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.

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 Radical Change In IT

  1. thr wrote, “under Linux pretty much everything is beta quality at best”.

    Nonsense. I’ve used GNU/Linux for many years and a solid distro’s release is not beta-software. Use Debian (stable/named/numbered release), Red Hat (not Fedora) or Suse and you will not have beta-software. These organizations have been releasing great software that works for a long time and they know how to do it.

  2. thr says:

    Windows 7 beta release, dougman. Do the math. I know, you didn’t think of it, because under Linux pretty much everything is beta quality at best.

  3. dougman says:

    Re: For comparison’s sake: My Windows XP installation I had was 10 years old without a single re-install. My current Windows 7 installation is 5 years old without a single re-install. Both, by the way, “survived” migrations on newer computers without any problems.

    Considering Windows 7 was released Oct 22, 2009, five years is stretching the truth a bit, eh?

    Secondly, the notion that you had XP and 7 running for so long without ever having to perform a single reinstall informs us that you never did anything with either of them.

    Unless, the installs you mention are virtual machines, whereas in that case I would agree that’s reasonable, but do you see the distinction in usage?

    I guess next you will tell us you never had to defrag or even replace the stupid battery of your laptop, or you never needed a UPS either.

    In all honestly, thats great you were able to achieve such performance *cough*, but is it relevant anymore? Not one damn bit…

    Today I read about a Linux distribution running Debian and Android in one ARM-based computer, now this will be essentially key when Chromebooks can run Android apps and will totally displace M$ out of the market as they operating.

    Chromebook growth is ever increasing at a staggering rate and I know M$ is running worried, or they would not have created the webpage “Windows laptops are better than Chromebooks.”

    Read that for a good laugh…

    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/compare-chromebook

  4. oiaohm says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_release
    thr Debian stable and testing is not a rolling release model.

    Ubuntu and Debian you have to push a command todo a in-place upgrade.

    Unlike your XP example. My Debian is the most upto date release even that is 10 years since clean install.

    unstable is debian is the only thing that is officially a rolling release that no one really uses. Rolling releases and quality control is a very hard combination to pull off.

    You can have in-place upgrade capability without being rolling. XP could in-place upgrade windows 2000 and Windows 2000 could in-place upgrade NT 4.0. So for a time period Microsoft pulled off in place upgrades.

    Debian has been doing in-place upgrades since its first version. Same with most of the BSD relations.

    thr I have inplace upgrade from x86 to arm before with debian. Multiarch support mixed with qemu emulator. Debian is one of the more evolved Linux systems.

    Yes it also possible to take a x86 installed Linux debian driver insert a arm installer and tell the installer to replace the x86 packages with arm packages. Yes all the user settings are nicely left intact. This is not a rolling release solution.

    Redhat converting a 32bit x86 to 64bit x86 install or reverse is also possible. Again not forced to start over clean.

    Linux we can take our customisation with us between versions when we stop Distribution shopping.

  5. thr says:

    “Any software that won’t allow you to run, examine, modify and distribute is less productive than FLOSS that does.”

    Still moving the goalposts after such a long time. Fascinating.

  6. thr says:

    “Replaced is not a word you use with Debian. Its upgraded. Those who have used Debian for a long time have a hard time understanding why we have to start clean over and over again.”

    Oh, I fully anticipated that someone would come along and mention rolling releases. Most distributions are not rolling releases, though.

    For comparison’s sake: My Windows XP installation I had was 10 years old without a single re-install. My current Windows 7 installation is 5 years old without a single re-install. Both, by the way, “survived” migrations on newer computers without any problems.

  7. thr wrote, “YOU cannot claim that productivity can only be maximized with FLOSS when you never try out whether or not you can be more productive with a non-FLOSS, commercial tool.”

    I have used non-FLOSS tools and productivity was not optimal. In one case a package that cost ~$4K could no longer be used because a code had been lost. Productivity was zero. My installation of GNU/Linux with several FLOSS applications easily did the job very well and was loved by users. In another case we were forced to upgrade our system several times if we wanted to keep our archive of e-mail because each release could no longer use the previous version of the archive. Productivity was less than a FLOSS installation which lets you own your own data. Read M$’s EULA. It’s cripple-ware they sell so you will pay more and more for the use of the hardware you own. Any software that won’t allow you to run, examine, modify and distribute is less productive than FLOSS that does.

