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CERN turns to open source software as Microsoft increases its fees

Και εδώ είμαστε λοιπόν. Σας θυμίζει τίποτα αυτό; Το CERN λοιπόν το γυρίζει σε ελεύθερο λογισμικό για να μειώσει το κόστος αδειών χρήσης από την Microsoft.

Η πηγή του άρθρου είναι από το blog του CERN.

MAlt project

Taking back control using open software

The Microsoft Alternatives project (MAlt) started a year ago to mitigate anticipated software license fee increases. MAlt’s objective is to put us back in control using open software. It is now time to present more widely this project and to explain how it will shape our computing environment.


Over the years, CERN’s activities and services have increasingly relied on commercial software and solutions to deliver core functionalities, often leveraged by advantageous financial conditions based on the recognition of CERN’s status as an academic, non-profit or research institute. Once installed, well-spread and heavily used, the leverage used to attract CERN service managers to the commercial solutions tends to disappear and be replaced by licensing schemes and business models tuned for the private sector.

Given the collaborative nature of CERN and its wide community, a high number of licenses are required to deliver services to everyone, and when traditional business models on a per-user basis are applied, the costs per product can be huge and become unaffordable in the long term.

A prime example is that CERN has enjoyed special conditions for the use of Microsoft products for the last 20 years, by virtue of its status as an “academic institution”. However, recently, the company has decided to revoke CERN’s academic status, a measure that took effect at the end of the previous contract in March 2019, replaced by a new contract based on user numbers, increasing the license costs by more than a factor of ten. Although CERN has negotiated a ramp-up profile over ten years to give the necessary time to adapt, such costs are not sustainable.

Anticipating this situation, the IT department created the Microsoft Alternatives project, MAlt, a year ago.

MAlt’s objective

The initial objective was to investigate the migration from commercial software products (Microsoft and others) to open-source solutions, so as to minimise CERN’s exposure to the risks of unsustainable commercial conditions. By doing so, the laboratory is playing a pioneering role among public research institutions, most of whom have recently been faced with the same dilemma.

MAlt is a multi-year effort and it will now enter a new phase with the first migrations.

The project’s principles of engagement are to:

  • Deliver the same service to every category of CERN personnel
  • Avoid vendor lock-in to decrease risk and dependency
  • Keep hands on the data
  • Address the common use-cases

Coming in 2019

The first major change coming is a pilot mail Service for the IT department and volunteers this summer, followed by the start of CERN-wide migration. In parallel, some Skype for Business clients and analogue phones will migrate to a softphone telephony pilot.

Many other products and services are being worked on: evaluations of alternative solutions for various software packages used for IT core services, prototypes and pilots will emerge along the course of the next few years.

How will MAlt impact you and how to contribute?

You will find all the details and progress on the project site and more particularly the list of products addressed in the project.

The new computing newsletter blog will communicate on general items, and in addition, a general presentation will be provided in the Main Auditorium on 10 September at 2.30 p.m.

Needless to say, isolated initiatives will waste effort and resources. Instead, if you or your team are willing to participate, if you have ideas, the best way is to join the coordinated Microsoft Alternatives effort by checking the project site and contributing to the discussion channel.

Interesting times ahead! While the Microsoft Alternatives project is ambitious, it’s also a unique opportunity for CERN to demonstrate that building core services can be done without vendor and data lock-in, that the next generation of services can be tailored to the community’s needs and finally that CERN can inspire its partners by collaborating around a new range of products.

Follow the project, get details, join:

Πίσω ξανά

Περάσανε ούτε λίγο ούτε πολύ 7-8 χρόνια από την τελευταία φορά που βρέθηκα στην Ελλάδα. Διάολε, πως είναι δυνατόν να είναι τόσα. Και όμως, είναι. Τίποτα δεν φαίνετε να άλλαξε. Ο ίδιος άγνωστος κόσμος τριγύρω. Ιούλης του 2018 και βρέθηκα να περπατάω ένα μεσημέρι Σαββάτου στην Αριστοτέλους κατεβαίνοντας προς τη παραλία. Απλά περπατούσα, χωρίς προορισμό. Δεν υπήρχε κάπου να πάω άλλωστε. Τότε ξαφνικά αισθάνθηκα έναν ζεστό καλοκαιρινό αέρα να με αγκαλιάζει κάτι σαν φλόγα που έκαιγε γλυκά. Μου θύμισε αμέσως την αγκαλιά της μάνας μου, μιας μάνας που δεν υπάρχει πια.

Μαμά, μου λείπεις. Μου λείπει ο ήχος της φωνής σου. Μου λείπει η σιγουριά της παρουσίας σου. Άργησα μαμά… εγώ φταίω. Συγνώμη.

Θεσσαλονίκη, Ιούλιος 2018

Microsoft customer satisfaction drops to almost Vista-era lows

Windows 8 has received its fair share of criticism for deviating from the classic desktop experience and instead push a touch-focused UI across all devices — even non-touch ones. Despite racking up respectable sales, a new report suggest it’s not just that the operating system isn’t seeing the kind of success Microsoft was hoping for; it’s actually taking customer satisfaction levels down to the lowest since Windows Vista was released.

According to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, Microsoft’s score slid to 74 out of 100 in their latest report. That’s just one point higher than it was following Vista’s launch, and down four points since the company’s satisfaction rating peaked at 78 in 2011 before the release of Windows 8 dropped it to 75 in 2012.

«It seems clear that the release of Windows 8 did not give Microsoft a significant bump, as the release of Windows 7 did, nor did it dramatically lower customer satisfaction in a rather short time frame, as the release of Vista did,» David VanAmburg, director of ACSI, said in a statement.

VanAmburg was cautious not to pin all the blame on Windows 8 this early in its life cycle. “If Microsoft’s ACSI benchmark flattens next year or drops another point or two, then it is probably safe to say that Windows 8 will be the prime culprit behind a significant downturn in customer satisfaction.”

Microsoft isn’t planing on waiting that long to find out. Later this year the company will be releasing an update for its operating system, Windows 8.1, which is expected to address several common complaints from users. Among them are the return of the start button (but not the start menu), a boot to desktop option, and some much-needed search improvements. Codenamed Blue, this will be a free but major update for Windows 8 users. A public preview release is due this summer at Build, while the final code should ship in the second-half of 2013.

via techspot

Arrested Development Pirates Skip Netflix Out of Habit

Η Netflix είναι μια συνδρομητική υπηρεσία όπου μπορείς να παρακολουθείς TV series, κινηματογράφο, documentaries κλπ με κόστος περίπου $8 το μήνα. Βασικά είναι μια εξαιρετική υπηρεσία που προτιμώ τόσο για την ποσότητα επιλογής όσο και για την ποιότητα υλικού. Το αντικείμενο του παρακάτω άρθρου αφορά τα επεισόδια του Arrested Development, μια σειρά που υπάρχει πλήρης στο Netflix. Έλα όμως που 175 χιλιάδες άνθρωποι αντί να επιλέξουν μια υπηρεσία όπως το Netflix, αποφάσισαν να τα κατεβάσουν από torrents… Είναι τα $8 το μήνα ή η συνήθεια; Αυτό το θέμα διαπραγματεύεται το παρακάτω άρθρο από το


Over the past two days more than 175,000 people have pirated episodes of the revived cult series Arrested Development. While the numbers don’t come close to those of hit series Game of Thrones, it’s remarkable to see how many of the downloaders come from regions where the entire season is available on Netflix. Are these people really too cheap to buy a Netflix subscription or are they downloading via BitTorrent out of habit?

To reduce unauthorized downloading, content producers should make their products widely available and take away the incentive for people to pirate.

The above is an argument often heard in defense of piracy. In theory it makes sense, but when Netflix released the entire season of the revived cult series Arrested Development this Sunday, something strange happened.

Tens of thousands of pirates lined up to grab a copy from various torrent sites. Many came from the U.S. and other countries where people only have to sign up for a free Netflix account to watch the show.

TorrentFreak tracked the download numbers for the various episodes and season bundles and found some interesting results.

During the first two days, episode one of Arrested Development topped 175,000 downloads on public BitTorrent trackers. A decent number, but one that pales in comparison to records set by Game of Thrones and other hit series.

Unfortunately the download figures by themselves are meaningless without context, so it’s hard to draw conclusions on how the Netflix release affected them. From past experience, however, it is safe to say that the numbers would be significantly higher if a show had been released on a premium cable network.

After all, in countries where Netflix is available people have little reason to pirate the show. Or do they?

Looking at a sample of the geographical locations of the pirates we see that the United States comes out on top with 18%. Other countries where Netflix is available, such as Canada (11.8%), United Kingdom (5.6%) and Sweden (3.5%) are also high on the list. In fact, Australia is the only non-Netflix country in the top five.



While it’s easy to conclude that this proves that these “pirates” are just cheap thieves, the reality is a bit more complicated. For one, it could be that the download numbers would have been exponentially higher if Arrested Development hadn’t been made so widely available.On the other hand, it also appears that not all of those who choose to pirate Arrested Development do so because they are unwilling to pay for a Netflix subscription.Looking at the comment section of a popular TV-tracker there are plenty of comments on the issue. One downloader comes in with the stereotypical response, saying that he just “wasted” $8 on a Netflix subscription. However, there are many who disagree with this view.

One commenter notes:“I certainly don’t see it as wasted. I’m fully supportive of Netflix for what they are trying to achieve. They’ll have my $8 regardless of whether I use it or not.”

Another one adds:

“You didn’t waste $8, you proved that Arrested Development was worth funding for a fourth season. And you got to see it slightly sooner, which is totally worth it.”

The above comments are among many suggesting that even those who have a Netflix subscription may still download the episodes through BitTorrent sites.

In part this is out of habit as that is how many people have enjoyed TV-shows for many years. The comment below from a Swedish downloader shows that pirate habits are sometimes fueled by unusual situations.

“I have a Swedish Netflix account, but for some stupid reason the PS3 app won’t let me turn the subtitles off. I can choose between Swedish, Finnish etc subtitles but there’s no option to turn them off completely. So here I am downloading the episodes, even though I have Netflix, just to watch without subtitles.”

Of course there are also many downloaders who turn to unauthorized sources because Netflix is not available in their country, as is the case in Australia, which has the highest piracy rate per capita.

In an open letter, the Australian consumer advocacy organization Choice recently asked Netflix to open up shop down under, so Aussie fans can watch their shows legally. Netflix is receptive to these comments and told PaidContent that it’s “busily expanding” into new markets.

According to one commenter on a torrent site, the potential for new customers is certainly there.

“I would have paid for a month if they were available in my country just to show appreciation for Arrested Development and their great business model but hey…”

The above lays out some of the challenges faced today by TV-producers old and new. There is a huge demand for TV content but at the same time people’s viewing habits are rapidly changing.

All in all Netflix has to be applauded for their efforts to innovate. The lack of windowing and on-demand availability will certainly have an impact on piracy rates, although it may take a while for some to convert, even those who already pay for Netflix.

If the conditions are right, however, old patterns will eventually change.



Checker Plus for Gmail. Έτσι έπρεπε να είναι το GMAIL.

Για όσους διατηρούν πολλαπλούς λογαριασμούς στο gmail πιθανόν να έχουν βρεθεί σε ένα χάος με τα μηνύματά τους. Προσωπικά βρήκα το παρακάτω plugin σαν ένα από τα πλέον χρήσιμα και είναι το 1ο που προτείνω σε όλους τους γνωστούς μου.

Διατηρώ αρκετά email accounts αλλά όλα συγκεντρώνωνται σε ένα gmail account που είναι και το προσωπικό μου. Εκτός αυτού έχω και το κύριο πανεπιστημιακό μου λογαριασμό στη google αφού τα google apps είναι εξαιρετικά διαδεδομένα στα αμερικανικά πανεπιστήμια.  Το προσωπικό μου λοιπόν email, είναι και ένα αποθετήριο για όλα τα άλλα accounts που χειρίζονται mailing lists, shopping, φίλους, εργασία κλπ. Έπρεπε λοιπόν να μεταβαίνω από το ένα λογαριασμό στον άλλο, και να παρακολουθώ τι έρχεται, τι είναι πρέπει να απαντηθεί κλπ

Όλα αυτά λύθηκαν με το εκπληκτικό το Checker Plus for Gmail. Η ευκολία χρήσης του, τα δεκάδες features και η συνολική αξία του το κατατάσουν απλά στις πρώτες επιλογές μου.

Hey Jason… THANKS!!!

Sorting Lists with more than 1,1M Rows

Recently I encountered a very weird problem. My wife is working with satellite data producing huge text files with numbers seperated by a space. The total amount of rows exceeding the 1,1 million. So, how we can sort these long huge lists based on multiple criteria?

If you try LibreOffice you will notice very fast, that the max number of rows are 1,048,576. Anything existing beyond that number, its lost. You can always of course split the list but then you can’t simple sort the numbers. And beside this, the LibreOffice is having a stupid limitation to only 3 criteria.

The solution is called «Use the damn terminal!» Actually the command is «sort» and with few parameters, you can get the whole file ready, with your values sorted in less than few seconds.

How? Lets say my file is called foo.txt, and is having 5 columns separated by a space. You want to short this file first by the 5th column and then by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

$sort -k5n,5 -k2n,2 -k3n,3 -k4n,4 foo.txt > foo_new.txt

Bam… Done!

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

-b–ignore-leading-blanks ignore leading blanks
consider only blanks and alphanumeric characters
fold lower case to upper case characters
compare according to general numerical value
consider only printable characters
compare (unknown) < `JAN” < … < `DEC”
compare according to string numerical value
reverse the result of comparisons

Other options:

check whether input is sorted; do not sort
start a key at POS1, end it at POS 2 (origin 1)
merge already sorted files; do not sort
write result to FILE instead of standard output
stabilize sort by disabling last-resort comparison
use SIZE for main memory buffer
-t–field-separator=SEP use SEP instead of non- to whitespace transition
use DIR for temporaries, not $TMPDIR or /tmp multiple options specify multiple directories
with -c: check for strict ordering
otherwise: output only the first of an equal run
end lines with 0 byte, not newline
display this help and exit
output version information and exit

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum

I arrived yesterday in Washington, DC via Dulles International Airport. I decided to spend the night at Staybridge Suites, near the airport (btw, very nice and very comfortable place. I am definitely suggesting it). The purpose of the trip its a talk that I will give this Tuesday. Anyway, the reason that I am writing this post its not the conference; its my visit at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum , near the Airport (there is one more near the Capitol in Washington, DC but I didn’t visit it… yet).

I have to say that most of all, I will remember the moment that I saw Enola Gay. The plane that dropped the 1st atomic bomb in the history of mankind. The plane that actually put the world in a new terrifying era. Today, that we know how many people suffered from that action and even knowing the numbers, we can’t imagine the horror of the moment. Looking at the plane… you are feeling something strange, awkward. I saw even Americans starring it for more than 10 minutes without saying any word.

Still, is a very unique piece of history.

Ερώτηση προς Ναυτιλομένους

Με αφορμή ένα email του Σίμου Ξενιτέλη σχετικά με τις «Μονάδες Αριστείας» και την αναφορά από κάποιον συμμετέχοντα της συζήτησης του Ιόνιου Πανεπιστήμιου, ξαναθυμήθηκα μια παλαιότερη συζήτηση που είχα με έναν φίλο και μια ερώτηση που προσπαθήσαμε να απαντήσουμε τότε αλλά ποτέ δεν τα καταφέραμε:

Πως γίνετε ένα από τα λίγα ακαδημαϊκά ιδρύματα που ΔΕΝ συμμετάσχει στην Εταιρεία ΕΛΛΑΚ να έχει τόσο ενεργό ρόλο στην υιοθέτηση του ελεύθερου λογισμικού στους περισσότερους τομείς του, ενώ ιδρύματα που συμμετάσχουν, να μην ασχολούνται καν πέρα από την ανάγκη δημιουργίας άλλοθι για να μην έχει κανένας να πει τίποτα;

Νομίζω πως «γλύτωσαν» μόνο και μόνο γιατί το τμήμα υπολογιστών δημιουργήθηκε μετά την υπογραφή του καταστατικού της ΕΛΛΑΚ. Όπως και να έχει κάνουν εξαιρετική δουλειά.

Open source groups warn Greece will waste millions on school software

Open source groups warn Greece will waste millions on school software
Advocates of free and open source are warning that the Greek government is going to waste millions of euro on proprietary software licences for the country’s schools. They are calling on the Ministry of Education to cancel its latest procurement. «Favouring proprietary software while ignoring the potential of open source, constitutes a choking of the educational process.»
The ministry published a request for tender in November, seeking suppliers of 26,400 laptops, 1760 servers and 1760 wifi access routers. The value of the contract is set at just over 15 million euro. The purchase will be partly financed by the European Regional Development Fund.
The ministry is asking for laptops and servers that can run either a ubiquitous proprietary operating system or Linux. But, say the Greek Linux User Group (Greeklug) and Eel/lak, a Greek open source advocacy organisation founded by 25 universities and research centres, the technical requirements clearly favour proprietary solutions over open source. «The specification is a copy of the proprietary vendor’s e-mail and office software.»
The two groups have written separate letters to the ministry, protesting the favouring of proprietary software and to present alternative suggestions. «The ministry must avoid locking-in our schools.», says Kostas Mousafiris, vice-president of Greeklug. «We also want the ministry to follow Europe’s procurement rules.»
No pressure
Eel/lak is asking the ministry to build on existing free open source projects for schools in Greece. Examples include a Greek school portal as well as educational projects started by the organisation itself.
Both are also appealing to the European Commission, hoping that Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes and Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn will pressure the ministry to correct the tender request. «To give free and open source a fair chance, the technical specification will have to be improved», the groups plead.
Mousafiris: «We do not expect that the ministry will ever reply to our letter. That is why we are also contacting the European Commission. We want at least a due diligence assessment of this tender.»


More information:

Letter by Greeklug (pdf)
Ministry of Education’s request for tender (in Greek)
Public letter by Ellak (pdf, in Greek)
Os Arena news item (in Greek)



