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04.14.08

Microsoft Could Enter EMC from the Back Door

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft, Virtualisation, Xen at 11:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The number of developers working on improving Linux vastly exceeds the number of Microsoft developers working on Windows NT.”

Paul Maritz, Microsoft

Just over a month ago we brought back memories of Maritz, known (or notorious) for his role in antitrust investigations which predate the change of political parties in power (United States). There are certain individuals who can rightly be made liable for sheer abuse in the market and Maritz would be one of them. We covered this before and these resources say a lot more.

Maritz recently joined a Microsoft rival, which triggered worries about insiders, or influence (misguidance) from the inside. According to the Microsoft Blog (Mary Jo Foley), Maritz is not the only former Softie to have just occupied part of EMC.

Former Softie getting the old band back together?

[...]

Fitzgerald resigned from Microsoft in January 2008 and neither Microsoft nor Fitzgerald himself would comment on where he was going.

[...]

Wonder if any other former Softies will resurface at Pi/EMC, going head-to-head with Microsoft….

This is something to watch out for. We have already seen one Microsoft rival in the virtualisation area (XenSource) getting distracted by Microsoft deals and and then consumed by a close Microsoft partner to be used against a much bigger threat (VMWare). That’s just how it typically works — grouping of an ecosystem (or Trust) against ‘outsiders’ (more recent example in [1, 2]). A few days ago Citrix prepared us all for an announcement about a new Xen-based product, its focus being the desktop. Nothing about open source and nothing about GNU/Linux.

Speaking of anti-competitive behaviour, around the same time of this Maritz appointment we also saw Microsoft fined very heavily. YouTube now has a video covering this.

McAfee Throws Some More FUD at Free Software

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 10:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rebels against secure technology, GPL

Still financially-reliant on Windows and its many vulnerabilities, McAfee appears to be continuing its crusade against change. Never mind if the departure of a senior vice president from Microsoft (Windows executive) was only leaked yesterday, indicating that Windows’ decline is inevitable. Never mind if any cyber-criminal that uses GNU/Linux could just as effectively use Mac OS X or Microsoft Windows. Never mind if development of scripts needn’t rely on sharing.

“Never mind if any cyber-criminal that uses GNU/Linux could just as effectively use Mac OS X or Microsoft Windows.”There might just be something at McAfee that has led them to taking the lead in anti-Free software battles [1, 2] for at least a couple of years, not only because they are quite likely GPL violators. Trend Micro is a close second because a couple of years ago it actually defended and praised the security advantage of Free software (before attacking it in court over software patents).

Sadly enough, more recently we saw Palamida flirting with (even collaborating with) McAfee. One has to worry about fear as a product or sales strategy. Anyway, for details about McAfee’s latest accusation, see Matt Asay’s blog.

Someone at McAfee thinks that the correlation between botnets and open source is clear, but I am struggling to grasp any connection between the two. Perhaps this is just one more example of McAfee’s dubious grasp on reality when it comes to open source. Remember its statement that open-source licensing is a threat to its business?

Also from the same blog, recall Google's AGPL antipathy, which was discussed here only a few days ago. Google seems to have replied, but in a very tactless fashion. Asay rebuts.

Well, no, Chris [DiBona], AGPL is not “meaning something else altogether.” It actually means precisely what the GPL was always intended to mean: Reciprocity. It is likely true that Google doesn’t like that reciprocity requirement, but that’s “something else altogether.”

What is the AGPL? It’s the Affero General Public License, and finishes the job that GPLv3 was supposed to do: Broaden the definition of “distribution” enough to keep Web freeriders like Google, Digg, etc. from using open-source code without contributing back.

Google will hopefully have this one rectified, for its own good.

US Commerce Secretary Wants to Restore Some Patent Sanity, Microsoft-Novell as Role Model of Abuse

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 10:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Groklaw has just up scooped the following small portion of slightly reassuring news. It’s about the Commerce Secretary Gutierrez addressing the US senate regarding patents.

The Administration strongly supports the AQS provision in the bill in its current form, and believes enacting AQS will reduce the number of poor quality and imprecise applications, thus dramatically reducing patent pendency and backlog, as well as the likelihood of excessive litigation.

This is quite a significant turn considering the Administration's recent snub of a reform, which is an ineffective reform anyway.

