EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.21.08

Links 22/04/2008: Red Hat Upgraded; XBox 360 Burns Another House Down

Posted in News Roundup at 11:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Direct link

The Linux Foundation and Novell (Plus Microsoft)

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Debian, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OLPC, OSDL, Steve Ballmer at 9:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’ve heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons “royalty payments””

Matt Asay, April 21st, 2008

Yesterday we wrote about Novell's news from China and warned that Microsoft and Novell had begun to share some more vocabulary. Several more articles have since then been published to cover the new announcement, including this one.

As part of the on-going agreement with Novell, Microsoft is identifying and converting unsupported users of Linux to the latest versions of Suse Linux.

After a long period of doubt, scepticism and criticism over their agreement, Novell and Microsoft are finally starting to see the benefits of the 5-year alliance originally announced in December 2006.

Continuing to dabble with the ‘dark side,’ Ron Hovsepian, president and CEO of Novell said in a recent press-release, describing the outcomes of their alliance with Microsoft, “It’s very encouraging to see that our business and technical collaboration continues to resonate with customers around the globe.”

What is meant by “unsupported users of Linux”? Are these users who do not pay Microsoft for mythical software patents in a country where these are invalid anyway? If it’s about technical support, they already have several other companies to turn to.

Amid all this ugliness, the Linux Foundation, which is sponsored by Novell, keeps silent and at times even dishonest about these issues. Sam Varghese has just expressed his thoughts and articulated his complaints, which seem to suggest that the roots of Linux, including projects like Debian and even Slackware are being neglected, disregarded and faced with disinterest from those who had a lot of labour exploited.

Whither the Linux Foundation?

We live in the age of the spinmeister, the age when language is used more as a means to confuse than to educate, an age when obfuscation is preferred to clarification.

[...]

The Foundation, one must bear in mind, was formed at the beginning of 2007 by a merger between the Open Source Development Labs and the Free Standards Group.

This is the same group that, last year, asked people to respect Microsoft .

[...]

For some time now, the Foundation has been trying to generate its own coverage. There were some pitiful attempts by Zemlin earlier this year to pass around interviews which he had done with Foundation employees. But he came unstuck when he interviewed Novell chief Ron Hovsepian and never raised the question of that company’s deal with Microsoft. If anything could have unmasked an interview as being bogus, this was it.

[...]

The whole exercise tells me one thing: this is taking Linux away from its roots. The whole point is to rapidly introduce changes into the kernel, changes which the corporates want, changes for which they pay, both by being members of this Foundation and also by employing developers.

In BusinessWeek, the Foundation protested against Microsoft's saber-rattling. Shouldn’t it begin to pressure and publicly criticise Novell for being a part of the same abuse the Foundation seemingly protested against? Well, the Foundation is far too close to Novell and it’s even feeding Microsoft's favourite shills now.

This is of course disappointing because the very same companies that made use of Free software now turn their backs on it, in addition to giving GNU the kick in favour of “commercial open-source” or whatever they choose to call it nowadays (Web 2.0, SaaS, open enterprise ‘solutions’).

Volunteering advocates among us are by no means happy and it probably shows. Ken Starks is optimistic however.

Linux Users will rescue the Desktop. We don’t need corporate help.

Let me take this ice cold bucket of water and welcome those who believe this to the real world. Take a deep breath, because I’m about to splash you abruptly back into the cold, harsh light of reality.

O’Grady writes some more related notes in his Q&A/monologue-style page in order to explain this perplexing situation which he broadly refers to as “Open Source Indemnification”.

While it remains possible – at least as long as Ballmer is at the helm – that Microsoft could pursue litigation against customers, I think highly unlikely.

For a brand that relies highly on rank and file recognition and adoption, pursuing an RIAA-style course of action that includes legal action against its direct customers would be the worst kind of brand suicide. So while Ballmer might hint at such actions in attempt to disincent usage and adoption of the technologies, it’s unlikely that it would go further than that. If not because of the PR implications, then because of the mutually assured destruction scenarios that would likely result in retaliatory lawsuits from competitive vendors with patent portfolios of their own.

Where is the Linux Foundation and why is it not protesting against this abuse by Microsoft? Does it just inherit Novell’s bad behaviour and accepts it silently because of the sponsorship? Might the “respect Microsoft” remark [1, 2, 3] mean more than we realise? It makes the Linux Foundation look rather bad if it asks us to respect what a government delegate compares to a Scientology-like cult. The same goes for Novell.

Amid the departure of Walter Bender they really ought to learn about Intel’s and Microsoft’s “Slog” (Microsoft term [*]) against OLPC [1, 2, 3, 4]. Don’t be surprised if Microsoft conquers this project quite soon, in the sense that it might assign its own people and use its own operating system to get children “addicted” to Windows (again, Microsoft’s own term [**]).

___
[*] From Microsoft’s internal documents:

8: The Slog
Guerilla marketing is often a long, hard slog.

slog (sl^g) v. slogged, slogqing, slogs. –tr, To strike with heavy blows, as in boxing. -intr. 1. To walk with a slow, plodding gait. 2. To work diligently for long hours. –n. . 1. long, hard work. 2. A long, exhausting march or hike. [Orig. unknown.] -slog’ger
–American Heritage Dictionary, 1991

In the Slog, Microsoft dukes it out with the competition. MSDN and Platform marketing are the regular forces, exchanging blows with the enemy mano a mano. Evangelism should avoid formal, frontal assaults, instead focusing its efforts of hit-and-run tactics.

In the Slog, the enemy will counter-attack, trying to subvert your Tier A ISVs to their side, just as you should try to subvert their ISVs to your side. New ISVs should be sought, and directed to MSDN’s one-to- many programs. Evangelism should constantly be on the lookout for killer demos, hot young startups, major ISVs, customer testimonials, enemy-alliance-busting defections and other opportunities to demonstrate momentum for our technology. If bugs are found in our technology, or missing features are found to be critically important, then now is the time to identify and fix them. Stay engaged with the technology development team; ensure that you are a valuable resource for them, not a hectoring pest. Document all of your progress (ideally in regularly updated internal Web pages) and forward it regularly to management. If management is not aware of your progress, your successes, and your stumbling blocks, then they can’t help. (They may not help anyway, but they can’t if they don’t know what you need.)

Keep those Tier A ISVs on track to delivery! They are your strongest weapons and cannot be forgotten.

The elements of the evangelical infrastructure – conference presentations, courses, seminars, books, magazine articles, whitepapers, etc. – should start hitting the street at the start of the Slog. They should be so numerous as to push all other books off the shelf, courses out of catalogs, and presentations off the stage.

Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. “Independent” analyst’s report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent” consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). “Independent” courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.

I have mentioned before the “stacked panel”. Panel discussions naturally favor alliances of relatively weak partners – our usual opposition. For example, an “unbiased” panel on OLE vs. OpenDoc would contain representatives of the backers of OLE (Microsoft) and the backers of OpenDoc (Apple, IBM, Novell, WordPerfect, OMG, etc.). Thus we find ourselves outnumbered in almost every “naturally occurring” panel debate.

A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to select the panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can’t expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to get the moderator to agree to having only “independent ISVs” on the panel. No one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the competing technologies would be allowed – just ISVs who have to use this stuff in the “real world.” Sounds marvelously independent doesn’t it? In fact, it allows us to stack the panel with ISVs that back our cause. Thus, the “independent” panel ends up telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover this panel, and you’ve got a major win on your hands.

Finding a moderator is key to setting up a stacked panel. The best sources of pliable moderators are:

— Analysts: Analysts sell out – that’s their business model. But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.

— Consultants: These guys are your best bets as moderators. Get a well-known consultant on your side early, but don’t let him publish anything blatantly pro-Microsoft. Then, get him to propose himself to the conference organizers as a moderator, whenever a panel opportunity comes up. Since he’s well-known, but apparently independent, he’ll be accepted – one less thing for the constantly-overworked conference organizer to worry about, right?

Gathering intelligence on enemy activities is critical to the success of the Slog. We need to know who their allies are and what differences exist between them and their allies (there are always sources of tension between allies), so that we can find ways to split ‘em apart. Reading the trade press, lurking on newsgroups, attending conferences, and (above all) talking to ISVs is essential to gathering this intelligence.

This is a very tough phase of evangelism. You’ll be pulled in every direction at once, randomized by short-term opportunities and action items, nagged by your Tier A ISVs and pestered by every other ISV that wants to become a Tier A. Management will want to know right now how you’re going to respond to some bogus announcement by some random ISV. Some PM over in Consumer will demand that you drop everything to go talk to an ISV in Outer Mongolia, that’s run by an old college chum of his. Competitors will make surprise announcements, lie through their teeth, and generally try to screw you just as hard as you are trying to screw them.

Of course, if you are very, very lucky, there will be no competition to your technology. But this is almost never the case. ODBC had its IDAPI, OLE had its OpenDoc, COM had its SOM, DCOM has its CORBA, MAPI had its VIM, etc., etc., etc. The existence of a Microsoft technology nearly guarantees that a competitive technology will spring into existence overnight, backed by an impromptu association of Microsoft competitors which have decided to draw yet another Line in the Sand (“If we don’t stop Microsoft here, then they are going to take over the whole world!”).

Without a competing technology to fight, you just hand everything over to MSDN, give your Tier A ISVs to PSS, and find a new technology to evangelize. But that takes most of the fun out of the game :-)

9: Final Release:

Evangelism of a given technology usually ends with the final, shipping release of that technology. One last big press event, with demos, a tradeshow, press releases, etc., is often called for, showcasing the apps that are sim-shipping and the customers that are using them. In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s

focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.

10: Critical Mass

The Slog may continue beyond the Final Release, for many months, until Critical Mass is reached. It is possible that Critical Mass will not be reached at all for Version X of a technology, such that Phases 1-9 will have to be repeated – possibly more than once – before ever reaching Critical Mass.

Critical Mass is reached when the technology starts evangelizing itself. When reviews subtract points if it’s not supported; when analysts say “great product plan, but what about [Technology Name]?”; when VC’s won’t fund a company unless it supports [Technology Name] – that’s Critical Mass. At that point, Evangelism of the technology stops, and Evangelism’s resources are applied to other technologies – or, if you’re lucky, moves into the Mopping Up phase.

11: Mopping Up

Mopping Up can be a lot of fun. In the Mopping Up phase, Evangelism’s goal is to put the final nail into the competing technology’s coffin, and bury it in the burning depths of the earth. Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.

12: Victory

Some technologies continue as competitors long after they are true threats – look at OS/2, the Operating System that Refused to Die. It is always possible – however unlikely – that competitors like OpenDoc, SOM, OS/2, etc, could rise from the dead… so long as there is still development work being done on them. Therefore, final victory is reached only when the competing technology’s development team is disbanded, its offices reassigned, its marketing people promoted, etc. You have truly and finally won, when they come to interview for work at Microsoft.

Victory is sweet. Savor it. Then, find a new technology to evangelize — and get back to work :-)

[**] From Cybersource:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Governments Must Reject Gates’ $3 Bid to Addict Next Billion PC Users

30th April, 2007

On April 19th, Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft Corp., unveiled a plan
which seeks to enlist the help of developing nations in a
barely-concealed attempt to get the next billion PC users hooked onto
Microsoft software. Under the guise of trying to bridge the digital
divide, Microsoft will instead aim to extend its desktop monopoly by
using the same technique it’s used for years through software piracy:
platform addiction. An addiction it will milk in future decades. An
addiction that governments should reject in favour of free and open
source software – the only way to truly bridge the digital divide.

“Microsoft’s strategy of getting developing nations hooked on its
software was clearly outlined by Bill Gates almost a decade ago,” said
Con Zymaris, CEO of long-standing open source firm Cybersource.

Specifically, Bill Gates, citing China as an example, said:

“Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, but
people don’t pay for the software,” he said. “Someday they will, though.
As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours.
They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to
collect sometime in the next decade.”[1]

“From this, we analyse the following strategy. Microsoft would allow
users in developing countries to use pirated software, which in turn
would lock those users into Microsoft’s proprietary data formats,
proprietary protocols and proprietary Application Programming Interfaces
(APIs). Once so tithed to Microsoft, these users would find it almost
impossible to move to alternatives, thus providing a captive future
revenue stream,” explained Zymaris. “And this new strategy is even more
insidious, as Microsoft is expecting governments to pay for the
hardware, thus paving the way for Microsoft to snare its next billion
addicts in a friction-free manner.”

“What is equally apparent is that Microsoft would prefer to lose money
initially, to prevent competitors from capturing mindshare. Today, Linux
and open source software are Microsoft’s biggest competitor. And Linux
and open source software are capturing huge mindshare in developing
nations, thus Microsoft’s knee-jerk reaction in offering its
$3-meal-deal,” Zymaris said. “Instead of accepting the Microsoft deal,
governments should push open source software, guaranteeing freedom
from vendor lock-in and future price hikes.”

And where Microsoft offers a handful of cut-down applications in its
$3-meal-deal, open source supplies thousands of complete applications,
for no cost at all. Highly functional applications such as Scribus
(desktop publishing), Gimp, (photo editing), Blender3D (animation),
Inkscape (vector drawing), MySQL (database), Python (programming
environment), will help students in their creative endevours. Other
landmark applications such as Linux, OpenOffice.org (office suite) and
Firefox (web browser) will help all users.

“By helping to make users aware of open source alternatives, by
disseminating that software through CD give-aways and via subsidised,
low-cost PCs, governments will be reducing their reliance on proprietary
vendors and improve access to 21st century technology. It’s the
only way to ensure that their citizens will be free to use quality
software, without constraints, in perpetuity,” concluded Zymaris.

References:
[1] http://news.com.com/2100-1023-212942.html

Microsoft Accused of Blackmail and Rigging for OOXML in Kenya

Posted in Africa, Fraud, Free/Libre Software, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 7:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft boss Bill Gates threatened to kill 800 Danish jobs if Denmark opposed the European Computer Implemented Inventions Directive, reports today’s Danish financial daily Børsen, quoted by NoSoftwarePatents.com”

P2PNet, 2005

Yesterday we wrote about ugly denials by Microsoft and even ISO — denials that shortly afterwards turned out to be bald-faced lies. It new reports are correct, this appears to have also been the case elsewhere, further away from the sight of the western world.

Have a look what’s being reported in Kenya. Microsoft of course tries to deny everything, but having been caught it lying in the past, Microsoft’s denial is worthless.

However, the denial [by Microsoft] was a contradiction to comments by Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication, who said that Microsoft may have made comments regarding funding, though not directly or in writing.

“They may have said something to that effect though not directly and not in writing. Microsoft cannot threaten us. In any case, our policy is very clear, we encourage people to use open-source software and those who want to use proprietary software are at liberty to do so” Ndemo said.

There was heated debate in Kenya’s technology sector before the decision to abstain. The decision was made by a 12-member committee. Some experts felt that the committee was comprised of a majority of Microsoft partners.

It seems like Microsoft is just doing some damage control at the moment by having its lies stick in the press. We saw this before, not just in Norway.

For those who might be studying these incidents, we previously mentioned OOXML stories from Kenya in:

MicrISOftIn this dirty dance of money and power, many incidents remain unresolved and questions remain unanswered. Having written about a trip to Seattle and other interesting possibilities, we have also just found this image (positioned at the top) where Patrick Durusau joins Microsoft managers for a photograph where they all seem to be getting along. Coming from the systematic liars (proven and documents) whom he joins, it’s hard to have much trust anymore.

Someone with a high level of authority is hopefully investigating what was probably the biggest Microsoft scandal of this decade. Tolerating this is permitting abuse of amny systems and abuse of the innocent customers, many of whom haven’t an idea.

OOXML is fraud

flickr:2400865918

Funny Microsoft Business in UK Public Sector Just Got Funnier

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 6:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

You might still recall a post from the other day which deals with corruption in procurement. It focused on the British public sector. “Corruption,” you say? That’s how it seems anyway. Newham now rebuts, but the rebuttal doesn’t seem to lend much credibiily. (mind our highlights in red)

However, Newham has supplied the INQUIRER with internal studies that it says do demonstrate that its decision to commit to Microsoft was justified. The studies were performed by Socitm, a private public sector consulting firm of which Newham COI Steele is a vice president. the INQUIRER will report on these findings in due course.

Meanwhile, the original MOU is enlightening. As well as claiming the deal would enable Newham to achieve high rankings in Audit Commission assessments, it committed Newham to moving all “competitive technology” to Microsoft, regardless of the feasibility of such a move.

It also required Steele to promote Microsoft software.

See attached file: Memorandum of Understanding.doc

The Inquirer will continue to watch this, so future reports will be interesting. It wasn’t long ago that Andy Updegrove wrote about rocking procurement boats, referring to the Massachusetts fiasco. Those who ‘dare’ to intervene often get bullied and not everyone is impressed.

Links 21/04/2008: Linux in the Army, Astronomy, to Reach Many Mobile Devices

Posted in News Roundup at 5:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

We have been appending some (questionably) decent Linux commercials recently. There are some weirder ones too. How about this hilarious Linux commercial from China?

Direct link

This one is also old (from the last decade) and rather bizarre.

Direct link

Software Patents Roundup: Why PCT and Not IPR; Why Patents Kill Standards; Why Software Patents Are Insane

Posted in Courtroom, Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, Patents, RAND at 5:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patent on rise

The Cathedral is bizarre. It tries to tame the legal system to essentially illegalise the Bazaar, which produces excellent products very efficiently and at a very low cost. In the case of software, no physical products need even be produced.

“It cannot be stressed often enough, but companies like Novell and Microsoft will continue to deceive the public for their own selfish interests…”Whether you find this sad or amusing probably depends on which side you are on. What we discover here is nothing but intellectual fences being set up by those who are in the inner circles enjoying a flow of money from those who have no opportunity to compete. The laws were adjusted to make it so.

Doug Mentohl has found a few bits of news that illustrate some of this, adding colour to the problem at hand.

Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks Are Not the Same Thing

It cannot be stressed often enough, but companies like Novell and Microsoft will continue to deceive the public for their own selfish interests where the status of patents should be perceptually elevated and made ‘harder’.

I am not a fan of the term “Intellectual Property” for many reasons. One is that it is confusing as it makes an analogy to tangible property which confuses non-lawyers, and lumps together very different areas of law. This is why many people in policy circles use the acronym PCT which stands for “Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks and other related rights”.

[...]

Historically software was not patentable, and it is only recent that this changed.

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) fought software patents prior to 1981. This changed after a 1981 US Supreme Court Case (Diamond v. Diehr) which involved an industrial process for the molding of rubber products, which included software. While this was not really a software patent, but an industrial process that happened to include software, this was seen as opening the doors to pure software patents and then later to business model patents. Many of these decisions were made by the US Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit which specializes on patents, and is seen by many to be a biased interest group in the debate about what should be patentable.

Interestingly, the the anti-spam (CAPTCHA) word at the bottom of the article came up as “windows”. Coincidence? Refreshing the page (viewing it for the second time) brought up the word “cheese”. In any event, slides of the presentation are included in this page.

Patents in a Standard Make Patent Ambush, Legal Assault

This was pointed out before and also shown using an example from the news, the context being Microsoft’s OOXML. Just because something becomes widespread or standardised does not mean that associated software patents are rendered moot. Here you have a new example of this.

MPEG-2 Patent Owners Sue Target Corporation for MPEG-2 Patent Infringement

PEG LA, LLC, world leader in alternative one-stop patent licenses, today announced that several MPEG-2 patent owners have filed an enforcement action in the Federal District Court of the Southern District of New York against Target Corporation (“Target”) and Doe Corporations 1-10, fictitious names for corporations currently unknown to the plaintiffs, for infringing patents essential to the MPEG-2 digital video compression standard used worldwide in digital television broadcasting and DVD.

Let this remind you not to touch OOXML.

flickr:2400034217

Program Guides Patented Because They Are Electronic

How would you respond to lawsuit threats and extortion extraction of money for “onscreen electronic program guides”? Many things, once they become electronic and have an implemented equivalent, are suddenly finding themselves ‘owned’ by individuals and used for profit.

Gemstar-TV Guide International, which holds numerous patents to onscreen electronic program guides (EPGs), said Monday it has reached a patent license deal with cable TV set-top manufacturer Digeo, which effectively ends patent lawsuits between the two companies.

[...]

Gemstar-TV Guide filed the patent infringement lawsuit against Digeo in October 2006, alleging the company’s Moxi interactive television program guide infringed upon patents it owned. Digeo later filed a countersuit against Gemstar-TV Guide alleging it had infringed some of Digeo’s EPG technology patents.

One favourite example of digitising ideas to have them patented is Amazon’s recommendations system which is based on history of purchases. It’s the equivalent of book recommendations by a librarian who is familiar with the literature. When computerised it can be claimed a 20th- or 21st-century ‘invention’ worthy of a patent.

Speculation: Is Microsoft Causing Epic’s Unreal Tournament 3 GNU/Linux Client Delays and Forums Censorship?

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, SCO, Wine at 4:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A regular reader, SubSonica, has brought to our attention and grouped together a variety of new stories and speculations that are actively being censored. He shares his understanding of the following Phoronix article, which was published only a few days ago, then adding: “this is the expected effect over Linux of every alleged ‘open’ move by Microsoft.”

See for yourself and judge for yourself. There are no accusations being made here, but merely a circulation of information.

Five months ago from today, Unreal Tournament 3 for the PC was released in North America. Linux gamers around the world, however, were let down with the lack of an available Linux client and all UT3 gamers were impacted by the lack of any Linux server for this game. The UT3 Linux server had finally shipped a month later, but now 152 days since the release a Linux client for this first person shooter is still missing with no sign of it even coming.

[...]

Ryan Gordon recently talked at UCLUG with topics from education to Loki Games and SDL, but he hadn’t mentioned any new details about Unreal Tournament 3. There is a 24-page thread in the Phoronix Forums with talk and speculations surrounding Unreal Tournament 3 for Linux, with some believing the client will never be released — partially due to speculations that Microsoft may acquire Epic Games.

We haven’t heard any official updates in months and quite frankly the UT3 Linux client may never see the light of day. Forum moderators on the Epic Games’ Forums have reportedly been deleting threads from gamers inquiring about the Linux client’s status.

While there are a few new games coming to Linux, it’s certainly an unfortunate situation right now with Epic Games and it will be a blow to the Linux gaming community if the Unreal Tournament 3 Linux client never makes it out the door.

“Notice the recurrent scheme: They plan to acquire Epic (Unreal, Gears Of War) and licence the Unreal Engine,” says our reader, pointing to the following article.

Could Microsoft Acquire Epic Games? GamePro Editor Thinks So

However, Microsoft would be interested in acquiring more than game development in an Epic buy, according to Moses. Epic also licenses its Unreal game engine to developers around the world who produce titles for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and other platforms as well as PCs.

“Epic Games is one of the few highly regarded indie developers … partly for their games but mostly for their Unreal engine technology,” Moses wrote. “Microsoft has lots of cash on hand, and in buying Epic, could collect royalty rights for Unreal technology across other platforms.

Additionally, he adds this pointer:

Microsoft To Buy “Gears of War” Dev Epic Games

[...]

