Save money with FOSS

If the cost of Windows eating us your small business budget, make a wise business decision and move to Linux. From the PC World article:

Windows Vista debuted to muffled applause, followed by lackluster sales. Up until June 30, cash-strapped businesses looking to avoid the cost of upgrading to new Vista-compatible hardware could still purchase trusty Windows XP. Now, however, Windows XP is available only as a costly “downgrade” from Windows Vista–if you buy a copy of Vista, you can install the 6-year-old XP operating system using the Vista license.

If that feels like a waste of your small business’s precious IT budget, and you’re still looking for an alternative to Windows Vista, look no further than Linux.

=> Move Your Business from Windows to Linux

TrueCrypt version 6.0 has been released and available for download. It is free open-source disk encryption software for Windows Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux system. A perfect software for laptop or desktop system which allows data be to be protected even when the OS is not active, for example, if data is read directly from the hardware.

Version 6.0x offers parallelized encryption/decryption on multi-core processors (multi-processor systems). Increase in encryption/decryption speed is directly proportional to the number of cores and/or processors. Ability to create and run an encrypted hidden operating system whose existence is impossible to prove. Ability to create hidden volumes under Mac OS X and Linux.


(Fig. 01: TrueCrypt in action [image credit TrueCrypt project])

Download TrueCrypt Open Source Edition

Yet another Linux success story; From the article:

The Philippine government’s official weather service, PAGASA, has replaced its SGI supercomputer with a clustered Debian Linux system that can process information vital to protection against typhoons, floods, droughts, tsunamis and other wild weather conditions at a fraction of the cost.

The cluster includes eight PCs running as a single node, connected via a gigabit switch, each with dual 64-bit Intel Xeon processors running the Debian Linux OS.

=> Debian Linux cluster beats supercomputer in tsunami warnings (via ./)

Both distros top in 260 countries; From the report:

Ubuntu and Red Hat Linux are the most used Linux distributions among the 35,000 members of content-management vendor Alfresco’s community, the company found in its second survey of trends in enterprise open-source software usage. Alfresco collected data between July and December of last year, with survey participants coming from 260 countries, according to the company. Fifty percent were from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, while 24 percent were in the U.S., and 26 percent from other nations, Alfresco said.

=> Red Hat, Ubuntu top vendor’s usage study

This is an excellent set of guides encouraging FLOSS for small and medium size enterprises / business. From the guide:

Open source software is the most significant all-encompassing and long-term trend that the software industry has seen since the early 1980s”. This is one of the conclusions of a recent IDC report [IDC 06], which shows how much the perception of FLOSS (free/libre/open source software) has changed in the recent years. Right now, the majority of developers in the world are using open source software [Forr 07], and FLOSS platforms are used in one way or the other by a large share of companies.

Despite this situation, there is still a significant barrier in the adoption process for small and medium companies, both in terms of using FLOSS internally and in creating products and services centered on FLOSS products. The purpose of this report is to provide a simple and in-depth view of the fundamental aspects of FLOSS, how to adopt it within a small/medium company, and how to build a sustainable business based on it.

Download FLOSS Guide for SMEs / SMBs

  • FLOSS guide (80 pages, 2Mbytes PDF)
  • FLOSS catalog (94 pages, 20Mbytes PDF)

Yet another computer vendor started to support Linux on Desktop.

Now, Lenovo is finally joining Dell as one of the first top-tier PC vendors to offer pre-installed Linux desktops to its customers. On Aug-07-2007, Lenovo and Novell announced an agreement to provide preloaded Linux on Lenovo ThinkPad notebook PCs and to provide support from Lenovo for the operating system. The companies will offer SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 from Novell to commercial customers on Lenovo notebooks including those in the popular ThinkPad T Series, a class of notebooks aimed at typical business users, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2007. The ThinkPad notebooks with the Linux-preload will also be available for purchase by individual customers.

PC vendor Lenovo has promised ThinkPads with pre-installed Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 for some time now. Lenovo will deliver the goods the week of Jan. 14.