Yesterday we shared a video where Red Hat speaks about its patents. It’s discouraging, but some view it as a necessarily evil due to the broken legislation (see the above) and some even try to capitalise on it. Have a look at this analysis:

A company turns the Microsoft-Novell case into an open source business model

Everybody seems to agree that software patents are bad: because of patent trolls, because the patent system is broken and overwhelmed or because they threaten FOSS. In short, people don’t want to pay for Linux.

Yet even pro-open-source companies are making this argument that they have to build a patent portfolio so that to be able to defend themselves, just in case. Hey, even open source communities have adopted this “I’m forced too” stance.

Therefore it was only a matter of time before an open source company decides patents could be used to solidify open source dual-licensing schemes. Imagine the deal between Microsoft and Novell erected into a widespread open source dual-licensing scheme. Scary.

We wrote very briefly about this company a couple of week back. By the way, milkingthegnu.org is a recommended new Web site that focuses on important matters (the macro issues), so if you can spare some room in your reading list, this site is worth considering.

An increasing number of sites appear to be focusing on what can best be described as the perversion of Free software, or at least its redefinition. When you see OOXML described as open source in the Times of India, you know something is amiss. As an aside, Richard Stallman is coming to Manchester in a couple of week. I’ll finally get to see him talk.

Links 14/04/2008: Buckets of Embedded Linux News/PRs, ‘Fat’ Laptops Passe

Posted in News Roundup at 10:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Direct link

Red Hat and Software Patents (Video)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Patents, Red Hat, Videos at 12:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Direct link

Links 14/04/2008: Another Linux-based ‘Retro Console’, Donated PCs Turned to Edubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 12:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Microsoft Linux/MSN/OOXML/Software Patent Partners: Down from 4 to Just 3 Any Time Soon?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents, Standard at 12:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Less is better

Linspire is the company which we expected to go down first. Ever since that heartless betrayal from Microsoft it has been clear that Linspire would face serious issue. These are issues which Kevin Carmony quite foolishly brought upon himself (later attempting to toss the blame on somebody else) and upon his innocent subordinates too.

GeekZone thinks that “Linspire is sinking” (worry not because the source lives on), but this merely confirms something we have known for quite some time. Watch this:

The above link for www.freespire.com, which really showed how bad *spire is, seems to be updated with usual Linux Desktop information now. It has all happened within one day, lol

Anyway, here are some of the screenshots from the Google Caches,

[...]

“…this domain name was obtained only after it was first offered to Linspire, Inc. and they turned it down.”

At this stage, it’s probably better and safer to use Fedora, PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu or many of the lesser-known GNU/Linux distributions that will continue to thrive without any obligations to Microsoft.

“It’s not so insane to predict that Microsoft will take over Novell in one way or another.”Novell, by the way, is far too close to Microsoft. As time goes by, those ties are only likely to be further tightened. Novell is finding it hard to pick targets these days. It makes friends with almost no-one other than IBM and Microsoft. And even Bob Sutor seems to be losing patience for and trust in them. IBM recently chose Red Hat for eastern European desktops.

It’s not so insane to predict that Microsoft will take over Novell in one way or another. And that opens the door for Microsoft to intervene more closely with the LF, OSI, FSF, kernel development, etc. It’s time to be very cautious and alert, especially with long-term vocations in mind.

Only 5 years ago, who would have guessed that Yahoo is likely to become Microsoft prey? Or that Flickr and Geocities might be passed on to Yahoo and then possibly to Microsoft? When signing up for Hotmail a long time ago, who would have realised that it’s a case of becoming part of the Microsoft network? Disgruntled users can avoid disappointment early on by being observant. Choosing Novell is not choosing freedom, but a case of choosing another silver cage. Wait until the lion enters.

As a general status report, bear in mind that Xandros is virtually invisible, incognito. ASUS merely uses a derivative of Xandros and it appears not to be obliged in any way to Microsoft, according to what a Xandros employee told us. Turbolinux is practically off the map of the English-speaking press. So, all in all, GNU/Linux is doing just fine. Defectors like Linspire must not be endorsed though. In due time, they will take a rest and if all goes well Microsoft’s Plan B will backfire again.

“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.”

Philippe Kahn

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