02.26.21

Microsoft’s Status in Web Servers is So Bad That It Has Fallen Off Charts, is Now Partly Delisted

Posted in Microsoft, Servers at 1:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: In several categories or criteria Microsoft is no longer even listed by Netcraft; the share has become rather minuscule during the pandemic, which convinced more companies to explore expense-cutting moves

THE (almost) one-hour video above discusses the latest Web server report, which was released some hours ago. “Microsoft’s server software market share remains in decline,” it says, “Microsoft’s figures took a significant drop in 2020 in favour of OpenResty, and Microsoft now only has 6.5% (-1.0pp) of the site market and 6.0% (-0.3pp) of domains as of February 2021. OpenResty also looks set to overtake Microsoft as the third largest vendor in terms of sites and active sites.”

“Microsoft can see the writings on the wall, so it’s misreporting numbers and laying off Azure staff (quietly).”When looking at the measures that truly matter and are difficult to game (e.g. top one million sites) Microsoft is somewhere near 5% if not less. It’s a huge decline compared to one decade ago. As we keep arguing each time we bring this up, it’s only a matter of time before Microsoft abandons IIS for purely financial reasons. Then, migrations away from Microsoft will follow. Microsoft can see the writings on the wall, so it’s misreporting numbers and laying off Azure staff (quietly). After more than half a decade with billions spent on advertising it’s going almost nowhere, regardless of the number of acquisitions, incentives, and takeovers of institution (such as the Linux Foundation).

02.25.21

IBM and Qt Don’t Understand Free Software and They Now Impose Terms and Conditions on Who Qualifies for Use of Free Software Free of Charge

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat, Servers at 1:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Red Hat is becoming as ‘free’ as shareware or freeware in some regard; one might say that they even mimic the immorality of the 'ethical' licences while working for companies that bomb people

RED HAT (or IBM) has just announced this ‘free’ (with conditions) offer that’s already coming under severe criticism. Basically, after IBM took away CentOS from users (years after Red Hat had bought CentOS) it offers something similar, but this time with conditions, first a limit on the number of instances (up to 16) and now limitless albeit only for ‘Open-Source Infrastructure’, whatever that even means. They clearly feel the pinch, seeing that people might move away to Oracle or ‘Alma’ or ‘Rocky’ (and who knows what else is still in the pipeline, set aside non-RHEL-like distros).

ClockQt did something similar about a year ago, in effect taking away what was largely or widely regarded as Free software. They used a “bait/switch” kind of approach, in effect getting people ‘hooked’ on the free product (with high and increasing exit barriers) and now they want money. The code of many projects now depends on a proprietary stack again. Freedom isn’t an option and one needs to pay, regardless. They try to make it inconvenient to not pay, never mind if the timing is ever more sensitive due to a pandemic.

The video above contains my thoughts on this latest move and a little bit of background information.

02.23.21

How to Set Up a Gemini Server of Your Own, Even on a Simple Single-Board Computer

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Servers at 8:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gemini Turntable

Summary: Using Agate to start one’s own Gemini capsule (self-hosted) is a lot simpler than one might be inclined to believe; this is a detailed HOWTO, hoping to encourage more people to join Gemini space, which is fast-growing and free of garbage

THE one thing that stunned me was how easy it was to set up a Gemini server. A lot simpler than setting up a Web server. The harder part is certificates, but that too is trivial once it’s done a couple of times, potentially with errors at first.

Here’s a quick recipe for setting up one’s own instance and Gemini capsule.

First, create a new user’s account. Gemini ought to have its own account, as it’ll make things a lot simpler (backup, permissions etc.) and for the sake of this example we’ll assume the user account is “gemini” (with home directory /home/gemini)

Then, in the user’s top-level (home) directory:

mkdir gemini bin certs

This will set up directories for the capsule, the programs, and the certificates, respectively.

There’s not so much left to do now.

Go to the directory gemini (e.g. cd ~/gemini/ or equivalent using a graphical file browser)

In that directory, create or place a file called index.gmi

It can be empty or contain something simple like Hello world! (just to make sure that the server is set up and works)

Now let’s get the server software. Go to the bin directory (e.g. cd ~/bin/). For most practical purposes agate (Apache Licence) seems to be OK and it supports quite a few architectures. Unfortunately it’s hosted on GitHub (Microsoft), with latest versions shown at the top of this page. If you are not sure what architecture to choose, run uname -a

The correct binary can be downloaded using a Web browser or a tool like wget/curl. That program is quite small and needs to be placed in bin in order to stay consistent with this manual.

