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SteamBox: Sabayons version of the Steam Machine

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So while Valve Software is still working on the Steam Machine, you can download this edition of Sabayon Linux, burn it to a DVD (it’s a 1.4 GB ISO file) or transfer it to a USD stick, boot it from any computer, and enjoy your “Steam Machine.” read more...
permapage | score:9976 | -finid, May 13, 2014

Can we all agree with the Linux Deepin way of innovation?

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The same principle, in my view, applies, or should apply, to Linux on the desktop. End-users first. Give users a distribution that just works, so that they can get stuff done without needing to learn how the system works. Of course, those who need to get digital grease on their hands have the option to do just that, if that’s what they want. read more...
permapage | score:9973 | -finid, April 28, 2014

CyanogenMod, the rest of the story

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To outsiders like me, the announcement of the formation of Cyanogen, Inc. was a bit of a surprise. And the fact that the company succeeded in raising millions of venture capital (VC) funds was even more surprising. read more...
permapage | score:9951 | -finid, March 24, 2014

Pre-release Ubuntu 12.10 has partial support for manual LVM and disk encryption

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Today, I took another look at a daily build of Ubuntu 12.10 to see how far the coders have come in implementing manual LVM and disk encryption. Here is what I found: read more...
permapage | score:9704 | -finid, September 27, 2012

I quit using Linux because…

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Once in a while, a prominent or not so prominent member of the Linux community makes a switch – for one reason or the other – to another operating system, usually to Mac OS X. The latest is Denis Koryavov, the former GUI Development lead for ROSA Laboratory, a Linux software solutions provider based in Russia and the publisher of ROSA Linux. read more...
permapage | score:9535 | -finid, August 13, 2013

ARM-based EMB-2500: Like Raspberry Pi, but much better

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With the EMB-2500, SATA storage connectivity has come to an ITX form-factor, single-board SoC computer. read more...
permapage | score:9507 | -finid, April 30, 2013

Librenix T-Shirts and Coffee Mugs!

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For today's example of my (semi)elite C programming skilz, I submit for your inspection the Librenix T-Shirts! Yes, I created the images on these shirts and coffee mugs entirely with C code. While the code isn't up to the standards *cough* of my open source Space Tyrant project, at least the output is colorful and not entirely textual!


click either image to see the T-Shirts, Coffee Mugs, etc.

(If you like the images but don't care for 'librenix' on your shirt, these same styles are available for all 50 US state names as well as with the signs of the zodiac here)

(and here are some modern prints)
mail this link | permapage | score:9475 | -Ray, June 6, 2010 (Updated: May 13, 2014)

This is not just about your personal privacy

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To those people, there’s nothing you can say to convince them that a violation of privacy is a violating of privacy, whether the victim(s) have something to hide or not. But worse than that, they fail to see that this matter has implications that go beyond personal privacy. read more...
permapage | score:9427 | -finid, September 7, 2013

Usability, user-friendliness and the Linux desktop

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He makes a somewhat valid point, but he’s attempting to draw a hard boundary between usability and user-friendliness, forgetting that one derives from the other. If you build a “usable” system, people will tend to say that it is “user-friendly,” regardless of the technical capabilities of the users. read more...
permapage | score:9418 | -finid, September 6, 2013

Linux dominates Windows

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Linux dominates Windows -- and everything else -- on supercomputers in 2010. Microsoft's renowned engineering quality and down-to-earth pricing shows brilliantly in its capturing 1% of the top 500 supercomputer projects. Perhaps next year, utilizing all the organizational pressure they can bring to bear, they can retain 0.8%.

Formal Unix, now long dead*, controls 4.4%. Meanwhile, Linux is now installed on 91% of the remaining 95% of top systems. Add in the single BSD system and you have Unix-like systems (Unix+Linux+BSD) accounting for 95.6% of the top supercomputer projects. The remaining 3.4% of are 'mixed' systems and may also contain significant percentages of Unix and Linux.

There are many reasons for Linux' success. Among the top factors are surely these four, in no particular order:
  • Price (starting at free)
  • Quality (excellent code, Unix-based design)
  • Hardware Support (most all modern quality gear is supported)
  • Open Source (open to tinkering -- and redistributable)
Check my math on the top 500 systems here.

