The goal of the Linux-Society (LS, dating back to the mid-90s as a professional club and tech-mentoring group) has been a purely-democratic Information Society; many of the articles are sociological in nature. The LS was merged with Perl/Unix of NY to form multi-layered group that included advocacy, project-oriented learning by talented high school students: textbook constructivism. Linux has severe limitations such that it is useless for any computer that will, say, print or scan. It is primarily used for webservers and embedded devices such as the Android. (Google is high-invested in it).

Technology is problematic. During the heyday of technology (1990s), it seemed it had the democratic direction Lewis Mumford said it should have in his seminal
Technics and Civilization.

Today, we are effectively stuck with Windows as Linux is poor on the desktop and has cultured a maladaptive following. Apple is prohibitive, and all other operating systems lack drivers, including Google's Android, an offshoot of linux.

In the late 90s there was hope for new kernels such as LibOS and ExoOS that would bare their hardware to programs, some of which would be virtual machines such as Java uses. Another important player was the L4 system that is a minor relation to the code underlying the Apple's systems. It was highly scientific but fell into the wrong hangs, apparently, and has suffered from having no progress on the desktop. There is a version, "SE" that is apparently running in many cell phones as specialized telecom chips, but is proprietary. SE's closed nature was only recently revealed, which is important because it is apparently built from publicly-owned code as it is not a "clean room" design it may violate public domain protections, and most certainly violates the widely-accepted social contract.

Recent attempts to enjoin into L4 development as an advocate for "the people" have been as frustrating (and demeaning) as previous attempts with the usual attacks to self-esteem by maladaptive "hacks" being reinforced by "leadership" (now mostly university professors).

In short, this leaves us with Windows, which is quite a reversal if you have read earlier posts here. But, upon Windows, we have free and open software development systems in the forms of GTK+ (the windows usually used on Linux) and the Minimal GNU Windows (MinGW and MSYS) systems. It is very likely this direction that development should go (that is, on Windows) such that s/w can then be ported to a currently-valid microkernel system that includes a driver system that can be adapted by hardware developers to reuse of their windows and apple drivers.

From a brief survey of L4, it appears that the last clean copy was the DROPS system of the early 2010s, was a German effort that used the Unix-like "OS kit" from an American University.

If we are going to be stuck on Windows, then it seems that a high level approach to free and open systems integration, such as creating fully transparent mouse communication between apps so that they can seamlessly work together as a single desktop (rather than deliberately conflicting). This would be very helpful for GIMP and Inkscape, both leading graphics programs that are strong in the special ways, but suffer from an inability to easily interrelate.

Another important issue is the nature, if you can call it that, of the "geek" or "hack." Technology is formed democratically but "harvested" authoritarian-ly --if I can coin a term that Mumford might use. Authority is plutarchy: a combination of aristocracy and oligarchy that is kept alive after all these millennia by using, or maligning, the information society as a part of the civilizing (or law-giving) process that embraces the dialectic as its method. Democratic restoration, that is to put humanity back on an evolutionary (and not de-evolutionary) track, I think, will require the exclusion of the "geek" from decision-making. As is, the free/open s/w culture attempts to give leadership to those who write the most lines of code --irrespective of their comprehension of the real world or relationship with normal users. We need normal people to somehow organize around common sense (rather than oligarchic rationalism) to bring to life useful and cohesive software and communications systems.

Interestingly, the most popular page on this site is about Carl Rogers' humanistic psychology, and has nothing to do with technology.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Why Linux is Failing?

It isn't, look at this graph from LinuxDevices.com:

Linux rules the roost. But if you go in the street, ask any average person if they know what Linux is. I guarantee they will tell you they don't. I have been asking most of my online friends and they don't know what it is. To most people, the Internet was invented by Bill Gates; they love Bill Gates, he wants to cure AIDS.

