Sunday, January 14, 2018

Net Neutrality - What is what?

One of the biggest arguments today is Net Neutrality.  What is Net Neutrality and why should I care? Net Neutrality is split up in several provisions:

1. ISP's could not charge you more if you lived in a rural area more than they could charge someone who lived in a city for example.

2. ISP's were treated as Utility companies and thus could not refuse you service if they serviced others in that area.

3. ISP's could not charge more for services such as streaming, social media messaging etc.

4. ISP's could not throttle down (slow down) traffic to competitors services or give priority to their own services and goods and they couldnt block competitors services.

5. They were not allowed to block content of any kind.

Now with these Net Neutrality rules now revoked what does that mean for you as a consumer. We will go by the list above to illustrate the changes.

1. They can now charge you more depending on where you live. For example, I live half a mile down a path. They could charge my neighbors at the top of the path $30 bucks a month because they live closer to the switch and charge me $100 bucks a month for the same services.

2. ISP's can now refuse you service depending on where you live. If you live a mile down a road or path they can refuse to run that wire and in turn force you to turn to another provider who may have less than stellar service.

3 and 4 ISP's now have full control over what you can consume and what services you decide to use and can charge you more for whatever services they see fit. For example, if Verizon has a contract with Microsoft for Bing, OneDrive and Microsoft Online they can slow down Googles services and even conceivably block Googles services. ISP's can now charge you more for streaming services such as Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, iHeartRadio, Pandora etc etc.

5. They can now block any content they want. For example, Comcast is owned by NBC which is a politically liberal organization they can now block access to FOX News or make it so you have to manually access that content yourself and they can prioritize any content that they want to. If they dont like Porn for example, they can block access to porn sites. If they dont like kitten videos they can block access to kitten videos. So it gives ISP's incredible control over what you want to see.

So while these changes benefit ISP's and larger providers because they can now charge the companies more to make sure that their content is prioritized in the same breath ISP's can now visit higher costs to the consumer. Using the Verizon example if Microsoft says they want access blocked to other OS providers, Verizon can legally slow down and not prioritize traffic to Apple and Linux distributors. While anti-competitive its something they CAN do. Trusting ISP's to do the right thing is akin to letting a convicted pedophile babysit your kids while you are on a week long vacation.

Now, some people will say this helps cut down on illegal downloads ie BitTorrent, illegal downloads and other criminal activities they arent seeing the forest but are staring at a tree.  Nothing good has ever come of inhibiting technology.  The computer industry for awhile was pretty stagnant.  The real innovation came with the personal computers.  Micro and Mini PC's.  When the open architecture was implemented we saw a plethora of innovation.  Would Linux, UNIX or even Windows be where they are today if the content was blocked?  No they wouldnt be.  Any kind of inhibiting of technology doesnt make anything more competitive and it doesnt enhance innovation but rather stifles it.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

More Linspire

While I want to get away from doing just Linspire and Freespire related news here with the release of Linspire and a couple of reviews and "first looks"

First up, thanks to Category 5 TV for their review and interview.  I do appreciate it and it was a ton of fun.  So major shout out to those guys

And next was a "first look" by Linux Unplugged.  To be 100% honest, I didnt know who Chris Fisher was.  I apologize for that Chris but I binge watched a couple of his episodes and his old show the Linux Action show and definitely a good show. 

I have a thick skin about stuff, but they labeled Linspire the most "Expensive Linux Distro"  and no, its not.  Red Hat Developer workstation retails at $299.00 USD

But thats neither here nor there.  It just proves my point from my previous post.  But shout out to Chris Fisher as well.  I appreciate the coverage.

Anyone who wants an interview contact me or and place a request.

Now, because of those shows I have had several more e-mails.  Some snarky and insulting which I wont cover here I'll let you guys use your imagination onto some more curious ones and I'll add these to the FAQ later but I just want to touch on some points here.

Q) Why should I buy Linspire for $79.00 USD when Windows is $129.00?

