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11.12.07

When Will We Finally See Lawsuits Over Microsoft’s OOXML Frauds?

Posted in Europe, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML at 11:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flashback time!

Forget and forgive? No. Time is not a cure for a crime. Microsoft was never punished, either. This is unacceptable and it clearly shows the sad state of the legal system.

It it highly important that we raise awareness about events that have happened over the past year (and even prior to it). We have already covered ‘dirty business’ in places like Massachusetts, but there is no single page that contains a good directory and index to all such stories. The least one can do is search the Web.

In the latest of posts, someone seems prepared and determined to take legal action.

It’s been a while now, and I’m still trying to enforce HZN (Croatian national standards body, or CSI) to disclose the information on members of their TC that voted unconditional yes for Microsoft OOXML. (more about that on Croatian blog Fuzzy on www.linux.hr)
It’s no more about OOXML. It’s about transparency, about my right to know who are the people that declare standards, and about my right to hold them responsible for their actions.
They’re stubborn. So am I. I have reached the point where the only sensible thing to do is to – sue them. Which is what I’m set up to.

This is far from the first case that legal action is mentioned. Remember Switzerland?

Just yesterday I was sitting in the relevant meeting of SNV/UK14 (http://www.snv.ch/), that decides how Switzerland will vote. The chairman (Hans-Rudolf Thomann) explained the following rules:

  • we are here to create standards, not to reject them
  • if we reach consensus (>=75%) to vote for Microsoft, we will vote for Microsoft
  • if we only reach a majority (>=50%) to vote for Microsoft, we will vote for Microsoft
  • if we reach a majority to vote against Microsoft, we will vote for Microsoft
  • if we reach consensus to vote against Microsoft, we will abstain

Legal action is requested or suggested at the end of this discussion. OpenISO was born in Switzerland for these reason as well.

Related articles:

OOXML is fraud

Quick Mention: Aeronautical University Thinks Novell is No Good

Posted in Identity Management, Novell at 4:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell is losing another customer.

The university already used Novell’s flavor of Linux to run its file and print management systems, as well as Novell eDirectory to manage access to those systems. But Bixler’s team ultimately decided against expanding the Novell eDirectory implementation.

“Novell didn’t really fit in with our enterprise systems,” Bixler said. “To be honest, we’ve had some issues with performance and how well we worked with Novell when things got rough. I really didn’t want to continue on that relationship.”

Say No to Novell

Microsoft SUSE

Patent News Roundup: Lots More Trolling and Lobbying

Posted in Europe, Google, Law, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Virtualisation at 4:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Welcome to the New World Order

At the end of last week, Google got sued over patents.

Though Google was incorporated in 1998, Belanger said he and Baclawski had no idea the company might be infringing the patent, until about 2 1/2 years ago.

Microsoft has just been sued over a text patent.

Autotext claims that the firms have breached a patent it owns numbered 5,305,205, filed in April 1994 and which has the title “computer assisted transcription apparatus”.

Acacia, which attacked GNU/Linux last month (it also has links with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]), has just extended its ‘precious’ portfolio, again.

Acacia Research Corporation announced today that its Acacia Patent Acquisition Corporation subsidiary has acquired a patent for compiler technology.

Remember that Acacia does not have any products. It is a classic patent troll.

Here in the UK, insanity continues as companies attempt to change the law. They try to break it.

The High Court is set to review government restrictions on the protection of computer-implemented inventions in the U.K.

The hearing, set for 19 November follows an appeal by four small high-tech English companies against a decision of the UK-Intellectual Property Office in July. The high-tech four are challenging the UK-IPO’s refusal to accept patent claims that cover disks and downloads, thus undermining the ability of British industry to protect inventions reliant upon the development of new software.

Novell, in the mean time, continues to play Microsoft’s game. Instead of relying on standards, it is paying for the ‘privilege’ to use Microsoft protocols. Microsoft calls it licensing, but taxation is what it really is.

“Technical support of virtualized images is an industrywide challenge,” said Roger Levy, senior vice president and general manager of Open Platform Solutions for Novell. “Our relationship with Microsoft provides us with a jointly supported solution today. Novell and Microsoft continue to collaborate to optimize bidirectional virtualization between Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise with Xen. Microsoft’s server virtualization validation program provides customers with additional peace of mind when they run Windows as a guest in a validated environment such as SUSE Linux Enterprise.”

Quick Mention: Pieter Hintjens on Novell, Dell, and Patents

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 2:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Have a look at the following analysis. It neatly connects with yesterday's analysis, which included the Dell deal.

As I predicted here about two months ago, Dell has announced that it will offer its customers a neat package of Dell hardware, Suse Linux software, and Microsoft patents.

It’s very clear what is happening. Linux is now the de-facto commodity operating system for servers. Microsoft, having gone through the ignore-laugh-fight-lose cycle has now realised that it can turn patent troll on Linux and jump ahead a full business cycle, going from commercial server operating system to IPR revenue model without the messy free software step in between.

“How do you make money from free software?”, asked the VC. “Patents”, came the answer from the lawyer.

Steve Ballmer license

Image from Wikimedia

SUSE May Be a Non-Starter

Posted in Asia, Dell, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 6:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novellsoft

As we stated a couple of hours ago, SUSE is not really free. In fact, it isn’t quite so good either, even from a technical perspective. Among almost a dozen GNU/Linux distributions which were tested, only OpenSUSE refused to load.

All of these distros except OpenSuse (couldn’t load) are great options for those wanting to move to Linux (I will try Mint again later).

Having been taught that OpenSUSE “always works” where other do not, the above series of tests ought to raise a brow. Perhaps it is a case of perception and marketing replacing and superseding actual experience.

”Microsoft and Novell exclude those who do not pay for mythical patents.“In other news that we mentioned over the weekend, SUSE has just reached Dell’s PCs in China. The Novell/Microsoft/Dell relationship and partnership has always been a mysterious one and these new preinstalls raise even more suspicion.

Frankly, Dell ought to offer more choice. If Microsoft starts getting paid for GNU/Linux sales (yes, it’s being paid per-unit royalties for SLED), then it’s the end of Free software as we know it. It’s also the point where Microsoft can crush Linux as though it was a company. Microsoft and Novell exclude those who do not pay for mythical patents.

Skeptics can deny the truth all they want, but they are just punishing yourselves. Microsoft is not that stupid and if people don’t wake up soon, long-term consequences will kick in and harm GNU/Linux as we know it.

OpenDocument ‘Traitors’ Group is Out, Belgium is In

Posted in Europe, Formats, OpenDocument, Standard at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Good things come in pairs

Some encouraging news from KDE turf: Belgium is apparently entering the world of ODF.

Like South Africa Adopts ODF, German Foreign Office comes out in favor of ODF and there are various articles going over how Holland and Belgium are steadilly switching governments but also schools over to ODF.

Meanwhile, one of the biggest foes of ODF (as of late) is finally saying farewell. This was expected because several weeks ago I was told that their ODF membership was due to expire (and not be renewed) in December. Gary told me this. That was before the OpenDocument Foundation began to attack ODF in the press. Can you now see the point and understand that it was a case of “nothing to lose” and a self-serving stunt?

Open Document Foundation closes up shop

[...]

Not everyone who was a Foundation member agreed with this decision. For example, open source developers and ODF supporters David Wheeler and Bruce D’Arcus seeing the Foundation’s new direction, left the Foundation and are continuing to support ODF.

So there you have it. Parts of the Foundation contradict its remainder.

My personal relationship with the Foundation is complex and so is everybody else’s. There is a long and recent thread in LXer which discusses the OpenDocument Foundation and why there was no immediate rebuttal to their actions. My comments are there and just to quote a few bits:

There’s a lot to say (and been said), but only the Foundation keeps repeating and repeating [their arguments] . See Rob Weir’s item.

[...]

The quiet (Groklaw/Andy/Sutor) has in part been an attempt to avoid giving attention (never mind notoriety, which still gives visibility) to the Group o’ Three.

It now seems like the better option is the extinguish the fire.

[...]

…that’s because Chris (the talk-to-man for CDF) has just extinguished the fire the Foundation had started. :-)

About the passive take that Boycott Novell has taken, here is what I said:

[..]

I sent Rob’s item for inclusion in News Picks and PJ /did/ mention (to use your own word) “how small and insignificant they are and not to be taken seriously.” It was there, just not as another, separate article.

[...]

Some of these people are like (former?) friends of ours (I’m not directly associated with anyone, but neither is the ‘Foundation’). To use an analogy, when an animal gets too hungry (e.g. for funds), it can attack its own kind.

[...]

Smear campaign and personal attacks are always hard. Can you imagine the backlash you beg for when spilling the beans on people you once knew? You’d rather cite someone else (Rob in this case) than take the witch hat.

Hopefully this sums up the reasons why some people did not counter the Foundation immediately after it had started spreading ODF FUD.

ODF is an excellent standard. Nothing has changed. ODF is for those who want openness and true interactions between applications. OOXML is for a single company that uses the power of money to push (even force) its agenda through the ISO.

OOXML is about money

SUSE and Freespire Are Not Free Software

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Law, Linspire, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 2:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Moneyville

Novell’s and Linspire’s GNU/Linux Hoarding

Ever wondered why you don’t see [m]any SUSE forks around? Have a look at this new essay which why there is no Open Source SLES.

One of them is that the SLES community is much smaller and more aimed at proprietary software. Novell itself is promoting Mixed Source and promotes its own proprietary software on top of SLES (also see OES). This obviously scares part of the community away. The deal with Microsoft obviously does as well. As a result Novell is big within Enterprises with little community people, and these are not the kind of people that would spend their free time rebuilding packages and do QA.

Another reason is that Novell is not in favor of such a project (even though people from within Novell _and_ people in the SLES community disagree with management) because it fears it will take away some of the profit and Novell made a big risk by taking the Linux route, they cannot afford to make it fail.

It no longer begs the question: why hasn’t anyone forked SUSE yet? Novell deserves to have a CentOS pulled against it after what it did (and given many contributors whom it betrayed). Novell won’t exactly allow this though. Remember FreeSUSE? How about Freespire, a supposedly-free version of Linspire. Caitlyn has just taken a good look at the EULA of Freespire and she was very underwhelmed (even shocked). Here are her conclusions:

That [Freespire EULA] read to me entirely like a proprietary license. Of course I am not a lawyer and I may be misinterpreting something. Still, I am seriously uncomfortable about having Freespire on my system based on their EULA.

My review was also postponed by the release of version 2.03 which corrects many of the bugs I ran into. So… do I review 2.03? Probably not, at least until Freespire makes clear that they are truly an Open Source OS that I can use as I see fit without fee. I’m not at all sure Freespire is even free “as in free beer”.

Linspire’s EULA too has only permits the software to be installed on a single PC. Needn’t it be compared to just another “Windows of the Linux world”? Or the “Microsoft of Linux”, as we mentioned last night? This is also a GPL violation, probably. Watch the comments in Caitlyn’s good assessment. IANAL. Neither is she.

Quick Mention: Our Trolls Might be Fewer Than It Seems

Posted in Deception, Novell, Site News at 12:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It is pretty safe to say that Novell and its partners have a growing habit of going around the Web and patrolling blogs, maybe even using ‘commenting brigade’. Novell is working on its public image. It’s the nature of protecting one’s own job and ecosystem. In some cases, E-mails are sent directly to the writers rather than address writers in the comments.

One new thing that I was able to find just moments ago is that sockpuppet techniques might be used as well. It is a situation where one person uses multiple identities. We have already caught such incidents before, but here is a recent example.

It might be a frequent occurrence, but we rarely look at IP addresses and other such details, unless a particular activity becomes too suspicious.

BSoD for Novell

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