Posts Tagged ‘foss’

BB – A must see ASCII Art Audio / Video portable demo for Linux, FreeBSD, UNIX and DOS

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

bb Audio Visual ASCII art Linux FreeBSD demonstration old school demo logo

I know and I have enjoyed BB – Portable Demo for already a decade.
I'm sure many newbies to the Free And Open Source (FOSS) realm don't know or heard of bb's existence as nowdays ASCII art is not so well known among youngsters. Hence this short post aims to raise some awareness of the existence of this already OLD but GOLD – awesome! text console / terminal demonstation BB 🙂

bb is pretty much in the spirit of Oldschool Assembly DOS demo scene dominating the geeks dome in the late 80's and yearly 90's.

Historically bb used to be one of the main stunning things one could show to a fellow GNU / Linux new comer.

For the year 2000, seeing all this awesome ASCII video demo running on free Operating System like GNU / Linux was a big think.
The fact that such an advanced ASCII art was distributed freely for an OS which used to exist since only (6 / 7 years) was really outstanding of its time.

BB text ascii art Linux demo entry screen characters matrix

I still remember how much I was amazed seeing a plain ascii video stream was possible only Linux. Moreover the minimal requirements of bb were quite low for its time – it worked on mostly all PCs one can find at the time.

BB's minimum requirements to work with no chops is just an old 486/66 DX2 CPU Mhz with few megas of memory (32MB of memory was more than enough to run it)

BB text sacii art Linux demo entry screen char matrix

A very unique feature of bb was it was the first Linux demo that succesfully run simultaneously playing on two monitor screens as one can read on the project website.
Unfortunately I didn't owned two monitors back in the day so never ever had the opportunity to see it running on two screens.
Anyhow I've seen it runnign somewhere on some of the Linux install fests visited some years ago…

The demo was developed by 4 man group ppl – the AA group the same digital artists are also the guys behind the AA Project.

AA Lib mascot logo :)

The main aim of AA-lib was to make possible (Doom, Second Reality, X windows) to run rendered in plain ASCII art text.

The project succeeded in a lot of his goals already as there is already existent such an ascii art ports of large games like QUAKE! Be sure to check this awesome project too AAquake ascii quake page is here
, as well as video and pictures could be viewed under a plain console Linux tty or in terminal (via SSH 🙂 )

Thanks to AA-Lib even text mode doom exists.

bb as well as aa-lib has ports for most modern Linux distros in that number one can easily get rpm or deb packages for most of distros.
On Slackware Linux you should compile it from source. Though compilation should be a straightfoward process, not that i tried it myself but I remember a close friend of mine (a great Slackware devotee) who was the one to show me the demo for a first time on his Slackware box.

1. Installing bb on Debian Linux

Debian Linux users like me are privileged as for already many years a Debian package of bb is maintaned thanks to Uwe Herman

Hence for anyone willing to enjoy bb install it by running:

debian:~# apt-get --yes install bb
ho@debian:~$ bb

If you're running a X server the aa-lib will immediately run with its X server compiled support:

Running BB Music Screesnhot

2. Installing BB demo on FreeBSD

On FreeBSD, bb demo has a port to install it run:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/misc/bb freebsd# make install clean ...

Here is good time to say that even though in most of the machines, I've tested the demo I had on some of the hosts problems with sound due to buggy sound drivers.
As of time of writting hopefully on most machines there will be no troubles as most of the Linux sb drivers are better supported by ALSA.

Everyone interested in both Free Software and ASCII art knows well how big in significance is the AA-lib project for the historical development and attraction for new hackers to the Linux dome.
In that sense AAlib head developer Jan HubickaBy the way Jan Hubicka is also the author of another Linux tool called xaos. Xaos is a tool to deal with some kind of advanced higher mathematics stuff called fractals.

XAOS Screenshot Debian Squeeze Linux

Unfortunately I don't know a bit for fractal maths and what the purpose of the tool is but as you can see on the shot it looks nice running 🙂

Here are also, lot of the major BB parts in shots:

Running bb music screen screenshot Linux Debian 6 Squeeze

BB AScii fire Linux shot

bb demo ascii art fractals

BB demo ascii art back head and description of the dev

bb demo ascii zebra Linux screenshot

bb demo cannon gun shot

BB demo ring screenshot

BB demo spots Debian shot

BB developer head shot 2

BB developer profile shot

bb game ascii invaders demo

Linux extremist BB demo

BB demo zoomed text ascii art text

BB Demo thanks for watching screen

For those on MS-Windows OS platform, here is the demo 🙂

BB ASCII Demo standard size running in Linux (With sound)

Enjoy ! 🙂

BSD (Berkley Software Distribituion) use by distribution type (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, DrangflyBSD) use percantage charts

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

I've hit an interesting article in Wikipedia called Comparison of BSD operating systems
The article explains basic difference between different BSD (Berkley Software Distributions) and what is the primary accent of each of the BSD (free software OS) distributions. It also reveals basic details about the history and how each of the BSD's came to existence. I recommend to anyone interested in free software as it is just a great reading for everybody interested in FOSS.