Are you kidding me?  I looked at it and thought is this a serious question.  But have you looked at the privacy and security issues with Windows?  Look, there is no genuine advantage and I dont track what you are doing.  The license for Linspire is provided ON YOUR HONOR.  I am not a babysitter and while I could add some sort of authentication to Linspire we dont.  Now why should you give us a chance?  We offer a secure, easy to use and supported general desktop Linux distribution.  Short of running Microsoft Office and Photoshop there is very little that you can do on a Windows or Mac PC that you cant do on Linspire.  To be fair, yes you can download Mint or Ubuntu and do the same things but only after taking some considerable time to set it up yourself and aside from posting to forums or Google searching some solutions you are basically on your own.  We do help you find solutions, we do assist in helping customers setting up applications that they want.  Whether they purchase from us or someone else.  Now, yes customers want to be able to purchase hardware and not necessarily from us and have the OS installed.  We are in talks about bundling with PC hardware outside of our own and that just takes a lot of time and back and forth. 

Q) Why are you basing Linspire on Ubuntu?  Is it laziness?

No.  I look at contingencies.  Im human.  What happens if I get hit by a bus?  or I perish in a fiery car crash?  While Im sure that would be a fitting end that would bring joy to those who despise me but things happen.  Companies get acquired and sometimes they go bankrupt.  We looked at what happened with Linspire and Xandros.  We also looked at what happened to Parsix.  When we were building Linspire we built several prototypes.  We used CentOS, we used OpenSUSE, we used Fedora, we used Debian and yes we even looked at Android.  We decided on Ubuntu because A) we were familiar with it and B) Because they have the highest level of support.  We wanted to make sure that if anything happened users would still get updates and they wouldnt have to rush out and pick SOMETHING.  They can take their time.  Now, we could have recompiled everything and set up our own repositories such as what we are doing with a new repository (more on that later) but mostly its set up this way for contingency issues.

Q) What about Mate, GNOME or KDE?

What about them?  Look all are fine desktops.  I like Mate, I like GNOME and I like KDE.  But we wanted a desktop that was light on its feet,  easy to administer and one that would ease the task of retraining and thats why we chose XFCE and standardized on the XFCE desktop.  We will not be changing it and its the standard desktop on all our releases.  One of the things about Windows and macOS is that they rarely change and its consistent across all devices desktops and even servers.

Q) Will we ever acquire the domain?

Currently no.  The current owners want way to much money for them

In closing, I cant reitirate enough that Linspire and Freespire are directed towards two different segments.  Linspire is directed towards the commercial market and towards businesses.  Freespire is directed more towards the community.  There are a lot of differences in both and if you become a customer, thank you.  If you are a Freespire user we appreciate you as well.

Any more questions or comments about Linspire will be answered on the homepage and FAQ or

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Linspire: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

As many of you know from the announcements on PC/OpenSystems LLC website, and the new Linspire OS website that we have revived the brand and since that time we have been undulated by many questions and comments that I want to touch on.  These are my opinions and not those of PC/OpenSystems LLC or any of their employee's, partners and sponsors.

1.  PC/OpenSystems LLC is a "green" and a small company - While true we are small we are hardly "green" we have been in business since 2007.  We have many partners we have worked on many projects.

2.  Linspire is dead and any revival it wont be the same - Of course its not the same.  What would the point be if it was the same?  Markets evolve.  Things change over time.  Except desktop Linux.  While yes, Linux has gotten a whole lot easier the core projects have stayed the same.  Linux has always had a limited user base on the desktop.  Some of the concerns have been ease of use, lack of commercial support for the general public, lack of availability on generic systems ie no OEM's carry Linux.  Yes you have System76, PC/OpenSystems, Dell and Pogo and thats all well and good BUT these are specialized offerings that you have to hunt for.  All the companies I listed above sell dynamite hardware.  Very good hardware.  But OEM's want a corporate entity that will stand behind desktop Linux, consistent quality, and that support the general public.  Mom and dad, grandpa and grandma, students, teachers, police officers and kids of all ages.  Now some people say Chromebooks have desktop Linux on lock and thats very far from true.  Chromebooks are limited and their Android app infrastructure, while improving, lack fit and finish and some of the apps on a Chromebook are buggy as hell.

