Overwhelmed by the press coverage

First of all, as a free(dom) software advocate I am obviously biased towards all proprietary software makers. Anyway, this position can sometimes make me see things from a different perspective.

Now here is the big news these days: Microsoft had Windows 7 in pre-order for a bargain price, but only a limited amount of licences (e.g. 76 000 licences for France). And they were overwhelm by demands from users!?!

Wait a minute, how come overwhelm? Basically, many users (no numbers were published) connected to Microsoft servers to go through a couple of pages in order to pre-order Windows 7. Basically, this is just a few requests to some servers to download web pages (a few kilobytes). Does Facebook, Twitter, Gmail or even Windows Live (Hotmail, MSN, etc.) services just collapse because people are using them? In comparison, Facebook handles 120 millions connections per day!

So there are three solutions to the fact that Microsoft servers could not handle the amount of requests :

  1. Microsoft Windows servers are too poorly performing for such a job as handling web pages: obviously wrong as Windows Live seems to be able to handle such loads ;
  2. Because of the rarity of the amount of licences on sale, people rushed to be able to buy one. Thus, servers could be overwhelm by demands for a really short peek periods ;
  3. Microsoft purposely under-scale its servers for the big sell, so the web will relay the info.

First solution seems wrong. Perhaps it is a mix of the second and third solution, both can create a buzz around Windows 7 sales, and this is what exactly happened as many news related Windows 7 high popularity because so many people tried to buy it that even Microsoft could not handle their requests. Congratulations to the marketing guys, the operation reached its goal!

Le Nouveau Littré 2007 aussi pour Linux (French)

As this is a French related software (a dictionary of French words), it will only interest people with a good level of speech in French. Therefore, this article will be one of the few written in French.

Si j’ai toujours mon Petit Larousse de 1988 en format papier, j’ai parfois besoin d’avoir accès à un dictionnaire directement depuis mon ordinateur, ne serait-ce que lors de déplacement. Depuis maintenant deux ans, j’achète le Nouveau Littré électronique. Le Littré est un célèbre dictionnaire de la langue française qui fut écrit à l’origine par Émile Littré. Les dictionnaires plus populaires, que sont le Larousse et le Robert, ont suivi la voie ouverte par le Littré.

La bonne nouvelle pour nous amis libristes (mot inconnu du Littré au passage ;-) ) est la déclinaison multi-plateforme du Littré électronique. L’édition 2007, comme la précédente, est disponible sur les plateformes Windows, Mac OS X et celle de notre cher pingouin Linux.

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LightZone 2.4 for Linux is released

LightZone logoLight Crafts is the commercial editor of LightZone, a multi-platform image editor. It supports mainly the Windows and Mac OS X platform, and it is not free: one has to pay for the software and it is not open source. LightZone integrates well into the photographer image work flow, offering a nice browsing experience and various tools to enhance zone of one’s photographs.

However, a Linux enthusiast (Anton Kast) at Light Crafts has managed to port LightZone to Linux and his company allows him to distribute this version free of charge. It is not free software, but that is still a really nice initiative from this company and its employee. Thank you Anton and Light Crafts :-)

The new release, stamped 2.4, is available for download: LightZone 2.4 for Linux (Warning alternate link if the previous one does not work. Click on “Read more” for more information)

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Commercial virtualisation product available for Ubuntu

A bit more than a month ago Spring just started, but it is so hot and sunny now that it feels already like Summer. Summer means much more outside activities and fewer inside topics: less blogging and less playing with Ubuntu.

Anyway from time to time, I still find opportunities to discover a new side of Ubuntu and to write about it. Today is about a recent update in the Ubuntu repositories that enabled the first commercial package: VMware Server.

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A web browser for Human beings

Ubuntu Linux is designed for Human beings. It tends to be as easy as possible for all of them and to make things just work. A similar contender on this concept but in the web browser/e-mail environment is Opera. Sadly it is not open source but it is freely available to anyone and on many platforms and languages.

Opera features many enhancement regarding accessibility (and are/were pioneer in many of this area). They have integrated into their browser things like mouse gesture, voice control and many UI improvements (some were adapted in other major software) including: tabs, sessions, zoom and private data management.

It seems as if Opera has always tried to make their software more ergonomic with each new release. Something that was not really considered seriously until recently by the contenders.

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