The Technocracy

Who will win the Battle for your Desktop?

Maxipads vs iPads

I am about as interested in the iPad as I am in Maxipads. I’m not against them, I’m actually quite for them. I understand that a large majority of the population probably prefers Maxipads. Another group probably hates them. There’s probably discussions about the benefits of Maxipads vs. Minipad vs. Tampons. I don’t think about them. I don’t plan on buying any unless someone asks real nicely. I just really don’t need any Maxipads or even think about them since, you know, I have a penis and shit.

But you know why Maxipads are better than iPads? Because the people who buy Maxipads don’t fucking talk about them all day!

Seriously, when it comes to the iPad there’s two people who just need to STFU.

Groupies who want Steve Jobs inside their fanginas know that this is just a giant iPhone. Suck it up. It’s nothing revolutionary and that’s perfectly great. It’s just a simple consumer device and you’ll love it no matter what so quit pretending like it’s as revolutionary as when they made BSD look nice or when they switched to faster Intel CPUs. Apple’s good at getting your little fangina wet so fantasize about it and twiddle your “little man in the canoe” until it comes out.

Haters also need to STFU about the openness. Answer this: Do you know anyone using a fucking tablet PC? No? You know why? Because there is no market for tablet PCs. At least not until Apple just created it for you. You should be thankful. You see, just like AOL vs. Internet, the very first company to market can make a lot of money with a walled garden. The regular Joe’s who will buy these things just want shit to work and will pay for that convenience. Of course Apple’s going to make this thing a walled garden. Big fucking deal since that’ll create consumers ready for something more.

Just like AOL vs. Internet, this means there will be a shift in about 2-5 years when the market for tablets that Apple just created finally realizes that walled gardens blow. It’ll probably be the day they find out that they can get porn on the Dell or HP tablet because it has Flash. Or that they can steal all their music with Bittorrent instead of buying it from iTunes (that piece of shit).

So, instead of fucking bitching and griping in your best Comic Book Guy voice about how it’s not open, you should close your nerd trap and get off your ass to make the successor to the iPad. By the time you get something that works well, the market Apple has created and neutered will be ready for something better.

But please, do it right this time and make that shit actually easy to use. In fact, if you make it so programmers hate it then regular people will fucking love it.

May 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Would MS linux help or harm? codeplex gives us clues to their plan.

The immediate usefulness of Linux running under Windows is obvious. You can use all the Windows drivers for all the peripherals that don’t run under Linux. Drivers have always been an issue with Linux as PC users have gotten spoiled with Windows driver support. Today’s user wants to grab just about anything and not worry about installing it and making it work. It would be great in one  way if there was an MS-linux vendors and hardware manufacturers would take linux seriously and driver support would  be much better.The idea here would be to cut the driver layer out of Windows and attach it to Linux directly. This would become MS-Linux. But the drawback would be that If Microsoft actually produced an MS-Linux that was the standard Linux attached to the driver layer of Windows, giving users full Plug and Play (PnP) support of all their peripherals, nobody would buy any other Linux on the market until the said drivers filterd down to other distros. Well, except for the fact that Microsoft would be unable to produce such a product without allowing the other vendors access to the driver code as part of the open-source Linux license arrangement (GPL). You can be sure that Microsoft lawyers are studying this as closely as possible to see if there is any way they could market a dominant Linux distribution without having to be a fair and noble company. So how could they do this?

Microsoft has been leery of doing too much with Linux because with all the freedom of the licenses and the possibility that one false move would make a Microsoft product public domain(which would be good for users they say they care about) at worst, or subject to the GPL at best. As far as old-school software companies are concerned, the GPL—the GNU General Public License—is a ridiculous pain to deal with, especially if you have a unique invention that you want to bring to the party—and want to make money doing so as oppossed to making your money via support like redhat or ubuntu’s parent company canonical.

microsoft has been playing with various ways to avoid bumping into the GPL while using Linux in proprietary applications. Thus evolved the concept of a shim. Anyone who has done anything mechanical is familiar with the shim. It’s usually something that is jammed into a space to shore it up or make something less loose, such as a matchbook jammed under a table leg to keep the table from wobbling.

With software, the idea is to create some sort of code that is jammed into Linux and whose sole purpose is to let some proprietary code run under Linux without actually “touching” Linux in any way that would subject the proprietary code to the GPL. This would include mechanisms that alter the internals of Linux without having to publish the code and changes as open-source or allow them to be used by others, as is required by the GPL.

