Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / server

  • Jul 22 / 2014
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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 14 / 2014
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Ho Hum. Yet Another Organization Saves With FLOSS

For years the sycophants of M$ and “partners” have told the world, at least anyone that would listen, that FLOSS costs more in the long run…“Open source gives the university more features, more flexibility and lower costs. Next year the costs will already be 30 per cent lower and after five or six years, the difference with the proprietary system will be 70 to 75 per cent.

We are being approached by many public administrations from large central government institutions and municipalities. They do the math and they see the enormous financial gains that are possible.”
Meanwhile, in the real world, folks can do the maths and save a huge chunk of the cost of IT, not just licences, but maintenance, flexibility, performance, … Everything is better with FLOSS. In my own experience with desktop and server systems, schools where I worked broke even on costs of migration almost instantly as the licensing was a huge fraction of the capital cost and we used that saving to get almost twice as much IT for the same money. Maintenance dropped by a huge factor because the distributions managed most of our updating/upgrading for hardly any cost besides deciding to upgrade.

Use FLOSS and GNU/Linux. That’s the right way to do IT.

See Coimbra University to save plenty with open source ERP.

  • Jun 19 / 2014
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All the best plans of mice and men go awry…“At this point we took action to take control back of our panel by changing passwords, however the intruder had prepared for this and had already created a number of backup logins to the panel and upon seeing us make the attempted recovery of the account he proceeded to randomly delete artifacts from the panel. We finally managed to get our panel access back but not before he had removed all EBS snapshots, S3 buckets, all AMI’s, some EBS instances and several machine instances.” One storage service made the mistake of trying to fight an intrusion rather than stopping the service immediately. The intruder then carried out his/her backup-plan to destroy the service by deletion. Now they have to turn out the lights anyway, but permanently.

Just like terrorists in the real world, the cyber-terrorist finds it easier to destroy rather than to create. Sometimes terrorism succeeds merely because it gets the desired effect because of the response of the good guys. What will you do when or before the $$$$ hits the fan?

See AWS console breach leads to demise of service with “proven” backup plan.

  • Jun 05 / 2014
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Calxeda May Yet Rise From The Ashes Like The Phoenix

The Phoenix was a mythical bird, possibly the first zombie, which burned but flew again.“the Thunder X SoC is a 28 nm device with up to 48 custom 64 bit ARMv8 cores at 2.5 GHz, running the whole show at between 20 and 95 W.” So might huge multi-cored ARMed chips for servers. With these specs one could do just about anything. My Beast is shivering, using the same power-consumption to run just 4 cores at that clock-rate.

ARM is too good an idea to have died with Calxeda. At 64-bits and 48 cores and designed for servery, I think this thing will fly.

See Calxeda co-founder unleashes 48-core ARM SoC.

  • May 24 / 2014
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In the UK, The National ICT Category Management Programme (NICTMP) is intended to guide local governments towards better IT, including using FLOSS. a transformed market enabled through disruptive innovation to deliver the next generation of digital public services through open standards, interoperability, stimulation of new market entrants, and leveraging opportunities, including open source technology It’s about time. Many small businesses and governments are scarcely more skilled at IT than consumers and a little help can go a long way towards huge savings greater diversity and better IT. With FLOSS it’s easy to put up a web-server sharing information with the public and using open standards to ensure interoperability with minimal cost. I think savings of 20% are at the lower end of estimates. In my experience, software licences can save 20% of IT costs but ease of maintenance could do that again and getting full performance out of hardware purchases that much again. Local governments in UK spend hundreds of millions of dollars on hardware and software for IT each year. Break-even can be immediate if hardware is re-used by using FLOSS. Governments should be looking at savings of ~50% by using FLOSS. There’s a reason M$ and “partners” do what they do. It doubles the cost of IT making slaves of us all providing free labour. FLOSS works for us the users and not some monopolists.
See National ICT plan for local government targets 20% cost savings

  • May 16 / 2014
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“Format C:” Still Lives

Emory University accidentally used the awesome power of automated provisioning of software to computers on its network to blow itself out of the water.“A Windows 7 deployment image was accidently sent to all Windows machines, including laptops, desktops, and even servers. This image started with a repartition / reformat set of tasks.” They not only clobbered their “tool” but clogged their networks for days. I bet some lessons were learned.

  • While centralized IT is fun and efficient it does facilitate centralized failure.
  • While that other OS makes folks dependent on M$ and needing frequent re-imaging, SCCM might hide details needed to use it properly.
  • Maybe, just maybe, it’s wrong to equate “computer running that other OS” with “PC”.
  • Ozzie was right, “Complexity kills”.

