Tag: shortage

World suffering from a Linux geek shortage

133846870_25114cfae4_Mj7XD_1822With the surprise success of Linux in Android, and on the server, the world is suddenly faced with a shortage of Linux geeks.

Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin said that there are enough computing niches where GNU/Linux is the major player — from supercomputers to the next generation of automotive systems.

As a result Linux has become a super-important widely used operating system that has grown amazingly since Linus Torvalds first shared his kernel and shared his first swear word with the world in 1991.

The only problem is that there is a shortage of weirdy beardy types who know how to administer and otherwise work with Linux. In fact there are some calls in some regions for normal people to be actually trained in the black art.

Zemlin said that there are plenty of Linux jobs available if people took the time to train. He did not mention if any of them would have to give their heart to Richard Stallman or be baptised in the Tao of the Penguin, hard core Linux  still has elements of Open Sauce fanaticism which make Apple fanboys look like five year old girls – well more like five year old girls than they do already.

The Linux Foundation is developing new courses in tandem with massive open online course provider edX. Unlike some of the Linux Foundation’s previous course offerings, their edX ones are free to audit, and the cost for certification  – if you want a cred, not just knowledge –  is lower than many IT certification tests and certificates.

Scrimping hard disk manufacturers not helping supply shortage

Scrimping scrooge-like manufacturers in the hard disk industry are to blame for a shortage in supply, according to distributors.  

Our sources in the distribution channels say that industry bigwigs like Western Digital have been scrimping on supply in a bid to cut on overheads and keep prices low.

However, they have kick-started a domino effect, as smaller companies are manufacturing even less which is tightening distribution.

“Now, because of the earthquake, this has all gone wrong and left our customers behind as we can’t supply their orders”, a distributor familiar with the matter told TechEye.

The comments follow a report from DigiTimes, which cited the Japanese earthquake as having a huge supply chain impact on the hard disk industry.

It said that the effect will continue into May, with the likes of the enormous Western Digital and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST) already seeing tight supply.

This is despite the likes of Texas Instruments and Renesas Electronics both working hard to get their supply back on track.

Distributors hold no sympathy. One disgruntled distie told us: “The blame as I see it lies in the hands of bigger manufacturers such as Western Digital who have set the distribution and manufacturing tone.

“Tight supply means cheaper overheads, which means cheaper prices. To keep up with them smaller cos are manufacturing even less once again tightening distribution. And now, because of the earthquake this has all gone wrong and left our customers behind as we can’t supply their orders.

“We’ve struggled to supply our clients with a sufficient amount of hard disk demand and as a result have seen many cancel orders. This has mainly been since the Japanese earthquake, but we also had a smaller problem before, which we put down to holidays in the country and a lack of manufacturing.

“It’s not easy to say who has been hit most. The bigger ones – like Western Digital – have suffered but that’s because they were manufacturing to order rather than to keep up with demand or supply.

“No-one thought about what would happen in a crisis. We don’t expect to be able to distribute fully to our clients until at least the end of the year. At the moment it seems as though we’re scraping to get orders out.”  

Other have been slightly less scathing, but maintain a similar message: “While we can’t list the companies struggling with this, it’s fair to say that the earthquake has affected out distribution and of course supplies.

“This is mainly down to a short supply before the quake, which means that we haven’t had any backlog.”

HDD prices started to rise slightly in April with some models seeing an increase of 10-15 percent.

Whether that helps in the short term remains to be seen.

Lenovo agrees memory supply's tight for LePad

Lenovo has become the latest to warn of supply problems following the tragedy in Japan, with reports emerging that it is worrying about shipments of its tablet computer, LePad.

A company executive told the WSJ the news as Lenovo started flogging its anticipated iPad rival LePad in China. It says the tablet may leave its Chinese stomping ground for worldwide sales by June.

Lenovo’s supply problems will not be unfamiliar to many technology companies who depend on both operations and components from Japan. DramXchange, as quoted by the Journal, says the average spot price of the popular 1-gigabit double data rate has risen by eight percent as manufacturers and computer makers scramble to fill their pockets.

Reports last week emerged that DDR3 prices to the contract market are steadily rising following the problems caused by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

DRAM Exchange said that prices had risen by over three percent, while Taiwanese manufacturer Nanya forecasts that its prices will rise by up to five percent.

Earlier this month a Merrill Lynch analyst also warned that chipmakers around the world would only have an estimated silicon wafer stock of around four to five months if Japanese suppliers failed to get their production lines moving again.

At the time, Malcolm Penn, analyst at Future Horizons, told TechEye that the silicon shortages were down to CEOs trying to stretch back as much as possible – so as soon as the earthquake hit, supply began to unravel.

As well as the likes of Qualcomm and Sony, ZTE has also saying that it expects supply problems caused by the crisis in Japan to last for the next three to six months. It says it’s having supply problems with components including battery cores, storage, and LCD panels.

Many are now rushing to Taiwan in light of the earthquake.

DRAM prices soar in wake of quake

Prices of DDR3 to the contract market – that is to say the PC OEMs,  are steadily rising following the problems caused by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

DRAM Exchange said that prices have risen by over three percent, while Taiwanese manufacturer Nanya has forecast that its prices will rise by up to five percent.

The problem is due to shortages expected on silicon wafers, as we reported earlier this week.

OEMs are panicking because they anticipate a shortage of DRAM, although actually there is an oversupply of products right now.

DRAM Exchange said that DDR3 2GB contract prices rose to $17 and anticipates further price rises in April.

It’s not just supply of silicon wafers that’s the problem – Hitachi Chemical and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical make over 80 percent of resin used in modules, while there are shortages of other raw materials used in the manufacture of both the chips and printed circuit boards.

US has significant rare earth deposits

As China tightens its hold on the market for rare earths, the US has been on the hunt for other sources. And just look what it’s found – 13 million metric tonnes of the stuff, hidden down the back of the sofa.

While most rare earths aren’t actually that rare, mining is almost exclusively concentrated in China, which has warned that it plans to limit exports. This week, EU officials plan to plead with the country to change its mind.

The US, meanwhile, has been looking closer to home, and yesterday released a report detailing estimates of its own domestic rare earth element (REE) resources.

And it’s good news. The US Geological Society has found significant deposits of REE in 14 states, with the largest at Mountain Pass, California, where REE was previously mined until 2002. Other large deposits include Bokan Mountain, Alaska, and the Bear Lodge Mountains in Wyoming.

REEs were also found in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York and North and South Carolina.

“This is the first detailed assessment of rare earth elements for the entire nation, describing deposits throughout the United States,” says Marcia McNutt of the US Geological Survey.

“Although many of these deposits have yet to be proven, at recent domestic consumption rates of about 10,000 metric tons annually, the US deposits have the potential to meet our needs for years to come.”

The problem is, though, that the world needs rare earths now – and mines can take years to build.

“Many… nickel mines have required in excess of 10 years of process development plus delays because of market timing,” the report concedes. “A new REE mine would almost certainly fall into this last category for many of the same reasons — complex metallurgy and restricted opportunities for market entry.”

In any case, says independent analyst Jack Lifton, such mines are hard to make profitable.

“I believe that this was the dirty little secret of why the rare-earth-mining industry failed in the non-Chinese world during the last generation,” he says on his blog.

“China’s secret of success was not brilliant market-entry timing or low labor costs, as the pundits have theorized, but rather it was state participation in absorbing overheads, either as direct grants or mandated, shared-infrastructure resources.”

PC makers scared of DRAM shortage

Digitimes  is reporting that top PC vendors are running around banging on the doors of Taiwanese DRAM makers desperately trying to shore up supplies.

For a while people in the know and strokers of beards have been predicting that there will be an extreme shortage of DRAM.

Now apparently Dell, Asustek and Sony are trying to get Taiwanese produces to give them three-month contracts that guarantee DRAM supply.

Each of the PC vendors is seeking a supply of DDR2 and DDR3 totalling 20-30 million chips, and their suppliers will see their capacities fully loaded through the end of June.

But the suppliers are not that happy with the plan as it involves the PC Vendors effectively double ordering and will result in them having too much RAM on hand.

This means that when the shortage of DRAM bites they will not order anything. Prices will tumble and the chipmakers will have to shut down production capacity.

With fears of a shortage, the average spot prices for branded and effectively tested (eTT) 1Gb DDR2 memory are up 0.23 percent.