EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.27.08

Links 27/06/2008: Migration Stories (to GNU/Linux); A Look at KDE4’s Folderview

Posted in News Roundup at 5:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

Learning Curve Debate

F/OSS

Microsoft

Glitches

Free Software Exploitation: Novell’s Poor Business Strategy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, SUN, Ubuntu at 4:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“It is in Novell’s interest – selfish interest, I will admit – to advance-remove whatever those inhibitors be to the advancement of Linux and open source.”

John Dragoon, Novell

N

ovell loves free software. Free — as in “free lunch”. It receives a lot of code without paying for it. It’s free labour, so what’s not to like? Novell admits that it is not willing to disengage from its proprietary past [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s not prepared to say goodbye to its roots. It’s planning to just mix it all up; you know, just like its business partner, Microsoft. Novell takes pride in it, too. While the following article requires a subscription to read in full, the opening paragraph is too telling.

NOVELL HAS thrived by being able to offer customers a mixture of open source and proprietary software, even though it attracted the wrath of the open source community by doing a deal with Microsoft, according to chief executive Ron Hovsepian.

It would be interesting to read the remainder of this text and absorb the main messages of this article as a whole. Nevertheless, the Web site insists on living in the ‘Golden Ages’ when people always paid for the news. Groklaw, in the mean time, writes about Sun and NetApp, and therein also lies an important observation.

Releasing code is not all there is to it. Ethics, fairness, honesty — it’s the FOSS culture, and it’s the value add. Any company that tries to play by the old rules undercuts that advantage. It’s the one thing Microsoft can’t embrace, extend, extinguish. They can’t even offer Brand X, because we’d all laugh. It would, in any case, take decades to live down their rep. So players in this space need to morph that part of their way of doing business also. If you don’t believe me, look at Oracle’s play to try to undercut Red Hat. Blech. And Red Hat is doing fine, thanks. It always will, unless it starts importing proprietary tactics into the mix. The community is made up of brainiacs, you know. They know what is happening, and there are no secrets, long-term. So I would hope that all companies wanting to make use of openness as a model will scrape the proprietary crud off of them before they enter. We want to keep things clean in here.

That is exactly why Novell became a black sheep. Add to this the possibility that Novell is just IBM's attempt to dilute the values of GNU/Linux and elevate intellectual monopolies at their expense. Novell has already admitted its selfishness and Sun appears to have acted in a similar fashion. Microsoft’s talk about open source is too obviously a self-serving (for Windows) affair.

Such companies, which brought themselves up in a non-Free software environment, cannot properly reform themselves; they hardly seem willing, partly due to shareholders’ expectation and analysts’ targets.

Sadly enough, a forceful community project, OpenSUSE, will continues to suffer from Novell’s and Microsoft’s shadows. Just watch how Sam Varghese puts it:

OpenSUSE 11: nice kid, bad custodians

[...]

More good news: you can still remove Mono, the infamous attempt to clone Microsoft’s .NET development environment, and all its insidious dependencies without breaking anything in OpenSUSE. I had to remove a total of 39 files, both applications and libraries, to get it off my system. Anyone who is planning long-term usage of the distribution would be well advised to remove Mono as it could lead to problems down the line.

OpenSUSE has all the applications that an average desktop user needs. It is a distribution with an excellent pedigree. If only it had better custodians.

OpenSUSE could be today’s market leader in the Linux world had it not been for that blasted Microsoft deal and unnecessary affiliation with Novell. For the time being, some people who experiment with OpenSUSE just run back to Ubuntu. Here are two new examples:

1. Fun with openSUSE 11.0

I’m told that because of Novell/Microsoft ties, OpenOffice as shipped with openSUSE has more features than the stock OO.o shipped with Ubuntu. I need to investigate this further to have an opinion on the matter (although I can say right away that I don’t have an issue with the politics of this deal …).

I still have a lot of investigating to do, however, in the interim I think that if I had to choose between Ubuntu and openSUSE, Ubuntu would be the winner – familiarity is a key factor.

2. My OpenSuse 11.0 experience. OpenSuse or Ubuntu? I have made my choice.

I will make a list of the things which I didn’t like about it.

1. The smoothness of ubuntu is still lacking in opensuse-11.0

2. On my Dell Latitude D600, the visual effects were not running as smooth as ubuntu.

3. I would agree that they tried to make the interface look better and more user friendly but it still doesn’t come close to Ubuntu.