Gates did not of course invent the Internet, in fact he accepted it in 1995 only after he realized that his CD ROM strategy for data control was going to be quashed by the open systems. Micro$oft then quickly changed tact with the "where do you want to go" campaign; what they really meant was they wanted to get a slice of every Internet transaction. In the big numbers they keep losing, but on the desktop they win. Why ??

On the Internet, the LAMP configuration: Linux / Apache / MySQL / PHP (and sometimes Perl) also rules the roost in its area, the World Wide Web. For unknown reasons precise statistics are not available for LAMP as for Embedded Linux but these figures are provided comparing Microsoft IIs and Apache (free and open) Web servers:

Apache 62.96%
Microsoft-IIS 24.94%
(April 2006 Netcraft Survey Highlights)

(thanks to OS Data dot Com)

I recall seeing last year that free and open PHP (Personal Home Page) Server presented 40% of Web server pages to the Information Society. Last year was an odd bad year for PHP, but they have recovered in the last quarter. The graph shows PHP climbing steadily. I would love to discuss PHP, as it seems both perfectly designed yet hopelessly crippled, and I will in the future.

(thanks to php.net)

In others the free systems are the most influential in the world, but pure greed organizations like Micro$oft are continuously fleecing the world while damaging everybody's good intentions.

Also important is a close look at the Bill and Belinda's Gates Foundation. They are involved in AIDS; a good question is why they picked AIDS. The future of medicine is in the modeling the human body at the cellular level. Only systems like the Google search engine and the NOAA weather prediction system can do that; they run huge networks of Linux PC class servers. Curing AIDS will also take a huge open effort to accomplish.

There is no way in hell (or Hell?) that anything coming out of Microsoft's Redmond or Bangalore authoritarian control structures is going to accomplish that. My personal experience with Microsoft OS products is that they still require daily rebooting, which is unacceptable for super computing environments.

(thanks to OS Data dot Com)

Microsoft has 26% of the Web server software market share 60% of defaced Web sites run Microsoft Web server software
(thanks to OS Data dot Com)

Obviously to me is that Bill's (and his wife Belinda's, lol) involvement is to prevent Linux from solving the world's worst crisis, and with it all disease. Also, the openness of Linux is a direct threat to the very neuro-programming of Gate's mind. He comes from a culture of greed and competition, even among his family members. Linux and Apache come from a culture of synergy, and as we now know, empathy -- which seems unlikely if you know the un-empathic history of science. I should mention that I see the Bill and Belinda Foundation to be nearly the same as the Ronald McDonald House; a horrific corruption of the concept of the meme. In the case of Ronald McDonald and his "house," a child's cartoon character is used to link the high fat beef patty with both generosity and happiness; the use of a hospitality house to further the effect I find particularly repugnant. High fat food typical of the McDonald hamburger is singly the biggest killer in America.

Linux is everywhere now, all the the little micro OS's in all the little smart devices are now Linux. The Embedded Linux reporters are having trouble bringing human interest to the embedded Linux story because all the embedded Linux developers are sworn to secrecy by the non-disclosure agreements of their investors and other owners.

The question is, "what is going wrong with Linux then, why is it still unknown?" What is the open community doing to keep itself so secret? Why is Microsoft pulling so much money while having such a small effect? I discuss that below, and the overall economic arrangement, and also a cultural approach. But first I want to try to explain these strange happenings in Linux.

First you have to know that Linux is what is called a monolithic operating system. What that means, is that all the software within the system that allows the system to interact with various hardware devices, has to be compiled within the system. Every time you want to add capabilities to a Linux computer, to run different hardware, you have to recompile the key operating component of the operatingsystem: the kernel.

The other kind of system is called a micro-kernel operating system which has a much smaller control system for which software to control the hardware is added to it to as it is needed, usually by the people who make the hardware; the kernel does not need to be recompiled to add capabilities; within the free and open software movement there was a legendary battle between the two concepts: monolithic and micro kernel. On the monolithic side was LinuxTorvalds the inventor of Linux; on the micro-kernel side was Andrew Tannenbaum, the inventor of Minix.

