Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / migration

  • Jul 22 / 2014
  • 10

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.

  • Jul 22 / 2014
  • 0

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
  • 11

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.

  • Jul 21 / 2014
  • 9
Linux in Education, Teaching, technology

Schools In Geneva Switching To GNU/Linux

“All primary and secondary public schools in the Swiss Canton of Geneva are switching to using Ubuntu GNU/Linux for the PCs used by teachers and students. The switch has been completed by all of the 170 primary public schools, and the migration of the canton’s 20 secondary schools is planned for the next school year. Ubuntu GNU/Linux offers powerful services to the teachers, is easier to maintain, faster, safer and more stable than the decade-old proprietary operating system it is replacing, the canton’s school IT department concludes, based on several four-year long pilots.” These guys took four years studying the matter and it will only take two years to switch their schools to GNU/Linux. It shows the Munich decade was some sort of aberration in terms of time taken to switch. The difference is the number of applications locked in to that other OS. Munich had hundreds. Geneva has only one or two. LibreOffice takes care of one…

Anyway, I think the migration in Geneva is remarkable because the Swiss are thorough. If they could be convinced in just four years, most of the rest of us should be convinced in a matter of hours. Get on with it folks. Take a look at Debian GNU/Linux and see what you’ve been missing: the freedom to use the hardware you own to its maximum capability, freedom from malware and freedom from paying about twice what IT should really cost you. In schools where I used GNU/Linux we easily had twice as much IT for the same cost and the cost of maintaining the larger system was less than the cost of maintaining the smaller system running that other OS. Freedom from the EULA of M$ which enslaves you rather than enabling you is the killer however. With FLOSS and GNU/Linux you can run, examine, modify and distribute the software to your heart’s content. Go with it. Seize the opportunity.

SeeGeneva class-rooms switching to free software | Joinup.

  • Jul 11 / 2014
  • 1

FSFE On EC Foot-dragging

While the European Commission has decided to investigate use of FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software), according to the Free Software Foundation Europe,“In April, the Commission signed two contracts with Microsoft: An agreement for "high-level services" worth 44 million Euro, and a framework agreement on software licensing conditions. The actual licenses are provided by Hewlett-Packard under a separate contract from 2012, worth 50 million euro. The contracts cover the Commission itself, and 54 other EU organisations.” they have not done enough to escape lock-in by M$ and “partners”. The EC has gone as far as publicly acknowledging they are locked in and can’t find alternatives.

Lock-in is largely a matter of mindset. M$ made sure of that. They have spent almost as much effort on establishing that mindset as they have on developing their OS and applications. Quoting their “Technological Evangelism” programme: “Evangelism’s goal is to put the final nail into the competing technology’s coffin, and bury it in the burning depths of the earth. Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time. “

Whatever effort is required to escape lock-in is worthwhile because lock-in is forever, an infinite sum of costs, hidden and explicit, restrictions on use of IT and literally fees payable for permission to operate the hardware owned by the user. Escaping lock-in is a one-time cost. As time goes on the cost of escaping lock-in is dwarfed by the cost of staying with lock-in. Simple organizations like schools get instant break-even by a sharp drop in the cost of operation or capital cost of new acquisitions. Complex organizations have to rationalize the applications that they use and replace them with FLOSS. It’s not that hard. It’s the capability/limitations of the hardware that matters, not what some application allows the users to do. FLOSS can do anything. It’s just a list of instructions for the hardware.

Want a quick recipe for escaping lock-in? Put everything but the office suite and browser on the server unless you use thin clients. Then put everything on the server… The result is that browsers and other networking will interface to all applications FLOSS or not and the client OS can be GNU/Linux. If any application denies this mode of operation, just quit using it and replace it with suitable web applications. If necessary, write your own or collaborate with others to do that. It costs less to develop an application than paying for lock-in forever.

The EC should be ashamed. They’ve done so much to spread the good word about FLOSS around the world yet they haven’t eaten their own dog-food. That’s hypocrisy. If they want others to use FLOSS, they should use it themselves.

See EC distorts market by refusing to break free from lock-in.

  • Jul 10 / 2014
  • 4

GNU/Linux Is A Part Of The Rebound In Sales of PCs

IDC and Gartner have reported that Q2 of 2014 showed a considerable rebound in shipments of legacy PCs but GNU/Linux is a part of that, according to web stats. IDC even mentions ChromeBooks in it’s story: “Despite the end of Windows XP support in early April, it appears many Windows XP migrations continue to take place. Most major vendors saw solid growth, and early indications also point to desktop shipments being stronger than expected in some areas, signaling continued business buying. The consumer side also appears stronger than expected, with growing activity among the lower-priced models as well as Chromebooks.

One encouraging factor was a good intake of lower-end systems, including Chromebooks, which coincides with the recent slowing in tablet growth and perhaps signals the beginning of some stabilization on the consumer side”

So, it pays to have salesmen and it appears that both Chromebooks and GNU/Linux machines have salesmen. It’s all good.

See PC rebound in mature regions stabilizes market in 2Q14, says IDC.

  • Jun 28 / 2014
  • 0

From Paris With FLOSS

StatCounter Showed a great growth of GNU/Linux page-views in France a couple of weeks ago. Then there was a great plunge about 11-12-13 June. According to Google Trends, there was a lot of interest in Ubuntu in Paris until then. Are the two facts related? Wait! This disturbance started about April 17, according to StatCounter, the day that Ubuntu GNU/Linux 14.04 was released… That was a LTS (Long Term Support) release. It could be that all the installations in France switched the same few weeks. Why did the page-views drop off suddenly? I don’t have a clue. Did all the new users browse to some Ubuntu-specific site to get counted?

Whatever the causes, it’s clear that Ubuntu GNU/Linux has a lot bigger share than ~1% in France. I think it’s the same in many places but StatCounter and others don’t see all those machines for one reason or another.

  • Jun 09 / 2014
  • 0
Linux in Education, Teaching, technology

Education Done My Way, With Small Cheap Computers

A theme of my educational career has been that the right way to do IT in schools is to do as much as possible with IT.“The Gauteng Department of Education is planning to turn every school in the province into a textbook-free zone.” Obviously there are some things IT can’t do but there’s no faster/cheaper way to create, find, modify and distribute information. That’s about half the task of educations. The rest is actual thinking and problem-solving as well as physical activity: hand-eye coordination to basketball…

In my years as a student and as a teacher I was constantly annoyed by the need to shuffle paper or to shuffle students to where the paper was, like the dead-trees library or carrying around textbooks. Some schools have done the maths. In South Africa where families are strapped to buy textbooks, schools have discovered that students can buy PCs for less money and publishers can supply e-books for less money so the whole thing can be done for less money. That’s the right way to do education and IT.

Helping the rush to small cheap computers is FLOSS on */Linux. The world can and does make great software and share it making everyone’s cost of software less and lifting barriers to use of IT even in impoverished communities. We’re not quite there yet, but we are close to the point where IT will be in every classroom playing a major role.

See Gauteng schools to go textbook free.

“There will be no iPads at the event. The basic requirements are a seven or ten inch tablet running Google’s Android operating system with at least a Gorilla glass screen, and beyond that there’s free choice.”

See also Inside South Africa’s first textbook free government school.

  • May 20 / 2014
  • 6

Do You REALLY Need That Non-Free Software?

Apparently, sometimes the answer is “NO!“A leading City firm has halted the roll-out of software that was supposed to streamline its business but became more trouble than it was worth. Specifically, £32m of trouble.
Brewin Dolphin, in Smithfield St, London, alleged to investors it encountered “issues” with the "robustness" of a specialist financial application. It started installing the code in 2011 but has now stopped.”

The standard comment trolls make to FLOSS is that non-Free software is better, somehow, because you pay for it up front. I’ve seen several instances of that being false in schools. Here’s an example of a big business rolling out non-Free software. It didn’t work for them and they are stopping the rollout part way through. You don’t always get what you pay for…

I once worked for a school division that depended on several non-Free applications: e-mail, locking down the network and something called Filemaker.

The e-mail application insisted on upgrading to every release along the way from our ancient implementation to the latest version if we wanted to keep our e-mail archive, with payment for each licence for each release… Paying for software is not wrong, but they were essentially charging us for our own files. That is wrong. It’s hostage-ware.

The locking software was a whitelist for the Internet. By default everything was blacklisted, even my GNU/Linux sites. One had to persuade HQ to unblock any useful site. Strangely, was not blacklisted. The head honcho of the company was a microsoftie.

Every now and then someone from HQ would distribute a Filemaker file to every school. The only problem was that none of the teachers had a licence for Filemaker. It worked for the folks at HQ, eh? Try it yourself. Go to their site to figure out what the programme actually does… Thank Goodness for Wikipedia. Apparently it’s a relational database thingy. Must have it. It has a GUI…

So, non-Free software can be a disaster propagated by motivated sales-people and bosses ignorant that Free Software can do what you need done. For £32m one could have hired a few PHP programmer and made a LAMP stack work and had a lot of change to spare. The thing is there was no need to pay for functions that are available for $0 or nearly $0. Just pay for the things you need, the script on top that interacts with the user to access the other resources. The worst non-Free software disaster is that other OS, you know the one that wants to run your life at great expense while allowing malware and intruders free reign on your hardware. How much is that kind of performance worth? It’s negative yet hundreds of millions have been forced into using it with complicity by OEMs, retailers and other “partners” of M$.

There is an alternative to non-Free madness. Use FLOSS and GNU/Linux. It’s software built cooperatively by the world for the world and it’s built at cost giving just the features most of us need. If you need more, pay for it by hiring some programmers. My favourite FLOSS is distributed by the Debian organization. It’s a one-stop shop for desktop/server/network/search/database software, ~40K packages in all. It’s rare to find any task of IT that you can’t get done with that. Updates can be automated for OS, drivers, applications, everything… Look there before you even think of paying for non-Free software. The Freedom is not just about price. One can pay for Free Software, software that lets you run, examine, modify and distribute the software with a licence included with the download. You can pay programmers. Why pay for non-Free software that was long ago paid and yet you have to pay huge amounts of money and time to obtain a copy? That’s overpaying.

See Stock and awe: Top City biz takes £32m hit after software upgrade axed.

  • May 13 / 2014
  • 0

XP To GNU/Linux Migration Pushed To The Public On TV In China

Hear that? It’s happening. One after another national governments are recommending FLOSS for IT.“China’s Ministry of Industry and Information of Technology (MIIT) urged Windows XP users in China to switch to domestically made computer operating systems, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Saturday.” Wintel’s mindshare is vanishing like the morning dew.

Countries that have made a move towards FLOSS and GNU/Linux are many. This is happening whether or not sycophants of M$ say GNU/Linux won’t work. This is happening because GNU/Linux works for real people doing real things. The difference is that M$ doesn’t get to bundle its OS with everything and there are alternatives to Intel. Further, the world is sick and tired of the weakness of that other OS.

Country Change
Brazil moved government to GNU/Linux (2005), taxed imports to stimulate local production
Russia Putin signed order to migrate the government by 2015
India Moved schools and governments to GNU/Linux over a period of years
China recommend migrating from XP to GNU/Linux (2014)
Ethiopia Wide use of GNU/Linux in schools
Germany Coalition government includes policy to prefer FLOSS (2013)
France, Spain, and Italy prefer FLOSS (2013)
Uruguay using GNU/Linux in school (2013)
Malaysia using GNU/Linux in government (2013)

See XP users urged to switch allegiance to Linux .

  • May 12 / 2014
  • 1

Divide And Conquer Should Work For GNU/Linux

So many times we read here in comments and in articles out in the web that migration to GNU/Linux is hard/impossible because… It is hard/impossible to move a ship from some factory inland to a shipyard but it is routine/easy if only the parts need to be shipped. Stop making migration to GNU/Linux look hard by identifying various problems. No problem prevents migrating a good chunk of IT to FLOSS on GNU/Linux.“Migrating to Linux is based on the use case. If you are home or are a developer, you are going to want to use all the power available in Linux. That is a no-brainer. There is no one easy way to migrate to another operating system. No one use case fits all. It is dependent on the user base.”

Typically, 80-90% of users use only a few generic applications like word-processor and browser and their use is little different on one OS or another. On the other hand there are huge difficulties migrating to M$’s next OS: price of licences and needing new hardware. M$’s next OS is not going to recognize all your hardware. M$’s next OS will require paying for a new licence. The fewer of those expensive migrations you do, the better off you are.

Install FireFox web browser and LibreOffice on you PCs running that other OS. Migrate everyone and everything and every task that works with those on GNU/Linux. Just do it. The few problems with the rest can be solved eventually. Work on that with the time you save by doing IT the right way.

Divide and Conquer is not an insurmountable barrier to migration to GNU/Linux but a sound strategy for getting it done sooner rather than later.

See Making Linux Feel at Home.

  • May 12 / 2014
  • 3

Kim Komando Recommends GNU/Linux

I’ve been recommending GNU/Linux over that other OS for about 15 years now. It worked then and it will work now for folks migrating from XP for little cost.“you could try an operating system based on Linux. These are free, come with everything you need for basic computing, and will run great on older hardware. If you’re going to give this a whirl, check out Linux Mint. The MATE edition should run better than XP, in fact.
If your current computer is still in good shape, though, you could just load it up with Windows 7 or Linux. That’s like getting a new computer for $100 or even free.”
Installing GNU/Linux onto a working XP machine is pretty simple. Just visit You can also download a bootable image file for a USB storage device or CD and boot from one of those. It might take you an hour if it’s your first time, but with a bit of practice it takes ~15 minutes and there’s no onerous EULA to accept for permission to run the software on your hardware. Permission to run, examine, modify and even distribute comes with the download. That’s an unbeatable deal. Don’t even think about it. Do it now.

See Kim Komando: Buy a computer for less than $100.