The most interesting part of the wiki thread is a bar chart, provided by BSD Certification Group research conducted in September 2005.

FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Dragonflybsd usage statistics

The above diagram is showing the proportion of users of each BSD variant from the BSD usage survey prior conducted

The research is already 6 years old, and unfortunately as of time of writting seems to be the only publicly available. Though being outdated, I believe generally the bar charts distributions along different BSD variants would be mostly true. The only big difference will be probably in PC-BSD which is not even on the diagram should have outbeaten DragonflyBSD's use. Since there is no public data available for 2012 and the years 2005 – 2012 for the use percantage of each of the BSD distributions, I've thought about a pseudo way to get some general statistics on each of the BSD distributions popularity. The methodology to gather the required statistics comes to simply, type in Google each of the BSD variant "code names" (e.g. freebsd, netbsd, openbsd etc.) and look at the number of results returned. It seems logical the more results distribution keyword searched returns, the bigger the probability of more users to be involved in developing or using the respective BSD variant.

Below you see the results, I've gathered in my quick "google research":

FreeBSD NetBSD OpenBSD BSD variant (users) use diagram based on Google searches of keywords 2012

As you can see in the above data FreeBSD is still probably leading the BSD use, the public interest to OpenBSD – BSD focused on security has significantly grow since the last 6 years. Next it is seen the PC-BSD users base has probably tremendously increased and according to the Google results returned it is probably on a 3rd place by users interest (use?) followed by NetBSD with only 1.47% of all the BSD users. Lastly with only 0.99%, orders Dragonfly BSD which no longer is so popular as a Desktop BSD based OS as it used to be back in 2005.
Again the presented diagram results are based on only on the factor of Google BSD variant popularity and hence shouldn't be consired too trustworthy, still I'm sure it gives a general idea on how used is each of the BSD variants as of Jan 2012.

What is the real development costs of Debian GNU / Linux – How much costs the development of a Free Software projects

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Free Software (FS) is free as in freedom as well as free as in price. Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is developed by geek hobbyist which voluntarily put their time and effort in writting, testing and sharing with anyone for free million of lines of programming code. This doesn't mean however the price of free software costs is 0 (zero). Though the "end product" –  Free Software developed is FREE, "real" software costs as with any other product costs huge money.

I've recently read on Jeb's blog an estimation on how much is the cost of one of the major Free Software project efforts – Debian GNU / Linux
According to James E. Brombergerthe whole Debian project was estimated to be at the shocking price of $19 billion – $19 000, 000, 000 !!!

Here is how JEB got the $19 billions, a quote taken from his blog:

"By using David A Wheeler’s sloccount tool and average wage of a developer of US$72,533 (using median estimates from and for 2011) I summed the individual results to find a total of 419,776,604 source lines of code for the ‘pristine’ upstream sources, in 31 programming languages — including 429 lines of Cobol and 1933 lines of Modula3!

In my analysis the projected cost of producing Debian Wheezy in February 2012 is US$19,070,177,727 (AU$17.7B, EUR€14.4B, GBP£12.11B), making each package’s upstream source code worth an average of US$1,112,547.56 (AU$837K) to produce. Impressively, this is all free (of cost).

James has done incredible job with this great research and he deserves applause.
However I believe the numbers proposed by his research are slightly different if we speak about realistic cost of Debian GNU / Linux.
The real costs of the working software ready to install on a user PC are way higher, as according to Jeb's research only the software cost based on code line count is considered.

Hence James software estimation calculates only the programming costs and miss many, many factors that constitute the software end cost.
Some of the many, many REAL COST / expenses for developing a huge Free Software project like Debian GNU / Linux to be considered are:

a) bandwidth costs for hosting free software (on the server side)b) bandwidth cost for developers or FS users downloading the software

a) Time spend to spread the word of the great added value of Debian and bundled software (Mouth by Mouth Marketing)

b) Time spend to advertise Debian and its free software components on blogs, social networks (, facebook, twitter) etc.(Voluntary online Marketing, SEO etc.)

c) Time spend on generating ideas on future program versions and reporting them to Debian FS community

d) Time on evaluation and feedback on software

e) Time spend on managing free software repository (download) servers voluntarily (by system administrators)

f) Time spend by users on Bug Tracking & Bug Reporting

g) Time spend on research and self-actualization by software developer)

h) Time spend on software Quality Assurance

This are most of the multiple factors which should probably influence the cost of any non-free (proprietary software) project. No matter this costs apply for non-free software, it perfectly applies for free software as well.With all said if if we assume the non-programming costs are equal to the programming costs of $ 19 000 000 000 (suggested by Jeb). This means the real cost of Debian will presumably be at least $32 000 000 000. Putting $ 19 billion for all this long list of "additional" costs (besides pure source) factors is probably still very under-scored number.

