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From Distrowatch, here is the announcement of a new version of ASP Linux.  This is one of the best and most polished distros around, with a very nice consistent feel to it, and especially good is the integration of multimedia codecs, and proprietary drivers.  Everything just works. I like the experience of installing, and popping in an encrypted DVDD and just seeing it all work with no messing around with downloading of additional codecs, etc., etc.  Unfortunately, the website is in Russian, but you can just download the .iso from the link, and the install can be in almost any language, even English.

Sooner or later one of the hardware manufacturers will realize that this is exactly what they need, an OS that just works, even better than MACS used to, and start using it in their offerings.  Anybody listening at Dell? probably not  How about at Lenovo? Maybe… How about at Imformatica Positivo? Now remember we are in a downturn, too:

ASPLinux, a Russian company developing Linux solution and providing a variety of Linux services, has announced the release of ASPLinux 14, code name “Cobalt”. The latest version of this Fedora-based distribution promises to expand the functionality of Linux as an operating system with new services, such as Linux telephony, support for webcams, full support for sleep and stand-by modes on laptops, automatic network setup, and easy configuration of GPRS, CDMA and VPN services. The product uses Linux kernel 2.6.26 and glibc 2.8, and ships with X.Org server 1.5, GNOME 2.22, KDE 4.1, OpenOffice.org 3.0, Firefox 3.0 and other popular open source applications. It also includes several non-free device drivers, including ATI and NVIDIA graphics drivers, and non-free software, such as Adobe Flash player and Opera. For further information please see the ASPLinux product page (in Russian). The installation DVD is available for download from here: ASPLinux-14-i386-DVD.iso (3,994MB, MD5, torrent).

Here’s the summary of the Top 500 Supercomputers, broken down by Operating system. Linux only has 87.8% of the Top 500 supercomputers.  But it really isn’t fair to compare Windows and Linux, after all, Linux cost 10.8 billion dollars to develop, and Windows development team probably only had a budget of a couple of billion dollars or so. Poor Bill Gates…

Operating system Family Count Share % Rmax Sum (GF) Rpeak Sum (GF) Processor Sum
Linux 439 87.80 % 13341108 20822363 2104191
Windows 5 1.00 % 328114 429555 54144
Unix 23 4.60 % 881289 1198012 85376
BSD Based 1 0.20 % 35860 40960 5120
Mixed 31 6.20 % 2356048 2933610 869676
Mac OS 1 0.20 % 16180 24576 3072
Totals 500 100% 16958600.19 25449076.20 3121579

But what can it do for you?

Well, what do you want it to do?

As a follow-up to my post “The tipping Point” from 07 December 2007, it seems that several other sources have come to the same conclusion I had: that the eeePC represents a tipping point.

First, there is LinuxFormat magazine, from the U.K., in its edition no. 106 for May 2008. (Still not available in all US newstands. It also has an article that I am very interested in, about sustainable aspects of free software, which I’ll just have to wait for. Also note that back issues of Linuxformat are available as .pdfs here):

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Now there’s so much competition that even if the eeePC were withdrawn, or if Asus lost their lawsuit against IBM, the momentum of this new market segment would continue without it. Let’s all do remember too that it was the OLPC that started it all. A whole new market segment initiated by a not-for-profit. Part of the trend of the expansion of the not for profit sector.

Of course, the incumbents are trying to shut the barn door long after the horse has left. Here’s one Sony exec.:

If [Asus' Eee PC] starts to do well, we are all in trouble,” Mike Abary, a senior VP with Sony US’ IT products operation, told Cnet. That’s just a race to the bottom… if mainstream buyers buy it then whoa…” (Found here)

“IF???” Yeah, right Mike, so what planet do you live on? The eeePC has sold more than 400,000 units, and it can’t be kept on shelves. So I don’t see any justification for the “if”. No wonder Sony is in the pickle it’s in.

Sounds like a game consolebut not one that Sony makes. Like the wii, the eeePC is priced below the competition, it is cool, and it fits into the man maximum/machine minimum trend that’s been going on for the last few years. The eeePC does this by being small and unobtrusive. I can throw it in my briefcase and hardly even know it’s there. Try that with a laptop. Less is more.

This form factor is also inherently much more sustainable than a large format laptop–it uses less power, less materials and is going to be easier to recycle. Of course, each manufacturer needs to do the right thing and get their components from green suppliers, using lead free circuit boards and batteries that don’t contain mercury. But being green is always easier when you’re not so big.

But, look at all the great competition there is! What a glorious race to the bottom!

(They are in the order of e_f’s perception of coolness…)

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A great post by Linux Torvalds [to linux.kernel newsgroup] that I’d read today, (Somebody had it on their blog, but I really don’t remember where, sorry!) and am reposting here. Three reasons: (1) It’s one of those great biological metaphors* and (2) it connects with the point I had made before about a passage in Jared Diamond’s book Collapse & most importantly, (3) So I can find it again when I am looking for it! Here’s Linus replying to a critique that Linux is making progress through “sheer luck”:

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The OLPC has succeeded, far beyond what I had expected. What has made it very clear that it has succeeded is the competition that the OLPC has created.

The most interesting competition comes from ASUS’s fabulous little subnotebook, the eeepc, which sells for as little as $299. (Thats right $299–I’m not missing a zero!) It’s the result of collaboration between Intel and ASUS. Despite having a rather weird acronym, it is the tech geek toy and it is also a mass market phenomena. It is the future of mobile computing, and ultimately the consumer desktop as well. It has already sold 350,000 units in its first five months, and ASUS expects to sell 3 to 5 million next year. And it ships with Linux (TM):

1907_l.jpg

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