zundel

Monday 32

Dyslexia font

Filed under: Computers, Open source — Tags: , — zundel @ pm

A fiend brings to my attention news of a font to help with dyslexia: Dyslexie.

I forget not everyone lives in open source.

See OpenDyslexic:
http://opendyslexic.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDyslexic
https://packages.debian.org/fonts-opendyslexic

We most easily read proportional text with serifs: quickly and smoothly — and go right past error.s We best edit mono-spaced text.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monospaced_font
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samples_of_monospaced_typefaces
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monospace_%28Unicode%29
http://savannah.gnu.org/projects/freefont/

Mono-spaced text also works well for dyslexia.
A mono-spaced font with slab serifs may work especially well.

I do almost all reading and editing in dark green mono-spaced text on a soft yellow background (“#003300 #FFFFCC“), reducing glare and eye strain, and assisting acute vision spotting errors.

Saturday 30

Off to Idaho

Filed under: Computers, Open source — Tags: — zundel @ pm

Fin by Keith Wesolowski

Want a ranch hand?

Meanwhile the most trumpeted “advance” of the last 10 years at the bottom of the stack is UEFI, which replaces parts of the system firmware… with a slightly modernised version of MS-DOS. It’s painfully obvious that the sole purpose of UEFI is to enable Microsoft to continue collecting royalties on every computer sold, a brilliant move on their part given the steady decline of Windows, but an abomination for everyone else. UEFI solves no problems for the operator, customer, or OS vendor. If anything, it creates more of them. There’s a better way to do this, but my central observation is that the solutions that would be better for everyone else are not those that would be best for the vendors: AMI, Microsoft, and Intel are quite happy with their cozy little proprietary royalty machine and have no incentive to engineer, or even enable others to engineer, anything better. The bottom of the stack is designed to serve vendors, not customers.

The net result of all this is that we have data centres occupying many hectares, filled with computers that are architecturally identical to a Packard Bell 486 desktop running MS-DOS long enough to boot a crippled and amateurish clone of Unix circa 1987…

Sigh!

I became a bicycle mechanic (by accident).
Not nicer people.
Not nicer businesses.
But more pleasant problems.

We, computer tech, have great tools. I love using them.
But the problems became old, repetitive, and uninteresting decades ago.
Didn’t matter if I developed or customized accounting software or recovered another server hosed by a rank amateur with all thumbs. Old uninteresting problems.

Bicycles have old repeated mistakes (stuff known a hundred years ago). I try to avoid those. But the day to day problems, what needs fixed, I enjoy.

Friday 29

How it’s done

Filed under: Computers, Open source — Tags: — zundel @ am

Making it Virtually Easy to Deploy on Day One by John Goulah

Oh hell yes.

Some people just set it up better than others.

Thursday 25

Linux at 20

Filed under: Open source — Tags: — zundel @ am

Linux turns 20

IBM decided in 1999 that Linux was its friend. It correctly deduced that Linux would help it sell more hardware and services.

A good read

The quiet colossus:
The Linux kernel processes almost everything you touch.

Linux vulnerabilty

Filed under: Open source, Security — Tags: , — zundel @ am

Much in the news lately about a vulnerability in recent Linux kernels.

If you use a kernel before 2.6.39 you have no problem.
Stable distributions like Debian 6 and Ubuntu 10 have no problem.
(/proc/version)

Patches released and in the process of release for newer versions.

The kernel gets careful development, but still people do make errors.

Yet another argument for using stable distributions.

Tuesday 23

Hail, hail the end of menus

Filed under: Computers, Open source — Tags: , , , — zundel @ pm

Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu.

HUD to replace menus in Ubuntu 12.04

I like Ubuntu again and eagerly await Ubuntu 12.04.

(And Mark’s affirmation of the centrality of the desktop heartens me.)

Menus offer discoverability: you can find out what a program does. But digging through them to issue a command takes time.

Experienced users issue commands from the keyboard rather than dig through menus.
They also start programs by typing using Gnome Do, KRunner, Spotlight, or Start menu search. Now Ubuntu brings type to execute to menus. Excellent.

Canonical has matched Apple with the quality and integration of Ubuntu.
They now out innovate Apple.

Friday 12

Linux distros compared

Filed under: Open source — Tags: , , , , , , — zundel @ pm

Enterprise Open Source Directory – Operating Systems
GNU/Linux Distribution Timeline

Debian

One of the few really long established Linux distributions, well known for stability and its curated repository of thousands of software packages, it has formed the basis of more Linux distributions than any other.
Capable of a stable configuration that updates and remains stable. Also easy to selectively use newer packages.
Used by many large institutions, with an extensive community of users and developers, well documented, with support readily available.
With a broad developer base and not dependent on any corporate sponsor or owner, change of ownership cannot occur nor vendor lock-in.

Ubuntu

Based on Debian, Ubuntu refreshes it repositories from Debian every six months.
Ubuntu has done a great deal to popularize Linux. And has made some excellent server versions, especially the 10.04 long term support release. But recent focus on consumer appeal and a proprietary interface raise doubts about business suitability and support. The next long term support release coming April 2012 will answer some questions.

