4451 posts • joined 31 May 2010
Re: Beware the network guys!!!
@bear_all I agree with you 100% that traditional companies can evolve. Do I believe that 2014 will be the turnaround year for Cisco? No.
The reason for this is that Cisco simply isn't yet willing to cannibalize it's own core competency yet. It's still fighting ridiculous internecine civil wars and is as yet unable to meet the challengers at the gates.
That said, of all the tech giants, I believe Cisco has made the best acquisitions recently, (though I can think of at least five others it needs to make. Preferably now, while the startups are cheap.) What remains to be seen is whether or not Cisco's internal bureaucracy manages to strip away the "souls" of those organizations, or whether it will truly be able to undergo a cultural metamorphosis which allows it to actually become an agile competitor once more.
Cisco has spend the past decade and a half bleeding it's top minds. They have turned around and created the very technologies and companies that will be Cisco's downfall. (Arista, anyone?) They left Cisco for the same reasons that VMware has been shedding bodies for the past 6 years, and why IBM went through yet another purge in the augties: the company culture became staid, stiff, resistant to ideas from "the muck" of the employees.
Workers were to be drones carrying out the grandiose vision of the Supreme Ruler and his core staff of imagineers, not innovating and adapting on their own. Even executives had to cut through red tape with a machete, ultimately leading to a bleed of top talent.
Other companies can do almost all of the things we used to turn to Cisco for...but for far, far cheaper. Cisco's biggest mistake is fighting desperately to keep margin up on those areas. Especially trying to use lock-in tactics and walled gardens to do so. Buyers are wising up to that crap.
For Cisco to keep margins high it needs to be able to find a new market, become the best of the best in it, charge it's margins there, while dropping it's margins elsewhere to "market margins + name cachet". That will give buying into the "complete stack" of Cisco real value. Unfortunately "name cachet" is not the 2x-3x multiplier Cisco believes it to be.
Cisco has been trying to reform. To change this about itself and to expand it's areas of operation such that it will survive the collapse of it's core networking market. Has it done so yet? No. Will it manage it? I honestly can't say. Will 2014 be the year it returns to being an adaptive, innovative behemoth that will redefine markets? I sincerely doubt it.
...but 2015 might. It really just might. Cisco is definitely on my "companies to keep an eye on" list because unlike many of the others it is trying to change. It is simply a question of whether or not Cisco manages to do this before it bleeds all but a hard core of it's customers.
"But you named VCE as one of "2014's big names to watch in the vSAN space", so surely PureSystems would not be out of place in that list as well... right?"
Honestly, no. As I said in the article, I was highlighting those I thought would be major players. In the case of VCE or Nutanix because of raw market domination. In the case of someone like Maxta because they are fundamentally game changing via commoditisation.
If I tried to list every single CI or VSAN player it would be an ebook, not an article. There are well over 100 at last count; the whole area is growing at a level that makes me think of the mobile device management market. That's why I narrowed it to companies I think would make a bang in 2014 here.
The sad truth is, I just don't think IBM is currently very relevant here, nor do I believe they have anything innovative enough to become relevant in the future. You'll have to forgive me here, but I see IBM's PureSystems setup as a "me too" play that mostly will have negative appeal outside IBM's captive market and stands a damned good chance of having even IBM's captive clients turn to VCE or Nutanix.
As for "SVC is more than cutting a big SAN into little SANs because compression"...I must be missing something. Compression and deduplication were neat in 2006. It was right around then that this "younger, hipper feature" emerged that let people defer SAN refreshes for a cycle. Everyone of any value does this today, it's not exactly a point of differentiation. Indeed, today's deduplication is host-based flash caching: add something like Proximal Data to the host and use it's internal flash to buy you extra IOPS. Ultimately, this can save you from needing an upgrade RFN if you're at the IOPS wall: buy you a year or two to get your act together.
I don't believe there's a "dubious value" in SAN virtualisation...just that SAN virtualisation is pedestrian. I can cut a Starwind SAN into baby SANs, if I massage the interface! It's got HA, deduplication, what-have-you. The past is the past: not only is none of that special, it's commodity now.
Big Blue is many things, but it should never allow itself to become merely pedestrian. Surely a company that creates subterranean seismically-stabilized research labs in order to create atomic-resolution scanning tunnelling microscopes capable of demonstrating the strong force has more virtual confetti and storage oomph than SAN virtualisation and inline deduplication to sprinkle about the holidays!
Your point that people mix the two concepts up, however, is well taken. I really should do an article to explain the difference. It's amazing how much interest this one article has driven. I've a lot of interviews to do next year with both vendors and end users. I look forward to seeing what 2014 brings and to seeing how everything unfolds.
I've no ego in being "right" here. I called the players as I saw them and there is just as much information in being wrong as in being right. If I'm wrong, I'd have no problem saying "hey guys, IBM actually did some decent cleaning up and/or innovating in 2014!" Indeed, insert any name in place of IBM: I've no bias about winners or losers here...but no, I don't think IBM is going to make a bang in this area in 2014.
2014 is going to see the old guard fight viciously to defend their aging product lines and business models as newer, more capable companies redefine entire markets. Cisco will be fighting a noisy rearguard action against all comers; everyone from the OpenDaylight project to Juniper to IBM are pushing SDN offerings that will truncate Cisco's relevance and collapse it's market share.
Microsoft will continue to machine gun itself in booth feet while Oracle doubles down on extracting every single bent copper from it's hostages. EMC will continue to bleed market share to the likes of Nutanix and Tintri while VMware will be forced to completely reinvent their pricing model or die.
None of this will mean the death of giants in 2014...but the giants look ever so much more inflexible today than they did only a few years ago. A sea change is coming. With luck, it will not be a sudden collapse and refactoring of the market like the dot-com burst. Instead, it seems likely that the great behemoths of IT will fade slowly, going quietly into that good night over the course of the next decade or two.
But they have peaked. They have allowed themselves to become wrapped up in pride and hubris; to let innovation occur beyond their borders to an extent that is shocking. Some - like VMware - simply clone the ideas of their own "partners" (the lawsuits once the patents are granted will be hilarious good fun.) Others attempt to buy up these companies one by each and lament their failed integration as the soul-destroying corporate culture of the IT behemoth evaporates the very things that drove innovation in those startups to begin with.
