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02.29.08

Bruce Lowry, Novell’s PR Director, Quits the Company

Posted in Marketing, Novell at 3:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who would market Novell now?

Bruce Lowry, Novell’s head of global public relations, will say ‘Goodbye’ to Novell this week to start with the Skoll Foundation as its communications director.

It wasn’t long ago that Novell also lost Joseph LaSala, General Counsel of the company. Yes, that Microsoft deal was really a ‘terrific’ idea, wasn’t it?

Bad decision

Google for ‘Novell’, Get BoycottNovell

Posted in Google, Site News at 3:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It appears as though this Web site has just entered page 1 (top 10) of the search results for the phrase “Novell”, at least in Google. This will not be very helpful to Novell’s business.

According to Google Trends, as time goes by, fewer people Google for “Novell”. See image below.

Novell's Google Trends chart

Red Hat’s Stance on Taxoperability Revisited, Licence Incompatibility Explained

Posted in Bill Gates, GPL, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 3:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nobody is buying it, except for the press

A couple of new articles are worth recommending. The first one from Sam Varghese deals with Red Hat's response to Microsoft’s Taxoperability Program (Gartner calls it a patent trap).

At times like these, when proprietary software companies and turncoats from within the FOSS sphere are actively engaged in a battle to dominate standards, it is good to have a company like Red Hat on-side.

[...]

But looking at Red Hat’s reaction to the recent Microsoft announcement about interoperability, it is easy to see that the North Carolina-based company is not a one-dimensional firm. Few companies would react to a statement from the biggest and most powerful proprietary software company – and one which is actively trying to steal its lunch – with anything resembling these words: “Red Hat regards this most recent announcement with a healthy dose of skepticism (sic).”

The second item is more of a blog post which dissects Microsoft’s deliberate compatibility problem. It’s an offer that was designed to turn Free software into fee software, but spun as a case of Microsoft playing nice. Remember this classic:

“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”

Bill Gates (Microsoft’s CEO at the time)

Anyway, from the post:

So, a software created under the Microsoft Open Premise may not be licensed under a free license, if it violates, or may violate a Microsoft patent. In other words, one should excercise extra care when FOSS-licensing such a software. MOP is only partially compatible with the free licenses, and it could be safer to regard it as generally incompatible with them.

This ‘openness’ from Microsoft brings more harm than good. Again, it’s about turning Free software to fee [sic] software (using software patents). Microsoft should be slammed rather than praised for it. This gift came from the Greek, surely, encouraging costly development of proprietary software at the expense of libre and gratis software.

The Fight Against Software Patents and Intellectual Monopolies

Posted in GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Kernel, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 3:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There is a fair bit of news on the subject of what the press wrongly calls "intellectual property". For starters, you are strongly encouraged to read this new article from the Guardian. It explains why “‘Intellectual property’ is a silly euphemism.”

And now, come to consider the fact that many companies fight to end software patents. This is major, if accurately described herein.

The End Software Patents Web site, here, highlights a long list of diverse businesses that have been sued for allegedly infringing software patents, including the Green Bay Packers, OfficeMax, Caterpillar, Kraft Foods , ADT Security Services, AutoNation, Wal-Mart , Walgreen , Barnes & Noble, Circuit City Stores , Ford Motor , E I du Pont de Nemours and Co. , and so on. In most cases, the companies have been sued because of certain basic, routine functions performed on their Web sites — the way images are displayed, the way data is gathered or transmitted — which are said to infringe software patents.

With so many spurious patents, it should hardly be surprising that a huge backlog gets reported by the USPTO, which very recently received an unnecessary funding boost.

Even with its increased hiring estimates of 1,200 patent examiners each year for the next 5 years, the US Patent and Trademark Office patent application backlog is expected to increase to over 1.3 million at the end of fiscal year 2011 the Government Accounting Office reported today.

With these astonishing numbers in mind, watch the following chart again.

Software patent on rise

Mind the following news article from Associated Press:

More than 60 companies and trade associations, including Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc., are members of Coalition for Patent Fairness. The coalition paid Patton Boggs to lobby Congress in support of patent legislation that passed the House last year but has stalled in the Senate.

Using the power of the lobbyist (political intervention), at least some of them want to abolish elements in the USPTO that harm their revenue while keeping some of the elements that are harmful to Free software (i.e. their rivals). This was argued elsewhere in the past and even pointed out by Digital Majority editors.

The worry here is that various ‘peripheral’ (Linus Torvalds calls them "external") issues exist that people like ourselves and others are still studying. Have a look at ways in which Microsoft intends to replace the cash cows' cashflow. It seems safe to suspect Microsoft still operates at a loss, overall. A change of strategy is crucial to Microsoft’s survival.

Remember what’s in Microsoft mind: patents. Watch the recent news about Blackboard, which was funded by Microsoft. For all we can tell, Microsoft views this as its newer strategy. Its latest SEC filing supports this assertion, to an extent. Then again, Microsoft is also a sufferer, as we were last reminded only 3 days ago.

Microsoft Corp. has challenged 24 of Avistar Communications Corp.’s 29 U.S. patents, the company said.

San Mateo-based Avistar said the challenge follows six months of unsuccessful business discussions.

Software patents and legislation might have greater effect on the success of GNU/Linux than only its technical merits. Those who refuse to acknowledge this do so at their own peril.

Related articles:

Quick Mention: Another Departure from SUSE

Posted in KDE, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu at 2:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A week ago we mentioned disappointment and here is a new story about departure.

After I had first Kubuntu impressions using a VMware image I finally did it. My SuSE 10.2 partition was wipped out and Kubuntu 7.10 “Gutsy Gibbon” has been installed. This happened several weeks ago. In the meatime I found several pleasant surprises while enjoying a Kubuntu installation for my daily work. However where light is there are also shadows.

[...]

All together I am very pleased with Kubuntu. My review may not be fair, since SuSE 10.3 might have improved several things. However to be honest, before installing Kubuntu I tried to upgrade my SuSE 10.2 installation to SuSE 10.3 and failed horribly at resolving dependencies. Obviously the use of Smart along with repositories like Guru and Pacman introduced so many dependencies that I gave up after half an hour of trying to resolve the dependencies. Since APT is the official supported way of installing packages on Kubuntu I have the hope that the upgrade to Hardy Heron will be much easier.

We do not encourage the use of SUSE, not even OpenSUSE. It would help Novell.

SUSE KDE

Who to Watch at Microsoft

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 2:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Correspondence with an unnamed executive

One thing that remains rather clear is that some decent people do exist who also work at Microsoft. It is hard, however, to understand how they can surround themselves by so much of the poison which lacks supervision. Nobody tells them off for things like letters from the dead, briberies (more recently in Sweden, Nigeria and other places), among other things. In some recent communication with an executive of a large open source company we were told:

“I tend to be optimistic on people and companies. The same is true of Microsoft. [...] I give them a chance…until they proven they don’t deserve it. My personal ambition is still to bury the company. That hasn’t changed.”

The man spoke about Steve Ballmer's reaction and giveaway last week. Ballmer is not a nice person. It is hard to believe he ever will be (just watch these examples). Even Martin Taylor and Bill Hilf walked away from him. Unless the management is ‘rebooted’ — so to speak — Microsoft will remain a cult. Have you seen the Evangelism is War exhibit? It’s very telling. If you’re not with them, they are at war against you.

Bill Gates is writing many checks these days. We must keep our eyes wide open because by doing so we either:

  1. Force Gates and his Foundation become more careful in what they do, if not altogether avoid it; or
  2. Put to shame those who fall victim to the scams or accept money in exchange for lock-in

Either way, the practice gets suppressed by both the giver and the receiver. Hours ago someone told us that the head of the foundation did not actually leave. She was fired. We are still waiting for hard proof of this, such as an article.

Let them eat Vista

More About OOXML in Denmark, Jesper Stocholm

Posted in ECMA, Europe, Microsoft, Open XML at 2:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

You can probably still remember the OOXML abuses in Denmark (post last modified yesterday, in order to include a reader’s update). More information about the Danish complaint is now available at noooxml.org as well.

“Never before have I witnessed a wave of attacks of this scale, mostly originating from anonymous posters or pseudonyms (the forum is unmoderated).”On a more personal level (which I try hard to avoid in this Web site), I have been talking to Jesper Stocholm, one of the Danish representatives. He entered a public forum where he shares non-BRM-related views while attending the BRM. He came there in response to my postings.

Never before have I witnessed a wave of attacks of this scale, mostly originating from anonymous posters or pseudonyms (the forum is unmoderated). Literally hundreds of posts with personal attacks against me are intended to make it impossible for two people to communicate. The post are slanderous. They are outright lies. They are aggressive and insulting. It is said to be equally bad in Slashdot, but I very much doubt it. Either way, here is my last message to Jesper (from last night):


Denmark and Formats

Jesper,

The NG is flooded by slanderous attacks like I’ve never seen before. I can’t do anything to respond there.

http://groups.google.com/groups/search?ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&num=50&q=stocholm+schestowitz&qt_s=Search

Flooded by a gang of anonymous hyenas (these are pseudonyms).

Please contact me to avoid abuse. :-)

[...]


I know very little about Jesper, but his Web site, which is purely run on Microsoft technologies, has quite a bit of anti-ODF and pro-OOXML content on the face of it. This was noted before. If you watch some of the cited links, you’ll see that Microsoft and gold partners dominate Denmark’s vote, which in itself makes the whole situation somewhat of a farce.

Expect Microsoft to be Harshly Slapped for Abuses of ISO

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, ECMA, Europe, Fraud, Microsoft, Open XML, Standard at 2:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If you flee the rules, you will be caught. And it will cost you dearly,”

Neelie Kroes (about Microsoft), February 27th, 2008

Bob Sutor found an important bit of text in the MarketWatch article about Microsoft’s latest fine.

In addition, Microsoft recently acknowledged that the commission is also looking into lobbying efforts for its Open XML file format, which has been derided by critics as insufficiently accessible. Microsoft unsuccessfully sought last year to receive approval from the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, to have Open XML declared an international standard.

As you are probably aware by now, the Commission is onto Microsoft's tail as it digests and analyses the endless abuses by Microsoft in pursuit of OOXML as a standard. From Google’s text search alone, this site receives over 10,000 visits a month (‘OOXML’ being a common search term), so it’s natural to assume people do their research on this issue and end up in here. Any comment and insight you can add will probably assist tremendously and be very visible.

Going ‘back’ to the BRM (present days), LinuxWorld has an article about the secretive nature of a process deciding on open standards, which affect everyone (to give another example of secretive discussions, consider eastern Europe).

Delegates at the meeting must decide to accept each of ECMA’s recommendations, reject them or make some other change instead.

What if the delegates wish to raise and discuss new problems? The rules forbid this. To make matters worse, the experts had very limited time to review 6,000+ pages, so not many complaints, corrections and suggestions could be made. This hopefully gives you an idea of how pointless this BRM actually is [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. It’s a shotgun wedding. China complained about this, but got pretty much ignored by ECMA (Microsoft).

Looking more closely at the article from LinuxWorld, someone spots the following:

Robbery at the BRM?

LinuxWorld mentions that the BRM organisors are making a paper ballot on all the 900 comments. It seems that the BRM organisors are “robbing national delegations of the opportunity to propose their own modifications”.

[...]

The purpose of this robbery might be to avoid any fix to the standard. MS-ECMA have not proposed any changes, and this robbery is designed to get the message that the BRM have fixed some issues.

Tim Bray has some photos from the BRM in his blog, in case you are curious. It doesn’t seem too rosy, but as the article above puts it, no chair are flying and people do not shout.

OOXML is bad

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