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Microsoft’s War Against Real (Impartial) Standards (Updated)

Posted in ECMA, Formats, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Standard, Xandros, XPS at 10:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We continue to see Microsoft fighting against any standard which is not controlled solely by Microsoft. The latest target, as we’ve recently said, is Adobe’s PDF. The company seems to have adopted a clear strategy for combating rival standards. The latest news comes through Bob Sutor, who will soon be taking his summer break. He talks about Microsoft’s path of destruction in the static document/media arena and he warns that non-Windows users can be ‘punished’ as a consequence.

This is a pessimistic view, of course, but I would love to be proven wrong. That [a proper standard] means a fully transparent process where all minutes and group emails are public. This means a full and open plan for the active maintenance of the standard. This means a full description of how the intellectual property will be be handled for everything necessary to implement the specification. This means a complete implementation for every platform, including Linux and the Mac.

That is, the opposite of OOXML.

Discussion of this topic goes further and further, but you should not be surprised if Novell, Xandros, and Lispire decided to support and implement XPS, then embedding and supporting it in their variants of Linux (which are supposedly ‘protected’). They are not obliged to doing this based on their contract (deal), but be aware that Novell, for example, is too financially dependent on Microsoft. As such, it will do anything to please it and everything to avoid upsetting the convicted monopoly abuser.

Be aware of the issues we are facing. For the time being, all we can do is help carry the message that OOXML is simply not wanted. Raise awareness and speak out, but at the same time be aware that money often supersedes the voice of thousands. We have seen this many times before.

Update: Here is a collection of press reactions to the latest ECMA-XPS developments and here is a depressing one from Groklaw:

They [ECMA] are asking for comments, because they have to, I guess, but I doubt they care what you tell them.

Microsoft’s Use of Royalties to Gain Control Over Linux

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, UNIX, Xandros at 9:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Groklaw takes a short journey into the past. It attempts to show that Microsoft’s strategy against Linux is merely a repetition of something which we have seen before. The article talks about Microsoft royalties for unwanted Xenix code. Here is a fragment of interest:

So for those who are puzzling over Microsoft’s motives in doing the latest patent deals, might it be as simple as that, that Microsoft wants to be paid for all products on the market, force competing products to cost more, and to control the competition?

Folks are, after all, agreeing to pay royalties on “Something in Linux” that they claim they don’t know about specifically but which might or might not infringe Microsoft patents which might or might not be valid and to accept terms of control. I’d talk about the interoperability agreements, but “Microsoft” and “interoperability” don’t really belong in the same sentence.

Microsoft is not stupid. It has a clear plan. The strategy: using unsubstantiated libel to insinuate that those choosing or using Linux have a debt and do something unethical. Stand up against those who took Microsoft’s money, which required that they offer credence to this libel. Boycott Linspire, Xandros, and Novell.

Chief Behind Novell’s Open Source Strategy No Longer at Novell

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We still try to keep track of which prominent people leave (or come to) Novell. Last month it appeared as though Novel had lost its UK Head. This time it turns out that the figure behind Novell’s Open Source Strategy is no longer at the company. It’s not clear whether Rhonda O’Donnell left by choice and (if so) when. She apparently joined Freshtel Holdings after many years at Novell.

She first joined Novell in 2001 as president and CEO of Novell Asia Pacific with responsibility for the management of Novell’s entire regional operation spanning 13 markets and employing over 800 staff. She was a member of the company’s Worldwide Management Committee.


O’Donnell was the architect behind Novell’s global strategy to capitalise on Linux and open source technology in emerging markets and successfully led Novell’s expansion into China and India. Novell became the leading supplier of Linux in China during the first half of 2005.

Linspire/Lindows: Just Like Windows, Even When It Comes to Ill Stance of Standards (Updatedx3)

Posted in Corel, Formats, Interoperability, Linspire, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard, Xandros at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Using a press release which is similar to one that Xandros quite recently published , Linspire cares to inform us that it will fight OpenDocument format adoption, together with Microsoft. The deal which those two companies agreed on said so explicitly, so we already knew this was coming. Is Mr. Carmony expecting us to be impressed by this? He has just paid to publish an item that promotes Microsoft Office lockin.

Remind yourselves of all the effort that has been put into making OpenDocument a reality. It is ironic that 3 Linux companies and Corel are the ones whose opinion gets ‘bought’ by Microsoft. They are then inclined to vote against the importance of a single unified standard which promotes real competition. They intend to waste money and effort making Microsoft even stronger.

Update: shortly after this announcement, the Inquirer had a go with the short article “Linspire pays the cost of Volish agreement”.

Update #2: I suspect we are beginning to see the same strategy being used by Microsoft even elsewhere. They try to beat Sony at high-definition video formats, without duality. They now use ‘allies’ to artificially create and boost ‘support’ for their standard. Have a look at the latest news:

Amazon.com and Microsoft form alliance to push HD DVD


The jointly sponsored 1,000 HD DVD Indies Project from Amazon and Microsoft will provide free authoring and setup services for up to 1,000 selected “indie” titles.

It smells like a familiar old trick. Microsoft could not get OOXML accepted or adopted. It then paid companies to accept deals which resulted in pseudo-support for OOXML.

For context, here are some articles on this one particular topic. These are a bunch of recent developments which show Microsoft losing to Sony.

What about XPS? Is PDF a victim-to-be? ECMA and Microsoft are apparently repeating the same old routine.

Update #3: After heavy lobbying by Microsoft, including 2 CIOs that were supportive to open formats losing their jobs, the state of Massachusetts loses its ‘religion’. Another case of gross manipulation. Write it down. Andy U. comments on this.

Big Companies Welcome GPLv3, Adoption of the Licence Rises Quickly

Posted in Database, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, GPL, IBM, Microsoft at 2:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

According to an article which we somehow overlooked, IBM, Red Hat, Novell, and MySQL can be listed among all those large companies that welcome GPLv3. Google is another. The article reminds us just how popular GPLv2 already is.

The GPL is the most widely used license in the open-source realm. More than 30,000 projects, which is about 66 percent of the open-source projects tracked by the Freshmeat site, use the GPL.

Palamida’s report/tracker suggests that the number of projects which now use GPLv3 has jumped from 15 to over 90. This happened within just a couple of days, so uncertainty does not seem like a great factor anymore. At this stage, over 5,000 more projects already express their intent to embrace the new software licence.

GPLv3 has many consequences, both negative and positive, depending on your stance, your goals, and your interests. Shutting Microsoft out (or limiting its ability to abuse and misuse) is one of the side effects of wide GPLv3 adoption. There is an interesting new blog item where a bizarre (and nonetheless reasonable) arguments are being made. Among the suggestions made to Microsoft, there exists another scary claim that Microsoft needs Linux in order to merely survive in the future (think Wine and Free Software). This is something which we discussed a few times in the past.

Linspire Torn to Pieces by Linux Watcher, Xandros Linux Lost Its Way

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, Xandros at 1:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It is not our role or desire to disrespect developers and their product, but the following two bits are worth mentioning. They are both new and both of them serve as timely reminders that Linspire and Xandros never stood a chance in the Linux market.

Such reminders might, as a matter of fact, explain why Linspire and Xandros chose to defect, sell out, change teams, and work with Microsoft against other Linux distributors. They did, after all, receive some money to fight Free software with venom such as OOXML, .NET, IP FUD, and proprietary bridges for loose-yet-pricey interoperability.

The betrayal ought be very clear for everyone to see. For those who fail to see the Big Picture, remind yourselves of the subtle actions that speak volumes. To quote Scott Ruecker, the recently-inaugurated editor-in-chief of LXer:

The hands down winner for FUD article of the week belongs to the CEO of Linspire, Kevin Carmony. He makes veiled accusations and talks about the respect we should have for the IP of others, namely Microsoft. He’s right about one thing, Linux is splitting into two factions. Those who capitulate to unfounded IP claims and those who don’t.

Here is what another short article has to say:

Microsoft wants Linux dead. Write it down.

My opinion of anybody who purports to be pro-Linux while selling out to Linux’s sworn enemy was already pretty low. News of Novell, Xandros, and now Linspire lining up to seal a deal with Redmond already crossed my desk, and the very best I can hope for them is that they find a cooler niche of Hell to go stand in.

I did not quote parts that contain stronger language. The writer rips them apart and he takes aim at Kevin Carmony for his tactless and controversial statements. He also criticises those that defend Carmoney’s statements. These statements are even worse than Novell’s, which still likes to deny that the deal was not about patents (albeit it still flip-flops on this one, at times).

The writeup ends up suggesting that Carmony now works in favour Bill Gates. just as we recently argued ourselves. You may already know this, but when Carmony was recruited to manage Linspire, Roberson asked him what he knew about Linux. Carmony said he knew nothing. And guess what? Nothing has changed since.

The second item worth mentioning is a review of the latest Xandros Linux. This comes from an author with proven expertise in KDE, so his words are nothing to sneeze at. Here are his conclusions:

Overall I’d consider Xandros Linux 4 Professional a less than decent Linux distribution, definitely nothing to write home about, and certainly nothing I would recommend to anyone seeking to make the switch to Linux. Especially with the somewhat mediocre job Xandros did with their version and the recent patent contract with Microsoft. I also find it ironic that while they’re very much set on converting Windows users to Linux by the bucketful, they ultimately signed a patent treaty with the same company whom they’re trying to undermine by stealing their users. A pact with the devil that’s sure to come back and haunt them some day.

It is becoming clear that Linspire and Xandros will sink, not flourish, after their deals with Microsoft. Their investors might hope they got paid generously in order to take the dive. Let us also hope that they don’t stay around for much longer because their existence does more harm than good to Linux. They carry a rotten message and they actually implement (with their own resources and staff) Microsoft’s latest tools for sustaining a monopoly.

Linus Torvalds: Microsoft Can’t Compete on Technical Merit, Muddies the Waters Instead

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Interview, Microsoft, Patents at 1:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In a new interview with the father of the Linux kernel, Microsoft does not escape a quick mention that could lead to further discussion. It has been a while since Linus last spoke about Microsoft’s so-called ‘intellectual property’ claims. He now says that Microsoft must have made up numbers. This would not be surprising at all (if true). Here is another interesting thing he had to say:

[Linus:] I really cannot speak for Microsoft. I suspect they are noticing that they have a hard time competing on technical merit or price and are trying to muddy the waters.

Linus Torvalds has also just announced the release of the 7th release candidate of the 2.6.22 kernel.

The patches are mostly trivial fixes, a few new device ID’s, and the appended shortlog really does pretty much explain it.

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