In Burning the Ships, an open letter from then-20-year-old Bill Gates, written in 1976, is cited. In that letter, Gates says To me, the most critical thing in the hobby market right now is the lack of good software.(132). He is talking about computer software in what was then a burgeoning computer industry, run mainly as a hobby. He goes on to say that the prevailing assumption that hardware must be paid for but software is something to share is not a model for the successful creation of quality hardware. As the Open Source community has proven, his statements are not quite validated, but I am not opposed to developers making money for their code.
At the beginning of this year, several people at Linux Journal and elsewhere, took a pledge to be DRM free. This pledge focuses on Digital Rights Management as applied to music, but there are a number of other areas where DRM is also applied. I used to think that it was applied for valid reasons However, after my latest episode with my laptop, I am seriously considering the headaches of DRM, especially when applied to software. Follow along for the current tale of woe.
My trusty laptop threw a rod the other day, metaphorically speaking. It stopped working. No power, no POST, no nothing. It would not even acknowledge the power brick was attached to it. This is generally a bad thing. After swapping out the brick with another machine, it became clear the problem was internal to the laptop itself. I am not a hardware guy, especially laptop hardware. I can barely solder heads on antenna cables, so I am not about to crack open a laptop and poke around in the innards. I am going to do what every other non-IT person on the planet would do in this situation – I took out the paperwork for the extended warranty and marched it back to the place of purchase and said, “Here, fix.” (In pretty much those words too). So they took it away and told me it would be ready in three weeks.
Now, for those that have not kept up, Microsoft charges for their software and not a small amount either. If you want to charge me to use your software, and I find a value in using your software, I have no problem paying you. What Microsoft and others does to control their licenses is this – they create a unique signature based on the activation key and ten or so hardware component IDs. Change a percentage of the hardware and you invalidate the key. Invalidate the key and…
My laptop came back from repair on Thursday. The problem required them to replace the motherboard. While it was away, I got thinking that I really needed to increase the size of the hard drive. You can see where this is going right? Other than the RAM and the wireless NIC, every component of the PC has been swapped out, thus invalidating the key. And this is where my problems begin.
It would seem that there are a number of programs that also use the Microsoft model, either generating their own key or tying themselves to the Microsoft key. In some cases, like Microsoft, it is a simple matter to regenerate and reverify your status with a quick trip to the web. Others do not make it so simple. I have spent two days uninstalling utilities and programs and reinstalling them and trying to get them to work correctly. I am down to two programs. One requires me to call the vendor to reset my key, a very annoying process for a very specific piece of software that cost me a very little amount of money. The other piece of software, well, I am not sure what I am going to do. It is the type that is sold through a web store, with no phone number to call to get a live body and licensing issues are not one of the six options I have to choose from when submitting a trouble report, so I am sending an email in the blind and hoping I do not get a useless response.
The key takeaway here is this. Stuff happens to hardware all the time. Stuff happens to software all the time. Good stuff and bad stuff. Hard drives fail, are upgraded, are downgraded. RAM is swapped. Motherboards fail. PCs are pretty fragile pieces of machinery. I do not mind paying for software. I do not mind that, as the developer, you feel you need to secure your code to prove I only installed it once. What I do mind is wasting several days of my life trying to make it all work again after what I consider routine repairs. And clearly, the Open Source model, without DRM, is a clear winner.
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.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- Rogue Wave Software's Zend Server
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
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