Lenovo will release pre-installed SLED 10 on its Intel Centrino processor-powered ThinkPad T61 and R61 14-inch-wide notebooks. In February, Lenovo’s pre-integrated Novell Linux offering will expand to include some Penryn-based ThinkPads.

=> Read more

Canonical Ltd the creator of Ubuntu Linux has released a new software called Bazaar. It is a distributed version control system available under the GPL that reduces barriers to participation in your project. If you can run Python 2.4, then you can run Bazaar.

There are many really good VCS tools such as Subversion and Git. Bazaar is a decentralized revision control system. Revision control involves keeping track of changes in software source code or similar information, and helping people work on it in teams.Bazaar features
=> Reliable
=> Ease of use
=> Portable software (Works on *nix / Windows)
=> Flexible
=> GPL Code
=> Good performance
=> Safe with your data etc

The program is simple to deploy. It doesn’t require a dedicated server. Any Web server that includes ftp will work as a Bazaar server. Canonical also states that because developers can commit their code locally whenever they want, they’re less dependent on the central code base.

Download Bazaar VCS

=> Visit project home page to download Bazaar Distributed Version Control Software

Linux journal has published a fantastic story that recognizes usage of Linux and Open Source in the file and animation industry. DreamWorks Animation pushes the limits of CG filmmaking with Linux. From the article:

All the big film studios primarily use Linux for animation and visual effects. Perhaps no commercial Linux installation is larger than DreamWorks Animation, with more than 1,000 Linux desktops and more than 3,000 server CPUs.

“For Shrek 3, we will consume close to 20 million CPU render hours for the making of the film”, says DreamWorks Animation CTO Ed Leonard. “Each of our films continues to push the edge of what’s possible, requiring more and more compute power.” Everyone knows Moore’s Law predicts that compute power will double every one and a half years. A little known corollary is that feature cartoon animation CPU render hours will double every three years. In 2001, the original Shrek movie used about 5 million CPU render hours. In 2004, Shrek 2 used more than 10 million CPU render hours. And in 2007, Shrek 3 is using 20 million CPU render hours.

“At any given time, we are working on more than a dozen films”, says Leonard. “Each of those films has its own creative ambition to push the limits of CG filmmaking.” DreamWorks Animation employs about 1,200 people, with about two-thirds in their Glendale studio and the rest in their PDI studio in Redwood City linked by a 2Gb network. (Note that DreamWorks Animation, a publicly traded company led by Jeffrey Katzenberg, isn’t Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks live-action that merged with Paramount recently.)

“There were many specific technical advancements on the movie, including advancements in hair, clothing, costuming and crowds as well as bringing the secondary character animation [crowds] to a whole new level of performance”, says Leonard. About 350 people are working on Shrek 3, with about 300 at PDI and 50 in Glendale.

The Huge Server Farm at DreamWorks Animation  used to create Shrek the Third animation movie

DreamWorks Animation studio is powered by HP workstations and Redhat Linux distributions (image credit Linux Journal).

DreamWorks Animation “Shrek the Third”: Linux Feeds an Ogre

This is yet another upcoming story for open source software. According to IDC:

Sales of open source software will grow from $1.8bn last year to $5.8bn in 2011. Matt Lawton, programme director for IDC’s Open Source Software Business Models research programme, typified the current market as “immature” and in the “early stages”.

The projected revenue figure is low when compared to commercial, closed source software. But the analyst believes that revenues alone do not reflect the actual distribution of open source software.

Read more

This is a reader-contributed article.

If you’re serious about music or DVDs, at some point you cross the threshold of having more than you can keep track of easily. The box full of index cards has served its purpose; it’s time to move on to storing information about your CDs and DVDs in a database.

This might seem like more of a pain than you can stand. What’s the point of doing a database when you can just type it all into a spreadsheet, for instance? Well, a spreadsheet is a good start but with a database you get a lot more features, including easily printing custom labels for all those legal backups you’ve made. You could also print out a record of all your movies or music, if you keep notes on them such as summaries, who you’ve loaned them to, and anything else you track.

[continue reading…]