Both were wrong as it turns out. Linus, despite revolutionizing the world by setting technology free in a way that can only be described as a phenomena, actually was wrong in utilizing the monolithic model, that is if you believe that Linux should be popular with the masses. Tannenbaum screwed up in a purely social way; instead of offering his Minix to the world as an operating system which everyone can use to their benefit, he created it as a vehicle for his Dutch university teaching program. Who made the bigger mistake? Obviously Tannenbaum did by low-balling his own child, but we suffer from both their mistakes. Tannenbaum today is attempting to undo his mistake by offering Minix, as Minix3 a decade and a half later, as a world solution. Well, it still isn't stable, and at the bottom of the Minix3 web page (one of the most uninteresting on the web) is an ad for the Dutch university that Tannenbaum teaches in -- nothing changes.

In the two industries that Linux is succeeding in elimininating the competition (server and super computer systems such as Google and NOAA, and embedded systems such as robotic systems, refrigerators, and kiosks) the monolithic kernel is not a hindrance. In the big server systems additional peripheral hardware is seldom added, and what hardware is used of the vanilla variety: disks and communication devices. In embedded systems, the same conditions exist for the most part, and when the odd peripheral device is added by a technician, that technician is given a new operating system "image" which is installed into the system along with the hardware upgrade.

Completely left out of this scenario is the common computer user. In the Linux monolithic kernel scenario, the average person that you know, your family members, are expected to recompile a kernel, which is every bit as complicated as it sounds. There is no place in the Linux environment for the average user. And unfortunately there is no available talent to effectively create and popularize a micro-kernel operating system.

Interestingly, Micro$oft has used the micro-kernel architecture since it became multitasking with Windows 95 (http://www.osdata.com/oses/winxp.htm). Mac OSX is a micro-kernel version of the original free high quality operating system: BSD.

In the end, Micro$oft wins with its joke of a system, while we open and free systems advocates are forced to continuously fail. Understanding the culture causes of this failure takes soul searching. I happen to be personal friends with many of the important people in the free and open, or public domain, software culture, and I am familiar with all the rest. I respect and admire them, but I have wonder what the hell is the matter with them. Why do they deliberately fail? Why do the put others on the line to fail? I try to answer this below.

The answer I believe is in the history of technology, science, and control. Computer scientists, as are all scientists, are high paid servants, effectively upper caste slaves. Even when they are not paid, as in the public domain software industry, they are neurally programmed to be servant/slaves.

Why do they lack enough self-respect to undo this condition and become celebrants in their success? Again the problem is in their neurological programming. Those chosen to succeed in the system are chosen through a process called "human capital." At a young age, children are filtered by society the world 'round for specific roles in life, usually at middle school age. Those testing to be very intelligent are pushed into scientific roles, for instance, and those testing stupid will work at factory machines or be cannon fodder for the army.

Those chosen by the human capital system to be scientists are chosen based on intelligence tests. What is missing from intelligence tests is the human ability to model systems -- to use the imagination. This use of the imagination is now, neurally known, as empathy. Scientists who have succeed through the human capital system, which is all scientists, have no empathy. Because of this science lay in the gutter for nearly all of recent history; until recently science did nothing for the common person; it only slaved people in factories, destroyed the environment, and started wars. There was, for instance, no social science. And there certainly is little preventative medicine for the average person. Also there is no incentive for the truth, as scientists need incentive for every little thing; they lack the empathy to know that the truth is moral and correct.

In the US this system started to change in the 1960's with the development of educational principle such as the new math, where problem solving teaching techniques replaced what is called didactic framing, or rote learning. America, or course, became the premiere nation in the world, though individual income continually reduced. In the 90s steady intellectual and information systems growth brought the US, us, to the peak of world existence, and the we tumbled.

Clearly three things caused this: the largest stock swindle in history -- Wall Street's "pump and dump" tech crash of 2000; the Muslim extremist attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001; and finally the shipping of the American technology industry to Hindu nation of India, and the Communist nation of China by US corporate executives.