There is a divide here. The staid, high-margin, enterprise-tech-driven model reliant on "services" and 4-hour engineer rollouts is meeting the world of DevOps. Like a freight train meeting a mountain.
In the new order everything is dynamic. Everything is scriptable. This new world sees 4 hours as "not nearly good enough" and requires double and triple redundancy for everything. The new world is burstable. It is programmatic. It is responsive and automated. It is built on commodity everything and change is a feature, not a bug that needs 5 months of change management to plan around.
This is the transition period. It is the time where the old school IT market starts shrinking and the vendors that supply it start winking out one by one: going bankrupt, getting bought, or leaving the market and doing something else. Oracle has proven you can dine on that for some time...but the future is being written by the likes of Puppet and OpenDaylight, not Cisco or VCE.
So, against that backdrop...why would I see PureSystems being a big player in 2014? VCE is the name enterprises and governments trust when it comes to old-school infrastructure. They'll give you a pod of stuff that Just Works and support it in a traditional enterprise fashion. All the big names are on board, it ticks all the old-school CTO paranoia boxes.
Anyone looking for futureproof IT isn't going to be looking at anything VCE like - not from VCE, IBM, Oracle or anyone else - so what chance to any of these other enterprise players have?
IBM's version of "innovation" seems to be "the all flash datacenter." That's great, if you happen to have a continent full of virgins and access to one of the three volcanos on earth with a phonolitic lake. Even for the Fortune 500 that's a bit rich. None of that, of course, addresses how one is to overcome the bottlenecks or latency issues inherent in centralized storage or the transition from North-South networking to East-West networking. (IBM does have some OpenFlow stuff that shows promise, however, it does seem to require that you have a stead supply of virgins to afford it.)
IBM is - to my mind - like the US military. It's really quite spectacularly prepared to fight the last war it was engaged in. Every now and again the R&D department vomits up something truly amazing (like the internet)...but it's the wars of right now, today, that it can't ever seem to quite win. Every now and again both will hold a "Mission Accomplished" ceremony, but disentangling real world victory from meaningless marketing mumbo jumbo designed to fool the plebes is itself a full time job.
IBM is working on hundreds of astonishing new technologies that I think will make the latter half of this decade amazing. (Some of the AI stuff begin done with WATSON, for example.) Storage, however...just isn't one of them. Yet.
Here's hoping that for all the length of that comment, I'm wrong multiple times. Life's far more interesting if you can't predict it quite right. Cheers! Have a great new year. :)
Erik: unless I'm missing a great deal here, IBM's offering isn't a virtual SAN in the commonly accepted sense. There's a lot of weaseling around trying to shoehorn existing product into a new category, but the fact that when anyone I've talked to over the past 8 months talks about a "virtual SAN" they are talking about converged storage and compute where the VMs are being run on the same systems as are providing the storage. Most critically so that one can add both compute and storage to the network simply by adding another node."
Attempts to stretch the definition beyond that, or twist the definition to say "that's not a virtual SAN, this is" are reminiscent of nothing so much as hangers-on putting time and effort into muddying the term "cloud computing" to make themselves seem relevant. They certainly managed to muddy the waters, but...they didn't really win that battle either, now did they?
If IBM actually has something that plays in the area, I'd be more than happy to take a look at what they offer and include them in a follow up article sometime in the next few months. So far I've seen nothing that fits, despite having looked. I'll go look at GPFS Storage Server one more time, but as it was demoed to me before it was emphatically not a virtual SAN.
Also: "virtual SAN" has bloody nothing to do with SAN virtualisation. They are completely distinct concepts. I think anyone serious about storage will be able to tell the difference between A and B here. They aren't "similar" in any way.
Virtual SANs are about A) commoditising storage by making it possible to run it on the commodity compute nodes we already use for visualization and B) increasing speed/decreasing latency by putting the storage a VM uses in the same compute node it runs on while still offering full redundancy equal or superior to that which you would find in a traditional SAN.
SAN virtualisation is about taking a traditional SAN and cutting it up into logical SANs and delivering these logical SANs to compute nodes across the network. It doesn't drive down the cost and it doesn't move the storage closer to the compute.
Again, here I do not see "Pure Systems" as being remotely the same. It's like VCE: old school infrastructure that is shipped as a single blob. It is thus "converged" in enterprise-tech-speak, but is not "converged" in a practical sense, nor does it have any of the advantages of a virtual SAN. It's just...wanting to be VCE. For whatever that's still worth. For my money, Nutanix is going to crush VCE like a bug.
Re: Zadara Virtual Private Storage Arrays
Hey Noam. Ping me an e-mail (there's a "mail the author" link in the article, or use the contact form on trevorpott.com. I'd be happy to review your offering and chat with your people about what makes Zadara different and why they might be a contender in 2014.
More to the point: 3 nodes is the node count for a VMware Essentials Plus package, which is the more economical virtualisation offering on the planet for SMBs. I include open source in that. I'm rarely one to buy TCO arguments, but [redacted] is vSphere easier to use than the competition.
Re: What happened to Ceph?
The "general object store that has a shim to provide NFS and CIFS" market is a whole other ball game. I hope to cover it next year. Short version: speed is the issue. They can't even come close to proper VSANs on IOPS. Not just raw throughput, but latency as well. If anyone has a general object store + shim for which this isn't true, I'd love to take a boo.
The big reason that things like the VSAN sets do so well is the flash acceleration tier to their operation. That, and they share the system they're running on with a hypervisor and so do both virtualised compute and virtualised storage workloads in the same system. At the moment, that looks to be a definably different market from things like Hadoop or Ceph.
Honestly, there are so many virtual storage entrants that to list every single one would be an ebook. I tried to stick to the ones I thought were going to be the major players in 2014.
Cheers, Jeremiah. Happy holidays to you and yours, too.
Can't really commit to anything...but watch this space. I am working with some of these folks to get setups even my customers could afford...
Re: @Andy Prough
There's a world of difference between saying "I like this and here's why" and trying to convert people. Let's explore:
Person A: "I've just had a bad day. My girlfriend left me, I lost my job, my cat died and I stepped on my brand new Macbook."
Person B: "When life gets me down, I turn to my faith and it helps me through the issues."
Person A: "That's nice, but I'm not a person of faith, I need a different solution."