4. I didn’t find much online support for the new release of openSuse-11.0

5. The start-up/loading time was at least 10 to 15 seconds more than Ubuntu.

6. I checked the system monitor and the programs were running slower in openSuse.

So he moved back to Ubuntu at the end. To many people, OpenSUSE just doesn’t shout out “Freedom” anymore. Not with Microsoft's and Novell's presence anyway. Mind mind users; developers appear could be affected similarly. OpenSUSE would reach a broader community of developers, drive-by patche offerers and bug reporters if it became Novell-independent (it’s currently just an illusion). People prefer contributing to projects, not corporations that liaise with a sworn enemy of libre software.

It Must Be Official: The USPTO is (Brain) Dead

Posted in America, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 3:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Will you have a look at this?

Selling Stuff On The Internet? Why, That Infringes On A Patent!

Erich Spangenberg was mentioned here earlier this week for having to pay $4 million for shuffling some patents around to shell companies and suing a company he had already agreed not to sue over those patents. Of course, that’s not slowing him down apparently. Not only has he asked for a new trial on that ruling, he’s continuing to file new patent lawsuits — with the latest one apparently being for a patent on selling stuff on the internet.

There is another ugly one with a bounty on its head. [via Digital Majority]

A company called Seer Systems has a patent on a system for joining different musical data types together in a file, distributing them over the internet, and then playing that file.

We are especially interested in prior art (before 1997) relating to downloading and playing parts of ‘musical work files’ in real time. One such example might be a system for streaming media files by taking the file one piece at a time and downloading the necessary sound files and musical data for that part before playing it and moving on to another section.

This is absolutely ridiculous. And no, there’s no oversimplification in the descriptions above. These happen to be the more notorious junk ‘ideas’ that shouldn’t have had any accompanying patents granted in the first place.

Since weak companies which get targeted are unwilling to challenge these ludicrous patents in court (it’s too expensive for some to bear), they simply settle. It means that the trolls get their way.

Over at IAM Magazine, it is now being shown that even IBM — a company with quite an extensive patent portfolio — may not be too comfortable with the state of the USPTO, either. [via Digital Majority]

He told me that IBM was opposed to the current regime in the US and preferred the European model under which business method patents are almost completely unavailable. Yes, the owner of the world’s largest portfolio of business method patents, largely amassed since the State Street Bank decision of 1998, believes that they are bad and unnecessary.

The most unfortunate thing is that stakeholders are attempting to expand broken laws onto other continents and countries. Microsoft is definitely a big part of this problem.

Microsoft: Interoperability? Us?!?! Come Back and Try Again Next Year… or Decade

Posted in Antitrust, Interoperability, Microsoft, Windows at 3:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some things never change. Such is the nature of the serial monopoly abuser, whose compliance with government orders is likely to be come roughly a decade late — at which point the output becomes outdated and irrelevant anyway.

Microsoft promises to deliver interoperability documents by March 2009

[...]

Whatever. It has taken Microsoft many years and it still can’t – or, rather, won’t – provide documentation that it must already have internally?

Microsoft also promised to deliver Longhorn (Vista) in 2003. This endless, tedious game which involves Microsoft and the United States government is one of a scorpion and a frog. Guess which one is the frog? The complaints just keep on coming.

Microsoft Corp was criticized on Tuesday for being slow to resolve problems in the technical documentation it was required to provide to rival software makers as part of its 2001 antitrust settlement.

“2001 antitrust settlement,” eh? Well, if Microsoft’s procrastination-riddled schedules are anything to go by, then “March 2009″ might as well mean “March 2011″. Only a decade to comply? Not too bad, if that ever becomes a reality at all.

“I am convinced we have to use Windows – this is the one thing they don’t have. We have to be competitive with features, but we need something more — Windows integration.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft

Microsoft Virtualisation ‘Forgets’ Competition, Lumps the Novell Partner in

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Servers, SLES/SLED, SUN, Virtualisation, Xen at 3:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. “Independent” analyst’s report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent” consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). “Independent” courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Ron Hovsepian and Steve Ballmer

H

yper-V, Microsoft’s newly-announced hypervisor, is prominent in the press right now despite its market irrelevance and lack of presence. Think of it as a self-fulfilling prophecy, just as the quote at the top suggests (Yankee Group is already at it, accompanied by more lies). But Hyper-V not good for anyone. Microsoft intends to limit choice, not to offer any (contrary to claims that it’s good for VMWare to have more competition). The only company set to gain from it is Microsoft (plus its very small group of partners).

