Friday, December 28, 2007

Why Larry Ellison loves Linux (and he’s not alone)

If you thought open-source software was a threat to big-company profits, think again.

Just a few years ago, the open-source software movement was a pariah among big software firms. Shai Agassi, then an executive at SAP (SAP), likened it to socialism. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer called it a cancer. The attitude among many in the establishment seemed to be that the “free code” revolution led by software such as Linux would discourage invention and erode profits.

That nightmare scenario hasn’t happened. Instead, the open-source movement has helped lower the cost of computing, and fueled a lot of moneymaking innovation, and not just among scrappy startups. For just one example, consider Oracle (ORCL), which is likely to highlight open-source trends as one of the growth drivers in its business when the company reports quarterly earnings today.

How? Last quarter, the business software giant pointed out that its database market share actually tends to improve when customers move to Linux, which has been a fast-growing server operating system for much of the decade. And Oracle is poised to capitalize on open-source trends in other ways. For instance, the company distributes Linux for free, and makes money by offering support.

So far so good: earlier this year CEO Larry Ellison reported that Oracle is in the early stages of selling high-margin Linux support contracts, some for as much as $500,000 a pop. Ellison claims the open-source strategy is also helping to lure database business away from competitors. “We’re just taking share right away from IBM on mainframes and we’re taking share away from Microsoft using Linux,” he told analysts in September.

The Linux love-fest doesn’t stop with Oracle. Google (GOOG), which already uses Linux-based servers to power its search platform, also wants to tap its open-source infrastructure to deliver more and more software over the Internet. (Google’s Android cell phone platform will also be based on Linux.) VMWare (VMW) has long been a Linux-friendly shop. Co-founder Mendel Rosenblum has praised it as a natural fit for the company’s virtualization software, which is all the rage these days as companies seek to cut data center costs by using the software that lets one computer do the work of many.

Beneath the surface, the companies are making similar bets on the profit power behind open source. All are wagering that if the cost of a computing platform drops far enough that everyone can afford it, there will be opportunities to make money by helping customers to use fascinating software and services on top of it. In Oracle’s case, it’s profiting from software and support; in Google’s case, from advertising, and in VMWare’s case, from helping people run more programs without buying more equipment.

It still remains to be seen whether the open-source approach has a shot at eventually becoming the most popular force in computing. Some powerful companies still don’t think so. Microsoft (MSFT), which believes it can do better than the open-source community, continues to do well in the server business — there are even signs in the most recent IDC server report numbers that Windows server growth is outpacing Linux. And Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone certainly doesn’t use an open-source operating system –- Steve Jobs likes to point out that it runs the same software as full-fledged Mac computers.

Nevertheless, it clear these days that open-source software is far from the profit killer some feared. Just ask Larry Ellison.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

This is why I use Firefox

Windows Explorer was quarantined by Kaspersky Lab's antivirus software after being identified as malicious code. The company's systems confirmed that a virus called Huhk-C was present in the explorer.exe file, leading to its confinement or, in some cases, deletion. The bug was only live in the wild for a few hours, and ended up affecting a few thousand home computer users.

Repeat after me.... "I am sick and tired of all the problems I have with Windows, from now on I'm gonna use Linux and Firefox..."
A Politically Correct Christmas Story

'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck...
How to live in a world that's politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to "Elves".
"Vertically Challenged" they were calling themselves.
And labour conditions at the North Pole
were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.
And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.
And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their rooftops.
Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called "Unenlightened."

And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorised use of his nose
And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.
So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she'd enough of this life,

Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.
And as for the gifts, why, he'd never had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim, Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamoured or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls, or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that's warlike or non-pacifistic.

No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.
And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.
For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football...someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.
Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.
So Santa just stood there, dishevelled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you've got to be careful with that word today.
His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.
Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.

A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;
Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere...even you.
So here is that gift, it's price beyond worth...
May you and your loved ones, enjoy peace on Earth.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How to enable sound in VMware Server

Now that you have your Host Linux and Guest Windows OS running, you can now run your M$ Windows applications. And, improve your virtual OS experience by adding sound so that you can listen to music, watch videos, play games, etc. By default sound is disabled in VMware Server for the Guest OS, the following steps will show you how to enable sound.

1. Launch VMware as root: [sudo vmware]
2. Open the virtual machine you want to add sound to (the machine should not be powered on, if it is, shut down).
3. Click “Edit virtual machine settings.
4. Under the Hardware tab click “+ Add”.
5. Choose “Sound Adapter” and click Next.
6. Select Auto Detect from the drop down menu.
7. Make sure “Connect at power on” is enabled.
8. Click Finish.

Power on your machine and login. If you have VMware Tools installed, Windows should automatically detect your virtual audio drivers. You should now be able to hear audio and system beeps. You can also control the volume using both Windows’ volume control and any hardware volume control buttons you have. Keep in mind that the volume in your Guest OS is dependant on your Host OS. That means if your volume is muted in Linux, you will not hear anything in Windows even if you set Windows’ volume to max. Also, if your volume in Linux is only set to halfway, the loudest you can hear anything in Windows will also be halfway.

Additionally, if you want to enable the use of USB devices in your Guest OS, follow the same method as above and choose USB controller instead.