Everyone in the business has been trying to cheat the Linux GPL for years, and this shim idea seems to have the earmarks of something that might work. Microsoft knows this, Oracle knows this, everyone knows this.

There is also codeplex.com, a project hosting site, whose list of allowed licenses excludes GNU GPL version 3. Perhaps this reflects the fact that GPL version 3 is designed to protect a program’s free software status from being subverted by Microsoft’s patents through deals like the Novell-Microsoft pact. We don’t know that the CodePlex Foundation will try to discourage GPL version 3, but it would fit Microsoft’s pattern.

That comes from the backwards  mentality that open software cant be commercial(ask redhat if their software is or is not commercial). Every business is by definition commercial, so all software developed by a business–whether free or proprietary–is automatically commercial software. But there is a widespread public confusion between “commercial software” and “proprietary software”. (See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html.)

This confusion is a serious problem because it falsely claims free software business to be impossible. Many software companies already contribute to free software, and these commercial contributions are quite useful. Perhaps Microsoft would like people to assume these facts are impossible.

Based on these facts, we can see that CodePlex will encourage developers not to think about freedom. It will subtly spread the idea that free software business is impossible without the support of a proprietary software company like Microsoft. However, it may convince some proprietary software companies to release additional free software. Will that be a contribution to computer users’ freedom?

It will be, if the software thus contributed works well on free platforms, in free environments. But that is just the opposite of what Microsoft has said it seeks to achieve.

If Microsoft is serious about CodePlex.org’s task and charter, they need to start eating their own dog food and embrace open source in its whole, allowing people outside of Microsoft to contribute to code inside of Microsoft. Until Microsoft releases a version of a high-profile piece of software developed in collaboration and in a dialogue with the Open Source community, they won’t get any credibility with regard to Open Source

So why is Microsoft helping sponsor a new Open Source foundation? The lessons Microsoft has learned over the years working with open source are valuable for any commercial company to benefit from. The CodePlex Foundation, unlike other open source foundations like Mozilla, Apache, Eclipse, etc. is focused on enabling collaboration among commercial companies and open source communities in a license and technology independent way. CodePlex Foundation is complementary to these other foundations, as well as a competitor. I’m hopeful that the Foundation will enable more participation by Microsoft and other commercial companies in the many existing and new open source projects that are coming down the road but i doubt it.

I  have  one particular community or space in mind source forge has done a good job keeping the opensorce movement going. It just seems to me the creation of the codeplex foundation was done w/o itself being an open project. Maybe I am suspicious but it seems too often MS is too self-serving when talking open source or so it appears.

I also keep hearing the phrase “commercial” used which is not in the spirit of open source. Sure, folks make money with OSS but the groups the projects come from are not created to be commercial. It would seem to me the foundation would get going better if this was not a principal goal.

Windows is feeling the preasure from the nix family

I hope this works out well but being open in the development of this will be needed along with support from as many outside MS OSS projects and communities as possible.

And the last thing to ask is  why would M$ even try to make a linux distro? well 78% of the  net sits on top of some member of the nix family. and microsofts share of that market has been slipping since  the NT days. In Web-server software, Microsoft has 20% of the fast-growing market, while the free Apache program, a Linux variant, has 70%–worth $6 billion in revenue had Microsoft gotten the sales.

Microsoft is also facing a number of long-term threats to its business, including Google Inc.’s (GOOG) online Apps, which perform similar tasks to Microsoft’s Office suite. And as many move to linux to cut cost they would rather give them THERE linux than let them go to  redhat.

April 24, 2010 Posted by | License wars, Os wars, Tech Watch | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Microsoft gear made from exploited labor

Microsoft says it has launched an investigation into labor practices at a Chinese factory following a report alleging the vendor used large numbers of teenagers working in harsh conditions for low pay to build the company’s mice and other products.

The investigation follows a report from the Pittsburgh-based National Labor Committee that found the KYE facility in Dongguan City, Guangdong, China allegedly uses significant amounts of teenage labor and has workers laboring as much as 80.5 hours a week for wages that amount to just over 50 cents an hour in take-home pay.

The National Labor Committee uses this photo at the top of its report alleging harsh working conditions at a China factory that makes Microsoft mice and other accessories.