It is no secret anymore that Novell and Microsoft are self-serving virtualisation partners. Novell could not care any less if it helps Microsoft shut the door in the face of the rest of GNU/Linux; au contraire — it works to its advantage.

We were going to write about PlateSpin tomorrow (in a positive tone of course). It is currently boasting a new product that it has just released under Novell’s wing. One thing stood out for being suspicious though.

PlateSpin updates server workload migration tools

[...]

A key feature is the ability to move a workload from a physical server into a virtual machine or vice versa, with support for virtual machines running under Microsoft Virtual Server, Virtual Iron, VMware or Citrix XenServer.

For the uninitiated, what we always see where Microsoft gets involved is limited or no support for GNU/Linux. Only Microsoft-taxed distributions receive attention, so the impact on PlateSpin will be interesting. We wrote about it before and here is another fine new example where SLES gets inserted among the very narrow range of choices, as if it’s a surrogate of Microsoft Windows:

At that time, Microsoft said the list of tested and qualified guest operating systems include Windows Server 2003 SP2, Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1, Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3.

That’s it? Just Novell and Microsoft? Sun Microsystems sure seems to be complaining already.

3. Hyper-V only addresses Windows-based servers despite the fact that most datacenters are incredibly heterogeneous and require support for more than just Windows workloads. Aren’t you underestimating the complexity and diversity of your customers’ datacenters?

4. How do you see Hyper-V aiding in the reduction of energy consumption when it can only consolidate Windows-based servers?

It’s not too hard to get the overall picture. Microsoft is being anti-competitive again. It only offers support (compatibility) for product from which it extracts revenue; the rest it just ignores.

Quick Mention: Bill Gates’ Political Crusade Has Already Begun

Posted in Bill Gates, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 2:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Semi-retired man battles ‘cancer’ in the UN

On several occasions before we provided examples of situations where Bill Gates uses his wealth to stifle Free software adoption, especially where children are involved [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. While the press is still humming about Bill Gates ‘benevolence’ [1, 2, 3, 4], some more news ought to show that the man has already moved on to his adventurous crusades for Windows everywhere. It’s a diplomatic battle rather than a technical one. The UN and Microsoft have begun flirting and — quite unsurprisingly — it’s all about the man who claims to be retiring.

The head of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Chairman of Microsoft Bill Gates have discussed enhancing their collaboration on using information technology to spur development around the world.

The UN has persistently encouraged, as a matter of principle in fact (monetary considerations aside), the use of Free software. Here are some stories about Free Software in the United Nations, assembled over the past year or so.

1. UN think tank urges legislators to support ‘open source’ information technologies, software

“Participation in, not just access to, the information society is important” Ghosh told the UN event, attended by members of parliament from over 40 countries. “Open source software gives people fishing rods, not just fish.”

“The main issue here is a plea for open standards as they guarantee competition,” says Prof. Luc Soete, Director of Maastricht-based UNU-MERIT, underlining the importance of this topic to the Institute’s work. Recently published UNU-MERIT studies demonstrate the strong role of open source software in skills development.

2. UN University Launches OpenCourseWare

It seems a no-brainer that the United Nations University (yes, it exists) should make available its courses for the world and her dog to use…

3. Technical support for open source system now in GenSan

Dr. Francisco Sarmiento III, project officer of the United Nations Development Programme-International Open Source Network (UNDO-IOSN) Asean+3 Sub-regional Node, said local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), government and non-government organizations migrating towards the free and open source software (FOSS) may now link up for support with the Mindanao State University’s (MSU) Computer Center here.

4. UN partners with MSU-Gensan for dev’t of 1st Foss center

A United Nations (UN)-funded organization promoting the use of the free and open source software (Foss) has forged a partnership with the Mindanao State University (MSU) for the development of Southeast Asia’s first OpenHUB or accessible FOSS resource center.

5. Talking FOSS at the UN

Weesner says that despite the fact that speakers like Stallman and Cooper were well-received last year, “This year [the delegates] expressed a wish to hear more from real-world users instead of the technologists and advocates. This year’s agenda does not include open source software developers, apart from Chris DiBona, who will be representing the Google case.” Other unconfirmed guest speakers include Virgin America, SchoolNet Namibia, and Banco do Brasil.

6. UN body releases desktop Linux guide

A UN-funded organisation has produced a Linux desktop user guide to encourage the take-up of Linux in developing countries

7. UN Technical Agency Honors Mozilla

This is an enormous honor. It is a very significant recognition of the work of the Mozilla project. I want to thank the ITU for selecting Mozilla and congratulate the Mozilla community for making such an impact in people’s online lives.

8. UN body releases desktop Linux guide

A UN-funded organisation has produced a Linux desktop user guide to encourage the take-up of Linux in developing countries

9. Editor’s Corner (on Open Source in Healthcare)

Suggesting that a private healthcare provider switch from proprietary software to open source-based applications is one thing. But when an official affiliated with as august a body as the United Nations suggests that all member countries adopt open source for their healthcare applications, that’s a much bigger deal.

In summary, can you see why Bill Gates is meeting high-level UN officials? It’s all about circumventing the technical and ethical decision makers; it’s about playing on myths and charm instead. We’ll be seeing a lot of this in the future now that Gates has more available time in his hands, for supposedly charitable deeds.

“People everywhere love Windows.”

Bill Gates

New ISO: Denial and Damage Control, as Standard

Posted in Deception, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML at 2:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Muhammed Saeed al Sahaf

ISO has become rather weird. It’s excessively defensive rather than authoritative. Having been replaced or accompanied by Microsoft, at least in some sense (ISO shuffles amid Microsoft's abuse and intervention), those two seem to have been enjoying each others' comfort in embrace of systematic denials. They hope that the world will forget what happened and then just move on. They hope to redeem and to heal the reputation of both Microsoft and ISO.

ISO standards for saleWere there no problems with the scandalous process which was hinged on OOXML? Surely there were problems, even according to Alex Brown. Martin Bryan was more explicit about it:

“This year WG1 have had another major development that has made it almost impossible to continue with our work within ISO. The influx of P members whose only interest is the fast-tracking of ECMA 376 as ISO 29500 has led to the failure of a number of key ballots. Though P members are required to vote, 50% of our current members, and some 66% of our new members, blatantly ignore this rule despite weekly email reminders and reminders on our website. As ISO require at least 50% of P members to vote before they start to count the votes we have had to reballot standards that should have been passed and completed their publication stages at Kyoto. This delay will mean that these standards will appear on the list of WG1 standards that have not been produced within the time limits set by ISO, despite our best efforts.

The disparity of rules for PAS, Fast-Track and ISO committee generated standards is fast making ISO a laughing stock in IT circles. The days of open standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are getting “standardization by corporation”, something I have been fighting against for the 20 years I have served on ISO committees. I am glad to be retiring before the situation becomes impossible. I wish my colleagues every success for their future efforts, which I sincerely hope will not prove to be as wasted as I fear they could be.”

Martin Bryan
Formerly Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 WG1

Later evidence supports this. Mr. Bryan saw in advance what was coming and it was already miserable enough when he decided to leave. Some people at ISO appear not to have the same level of integrity though.

Alan Bryden, for example, just like Mr. Frost on the face of it, has taken a different strategy: denial. He doesn’t want people to know what happened. Everyone is stupid and only ISO knows what’s right! It’s like that sculpture with the three monkey.

Reuters has just published this hugely-imbalanced article, which seems like a somewhat of a placement/press release for ISO. It extensively quotes Mr. Bryden, who is their top man. It’s filled with damage control and denial where he concludes with:

“Irrespective of the outcome of the current appeals, we are confident that the robustness of the system will again lead to the answer the market place wishes to see and, in fact, reinforce ISO’s credibility,” he said.

Robustness of the system? Is Bryden talking about the GNU system? ISO sure wasn’t robust enough and the mountains of evidence won’t go away any time soon. Even people inside ISO have already acknowledged the severe issues (c/f references at the top).

It does not seem like ISO’s leadership is even willing to recognise the problem, let alone do something about it. ISO is, by its own choice, opting to stay irrelevant. Thank you, Microsoft, for ruining an important establishment.

Links 27/06/2008: Limo and Lips Joined by the Hips

Posted in News Roundup at 6:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

Mobile

Red Hat

F/OSS

Clouds

Microsoft

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts