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05.20.08

Links 20/05/2008: GNU/Linux Releases and Reviews; Encouraging GPLv3 Snapshot

Posted in News Roundup at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

New versions of eAR OS and GParted (GNU/Linux distributions) released. Also:

F/OSS

Leftovers

Microsoft’s Response to GNU/Linux Adoption: Roundup of Latest Incidents

Posted in Africa, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 11:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Time seems limited and tight today, but here are a few themes and brand-new stories you might not want to miss. These are categorised using satirical headings, accompanied by quick commentaries. Perhaps tomorrow — just perhaps — time will permit to elaborate further. This stories are all new, so it’s important to at least throw them out there for attention and proactive response/rebuttal.

All Your FOSS Are [sic] Belong to Windows

For background on this issue, see the recent Blender conundrum, whose outcome we don’t know yet. Some decent further analysis of the takeaways from South Africa, which we last mentioned this morning, comes from Glyn Moody. As a reminder, Microsoft is pressuring the government to abandon plans of freedom and crawl back to proprietary prison. That’s the gist of it anyway.

One of the interesting things about Microsoft is that its official commentary on the way things are tends to reveal, rather, how it perceives them. In this case, a completely general open source mandate is morphed into an insane government plot to replace Windows by GNU/Linux.

It’s nothing of the kind, of course; it’s just about regaining control over a core part of government infrastructure, something that open source provides automatically – and that the proprietary Windows never can. But Microsoft just can’t bring itself to admit this, because its entire business model is based on dictating to the customer: Thou Shalt Upgrade to Vista, etc. Instead, it has to frame things in crude, Manichean “Us vs Them”, terms. Let’s hope that its 2015 strategy is a little more nuanced.

Glyn might not be aware of this, but the government indeed plans to move to GNU/Linux. Here is an older reference of interest: (highlight in red is ours, but the article is not longer locatable)

SA Government’s OSS plans revealed

Migration of current systems is also planned. This will be done in a phased approach, beginning with applications such as replacing MS Office with Open Office or KOffice and replacing Internet Explorer with Firefox. This will in time lead up to the operating system, replacing Windows with a Linux distribution. Migration to Apache for the running of government websites has already occurred within a number of departments.

Regarding that latter bit from Glyn (about Microsoft and “Open Source”), Dana Blankenhorn too has commented on that “2015 open source strategy” fluff from The Register, which we critically commented on here.

2015? (Spit take.)

20-ohmygoodness-15?

[...]

Jinkies, even John McCain now says he can get us out of Iraq by 2013.

[...]

In his post, Ramji calls the decision to deliver automated management through System Center across heterogenous environments a “great day.” Great for Microsoft maybe. For the rest of the world, not that big a deal.

That indeed happens to be very self-serving (leaning outwards, to Microsoft’s benefit).

Further to this, consider the tongue-in cheek proposal of a response to Microsoft’s plot.

So, Microsoft puts out its hand and offers help with porting open-source software, to make it run best on the Windows platform. How mean. Understandable from marketing and business point of view, but mean anyway (and hey, that’s my opinion!).

I have a proposal then, a simple one. Since Windows users are already used to trial versions, time-limited, feature-limited, shareware and other pieces of software which they constantly have to “unlock” by using codes found on the net (or keygens), so let it be!

Let’s give Windows users what they already know:

1. Limited editions of Free and Open-Source Software for Windows.
2. Full-featured versions, including source code, for all other Operating Systems.

Aras: Putting the Sheet in Bull-Something

Remember SourceForge and Microsoft? It seems like O’Reilly may be jumping on that same wagon now (been told this half an hour ago). Either way, Microsoft continues to use its partners/fakers to further dilute the meaning and intensity of “Open Source”. It’s a good thing that more people begin to wake up and finally identify the role of the likes of Aras, whose attempt to be associated with “Open Source” (and rave about Microsoft love) seems malicious at best and Microsoft-centric/faithful by the more conservative of yardsticks. Here it is summarised in IT Business Edge:

OStatic blogger Reuven Lerner reiterates that the problem still exists today. Despite OSI’s best efforts and intentions, there really is no one meaning for “open source.” The only way to know what you’re getting is to “read the fine print,” he says, and ask the vendor a lot of questions regarding what open source means for its business.

Microsoft Lawyers: Linux is Illegal!!!11

Not much is new under the Sun. The “patent terrorism” (not our own term, but one that was used by a Sun executive, in reference to Microsoft) is a tactic that lives on. Watch the stance Microsoft’s lawyers continue to take against GNU/Linux.

So here are eight things Microsoft could do to add real teeth to its commitment to openness:

1. Reveal the patents allegedly being violated by open source products, or take back claims that Linux and other open source software violate at least 235 of Microsoft’s patents.

While we haven’t heard more on any patent threats from Microsoft in recent months, they’re still out there. “This is in no way removing the issue of patents in the context of infringement,” one of Microsoft’s top intellectual property execs told me earlier this year, when chatting about Microsoft’s recently announced interoperability principles.

Classic Microsoft: You Win? We Dump.

In other less related news, watch out for Microsoft’s attempted comeback that combats motherboards with embedded Linux. And no, it’s not a EULA this time. It’ll just dump and dump and dump. Microsoft rarely competes. It attempts to just suffocate others. It can be easier because crime pays, assuming there’s poor or absent oversight.

Quick update: The source which brought up that latest one suggested that motherboards were targeted, but that’s not the case. It sure doesn’t look like it.

Novell Gets Sued by Its ‘Partner’ Astrum

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED, Tivoization at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Betrayal of a partner: no, not Microsoft… yet.

A fairly far-fetched hypothesis and a controversial opinion too is that Novell has already been sued by Microsoft over software patents, albeit by proxy [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Be it true or not, we know what we know, but we probably will never know the truth — not for sure anyway. We just gather evidence and let others draw conclusions or at least consider probabilities. At the end of the day, likelihood can become compelling enough a factor to satisfy an observer’s thirst for answers and facilitate further connection of dots. In the Internet everyone works together.

Regardless of Microsoft, folks from Astrum (probably just one of them) have have been openly protesting for a while in the Boycott Novell site, using the comments section where they voice their complaint and share the message. We welcomed this because its showed that Novell was willing to betray its own partners.

A question to be begged for is this: if Novell, just like Microsoft, back-stabs its own close partners, what would ever prevent it from screwing codebase siblings like Ubuntu, Red Hat, Mandriva, Slackware, Debian and [apologies to all those who are left out]? In fact, Novell has already done that. It signed a deal which it knew was exclusionary. It took a direct shot at the likes of Red Hat, whom it was unable to defeat otherwise. It helped Microsoft in the process — and knowingly so! It jeopardised free software.

Mono advocates who read this site like to rave about Mono’s speed, power, etc. (avoiding all the key issues). They also rave about Moonlight, which Dana Blankenhorn recently compared to a pony in a horse race. Will you have a look at the Moonlight reference page at microsoft.com? Groklaw has taken a look and said last night: “You might want to read the Microsoft-Novell patent covenant for Moonlight, for example. Who can be sued? When? Under what circumstances?”

As such, there’s no reason to sympathise for/on Novell’s behalf at the sight of this news:

Novell slapped with suit for new mini-OS

Astrum Inc., a software security company in Carrollton, Texas, has filed suit against Novell Inc. Astrum claims that Novell violated its contract regarding development of the mini-operating system appliance that Novell launched last month. Novell’s JeOS or Just enough Operating System, is a miniature version of the SUSE Linux Enterprise OS, which was created to help independent software vendors develop or deploy new SUSE-based applications easier and faster.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Texas’ Eastern Division, the lawsuit contends that the two companies entered into a mutual nondisclosure agreement on Oct. 25, 2006, to develop the software appliance but Novell violated the agreement by revealing confidential information to partners and customers. Then, after the prototype was successfully tested in November 2007, Novell engaged rPath of Raleigh, N.C., the following April to create the appliances based on SUSE Linux Enterprise.

The suit alleged breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation, common law misappropriation, misappropriation of ideas and promissory “estoppel,” or broken promises.

Good luck, Astrum. If you need some unflattering information about Novell, please feel free to come by and ask. Novell has already pretty much admitted selfishness and it’s no better than Microsoft when it comes to exploiting partners. Ask Cisco. Revisit the big antitrust case. Grave minds [sic] think alike.

”Microsoft’s conduct as a corporation and a manufacturer of computing products, is predicated upon an internal policy of deception, which includes deceiving customers, deceiving competitors, deceiving partners, deceiving its own vendors, and at some level, deceiving its own staff.“

Scott M. Fulton, III

HOWTO: NOT Protest Against Microsoft Corruption

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Microsoft at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Impulsive != effective

The Hungarian egg thrower, whom we mentioned earlier, publicly accused Microsoft of corruption. but he did something which we do not endorse. We have stated this openly more than once before and it’s worth repeating this remark about exclusion in this separate new post.

We really, truly, persistently and humbly need to expose Microsoft’s corruption not with eggs but with concrete evidence and proof. Most people know nothing about Microsoft except what they find in the paper and their PC. An egg won’t be an eye-opener to them. One bit of evidence which was brought up a little while ago is this one from 2007:

Microsoft Office raid in Hungary

[,,,]

“Such behavior could lead to the exclusion of competitive products from the market and violate European Union rules, according to the authority known as the GVH.”

This one is particularly relevant because it is from Hungary, but you can find similar examples here, here and maybe here as well. It’s very partial because there’s a whole sea of recent stories and the main problem is that authorities are not sufficiently responsive.

“You know what they say: that who is corrupt is unlikely to reprimand the corrupt.”In other words, some officials permit Microsoft to operate as though it’s above the law, so it hardly ever gets punished (unless it ‘kills’ a multi-million-dollar company that can afford years in court). You know what they say: that who is corrupt is unlikely to reprimand the corrupt.

In summary, the egg-throwing routine was lame. A more effective response to Steve Ballmer would to expose Ballmer’s corruptions and the sort of mafia techniques that we’ve lately found in his aggressive war against Yahoo's board. We should really focus on such things. Not on their personal lives, but on their business practices. There’s a lot more that we haven’t the time or capacity to cover here. Readers can help.

It’s Confirmed: Microsoft Went Down to South Africa to Fight ODF

Posted in Africa, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 2:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We probably ought not to visit Microsoft blogs, so here it is ‘second hand’ from MilkingTheGNU:

One of my most interesting trips was down to South Africa to talk interop, document formats, and yes…open source software.

[...]

South Africa has taken a most unfortunate position of late – the government has sought to put a political mandate in place for the adoption of open source software.

Of course Microsoft will now pretend that it’s the big kahuna of FOSS (King of SourceForge).

Maybe South Africa should have mandated a policy against convicted monopolists and not ‘for open source’, which Microsoft will just continue to fake, subvert, and totally ruin to sneak into contracts under its own twisted terms and conditions.

For context see:

And… We’re Sort of Back

Posted in Site News at 2:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We’re having server problem at the moment. Please do not link directly to large files like Ogg Theora-encoded videos from sites with a large readership. The traffic suddenly doubled or tripled and the server was already struggling as it was.

It’s a strange thing to complain about traffic, but if the site goes down, opportunity is lost and readership is 0 (usually occurring at the most crucial times when the Slashdot or Digg effect has everything suspended).

Links 20/05/2008: More GNU/Linux Servers, Handhelds, Points of Sale

Posted in News Roundup at 1:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

F/OSS

Security and Crime

Microsoft

  • Prime minister Brown backs Google

    In a speech that read like a tacit disapproval of convicted monopolist Microsoft, Brown banged on before an audience of business bigwigs about the stupidity of protectionism.

  • Google mulls Microsoft response

    Speaking at the Google Zeitgeist conference in Hertfordshire, hosted by the internet company’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt, chief executive, said: “After this press conference the three of us will meet and decide what our response is.”

  • Users Report More Trouble With Windows XP SP3
  • Microsoft: Don’t Misunderstand UAC, Other Vista Features

    In its continued attempt to convince business customers to adopt Vista, Microsoft has outlined and tried to explain some of what it calls the OS’s most “misunderstood” features in a document posted to — then mysteriously removed from — its Web site this week.

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