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12.27.13

Computing Workload: Get It Off the ‘Cloud’, Quickly

Posted in GNU/Linux, Servers at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Why the reliance on third-party hosting (of storage space, databases, communications, processing, etc.) is a dumb new trend which needs to be rejected

IN TERMS of real market share (not just money), GNU/Linux is growing at the expense of expensive UNIX [1] and expensive Windows [2] and if we have learned anything from Microsoft’s collusion with the NSA (Google collaborated to a lesser degree) it is that we must not put any data remotely, especially not pass it over the Web to some third party.

Now that there is another round of shameless IBM PR (puff pieces and press releases [3-5]) we should recall that what companies once did was contract a company like IBM to set up, locally, a computational resource for workloads. But IBM, which faces competition from Google and others [6], is recognising a new threat and it’s the hype about “Linux Cloud Computing” [7] (Amazon, Google, Rackspace and others), which basically means NSA-accessible computing. This should always be rejected, based on grounds of privacy — if not privacy of the business (or government) then privacy of the customers (or citizens). We already know that the NSA uses surveillance for political and industrial espionage.

It is amazing to see how many companies host not only their E-mails on third-party servers (many located in the US) but also their data/databases and computational processes. This is beyond naïve; it’s reckless. GNU/Linux becoming dominant on servers is not much of an achievement if all those servers are basically wiretapping points.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. HP Korea Downsizes Unix Server Business

    HP Korea is reported to have drastically reduced sales personnel for its Unix server business in line with the reorganization of its server unit.

  2. Microsoft’s licence riddles give Linux and pals a free ride to virtual domination
  3. IBM Will Minimize Impact of Future Disasters

    Not even Mighty Big Blue can stop a hurricane. But. IBM and Marist College are testing a new cloud computing innovation that could help prevent disruptions in voice and data communications services caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters.

  4. The Overall Linux Support Solution to Help with the Bottom Line
  5. Open Source Is Here To Stay On IBM i

    For years, open source software has been a bit of a redheaded stepchild in the button-down IBM midrange community. IBM i shops were hesitant to use it, and vendors were afraid to adopt it. But with so much of the computing world now running on open source, the aversion to open source has gradually melted away, and it has steadily crept into use among large corporations, and the IBM i world too.

  6. Google Compute Engine Generally Available With Lower Prices And More Linux Support

    Last year, Google unveiled Compute Engine at Google I/O, apparently seeking to compete with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure for the cloud computing needs of businesses.

  7. Verticomm Technologies Discusses the Benefits of Linux Cloud Computing for Business

    Verticomm Technologies, one of the most reliable cloud computing service providers in Denver, recently discussed the positive impacts of having a Linux cloud computing for business having a larger pool of systems in the workplace.

12.24.13

Despite US Roots, Red Hat Appears to Have Benefited From NSA Scandals

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat, Servers at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who said US businesses are suffering?

Summary: Red Hat’s revenues soar after half a year of important revelations about the NSA

A LOT of the corporate press in the US wrongly paints the NSA disclosures as a killer to US technology companies, perhaps conflating “US” with “proprietary”. Well, many companies in the US are adhering to Free/Open Source doctrines and they aren’t doing too badly, even amid the NSA scandals. Despite them or because of them, those companies are doing well. Those companies hardly seem to have been affected by 'standards' with back doors in them.

Enter Red Hat.

While Red Hat’s nation of origin makes it somewhat difficult to trust patches it submits to Linux on behalf of the NSA, south/Latin America sure buys a lot of RHEL. The code is out there for auditing and even compilation by oneself. There is no known back door in RHEL. Some may speculate about hardware-level back doors or even random number generators with too low an entropy, but none of this is confirmed, just hypothesised. The US Department of Defence uses/deploys a lot of Red Hat, so why would the NSA put a back door in ‘vanilla’ RHEL (China is alleged to have been doing so in derivatives of RHEL).