With thousands of PCs and a bunch of servers, they had a dependence on inActive Directory and felt the need to dig the hole deeper using M$’s tools. Would the disaster have been preventable using GNU/Linux? Not if one set it up that way, but systems I set up used thin clients so fewer machines would need re-imaging and GNU/Linux rarely needs re-imaging with a package-manager like APT. It’s fire and forget. Done. Never need to re-install/re-image ever again. apt-get upgrade updates the packages. apt-get dist-upgrade supplies the new release. Updates can be done while the PC is in use, for Pity’s sake. It’s not hard to wake machines up at night to do the job, too. So, while you have to admire the willingness of Emory IT to be slaves to M$ and to place the priorities of M$ above the priorities of users, I think they would be better off freed from any dependency on M$ ASAP.

See Emory LITS: Information Technology | Windows 7 incident.

  • May 16 / 2014
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Cloud-computing Has A Silver Lining For FLOSS

While we potential users may argue the pros and cons of “Cloud Computing”, those who provide cloud-computing solutions are having to work hard for a living. That’s a pleasant change to having to pay the asking price to a monopolist, eh? I like that aspect of it. It’s also very efficient in that experts who should know how to run the service will fuss over it instead of the users or their randomly-hired staff. It is an ancient truth in the history of mankind that specialization is a good thing, all things being equal.

Of course the best laid plans can go wrong but we are still early in the evolution of cloud-computing. It should settle down to a routine sooner or later. In the meantime we can watch it, flee it or dive right in. While some see cloud-computing as a great role for FLOSS, others see software in the cloud as essentially non-free because the users don’t have any control over it. I think the competitive nature of cloud-computing will demand that FLOSS be used in the cloud because FLOSS is the most efficient way to obtain software. Further, putting compute/storage resources on the web reduces the need for big ugly client-computers. Instead, small cheap computers will be promoted and they almost always run FLOSS, so FLOSS wins both ways.

See Cloud computing is FAIL and here’s why.

See Cloud computing, or 'The future is trying to KILL YOU'.

  • May 07 / 2014
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We’ve Long Been In The Top Million Busiest Sites, But This Is Unbelievable

I don’t know whether Netcraft has messed up or not but they list at 79451:
“79451 October 2006 Digital Ocean, Inc. Go US”. Last time I checked we were about 290K… Is it the spammers? Is it my use of Netcraft’s toolbar?… Are we actually that popular?

In 2011, we were at 112000. After banning a mess of trolls in 2012, we dropped to 320459. Roller-coasters are fun.

See Most Visited Web Sites.

  • Apr 29 / 2014
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Albania Considers Free/Libre Open Source Software

It’s obvious to me that FLOSS is the right way to do IT. Of course, unfettered permission to run, examine, modify and distribute software“Taking into consideration the current stage of utilization of OSS in the Albanian public administration, the local ICT business experience and capacities and the current education system, it is strongly recommended to the Albanian government to start implementing initially the neutral approach combined with some enabling initiatives, thus recognizing, guaranteeing and ensuring fair and equal competition of OSS with other proprietary software.” is a huge advantage for any government. Still, many do not get FLOSS. Albania, for instance, plans to take a “neutral” approach so as not to rock the boat, strain resources, or stress too many people out… That’s just wrong.

“Neutral” treatment of FLOSS guarantees continued detrimental effects to IT in the government service by various lock-ins, EULAs (End-User Licence Agreement), and monetary charges. Any software that a government wants to use that restricts in any way what government can do with it should be sent to the back of the queue. Why should any government accept that they have to pay for permission to let their computers do only a fraction of what they are capable? Think per-CPU/user charges are “neutral”? They are not. They are punitive and unconscionable. The supplier of the software does not own the government’s hardware and should not be able to dictate how that hardware should be used. If the government adds one more computer to its system as a backup or to improve performance, what business is it of the supplier? None. Would the supplier of the software accept that they had to pay the government for every re-re-reboot, bug and vulnerability? Nope! Why should the government then accept charges on usage forever per-CPU/user/whatever? ISV’s and M$’s partners are not “neutral” in their approach to IT. By and large they charge as much as they can and after locking in governments with IT-systems of huge complexity, dependence and fragility, never miss an opportunity to forbid some other usage or raise charges. They are not “neutral” but “punitive”. Governments should treat business that act like M$ and other monopolists as criminals and bar them from doing business with government. That’s fair and just.

