Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / uptake

  • Aug 17 / 2014
  • 3

More, Happening Faster

NCIX just sent me an e-mail announcing a “back to school” special, new smartphones for $99.95…

Look at the features:

Model Features
Samsung Galaxy Note 3™
  • 5.7-inch Full HD Screen
  • 13 megapixel camera
  • 2.3 GHz quad-core processor
Samsung Galaxy S5™

  • 5.1-inch Full HD Screen
  • 16 megapixel camera
  • 2.5 GHz quad-core processor
  • 5.5-inch Quad HD Display
  • 13 megapixel camera
  • 2.5 GHz quad-core processor

Bigger screens with more pixels mean more work for the OS but at ~2.5gHz, it’s taken care of. Oh, yes, Apple’s 5S was in there but it has a smaller screen, for the same price.

What this means in the bigger picture is that many consumers will have all they need in a personal computer in a tiny package for much less cost than a legacy PC even if M$ pays OEMs to install that other OS. We are there. Consumers have choice on retail shelves and M$ need not apply.

  • Jul 12 / 2014
  • 2

Trend-Setting Countries For GNU/Linux On The Desktop

I have written about many countries making positive moves to adopt GNU/Linux on the desktop. Here is a graph showing some. With the exception of Cuba, handicapped by US embargo…, the trends are all positive. Those who give GNU/Linux a try benefit from that and expand their usage. Further, this continues to happen even with the decline in shipments of new legacy PCs because of the move to smaller and cheaper computers of all kinds. The world would be a better place sooner if the slope was higher but we lack salesmen and space on retail shelves so we get what we get.

This sample, while chosen with high-adopters in mind, is quite representative of the world having countries from rich and poor, east and west, north and south. Taken together, this is proof that GNU/Linux can work for any kind of people from anywhere. Besides absence from some retail shelves, all it will take to get other countries to adopt GNU/Linux more widely is some local talent and initiative, perhaps inflamed by the current USA/NSA scandal compounded by USA spying on its allies. To be secure in this world, I think one has to avoid M$’s OS simply because M$ is beholden to USA for not putting M$ out of business despite illegal practices, scandalous insecurity and plagues of bugs. If USA put as much pressure on M$ as they did automakers, M$ would be a very diffferent operation today and GNU/Linux would have had a fair shake on those retail shelves. Whatever. The world is becoming a better place both despite USA and it’s favourite software-maker and because of USA and it’s favourite software-maker. It’s all good in the long term.

  • Jun 25 / 2014
  • 2

It’s Official. SCOTUS Considers Small Cheap Computers As Computers

For years now, proponents of Wintel being the one true way to do IT, have held that smart thingies and other small“Cell phones differ in both a quantitative and a qualitative sense from other objects that might be carried on an arrestee’s person. Notably, modern cell phones have an immense storage capacity. Before cell phones, a search of a person was limited by physical realities and generally constituted only a narrow intrusion on privacy.
But cell phones can store millions of pages of text, thousands of pictures, or hundreds of videos. This has several interrelated privacy consequences. First, a cell phone collects in one place many distinct types of information that reveal much more in combination than any isolated record. Second, the phone’s capacity allows even just one type of information to convey far more than previously possible. Third, data on the phone can date back for years. In addition, an element of pervasiveness characterizes cell phones but not physical records. A decade ago officers might have occasionally stumbled across a highly personal item such as a diary, but today many of the more than 90% of American adults who own cell phones keep on their person a digital record of nearly every aspect of their lives”
cheap computers while having a CPU, networking, memory and storage are somehow less than PCs (Personal Computers). The Supreme Court has just ruled that smartphones and other electronic gadgets are worthy to require search warrants to search just like real computers. Their big issue is the depth, breadth and volume of data stored on smartphones but that is just one function of a smartphone. The Supremes also mention browsing histories, and “apps”, all providing information about people to police just like other evidence.

What’s important to me in this is not just that they ruled that smartphones should have a warrant to search but that these definitely non-techie types agree that smartphones work just like PCs. When this concept spans generations from teenagers to old fogies and people actually think of capabilities in terms of numbers of gigabytes and so on, it’s real.
See The Ruling in RILEY v. CALIFORNIA

  • Jun 14 / 2014
  • 0

The Canadian Blip

There are blips and there are blips. This was a huge one. For the month of April there was a gradual ramp-up in share of page-views attributed to GNU/Linux according to StatCounter. For the month of May there was an explosion with wild excursions reaching 7.46% on May 24.

What does it mean?

  • Someone subscribed a site to StatCounter’s list that is popular with GNU/Linux users and then dropped it?
  • There was a real rollout of GNU/Linux desktops which finally added a firewall/NAT?
  • StatCounter couldn’t count for a while?
  • ET visited and his ship was fond of StatCounter’s sites and GNU/Linux?

Well, that last one is weak, but I keep trying to understand what could cause such a blip. None of the others work very well either. For one thing, it’s just too large for any of the down to Earth explanations to work. It’s about the right size to be confusion about Android/Linux and GNU/Linux. Their stats for Android/Linux (desktop+mobile+tablet) show 7.36% for May 24… Did they make the same error in Ethiopia? Nope. Why would they misallocate in one country but not in another??! Why would they “fix” the problem in Canada without back-dating the correction? Is the simplest explanation that StatCounter is out to “get” GNU/Linux but messed up? It’s not a statistical fluctuation. What are the odds that a rare event happens 30 days in a row? Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Whatever the explanation GNU/Linux is hanging in there in Canada and Android/Linux is romping away. It’s all good but it could be better.

  • Jun 13 / 2014
  • 1

Approaching 1/N

In a completely random universe, if there are N choices, equally probable, the system tends to approach 1/N for each choice. We are seeing that in IT. Of the few most popular operating systems on client devices, web-stats indicate that that other OS with share much greater than 1/N is decreasing rapidly while the challengers generally have positive slope rapidly approaching 1/N. The only real question left is “What is N?”

Clearly, the big play is in smartphones. Android/Linux is king there with iOS pulling in behind. In tablets the competition between Android/Linux and iOS is more even. The desktop shipments have declined for 8 consecutive quarters so that other OS is dropping but GNU/Linux hangs in as does MacOS. That suggests that N will be 5, that other OS or what remains of it, Android/Linux, iOS, MacOS and GNU/Linux. Considering that other OS is declining despite no lack of salesmen and GNU/Linux persists despite a definite lack of salesmen, it’s reasonable to assume salesmen are not definitive. Eventually, OEMs and retailers will awaken to see that other OS is not sacred on the desktop. For the moment, a lowering of margins is all that affects M$’s bottom line, but all along the food chain, folks are realizing that offering more variety is a good thing. This will result eventually in more retail shelf-space and salesmen for GNU/Linux. No one seems to think that Android/Linux makes a great desktop OS. It’s just too limited a concept for large screens and powerful CPUs with huge RAM. ChromeOS is competitive but it’s just another distro of GNU/Linux, IMHO.

Thus, I predict that within a few years, GNU/Linux will have ~20% share of client OS. There has been great progress in government/education to provide diversity but tablets have taken a good share of educational clients and governments are severely locked in to that other OS. It’s the consumer space where GNU/Linux will make huge progress and the key will not be salesmen or retail shelf-space but price. M$ has already recognized that by cutting its price to $15 on the low-end devices which are good enough for most consumers. Given an equal price on low-end devices, will consumers choose an OS with salesmen and ads or will they choose something from a more diverse ecosystem and with less malware, re-re-rebooting and slowing down? I think a lot of consumers will choose GNU/Linux on merits. Consumers have seen Linux run their smartphones. They will be interested to see what it can do on desktops/notebooks/tablets. They will be pleasantly surprised what native code can do. Conversely, all consumers have seen that other OS deteriorate to the point where they wanted to buy a new PC just to replace it.

  • May 25 / 2014
  • 1

Onwards And Upwards, GNU/Linux Desktops In Canada

While I take webstats with a grain of salt, they do indicate something is happening in Canada:
I still don’t know what it is but the rate of change and magnitude is exciting.

I’m thinking this could be a big rollout of Chromebooks with a change of user-agent or a real migration to GNU/Linux but I have no idea what organization would be large enough to show this shift. Government? Education? Whoever they are, I like them for doing rollouts on weekends… ;-)

See Top 7 Desktop OSs in Canada from April 1 to May 24 2014

  • May 15 / 2014
  • 22

A Million PCs Per Week Are Being Installed Of GNU/Linux

There are a couple of assumptions here:

  • page-views, which StatCounter records, are proportional to units installed, and
  • there are about 1500 million, more or less, desktop and notebook PCs out there, in the world.

Those are pretty reasonable. Being a bit off may change the number somewhat, but it’s still huge. The GNU/Linux numbers include Chrome OS which is about 0.2% share of page-views.

Week GNU/Linux (%) Millions (base 1500) Growth (millions)
1 1.38 20.70 0.00
2 1.45 21.75 1.05
3 1.53 22.95 1.20
4 1.64 24.60 1.65
5 1.75 26.25 1.65
6 1.80 27.00 0.75

However you slice it, the world is either pumping out of OEMs, converting from that other OS, or building from parts, about a million PCs each week running GNU/Linux. It’s a far cry from the ~1% number often mentioned. In the last six weeks, the growth has been 0.42%. That growth has come from seed planted by OLPC around the world and a bunch of computer-teachers like me… That growth has come from Canonical getting close to a bunch of OEMs shipping Ubuntu GNU/Linux. That growth has come from Google starting another beach-head with ChromeOS. That growth has come from a lot of consumers buying GNU/Linux PCs. That growth has come from some businesses and organizations seeing the light and getting off the Wintel treadmill at XP. That growth has come from everyone that escapes the mental lock-in that M$ has fostered by fair means or foul over decades of monopoly. I think Android/Linux has opened a lot of eyes. If */Linux works on servers and smart thingies, why not desktops?
See Top 7 Desktop OSs from Week 14 to Week 19 2014

  • May 11 / 2014
  • 0

GNU/Linux Gains A Huge Share Of Ethiopian IT In The Last Month

A month ago, GNU/Linux was a one-percenter OS in Ethiopia. No more. In the past month GNU/Linux has surpassed both MacOS (1.88%) and XP (17.07%), everything but “7″ (46.48%), in share of page-views in Ethiopia, according to StatCounter.

This goes to show the power of schools in IT in emerging markets. Wintel may indeed swamp this growth with some campaign or other but they will never be able to put the genie of Freedom back in the bottle. Students who know about the existence of FLOSS and who have used FLOSS will set the trends as they graduate. The campaign of the world to educate students in Ethiopia will liberate them forever from slavery to Wintel. You can bet parents, teachers and government are all aware of FLOSS now. While this change is dramatic in Ethiopia, the same thing is happening in many other countries. We just don’t see it well with web stats because the rest of IT is so large in other countries.
see for yourself at Top 7 Desktop OSs In Ethiopia From April 11 To May 10.

  • May 09 / 2014
  • 0

Canada Breaks Out Of The 1 Percent Club

For a long time, I have been disappointed that my country, Canada, has lagged behind USA/Europe in page-views of GNU/Linux on StatCounter. That’s no longer the case. Yesterday, GNU/Linux had a share over 5% having risen steadily for about two weeks and before that rising gradually for a couple of weeks.

As usual, we don’t know the reliability of the stats but it’s the change that’s interesting. There has scarcely been any increases for years previously except for a similar event about this time last year which peaked at 3%. Someone tried something. Is this the real roll-out? Is it a university with some slack in the summer session? Is it government or big business? We shall see.

See also Is The Canadian Government Rolling Out GNU/Linux Clients? (me, 2013)

  • Apr 17 / 2014
  • 34

FLOSS Is A Winner

No matter how many times we read that FLOSS is junk made by amateurs “In 2013, for the first time, we saw open source quality for the projects in the Scan service surpass that of proprietary projects at all code base sizes. The 2012 Coverity Scan Report looked at a sample analysis of more than 250 proprietary code bases totaling more than 380 million lines of code, with an average codebase of nearly 1.5 million lines of code, and we found that open source code had lower defect density levels up to 1 million lines of code. For the 2013 report, we analyzed approximately 500 million lines of code across almost 500 proprietary C/C++ projects.” the reality is different. FLOSS is made by all kinds of programmers but because it is FLOSS and everyone can run, examine, modify and distribute the software, more eyes make bugs disappear. Coverity is one of the eyes and they tell us that out of hundreds of millions of lines of code scanned, FLOSS has a lower density of defects.

Size of Codebase (Lines of Code) FLOSS Non-Free
Less than 100,000 .35 .38
100,000-499,999 .50 .81
500,000-1 million .70 .84
More than 1 million .65 .71
Average across projects .59 .72

Accept it. No matter whether it’s price, performance or correctness that matters most to you, FLOSS is the right way to do IT.

See 2013-Coverity-Scan-Report.pdf.

  • Apr 16 / 2014
  • 1

Wintel Sinks Further

As expected, Intel has raised prices in an attempt to maintain profits as long as possible rather than trusting the market to yield them a reasonable living.“PC Client Group revenue of $7.9 billion, down 8 percent sequentially and down 1 percent year-over-year.” This will hasten the demise of Wintel as consumers see greater advantages to switching to */Linux on ARM. Without the monopoly on retail shelves for legacy PCs there’s no way Intel would raise prices at all and consumers should vote with their wallets. Expect 2014 to be the greatest year yet for FLOSS on ARM.

See Intel News Release.

See also, CFO Commentary on First-Quarter 2014 Results