Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / migration

  • Apr 15 / 2014
  • 0

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.

  • Apr 15 / 2014
  • 0

GNU/Linux in India

For many years, GNU/Linux on the desktop has been progressing well in government and education. Now that Dell and Canonical have teamed up to sell GNU/Linux widely to consumers, we can really see progress in the web stats. In the last two years, according to StatCounter, GNU/Linux has progressed from ~1.1% to nearly 1.65%. While unit-sales of “PCs” have increased over the past year and consumer-sales of “PCs” have actually declined, this is quite a feat. It does pay to have salesmen.

Top 7 Desktop OSs in India from W15 2012 to W15 2014.

  • Apr 13 / 2014
  • 9

Good Money After Bad

The US Internal Revenue Service is spending good money after bad on that other OS. “According to the IRS, it has approximately 110,000 Windows-powered desktops and notebooks. Of those, 52,000, or about 47%, have been upgraded to Windows 7. The remainder continue to run the aged, now retired, XP.” If it ever was a good idea to have used XP in the first place (BSODS, re-re-reboots, waves of malware…) it certainly isn’t in the best interests of the taxpayers of USA to take another step on the Wintel treadmill ensuring an infinite future sum of payments far above market cost (GNU/Linux: $0 per copy and $0 to upgrade each copy, forever). What are they thinking? That no one was ever fired for choosing M$? That M$ is essential to get PCs to do what PCs are capable of doing? Wrong on all counts.

Get with it, IRS. Brazil, Russia, China and India are way ahead of you in choosing Free Software to get the job done.

See IRS Misses XP Deadline Pays Microsoft millions for patches.

To find multiple sources of better and cheaper software, check out the more popular distributions of Free Software on I recommend Debian GNU/Linux for general desktop and server computing.

  • Mar 31 / 2014
  • 2

Tamil Nadu State of India Pushes GNU/Linux To Replace XP

It’s coated in bureaucratese but when the boss suggests installing the boss, some employess might just do that…“the Tamil Nadu government has advised all its departments to install free open source software BOSS Linux” This suggestion was made as early as 2011 but it had little traction. The imminent demise of XP might focus the right minds on the matter…

Read the latest letter for your self. I have a hard time parsing “mandatory” and “suggested” on the same piece of paper. Isn’t that like a spark in a powder-keg?

See TN state departments asked to switch over to open source software.

See also the original letter of 2011

  • Mar 27 / 2014
  • 32

Operating Systems, According To Gartner – 2013-2015

As usual, Gartner is making predictions. Clearly, they predict huge share for Android/Linux in 2014. That’s consistent with everything I know. Android/Linux is everywhere, every market, every price-range, and every format. Where I disagree with Gartner is on the growing shipments of that other OS, you know, M$’s expensive crapware. How do they figure M$ is growing on client OS shipments at all? No one likes 8.x very much. M$ is even paying people to use it… Is that predicted to work? I don’t see how. Paying people to use it is an admission that it doesn’t sell on its merits, not something that will work with consumers. Businesses might buy it but those businesses use XP and 8.x is the most different OS on the planet. According to StatCounter, after more than a year on the market, 8.x has only 12.2% share of desktop OS. That’s less than 1% share growth per month, probably only 150 million PCs in the past year. That’s half what M$ used to sell. “7″? That won’t even run on a lot of hardware that XP uses.

People don’t like to change. If forced by malware and hardware incompatibility many will move XP to virtual machines or go to GNU/Linux. See? That “others” category is huge and growing but Gartner predicts “others” will lose shipments. No way. “Others” includes GNU/Linux which is growing rapidly in government, business and with consumers. StatCounter showed GNU/Linux desktops at 0.95% a year ago and 1.16% today, 12.2% growth, while M$’s SEC filings show they are shipping fewer units. “Three months ended December 31, 2013 compared with three months ended December 31, 2012
D&C Licensing revenue decreased $319 million or 6%, due mainly to lower revenue from licenses of Windows and Consumer Office, offset in part by increased Windows Phone revenue. Retail and other sales of Windows declined $264 million or 69%, due mainly to the release of Windows 8 in the prior year. Windows OEM revenue declined $109 million or 3%, reflecting a 12% increase in OEM Pro revenue, offset by continued softness in the consumer PC market.”
That’s reality, not an estimate.

