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07.10.08

Links 10/07/2008: GNU/Linux Benchmarks, Free Software Mainstreaming

Posted in News Roundup at 4:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

F/OSS

Opposition

Hand Out Presents to Journalists, Receive Positive Reviews

Posted in Apple, Deception, FUD, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 1:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple not much better than Microsoft

N

owadays, especially on the Internet, whenever you stumble upon a technical review, you ought to be cautious. Be very skeptical. It’s no secret that many companies hand out their products free of charge to particular people and expect flattering publicity in return. Renowned (or notorious rather) for this practice is Microsoft, but Apple is not better off.

THE SULTANS OF SMUG at Apple have been showing just how much clout they have among tech journalists by asking their mates to run glowing reviews of the 3G Iphone.

While we don’t begrudge Apple trying it on, we are quite frankly stunned at the ability of the American tech press to roll over when bribed by a gadget sent to them by someone that they want to be their chum.

Apple is not an ethical company, but it’s apathetic towards GNU/Linux, as opposed to Microsoft that actively attacks it. So we leave Apple aside — for now.

We have given some examples before where Microsoft gave gifts to people in exchange for stealth advertising. Such disguised marketing from Microsoft has even 'violated' professors.

“These are just a few cases where the journalists end up snitching, so it’s a fact.”Microsoft happens to be doing this a lot, regardless of how prevalent this may be in general (well, that would be their excuse anyway). For example, more recently when the Inquirer had published a very negative review of Windows Vista, Microsoft contacted them and offered freebies. ITWire had its arm twisted by Microsoft for criticising OOXML and it wasn't alone.

These are just a few cases where the journalists end up snitching, so it’s a fact. Here we have only a few incidents among many more that actually get reported. The Inquirer once wrote about how Microsoft-hired agencies bombard them with press releases, urging promotion of Microsoft.

The 'promotion machinery' rarely pauses to breathe. It’s not single company. Microsoft assigns ‘sub-companies’, using contracts for advertising [1, 2]. It’s doing this for Windows Vista at the moment.

Microsoft’s reaction to concerns about out-of-control AstroTurfing (once caught red-handed) would be something along these lines:

“That advertising firm has nothing to do with us. It’s independent. (But yes, we are their clients, i.e. we pay them to do this.)”

Remember the excuses about the bribery of Swedish partners for OOXML? Same thing.

Speaking of Microsoft advertisers (and SCO cheerleaders), guess who’s likely to have a hard time getting hired? We wrote about it before [1, 2, 3, 4]. Keep an eye open because Microsoft is up to large-scale brainwash. A $0.3 billion budget has just been allocated to Vista alone.

“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]

Off Topic: Snapshot of ‘Soviet Internet’ Proposal

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 1:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ACTA keeps marching in. but Heise reports that the media lobby’s Internet monitoring proposal has been rejected, at least for now.

The Telecommunications Package will not prescribe uninterrupted monitoring of the internet as demanded by the Conservatives on behalf of the media and entertainment industry. On Monday evening, the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) and the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) of the European Parliament voted on around 1,000 changes to the EU Telecom rules, consolidated into over 30 amendments. The compromise proposal put forward by the rapporteur for the draft framework directive, Catherine Trautmann, was accepted. The Conservatives are said to have become more sceptical about “internet monitoring”.

On the other hand, according to Glyn Moody’s conversation with a high-level figure, nothing is over. We’ve recently seen that amendments typically sneak in at the 90th minute.

Of course, that still leaves ground for concern – not about the intentions of Dr Kamall, but about the way in which the proposed amendments might be co-opted by the media industry against ISPs and their customers. It is clearly vital that the proposed changes be drafted as tightly as possible to avoid any function drift.

Charles is concerned enough about the role of Sarkozy that he wrote a letter to his president.

An Open Letter to the the French President Nicolas Sarkozy

[...]

This, is simply not acceptable of a country like France. People should not be forced to live their cultural lives based on how a secretive but powerful lobby would like them to, and oppressive measures should not be enforced against a whole population just because those “happy few” refused to accept that the world has changed since the 1960’s. Culture does not work that way, but one particular industry does, and if it does not change it will die.