SUSE

Not quite as long established as Debian, but the oldest commercial distribution.
The free community distribution openSUSE strikes a nice balance, not cutting edge like Red Hat’s Fedora, but instead stable yet current, with readily available support.
SUSE and openSUSE have the most extensive graphical administration tools.

Red Hat

Well known with a large installed base and good stability, but subscription fees make it expensive.

Fedora

Red Hat’s free community distribution used for testing and experimenting. Not as unstable as it once was, but still not recommended for enterprise work.

CentOS

A free clone of Red Hat.
With version 6 Red Hat changed the packaging of their source code which delayed the release of CentOS 6 by most of a year. Though it has a large installed base, the small number of developers raises doubts about its ability to keep current with Red Hat source and suitability for long-term deployment.

Friday 5

Linux up, Oracle down

Filed under: Open source — Tags: , , , , — zundel @ am

Analysis from the 451 Group predicts the continued growth of Linux and decline of Oracle.

2012 to be year of Linux domination

Our analysis with survey data from 451 Research division TheInfoPro shows server spending for databases and data warehousing favoring Red Hat with Linux over Oracle with either Linux or Solaris. Out of more than 165 server professionals interviewed by TIP, 67% are planning to spend more with Red Hat on database/data-warehousing, and only 6% plan to spend less. The positive figures for Red Hat mirror negative spending intentions for Oracle, with 55% planning to spend less and only 9% planning to spend more.

55% planning to spend less with Oracle.

Linux Will Eat Oracle’s Lunch in 2012, Says Analyst

So Oracle may have more than just a bad quarter.

Oracle’s Bad Quarter: IT Spending Sign, Or Fusion Confusion?

Oracle is not the canary, nor a more up to date indicator species. Its dna is older than that. It’s the dinosaur.

Oracle support portal update could cause chaos, worry users

As customers learn the perils of vendor lock-in, the uncertainty of support, and the potential for independence, Oracle will decline.

Businesses gain experience and confidence with Linux and open source software and look less for expensive hand-holding. The stability and maturity of Linux and the many open source enterprise software packages (such as ERP and CRM systems) allow businesses to assemble their own systems. This is especially appealing to small and medium size business that cannot justify software fees.

Licensing, subscriptions, and service agreements work well for large institutions and unfamiliar technology. But with enterprise class hardware and virtual servers readily available, and rock solid and well maintained Linux and enterprise software available for download, businesses move away from constant fees to use software.

Debian Linux with stability rivaling Red Hat and much easier maintenance will grow in use, as will open source enterprise software such as Adempiere, OpenERP, Project Open, vTiger, CiviCRM, RT, Ants, and OrangeHRM.

Update
Debian passes CentOS as most popular Linux for web servers

Update
Fundamental Oracle flaw revealed
This is complicated but crucially important if you use Oracle databases.
New patches came out today (2012-01-17) but no patches exist for older versions.
This can be a time bomb for large installations and a security risk for all.

Saturday 357

Mozilla to the rescue

Filed under: Android, Computers, Open source, Security — Tags: , , — zundel @ am

English: This is a icon for Firefox Web Browser.
The Firefox web browser has had a great year. It keeps getting better and better.

The upcoming projects of Mozilla, the makers of the Firefox, promise to help promote an open and free internet.

You knew the old Moxzilla, now meet the new Mozilla

Mozilla’s 3 bold bets to keep the Web open

Thursday 285

Ubuntu 11.10

Filed under: Computers, Open source — Tags: , , — zundel @ pm

WOW!

Put this on a Zenbook,
and put it next to a MacBook Air.

The Unity interface has matured to elegance and simplicity.

RIP Dennis Ritchie

Filed under: Computers, Open source — Tags: , , , — zundel @ pm

We owe Dennis Ritchie hugely.
You can read this.
I can write it.

He built the foundations.
And very beautiful and capable foundations.

Other things have been tried but basically we still use Unix and C.
He built those things. And he built them extremely well.

I’ve used some version of Unix since 1979.
Now various distributions of Linux.
I still smile every time I drop to the command line and tinker with the innards.
The elegance, power, and flexibility still please me immensely.
Good tools make a joy of work.
These are the best tools.

Thank you.

Dennis M. Ritchie

Dennis Ritchie obituary

DMR, 1941—2011

Unix combines more obvious-in-retrospect engineering design choices than anything else I’ve seen or am likely to see in my lifetime.

It is impossible — absolutely impossible — to overstate the debt my profession owes to Dennis Ritchie. I’ve been living in a world he helped invent for over thirty years.

Wednesday 60

Not Windows

Filed under: Computers, Open source, Security — Tags: — zundel @ am

I have heard from clients complaints about the frustration on web discussions of Linux.

I have read the discussions on occasion and have seen the frustration.

I think I recognize it.

Many on the discussions seem to look for a recipe to follow to fix some problem. And then presumably run this script on their machine. This approach comes from Windows. Near random hacking on Windows stems from the opacity of the system. And causes all sorts of problems.
(more…)

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