Since Apple has been ‘bricking’ phones for ‘daring’ to open up a bit, the debate about the openness of telephones is getting a great deal of attention. Many argue that mobile devices are the future. Essentially, they are becoming the new personal computers. The sad state of openness of phones has brought life and attraction to a project called OpenMoko, among a few other similar projects and products. Here is a video that hypes up the impending release of OpenMoko
Parts of the Mono Project, the open source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET, have been made available for the OpenMoko Neo1973 phone. OpenMoko is a GNU Linux-based mobile phone platform alternative to the traditional approach of systems locked down by either the phone company or the handset manufacturer.
As a passionate Free software and GNU/Linux advocate, I sometimes find that my role here leads some people to confusion. Allow me to clarify.
It is very important to have a central point that delivers uncensored information about Novell and its relationship with Microsoft. This information must not be tied to commercial interests, business relationships, and advertisers. There is more than enough of that obedient garbage in what we call the mainstream media. It just doesn’t get it and it doesn’t really want to get it.
That’s where BoycottNovell.com enters the picture. Someone had to do it and we are not the only ‘criticism vector’ that emerged. The information is there. The story needs to be told. I still like Novell, but ironically enough, I have got the wrath of Novell/Opensuse/Linspire/Xandros/others aligned against me now. My Digg submissions, for example, get buried fast (by an angry minority) and people attack me personally in Web sites. Some bloggers are ‘afraid’ of my comments and trackbacks. These sometimes get deleted.
“We try to isolate the poison in Novell from the talent.”Let us go further and explain that Novell is not the only target. It seems to be possessed by a malicious entity and individuals who have their own independent agenda and allies. As long as we find that Boycottnovell.com’s message is hurting Microsoft’s plan to destroy Linux, then we know that we help. With about 150,000 Web pages delivered to human readers per month, it definitely has impact and it probably hurts the pocket of those who plot to subvert Linux. If you look at BoycottNovell.com long enough, you’ll see that Microsoft is attacked far more often then Novell’s staff, to whom we even offer praises every Saturday. We try to isolate the poison in Novell from the talent. Characters like Justin Steinman, for example, are the seed which spreads a lot of damage. I am not a great believer in Miguel de Icaza’s plan either. To paraphrase a reader of LXer, he is a Novell entrepreneur looking for opportunities at Microsoft.
These issues with Novell are being discussed quite extensively in some recent E-mail exchanges that I’ve had. I would share them in the spirit of transparency, but this requires permission to be received from other parties. People would still love to believe that while the code out it there, Linux cannot be stolen. But I beg to differ — it gets licensed. Lobbyists have introduced a whole new dimension and forced it into the equation. Software patents were introduced and companies like Novell (not SuSE) agreed to sign exclusive and exclusionary patent deals with a long-time enemy (yes, given the stories, “enemy” would be more appropriate a word than “rival”, especially as far as Novell and Linspire go). And therein lies the reason to boycott Novell et al. This way the world should show that — as a community — these companies which sold out do not represent us and that their actions are by no means an indication of a more collective consensus.
If only OpenSUSE took PJ’s analysis seriously and stepped away from Novell’s management as well… instead they mock her analysis, the FSF, and the GNU GPL. We have covered a lot of this in this Web site.
[Allchin:] I consider this cross-platform issue a disease within, Microsoft. On our current path IE 4 will not be very integrated into Windows. The lE team is not focused on this problem and I was requested to shut down my UI/shell team. Windows will get what other platforms get UNLESS the IE team finds out they can’t do it easily on the Mac, etc. This is the wrong approach. We should be asking for specific Innovations to restricted to Windows. I can’t fight this disease alone. The problem is the company’s 5 not unified on the strategy.
Jim Allchin then proceeds.
[Allchin:] I see the same pattern here as with Novell a few years ago. Some people believed we should drop our work in TCP/IP and only dc only IPXISPX work. It took significant effort in order to convince the PSD team to accept TCP for Windows 95. why? Because we were in copy mode of Novell. We are doing it again. There is a time for this clone strategy, but the better long term approach is always to attack from a more strategic perspective.
The bits about Novell are fascinating in retrospect, in case they were not common knowledge already. Looking at the former bits, did Allchin propose to Bill Gates that they adopt proprietary extensions that would lock rivals out of the market? Recall what Bill Gates said in later E-mail[PDF].
From: Bill Gates
Sent: Saturday, December 05, 1998 9:44 AM
To: Bob Muglia (Exchange); Jon DeVaan; Steven Sinofsky
Cc: Paul Mariz
Subject: Office rendering
One thing we have got to change is our strategy — allowing Office documents to be rendered very well by OTHER PEOPLES BROWSERS is one of the most destructive things we could do to the company.
We have to stop putting any effort into this and make sure that Office documents very well depends on PROPRIETARY IE capabilities.
Anything else is suicide for our platform. This is a case where Office has to to destroy Windows.
[Microsoft:] “…we should take the lead in establishing a common approach to UI and to interoperability (of which OLE is only a part). Our efforts to date are focussed too much on our own apps, and only incidentally on the rest of the industry. We want to own these standards, so we should not participate in standards groups. Rather, we should call ‘to me’ to the industry and set a standard that works now and is for everyone’s benefit. We are large enough that this can work.”
Microsoft’s OOXML continues to fail this test. For example, the comments from the British Standards Institute pointed out that “there was no other proven implementation of OOXML apart from Office 2007.”
For now, the failure for OOXML to clear the ISO hurdle represents a “buyer beware” warning for governments in their quest for open standards and interoperability.
A comparison between Microsoft’s anti-Linux tactics and SCO’s anti-Linux tactics was mentioned just days ago. The gist of it is that both companies are using tactics which borrow a lesson from the days or racketeering, only without the physical threat (corporal punishment).
A few days ago, the RIAA got its way, having jumped through hoops and probably broken the law in the process (pretexting, extortion, racketeering and lying are among many other allegations). There is now a rising concern.
The reason I was disappointed was the validation of the RIAA’s strategy, which goes well beyond education and pursuit of egregious offenders and burdens privacy, Internet service providers and others. When I was writing about the SCO Group’s claims and lawsuits against big Linux users in 2004, there were parallels to what the RIAA was doing.
Would it mean that broad, vague claims could be brought against a wide swath of individual consumers to make them face the full force of a company’s legal maneuvering and extreme financial penalties in the courts? Could this embolden Microsoft to consider the upside of such a strategy against open source users?
Threats about lawsuits are already out there, so there are parallels. Microsoft has already gone as far as the RIAA in the sense that even resorted to extortion. The media gave this no coverage at all. But why?
“Since the source code release from Microsoft later this year will not be open source, this code will have no impact on Mono’s schedule as it will not be able to use any of the information included in this code,” according to a statement posted on the Mono project after the announcement.
Dana, however, does not really buy it. He asks himself whether an apology by Novell can at all be accepted and then proceeds to criticising de Icaza’s role at Novell.
Miguel de Icaza has learned to stop worrying and love Microsoft. I get it. That’s his job. He works for Novell. This is nothing personal. It’s just business.
But it’s not just business. It is personal. This is something Microsoft, and those who work with Microsoft, have never understood about the open source movement. They treat it like bad men treat good women, and that’s just wrong.
I’m the guy on this beat. I talk to open source developers all the time. They don’t like being feminized. They do take this personally.
The poll enclosed to this item shows that news about .NET going shared source isn’t welcomed. There are those who think that SJVN went overboard with his analysis that compares Mono to an SCO-like timebomb. The poll shows that he wasn’t far off, based on a wider pool of minds.
Linux does not need technology which is supposedly ‘protected’ through IP deals with Microsoft. Linux has its own strength and its own (open and free) programming languages.
It appears as though software patents’ almost-identical twin, namely business methods patents, has just lost a tooth.
Ruling May Make It Harder to Protect Business Methods
A federal appeals court has issued a ruling that may make it more difficult to obtain and enforce so-called business-method patents, which are granted for abstract processes rather than specific devices. Legal experts say the decision could help financial-services and software companies facing a barrage of patent-infringement litigation brought by patent holders.
Patents pertaining to business methods are forbidden here in the United Kingdom. The same goes for software patents, which can be virtually ignored. However, looking elsewhere as well, some people (including and even notably Microsoft) seem to be finding workarounds, which is violation of the law, at least in South Africa.
“Scalix has just released a new Linux-based product, but remind yourselves that this product brings revenue to Microsoft.”What does a monopolist do when it finds a competitor which beats it on price and/or quality? It has several attractive options: it buys it, has its partners buy it (essentially avoiding antitrust scrutiny through proxies), or identifies new ways to extract revenue from that competitor. XenSource might be a fine example because it was ‘hijacked’ using the Citrix partner, but another one is Scalix, which was ‘hijacked’ using the Xandros partner. In both cases, Microsoft was able to use cashflow to change industry dynamics.
Scalix has just released a new Linux-based product, but remind yourselves that this product brings revenue to Microsoft.
Linux calendaring and messaging company Scalix announced Oct. 4 the release of a new version of its flagship e-mail and calendaring program, Scalix 11.2.
While Xandros, Scalix’s parent company, has gotten buddy-buddy with Microsoft and even licensed the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol and the Outlook Exchange Transport Protocol, the company is still targeting Microsoft Exchange’s customers.
Be aware and understand of what Microsoft strives to achieve here. It wants to make revenue no matter whose product you buy. It wishes to have revenue streams that are akin to what telecoms and the rail system had enjoyed before things were changed through breaking apart, in order to revive competition.
Microsoft’s goal is to overwhelm and posses the rivals. Microsoft has already achieved this type of goal with Linspire and Novell and it is a classic monopoly abuse case that goes unnoticed. The FTC either looks away or prefers to permit this complex relationship to evolve, so an investigation is required here. While we’re at it, have a look at this new paper about Microsoft’s abuses. It comes from the American Antitrust Institute.
Harry First, NYU School of Law professor and AAI Advisory Board member, discusses the CFI’s decision in Microsoft in “Strong Spine, Weak Underbelly: The CFI Microsoft Decision.”