Tag Archives: windows

Gigastrand OS: 10-Year Business Cost Analysis

The Gigastrand OS is software that has practical applications across many systems and is designed to completely replace the systems you currently use. This analysis is based on the real-world costs of purchasing and maintaining various environments. Below you will find our 10-year operational cost projection comparing 3 different environments.

With a Windows environment, the average expenditure to operate in this environment (including upgrades, downtime, and support) is approximately:

$844,233

With a Linux environment taking into account the same variables the cost of operating the same environment is approximately:

$653,000

That is a significant savings ($191,233 to be exact) but not really much of a secret. Many companies know about the savings of running Linux. A Mac OS environment operates slightly more at about $675,000.

Now, let’s shake things up a bit and assume that the PCs and Server are scalable and upgradeable Gigastrand Lifetime Warranty PCs running the Gigastrand Operating System. Operating this environment will cost approximately:

$366,735

That is a massive savings of $477,498 over a comparable Windows environment!

There are other benefits to running Gigastrand OS in your business that aren’t so easily measured. For example, when your technology runs better and more efficient, productivity goes up. Gigastrand OS was designed with business in mind. This analysis does a good job measuring the monetary benefits, but with the capability of Gigastrand OS and the reliability of Gigastrand PCs, money is not all you will save with Gigastrand.

User installed malware found on non-Windows machines.

In recent weeks, Gigastrand has seen 2 instances of browser extension malware installed by unwitting users on Safari in Mac OS and Chrome in Gigastrand OS v3.

This discovery makes a change in operating system ineffective when it comes to security. Malware seems to be targeting Internet browsers with the OS being a secondary consideration.

However, this is easily mitigated if users pay attention. These extensions generally require user permission to install – a fairly standard security precaution in browsers. Once installed, they can be easily removed from a browser by removing them in the extensions or plugins page for the browser. In extreme cases, the browser can be uninstalled and reinstalled.

One word of caution, browsers like Chrome will re-install an extension upon login. There is a narrow window of time between login and when the extension is reinstalled to be on the extension page.

A few pieces of advice to prevent this from happening.

  1. Don’t install plugins or browser extensions from outside sources.
  2. Read the prompts that popup on a website. Do not agree to install anything unless you know what it is.
  3. Watch the prompts for software carefully. Do not install programs that install 3rd party software as well.

Paying attention to what your computer tells you can prevent a lot of this from happening no matter what OS you use.

What Happened After Gigastrand OS Wouldn’t Install

When one woman bought a Gigastrand OS PC over 2 years ago, she knew she was moving from a slow, buggy, and out of date Windows PC to a brand new one with a different kind of operating system on it.

“I remember explaining to her that, if she absolutely hated Gigastrand OS, we can always just load a new version of Windows on it instead.” Gigastrand CEO Josh Tordsen explains. “But, I knew from over 15 years of experience in Linux, that she was the perfect candidate.”

Gigastrand built a system that they thought was future-proof. It was a fast system with plenty of memory and a large solid-state hard drive. More importantly, it was the first direct sale of a brand new Gigastrand OS system in South Dakota.

“The operating system software makes all the difference. It doesn’t just determine how user-friendly it is. It is one of the most important determining factors when it comes to system security, stability, and reliability.”

Recently, Google dropped support for 32-bit operating systems like Windows XP and Gigastrand OS 2.x. So when Chrome began telling its user that they were no longer supporting the operating system, Gigastrand was already trying to figure out what needed to be done.

“When I got her call, I was already seeing the same thing on my screen. I was still using gigastrand OS 2.x on my personal computers despite the fact we upgraded all the rest to 3.0 by that time. Ideally, we would have liked to use the multiarch feature in our OS to piggyback 64-bit programs on a 32-bit system. It would have extended usable life and compatibility for 2.0.  It seemed like we were so close to doing it too, but it proved impossible.”

Gigastrand began recommending that an upgrade to 3.0 was necessary to resolve the Chrome issue. Mr. Tordsen travelled to his customer’s house to upgrade her computer.

“It was going to be a straightforward upgrade. Backup data, pop the disc in, upgrade the system. We’ve done it hundreds of times.”

This time was different. Several errors were noted by Mr. Tordsen resulting in the system being unable to startup to the installation disc.

“I tried all the usual tricks. Is the disc dirty? Is it a bad disc? Was the version incompatible? Was the drive bad? Nothing worked. We even left site, made a new install image with some things removed, and tried again. That didn’t work.”

After the last attempt, Mr. Tordsen knew he would need to examine the problem more closely. He loaned her a laptop and took the computer to fix it. What he discovered was the hardware used in the original build was not compatible with 64-bit versions of Linux – including Gigastrand OS 3.0. The only option was a hardware upgrade.

