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08.04.07

The Anatomy of Invade-to-Subvert Strategies

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Scalix, Servers, Turbolinux, Windows, Xandros at 11:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Crocodiles don’t really cry when they eat their prey

Let us look back and recall what Microsoft achieved by invading ‘Novell territories’.

  • From an purely ODF agenda, Novell turned its attention to the creation of OOXML translators. Of course, a complete translation will never be possible. Novell simply gave up on standards and obeyed the deal with Microsoft, which required support for OOXML.
  • Virtualisation on top of Windows received a higher priority. This is a battle over the future of datacentres.
  • Novell became the weaker and more apologetic party due to the patent liability it had opened itself to. It accepted blame and guilt. It also fuelled anti-Linux FUD, which proved to be effective. Essentially, Novell shot itself in the foot and also blew up the friendly community that surrounded it. All of this — for money.
  • Novell evolved to become financially dependent on Microsoft. Therefore, it must now obey and please its fiercest rival. This is disturbingly absurd.

Novell, Xandros, and Linpsire (even TurboLinux to an extent) were Microsoft vector of attack on:

  • GNU/Linux
  • Free software (also as in “free of charge”)
  • OpenDocument format
  • Greater choice (i.e. openness) in the datacentre
  • A variety of open formats and open protocols
  • The EU ruling

By invading Novell’s mindset and affecting the board’s decisions, Microsoft was able to turn rivals into its greatest supporters. Sadly, it does not end here.

Microsoft plans to take this strategy much further. Having defeated Novell’s ability to work independently and limited its ability to flourish, Microsoft wishes to pull the same tactics again. It will be using the invade-to-subvert strategy against the Open Source world. The plans are nothing but malice, which is covered by chocolate crust. It deceives an innocent, misinformed, and naive observer who wishes to believe that Microsoft has changed its ways. The Inquirer says, “Microsoft’s overtures towards open source show just how scared it is”. But there is more to it. Microsoft is on the offense, not the defense.

Indeed, the [Microsoft] licence does not appear to require that the source code of derivative works be made available to users who receive binary copies of software products. So it appears that this conflicts with a major requirement for OSI approval, that is, the criterion that, if a derivative software work is distributed, the source code must be provided or made available….Open Source is built on trust, the positive trust of software developers that co-developers share common goals in each project and are not working at cross-purposes or trying to sabotage the community.

Just as Microsoft used Novell and XenSource to optimise virtualisation for Windows, the company uses its place in the Open Source world to have projects lean ‘the Windows way’. There is already evidence to suggest this. Zend and Xen are fine examples, but there are new examples too. Have a look at this post from the lead developer of Drupal.

Last week at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON), Microsoft and SpikeSource announced their intention to work together to certify a number of Open Source projects on the Microsoft Windows platform. According to the press release, Drupal is the first application that has been tested and certified for Microsoft Windows …

Here is the other eye opener.

In another trip down the rabbit hole to where things are odd indeed, SpikeSource, Kim Polese’s open source stack operation, is going to certify all of its SpikeIgnited open source applications on Windows.

Some time ago we said that Microsoft’s Open Source invasion will have plans for intellectual property policing, which turns Free software into non-Free (nor free) Open Source software. Microsoft Watch had the words of an expert to back this argument.

Finally, consider Scalix. We previously asked — in the context of patents — whether Scalix is ‘tainted’ by association with a mouthpiece. It certainly seems as though Microsoft is getting its claws on more and more Linux and/or FOSS projects.

With Xandros’s infrastructure and Scalix’s application stack, plus a common commitment to open source, their marriage seemed to be preordained. As with any marriage, however, relatives can interfere with bliss. In this union, the relative is Microsoft.

These intersections are not healthy ones. They give Microsoft control over its rivals, including projects that compete against Microsoft. Remember those videos on antitrust?

Microsoft OOXML Corruption Watch — Jason Matusow Goes Batting with FUD and Deception (Updated)

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, FUD, ISO, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument at 10:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Let the following postings from the past couple of days teach you what really is driving OOXML. Buying OOXML support from Novell was apparently not enough, so Microsoft takes a step further.

The Cradle of Independence Rolls Over for Microsoft

The alarming thing is that Massachusetts is just one of several states that are in the same boat. Bill Gates and Company get wind that a state is thinking about adopting an open format and they send in the lobbyists.

Microsoft rewrites history in Massachusetts

It’s worth remembering that in response to the proposed adoption of ODF, Microsoft’s government affairs director, Brian Burke, promoted an amendment to a state bill designed to remove the decision-making powers of the Massachusetts Information Technology Division.

Now that’s lobbying. (And let’s not forget Florida’s own Men In Black).

Meanwhile Jason Matusow, Microsoft’s director of corporate standards, covers the news that ETRM 4.0 includes both OOXML and ODF under the headline “Policy Makers Being Balanced & Reasonable“.

The suggestion that Massachusetts was previously somehow being unbalanced and unreasonable is pretty rich.

Microsoft FUD Watch, 8-3-07

At first glance, Robertson’s statement is fairly innocuous. He is referring to Massachusetts’ decision to support OOXML (Open Office XML) formats. The best FUD isn’t immediately obvious. Microsoft PR agency sent this statement proactively, with lots of additional information. Usually, I have to pull out information kicking and screaming; it doesn’t come this easy. There is a reason, and it’s FUD.

Microsoft is trying to fast track OOXML through ISO ratification, but there has been resistance. Even the United States ISO representative committee has, so far, failed to support OOXML standards ratification. Microsoft needed some good news, and Massachusetts delivered some—and powerful, because the Commonwealth had planned to dump Office altogether.

Microsoft’s Doug Mahugh and Jason Matusow piped in with blogs about the OOXML support by Massachusetts, which was expected, by the way. It’s all FUD because the reasoning is this: If Massachusetts now considers OOXML open, it must truly be open. The Commonwealth also considers Adobe’s PDF as open, too. It’s not.

PJ gets it right on this one when she says:

You know what Microsoft’s problem really is? They’ve lost the ability to feel ashamed.

She picked up some words from Jason Matusow. Remember Portugal? Microsoft has no regrets on Portugal’s exclusion of IBM. From Jason’s own mouth:

My understanding is that there are ongoing discussions about the size of the group. IBM and others are not currently part of the TC and that concern has been raised within the TC. The NB as well as the TC are both focused on making sure they are operating precisely in respect to the rules of the process. From what I am hearing, the process is completely above board and being handled professionally with oversight from the NB. IBM and others are desirous of expanding the membership, and that issue will continue to be pressed by them I am sure. The TC has another meeting this week, so there will be more discussion on this as things progress.

There is no question that all over the world the competing interests in the Open XML standardization process are going to use all tactics available to them within the rules. Microsoft and its partners (particularly those who have bet their businesses on Open XML), continue to advocate that it is best to enable our customers to choose the technology that best meets the needs of their business.

Make no mistake; all parties are looking at the full picture to find strategies that will result in the outcome they desire. Provided – of course – that they do so within the context of the rules that apply to the process, this is exactly what one should expect to happen. It is going to be a very interesting next few months.

Well done, Microsoft, and thank you for continuing to show us why federal agents wanted to break apart the company. We are not alone here thinking that this is beyond unethical. It is corrupt, and it should be illegal. Hopefully some diplomats will be courageous enough to step in and take appropriate action.

Update: perhaps we posted this too soon. Here’s an addendum — yet another example of manipulation and media gaming by Microsoft.

That primary source is a statement posted by Microsoft SA (as in South Africa) at a PR site called MyPressportal, urging the South African National Body to vote “yes” on OOXML. The version below is complete and unaltered.

So here’s the game mentioned in the title to this blog entry: you’ve all seen those pictures in the paper where you are supposed to look for the things that aren’t “right” in the picture (why does the man have two different color socks? How come the car is missing one tire?) If you are so inclined, read the statement below, and in the comments field tell us if you find anything that (how to say this delicately) doesn’t sound quite “right,” either because it is inaccurate or as a result of leaving out important facts.

Please help Andy get feedback on this one. Let us prove that Microsoft deceives in the press.

