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01.23.08

Moonlight is Not Silverlight, Silverlight is Not Flash

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Standard, Windows at 10:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Just some quick points worthy of clarification: Moonlight is not Silverlight. Microsoft does not support GNU/Linux as far as Silverlight is concerned. Novell merely plays catch-up trying to implement something which Microsoft refuses to make available for GNU/Linux. There is no promise of full compatibility and future support. There are also limitations being imposed on distribution and a burden of software of patents. The scenario is similar to that which involves OOXML because Novell gives perceived support which Microsoft then uses to market its technology to developers (calling it “cross-platform”).

Enter standards. Decentralised control. Choice!

“Silverlight is not standardised and it is not recommended by the W3C, either.”Enter the binary Web again. Silverlight is not standardised and it is not recommended by the W3C, either. It’s a case against W3C in the sense that it renders the W3C’s work obsolete. Microsoft has total control over Silverlight. Microsoft can (and will) change it any time it wishes to suit other business goals such as O/S competition, application integration (e.g. Microsoft’s Web design tools), Web services (Live), advertising (MSN), etc. That, and primarily that, is why Flash can be trusted more than Silverlight. Do not allow people to draw a comparison between Flash and Silverlight because Adobe is neither interested in discriminating against operating systems, nor has it got a history that demonstrates this.

Judge Jackson once recommended separating the company into an operating system unit which is wholly independent from another that handles applications. Neelie Kroes pondered spilling the company last year as well. Silverlight is another fine reminder of the use of applications (and the World Wide Web) to mutually support an operating system and other frameworks that serve as common carriers.

The only thing more worrying than Silverlight is people’s lack of awareness of Silverlight’s danger to the Web, to GNU/Linux users, to search engines that compete against Microsoft, to digital preservation and many other things.

It’s Not Dumping Because They Call it “Charity”

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, OLPC at 10:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In recent days we have covered a handful of incidents where Microsoft used its money and power to combat the adoption of GNU/Linux and Free software [1, 2]. This is nothing new, but only recently have we begun covering the issue in this Web site. Microsoft is not alone here. Classmate PCs, for instance, are given to Nigerians at Intel's own expense (physical hardware, not software) just to eliminate OLPC, which uses AMD chips and GNU/Linux. This isn’t just Nigeria by the way. It’s not just OLPC either because similar tricks are used by Intel and Microsoft in Russian schools as we speak.

Groklaw has just published a response to this serious issue and it’s calling for the attention of the European Commission.

Please remember this day, next time someone tells you how philanthropic Mr. Gates is. Monopolies these days not only crush competition, they’re willing to crush a charity to make a buck. I would say any apparent cooperation with OLPC, therefore, is just for show, folks. Those “technical” difficulties won’t be solved, I figure, until this new market is glutted with Microsoft on Intel Classmates and Asus EEE’s, loaded with XP, that old-fashioned operating system, and none of their laptops can do for those children what the OLPC XO can do. P.S. Children don’t need training to use an OLPC XO. It’s designed to *not* need it. I hope OLPC patented everything before they show Microsoft a thing. For real. Otherwise, someday we’ll be looking for prior art to overturn a Microsoft patent or two.

Yoohoo, EU Commission! Are you watching these maneuvers?

PJ alludes to the Gates Foundation. We actually wrote about this before. This establishment is used for many good causes, but also for media control and various investments that cost lives. You are essentially being told what to think, so be wary. The Foundation serves as a moral shield (i.e. you are not allowed to criticise it) and sometimes as a peripheral bank account. For example, see what appears like a strategic donation in India around the same time of a “No” vote on OOXML. Let’s end with a quote.

“If it [the timing of the donation] had anything to do with the antitrust case, we would have told someone”

Ms. Stonifer, Director of the William H. Gates Foundation

Reference: Responding to the question if the timing of Gates’ $3.3 billion gift… (more here)

Brent Williams on the Microsoft/Novell deal

Posted in Deals, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat at 9:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Don Marti has posted a roundup of recent events in LinuxWorld. Among the interesting bits which he has scooped up there’s this:

Lots of good stuffhere: “Red Hat knows that they have a premium brand, so ignoring people competing on price is the right strategy.” Also covers “blowback” of the Novell/MSFT deal: “Customers aren’t worried about being sued for patent infringement.” Plus why software isn’t a commodity, when not to copy Red Hat, and more.

Don points at the following presentation from Brent Williams [PDF]. It is a very large presentation, but here is the content from just 4 slides that cover the Microsoft/Novell deal.


Microsoft “Endorses” Novell Linux
       In November, Microsoft and Novell announced a “patent
       cooperation” agreement that exempted Novell’s Linux customers
       from patent lawsuits from Microsoft against Linux
             Deal was carefully worded to avoid collision with GPL2
             Microsoft is paying Novell more for patent protection
             than Novell is paying Microsoft

       Microsoft will pay Novell $240 million for discount coupons it can
       give to its customers to get them to switch to SuSE instead of
       “other” Linux distributions

© 2007 by Brent C. Williams; made available under the EPL v1.0


Results of the Novell-Microsoft Deal Last week, Novell reported $91 million of invoicing for Linux subscriptions, up 650% from prior year $73 million of this was multi-year deals from existing customers still under subscription $18 million in multi-year revenue less than the dollar growth in Red Hat deferred revenue quarter-to-quarter. So are they gaining share? Stock dropped 10% last week on earnings release, despite Linux results. Novell management on the defensive Ballmer keeps accusing Linux of IP Infringement, not talking about benefits of Novell deal Novell management has to keep trying to “sell” deal as a good thing © 2007 by Brent C. Williams; made available under the EPL v1.0
Solving the Wrong Problem, Again Novell thinks the problem is catching Red Hat Novell needs to formulate a brand identity for SuSE other than “We’re not Red Hat.” Customers aren’t worried about being sued for patent infringement Especially after the SCO lawsuit Solving the wrong problem at the wrong time Competitive alternatives to Microsoft exist in most of its key markets Sometimes they require a little work, other times, they are “drop in” replacements. Open source is the technology gaining share in all those markets. Open source community can get very good at defending against patent litigation very quickly. Prior art claims, third-party reviews, using Internet to help “patent busters” coordinate efforts. Real possibility that 100% of Microsoft patents will be attacked in initial counterstrike. © 2007 by Brent C. Williams; made available under the EPL v1.0
Blowback. It’s a “beast” Reaction from open source community Jeremy Allison, Samba Project lead, quits Novell and goes to Google Novell cancels other open source projects GPL3 strengthened significantly to block similar follies in future Likely increase in shunning of Novell as project contributor because of possible patent “contamination.” Geopolitical fallout grows Likely to influence course of patent legislation in Europe and other non-US geographies. Likely to result in further tacit or explicit government advocacy of open source. Tacitly shows that even Novell believes it can’t stop Red Hat itself. Customers recognize the implicit admission of market leadership.

Brent Williams will hopefully not mind the use of just 4 of his slides. These insights are all noteworthy. The only part worth correcting is about Novell’s finance. Novell has admitted 'massaging' the numbers.

Bruce Byfield at it Again with “Conspiracy Theorists”

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 10:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’m thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux… they should do a delicate dance”

Joachim Kempin, Microsoft OEM Chief

Bruce Byfield is at it again, describing realists as “Microsoft Haters” (yes, both capitalised).

However, given that very few of them voice objections to near-monopolists like Adobe or other large proprietary companies like Apple, most Microsoft Haters apparently assume their stance largely as a rebellion. They seem to take their identity from their opposition. And, in extreme cases, could be described as conspiracy theorists, seeing Microsoft cabals in everything.

This is becoming rather tedious and unnecessary. That famous sculpture (or picture) of three monkeys comes to mind here. Having shown plenty of concrete evidence of crime, Bruce apprently wants everyone to just look away and ignore it.

Leave them alone. There’s nothing to see here“.

It’s important enough for him that we ignore Microsoft’s technical and contractual sabotage that he actually writes about it. That’s just the core of this gripe. If he does not want to be part of the blunt debate, then he can stay out of it. Why resort to using labels and stereotypes?

Reminder: Support Standards, Reject a Single Company’s Format

Posted in Formats, Free/Libre Software, GNOME, GNU/Linux, IBM, Interoperability, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 9:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“There won’t be anything we won’t say to people to try and convince them that our way is the way to go.”

Bill Gates

The work done by an industry forum which revolves around HA middleware is interesting. Several companies are interoperating around the LGPL, which is an excellent illustration of the value of free open source code. Here are some of the details from LinuxDevices.

An open industry forum has been created to maintain and promote an open source (LGPL v2.1) implmentation of Service Availability Forum high-availability middleware specifications. Founded by Emerson Network Power (ENP), Ericsson, HP, Nokia Siemens Networks, and Sun Microsystems, the OpenSAF Foundation aims to standardize high-availability middleware for Linux-based carrier-grade systems.

ODF formatAs you can see, no single company is responsible for founding the group. This is very similar to what you find on ODF and very different from OOXML, which is a case of a single company with paid members rallying around it.

One sound of alarm comes from the Don of Free Software Magazine, who reminds us to abstain from touching OOXML because we already have one international standard. It’s called ODF.

Microsoft proposed a bogus Office file format while an ISO standard already existed. Their shady practices to get their format fast-tracked and approved by ISO didn’t work. But Microsoft is still trying—and I can guarantee, it will keep on trying until it succeeds.

The only possible answer for Microsoft and OOXML is simple: the world already has an office file format. The world doesn’t need nor want a “conversion nightmare”. The world’s ISO-approved Office format already exists: it’s called ODF. Microsoft: deal with it!

A second alarm bell comes from Bob Sutor who correctly suggests that saving document as OOXML is almost an irreversible mistake and the point of no return (at least if repeated en masse).

I thought I would point out something that I assume is fairly obvious to most people:

Saving your documents in OOXML format right now is probably
about the riskiest thing you can do if you are concerned with
long term interoperability.

First, the “official” ECMA OOXML that was submitted to ISO

As it stands, the only FOSS group that actually tactless enough to offer constructive criticism to OOXML is the GNOME Foundation. One could also include various Novell employees and a few others who merely serve Microsoft’s agenda (often because they have to, legally-speaking).

OOXML is about money

Prompt says 'No'

The Latest OOXML/ODF FUD from the Philippines, Microsoft and Gates Go Batting in Europe

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, Deception, Europe, FUD, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 9:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is pro-choice… as long as the choice is Microsoft.

So what will it be? Home Edition or Ultimate Edition? Office Student Edition?

Microsoft and its faithful lobbying arm, CompTIA, have been very busy in the Philippines recently. We have been spotting some unusual activity and Microsoft even invited people from the Philippines, including journalists, [cred 2216 over for little chat in Redmond]. It is therefore hardly surprising that we find more propaganda from the press in the Philippines. Here is one of the most biased, inaccurate, and hilarious/outrageous (depending on your mood) articles out there. It actually praises OOXML for giving choice (yes, choice!).

Microsoft changes heart, gives market choice with openXML

This appears to be a change of heart for a company [Microsoft] that has been pushing its own standard for years.

[...]

Microsoft executives stressed that “choice” is becoming a buzzword among governments, customers and the information technology industry.

[...]

So why didn’t Microsoft adopt ODF despite the fact that it is already a global standard?

“Uniformity is not always a good thing,” said Tsilas. “At the end of the day, we should have a more dynamic market, and live in a world of ‘and,’ not ‘either/or.’”

What choice is that? And where can one find so much spin? This is beyond an ambitious statement. The article also describes ODF as an OpenOffice format. Novell is mentioned among supporters of OOXML. It’s a bizarre world we live in, isn’t it?