My own government thinks US Dept. of Justice negotiated a fair deal with M$ when they allowed them merely to write their own punishment, agreeing not to do a long list of stuff for a few years. Was that fair? Nope. Definitely not neutral. There is no justification for any government being neutral with M$ or “partners”. They are all in on the same scam, a conspiracy to defraud governments/taxpayers. Think that’s extreme? What did M$ do when various countries decided not to support OOXML? How about Korea when examined by the government with anti-competitive actions? M$ threatened them with loss of jobs and sabotage of IT. Was that “neutral”? Not in the least. Why even think of being “fair” to M$? That’s just playing a sucker to M$’s con-game.

No. The right way for government to do IT is to use FLOSS, a cooperative software product of the world. FLOSS is not out to cheat governments or anyone else. The world can and does make its own software. There is no need to allow tyrants like M$ to have a monopoly on the IT of government. I would suggest an aggressive plan to replace all non-FREE software in government ASAP, two to three years at most. There is just no excuse to continue throwing the taxpayers’ money at M$ and “partners” and at the same time enslaving workers, hardware and budgets to the whims of monopolists.

All the excuses about “fairness” and incapability of staff or FLOSS are just delaying tactics and should be dispelled by aggressive training of key people and setting up a bunch of prototypes. There is no lack that can’t be fixed in a year and then migration is easy. Some governments have done it over the weekend for Pity’s sake. Training materials are $free on the web and it costs nothing to load GNU/Linux and other FLOSS on a computer to try it out. Any deficiencies can be discovered and remedies promptly. It says so right in the licence: you can examine and modify the code as needed. If you have not the staff to modify the code, find some. It’s that easy. Just do it. Because of the licence, any problem can be fixed unlike that non-Free software which forbids changes.




  • Apr 26 / 2014
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Health Works With FLOSS

Repeatedly we see examples of FLOSS working for real people in real IT“Using free and open source is the only way to correctly exchange data in medical database systems, Rzepka says. It is much easier to implement, improve, build and adapt solutions by using this type of solutions. Proprietary systems require expensive licences, yet make it impossible to really understand how information is exchanged, forcing researchers to rely on inefficient data exports.” while naysayers continue to claim FLOSS is seriously flawed and doesn’t work. That’s an unsupportable position. FLOSS works. The world can and does make its own software and it doesn’t need that other OS or its “partners” to be involved or to dictate terms.

See Open source core of Warsaw hospital e-health system.

There are reasons FLOSS works in health. There’s no lower-cost, no more reliable and no more flexible model for software in IT.“Spain’s largest hospital chain, Quirón, will be piloting a portal based on the Openstack open source cloud computing solution, to provide patients with access to their radiology data. The pilot is one part of a three-year research project called Coco Cloud, which in 2013 received a 2.8 million euro grant from the European Commission’s FP7 funding programme. Some of the requirements for the secure cloud-computing environment will be formulated by Italy’s governmental ICT resource centre, the Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale (AGID).”
Any time some corporation tells you what you can’t do with hardware you own, there’s a problem, reduced efficiency. FLOSS does away with that problem by definition and by using open standards eliminates most other friction in the system. What’s left is IT running smoothly getting the job done.

See Spanish hospitals test open source data portal.

  • Apr 24 / 2014
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Funding For FLOSS Infrastructure

Another example of “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”, the recent vulnerability caused by OpenSSL/Heartbleed, prompted“The Core Infrastructure Initiative is a multi-million dollar project housed at The Linux Foundation to fund open source projects that are in the critical path for core computing functions. Inspired by the Heartbleed OpenSSL crisis, The Initiative’s funds will be administered by the Linux Foundation and a steering group comprised of backers of the project as well as key open source developers and other industry stakeholders.” stakeholders in the Linux Foundation to put their money where their mouths are and provide for some full-time developers.

It’s about time. Corporations have been reaping the benefits of FLOSS for years without giving back enough to keep the fire burning brightly. Starvation inspires people but it certainly is not an aid to best practices. Every FLOSS project should have at least one full-time developer if it is to become a prevalent part of the IT of the world. The world can and does make its own software and its cost is not $0 but a lot of time, money and effort. That cost has to be paid one way or another. If FLOSS licences don’t cover it, users have to give back in code, money or manpower. Choose.

See Core Infrastructure Initiative.

  • Apr 23 / 2014
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Intel Hears Footsteps

When IBM insisted on alternative sources of supply for processors back in the day“Wistron and Inventec will begin ODM production of ARM-architecture servers for Hewlett-Packard (HP) in the second half of 2014, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.” this is not what Intel was thinking… ARMed CPUs in servers. Servers were barely on the radar and ARM didn’t exist. Now Wintel is surrounded by alternative operating systems and hardware. Competition would be great, eh?

See Wistron, Inventec to start ODM production of ARM-architecture servers for HP in 2H14.