  8. oiaohm says:

    thr Debian works on transparent upgrading from version to version. The system I am sitting on was a clean install 10 years ago. This is not uncommon with debian. Each debian release is very much like a service pack.

    Replaced is not a word you use with Debian. Its upgraded. Those who have used Debian for a long time have a hard time understanding why we have to start clean over and over again.

  9. thr says:

    “That is a circular argument.”

    Circular? Where? Commercial tools which are not FLOSS is quite unambiguous. I’m talking about those commercial tools for which you have to pay money in any case. Commercial FLOSS tools can usually be bought, but also usually built from the source code.

    “You can’t argue that productivity is not optimized by using FLOSS by claiming you don’t use FLOSS.”

    And I don’t. I’m arguing that YOU cannot claim that productivity can only be maximized with FLOSS when you never try out whether or not you can be more productive with a non-FLOSS, commercial tool. FLOSS is only a subset of ALL available software.

    “There is no job that can’t be done using FLOSS. PS is one of the red herrings trotted out. I can edit with Gimp, ImageMagick, GD, … to my heart’s content.”

    Again: not my point. You cannot know if a job can’t in fact be done better by using a proprietary tool. In fact, you refuse to let yourself know.

    “FLOSS is different. It’s made to free you from all that.”

    It’s not real freedom if you limit yourself to only FLOSS.

    “I’ve never met a craftsman who bought only from one supplier. They did buy what was best for the job and the price was less important because those tools are durable goods.”

    So that’s a direct endorsement of Windows and/or Mac OS X then. More supply (= software) than Linux.

    “Properly used, they last a lifetime. That other OS OTOH is crap which has to be replaced every few years just because M$ says so.”

    Linux has to be replaced too. It doesn’t last a lifetime, but only as long as the particular distribution/release is supported.

  10. dougman says:

    Problems with ‘X’ and audio you say? Hmmmmm… my desktop, Chromebook and phone say otherwise.

    My Kindle uses the Linux kernel, I guess that has a broken stack as well.

    See, once you use Linux with any sense of regularity, you ask yourself “Why did I ever subject myself to the crap that M$ offers?” It is a constant whack-a-mole type of game, strife with problems and insecurity.

  11. thr wrote, “Unless your productivity is directly related to and dependent on commercial tools which are not FLOSS.”

    That is a circular argument. You can’t argue that productivity is not optimized by using FLOSS by claiming you don’t use FLOSS. That’s not an argument. That’s a circle. Obviously, one does not need to depend on “commercial tools which are not FLOSS”. FLOSS is quite commercial. Just as RedHat or any OEM shipping FLOSS or any business using FLOSS. There is no job that can’t be done using FLOSS. PS is one of the red herrings trotted out. I can edit with Gimp, ImageMagick, GD, … to my heart’s content. Why should I interfere with my use of my hardware by restricting myself to PS and that other OS? I can edit video with several editors and lots of professionals do as well on GNU/Linux. An OS is not a dependency except in your mind. An OS is a tool to manage the resources offered by a computer. It’s only Wintel and Apple that make an OS a dead weight around your neck. FLOSS is different. It’s made to free you from all that.

    thr also wrote, “A good craftsman chooses the right tools, not the cheapest ones (unless “right” and “cheapest” happen to coincide)”

    I’ve never met a craftsman who bought only from one supplier. They did buy what was best for the job and the price was less important because those tools are durable goods. Properly used, they last a lifetime. That other OS OTOH is crap which has to be replaced every few years just because M$ says so. Real craftsmen don’t enslave themselves that way. In IT, we only use computers because they are cheaper/faster for doing tasks we could do other ways. They are information processors, not gods. On identical hardware GNU/Linux will do the job faster/cheaper. I’ve seen that many times. Right and cheapest do coincide in FLOSS.

  12. oiaohm says:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/07/17/firefox_os_global_expansion/

    kurkosdr both the audio and X11 issues were inherited from the Unix world on Linux. Its also surprising how many pulse-audio issues turn out to be driver issues.

    Your two replacements to X11 misses the horible like MicroXwin that are remains of old closed source X11 vendors that just will not die. The funny part is parties behind MicroXwin is looking like they will make to market before Ubuntu Mir does with a Debian Android hybrid.

    Remember Wayland is already in the market.

    There have been many attempts to nuke X11 out of existence the reason why none of them ever got up is lack of driver support. The change to DMA-BUF will see a lot of the odd balls come back out. EGL that wayland uses also will work under directfb.

    kurkosdr you know those cheep firefox phones you were attempting to make out as some Mozilla joke. Hello they are coming.

    MS OEMs are highly x86. There are are a lot of ARM vendors that want in.

    You try buying Linux PC from HP or Dell in Australia without a enterprise account. The answer is you cannot. So yes it can be quite difficult to aquire.

    kurkosdr even if you are not buying from a Microsoft partner does not mean you are still not paying for Microsoft somewhere. All I really want is proper accounting so customers can see who they are paying.

  13. kurkosdr wrote, “The Linux audio stack is a mess. And even linux die-hards admit it. X.org is broken, and we have two replacements that are JustAroundTheCornerRealSoonNow(tm).”

    Well, some experts familiar with the matter may say that but we users out here, in the real world, have no problem with X or audio. We just keep trucking along. I do have some systems with these such problems but that’s running all beta-software. It’s for testing new versions of the kernel, drivers, system utilities and applications. With stable long-term supported releases (not Ubuntu which releases on a cadence, ready or not…) these should be no issue for the vast majority of users. e.g. for my current xserver, except for a few systems there are no bugs known. Most of the bugs for this package are from 2011 and earlier. For such an ubiquitous “broken” package one would expect pages.

  14. kurkosdr says:

    diffcult to obtain = easy to obtain

  15. kurkosdr says:

    @dougman

    The Linux audio stack is a mess. And even linux die-hards admit it. X.org is broken, and we have two replacements that are JustAroundTheCornerRealSoonNow(tm). Even if the X.org mess is fixed, there is the audio stack. Which btw is something that is as a direct consquence of the “bazaar” model. At least for X.org there is the excuse that X Window Sytem was a mess inherited from the unix world

    As regards the wall-of-text you posted: Yes, MS bullies partner OEMs into not making Windows-free PCs difficult to obtain. WE HAVE ENSTABLISHED THAT, no need to convince us. See, MS OEM partners became what they are now because of MS (compare and contrast with Apple OEMs), so they are not going to change their ways too much.

    But NOTHING prevents you from buying a product from an OEM that is NOT an MS partner. And avoid the price of a WIndows license. So, it’s not a fricking tax.

    The word tax has a clearly defined meaning. So does the word levy, which is the word FOSS-ies should use in the first place.

    FOSS-ies trying to change that meaning to obtain a nice soundbite is silly. And it’s not metaphorical use, it’s using weasel-words. See previous post.

  16. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr keep on using modified version of my Name don’t be surprised if you end up with your posts delete or banned from posting. Its the one thing Robbert has not tolerated.

    kurkosdr your brought HDMI into the topic. I like the way HDMI does business. Open and Frank is what the HDMI group is. It took a court case to find out that Microsoft were mandating OEM’s shipped Windows. In fact even today you cannot get exactly how much each OEM spends on a copy of Windows.

    HDMI group have never mandated that you cannot sell competing product. Microsoft in the past has. So due to Microsoft prior bad actions Microsoft should be required to be transparent in all dealing so as a public we can be sure they are not doing under the tablet deals again as they have done in the past. Basically Microsoft should operate like HDMI does.

    Remember just because 1 is listed does not mean you can get it either. Its like Dell at times a Linux PC has a higher price than a Windows PC of the same spec without a clear explain why. Lot of phone vendors have made a Windows Mobile phone then provided no Advertisement or shelf space to reduce patent payments and also over priced those units. We know how hardware vendors work. So Linux Desktop issue may not be Microsoft. Without transparency we cannot see exactly what party is the problem..

    kurkosdr so you need a clear clause as long as I can by a Linux PC with a clear explanation why a Windows machine of the same spec is cheaper or more expensive from the same maker. Please remember in the Dos age the deal Microsoft did is they were paid on a machine base if or if not MS Dos was installed. So it could be the reason why Linux machines from particular makers are higher price is that even when we are buying Linux we maybe still paying Microsoft.

    I will admit that everything maybe above board kurkosdr but you would not let a known collectomaniac walk out your shop without checking their pockets. Microsoft is a company that has been documented doing under the table and illegal deals.

    Microsoft prior conduct means they have a trust value of zero when it comes to behind closed doors commercial deals. Heck Microsoft recent patent list information is another case of lots of false information.

  17. dougman says:

    Nonsense is you my lil’ troll, trying as you may with your arguments that are weak.

    M$ and it’s monopoly does employ a tax burden on IT, nor do they want “naked” computers to be sold to the world, but by locking-up and locking-in its customers for almost two decades, people have decided to give up on the M$ drugs and discover REAL IT.

    “By a strange coincidence Microsoft’s dire warnings against buying PCs without preinstalled operating systems (see MS: how PCs shipped without Windows will destroy your life) seem to have vanished from microsoft.com on the very day that Microsoft argued that it didn’t have a monopoly of the OS market, and that “the market position of Windows was created by… consumer demand, not Microsoft’s control of total output.”

    Microsoft published a ‘naked PC’ document on its site, urging its OEMs to protect users from themselves by ‘politely declining’ to sell them machines without operating systems preinstalled. Machines without operating systems don’t work, it pithily observed, and by buying them like this users were laying themselves open to the perils of pirate software, viruses and tech support hell.

    You’ll also recall that the delta between the ‘old’ and current (alas now both defunct) versions of the document made it horribly clear that Microsoft was thinking users were a bunch of scummy pirates who’d happily steal Windows if they could, but was striving to find a way of not quite saying this.”

    In U.S. vs. Microsoft, you find

    “Price Restraint Posed by Piracy
    58. Although there is no legal secondary market for Microsoft’s PC operating systems, there is a thriving illegal one. Software pirates illegally copy software products such as Windows, selling each copy for a fraction of the vendor’s usual price. One of the ways Microsoft combats piracy is by advising OEMs that they will be charged a higher price for Windows unless they drastically limit the number of PCs that they sell without an operating system pre-installed. In 1998, all major OEMs agreed to this restriction. Naturally, it is hard to sell a pirated copy of Windows to a consumer who has already received a legal copy included in the price of his new PC system. Thus, Microsoft is able to effectively contain, if not extinguish, the illegal secondary market for its operating-system products. So even though Microsoft is more concerned about piracy than it is about other firms’ operating system products, the company’s pricing is not substantially constrained by the need to reduce the incentives for consumers to acquire their copies of Windows illegally.”

    The further people get from M$, the better their IT infrastructure becomes.

    BTW, you never did answer my question, “How is Linux stack broken?”

    Please tell us, we are waiting.

  18. kurkosdr says:

    Taxs = taxes

  19. kurkosdr says:

    “It pressures consumers into making the choice of anything they want as long as it’s from M$.”

    I ‘ll buy into that, because whatever, your argument is so weak I can accept your point of view and still call nonsense.

    So, here it goes: Microsoft is a deeply evil corporation that strong-arms partner OEMs like Dell, and also strong-arms partner computer shops (online and offline) to offer mostly Windows PCs (or even exclusively Windows PCs).

    STILL, nothing prevents you, the customer choosing where to spend his hard-earned money, to buy from a non-strong-armed shop (online of offline) a computer made from a non-strong-armed OEM. Or choose from the few Linux PC/FreeDOS options that Dell/HP offers.

    As long as it’s possible to buy AT LEAST ONE non-side-imported computer without having to give money to MS for a windows license, then the price of a windows license is not a levy (“tax”). Taxs are applied to all products of a certain product category. Capito?

    PS: And don’t give me the “I meant the word ‘tax’ metaphorically” excuse. That would be using weasel words in their worst form. Aka replacing the word “additional cost to certain models of that product category” (license) with the word tax, which means “additional cost to ALL models of that product category”.

    Stop using the phrase “MS tax” or even “MS levy”! It’s nonsense.

  20. kurkosdr says:

    @pogson

    Yes, I get it, Dell is a close partner of Microsoft, and hence they don’t offer many PCs without Windows. The same may be true for other major OEMs.

    Yes, I get it, if you walk into a computer store, most PCs will have windows pre-installed, because that’s what the majority wants, have been convinced to want, because of backroom deals, evil lock-in, evil marketing, Satya Nadella sarcificing 10-year olds to Beelzebub etc

    I GET IT. Most models of PCs out there have Windows pre-installed. Essentially, for whatever evil reason, PCs with Linux pre-installed are a (relatively) niche product category.

    HOWEVER, you can still buy a product from this (relatively) niche category of Linux PCs, and AVOID the price of a Windows license.

    An “MS tax” on PCs would apply to ALL PCs out there, but this isn’t the case, you can avoid it, so, the price of a windows license is not a frickin’ tax. It’s not even a levy, which would have been the correct word to use if such thing as an “MS levy” existed and FOSSies were smart enough to use the correct word (since MS is a private corporation).

    Do you know what a frickin’ levy is? The extra money you pay for every blank optical disc sold or recorder bought (depending on country). There is no way to get around it for non-side-imported products. That, my friend, is a levy (“tax” in FOSS-speak).

    @ohioham
    Can your little brain understand that the precise licensing terms of HDMI or Windows are not relevant to the conversation? If not, not gonna explain it to you, sorry…

  21. dougman says:

    Linux broken stack? Please elaborate oh guru!

    Windows, by its very name, is synonymous with glass, which IS VERY fragile.

  22. thr says:

    “Unless you use FLOSS everywhere, you cannot maximize productivity.”

    Unless your productivity is directly related to and dependent on commercial tools which are not FLOSS. A good craftsman chooses the right tools, not the cheapest ones (unless “right” and “cheapest” happen to coincide).

  23. kurkosdr wrote, “You can buy a computer running Linux or FreeDOS anytime you want. “

    That may be true for some finite set but the vast majority of PCs available retail in my location are not available with GNU/Linux. e.g. Dell gives hits for a search for “linux” but they recommend that other OS, give hits in the search results to that other OS and only a very few units have a page like this:

    e.g. Dell Optiplex XE2, OK, a most expensive unit. What if you want some other hardware? You can’t have GNU/Linux without paying the tax. OEMs and M$ bundle for a reason. It pressures consumers into making the choice of anything they want as long as it’s from M$. Some of their models found from Dell.ca say GNU/Linux is available only in China. What’s with that?

  24. oiaohm says:

    http://pandoralive.info/?p=3892
    Besides we are starting to see hardware build to support full Linux Distributions in very interesting form factors.

  25. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr HDMI has the most warped licensing going. http://www.hdmi.org/manufacturer/terms.aspx Yes about 5 cents per unit for HDMI(yes that include cables).

    Notice the license change for HDMI 1.x and HDMI 2.x is identical.

    MS tax on computers is far worse than the HDMI cost addition. Really I would like HDMI licensing applied to Microsoft. It would mean pro version would be cheaper than standard. HDMI is warped. HDMI licensing terms used with all parties are nicely printed on a web site.

    Really I don’t like the way Microsoft does business with back room deals where different groups get different prices.

    Then Microsoft breaking standards like Microsoft complier still does not support C Standard 1999. Its a little hard to have fare and open competition when parties decide not to follow standards. A lot of what is called Microsoft tax is more Microsoft not following standards so preventing fair and open competition.

  26. kurkosdr says:

    “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. ”

    Wait… What MS tax? You can buy a computer running Linux or FreeDOS anytime you want.

    Even if you think Linux is of grater value than Windows, and the reason the availability of Windows PCs is bigger is marketing and backroom deals (insert music from The Godfather here), even then, nothing prevents you, the informed customer, to buy a linux PC and enjoy X.org and Linux’s broken stack in their whole glory.

    Also, HP will sell you a PC with FreeDOS if you want to. No “MS tax “.

    Bawing about an MS tax on computers is like bawing about an HDMI tax on HDTVs, because most TVs ship with HDMI. Sorry, that’s what the majority wants (or was convinced to want according to your worldview), and most devices cater to the majority. Sorry dude, that’s how the free market works. But the good thing about the free market is not being forced to buy the same thing as the majority buys, so you can avoid the price of a Windows license.

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