NASA World Wind Server to Leverage MapServer Open Source Engine

The NASA World Wind project team has selected the MapServer Open Source mapping engine to serve its many digital raster formats to World Wind clients. MapServer will serve images and raw data through the Internet by various Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards. Providing large amounts of spatial data (including world-wide coverage of digital elevation models, DEMs, and aerial imagery) to World Wind clients requires a high performance architecture that will now use the MapServer engine, caching of images, and load-balanced servers. Technical expertise for MapServer will be provided by Mapgears (Chicoutimi, QC) and Gateway Geomatics (Lunenburg, NS). Due to MapServer compliance with
OGC standards and World Wind Server standards, except for possibly the increased performance provided by MapServer, this transition will be entirely transparent to the World Wind user community.
“MapServer will allow the NASA World Wind a smooth transition to a mature Open Source engine,” said Patrick Hogan, the NASA Project Manager of World Wind.
Daniel Morissette, President of Mapgears, added “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with the NASA World Wind team to help push the limits of the technology and to contribute with MapServer to the next generation of NASA World Wind Servers that will deliver the data of organizations around the world for years to come.”
Jeff McKenna, Director of Gateway Geomatics, said “Our long-time focus on assisting organizations publish their spatial data through MapServer, especially on the Windows platform, adds a key piece of an innovative solution with the Mapgears team. Together we will help to allow the World Wind community to visualize and analyze large amounts of data efficiently through MapServer.” Jeff also believes that this project will help both the MapServer and World Wind communities grow.

About NASA World Wind
NASA World Wind ( is a three-dimensional geographic information system developed by the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA), its partners, and the Open Source
community. The World Wind client is an interactive 3D geographic visualization system, where Earth and other planets can be explored in their full 3D native context. World Wind was released as Open Source in
August 2004, and is being extensively used by corporations and government agencies throughout the world.

About Mapgears
Members of Mapgears” ( team have been active for over a decade in the development of the MapServer Web mapping engine and related open source technologies of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). Mapgears offers professional, yet personalized services to assist application developers and integrators who made the choice of MapServer and other OSGeo technologies such as PostGIS, GDAL/OGR, OpenLayers, GeoExt and GeoPrisma.

About Gateway Geomatics
Gateway Geomatics ( is an innovative company on the East coast of Canada, assisting organizations publish their spatial information openly, through MapServer. With the hugely popular MapServer for Windows (MS4W) suite, developed and maintained by Gateway, organizations of all sizes can quickly share their spatial information on their own servers. The director of Gateway Geomatics, Jeff McKenna, also focuses on the user-side of Web mapping, and offers hands-on training with the MapServer project all around the world

Web Server και Joomla

Μια πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα σειρά παρουσιάσεων ξεκινάει σήμερα από τον GREEKLUG.

Οι 2 Administrators του GREEKLUG, υπεύθυνοι τόσο για τον δικτυακό τόπο αλλά και για το θα παρουσιάσουν την προετοιμασία ενός server για να λειτουργήσει ως Web Server.

Έπειτα, οι προσκεκλημένοι μας, διαχειριστές και μέλη της Ελληνικής Κοινότητας Joomla θα παρουσιάσουν το CMS σε μία πρώτη εισαγωγική παρουσίαση. Δεν θα μείνουμε όμως εδώ… Η κοινότητα Joomla θα συνεχίσει σε άλλες 2-3 παρουσιάσεις την εμβάθυνση στο CMS ώστε όσοι το επιθυμούν να μάθουν τα μυστικά του και να το χρησιμοποιήσουν στις εργασίες τους ή στα προσωπικά τους ιστολόγια.

Ευχαριστώ προσωπικά την Ελληνική κοινότητα του Joomla για τον χρόνο που διέθεσαν αλλά και θα διαθέσουν ώστε να επωφεληθούν όλοι όσοι το επιθυμούν.

Τη Κυριακή μη ξεχάσετε τη 3η παρουσίαση του Arduino. Ο Στάθης Χατζηκυριακίδης συνεχίζει την παρουσίαση των projects και την εφαρμογή / προγραμματισμό της απίθανης πλακέτας που βασίζεται στο opensource.

Όλα αυτά… και ακόμα περισσότερα, δωρεάν για όλους εσάς που ενδιαφέρεστε να γνωρίσετε και να εκμεταλλευθείτε τις δυνατότητες του ελεύθερου λογισμικού.


Η παρουσίαση θα γίνει stream στις παρακάτω 2 διευθύνσεις:



Στο πρώτο stream θα έχετε τον ομιλητή και στο δεύτερο το odp presentation ώστε να έχετε άμεση ενημέρωση.