Tux, as originally drawn by Larry Ewing 
Tux – your faithful free-software friend

It might seem a long way off, but Saturday 5 April 2014 represents your best, last opportunity to ditch that ageing Windows XP and upgrade to a modern, capable, free and secure operating system: GNU/Linux.

Microsoft are dropping support of Windows XP on Tuesday 8 April 2014.  After then, the numerous security issues that XP will face will go un-patched.  Anti-virus vendors, firewall software writers… basically everyone in the proprietary software world will no longer support Windows XP.

In the meantime, Microsoft is doing its best to urge businesses to migrate to a newer version of Windows(1).  Note that the term used is “migrate”, not “upgrade”.

It is claimed(2) that Windows 7 has overtaken XP as the most widely used Microsoft desktop operating system.  Whether this is credible or not, Microsoft is not one to pass up an opportunity to tell companies on XP not to wait for Windows 8(3).

This is perhaps the best advice they have given:  there are so many freely available secure operating systems available right now, which will run eficiently on current PC hardware, that there really is little point waiting for anything.  There is, of course, an enormouse number of free applications to run on them too, of which here is a highlight.

Of course, you would wait until Saturday 5 April 2014 to update your computer software but, actually, why wait at all?  You can install Linux alongside Windows to dip your toes in before committing fully.  All you need to do is visit one of these and follow the installation documentation:

Don’t worry – Microsoft is far more afraid of you getting your feet wet than you are.   If you have any questions, there are loads of resources available to help.  Try a Linux User Group (usalug.com / lug.org.uk), or maybe start on a forum (www.linuxforums.org, www.linuxquestions.org, www.linux.com/community/forums).  Of course, as a business user you may want to opt for enterprise support.  You can find that here: Red Hat Enterprise Linux – and here: Ubuntu for Business.

Choosing to upgrade from a proprietary operating system to a free operating system can seem hazardous, but rest assured – you are not the first to try!  Millions have gone before you, and millions will come after.  With open source software, there is strength in numbers and these numbers increase daily.

Come and join in – and try not to have a lot of fun! 😉

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In Windows Explorer :

Click Organize / Fold and Search options / View [tab] / Files and Folders section / untick "Always show icons, never thumbnails"

Seriously - what ****-head, numb-nut set this as default ??????

Oh and you need to close and restart Explorer to see the effect.

That's like washing your car and having to get into & out of it before you see the clean car. (:
(from a friend, reproduced with permission) 

Boy, I am always amazed at the breadth of stuff that goes on weekly, surrounding people’s preferred operating systems, new hardware press releases and so on.  For me, it’s one of the best things about the internet: constant information from all corners of the globe, seeking an audience and advocate elsewhere.

Intel, AMD and the new kid in town

Image via CrunchBase

So, this week there has been loads of stuff which caught my attention, only a short list of which I have time to share.  First things first, Ars Technica : a constantly vibrant source of interesting news out there in the technosphere.  Featured in its hallowed pages was the title ARM’s Eagle has landed: meet the A15“.  Indeedy, ARM is developing more processor chips which are beginning to compete with the likes of Intel’s Atom and AMD’s lesser-known Geode.

AMD Geode™ LX 800@0.9W Processor

The exciting thing here is that a third player is entering the midst of a traditionally two-horse race: GPU/CPU design and manufacture (AKA AMD vs Intel).  Similarly to the console race of 2007-ish, a third player getting involved (in the console war, this being Microsoft‘s XBox 360) does great things for the market and the larger picture.  Who would have thought, against the mighty 360 or PS3, that the Wii would have competed so well?


We’ll see how this plays out in a different way with chip manufacturers though but, as with most of these things, the early adopters of SmartBooks (Netbooks with phone capabilities, typically powered by ARM processors) will likely be Business types and Linux users who aren’t just taken in by the big names.

The Apple is finally ripening
Finally. Sense at Apple.  Well, some at least. Developers are creative, resourceful individuals.  So throwing down the gauntlet by restricting their development languages was kind of a draconian, hard-line gesture by a company pimping itself as cool and trendy.  Sorry Fanbois, but it was a bit Microsofty, actually.  Which is actually unfair to Microsoft, as they are generally far less restrictive about this (as this list of programming languages illustrates..).  Then again, 99.4% of malware is aimed at Windows users.

But back to Apple, this Ars story describes the change in stance at Cappuccino.

How nice of them to open up their policy as well as opening up their iOS 4.1 BootROM in the same week!  In case anyone thinks I have a grudge against Apple, far from it.  This vulnerability intended feature clearly demonstrates that Apple are committed to opening up their systems and allowing users to fully use what they have purchased.  Brilliant!

Oh, but then there are still situations which make you wonder.  Like the stealthy Apple OS-X update that kept “fanbois strangely silent“…   I’m not sure I would have described Apple’d products as a “mutant virus“, but their loyal customers’ thinking probably is.  But then, Apple build fashion statements, not computers.

Open systems continue to gather pace

There’s an interesting article at O’Reilly on debunking the 1% myth.  The 1% myth is the idea, forever purported by some in the industry, that Linux only has 1% of desktop market share.  Succinctly put, as there is no way of actually measuring this accurately, it’s a false claim (as the article details).

Talking of open software, media player Amarok is looking more and more beautiful.  What’s not to like about this, especially when it’s free?

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