Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / that other OS

  • Jul 21 / 2014
  • 2

It’s A Bug In That Other OS, Not The Browser

It turns out that Google’s Chrome browser has been telling that other OS not to save power by napping, for years.“Instead of waking up the processor every 15.625ms, Chrome tells Windows to have it wake up every 1.000ms. So while your PC normally wakes up the processor 64 times per second when it’s idle, as long as you have Chrome running, the processor wakes up 1,000 times per second.
Chrome doesn’t have to be running in the foreground to have this effect, either. There’s only one platform timer, so when one application changes its resolution, the new value becomes a system-wide setting.”
This has been a huge drain on the batteries of notebooks.

Now, some claim this is a bug in Chrome, but it’s not. It’s a bug in that other OS that lets a user-space application mess with a system-wide setting. This is yet another example of a single-user OS designed in the 1980s still being fragile decades later. This is yet another example of M$ making an OS with too many vulnerable edges for malware to interfere with our use of the hardware we own. This is another example of what happens when you let salesmen design an OS.

I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. It’s a real OS that works for you, not some distant team of salesmen. In GNU/Linux, introduction of the “tickless” kernel and other such features combine to give serious reduction in notebooks’ drain. Intel wrote a whitepaper which shows many watts saved for notebooks and servers by tickless idle and several other measures. Of course, an application could set up interrupts to defeat that but it’s not a system-wide problem. The operating system responds automatically and does not take a new setting from one errant application.

See Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS.

  • Jul 20 / 2014
  • 20

Radical Change In IT

M$’s new CEO wrote, “We will reinvent productivity to empower every person and every organization on the planet to do more and achieve more.”

See Can Nadella's remake Microsoft under his new manifesto?.

His vision of radical change is different from mine. His vision is one of greater lock-in to M$, reaching not only from desktop and mobile thingy but also to our networks and databases and web applications. Mine is one of freedom from M$, every place in IT.

Unless you use FLOSS everywhere, you cannot maximize productivity. Essentially, M$ equates productivity to slavery. The CEO equates productivity for the user to free labour given to M$. Look at it this way. Is your productivity maximized if you agree to do everything with a monopoly? A monopoly is still a monopoly whether or not you consent to deal with it. A monopoly, by definition, forces you to pay what is demanded from a single supplier. That was wrong for the desktop OS. It’s more wrong to do that for all of IT. M$ is out to get you. Escape the trap. Use FLOSS.

Supposedly new-M$ is without the old guard, Gates and Ballmer, but monopoly is still on the mind of its CEO. Face it. You are less productive paying the “M$ tax” whether it’s a bundled cost in hiding to an OEM/retailer or direct to M$ through a myriad of subscriptions and user-fees. You are less productive if you can’t do what you want because of some rule that M$ imposes. You are less productive if the software you use jumps through all kinds of hoops to ensure M$ gets paid. No, the way to increased productivity is through less lock-in to M$ and the only way you can get that is to use FLOSS or to write your own software. Obviously, maximizing productivity means using FLOSS and writing collaboratively only the software not available as FLOSS.

  • Jul 14 / 2014
  • 4

It’s Been A Long Time Coming But Competition Returns To The Market For PCs

It was just a few years ago that M$ could tell OEMs what to do if they wanted to sell a PC and that included bundling M$’s OS with (almost) every PC shipped on the planet.“Microsoft operating chief Kevin Turner said that the company and its partners won’t cede the low-end of the PC market and will sacrifice Windows licensing margins to do it.” That’s over and here’s what happened:

  • That pesky GNU/Linux operating system would not go away and was installed on just about everything except desktop PCs…
  • Finally Dell, HP, and other big OEMs figured out that they could make money selling some PCs with GNU/Linux, probably as a result of US Department of Justice twisting arms…
  • Then Google figured out that PCs had to be a lot cheaper if Google’s market, everyone on the Internet, was going to grow sufficiently rapidly to maintain Google in the manner to which it had become accustomed, and Google provided an inexpensive */Linux OS, Android/Linux the world could ship on inexpensive ARMed PCs of all kinds: tablets, smartphones, all-in-ones and yes, even desktop PCs. Further, Android/Linux did not have a lot of the problems of that other OS: malware, slowing down, re-re-reboots, and high and hidden price…

Chuckle. The good times are rolling. Eventually even retailers and businesses locked into doing things M$’s way will take the opportunities that exist in the market. Already Google has sponsored a billion small cheap computers running Android/Linux and there could be more than another billion shipped this year. M$ had better compete on price to have any hope of keeping up. Then there are all the lock-ins that M$ has built over the year. Those lock-ins now keep M$ out of the market: Bloatware just doesn’t fit on most small cheap computers, bloatware just doesn’t run fast on most small cheap computers, and M$’s GUI for the desktop and the touch-screen doesn’t fit well on the tiny screens that people love to put in their pockets.

Forget charging a price of $0. M$ will have to pay people to buy something running that other OS. People won’t take that pay as just a reduction of the price of the device a few dollars. They will want a huge cut or some substantial benefit. Using a word-processor designed in the 1980s won’t cut it. Most users of small cheap computers can’t even type… They just want to click and */Linux lets them and their friends and their friends’ friends click to their heart’s content. Remember the 1990s when M$ held that monopoly naturally called on them to dominate the market? Well, it’s the 1990s all over again, done right this time. :-))

Do the maths. Millions are buying small cheap computers that do for them what bulky PCs used to do: compute and communicate. Those small cheap computers even do it better, being small and cheap (bonus for no extra charge). If M$ does give away its OS for small cheap computers or pay people to use its OS, everyone will know that the value of M$’s OS on desktop PCs and servers is about $0, too. The endgame is that M$ cannot just compete on price for consumers’ gadgets. M$ will have to compete everywhere and actually work for a living from now on. That will lower their margins considerably. That will cut into their bottom line. That may not maintain their market share anywhere near where it is now.

See Microsoft eyes Chromebooks, low-end PC market: All about the platform.

  • 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.

  • 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 29 / 2014
  • 0

Government Of Korea Is Into FLOSS For The Long Run

South Korea is into FLOSS in a big way (Android/Linux smartphones). Why shouldn’t the government do the same?“By 2020 when the support of the Windows 7 service is terminated, it is planning to switch to open OS and minimize damages. Industry insiders pointed out that the standard e-document format must be established and shared as an open source before open source software is invigorated.” Perhaps the huge size of government holds them back with greater lockin because the government is planning to take five years or so to switch from “7″ to Free Software for several reasons:

  • escaping lock-in,
  • opening services to all operating systems by using open standards, and
  • lower costs of IT.

Amen. The only thing I would do would be to switch faster. Why wait for “7″ to die like XP? Not switching from XP to GNU/Linux was a mistake. I see not switching from “7″ sooner just another mistake. Perhaps it’s nothing to worry about. They are rolling out 10 test projects next year. I expect they will succeed and nothing really is left to hold back the government from migrating except the size of the task. Maybe a couple of years will be all it takes. Labour to change applications is cheap in South Korea. The willingness of Koreans to accept Android/Linux is a good sign.

See The government says, “we will break away from OS dependency with open source software by 2020”.

  • Jun 26 / 2014
  • 6

GNU/Linux Is Not That Other OS, Again…

I came across a post in a forum challenging GNU/Linux experts to find a file-manager in GNU/Linux that would allow the authour to use GNU/Linux exactly the way he uses that other OS:“1. Search selected network drives / partitions / directories for files by name using wildcards
2. Place the results in a window so that one or more can be selected for cut, copy, edit, rename and delete
3. When files are copied or moved, it is essential that the "date modified" property is preserved.”

Of course, he wants a GNU/Linux file-manager to do things exactly the way that other OS does, which is silly. The bizarre search path string he enters is definitely not something anyone would likely ever type. It’s more likely a constant for long periods of time, exactly like a file-system… In GNU/Linux one would mount all the appropriate directories and file-systems in a tree-structure, index them with a search engine and browse them neatly with the typical GNU/Linux file-manager. I suppose this fellow could expect an OS to hunt all over the tree structure for every search like XP did in the ancient times but it’s so much more intelligent to index the thing periodically and perhaps just reindex the parts liable to frequent changes.

I have a similar structure in my home, albeit with fewer computers, but the little woman can roam with a notebook or tablet or sit at her desk and search everything. I recommend recoll for a desktop search engine. It’s easy to schedule indexing and it’s no problem to select certain file-types or locations to index. Does recoll’s result window open in the file-manager? Nope, but I can examine the files and select paths to place in the file-manager as I wish. The result window is an html page that takes you to the browser or other application assigned by mime-types. You can format the page to just hold URIs for the search-result files and pass them to the file-manager or you can strip off the filenames and pass the directories to thunar.

