Hot off the press:
Microsoft and Novell Announce Departure of OpenSUSE Project, Renewed Patent Strategy
Customers will continue to embrace SUSE Windows Enterprise; technical collaboration between Microsoft and Novell will expand Windows Vista distribution to create Windows 7
REDMOND, Wash., and WALTHAM, Mass. — Apr. 1, 2008 — Over one year after signing an agreement to exchange protection money and securing several kneecaps, Novell Inc. and Microsoft Corp. today announced that OpenSUSE developers had reached a state of unrest. As such, Microsoft and Novell decided to revise their strategic partnership and combine the best of two platforms’ intellectual property, protected by an extensive portfolio of valuable patents.
The two companies will continue to swap intellectual property (IP) and create Microsoft Windows 7, accompanied by a derivative release named SUSE Windows, ensuring that OpenSUSE developers, formerly of SuSE, can continue to develop GNU/Linux solutions with peace of mind. In addition, Novell and Microsoft announced an expansion of their strategic collaboration to create the Oligarchy Invention Network (OIN), whose purpose is to litigate — albeit by proxy — against disruptive technologies whose market cost is zero.
“This agreement has been about Novell’s shareholder since day one,” said Jam Jaffe, executive vile precedence at Novell. “Investors told us they wanted to indulge in the wealth that was built around Windows. Novell is also becoming the preferred patent troll for litigation strategies against companies which refuse to pay for imaginary property and unsubstantiated claims.”
Achievements to Date
Today Novell and Microsoft announced that 15 new customers, including SCO (Nasdaq: SCOX), have sought the services of the joint collaboration, whose potential in spreading fear is immense. “I have been looking for such opportunities for over 5 years,” said Darl McBride, whose expected departure was wrongly announced by the press in the month of February.
Novell concluded by assuring technical enthusiasts that their GNU/Linux* distribution will be stripped of most or all of Novell’s contributions to it, in order to avoid further legal damage and threat over frameworks such as Mono. “The hobbyists were not exactly what we needed at Novell anyway,” summarised Just in Stein at the press conference announcing this major development.
Novell, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL) delivers infrastructure software for the Patent-happy Enterprise. Novell is a leader in desktop to data center operating systems based on Ballnux and the software required to secure and manage mixed IT environments. Novell helps customers around the world minimize cost, complexity and risk, allowing them to focus on innovation and growth. For more information, visit www.novell.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in bribery, extortion and blackmail that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Novell and SUSE are registered trademarks of Novell Inc. in the United States and other countries.
* Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.
Hint for the baffled: I wasn’t really hired by Microsoft a year ago today.
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Who let the dogs out?
We are not done criticising the event called OSBC 2008. Not yet anyway. Some weeks ago we saw Bruce Perens deciding to step up in order to bring change. He did this amid Microsoft's attempts to change open source. Unsurprisingly, Matt Asay immediately stood in his way, much like a Microsoft gatekeeper.
Working from the inside, Microsoft also decided to name open source and GNU/Linux users "thieves" and some people believe they can change Microsoft, not just make them pretend better. Ask Judge Jackson about it and then re-evaluate your chances.
It was not only in our eyes that OSBC seems like a failure [1, 2, 3]. It would have been a lot better had it not concentrated on Microsoft. OSBC 2008 was all about Microsoft, at least from the perspective of the press. One can only hope for a better do next year.
Watch this new interview with Bruce Perens. It’s summarised thusly:
Open source leader views software patenting as the No. 1 impediment to innovation
Michael Tiemann, watching the press that Microsoft has received from (read: generated with) (MS)OSBC, comes to realise what was said there. He rebuts:
An Information Week article published last week appears to position Microsoft as trying to do something right when it comes to open source. And it positions the open source community as being not quite ready to make nice after past insults, threats, and abuse.
Speaking for myself, I am always ready to see what somebody has to say when they say they want to work with the open source community. Unfortunately, Microsoft seems to be continuing its campaign of defining open source on its own terms, terms that violate the basic principles of our community. According to the article:
For patented protocols, Microsoft said it would offer licenses on “reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.” Open source developers can access the protocols for free for noncommercial use without fear of lawsuits, Microsoft said.
The Open Source Definition makes it quite clear in #6 that restrictions against commercial use violate the OSD. Thus, a free-of-cost license that prohibits commercial use is useless to open source developers. And therefore I cannot understand why anybody would think that Microsoft is doing the open source community any favors.
So, why is Microsoft in the OSI anyway? Is it due to people who openly let them into the OSI and then actually invite a Microsoft lawyer to open up an open source event? That’s just why Microsoft helps create business-oriented conferences like OSBC, in order to redefine some rules and elbow aside Free software with assimilation techniques. Live and learn already. Remember ISO going dysfunctional yesterday? The OSI could be equally paralyzed (it not dead) unless it wakes up and responds. Always find the insiders to eradicate intrusion attempts. There are always some people whom you can trust. █
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What would be a better day for an opportunity to say the truth about Mono in the press, under the moral shield that it the day of the Fools? Sam Varghese takes advantage and it’s a recommended read.
