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11.25.07

1,500 Posts in Boycott Novell

Posted in Boycott Novell, Site News at 10:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One year and two weeks after this site was born, it finally contains 1,500 posts (and some additional static pages). It’s a milestone worth mentioning because our pace seems to be increasing, not decreasing.

Video: Xandros-based Laptop Gets Xubuntu Treatment/Overhaul

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Ubuntu, Videos, Xandros at 9:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Here is the small and inexpensive laptop strutting its stuff when it is not restricted to run other the Xandros derivative, which is self-limiting and gives us grief. Here’s Xubuntu (dual-boot actually).

I gave a pointer to Stan Beer the other day and he appears to have used it to write an article that made it into Slashdot.

Members of the Linux community have complained that the hot new sub-notebook from Asus, the eeePC, may have violated the spirit of the Linux General Public License (GPL).

Previously on Eee PC:

OOXML Muscling Its Way Through German Politics

Posted in Europe, Finance, Formats, Microsoft, Open XML at 8:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Money makes the world go round”

We recently stated that Microsoft’s dirty OOXML tricks (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) have returned. We mentioned a new example from Portugal. This activity persists on a more global scale, however, and it has reached Germany as well. Here are a couple of the latest reports:

Microsoft sponsors DIN conference

An american company sponsors a lobby event for its Open XML format which is organised by the German standard body and takes place in a German ministry. Public officials and German rent-a-scientists join to listen to Microsoft and Bitkom.

Bundesfinanzhof wants less Microsoft

It seems the Bundesfinanzhof still has a lot of work to do if lawfirms from oversees get contracted by our federal administration. Microsoft lobbyists should not draft German procurement policies or interpret them legally.

This appears like the beginning of something that we have seen before and covered in this Web site. For completeness, here are a few more stories from Germany, accumulated throughout the past year.

It looks like Germany is the new Portugal, actually. You do remember how in Portugal IBM and Sun were not allowed in the room because it was allegedly “too small” despite having empty chairs? Well, in Germany, Google and Deutsche Telekom were allowed in the room but were not allowed to vote, heise says.

Microsoft maintains that while it would have been easy to support the Open Document Format (ODF) natively, it had to move to MS-OOXML because this was the only way for them to offer the full features of its office suite. But if Microsoft itself is not able to represent its internal data structures in the Open Document Format (ODF) in its Microsoft Office suite, how could an external conversion program from MS-OOXML accomplish this task? The answer to both questions is that it is not possible because two things cannot be the same and different at the same time.

Ballmer’s assertion must be viewed as the typical Microsoft approach to alienate the market by spreading rumors or threats”, said the official representative of the Linux related companies in Germany in a statement made in Berlin on November 27th 2006. “This is obviously part of a PR campaign related to the market launch of Windows Vista….If Microsoft cannot show evidence to support their claims, then they are outside the boundaries of German competition regulations. We call upon Microsoft to either prove their case, or to refrain from making such unfounded statements. Furthermore, we call upon European Politicians to protect open competition in Europe. In particular, small and mid sized companies, which form the majority of European Linux service providers, need to be protected from tedious legal disputes resulting from pretended assertions of Microsoft.

He said Redmond was forcing increasing restrictions on its German subsidiary and ignoring local requirements.

A lot more OOXML lobbying and manipulation is yet to come, so let’s keep an eye open.

NOOOXML: GNOME Foundation in Kahoots? (Updated)

Posted in GNOME, Novell, Open XML at 8:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Interesting new bits in the FFII-affiliated Web site:

The Gnome foundation actively participated in the ECMA fast-tracking of Open XML as a sock puppet for Novell. Now the Foundation clarified its position that came under recent criticism.

I mentioned this post here in this Web site just several hours ago. Jeff Waugh saw this and he then created an account in NOOOXML (yes, spot the irony Correction: Jeff actually opposes OOXML as an ISO standard):

jdub

Wikidot.com user since: 25 Nov 2007, 22:46 BST (2 hours ago)

He responded to the allegation (the one cited above) just moments ago.

Prompt says 'No'

Update: Mind the following.

The work to standardise OpenXML has been carried out by Ecma International with representatives from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Gnome Foundation, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, Toshiba, and the United States Library of Congress.

