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Links 24/06/2008: Nokia Makes Bold Step with Symbian, Pressure on NVIDIA to Drop the Blob

Posted in News Roundup at 3:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Microsoft’s Open Source Land Grab Continues

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 2:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

All your bases must not belong to Windows/Office/Exchange/Sharepoint/SQL Server

We have just identified a couple of new incidents which are worth drawing attention to. As readers hopefully know by now, Microsoft hopes to 'steal' Open Source in order to make it work better (or only) with Windows and its associated stack. More sponsorships were noticed before, including more significant ones like that of SourceForge. It’s worth noting that Microsoft might be using a similar strategy to battle ODF at the moment.

In any event, watch who sponsors this new event. [Note: URL returns a 404 error at the moment, but it worked fine a couple of hours ago]

ICT big guns lend support to Cebu open source meet


In addition to international speakers, Damarillo said that major multinational corporations such as IBM and Microsoft Philippines are participating in the POSS as well.

Both IBM Philippines president and general manager James G. Velasquez and Microsoft Philippines platform strategy manager Abet Dela Cruz, along with Red Hat APAC channels manager Edwin Chua, will participate in a dialogue on whether and how to use open source technology.

This is bizarre for so many reasons. Is this the same Microsoft Philippines that intercepted an open source bill in the Philippines and fought it like fire over there? Why would it suddenly sponsor a “Free Open Source” conference? How will it participate in this event and for what purpose?

Readers may also recall the recent writings about OpenLogic, which is partly spearheaded and sponsored by Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Here is another interesting take on it.

There’s no word yet on what Microsoft paid to become a partner. Organisers say each makes some type of contribution, though some give free technical or legal assistance rather than cash. (Source: betanews.com)

Cynics speculate that Microsoft is using its support for the survey as a commercial move in order to access valuable market research. But it’s tough to protest too much given the irony of an open source survey where the underlying data is only available to commercial partners.

Meanwhile, watch what WSO2, an open source software project, is doing with Microsoft.

Open Source SOA Software Shares Microsoft Stage


WSO2 showed off the results of several “technical collaboration initiatives” designed to extend interoperability across the Microsoft .NET Framework, Java, and other Web services platforms.


WSO2 was founded by member of the Apache Software Foundation Web services community, so it’s no surprise that its SOA platform is based on Apache projects. The platform’s foundation technologies consist of a Web services application server based on Apache Axis2, and an enterprise service bus (ESB) based on Apache Synapse. Both are built on the WSO2 Web Services Framework.

Recall the many trips to Redmond, including that of Apache. Also remember Microsoft’s plan to treat open source just like any proprietary ISV , including the imposition of software patents and agenda of working better on Windows.

Microsoft will insist on grabbing authority and control over “Open Source”. If befriending what it once compared to “communism” and “cancer” is needed to secure its cash cows, then so be it.

“Microsoft looks at new ideas, they don’t evaluate whether the idea will move the industry forward, they ask, ‘how will it help us sell more copies of Windows?’”

Bill Gates, The Seattle Weekly, (April 30, 1998)

US Government: Microsoft Deliberately Stifles Interoperability

Posted in America, Antitrust, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Standard at 1:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The more things change, the more they stay the same”

A few days ago we showed that Microsoft continues to disobey demands and requirements imposed by the United States Government. To make matters worse, it was almost as though this disdain could be characterised as patronisation. A story we told here a very long time ago is about Novell’s foolishness — believing that it can actually change Microsoft’s ways and receive what was promised.

The latest development is rather astonishing but not particularly surprising. Regulators seem to suggest that Microsoft deleted interoperability documents, proving that it continues to recklessly abuse its dominant position and probably break the law too.

Microsoft Deleted Windows Interoperability Documents, Feds Say


Microsoft has stopped publishing some of the technical documentation that rival software makers may need to make their products interoperable with the Windows operating system, according to a court-mandated committee overseeing Microsoft’s compliance with a federal antitrust settlement.

Should anyone be surprised?

In case it is not obvious why interoperability — preferably attained through open standards — is important, have a look at this good new post from Brendan Scott.

The lack of interoperability is an enormous problem because interoperability is a precondition to competition. When software lacks interoperability it is a symptom that there is no competition in the market. As competition in a market decreases not only do the costs of products in the market become artificially inflated, but the quality and diversity of the products simultaneously decreases. Lack of interoperability means that a customer cannot avail themselves of self help to implement features that they want in a product or remove dis-features (1) (2) from a product. As we mentioned above, unless your requirements are shared by a substantial proportion of the target market, you will be unlikely to be able to have specific features implemented – even if you are willing to pay the cost of implementation.

To sum up, Microsoft not only fails to deliver or produce necessary documentation. It’s claimed to already got possession of it. If the supposition and evidence is compelling enough, then Microsoft shreds it, essentially destroying what’s already available to satisfy the market wacthers’ commands. How’s that for being cooperative? Microsoft never changed its ways. Never. It learned how to pretend though.

“We’ve got to put a lot of money into changing behavior.”

Bill Gates

Links 24/06/2008: UNIX FIlesystem Elects GPL, Intel Snubs Microsoft’s Main Product

Posted in News Roundup at 5:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: June 23rd, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Trend Micro’s SCO-esque Business Model Backfires, Acacia Sued for Defamation

Posted in Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, SCO at 4:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Revenge against the patent trolls and harassers

The last time we wrote about Trend Micro (see previous post for contextual references and background) it was shown that the company was clueless when it comes to Free software. At the very least, this characterisation neatly applies to the company’s leader, who is also a software patent holder. Watch what’s contained in this new interview at The Register.

Trend Micro’s CEO threw down the gauntlet to her competitors last week, proclaiming that hackers are ahead of the game and that the anti-virus industry “sucks”.


Changes in the malware landscape have led to the creation of multiple variants of different malware strains and targeted attacks. Traditional top down command structures for antivirus distribution are struggling to cope. Trend Micro had little choice but to invest in the new technology. However Chen, who has five patents to her name, admitted that investors nervously questioned her risky decision.

According to this, unless it’s misinterpreted, the combination of a new technical strategy and milking of competitors using junk patents was Trend Micro’s new business plan. In other words, Trend Micro, realising that its product was no longer effective (‘snake oil’), decided to adopt an SCO-like licensing strategy. It also raves about some cross-licensing with IBM, as its it’s a form of legitimacy.

To make matters worse for Trend Micro, prior art is cropping in, so patents could soon be invalidated and a blunder ensue. Think of this as the equivalent of Novell stepping in to claim UNIX ownership.

Goran Fransson, a Swedish developer and entrepreneur, has given a deposition in the Barracuda-Trend Micro case that appears to seriously undermine Trend Micro’s patent on gateway virus scanning.

As Linux.com reported in January, Trend Micro is suing Barracuda Networks before the American International Trade Commission (ITC). Trend Micro’s claim is that, by distributing Clam Antivirus (ClamAV), the free software security application, Barracuda is violating Trend Micro’s patent 5623600, which was filed on 26 September, 1995, and has since been used against such companies as Symantec and McAfee. The case is being heard by the ITC apparently because of Trend Micro’s claim that, because ClamAV is developed by programmers around the world, it is imported software in the United States.

Trend Micro is not the only company to have suffered a setback for an Intellectual Monopoly business approach. Some days ago we wrote about a particular Acacia debacle (Acacia accommodates some Microsoft folks and litigiously attacks GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]) and now comes this:

Cognex Invalidates Acacia Patent ’524; Next? Suing for Business Defamation


Do you remember back in 2005 a company called Cognex took on Lemelson Partnership and won, invalidating 14 of Lemelson’s patents? Well, it turns out that after that, they took on Acacia Research, and they just beat them too. Acacia is now minus one of its patents. Here’s the order [PDF]. Cognex is now aggressively going after Acacia for defamation, attorneys fees, and damages, including, or so they hope, according to a motion to amend their complaint, special and punitive damages.

Whereas SCO is burning any ounce of cash that’s left in its coffers, this Acacia patent troll might have to pay. If defamation suits were to succeed, then the business model behind the likes of Nathan Myhrvold would be at risk. The suits become a two-edged sword.

“Copying all or parts of a program is as natural to a programmer as breathing, and as productive. It ought to be as free.”

Richard Stallman

Bruce Perens: Don’t Trust Microsoft on ODF; Europe to Crack Down on Microsoft Lobbying

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 3:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday we wrote about Microsoft's attempt to 'consume' ODF. Joining the skepticism now is the man behind the open source definition and a vocal critic of Novell's deal with Microsoft. Bruce Perens does not trust Microsoft, either. He explains why.

Microsoft was also present at IETF meetings around that time, and was enthusiasticaly gaming the system. I remember one Microsoft attorney with three assistants who were each feeding “audience” questions at the attorney’s direction.

Organizations like Sun, which ran a large standards department, were tremendously concerned with Microsoft’s attempts to game the system at the time.

Microsoft is no newcomer to the standards business. Protests otherwise on their behalf are insincere.

Remember Tim Bray's confession about experiences with Microsoft inside standards bodies. It plays dirty. And speaking of which, it seems like Europe is prepared to finally step up and curb the disease which is political manipulation — one of those areas where Microsoft is clearly an industry leader.

Until now there has been no attempt to regulate the Brussels lobbying process or to open it up to public scrutiny.

When the E.U. embarks on a reform of technology-related laws, or when its executive body, the European Commission takes on an industry titan like Microsoft in an antitrust battle, an army of lobbyists gets to work in an effort to influence events.


“A compulsory register would be better,” McGann said, although he stressed this is his own opinion and not the official position of EICTA. “You will never stop the more corrupt element in Brussels lobbying without a compulsory list,” he added.

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