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About myself

I think Windows 7 was the best Windows version ever. 2000 is #2, 10 is #3, XP is #4, NT 4.0 is #5, and 98 is #6. Windows 8 the worst version of Windows ever, Windows Vista is #2.

I love Firefox and Opera. I use Google Chrome only on Ubuntu, Chrome OS, and Android. I use Opera only on laptops, tablets, and smartphones, and maybe in a VM on an all-in-one desktop.

I use Bing as little as possible on Chrome. I use it on Internet Explorer and Edge, and I use it on Firefox and its derivatives especially Slimbrowser, but that’s just it.

I love Internet Explorer and I’m sad that many sites are dropping support for Internet Explorer. Basically everything about Internet Explorer is awesome EXCEPT that it’s slow and lacks HTML5 support. However… I am not a big fan of HTML5. It dropped some good features of HTML 4. Edit: Internet Explorer also lacks support for WebGL and WebAssembly. That’s the real downside besides being slow.

I prefer not to use base browsers, but their derivatives. I love Comodo IceDragon which is a Firefox derivative with vast security and performance improvement, hardly any slower than Chrome. I also love Brave, originally based on Gecko but switched to Blink. I’d use Brave on Linux especially Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS.

I use DuckDuckGo on Brave and Firefox. I also love StartPage, which I would certainly use on Waterfox.

I think Netscape was the greatest browser ever, before it was discontinued in 2007.

I think everything by Apple is awesome EXCEPT iTunes.

I only use iTunes on a Mac, and only use Apple Music on an iPhone or iPad. Not on Windows or Android.

I try to use Windows as little as possible for anything other than gaming and institutional and corporate use. I love Ubuntu and prefer it for laptops, physical on an Acer and virtual on an HP or Dell. I prefer Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS on entry-level and midrange servers and on tower desktops. I wouldn’t bother with Ubuntu enterprise computers. I think Oracle Linux is the greatest of all Linux distributions, and is THE BEST for cloud hosting, both private and public cloud.

I prefer Xen over KVM, especially for load balancing clusters.

I prefer FreeBSD over Linux for entry-level servers and certainly for network attached storage.

General IT practices

I recommend people use Windows Server with Hyper-V on a pair of rack servers, to virtualize one Windows Server virtual machine as domain controller and another for other corporate services. I recommend CentOS or openSUSE with Xen for server farms. VMware vSphere is the best for remote office branch office environments and also the best for large heterogeneous data centers. I would use Ubuntu or Red Hat Enterprise Linux with QEMU+KVM on a standalone server.

I recommend pairing OpenStack with VMware vSphere, CloudStack with Xen, and OpenNebula with QEMU+KVM.

I recommend using VMware Workstation Player on a Windows laptop, and Hyper-V on a windows desktop. In the former case I would recommend Ubuntu as VM and in the latter case one could run Windows 8 Pro and at least one Linux distribution (CentOS or Ubuntu) as virtual machine.

SQL centralized and scaled up, NoSQL distributed and scaled out.

Graph database for massively parallel applications.

Why servers don’t have to be just for work

PowerEdge servers may be more desirable for condominiums and group homes than for family houses or two-person apartments.

As for edge computing, Internet of Things, ambient intelligence, and ubiquitous/pervasive computing, why shouldn’t each household have their own edge server in addition to wireless access points and network switches (otherwise integrated routers)?

The greatest use of a home server is shared data storage.

And desktops don’t have to be abandoned. The father could have the management laptop to administer the home’s IT system.

Fog computing is not quite the nirvana. An advancement from that is ambient intelligence and pervasive/ubiquitous computing which may be the nirvana.

One could purchase a Linux VPS which may run on Parallels Virtuozzo Containers, OpenVZ, KVM, or Xen. Red Hat Enterprise Linux would make a great VPS, but so would Ubuntu.

PowerEdge T130 server could Windows Server 2016 Essentials or Standard or 2022 Standard or run Ubuntu, CentOS, or Red Hat Enterprise Linux with OpenVZ.

Bad acquisitions of defunct products

Formation Data Systems acquired by EBay – that’s not a company to acquire FormationOne. EBay is a company for online retail or rather, giving old products and more specifically, bidding. Some other company should have acquired FormationOne. Definitely not EBay, but I don’t know which company.

Infinit acquired by Docker -Infinit died a death in 2017-2018. If Docker hadn’t acquired Infinit, it never would have happened. Docker’s parent company Mirantis should have been the one to acquire Infinit.

Stratoscale Symphony acquired by Zadara – not as bad as Ebay’s acquisition of FormationOne, but still not great.

Atlantis Computing acquired by HiveIO – perhaps the best of these four.

My IT champions

Oracle Corporation for database engines.

Micro Focus for enterprise software.

Dell EMC and Lenovo and maybe Hewlett-Packard Enterprise rival as my champions for enterprise hardware. Dell EMC is the gold standard for enterprise computer hardware products, and Lenovo is the silver standard.

Great Dell EMC products include Unity, Isilon, PowerEdge MX, and VxRack. Dell PowerEdge is great.

Great Lenovo products include Flex System and the ThinkAgile family.

IBM back in 2012 and 2013 with PureSystems and zEnterprise. But as of 2018 IBM isn’t the champion it once was.

Great HPE brands include Superdome and Synergy.

VMware is my champion for platform virtualization.

Great enterprise IT products that went dead, and alternatives to them

ClusterPoint – one of the greatest distributed databases ever. Best alternatives I could find are DataStax Enterprise and Couchbase.

Infinit.sh – one of the greatest distributed file systems. Acquired by Docker in 2016. Nothing new since 2017. Website shut down in 2018, got back up in 2019 but reverted to what it was in 2015. Got overtaken by Infinit Marketing in 2021. Shut down again in early spring of 2022. If Docker didn’t acquire Infinit, none of this would have happened. Best alternatives include OpenIO and Scality RING.

FormationData – Went out of business in 2016-2017. I didn’t even know it existed until April 14 of 2022. May have been even greater than Infinit. https://www.formationdata.com.au/ says “Configured for Dialog Group” in the same font size you typically see on paragraphs. Best alternatives I know of are Nutanix ECP, Stonefly, Commvault Hedvig and HyperScale X, DataCore SANSymphony, and Quobyte.

StratoScale Symphony – went out of business in 2019. Website still up until early 2022 but with nothing new. Best alternatives I know of are Nutanix ECP and Virtuozzo.

Bottom line: if a corporation goes out of business for good, the copyright to all its products should ALWAYS be for sale. I’m NOT saying they should automatically go into the public domain, because generally they shouldn’t. Instead, they should be open for any business to purchase them.

Overlay networks and the Glory Days of IT

Think of OldTech81’s experience of Windows 98 today. Windows 98 is great as a local, non-Internet-connected device, but not great on the modern web. Most websites won’t even load on Internet Explorer 6, and those that do are broken. Even with Opera 11, Facebook doesn’t fit into the entire computer’s RAM.

OldTech81’s experience aside, Windows 98 support ended in 2006, so every month afterwards it becomes more vulnerable. But Windows 98 is used much less today, so it’s no longer a real target for malware.

Maybe an overlay network over the Internet could be dedicated to older machines that could connect not to the full Internet, but to a network on top of it. Only websites that are made to work on older versions of Internet Explorer (such as IE5 and Internet Explorer for Mac) and older versions of Firefox and Opera will exist on the overlay network. The network should be encapsulated. Perhaps tunneled and encrypted, but such tunneling and encryption may not necessarily be implemented in software installed on the Windows 3.1x or 9x or NT 4.0 or 2000 machines. Not sure. The network will not be accessible by newer devices (including websites) that are not joined to the overlay network. Joining the overlay network shall be by registration. Any malicious person or entity shall be expelled.

Old legacy software and hardware should never be forgotten. It should be historical. Be it Internet Explorer including older versions like IE5 and IE8, or older Windows versions like 9x, NT 4.0, and 2000, or old hardware like DEC Alpha.

Therefore, there should be IT historical museums or IT pioneer museums. IT legacy museums would be the best bet. IT historical encyclopedias don’t cut it. Online or virtual IT museums may not work. Old computers and their hardware and software should be historical like old cars and trucks and even old record players. Optical drives should be historical like old tape players and record players.

Use cases and applications of platforms and software by type

Operating systems

Windows Server – identity management and directory services.

Windows 7 and 10 – gaming desktop and for work or school PC.

MacBook – music production, education, mobile app development.

iMac – graphic arts, mobile app development.

Chromebooks – education.

FreeBSD – network attached storage.

AIX – workstations, HPC

HP-UX – high-end servers.

IBM System z – bulk data processing, especially transactions.

Linux distributions

  • Ubuntu – professional developers, multi-seat terminal server e.g. in schools and libraries, private cloud hosting
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux – desktop, containers, database engines
  • CentOS – websites, high-performance computing.
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server – big NUMA machines.
  • Oracle Linux – workstations, enterprise servers, public cloud hosting
  • Arch Linux – thin clients, supercomputer login nodes

Hypervisors

VMware vsphere for remote office branch office and data centers, Xen for server farms, and Hyper-V for corporate or institutional services.

VMware Workstation Player: desktops and laptops.

Software-defined storage, clustered and distributed file systems, and object store

For supercomputers: GPFS, Lustre, BeeGFS, and OrangeFS

For data centers: Scality RING, Quobyte, MooseFS, LizardFS, IBM Spectrum Scale, LinStor, StorPool, and DataCore SANSymphony.

May be subject to updates

My IT standards 

Some of these are historical.

RISC for mobile computers, embedded systems, massively parallel processing, and HPC, CISC for stationary desktops.

x86 for desktops and servers. Motorola 68k for consumer PC’s. ARM for mobile computers and embedded systems. PowerPC for workstations and embedded systems, IBM POWER7 and later for servers and HPC. DEC Alpha for minicomputers and midrange servers. MIPS for enterprise servers and NUMA systems.

Connect desktops as well as servers by Ethernet, connect laptops and mobile computers by WiFi.

Stackable switches rather than modular switch chassis.

Blades for compute, rack units for storage. Not storage blades.

Multi-server microkernel for embedded systems, distributed operating system, and hypervisor.

HDD for desktops and servers, SSD’s for laptops and mobile. Hybrid-flash for the enterprise.

Fibre Channel over Ethernet and NFS for network attached storage. InfiniBand for switched fabric inter-node interconnect. There’s also Myrinet.

TrueNAS and Dell EMC VNX or Unity hybrid-flash for enterprise. Not EqualLogic.

FreeBSD for entry-level servers, rather than Linux. Also for file server and network attached storage.

AIX for workstations, enterprise servers, and HPC.

HP-UX for high-end servers including mission-critical servers.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for large NUMA systems.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux for tower desktops and midrange servers, including database services and Kubernetes clusters.

Android, iPad, and Blackberry 10 for smartphones.

Roku for smart TV.

Amazon Echo.

Windows for gaming and for corporate and institutional use. Windows NT 4.0 Workstation on x86, Server and Terminal Server on Alpha, and Enterprise on MIPS. Windows 2000 for business, 98 for consumer. Windows on IBM PC for business, Commodore Amiga for consumer.

NetWare or Novell Open Enterprise Server for network OS.

iMac and MacBook for music production and mobile app development, iMac for graphic arts, and MacBook for elementary education.

Ubuntu on Dell XPS all-in-one and Acer Aspire laptops, for professional developers.

XFS /home on SUSE. OCFS2 root on SUSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Ext4 on Ubuntu. ZFS root and UFS2 /home on BSD, or if possible have ext2, ext3, or ext4 instead of UFS2. Ext4 /home on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Chromebooks for elementary education. No Chromeboxes.

