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Thread: Beyond the “LiveUSB”

  1. #21
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    7 Part B

    Hi everybody.

    In this text I like to deal with the tools, stuff that are needed in any kind of platform, to allow people to use the environment.

    There are so many things that can be said on this subject that it is difficult to choose where to start and how to not try to make too many arguments, so that the text can be small to fit our purpose here. Trying to deal with all implications that we can think of is outside our scope and doesn’t serve us here.

    I like to focus on a single tool that its need is more visible for the vast majority of people. So I like to deal with the subject of "tools" (in general), by using the idea of a single tool that I'm proposing below.

    [The Wire-frame "OS"]
    When the subject is virtualization on the server machines, there is a concept called 'hypervisor' that describe an environment that sits on the hardware and control its function, exposing it to several other operating systems to use those functions, thus allowing the same hardware to be used by more than one operating system. In this sense my current argument deals with the notion of 'hypervisor' software but the present arguments are not towards the subject of 'server machines', instead, the idea is to include server machines and 'clients' machines, as well as any other categories of 'machines' that we can think of.

    What I'm going to propose here is that instead of embedded OS into the hardware, we can think of "embedded OS into the software", so that this particular piece of software can perform its function without a traditional environment (trad. OS). This is the equivalent of "installing an operating system", but in this case to install it into the software we want to run.

    More specifically, I believe that by just stripping down the current Knoppix 6.2, reducing it to the "bare OS" infrastructure, we can achieve a working prototype of a 'Wire-Frame Operating System' that fulfills this function (as Wire-Frame OS).

    So, the idea is to start using Knx (+ VBox inside) as an Open Source, easy to use 'hypervisor'. This time, the 'hypervisor' will be less connected with servers and more general in nature (all kinds of "machines").

    [Why Knoppix?]
    Because Knoppix is in its sixth generation, we should expect that thousands of hours has been spend in doing and testing that 'infra-structural' part of the OS. And, because this kind of 'Wire-Frame' (in my point of view) should be a "live OS" instead of traditional OS, I see very few "candidates to fulfill this role" and I believe Knoppix is the best choice, if we want to do such 'Wire-Frame OS'.

    [Why the need to "strip it" down in size?]
    Let me try only 4 arguments in connection with size (of the wire-frame).
    The first is execution in RAM. I believe that lots of software are going to be executed from RAM rather than rotating hard disk. The difference in response is significantly enough to justify it. In this regard, every byte makes difference.

    The second is that SSD price still high. Solid State Disk is a crucial component (and trend) for an evolved information technology to take shape, but the average price still around 10x the price of the rotating disks, so, it is a good idea to think that software that doesn't need to be there, is not there taking precious space.

    The third is about the need to scales up to dozens, hundreds and thousands. Virtualization makes possible to think of hundreds or thousands of "machines" running software, in that scenario each time you have a software component that you are not using, it may be taking a 1000x its own space size if you have a one thousand "machines" running. Something like an application that fills 100MB in space will make a huge difference if it is multiplied by 100 or by 1000.

    The fourth is that loading, disposing and saving "machines" is one of the great features of virtualized environment, and again, to scales hundreds or thousands of times in short period of time, we must thing of having the 'wire-frame' as small as we can get. In this context, just one full minutes multiplied by 100 times equals 1 hour and 40 minutes of extra time (this 'extra' is in reality unnecessary time).

    Powerful proprietary 'wire-frames' already exists (for server infra structures), but I believe we need a simple, easy to use, open source and yet, good enough 'wire-frame' to help the common users, professionals and businesses to start to fully experience and take advantages of the idea of virtualization. A Knoppix VBox WireFrame can fulfill (for Knoppix it will be the second time) the role of making the concept practical and popular. When it reaches the hands of the whole global users, it will unleash the full power of the 'virtualization' stuff…

    In the current case, I believe we can fairly say that we have the following multiplying factors for success:

    a) A working "prototype" already exists (Knx6 series with its microknoppix core).
    b) The power of the Open Source.
    c) The need to give the users a real practical (and easy) software to "see" the benefits (of vt).
    d) The "live OS" experience (which differs in simplicity from the traditional).

