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Archive for January, 2006

Firefox Exceeds 20% Market Share in Europe

Firefox usage map
Picture from xitimonitor.com (click to confer the source)

A diagram is worth a thousand words.

Related news: Dell bundle Firefox with Windows in the United Kingdom.

Linux Receives Support More Rapidly

penguin sign

Mainsoft and IBM will one day unveil their long-anticipated port of .NET Applications to Linux and J2EE. Finally, this important milestone which enables Windows-centric applications to be ‘opened’, becomes a reality.

Mainsoft Corp. and IBM Wednesday announced an effort to work together to extend the Linux ecosystem by helping Microsoft customers move to Linux.

Meanwhile, the word through the grapevine is that another pact will deliver many low-cost Linux workstations.

Computer maker Mirus Innovations LLC and software vendor Linspire Inc. have teamed to offer a line of Linux-based desktop PCs starting at $299.

The pace at which good news for Linux get delivered is encouraging. Later today, an official announcement will be made with regards to Hewlett Packard’s top executive departing from her duty to join Penguin Computing. Keep an eye on the business/technology news.

A Lifetime Without Commericial Software

Money on keyboard

IT was only a few days ago that I came to ponder an interesting fact: I have never,ever in my life paid for a piece of software. I have never paid for a Web service either. I had some computer games bought for me as a gift while I was a teenager, or even younger than that. I was primary using freeware as a child and I do not think it ended up quite so miserably, despite my habit of relying on free and/or Open Source solutions.

The are a few exceptions to the above statement. Admittedly, I may have bought computers that had Windows pre-installed and thus a licence paid for. Anything commercial that I ever use nowadays, the University pays for (MATLAB which runs on Linux, for example). My Web host pays for cPanel too, I presume. Palm handhelds which I have owned have some programs bundled, but I never purchased any softwere for this platform where so much is already free.

Is it all something to take pride in? I do not believe so, but the observation is an interesting one nonetheless. Frankly, I can never recall pulling out a credit card for software purchase or a paid service on Web. On the Internet, if I ever pull out the CC numbers, it is for groceries, various items (primarily gadgets) and Web hosting bills. Never have I paid for a licence key or a binary file.

Bottom line: expensive proprietary software is not a necessity. That, however, is not what commercial software vendors would have you believe. Freeware and Open Source software are their greatest enemies and, given experience and orientation, they can achieve anything. They also have the merit of being transferable and readily available in abundant numbers.

China Takes Linux Very Seriously

Season of the playful penguins
Season of the playful penguins from Oyonale

RECENTLY, there have been various articles about the need for Linux in China. It is a rapidly-growing country where roughly 90% of software involves piracy. The Chinese have just committed themselves to contributing to Linux enormously.

The world’s second Linux international standard testing lab was set up in China’s capital of Beijing on Friday.

Sponsored by China’s Information Industry Ministry, the lab was jointly established by China Electronics Standardization Institute (CESI) and Intel Corporation.

The Self-Imposed Illusions

3 Monkeys

‘You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!”

PARTICULAR behavioural patterns (exclusively in humans) can become rather intriguing. In support, for instance, sometimes you give people an honest answer and that answer is not what they were wishing to hear. They then attempt to challenge your analysis, of which you are certain. Hopefully for them, eventually this analysis will be changed or at the least softened. The adamant mind does not permit for inner conflicts.

Finally, that ‘status-quo’ suits their wishful thinking, so the answer becomes a reality or sometimes stands, at least in their own stubborn minds. It is a deliberate obfuscation of the truth, from which many are fearful. This explains many bad habits and detriments in society: design choices, war, smoking.

Let us learn to listen, to accept and to embrace.

Triple-Boot Machines

Mac and Dell

WHAT if we ever reached a state where we had full ‘O/S freedom of choice’? What if we were endowed freedom as to which operating system got used on any machine whenever booting?

It wasn’t too long ago that Ubuntu made a version of Linux which is compatible with PowerPC, which made Ubuntu runnable on older (and otherwise legacy) Macs. It also wasn’t too long ago that Mac unveiled their Intel-based Macs, which makes them accessible to both Linux and Windows, or various different versions of Windows, or different Linux distributions. This also caters for seamless purposeless separation into several partitions, provided some partitioning software.

Some time in the past, shortly after Apple had announced their move to Intel chips, people ran Mac OS X on standard (non-Apple) hardware, which was not as expensive as that which is typically provided by Apple Computers. It is now reported that a certain proportion of all Mac users might opt to dual-boot their Macs. This way, they can run Windows, as well as the native operating system in tandem.

Dual-partition and dual-boot hard-drives have become rather common in recent years, predominantly owing to progressive and staged Linux migrations. It is probably only a matter of time until triple-boot machines become widespread. Such machines would run Linux, Mac OS, and Windows. It is an interesting vision. Legally, the three could only be run on Apple hardware, but in practice, who can tell?

Michael Dell once offered Steve Jobs to port Mac OS X and have it run on Dell hardware. Is the vision of Mac OS on potentially any computer (also legally so) nearing a reality?

Linux Text Editors

WysiwygPro
WYSI(not)WYG, so better use plain-text (click to enlarge)

THERE is most definitely no perfect editor, regardless of which platform one uses. Nonetheless, while Linux has some very powerful text editors, different ones should be used under different circumstances. In this item, I concentrate on editors (primarily my favourite one) for development work.

If one ever made a transition to Linux, my suggestion for an editor would be Kate/KWrite, among more. KWrite, which is the editing component of Kate (typically KDE-only), is a good editor for developers — either Web developers or programmers. KWrite incorporates knowledge of markup and syntax for many programming languages, which would be valuable to the P/L-polyglots.

I recently made a permanent transition to KWrite and I continue to explore Kate, which integrates seamlessly with FTP, much like the rest of the desktop environment. It becomes an important trait if you develop on a remote computer, which for me is essential due to parallel computing.

The MATLAB editor, for example, I recently conceded in favour of KWrite. It was slow and it hadawkward and unconventional keyboard accelerators, probably owing to interoperability. The accelerators were an oddity and a real pain to adapt to. Above all, the editor was an unbelievable bloat over SSH. It was not too responsive, yet it had built-in debugging capabilities, which I never bothered to use as it had been aimed at unexperienced users.

BBedit is said to be a good editor for developers on the Mac, but it is costly. For Windows, there are many free editors that replace the weak Notepad — that which is included by default in Windows.

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