(Credit: National Labor Committee)

“We are like prisoners,” one worker told the NLC, according to the report. “It seems like we live only to work. We do not work to live. We do not live a life, only work.”

Workers are required to make 2,000 mice during a 12-hour shift, the report said and are prohibited from using the bathroom or getting up to drink water other than during their 10-minute, unpaid, breaks. I won’t try to summarize everything that is in the report, but it’s pretty rough stuff and worth a read. The NLC also posted on Flickr a collection of photos said to be from the plant.

“We are aware of the NLC report, and we have commenced an investigation,” Microsoft said in a statement. “We take these claims seriously, and we will take appropriate remedial measures in regard to any findings of vendor misconduct.”

The company said it “is committed to the fair treatment and safety of workers employed by our vendors” and said it works to ensure all vendors uphold its code of conduct. Microsoft declined to say how long it has used KYE as a contractor or comment beyond its statement.

Among the provisions in Microsoft’s code of conduct (PDF) is one that says contractors must “comply with all local and national minimum working age laws or regulations and not utilize child labor.”

“Vendors cannot employ anyone under the age of 15, under the age for completing compulsory education or under the legal minimum working age for employment, whichever is oldest,” the code reads. “Microsoft only supports the development of legitimate workplace apprenticeship programs for the educational benefit of younger people and will not do business with those who abuse such systems. Workers under the age of 18 cannot perform hazardous work and may be restricted from night work, with consideration given to educational needs.”

Microsoft is not the only company to use KYE to make its goods, although the report says workers estimate Microsoft accounts for 30 percent of the company’s business. KYE also makes hardware for companies including Hewlett-Packard, Best Buy, Samsung, and Acer, according to the NLC.

And other U.S. companies have come under fire for conditions at vendors in China and elsewhere that make their products. In 2006, for example, Apple launched a probe into conditions at a factory that makes the company’s iPods.

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apple is Part of the Proprietary Thought Police

Apple as Big Brother

Summary: Apple demonstrates one of the biggest dangers of proprietary software which tells the user what to do, rather than the other way around

DISSENT is vital to democracy. It is the means by which opposition can express itself, ideally without being intimidated, silenced, or even punished. Freedom of expression is necessary to ensure that people defend their basic rights and maintain their freedoms. This is why proprietary software vendors — those which act as gatekeepers on our own computer hardware — are often a barrier to democracy. They are enemies of free thought.

Last year we learned from Amazon’s remote deletion of books that proprietary software can control people’s reading lists and also the sharing of ideas. Amazon in general is hostile towards desktop GNU/Linux and as Greg Laden has just put it:

There is a Kindle reader application for the PC (and the Mac and the iPod touch). But not Linux. Which makes us sad because without Linux, your Kindle wouldn’t even turn on.

But despite this deeply insulting unforgivable slight by Steve Bozo or whatever his name is, diligent supergeeks have solved this problem temporarily. The problem is, as usual, the Intertubes are full of people who know diddley squat but don’t seem to understand that, so you will find ample instructions to make the Kindle for PC work on your Linux computer, and you will have very little success.

Amazon does several other things to discriminate against GNU/Linux, especially after it hired many executives from Microsoft. And for what it’s worth, IBM is no angel either. As Justin Ryan from Linux Journal puts it:

Fueling the fire was the inclusion in said letter of a list of patents — including two covered by IBM’s 2005 Non-Assertion Pledge. The increasingly common fury was not slow in arriving.

So what’s really going on? Very little. If one looks at the supposed “threat” letter — the full text — the real story becomes clear. The letter in question is actually one of four, part of an exchange between TurboHercules SAS (the company) and IBM, initiated by TurboHercules last fall.

The suits at the newly-formed TurboHercules SAS wrote to IBM last July, setting out what they planned to offer, and requesting IBM’s blessing for their venture. That wasn’t all they asked for, however — the letter also requested that IBM develop a special commercial license to allow TurboHercules’ customers to run legal copies of z/OS. (IBM does not license z/OS for use on non-IBM hardware, similar to Apple’s licensing of OS X.)

The similarity between IBM’s licence and Apple’s licence is worth noticing. Both are hardware companies and they limit what can run on the hardware or what hardware their software can run on. This is an attack on people’s freedom even as buyers, IBM’s bad attitude towards software patents aside. But Apple’s attack on people’s computer freedom is still expanding to an attack on free speech, which in turn is like an attack on democracy.