3.  Linspire is just a respin of Ubuntu - This drives me absolutely nuts.  It drove me crazy when they claimed PC/OS was a remastered spin of Gentoo and Black Lab Linux was a remastered spin of Ubuntu.  That we are a respin of Ubuntu is the only thing that is fluff around here.  #1 you arent on my developer team so mind your own business.  #2 If you want to know WHAT we do the I suggest you join our insiders program and then you will KNOW what we do.  We have been working on Linspire and Freespire since June 2016.  Im just surprised we kept it quiet and it didnt leak.  Although we did elude to whats NEXT and other hints that something was coming.  It is a very costly endeavor to develop ANY operating system and it takes alot to market and deliver an operating system. 

4.  You guys are assholes for charging for Linux -  This is another thing that is head scratching to me.  Red Hat, Oracle and MicroFocus charge for Linux (in all reality we dont, we all charge for support subscriptions and licensing) yet when they do it thats all fine and dandy but when WE do it.  We are robbing from the OSS community, we are robbing the Linux community and we are just money grabbing pathetic rock dwelling dweebs who dont know what we are doing.  Heres a hint.  In all reality I dont care what people who make those comments think.  I let my customer base decide.  They are the ones that subscribe to our work, who use our work and in all reality THEY are the ones I have to keep happy.  If I deliver junk they will go find someone who doesnt.  Quality and consistency are customers demands.  BTW we have over a 90% customer retention since 2007.  Matched only by Red Hat and the multiple past owners and current owners of SUSE.

5.  You guys are taking advantage of the name -  No we arent.  Its branding and its a corporate asset.  Lots of corporations take advantage of assets.  Do you think the current owners of Chevrolet are the original owners of Chevrolet?  No they arent.  Do you think the current owners of Land Rover and Jaguar are the original owners?  No they arent.  Do you think the current owners of Dodge and Jeep are the original owners?  Nope.  Do you think PepsiCo has always owned Kentucky Fried Chicken?  Not at all.  Last but not least, Do you think the current owners of Twinkies are the ORIGINAL owners?  Nope they arent.  Are you starting to get my point here?

Look, I know Linspire has a long and controversial past.  We arent Linspire Inc.  We arent Xandros and I seriously did not expect the FOSS and Linux communities to come running to us with open arms and proclaim us heroes and saviors of Desktop Linux.  Actually, I didnt think it was going to be as positive as it has been.  I had gotten my shield ready for a HUGE flame war and a lot more name calling than I have gotten.

Linspire Inc. and Xandros Inc. died 10 years ago, may they rest in peace.  Xandros Inc. exists on paper only.  They have not brought a Linux product to market in 12 years.  Linspire Inc./Digital Cornerstone Inc. exists on paper and has NEVER brought a Linux product to market.

Before you judge, look at the products that we bring to market and look at the quality that we bring.  If we deliver shitty products then the industry will judge us and our customers will judge us and use something else and invest in other companies and we will go the way of the Dodo and Linspire Inc and Xandros.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What I think of Linus Torvalds and the Linux community

One of my users pointed me to an article on Softpedia regarding the Systemd developer Lennart Poettering about his interactions with the Linux community and Linus Torvalds.  He then asked me what I think about Linus Torvalds and the Linux community.

So what do I think of Linus Torvalds?  Ummm, what about him?  I have not had significant interaction with the man to actually develop an opinion on him.  I have had two brief e-mail correspondence with him and I met him a couple of times with each lasting maybe 2 seconds.  Yeah he is abrasive on the kernel mailing list but Im also an abrasive person.  So I don't care.  He told someone "[specific folks] ...should be retroactively aborted. Who the [expletive] does idiotic things like that? How did they not die as babies, considering that they were likely too stupid to find a [breast] to suck on?"  Actually, I thought that was kind of funny.  But you know Im also the guy who told a Red Hat developer that he was "So stupid I was surprised he found the hole he was supposed to come out of when his mother was giving birth to him" which got me retroactively dis-invited from the Red Hat Christmas party for a couple of years but whatever.  If Linus Torvalds came to me and told me Black Lab Linux was the most horrid distribution he ever saw and I was wasting my time I wouldn't care.  I could really care less what Linus thinks.  He is not a user and he is not a customer.  Do I think Linus Torvalds is detrimental or harmful to the Linux community?  No, I dont.  Everybody has their management style and their way of doing things.  He shouldn't be criticized for it.  The kernel is his baby and he is allowed to express his opinions on someones efforts or lack thereof in anyway he sees fit.  How serious can you take a statement like that anyway?  Obviously, those developers did find the hole they were supposed to come out of and they did find a breast to feed from so chalk it up to hyperbole. Seriously though, Lennart if you read this.  Dude, we work in technology.  Grow some thick skin because no matter what community, no matter what company you go work in you will have people who don't like you.  You will find people you don't like.  Unlike the commercial world the open source world is great because you can work on projects that intrigue and inspire you plus you can work with people you do like.  Find those people, feed off the positive energy and do something that makes your heart go pitter patter.  Do something that you feel is positive and you are making a positive contribution to yourself and others.  Thats what open source is about.  In the open source community, we can make a positive influence and everyday we have the opportunity to do something great.  You Lennart, you did something great.  You gave us Systemd.  Be proud of that and don't worry about negativity.  If you are a religious person think of it like this.  Jesus Christ himself had to live with negativity.

Now, what do I think of the Linux community?  What don't I think of the Linux community?  Ok, first of all its like everything else in life.  You have the people who like what you do and you have the people who don't.  I catch a ton of crap on a daily basis over my offering a commercial product based on Linux.  I get hundreds of negative e-mails where I get criticized, I get critiqued, and I get blasted.  I have gotten e-mails where they wish death upon my first born child, I get e-mails where I die in a fiery car crash and I get e-mails where they wish I develop testicular cancer and my balls rot off.  If I had a dollar for every e-mail where I was told that Black Lab Linux is a waste of time and I should go off and do something else (like crawl back under the rock I came out from under) then I wouldnt need to do Black Lab Linux, I'd be a RICH man.  So why do i continue to contribute and interact with the Linux community?  Because I feel like I make a positive contribution and there are people who like what we do with Black Lab Linux.  I have users and customers who rely on my product to get their job done.  For every crappy e-mail I get I also get one thats positive.  So the Linux community is like everything else on this earth.  You have your positives, you have your negatives and everything in between.  You contribute to society and in society you have those that will be fans of yours and others; not so much.

Thats life and thats life anywhere you go.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Windows, UNIX and Amiga....

Someone in IRC asked me two different questions:

Which one was the best version of Windows? Well, I have never been a Windows guy, I know how to navigate them and I have used them all and to get my MCSE I had to use all of them. I would have to say the best Windows OS was Windows NT 3.51, even NT 4.0 was a decent upgrade but after that they all started to suck. My mom had an old Tandy computer that Windows 3.1 hated with a passion and I installed NT 3.51 on it for her and that made it suck less. Some would say that Windows 2000 was good, I disagree because the USB stack to me was always flakey. But Windows since NT 4.0 has taken a slow nose dive with each release being a nightmare in usability and prime examples of what not to do in design. Windows 8 finally threw the Windows ecosystem 6 feet into the dirt.

Now, which OS do I think is/was the best? For me it was NeXTStep, now my friend Dave Haynie would disagree and say it was AmigaOS, probably, my friend Cristobal Molina would say it was SGI Irix. And thats fine because those three had the same problem, aside from company misteps and business malpractice, the problem those three suffered is that they were too forward thinking. All three of them had features that really made no sense to anyone aside from a power user. Those concepts make sense today to the average user but back then they just didnt and not many people could grasp it. Ultimately they failed to garner the mass userbase that they needed for survival. The only one that has managed to stay alive was Mac OS X, which is a form of NeXTStep, although Apple has screwed that up too. Now what do I mean, Apple has put so much complexity into the product its not even funny. Now complexity sometimes is not a bad thing. If it adds value to your product. Apples didnt add value, it just made it an unholy mess to deal with.

SGI Irix, it failed because of major business missteps. The business side killed Irix. Irix should have been ported to x86 and SGI should have revamped its product line to include the x86 processor. SGI decided to stick with a dead end processor that no one else in the industry used and charged way to much for their product. When HP and Red Hat started to eat their lunch in the creative industry, it was too late by that point. As SGI's major contracts started moving to HP and Red Hat the gig was up. If SGI had ported Irix to the x86 processor, delivered products that were reasonably priced, Linux probably would not have the foothold it has today. By the time SGI released workstations based on the x86 processor they used NT and Red Hat Linux and those systems were a joke.