As this was a new computer purchased with Gigastrand OS and the OS upgrade was the cause for the hardware requiring to be upgraded, Gigastrand chose to liberally interpret their Lifetime Upgrade Guarantee – which usually applies to hardware upgrades only – and give this customer the hardware she needed to upgrade to Gigastrand OS 3.2.

“All of the trips, all of the troubleshooting, and all of the hardware – and the customer only paid the cost of the software – $25. I don’t know of any other company that stands behind their products like Gigastrand does.”

Gigastrand OS Makes Its Local Television Debut

A little bit of earned media can go a long way and this is exactly what we are talking about – a teeny bit of television news media. About 3 seconds to be exact at 1:10 and 1:15 – but we’ll take it.

http://www.keloland.com/newsdetail.cfm/escape-605-/?id=189190

Gigastrand was called in to help a local startup – Escape 605 – with audio/video technology and displays for escape rooms. Gigastrand OS machines were used to run the displays and a Gigastrand Security DVR runs the audio and video feeds.

KELO TV did a story on Escape 605 and showed how some of the equipment worked. Briefly, the Gigastrand equipment was shown – including a shot of Gigastrand OS.

Because there was no blueprint, Gigastrand was able to design all of the systems from scratch. Using the Gigastrand OS was a natural fit for this application as it had all of the elements needed to run the room built-in.

The one problem we have is not everything can be run from Gigastrand OS. The DVR and Control PCs need to be Windows PCs (for now). Gigastrand is working on a port for the software.

Gigastrand is also working on some of the imagineering behind the rooms.

Gigastrand Security: Tornado caught on security cam

It is amazing what security cameras capture when no one is looking. A good security system is key to knowing what happens when no one is around to see what is going on.

When choosing a video security system, never settle for appliances you can’t upgrade with cheap cameras and inexperienced installers. These types of systems will cost you more in the long run.

A good system will pay for itself several times over during its lifetime. Gigastrand custom-builds video security solutions tailored to your security needs and your business. We know what it takes to capture high-quality video and, as technology experts, we can help you take full advantage of the system and all its features.

The video below is not from one of our systems but is pretty spectacular nonetheless.

 

Does Gigastrand OS “ignore the rules” for Linux and Open Source?

A question was once posed to me: “By incorporating closed source and considering the inclusion Microsoft apps like Skype, does Gigastrand OS break with FOSS standards and ignore the rules for a traditional Linux distro?”

My answer at the time was “I hope so.” 

Truth be told, I really don’t care if this distro breaks a few of the traditionally held rules that Linux must be all open source or not at all. I don’t care because my customers don’t care. They just want it to work for them.

Look at all the bad OSes that users run. Look at how disparate they are. Look at how some users trade one set of OS problems for another. Not that I am saying Gigastrand OS is perfect, but these are the problems it is trying to solve.

Here is another truth: if you understand that question well enough to ask it or even be offended at my answer, then you are not the target audience for this distro. The politics of open vs. closed source is not something most users are even aware of. They not only buy devices with closed source software, but the devices themselves are more closed (read “non-upgradeable”) than ever.

If I had a choice to build this OS exclusively on open source software, I would do that in a heartbeat. The reality is that what we wanted to do requires the combination of closed and open source software.

For your final truth, closed source is not bad. There is very good closed source software out there. For example, I have a colleague of mine (http://www.sidewalktech.com/) that develops specialized software on Linux systems and most – if not all – of his software is closed source. His customers love it and still buy from him.

When we think of closed source it is often the companies themselves and their business practices that makes us think of it as bad. 

MR GB

Gigastrand OS: On Security

A quick disclaimer: Comments made in this post on Microsoft Windows as comparison/contrast to the Gigastrand OS for the purpose of educating the reader on computer OS security that may be misconstrued as a disparagement on Microsoft, Windows, or its users. It is not the intent of the author or Gigastrand International to make any such disparagements on these entities. 

“Gigastrand OS is a self-supporting PC operating system designed with superior cross-platform compatibility but is safer and less expensive to operate than other systems.”
What exactly does it mean that an OS is safer? Well, for a start, it isn’t Microsoft Windows which, historically, has a disastrous track record for PC security. There are many reasons for this – many of which are outside of Microsoft’s control.
So why is Windows that much less secure than any other operating system in the world? 
Well, for a start, it is a big target. Let’s say you could write a program to attack any computing device in the world. In the PC world, Windows is still the dominant desktop and laptop operating system. If you were aiming to make as big an impact as possible, Windows PCs are a good place to start.
Second, it is a relatively easy target to exploit. Windows has improved vastly over time in regards to vulnerabilities that could be exploited by virus programs in no small part to the efforts of Microsoft, however, its users often install spyware and malware on their computers in the pursuit of free software. In other words, users are installing virus-like programs willingly without knowing it to accomplish a specific task.
Third, programming for Windows is expensive. Far more than other OSes. So, good software tends to cost money which makes users tend to pursue, download, and install free software alternatives from less than trustworthy websites. This, of course, really has nothing to do with Windows at all. It is more about human nature than software faults.
Finally, Windows software tends to be closed-source. While there is nothing inherently wrong with closed-source software, it does not allow the review by programming peers that open source software does. Fewer eyes on the code, means fewer things get fixed in a timely manner. I could go on about the benefits of open source software (OSS) but that is a whole other blog. 
OK. What makes Gigastrand OS security that much better?
Gigastrand OS is a smaller target. Dropping a stone into a puddle doesn’t really have the effect of an asteroid dropping into the ocean. Often fewer users affected makes it not worth the time of someone looking to make headlines with their latest exploit.
Gigastrand OS does not run Windows programs natively. Therefore, Gigastrand OS is not affected by Windows-based malicious software. You can run some Windows software using the Windows compatibility layer or inside a Windows Virtual Box but if you break that part of the OS, you do not break the entire computer.
Gigastrand OS also has a package manager (think App Store) that you can search for free and guaranteed safe programs to install on your computer.
Gigastrand OS is less expensive all around. Much of the software available in Gigastrand OS is free and all programs from the package manager is free from malicious software.
Gigastrand OS is built primarily on open-source software. While some programs we include are closed source, much of the OS and its programs are open source.
What, if anything, am I still vulnerable to?
No security is absolute and while Gigastrand OS has much better security than some other OSes, ultimately, your security is only as good as your password and the security of the institutions you trust with your data. Phishing scams, spam, e-mail scams, and password hacking of large institutions are all things that users of ANY operating system can still be susceptible to. Using common-sense safe computing practices will help you stay safe.
MR GB

Gigastrand Security: Capturing a Vandal

I have lived in many places in my life and have had things happen to me that I REALLY wish I had a camera recording the event. I am sure many reading this have known such situations.

Because of this, when I bought my house, I always intended to install cameras to keep an eye on the place. So I did. Outside, inside, wherever I could. I have never regretted the decision.

Anyone who has ever had a parked car vandalized knows how frustrating it is to come out in the morning and see the damage. Without witnesses there is precious little the police can do.

With the camera system I designed and built, we caught the person who threw a rock through the window of our van. He has been arrested and will be charged with (among other things) vandalism of private property.

Without the cameras, we could never have proven he did it and would not have a shot at restitution (not that we are holding our breath for it).

It is no coincidence that I am a big proponent of video home surveillance. The things that I have caught with my system make for interesting stories.

I may tell you those some other time.

MR GB

Gigastrand OS: The new computer security

Once upon a time, viruses were all about screwing up a computer in the worst way possible.

Not anymore

The new game is about stealthily acquiring information. Phishing is one example of this type of strategy and users of any operating system can fall victim of this. This method, though effective, is a primitive way to gather information.

The new game is to place a piece of software on your computer to watch you and what you do, gather passwords, and do so in a way that does not make you suspicious or interfere with your PC. It happens all the time and it is incredibly easy in Windows. 

Which, to be perfectly honest, surprises the hell out of me. Since Windows 95, Microsoft has had 18 years of patching vulnerabilities in Windows software, yet, Windows 7 and 8 still have issues with malicious code circumventing Windows security. This is such an issue that the very term “Windows security” has itself become an oxymoron.

To be fair, Microsoft has not sat idly by and let vulnerabilities in their code go. They have made and issue patches on a daily basis. They are also stuck with the demon of maintaining backwards compatibility or their customers are outraged. While none of these things are easy,  Windows itself really does need a page 1 rewrite. Asking the user to make decisions about PC security or blocking things the user wants to do just doesn’t cut it.

That is why I run Linux. I am not stuck with an OS that is outdated when some company decides it is nor do I worry about my PCs security. Linux puts the user in control of their own system – as it should be.

Now, Linux has its problems too – namely support. Lots of options, lots of security but not terribly friendly and not a lot of one-on-one support. Don’t get me wrong, desktop Linux is very friendly when it comes to simply running native programs, however, when it comes to doing anything more complicated, it can be difficult to say the least – and this is coming from someone who is creating a Linux OS.

The bottom line is that Gigastrand OS is attempting to solve all of the issues with Linux. Because it is Linux, you already have a baseline security. Gigastrand OS goes further by addressing one-on-one support, ease of access, and compatibility. We hope that this OS will be Linux people will be able to switch to to fix the Windows vulnerabilities permanently.

MR GB