Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / migration

  • Aug 25 / 2014
  • 5
technology

The Magic Of USB Flash Drives

Soon I will go to a meeting where I might have to install Debian GNU/Linux without an Internet connection. To do the job, I made up a USB drive with everything I will need:

To test out this rig, I created a virtual machine and booted it from the USB drive. The default installation was routine, hardly different from any other. When I booted the minimal system, though, the repository in the CD would not work for me and debpartial-mirror didn’t have Debian’s signing keys… so I just used dpkg to install what I wanted.

The local repository I created on the USB drive had all the .deb’s on a single level so dpkg -i debian/pool/*/*/*/*.deb got everything there. It worked very well except that it thought three packages were broken. One was a discrepancy between versions on the CD and in the repository. Another was irrelevant because the package wasn’t likely to be used. One was a missing package. We missed one. Then I started up the GUI and saw this, in all its glory:

So, it’s not exactly like XP. It’s configurable and it fit in 4.3gB on the virtual hard drive. ;-) This is a lightweight setup which should give new life to an old notebook sagging under Vista.

One problem was that I had left out gksu to run synaptic, so I had to download the packages to put in a directory on the USB drive. If I want to offer remote support, I can get openssh-server off the CD. I can mount the CD on a local directory to get at the .deb’s there: mount whatever.iso some_dir/ -o loop,ro.

The entire configuration for debpartial-mirror?
cat /etc/debpartial-mirror.conf
;;
;; debpartial-mirror configuration file.
;;

[GLOBAL]
;; Show debug information?
;debug = DEBUG
;; Mirror destination directory
mirror_dir = /home/pogson/debpartial-mirror/
;; Which architectures should I download?
architectures = i386
;; What should I look for, by default?
components = main
distributions = wheezy
;; What should I get?
get_suggests = true
get_recommends = true
get_provides = true
get_sources = false
get_packages = true
;; Here is our first backend. It mirrors a subset of packages from the
;; Debian official repositories.
[wheezy]
;; Where do we get the packages from?
server = http://http.debian.net/debian
;; Since we specify components and distributions in this section, what we
;; specify here overrides the settings in [DEFAULT].
components = main contrib non-free
distributions = wheezy
;; Only get a subset of the packages in this source.
filter = name:xorg|xfce4|wifi-radar|wicd|iceweasel|libreoffice-writer|libreoffice-calc|gnumeric|vlc|gimp|xfce4-weather-plugin|lightdm|xfwm4|xserver-xorg-|xpdf|ristretto|aptitude|synaptic|gufw|xfburn|net-tools|glib-networking-services|python-numpy|gnome-icon-theme|dconf-service|liblapack3|gksu|openssh-server
;;resolve_deps_using = wheezy
;; And get the source packages as well for this backend.
get_sources = false

Yes, gksu, and openssh-server are in there. I must have messed up my versions as I converged on a solution…(I do need a secretary but can’t afford to pay one)… debpartial-mirror is wonderful because a short list like that pulls in the dependencies too. I can concentrate on what the user needs rather than ~1000 details.

Anyway, Debian GNU/Linux is a powerful operating system with powerful tools to use whether on or off the web and with or without a CD-drive. M$, eat your heart out.

UPDATE At the meeting, the lady had not brought her laptop but we did exchange e-mail address for follow-up. She often travels near my neighbourhood. Interestingly, another participant of the meeting, an active teacher, reported that her school’s secretary uses GNU/Linux on her desktop. Amazing. Usually school secretaries are the most difficult to convert because they have a huge inventory of documents and don’t want to risk upsetting the flow of information.

I even found there is at least one person in that town who does GNU/Linux but he does not provide training, just setup and networking support, exactly the backup we might need. I can provide training if e-mail is working.

UPDATE I redid the filter for debpartial-mirror to include the things I missed before and flashplugin-nonfree too.
"/media/usb1/debian/pool# ls */*/*/*.deb|grep "gksu\|ssh\|flash"
contrib/f/flashplugin-nonfree-extrasound/flashplugin-nonfree-extrasound_0.0.svn2431-3_i386.deb
contrib/f/flashplugin-nonfree/flashplugin-nonfree_3.2_i386.deb
main/g/gksu/gksu_2.0.2-6_i386.deb
main/libg/libgksu/libgksu2-0_2.0.13~pre1-6_i386.deb
main/libs/libssh2/libssh2-1_1.4.2-1.1_i386.deb
main/o/openssh/openssh-client_6.0p1-4+deb7u2_i386.deb
main/o/openssh/openssh-server_6.0p1-4+deb7u2_i386.deb"
All in all there are 1050 packages drawn in. Not bad for a few minutes of my time and 25 minutes downloading automatically with dependencies. Great. It makes for a speedy installation of a very usable system.

"filter = name:xorg|xfce4|wifi-radar|wicd|iceweasel|libreoffice-writer|libreoffice-calc|gnumeric|vlc|gimp|xfce4-weather-plugin|lightdm|xfwm4|xserver-xorg-|xpdf|ristretto|aptitude|synaptic|gufw|xfburn|net-tools|glib-networking-services|python-numpy|gnome-icon-theme|dconf-service|liblapack3|gksu|openssh-server|flashplugin-nonfree"

I hope she drops by so I can try this out “in the wild” so to speak. I have no idea what hardware she has except it’s a notebook with Vista and running at a snail’s pace…

  • Aug 20 / 2014
  • 12
technology

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
technology

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
  • 4
technology

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 Goodbye-microsoft.com if they have the functionality to browse the web left in their PC. Suggest they visit Debian.org too.

See The Time to Recommend Linux & FOSS Is Now.

  • Aug 15 / 2014
  • 32
technology

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 10 / 2014
  • 5
technology

GNU/Linux Grows Faster In Popularity In India

Again we find the rapid growth of GNU/Linux in India is better than other places because GNU/Linux has actual salesmen motivated to push the product. It would grow much faster in Canada with some retail shelf-space and a few salesmen, that’s for sure.

“The Linux-based operating system grew 50% year-over-year in India. Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, has partnered with Dell and HP to bundle the OS with certain models of their laptops offered in India.”

See India opens up to operating system Ubuntu.

  • Aug 01 / 2014
  • 5
technology

Yes, Businesses Can Use GNU/Linux And Have Better IT For Less

The death of XP has prompted a lot of searching for solutions in businesses.“In the first phase of the project, Bukwang Pharmaceuticals switched around 400 PCs to Ubuntu. Even before the planned migration of all remaining machines, savings on annual licensing alone totalled $300,000. And the benefits didn’t stop there.
In a country where Microsoft was so well entrenched, Bukwang’s migration to Ubuntu and Open Source proved to be of enormous interest in the business community. It generated a raft of free publicity in the media, including interviews with the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.”
One solution that is obvious to me but often escapes businesses not wanting to risk freedom is GNU/Linux, the OS that is a cooperative product of the world and works for users rather than monopolists. Bukwang Pharmaceuticals checked it out and made the switch rather painlessly in just a few months. Instead of buying hundreds of licences for that other OS, they invested wisely in GNU/Linux.

I’ve said it many times but it bears repeating that the price/performance of GNU/Linux that is widely accepted on servers can be had on desktops too. The licence says so. You can run, examine, modify and distribute the code, all those things that cost extra with that other OS and are a constant drain on resources.

See Bukwang Pharmaceuticals cut IT costs and created business value with Ubuntu.

  • Jul 31 / 2014
  • 2
technology

I Care About M$ v Free Software

One of dozens of means of “winning” an argument is to claim the opponent’s arguments don’t matter.“There really is no one-size-fits-all computer operating system, so fighting about which one is better ends up being a huge waste of time.” In the OS Wars, OS does matter because not all operating systems are benign servants of the user. M$, after all, is “out to get us”.

M$ deliberately expanded its monopoly to stifle competition. That hurt us. The world paid many $billions more for software than necessary because of that. Just check M$’s SEC filings and compare them with RedHat’s to see what I mean. RedHat actually worked for a living for years before it had its first $billion in revenue. So did M$, but RedHat didn’t go around locking people in with shifting file-formats, making “Independent” Software Vendors dependent and totally neglecting security for a decade or more.

M$ deliberately made crapware sell because it could and the world re-re-rebooted for decades. That hurt us.

FLOSS and GNU/Linux don’t hurt us because the software can be run any way we want, examined until the cows come home, modified if we wish, and copied endlessly under the same terms. FLOSS is out to help us, not to hurt us.

So there are dozens of reasons to use GNU/Linux and few to use that other OS. That’s not what the war is about. It’s about being free to get the best out of IT and the hardware we own. M$ deliberately limits what our hardware can do by the terms of its cursed licences. We have to pay extra for the privilege of being enslaved. That’s not for me. No one chooses to be enslaved when they see they have a choice. Put GNU/Linux on retail shelves and watch what happens. ASUS sold out. Dell is selling it like hotcakes in China and India. Many governments, businesses organizations and individuals are enjoying Freedom. You should too.

See Who cares about Windows versus Linux?.

  • Jul 23 / 2014
  • 5
technology

Go, Toulouse! City Saves €1.000.000 Via LibreOffice And That’s Not All They Do With FLOSS

It’s rather obvious to me but others still deny:

  1. that organizations of any size can use LibreOffice instead of M$’s offering, and
  2. that organizations of any size can save a bundle of money doing so.

Munich and Toulouse and the government of the UK and … are all strong counter-examples “Software licenses for productivity suites cost Toulouse 1.8 million euro every three years. Migration cost us about 800,000 euro, due partly to some developments. One million euro has actually been saved in the first three years. It is a compelling proof in the actual context of local public finance”to this mystical belief that one needs to spend far more than the cost of IT to get any production from IT. FLOSS works. It’s a GUI. Anyone can use it and the cost of a licence is $0. Is that so hard to figure out? The cost of maintaining and updating the software is less with FLOSS too, thanks to the wonderful FLOSS licences that permit admins to copy/modify/distribute to their hearts’ content.
“50 per cent of the operating systems in Toulouse are based on Linux. These systems support the majority of our intranet, extranet and internet sites, plus some web-based business applications, all based on a LAMP architecture – Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP” Toulouse also uses a lot of FLOSS on the servers for similar benefits. As they modernize their fleet of computers both desktop and server they get all those great benefits everytime they install a machine or an OS or an application. FLOSS is the gift that keeps on giving. I will never forget the first few times I installed FLOSS and GNU/Linux. Stuff just worked so much better and nothing prevented me from providing local services on the network: not budgets, and not licences. I was free to get the best benefit from the expenditure on hardware rather than constantly being prevented from doing what I wanted. Large organizations have the same freedom I experienced although they call it “productivity” and “the bottom line”. It’s all good.

See Toulouse saves 1 million euro with LibreOffice | Joinup.

  • Jul 22 / 2014
  • 17
technology

The Monopoly Sinks Slowly Into The West

“Windows OEM non-Pro revenue decreased 9%”
“non-Pro” is the one consumers buy, eh? That means while sales of */Linux are rising everywhere, the empire is collapsing at a great rate, despite economic revival and thriving emerging economies. M$ just isn’t selling what people want, freedom. The “Pro” folks, however, are in a sad state, being led around by the nose by M$, forced forever to keep buying new PCs and software if they want M$’s permission to run their IT…

I recommend they all switch to Debian GNU/Linux. I did years ago and I’m glad I did.

See M$’s latest quarterly report.

UPDATE Another nail in the coffin…U.K. Cabinet Office Adopts ODF as Exclusive Standard for Sharable Documents

See also The Announcement from the Cabinet Office: Open document formats selected to meet user needs

That is a big deal. Once the lock-in of M$’s web-browser and office suite are broken, there’s little to keep many from switching entirely to FLOSS and GNU/Linux. Great news.

UPDATE More on the UK adoption of ODF at The Document Foundation congratulates the UK government for their revolutionary and historical choice of open document standards

  • Jul 22 / 2014
  • 0
technology

France, Spain And Greece Loosen Their Shackles

You have to admire the bold moves many European governments have made towards using FLOSS to do their IT. More organizations should follow their examples.

France A parliamentary report recommends securing the Internet from attacks by various players and using more FLOSS.
Valencia, Spain Valencia has saved $millions over the years and it’s not about to stop using FLOSS.
Greece Universities have organized a summer course for civil servants and others who need to learn more about FLOSS and how to use it.

The French report pulls no punches:(translation from French)
On FLOSS, among many other advantages, It helps reduce the dependence, strategic and economic, of France vis-a-vis foreign suppliers: “In these lean times we would find many advantages to using open programs like LibreOffice, OpenOffice or FireFox instead of paying a fortune to Microsoft” emphasized Mr. Francesco Ragazzi

My favourite recommendation?
“promote a progressive migration of their IT infrastructure to FLOSS. This can happen, in particular, by a preference for open source software in tendering procedures for public procurement and the imposition of open standards.”

I couldn’t have written it any better than that.

See also, France parliamentary committee: ‘encourage European open source software market’

  • Jul 21 / 2014
  • 128
technology

International Sanctions May Accelerate Adoption Of GNU/Linux In Russia

GNU/Linux has been in the pipe for a while but US sanctions on Russia may“The State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, is drafting a bill to require government agencies and state-run enterprises to give preference to local providers of software and hardware, according to a document from the commission for strategic information systems obtained by Bloomberg News.” bring GNU/Linux to the front burner. I can see them also accelerating trade with China. If China ramps up production of computers with GNU/Linux to serve the Russian market, China will be better positioned to help out every other country squirming under the weight of Wintel and NSA probing the world’s IT.

While I really hate what Russia has done in eastern Europe lately, this could be a silver lining in the whole horrible mess. Eventually, Russia and its neighbours will figure out how to get along and GNU/Linux and open standards could be a tiny part of a brave new world, a beneficial legacy long after Putin and others have left the scene. US sanctions play roles all around the world. I can see countries like Cuba going full speed for GNU/Linux if they see Russia doing that. It’s too bad Putin decided to invade Ukraine and prop up Assad instead of finishing the migration to GNU/Linux sooner but the world is a better place for the job getting done sooner rather than later.

See Russia to Reduce Reliance on Microsoft, IBM After Sanctions.

Pages:1234567...14