According to this article from Wired Magazine, Apple is doing it again.

Editorial cartoonist Mark Fiore may be good enough to win this year’s Pulitzer Prize, but he’s evidently too biting to get past the auditors who run Apple’s iPhone app store, who ruled that lampooning public figures violated its terms of service.

This received a huge deal of unwanted attention [1, 2, 3] even though Apple has been behaving like this for years. Slashdot says that only backlash from the public led to a reversal from Apple. But still, Apple should be ashamed of itself. Groklaw tried to defend Apple on previous occasions when it did this (arguing that Apple tried to shield itself from lawsuits), but Apple is walking on a thin rope if it takes this role of censor who determines what content is “acceptable” and what content is “forbidden” and thus blocked altogether. The solution is for Apple not to be the middleman and to just let people install whatever they want on the device they paid for. Then, there’s no liability to worry about. █

“What really worries me is that the courts might choose a muddled half-measure—by approving an interpretation of “indecent” that permits the doctor program or a statement of the decency rules, but prohibits some of the books that any child can browse through in the public library. Over the years, as the Internet replaces the public library, some of our freedom of speech will be lost.”

Richard Stallman, 1996

April 18, 2010 Posted by | Os wars, Tech Watch | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

End of Support for Windows Vista with No Services Packs

I just wanted to remind readers that  Windows Vista with no Service Packs (also known as RTM) will no longer be supported. We recommend folks running Windows Vista RTM look at upgrading to Windows 7 or using Windows Update to update their PC to the latest service pack available for Windows Vista today – Service Pack 2. For more information on this and a change to our Service Pack Support Policy on providing limited troubleshooting on unsupported service pack versions, see this blog post on the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Blog or visit this end of support page on Windows.com to learn more about how to ensure your PC is on the latest service pack.

This is really a bad news for the users using Windows Vista with no Service Pack. Vista is definitely the worst OS windows have developed. I think windows should offer the OS for free just like Linux  and bsds are. People now are completely abandoned by M$ operating systems and now the pack is not supported means that either they will have to upgrade it to Windows 7 or opt for a different platform which is probably the Linux.

April 16, 2010 Posted by | License wars, Os wars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Linux-ready netbook touted for eight-hour battery life

ZaReason is shipping a Linux-ready, 10-inch netbook that uses the Intel Atom N450 processor and is claimed to offer eight hours of battery life. The ZaReason Teo Netbook offers 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a 160GB hard disk drive, a WVGA display, and 802.11n WiFi, says ZaReason.

Last August, Berkeley, Calif.-based system integrator ZaReason shipped an Intel Atom N270-based netbook called the Terra A20 (pictured below, right). The company has now followed up with an Atom N450-based model that exploits the newer processor’s greater energy efficiency to boast eight hours of battery life.

Whereas the Terra A20 started at a reasonable $350, however, the Teo starts at $460. A special $400 price available for the first few days of the Teo’s launch, apparently ended Apr. 10. Despite the fairly high price, the Teo does offer a generous 2GB of DDR2 memory, as well as free 802.11n WiFi.


ZaReason Teo
(Click to enlarge)

The Teo also supplies something else that’s fairly rare to find — in the U.S., at least: a selection of pre-installed Linux distributions. Customers can choose from Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (“Lucid Lynx,” due in final form on Apr. 29), as well as Ubuntu 9.10. Kubuntu and Ubuntu Netbook Remix versions based on either 9.10 or 10.04 are also said to be available. In addition, one can choose Linux Mint 8, Fedora 12, or no operating system at all.


Teo, left side
(Click to enlarge)

Aside from the 2GB of memory, other features are fairly standard, including a 10-inch, 1024 x 600 display, 160GB HDD, Ethernet, 1.3-megapixel camera, audio I/O, and three USB ports. The 10.2 x 7.1 x 1.5 inch netbook is said to weigh 2.8 pounds, including a six-cell battery that is claimed to offer eight hours of duration.