Red Hat Wants Windows Codecs, Microsoft Wants Patent Deals

Posted in Europe, Formats, GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 9:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hidden in an article about Red Hat’s Global Desktop, which is a fairly secret project, was a mind-itching piece of information. From what SJVN could gather, having spoken to some people, Red Hat wishes to license — not backward engineer (illegal in north America and Australia only) — Microsoft codecs.

Sources close to the Linux distributor said Red Hat was seeking to conclude negotiations with Microsoft for access to its popular WMF (Windows Media Format) codecs. These codecs have been included in other Microsoft deals with Linux vendors including its partnerships with Linspire, Turbolinux and Xandros.

Red Hat, based in Raleigh, N.C., and Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., have been flirting with forming a technical partnership for several months now. On July 3, Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s executive vice president of engineering, said, “I want to talk to the folks at Microsoft about our two operating systems and how we can work together to solve real customer problems without attaching any unrelated strings, such as intellectual property.”

What’s funny is the fact that Microsoft paid million to companies (not charging them as one should expect) only to set some precedence which encourages a licensing model that keeps codecs away. It is a form of extortion, a form of ransom.

This is very much related to the RealNetworks antitrust case. Microsoft shoved WMF onto the Web using its desktop monopoly and now it is planning to ‘tax’ everyone who wants to access content that is not even related to Microsoft. Red Hat should not fall for this plot. Europe has already ordered the exclusion of Windows Media Player from Windows for precisely this reason.

It is certainly part of Microsoft’s strategy. It wished to put price tags, so to speak, through access to content, be it OOXML, XPS, Silverlight (.NET), WM[A|V], HD, DirectX, or DRM.

By forcing the inclusion of heavily-patented technology at the expense of open industry standards, Microsoft intends for industry to have a debt (bleeding money), which puts Microsoft at the very centre. This isn’t just monopoly abuse, but it is also a case of IP abuse. Speaking of which, Microsoft has just been sued over patents.

Microsoft is alleged to infringe the patents in both Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Vista.

Eating one’s own poison, eh?

From Technical Sabotage to Political Games (Including Exclusionary Deal)

Posted in Antitrust, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Xandros at 8:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Go for the seniors. Go get ‘em. Talk politics.

What Conlin once referred to as “technical sabotage” is one among several illegal tactic which Microsoft uses to elevate its own products. We regret forgetting to mention this wonderful recent example. In an interview, Jeremy Allison had something to share. Quoting a pointer, ‘in the section of the interview from around 33m30s to 39m00 Jeremy Allison reports how he was told that the Microsoft team implementing SMB2 were ordered to “f**k with Samba”‘. Nice, isn’t it?

Having covered this part yesterday, we move on to other examples from the DR-DOS era. We wish to show that Microsoft used not only technical means, but also diplomatic means to promote its own products in an anti-competitive (and probably illegal) fashion.

Remind yourself of the fact that Novell, Linspire, and Xandros signed deals with Microsoft because Microsoft paid them plenty of money. Then, these companies offered support for formats that they used to ignore, if not ridicule. Microsoft bought its way into a kingdom of lock-in — thriving in formats that only Microsoft itself can implement proper support for. This was not the first time that we saw Microsoft turning a technical argument into a political one. Money is usually involved in one way or another.

Looking into the past to find historical examples, we quickly find a couple. Microsoft is ‘helping’ Sears rewrite their DR-DOS contract [PDF] in the following story. Mind the parts on Windows compatibility (or conversely — incompatibility).

REDACTED

From: Brad Silverberg
To: Jon Kecbejian
Cc: Brad Chase; SYS MS-DOS Marketing Team
Subject: RE: Sears – Navy Lapheld Contract Win
Date: Monday, June 01, 1992 2:57 PM

excellent work

From: Jon Kecbejian
To: Brad Silverberg
Cc: Brad Chase; SYS MS-DOS Marketing Team
Subject: Sears – Navy Lapbeld Contract Win
Date: Monday, June 01, 1992 1:57 PM

Debbie Raa (MS Federal Sales Rep) and I called on Sears Business Systems – Federal Group in their Washington, DC, offices on May 13, 1992. Sears had recently won the Navy LapHeld contract (25,000 to 75,00 PCs per year
for three years – the only notebook award in the Federal government) which included DR-DOS. Debbie and I met with Sears’ technical leads to discuss DR-DOS support issues (versus MS-DOS) and the future Windows compatibility in an effort to get Sears to replace DR_DOS 6 with MS-DOS 5. Sears said they were going with DR-DOS unless DR cannot abide by the terms of the Navy contract. Sears was content to let DR assume the risk of Windows compatibility.

