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Links 18/06/2008: OpenMoko Comes Soon, Mandriva Linux 2009 in the Making

Posted in News Roundup at 3:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish




  • 2009.0 Development
  • Mandriva Linux 2009 plans announced

    Mandriva Linux 2009 comes a step closer to reality today with the unveiling of the release schedule and the technical specifications. All this information can be found on the Mandriva Linux 2009 Development page on the Mandriva Wiki. The schedule includes two alphas, two betas, and two release candidates, prior to the final release in early October 2008. The first alpha release is scheduled for June 25th – just a week away.

  • Mandriva and EEE PC, 2009.0 specs

F/OSS and Openness

Firefox 3 Off to a Beautiful Flight




OOXML Cover-up, ODF Adoption is Up

Posted in Africa, Apple, Europe, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 2:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ISO standards for saleDeception and spinning from Microsoft whilst abuses resurface, ODF embraced

The more Microsoft pleads, the worse it sounds. At the moment, Microsoft sings the same tune that Alex Brown sang just a few days ago in order to sell OOXML and intercept opposition to it.

The pattern which you find below has already been found in other Microsoft-friendly press (probably discussed in IRC), but was not referenced here, so it seems like somewhat of an ‘internal strategy’ (“only four… ‘only’ four”).

The spin of the week:

With only four national bodies submitting appeals out of a total of 87 that voted, we think the large majority of participants in this process believe it accomplished what it was supposed to do.

Says Paulo Ferreira, Platform Strategist of Microsoft South Africa. Of course these are only the nations where Microsoft did not fully obstruct the committee work, in Belgium for instance the Committee was unable to deliberate whether to launch an appeal.

Recall what happened in Brazil where Microsoft manipulation was attempted as means of squashing a crucial appeal. As the above summary explains rather clearly, this is a very exceptional step. It’s considered radical and quite unprecedented, so realistically, the courageous step was not taken (and opposition implicitly brought forward) by ‘just’ some 4 nations. The world’s second- and third-largest populations appealed, whereas small ‘puppet nations’ fled quietly.

There are some more interesting details in this post which concludes as follows.

Conclusion: It is a longterm negotiation process to move Microsoft towards respect for genuine open standards. It is important to stage the pressure to make the domino effect happen. This is what we are working on behind the scenes now. Of course the company still finances a forceful and broad lobby movement to obstruct the open standards legislation of foreign governments.

Microsoft’s gruesome path for OOXML in Portugal has been sighted and documented here. Despite all that was seen, Portugal seems to be taking the right direction right now. It distributes OpenOffice.org in schools.

I was just made aware of this Portuguese blog entry. CDs including OpenOffice.org will be distributed to Portuguese schools again. Great news!

Adding more to this good news (perhaps) is support for ODF from the rather obscure Ashampoo TextMaker.

Ashampoo TextMaker 2008 enjoys a decent number of formatting options, and useful tools such as a synonym button, as well as the usual suspects: tabs and spellcheck included. Import from and export to Microsoft Word and OpenDocument files is pain free.

OOXML happens not to be mentioned by name here. It might not be supported at all.

At the beginning of this post we mentioned Microsoft-friendly (or misguided) press, some of which even references BoycottNovell critically. Here is an example of an article that improperly lays out a deceiving picture.

Apple, Novell, backs the Microsoft Open Office XML. In India it is backed by Wipro, Infosys, TCS, and Nasscom.

On the other hand the Open Document Format (ODF) is supported by the Indian government, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat, Google etc.

As you can hopefully see, only Microsoft’s partners in India seem to support OOXML (we covered this before on numerous occasions), whereas the Indian government supports ODF. Novell was paid handsomely to have no choice but to support OOXML and Microsoft is still a hugely influential force in Apple. It’s all corporate politics.

As an abused professor from India recently said, the government and other academic authorities merely battle Microsoft’s imperialistic partners overseas. Microsoft India’s chief is believed have left the company not only around the time of this fiasco but also because of it.

To end this bitter account with some good news for ODF, here is another feather in the cap of OASIS, which is somewhat of a force behind ODF.

The OASIS international standards consortium today introduced a new XML.org online community web site dedicated to supporting the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML). The site (http://saml.xml.org) will serve as the official information resource for the SAML OASIS Standard, which provides an XML-based framework for online partners to exchange user authentication, entitlement, and attribute information.


SAML XML.org is the newest addition to the XML.org family of web sites devoted to supporting communities around open standards; other sites are devoted to BPEL, DITA, ebXML, IDtrust, OpenDocument, and UDDI.

Down in South Africa, one of the more iconic and reputable figures speaks about XML.