Putting aside hypotheses, Red Hat is doing well [1] and its profits surge [2], with a 15% increase in revenues [3]. RHEL7 (Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7) is already looking quite promising [4]. The company, Red Hat, is liaising with OpenStack [5-10] amongst other partners and for those who cannot afford Red Hat there is CentOS 6.5 [11], which has just received a positive review [12].

Techrights has been running on CentOS for quite a few years, enjoying the work of Red Hat and also the low cost (we are hardly funded by anyone, except a few donations that we appreciate a lot). Back doors in proprietary software will hopefully convince more and more nations — let alone businesses — to explore GNU/Linux servers, desktops, and more. The price of freedom/autonomy/privacy is misunderstood by too many.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. State of the Red Hat Union
  2. Red Hat’s pockets bulging on strong Linux, JBoss sales

    Enterprise Linux vendor Red Hat posted strong financial results for the third quarter of its fiscal 2014 on Thursday, with earnings that beat both analysts’ estimates and the company’s own earlier guidance.

    Revenues for the quarter ending on November 30 were $397m, up 15 per cent from the same period a year ago.

  3. Red Hat reports 15% increase in revenues

    Red Hat, an icon of open source business, reported $397 million as total revenue for the quarter. It’s an increase of 15% in U.S. dollars from the year ago quarter.

  4. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta 1 Looks Great, Performance Is Great

    Red Hat this week released the first beta to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. RHEL 7 is based upon improvements and other work that happened over the past few release cycles in Fedora (Red Hat says it’s Fedora 19-based but in developer comments it turns out to be a mix of 18/19/20) and is riding on its new enterprise Linux 3.10 kernel. In this article is a first look at RHEL 7 Beta 1 along with our first benchmarks of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 comparing the results to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5.

  5. Dell and Red Hat team to sell enterprise OpenStack
  6. Red Hat OpenStack Platform 4.0 Reaches General Availability
  7. Red Hat launches its own OpenStack product.
  8. Dell and Red Hat’s OpenStack Alliance To Open Many Enterprise Doors
  9. Red Hat launches Enterprise Linux OpenStack 4.0 platform
  10. Dell Advances Cloud Efforts and Preps for More Innovation
  11. What’s New In CentOS 6.5?
  12. CentOS 6.5 Review – Red Hat for all

    CentOS firmly sits in the stable category of Linux releases – packages are rarely the the very latest versions, the kernel used is much older and it even still has GNOME 2 as its desktop environment, all in the name of cutting down on bugs. While it is stable and capable of running on older tech, it isn’t as resource friendly as distros specifically geared towards being lightweight. Especially if you pick up the full DVD image of the distro, clocking in at nearly 2 GB, which carries multiple desktop environments and a lot of default apps.

12.12.13

Avoid Oracle’s ‘Unbreakable’ Linux, Support Red Hat Enterprise Linux Instead

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Oracle, Red Hat, Servers at 10:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Oracle: the ‘fake’ red

OEL

Summary: Red Hat is increasingly worried about Oracle, which seems to be doing nothing but leech and close down FOSS development (with Oracle-only features)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is just around the corner [1], having reached “beta” [2-4] and made MariaDB its default database [5]. This new release [6] does some cloudwashing [7,8] as if surveillance-friendly computing (or Fog Computing) is somehow a selling point now.

What’s very curious about this announcement is the reinforcement of known policy that excludes Oracle’s MySQL. Oracle Linux 6.5 has also just been released [9,10] and Oracle’s treatment of it is dangerously selfish. It’s not just about MySQL, RHEL, and LibreOffice; there’s also the Java angle [11] now that Red Hat has Ceylon. Oracle is trying to ‘steal’ customers from RHEL and it has been trying to do this (without much success) for years, trying to appeal to GNU/Linux administrators [12] with increasingly-long (and expensive) support contracts [13].

Oracle has just joined the OpenStack Foundation [14], but the attempts to describe Oracle as “open” fail miserably because Oracle is actively suing FOSS projects, abandoning some (LibreOffice is thankfully evolving without Oracle [15,16]), and liaising with Microsoft to sell proprietary products.

Those who want to support GNU/Linux development would be better off supporting Red Hat or projects like Debian and CentOS. Oracle’s clone is not like any other clone; it’s more like a trap.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Just when you were considering Red Hat Linux 6.5, here comes 7
  2. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 beta now available
  3. Red Hat Signals Arrival Of Enterprise Linux 7 Beta
  4. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Enters Beta

    At long last, Red Hat’s flagship Linux platform now has a next-generation milestone, including new performance, storage and virtualization capabilities.

  5. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 beta arrives with MariaDB as its default database

    Red Hat’s newest enterprise Linux takes one giant step forward to its release and shifts from MySQL to MariaDB for its database management system needs.

  6. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta Released
  7. Red Hat is OpenShifting into the cloud

    Best known for its Linux distribution, Red Hat’s introduction of OpenShift Enterprise 2 shows that the open-source giant has its eyes on the cloud.

  8. Red Hat OpenShift Enterprise 2 Goes Live

    The next version of Red Hat’s (RHT) OpenShift on-premise private PaaS offering is about to hit the proverbial shelves. Ashesh Badani, Red Hat’s general manager of Cloud and OpenShift, unveiled OpenShift Enterprise 2, which was designed to provide customers with the ability to increase the speed, efficiency and scalability of their IT service delivery.

  9. Oracle Linux 6.5 Now Available
  10. Oracle Linux 6.5 Arrives with Unbreakable Enterprise Linux Kernel 3.8
  11. Red Hat’s Ceylon will get up Oracle’s nose

    As the Linux market gets crowded with more and more players, the control of standards becomes important; that’s how one gains marketshare and outwits rivals.

  12. Make the Oracle Service Bus IDE feel at home on Linux
  13. SUSE, Red Hat, Canonical Lengthen Open Source OS Support Cycle
  14. Oracle Joins OpenStack Foundation, Announces Integration Plans
  15. New Goodies Coming in LibreOffice 4.2
  16. Stealth Mode

    Upcoming LibreOffice 4.2 will start to offer this feature in stealth mode, so to say. The Options dialog’s “Security – Options…” page contains a new “Block any links from documents not among the trusted locations” check box, using the list of trusted locations managed on the “Security – Macro Security… – Trusted Sources” page. When enabled, a matching document’s references to any external entities are not resolved. This includes resources like linked graphics, movies, and sounds, references to external settings like color and gradient tables, and ODF’s “auto-reload” feature.

12.06.13

To Oracle, ‘Community’ Means Paying Oracle Customers

Posted in Database, GNU/Linux, Oracle, Red Hat, Servers at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Oracle continues to extend only its own distribution of GNU/Linux (which is a ripoff of another), leaving everyone else out in the cold

Oracle, the selfish company run by a selfish man (who has risen to power in part thanks to CIA help), just announced a new clone of Red Hat Linux 6.5 [1,2]. This clone is not free and it’s not about Free/libre software, it is about control (by Oracle). It’s merely a copy of Red Hat Linux 6.5 [3,4] and it has some Oracle-only ‘features’ [5]. Oracle didn’t make these, it bought these from Sun.

This attitude from Oracle is not surprising. Given the way Oracle just slapped OpenOffice.org at Apache (with little or nothing done to help) [6], leaving it for people to take from there [7] and to enhance [8] amid the decline of offline word processors [9], the treatment of GNU/Linux by Oracle is not shocking. Other than btrfs, what has Oracle really done for GNU/Linux? Almost nothing. Even btrfs is hardly promoted by Oracle anymore. Let’s face it. Oracle just does its own thing the proprietary way (trying to keep up with what’s shareable [10] and then adding its own private extensions at the top). To Oracle, Free/libre software is a rival [11] which it is only ever willing to co-opt in order to help sell its expensive proprietary software. When it comes to Free software, Oracle is a user, not a developer. btrfs needed to be licensed like the kernel it targets.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Send in the clones: Oracle, CentOS catch up to Red Hat Linux 6.5
  2. Linux Top 3: RHEL Clones Update as Linux Mint Gets a new Dash of Cinnamon

    This past week marked the final release of Linux Mint 16 codenamed ‘Petra’. So far, Linux Mint has been made available in two officials builds, one with the new Cinammon 2.0 desktop and the other with MATE.

  3. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 ships, but still no RHEL 7 in sight

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.5 has reached general availability following a six-week beta period, making it the first minor release of RHEL 6 to ship since version 6.4 in February.

  4. Fact sheet: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5

    The latest iteration of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (6.5) is now available, and it’s a serious contender to usurp all other platforms as king of the enterprise space. This particular release was designed specifically to simplify the operation of mission-critical SAP applications. The new release focuses on key enterprise-specific areas….

  5. Oracle integrates DTrace debugger into its Linux distribution
  6. Apache OpenOffice 4.1 to Bring Enhanced Accessibility Support

    The Apache OpenOffice project is pleased to announce that it has successfully integrated support for the Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) and IAccessible2 interfaces. Support for these interfaces enables screen readers and other assistive technologies to work with Apache OpenOffice, which in turn enables greater productivity by OpenOffice users who are blind or who have low-vision.

  7. Stakeholders and Remixes: the other names of true communities

    This year we had a workshop dedicated to LibreOffice migrations inside the 3ctor and I spoke about what was going on in France. I was however reminded of a very important notion during my various conversations with the audience. Free Software licences pass on several rights to the users. But these rights or freedoms, while essential, do not mandate how a Free Software project community should work. If anything, that would be quite out of topic and perhaps going against the very spirit of Software Freedom. Among these freedoms, two are implied that are of particular importance but often overlooked in regard of Free Software development projects: the right to fork and the right -as a user- to leave the software or the vendor/supplier who is providing you support and services on the FOSS stack in question.

  8. LibreOffice now has a built in XML-parser
  9. Word processors are no longer central to the computing experience

    Word processors are no longer central to the computing experience, but there are still good reasons to use them. The question is, how well do the work in today’s computing environment?

  10. Oracle Linux 6.5 and Docker
  11. Devil is in the details of Oracle-to-PostgreSQL migration

    EnterpriseDB execs have moved customers off Oracle, but contracts and app packages can tangle switch to PostgreSQL

11.24.13

Trusting Trust and Trusting Red Hat et al.

Posted in Microsoft, Red Hat, Servers at 5:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Even Red Hat’s logo does not inspire confidence

Red Hat logo

Summary: Why companies which are based on the United States cannot be trusted as US law requires them to provide access to personal information (or even back doors) without ever disclosing this

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 has just come out [1,2,3]. Red Hat targets the so-called 'cloud' (surveillance-friendly) market with it, quite frankly as usual [4]. Cutting-edge RHEL prototypes like Fedora 20 are to be released soon, and Scientific Linux (not just CentOS) will need to catch up by rebranding RHEL (they are being compared in terms of performance in [5]). Some people are remixing [6] Red Hat’s distributions, not rebranding them. But few people actually audit RHEL code line by line. Disassembling RHEL binaries is an even greater challenge, so nobody knows for sure what RHEL does. It’s a vast body of software and it is deployed in many mission-critical operations, not just in the United States.