Debbie Rae and Brett Swartz found a clause in the navy contract requiring compatibility with Windows and got the Navy to insist Sears honor it. After Debbie and I made clear to Sears DR-DOS and Windows compatibility would always be a major issue, as well as DR’s regular “business” updates for which Sears is responsible, Sears included a clause guaranteeing DR-DOS would be compatible with Windows now and in the future in Sears’ agreement with DR. DR’s lawyers refused to sign the contract.

In the course of a week Don Hardwick and I were in daily contact with Sears to address immediate support and education issues (MS-DOS (JonK) and Windows (TyCar)). product needs (creating disk images in 1.44MB format so the current Sears packaging could be maintained), and getting the OEM agreement signed.

The deal was signed Friday, May 29, with Sears solidly behind MS-DOS and already looking to swap the bid applications for Windows and Windows applications. Sears expects to sell at least 150,000 PCs over the life of this contract to Federal agencies.

Jon

REDACTED

Here is Microsoft testing DR-DOS for incompatibility [PDF], for those wishing to explore further.

Other areas I know DR-DOS is weak:

* Their disk cache sucks

* They probably have problems with some rational extended programs such as lotus release 3.1 when they’re loaded in the HMA.

Should test them with QEMM (their has been talk on their forum that QEMM doesn’t support them).

I added philba, tomle, and mikedr to cc line. They may have some good input.

Eric.

> From sergiop Wed MAr 20 16:11:16 1991
To: ericst; jimla; johnen; terrib
Subject: dr dos compatibility testing
Date: Tue Mar 20 16:05:26 pdt 1990

DOS Marketing would like to have a second round of dr dos testing done. After speaking with Terri, she mentioned to me that XCAL tested dos 5 in a networking environment with dos and windows apps.

I would like to have a similar test done with dr dos 5. This way we can see how dr dos and dos 5 compare under the same environment.

While XCAl did an extensive study of dos 5 using a variety of apps, I think we might want to take a subset of those apps for dr dos. This would keep the costs down but still compare apples to apples.

Here is where I need your help. I want to come up with a list of those appls that we think are best suited to test with dri. I want dri tested with networking software, a memory manager, dos and win apps and anything else you can think of that might raise some degree of incompatibility.

FIY, our Windows PSS people are receiving calls reporting problems with dr dos and win 3.

In order to tell a strong story we need to explore where dr dos is vulnerable.

From: richf
To: dosmktg
Subject: FW: DR DOS Surveys
Date: Wed, Apr 24, 1991 1:22 PM

Date: Wed, Apr 24, 13:19:32 PDT 1991

8 responces – not huge, but not all that low, actually, in any case, people are having problems with dr and windows. we’re not making it up.

> From: clarkh Tue Apr 23 17:29:04 1991
To: richf sergiop
Cc: sharonm
Subject: DR DOS Surveys
Date: Tue Apr 23 17:28:55 PDT 1991

The survey is over. We had a whopping 8 responces. Seven from DOD-SYS
group and 1 from “other”

Eight DR DOS users

– Six were running Windows 3.0
– Two of these required a special configuration,
two did not, two were unknown.

– Five related the problem to an incompatibility
with DR DOS, one was unknown

– Three had their system hang, two had a seriously
impared system, one a minor inconvenience.

– One Quick C 2.5 user
– No special configuration

– Problem was unrelated to DR DOS

– A minor inconvenience.

– One DR DOS user switching to MS-DOS
– No special configuration

– Having compatibility problems with 3rd party software.

– Seriously impared

The survey text follows:

DR DOS Survey

Instructions: Please incorporate the customer survey into your routine. If you find that an application is running on top of Digital research DOS and that the problem the customer is encountering is related, include all the rlevant information. If more space is needed to describe the problem, please use the back of the sheet.

Customer Survey

1. What operating system are you using? (If DR DOS please continue.)

2. What Microsoft application are you using?

DR DOS user

#1 ________________

DR DOS user

#2 ________________

3. Was a special configuration necessary to run with DR DOS (If yes,
please explain.)

user

#1 ________________

#2 ________________

Technician Survey

1. Was the problem related to an incompatibility with DR DOS? (If yes, a
brief description.)

user

#1 ________________

#2 ________________

2. What was the severity level of the problem?
(1 = system hangs, 2 = Seriously impairs, 3 = minor inconvenience)

#1 ________________
#2 ________________

From: bradc
To: juliewis
Cc: bradc; philla; richf
Subject: RE: DR DOS
Date: Mon, Apr 29, 1991 11:18 AM

Date: Sun, Apr 28, 11:16:12 PDT 1991

is this the post office that we just gave permission to roll out a boatload of copies or someone else?

I do not want to give up any major account to dri. Julie pls get us more info so we can help or set up a meeting where we can present and understand their issues.

Brad

> From: richf Fri Apr 26 11:36:42 1991
To: juliewis
Cc: bradc; juliewis; philla; richf
Subject: RE: DR DOS
Date: Fri Apr 26 11:33:03 PDT 1991

Working on a 286 and 386 CPU version. None specific how they will deliver, as one or 3 different SKUs. Hints that th new version will fine tune their memory management, add Data security and better utilise the HD storage capacity. (unsure if this means compression or less gaps) He is convinced to get a next verson out this summer. He hints that the public should look forward and judge themselves of this could be jsut a new version or a new generation. Brad what do we know about this?

From: richardf
To: bradc
Cc: jeffl; joachimk; oemman; ronh
Subject: dr win
Date: Fri, Jun 28, 1991 5:49 PM

Date: Fri, Jun 28, 17:48:43 1991

DRI is agressing big time, in our accounts. This past week marks more activity that we have seen from them than ever before we have seen this press release, run into them at a start up down in LA and in Swan
computer an account we do value (FG DOS goig to royalty DOS) Brad i do not know where the 250k units came from, we have not data to suggest. Entertainment marketing is that big, they are the guys who sell inexoensive things on the cable shopping nework. (YES we HATE losing them.) If we know about the fact we are in competition we will employ you Kathleen do we need help on Swan ?

We will redouble our efforts to compat these guys. I have a few ideas myself.

richardf

> From: bradc Fri Jun 28 14:07:28 1991
To: jeffl; richardf; ronh; sergiop
Subject: dr win
Cc: bradc
Date: Fri Jun 28 14:05:55 1991

i’m confused. did dr get a win with this premier company for 250K units a year or is the other mail trying to imply otherwise, could you clarify this for me?

If yes, i’m sure yu are as angry about this as i am. we may not get every win, but i would really like to know ahead of time when an account is close to dr, and it appears that in this case we may have had no idea if dr is getting close

Most Site Readers Use GNU/Linux, Mozilla Firefox

Posted in Site News at 5:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We probably have not published such statistical figures before, so for anyone curious enough, the numbers we have been seeing are quite consistent. The following slice through/from the past 3 days is representative of a long-lived status (with trends of growth in Free software’s favour).

Operating Systems

Linux 40.9 %
Windows 36.5 %
Unknown 19.2 %
Macintosh 2.9 %
OS/2 0 %
FreeBSD 0 %
Sun Solaris 0 %
OpenBSD 0 %
GNU 0 %
AmigaOS 0 %
Others 0 %

0% represent an existent (yet fractional or negligible) amount. People still use Amiga???

Web Browsers

Firefox 54.1 %
Unknown 19.3 %
Internet Explorer 13.6 %
Opera 4.7 %
Mozilla 4.3 %
Konqueror 1.5 %
Netscape 0.8 %
Safari 0.7 %
LibWWW 0.1 %
Galeon 0.1 %

It seems likely that many regular readers and errand visitors are wary of and too hesitant to comment. It might be because of the domain and site name, which has a negative connotation and brings undesirable association. Either way, we thank you all for supporting this site, which we still hope to make more reader/community-driven. Some of the best ideas and insights come from those who introduce new information in the comments.

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