If Microsoft does acquire Epic Games, it would also mean that they would own the rights to the Unreal game engine, which is used on every single platform, including the rival PS3, for developers to use to make next-gen games.

This would basically allow Microsoft to make money off of the Unreal engine rights used to sell games on the PC and PS3.

To put it in the words of SubSonica: “So we see here the future of Microsoft not as software developer but as a IP-rights collecting corporation. I bet they will screw Epic very much as they did with Bungie (Halo), will keep the Unreal engine rights for themselves alone in order to damage Sony (and Linux) if they get to own Epic, there won’t be much longer before they try to sue Sony or any other developer making use of the Unreal engine.”

Regarding Bungie, for those who do not know the story, a few months ago the team left in anger claiming that Microsoft had abused them to just extract big profits.

In general, what you see here might be the typical Microsoft pattern, which sometimes involves the acquire-to-extinguish tactic. It’s a case of buying companies only to harm the competition. Remember XenSource and Yahoo’s role in the fight against Google? There are several more examples just like that. Sometimes it’s just cheaper to behave in this way and vague recollections bring to mind evidence of these tactics in antitrust memos.

“Remember that OpenGL got ignored and circumvented by Microsoft in order to give way for proprietary DirectX penetration.”Bear in mind that UT3 for GNU/Linux was going to be a huge thing and a tipping point because not every day can you find high-end state-of-the-art games that are available for Linux and break the myth about the relationship between Linux and gamers. You don’t need every bleeding-edge game to be ported to GNU/Linux, but a few good titles make all the difference in the world (like Halo for Microsoft’s XBox 360).

Remember that OpenGL got ignored and circumvented by Microsoft in order to give way for proprietary DirectX penetration. This was done for reasons similar to that of Microsoft’s snubbing of OpenDocument format (making development Windows-dependent, annulling cross-platform capabilities). We discussed this before [1, 2, 3, 4] and found evidence even in leaked Microsoft E-mails (antitrust exhibits).

It is worth adding that Novell crossed out — and thus implicitly threatened — Wine in its deal with Microsoft [1, 2, 3]. When the redacted disclosure was emitted last Easter Wine developers were not happy. They were also among the first ones to criticise the deal back in 2006, in quite a bad way as a matter of fact (SCO insinuations). To quote an old article:

A LEAD DEVELOPER on the Open Source Wine project, Tom Wickline, has warned that Microsoft’s deal with Novell is a cunning plan by Vole to take control over the commercial customer’s use of Free Software.

[...]

Wickline reckons that with the SCO case floundering, this is Vole’s latest attempt to make Novell into the next SCO in a bid to sink Linux.

Remember that post from yesterday, which was last updated a few hours ago. To quote further from Matt Asay:

I’ve heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons “royalty payments,” [...]

Go back to the beginning of this post and reconsider how Microsoft claims to be after intellectual property. Novell is a big part of this problem because it brings this intellectual monopolies mess into the Free software world, uninvited.

Microvell

OpenDocument Format Victorious in South Africa

Posted in Africa, Europe, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard at 3:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We recently saw this in Brazil and now it’s another country from the southern hemisphere. Tectonic breaks the news about South Africa adopting ODF as a national standard.

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) on Friday approved the Open Document Format (ODF) as an official national South African standard. The adoption of ODF by South Africa opens the way for the businesses and government to adopt ODF more widely in their processes.

ODF formatThis is all very encouraging and also expected, unless some France-style corruptions were to take place. We recently saw a South African minister, Fraser-Moleketi, urging against OOXML and the software patents it’s associated with.

In other ODF news, there’s not much of the same level of impact, but the OpenOffice.org team has begun boasting some new icons.

In Windows or KDE (Linux), drag OpenOffice.org from the start menu to the desktop. In GNOME, right click the OpenOffice.org menu entry and then choose Add this launcher to desktop.

Support ODF, which is likely to be the only ISO standard when the storm is over. If not, the clouds hanging over OOXML’s head will make it controversial enough to be worth avoiding. Just watch what is already happening in Europe, which has clearly seen enough.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts