Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / Linux

  • Jul 24 / 2014
  • 2

Folly – Wintel And “Partners” Response To Competition

There’s this thing about dinosaurs. They were magnificent and perfectly suited to their environment… until the environment changed.“Intel, Microsoft and notebook brand vendors are preparing to push entry-level notebooks priced at US$199-249 in the second half, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.” Wintel is like the dinosaurs when it comes to competition from the small cheap computers. Apparently, they continue to believe it’s only the “little guys” they have to worry about. M$ is giving away its OS to put on small cheap Wintel PCs. Intel is pricing down certain low-power CPUs. There’s nothing wrong with such moves except that it ignores much of the rest of the world and the fact that we can hook a monitor, keyboard and mouse onto a smartphone and get better performance than their offering. What use is a $200 clamshell compared to something that will fit in one’s pocket and which can be used on a desk or on the go? You could pay people to use these notebooks and still have no effect on that competition.

It’s just folly to assume that this move will have any effect on the huge volume of smartphones being sold. They are the real competition. Chromebooks are not the real competition. Chromebooks won’t be affected in the least by lowering prices on Wintel. It’s WINTEL that people are escaping, not high prices. Low prices are just a fringe benefit of using FLOSS on small cheap computers. People are tired of the Wintel treadmill, re-re-reboots, malware and bloat. You can pay people to use Wintel and they will just refuse often enough to affect the bottom line of the proponents of Wintel.

Still, it’s fun to see them try. I bet those machines would work great with GNU/Linux or Android/Linux… ;-) Finally, we won’t have to build a PC from parts to escape M$’s “tax” or Intel’s high prices.

See Vendors partner with Wintel to release US$199-249 notebooks for 2H14.

  • Jul 22 / 2014
  • 0

Even The Legacy PC Has Lost Its Monopoly In China

The huge lead developed by the legacy PC over more than a decade on the web“Around 527 million (or 83 per cent) of China’s 632 million netizens preferred to use a mobile device to access websites and apps.
Some 81 per cent of those Chinese people who are online browsed the web via a PC; naturally a large number of people used both mobile devices and PCs.”
is shrinking fast. In China, it’s gone.

This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the burdens of Wintel on personal IT are huge negatives compared to */Linux on ARM, software and hardware that works for the user and not the monopolists, Intel and M$. While it has been a difficult and slow process to move the legacy PC beyond monopoly, there never was a monopoly for these new small cheap computers. One way or another FLOSS and */Linux will have its day. Consumers are finally getting choice, competition and great price/performance on retail shelves.

See FONDLEMANIA: Mobile devices outstrip PCs on China's internet.

  • Jul 16 / 2014
  • 5

Smartphones Shipping – 1.2 Billion 2014, 2 Billion 2018

“ABI Research expects 1.25 billion smartphones to ship in 2014 and forecasts smartphone shipments to pass the 2 billion mark in 2018. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the forecast period from 2014 to 2019 is 12%.”

ABI Research says the 60% penetration of smartphones in the developed markets could be possible in the developing markets thanks to lowering prices… Wow! Just Wow! This makes “the PC revolution” seem like a rummage sale. Soon, more smartphones will ship per annum than legacy PCs extant.

See Over 2 Billion Smartphones to Ship in 2018, 1.25 Billion in 2014.

Need a second opinion? See Smartphone Sales Volume to Touch 23.6% Growth in 2014 on the Back of Emerging Markets

  • Jul 14 / 2014
  • 27

Shopping For Tablets

The Little Woman had a PSU fail on her Android/Linux tablet. She went shopping for a new tablet by visiting a big box store locally. Eventually, she bought a new PSU for a few dollars.

The thought occurred to me that it’s getting really hard to buy an Android/Linux tablet these days because of the sheer volume of choice. I looked at a popular Chinese site and found 7″ displays were most numerous (124 choices). Prices ranged from $38 to $380. The $38 model actually is a serious product from a serious company complete with flashy rollouts and booth-babes. They are competing hard even for this low-end market. CPUs were of several kinds with clocks from 1gHz to about 1.6gHz and single to quad core. RAM ranged from 512MB to 1gB. That would be a killer for me. Beast has 4gB and I use it all day long, either actively or as a file-cache. The one thing I got from the exercise is a respect for the difficulty facing the consumer. I suspect that most consumers would look at the final product, the display in use, the general appearance and the price rather than specs. I rather care more about performance.

I looked at the higher-end chip, sibling to the $38 model, ATM7039, and found it in a 9″ model with 1920 x 1200px and HDMI socket at $183. There’s no Ethernet but 802.11n is decent. With USB and HDMI I can add size to the user-interface and storage. Except for the 2MP camera, this is a great device. Now we’re talking. Quad core 1.5gHz and 2gB RAM, competing with Intel… Whats-his-name was proud to say he could not make a tablet for less than $500. Chuckle. Watch our dust. These small cheap computers come in flavours suitable for any taste.

I can even get an Exynos 5 CPU in an 8″ tablet for $254. Close. Really close…

In all of the prices mentioned above, one can get a small but increasing discount if one orders more units.

The bottom line is that no matter what factor concerns a consumer most, he/she will find it with */Linux on ARM, be it affordable computing, great computing, or something in between. There’s something for everyone and Wintel need not apply. There are a million reasons why Android/Linux on ARM is kicking Wintel’s butt. Every consumer has a few.

UPDATE I noticed in a related story that M$ is now offering to give away its OS to makers of small and <$250 tablets. Good luck with that. ;-) Android/Linux is already giving ~1billion people “full PC functionality”. I can even root these things and install Debian GNU/Linux. It doesn’t get any better than that. Even for $0, M$’s stuff has negative value. M$ will have to start paying people to use its stuff.

  • Jul 07 / 2014
  • 23

Gartner On Personal IT – 2013 to 2015

According to Gartner, the legacy PC shows little or no growth compared to tablets and smartphones. That makes sense:

  • the legacy PC is too expensive, noisy and it’s hard to maintain,
  • those small cheap computers allow most folks to do most tasks simply, and
  • they are portable. Yeah!

To put it into perspective, more small cheap computers will ship this year than all the legacy PCs that exist, by a factor of 1.2, and that factor is increasing, year to year. As the digital divide is being bridged, the legacy PC is falling into the chasm. No one is interested in buying a mainframe when a small cheap computer will do. That was true when the legacy PC came to be and it’s true today when the legacy PC can do more than most people need: drying hair, making noise, supplying unused expansion ports, taking up lots of room, wasting natural resources, costing several times as much to buy and to own, etc. The industry and the employment of huge resources for maintenance of the legacy PC is threatened. With it will die the mindshare and necessity for Wintel. */Linux on ARM can do the job better for a lot less money.

See Gartner Says Worldwide Traditional PC, Tablet, Ultramobile and Mobile Phone Shipments to Grow 4.2 Percent in 2014

  • Jul 01 / 2014
  • 28

M$ Has No Hope To Compete Against Small Cheap Computers

As the small cheap computer grows in numbers and capability, M$’s monopoly on IT is on its last leg.“Microsoft called off its plan to mass-produce and launch the Surface Mini tablet back in May. According to the report, the decision to cancel the device was made because the tablet lacked differentiation compared to other small tablets, and also because the company received “negative responses” from its various brand vendor partners.” The last straw was an attempt to push “8″ out into the world of small tablets. Against Android/Linux and GNU/Linux selling for $0 on generic tablets, M$ has no hope at all. According to StatCounter, recently M$ had just 0.2% share of tablet-page-views. In countries like India, M$ is down to just 0.09% share.

You just can’t sell generic tablets in a free market with a big hit for a monopolist’s software licence. Even M$ charging itself $0 for its own software could not make any money in this market because consumers just weren’t interested. Life is hard when your big brother doesn’t grant you a monopoly, eh? Get used to it, M$.

See Microsoft Surface Mini Release Date Cancelled, Report Claims.

  • Jul 01 / 2014
  • 0

My Kernel… OOPS!

Again a long-standing bug has been found in the Linux kernel. A snippet of code was missing that could cause a crash in certain situations.“The the world at large: it’s increasingly apparent that no one (except maybe the blackhats) has ever scrutinized the syscall auditing code.
This is two old severe bugs in the code that have probably been there for a long time.
It’s been around since about 2.6…

This is another benefit of my using Linux 3.15, because it’s just a couple of minutes to update around this bug. Also, it’s 32-bit only so I have only one machine affected. Still, this could affect a lot of machines out there.

3.15: kernel BUG at kernel/auditsc.c:1525!.

  • Jun 30 / 2014
  • 3

Emerging Markets For IT Skip Desktop

While some extoll the virtues of the legacy desktop and notebook PCs, emerging markets are skipping that baggage and moving to lighter weight mobile computing. The next billion or so users of IT/Internet may well skip expensive to buy and to own stuff developed to make $billions for Wintel. Instead they are using the much more economical ARMed stuff running */Linux. Cost and flexibility are the drivers. Many of these regions don’t have electrical utilities and cabled networks. Wintel doesn’t work for them. If/when they do get these technologies, folks there may still prefer the IT they got first, the smartphone and tablet.

See Comparison Per Country, June 2014.

  • Jun 25 / 2014
  • 2

It’s Official. SCOTUS Considers Small Cheap Computers As Computers

For years now, proponents of Wintel being the one true way to do IT, have held that smart thingies and other small“Cell phones differ in both a quantitative and a qualitative sense from other objects that might be carried on an arrestee’s person. Notably, modern cell phones have an immense storage capacity. Before cell phones, a search of a person was limited by physical realities and generally constituted only a narrow intrusion on privacy.
But cell phones can store millions of pages of text, thousands of pictures, or hundreds of videos. This has several interrelated privacy consequences. First, a cell phone collects in one place many distinct types of information that reveal much more in combination than any isolated record. Second, the phone’s capacity allows even just one type of information to convey far more than previously possible. Third, data on the phone can date back for years. In addition, an element of pervasiveness characterizes cell phones but not physical records. A decade ago officers might have occasionally stumbled across a highly personal item such as a diary, but today many of the more than 90% of American adults who own cell phones keep on their person a digital record of nearly every aspect of their lives”
cheap computers while having a CPU, networking, memory and storage are somehow less than PCs (Personal Computers). The Supreme Court has just ruled that smartphones and other electronic gadgets are worthy to require search warrants to search just like real computers. Their big issue is the depth, breadth and volume of data stored on smartphones but that is just one function of a smartphone. The Supremes also mention browsing histories, and “apps”, all providing information about people to police just like other evidence.

What’s important to me in this is not just that they ruled that smartphones should have a warrant to search but that these definitely non-techie types agree that smartphones work just like PCs. When this concept spans generations from teenagers to old fogies and people actually think of capabilities in terms of numbers of gigabytes and so on, it’s real.
See The Ruling in RILEY v. CALIFORNIA

  • Jun 25 / 2014
  • 27

PC In Your Pocket, But Only In China

Poor Beast… Except for his huge hard drives and gigabit/s networking, Beast has nothing on this new smartphone:
“The new Huawei Honor 6 is packs with 5 inch screen, 3GB of RAM and this is the first smartphone that powered by Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 920 octa-core processor made of four A15 cores and 4 A7 cores which Huawei thinks compares to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset.The Huawei Honor 6 has officially release in Beijing on June 24th, 2014.”

The significance of such pocket-PCs is not that they are more powerful than a good modern ATX box or even a notebook but that with many millions of users of smartphones being perfectly satisfied with performance, this kind of performance in a pocket or purse will surely end the idea that one needs a desktop/notebook PC to get “real work” done. If you hook a monitor/keyboard/mouse to one of these you will also be able to get a lot of work done, real work. Add to that the mobility people love and the lack of environmental impact and I can see a world with a lot fewer desktop/notebook PCs. Those are for slaves to Wintel, apparently.

See Huawei Honor 6 Review: new flagship smartphone with Kirin 920 octa-core processor.

  • Jun 23 / 2014
  • 1

Russia Finally Moving To */Linux

Several years ago the Russian government announced a plan to move to GNU/Linux.“Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry plans to replace US microchips Intel and AMD, used in government’s computers, with domestically-produced micro processor Baikal in a project worth dozens of millions of dollars

The Baikal chips will be installed on computers of government bodies and in state-run firms, which purchase some 700,000 personal computers annually worth $500 million and 300,000 servers worth $800 million.”
Years later we’ve seen little progress but now there’s news that Russia will swap Intel/AMD CPUs for their own design of modern ARMed CPUs. These will, of course, run some */Linux operating system. At the rate the government replaces PCs this changeover could take years or, if they accelerate the change, just a year or two. I expect countries like China and India have the will and ability to make such changes. This is a clever move because the savings on hardware could more or less pay for the cost of changing software. The move to */Linux accelerates.

See Russia wants to replace US computer chips with local processors.

See also, Russian Government will soon utilize the Baikal Processor based on Homegrown ARM Design – Intel and AMD x86 Processors to be phased out

  • Jun 17 / 2014
  • 0

Legacy PCs Being Squeezed Out By Smartphones

I think IDC has finally accepted reality, that smartphones are displacing the legacy PC for much of IT. “The PC will be the new accessory to mobile as smartphones become the first and primary computing device for many. IDC expects smartphone shipments to outpace total PC shipments by more than 6 to 1 in 2018.
The smartphone installed base is quickly approaching two billion units, and vendors are scrambling to find the next two billion users in new markets.”
It took them a while. Like many they kept seeing the decline of the legacy stuff year after year but they kept looking for light at the end of the tunnel. That was not an opening but an oncoming train, Android/Linux on ARMed smartphones.

What’s changed is that IDC and others have been conditioned by M$ to see IT as a highly competitive market with every OEM competing to sell one of M$’s OS but the world has left monopoly behind and now the world is competing to sell small cheap computers with FLOSS operating systems. That’s the right way to do IT. FLOSS gives products with the lowest cost per unit which is what the market is demanding. Since M$ no longer controls the market, good things happen. M$ was worried about competing on price when legacy PCs were ~$1K but now that consumers can buy what they want for less than $200, and even less than $100 with no contribution and no “tax” from M$, M$ can no longer dictate to OEMs all and sundry details. Gone are the days when M$ could destroy an OEM by raising the price of licences a few dollars. Now M$ almost has to pay OEMs to install M$’s OS.

What’s shocking people, including IDC, is how rapidly this change has come. In less than a decade Android/Linux has gone from curiosity to commodity. In the last two years, Android/Linux has overtaken that other OS in installed base. M$ has lost market-share, mind-share and even bottom line for client OS. M$ is having to work for a living and all its bloat accumulated in the days of monopoly prevent M$ from doing that well.

It’s ironic. In the early days of the legacy PC, M$ and Intel did work hard to persuade the world that the legacy PC was necessary even though very few needed all the capability. Many PCs were simply glorified typewriters. Now, the world appears to believe personal computers are necessary but Moore’s Law, and ARM and Linux and Google and Samsung and Android have made an entirely different platform front and centred in people’s mind. Further, the new PCs don’t make whirring noises pointlessly stirring the air and wasting energy. They run all day on a tiny battery. What money people spend on them mostly goes to getting the best bang for the dollar in CPU power, storage, and networking rather than filling M$’s coffers. Intel, too, has been cut out. Instead of running a $200 chip from Intel that needed a dozen other chips to interface to the real world, the smartphone does it all with just a couple of chips that cost much less. The network connects the smartphones to any real big storage/compute engines and there might be 1K smartphones connected to just one server. Wintel is no longer necessary anywhere in IT.

It’s been a long time coming but it’s a great day.

See Smartphones to Drive Double-Digit Growth of Smart Connected Devices in 2014 and Beyond.