“Trusting Trust” is an old concept, coined by some of the earlier UNIX folks. This subject happened to have been raised during business lunch earlier this week and it speaks on the degree of trust we must place on compiler developers, chipmakers, high-level software companies, and even Free software developers whose code we never personally audited (or continue to audit every time a new release is made available). Verifying the security of a small piece of software like a CMS (as Germany currently does) is feasible, but for entire operating systems it is virtually impossible and then there’s the peril of checking chip designs, their fabrication process, and the same for software (compilers). IBM et al., those who infect computers with TPM (NSA connections) only lead to mistrust. We are talking about a “special surveillance chip” here. And yes, there is history to it. Slashdot published this bit of analysis a few months ago. Read the comments too. One says: “I work for Red Hat…. The NSA asks me to put code in the Linux kernel and I pass it to Linus.” (see the context for more interesting information of this kind).

There is currently a discussion in Diaspora about this. It is argued that Red Hat will need to appease the government — especially the Pentagon/DOD — in order to keep winning major contracts that are derived from black budgets sometimes. There are stories I am aware of (but cannot share) about the role spies play in procurement for government. They can veto and influence decisions. This is a very ugly side of procurement which many people are simply not aware of. It only makes sense for Red Hat to try to appease the NSA and perhaps attach code from the NSA, with or without sufficient scrutiny (it goes well beyond involvement in SELinux, which is not the NSA’s only role in Linux). Well, some in Twitter wanted more information about this, so I reminded them that several years ago I wrote about how RHEL goes through the NSA before release; the same is true for SUSE. Now we know for sure that Linux was the target of NSA back doors [1, 2, 3, 4]; more new reporting on this [7-10] is starting to appear (people are catching up) and a new report tells us that “NSA infected 50,000 computer networks with malicious software” [11].

“he law in the US has become somewhat incompatible with freedom-respecting software.”We already know that the NSA worked closely with Microsoft and got a widely-used platform (internationally) with back doors it has exclusive access to, which basically means that Microsoft Windows is a Trojan horse for the NSA. Just remember where Linux is being developed. It’s the same country as Microsoft and Apple. Projects like Debian inherit some code from Red Hat, which complicates things further. The chain of trust is undone.

After the new report from the New York Times [12,13] (published to make huge impact this weekend) perhaps it’s time for Torvalds to withdraw his newly-acquired US citizenship and move back Linux development to Finland. With all sorts of National Security Letters, gag orders, oppressive laws like PATRIOT Act etc. we just know that those based in the US can be forced to facilitate surveillance (without ever speaking about it publicly). This may sound like a radical solution, but when companies like Red Hat and the Linux Foundation need to comply with US laws we just simply cannot have any trust. Torvalds pretty much lied to us (in a clever way) about NSA request for back doors in Linux, but his father, who is a European politician based in Europe, told us the truth.

In the past we argued that Red Hat should move to Europe because of software patents (I asked Red Hat’s CEO about it and he dismissed the possibility). Now we have another reason to suggest relocation. The law in the US has become somewhat incompatible with freedom-respecting software.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 Delivers Precision Timing
  2. Red Hat Launches Latest Version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6
  3. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 arrives
  4. Red Hat and eNovance to accelerate adoption of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack platform

    Red Hat Inc. and eNovance, an emerging European leader in the open source cloud computing market, are collaborating to deliver OpenStack implementation and integration services to joint customers. The companies made the announcement at the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong.

    The collaboration between Red Hat and eNovance is aimed at accelerating enterprise adoption of OpenStack globally. According to a new report from 451 Research, OpenStack-related business revenue is expected to exceed $1 billion by 2015 as the enterprise market for OpenStack evolves.

  5. Fedora 20 Beta vs. Ubuntu 13.10 vs. Scientific Linux 6.4
  6. Update on x2go

    I’ve been playing with / using x2go more lately and I sure do like it. I originally learned about it by reading the Fedora 20 ChangeSet and saw that it will be a new feature in the upcoming Fedora 20. I started using Fedora 20 shortly before the alpha release came out. Fedora 20 Beta was released on 2013-11-12… and I’ve been building my MontanaLinux remix about once a week.

  7. NSA wanted a backdoor in Linux, confirms Linus’ father
  8. Did NSA contact Linus for a backdoor in Linux? [updated]
  9. Linus’ father confirms NSA attempt at backdoor in Linux
  10. Mastering Linux, Backdoor’d, & openSUSE 13.1
  11. NSA infected 50,000 computer networks with malicious software
  12. N.S.A. Report Outlined Goals for More Power

    In a February 2012 paper laying out the four-year strategy for the N.S.A.’s signals intelligence operations, which include the agency’s eavesdropping and communications data collection around the world, agency officials set an objective to “aggressively pursue legal authorities and a policy framework mapped more fully to the information age.”

    Written as an agency mission statement with broad goals, the five-page document said that existing American laws were not adequate to meet the needs of the N.S.A. to conduct broad surveillance in what it cited as “the golden age of Sigint,” or signals intelligence. “The interpretation and guidelines for applying our authorities, and in some cases the authorities themselves, have not kept pace with the complexity of the technology and target environments, or the operational expectations levied on N.S.A.’s mission,” the document concluded.

    Using sweeping language, the paper also outlined some of the agency’s other ambitions. They included defeating the cybersecurity practices of adversaries in order to acquire the data the agency needs from “anyone, anytime, anywhere.” The agency also said it would try to decrypt or bypass codes that keep communications secret by influencing “the global commercial encryption market through commercial relationships,” human spies and intelligence partners in other countries. It also talked of the need to “revolutionize” analysis of its vast collections of data to “radically increase operational impact.”

  13. Latest Snowden leak reveals NSA’s goal to continually expand surveillance abilities

    In a mission statement last year the US National Security Agency described how it would continue to expand its power and assert itself as the global leader in clandestine surveillance, according to a new report based on the Edward Snowden leaks.

11.23.13

GNU/Linux Has 100% Market Share in Green10 and Top10

Posted in GNU/Linux, Servers at 6:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Deep Blue
Photo by James the photographer

Summary: When it comes to the world’s top computers, GNU/Linux is virtually without any competition

It is GNU/Linux occupying 10 out of 10 (top 10) ‘super’ servers. The numbers are out and they show this, based on Green500 [1] and TOP500 [2,3], which has GNU/Linux everywhere but 18 computers in the top 500. If this isn’t a sign of GNU/Linux having clear technical superiority, what is? Decisions regarding expensive computers such as these are not made based on some sole Microsoft MVP or a clueless manager (I have seen this personally) who has a pact with Microsoft.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Green500 List top 10 are all powered by NVIDIA Tesla GPUs and Linux

    The November 2013 edition of the Green500 List has be released, just two days after the TOP500 List.

    Unlike the TOP500 List, which lists 500 of the worlds fastest supercomputers, the Green500 List lists the most energy-efficient supercomputers that made the TOP500 List. So for the Green500, it’s not about how fast, but how energy-efficient. That’s why China’s Tianhe-2, which topped the November 2013 TOP500 List, did not even make the top 10 of the Green500 List for the same month. Rather, it ranked number 41.

  2. New ‘Real-World’ Benchmark Could Shake Up Top500 Supercomputer List

    “Once the definition and code for the HPCG is in a stable condition we envision collecting results for it in parallel to the ongoing effort for the HPL benchmark,” said Erich Strohmaier, head of the Future Technologies Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories and Top500.org editor. “For the foreseeable future the TOP500 will be based on the HPL benchmark test but we would hope to provide additional value and information by collecting and publishing numbers for new benchmark such as HPCG as well.”

  3. SC13: Top500 lists the world’s fastest computers

    Supercomputing 13, which takes place in Denver this week, began with the announcement of the latest Top500 list of the world’s fastest computers and Nvidia’s release of the Tesla K40 accelerator.

  4. 482 of the Top500 supercomputers run Linux, and China’s Tianhe-2 is the fastest

    The November 2013 edition of the list of the world’s fastest supercomputers has just been released. Known as the TOP500 List, it is released twice a year, first in June, then in November.

    The TOP500 List began in June 1993, ran again in November of that year and has been repeated in that order since. The November 2013 edition is the 42nd.

    This latest edition is not that much different from the previous edition, which was also topped by the Tianhe-2 supercomputer, which is built and maintained by China’s National University of Defense Technology. It retained its top spot “with a performance of 33.86 petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second).” Folks, that’s fast, and impressive.

11.11.13

Microsoft’s Actions Against Nokia Help Google Recruit GNU/Linux Talent in Finland

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Servers at 9:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Finnish flag

Summary: Many GNU/Linux job openings are coming to Finland after Microsoft pretty much killed Nokia

System administration is a massively-expanding area of employment for GNU/Linux professionals. My wife and I partly work in this area and Linux Journal has just dedicated a whole issue to it [1]. Powerful systems can be built using relatively basic UNIX/Linux skills [2]. Google, noticing that a lot of huge talent left Nokia after Microsoft entryism, sets up datacentres there [3-5]. Finland, the home country of Linux, has suffered more than enough from Microsoft. It’s time for it to get its revenge by liaising with Microsoft’s worst corporate nightmare, Google.

Google is known for its high wages and I should know about it because Google approached me regarding employment thrice in the past. Google competes with malicious companies like Amazon which pay Microsoft for GNU/Linux (patents). They have some powerful features [6], but we still urge people to boycott Amazon for a lot of reasons. Amazon is still quite Microsoft-centric and it shouldn’t be shocking because Microsoft is a next-door neighbout and many ‘former’ Microsoft managers are now managers at Amazon. As part of my job I work with Amazon every now and then and Rackspace is far better in every way (for so-called ‘cloud’ hosting). Unlike Google, Rackspace is actually doing something about software patents. As for Google, there are many issues with it; it’s hard to recommend it and the next post will say more.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. November 2013 Issue of Linux Journal: System Administration
  2. Building An Effective And Cheap Redundant Structure For My Servers
  3. Google to step up investment in Finnish data center, sources say
  4. Google to expand Finnish data centre
  5. Google to spend another 450 mn euros on Finnish data centre
  6. Working with Amazon AWS EC2: Ephemeral disks

10.31.13

GNU/Linux Efficiency Helps the Environment

Posted in GNU/Linux, Servers at 7:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Googleplex energy
Photo by Avinash Kaushik (Googleplex)

Summary: Addressing claims that GNU/Linux and Free software in general are neither efficient nor suitable for old hardware

THERE is an ongoing online debate about GNU/Linux as a remedy/recovery plan for old PCs; those who deem it unfit for old computers (no link, intentionally, but there is a rebuttal in [1]) are totally ignoring the many distributions which are specifically created and optimised so as to help revive old PCs. Some, like the Raspberry Pi, are doing exceptionally well [2-6] with very little. There is no need for massive computers to perform simple tasks. A lot of people use computers for very light activity (like Web surfing) with just one active application actually running. It’s a trend. Even Intel is now surrendering to the trend [7], embracing its rival out of desperation perhaps (Atom was a big failure). Microsoft and Apple, two companies that rely on x86 and inefficient machines (Apple is routinely shamed by Greenpeace for being one of the dirtiest companies in the planet alongside Microsoft [1, 2]), are arguing over who’s responsible for draining batteries so quickly [8] and we are constantly reminded of the urgency of energy efficiency [9] because solutions/alternatives do exist these days [10,11].

“Cooperation reduces other sorts of waste, too.”When it comes to natural resources, there is a limit. They are all finite (some less than others, e.g. sun rays and winds), so we should stop assuming infinite expansion of everything (including Moore’s/Intel’s silly ‘law’ [12], which assumes we can magically redefine or bend atoms’ size). We are in this energy-wasting mess right now because greedy oil tycoons and economists don't seem to grasp scarcity, especially in a lifetime’s worth/timespan.