    I like to stress the point that, in my current assessment, traditional OSes cannot fulfill the role of a true 'wire-frame' for virtualization. I think that the "live" is the best approach.

    The final (and necessary) point is that I'm not arguing that Knoppix should become a wire-frame only stuff, but instead to have this alternative available in easy way so that anyone can click a button or invoke a script and enjoy it. And, since (I believe) there is no other competitor at the same stage and level, Knoppix can become a tool for everyone that wants to have the full benefits of virtualization. Once you have a strategic tool like this in your hands, you start to explore and create new ways to use virtualization (what I'm calling "the 2nd phase").

    Since there is no other "competitor", if we launch a small effort to materialize this 'wire-frame' using Knx6, we will be "creating this new category" and giving users (home, pros and business) a key element to make virtualization widespread and thus help (in some way) the whole IT industry to "cross" to the next level. Considering that almost everything is "already done" (in Knx6), the effort is minimal but the rewards are far reaching, to say the least…

    …we may end up with a cool stuff for the 99%, and this is enough motivation…

    1000 Knoppix running in RAM?
    Ok, I exaggerated a little bit here, and, Knx6-Wire Frame is not going to save us from 2012 Mayan Prophecies, but I think I made my point in a way that is easy to appreciate.

    The idea of this particular tool is to have today a way to experiment with the concept with minimal need to "do" stuff, since Knx6 just only requires a remaster to be ready. Of course, once we start the thing, then, a lot of other tools may enter our horizon of visibility and probably end up helping shape the whole vision on the matter. As we "walk" the vision it unfolds its potential to us…

    Let me abandon here, hoping that the text helps to communicate how can we learn and do more about this new kind of tools by starting with a single one, the Knx6 Wire Frame. And by doing so we not only perceive and understand the whole (plat.) better but actually we may be starting an interesting thing to do…

    Valter

  2. #22
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    Part 7 c - last and conclusion

    I'm going to try to treat each one of these four words in separated paragraphs: the community, the meaning, the elegance and the beauty.

    [Community]
    Here, I'm using the word 'community' to cover all individuals and organizations that participate in using, promoting or developing software, which is open source.

    I want to bring the word 'community' to the argument because I like to see the idea around Freedom of Software or Open Source Code, as the balance position between a capitalism environment, which we live in, and the aspiration to good aspects of a social(ist) environment which brings more richer human interactions and thus can make human life better. For me, the quest is more around the achievement of balance and less of 'fight' against capitalist organizations. Not everyone within the open community share this 'fight' spirit, but the ones that actively promote it end up creating what in my point of view is an excessive aggression toward the perceived 'enemy'. And when this perceived 'enemy' is confused (mixed perception) with the capitalism itself, the end result misses the target and creates destructive 'collateral damage'.

    This quest for this balance should, in my point of view, be one of the highest priority of the community at all times. Growth, quality of code and adoption will come as a natural result of the powerful forces that the balance can unleash.

    The Freedom Software (I'm trying to avoid the word 'free' here) and Open Source Code has gained maturity in the last 10 years to understand this need for the balance, but still a lot of unnecessary confusion exist to justify a conscious effort to bring clarity to this point.

    [Meaning]
    By using the word 'meaning' I want to implicate the reasons that justify a particular project to use human and financial resources, so, the 'meaning' is the meaning that a particular project, or the whole open source movement, to implicate human attention and material resources. It could be meaning as a hobby and entertainment, it could be meaning as a public utility and it could be meaningful stuff for business usage.

    I believe that the more it answers human needs the 'more meaning' it has. And the more complete it answers the challenges the more 'meaningful' it is.

    A believe that, as of 2010, Freedom Soft/Open Code should be considering the economic challenges as a chance to express meaningful answers to individuals, public organizations and business so that they can have more choices to react to the challenges ahead. In my opinion, the Freedom Open Code has unique strengths that make it a good candidate to help to create "answers" for the current economic challenges. Part of this uniqueness is the human creativity that is represented in worldwide form.

    [Elegance]
    By 'elegance' I want to describe the beauty that is beyond and distinct from the visual beauty (the ones that pleasures the eye). I like to include such things as 'design elegance', 'intellectual elegance', 'interfacing in elegant way', 'elegant thinking', and so on.

