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05.17.07

The Story of a Nasty Mirror Called “Linux”

Posted in Dell, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 11:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Company looks at mirror, grabs hammer, smashes it to pieces

But the problem was never the mirror; it was the company.

As we recently pointed out, Vista and other products are in fact the catalysts and the cause for the assault on Free software. Free software has not magically evolved overnight. Rather, Microsoft is reaching a sad realisation. Development is hindered in a very nasty way, due to lack of modularity that made it unmaintainable.

Development, however, is not the only factor. Linux is a risk for other reasons. It is associated with competition that is based on price. Yesterday, another short report talked about Microsoft’s attempt at subscription-based (pay-as-you-go) operating systems. Microsoft is trying to reinvent itself. Meanwhile, it does not like anything it sees. Consider the short essay “Microsoft: FUDing to Hide its Fears?”.

Even more galling, Dell recently bucked the system by announcing they’ll optionally install Windows XP in new machines because so many potential buyers didn’t want DRM-crippled Vista. To add insult to injury they’re be adding an Ubuntu Linux-equipped line later this year, and Michael Dell himself publicly professes to using Ubuntu, OpenOffice.org and Firefox on his laptop.

In reference to Dell’s recent move, see the following new article:

Despite Microsoft’s statements, Gunn insists that Microsoft is not happy.

“I think it is evolutionary; it is common sense; and it is the future,” Gunn said. “It gives the user the ultimate option of which solution they want. It puts the user in the driver’s seat.”

Also, consider this:

“An awful lot of customers are going to Microsoft and saying ‘we need you to interoperate more easily with our Linux server.’ They’re thinking if they’ve got one Linux server, then how long is Microsoft going to keep the Windows servers there,” Mr. D’Aprano said. “People are thinking about paying thousands of dollars to migrate to Vista with the costs of retraining, software licenses, hardware updates being incredibly significant. This explains why there’s been so little interest in upgrading to Vista.”

The mirror in our story, which can be equated to Linux, is just a scapegoat. Microsoft’s failures have Linux take the blame. The weapon of choice is an absurd legistlation.

Microsoft Recent Patents Pitch Puts America’s Economy at Risk

Posted in Africa, America, Finance, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Patents at 11:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Let us remember that software (let alone business methods) is not patentable in the vast majority of the world. We also know that startups suffer the most from software patents. The new article from Tectonic reminds us that most of the world should be apathetic and never concerned about American-based open source projects.

The recent threats made by Microsoft towards the open source software (OSS) community appear to have done little to worry South African OSS companies.

Shall a legal threat (or a toothless tiger) ever get some real teeth, people can easily relocate. Microsoft could soon be driving developers and companies out of America, essentially destroying its own economy and leading to recession. Putting two and two together, might Microsoft already have regrets?

Shhh – Microsoft is For Patent Reform, Really

Posted in Action, Courtroom, Deception, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 8:36 pm by Shane Coyle

Some observers believe that Microsoft is actually stirring up heated debates over patents and the patent system in order to rally support for a wide-ranging patent reform bill recently debated in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property.

To some observers, Microsoft Corp. seemed to have an odd sense of timing when it complained recently that open-source projects have allegedly violated 235 of its patents.

At the same time, Microsoft’s Washington, D.C., staff is pushing for a patent overhaul bill that would make it tougher for patent holders to sue and collect large damage awards against infringers.

That patent reform bill came up for debate Wednesday, just days after Fortune published a story in which Microsoft officials claimed widespread violation of its patents in open source software.

I had earlier written about Microsoft’s involvement in a non-software-related case argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, in which Microsoft was seemingly on the side of patent reform.

We also have excerpts of the oral arguments from the recent AT&T case that truly seem to indicate that Microsoft has, to some degree, recognized the abysmal state of the U.S. Patent System and its potential to stagnate the entire technology sector of our economy.

Now, they just need to get it through their heads that software, in and of itself, isn’t patentable.

Attempts to Pull ‘Open Source’ Into a Proprietary Agenda

Posted in Apple, Boycott Novell, BSD, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Novell at 8:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday, an article was published which criticises a disturbing and dangerous trend. Gartner talks about confusion that surrounds the term “Open Source”. Certain projects and companies are to take the blame here. Another column goes further.

Yet this apparently irresistible progress of open source raises a question about the change in its underlying philosophy. Widespread adoption means that some of the more idealistic goals of the open source movement may have been pushed into the background.

The strategies employed by Sun, Microsoft and Adobe are actually pulling the open-source community closer to proprietary software. Yet mixed developments do not work as well as those built on the cooperative pure open-source model.

Novell has been no exception since it described itself as a “mixed source” company. Consider this new article from Wired Magazine. It talks about Novell’s ambitions to partner with more proprietary software groups. We already know about plans to even acquire.

Novell Sees Strength in Alliances

SuSE Linux vendor striking partnerships with proprietary software groups.