As the representative for Norway in the recent OOXML ratification process, Steve Pepper has become an outspoken critic of the IEC/ISO process. Pepper is also a passionate advocate of XML, open standards and Topic Maps. Here Pepper, who is in South Africa for the XML in Government workshop, speaks to Tectonic about what happened in Norway, Topic Maps and why open standards are important for governments.

Mr. Pepper is shown below. He urged those who could to protest against the decision on OOXML and this battle is not over yet. It’s important to defend the truth in the face of history whitewashing (it carries on at the moment [1, 2, 3]).

Protest against OOXML

Quick Mention: China Begins Anti-monopoly Probe of Microsoft

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, Microsoft at 9:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When it rains, it pours. Earlier today we mentioned Microsoft's situation in Europe. Now comes this news from China.

China in anti-monopoly probe of Microsoft

China has begun an anti-monopoly investigation into US giant Microsoft and several other global software firms, the country’s intellectual property watchdog said Wednesday.

The development comes with Microsoft already embroiled in a standoff with the top antitrust watchdog in Europe, where officials have long accused the software titan of abusing its dominant market power.

We’ll update this entry if we find more information.

“The government is not trying to destroy Microsoft, it’s simply seeking to compel Microsoft to obey the law. It’s quite revealing that Mr. Gates equates the two.”

Government official

Links 18/06/2008: Dual-boot as Standard, Wine 1.0 is Served

Posted in News Roundup at 9:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


Windows Executables on GNU/Linux


Firefox Under Self-inflicted DDOS Attack


Goodbye, Associated Press


Leftovers (Internet Darkness)

Microsoft Fights OpenOffice.org and ODF Using FUD, Technical Problems (Updated)

Posted in Formats, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Videos, Vista, Windows at 8:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Update (19/06/2008) : We have supplementary screenshots in this follow-up post.]

It is already known that Microsoft fought ODF like fire. It even ran a Get the Facts-type campaign against it. It’s easily provable because it is all well documented.

In the IRC conversation below (a fragment from Monday), you will find some of the latest examples.

<Eruaran> Currently if you attempt to open a .odt document for example in Microsoft Word, you get assailed by dialogues that say the document is corrupted, asks you if you want to ‘fix’ it, and it insinuates you shouldn’t trust it or the source it came from.
<schestowitz> Remember DR-DOS?
<Eruaran> I know there are many people who will think negatively about ODF because of this kind of flat out BS in Microsoft products.
<Eruaran> yes
<schestowitz> http://boycottnovell.com/2007/08/03/do-dos-odf-microsoft-sabotage/
<schestowitz> http://boycottnovell.com/comes-vs-microsoft/text/msg00083.html
<schestowitz> http://www.boycottnovell.com/comes-vs-microsoft/text/msg00194.html
<Eruaran> I love this one: “If Microsoft says you’ve got five fingers on each hand, many people will insist on an independent count.”
<schestowitz> Microsoft: “what the guy is supposed to do is feel uncomfortable, and when he has bugs, suspect that the problem is dr-dos and then go out and buy ms-dos, or decide not to take the risk for the other machines he has to buy for in the office.”
<Eruaran> Even if they tell the truth, nobody trusts them, such is their history and reputation.
<Eruaran> yes, they are up to the same old tricks
<schestowitz> “Concerns have been raised that DR-DOS incompatibilities and flaws are being overlooked by reviewers. [...] We recommend that we *informally* plant the bug of FUD in their ears. “Have you heard about problems with DR DOS?”
<Eruaran> I decided to try and open an open document in Word one day just to see what happened… what I saw simply disgusted me.
* PetoKraus (n=Peter@host-77-247-224-25.isper.sk) has joined #boycottnovell
<Eruaran> Have you seen the clip on YouTube where a guy attempts to use Vista’s voice regognition with OpenOffice ?
<PetoKraus> :D
<Eruaran> He tries it out with MS Word, then word pad and it all works fine
<schestowitz> http://www.odfalliance.org/resources/BurtonGroupResponseFinal.pdf [PDF] (Microsoft’s Burton puppet: “ODF is simplistic” (bad word). Beat in mind that Pete O’Kelly later had contracts with Microsoft. Lots of money.
<Eruaran> Then he tries it with OpenOffice and Vista’s speech recognition suddenly develops selective deafness and an inability to comprehend basic speech patterns.
<PetoKraus> Eruaran: got vid?
<PetoKraus> *link
<schestowitz> Yes, please.
<Eruaran> yes, just a sec PetoKraus (and hello)
<PetoKraus> i’d even launch firefox to see that :)
<schestowitz> That;s something to write about. Also your easrlier observation.,
<Eruaran> If you like I could take some screenshots tomorrow at work
<Eruaran> of the dialogues MS Word gives you when you try to use and ODF document
<schestowitz> Please do. The error message. I can make an Ogg from YouTube vids.
<schestowitz> Yes, a screenshot would be good.
<PetoKraus> schestowitz: how do you do that, anyway
<Eruaran> I was disgusted when I first saw them because I knew that Microsoft knows damn well what a .odt is
<schestowitz> akf told me about a service that allows you to download the flvs. I used to have PyTube working, but Google broke its functionality.

It ought to be pointed out at this stage that Microsoft claims to have become ‘buddies’ with ODF [1, 2, 3, 4]. Not quite, eh? Later on came the video, which we have produced an Ogg Theora version of.

Ogg Theora

As embedded Flash, for those who prefer it in this form:

This conversation then continued:

<Eruaran> Vista speech recognition refusing to work with OOo: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=5sVQlphmqsU
<Eruaran> One commenter says: It is a demonstration of how Vista speech recognition is deliberately crippled with a non-Microsoft piece of software.
* mark_antony_ken1 (n=user@host86-152-103-82.range86-152.btcentralplus.com) has joined #boycottnovell
<PetoKraus> LMAO
<schestowitz> Wow.
<schestowitz> The “Wow” starts…. now.
<Eruaran> yes
* mark_antony_ken2 (n=user@ellandroad.demon.co.uk) has joined #boycottnovell
<schestowitz> So we can conclude from this that Notepad is better than OOo
<PetoKraus> sure!
<Eruaran> oh yeah ;)
<PetoKraus> it has more useful features

In conclusion, Microsoft hardly changed its way. The predatory nature of the Beast lives on to this date.

Sys-Con’s Continued Press Release Xeroxing/Plagiarism

Posted in Google, Novell, Xandros at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Con indeed?

Some people dislike Sys-Con because of the hugely-obtrusive advertisements that they push over there. However, it’s possible to only ever link to printer-friendly (and therefore ‘clean’) versions of the articles, many of which are about Novell. Other sites are no friends of Sys-Con due to a particular incident and a specific writer, but the habits of warping press release is nothing new, either. This was noted before in some Saturday postings,

Here is a newly-published press release from Microsoft’s partners at Xandros. (highlighted are examples of similarities)

New Xandros Management Tool Facilitates Red Hat Server Administration

BOSTON, MA–(Marketwire – June 17, 2008) – Red Hat Summit — Xandros, Inc., the leading provider of custom OEM Linux solutions, next-generation Linux desktop and server products, and advanced cross-platform Windows-Linux management tools, today announced the release of the all new Xandros Bridge Ways Management Console for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, to be showcased at the Red Hat Summit in Boston. The BridgeWays Management Console, immediately available as a free download from the Xandros web site, brings powerful graphical management of Red Hat servers to system administrators who may have Windows Server skill sets, but no prior Linux experience.

Watch how Sys-Con turned it into Xandros publicity, merely by tweaking the press release.

Xandros Management Tool Facilitates Red Hat Server Administration

Xandros announced the release of the all new Xandros BridgeWays Management Console for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The BridgeWays Management Console, available as a free download from the Xandros web site, brings powerful graphical management of Red Hat servers to system administrators who may have Windows Server skill sets, but no prior Linux experience.

It might be worthwhile to keep an eye on Sys-Con publications in the future, if only just to keep track of ‘reused’ press releases. This is not an isolated incident.

What was already alluded to (albeit very briefly) a week ago is the fact that Sys-Con might be messing about with Google News results, using keyword saturation. Maybe it’s not deliberate, but the site did once vanish from Google News (for about a year) until just recently. An anonymous source suggested to us that it’s worth informing Google. Completely unrelated articles show up where they do not bear any resemblance to the search query.

It ought to be noted that reproducing press releases is fine, but rewriting them and presenting them as though they are article (original work) is a separate and problematic subject. Apparently it’s more of a problem in Japan too, based on the opinion of those more familiar with legal issues.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: June 17th, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Read the rest of this entry »

Dark Day for Microsoft: Director Steps Down, Possible Bans in EU

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Europe, Microsoft at 3:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It can be quite safely assumed that readers of this Web site are hardly fans of Microsoft, so after some disappointing news and frustrating analysis we are pleased to show that Microsoft is indeed sinking deeper in the mud. One symbolic development will accompany the departure of Bill Gates. Its Board of Directors is now down to 9.

Microsoft Director Jon Shirley Won’t Seek Re-Election


He stayed on the board after stepping down from the executive ranks in 1990.

More significant is the following news report that we have been anticipating.

EU Says Governments Could Bar Microsoft From Bidding

Governments contracting IT work could conclude that Microsoft’s antitrust history constitutes “grave professional misconduct” and ban the company, according to the European Commission.

Bad behaviour might not pay off after all.

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

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

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