domingo, 28 de agosto de 2011

Will ARM get to sweep X86 (and take WIndows to hell along with it)?


I've been very interested in ARM developments since a couple of years ago when it looked like ARM netbooks were just about to be released and kick x86 out of the market (at least on netbooks). A lot of things didn't happen since then, don't you agree? A lot of speculation about how Microsoft got to influence potential manufacturers has been thrown around... but anyway, fact of the matter is that they were never released.

During the last month a couple of things have happened that are making me think that ARM is going to become a major headache for the (already kind of broken) Wintel monopoly (duopoly? whatever!).

First, I helped solve a printing problem involving three cheap printers. First we tried to solve the problem connecting all 3 printers to a single computer (some PC) and almost got to get the whole thing working... the only problem was that only one of the printers would print reliably and the other 2 would refuse to make it all of the times. Workaround? Bought 3 dreamplug servers, connected a single printer to each one of the servers, ran a couple of commands* and, voilà!, problem solved.

Here's a picture of the whole set up (will upload a higher resolution pic when I get it):

On the left of the desk you can see all 3 printers and each printer's dreamplug master right on top of each one, see?

Now.... this was a rather simple fix, each server is kind of cheap (specially compared with a fully fledged computer) and, on top of that, these beauties will keep the electricity bill low (as they all put together eat a lot less than a computer). To me, this spells trouble ahead for Intel (and Windows, though they are at the top on servers will see a ferocious battle with GNU/Linux on the not-so-short term) as it means that people will have yet another simple comoditized option different from a PC to solve problems.

And if that was not enough, then I see this today:

Full article where I got it from here.

Now, this is not a PC. This is an ARM-based platform that is expected to start selling by the end of the year... and at US$ 25 a pop.

About 2 years ago I thought ARM was about to kick butt (back then)... boy, was I wrong.... but given these two events I told you about, I don't think it's too crazy to believe that this is going to make a major dent on Intel and Microsoft (given that Microsoft is years from releasing/stabilizing their ARM port of Windows... and I'm not talking about WP7 or Windows CE, of course) in the not-so-distant future. Only time will tell.

PS Oh, and did I say that apparently Canonical is throwing a lot of its weight on ARM too? Interesting times ahead of us.

* As a matter of fact, getting the printer to work took a little work. The splix drivers (they are cheap samsung printers) were not available for the model of the printers we were using (on updated debian) but we knew ubuntu did have it available so, after a little trying and trying we ended up compiling the ubuntu splix driver's source on the dreamplugs to get them running (the source of the drivers I got from a normal netbook running kubuntu natty and placed them on the dreamplug for compilation).  A little scripting here and there and they were finally printing the way we wanted them to.

viernes, 26 de agosto de 2011

Sales of GNU/Linux servers explode on Q2 2011 with an increase of 47%


According to numbers released by IDC, income from server sales for Q2 2011 saw an increase of 47.5% compared to the same quarter 2010 to reach US$ 2.7 billon. This represented 20.5% of all income for the quarter. In comparison, income for Windows servers increased a healthy 12.4% to reach US$ 5.9 billion with represents 45.5% of all income for the quarter. These numbers in a very healthy quarter for all server segments.

If you get the calculater out of your pockets you will notice that GNU/Linux income increased by some US$ 870 million while Windows servers' incresed by some US$ 650 million.

In case you want to see the whole report, check here.

martes, 23 de agosto de 2011

How to add a custom session type to kdm


I was trying to start my "failsafe" session from kdm. Back in the old days, what I would get with that would be a plain session with a terminal on top and nothing else. Unfortunately, when I tried it I would always get back to kdm. Not what I expected.

I figured out that there must be a simple way to create my own custom session... say, where I would only call rxvt for example... and there certainly is a simple way to do it. All you have to do is create a simple file like this under /usr/share/xsessions. Mine is called rxvt.desktop with this content:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Just RXVT Session
Name[es]=Solo RXVT

After the file is set up, just restart kdm and your new session type will be on the menu.

Given that the location looks pretty neutral and not tied to a desktop environment, I would expect the same trick to work for gdm and xdm as well.

Also, I would recommend people to take a close look at /etc/kde4/kdm/kdmrc as there's a lot of interesting stuff in that file.

Help us defend colombian's digital rights from entertainment lobbies


Colombia has become one of the places where the entertainment industry is trying to overtake things as basic as the right to access internet from people in order to protect their money (as if the law is going to keep big-buck copyright infringers from doing it). You can help us try to stop them from pulling the strings to get some crazy laws (two-strikes??? Not even three? That's because baseball is not a popular sport here, otherwise...) passed here in Colombia by signing this petition online (petition in english is here).

Thanks in advance for your help and support.

miércoles, 3 de agosto de 2011

My wife has died

I'm sorry to announce that Lina Marcela "La Nena" Salgado, my wife, died on July 8th. She fought cancer corageously but ultimately the disease defeated her.

Nena: siempre tendrás un lugar muy especial en mi corazón y siempre te recordaré. Te amo!

lunes, 1 de agosto de 2011

Kubuntu 11.04: After updating to kde 4.7, things are back to normal


You might remember I wrote quite a rant a few months back about the sorry state of kubuntu 11.04 when it was released. There were so many complains I had.

Well, after I updated to kde 4.7 yesterday things have mostly fallen into place. No more kded4 going crazy when I mess around with my usb dongle, my desktop starts with 3d effects enabled and everything looks fine and dandy. If I notice other things, I'll let you know.

There's something I haven't tested yet but it's not related to kde or kubuntu per se. The driver of my wireless card crashes my netbook (apparently, it's a driver bug... I haven't used the wireless card in a couple of months so I don't know if it's solved... launchpad bug report is here).

Update: Thanks to Sam for advicing me to remove the comment about my wife. I created another blog entry for her.