  • the developers use of their own computers (hardware depreciation)
  • electricity bill of the volunteer (developer) working on the program or project
  • electricity bills for servers where free software is stored and available for download
  • volunteer developer IT skills and tech knowledge (KNOW HOW)
  • Internet, network, dial up bandwidth cost
  • personal time put in FS development (programming, design, creativity etc.)! here the sub costs are long:
  • Costs for Project Management Leaders / Project Coordination
  • The complexity of each of the projects constituting Debian

Very interesting figure from Jeb's research is the Programming Languages break down by source code figure.
Jamesresearch reveals on the 4 major programming languages used in the 17000+ software projects (part of Debian GNU / Linux):


  • ANSI C with 168,536,758 – (40% of all projects source code)
  • C++ at 83,187,329 – (20% of all projects source)
  • Java 34,698,990 – (lines of code 8% of sources)
  • Lisp – (7% of all projects source code)

  His research also provides a general idea on how much the source code of some of the major FOSS projects costs. Here is a copy of his figures

Individual Projects

Other highlights by project included:

Project Version Thousands
Projected cost
at US$72,533/developer/year
Samba 3.6.1 2,000 US$101 (AU$93M)
Apache 2.2.9 693 US$33.5M (AU$31M)
MySQL 5.5.17 1,200 US$64.2M (AU$59.7M)
Perl 5.14.2 669 US$32.3M (AU$30M)
PHP 5.3.9 693 US$33.5M (AU$31.1M)
Bind 9.7.3 319 US$14.8M (AU$13.8M)
Moodle 1.9.9 396 US$18.6M (AU$17.3M)
Dasher 4.11 109 US$4.8M (AU$4.4M)
DVSwitch 6 US$250K (AU$232K)


As you can imagine all the source evaluation results, are highly biased and are open for discussion, since evaluating a free software project/s is a hard not to say impossible task. The "open" model of development makes a project very hard to track, open source model implies too many unexpected variables missing from the equation for clear calculation on costs. What is sure however if turned in money it is very expensive to produce.  At present moment Debian Project is sponsored only through donations. The usual yearly budget 5 years ago for Debian  was only $80 000 dollars a year!! You can check Debian Project annual reports throughout the years here , for year 2012 Debian Project budget is as low as $ 222, 677 (US Dollars)! The output price of the software the project provides is enormous high if compared to the low project expenses!

For us the free software users, price is not a concern, Debian is absolutely free both  as in freedom and free as in beer 😉

Little Registry Cleaner (Free Software / Open Source Windows XP Registry Cleaner)

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Little Registry Cleaner - Free and Open Source Software Windows XP Registry cleaner / Alternative to Registry Booster
Have you ever wondered, if there is a free (open source) software that could fix Windows XP registry irregularities e.g. (obsolete or unwanted items that build up in the registry over time.)?

I did not either until now, however when I had to fix, few Windows XP computers which was not maintained for a long time fixing the Windows registry was necessery to make the sluggerish computers improve their overall stability and performance.

The reasons of the slowness in computers who run for a long time by users who does not have a "computer culture" are obvious.
Windows programs which has incorrectly placed registry records withint the Windows registry database, Programs which on Uninstall / Removal left behind a lot of registry records just to hang around because of impotent (coders), or records created on purpose on program uninstall to intentionally further track the user behavior etc.
Other reasons why Windows registry gots bloated with time, are due to Malware or polymorphic Viruses which load them selves everytime on Windows load using some obscure registry records.

Though I'm not a big proprietary software lover still my job as a system administrator , enforces me to fix some broken Windowses.
I haven't fixed Windows machines for a long time, so my memories on programs that clean up registry are from my young years.

The software, I've used before to fix Windows 2000 / XP Registry was:

1. Registry Booster

From my current perspective of a free software hobbyist / evangelist it was important for me to clean up the Windows PCs with a program that is Free or Open Source Software.
When I'm asked to fix some Windows computer I always do my best to make most of the programs that roll on the PC to be FOSS.

Using FOSS instead of downloading from torrents, some cracked software has multiple benefits.

1. Usually Free Software is more stable and more robust2. FOSS software for Windows usually does not come with Malware / Spyware as many of the cracked proprietary software

3. Free and Open Source Programs are simplistic in interface and way of use

A bit of research if there is a Free (Open Source) Software immediately lead me to a program called Little Registry Cleaner
You can see a screenshot of the program in the beginning of the article, the program is very easy to install and use and uses some .NET framework classes so right before installing it installs .NET library (code).

The use results of Little Registry Cleaner were amazing. Even though it is a free software the program found and fixed more registry problems than its competitor Windows Registry Booster! 😉