Freespire/Linspire makes your Linux ‘protected’…
If you keep abreast of Linux news, then you have probably read about this by now. Sears.com is now offering a low-cost PC that competes with Everex, but make no mistake. While Everex sales help the tiny company behind gPC and indirectly assists Canonical/Ubuntu, this PC from Sears.com rationalises and helps the existence of Linspire, whose patent deal with Microsoft makes it somewhat of a parasite. Here is part of the press release:
As the market for Linux desktop and laptop personal computers continues
to grow and develop, “low-end” or “value-priced” PCs are one segment where
desktop Linux continues to gain traction with hobbyists, enthusiasts and
the general consumer interested in trying Linux for the first time. The
$199 PC is also the first Linux PC pre-installed with the newly released
beta CNR Client.
Do remember that when you buy this PC (at the expense of other GNU/Linux PCs, of which there are now plenty), you make more dominant a company which passes software patent royalties to Microsoft, supports OOXML, and uses Microsoft services (as in “Live”) right there on the Linux desktop. The company’s former CEO also attacked Linux vendros who did not join hands with Microsoft for its extortion plan. Put your wallet where you ideology is. If you don’t respond (apathy), Linux might cease to be free. █
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A lot has happened so far this year. At Novell, for example, the staff exodus is similar to that which you find at Microsoft at the moment.
Novell lost its General Counsel just over a week ago and many employees in South Africa are said to have escaped the company too. Novell’s latest
loss is the Vice President Ben Hendrick (see correction at the bottom). Novell has not announced this yet (not to its investors anyway), but the following press release from Ben’s new employer pretty much gives it away.
He spent more than seventeen years at Novell Incorporated, with five years as Vice President and Managing Partner over the Americas Enterprise Service Line and Practice delivery teams. With stints in various services leadership positions prior to taking overall profit and loss responsibility for the America’s (United States, Canada, and Latin America) Enterprise Service Line.
Over at the Var Guy’s site, a dramatic headline is used which asks: Did Novell Just Die?
Perhaps Novell could sell itself — though such statements have been made about the company ever since former CEO Ray Noorda retired in 1994. Rumored buyers over the years have included Sun, IBM and Oracle, just to name a few. But The VAR Guy doesn’t see that happening. Alas, open source continues to represent a small fraction of Novell’s overall revenue. Novell also has a nice footprint in the endpoint security market and the identity management sector. But there again, sales are a fraction of Novell’s overall revenue.
Meanwhile, according to ComputeWorld Australia, Novell has lost another city counsil.
Gold Coast City Council has cut the complexity from network management by dumping its unsupported Novell network authentication software for a new solution.
With declining revenues and many layoffs expected this year, Novell’s future does not seem so bright. Has the Microsoft deal saved them? Of course not. It hurt Novell and it also hurt other Linux vendors, not to mention Free software as a whole. Essentially, Novell chose to take down some of its friends along with it. Fortunately, that won’t succeed because Free software never dies. █
Correction: we’ve just caught the following important comment.
Novell operation in India was known as “Onward Novell India” till last year when Novell bought full control. So technically he moved to the same company he worked with, since so many years.
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Not the first time the Burton Group goes batting for Microsoft
A few days ago we stated and warned that the Microsoft 'spin factory' was reaching high peaks. Sam Varghese calls it a “propaganda war”, which is a term that suits some characteristics of what we have witnessed. Numerous well-known (even infamous) propaganda techniques have been systematically used by Microsoft, which appears to have absolutely no guilt about stooping this low. Microsoft has seemingly-independent
partners professionals join the discussion.
The arguments put forward by the Burton group do not hold much water – OOXML is not anti-competitive, it will become more widespread in use (due to the widespread use of Microsoft Office), ODF is driven by anti-Microsoft sentiment more than any technical merit, etc. Sun Microsystems comes in for quite a bit of bashing.