*Of course, counting functional Unix systems while ignoring the trademarked term, Unix is clearly not dead since Linux is one of the truest of the true Unix work-alike systems. Linux is, of course, the reason formal Unix has suffered such a precipitous decline. Many Unix users just switched flavors -- and Linux was a most appealing flavor.
mail this link | permapage | score:9398 | -Ray, June 2, 2010

Ubuntu is not a community distribution

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What most people fail to realize is this: Ubuntu is a suite of operating systems (Desktop, Server, Cloud, and Touch) sponsored by a company called Canonical Ltd. And Canonical is a commercial entity with employees, paid employees. As such, any decision taken by its management is taken with the commercial interest of the company front and center. read more...
permapage | score:9384 | -finid, March 25, 2013

Install Apache2, PHP5, MySQL on CentOS 5.7

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LAMP is short for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP. This tutorial shows how you can install an Apache2 webserver on a CentOS 5.7 server with PHP5 support (mod_php) and MySQL support. read more...
permapage | score:9375 | -falko, December 11, 2011

Microsoft Surface RT is an Unmitigated Disaster

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And after the company successfully locked out Linux distributions from ARM tablets running Windows RT, any bad news streaming from Steve Ballmer’s office is sweet music to my ears. read more...
permapage | score:9367 | -finid, August 16, 2013

Currency Traders Telnet Game

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A new, large Currency Traders game is up. To connect enter the following command from an xterm, konsole, or other terminal/command line window:

[link removed]

It runs on port 23, just like traditional telnet. It's free to play and no software is required to play. All you need is an internet connection.

This is an old-school, no-graphics strategy game. All you need is a telnet client to play -- and every modern operating system comes with one. It's free and you can play anonymously. Just choose a name and a password and log in. If you don't know what to do, just press your H key for a Hint and a context-sensitive Tip.

This game is played in a persistent world where whatever you build, buy, or otherwise 'acquire' in the game will still be there tomorrow. Unless you make an enemy of another player, that is. PVP (player-versus-player) is always enabled here so other players can attack your deployed fortifications -- or even, heaven forbid, you.

This is a turn-based game that can be played any time of the day, night, or week. Each player is issued a certain amount of energy (turns) per day that is used to travel, trade, or play at the arcade in the several Malls. If you don't use your turns, they accumulate for as much as several months -- so there's no disadvantage to skipping a day or even a few weeks.


(Try the [read more] link if you want to see something similar, a text-based mmorpg)
read more...
mail this link | permapage | score:9349 | -Ray, January 23, 2013 (Updated: May 13, 2014)

CoolShip Android all-in-keyboard computer

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But this one is unlike other Android units. It’s not in a USB stick, but in a keyboard with most of the connectivity of a standard desktop or notebook computer. read more...
permapage | score:9274 | -finid, February 26, 2013

Linux vs. Windows: Why Linux will win

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One of the oft-mentioned weaknesses of Linux, fragmentation, just happens to be one of its greatest strengths. A broad range of choices in an immature market is a good thing. Of course, choice does come at a cost. For example, there may be no standard way to do a particular task. Further, development resources will sometimes be split among two or more projects. However, these are weaknesses in the short term only.

One could similarly argue that evolution of species suffers from the same 'weakness' of fragmentation. However, in the long term, the survival and consolidation of the best traits results in an improved breed. Eventually, one of the many approaches to some desktop task will rise to dominance and show the market the right way to do it, and, at the same time, reduce the fragmentation problem.

Based on my observations, business continuity considerations are starting to place more emphasis on portable data formats and protocols. Relational databases, contrasted with the counter examples provided by Microsoft formats, are helping to raise awareness of the value of portable data.

For a private business to blithely entrust their data to proprietary formats and protocols is irresponsible at best. For a public company to do so can be looked upon as a breach of the shareholder's trust; an unnecessary liability. It's quietly overlooked now partly because of the ubiquity of the practice and partly because no Microsoft-dependent organization wants to point out a liability from which they also suffer. This situation will change with growing awareness of the problem and as the Linux-plus-free-applications option makes vendor lock-in increasingly harder to justify. The time is coming when the stock market will recognize and reward data independence among public companies.

Linux is entrenched in the server world. That provides a huge opportunity to expand into more and larger server niches. It also provides a small contributing stream of desktop users in influential places.

Major market shifts, when limited by ingrained attitudes, are generational. It takes the replacement of one generation by the next for a market to complete such a transition. Even after Linux comes to dominate in new installations, there will naturally be Windows holdouts for many years, in both homes and organizations. This diehard tenacity is not an unexpected sign of strength, but it will be interpreted as such by a certain class of industry analysts for many years.

The IT industry has an inertia that is almost unimaginable to someone who hasn't spent significant time immersed in it. Application systems built on one operating system or architecture are extremely expensive to port to an unrelated OS or architecture. While this effect does slow the uptake of Linux in business, it also prevents a sudden loss of the Linux market share. But, mostly, it masks the rise of Linux so that it is possible for much of the IT industry to simply ignore its growth. I think that this effect of the slow and gradual adoption of Linux is the main support for the ‘Windows has won the desktop’ analysts’ arguments.

Linux is free as in ‘free beer’. Yes, you can buy it -- and many do -- but when you pay money for Linux you are really buying something else: support, non-free components, and convenience, to name a few. The reality, however, is that Linux is as free as you need it to be.

Linux is also open. It can be extended, embedded, and used as needed without restrictive licenses and without fear of vendor lock-in. This characteristic of Linux can only improve Linux’s profile with each business continuity study and proprietary counter example. The significant restrictions of Linux’s license, the GNU General Public License (GPL), establish rules of redistribution, not limitations of use.

Linux is also scalable -- but just what does that mean? Scalability runs in several directions. To say an OS is scalable doesn't simply mean that it scales to very large systems. Rather, scale refers to the entire range from the very small to the very large. It refers not just to the vertical dimension but also to the horizontal, across arrays of clustered systems. On this measure, Linux truly excels. Linux powers an amazing range of systems, from tiny devices to supercomputers. Of the several operating systems that scale to very large systems, Linux seems to be the one destined to own the small end of the size spectrum.

Security may be even more important than scalability to the IT industry. Security concerns are also gaining mind share among home users as identity theft becomes more widespread. SELinux is beginning to be integrated into major Linux distributions -- which will expand the number of security-conscious IT shops that can deploy it. At the same time, Windows has spawned a healthy industry dedicated to screening out viruses and worms.

I believe that Microsoft's practice of neglecting security is one of the biggest reasons for Firefox's phenomenal success, just as it is steadily contributing to Linux’s growth.

Meanwhile, there are a few features that many Linux distributions are still missing out of the box. As each of those areas is addressed, end-user Linux adoption will increase. As this process adds to the size of the Linux installed base, the newly enlarged base will increase the value of solving other such problems, continuing to fuel the positive feedback loop. As Linux reaches ‘critical mass’, almost all of the other arguments against Linux will fall, one by one. For example, when major vendors start offering preconfigured Linux systems to home desktop users, one of the most persistent complaints against Linux, that ‘it is hard to install’, will become irrelevant. As many readers surely realize, Windows is difficult to install as well. The difference is that users generally don't have to install Windows. It comes preinstalled, and with a preconfigured 'restore' CD. The implication of this is that as Linux approaches critical mass, its period of fastest growth may still lie ahead!

Meanwhile, Microsoft's desktop network effect advantage is weakening due to cross platform software packages such as Firefox, OpenOffice, and, for programmers, gcc.

Even some game makers could conceivably abandon Windows by releasing custom Linux LiveCD versions of their games. Granted, there might need to be some embedded graphics support, but this need not be an insurmountable problem since many games only support a limited number of graphics adapters anyway.

Linux has a certain ‘coolness factor’ that appeals disproportionately to young people. Further, Linux is strongest among the technological elite, i.e., those who help and advise others, run websites, write code, and generally set technology trends. This slice of the market is more important to the future than their numbers suggest

Microsoft has, as they say in politics, ‘high negatives’. That is, a substantial percentage of people very much dislike Microsoft. These people will go to considerable efforts to avoid buying or using Microsoft products as alternative products become more visible.

Capitalism, like open source, is relentless and efficiency based. A central planner can never fully predict a market's evolution -- yet capitalism moves in lockstep with it. In much the same way, various Linux distributions will be born and die as desktop evolution relentlessly marches on. Even the current 'Linus' branch of the kernel can and will be replaced (forked) if it doesn't follow the main market closely enough. The ‘planned economy’ of Microsoft is at a disadvantage when facing the evolutionary dynamics of the laissez faire open source bazaar.

Compounding the problem for Microsoft, Linux is poised and ready to pounce upon any new, Windows-incompatible, hardware platform; perhaps IBM’s upcoming cell processor will be the next Linux success story. Linux runs on almost everything and gets quickly ported to new hardware. Linux is agile, Microsoft is not.

Microsoft's biggest remaining asset is probably the vendor lock-in ‘feature’ of Microsoft Office. Of course, that lock-in is also one of the biggest reasons not to use Microsoft Office. As free office suites achieve acceptable levels of command, feature, and file compatibility with MS Office, more and more user’s desktops will become available to Linux. Microsoft will, as always, try to leverage their current lock-in into future lock-in. But with the pace of office software development slowing as the market nears saturation, that is easier said than done. Changing Office to render a competitor incompatible will also hinder older versions of Office, creating more ill will. Also, if a competitor ever does achieve close compatibility with the current version of Office, customers will have the option of jumping to the competitor if Microsoft changes the file formats. With bad timing or a bit of bad luck, such a lock-in maneuver by Microsoft runs the risk of hastening the abandonment of Office.