Unpack and set ‘executable’ (x) permission for the file, e.g. using

gunzip [binary_file]
chmod +x [binary_file]

Depending on the name of the binary file in question.

For my ARM SBC it is gunzip agate.armv7-unknown-linux-gnueabihf.gz and chmod +x agate.armv7-unknown-linux-gnueabihf

All the pieces are now in place except the certificate and the service setup.

On a systemd-based operating system create a new file at /etc/systemd/system/agate.service

It should look something like this:

[Unit]
Description=agate
After=network.target

[Service]
User=gemini
Type=simple
ExecStart=[your settings]

[Install]
WantedBy=default.target

Wherein [your settings] ties together the program, the root directory for hosting (capsule), and the certificate.

In the case of Techrights on ARM, it’s something as follows:

/home/gemini/bin/agate.armv7-unknown-linux-gnueabihf -s --content /home/gemini/gemini/ --key /home/gemini/certs/key.pem --cert /home/gemini/certs/cert.pem --hostname your hostname --lang en-GB

In our case, your hostname is gemini.techrights.org (how you set up your hostname may depend on how you manage domains and where). That hostname needs to point to your device’s IP address.

All that’s left now is certificate setup and service initiation.

Go to the certificates directory (e.g. cd ~/certs/) as this will likely involve the command line (unless you have some graphical tools that do the same).

A simple self-signed certificate ought to be sufficient:

openssl req -new -subj "/CN=your hostname" -x509 -newkey ec -pkeyopt ec_paramgen_curve:prime256v1 -days 365 -nodes -out cert.pem -keyout key.pem

That’s for 1 year. It can be set to anything.

The command then leaves the two files required by the service/server, namely cert.pem and key.pem. These can be modified and regenerated at any time, so there’s no need to worry if at any point they’re wrongly generated or made for the ‘wrong’ domain.

To get it all started, assuming systemd:

sudo systemctl restart agate
sudo systemctl enable agate

Use a Gemini browser (or Web proxy) to then test access to the hostname over gemini:// (it will attempt to connect over port 1965, so make sure there’s no firewall standing in the way at the level of the device or the network it is in). This is pretty much it, with the exception of variation for non-systemd systems. All that systemd does is, it starts the server using the suitable command and arguments, even after restarts. That command can instead be run manually, or set up for any init system of choice. The hardest part is setting up the domain, generating the key/certificate correctly, and then lowering the filters (if any) to allow access over port 1965.

We don’t typically do HOWTO-type articles, but for this one we make an exception. If you get stuck, ask us in IRC for help. Gemini needs to grow and for faster growth we need to help one another.

Agate is quite small and simple. As of the time of writing, it does not support server-side CGI scripts (for something like in-capsule search), but Gemini ought to be kept light and simple anyway; we’re not trying to just replicate the bloated Web.

Credit: Chris Were, for some initial notes and suggestions. gemini://chriswere.uk/

02.19.21

Introduction to Web Proxies or Gateways Into Gemini Space and Gemini Search (Gemini Protocol Over HTTP/HTML)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Search, Servers, Standard at 7:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Today we explore how to surf Gemini space, how to search Gemini space, and basically do everything through any Web browser, albeit indirectly; we demonstrate this using the Falkon Web browser

THE GEMINI space (or capsules accessible over Gemini, the protocol) is expanding fast. Over the past 6 months it saw astronomical growth and there are good reasons for it. Many sites do not require advanced features such as login, JavaScript, and multimedia. Those can be supported indirectly, even in Gemini, albeit they’re rarely needed. Where they become necessary, however, it’s possible to have canonical URLs for WWW/HTML/HTTP, wherein those more advanced uses can be facilitated.

“One can maintain both a Web site and Gemini presence, wherein one is accessible through the other (but not necessarily so).”Gemini isn’t “small Web” or “dark Web”. It’s not even the Web. It’s separate from it. But it’s possible to access everything in Gemini right from the Web browser, no matter where you are or what browser you use (even an old and primitive one would do). At the moment there are 3 prominent Web proxies [1, 2, 3], as demonstrated above, and there’s also Free software one can install on one’s own Web site/server to facilitate access to one’s Gemini capsule, as demonstrated here. So in a sense, the duality between the Web and Gemini is another selling point. One can maintain both a Web site and Gemini presence, wherein one is accessible through the other (but not necessarily so).

A sceptic might ask, why have both then? Why not just a Web site?

“Those aren’t just proxies or technically gateways but also a ‘gateway drug’ towards Gemini itself (the real thing, direct access over the Gemini protocol).”For those who are complacent and perfectly happy with what Web browsers have become (extending Web standards to include DRM and lots of bloat) it would be harder to make the case for Gemini compelling enough. However, some of the more technical people know enough about the Web (and about Web browsers; some even developed their own) to realise the threat they pose, either through disinformation, privacy violations (not just for marketing), and planned obsolescence. Technical people aren’t Luddites; they’re just harder for marketing people to fool and they’re always the one who warn most loudly about “voting machines” or electronic votes. In the case of the Web (and Web browsers’ oligopolies that dictate the ‘standard’ and its devolution), geeks can see where we’re going and they resist oppressive software/networks. Gemini is a response — perhaps one among several — that’s potent and enjoys big momentum. IPFS tackles another kind of issue, notably scale and free speech. It makes it possible to store large files or large numbers of files in a distributed fashion. In the process, owing to redundancy, it also enhances free speech and stifles censorship.

The video above shows how to try out Gemini without SSH (as shown yesterday) and only with any Web browser. Those aren’t just proxies or technically gateways but also a ‘gateway drug’ towards Gemini itself (the real thing, direct access over the Gemini protocol).

02.15.21

Cancel Canonical?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Servers, Ubuntu at 4:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Only days after Ubuntu/Canonical staff defended what the Raspberry Pi Foundation had quietly done with Microsoft (behind users’ or customers’ backs) we see Canonical under fire — yes, once again! — for privacy abuses, facilitated in part by Microsoft

THE latest breach of trust (and breach of privacy) at Canonical isn’t going to help Ubuntu’s image. That’s a fact. The community that once existed in an orbit around Ubuntu is long gone, so what’s left to lose, right? Let’s get closer to Microsoft, thought Canonical…

“The video above goes through some other ramifications and mentions some older privacy scandals implicating Ubuntu/Canonical.”The issue isn’t exactly breaking news; we mentioned this in passing in relation to the Raspberry Pi-Microsoft scandal the other day because the ‘news’ site The Register had covered the issue (it had also been mentioned in some podcasts and new videos, social control media aside).

Over at ZDNet, albeit days late (4 days after The Register), SJVN has just mentioned this. “Bongiorni was a little more “frank” about his annoyance and surprise that a Canonical salesperson had tracked him down on an entirely different service and knew that he had just used Ubuntu on Microsoft Azure,” SJVN wrote.

Microsoft is spying and this has long been a reason for concern about the Raspberry Pi-Microsoft blunder. That Microsoft also shares the private data with other companies is certainly noteworthy and it may merit a GDPR complaint. The video above goes through some other ramifications and mentions some older privacy scandals implicating Ubuntu/Canonical.

02.03.21

The Bubble of Outsourced Services Should Be Called Bubble Computing, Not Clown (or ‘Cloud’) Computing

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Servers at 8:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The bubble of ‘clown computing’ (what we’ve chosen to call “the cloud”) is like many other bubbles, including old mainframes on which people paid “rents” and bought “computer time”; it’s a massive regression and it’s rarely profitable

THE outsourcing of hosting and hardware to surveillance companies has long been problematic. This past weekend I saw that firsthand as a very large British institution suffered many downtimes due to AWS issues. The head of AWS is leaving his position to become Amazon’s CEO (as the founder and CEO is stepping down) and Google meanwhile reports that its ‘AWS killer’ is an epic failure that burns money like nobody’s business. Just like Azure (Microsoft), which already lays off workers [1, 2, 3]. They confirmed this to us and former insiders told us that Azure is losing money. There’s even a formal complaint deposited at the SEC (about Microsoft defrauding shareholders).

“When will the bubble of clown computing finally burst?”All those bubbles, or the military-subsidised outsourced computing (to give the empire more control over people’s lives, businesses and sometimes medical records) is likely just a passing fad. More companies realise that they spend more money on hosting bills than they would otherwise spend buying their own hardware and paying for an Internet connection or datacentre space (the latter isn’t always required as the hardware can be in one’s own premises, with some redundancy built in across networks).

The video above discusses some of the latest news. When will the bubble of clown computing finally burst? How much losses will it take (at least at the client side)?

01.30.21

Fake Security is Still a Real Problem, Even in the GNU/Linux (and BSD) Spheres

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat, Security, Servers at 9:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: There’s a false sense of security and privacy, perpetuated in part by corporate media, and we need to go back to basics

THERE is a profound difference between real security (or privacy) and promises of security (false marketing) from government informants such as Microsoft or Google. Like charlatans who promote so-called ‘secure’ boot (basically another Microsoft- and Intel-connected vulnerability marketed as “smart” and supposedly ‘novel’ [1, 2], seeking to replace what already works solidly by adhering to simplicity).

“IBM-controlled Red Hat should have all of its code scrutinised, even if it’s Free software. Their overall agenda isn’t the same as Debian’s, for instance.”In order to generally confuse the “average users”, products that don’t offer real security and generally seek to data-mine people (the opposite of guarding privacy) are being painted in the mainstream media as “privacy” and “safety”.

IBM logoThe video above focuses on IBM/Red Hat, knowing that a lot of people out there typically overlook this elephant in the room, wrongly assuming only “GAFAM” work for imperialism while not accounting for Oracle, IBM, and a few other government contractors that are close to the military and espionage operations.

The above mentions 9 articles about IBM/Red Hat (especially Red Hat). In chronological order:

There’s the old saying, “trust, but verify…”

In the case of Red Hat, “trust” has long been absent and IBM is even worse. So an IBM-controlled Red Hat should have all of its code scrutinised, even if it’s Free software. Their overall agenda isn’t the same as Debian’s, for instance. Unfortunately, over time, Debian and Ubuntu become just another Red Hat/Fedora by adopting GNOME3, systemd, Wayland and so on. There are risks associated with that extra complexity and relatively immature/barely audited code.

01.29.21

The Fall of Microsoft’s IIS and Microsoft’s Faked ‘Love’ of What’s Defeating IIS and Windows

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Servers, Windows at 4:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Looking at the raw figures, courtesy of Netcraft (which has long tracked those sorts of things), it seems abundantly clear that IIS will be abandoned sooner or later and in order to still seem relevant Microsoft pretends that it “loves” (i.e. wishes to control) what’s rapidly replacing it

THE VIDEO above deals with a subject long explored here, more so during the first lock-down (spring of 2020). Many companies, with their staff working ‘offsite’, seem to have moved off Microsoft/IIS, belatedly saving money and improving reliability/availability/uptime.

“It’s getting rather difficult to name any high-profile sites that still (in 2021) run IIS.”Let’s face it: no solid CMS exists for or is being actively maintained/developed for Microsoft frameworks. When it comes to Web servers, Microsoft long ago lost the fight. Some estimates we saw earlier this week said GNU/Linux has 90% or more of this market. Much of the rest is probably BSD or some UNIX that needs replacing (because it’s severely outdated).

Microsoft's IIS marketWhen it comes to active sites (what actually matters), Microsoft’s share is becoming rather miniscule and that number is probably a lot lower if one considers top sites (e.g. as measured in terms of reach/traffic). It’s getting rather difficult to name any high-profile sites that still (in 2021) run IIS.

NetcraftSo, Microsoft’s IIS share (active sites) has collapsed another 4 percent in just one month. One month. This is part of an ongoing trend which further sped up or accelerated during the pandemic. While Microsoft makes claims and allusions to “Clown Computing” (to pretend there is growth by reclassifying old stuff) the matter of fact is that there are many layoffs and issues. They're going nowhere fast.

From the latest survey of servers:

Microsoft observed the largest drop of 2.2 million domains, while nginx and Apache lost 903,000 and 303,000. This resulted in a small loss of market share for all three, the largest drop being seen by Microsoft which fell 0.8 percentage points to 6.3%.

Steve Ballmer, back in September 2008, said that “[f]orty percent of servers run Windows, 60 percent run Linux…”

He probably meant Web servers. Well, right now Microsoft is somewhere near a tenth of that. At this point it becomes almost financially un-viable to carry on. The costs of maintaining this thing likely outweigh/surpass the gains/income.

Sound meter

Maybe one day in the future Microsoft will put IIS in some “Arctic Vault” somewhere. But of course IIS is proprietary software, i.e. secret code, pretty much like everything else of any significance, contrary to the false narrative of Microsoft becoming “open” (e.g. by buying a proprietary prison that besieges Free software, namely proprietary GitHub).

“Microsoft has had clear competitors in the past. It’s good that we have museums to document them.”

Bill Gates March 10th, 2005

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