From the Publisher Program benefits at Linspire:
- Protect your software and IP
Present EULA requirements or deliver activation keys.
A quick look at the status and the address bar confirms that this is not a case of cross-site scripting involving
microsoft.com. This is Linspire.
Activation key, EULAs, and oh dear! “Intellectual property”, which is a big no-no. It’s somewhat similar to calling copyright infringers “thieves”, “pirates” or — as the head of the MPAA put it the other day — “criminals”. Remember the “high-brow pirates” remark from Linspire’s former CEO? It didn't work out too well.
Even Freespire, by the way, is subjected to terms which can raise a brow. █
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On December 3rd, Richard Stallman posted the following message to the GNOME Foundation’s mailing list.
GNOME is based on a philosophy, but it is not just a philosophy. It is a project to develop and maintain a desktop environment.
”The sort of favoritism that would be improper is to make a decision for the sake of profit (rather than the success of GNOME and the triumph of freedom).“A technical project has to make specific technical decisions. It can’t favor all the options that fit the philosophy; often it has to choose an avenue and follow it. Whatever the choices, some might call them “favoritism”, but that’s tough. Choosing can’t be avoided.
GNOME is a desktop environment, but it is not just a desktop environment. It is also based on a philosophy of free software and freedom. That philosophy sometimes yields specific ethical reasons for making specific technical choices. To someone who thinks only in terms of technology, these might seem like “favoritism”, but favoring the ethical (or what leads to it) over the unethical is right and proper.
The sort of favoritism that would be improper is to make a decision for the sake of profit (rather than the success of GNOME and the triumph of freedom).
That last (and concluding) paragraph is worth special emphasis. It underlies an important issue. Corporations are taking self-serving routes, which even involve software patents, in order to take advantage of free desktops and extract more revenue from them. It’s selfish and it is based on short-sighted goals that endanger tomorrow's free desktop. Without being Free, GNU/Linux will find it difficult to compete. Its strengths, merits, and pretty much any distinguishing value will vanish, leaving it trailing behind and catching up with somebody else’s pre-imposed lead. █
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Time for some more FUD busting
It is no secret — but an actual fact — that blood supplies of analysts are large companies which these analysts simply serve. They sell figures to them. In many respects, analysts can be used as proxies for seemingly-independent assessment of a situation, which makes the analysis seem more credible. It’s a sockpuppet technique (making a crowd out of a single party).
It is easier to sell a product while waving a flattering report from a ‘third party’, potentially at the same time as golfing with a business partner. That’s the way our industry is run. Biased information can be bought and procurement typically boils down to personal relationship and moneyflows.
”Biased information can be bought and procurement typically boils down to personal relationship and moneyflows.“Despite Novell’s arguably pathetic state, there is one analyst out there who boosts their stock. But what does that mean? Analysts get about half of their predictions wrong. Later on they bother to mention only the few things they coincidentally got right. They rarely try to make a correct prediction as much as they try to just serve their costumer well enough by handing over the required (and selective) figures/results. A pleased costumer will come again for another gig, so being brutally honest can sometimes be a poor business decision to an analyst. Remember this: it’s dishonest reports/studies that are most difficult to earn, so they can be bought instead.
Microsoft controls the analysts just as it controls bloggers (astroturfing), controls the press (investments), and controls individual journalists (advertising and other pressures). Consider the fact that Microsoft brought its money even to academia in order to discredit the GPLv3. There was almost no disclosure about the funding in sight, proving that even figures of unquestionable authority can be corrupted by the money. This was far from the first time such an incident got identified. Microsoft’s money injections into academic research has led to some embargoes before. Then, consider Microsoft’s use of analysts in contexts that relate to this Web site’s theme alone. Let’s restrict scope and set our sight only on IDC and Gartner. These are merely 2 examples, among many more.
By this stage, you are hopefully convinced that analysts need not be listened to. Here is where new opinions from field experts come into play. They know what they have seen and they spoke about it in the podcast that we mentioned yesterday. Here is the direct address for the podcast, in case you wish to tune in.
I’ve listened to the entire podcast. The bit which is dissected below starts approximately 40 minutes after the beginning of the session. It’s very revealing, so I took notes while listening (not complete quotes, which can make it a very time-consuming task).
- Bill Gates and Larry Ellison (of Oracle) are among the major investors in Gartner
- Ballmer has picked up the phone shot/shouted at the analysts (that’s the expression they used)
- “IDC is the absolute worst”
- The panel “can’t believe they get paid for that stuff”
- If only there was no conflict of interests
- The analysts must deal only with the figures their clients give them and deliver what was paid for
- You have to wonder “who is paying the bills… you have to wonder out loud…”
- No conspiracy theory here
- Microsoft demands that the analysts will count GNU/Linux if there’s a shipment (i.e. payment) is attached to it
- There’s no information out there about GNU/Linux usage (nobody would fund such a study, apparently)
- Red Hat is eerily quiet in the media despite its unbelievable impact
- Some tried to phone Gartner and the analysts to ask about Linux, but they would only talk about money
- Those analysts: $7.5 billion for the Linux PC market is estimated, but working solely by Microsoft’s definitions
- Microsoft controls information in the sense that “they [analysts] get forcefed.” Nobody actually tracks Linux usage at the moment.
That’s a sad state, isn’t it?
”Interestingly enough, Microsoft seems to have just assigned Gartner to be its ‘Windows Vista salesman’.“On another note, which is unrelated to or at least separate from this podcast, it turns out that IDG (a very major media company that writes about GNU/Linux) is owned by IDC. No wonder the press is so biased, but we already knew about the Gates Foundation 'buying' the press in the form of individual media companies.
Interestingly enough, Microsoft seems to have just assigned Gartner to be its ‘Windows Vista salesman’. Only a couple of days ago, Michael Silver, who is extremely close to Microsoft, used his ‘Gartner analyst’ hat in order to call for Vista adoption. He even used scare tactics to achieve this. Here is a headline:
Buy Vista or die [says Microsoft's friend from Gartner]
Gartner research vice president Michael Silver said that outfits have delayed their Vista migrations to the point of stupidity and now some are considering late 2008 or even 2009, while others mull skipping the OS completely.
Is there any hope for analysts? Read all the references included above (and below), then judge for yourselves. █
Image from Wikimedia
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Also from the new podcast:
Ashlee Vance: “And top of all this, we have Novell just today when we were recording the broadcast they had to lay their 4th quarter earnings because of a SEC probe.”
”…I can tell you absolutely for a verifiable fact for that Novell does do that, but then again everybody does that. So… I’ve.. I’ve got the sales guys at Novell telling me that, that they do this…“Matt Asay: “Well, I doubt, I tend… I don’t know who reported on that, but I saw something where they say, you know, this probably isn’t due to Novell massaging its numbers around Linux, which is what Dana Blakenhorn at ZDNet had claimed, I mean, I can tell you absolutely for a verifiable fact for that Novell does do that, but then again everybody does that. So… I’ve.. I’ve got the sales guys at Novell telling me that, that they do this, but it just doesn’t matter, I… I suspect that this is a tech… like a technicality that Novell has run afoul of and not a big deal, but maybe I’ll.. maybe we’ll be wrong, maybe I’ll be wrong, we should see.”
Ashlee Vance: “So you think people fudge the shipping numbers or they’re fudging revenue numbers, I mean, reve..?”
Matt Asay: “No…no… no… no not… just saying that they are putting it into different buckets. Ummm…like, some of that Linux revenue that Novell reports, based on what I’ve heard from Linux inside the company, is not Linux revenue by… by.., what are… reasonably prudently outside observer and what they would say.” █
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From the new podcast:
”…I kept getting calls from people in the company [Novell] begg… asking me to be nice. “Matt Asay: “Yeah, you notice that I’ve been really nice about Novell lately. It’s… it’s because I kept getting calls from people in the company [Novell] begg… asking me to be nice. Hmmm…No… I mean, so Novell had a few things. They’ve gone through a major reorg… hmmm… they are aligning their sales force with individual business units and as a result there are a lot of good people that have been let go and… there are other good people that want to … let… let go. I’ve had, from people whom I would consider the top 5% of the company, I’ve had, I dunno… hmmm… maybe 10 of them last… 2 months that have E-mailed me their resume, so I… it doesn’t bode well for Novell on that score.
”…I’m not a big optimist that this is all gonna save the Novell world and life will be grand.“Now, on the other hand, if you talk with Bruce Lowry or people in their PR department, they’ll tell you — maybe… maybe rightly so — that these aren’t… these aren’t signs of desperation… signs of intelligent recrafting of the company. I’ve worked not that long at Novell… just 3 years, but I saw quite a bit of intelligent recrafting while I was there, so I’m not a big optimist that this is all gonna save the Novell world and life will be grand.” █
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