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Linux Business

Journal Journal: Everything Points to GNU/Linux in the New Year.

2007 has seen major shifts in IT:
  • Dell dipped its toe in the GNU/Linux pool again
  • Walmart is selling Everex GNU/Linux boxes
  • ASUS eee PC was designed for the low price range and GNU/Linux
  • NovellSoft has perked up Novell's business a notch
  • SCOG v World is winding down with a humiliating defeat for M$
  • Quad core is taking off although AMD had a hiccough
  • Samba/M$ deal resulted from the EU order against M$
  • Vista flopped, a big enough belly-flop to get everyone in the pool to notice.
  • Migrations to GNU/Linux are happening so frequently they barely make the news anymore.

What this all means is that barriers to entry for GNU/Linux are dropping like the Berlin Wall. A flood has broken through. It is not clear the numbers but it is huge. The Vista flop and the announced intention to kill XP really puts the pressure on IT. The longer IT waits to migrate to Vista, the more its warts become visible and the more choices for GNU/Linux will be made. Education and goverments are looking at .ODF and GNU/Linux fits that nicely. Why sweat a migration to Vista when many have gone to GNU/Linux and reaped the benefits immediately? The magnitude of the Vista flop is huge. Less than half the PCs that have been produced this year went to Vista. That means customers are choosing an obsolete OS from 2001 rather than the best M$ can ship. GNU/Linux is a modern, secure, modular, reliable OS they can use for little cost. It is a temptation many will not resist, especially if they are in the majority needing a fairly basic desktop for word-processing and browsing. With web-apps being so widespread, this makes migration a peach.

Almost as big a wave as the Vista flop, the eee PC is selling out promptly around the world. It is a cute, attractive, useful product based on GNU/Linux. Consumers are demonstrating that they want usability, not products from M$. Pre-installation makes that an easy choice. ASUS plans to sell millions this year. How can other OEMs ignore that? ASUS needed a niche in which to be first and they did a great job. That will ripple through the already heated portable market. It can reach into schools. It will be seen on the street, on public transportation, and in schools where young people are very competitive with their peers. ASUS has made themselves a good head start on the market.

A smaller wave, but very significant for business, is the quad core processors. This makes terminal servers and application servers almost necessary. There is no way the vast majority of desktops can use that kind of power. We have to move to thin clients and terminal servers. That ends the Wintel treadmill. GNU/Linux works well on terminal servers and does not have a per-seat licence. AMD and VIA make fantastic processors for thin clients, the Geode and the Epia. China is ramping up production of thin clients for around $100/seat now. That pushes M$ out of the market unless they cut prices seriously and make a better product for terminal services. Vista will not cut it.

M$ has shown themselves incapable of producing a release on schedule and under budget. How can they respond to these waves in the pool? Lower prices? That will never squeeze Vista into the existing stock of PCs and the new, smaller devices of today. Reviving XP? Where is the revenue? Oops, the money train has derailed and M$ did it mostly on their own.

2007 probably resulted in a doubling of GNU/Linux installations world wide. There is no telling what the eventual market share will be but the monopoly is ended. The head of the dinosaur is just too far from the grassroots to notice yet.

Operating Systems

Journal Journal: Job was lame

My new job was lame. During the interview I was told my technical expertise would be respected. I set up my LAN with LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project) on an AMD64 with 2gB RAM and 200 gB storage. I showed students the variety and virtues of GNU/Linux in the Debian distro and was shocked to find they preferred that other OS, XP, not for any valid reason, but because they could escape the scrutiny of my kid filter and process watching. The bosses even said the students should use Windows. I was disgusted. They actually want to use obsolete software from 2001 instead of current stuff. This is the first time in six years I have been told to use Windows. I even made long lists of advantages of Linux and documented its use in other schools and businesses, to no avail. The technicians in charge of the Windows system have not been able to provide accounts and printing services routinely for months. My Linux system has been running very smoothly.

I have given notice and will be out of here in two weeks. Time to find another job...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Time to go back to work.

I go back to work on Monday, but I have a week to ease myself into the new job.

I find it stressful making changes but I love it, too. It can make me feel young which is getting harder each year. Meeting new people, places and systems is always overwhelming but it eventually gets done and I do my thing which is making the world a better place wherever I go.

I will be head computergeek/instructor in a remote location. If things go smoothly, I may be loved or ignored. If things go poorly, I am never ignored. Fortunately, I use Linux as much as possible and things usually go well. In six years of using Linux I have only had one installation go poorly and that was a minor problem compared to the nightmare of that other OS. Last fall, I had a system refuse logins occasionally and shed users when they logged out. No one lost any data, and the problem was fixed with an upgrade.

I think the learning curve of Linux has taken about five years from being a complete newbie to having several solutions to any problem. At this stage, I enjoy passing on the knowledge and showing the magic to new crops of newbies. My only regret is that few of my students catch the fire of Linux as I have. Maybe they are just smouldering and will burst into flame later...

In the first staff meeting I intend to demonstrate how an old doorstop can seem to come to life when used as a thin client of a powerful Linux application server. If that does not knock their socks off, nothing will. Students have always liked it. Staff are sometimes cool. This is a bigger school. I could have hundreds of potential converts. :-)

User Journal

Journal Journal: It is a Great Day to be a Computergeek!

I built a server in January. I paid $100 CDN for 512 MB RAM. Today, I can get it for $50 CDN. Motherboards, hard drives and CDs are also cheaper. The 64 bit CPUs from AMD are coming down, too. Debian Sarge is down to 100 critical bugs, and I find it useable now.

Unfortunately, my employer hates computers and does not appreciate the 100 gB of static and dynamic stuff I serve in my department. When I arrived last year, there was not even a server. I took a stack of "obsolete" machines and some cat5 cable and made things happen. No good. I and my server will work elsewhere in the fall. I offered to leave the server behind for the next guy. No. My replacement was in town for a week and did not even look at it.

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