Over in Europe, Microsoft prepares to delivers its case as well. Here is the summary of a fairly comprehensive report.

It is always a matter of perspective. Microsoft organizes a two day conference to discuss “Perspectives of Modernising Government” with European government representatives in Berlin, Germany. Bill Gates himself visits the forum. A side purpose is to lift up a standard analyst from Gartner and retired rent-a-politician on equal footings.

Gartner, mind you, is sponsored or funded by Bill Gates and Microsoft. In most cases, it is better off ignored.

Microsoft Gives GNU/Linux the Finger on Valentine’s, Using Silverlight

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Open XML, Patents, Windows at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’re disheartened because Microsoft helped W3C develop the very standards that they’ve failed to implement in their browser. We’re also dismayed to see Microsoft continue adding proprietary extensions to these standards when support for the essentials remains unfinished.”

George Olsen, Web Standards Project

Slowly but surely, history is repeating itself. The old ActiveX tricks are gradually being replaced by XAML, whose only substitute is a Mono(.NET)-based catch-up with patent encumbrances [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33]. Has nobody yet learned from the past? Even at the moment, Microsoft is struggling as it tries to undo the mess it deliberately introduced in order to crush Netscape. Here are the details from Glyn Moody.

This is a situation where Microsoft must just bite the bullet and “Break the Web” – or, rather, “Break the Already Broken Web” – to force users to re-code their sites to comply with open standards. Until Microsoft takes this step, it will always be trapped, at last partially, in the web – and Web – of its past. The difficulties the company is having with this balancing act also shows why users should always follow open standards, because they can’t rely on proprietary elements being preserved from version to version, and are bound to end up having to re-code at some point.

But wait for the more gory details. The worst is yet to come. Microsoft-Watch has already admitted being a huge fan of “guerrilla marketing” and it’s doing it again:

News Brief. I’m a huge fan of guerrilla marketing. Two excellent examples: Silverlight valentines and the Martin Luther King Jr. virtual tour.

The first is a collaborative effort by Microsoft’s Windows Live and Silverlight teams: Valentine’s Day e-cards, created using Silverlight. PC users can send their love using photos from Flickr or Windows Live Spaces.

But what about Linux? Only two weeks ago, Joe Wilcox, who runs this Web site (it moved from Windows to Red Hat by the way) seemed to have defended Microsoft's astroturfing (viral marketing taking the form of blogs in disguise). The writeup from Softpedia sends the same message, but puts it more bluntly:

Microsoft Shares the Love, but Not with Linux

Microsoft has put up an invitation to share the love, but not with Linux (just bear with me, it will make sense in the end). With Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away, the teams over at Windows Live and Microsoft Silverlight have joined their forces to enable users to spread and share their love.

People should have truly learned their lesson by now. Netscape was crushed not just because of prebundling, but also due to proprietary ‘extensions’ that Microsoft introduced to exclude. Microsoft in a world which is filled open standards is a company that is unable to compete based on technical merits. As such, it is trying to pull old tricks all over again with Silverlight. This needs to be stopped. The European Commission investigates this severe issue for good reasons. There are similar issues to do with OOXML, whose so-called ‘translators’ are written with C#.

OOXML

Quick Mention: No Mono for IBM’s Standards Vice President

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Mono, Patents at 8:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This new revelation isn’t particularly surprising given what we have already seen. Bob Sutor apparently can see what we see and therefore he rejects Mono and anything that depends on it.

My one caveat with it is that it either requires .Net or Mono. I’ve removed the usual Mono applications from my Ubuntu Linux installation and am somewhat loathe to put anything requiring it on the machine. (This is a personal choice, as I’ve mentioned before.) Anyone doing a Java version or alternative implementation that is open source?

What will happen when Novell releases Moonlight and Microsoft then claims that Linux has Silverlight support? Will all Linux users become Mono users and therefore liable for patent infringement, just as Microsoft’s patent deal with Novell seems to imply? The next post will discuss ‘Silverlight infestation’ on the Web.

Mono is the devil

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