Ballmer Blames Software Piracy on Spendy Hardware, or: What I'd Do with a Hundred Bucks
Before you continue with this article, first go read Mike Ricciuti's article about a recent appearance by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Once you've put your head back together after that nasty explosion, let's talk here about some things that Steve said.
First off, let's take a look at the things about which he is absolutely correct. Ballmer says, "Until government and situational factors reduce piracy... those people...don't pay". It may sound petulant to point out this fact, but I've been saying this same thing forever. Linux doesn't win due to cost in terms of cash money marvelous, as Windows is pirated everywhere. If we are to believe the BSA, one in four businesses pirate software. How does one then explain the popularity of Linux- and BSD-based distributions? It couldn't be because they're better, could it?
Maybe Ballmer's other quote from the same article can shed some light on the answer to that question, "The biggest problem we have right now is that people who should be paying for software aren't." I'd like to refactor that statement. What I think he meant to say was, "The biggest problem is that we have people not paying for software that they seem to really like."
I hail Microsoft's desire for a $100 computer, I really do. You can buy a lot of computer nowadays for a crisp hundred dollar bill. Let's go to eBay.... Ah, here's a solid little machine--an IBM Netvista 500MHz machine with 128MB of RAM and a 10GB hard drive. Maybe you want a little more? How about a Fujitsu 700MHz with 192MB of RAM?. System discounters in any good-size town have machines such as these waiting for a nice home. You can run a solid Linux desktop on either of these machines and be very happy.
Would the same be true of Windows? Maybe. You'd need a little more RAM, but if you're willing to put up with some thrashing, it should do. But wait, that XP license is non-transferable from user to user. So if you want to be legal, you need to get a copy of XP Home (OEM), which Froogle is showing at or around $100. So, you're up to $200 now. I could have another Linux machine for that!
The point I'm trying to make here is there is real value in machines that have been abandoned for being somehow inferior, and the best tool I know of for deriving value from "experienced" hardware is Linux. I'm currently running a variety of servers for my personal infrastructure. I have two 1U machines with 933MHz PIII processors, both with decent amounts of drive on them and 384MB of memory each. My big upgrade for them might be memory, but they're both running well as is. They're not doing much, mind you. They're simply doing file and print work on my home network and some Web serving, but they have been doing that steadily now for some four years or more--I can't remember when I bought them from CDC. I reloaded them both about two years ago with Fedora core and I keep them updated, but that's about it. Rock steady.
Before they use Linux, people often have the idea that computers are ambiguous, capricious or even malignant machines out to get them. Install Linux, however, and you get the same computer from day to day, which is why I like using it.
Chris DiBona is the Open Source Program Manager for Mountain View, California, based Google, Inc. These writings are the author's opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of his employer. Before joining Google, Chris was an editor/author for the popular on-line Web site Slashdot.org, and he is an internationally known advocate of open-source software and related methodologies. He co-edited the award winning essay compilation Open Sources and can be reached by way of his Web site.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide