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06.20.08

Links 20/06/2008: GNU/Linux and Mini-Laptops, SCO Delay, Yahoo Exodus

Posted in News Roundup at 11:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Microsoft’s Hijack of Xen Implicitly Confirmed by Red Hat

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Kernel, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Ubuntu, Virtualisation, Windows, Xen at 10:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Actions speak louder than words

Thanks to this headsup, we finally know that not only Ubuntu has steered away from the dependency on Microsoft’s partner Citrix. Red Hat is doing something similar now.

Ever since XenSource had been acquired we have repeatedly argued that it’s yet another example of Microsoft (plus ecosystem) 'stealing' free open source projects from GNU/Linux.

Here is an explanation of what Red Hat has just done.

Red Hat Takes Hypervisor Control Back From Citrix

Red Hat announced two important moves this week; open sourcing of Red Hat Network Satellite, and their own virtualization hypervisor oVirt. Open sourcing RHN Satellite is fundamentally about showing the industry Red Hat is still the keeper of the open source flame but the real strategic move is the development of oVirt. oVirt is built upon Kernel Virtual Mode, or KVM, which is virtualization built right into the Linux operating system, and has been maturing over the past two years. Until now Red Hat’s virtualization strategy has been built around open source Xen, much like other players such as Oracle and Sun Microsystems.

When Citrix took over Xen, it created a sticky situation for vendors depending on the Xen open source software for their virtualization strategies.

Considering the fact that GNU/Linux was neglected and Novell favoured after this acquisition, it’s not hard to see why Red Hat goes solo.

Microsoft as Your Knowledge Base of GPLv3, Master of Document Licences?

Posted in Formats, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument at 10:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft wants FOSS authority

Richard Stallman and the GPLv3
“Move over, Perens and Stallman.
Former Softies Know the GPLv3 better than you do.” (Sarcasm)

For background, you are advised to read the following very recent posts:

Michael TiemannIt increasingly seems like Microsoft gains great influence inside the open source universe. It does not work for the better and Michael Tiemann (shown on the right) expressed his concerns about OpenLogic just a few days ago.

Dana Blankenhorn, just like Glyn Moody, draws his conclusion about GPLv3 (as posted in his blog) based on the word of a former Microsoft employee: Black Duck. Blankenhorn pessimistically concludes with the headline: “GPL divide still lives, one year on”. Didn’t we hear a similar tune in ACT’s response to Boycott Novell just a few days ago? ACT is a Microsoft pressure group that viciously battled GPLv3. It bothered to speak back to this Web site. How come?

Moving on (or back again) to OpenLogic, here are some interesting insights from Don Marti.

But people don’t run popularity contest applications on production machines. So, as much commentary as the OMG WTF M$ WANTS YOUR INSTALLED SOFTWARE LIST thread has gotten, it looks like a waste of the company’s money.

Elsewhere, over at Groklaw, PJ is referring to this article which we mentioned yesterday. About GPL exclusion from the OOXML OSP she writes: “They [Microsoft] do not intend to provide assurance to GPL programmers. “A broad audience of developers” isn’t everyone. That would be their number one competition, of course, since GNU/Linux comes with the GPL license. And the GPL is by far the dominant FOSS license. So I guess one must ask, how do you define “broad”, Microsoft? And why is it acceptable to disenfranchise anyone from being able to use a standard?

This hopefully demonstrates just how GPL-hostile Microsoft really is. Speaking of Microsoft, we are still studying what on earth is happening in oiic-formation-discuss. We wrote about some findings yesterday and reached a dead end pretty much. Latest reports from a reader of ours who investigates this:



http://www.manta.com/coms2/dnbcompany_g0w5wj

Year Started:1995

ok so this company was started in 1995. by Olivia Edwards

[...]

http://msnmoney.brand.edgar-online.com/EFX_dll/ED...

Because both Cisco and Microsoft are key strategic partners of
TransNet, and we have successful practices with both, including an
established and loyal base of customers in both markets,

[...]

http://www.secinfo.com/dRsft.aa.htm

well cant get any link...

this is a old battle with gary edward.

http://consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/article.php?story=20071109070012244

nothing turned up on Olivia Edwards - atleast on the internet.


What we found a few hours ago is the following interesting response to Marbux though. He was told off for sort of ‘bullying’ in the ODF mailing lists, causing unnecessary disruption to some who complained.



Let me make his point shorter for him:  he doesn't want this project to 
go forward so fast.  He'd like it to slow down. Why ever might that be?

"1. An immediate moratorium be declared on  further decisions in regard
 > to the work product of this formation group while the chair conducts a
 > discussion of short-term steps to improve the situation.;"

Etc. Set up committees. Discuss process. Anything to slow this down.

  There is, I hope, an outside limit to how much he will be allowed to 
disrupt and block progress, because that is how I view it.

I suggest that there be some rule about threats of lawsuits being 
grounds for exclusion from the discussion. I'd like a rule folks are not 
allowed to insult and demean other people either, but that's probably 
too much to hope for.

Some of us have been around this track before.


Make sure you are subscribed or engaged in one form or another if you want to see some chaos. There are already some eyeballs on this.

We received some jaw-dropping information a few hours ago, but the extent to which is can be shared needs to be discussed. Stay tuned.

Protests in Norway (OOXML)

Fedora Project Mitigates Mono Dependency

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 9:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent protection expires

In a previous (and still ongoing) discussion it emerged that Fedora’s Live CD had removed Tomboy in its latest iteration. Tomboy has special significance to GNOME for reasons that were discussed here many times before, e.g. in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Tomboy is a Mono application and it’s part of GNOME, which could — shall it be necessary — be complied without it.

GNOME RPMWhether this latest omission from Fedora Live CD is deliberate or not, it would probably be hard to tell. Recently we saw also Fedora blocking Novell's Moonlight.

Without Tomboy, new users will be less likely to depend — practically speaking — on Mono applications and store their data in them.

Microsoft Says It Has Lost the Battle for Documents Lock-in

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenSUSE at 5:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft sees what’s coming. Things like Word and Excel sort of like a drug now getting ready to go generic.”

Market Watch

The previous post served as a timely reminder of Microsoft’s nasty battles against ODF. The company thought it could escape law enforcement. We previously wrote about the absurdity of failure to reach justice given insufficient money. Unacceptable conduct is all pretty well documented, but strong verification might be required by the courts.

To defend an aging cash cow, Microsoft relies on vast expenditures and the poverty of opposition that sees and understands the sheer abuse. Those who say that ODF advocates are overly obsessed with OOXML are simply using this as an excuse and method of diverting attention away from this abuse. But now comes some fairly major news.

Whether this was a slip of the tongue of something more official, ladies and gents will be pleased to know that Microsoft has just admitted that “ODF has clearly won.” Yes, that’s an exact quote. Found here in OS News, it is summarised thusly:

The battle between the OpenDocument Format and Microsoft’s Open Office XML was long, and here and there rather nasty, but it appears as if we finally have a winner. The company behind OOXML already conceded by announcing it would implement support for ODF in Office 2007 SP2, but now it has also said it quite literally: ODF has won.

Here is the key paragraph from the article that’s being cited.

“ODF has clearly won,” said Stuart McKee, referring to Microsoft’s recent announcement that it would begin natively supporting ODF in Office next year and join the technical committee overseeing the next version of the format.

There are other wins for ODF at the moment. We summarise a few of them below.

IBM for ODF

IBM steps up its effort and fulfills the promise of eradicating dependencies on Microsoft.

IBM’s management has told 20,000 employees to change from Microsoft Office to Lotus Symphony, its own open source office suite.

There are some more new articles about Lotus Symphony, such as this one from The Bangkok Post.

Lotus, makers of the once mighty 1-2-3 spreadsheet, has announced its return to the consumer software space with the release of the Lotus Symphony 1.0 office suite which was the centre of attention at Lotusphere 2008, Phuket.

Here is a slightly older article from CRN. We do not advocate the use of proprietary software like Symphony, so we’ve hardly mentioned it before. We are, on the other hand, encouraging the use of software like KOffice and OpenOffice.org. Have a look at some news below.

OpenOffice.org in Italy

Bravo to Roberto Galoppini, who is pushing OpenOffice.org further in his country. Now, that’s both patriotism and a fight for computer users’ rights.

The event was opened by Roberto Galoppini, who talked about the approach and methodology available for a successful OpenOffice.org migration. After an introduction to the OpenOffice.org community and the way OpenOffice.org has been promoted in Italy, with significant results (doubling of download year over year), Roberto went ahead with advices on OpenOffice.org migrations, based on his own experience.