Microsoft has always shrewdly leveraged their network effect and mind share advantage to maintain themselves and grow. They will continue to use this strength -- but they face many hazards. They must correctly identify the real threats early enough to fight and nullify them. Microsoft can win many battles and still lose the war. They simply can't win all the battles and yet their relentless adversary, Linux, can lose battles indefinitely and still come back to win the war. Unfortunately for Microsoft, ‘Linux’ doesn’t need to make a profit and can’t be put out of business by an upside down balance sheet.

Linux does, however, have one looming vulnerability. Microsoft could possibly kill Linux with some unwitting help from the Linux kernel team or the open source applications development community. Governments, through trademark, copyright, and patent law, wield such power over common business practices that runaway software patents -- like those now being issued in the US -- could kill off commercial Linux use and support in affected countries. For example, heavy participation in a scenario such as this one could lead to a near-death experience for Linux. This scenario, though, is best classified as a government action. Linux has already penetrated so many niches that the chances of Microsoft rooting it out via market mechanisms seem pretty slim.

And, no, Linux isn't yet ready for every desktop that Windows occupies. However, it wasn't long ago that Linux wasn't ready for many server roles either. The server situation has changed drastically just as the desktop situation is now changing. The desktop will change more slowly since it is not transparent to the user, but similar forces are pushing it inexorably forward. Each year new niches are added to the Linux desktop installed base and other, more established, niches grow. With each such increment of desktop growth, another marginal niche becomes viable. A few more years of this growth and the big market niches will gradually go from inaccessible to marginal to viable to dominated. No, Linux can’t yet replace Windows, but time is on Linux’s side.

Meanwhile, if you’re impatient, you can help to speed things up. Help a friend install Firefox or OpenOffice.org. Give a Windows user a Knoppix CD to play with or install a Desktop Linux distribution on their 'old' machine and show them a software repository full of nice, friendly, and free binary applications. If you’re a programmer, find an open source project that interests you and lend a hand.
mail this link | permapage | score:9252 | -Ray, May 8, 2005 (Updated: May 13, 2005)

Tutorial: Replace Windows with Pinguy OS 11.10

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This tutorial shows how you can set up a Pinguy OS 11.10 desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge. read more...
permapage | score:9245 | -falko, December 14, 2011

The problem with NoSQL databases

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Ultimately, using a NoSQL database will have an impact on the adoption of Free Software Web applications that use such a database. If you are trying to develop a Web application, that’s something to think about. read more...
permapage | score:9231 | -finid, July 26, 2013

Google Chromecast and the new Nexus 7

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The Chromecast is not an original idea, but are their any original ideas left in this arena. Cynically, the question is, how many backdoors are there in this thing? read more...
permapage | score:9192 | -finid, July 25, 2013

The Coming HTML 5 Revolution in Linux

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I have spent the last couple of weeks working on a very ambitious C++ program. The program is a software model of a mechanical engineering system. I have never undertaken a more challenging or more rewarding computer programming project. As I spent hour after hour poring over the code, I began to realize why everyone is making such a fuss about HTML 5. read more...
permapage | score:9177 | -aweber, December 13, 2011
More news articles...
Large Abstract Art with Fine Details and Textures

Selected articles

The Real Microsoft Monopoly

Microsoft to push unlicensed users to Linux

The Network Computer: An opportunity for Linux

Tutorial: Introduction to Linux files

How to install Ubuntu Linux on the decTOP SFF computer

Why software sucks

Scripting: A parallel Linux backup script

Shadow.sh: A simple directory shadowing script for Linux

Programming Language Tradeoffs: 3GL vs 4GL

Why Programmers are not Software Engineers

Graffiti Server Download Page

Testing the Digital Ocean $5 Cloud Servers with an MMORPG

Linux dominates Windows

Space Tyrant: A threaded game server project in C

Apple to Intel move no threat to Linux

Missing the point of the Mac Mini

Download: Linux 3D Client for Starship Traders

VPS: Xen vs. OpenVZ

Space Tyrant: Multithreading lessons learned on SMP hardware

Mono-culture and the .NETwork effect

Linux vs. Windows: Why Linux will win

Space Tyrant: A threaded C game project: First Code

The short life and hard times of a Linux virus

MiniLesson: An introduction to Linux in ten commands

Beneficial Computer Viruses

The Supreme Court is wrong on Copyright Case

No, RMS, Linux is not GNU/Linux

Librenix T-Shirts and Coffee Mugs!

The life cycle of a programmer

Space Tyrant: A multiplayer network game for Linux

Hacker Haiku

Closed Source Linux Distribution Launched

Apple DIY Repair

 

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Articles are owned by their authors.   © 2000-2012 Ray Yeargin