Now, the US is declining in a spiral of ignorance administered by what is called the "No Child Left Behind" act of congress; the initial strategy of NCLB was to replace the biological science of evolution with the religious concept of Creationism. This was achieved in Texas through an odd annexation of this insanity to the neighboring state of Arkansas. There was actually a period of months, where Bible study replaced biology in science classes; it was struck down in the courts.

When we discuss all these problems, and especially invoke the concept of "insanity," we are obviously referring to the lamest of lame duck presidents, George W. Bush. What we need to understand, however, is that all these problems may exist for us anyway even if he and his brother, Jed (or is it Jeb?) Bush, had not corrupted the vote in Florida, giving the presidency instead to some other democratic authoritarian.

Lewis Mumford is probably the most important writer of our post-modern age. In his Technics and Civilization he predicted the tech swindle of 2000, even though he had no way of knowing that there would be such a thing as the Internet. In 1937 he said that the next major innovation would be accompanied by the greatest swindle of all time; he showed how every innovation had been accompanied by a stock swindle as long as there have been stocks, and he just drew a simple graph. He showed how RCA was the first great information system stock swindle; that figured into the great depression greatly. He just did some simple math.

When Mumford tired to talk about the future of technology, he could only talk about the past. The reason is because we live in the past; the control structure of the ancient Egyptian empire, "the first machine was built from human parts," is how the systemic structure is constructed; the ancient Roman empire dictates how business operates: "a diffuse tribute collection system, for which there is no point of interaction, and therefore no accountability."

These two empires are gone yet still alive; so let us search for other one to five thousand year old cultures that may be affecting us in purely violent and financially disastrous ways. Two in particular jump out at us everyday as they are in the news constantly for their "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" strategy of eternal conflict. These ancient cultural forces figure in at least two of the three hits America took causing the recent dive. One of these cultures, being a lot more clever than the other, is responsible for both the "cyclic rotation" (the official term for the tech crash), and the shipping of all US cash to the nations of India and China. The root cause of the third problem, the obvious dishonesty of the American executive, is a tougher nut to crack. That seems to be a product of human capital, where human capital runs parallel to didactic framing education. Which nations promote didactic framing and human capital. Germany is often mentioned, clearly all nations describing themselves as "Latin," as descendants of the ancient Roman Empire operate didactic framing through Catholic education. A major problem in the US is of course the influence of the bigotry of the KKK, and that could be a link; Germany revitalized the KKK in the 1980s by exporting to the US Neo-Nazism racism, just as Castro had emptied his prisons into Florida. The Klan, and slavery, were of course conceptual frameworks imported from European nations which had been preserving Roman concepts of slave economies. And, as the world's puppet, the US has been preserving the idea of a slave economy; even in the 1950s and early 1960s Southern writers stated that the only economy for the South was a slave economy. In 2006, as a concrete truck driver, I personally saw a resurgence in what I would call slavery; the implementation of willing and voluntary Mexican slave-type labor under Southern capital control, apparently backed by foreign investment (most likely with American capital given away by whom??).

Then when we study outsourcing, we stumble on yet another ancient empire: the Hindu upper-caste. I leave that one to you. I should also mention that I see Chinese culture as Confucian, a philosophy which confuses respect for fealty creating a population ripe for slavery-level exploitation, giving China the global edge in the downward spiral of making the wealthier even wealthier.

What is the answer to all these Information Society problems?? I also leave that to you, but I warn you the answer also lies in solving the world crisis of globalism: the Earth is a planet that can only regenerate to support one half billion to one billion people: we now have 6 billion, with the top one percent of these people benefiting from consumption of ninety-nine percent of the world's resources. I leave you with Mexico, the top illegal drug transport center, or centre, and Iran, the top illegal opium producer. And the United States, the top producer of naivete. Anybody know any killing jokes ??