Mind the presence of Novell and the Gnome Foundation in this statement. If the Foundation only wishes to improve OOXML ensure that OOXML is effectively documented such that FLOSS products can implement it [corrected, see below] (because Moox doesn’t just go “poof”, as Jody Goldberg puts it), then the text above should be corrected to exclude the Gnome Foundation. As it stands, the Gnome Foundation is said to be among those who contribute comments and contribute to “The work to standardise OpenXML”. This is unacceptable.

An Issue of Mistrust: Bill Gates, BayStar, Acacia, SCO, and Linux

Posted in Bill Gates, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, SCO, Security, Windows at 8:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There is no trust in proxies

Disclaimer: I am not an SCO expert. For all I know, Shane is more familiar than me with SCO matters and, as a matter of fact, Linux.org has a decent timeline that I could truly learn from. I wasn’t following the SCO case before 2005. If you decide to read this, please read it in full before dismissing this as “another conspiracy theory” (the quick way out and a shoot-the-messenger tactic).

We wish to explore the past in order to understand the BayStar-Acacia connection a little better. Acacia has links with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] and SCO is known to have had links with BayStar (and with Microsoft, by proxy). We wish to know if Acacia's case against Red Hat and Novell is indeed the next generation of lawsuits (among a few more, not just SCO) triggered by Microsoft (by proxy). There is already some good evidence of an Acacia-BayStar link, but what about Microsoft?

As a quick roundup, let us consider the fact that in 2004 Microsoft did ask BayStar if they would like to invest in SCO. SCO buybacks then began. BayStar’s connection had some articles showing up as early as 2004, e.g. this one from CNET, with some further interpretation in this messaage.

Also worth quoting is this bit:

BayStar spokesman McGrath would not say who called BayStar managing partner Lawrence Goldfarb, but Goldfarb told BusinessWeek that it was not Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates or Chief Executive Steve Ballmer.

From another source:

McGrath said the suggestion came from unidentified “senior Microsoft executives” but not Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chairman, or Steven A. Ballmer, its chief executive.

I would like to know if Gates was at least aware this transaction. He said he had never heard about BayStar. He actually said that last year, but there is no way to know the truth. We have competing stories, until the SCO story unfolds some more.

Here is what Bill Gates told Niall Kennedy:

Niall:

OK. Two questions.

1. Was Microsoft ever directly involved with the SCO Group in their lawsuit against IBM, either through BayStar Capital or others?

2. Why is Microsoft recently choosing to go after supposed patent violations with various operating system companies?

Bill:

I don’t know BayStar.

Niall:

It’s an investment company. One of their executives testified Microsoft invested $50 million to offset SCO’s costs in the lawsuit.

Bill:

When?

This was actually said shortly after some very revealing evidence had been found, namely the sort of thing which is discussed in this huge thread. BayStar again hit the headlines in 2006, triggered by items like this and this about the Goldfarb declaration. The declaration is a sworn affidavit which was filed in the litigation. Anyone can actually get a copy from PACER directly. A month later, IBM subpoenaed Microsoft, Sun and HP over the SCO trial.

”His declaration mentions Microsoft specifically as being the company that sent him (Baystar) to invest in SCO.“If you look at Groklaw’s Timeline page, find the IBM exhibits and look for Goldfarb if you need more details. His declaration mentions Microsoft specifically as being the company that sent him (Baystar) to invest in SCO. Of course Microsoft denies it. Also look for the Mike Anderer memo.

Where does that leave Mr. Gates? It is very hard to find (I’ve spent about an hour searching) a connection between Bill Gates himself and BayStar. My attempt is to prove that Gates’ reply to Niall’s question was untruthful (i.e. that he was just playing naive).

At risk of going tangentially here, the reason why I suspect Bill Gates may have lied, is past evidence, some of which is presented below in order to convince you, the reader, that Gates was caught lying many times before (even repeatedly).

The arrogance and rudeness of Bill Gates can be seen here, but deception and pathological lies are something that we have not discussed here before. Well, now we will.

Only last week, Bill Gates was pretty much caught lying, again.

“Two years from now, spam will be solved.”

— Microsoft’s (MSFT) Bill Gates, 2004, World Economic Forum in Switzerland

[...]

“I never said it would be solved,” Gates said in an interview with USA TODAY last month. “I said it would be substantially reduced, and in fact it has been reduced a lot.”

As you can see, first he contradicts an actual quote. What’s more, he then lies. It is a known fact that SPAM levels have gone through the roof (rising by almost an order of magnitude) in the past few years.

Hundreds of millions of Windows PCs are already compromised and they are controlled by criminals who use them to send SPAM on occasions. Don’t believe this? Here are the words from several security gurus. These happen to be words which the mainstream media suppresses in order not to incite public panic. The first one, which comes from Dan Geer, had him lose his job due to Microsoft’s string-pulling (yes, again , and possibly again).

The biblical amounts of SPAM is not only a problem very severe, but it can also be attributed to proprietary software, which contains back door. Think about mistrust again and consider for example:

Let’s consider other incidents where disinformation got disseminated.

Here is BIll Gates spreading Apple Mac FUD.

A few days later, I saw what Bill Gates had to say in a recent Newsweek interview about the Mac as compared to Vista.

“I mean, it’s fascinating, maybe we shouldn’t have showed so publicly the stuff we were doing, because we knew how long the new security base was going to take us to get done. Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine.”

My reaction, like most knowledgeable people who read this, was open-mouthed astonishment. Now, either Bill is heavily drugged and delusional, which I don’t believe, or he’s just completely ignorant, which I also discount, or he knows exactly what he’s saying and has an ulterior motive. That’s my best guess.

Bill Gates knows that he’s at best exaggerating and at worst completely lying through his teeth. So why’s he doing it? Because he also knows that Apple’s new ads are helping Macs to sell like hot cakes, and that security is a big reason why a lot of people are throwing up their hands in disgust at Windows and switching to Apple’s computers.

Who reads Newsweek? Not computer pros, but Joe and Jane Computer-user, and Joe and Jane tend to believe what they read in the mainstream media when it comes to computers, especially when that nice, smart philanthropist Bill Gates is the one saying it. He’s Mr Computer, after all, so he must be right!

More examples can be found here.

Denial! C’mon Billy Boy, you know things suck in the land of Vista. Just admit it and we’ll be on our way.

Who could ever forget the deposition?

Boies: Do you remember that in January, 1996, a lot of OEMs were bundling non-Microsoft browsers?

Gates: I’m not sure.

Boies: What were the non-Microsoft browsers that you were concerned about in January of 1996?

Gates: What’s the question? You’re trying to get me to recall what other browsers I was thinking about when I wrote that sentence?

Boies: No, because you’ve told me that you don’t know what you were thinking about when you wrote that sentence.

Gates: Right.

Boies: What I’m trying to do is get you to tell me what non-Microsoft browsers you were concerned about in January of 1996. If it had been only one, I probably would have used the name of it. Instead I seem to be using the term non-Microsoft browsers. My question is what non-Microsoft browsers were you concerned about in January of 1996?

Gates: I’m sure — what’s the question? Is it — are you asking me about when I wrote this e-mail or what are you asking me about?

Boies: I’m asking you about January of 1996.

Gates: That month?

Boies: Yes, sir.

Gates: And what about it?

Boies: What non-Microsoft browsers were you concerned about in January of 1996?

Gates: I don’t know what you mean “concerned.”

Boies: What is it about the word “concerned” that you don’t understand?

Gates: I’m not sure what you mean by it.

Audio and video here, for those who can spare a few hours.

Here is our local copy of the depositions of Bill Gates in the Microsoft anti-trust suit. We did our best to convert the original Windows Media files into an Open format, ogg. Your webmaster is responsible for the video transcoding, the audio-only files are contributed by a Groklaw member that requested to stay anonymous.

Here is he claimed to have been caught lying to the press and to the Congress.

Bill Gates has been busted in a big fat lie and we’ve got the statistics to prove it.

Here is a convenient slant on Vista pricing here in the UK.

If you watched the above video you will recall that bill gates said that british consumers will not be paying more than US customers, and that any price difference is merely due to differences in exchange rate

As you’ll quickly find here, these claims are utter nonsense and Microsoft knows it.

As another example, consider controversial one. The Gates Foundation is a very sensitive issue and the media delivers a lot of disinformation that portrays the group’s work and its founders as though they are saints. Despite media control, the LA Times was brave enough to put the Foundation to doubt. I wrote more about it here and here, among many other places. The bottom lies is that there is a lot of deception and dishonesty when it comes to the Gates Foundation, yet the media does not talk about it. It was only a fortnight ago that I saw the Gates Foundation investing heavily in yet another media company. Let’s just call it what it is and explain why the Novell deal is still misunderstood by so many.

Moving on to the last example, recall Bill Gates’ endless ranting and whining about the lack of engineers and poor engineering education in the United States. It is all just a big self-serving hoax, as explained by the following two articles (among more):

1. Is There a Shortage of U.S. Tech Workers?

Speaking before a Senate committee earlier this month, Gates said that America is facing a critical shortage of tech workers. He recommended boosting the number of H-1B visas to allow more foreign tech workers into the U.S.

[...]

“I think that has created an environment where the population of advanced skill workers has shrunk a lot in the U.S., because we just haven’t created a fair system,” he says. “Where if you go to other countries, you’ll find national policy around broadband deployment, which creates a much more even playing field for people of all income levels to learn by and work by.”

“We did it to ourselves,” he says.

2. Study: There Is No Shortage of U.S. Engineers

…a new study from Duke University calls this argument bunk, stating that there is no shortage of engineers in the United States, and that offshoring is all about cost savings.

There is another very recent study that reaches the same conclusions, but the two examples above ought to suffice.

We’ve admittedly drifted off topic here, but perhaps some of the material above will prove valuable and be worth cross-referencing in the future. There is no trust.

Responses to GNOME Foundation’s OOXML Statement

Posted in Formats, Free/Libre Software, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Open XML at 2:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Early weekend’s reactions

From BJörn Lindqvist:

Re: GNOME Foundation Statement on ECMA TC45-M Participation

BJörn Lindqvist
Sat, 24 Nov 2007 19:11:47 -0800

On Nov 24, 2007 8:27 PM, Jeff Waugh [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
> There is no “neutral game” being played here. Concerns were raised that the
> GNOME Foundation’s participation in EMCA TC45-M suggested that we supported
> OOXML becoming an ISO standard. Thus, the answer was simple: We do not.

Well except that our representative on that committee supports OOXML
becoming an ISO standard… Please stop the charade, getting involved
in the process was a stupid mistake to begin with and continuing to do
it while the hypocrisy shines through is just boneheaded. How on earth
can offering constructive criticism, feedback and helping develop a
specification NOT be supporting it??

From Alan Cox

Re: GNOME Foundation Statement on ECMA TC45-M Participation

Alan Cox
Sat, 24 Nov 2007 09:09:57 -0800

> Don’t change the subject. The statement I quoted is trollish. There is
> no need to say we are shooting at our own feet repeatedly. Especially
> without any argument (I do not mean just text in an email). The
> announcement was not neutral.

The perception from outside is very clearly that you are active
participants and its being used in that way.

That would appear to be “shooting at own feet”

Perhaps you’d care to critique the relevant points instead of jumping up
and down like a small child going “ner ner na ner ner”

Alan

From Rui Miguel Silva Seabra

Re: GNOME Foundation Statement on ECMA TC45-M Participation

Rui Miguel Silva Seabra
Fri, 23 Nov 2007 16:45:32 -0800

Hi,

Funny then, that even after nothing being done by GNOME on TC45 since
July (previous to OOXML vote on September 2) ECMA is still claiming
GNOME participates in the disposition of comments:

http://www.ecma-international.org/news/TC45_current_work/First%20group%20of%20662%20proposed%20dispositions%20of%20comments%20posted.htm

Yes, the language is deceptive. Careful readers will notice they don’t
plainly say it, rather they insinuate it. It’s one of the main tactics
of lying with the truth.

Since the Foundation clearly wouldn’t lie about not doing anything since
July, here’s more evidence of people abusing the role of GNOME Foundation
on ECMA’s TC45.

The more you guys keep playing the neutral game, the more you’ll get
abused like this. Don’t cry about people who criticize the Foundation’s
“unconditional support” for OOXML, you’re pointing guns at your own feet
(and in fact just took another shot).

Rui

I’ve also received the following by E-mail from a reader who shall remain anonymous:

It’s hilarious how he [Jeff Waugh] keeps harping on about contacting him first before publishing anything about Gnome … like you’re not entitled to an opinion without his say so. He wants your questions and dissent driven underground, so it becomes just a private conversation between you and him, thus keeping all those dirty little secrets safe.

I’ve been following the vast amount of dirt being dug up on Gnome, Novell, OOXML, Waugh, de Icaza, and others over on BN today (your “brainstorm” and link to the Groklaw article were particularly enlightening), and I must admit that even *I* was surprised at how deeply corrupted all the various parties really are. It’s much, *much* worse than I originally imagined.

[...]

As for Gnome … I’ve read enough just *today* to convince me that I don’t want it anywhere near any of my systems … any more than I’d taint them with Sues® Linux. I had major problems with Fedora 8, that I’m still working my way through, but once I do finally deploy it across the network, you can be sure that one of the very *first* things I do is wipe Gnome off those systems, even if (as is the case) it means sacrificing some of the GUI configuration utilities shipped by Red Hat and Fedora (they use Gnome/Gtk libs). I’m rather wary of Enlightenment (even though it is excellent) because it rather stupidly (IMHO) uses the BSD license, so I’ll be switching to XFCE for now, and possibly KDE at a later stage.

I’ve been a Gnome user since … forever, but today it ends. The friendly little Gnome has grown up to become a nasty big Troll.

I was actually very sad to hear this, but we must let such open messages give the impression and justification that BoycottNovell.com is crowd, not a couple of blokes ranting.

One thing I can tell you is that BoycottNovell.com received an unusual level of traffic yesterday (quiet readers, i.e. no comments left). I haven’t checked to see where exactly they all come from, but maybe this indicates that we’ve touched a gentle spot, which I believe we did. There was no trolling or baiting involved. We were merely pointing at various Web sites that show GNOME’s role in ECMA, among other things.

Necessary Cloning versus Unnecessary Cloning

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mono, Samba, SUN, Windows at 1:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Or: “Why it’s OK for Samba, but not for Mono and OOXML”

Yesterday we stated that CIFS/SMB isn't the same scenario as OOXML. The same goes for Mono which, as Beranger might put it, does not actually serve a required, necessary and needed need (repetition intended).

”Mono is about ease of migration to Windows programmers (the minority), not Windows users (the majority).“Samba has a need. There is no going back in a mixed enterprise environment that is networked. But for mono — no actual need. Mainsoft appears to be focused on migrating business applications, but this is not the same thing as actually building Linux applications from the ground up using Mono. This can be done with other programming languages. Mono is about ease of migration to Windows programmers (the minority), not Windows users (the majority).

This leads to another point: Is it truly necessary to embrace a Windows-like Linux in order to attract users? This new blog item disagrees. Don’t mind the grammar because the writer’s mother tongue is not English.

Last but not least, Free software world need to innovate and provide a different experience. They should stop going after an hypothetic cloning of Windows to ease migration. If the system is well done and provide unique features with a good price, people will switch.

Let’s look at some older articles, shall we?

From OS Weekly:

- Xandros and Linspire are so much like Windows in overall feel that it’s painful.

- Using any Debian-based distribution to install software is actually easier than using Install Shield and Add/Remove. Software management, discovery and installation is light years easier than with Windows.

Here is what Stephen O’Grady said (from Wired Magazine):

Ubuntu Must ‘Play To Its Strengths’

[...]

You can’t out-Windows Windows, he says. Defining and playing to Ubuntu’s strengths are what will make free software succeed on the desktop.

As we briefly mentioned last week, OpenSolaris needs CIFS as well, but it didn’t turn to Samba. There’s more information in this new article:

The patents and intellectual property behind Samba technology have long been the subject of dispute between the open source community and Microsoft. In an 2006 interview with InternetNews.com, Microsoft’s Bill Hilf, now general manager of Windows Server marketing and platform strategy, chatted about the company’s IP concerns over Samba. Microsoft’s patent covenant deal with Novell specifically lays out Samba as an area of interoperability.

Whether the companies also have agreements covering Microsoft for CIFS/SMB, however, is unclear.

“I know that Sun and Microsoft have a variety of agreements in place covering a variety of technologies, but I’m not aware of an arrangement specifically around CIFS/SMB,” Greenberg said.

As you can see, Sun recognises the need for protocols that facilitate communication. It does not, however, try to build a Windows-like Solaris. OpenSolaris/Project Indiana is actually more of a Ubuntu copy (sure, they will carry on denying it). Even Simon Phipps, if I recall correctly, talked about the resemblance (in GNOME) to Ubuntu.

Nomo

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