    An important elegant factor that I believe is necessary is the elegance of the architectural design of a platform, for example. Another important elegant factor that I think is good is the elegant way that all the infrastructure tools allow the human beings to interact amongst each other.

    The 'elegance' I'm arguing here is the beauty to the mind, the beauty to the eyes and the beauty or practically in every day usage (the beauty it shows in our hands when performing its intended meaning). It is the balance of these three beauties.

    [Beauty]
    By using the word 'beauty' I like to describe the visually perception that a particular graphical user interface arises to the eye of the user, and how well it interact with him as use unfolds. The 'beauty' in this sense is more a visual aesthetic appearance.

    This is the 'beauty' that I believe the MacOSX has from the beginning, and then the Vista tried to achieve later and now Ubuntu is trying to bring to Linux Desktop.

    And then, to conclude this part I like to summarize the argument around three subjects:

    a) Interactions between people.
    c) User Interfaces (including graphical and non-graphical).
    d) The "intellectual" beauty of the designed architecture.

    So, to end this text I like to try three small paragraphs:
    [1]
    The growth of the freedom soft/open source movement (or any single project) is a function of how well the community can meaningfully interacts to achieve its purpose, and this human interaction is a function of the elegance of its architecture design and the elegance and beauty of its tools.

    [2]
    The growth of the freedom soft/open source can and should be greatly enhanced by putting effort in making user interfaces (graphics and non-graphics) that can be more elegant in operation, reaching a large audience than the current one.

    [3]
    The growth and sustainability of freedom soft/open source is in direct proportion to the quality of its meaning and how well it is serving the current human needs. The 'meaning' here is the quality of the balance of its relationship with capitalism and social aspirations.

    For me, an elegant and productive interaction between human beings working towards meaningful objectives "IS THE WAY" to create high quality code and achieve evolved software innovation, which can be achieved by no other way. And, that productive relationship with capitalism AND social aspirations are possible together, as long as we want to and as long as we put effort in materializing it, and that this balance "IS THE WAY" to create healthy and sustainable freedom/open projects that can fully implement its potential.

    And, that the economic challenges that we live today provides not only the challenge and the opportunity for the freedom/open to prove its value but further, the chance to transition to a new "computing" paradigm (as I'm trying to describe in theses texts) represents the opportunity to embrace fully the 'meaning', 'elegance' and 'beauty' in the freedom/open movement as the engine motor for its growth, not as an accessory.


    I hope that these small pieces of texts help to capture, at least in surface, the opinion I want to express, so that its information helps to create some kind of motivation for everybody in the Knoppix community, and by doing that helps Knoppix to be one of the first to "jump" to the "what's next" stage. I believe that the current MicroKnoppix already has the 'thing' in its present dna, and by expressing (or at least trying) my vision about this "next" stuff, I hope to create the awareness (perhaps it already exist) of this fact so that Knoppix can fully capture the opportunity that is within its current potential.

    [The part seven]
    To conclude the part 7 I like to stress the point (and this is my point of view) that alone, neither a good architectural design nor good and powerful tools can achieve enduring success. The reason is basically that alone, or even both together don't represent a full platform. In my opinion the true nature of a platform is achieved when a good (architectural) design meets good tools and they meet people, attracted by the elegance, the meaning and the beauty of them all together.

    One personal way that I think of 'meaning' is to think of the 99% group of users that is not the most technical ones, and to put some effort in the direction of helping them to take part of the rich benefits that Freedom Open Source can create (for them). In the direction of this 'meaning', I believe, there is huge opportunity to unleash (more) power within the platform of Freedom Open Source.

    [The whole topic - thread]
    I want to say thanks all and apologize for what started as a tentative of dialog ends up me writing alone. Well, not so bad, I was able to produce a short but informative piece about a vision for a possible future of FOSS in general and Knoppix in particular as well. At the end, I'm happy with what I did here; it helps me put the whole thing in perspective inside my mind too, and in fact, while writing these pieces, three or so weeks ago that I believe all the stuff inside my mind, they together achieved a form o coherence (that was the insight moment).

    I hope these picts and texts help you to find (further) inspirations inside this whole new page on information technologies...

    Valter

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