Thinking Inside the Box

“The balance of evidence is tilted towards stupidity. Every year that same government pays very, very large sums of taxpayer’s money to another American multinational, Microsoft Corporation. The money goes to buy software products, software licences and software support services. Nearly all the products have free equivalents. Why doesn’t the government save money by using free software, instead of the Microsoft offerings?”

see My government is software-stupid.

If you or your organization lives inside the Wintel box, you cannot see outside. No open standards, no FREE Software, no freedom can penetrate. You need help. Go visit

and breathe deeply. Smell that? That’s fresh air and freedom to think outside the box, saving money, increasing flexibility and being your own master.

The world can and does make its own software. You don’t need Wintel to run your IT.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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26 Responses to Thinking Inside the Box

  1. ram says:

    Governments buy expensive useless items for the same reason they have always bought useless expensive items: corruption, bribes, backsheesh, kickbacks …

    Some companies’ have based their entire marketing strategy on bribes and kickbacks.

    The problem is not unique to software, look at almost any international arms dealer closely. Without corruption their ‘business’ would not exist.

  2. kozmcrae says:

    oldman wrote:

    “Well I have an I can tell you that most of its so called best efforts are at lease 10 years behind what I use commercially.”

    Thanks for the update oldman. I knew I could depend on you. You know of course that the FLOSS ecosystem is huge. You only need to find a few. Few though they may be, FLOSS is not standing still. It’s growing with more commercial contributors adding to its ranks day by day.

    It will be the way the World gets the majority of its software some day in the not to distant future. You do know that, don’t you oldman?

  3. oldman says:

    Or get yourself a big honkin’ 4 CPU afterburner desktop computer and run Windows as a virtual machine like oldman does.

    FYI I run windows native and linux in the VM Mr. K. IMHO running linux in a VM also solves the hardware compatibility issues = – The hardware only changes if vmware stops supporting the virtual machine type that the linux instances run on, which hasn’t happened yet.

    I think some people don’t really explore GNU/Linux enough and just assume that It doesn’t/can’t do some of the special things they need it to do. FLOSS is a big place and getting bigger and better by the day.

    Well I have an I can tell you that most of its so called best efforts are at lease 10 years behind what I use commercially.

  4. Yonah says:

    Err, gigs of ram.

  5. Yonah says:

    Own, License, Borrow, I don’t care. I can still use it until the cows come home, Silly Billy.

    I purchased my computer back in the Spring of 2010. I don’t think it was that special at the time. Intel Core 2 Quad @ 2.34GHz with 4 megs of RAM. It’s always connected to the Internet. On top of that, and this is really going to fry your taters, it’s still running the original install of Windows from the very first day I brought it home.

    “Yonah, FREE software can be installed on computers running a FREE OS, didn’t you know?”

    Slow my computer down with FOSS? Thanks, I’ll pass. Oh, here’s the video you requested. http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/BCBuIsATlBI/

    I’m not even going to bother trying to explain adjustment layers and layer styles to Oiaohm. Frankly, I’m more interested to know what James Randi would think of his Wi-Fi bending brain. You up the the challenge, ol’ boy?

  6. kozmcrae says:

    Yonah wrote:

    “Windows already supports a massive plethora of commercial software which can readily be used with fiddling with compatibility programs like Wine.”

    Why bother going outside of the repository system? Why complicate your GNU/Linux installation by making it more like a Windows installation? If you really want or need all those Windows programs, just use Windows or setup a dual boot. Or get yourself a big honkin’ 4 CPU afterburner desktop computer and run Windows as a virtual machine like oldman does.

    I think some people don’t really explore GNU/Linux enough and just assume that It doesn’t/can’t do some of the special things they need it to do. FLOSS is a big place and getting bigger and better by the day.

  7. dougman wrote, “GIMP took 7 seconds on my Pentium D running Linux Mint 9.”

    One of the great things about GNU/Linux in a school or small organization is that it is easy to put performance like that to shame, with windows popping open in less than 2s with the files mostly cached on the terminal server and the client machine being used as a thin client. oldman and others like to pooh-pooh thin clients but they rock. My students were spoiled.

  8. oiaohm says:

    Yonah read the full line on scribus
    –Adjustment layers and effect layers are not yet supported. In such a case, Scribus will fall back to using a “flattened” version of the file.–
    It does not fail to open the file because it does not support those yet.

    Notice I also mentioned krita. Yes krita support OpenRaster that is a very much a format like psd. I missed mypaint as well.

    Yonah so its not that those features are missing you just don’t have them when working with PSD or run into something in a PSD importer that glitches. Yes krita and Mypaint in a lot of areas are ahead of gimp.

    Exactly what is OpenRaster missing that you really need from PSD Yonah.

  9. dougman says:

    Yonah, it is impossible that you own CS3, it is LICENSED to you. Same goes for any Windows software you purchase. You are purchasing a license to use, not to own. Silly Rabbit.

    http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/eula/photoshopcs3.html

    Yonah, regarding starting Photoshop CS3, in 2.5 seconds. I say either upload a video to Youtube, or it never happened. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

    GIMP took 7 seconds on my Pentium D running Linux Mint 9.

    Inkscape, is just awesome! I use it for drawing stuff all the time. People think I am some sort of magical being at times, when I display some of my diagrams or single line diagrams I do for work.

    Yonah, Windows 8 does not already support a massive plethora apps, there are only 2000+ currently available.

    Yonahs, computer never reboots, nor does it get viruses/spyware ever, it suffers no form of lock-in. Yonah’s fictional computer is never used nor is it ever connected to the Internet, now thats one safe computer!

    Yonah, FREE software can be installed on computers running a FREE OS, didn’t you know?

    Chrissy, you cannot do what you want with it your PC. Go ahead and try editing some files in system32; Windows will break if you attempted that. Remember, you don’t own Windows software, you buy a license.

    It’s nice that you seem to think that Windows is just awesome enough for everyone, you’re so nebulous to share, but you are just you, and not everyone else who wants to use better software than what M$ has to offer.

    I care about getting work accomplished — what’s important to me personally, not what is important to you — done with the tools I deem necessary and useful. I have no need or time to put up with M$ nonsense. Windows is for games, Linux is for serious work

  10. Average User says:

    “Average User, Gimp 2.8.2 takes 4.5 seconds to load on my machine. Photoshop CS3, 2.5 seconds. Who made your computer? Fisher Price?”

    Bwaahaahaahaa! I had to clean my screen after that, LOL. Still in fantasy land, eh Yonah?

  11. Yonah says:

    Oiaohm, you either didn’t read/comprehend what I wrote or you didn’t read/comprehend the link you posted.

    wiki.scribus.net: “Adjustment layers and effect layers are not yet supported.”

    Still not successful enough. I’m dying to see what kind of masterpieces you’ve whipped up over the years. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. Alternatively, give me the proof Opera used KHTML code in any of their builds.

    Average User, Gimp 2.8.2 takes 4.5 seconds to load on my machine. Photoshop CS3, 2.5 seconds. Who made your computer? Fisher Price?

  12. Chris Weig wrote, “you are just you, and not everyone else who wants to use better software than FLOSS has to offer.”

    You are just you, and not everyone else who wants to use better software than M$ has to offer.

    Munich – went to FLOSS for vendor independence
    Leipzig – going to FLOSS for vendor independence
    many others – going to FLOSS for reduced costs

    M$ cannot offer those things that real people want.

  13. Chris Weig says:

    What limit? There is nothing I cannot do with my PCs with FLOSS. I don’t need any of the last 432 features of M$’s office suite and my browser kicks ass.

    That’s nice. But you are just you, and not everyone else who wants to use better software than FLOSS has to offer.

  14. Chris Weig wrote, “Limiting oneself to FLOSS for purely ideologic reasons is idiotic”.

    What limit? There is nothing I cannot do with my PCs with FLOSS. I don’t need any of the last 432 features of M$’s office suite and my browser kicks ass. So does my database. If anything there is so much FLOSS available it takes a bit of work to find something sometimes. Between “apt-cache search” and Google, I have not missed anything. I do audio, video, web, servery, system admin., number crunching, reading, writing, photos,… What am I denying myself? Ask my wife. She will tell you I spend too many hours on the computer having fun.

  15. Average User says:

    “But don’t try to impose your simple-minded thinking on us.”

    Pot, kettle, black, LOL.

  16. Chris Weig says:

    The idea Chris has that GNU/Linux prevents people from doing anything with IT is his limited imaginings only.

    You can spin it all you want, Bob. Limiting oneself to FLOSS for purely ideologic reasons is idiotic. If you’re easy to please, then so be it. But don’t try to impose your simple-minded thinking on us.

  17. Chris Weig wrote, “the majority of people just does not care what virtues FLOSS exhibits. They care about getting their work — what’s important to them personally, not what is important to you, Bob! — done with the tools they deem necessary and useful.”

    FLOSS helps people at work and at play. The idea Chris has that GNU/Linux prevents people from doing anything with IT is his limited imaginings only. Munich, Extremadura, schools where I have worked, Brazil, show that many millions of people have no trouble working and playing with GNU/Linux. I have introduced thousands to GNU/Linux. The joy in their faces that it performs well without malware, slowing down, re-re-rebooting etc. is remarkable. A teenager, not shy to speak her mind responded to a new-in-box 64bit PC with 500 MB hard drive and 3gB RAM said, “It’s so slow!”. She was used to the school’s 8 year old PCs run as thin clients of a 6 year old server. Students came to school to work and to learn and to play and GNU/Linux did it all for them. Teachers too. I was one of them.

  18. Average User says:

    “Any operating system which forces them to use tools which make them unfree, regardless how free those tools’ code is, can go to hell.”

    Amen, Chris Weig! I’m glad you see the light!

  19. Chris Weig says:

    But why?

    Because I want to do with my PC what I want. And Windows just allows me to do that without any hassle.

    You don’t get it, Bob, even after having been bashed in the head for a few years now: the majority of people just does not care what virtues FLOSS exhibits. They care about getting their work — what’s important to them personally, not what is important to you, Bob! — done with the tools they deem necessary and useful.

    Any operating system which forces them to use tools which make them unfree, regardless how free those tools’ code is, can go to hell.

  20. Average User says:

    “The damn thing even takes twice as long to load as CS3.”

    Gimp takes 7 seconds to load on my machine. CS3 only takes 3.5 seconds on yours? What are you smoking?

  21. oiaohm says:

    Yonah with PSD try krita and imagemagick based stuff.

    But the most successful is something you most likely never considered. http://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Help:Manual_Importpsd. Yep scribus.

    Yonah How long before people like you wake up Gimp is not the max of FOSS image alteration and control. And start using some of the other options.

  22. Yonah says:

    In a word, choice. Windows already supports a massive plethora of commercial software which can readily be used with fiddling with compatibility programs like Wine. Add FOSS and other types of software to the mix and you have one platform with the greatest amount of choice and support. Some people or organizations might be willing to sacrifice those choices for reasons both sound and unsound, while others like myself aren’t.

    I know at this point you’ll trot out your usual negative talking points such as “re-re-reboots” which don’t happen to me, “viruses/spyware” of which I’m not affected by, and your all-time favorite, “lock-in”, which I really can’t see from my perspective except in the case of Photoshop. Though I no longer use it on the job, I’m still using it on an almost daily basis. I tried the most recent version of GIMP to see how well it handles my existing PSD files. From first glance, adjustment layers and layer styles aren’t supported at all. Vector masks don’t work. Then it rasterized the font layers, making them uneditable.

    So, I suppose you could say my exiting works are “locked-in”, except I own my version of Photoshop CS3 (purchased on my behalf by a previous employer), I can at least export my images in a variety of formats, and since GIMP doesn’t have the features I am accustomed to having at my disposal and the interface is still an unmitigated screen-hogging disaster, moving to GIMP isn’t even an option worth considering. The damn thing even takes twice as long to load as CS3.

    Inkscape, on the other hand, though buggy at times, is worth using.

  23. Yonah wrote, “FREE software can be installed on computers running Windows.”

    But why? One can also go up on the roof and scatter $100 bills to the wind, but it makes no sense. Neither does it make sense to save money on licences by using FLOSS applications but paying big money for the OS. It certainly is not necessary to do that. Proof comes from Munich which is aiming for 80% of its PCs to be M$-free zones. It’s better to climb out of the hole of lock-in rather than continuing to dig. Imagine the money Munich would have saved if they had made the move promptly over a weekend back in 2003/4. Anyway they are done paying to take the next step on the Wintel treadmill.

  24. Yonah says:

    Huh? FREE software can be installed on computers running Windows. Didn’t you know?

  25. Dougman wrote a lot of stuff…, “Eric Schmidt completely leaves M$ out of the IT realm of the future.”

    Exactly. IT is moving forward and M$ is spinning its wheels. The only rocks under their wheels are slippery, business and retail x86. Both could shift to GNU/Linux on x86 or Android/Linux on ARM in a very short time. Then M$ is in it up to the axles. Business seems to be taking a long time to evolve to enlightenment. Retail is stuck too in many places but that can change rapidly any time a retailer calculates the revenue per square foot of Wintel or */Linux on anything. My local Walmart does not even have desktop models of Wintel on display any longer, just a few notebooks. Most PCs there are smart thingies and the smart thingies have about half the shelf-space. I bet in a year Walmart will have GNU/Linux in retail boxes again. It will be interesting to see how M$’s cash flow has been this quarter. Is it paying people to clear out “7”? Is it paying people to ship “8”? 😉 What happens when M$ stops paying? Retailers are beginning to see that bundling products with M$’s stuff restricts sales.

    Have you seen some early prices for PCs with “8”? They are $hundreds higher than what most people think a PC costs. I can see them sitting on shelves quite a while.

  26. dougman says:

    Good interview, Eric Schmidt completely leaves M$ out of the IT realm of the future.

    – deliberately left M$ out of the Top 4 Influential Tech companies
    – M$ hasn’t been able to bring state-of-the-art products to market
    – skeptical of M$ and METROFAIL
    – M$ has lost antitrust cases for being monopolistic and greedy

    http://allthingsd.com/20121010/live-from-new-york-walt-mossberg-kara-swisher-interview-eric-schmidt/

    For many years Microsoft was the 800lb gorilla of technology, a titan among small fry, not just the largest technology company but such a king that could hold sway over all of the market.

    When Apple knocked them off of the top of the market cap, revenue and profits hills many of them do doubt were telling themselves it was a fluke, a fad, a bubble. But now not only is Apple worth well over twice what Microsoft is, but Google has knocked them out of the second spot. Google! The company that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer swore he was going to kill in that legendary chair throwing incident eight years ago, has grown over three times in size while Microsoft stood still and has bested him. As if that weren’t enough, IBM has been in its customary patient, persistent, conservative way building itself up until it is ready to put Microsoft even out of the third row. This on the eve of the largest simultaneous refresh of Microsoft’s products in its history: new versions of Windows, Server, Office, Mobile, gaming products, the expected success of which the market has already priced in.

    This is no longer the giant that others dread.

    Microsoft’s fall from dominance goes really hard. They are still in denial, demanding things they are no longer entitled to. It affects their partners too. Their longtime partner HP remains loyal despite the fact that Windows PCs make them no profit to speak of, and aren’t expected to in the next few years, and HP has been scrambling so fast for so long that literally every other option has been floated but still the company stock is trading at lows not seen in a decade and analysts are calling for a breakup of the company, or doom inescapable. What could make HP act this way when there is no profit in it, nor hope of any? Dell is just as bad off – in the midst of the 2008 panic their stock fell lower than today, but there’s no panic today and their shares today traded at an annual low, and the company’s market cap is about one third of where it was a decade ago. And then there’s Nokia. We all know what’s happened to Nokia in the last few years. The only Microsoft partners doing well these days are ones like Samsung, Asus and Acer who keep them at arm’s length and are participating in the mobile revolution Microsoft somehow missed.

    The world has changed. We don’t need to mind our “Microsoft Manners” any more.

    The thing most people don’t see has to do with the hard shove of Microsoft products towards the cloud, and moving to a rental model.

    There is little reason to buy a new word processor or email client. They are stable, mature products. But Office is a good half of Microsoft’s revenue stream. If they can no longer entice you with “features” of questionable value, why would you ever give them another dollar? They need to wean people off local apps and on to their word-processing-as-a-cloud-service, where the pay as you go model ensures a continual profit center.

    So they need two things: a locked down computing environment, and locked down services. Apple has shown people are willing to give up control to the cloud if it makes it easy for average people. Microsoft wants the same with the desktop. Governments and corporations also want to control apps for different reasons, so look for the changes to be adopted there first.

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