Teo, right side
(Click to enlarge)

Specifications listed for the ZaReason Teo Netbook include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom N450 @ 1.66GHz with Intel NM10 Express chipset and Intel GMA 3150 (shared system memory)
  • Memory — 2GB (1GB on board and 1GB on SODIMM) DDR2 667MHz
  • Display — 10-inch WSVGA (1024 x 600); “non-glare”; 15 pin D-Sub VGA port
  • Storage — 160GB SATA HDD
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet port (RJ45)
  • WiFi — 802.11b/g/n
  • Camera — 1.3-megapixel webcam
  • USB — 3 x USB 2.0 ports
  • Audio — Mic; speakers; Mic in; headphone out; Intel HD audio
  • Power — 19V DC, 40W/input: 100~240V AC, 50/60Hz universal; 6-cell battery for up to eight hours life
  • Dimensions — 10.2 x 7.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Weight — 2.8 lbs. (with battery)



Teo detail
(Click to enlarge)

Availability

The ZaReason Teo Netbook is available now for $460 without a carrying case ($19). More information may be found here.

April 15, 2010 Posted by | Os wars, our picks | Leave a comment

Is microsoft losing the server wars?

Microsoft remains a peon in Linux-dominated supercomputing, but the software giant has tried to gain ground with a more reliable, scalable and interoperable HPC operating system. The question is: will Linux users give it a chance?

Since the release of its first HPC operating system in 2006, Microsoft has worked to make Windows a respectable player in high-performance computing (HPC). But Microsoft’s market share hasn’t increased much. Only 5% to 6% of the HPC market use Windows, while about 75% of HPC systems run on Linux, followed by Unix, according to IDC data.

And in the latest Top500.Org list of supercomputing sites, more than 78% of systems listed ran Linux (391 in all), while only 1% (five systems) use Windows HPC Server 2008.

“Windows has been not strong in this space. Most HPC users are loyal Linux users because it is reliable and their legacy apps are designed for it,” said Jie Wu, IDC’s research director for technical computing. “Microsoft also has a large perception issue to overcome.”

Microsoft: A leg up in HPC market?
Linux has a long history of reliability, solid performance, and most applications are designed to work with it. Plus, Linux can be cheap. Windows, on the other hand, has none of these advantages in the HPC space, which makes many administrators unwilling to try it.

An IT operations manager at a Seattle-based data center, for example, said he won’t give Microsoft a shot on his HPC systems because “Windows always seems to require way more hardware resources than the Unix alternatives do to perform the same task.”

Sam Fulcomer, the associate director at Brown University’s Center for Computation and Visual Computing, said that, historically, the availability of computational software for Windows lags Linux and the older mainstream Unix variants. Plus, Windows has had an issue with native client support for high-performance parallel file systems.

Fulcomer runs a CentOS Linux build on an IBM supercomputer that Brown University deployed late last year. At the time, he did not consider Windows a viable candidate at the time and said it would take a strong incentive to use such an “unusual” OS.

But Fulcomer admits that Windows can offer advantages, such as allowing user code to directly manipulate hardware (in the case of user space drivers), as opposed to the traditional kernel driver interface, which offers a limited set of proxy operations. Windows can also provide greater opportunity for application code to affect system stability than can a Linux OS. An incorrect memory reference in a supercomputing application, for example, can write over any portion of the user space driver code. In Linux systems, this overwriting problem creates significant system instability, Fulcomer said.

One administrator who runs a server cluster for a university in the U.K. has Windows HPC Server in-house in case he needs it but runs it only in a sandbox environment. It isn’t in production because most software users served by the HPC system “want and need to run Linux.”

Microsoft’s HPC strategy
That sort of Linux loyalty is not lost on Microsoft, and the company has taken an If-you-can’t-beat-’em-join-’em attitude with Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, which became available in Beta 2 this month. The final release is scheduled for later this year.

Microsoft added a “hybrid” option in the R2 version so Linux users can run Windows without disposing of their tried-and-true OS. Users can run Windows and Linux on a cluster at the same time or switch back and forth between Linux and Windows nodes.

“There are certainly cases where even the most devoted Linux user will want to run a Windows app, and now they can do that without ripping and replacing their existing Linux,” said Ryan Waite, head of Microsoft’s Windows HPC Server engineering team.

By tapping into its massive installed x86 and desktop customer base, Microsoft will also gain customers. Existing Windows shops may be more willing to give their familiar OS a try — especially if these shops run Windows 7 on desktops.

In Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, Microsoft added the ability to repurpose Windows 7 workstations as compute nodes so that idle PCs can be designated to HPC clusters to perform computational workloads.

The ability to remotely run jobs has been around forever but Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 takes things a step further by integrating that capability into its cluster management software, said Microsoft.

The next HPC OS will also support Visual Studio 2010 for parallel development of HPC applications, and it integrates with a new HPC version of Excel 2010 that runs in parallel and drastically cuts down the time it takes to run data, Waite said.

Though still in beta, Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 appears to be much more stable and scalable, which has caught the attention of more original equipment manufacturers and independent software vendors that have developed Windows-friendly apps and products for it, IDC’s Wu said.

“Microsoft is very serious about the HPC space, because it is growing faster than the x86 space,” Wu said. “They are doing things to make Windows a real option.”

April 12, 2010 Posted by | License wars, Os wars | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

SCO, the Fat Lady & Novell’s Slippery Grasp on the Unix Copyrights

SCO has one foot in the grave, but the sod hasn’t been thrown over it yet.

With its copyright and slander-of-title case lost to Novell, it says it still means to bring its suspended contract and unfair competition case against IBM if the judge who presided over the Novell case – and who may have been as surprised as the Novell lawyers at the verdict – decides that Novell has no business blocking it.

Back eons ago Novell stepped into the SCO v IBM lawsuit – or at least tried to – and told SCO it couldn’t sue IBM or lift IBM’s license to distribute AIX, IBM’s version of Unix.

Judge Stewart – he’s the guy who ran the copyright trial – now gets to decide whether Novell’s so-called waiver holds any water and how far it extends.

Briefs from both SCO and Novell are expected to land on his desk on April 19. He’ll have a think and then decide. There probably won’t be a hearing.

If it can cross that hurdle, SCO will still have to fight to get its Monterey charges against IBM recognized. Judge Kimball – the guy whose summary judgment awarded Novell the Unix copyrights in 2007 – barred them from the case when he wouldn’t admit SCO’s third amended complaint. SCO’s got an aging right-to-amend motion floating around out there somewhere.

Then it’s got to try to get its multibillion-dollar AIX/Dynix case, which was gutted by Magistrate Judge Brook Wells, patched back together again – it’s got a reconsideration motion pending too – otherwise it’ll have to go with the stump of a case.

Both sets of claims contend that IBM looted Unix for the sake of Linux and the AIX case includes a destruction of evidence charge that could prove highly entertaining and potentially profitable for SCO if it ever gets heard.

Anyway, Judge Kimball’s summary judgment was of course overturned by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last year, which is how Judge Stewart gets to make the decisions that could potentially put SCO, now older and poorer, kinda back where it was before the Novell distraction.

If the waiver ruling goes in SCO’s favor, it’s unclear who exactly would get to decide the right-to-amend and reconsideration motions, Judge Stewart or Judge Tina Campbell, who drew the IBM case when Kimball’s summary judgment was overturned. It’s possible Judge Stewart could take the IBM case because of his Novell learning curve.

April 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

win 7 vs linux vs mac

The biggest advantage that Linux has over Windows and Mac OS X is customizability and choice. Even with Windows you get at most 3-6 different versions (Win 7 has 3 versions) and they are functionally all the same (your just paying extra for stuff you should have in the base version). As a result with Linux you are more likely to find a Linux distro that does exactly what you want. If a distro doesn’t do everything you want it to do, you are free to make it do what you want it to do (with no legal reprecutions like with Mac OS X and Windows).

Linux’s greatest disadvantage is the lack of commercial software available. While you do have access to millions of FLOSS (Free Libre Open Source Software) programs, there is a shortage of commercial titles for Linux.

Before buying a notebook, many shoppers start with one fundamental question: Am I a Mac or a PC? Ad campaigns for Apple and Microsoft sling mud in both directions, without providing a clear picture of each platform’s pros and cons. So, I’ve put aside the hype for these 3 operating systems with our hands-on, head-to-head comparison of Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Windows 7. Each company offers a number of fresh features that bring the two warring desktop environments close together when it comes to ease of use and raw performance. But there’s a difference between capability and execution.

For testing, we pitted a 13.3-inch Apple MacBook Pro (2.26-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce 9400M GPU, 5,400-rpm, 160GB hard drive) against an 2 identically configured 13.3-inch Dell XPS Studio 13 one with linuxmint 8 the other with win7 so we could concentrate on the benefits and disadvantages of each operating system. We ran our standard array of performance tests on each notebook, comparing boot times, battery life, computing power, graphics performance, and a host of other factors. Consider this the ultimate OS score card.