For those who are “green”-conscious, Free software should become a thing to embrace and to spread. Cooperation reduces other sorts of waste, too.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The success of GNU/Linux

    Even on old hardware, GNU/Linux idles like every other desktop OS since i386. Really. PCs are much faster than humans and sit in a looping state checking for stuff to do until the human makes another click some milliseconds apart. In a millisecond, an old PC with a single or dual-core CPU can do millions of operations. It’s not that hard to do IT and keep ahead of humans if you are that fast. Further, modern hard drives run ~100-200 MB/s and the old ones slog at 40 MB/s, not that different if you’ve just clicked on an icon or link. A lot of what we do is out on the Internet where a click takes a few tenths of a second to get anything done and many transactions take ~1s.

  2. Crowdfunding and VAT

    This week our friends at OpenERP have launched their own crowdfunding campaign for a retail Point of Sale solution, based on our favourite little computer – the Raspberry Pi, and some other bits of hardware.

  3. The Raspberry Pi: Is it REALLY the saviour of British computing?

    It is fair to say that the Raspberry Pi is a success. I love them, you love them, the whole world loves them. It has reminded the rest of the computing world that the UK – and Cambridge especially – has a proud computing heritage.

  4. Pi Camera Quick Installation Guide
  5. Two Projects We Love

    It was recently announced that the Raspberry Pi (RPi) has sold 1.75 million units in the 1.5 years they have been available. That is seen by most folks as a screaming success. In contrast, the One Laptop Per Child project (OLPC) has sold about twice as many OLPC units in about 6+ years… yet it is seen by some as a quasi-failure.

  6. Open Source Is Useless – Without Hardware

    You might not have noticed that the $35 computer, Raspberry Pi has exceeded 1 million units shipped. Further, they have production volumes cranked up to the point where you can order more than one unit.

  7. Exclusive: Intel Opens Fabs To ARM Chips

    “It’s huge. Imagine ARM’s most powerful and technologically advanced 64-bits processor built on Intel’s leading-edge fabs. A duo that will be hard to beat,” explains Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.

  8. Microsoft: Apple is to blame for reports of poor Windows battery life

    Is it true? Yes. And also no. What PCWorld’s team of mythbusters discovered was that yes, installing Windows on a MacBook Air exhausted its battery far, far quicker than the Mac OS ever could. But when asked to explain themselves, Microsoft executives explained that Apple’s engineers simply weren’t as dedicated as the Windows world.

  9. How Science Is Telling Us All To Revolt
  10. This Huge Solar Thermal Plant Makes Electricity Even in the Dark

    The primary complaint against solar power—that it, you know, requires the sun—is perfectly valid. But Arizona’s new Solana Generating Station, the largest capacity solar thermal plant on the face of the Earth, has just provided a $1.4 billion counterpoint. Thanks to its massive molten salt reserves, this plant keeps producing power even after lights out.

  11. Researchers tout electricity storage technology that could recharge devices in minutes

    Vanderbilt University researchers say they have come up with a way to store electricity on a silicon-based supercapacitor that would let mobile phones recharge in seconds and let them continue to operate for weeks without recharging.

    The researchers said in a paper that instead of storing energy in chemical reactions the way batteries do, silicon supercapacitors store electricity by assembling ions on the surface of a porous material. As a result, they tend to charge and discharge in minutes, instead of hours, and operate for a few million cycles, instead of a few thousand cycles like batteries, the researchers stated.

  12. World With New Limits: The Coming End of Moore’s Law

    “The tech industry has been lazy and has depended on Moore’s Law, but once it’s gone they’re going to have to come up with new and different ways to make their products better and faster,” suggested blogger Mike Stone. “I’m sorry to say that I don’t know how they’re going to do that at this point, but I have all the confidence in the world that they will.”

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