Mr de Icaza told those assembled that he had always had a dual purpose in starting the project – to provide an implementation of Microsoft’s .NET development framework so that Linux developers could enjoy the wonderful programming tools built in Redmond and also to ensure that in future Linux became so integrated with Microsoft that it would not be possible to pull the two apart.
The rest of the article is fictional and satirical, but the above is true.
Mind the date before getting confused. Interestingly enough, iTWire removed the article “SUMDAM award for GNOME media spokesman” (article pulled now). Obviously, going ad hominem against Jeff Waugh was not tactful, not even on a day to amuse (as opposed to abuse). █
Image contributed by Beranger
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Novell’s CEO appears to have taken a less familiar hat. In his new interview with the Linux Foundation (Jim Zemlin actually) he emits some ‘fast facts’ akin to the ones which are organically generated by PR folks. Without delving into the depths of Novell’s old chorus (“Novell congratulates self for snogging Microsoft“), consider these statements from Hovsepian:
“Novell grew 200% in the SUSE Linux marketplace year-over-year from an invoicing perspective,” he said. The overall market is growing at 22% according to IDC,” and “we’re taking some market share from our competitors.
“The key to that success has been better Windows co-existance, he insisted. “The realities of a customer’s world is that they’re going to live with both for a long time in our lifetime,” and the Microsoft relationship helps with that.
Let’s go through some more facts again. These are facts which Novell refuses to mention or admit because they don’t fit its rah-rah PR pitch.
There are many more points that could be made. The bottom line is that, as the old saying goes, “PR lies.” That’s just what Hovsepain appears to be doing here. Sometime a lie is called an “embellishment”. █
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Dysfunctional ISO, courtesy of Microsoft and abuse
Two days ago we mentioned Bill Beebe's list of Microsoft abuses, which go as far back as 15 years ago. Here are some portions from a good long post which takes a careful look at some of Microsoft’s most recent abuses.
Attacking Non-Profits Seeking to Help Children in Poor Countries
Professor Negroponte wants to make the world a better place. His vision? An affordable laptop in the hands of every child. He founded a non-profit group and created the XO, an amazing machine targeted specifically at children living in poor countries, with features such as mesh networking to easily connect and share info, a screen viewable outdoors, tiny power consumption and a battery rechargeable through a solar panel.
Microsoft earlier labeled this a toy and attempted to mock it, but in 2007 as the XO began to become a reality the real attack began.
Microsoft Threatens Linux with Patent Claims
Microsoft loves to sling mud on others and then refuse to say where the mud came from. In 2007, Microsoft claimed Linux violates 235 of its patents. They, of course, refused to provide any specificity to the claim, for if it is true Microsoft is not interested in allowing Linux to work around the patents.
ISO AND MSOOXML
Perhaps the worst story about Microsoft in 2007 is its unrelenting assault on ISO, the International Standards Organization.
Here is a quick list of some of the “Irregularities” uncovered so far:
Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Switzerland, USA: Committee Stuffing
Finland: chairman fired
Hungary: rule bending (deadlines and majority rules bent to favor MS)
Malaysia: voted no, but overridden by government anyways and changed to yes
Netherlands: voted no, but was overridden by Microsoft
Pakistan, Sweden: members bought
Poland: voted no, taken and given to another committee who rubber stamped it
Germany, Russia: irregularity
Spain: Microsoft spreads misinformation
Ukraine, Venezuela: discrimination
That’s just the tip of the iceberg really, but seeing it all in one place certainly lends credibility to arguments about sheer abuse.
Regarding OOXML, the WTO and EC might be on their way, so any announcements about an OOXML ‘win’ can be taken with a grain of salt and require some patience. Regardless of the outcome and sadly enough, ISO possibly won’t recover and that in itself is a win for Microsoft. The company never cared about industry standards anyway, by its very own admission.
The latest report from Groklaw speaks about a delay, which is most likely tied to protests and ongoing investigations of ‘irregularities’ (too gentle a word).
ISO now says they will tell us the results Wednesday, not today after all. I suspect there may be a connection. And Microsoft says it won’t say anything until Wednesday either, “out of respect for the standards process.” Hahahahaha. Priceless.
There are other articles in the press which speak about the abuses. Take this one from ZDNet for example.
Details emerge of ‘shocking’ OOXML meeting
In the run-up to the dealine, some national standards bodies have changed their stance. Denmark has made a last-minute switch to approve Office Open XML (OOXML), while the British Standards Institution (BSI) has been advised by a technical committee to change its vote to “yes”. The BSI today refused to say whether it will follow that advice, promising a statement on Monday; the vast majority of standards bodies will keep silent until after the deadline passes.
The silence around last month’s controversial ballot resolution meeting has been broken, however, with details supplied by a Brazilian delegate providing a “shocking tale”, according to IT law site Groklaw’s detailed post. The site links to the original meeting notes, and also suggests that South Korea’s vote has changed from “no” to “yes”.
Yesterday we wrote about the Singapore story and there is some more information about it here, along with higher-resolution scans of documents and letters. It’s handy to have all of this for future reference and for probes.
Some people are not very good at distinguishing Carbon Copy and Blind Carbon Copy. Hopefully, Carbon Copy helps when Microsoft Singapore asks to send letters of support of OOXML to the national Standards Body.
In LinuxJournal, Glyn Moody explains why this whole pursuit may actually cost Microsoft more than it will earn. It remains to be seen how Microsoft uses its media to rewrite history and approach ‘the masses’. In circles close to decision-making, the real (yet incomplete) story will be told though, based on the leaks.
Writing to MEPs (if you’re European) or to Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Competition, (if you’re not) is one obvious action we can all take to press for an independent, transparent inquiry into possible irregularities during the OOXML voting process in Europe. But I think there’s something just as important that we need to start doing immediately.
It is striking that some parts of Microsoft have been making soothing noises to the open source world, speaking of their desire to work alongside free software projects and to ensure “interoperability” – a favourite concept at the moment – between the open and closed worlds. Those voices have become increasingly seductive to some, especially in the open source business world, who would rather work with than against the Seattle behemoth, and who seem to believe that Microsoft is genuine in its offers. But if the whole sorry OOXML saga shows anything, it is Microsoft’s deep and utter contempt for the whole idea of an open, collaborative process based on mutual respect and consensus. Henceforth, members of the open source community must view with deep cynicism all – not just some – offers by Microsoft to work more closely with the free software world. If they don’t, they could find themselves used and abused just like the once famous, and now former, International Standards Organisation.
More coverage about the vote and an exposition of Microsoft deception/abuse/manipulation you will find in this cumulative report from Groklaw
People have eyes. OOXML is a mess, and the whole world knows it. And there is no way to wipe that stain away. Ironically, had Microsoft put it on the regular track, it would probably have at least been made usable, if not necessary. No one can make it necessary. And there can be no doubt that Microsoft’s reputation has taken another hit, due to its behavior. We know now that there is no “new” Microsoft.
There are quite a few barriers that Microsoft faces after so many well-documented abuses. For each part of the world, horror stories are publicly available for citing in years to come. Microsoft will come to regret its ‘wins’. █
“This year WG1 have had another major development that has made it almost impossible to continue with our work within ISO. The influx of P members whose only interest is the fast-tracking of ECMA 376 as ISO 29500 has led to the failure of a number of key ballots. Though P members are required to vote, 50% of our current members, and some 66% of our new members, blatantly ignore this rule despite weekly email reminders and reminders on our website. As ISO require at least 50% of P members to vote before they start to count the votes we have had to reballot standards that should have been passed and completed their publication stages at Kyoto. This delay will mean that these standards will appear on the list of WG1 standards that have not been produced within the time limits set by ISO, despite our best efforts.
The disparity of rules for PAS, Fast-Track and ISO committee generated standards is fast making ISO a laughing stock in IT circles. The days of open standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are getting “standardization by corporation”, something I have been fighting against for the 20 years I have served on ISO committees. I am glad to be retiring before the situation becomes impossible. I wish my colleagues every success for their future efforts, which I sincerely hope will not prove to be as wasted as I fear they could be.”
–Martin Bryan, ISO ‘Escapee’
Formerly Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 WG1
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Accept it or hate it, Microsoft still intends to use software patents for redefining the rules of a game it is losing. Be it welcomed or damned, it is important to fight this battle against ‘contamination’ with software patents, which large companies try to 'inject' into national law worldwide.
Here we present some new items of interest.
Along the lines of “dumb wisdom”, let’s consider what makes an “intellectual idiocy”. When applied to things like spurious copyright protection:
In many ways, the human mind is like a computer … it processes information and stores data. Are the memories we have of music; films and books in violation of copyright, because they are stored like computer files in our minds? Should we be legally prohibited from discussing this “content”, for fear of being accused of illegally “distributing” copyrighted material?
The above is a good and warmly recommended post that emerged from a recent discussion. How about this new bit about software patents? [via Digital Majority]
Brad Feld, a venture capitalist, described software patents as an “evil scourge on our planet” that stifle innovation and believes technology has no value by the time it is patented. Feld stated software patents should be abolished and the problems of software patents would be solved with large companies creating patent software commons of cross licensing the patents.
Is THIS Microsoft’s Plan of IMITAT~1^H^HOwning a Superior Competition?
Microsoft loves software patents and its ridiculous portfolio proves this. But it has this annoying obsession of patenting things that Linux/UNIX ‘own’ but never had patented. How about Microsoft's sudo patent? Or this new post from Glyn Moody about Microsoft ‘owning’ system modularity?
One word that has cropped up time and again on this blog is “modularity”. It’s one of the prime characteristics of the open source way – and one of its greatest strengths. Now wonder, then, that Microsoft has finalled cottoned on – helped, no doubt, by the abject failure of its Vista monster
Needless to say, though, even in making this sensible move, Microsoft manages to add a touch of absurdity:
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft already has a patent on a “modular operating system” concept.
A *patent* on modularity? Give me a break….
The patent/application itself a bit old. There are many more examples. For further reading about the concept and the patent consider:
When All Else Fail, Resort to Bullying
Remember patent TrollTracker?
Well, our Web site now contains many broken (outgoing) links since the man’s blog was bullied out of existence. And now it’s BusinessWeek’s turn to tell the story.
Troll Tracker gained repute as a forum for information, not invective. But its more volatile content would eventually combine to blow up the blog and land its creator and Cisco in legal hot water. A reader comment in December contained a death threat against Chicago attorney Raymond Niro Sr., who has long represented trolls. Two Texas attorneys were enraged by Troll Tracker reports suggesting that the lawyers may have had dates altered on a court document—a felony. By the end of last year, Niro had put up a $15,000 bounty to unmask the anonymous blogger, and Internet sleuths had tried to track him.
How truly unacceptable. A known troll [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] resorts to bullying [1, 2, 3].
Rick cited us in the past and it’s awfully sad to see patent trolls not only abusing the system, but abusing people and their careers/employers as well. How can Ray Niro even stare at the mirror under his bridge? █
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Just when you thought you had seen enough…
In recent months, Microsoft seems to have engaged in a ‘distributed denial of service attack’ when it comes to corruption. Those striving to keep track of Microsoft’s dirty tricks, let alone have the company prosecuted and punished, are up for a real task.
“Microsoft reportedly did this in order to push OOXML right into the fast track — a fiasco which many mind have already left neglected in the past.”The following report could easily translate into more labour (even burden) for the EU Commission to handle. It comes at a time when the digital complaint box has been filled — so to speak — topping its rim. That’s what we mean by “distributed denial of service attack”. When it rains, it pours.
Today’s story comes from Singapore where Microsoft has been caught using an old class of dirty tricks. In the past (just under a year ago) we saw the company applying this tactic to ISO directly. We repeated this story on the first day of the BRM in Geneva. Microsoft reportedly did this in order to push OOXML right into the fast track — a fiasco which many mind have already left neglected in the past.
Several weeks ago we saw similar tricks getting used in India. As we wrote at the time, Microsoft may have bribed charities in exchange for OOXML lobbying and pressure. It’s appalling, and it’s difficult to deny.
Now it’s Singapore. Shocking. To conclude with just the closing sentence:
And the most hilarious letter of support comes from a Singaporean secondary girl’s school, Crescent Girl’s School. That’s right folks, that’s how desperate they were to get their “Approve” vote, they actually got a school to submit a letter of support…
To make this long story short (it is backed by compelling and undeniable evidence), Microsoft is one again flooding national bodies with template-imposed letters. It is using its many proxies, some of which have no relevance at all to this debate.
Back in 2001, Microsoft even used as proxies a variety of deceased people, whose bogus ‘letters of support’ written were written by a firm Microsoft had hired. Add such practices to academic kickbacks and AstroTurfing and you will soon realised what level of corruption it emitted from this company, which never ended misbehaviour.
It’s another dark day for human decency, courtesy of Microsoft.
Amid several new complaints from the American Antitrust Institute, US Antitrust officials have made a promise to step up.
Bush administration officials vowed Friday to more strictly enforce antitrust law in their remaining months in office, while their European counterparts struck a more conciliatory tone.
In remarks to a lawyers’ group, the goal seemed to combat the perception among many antitrust experts that the European Union enforces antitrust law with a vengeance in contrast to a too-lax approach in the U.S.
Thomas Barnett, the Justice Department’s top antitrust official, said the agency will pursue “aggressive but appropriate merger enforcement.” The department faced criticism earlier this week for clearing — without conditions — Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.’s $5 billion (€3.2 billion) purchase of its only rival, XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.
Will they be up to the task for a change? Words are not enough and signs of history say that citizens should demand deeds, not words. Words are cheap in an administration where politicians are controlled by corporations, who fund them directly. The infamous “letters from the dead” debacle (see above) is a good example of this because the letters were addressed at those responsible for antitrust action. █
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