the ITC, in federal district courts in Seattle, Wisconsin, Florida, and California, and in courts in Germany and the United Kingdom. The nature of the claims asserted and status of individual matters are summarized below.
International Trade Commission
In May 2012, the ITC issued a limited exclusion order against Motorola on one Microsoft patent, which became effective on July 18, 2012. Microsoft appealed certain aspects of the ITC rulings adverse to Microsoft, and Motorola has appealed the ITC exclusion order, to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In October 2013, the Court of Appeals ruled in Microsoft’s favor on one additional patent (since expired) and, in December 2013, affirmed the ITC’s exclusion order.
In July 2013, Microsoft filed an action in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. seeking an order to compel enforcement of the ITC’s May 2012 import ban against infringing Motorola products by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), after learning that CBP had failed to fully enforce the order.
In November 2010, Motorola filed an action against Microsoft in the ITC alleging infringement of five Motorola patents by Xbox consoles and accessories and seeking an exclusion order to prohibit importation of the allegedly infringing Xbox products into the U.S. At Motorola’s request, the ITC terminated its investigation as to four Motorola patents, leaving only one Motorola patent at issue. In March 2013, the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) ruled that there has been no violation of the remaining Motorola patent. Motorola sought ITC review of the ALJ’s determination, which the ITC denied in May 2013. Motorola has appealed the ITC’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
U.S. District Court
The Seattle District Court case filed in October 2010 by Microsoft as a companion to Microsoft’s ITC case against Motorola has been stayed pending the outcome of Microsoft’s ITC case. In November 2010, Microsoft sued Motorola for breach of contract in U.S. District Court in Seattle, alleging that Motorola breached its commitments to standards-setting organizations to license to Microsoft certain patents on reasonable and non-discriminatory (“RAND”) terms and conditions. Motorola has declared these patents essential to the implementation of the H.264 video standard and the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard. In the Motorola ITC case described above and in suits described below, Motorola or a Motorola affiliate subsequently sued Microsoft on those patents in U.S. District Courts, in the ITC, and in Germany. In February 2012, the Seattle District Court granted a partial summary judgment in favor of Microsoft ruling that (1) Motorola entered into binding contractual commitments with standards organizations committing to license its declared-essential patents on RAND terms and conditions; and (2) Microsoft is a third-party beneficiary of those commitments. After trial, the Seattle District Court set per unit royalties for Motorola’s H.264 and 802.11 patents, which resulted in an immaterial Microsoft liability. In September 2013, following trial of Microsoft’s breach of contract claim, a jury awarded $14.5 million in damages to Microsoft. Motorola has appealed.
Cases filed by Motorola in Wisconsin, California, and Florida, with the exception of one currently stayed case in Wisconsin (a companion case to Motorola’s ITC action), have been transferred to the U.S District Court in Seattle.”

There’s not much there, IMHO. Even M$ calls Motorola’s patent charge “immaterial”. Those are on the same magnitude as M$’s patent claims are they not? The fact is that the producers of Android/Linux devices that have settled with M$ did so to avoid litigation and the amounts are likely less than the cost of litigation, $millions not $billions. Google is not backing down and could well win against M$ in a big way. M$ is not considering that revenue in its manipulation of Nokia. This is all about the applications, nothing more. That UI looks like M$’s phoney OS to me and to users. M$ doesn’t charge itself licensing fees so using Android/Linux is not about saving money on licensing just cost of production and importing apps. When they ship standard Android, then we can believe that M$ plans to migrate to */Linux one way or another, not before. That isn’t going to happen as long as Gates and Ballmer are around. That isn’t going to happen until the whole house of cards falls.

See Hello, MS-Android. Good-bye, Windows Phone.

  • Feb 24 / 2014
  • 1

Chromebooks Blossom

Hear those footsteps, Wintel? That’s GNU/Linux you hear, growing like Topsy while your sales stagnate.“There has been breakthroughs in sales of Chromebooks, with devices selling well in the inexpensive notebook segment in the US, and widely adopted for educational use through government procurement projects, the sources said. Chromebook shipments in 2014 are expected to increase to 4-5 million units, the sources indicated.” The reasons are many but you can include:

  • lower prices,
  • less maintenance, and
  • less malware

among them and besides all that, GNU/Linux works for people, something you have been denying for a decade. In my experience GNU/Linux makes that other OS look like a net negative experience from every viewpoint: price, performance, reliability, and flexibility.

See Google may cancel Chromebook subsidies, say Taiwan makers.

  • Feb 20 / 2014
  • 0

GNU/Linux Smartphones

With Canonical finding partners to ship GNU/Linux smartphones, this species could be over the threshold to yet more advances in mobile IT. I expect native code will give GNU/Linux some advantage in performance and being closer to GNU/Linux should give a truly multi-user/multi-tasking OS experience to users. Properly exploited and advertised, GNU/Linux could be the next big thing in mobile technology. Finally, Canonical may have a real use for their silly-on-the-desktop user-interface where people search for everything. That makes sense on a small screen.

“The mobile industry has long been looking for a viable alternative to those that reign today. Ubuntu puts the control back into the hands of our partners and presents an exciting platform for consumers, delivering an experience which departs from the tired app icon grid of Android and iOS and provides a fluid, content-rich experience for all.”If Shuttleworth has been wrong about a few things around desktop GNU/Linux lately, he may be onto something good here. Google has promoted Android/Linux successfully for its own purposes. Mobile devices certainly could use some competition. Apple does not even try to compete on the low end and M$ can’t compete anywhere. The ability of GNU/Linux to run Android/Linux and its apps as well as GNU/Linux utilities like browsers and editors could be a powerful tool for OEMs to distinguish themselves in a bland market. Mobility is growing quickly now but competition is already fierce. If these first tentative steps succeed, the second wave of mobility could well be accelerating adoption of GNU/Linux on a scale of a higher order of magnitude than we have seen so far rather than just replacement cycling of Android/Linux systems.

See Canonical announces first Ubuntu smartphone manufacturers.

  • Feb 14 / 2014
  • 21

A Billion Smartphones Sold In 2013 And No End In Sight

IDC: “While smartphone market growth remained strong in 2013, it should be noted that the era of double-digit annual growth has only a few years remaining.”

This is the phenomenon of a lifetime. It makes the ramping up of that other OS on x86 PCs seem positively tame. In fact, more than a billion smartphones shipped in 2013 and 430 million were less than $200. This is the era of the Small Cheap Computer. The Wintel ecosystem cannot survive here. Too much competition. Too low prices. No exclusivity… Chuckle.

See Android and iOS Continue to Dominate the Worldwide Smartphone Market with Android Shipments Just Shy of 800 Million in 2013.

  • Feb 07 / 2014
  • 6

OMG! Android/Linux Is The Most Popular OS In India

The world should hear that the number one OS for page-views in India is now Android/Linux. Thanks Google, Samsung and all the others that helped this happen. India is being freed from monopoly by Free/Libre Open Source Software and ARMed personal computers.

India gets the concept of small cheap computers running FLOSS:

The world should hear that we don’t have to depend on the Wintel monopoly to get things done. A combination of small cheap computers and FLOSS will do the job.

See StatCounter: Top 8 Desktop, Mobile & Tablet Operating Systems in India from Q1 2012 to Q1 2014.

  • Feb 05 / 2014
  • 3
Linux in Education, Teaching, technology

Schools Allowing Drug-Dealers To Operate In The Parking Lots

No, not literally, but figuratively, the generosity of many IT-companies to “help” schools afford IT is more about enslaving students to use and be locked-in to those companies’ products rather than choosing what works best for the students and teachers. I am surprised that M$ is not on the list…

  • “Apple’s pledging $100 million in iPads, Macbooks, products and teacher training.”
  • “AT&T is giving $100 million in mobile broadband for 3 years to middle schools and for teacher development.”
  • “The Verizon Foundation is giving $100 million to educate teachers, with the Verizon Innovative Leading Schools program, among other initiatives.”
  • “Autodesk will offer free design software to every secondary school.”

Sigh… No one should have to donate software for schools because FLOSS is already ~$0. They can use it for the price of a download. Training? Just use it. Most software can be figured out in a few minutes of poke-and-click. The web is full of collaborative sites that require little or no training. Know a school for FaceBook? GMail? The concept of requiring training in schools is silly. That’s just a euphemism for allowing salesmen into schools. Just turn the students loose on it and they will put it to good use within the first hour. The benefits are only limited by imaginations of users, not the agreements companies force on schools.

I recommend Debian GNU/Linux for schools. I have worked in dozens of schools where clients and servers just hummed on the LAN, trouble-free and fast with tons of FLOSS. Put a start-page on the browsers and stand back. Learning will happen. It will be hard to prevent. I have set up Moodle course management system in schools and local copies of Wikipedia, all for $0 and a few minutes of my time.

The high-speed Internet access is welcome, but how about cabling and wireless in the schools? How about gigabit/s to servers and multimedia stations? Is it there? What about thin clients? Is this “help” limited to expensive thick clients or to the optimal solution, thin client/server, for most tasks in education? Will students be able to learn anything beyond dependence on some monopolists?

See Apple And Others Fund $750 Million In Education Gadgets And Internet Broadband.