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10.24.07

Looking for Microsoft Insiders at Novell

Posted in Microsoft, Novell at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novellsoft

Remember Acacia employees that used to work for Microsoft before the lawsuit against Linux? Remember a top XenSource executive who used to work for Microsoft just before what is believed to be a hijack by proxy? Or the iPlayer fiasco [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] that goes on in Britain? It all happened after a deal with Microsoft where ex-Softies had grabbed top roles at the BBC. Mark Taylor from the OSC had this to say:

Q: Now, when you say a smoking gun, what exactly do you mean?

Mark Taylor: Well, the — (laughter) — the thing is, the iPlayer is not what it claimed to be, it is built top-to-bottom on a Microsoft-only stack, the BBC management team who are responsible for the iPlayer are a checklist of senior employees from Microsoft who were involved with Windows Media. A gentleman called Erik Huggers who’s responsible for the iPlayer project in the BBC, his immediately previous job was director at Microsoft for Europe, Middle East & Africa responsible for Windows Media. He presided over the division of Windows Media when it was the subject of the European Commission’s antitrust case. He was the senior director responsible. He’s now shown up responsible for the iPlayer project.

Does anyone know Novell employees (executives in particular) that have a career record or direct involvement with Microsoft? Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman come to mind [1, 2], but who else?

Turbolinux Might be the Next Linspire (It’s Not a Compliment)

Posted in Boycott Novell, GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Open XML, Turbolinux at 9:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Going down the road of sellout, having cashed in to take a dive

A couple of days ago Turbolinux officially sold out entirely. Some used to think that Mandriva would cave, but all concerns were soon put to rest because rumours invoked the response Mandriva’s CEO.

“The nice thing about Linux is that there is a lot of choice.”Turobolinux was always on the verge of letting its weakness lead to reliance on a Sugar Daddy. The company even had involvements in OOXML [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] after that pointless OOXML deal with Microsoft. This tactless move made a patent deal an easy prediction to make.

The nice thing about Linux is that there is a lot of choice. The code is out there for everyone to use and reuse. Bad distributions, where “bad” refers also to their behaviour (or the behaviour of the parent company), will fade away while benevolent ones will survive and be made stronger by a large and supportive community. That is the nature of Linux.

TurboLinux is not a large company and it may be following the same sad route of Linspire [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]. Like Linspire, there was never a reason for them to enter this deal, but Microsoft apparently paid handsomely for something in return [1, 2, 3, 4].

Do not buy Turobolinux. Not even the Wizpy (Turobolinux-based), which is somewhat of a failure in the market anyway. Your wallet is the best weapon and the mouth can help control other people’s pockets.

EFF, GNU, FSF, and OIN Address Patent Problems

Posted in EFF, FSF, GNU/Linux, Interview, OIN at 8:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The following may be interest to those who are concerned about the sorry state of the patent system. A bogus patent will soon be reexamined thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s involvement.

Patent Office to Take Second Look at Meritless Claims Threatening Mobile Information Access

A patent issue has just led a GNU project to removing a component. This illustrates the great problems introduced by software patents, especially where Free software and standards are involved.

GnuTLS, which released version 2.0.2 last week, removed the TLS Authorization capability, due in part to an effort to circumvent the IETF standardization process.

Here is an interview with Jerry Rosenthal, CEO of OIN. He talks about Linux and patents, among other things.

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk to OIN’s CEO, Jerry Rosenthal, who was with IBM for 37 years before setting up OIN. His comments about patent trolls – companies whose business is based purely around suing others for alleged patent infringement, rather than on making and selling things – and how to deal with them, are particularly interesting in the light of what has happened since the interview took place.

Microsoft Hit by a ‘Company… Solely Focused on Commercializing its Patent Portfolio’

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 8:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When all weak patents break loose

The patent trolls strike again. The victim, ironically enough, is a so-called ‘patent terrorist’ [1, 2, 3, 4].

According to Timeline’s SEC filing last week, Microsoft agreed to pay Timeline $5 million within 14 days as part of the settlement. Timeline, which describes itself as a “company … solely focused on commercializing its patent portfolio,” had sued the Redmond computer giant and its subsidiary ProClarity Corp. for patent infringement.

Sadly enough, even Big Blue seems to be up to no good, again.

IBM Corp. says it has dreamed up a new method for profiting from its vast storehouse of patents. And by the way, the company wants to patent the idea.

No Patents in Linux

Victory for OpenDocument Format in South Africa

Posted in Africa, ISO, OpenDocument, Standard at 8:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spread ODF

Add another country to a growing list of countries that adopt truly open standards [1, 2, 3, 4].

The South African government yesterday announced the adoption of OpenDocument Format (ODF) as a standard for government communications.

Elsewhere, Adobe argues in favour of Portable Document Format for archiving (via Andy Updegrove), amid its pursuit for ISO certification.

Archiving is a rather loaded word since doing it can be a widely varying activity. In many situations, archiving PDF files is a very good solution. In fact it was so attractive to some US Government agencies that they encouraged their personnel to work on an ISO committee/working group to define a special subset of PDF called PDF/A that meets their needs better than plain old PDF might.

This is all very fascinating, but there are many patents associated with PDF files. PostScript may seem like a more attractive option, albeit it has fewer features.

The Free Software Community Warns the EU About the Microsoft Agreement

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GPL, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Samba, Servers, SUN at 7:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Based on previous coverages of the agreement in Europe [1, 2, 3, 4] it can trivially be concluded that Microsoft shrewdly took steps against its main rival, which is Free software. It made the agreement incompatible with the GPL and Neelie Kroes is apparently unable to see this. What’s more, software patents are suddenly perceived as legitimate in Europe — an observation that had the FFII awoken with a press release. FFII was not alone though. We were sent the following pointer by an anonymous reader:

Paris, October 23, 2007 – Press Release

APRIL urges caution when considering the European Commission’s recent settlement with Microsoft, which would accept to comply with the requirements described in its 2004 conviction for monopolistic practices. An in-depth study of the specifics of the settlement (to date unavailable) is required to determine whether this announcement is not just a Pyrrhic victory for the Commission, for interoperability, and for free markets. In any event, the announcement seems to give a green light to the acceptance of software patents in Europe.

Will the EU receive the message and be able to backtrack? Groklaw has just taken a careful look at the complete agreement and it makes telling observations.

Lordy, there is always a “The GPL Need Not Apply” clause in everything Microsoft does. In this case, it’s mutual and no GPL folks will be applying for that license. Maybe it’s a good thing that no cash strapped vendors can be tempted. But it does mean, whether the EU Commission realizes it yet or not that Microsoft’s number one competitor, Linux, is completely unable to be interoperable with Microsoft’s patented code. I’m curious as to how that is helpful to the public who wish to have a choice.

Matt Aslett summarises some of the key issues and perspectives as well. His post contains some valuable hyperlinks. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal (blogs) proves that it just doesn’t get it.

But none of this will make a bit of difference as to how you buy or use software from Microsoft or anyone else.

Yet another reminder of the fact that the mainstream press simply ignores the big picture.

One has to wonder if, just as Shane once predicted, Novell’s and Sun’s role (deals with Microsoft) led to this atmosphere where interoperability is assumed to bear a cost.

Yes, SUSE is No Longer a Golden Standard

Posted in Boycott Novell, GNU/Linux, Mandriva, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu at 7:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It may never have been

Some readers, particularly those who are here to defend or apologise for Novell [1], wish to insist that nobody ever gives up on SUSE. So here is a brand-new example from yesterday:

Goodbye OpenSuse, Hello Ubuntu

I used to think that OpenSuse is the most complete, most good-looking, and most secure Linux distro that I prefer to employ it on my main workstation. Then version 10.3 came, and my love for OpenSuse quickly evaporated.

There are many more examples, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Since there’s strong resistance to arguments that SUSE has an image problem which is inherited from Novell, maybe we ought to highlight more such stories.

Quoteworthy Analysis: Acacia, Europe, the GPL, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, and Novell

Posted in Europe, IBM, Identity Management, Microsoft, Patents at 12:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There is some excellent analysis by Pieter, which one of our readers has encouraged us to share.

The first bit about Acacia:

It’s a neat structure. Pump money into Acacia so it can attack Red Hat, and at the same time prove to the world how strong the Microsoft patent shield really is against those naughty, naughty trolls.

If this works with Acacia, perhaps we can expect a scaled-up attack by Intellectual Ventures on Linux users like Google and IBM.

The second is a more detailed analysis involving more parties. It explains how the developments in Europe related to the bigger picture.

The future of open source and free software will look like this: first, Microsoft will pump money into its franchiseware economy and get very little back. Second, IBM will do the same with its own franchiseware economy (the Apache Foundation) and get a lot more back, because IBM actually understand how this works. Last, all remaining projects will move to the GPL, with a few exceptions. And it’s that economy, the one based on formal copyleft licenses, and backed by increasing determination to litigate and defend against litigation, that will prevail.

Like every actor that thinks it’s conducting the orchestra, Microsoft is as much a puppet of circumstance as any one of us.

This is a much larger post that is worth reading as a whole. It makes excellent observations with regards to the present state of affairs, which has become complex.

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