Here is a relatively recent article about adoption of OpenOffice.org in Italy:

According to Davide Dozza, Chairman of Associazione PLIO: “The numbers are exactly the same. If it’s just a coincidence, it’s a very strange one. Downloads of the Italian version of OpenOffice.org were 800.000 in 2006 and 1.800.000 in 2007: the difference is exactly in the million of Italians that – according to Microsoft – have downloaded the trial version of Office 2007. We think that these users have decided to switch to OpenOffice.org as soon as they have realized that the effort to get used to the new ribbon interface is higher than the effort to migrate to the open source suite. In 2007, the majority of information requests has been about the compatibility with Windows Vista, and the trend stays unchanged in 2008″.

Italy is one among several countries in Europe that push strongly for a migration to Free software. ODF is clearly a prerequisite whilst the country’s officials are being migrated to GNU/Linux — however gradually. Based on recent press releases, there’s good reception of Red Hat and JBoss over there. Not much from Novell in Italy.

Italy is not alone in recognising this need to evolve.

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

Renewed Push in the United Kingdom for Truth About OOXML+BSI

Posted in Europe, Fraud, ISO, Law, Microsoft, Open XML at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The Norwegian [OOXML] affair was a scandal and we are still pursuing it. We haven’t given up hope of changing the vote back to No, and we hope people who experienced similar travesties in other countries will do the same.”

Steve Pepper (just days ago)

OOXML is fraud

Had Microsoft played by the rules like a gentleman, then we would only say that OOXML is deeply flawed (which it is), not a deeply-rooted fraud. Some folks are determined to bring justice, but in a world of intellectual insanity and lawyers [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], justice is expensive whereas corruption comes cheap.

The following news report from ZDNet tells British readers how they can fight for the truth in the UK.

A group of UK open-source advocates is seeking donations so it can continue its fight against the approval of Microsoft’s Office Open XML document format.

There is more about this in The Register.

UKUUG claimed in a statement today that Lloyd Jones “was wrong in his reading of papers,” before adding: “The matter will now be heard in open court.”

The group, which is made up of influential open source advocates in the UK, also quoted Lloyd Jones as saying UKUUG’s application “does not disclose any arguable breach of the procedures of BSI or of rules of procedural fairness”, and that it was “in any event… academic in light of the adoption of the new standard by ISO”.

The British press seems to be all over this. Here is the article from The Inquirer.

The standard was being used by Microsoft as a barrier to competitors getting a piece of its market, said the statement. The group is still trying to raise money to fund its action. Microsoft’s standard was given approval in a multinational vote at the International Standards Organisation. Four countries are contesting the award.

List of incidents (mostly misconduct) in the BSI and the UK you can find here, under "United Kingdom". We assembled this list over a long period of time and it contains heaps of external references. The UK’s story is far from unique; it seems to be representative of the ‘norm’.

“I have lost my sleep and peace of mind for last two months over these distasteful activities by Microsoft.”

Professor Deepak Phatak

OpenSUSE and the Novell/Microsoft Curse

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 4:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer rides SUSECognitive barriers

In reality, OpenSUSE is a fine project and quite a decent GNU/Linux distribution. It is not the best one for most people (SUSE still targets the more advanced type), but technical merit aside, it’s destined to suffer from Novell’s parenting and Microsoft partnering that accompanies it.

As we opined yesterday, OpenSUSE ought to dissociated itself from Novell, for its own benefit. The Chameleon might go well with Steve Ballmer’s tongue fetish, but it’s not good for business. Make no mistake. Reporters don’t forget where OpenSUSE comes from and who coordinates these releases (hint: they are paid Novell employees).

Adding that “Latest release of Novell’s Linux lags behind Red Hat and Ubuntu,” Sean Michael Kerner writes this article which mainly parrots Zonker.

Pay careful attention to the term “Novell’s Linux”, which is what the writer calls OpenSUSE directly or implicitly. Thanks to PetoKraus for pointing that out in the IRC channel.

We recently wrote to argue that SLED and SLES are not Free software. To an extent, the same goes for non-final OpenSUSE. Novell has always had a bizarre relationship with the GPL and it even violated the licence — by spirit — a year and a half ago.

Fortunately, even the Slashdot crowd is starting to catch up and see this. There’s some heckling in the comments also in Slashdot’s announcement of the release of OpenSUSE 11.0. Slashdot was never a fan of the Novell/Microsoft deal and the comments continue to reflect on this.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: June 19th, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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