Buy! Buy! Buy! - into Openness
One of the core problems for open source has always been that as a radical force outside the mainstream it is hard for its supporters to influence conventional players there. In part, this was what made Dell's Ideastorm so important: it gave a voice to those hitherto unable to communicate usefully with the company. The effects have been dramatic, with Dell now promising to sell systems with pre-installed GNU/Linux. The question then must be, how can we build on that success to achieve maximum impact?
This matters – assuming Dell's announcement turns out to be a serious move to embrace open source. If Dell makes only a token gesture to meet the pent-up demand for such solutions, clearly the free software community needs to make its displeasure felt. Fortunately, in the age of blogs, it is easier to whip up storms of bad publicity for companies that use and abuse its customers in this way – tempests that can easily spill over into the mainstream media with all that this implies for sales and share prices.
Equally, if Dell turns out to be sincere in its desire to put free software offerings on a more equal footing with Windows-based solutions, it is crucial that the open source world do more than just make vaguely-satisfied noises. If and when Dell-branded GNU/Linux systems go on sale, it will be one of the first opportunities for the open source world to influence directly the development of the mainstream PC marketplace.
The way to do this is simple: we must vote with our wallets. Assuming the Dell GNU/Linux systems are not hopelessly flawed in some way, we must all try to buy as many of them as we can (within reason, of course). This might mean delaying a purchase now until the systems are available, or bringing forward plans to buy more hardware. It might mean replacing an ageing PC with a new Dell machine rather than upgrading the motherboard and adding more memory.
However we achieve it, we need to send a strong signal to Dell that backing open source is profitable. Doing so will have two important consequences. The first is that Dell will be likely to expand its offerings, and to take the sector seriously. Even more importantly, its rivals will be forced to take notice of GNU/Linux systems, and will probably start offering them too. This is why we cannot afford to let the Dell experiment fail. It represents a great chance to open up the PC market and to create a level playing field for operating systems, once and for all.
Exactly the same approach needs to be taken in the field of open content, specifically that of music. EMI's announcement yesterday that it would be making its entire catalogue available without DRM is another major shift, like Dell's GNU/Linux offerings, that must be supported in a highly visible way. If backers of DRM-free music start buying tracks and encouraging their friends to do the same, a signal will be sent to both EMI and the other music companies that DRM-less music makes business sense.
As well as freeing the music, such a campaign will have the secondary benefit of weakening Microsoft's WMA format, since the only reason many music providers have opted for it is because of a perceived need for the associated DRM. Once DRM is defeated, semi-open formats like MP3 (and maybe even Ogg) will flourish, and the proprietary approaches will gradually fade away, with obvious knock-on benefits for the free software world.
Now, then, is the time to buy open like never before – so that the companies making these exploratory moves, as well as their more sceptical rivals, really start to buy into openness.
Glyn Moody writes about all kinds of openness at opendotdotdot.
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.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
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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