Gartner Says Worldwide Traditional PC, Tablet, Ultramobile and Mobile Phone Shipments Are On Pace to Grow 6.9 Percent in 2014.

  • Mar 22 / 2014
  • 7

Huge Swath Of XP Machines May Go To */Linux

The imminent demise of XP has many thinking, even businesses like banks. “ATM operators would like to be able to synchronize their hardware and software upgrade cycles. But that’s hard to do with Microsoft dictating the software upgrade timetable. As a result, "some are looking at the possibility of using a non-Microsoft operating system to synch up their hardware and software upgrades,"” These guys have thousands of machines depending on M$ for software and M$ is about to pull the rug out from under them. The costs they face are much more than software licences. Their hardware might work with “7″ or “8″ but if the machine’s not at end-of-life, they don’t want the software to be at end-of-life. They want to replace hardware much less often than M$ whereas */Linux doesn’t care. It’s Free Software. They can run it, examine it, modify and distribute on their schedules, not M$’s.

See ATM operators eye Linux as alternative to Windows XP.

See also 95% of bank ATMs face end of security support

  • Mar 20 / 2014
  • 19

Licensing Matters

One of the biggest reasons I had for moving my last employter to GNU/Linux was M$’s licensing. I’m writing about XP licensing, several layers of complexity less than M$’s current BS. I needed to keep track of “stickers” and OS versions when all I wanted to do was use IT in education. Is that too much to ask? Then there was the malware. We had to put up with that and pay (blood, sweat, tears, my time) for re-imaging systems every week. The EULA? It wanted to forbid networking of our PCs without a licence for a server…

“between October 2012 and December of last year, Johnson seriously contemplated upgrading a set of Microsoft on-premises servers, including SharePoint, Lync and Exchange, and moving about 1,200 users to the newer, cloud-hosted versions in Office 365.
But after three months of research, proposals and evaluations involving Microsoft and some reseller partners, Johnson and his team didn’t feel they were presented with a clear and favorable licensing and technology plan that would have let his company achieve the goals of the upgrade. They decided to not move ahead.”
Business IT is much more complex because businesses has so many more products from M$. They are locked in tightly and the licences are truly inscrutable. The complexity of the licensing does many things:

  • it make businesses overpay, often multiple times for the same “service” (disservice)
  • it forces businesses to talk to M$ about any changes in IT which slows down and increases the cost of changes
  • it gives M$ justification to mess with businesses demanding audits and more money
  • it simply raises the costs of IT prohibitively, forcing many businesses to use antiques like XP indefinitely

On the other hand GNU/Linux is mostly covered by Free Software licences that give the users the right to run, examine, modify and even distribute the software with no fuss at all. Where’s the complexity? There is none. My work dropped from many hours per week fixing that other OS to having robust IT just keep on ticking with GNU/Linux. That must be looking pretty good to businesses now. Too bad they didn’t all migrate a decade ago when the horror of XP was introduced. It’s taken that long just to fix some of the bugs in XP and now M$ is forcing change to a new more expensive alternative. An alternative is needed and it’s Free Software, a cooperative product of the world, not of a monopolist. Go to Debian GNU/Linux or and enjoy the difference a good licence makes.

See Microsoft scrambles to simplify its convoluted business licensing.

See also, A peek into the business licensing abyss, courtesy of Microsoft. Oh! The Horror!

  • Mar 14 / 2014
  • 3

Operating Systems We Use

Christine Hall has an interesting article about the plethora of operating systems ordinary folk have at hand. There wasComment: “less than two years ago: We all ran Windows 7, except my servers which ran Server 2008 R2. I upgraded the entire family to Windows 8 early (I’ve always been an early adopter) through a MSDN subscription. It lasted a few weeks, perhaps a month or so before the revolt began. Everyone hated it, and it had real problems beyond the general distaste everyone had for the UI. I faced a dilemma as I’d built a long successful career (since DOS 3) on Microsoft technologies, but wanted no part of this new direction (which is as bad as Apple’s).” a time when M$ had almost completed its monopoly but the lid is off the kettle now and its boiling well.

The techies among us have always had some choice. Now everyone has a choice. They can choose from 3 or 4 operating systems on retail shelves. I still don’t see GNU/Linux on my local retail shelves, at least in the big box, Walmart, but it will happen. You can’t beat FLOSS for price/performance. That other OS can’t compete on price until they pay users to use it, and that won’t happen as long as M$ is run by greed.

In my home, GNU/Linux is king of stationary computers and Android/Linux is in a fight with BlackBerry in the mobile space. My Android/Linux phone is mostly “off” but the little woman keeps her BB warm. I love it when the kids come to visit.

See What Operating Systems Do You Use?.

  • 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
  • 2
Linux in Education, technology

Time To Fire M$, Not Your IT Guy

I had to laugh at this article which suggests folks should be fired for not taking their organizations on the next step of the Wintel treadmill.“Those who haven’t started yet probably should be fired for leaving their businesses open to the impending threat. This is not like Microsoft dropped this on you six months ago. You’re putting your organization at risk.” That’s preposterous. It is M$ that is putting the world’s IT at risk by forcing hundreds of millions to use their crapware. If M$ had competed on price/performance from the beginning instead of leveraging themselves into almost every corner of IT using the fulcrum of monopoly the world would be a very different place. XP, if it existed at all would be just one OS among many in use all using open standards and not giving malware and intruders a huge soft target.

When M$ demanded OEMs install their OS and no other back in the day they planted the seed that now is hundreds of millions of users of XP out on a limb. In my own work XP was widely used in schools. The only alternative M$ offers is for those schools to scrap working computers and buy new PCs with M$’s crapware.

Of course, for those with competent IT there is a way out. Install Debian GNU/Linux and say good-bye to M$ forever. I’ve done that many times and was never fired for doing that. Try it. You’ll see.

See If you haven't retired Windows XP and haven't been fired yet, get busy.

See also, some history, the Competitive Impact Statement in US v M$ (1995). Think of all the software and businesses that were forced to treat M$ as the one true platform for IT for decades. Think how insecure IT has been because of that. Fire M$, not your IT guy!

  • Mar 05 / 2014
  • 5

Wikipedia: Decline Or Maturity?

My recent migration to Debian Jessie, which required fixing my local tweaks for web-applications ended with some examination of Wikipedia, of which I have a snapshot from 2004 or so. I have edited it a lot and customized it for use in the schools where I worked but lately I have not maintained it well. Through various upgrades some links broke and I must have restored a backup that messed up the archive of images. Even damaged it is a huge asset.“The first few edits of these newcomers indicate that they are trying to contribute productively (i.e. acting in good faith) and, therefore, likely will become valuable contributors if they remain in the community. We show empirically that, while the proportion of desirable newcomers who arrive at Wikipedia has been holding steady in recent years, a decreasing fraction of these newcomers survive past their initial contributions. We demonstrate that the decline has been caused, at least in part, by the Wikipedia community’s reactions to the enormous influx of contributors between 2004 and 2007. In order to maintain quality and efficiency during this period, the community’s views toward the goals of the project changed. These new views were instantiated in a set of policies, and a suite of algorithmic tools were developed for enforcement. Over time, these changes resulted in a new Wikipedia, in which newcomers are rudely greeted by automated quality control systems and are overwhelmed by the complexity of the rule system. Since these changes occurred, newcomers – including the crucial, desirable newcomers – have been leaving Wikipedia in droves.” Currently, Wikipedia is one of the world’s great websites, full of information and very accessible. It is somewhat mature in that just about everything has some coverage but more work remains to be done. The question of decline or maturity is about whether or not Wikipedia is less vigorous because the job has been largely done or because changes made years ago have become a millstone, weighing it down.

I will describe some of my contributions over the years. Where I have particular knowledge and I see a gap in some article that I was reading for my own purposes, I have offered edits from time to time. At first, that was that and I went on with life. Then came a time when whatever edits I made were almost certainly rejected by some nameless creatures in the system, rejecting my work sentence by sentence because I did not provide proof of every assertion, almost every sentence or phrase. I kid you not. A paragraph could not be contributed. It had to be a list of sentences with one or more references to the web for each one. Asserting that the sky was blue was unacceptable. One had to prove it. Stating the obvious and how it related to well-known facts and principles, reasoning, was never enough. To me it was as if binary bits were OK if they were copies of stuff elsewhere, but expressing any idea however modest was unacceptable.

Apparently I was not alone in this depressing phase of Wikipedia. According to TFA linked below, thousands of editors have dropped in, contributed, and fled. Wikipedia just isn’t a great place to live any longer.

Don’t believe me. Look at some examples.

GNU/Linux Adoption – when I added this edit,
“There is another reason that web counters are unreliable. Some are clearly connected with use of operating systems in business. For example, when 10000 users at Google’s headquarters moved at once to GNU/Linux in the summer of 2010, [[Net Applications]]’ web stats showed a swing from a few percent to 88% for the city of [[Mountain View, California]]{{cite web|url=|title = Mountain View, California, Penguin Heaven|accessdate = 14 March 2012|last = Pogson|first = Robert|year = 2012|month=March}}, a city of 74000 people, and a swing from 1.87% to 18.69% for [[California]]{{cite web|url=|title = Penguins Seen Over California|accessdate = 14 March 2012|last = Pogson|first = Robert|year = 2012|month=March}}, a state of 37 million people. Clearly, 10000 people is a small change in usage but was over-counted because it was used in business. The fact that Windows is heavily used in business results in low numbers for GNU/Linux. Web-counters can readily select for business usage by counting during hours of business in a location or counting only clients from business Internet domains.” I ran afoul of the “no original research” rule, and my contribution was tagged with a “conflict of interest” because I provided a link to my website. In the discussion of my contribution, you can see the problem:
“NetApplications does not publish the charts, only values month by month and location by location. My blog collects their data. I am not the source. Do I need to cite the URI for each of dozens of datapoints? The paragraph I added is about the change and how and why it happened clearly showing bias in Net Applications numbers. I have a M.Sc. in Nuclear Physics and know how to analyze data. The wide publication of “1%” is clearly wrong information coming form Net Applications and my collection shows that quantitatively. Assume a world using 90% GNU/Linux and Windows adoption at Google. 10K people showing huge adoption that is not valid. Pogson (talk) 13:29, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Your own blog is not an acceptable reference as per WP:SPS, regardless of what qualifications in stats you have. You can’t cite data points with your own graphs and interpretations about them either as this would be WP:OR and WP:SYNTHESIS and is specifically not allowed on Wikipedia. You need to find proper reliable independent third party refs to retain this text in the article. – Ahunt (talk) 13:45, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
The refs you added do not support the claims you have made in the text, so I restored the “citation needed” tags. Since you removed those again the only choice remaining is to remove the challenged text as per WP:V, which I have done. Please don’t add it back in without proper, reliable refs that actually support the text this time. – Ahunt (talk) 16:30, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Sounds good, maybe we should archive these older threads as well to stop people adding to discussions from some time ago (hard to follow). IRWolfie- (talk) 09:48, 15 March 2012 (UTC)”
So, how does a contribution to human knowledge make it into Wikipedia? Politics. Popularity. Stuff like that. It’s not enough to be correct or useful, information has to be acceptable to some elite in the organization. Wikipedia has lost its way.

The words that greet me on Wikipedia, “Hello, Pogson! Welcome to Wikipedia! Thank you for your contributions to this free encyclopedia.” are hollow and a sham. If Wikipedia were really free, the powers that be would be all over my contributions improving them rather than deleting them. What does their page say about the reliability of web stats these days? Well, that’s water under the bridge. The Linux Adoption page is quite different now. Just a line or two on the matter but they still cite other’s original research on the topic.

Really, how vital is an organization of house-builders that insist on bull-dozing each other’s work?

See halfaker13rise-preprint.pdf.

  • Mar 05 / 2014
  • 1
Linux in Education, technology

New ICT Curriculum In Indian Schools

“The requirements of the curricula are not to be hardware or software speci c. Undoing the general trend of limiting software to office applications, which are not only ill suited for educational purposes but also tend to narrow down the view of what computers and ICT can achieve, a wide range of software applications specifi cally designed for education are introduced. Use of proprietary software would become very expensive and make the implementation unviable. Therefore, Free and Open Source software have been suggested throughout the curricula. The use of FOSS applications will also obviate software piracy and enable customisation to suit local needs.”

AMEN! This is a national curriculum for one of the largest countries on Earth. It is professionally done and not just about students. It includes training for teachers. Wow! If implemented widely, this should see increased use of computers in education and FLOSS in a country with 1billion+ people and many millions of students.

Further, the new curriculum does not hold teachers back. Those already skilled in ICT will be able to be certified in short order. The new curriculum does not hold students back. It starts with programming computers in the first year (~10 years of age).

The arrival of small cheap computers on retail shelves and OEMs’ catalogues will actually make this possible to implement widely as every school should be able to afford this and if they can’t the central government should be able to fix that.

See ICT Curriculuma.pdf.