UK retailing giant Tesco are now selling cheap PCs running Linux. You can get PCs in the UK pre-installed with Linux but it's mostly small specialist vendors or two systems from Dell (if you look hard enough).
Tesco have a huge impact on the UK retail environment and if they do something then everyone else has to dance to Tesco's tune. By shipping a PC running Linux they are able to shave a fraction of the unit price and reduce the price even lower than the competition. Even though this isn't going to start an avalanche of Linux usage it isn't going to help Microsoft's UK operating margins...
A Google trend history for the search terms Ubuntu, Debian, Linux and Unix for England picks up Cambridge and Oxford as two hot beds of unixdom. What is really surprising is that nestled between Cambridge (rank 1) and Oxford (rank 3) is Rochdale! Most of the towns on the list are major University towns with a large IT communities so it's not surprising to find lots of decent Unix interest in these areas.
Rochdale is a run-down former mill town that is at the heart of the industrial dead-lands of East Lancashire. It's not the place you'd expect to find Debian users... If you add Windows, then Rochdale comes top in England - I wonder if there is some major Internet point there that makes Google think a lot of people come from the place?
Last night I got yet another email from a recruiter wanting me to apply to work for Google in Dublin. I hear that the Dublin housing market is even more over-heated than the Hampshire one, not the best incentive to make me move from England to the Republic of Ireland.
At work we use Adobe Reader to view and print PDF file. At home I mostly use one of the open-source PDF viewers, though I have installed the closed-source Adobe Reader application for Linux. The problem with Adobe's Reader application is that it's SO SLOW, which is very noticeable on Linux where I have much faster alternatives.
Long ago I found instructions from Adobe to remove most of the plug-ins and low and behold Reader started much faster. I had forgotten to do this on my current work system and never even tried with Reader for Linux. This week we were updating quite a few PDFs on the company website so the delay for Reader to start was becoming a pain, so again I disabled the plug-ins and again Reader now starts acceptably fast.
This week I finally got Eudora, a 32-bit Windows application, running on my 64-bit Linux system using the Debian WINE package. So far it has proved to be very stable with only a few temporary graphic glitches. I've not used Eudora for years now and though it has long been my favourite email client I'd have to say I think it's lack of threading and VERY poor IMAP perforce now means I'll have to promote KMail to number one email client.
On the upside, the Eudora team have released a Eudora extension to Thunderbird and an alpha build of custom Thunderbird/Eudora hybrid, so there is hope that they may improve Thunderbird to a usable state.
Last weekend we were given some very late rhubarb. Today I turned chopped rhubarb into rhubarb jam. It was a similar method to the earlier rhubarb and ginger: soak overnight in sugar and lemon juice then cook too jamming point. I ran out of sugar, so the mixture was 2.5 Kg of fruit, 2 Kg of sugar and the juice of one lemon. The yield was a surprising 10 full pots plus three micro-pots, more than I expected. Apparently late season rhubarb is better for jamming, we shall see when we taste it, once it has reached full maturity in a few weeks.