Mac OS X Snow Leopard

We used Geekbench, an application that measures CPU and RAM performance, to gauge our MacBook Pro’s computing prowess. It notched a score of 3,543 in Snow Leopard, and 2,789 when we used Boot Camp to run the program under a Windows 7 partition. Also in Boot Camp, we got a score of 3,207 on PCMark Vantage, which measures Windows performance. In addition, the system copied a 4.97GB folder of mixed media at a swift rate of 21.5 MBps on our LAPTOP Transfer Test (19.2 MBps within Boot Camp).

Windows 7

Our Dell PC notched 2,586 in Geekbench, which was about 200 points below the MacBook Pro’s Boot Camp score. However, its PCMark Vantage tally of 3,374 was slightly better than the MacBook Pro’s. It completed copying our 4.97GB folder at a decent rate of 17.8 MBps, but this was still far slower than Apple.

Winner: LinuxMint.

LinuxMint proved to have superior overall system performance. It also ran Windows 7 smoothly in virtualbox.

April 11, 2010 Posted by | Os wars | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BSD is not more biz friendly

There is a common description of non-copyleft licences as being “business-friendly”, with the implication that copyleft licences like the GPL are not.

Personally, I don’t understand this. If I were a for-profit business contributing open-source code to the community, and one of my comptetitors took some code I’d contributed and built it into a closed-source product that they then used to take customers away from me, I’d feel ripped off. Whereas a copyleft licence forces them to release the source of anything they redistribute.

Thus, to me, copyleft ensures a “level playing field” where all can compete. Which is something that businesses are supposed to be fond of.

Some may ask how can you sell a product which you can get for free?

Well ask that of the $8 billion U.S. bottled water industry. Or of Red Hat, novell or the hooker on the street. There are plenty of examples.

So I ask why does it appear that so many of the new and most actively developed open-source projects these days are being done under the GNU license, rather than the BSD one which proponents say is more business-friendly? Most likely programmers do not want the work they released to be used in a manner they did not support. The BSD philosophy seems to hold that creating and giving away code, then seeing it used by others, is victory and reward enough. But most of the GPL supporters disapprove of allowing “others” to close off source code and hide enhancements.

Also IBM, SGI, and other companies don’t want to contribute source code to the community if competitors can use it against them. While using the GPL won’t prevent competitors from using the code, it does keep them from making proprietary extensions. This appears to be the strongest case in favor of corporate support of Linux and the GPL.

It’s not just semantics. GPL-advocates  recognize the value of more permissive licenses such as the BSD license and the LGPL. BSD-advocates often fail to understand why the GPL is so successful.

In other words the GPL is more business friendly from the point of view of the developer – for example, you can ensure that proprietary competitors do not simply take chunks of your code and put it in their products.

The BSD can be characterised as more anarchist: you give your stuff away for the public good with no expectation of reward. Very laudable, but it does not seem realistic in a capitalist world.

I realise this is not altogether fair, but it is a stronger argument that common “BSD is more business friendly”.

The GPL license basically says “Here, take this code, it’s free. Do what you want with it, except distribute it. If you want to redistribute, you’ve got to follow these criteria”. That’s it. There’s nothing stopping you taking GPL code, linking it to whatever you want and using that. Google have a ton of GPL code all hooked up to proprietary stuff and have no legal issues because they don’t *distribute* that code to customers. They are the end user. They are free to do what they want. GPL code is free to use. GPL code is not free to distribute, unless you follow some criteria.

The GPL doesn’t restrict what you can do with the code, copyright law does. The GPL is permissive, but it’s not fully permissive which is what the BSD could be described as being. This is fine, and is an idealogical difference, but please lets not go around saying that the GPL is “OMG TEH MOST RESTRICTIVE THING IN THE WORLD”, because that just demonstrates to the world that you don’t understand copyright. it’s really not complex: the BSD license doesn’t promote (code) freedom, the GPL license does. The BSD license is designed for maximum freedom to use the code – anyone can use it for anything with only very minor restrictions. The GPL license is designed to ensure that the code stays free – it’s more about spreading the philosophy of (code) freedom than bragging rights and padding your resume(look my code is in OSX). That appeals to a lot of real developers.

April 11, 2010 Posted by | License wars | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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