My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: GOJ and Project JosephOS Requiem - Open Source Linux Penguin in Happy Feet

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

GOJ and Project JosephOS Requiem - Open Source Linux Penguin in Happy Feet

The Government of the United States of America is going to soon be run on Google. So intoned the Obama Administration when they awarded Google a US$6.7 billion contract to replace email and documents with their Cloud-based solution powered in partnership with Unisys as stated in the article “Google scores big federal Government contract”, published December 2, 2010 9:07 AM PST by Lance Whitney, CNET News- Digital Media.

The US Government on Google Docs, Google Mail (Gmail) and possibly PC and Cr-48 sporting their Cloud-Based OS Google Chrome OS to run the General Services Administration (GSA) as explained in detail in my blog article entitled “Google Chrome Press Event - Naked Gun 33 and a Third The Final Insult”.

Strangely enough, the Government of Jamaica is STILL being tied down by Microsoft Corp  Microsoft, recently having to fork out over JA$600 million as stated in the article “Gov't to pay JA$600 million to renew software licenses”, published Wednesday, February 16, 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

Of that amount, US$3.3 million (JA$283 million) being earmarked to pay Microsoft for three (3) years of unauthorized software usage in its various Government Agencies! That’s nowhere near the money that is owed to the Government of Jamaica by way of unpaid Traffic Tickets for violations for the Road Traffic Act as stated in the article “New Ticketing System to collect billions in unpaid fines”, published Friday, February 11th 2011 20:41 by JIS News!

Amusingly, I had argued for the adoption of Open Source by the Government of Jamaica in a project dubbed Project JosephOS (Keisha Joseph’s Open Source Initiative) which was based on an argument with the namesake 20-something.

The name is coined from the fact that Josephus, a scribe who lived in the time of Jesus, took it on himself to find better methods of preserving the ancient writing of the Bible by placing them in layers of Leather.

Thus the ten (10) year cycle of rewriting and transcribing manuscripts written in Hebrew was discontinued, as leather made the Scrolls last longer.

Other Pharisees improved on this method with metal bracings, smaller script and a metal case in which to store said manuscripts. This is why Jews have the storage method that they use today to store their manuscripts in the synagogue!

This event occurred while in my Sophomore Year at UWI reading for my Degree in Electronics and Chemistry in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences. So amused was I by the argument, that I made a basic research note summarizing and distilling her ideas in my blog article entitled “Project JosephOS - Centralized Database of all Government Documents”.

I have begun tracking the Development of Open Source ever since, having seen Open Source when I was younger at UTECH while reading for my Diploma in Electronics and Telecoms in the Department of Engineering. Now it is more like Windows in its interface, something most welcome to those of us non-techie types who like the feel of a familiar Windows environment.

Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, Minister of Justice, could have certainly used the help of such as Database, as it would make tracking emails and documents a snap. Ditto for the rest of Government of Jamaica Agencies!

This is a signpost in American history that ironically in that blog article was a byline. But it heralds something greater: Open Source is now being endorsed by the White House.

Long proven itself on Enterprise Servers as stated in the article “Big Business backs Linux”, published December 1, 2010, 12:36pm PST by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, ZDNet - Linux and Open Source, it is now going mainstream to regular users.

This mainly thanks to Dell, Google and now HP. Dell took the first bold step on Tuesday March 27th 2007 when the made public the findings of a survey that they conducted on whether or not users wished to have Linux pre-loaded on their PC’s.

The articles entitled  “Dell Promises Linux on Desktop and Laptop PC's”, published Friday Mar 30, 2007 12:43 AM ET by Barry Levine, News Factor and “Linux and Dell shut the Windows?” published Saturday March 31, 2007 by Ross Sheila, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner provided proof of this historic occasion.

Of the one hundred thousand (100,000) respondents who participated in the IdeaStorm survey, an astounding 70% resoundingly said yes to Canonical’s Ubuntu as their choice of Linux Distribution as an alternative to Windows. As usual, the devil is in the details. Specifically, the participants in the survey wish to have:

1)     Ubuntu Linux Distribution option bundled with Dell’s Line of PC’s and Laptops
2)     Open Source software bundled with the OS that were compatible alternatives to those found on Windows machines
3)     Hardware Drivers compatible with Ubuntu under the GNU General Public License under which Linux Distributions operate

The last one is somewhat of a sticking point in the arrangement brokered by Dell and Canonical, the commercial distributor of Ubuntu but over time is slowly being ironed out as the No. 1 PC maker showed that it no longer lives under the shadow of Microsoft.

Truly, 2007, the Year of the Apple iPhone and the Amazon Kindle, was also the year of the silent revolution for the cute little Tuxedo Penguin.

Since then, the Tablet Wars have started in earnest. First with the appearance of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet as stated in my blog article entitled “Samsung Galaxy and the Galaxy of Tablet and Phones - Lucky Charms for London Olympics 2012”.

Now with the debut of the Motorola Xoom on Thursday February 10th 2011 as stated in the article “Verizon to start selling iPhone on Feb. 10”, published January 11, 2011, Yahoo News. Article on this is coming soon on my Geezam Blog!

Now HP, the No. 2 PC maker has done one better than Dell. After the Debut of their HP TouchPad Tablet, HP Pre3 and HP Veer smartphones revolving about their WebOS Ecosystems as stated in my Geezam Blog article entitled “HP and the TouchPad - Release the WebOS and the Developers will Smile”, that is!

Like Dell, they have decided to give Open Source to the Masses. However, unlike Dell, it is their own Linux Distribution, specifically WebOS.

Apparently, HP is following in the footsteps of Apple.  HP is creating their own ecosystem of products based around WebOS as stated in the article “HP: the Linux Desktop Company”, published March 9, 2011, 8:25am PST, by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Linux and Open Source, ZDNet.

Inheritance from their purchase of Palm as stated in the article HP buying Palm for US$1.2 billion”, published April 28, 2010 1:14 PM PDT by Erica Egg, CNET News - Circuit Breaker and confirmed by the article “HP to Buy Palm for US$1.2 billion”, published Wednesday, April 28, 2010 01:43 PM PDT by Nancy Goring, IDG News Service, PCWorld.

Siblings in every sense of the word! Related by more than company name as suggested in the article “Mobile is now a Game of Ecosystems, Not Devices”, published February 17, 2011, 5:30pm By Naveen Tewari, GigaOM.

Most people who use the more user-friendly versions of Linux such as Knoppix and Fedora are very much aware of the benefits of this Linux Distributions: safer web surfing, virus-free, makes older PC hardware work faster as it is light on resources.

Most people, however, are blissfully unaware of its virus-killing powers as stated in the article “Why you need to Have a Linux LiveCD”, published February 11, 2011 6:31 pm by Katherine Noyes, PCWorld.

You can boot a Windows PC using a bootable CD mounted via the DVD/CD ROM drive and literally comb through the Hard drive and delete the viruses on the fly. I use this a lot at Amazing PC to remove viruses on Thumb Drives, Laptops and Computers instead of a virus scan, which really, can only alert you of a virus but cannot remove them, merely placing them in quarantine.

It is also great for backing up Data before reinstalling the Windows OS. Eventually, more driver support is needed for Hardware interoperability for Linux Distributions.

Notable examples abound.

Microsoft’s Donation of three (3) key Drivers to the Linux Foundation for the development of the Linux Source Code under the GNU General Public License “Microsoft's Linux contribution: Thank Novell?”, published July 21, 2009 10:39 AM PDT by Ina Fried, Beyond Binary - CNET News in 2009.

Wireless Equipment maker Broadcom donated Open Source Drivers for its Wireless Equipment hardware as stated in the article “Linux Wi-Fi Gets Easier with New Broadloom Driver”, published Fri Sep 10, 2:55 pm ET by Katherine Noyes, PCWorld.

So with coming support, the Government of Jamaica’s only excuse against Linux Distributions is the lack of Hardware Driver Support. If the Government of Jamaica was innovative enough to copy the White House and go Alternative Energy to reduce their JA$10 billion Electricity Bill as  stated in the Editorial in The Jamaica Gleaner entitled “Government to start saving energy”, published Sunday February 13, 2011, The Jamaica Gleaner, then the adoption of Open Source should be a natural follow-on, Cricket Style!

Especially as the new Wireless Cloud-Based Handheld Wireless Traffic Ticketing System and the Automated Electronic Ticketing System initiative to collect over JA$3 billion in unpaid Traffic Fines as stated in my blog article entitled “Motorists, NRSC and the New Traffic Ticket System - Nowhere to Run” is to come on stream!

The Use of an Open Source Linux Distribution would even make the Database as described by Prime Minister Bruce Golding more secure, drawing upon the strength of Linux and his Penguin friends.

Project JosephOS for the Government of Jamaica Ministries and Governmental Agencies anyone?

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