Novell’s vision of becoming an open source company seems ever so dim. Its press releases still describe it as a supporter of open source (the “about” part), but for all we know, it seeme to return to its proprietary roots. Gartner might as well just add it to its “Open Source” parasite list. Bruce’s hypothesis that Novell’s deal with Microsoft was an exit strategy makes some more sense now. One wonders if Novell goes back to its roots and uses Linux merely as a tool, just as Apple used BSD. Using it still better than exploiting. How about that BSD TCP/IP stack, Microsoft?

GPLv3: Myths (Mainstream Business Media) and Reality

Posted in FUD, GPL, Microsoft, Novell at 8:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wide GPLv3 adoption and an early draft finalisation is a nightmare scenario to Novell and Microsoft. Carla Schroder attempts get a step ahead of the endless FUD and explain the implications of GPLv3 if adopted by enterprises. To sum it all up:

What if you cry yourself to sleep at night because you really really want to have locked hardware and discriminatory patent agreements? No problem — knock yourself out. You just can’t do it with GPL code.

As we have argued recently, the media is often (mis)used as an obedient ‘puppet’. It will not necessarily present a balanced and rational analysis. Instead, it might rely on messages which comes from public relations departments and lawyers. Have a look at this column which argues that none of Microsoft’s patent claims is news:

So put the Microsoft “patent happening” in context rather than reading too much into the mainstream business media blast and its fallout. Microsoft is taking it slow on this issue; the markets should also.

This very much relates to all the GPLv3 negativity in the media. There are apparently ‘placements’, planted in the media by corporate sponsors and partners. This is totally unacceptable in a modern society.

Patent Claims Contradiction: Microsoft Helps Project Which It Accuses of Violation

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 7:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A good observation is made by Matt Aslett, who has just published an article about SpikeSource and its collaboration with Microsoft.

While claiming that open source software violates 235 of its patents, Microsoft is still working to ensure that open source software runs on its Windows operating system, as evidenced by its recent deal with SpikeSource.

Essentially, the message to take is that Microsoft threatens not only its customers, but also its business partners, whom it pretends/purports to support. It truly seems like Microsoft has another dilemma in its hand. Whether it just intimidates or even takes legal action, a lot damage has been done. We have seen an example of this, namely a CEO’s boycott. In essence, the company alienates both customers and business partners. It ought to have listened to the advice from Jonathan Schwartz.

Finally, a contradiction can be claimed here. If Microsoft’s so-called ‘intellectual property’ is not honoured by open source projects, why does the company collaborate with them? Smells like hypocrisy, does it not?

Remedies Suggested for Broken Patents System and Predatory FUD

Posted in America, FUD, GNU/Linux, Novell, Patents at 7:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

According to the latest, U.S. Congress not only intends to fix the broken patent system, but also makes “small steps” towards the goal.

The U.S. Congress took a small step on Wednesday toward revising what many large computer industry companies charge is a broken patent system.

Wired Magazine weighs and and suggests ways to resolve USPTO issues once and for all.

Even before Microsoft announced that open-source software collectively infringes on 235 Microsoft patents — Linux alone allegedly trespassing on 42 of them — it was clear that the U.S. patent system is broken. A system that was created to protect invention has warped into a heavy drag on innovation in America.

An open letter in LXer requests that Novell sidles with the Free software community (for a change) and actually assists in debunking Microsoft’s bluff.

I call on you, Novell, to tell the community which patents Microsoft thinks are infringed by the GNU/Linux operating system. You know the patent numbers. Microsoft gave them to you. Now release them so we all can publicly prove what you claim: That GNU/Linux infringes no Microsoft patents. If you do, then you may gain back some of the credibility in the community that you lost when you signed the cross-license deal with Microsoft last year.

The Web Explains the Dilemma, Shows Microsoft Who’s the Boss

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Humour, Microsoft, Patents at 7:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One thing we must remember. The longer this goes on for, the weaker the FUD shall become. After many reactions that were accompanied by shock, calm observations are being made. Can Microsoft sue its own customers?

The history at IBM is one reason why I am encouraged about Sun, encouraged about Linux, and predict nothing but trouble for Microsoft.

Will the idea of forcing companies to enter alliances actually work? Or will it just lead to inheriting the RIAA’s negative and repellent image?

Forced Alliances

Microsoft’s decision to call out open source on patent violations is not about stifling innovation or slowing the adoption of Linux or open-source software in general, according to Brad Shimmin, a principal analyst at Current Analysis. For Microsoft, he said, this is about deriving long-term revenue from a burgeoning market in which it cannot play.

“What Microsoft intends here is for these vendors to enter into patent-licensing deals just as Novell did last year, thereby avoiding potentially costly litigation — either directly from Microsoft or indirectly with Microsoft taking aim at their customers, a la the Recording Industry Association of America,” Shimmin argued.

Here is Robert X. Cringely’s take.

It’s the age-old formula: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they threaten to have a colony of attorneys descend upon you from a great height. The Open Source Movement has truly arrived.

Finally, here are a couple of cartoons:

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