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06.23.08

Links 23/06/2008: GNU/Linux Notebooks, Reviews, Call for Free (Libre) Drivers

Posted in News Roundup at 3:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

Fight Against Evils

“Money Trumps Justice”, Vendor Control Trumps Truth

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Europe, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard, Windows at 2:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Whitewashing, concealing and blood-soaked gloves

No less than three times in the past few days alone we complained about the MSBBC's blatant and shameless glorification of Bill Gates and his company [1, 2, 3], which is a BBC partner that lets Gates publish columns at times. It was very heartwarming to find that even Mitch Kapor could not help responding to what the BBC had done. [via Glyn Moody]

In an interview with the BBC which is being widely linked, I recently said “claims by Microsoft that people were buying their software because it was good are pretty self-serving.” The BBC didn’t run the rest of what I said about Microsoft’s success, probably because they were looking to find someone to set up opposite Bill. Fine. These days we have blogs, so here’s my unfiltered side of the story.

[...]

But it doesn’t mean that the great Gates fortune was acquired in an entirely fair way or that Bill should be held up uncritically as a model of a successful businessman for doing so. To do so is to rewrite history and endorse a way of doing business which is harmful both to consumers and markets

The BBC is far from the only establishment in the UK which is deep in Microsoft’s pocket. We shared many concrete examples of this before. One of those bodies (or buddies) which on the face got seized by Microsoft is the BSI.

Microsoft does not typically require control inside standards bodies, but this time around it pretends to be caring about standards rather than altogether ignore them (deviation from standards s a matter of strategy). This story of vendor capture was told here before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. To repeat what the title of this posts says, “money trumps justice,” just as Glyn Moody shrewdly puts it.

A little while back I was mouthing off about being willing to fork out a fiver in support of the UKUUG’s valiant attempts to get to the bottom of the goings-on in the OOXML vote at the BSI.

[...]

This is an important fight, because if the UKUUG is unable to continue its action, it will mean that money trumps justice. I don’t think anyone would want that – well, aside from one or two organisations, maybe.

It seems safe to assert that the Administration is accountable — at least in part — for what is now perceived as imperialism using lock-in. This is corruption that serves nobody but a small circle of individuals. To a degree, ODF is a necessary prerequisite to escaping this trap, technical arguments aside.

“People said I should accept the world. Bullsh*t! I don’t accept the world.”

Richard Stallman

ISO Sold Out to ECMA

Microsoft to ODF Technical Committee: Come Enter the Belly of the Beast

Posted in ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, SUN at 12:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is trying to grab control of ODF

To some it was predictable [1, 2, 3] and to some it was not. Regardless: Microsoft Corporation, the company that actively fought ODF and force-forced an proprietary alternative like nothing less than a deranged criminal who knows no boundaries, is suddenly inviting all people behind ODF to 'pull a Patrick Durusau' and come to Microsoft’s turf.

The apprehensive reaction from Charles is very telling:

Thank you for this invitation. I have to say I have some trouble understanding why you would like to gather the OASIS TC in Redmond. It seems to me a bit cumbersome, and a bit bizarre to invite everyone here in Redmond as if nothing had ever happened before. Perhaps, as some would put it, “it’s a bit too early for that”. Besides, I’m sure we can have that event anywhere else . As you may know, the OASIS ODF TC (together with its subcommittees and the OASIS ODF Adoption TC) runs several panels and conferences worldwide. The next one, if I am not mistaken, will take place in Beijing during the ODF Track at the OpenOffice.org Conference. It is scheduled to take place around October-November 2008.

This ODF track is independent from the OpenOffice.org Conference as several different and competing vendors attend this conference track. We would really appreciate to have you and the Microsoft Office team
there.

Watch what Erwin says just before his departure.

Maybe this invitation has something to do with Microsoft’s public “ODF has clearly won” statement at a recent event. Thus, if Microsoft has to support ODF in their products due to market demand, what ISV can still ignore supporting ODF? I guess none! Anyway, OpenOffice.org is just one implementation of ODF and is facing more than 1.2M downloads per week (!!!) on average (since the beginning of 2008) with most recent download numbers having been close to 2M.

It’s figures like that which help Microsoft see what’s coming. It’s a matter of critical mass. Reasons for this new strategy are also related to new stories like this one.

Most Danish companies are actually trying to find an alternative to MS Office at the moment.

Microsoft can see that OOXML will not be adopted by everyone, so it’s trying to ensure it can butter its toast on both sides and control all committees. Will it stick?

If this sounds familiar, it ought to. Microsoft plays exactly the same card in order to gain control over "Open Source", having slammed and daemonised it for years. It seems as though it wants to seize as much control as possible over ODF (for self-beneficial purposes of course, even if that means derailing it).

“If this unethical behaviour by Microsoft was not sufficiently despicable, they did the unthinkable by involving politics in what should have been a technical evaluation of the standard by writing to the head of the Malaysian standards organization and getting its business partners to engage in a negative letter writing campaign to indicate lack of support of ODF in the Malaysian market. Every single negative letter on ODF received by the Malaysian standards organization was written either by Microsoft, or a Microsoft business partner or a Microsoft affiliated organization (Initiative for Software Choice and IASA).

A Memo to Patrick Durusau

Links 23/06/2008: Small Update on Free Software in Kerala; Iceweasel 3 Download Day!

Posted in News Roundup at 9:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

  • [Kerala] All set for Linux users’ meet
  • Developing the Neuros OSD: It Takes a Village

    In retrospect, Born comments that they “presumably saw it as a threat to their proprietary software business.” As a result, Neuros wasn’t allowed to release any code if they wanted to.

    The problems stemmed from Neuros’ adoption of Texas Instrument’s dual-core DM270 chipset for the Recorder and OSD. The chip was actually chosen with open source in mind—the “theory”, Born explains, is that any proprietary multimedia code would run on the DM270′s specialized multimedia chip (the DSP, digital signal processor), while open source code—a Linux-based firmware —would run on the DM270′s ARM chip. ARM is a commonplace architecture powering a large portion of the world’s PDAs, MP3 players, and cell phones.

  • Installing applications on Linux

F/OSS

Microsoft

GooHooSoft

EU Lobbyists Awaken, Patent Trolls Abound

Posted in America, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 8:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sarkozy continues to derail his country by allowing Intellectual Monopolies (from overseas, no less) to police the Internet. The fight over the Internet and copyrights is not separate from the lobby for software patents in the EU. Commissioner Mccreevy, for example, is pushing for both whilst Sarkozy attacks virtually anything that’s a threat to Intellectual Monopolies.

Digital Majority warns about the return yet another lobbying arm for software patents in Europe.

Simon Gentry is back in software patents lobbying. Now his role is to push for legalisation of software patents via the creation of central patent court in Europe.

For more information about such back doors, catch up with yesterday's post. It’s part of a series of developments.

Acacia, Facebook, and Other Patent Felons

USPTOAcacia, a shell company (patent troll) which is occupied by former Microsoft employees [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], receives some unwanted attention from this Law.com article which is solely dedicated to the topic.

Cognex Corp. is a small high-tech Massachusetts public company, yet it’s funded an unusual, decade-long court offense against several so-called “patent trolls,” which typically use patents to demand licenses from other companies.

[...]

That means patent-holders, like one of Cognex’s recent court opponents, Acacia Research Corp., are likely to demand more money for such licenses, Smith said.

The problem may therefore be further expanded rather than squashed. With such fast exacerbation inside the USPTO you might as well expect high-profile companies to protest, but Facebooks seems willing to share a bandwagon with the patent trolls. Over at Slashdot, people who do not associate money with wisdom sarcastically take a shot at this new junk patent from the company’s founder.

After you check boxes on a form to indicate that ‘Everyone from San Francisco, CA, Social Network Provider, and Harvard’ can see your profile, Zuckerberg’s ‘invention’ will miraculously display: ‘People from San Francisco, CA, Social Network Provider, and Harvard can see your profile.’

When will the system finally implode? When people are not allowed to think and apply knowledge, there’s anarchy.

Software patent on rise

Red Hat’s CEO Never Talked to Microsoft About Software Patents

Posted in America, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 8:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Since the very beginning of this affair. we have been slightly concerned about Red Hat's appointment of a new CEO. Fortunately, Jim Whitehurst understands the issues at play. He also addressed the key question before.

GNOME WMVThe news is not about his disdain for Microsoft's intimidation, but it’s actually in the fact that he never communicated these matters, unlike his predecessor, Matthew Szulik. Here is a portion from a new interview.

Does the patent settlement you announced recently [with FireStar Software] that is consistent with the GPL mean that you are in a better position to be able to settle your patent dispute with Microsoft?

[Jim Whitehurst:] The problem is that we don’t know what the Microsoft [patent threat] is. They have said in the past that 235 patents [are infringed by Linux] and we have yet to see what any of them are. Conceptually, it should be possible but, again, we don’t know what we are talking about there.

When was the last time you spoke to Microsoft regarding patents?

[Jim Whitehurst:] I am sure, as a company, we have an ongoing dialogue on a lot of things. I have had dialogue at a senior level, but it has been more on how we can work better on interoperability for customers; I haven’t had any direct conversations around the patent issue.

Elimination of software patents seems ever more crucial. For the time being, Digital Majority makes an urgent call for American people to oppose software patents in Europe (via so-called 'harmonisation' back door).

Tell The United States Patent and Trademark Office that software and business method patents should not be part of the EU-US patent treaty.

Fight against software patents. They are an insult to science and competition [1, 2].

“People are trying to cause a rift in the open source community. I see people using words like “zealots” for disagreeing with proprietary technologies. This is the same mentality the neo-cons use when you criticize American government. You are “unpatriotic,” “extremist” or “terrorist sympathizer.” It’s a disgusting form of ad hominem argument.”

Source

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: June 22nd, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Read the rest of this entry »

Does Microsoft Start Abusing the Word “Free”?

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, Marketing, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 7:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft: From “People-ready” to “Free the People”

“There’s free software and then there’s open source… there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.”

Bill Gates, April 2008

Some time ago we warned that Microsoft was been stealing “Open Source” [1, 2] at least in the sense that, as time goes by, it redefines and ‘dilutes’ it. Using the term out of context or out of place is a very convenient imposition that sets precedence.

The quote at the top gives you an idea of what Microsoft possibly — just possibly — has in store. More information about it you can find here:

The actual news that we approach comes from Mary Jo Foley. Remember that Microsoft is all about marketing (even AstroTrufing) and now comes this preview of things to come.

Microsoft earmarks another $200 million for Windows advertising

[...]

Fortune explains Microsoft’s image makeover plan, codenamed “FTP168 (with FTP being “Free the People”)…

Microsoft? Freeing the people? Need people be reminded of the hugely-DRM-’enabled’ Windows Vista, WGA, software lock-ins, forced upgrades and other type of menaces?

It’s too early to tell much beyond this, but there might be an obnoxious marketing push on its way — one that will further confuse those who hear about “Open Source” and “Free software”.

Some days ago we complained about the marketing-class ‘articles’ and inaccurate coverage from the BBC. It was all about Gates and Microsoft [1, 2]. Our criticism of Gates glorification is far from unique. Here is what Sam Varghese has just published:

The BBC, Gates and revisionism

[...]

What was appalling about the programme was the lack of any apparent preparation on the part of the interviewer, Fiona Bruce. Gates was able to paint a wonderful revisionist picture of the past and Ballmer actually got away with describing Microsoft as an ethical company.

It is fitting that the BBC decided to feature Gates on its Money programme and not on its Technology programme; after all, Microsoft is first and foremost a marketing company. Technology comes a distant second.

Speaking of marketing, David Kirkpatrick, who is personally close to Microsoft, seems to be doing yet another Microsoft-sympathetic piece over at Fortune.

“Steve Ballmer was sobbing. He repeatedly tried to speak and couldn’t get the words out. Minutes passed as he tried to regain his composure. But the audience of 130 of Microsoft’s senior leaders waited patiently, many of them crying too,” David Kirkpatrick reports for Fortune.

Make no mistake. Yes, they were crying because leaders of the company essentially abandon the ship (even a director left last week), but the article is a portrayal of a humane Microsoft — one you can feel bad for.

In another Wall Street-type publication, the Financial Times, Steve Ballmer has just implicitly acknowledged that Microsoft cannot compete with Free (libre) software in terms of cost and maybe even quality. Watch what he said. (highlight in red is ours)

I’ve got to tell you, in every – other than the battle with Open Source, every other competitor, I love being able to come into a room and saying we’re better and we’re cheaper. We’re going to try to say we’re better and we’re cheaper basically. I don’t think this is sort of the end of the story by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it tells you we’re going to do things a little differently.

More memorable words came from CNET back in February. They will fight GNU/Linux at all costs.

“[If I ask you who is Microsoft's biggest competitor now, who would it be?] Open…Linux. I don’t want to say open source. Linux, certainly have to go with that.”

Steve Ballmer (CNET Interview)

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