Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2016 for Black Lab Linux


Our customer base, always curious about what PC / OS is up to next, have asked us to layout the roadmap for Black Lab Linux 8, 9 and our Enterprise products. This writeup is in reply, so that our customers can understand what we're doing and why exactly it's being done.

Black Lab Linux 8 “Onyx”

Onyx will include new features to make the experience lovely, for even novice Linux users. Here's the list, be warned : it's gonna get a little geeky.

1. Linux kernel 4.2.
2. New X11 stack
3. Dtrace for Linux will make its debut in Onyx final
4. XFCE 4.12 with some unique mods
5. Aptik for migrating old data and settings to a brand new Black Lab system
6. New Device Driver manager
7. OpenJDK 8

There are more plans but some depend on licensing agreements – these will be introduced when viable.

Black Lab Enterprise Linux 8.0 “Kildall”

Kildall will introduce features that make sense for the enterprise and Long Term Support (until 2021). The coming list of changes includes :

1. Linux kernel 4.2
2. New X11 stack
3. Dtrace
4. XFCE 4.12 with some of our own modifications
5. Aptik for migrating your old settings to your new systems
6. New Device Driver manager
7. Oracle JDK 8
8. XFS as the default filesystem

Black Lab Server 7 Service Pack 1 “Murdock”

Murdock is a bugfix and ISO refresh for Black Lab Server, with Long Term Support until 2025; it will contain 2 important new features

Dtrace
ZFS support

Black Lab Linux 9 “Diesel”

Still on the drawing board. This will, however, be PC / OS' LAST Ubuntu-based release.

Rumor Cleanup

Now to clear up some rumors : are we changing because Remastersys (aka Black Lab Image Creator) doesn't build Systemd images? NO. Black Lab Image Creator has in fact been modified to build them quite effectively and the new build for BLIC will be released to the public in June So why are we changing? To align future products with the Open Source community, not against it.  BLIC however will be continued to be developed for Ubuntu users and our customers who have mixed shops

 So there has been a rumor circulating over the last couple of days I need to address. We are not doing an Apple move where you have to buy hardware to acquire Black Lab Linux. Its not happening. Yes, Black Lab Server you have to buy the hardware but that makes sense. Critical mission backend stuff needs to work flawlessly and it was a conscious decision that was made with customers that with Black Lab Server that was the way to go. Now, why do we offer the donate button on the desktop? So you guys can donate IF YOU CHOOSE to do so. A donation is not required but we do appreciate it when they come in. It makes things easier.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Black Lab 7.0.3 has been released

Black Lab LInux 7.0.3 has been released with an updated kernel (3.19.0.43). This is a maintenance release - no major application changes have been planned or implemented.

Downloads :

http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/7/64/black-lab-linux-703-x86_64.iso

http://distro.ibiblio.org/blacklab/7/64/black-lab-linux-703-x86_64.iso.md5


Monday, January 18, 2016

Black Lab Education software and hardware services

Today PC / Opensystems is pleased to announce a new set of hardware and software services for Black Lab Enterprise Linux for Education. Over the last year you have seen a ton of innovation come from PC/OpenSystems, in terms of the most usable Linux based desktop on the planet that blows away all of our competitors.  We have had a ton of innovation in terms of hardware and management and you have seen a ton of innovation in our service and support offerings and we are hoping to keep the innovation alive in 2016.  Since our academic customers are a very important segment of our business, we have made some corresponding changes to the services we offer them. PC / OS now has a dedicated web portal for our Education customers and 4 hardware selections : a desktop system, notebook and RAID solution all optimized for the academic sector, as well as the premier Linux backend solution, Black Lab Advanced Server for Education. With that being said, lets get started.  

1. Software – Black Lab Enterprise Linux for Education will offer the same certifications featured in its Black Lab Enterprise sibling : Microsoft Office 365, Oracle online and on-premise support, WebObjects and IBM Websphere. Black Lab Server for Education is available preinstalled on hardware only and will include OwnCloud support, Apache, Postfix e-mail server and Google Apps support. Black Lab Enterprise Linux for Education will also continue to include the unique application set which has separated it from the competition. When customers purchase an unlimited district license they will also get Black Lab Enterprise Linux with unlimited district licensing: two OSes for the price of one. Black Lab Enterprise Linux for Education is available in single-license format for is $75.00 US; unlimited district licensing costs $399.99 for the standard build, and custom builds for $500.00 US, which includes school branding, specialized applications, etc. 

2. Hardware - PC /OS presents 4 new offerings.

First : the Briq, our awesome Core i3 / 8 GB RAM / 128 GB SSD mini powerhouse, with a 3-year warranty and UPS, priced at $650.00. 

Second, a rugged Core i3-5010U 2.1GHz / 8 GB RAM / 1 TB hard drive notebook PC targeted towards schools, also with a 3-year warranty, priced at $699.99. Both ship with Black Lab Enterprise Linux preinstalled, or our Education release upon request. 

Third : a new server product line for education which has been on our drawing board for over a year. Schools tend to be very conservative on server choices, so PC/ OS presents our basic academic server : Black Lab Basic Server – based on our BriQ architecture, with an i5 Processor / 16 GB RAM / 256 GB SSD. Don't let the fact that it's based on the BriQ platform fool you : this is a full-featured, dedicated server platform with unlimited client licenses, a 4 year warranty and a UPS protection unit as standard options. This basic configuration can be expanded with our 4 drive rack-mounted USB-connected RAID system supporting up to 4 hard drives at 4 TB apiece. PC / OS also realizes that its academic customers may have some old Apple Xserves and Xserve RAID laying around : yes, these Xserve hard drive caddies can be integrated with our RAID, which ships with 4 1 TB hard drives by default. This full-featured basic Black Lab Server costs $1,299.99 USD with the default configuration : UPS, 4 year warranty and a backup hard drive preloaded with Black Lab Server for Education, keyboard, mouse and a monitor.    Black Lab Basic Server with RAID is $2,599.99 : this includes rack, UPS, powered USB hub, and 4 year warranty for both RAID and Server. 

Fourth: larger districts need a much more robust server. Black Lab Advanced Server is offered with a 6 core Intel Xeon processor, 16 GB of RAM (expandable to 192 GB), 4 HD bays that support up to 4 SATA HDs up to 4 TB each and ships with 4 1TB hard drives. The price for that system is $1,899.00 for the base model which includes UPS and 4 year warranty. For the Advanced Server with our USB-connected RAID device the cost would be $3,499.00 for rack, UPS and 4 year warranty on RAID and Server, and UPS. PC / OS is going to insure that its academic customers are fully protected, serviced and ready to go from day one; these solutions will be setup so you can plug them in, turn them on, and get to work immediately if not sooner.  Out of the box productivity, literally.

How are we going to service these systems? PC / OS offers on site service and support through our new SystemCare Product Service and Support  or you can self-service with the assistance of our SystemCare Parts Kit. PC / OS has examined our academic customer base, taken a hard look at their needs, and has put solutions in place that can be made to fit a wide variety of scenarios with few changes necessary.

You can find more information on our Black Lab Education Services website.

You can find out more about our hardware on the Black Lab Education Hardware site.

Q&A

Here we will answer some of the most common questions we encounter.  Please direct any queries outside of this Q&A to sales@pc-opensystems.com and they will be answered promptly.

1.  Why use PC/OpenSystems LLC and not Dell or Apple who are the tried and true leaders in academic IT?
A:  Since our founding in 2008 we have retained over 90% of our academic IT customers - in a space where change is so prevalent, this is practically unheard of.  PC/ OS believes we have the right formula, the right mix of hardware to match our long-running stable software base.

2.  What is the response to PC/OpenSystems' software products in the IT world?
A.  Very positive overall.  Among our clients we have a well-deserved and long-established reputation for responsive service and innovative products.  Black Lab Enterprise Linux is the most popular desktop Linux based operating systems for many major fortune 500 companies.  PC / OS clients include law enforcement, security agencies, factory, grocery and academia among its most frequent repeat customers; Black Lab is extremely popular in venues where a premium is placed on stability and security. When Google started giving Chromebooks away for free we lost 7 academic customers - after the pilot, 6 returned.

3.  Is this the first time PC/Opensystems has offered hardware in the academic space? 
A. No.  While we used to deal with academic customers and their hardware needs on a case-by-case basis, we have made these offerings in the past, and have evolved our approach to the marked based on feedback received and what hardware tiers schools have ordered from us before.

4.  What about service?  Will we have onsite service and support and  can we do onsite installation? 
A.  Yes and yes. Customers who order from us can arrange onsite installations on their schedule within a 4-hour-window in North Carolina, New York and California. PC / OS will be expanding that prerogative to other states based on demand.  For other academic customers who self-service, the SystemCare parts kit for the BriQ, Basic and advanced server and XRAID are available when needed.

5.  Will software upgrades come with the server systems for 4 years or does the customer have to buy the software with every new release? 
A.  Software has to be purchased yearly, unless a SystemCare software support plan is purchased, which relieves a customer of the obligation to constantly monitor software upgrades and licensing.  Purchasing our hardware without a SystemCare subscription requires the customer to purchase-upon- release every 12 to 18 months.

6.  Can the parts kits be ordered separately without having to enter a software subscription? 
A.  Yes.

7.  Can the Black Lab XRAID be ordered outside of academia and when will it be available?
A.  Yes and it will be made available on our Enterprise hardware site in a couple of weeks.

8.  Who can order the educational products?
A.  All primary and secondary schools.  Vocational schools, colleges and military academies.  We are also making our education products available to home schooled individuals.

9.  When can we start ordering hardware and software and what is the acquisition turnaround?  
 A.  You can order it today., January 19, 2016.  Software you have a 24 hour turn around, hardware is 7 to 10 business days.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Today Black Lab Linux 8 "Onyx" is released!

Today PC / Opensystem LLC is pleased to announce its latest release : Black Lab Linux 8 Alpha 1 “Onyx” - our latest FOSS offering. Since this is a consumer-focused release we focused on issues that end-users bring to our attention.
First and most important : migration tools, built into the installer, for the growing crowd moving from Windows and Mac OS X, and even other Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Mint) to the unparalleled stability of Black Lab. For that type of migration we now have the Aptik application bundled in;it can help move the most critical system settings from another distribution over to your new BL installation. Next : improved device driver management and a new built-in device driver manager to assist in loading third party binary drivers for proprietary hardware. We didn't neglect eye-candy : new themes and window-borders with bold colors figure prominently;PC / OS is making a statement with its latest release.



So what's new with Black Lab Linux 8 “Onyx” Alpha 1?

Kernel 3.19.43 – for the RC and the final release, we'll be upgrading to the 4.x / Ubuntu 15.10 “Wily” equivalent kernel. Black Lab Linux 9, the LAST Ubuntu based arm of our distro, will feature the 16.04 LTS kernel.
Firefox 43.04
Aptik
Device Manager
Boot-Repair
Oracle Java 8 (available in the final release)
Thunderbird
Wine 1.7
Nitroshare

Download Onyx here!



If you would like to contribute documentation, artwork or code please contact PC / OS at support_at_pc-opensystems_dot_com and we will let you know what areas require contributors;if you prefer to contribute funds to sustain your favorite distro, donate through our homepage http://www.blacklablinux.org.


For hardware donations, contact support_at_pc-opensystems_dot_com. As always, we thank you for your support!

Welcome to PC/OpenSystems LLC

PC/OpenSystems LLC. is dedicated to providing top customer service including integration, providing Linux compatible hardware and enterprise desktop software solutions. We provide solutions tailored to your needs whether its building systems to suit your needs. Whether its a custom database solution, providing Linux powered PC and Server Solutions. Whatever you need you can rest assured that PC/OpenSystems LLC. will deliver a high performance and stable product


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About PC/OpenSystems LLC.

PC/OpenSystems LLC. is a small consulting firm and the only Linux retailer in NC for Linux PC's and custom systems located in Franklinton North Carolina. We specialize in hardware repair and we resell custom Linux based computers, software maintenance as well as custom application development.