Recoll uses Xapian as a search engine/database and it’s extremely scalable.

That may not be exactly the way M$ does it but it’s much more configurable by a long shot and infinitely flexible. I can use a different file-manager if I want and I can tweak the source code.
recoll -q "ext:txt mips eating"

This just outputs the basic file URIs and passes the list of directories to the file-manager:dirname `recoll -b -t -q "ext:txt kill netscape"`|uniq|thunar `cat -`

See Forums • View topic – Why I can't leave Windows XP for Linux.

  • Jun 24 / 2014
  • 2

Measuring GNU/Linux

In 2010, Goo Research (now polled 1080 users and found 2.3% used GNU/Linux at home. Meanwhile StatCounter reported about 0.5% of page-views were done with GNU/Linux. That’s a big discrepancy“What operating systems do you have installed on your computers at home? (Sample size=1,080, multiple answer)” probably due to businesses using that other OS almost exclusively. Businesses are much more locked in than consumers. Still, either Japan has a lot of GNU/Linux geeks or some GNU/Linux machines are being sold retail there.

If one considers Android/Linux + desktop OS, StatCounter shows more than 8% of page-views come from Android/Linux these days.

See Windows 7 penetration into Japanese homes.

  • Jun 21 / 2014
  • 14

M$’s Partner Involved In Corruption In Quebec

The “attack-dog” salesmanship widely seen at M$ became“After several months of investigating, UPAC officers arrested Abdelaziz Younsi, an information technology director at the province’s public security ministry.
They also arrested businessman Mohamed El Khayat, who is the president and co-founder of IT company Informatique EBR
public in one of M$’s “partners” in Canada. A provincial government department was involved in a kickback scheme involving procurement of computers. No doubt they came bundled with M$’s favourite OS and an ubiquitous office suite… The contract was for $3.3million CAD and the kickback was $400K CAD. I wonder what M$’s share was. They must have had a ton of software on those computers to justify such a large kickback. Do you think the item would be covered by “promotion” or “cost of sales”?

No doubt the government of the province of Quebec is a little sensitive to such matters as they were sued for “buying M$” a few years ago. It’s all good news when bad guys get caught.

See UPAC makes 2 arrests, including IT manager at Public Security Ministry.

  • 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.

  • Jun 16 / 2014
  • 14

Government of China Bursts M$’s Patent-bubble

M$ has been taxing Android/Linux distributors by threatening legal suits over software patents. “A list of hundreds of patents that Microsoft believes entitle it to royalties over Android phones, and perhaps smartphones in general, has been published on a Chinese language website.” For years, M$ has not bothered to publicize the patents in question because fear is a powerful motivator. Thanks to inquiries in China, a list is now public. This will permit M$’s competitors to organize a cooperative response rather than suffering under “divide and conquer” conditions.

For a start, one of the patents in question is for differential GPS, something that has been known for decades… This is another example of re-patenting the wheel, something that is supposed to be blocked by USPTO but is not. OEMs have been paying up because it’s cheaper than taking on a patent-troll in court. If all the OEMs get together they could sue M$ collectively and cause the empire to crumble. What’s it worth to clog the courts for a decade to drive these bastards from the market? $50 million? It would be a bargain rather than paying $billions in “royalties” to extortionists.

See Chinese gov’t reveals Microsoft’s secret list of Android-killer patents.

  • Jun 14 / 2014
  • 89

Using That Other OS Is A Liability

Yes, that other OS does crash and sometimes at the worst possible time.“The IRS says it has lost a trove of emails to and from a central figure in the agency’s tea party controversy. The IRS told congressional investigators Friday it cannot locate many of Lois Lerner’s emails prior to 2011 because her computer crashed that year.” That’s why I switched to GNU/Linux. I haven’t seen a crash since, on hundreds of PCs. Yet, the government of the USA continues to use that other OS and has huge problems as a result. When will they learn? Good government requires good IT and GNU/Linux is far superior to that other OS. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. Give it a try. You know you should.

See IRS lost emails by official in tea party probe.