Brave on Android, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and CentOS, rather than Chrome.

Chrome and Opera alongside Firefox on Ubuntu. Not on Windows, iOS, or Mac.

Internet Explorer shell such as Sleipnir, Tencent Traveler, or Slimbrowser on Windows 7.

uBlock Origin on Chrome, AdBlock Plus on Firefox.

DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials on Firefox.

StartPage on Waterfox.

Google on Chrome and Firefox.

Yahoo! On Internet Explorer, Firefox and derivatives, Comodo Dragon, and Opera.

Bing on Internet Explorer and Edge.

DuckDuckGo on Firefox and Brave.

Yahoo! Mail rather than Hotmail or Outlook.com. Office Outlook for business. ProtonMail or Tutanota is good too.

OneDrive for Business on Windows. DropBox on Ubuntu. OneDrive on iPad and iPhone. Swift and S3 on SUSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

OpenNebula with QEMU+KVM, OpenStack with vSphere, and CloudStack with Xen. Cloud Foundry platform. No OpenShift or OVirt.

Moab Cluster Suite, IBM Platform LSF, or Univa Grid Engine for heterogeneous distributed clusters.

Kubernetes for clustered containers, rather than Docker Swarm. OpenVZ or Parallels Virtuozzo for operating system containers.

Devolutions Remote Desktop Manager for remote connection management, LogMeIn Pro for remote desktop account management. TeamViewer for remote control and also desktop sharing in online meetings. RemotePC for remote access to personal computers.

Review for Microsoft Edge 

3/5 stars

Actually give it a 2.5 stars if I could – will tell why at the end of the review. It saddens me that Internet Explorer is discontinued, because I liked it better than Edge. Edge is too much like chrome, being too much just for Bing as Chrome is for google. But still, Google Chrome and Edge don’t look big scale like Firefox or IE. Too simple. I like the menu set in the upper left screen. But instead the menu is one in the right. Right-clicking on the toolbar doesn’t do anything and I think it should. I like other things of IE and Firefox as well. Chrome and Edge don’t look like all purpose. They lack customizability. And, I can’t drag favorites to desktop. But both are better than Safari. Yes, the way of Chrome gives more simplicity, but I can’t easily do things(like different search engines) in one browser (I have to switch between them). Edge also doesn’t support plugins like Java. Yes, I know plugins create security holes. But now Edge has extensions.

More and more browsers becoming like chrome? That’s not good. What’s wrong with the earlier, big, complex all-purpose style of IE and Firefox? Why become chrome? Please, Mozilla, don’t make Firefox go the way of Chrome as Internet explorer has. Please only expand it. Keep the big style. But I do like speed. And, on the other hand, Edge may have some new features. But the surprising good thing about Edge is that it is more secure than Chrome and more battery-efficient than both. But the simplistic way of Chrome should be on a mobile device, not desktop. Browsers shouldn’t all become chrome; They should be distinct.

But I do like multiple home page.

Edge is better on a Windows tablet or phone, but not PC/desktop.

Edge, Chrome, and Opera are simpler, more minimalistic, and lightweight than Firefox and Internet Explorer, which are richer and more complex. Complex doesn’t have the negative connotations Internet Explorer does. Internet Explorer and Firefox are big, while Edge, Chrome, and Opera are small.

Actually, I like a balance between the old and new ways.

Opera, Vivaldi, Pale Moon, SeaMonkey Navigator, Slimbrowser, Comodo IceDragon, or Brave may be the better choice now. 

They shouldn’t have discontinued IE right away; They should have released Edge first and wait some months(two years or more) before discontinuing Internet Explorer(maybe by IE13) and keep continuing Edge. Maybe IE should be an add-on… I don’t know. It may be too late now, but…

2.5 stars if I could, because… Please, Edge isn’t terrible, but on desktop/server, they should make a cross/mix between IE and Edge! That would make something great! Not for mobile, though, just for the desktop/server.

Microsoft used to be a leader, but now it’s a follower. It’s especially following Google.

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