A report that attacks the motives of one side and downplays sheer abuse and corruption of the other is no real report. As we showed earlier, this is just part of a more extensive disinformation campaign and it appears to be coming from a proxy with vested interests that include SharePoint and other Microsoft technologies. Burton even attends Microsoft events where it preaches about it. This turns out to be an embarrassment to analysts as a whole, as if it wasn’t bad enough already. █
Self praise with the marionette (aka sockpuppet) technique
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“[Microsoft] are willing to lose money for years and years just to make sure that you don’t make any money, either.”
One of the most FOSS-friendly countries in the world, where Firefox boasts a market share of almost 50%, has just heard about a little visit involving Mr. Gates himself. As I’ve argued for about a year, his retirement will involve a great deal of lobbying, which makes it not truly a retirement per se but more of a role change. The money stored in his foundation isn’t always spent the way you would expect it, either [1, 2].
What you are about to read isn’t shocking. We have already seen some examples in South America (covered earlier this week) and we saw Microsoft pulling some similar stunts in Europe. We also saw Linux ‘protection’ deals getting used to put Microsoft Live services right there (by default) on the Linux desktop (e.g. Turbolinux).
A visitor of this site, who goes by the name “Finland Calling”, has just dropped us a helpful tip.
Anyways, here’s the latest from our nordic corner of the world.
Quick translation of the text from “The Finnish News Agency” aka STT going rounds in web already and being published in all of the major and also most of the minor newspapers tomorrow. (Friday)
“Microsoft told about the new collaboration on Thursday in Seattle.”In the meeting between prime minister of Finland Matti Vanhanen and Bill Gates, the software giant Microsoft promised to donate tailored tools for Finnish schools.
Microsoft will offer Finnish basic education and general upper secondary schools and their students free Windows live services selection.
It includes f.ex Hotmail, electronic timetable, discussion forum and a bulletin board.
Microsoft told about the new collaboration on Thursday in Seattle.
It is the first project for both basic- and secondary schools. It can also be used in Finnish vocational, polytechnic and university schools.
“This project supports very well the development of Finnish information society also in educational system and corresponds well with our aims in information society”, Vanhanen praised Microsoft.
http://yle.fi/news/id79777.html has some background about his visit to the US.
Given what we have seen in France and other parts of Europe (more recently in Greece), there are many reasons to become highly suspicious. If you are not familiar with the background to this, you are strongly encouraged to follow the links and study the systematic manipulation, arm-bending, and even blackmail.
The sort of dumping techniques described above are reminiscent of Microsoft’s actions in China as well as plans for Russia. It is a whack-and-mole game where Microsoft identifies countries that strengthen the presence of Free software and then puts shackles on them, with the ‘kind’ assistance of diplomats.
Thank you again, “Finland Calling”, for this translation. Your previous report, among several others on (arguably unacceptable) OOXML-related misconduct in Finland was read by thousands — particularly people from Finland. █
Published just 3 days ago: Microsoft trained 200,000 teachers in India
The moves by Microsoft to offer free or subsidized software in India have however come in for criticism from the Free Software Foundation, which compared Microsoft’s philanthropy to that of a cigarette manufacturer handing out free samples of cigarettes to students.
Welcome to college, here’s your Windows Live account
Microsoft, in an attempt to spread the word about Windows Live, has struck a deal with 72 colleges all across the world. And what is this said deal? The colleges have agreed to let Microsoft host their students’ e-mail accounts.
Microsoft plans innovative new school in Knowsley says Bill Gates
Tailored to meet local community needs, the Innovative Schools will be rolled out in 12 locations around the world including United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Qatar, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Hong Kong.
Microsoft’s innovative Schools initiative works with governments, teachers and partners around the world to modernise schools to meet the challenges of 21st Century learning. The initiative was initially used to develop the Philadelphia School of the Future, opened in the United States September last year.
The Philadelphia Experiment: Microsoft-Designed School Opens
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has famously called high schools “obsolete” and warned about their effect on U.S. competitiveness. Now, his company has a chance to prove that it can help fix the woes of public education.
“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”
“Bill Gates looks at everything as something that should be his. He acts in any way he can to make it his. It can be an idea, market share, or a contract. There is not an ounce of conscientiousness or compassion in him. The notion of fairness means nothing to him. The only thing he understands is leverage.”
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“I thanked Rose for all of his trips to Seattle and his willingness to distract a lot of time for the lawsuit.”
If you have some minutes to spare, you are strongly encouraged to read this article that was mentioned a few hours ago.
If you think Microsoft has an aversion to Article 82 of the European Treaty, the anti-monopoly law that forced it to open some Windows server APIs and also to live with others’ media players on desktops, think again. Microsoft is backing Platform Solutions (PSI) in an Article 82 action that could loosen IBM’s grip on the mainframe. If PSI is given the keys to every glass house in Europe, Microsoft will be one of its principal guests. In fact, PSI could get more from IBM than it wanted when it first announced mainframe-compatible systems.Last November 27, PSI announced that it had raised more than $37 million in additional capital, and that one of the companies in the deal was Microsoft. Other investors in PSI include Intel, Blueprint Ventures, Goldman Sachs, InterWest Partners, and InvestCorp.
Microsoft does not want IBM with GNU/Linux in the mainframes, so it appears to be using a proxy, just as we recently suspected. █
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[Important (18/01/07): as the comments at the bottom indicate, Microsoft is in no way involved in this deal, so Pamela’s assumptions were incorrect.]
Mandriva promised not to sign a patent deal, but according to PJ of Groklaw, the Mandriva-Turbolinux collaboration is bad news indeed.
[PJ: I guess this is goodbye then, for me, as far as Mandriva goes. I've used it for years and really loved it, and I thank them for helping me get to use Linux. But TurboLinux signed a patent deal with Microsoft, joined Ecma to help out with MSOOXML, participates in the Interoperability Vendor Alliance, uses Windows Media and made Live Search the default. So you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know what all that means. Since Mandriva and Turbolinux are sharing code now, I don't trust the code so it's a fond farewell from me.]
Is it possible that this isn’t anything like reviving a United Linux and more of a quiet way to enter an agreement which involves patents (remember that Turobolinux got started only with a Microsoft technical collaboration)? If so, what does it say about Dell joining the Novell/Microsoft deal — whatever that means?
About yesterday's cross-licensing deal, there’s no mention of Linux, but Groklaw seems to confirm the fears over Microsoft’s plan with patents, as explained just a couple of hours ago.
[PJ: This has nothing to do with the GPL, but I wanted to show you what I believe will replace patent infringement lawsuits if the patent reforms currently being considered pass. Stuff like this, where one side sits on the other and then they do a deal where one side pays but both get access to each other’s patents to induce acceptance. I think you can extrapolate as to what it would mean for the GPL. What big companies probably hope it means is they win.
Put simply, lawsuits are replaced by ‘Linux tax’. By changing laws (legalising software patents), proprietary software companies strive to marginalise Free software. █
Update: Another source begs to disagree.
However, this joint lab does not mean that we share the agreement with Microsoft, Mandriva still tries to stay as free and open as possible, as Anne explained on the cooker ML.
Hopefully, the latter is absolutely correct.
Update #2: Another good article sheds light on the (non-)issues:
The delay in the announcement is particularly interesting, especially for the fact that last October was also the month that Microsoft and TurboLinux entered into a collaboration agreement, complete with the ever-dubious patent agreements.
Seeing as Mandriva had refused to enter such an agreement with Microsoft, it may have wanted the dust to settle on the Microsoft/TurboLinux deal before going public on the partnership. This was probably worsened by the fact that it was in open conflict with Microsoft over a deal with the Nigerian government. Mandriva accused the Redmondians of hijacking the deal, but eventually won the contract.
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