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Linux losing share to Windows Server October 27, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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While Linux is a pretty good system for servers Windows Server has definately made some strides.  Windows Server 2003 was an excellent release and Windows Server 2008 seems to be heading in that direction of being phenomenal.   But alas, Linux does seem to be losing some steam according to IDC and other analysts.

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TurboLinux signs with Microsoft October 23, 2007

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TurboLinux has the distinction of being the first Asian distribution to sign a deal with Microsoft.

Among the benefits, patent protection, collaboration on interoperability, Live Search, as well as further monetary support.  TurboLinux is probably the oldest distribution to sign with Microsoft among the ones Microsoft signed.

The Microsoft Linux coalition includes, Linspire, Xandros, Novell, LG, TurboLinux

Linspire 6.0: Two steps backwards? Or Hurt feelings? October 20, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
4 comments

Personally I disagree with the author of this piece.

I stick to my guns and will argue my point and the point here is the author is absolutely wrong. When I did my review of Freespire and I said I thought Freespire 2.0 was a better Ubuntu then Ubuntu, I meant it and I still agree with it.

What the authors leave out of that article is the fact that more hardware is supported then with the official Ubuntu release. Im not trying 7.10 because I keep getting frustrated with Ubuntu with every new release. 3D accelleration works with Linspire 6.0, all the common media files play out of box, and it doesnt unexplainably kernel panic and crash. The author brings up Linspire dropping things like LTorrent for KTorrent. What did LTorrent have over KTorrent? Not a thing, its a torrent application for Christs sake. NVU? NVU is dead and not being enhanced anymore, why litter the install CD with out of date code. I personally like that Linspire, Mandriva and PCLinuxOS dont enable 3D desktops by default, it should be users discretion whether to use that feature instead of hunting for an off switch. If you like the Ubuntu approach its not a bad system. Does it have its flaws? Sure but so does every OS on the market.

The main firing point here seems to be the patent deal and its wrong to hose a good piece of software just because of politics. The Microsoft deal could be good, could be bad, its still up in the air. The Microsoft deal with Novell has sprouted moonlight, an OpenXML translator for OpenOffice among many interoperability initiatives. While the patent deal seems to be a sore point I take the good with the bad and will wait to see how things turn out. That statement does not mean I think the patent deal is uneeded or a bad thing.

While I am not a poster boy for the Open Source movement, I dislike the GPLv3 and I disagree with Stallmans “Its GNU/Linux” philosophy. I even wish Theo Da Raadt would grow up. The last I heard was that the Open Source community was a community and that everyone can and should be involved and while Microsoft isnt jumping in head first, what they have contributed has been positive thus far. Should they calm down on the tongue service? Yeah they should, but that neighbor in the non virtual community who hates blacks, jews, puerto ricans, french and Starbucks should also quit blathering about. To the Linux and Open Source developers. If you dont like the idea that just anyone can take your code and profit from it, word of advice. Dont open source it.

In my personal and professional opinion if you want a better Ubuntu experience and still utilize the Ubuntu repositories and want a better Ubuntu then Ubuntu, give Linspire 6 a try. Do not jump on the bandwagon of an author who simply installed the system just to take a screenshot for an article. Give it a try and decide for yourself and dont let politics dictate your computing experience.

Mandriva Linux 2008 October 19, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in Opinions, Reviews.
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Mandriva released their new Mandriva Linux distribution entitled 2008. Touting the new versions of GNOME and KDE as well as XFCE how well does this thing stand up? To do this review I have two Dell PowerEdge 500SC both with 768 mb of RAM, Nvidia GeForce 64mb video cards and both running at 1.2 ghz on Celeron processors. The difference is that one is running the KDE version and the other is running the GNOME version. I used the One version of each system.

Interface likes and dislikes….

Im gonna pound on Mandriva on this one. The GNOME version uses the Tango icon set while KDE uses a vastly outdated crystal icon set. Really outdated. Why they cant update crystal or modify Tango or the new Crystal icons to run on both for the uniformity is beyond me. The only thing thats similar is the Mandriva Control Center and the network control interface. The network center is very intuitive and easy to use and after trying multiple USB and PCI adapters, some using ndiswrapper and some not, the results were the same and all interfaces were easy to use. This ease of use followed Mandriva through both versions. The GNOME version of Mandriva was slower than the KDE version but had a more uniformed look which I liked, you can skin GTK apps with the QT theme with a Kcontrol plugin but its not available by default. Overall, speed and functinality KDE won but for great looks a more attractive iconset GNOME won hands down.

Hardware support…

Hardware support was lacking in some areas. My printer I use with PCLinuxOS wouldnt work in Mandriva. My SD card reader/writer could read SD cards but wouldnt transfer data to the card. This device works flawlessly in PCLinuxOS but not in Mandriva ’08. Plugging in thumbdrives and external hard drives worked well, the only complaint I have is in the GNOME version the media appears on the desktop in the KDE version it does not do so by default. 3D acceleration worked out of box as did the cheap sound cards I put into both systems purchased at TigerDirect for $9.99. On the laptop I did install it on, A Dell Inspiron 2500 it was the best distribution for it and I more than likely wont be removing Mandriva from that system. The Sansa e250 I have worked, the Zune didnt and my iPod was DOA so pretty much like all Linux distros flash based players work the best.

Functionality….

After using easy urpmi to download all the goodies such as DVD capabilities and WMV/mp3 support all worked well. The Mplayer plugin and the Totem plugin wouldnt work in Firefox, it would buffer and then stop. I used the MediaPlayerConnectivity extension to take care of that and installed mplayer on the GNOME version specifically for the purpose of linking to it for media playback from the browser. So far this workaround has worked well on all the media I have wanted to see thats not flash based. Sun Java does not come installed by default so to use Java apps you have to go through the installation. If you are a developer, sorry the packages have to be downloaded. I really am learning to dislike Amarok but I started using Rhythmbox which has a neat interface and works great. Updating software on the system was better than it is with Ubuntu and PCLOS. Uninstall the old version of OpenOffice, go get OpenOffice 2.3. I just downloaded the tar.gz with the RPM’s and installed all the packages. Dont forget the Mandriva menu integration package. For PDF reading got the new Reader 8 from Adobes website. Mandriva seems more apt, no pun intended, to allow you to play with the system than Ubuntu is. Playing with the add/remove software package manager revealed a plethora of packages and system enhancements so check there first before you have to go get the source and build anything. This is the first system aside from PCLOS that I havent had to build source packages which for new users is great. If you are looking for a server system, while you can build this system into a server with packages and add-ons I would recommend a more server oriented system like Fedora or OpenSUSE. Mandriva is a desktop system plain and simple and if you want to just put up a few bucks you can buy the server edition for $361.00. Costs less than Windows Vista.

System dislikes….

The num lock key is on by default. I hate that and mobile users will likely find it annoying as well. The boot system sucks. I like knowing what my system is doing so the Press Escape jazz just didnt work for me and when I tried to change it in Mandriva it would work for a couple of boots then revert back to the original. PCLOS maintains the user preference and I wish Mandriva would as well. On the GNOME install I had a couple of hard crashes but overall it was a stable system. Of course it just takes one bug to piss me off and the num lockwas it with this one.

Conclusion…

If you hate the word Ubuntu and just dont like the system, Mandriva works well and the PowerPack contains everything you need unlike the Ubuntu default install. I personally didnt get why Dell chose Ubuntu outside of purely political and fanboy hype as there are better systems with more out of box and a better out of box experience than Ubuntu. Anyway, for new users who want a package that is supported and you can call and get tech support, I would recommend this. If you are a power user and just want to dive into Linux head first and sink or swim this works too. If you are looking for a distribution for your grandmother to use, we are almost there. For ease of use, package availability and being just a cool system to work and play on you cant go wrong with Mandriva.

Overall Score: 8.5

EDIT: Sun Oct, 21 2007  More Problems arise….

More problems have arisen with Mandriva Linux 2008. I partitioned and formatted a 80 gb Western Digital disk that I was going to use for data storage. Upon format, the disk wouldnt mount. I decided to use a thumbdrive that I had to store the data and now no external removable drives will mount at all on this system. I was going to burn the data to DVD and the DVD writer refuses to recognize the disk and refuses to write.  When I put in a CD to read the entire system goes down.  To make sure it wasnt a hardware issue I put another drive that contains PCLinuxOS 2007 and put it in as the system disk and everything works fine hardware wise.

Red Hat and Novell: Need to worry? October 13, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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IP Innovations LLC is suing Red Hat and Novell for patent infringement.

Is it time to worry?  Is it time to format your machines and install FreeBSD? You should anyhow but no, you shouldnt.  This thing is still in preliminary phases.  The patent they are attacking with is a very old one and likely will be invalidated with prior art.  But in todays legal system you never know.  The OSS community will likely demonize the company similar to the way they did SCO and continue to preach rhetoric that has nothing to do with the case at all.  Albeit it will be amusing to watch.

Novell Apology Accepted or Rejected October 6, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in Opinions.
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Dana Blankenhorn wrote a blog entry about Miguel De Icaza’s interview with Paula Rooney sounding like an “apology”.  He goes off into this whole left field tirade about it reading like a “weepy romantic comedy”.  The funniest part about David Blankenhorns post is this:

” Novell is like the unfaithful lover who comes to your door while still engaged and begs you to take it back.

Here’s what the script tells you to do next. After you listen to the apology you kick them out the door, turn around and cheer yourself.

Novell made its bed with Microsoft. It got engaged to Microsoft. It took Microsoft for better or worse, and this is the worse. Now that it sees just what Microsoft is about, it wants the open source movement to forgive it, to accept its apology and to continue dating it, to continue paying for its SUSE Linux licenses.”

Ok thats the funniest thing I have read in awhile.  The not so funny and disturbing part about  Blankenhorn is how misinformed he is and how he misinforms his readers.  I read the interview, nowhere does it sound like an apology.  In fact after I read both pieces I thought maybe it was a title to attract more hits and the more I read it the more I realized thats exactly what it was.   But Mr. Blankenhorn seems to think Microsofts announcement with Novell and even Sun translates to joining the open source community.  It doesnt and I think the illustration of Microsoft being a wife beater and feminizing the open source community to be in poor taste. 

Microsoft has never said, nor wanted to be part of the open source community.  They partnered with these companies to improve interoperability for customers (like myself) who run a host of different operating systems. 

Microsoft didnt say at all that they were going to contribute their core software to the open source community and they havent.  Microsoft has helped with several projects that needed it.  Moonlight, open XML translator, ODF Translator for Office and they continue to partner and work with many open source companies.

Microsoft never used the words Open Source or community in the language for the release of the .NET class libraries.

This release is for Windows and .NET developers.  If you are an open source or bust type person this release isnt for you.  If you are looking for .NET for Linux or Mac OS X, this release isnt for you.  If you are a Windows developer who wants to make sure his/her project runs great on Windows and wants to debug against the .NET class libraries source code then this release is for you.

Its very surprising the misconceptions people have about the Novell/Microsoft agreement and about every press release Microsoft puts out about releasing source code.  Davids comment ” I’m the guy on this beat. I talk to open source developers all the time. They don’t like being feminized. They do take this personally.”  Who is being feminized?  Nobody.  Novell and Microsoft are businesses and they make business decisions, their business is to write software.  Novell needs a selling point for their software.  Having patent protection and getting Microsoft as a partner to assist them is a great selling point for customers.  If you dont like the deal quit whining about it.  Use something else but be prepared to start whining again when Microsoft files a patent infringement lawsuit. 

 Obviously a few people in the open source community do not have the competence to understand business.  Some in the community see Novell, Linspire, Xandros and LG as unfavorable because of their respective deals with Microsoft.  Its their own fault.  If the open source developers dont like just anyone being able to take their software, change it, redistribute it, monetize it and make money off of it then the solution is easy.  Dont put it under an open source license.

WGA and IE7 No more October 5, 2007

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IE7 and WGA are no longer coupled.  Microsoft wants to expand the use of IE and is removing WGA from the mix.  This is great news.  This makes me wonder tho.  Since they removed it from IE7 will they remove it from the other software as well?

Link

Open.NET: Is it really open source? October 4, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in Opinions.
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Microsoft announced today that it was open sourcing the .NET Framework.  Is it really open source?  No and the funny thing is it was never intended to be considered open source. 

Everyone has their opinions.  Even Robert Scoble, the ex-microsoft guy who was never a developer seems to think this was an open source move.

Microsoft released this under the Reference license.  This is the key word here, Reference.  It wasnt released under any of the truly open Shared Source licenses.

This helps developers in several ways the most important being that they can write better applications.  This move is a win win for Microsoft.  They maintain control, there is no chance of an official fork unlike the case with Java and its a win win for developers so that their applications are better and they have a way to access the source code for more complex projects.

 Of course its from Microsoft, so expect some whining from just about the entire Open Source community.