Person B: "Well, if you come up with any other way I can help, let me know!"
Person A: "I've just had a bad day. My girlfriend left me, I lost my job, my cat died and I stepped on my brand new Macbook."
Person B: "When life gets me down, I turn to my faith and it helps me through the issues."
Person A: "That's nice, but I'm not a person of faith, I need a different solution."
Person B: "You really should consider it. Jesus saved me, and he can save you too! These sorts of issues are so much better when you believe in Jesus. Also, when there's a church full of people who also believe in Jesus, then you can all believe in Jesus together and everyone sympathizes with your issues, things are better."
Person A: "Uh, that's nice, I really don't feel that your religion is the answer to my problems."
Person B: "But if you don't believe in Jesus you'll go to hell!"
Person A: "I think you should leave now."
I hope you are capable of understanding the difference. If not, I recommend seeking professional help; the majority of our species does indeed make a distinction, and indeed we see it as a critical definition of character.
You are right in that there are a very specific set of people I believe are shills. There is one particular Anonymous Coward (*ahem*) whom I believe to either be an outright shill for Microsoft, or who has a significant interest in seeing others adopt Microsoft en masse or very clearly has psychiatric problems requiring medication. It would seem to be the same guy every time. We all of us know the one.
There's Matt Bryant. He's not quite a textbook shill, but he's close enough for jazz (in that, IIRC he has a noted financial interested in the products he pushes) that I have no problems labelling him as such. Mmeier and RICHTO both may quality, though in both of those cases I'm more than willing to go with "brand tribalists bordering on religious zealots" and not necessarily label them as "shills".
That said, I'm not the one labelling people "Linux shills"; that would be the province of the aforementioned Anonymous Coward. (Also completely ignoring the underlying "how do you become a Linux shill/who would pay someone to shill Linux" argument...)
I don't think that someone who pushes Apple is an "Apple shill." I loathe Chrome, but I still don't think you're a "Google shill" if you push Google. None of those companies have any history of employing Astroturfers, nor do their "partners". Microsoft and Samsung (amongst a few others) do.
Similarly, the chances of someone being an "EMC shill" or a "Cisco" shill are pretty damned minimal. Enterprise-focused admin that hates the SMB? Sure. Shill? No.
When I call someone a shill I mean it. It is an indication that I honestly believe they are writing comments because of their personal financial interest, not because they have any professional interest in helping others find the best solution for their needs. I do not use the word lightly.
If you like something, that's great, I'm happy for you. Whether that be your personal vision of Jesus, Windows 8, and EMC filer or the special shape of UK power plugs. I don't give a bent damn.
Where my tits get twisted is when you unrelentingly try to make others like what you like. "Hey, I like this and I think it could solve your problem" is a big fucking world away from dogged determination to convert unbelievers. That usually involves both a dogged determination to both slag off the competition as well as pushing your own "chosen one."
What you seem incapable of understanding is that I do not have a brand/product*/protocol/service/company that I push on others religiously. What exactly do I go out of my way to say "damn it Jim, this will solve all your problems!" Where, do I say "you should trow away everything you have and try Crest(TM) Teeth Whitening Super-Hypervisor to make the baby Ballmer happy and save the world!"
Instead, I encourage people to think critically. I encourage them to analyze each and every case separately, independently, and take factors ranging from the technical to the personal, the financial to business in mind.
In a world of near-religious brand-tribalists and technical holy-wars I encourage rational thought and science. Indeed, I feel the use of the brand-tribalism-as-religion comparison is wholely apt primarily because brand tribalism and religious fundamentalists are the groups I have encountered in my life who go on the offensive against critical thinking.
It is irrational to claim that I am trying to convert anyone to a given brand, product, service or company because I have advocated for and against every single brand, product, service and company I can think of, when and where circumstances seemed appropriate.
And yes, I do bang on about choice. Deal with it.. I believe in choice at a fundamental philosophical level. Everyone has a right to believe what they want, however, I do not hold that anyone has the right to attempt to forcibly convert another. The individual's right to religion ends at the point that their expression of religious beliefs would deny another individual their own right to freedom of belief or expression.
Again, let's try some specific examples:
1a) You can sit in your house and worship Jesus all you want. You don't get to tell gay people that they can't get married just because they're gay.
1b) You can sit in your house and use Windows 8 all you want. You don't get to tell people they they must change their workflow, business model or the way their brains work (which is genetic, thanks, and cannot be altered in most people) in order make themselves more conducive to a multinational corporation's chosen means of embiggening it's profit margin.
2a) You can sit in your house clutching your bible and wishing really, really hard that all those Muslims would go away. You don't get to deny Muslims the vote just because they're Muslim.
2b) You can sit in your house fondling Metro and wishing that really, really hard that the desktop would go away. You don't get to tell people they shouldn't be allowed to petition Microsoft to make changes in their software to better suit their needs.
3a) It is not the duty of a citizen to alter their beliefs in order to align with the desires of their government. It is the duty of a government to represent and govern according to the desires of it's citizens.
3b) It is not the duty of the customer to adapt themselves to the business model of the vendor. It is the duty of the vendor to sell a product that customers want to buy.
You come into The Register's forums and attempt to play the aggrieved victim on a regular basis. Yet when I actually look at your arguments, I repeatedly find that If I replaced "Microsoft" and "Windows" with "Jesus" and "God" you start to look a hell of a lot like Westboro Baptist Church. Everything from telling people they shouldn't have a right to choice to screaming that you have a right to convert people to your religion that somehow overrides the right of people to believe what they want.
If's all fair game for you to viciously lay into Linux, Linux users and so forth...but it's persecution for someone to call you out on your bull or - worse yet - to say Mean Things about your chosen fuzzy wuzzy. Again, all very in line with the pile of bullshit I've come to expect to be shovelled by religious fundamentalists.
If you want to try to take me on personally, to make me the centrepiece for your demented little power games and requirement for technological faith, you go right ahead. I will defend myself vigorously and I will defend the right of others to believe what they wish. Even if that annoys you.
I will also continue to advocate that a rational, logical, needs-based analysis be done on a case-by-case basis as the standard for professional conduct in our industry. I believe that leaving faith behind and moving towards needs-based and evidence-based IT architectures is a necessary evolution of our industry.
If you view that as an Ivory Tower then you have a ball with that. You will be the very first - to my knowlege the only - person to have ever accused me of arguing anything from an Ivory Tower. Given that I have been called "the big voice of small business," "argumentum ad edge case", "the SMB personified" and "the ultra-populsit" I am pretty sure that your assessment of my arguments as coming from an Ivory Tower are so utterly singular that it borders on ludicrous.
I don't give a fig if people recommend something different than what I'd recommend. There are lots of cases in which I get into arguments just to understand why a given recommendation is being made. Shocker of shockers I'll even admit to being wrong on a regular basis, and say "yep, that looks like a better choice.
Like whatever you like. Recommend whatever you like...but if you are going to recommend something, be prepared to back your recommendation up. When you do so, don't use pesudo-religious techniques and wishy-washy arguments in your attempt to convert someone. I will challenge you, and anyone else who does so...just as I expect to be challenged in turn when I make such mistakes.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go nuke a tablet because the Windows 8.1 update somehow blew up. The ISO for the clean install is done downloading and we're going to take this thing to 8.1 from scratch. Long night ahead of me...
*Okay, Ninite. I am allowed one, and I do try to keep the noise on that to a minimum.
Re: @Andy Prough
I feel that way about Linux zealots too. Anyone who pushes a given a technology or company as a religion is a douchebag. The proper and professional response is to do a needs assessment based upon the individual's circumstances, provide list of multiple different technologies that could solve the problem, with an objective and impartial list of pros and cons then allow the individual to make an informed choice.
Linux zealots were really bad for being functionally incapable of that about a decade ago. Most of them have since matured, as - quite frankly - have the bulk of the Macolytes.
That leaves Metroids as the primary group of technological religious zealots I encounter on a daily basis. Personally, I hope the get [redacted] and [redacted] themselves to [redacted]. Every last miserable [redacted] one of them.
There's nothing wrong with being an edge case. Macolytes of the early 2000s had their own religion. Desktop Linux is "a thing" in some corners. So on and so forth.
The issue comes when Metroids desire to "convert" others, usually with by belittling and using broken logic. My favourite argument is that it is somehow the "duty" of paying customers to adapt their desires, workflow and even how their brains process information to better suit the profitability of a multinational corporation.
I tend to believe it is the duty of the multinational corporation to sell products that people actually want to buy.
So, enjoy your operating system, I've no issue with that. What I do take issue with is the constant drumbeat of lies saying "if you just put a startmenu back on it then there's no reason to dislike it." That's bullshit. There are a litany of complaints that go beyond the start menu and the issues - on these forums and elsewhere - arise when Metroids refuse to acknowledge that truth and proceed to prosletyse their religion.
It really is no different than Macolytes. I never cared that they used a Mac. I wouldn't care if they decided to have a great big Mac parade down Jasper Ave to proclaim their love of their weird and wonderful brain chemistry that made Macs the Right Choice for them. If other minorities can have a parade, hey, why the hell not them?
But I loathed the bastards who tried to convert me. To my mind a Macolyte or a Metroid that demands I accept their special, different floweryness whilst denying my right to life my life as I want are no different than the asshole religious nutters showing up at my doorstep at 7:00am asking if I've "heard of God the Mother."
There's a reason I answer the door in the nude now.
If I had a way to answer the internet in the nude and subject the unwanted evangelism of the Macolytes and Metroids to the same "shit you can't unsee" visual horror show I would. I loathe those people. It's the sheer arrogance of it all. It isn't enough that they like what they like, they have to convert people.
If other users want to pressure a multinational, profit-driven corporation to provide features that they desire before spending money on that product, rest assured some asshole Metroid will pop up out of the fucking ground and proclaim that their religion demands other people be denied the choice of having features they want.
Macolyte, Metroid...it's all just religious posturing. I hope each and every one of the evangelical pricks spend however long is necessary getting constantly barraged by a dozen different religious missionaries until they finally come to understand that other people - in this case the overwhelming fucking majority - deserve the right to choice as well.
I don't care what religion people want to push, just don't fucking push it here.
Let me get this straight, just so we're clear.
1) The PC is not dead. Desktops and notebooks (whether Windows, Mac or Google) still sell by the truckload.
2) Small, simple "good enough" notebooks that look an awful lot like netbooks are doing "surprisingly" (to whom?) well.
3) Windows is suffering in the wake of Windows 8 and Microsoft alienating virtually their entire customer base. ("If you're an edge case you don't matter" versus "everyone is an edge case at some point.)
Well holy pants batman. Who the fnord could have predicted that?
Legal != Moral
Legal != Ethical
Legal = People with guns force you to comply.
Re: Trevor_Pott: Air Con?
Can't see why cracking a window wouldn't work. You'd blow all the hot air out of the station. If you then closed and repressurised, you would have air that was cold (pressurized air being rather cold.) Would suck for the astronauts, but maybe they could hide in a Soyuz for the duration.
Also, aren't the ESA transfer vehicles corner shops?
Re: Air Con?
Actually, air conditioning is the biggest issue in space. Here on earth you can cool things relatively easily because there's this whole "atmosphere" thing. Molecules of air strike a surface warmer than they are, absorb energy and go off elsewhere.
That doesn't happen in space.
In space, the only way to get rid of excess heat is what's called "blackbody radiation." All matter radiates electromagnetic energy on it's way down to absolute zero and is only really prevented from reaching absolute zero because it is also capable of absorbing energy int eh same manner.
A star (like our sun) pumps out photons which are absorbed by various types of matter. Matter will then pass along that energy by emitting radiation of it's own or, if the possibility exists, through physical contact of a warmer molecule with a colder one.
This is why cooling is such a big thing in space. Space isn't cold. Space is, in face, nothingness. There are many cold things in space, but there are also many hot things. They don't tend to interact much, so cold things that don't have the opportunity to absorb radiation stay cold while warm things sit there and crank out radiation.
Every satellite, spacecraft and station has cooling issues. So much so that they are among the most difficult and expensive elements of the design. There is not "temperature outside" because there is no anything outside to create "temperature" as we would understand it.
So that's your science for the day, I hope you have a great holiday season!
Re: Oi Mr AC!
@Chemist: I write for a living. Things have been discovered to make it simple and quick. Notably, the switch to Writer as my spellchecker was a big quickener. Less of Word going insane trying to "help" with formatting...
"The question is should an OS design be degraded, watered down, just to facilitate such mundane and unfulfilling tasks? It surely should be the responsibility of the users to improve themselves as people"
Changing myself to be more conducive to making a multinational company more profit is not "improving myself as a person." Quite the opposite: if a company wants me to pay me money it is the job of htat company to provide me something I actually want to buy.
Your entire perspective on life is warped. Totally, completely and utterly.
"HOW LONG IS LINUX GOING TO TAKE"
...to reach 95% of the endpoint market instead of the 65% it has now?
No idea. But my new game finished downloading and I'm off to enjoy the benefits of Steam for Linux.
So you didn't install a proper browser? Firefox, say, which (with it's numerous extensions) is the most secure OS on earth with the best chance of protecting your privacy.
You didn't at least use Chrome? With 51% market share it is the most popular browser on earth, and is a damned sight more secure than IE, even if it shares IE's utter inability to allow plugins at a low enough level to really protect your privacy. (Not to mention IE's utter unwillingness to design the OS from the ground up to protect privacy, but then again both Microsoft and Google are financially motivated to track you everywhere in everything and sell your information to advertisers. The difference is that we get Free Stuff from Google for it, whereas Microsoft demands we pay them for the privilege
So yeah, what browser were you using? What version of Linux? Was it from the beforetime?
Re: Oi Mr AC!
@Chemist Happy Holidays to you too, sir.
Re: Oi Mr AC!
"OEMs choose Windows because it works."
And yet Lenovo is the #1 OEM, rising up amongst the rest like a fucking rock star, mostly ont he back of it's continued support for Windows 7 as a first-class OS.
Re: And cry you might
@Mary Jane Bogart
hey, welcome to The Register's forums. El Reg doesn't use BBCode (much to my lament) and instead uses a narrow subset of HTML. Angle brackets not square ones.
Re: And cry you might
"Are you a paid Linux shill?"
How - exactly - can one be a paid Linux shill? Who would pay someone to be a Linux shill?
You, OTOH, have a very definable history of attacking Linux and defending Microsoft with zero variation. I've not been irked enough quite as yet to start poking around and seeing if you are, in fact, on the Microsoft (or Waggner Edstrom?) payroll, but I might consider making it a project for 2014. Your constant belligerence and unfounded attacks are backed by hyperbole even I find out-to-lunch, and I consider hyperbole to be a perfectly valid form of argumentation.
It's a fucking computer, dude. Not a religion. Every bit of hardware, software and operating system has it's good points and it's bad points., Why the fuck do you feel the need to "convert" people?
You're like a door to door religious douche waking me up at 7am to ask me if I've felt the tender touch of Jesus. People like you are the reason I answer the door in the nude. You aren't okay. Not if you're pushing Jesus and not if you're pushing your personal bit of technological brand tribalism.
Get off my goddamned lawn.
"Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! That is one of the funniest things I have read. Unless by "headway" to mean a "statistically insignificant" blip. Just wait for regression to the mean (and your mean is sub-1%; always has been)."
Linux has almost 5% of the desktop market, and - via android - has so much of the mobile market that the combined PC and mobile markets give Linux over 65% share. Rocks, glass houses.
"Run Photoshop, AutoCAD, Outlook, Word, Excel or many other vital industry applications."
Photoshop and AutoCAD I'll buy, but Word and Excel are only "vital" for some, and decreasingly so. Sorry buddy, but "feature parity" means fuck all in that space now. Office 2003 is just fine for oh, so many people, and LibreOffice finally matches it. It took a long time, but it's there. And there is really all it has to be.
"Oh, you mean support? I did not realise RedHat came with free support. Oh wait, it doesn't."
Red Hat has the option of not having support, and for that matter, not paying. It's called CentOS. I can do everything in CentOS that I can in RedHat. I have run entire businesses on CentOS for a decade. I still do.
Where's the equivalent for Windows? I can't even use Technet because you fucking bastards killed it. If I want to stand up a hyper-v environment in my testlab, with SCVMM and several hundred VMs, do you have any idea how much money that is?
Microsoft says that I should pay them full fare for all of that. For what, so I can write articles about their software? I don't make enough in a single year writing articles to pay even a tenth of that back. In fact, even an MSDN account with all the blue crystals is roughly double what I make in a given year from writing about Microsoft. Yet apparently it's cool beans to just say "fuck you, we're Microsoft" and fly off into the future with all three middle fingers raised tall.
Oh, you want me to stand up a test environment that self-immolates every 30 days? Exactly how many man-hours do you expect me to put into Microsoft's shit anyways?
With CentOS I can stand up an entire testlab, production infrastructure or run a fucking country for free. I only need pay support - by using RHEL instead of CentOS - for those individual systems where I feel the need.
And what about my small businesses? Pay and pay and pay and pay. And pay some more. And pay and then pay. And service providers? We'll have SPLA jacked up and jacked up again, while all Microsoft partners get our margins cut. And we still have to pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay. IN so many cases for nothing of value.
Why do I need "support" for my home server or my home instances of Windows? Or Office? Why can't I set up an Exchange server at home to learn on? Or get a copy of visual studio to help me get interested in coding for Windows 8?
Whey do I need to pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay...
Look, I've no problem paying someone a fair price for their labour. I donate time, money and resources (in the form of manpower of individuals whose salary I pay for) towards the open source projects I use. I don't bat an eye at paying a one-time sticker price for an OS or an application. Iinvest in software because I expect to see a greater return from that software (in terms of increased productivity) than I put in.
That's before we get into the clusterfuck of VDI licensing. Or the bullshit that is client access licensing.
You have this knack of picking one element about Linux or the Linux ecosystem and then waving it around as though it is representative of the entire thing. Linux is not monolithic. Even less so than Microsoft is, and Microsoft is still a rough assemblage of warring fiefdoms united only by share price.
There are plenty of reasons to piss on Linux. I could go on for days. But you pick the stupidest things and then wave them around as though they are proof that Microsoft is excellence incarnate. If someone happens to raise a perfectly valid issue about Microsoft you fly off the handle and start attacking them, the software they use and anything else you can sink into.
So get down off your high horse and for the love of His Noodly Self try to have some objectivity, will you? All you do is piss people off. You add nothing to the conversation.
Maybe if you learned to be less douchy you could raise actual issues in a stable, not-batshit-crazy manner and discuss the pros and cons of a technology as it applies on a case-by-case basis like a real professional.
One size does not fit all, no matter how much you try to make edge cases into poison arrows.
Re: I don't think you know what "edge case" means.
"And this, folks, is how the Linux community reacts. It's like a religious cult. If you point out that the sainted idol is less than perfect, they reduce to personal attacks because their distorted worldview is under threat."
Nobody here - not a one - said Linux is perfect. I do, however, believe that the fellow in question was pointing out that A) you're a jackass B) you are technically incompetent and C) you are exaggerating edge cases to make them seem like they affect far more people than they actually do so much so that you do qualify as spinning falsehoods.
He managed to point that all out in a humorous fashion. Cheers to him.
Re: And cry you might
"Wrong. [Optimus] manifestly doesn't work. At best you can engage the discrete GPU but it will yeild less performance than under Windows because Linux doesn't let commercial vendors make certain calls."
I call bullshit. It's working just fine for me and there is no noticeable difference whatsoever between my games under Linux or under Windows. Do not make me put the effort into unmasking you and then calling you out on this, because Optimus fucking works under Linux and I can fucking prove it. If you want to keep spewing shit on this one then I swear to $deity I will spend Q1 2014 dedicated to naming and shaming.
"Linux doesn't offer feature parity with Windows (e.g. no "walk-up scan" support). This is another fail."
That depends on the printer. Funny, I "walk up and scan" to many of my printers and am able to open the PDFs in Linux just fine. Oh, some manufacturers don't offer the ability to scan to their ridiculous software, but I'm actually quite fine with that. Most software from printer manufacturers is utter shit and make up the #1 helpdesk support category I have with my Windows end users. I have not had a printer helpdesk call logged in five years.
"Again, Linux doesn't offer feature parity (e.g. not all jacks work, sound control is abysmal). And that's BEFORE we get into the total mess that is OSS/ALSA/PulsAudio. Another fail."
What the fuck are you on about? Sounds works better under Linux for most of my real-world scenarios than it does under Windows. All the fucking jacks work./ I have a better diversity of hardware support under Linux than Windows and I don't get the weird crossfeed issues that I get with the atrocious SB or ASUS Windows drivers.
The layers upon layers of sound subsystems are a mess, absolutely, but they somehow stil manage to fuck up less than Windows 7 or Windows 8 with most chipsets, from an AC97 through to semi-pro and full-pro cards. If you are really angling to have someone tear sound support under Windows a new asshole, I'll be glad to get Josh Folland to set aside a week to make a bunch of videos and articles that demonstrate quite plainly the issues that make his life fucking hell.
"Not when PulseAudio is the biggest power draw according to "powertop" when no sound is playing. So either PulseAudio sucks, or "powertop" is broken. Either way, another Linux fail there."
You finally got one right! Holy shit! Part of the thing that's broken with Linux is indeed the audio hyperstack, and you're absolutely right that it sit there sucking the battery. Oddly enough I'm okay with that because in all my years of working with LInux I haven't had shit like Microsoft comprehensively breaking Windows Update, causing it to eat 100% of CPU. This sort of thing happens on a regular enough basis that battery life under Linux still averages better than on Windows.
"Nothing I have mentioned is an "edge case". It's all on modern consumer hardware using modern Linux. Also, nothing I have mentioned is a lie. It is a matter of fact. Maybe you have six PhDs and can make Linux work, but use normal people need a PC that *just works*."
Actually, you do keep banging on about edge cases. You take a huge category - such as "sound" - and then claim that because some edge cases don't work under Linux the entire category is useless for everyone. Meanwhile, you comprehensively shrug off the fact that Windows is guilty of fucking up in many of the same areas, often worse.
I do agree with you that normal people need a PC that just works. That's why Macs are gaining in popularity.
"And there is only once choice, the choice every major OEM has taken."
I agree, Android is the future. It's an excellent Linux distribution offering spectacular ease of use, broad OEM support and end user satisfaction.
When will Windows reach that level?
Meh. For that kind of money just buy Tintri and get something that stomps both of the arrays on offer.
Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection
@John Sanders if you're every in Alberta, give me a holler: I'll buy you one.
Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection
The concept of a hereditary head of state was actually an important step forward in social evolution. Prior to this, individuals took power by murdering those in power, and all those who supported them. Heredity worked for some time, until we ran into the fairly obvious problem of a corrupt monarch (and yes, there were quite a few who weren't corrupt.)
It was after we had some experience with corrupt monarchs that the aristocracy was created: in essence, a means to reign in the power of the crown by distributing many rights and duties amongst a broader base.
Again: this mostly worked, but only in that it made the issue of corruption a more local one instead of a kingdom-wide one. There still did not exist a legal mechanism to remove a corrupt aristocrat. Slowly, and with time, the law evolved. A quorum of lords could challenge a corrupt lord and remove him. Then, lesser nobility (knights and so forth) inherited the ability to raise the flag.
Laws were created by which even royalty had to abide and all this far before the modern recreation of "democracy." To be honest, I think the jury's still out on the concept of democracy as practiced today. Politicians today are not occupied with the business of governing. They are occupied perpetually with the business of getting reelected. This makes begin responsive to the issues plaguing the citizenry at best a secondary priority.
Ultimately, regardless of the system of governance the issue has not changed since the pre-monarchy days of warlords: those who achieve a position of power over others but whose interests lie in protecting their own power instead of governing their people fairly and justly are dangerous and deleterious to society. Democracy hasn't changed this. Thanks to gerrymandering, democracy hasn't really made changing those in power over us easy or effective either.
So for all that you lament what you see as unnecessary trappings of a forgotten past, do take the time to remember that the present is little better off. Maybe - just maybe - the best government is a mix of elected and inherited officials. Those who represent (theoretically) an expression of the people and those who have no need to run for reelection but who serve to sanity check the first group.
How you keep tweedles dee and dum from becoming corrupt, well, that's our current pickle, innit?
I'm Canadian, so separation of church and state is a thing. I'm also a Gaian (Solstice is my holiday), my Wife's an atheist (Festivus), my Dad's a protestant (Christmas) and there's at least two Quanzas, a Ramadan and a half dozen Hanukkahs in my circle of friends this year as well.
This thread probably will go sideways fast. So - just this once - instead of shovelling coal on the flames let me just say this:
Happy holidays everyone. I hope you all have a great time.
On a mobile device. The terminology matters.
Now where's my patent?
Re: let me be the first to say ...
@MeRp indeed. If I could share everything I have with everyone and still have full use of everything I have, I would do so gladly. Exclusivity has no value to me, only utility. I don't feel entitled to be paid to be a douchey snob.
Re: let me be the first to say ...
I argue that content creators should be paid similar to everyone else. Their efforts remunerated based on the amount of labour they put in, not on "ownership" of an intangible property. Just as I cannot shovel your sidewalk once and then charge you rent forever more, a copyright owner should not be able to record a single song and then dine on it for eternity.
Creative works need to be remunerated, but they are not property, no more so than the labour I put in to systems administration or journalism. Creators - like anyone else - are only as good as the last erg of effort they've cranked into the system. They should be paid for their time, but emphatically not allowed to rent seek on intangibles.
If you stay in my house, you ultimately degrade the infrastructure. You prevent my using the space you occupy for other things. You use up tangible consumables that are commodities of varying scarcities. In this circumstance, rent makes sense. I have to pay to maintain my property, I have to replace those consumables and I might have otherwise used that space as a home gym or shrine to Cthulhu.
Digital copies of creative works have no scarcity. They are intangible and cannot be consumed. My enjoyment of it does not deprive you of the ability to enjoy a copy of it simultaneously, nor to share it with others, also simultaneously. By any rational, moral or ethical argument it is not property.
This doesn't change the fact that a content creator should be paid for their work. If they put in 5 hours writing an article, they should be compensated at a reasonable rate. We should even factor in that work for freelance content creators - like consultants - is not steady, so they should be able to charge a higher per-hour rate, as they get fewer hours. Like a consultant, they should hopefully be spending their non-project hours refining their skills and honing their abilities in their niche, so as to justify the cost.
The truly exceptional among them should be able to command top dollar. Equivalent, say, to a VCDX...and for the same reasons. The skills are rare.
The mundane should be offered no more than your run-of-the-mill bench tech, again, for the same reasons. The skills involved are pedestrian.
Let's posit a scenario:
As a help desk operator I take your call one day. I walk you through changing the ream of paper in your printer. I call this knowledge I have imparted to you "intellectual property" and demand that you pay me $5 every time you change a ream of paper. If you teach someone else to change a ream of paper without my consent then you are committing theft of my intellectual property. If someone else discovered how to change the ream of paper independently, it doesn't matter, because I taught someone in your company how to make that change first, and thus I get to exact rent for 120 years.
Sounds ridiculous? So does 120 years worth of tithe for Steamboat Willie.
The difference between rent seeking on the transmission of knowledge and rent seeking on the transmission of intangible, infinitely reproducible elements of culture exists only in the minds of those desperate to the be rent seekers.
Now, If you hit "submit" on a comment ever again, know that I thought of it first and you owe me $19.99 every time. Attempting to get someone else to hit submit on your behalf is a violation of my intellectual property and you will be fined $100,000 for each infraction as well as go to jail for 7 years.
That seems perfectly fair to me. Submit.
Re: Guilty unless proven innocent? (When it comes to your plea...)
Really, AC? Americans with morals and principles? Not as I define either word.
What does his being fat have to do with anything?
Re: I don't understand why this is a bad thing
You're right. There is the chance that a hardened sociopath could do a big of damage on a local scale before someone - who also now lives in said lawless society - simply shoots him in the face.
It takes a good while for a society to crumble. I think you'd find that most people, given the news that they had only 14 days left to live would end up simply going through the motions of their regular life. They wouldn't know what to do and they'd be in shock.
I don't believe for a second there are enough crazy nutjobs to turn first world nations into Somalia in 2 weeks, nor do I think fear of the odd whacko going herp-a-derp on a local level is worth withholding the information from the public.
Re: Even if
It would be one long 14 day crazy, orgy, party, settling of old scores, crime and lawlessness and mayhem.
I don't understand why this is a bad thing. Well, bad for those who've wronged others in their lives so much that those others would spend the last 2 weeks of their lives hunting them down and murdering them. Honestly though, I have a miserable time trying to feel sympathy for people like that.
I think that most people, facing the end, would choose the "14 day long crazy orgy party"...and I fail to see what's wrong with a 14 day long crazy orgy part under ANY circumstances. In fact, I'd say 99.5% of commenters on here are in desperate need of one. (Or several.)
Re: I can't help but wonder...
Better question: what are you charging your customers for this to be a rational investment?
Re: The economics of it all?
Actually, a lot of it is due to the fact that the wages for even skilled labour in the US have been either flat for years or declining. There are so many unemployed (or underemployed) that when the bits you mentioned are factored in, the US starts to look competitive again.
Basically, the US accidentally its own economy so hard that companies feel they can now Amazon a workforce enough to make the US just like a developing nation.
Re: Just a quickie
Empire of Sadness = Microsoft Licensing.
I think the dichotomy is that you view general purpose PCs becoming mainframes: things that require large companies to buy. I don't. SMBs will still need general purpose computers. Many home users will as well. Yes, they'll move back up in price from the $400 range, but I don't see them going much higher than $2500 for the entry level stuff. Workstation-class systems will still be workstation-class systems and I just can't see that changing any time soon.
When I compare that to smallish virtual cluster - say three nodes + software - that is getting into $30K. That is where I see your "lathe." That's where a business needs to exist even to play the game.
The problem with tablets and other CE tat "killing the PC" is that you can't kill demand. As high as demand for CE tat will be (and frankly, all signs are that tablet demand is levelling out in the first world). Maybe the OS won't be OSX or Windows. Maybe it will be a hybrid like ChromeOS or maybe the full-time dev I'm hoping to be able to hire to work on the ReactOS project will tip the scales and that will take off. Maybe a lot of things...but I don't see the general purpose PC dying.
What I do see is a choice: Microsoft and Apple can choose to own that market or not. It's theirs to throw away. No, the market won't show growth. But the productivity endpoint market will still sit there, being a good little earner for decades to come.
...just like making screwdrivers.
Anywho, cheers and have a good holiday season!
Re: what to buy
@Goat Jam, Again, i disagree with you.
You're right, I did not understand your use of gentrification in this context. That said, I still think you're incorrect.
Will purpose-build computers outsell general-purpose PCs? Absolutely. They always have. (See: embedded computing.) There is a new purpose-built PC: the consumptive tablet. It doesn't invalidate the need for general-purpose PCs. Nothing does, or ever will.
General purpose PCs are a professional tool. They are required by professionals of many stripes to build the things that companies need. 10 years, 20, 50, 100 years from now this will still bee true. No matter how narrowly tailored and purpose-build the individual computing devices of the future are.
Your pessimism ia also evident here. At some point you cannot create "one device per task" and charge the hoi polloi for a different widget for everything. The trend is to pay the milled masses ever less: eventually you end up with a set of life gizmos that are "minimum must haves" which cost more than the disposable income of the average wage earner. That can't last: no economy can support that.
Either the market will solve the problem (ha!) by "reinventing" (or more accurately re-popularizing) the general purpose computing platform) or governments will intervene.
In the meantime and between time, selling professional productivity tools (upgradable, powerful general purpose computer, operating systems and applications) is still a hundred-of-millions-of-units-per-year market, even if it is contracting at current. It will stabilize, not evaporate, and abse number of these general-use PCs will sell every year.
They are no different than any household appliance. The explosive growth of washing machine sales levelled out a decade or two after their introduction, but holy amazeballs, batman, you can still buy the smeggling things! Indeed, the washing machines available today are even significantly advanced over the units on available 20 years ago.
Just because selling power drills is the current growth market doesn't mean everyone is going to rush to throw out their 512-piece manual tool set, or that manufacturers will stop making hammers, screwdrivers or ratchets.
Oddly enough, both screwdriver sets and power drills sell just fine.
Whether or not Microsoft in particular chooses to keep a hand in the productivity computing market is an open question, and that is exactly where evangelism and grassroots movements come in. It is by demonstrating not only that a passionate market remains that we can show them with minor investment (and resolving their mistakes) that there is still money to be made here.
Ultimately, that's the goal: making money.
Tablets, wearable computing, the internet of things and so forth are and devices, not or devices. They are complimentary to your general purpose productivity computer, not replacements for it.
Not everyone needs a digital productivity tool. Not everyone needs a screwdriver set either. But hundreds of millions still do, and someone will keep addressing that market.
Re: Well Said
They aren't all going to be intelligent enough to benefit from the tablets. I fear you miss the point. These tablets are simply not going to benefit every child. They aren't meant to. They are there to be a resource for the small percentage of children that are bright and curious enough to take advantage of what they offer.
No country - not India nor Canada - has a surefire way of identifying, isolating and nurturing genius. The best any of them can do is give geniuses the tools to make something of themselves, and in doing so elevate the communities they inhabit.
These tablets are not a 1:1 cure for poverty. They are a cheap (for a government) shotgun approach to knowledge dispensation with the aim that a rising tide will lift all boats. Capture the imagination of the bright sparks, feed their hungry minds and watch them find solutions to the problems around them that we ourselves would never have thought of.
This is a strategic play, not a tactical one.
Bunging sandwiches at poor people solves their hunger today. Plunking a coal plant and some wires near a village provides emergency relief to today's</I. electricity problem, it does nothing to solve the longer term issues that made that region so poor int he first place, or solve the pollution, etc issues that come attendant with today's technologies.
These tablets will nurture the young minds of the future, to solve tomorrow's problems with a point of view that nobody currently has. Orthogonal solutions are born of necessity and these kids will have <i>necessity. A tablet can be charged from a solar panel, or even a hand crank. An encyclopedia can be downloaded as an offline app.
Kids who are starving for knowledge will find a way to use this new tool they've been given to fill the void.
Yes, India has tactical issues that need solving, but this is a strategic investment in their future. It's a damned good one, and it will produce exceptional results. Not for every child, but for their society as a whole.
Re: Well Said
You can get access to the full-blown PC at the library, school, etc. They don't have to be one-a-home devices to change the world. Access to the knowledge of the net...that does.
Gods you guys are negative. Me. I am saying you are negative. About something involving tablets. That's got to win some sort of prize.
I don't care how "outdated" the tablet is, this promises to put access to the internet's full trove of knowledge in the hands of every child in the most populous nation on Earth. Just getting these kids access to Wikipedia is enough to spark an imagination, fuel a curious mind or give someone a means to finding the information they need to help themselves advance their station.
When I was a child my access to the world larger than my school, schoolbus and immediate neighbourhood was a much beloved and cherished Encarta 1994 CD. I read, watched and listed to every single one of the entries on that CD. It opened my mind to possibilities I never would have considered, left exposed to just my local school system alone.
Combined with the early pre-web internet (BBSes and IRC baby!) I had discovered a new world that defined the rest of my life.
There are over a billion people in India and growing rapidly. Over a seventh of all humanities geniuses belong to that country. The entrepreneurs, engineers, doctors and artists of an entire generation will have early access to inspiration and education because of this simple, subsidized, outdated piece of equipment that you so haughtily sneer at.
It isn't a full-blown PC designed for productivity and with the software to allow these kids to really make their dreams come true. Access to those will still be needed, separate and independent of these tablets.
What this represents, however, is unlimited access to information. The answers to virtually any question thee kids could possibly have is in their pocket, at their fingertips 24 hours a day. If the answer isn't there, then the knowledge required to conduct experiments to obtain the answer is in that one little device..
That's amazing. Kudos to India.
You seem to be positing a hypothetical scenario in which a man is not wrong. Such a scenario cannot exist.
Oracle sale pitch
"We won't lock you in (and turn the knobs on you every time revenue takes a dip) this time! Honest! Love us? We were such good friends before!"
That's actually a rather thoughtful gift. I rather like it. Nicely done, Mr. Gates. As for the lady involved...I think she took a totally unexpected brush with uber-wealth quite well. Better than I might have in her place. Nice little holiday story all around.
- Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
- China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
- Review Raspberry Pi B+: PHWOAR, get a load of those pins
- That 8TB Seagate MONSTER? It's HERE... (You'll have to squint, 'cos there are no specs)
- Review Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?