quarta-feira, 20 de fevereiro de 2019

LTS lifecycle for Ubuntu

Although security is a very important subject (one of the most important), I’d take the opportunity focus on the "LTS lifecycle".

What got my attention when I moved my private and "work" desktops, netbooks and laptops to Ubuntu back in 2006 was the fact that main goal of Ubuntu with the "Long Term Support" was the "support", meaning: planning, work goals, security updates, patches and documentations available online, and having people talk/blog about how they fix bugs and explaining there solutions, this is the real meaning of the word "ubuntu". But sadly now I have to move soon from 14.04.5 (ie I will be forced to upgrade) to 18.04.x, in the next few weeks because of the deadline.

From a business point perspective, the LTS lifecycle, considering the maturity and stability of a distribution, only is achieved after 3 or more years of using, troubleshooting, creating, cross-compiling, ... lots of hard work,  showing that you need to set at least 8 (eight) years as the goal for LTS!

I say this in respect to the great effort and cost to upgrade a version, which impacts considerably the working environment not only for the home, small, to medium and big companies, specially when the hardware takes longer to update, in realty, in most countries (ie. Africa, South America, middle East, etc) at least 8 to 10 years is quite common.

As an example, my main working desktop, here in Brazil, which I do most of my work, is a Gigabyte model: 965P-DS3, with a GeForce GT610, Intel Core2Duo 6300 with 8GB of RAM and 500GB HDD, which is an excellent work station for my needs, not only for work, but for Internet browsing, banking, YouTube, office, etc. But with limited BIOS features, makes it a real challenge and pain to upgrade (specially for a fresh install).

It is not only a question of buying a new hardware, which in my case, and in many countries, can be a very expensive step (can cost up to 3x the price compared to the USA market), but also because of ecological consciousness, carbon footprint, and who really thinks about "ubuntu".

quarta-feira, 23 de janeiro de 2019

Ubuntu: The Entrepreneur who wants to give it all away

Financial Times, 20/01/2006

So you've made half a billion dollars and you have paid for a trip to space. What on earth do you do next? Some might consider politics, others would sit back and enjoy a life of leisure. But for technology entrepreneur and cosmonaut Mark Shuttleworth the next battle was to take on the might of Microsoft on its core territory - the desktop.

He has developed a complete suite of software for personal computers that handles everything from the inner workings to word processing. It is called Ubuntu, named after one of the founding principles of post-apartheid South Africa, the country where he was born. In both the Zulu and Xhosa languages, it means "humanity to others".

The project is based on Linux, the free operating system written largely by volunteers and widely used by businesses, governments and other organisations to run servers, the computers that sit at the heart of networks. Ubuntu is meant to take this complex but powerful system and make it easy for non-technical people to use. Hence the project's mission statement - "Linux for human beings".

Although the technology behind it may be very different, a computer running Ubuntu looks much like one running Microsoft's Windows. The interface is based on similar menus, icons and windows, and users can surf the internet with the popular Firefox browser, or edit documents and spreadsheets with OpenOffice.

Instead of the largely blue world of Windows XP, Ubuntu is predominantly brown. Some quirky features hint at its African origin, such as the little burst of drumming that rings out when an application opens. Each new version of Ubuntu is known not just by the usual number, but an animal codename, such as Warty Warthog or Breezy Badger.

Less than two years after launch, Ubuntu has established itself as a favourite among the hundreds of different Linux-based operating systems. Ubuntu is top by some distance on a popularity chart for different flavours of Linux compiled by the website, DistroWatch. Exact numbers are hard to come by, but estimates put the number of computers running Ubuntu at up to6m and doubling everyeight months.

Unlike some of the other leading Linux projects, such as Linspire, Novell and Red Hat, Ubuntu is distributed free. Users can download it and use it without paying at all, and Mr Shuttleworth's company, Canonical, will even post a free installation compact disc to anyone who requests it.

This is possible because of Mr Shuttleworth's vast fortune. He made $575m (£327m) selling his internet company, Thawte Consulting, in 1999, and invests about $10m a year in Ubuntu. It is unlikely to make him any money, at least not for several years. Canonical sells support and related services for Ubuntu, but Mr Shuttleworth has no firm idea about when it will make a profit.

He launched the project because he believes he is in the vanguard of a revolution. "It is very high risk," he says. "It is not a sensible business model. But shaping the digital platform of the future is an incredibly interesting position to be in."

He has certainly created a powerful and effective desktop software package. From its commitment to freedom to its quirky public image, Ubuntu has many appealing features and considerable momentum. However, to continue growing at the current rate, it will need to expand beyond its existing technology-savvy base to embrace people with no prior experience of Linux.

Linux consultant and author Tom Adelstein thinks it is still hard for such people to use. "From a usability point of view, Ubuntu is ahead of the others, I think. But it is still in the Linux bag - you have to be computer literate to use it. Microsoft is still far ahead on that." Likewise, many buyers will be put off by the fact that a number of programs, notably games, are not available for Linux systems.

Few of those target users would install an operating system themselves. So a key stage in Ubuntu's growth will be persuading PC makers to sell machines with Ubuntu already installed. Some computer makers already ship PCs with Linux suites such as Linspire.

Smaller PC makers, competing at the lower end of the market, are particularly interested in free software, as it helps them to cut their prices. Small companies account for one-third of the global market, according to research company IDC, and Mr Shuttleworth is soon to visit Taiwan to open negotiations with some of them.

Corporate and government desktops may also be fertile ground for growth. A survey by Forrester, the research company, found that 30 per cent of companies in North America are considering switching some or all of their desktops to Linux.

Among those changing is Google, which has developed its own version of Ubuntu, called Goobuntu. Mr Shuttleworth says he is also in talks with the city government in Munich about creating an edition of Ubuntu for them.

This ability to customise Linux is a big selling point, and Canonical is developing an easy way for corporations to design and maintain specific versions of Ubuntu to suit their exact needs.

Although a stock-market darling such as Google may seem an excellent reference customer, it has an intense rivalry with Microsoft so it is keener than average to try alternatives to Windows. Other organisations will need more convincing reasons to adopt Ubuntu. Being free is clearly an advantage and Linux advocates argue that the security and robustness of Linux products are superior to those of Windows, although these issues are hotly debated.

Mr Shuttleworth has managed to rally one important group around his standard: developers. Canonical has just 50 staff, but Ubuntu has attracted many thousands of engineers at partner companies, as well as volunteers and students, who do most of the work of extending and improving the software.

The Ubuntu community has a reputation for friendliness - which is important when you are not being paid. Also, many developers who dislike the increasing commercialisation of other Linux projects are attracted by Ubuntu's commitment to remaining free.

However, selling Ubuntu beyond the circle of geeky initiates will require a massive marketing and education process, and even Mr Shuttleworth's deep pockets are no match for the budgets of Microsoft and Apple. He hopes that the virtues of a free, open operating system will sell themselves.

"My instinct tells me that free software is going to be a significant force on the desktop," he says. "Whether that is an Apple Mac-like force of 3-5 per cent; or whether that is a Linux in the data centre [on servers] force, that is 50 per cent and growing really, really fast - I don't know."

With no serious business plan, it would be easy to dismiss Ubuntu as the plaything of a whimsical hobbyist that will not go far beyond the geek fraternity. Can a Breezy Badger really be a serious challenge to a titan like Microsoft?

During his interview with the Financial Times, Mr Shuttleworth sits across his chair with both legs on the armrest, as if it were a hammock - not something you imagine Larry Ellison, Oracle's chief executive, doing.

But he has an impressive record, and you certainly cannot question his dedication. He is currently on a gruelling three-week world tour in his private jet, promoting Ubuntu and making contacts in Croatia, Pakistan, India, China, Indonesia and Kenya. After that, he plans to "unwind" by meeting other enthusiasts for free software in, of all places, the war-torn republic of Sierra Leone.

For some, Mr Shuttleworth just seems to be having too much fun to be taken seriously. But Linux has surprised many people before - there is nothing a geek finds more fun than turning a whole industry on its head.

Mark Shuttleworth has no clear idea of when his new venture will make a profit but, based on his past experience, tech watchers are treating the project seriously.

*Mark Shuttleworth made his fortune in 1999, when Thawte Consulting, the company he started in a garage in Cape Town, was bought by VeriSign for $575m. An e-commerce security company, it did much to make the explosion of online retailing possible, and its technology is still widely used today.

*In 2002, he spent $20m to join the Russian space programme as a cosmonaut, training for a year before blasting off from a launch pad in Kazakhstan. He was the first African in orbit and the world's second paying visitor to space.

*After spending some time "sowing my wild oats and enjoying the world", he decided to put his financial and intellectual weight into a free software system for the desktop, Ubuntu. "I was struck by the incredible pace of change in free software to the desktop. It seemed to me that the key developers in the free software world had identified the desktop as the next interesting problem," he says. For him, it was a return tohis origins, as the technology his first company developed was based on Linux. "It was only possible for me to build Thawte because of the existence of Linux," he says.

Copyright (c) Ben King MMVI

REF: https://web.archive.org/web/20101115224130/http://www.benking.co.uk/art/Ubuntu_the_entrepreneur_who_wants_to_give_it_all_away.php

terça-feira, 13 de março de 2018

BYD e6 at Belo Horizonte capital of Minas Gerais

BYD e6 van style utility truck at garage of state of Minas Gerias government main build of capital city of Belo Horizonte.

The charging point:

quarta-feira, 29 de novembro de 2017

LTSPICE - How to use cursors and read values from plots

LTSpice, Reading values from plot

After you have plotted a waveform, you can left-click on the waveform node-title label at the top of the graph window which will set a cursor cross-bar and with popup a new floating window with the cursor position information.

Move your pointer over the new cross-bar and a number "1" will appear.  If you now left-click the number that is showing you will be able to move along the graph and position the cursor.

If you click again over the node-title label then you will get the second cursor (ie. the cursor number 2) which will give the absolute value at each cursor position and the difference between the two cursor positions in the popup information window.

To remove the cursor(s) just close the popup information window.

REF: https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/ltspice-reading-values-from-plot.95390/

domingo, 1 de outubro de 2017

Understanding Connector: SMA

The SMA connector(SubMiniature version A) is a 50 ohm coaxial connector. It is visually similar to an F type connector that is commonly used for audio/video communication, but has different dimensions, mechanical properties and is used for different applications such as RF communications up to 18 GHz. Due to its construction, SMA connectors provide a strong and durable connection that minimizes reflections, limiting attenuation, and makes it a great choice when working with microwave frequencies.

SMA Male Connector

The SMA male connector is identified by inside 1/4″-36 threads and a 5/16″ hex nut. A standard polarity connector will have a male pin.

SMA Male Dimensions

  • Outer Diameter: 6.35mm
  • Inner Diameter: 4.59mm
  • Pin Diameter: .97mm
  • Pin Tip Diameter: .38mm 

SMA Female Connector

The SMA female connector is identified by outside 1/4″-36 threads. A standard polarity connector will have a female sleeve.

SMA Female Dimensions
    • Outer Diameter: 5.49mm
    • Inner Diameter: 4.60mm
    • Pin Insert Diameter: 1.30m

    Reverse Polarity (RP) SMA Male Connector 

    The RP SMA male connector is identified by inside 1/4″-36 threads and a 5/16″ hex nut. It will not have a male pin, but will have a female sleeve.

    RP SMA Male Dimensions

    • Outer Diameter: 6.35mm
    • Inner Diameter: 4.59mm
    • Pin Insert Diameter: 1.30mm

    Reverse Polarity (RP) SMA Female Connector

    The SMA female connector is identified by outside 1/4″-36 threads. A standard polarity connector will not have a female sleeve, but will have a male pin.

    RP SMA Female Dimensions
    • Outer Diameter: 5.49mm
    • Inner Diameter: 4.60mm
    • Pin Diameter: .97mm
    • Pin Tip Diameter: .38mm

    REF: http://blog.showmecables.com/author/showmecables/

    sábado, 1 de julho de 2017

    Ultimate Guide for Multiboot USB - All Your CD/DVD Live on a USB

    For many years, all IT enthusiasts struggle with CD and DVD for system installations, upgrades, recovery or just to test a new release.

    Also I was always having problems with GPL, shareware, freeware, IDEs, scripts, and other initiatives that  from time to time stop working, or don't support your target distro or go buggy.

    I had a hard time dealing with BIOS/EFI/UEFI different standard, brands and approaches to bootstrap your system and startup a selected OS from a block or stream device (ie. HDD, ODD, SSD, etc.)

    To make it even more difficult, old BIOS desktops usually make USB option very difficult task (since USB is relatively new in PC world of BIOS devices).  So many updated solutions just drop support for old systems, and people like me that like to use old (but as good as new) devices that are neglected by the Y/Z generation, but in some cases are the very best to help many who can not afford continuous updates of hardware (almost every six months), specially for poor countries and community schools.  And also to have a positive environmental attitude: reduce, reuse, recycle.

    So after many years testing all options available I believe that now I have a stable (and understandable), straightforward solution.


    1. Have a working GNU distribuition (I use Ubuntu 14.04.5 i686)
    2. Syslinux - isohybrid - Postprocess ISO images for hybrid mode
    3. dd - convert, copy a file to devices
    4. gparted (and also a win32 VM with a partition program if needed)
    5. nano, vi or gedit (or any editor)

    Procedure steps:

    1. Start by downloading the Live ISO image you would usually burn a CD/DVD.

    2. Prepare the ISO to be usable on a USB/HDD/SSD by the command:

      isohybrid --partok <name_of_iso_file>

    Ref: http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php?title=Isohybrid

    3. Partition a new USB (or backup it first and clean all files from it) as the following:

    3.1. Now with a clean USB you can just start by resize it using gparted or a win32 partitioning application, so that is about 512MB and leave all the rest as free space.

    Notice that you will not need to much space for the first partition because it should hold only the syslinux modules, configuration files and your customization image for background.

    3.2. Now create as many new partitions as needed to accommodate each live ISO you will want to boot, but follow this rule: use a round value always larger than the ISO file size.  Exemple: for 1.1GB ISO use a 1.5/2GB partition.  For a 220MB ISO use a 512MB partiton.  For a 640MB use a 1GB partiton.  Usually 512MB increments is a good rule, but avoid very tight choices, exemple: for a 1.9GB choose 2.5GB not 2GB.  This is just to avoid last minute problems and have to start all over again.  Remember, this takes time.  But this is not a strict order, try it out if you need to save space

    3.3.  Remember that DOS only understands 4 primary partitions and on USB only ONE, so you should a good strategy is to create a extended partition and many logical partitions (as many as you wish/need), limited to your USB available space/size, remember that sectors usually are in 512 bytes increments.

    4. Format the first partition as FAT (FAT16 not FAT32).  Sometimes FAT32 will work, but FAT16 will make first bootloader sector be on the right spot (on sector number 63) or you will hack it with fdisk and more the first sector to position 63.

    The bootloader must start on setor 63, which is the physical sector number (or LBA) containing the first sector of the partition (unlike the sector count used in the sectors value of CHS tuples, which counts from one, the absolute or LBA sector value starts counting from zero).

    Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_boot_record#Disk_identity

    5. Install syslinux bootloader (I use example that my USB is /dev/sdb):

      syslinux --directory /boot/syslinux/ --install /dev/sdb1

    Ref: http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php?title=Install#Linux

    6. Edit the /boot/syslinux/syslinux.cfg and insert the ISO partitions you will create, one by one, following this framework at the end of the file:

    #start partition X  where X is 2,3...n
    LABEL ubuntu-sdbX
    MENU LABEL <Name the ISO>
    COM32 chain.c32
    APPEND boot X


    You could use the following syslinux.cfg:

    # This file was created origionally by MultiBootUSB.
    default vesamenu.c32
    prompt 0
    menu title John's MultiBoot USB
    TIMEOUT 300
    MENU ROWS 12
    MENU COLOR border       30;44   #40ffffff #a0000000 std
    MENU COLOR title        1;36;44 #9033ccff #a0000000 std
    MENU COLOR sel          7;37;40 #e0ffffff #20ffffff all
    MENU COLOR unsel        37;44   #50ffffff #a0000000 std
    MENU COLOR help         37;40   #c0ffffff #a0000000 std
    MENU COLOR timeout_msg  37;40   #80ffffff #00000000 std
    MENU COLOR timeout      1;37;40 #c0ffffff #00000000 std
    MENU COLOR msg07        37;40   #90ffffff #a0000000 std
    MENU COLOR tabmsg       31;40   #30ffffff #00000000 std
    label Boot from Hard Drive
    MENU LABEL Boot from  Hard Disk
    KERNEL chain.c32
    APPEND hd1

    #start extended partition 5
    LABEL ubuntu-sdb5
    MENU LABEL Ubuntu 14.04.5 i686(32bits)
    COM32 chain.c32
    APPEND boot 5
    #end ubuntu extended

    #start extended partition 6
    LABEL ubuntu-sdb6
    MENU LABEL Ubuntu 14.04.5 amd (64bits)
    COM32 chain.c32
    APPEND boot 6
    #end ubuntu extended

    #start extended partition 7
    LABEL ubuntu-sdb7
    MENU LABEL GParted Live 0.28
    COM32 chain.c32
    APPEND boot 7
    #end ubuntu extended

    REF:  http://multibootusb.org/

    7. Now lets copy the prepared ISO files (see previous procedure 2)

      dd if=<prepared ISO file name> of=/dev/sdbX bs=2048

    Please double check your device location (use df -h) and also check the correct partition to set the X variable of the command, since each partition was made with the size as a critical factor.

    That is it, you now have a MULTIPLE BOOT USB for ISO live images.

    To test the new multiboot usb use qemu with the command:

    qemu-system-i386 -enable-kvm -localtime -m 1024M \
    -vga std -drive file=/dev/sdb,cache=none,format=raw,if=virtio

    Check this screenshot of a 4GB USB stick (32/64 bits ubuntu and gparted ISOs)

    Please share your tests and help make it better.