A last word, Mr President. I love my country too much to think that the French culture, that is supposedly “in danger,” is a subculture of made up pop singers and evanescent starlets. Not everyone that speaks, writes and sings in French is worth to promote because a record label, or a publisher has acquired its rights and claims it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Perhaps you will remember that no one wanted to read François Villon and so many others; yet they are now considered to be national treasures. Forced consent is not an art. Delusion is not culture.

I therefore ask you, Mr President, to stop this unfair, lobby-inspired legislative agenda on the “Three Strikes” approach and trust you will see truth and fairness in this request.

Stay tuned. This debate is related to that of software patents. It’s an ugly case of rich companies (a tiny privileged minority) writing new laws to serve themselves better at the expense of the digital majority. Such is the nature of software patents that serve monopolies with gigantic portfolios. It’s only there for the solicitors.

“Idiots can be defeated but they never admit it.”

Richard Stallman

Links 10/07/2008: wattOS Introduced; Church Moves to Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

DSL

eGovernment

F/OSS

Mozilla/Firefox

ISO’s Self Abuse: The Morning After

Posted in GPL, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML at 3:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MicrISOft

Y

esterday we wrote rather quickly — if not prematurely — about ISO's preparation for dismissal of complaints. It is in ISO’s interests — however selfish they may seem — to carry on pretending that nothing wrong has happened.

Following the early leaks (among other less flattering ones), there is some press coverage that presents the situation.

The leaders of the ISO and the IEC have recommended the rejection of appeals from four countries that protested a vote approving OOXML, an XML-based document format submitted by Microsoft as an international standard.

This means that DIS 29500, or Office Open XML (OOXML), likely will remain an uncontested international standard. The national bodies of Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela wanted the International Organization of Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission to re-examine the vote for various reasons, including violations associated with a ballot resolution meeting in February that eventually led to the final vote.

Charles-H. Schulz. has already responded to this. He calls it “the month of the zombie standards”, but it’s not clear if by “zombie” he also refers to ISO, which virtually got captured by Microsoft last year. He writes:

Ah, here we are back in 2007, in the good old summer 2007 where everything for the ISO was fine. Everything works just fine, there’s nothing to see, so mind your own business folks. Worldwide fraud, four appeals for a standard that has “been conducted in conformity with the ISO/IEC JTC 1 Directives” pressures on governments standards bodies, one investigation on OOXML led by the European Commission… and appeals “should not be processed further”?

Somehow I think we have missed one thing or two with the ISO. I don’t exactly know what it is we missed. Perhaps it was a better understanding of how they work. Perhaps it was money. Perhaps it was just all about taking them out for a walk and show them the world before they all got brainwashed.

As expected, there’s a reasonable side that complains about the well-documented abuses of the process, but on the other side, there are those who are Microsoft-sympathetic or Microsoft partners (i.e. they make profit from this abuse). To them, absolute Microsoft lock-in and GPL exclusion as ‘standard’ actually means money.

Even Alex Brown, who was metaphorically wearing a cardboard crown at that abysmal BRM [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] has no respect for these legitimate appeals. Could it be because they slam his BRM? He publicly challenges and downplays the complaints. He’s rebutted in the comments:

Either way, this seems like the type of situation where it makes perfect sense for different NBs that are aware that they share common concerns to talk to each other, and even share drafts. Why not? Wouldn’t that make things easier for all concerned in the process, if they can reach consensus on their concerns before they request action? I’m not sure why you would see anything inappropriate here, and your take seems inconsistent with prior statements you’ve made.

[...]

After reading the pdf document, my feeling is the system is in a mess.

Alex Brown continues to shelter Microsoft OOXML [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21], which he is promoting for the British Library [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] under his professional identity. Hello??? Conflict of interests? A fiasco greater than this is hard to come by.

“37 letters with exactly the same words. Some of the senders didn’t even care to remove the ‘Type company name here’ text.


Simular letters has been circulating in Denmark as an e-mail from the Danish MD Jørgen Bardenfleth to customers and business partners.


I call it fraud, cheating and disgusting. If I wasn’t anti-Microsoft before, I am now. Disgusting !”

Leif Lodahl

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: July 9th, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Read the rest of this entry »

Links 10/07/2008: A Look at OpenMoko, PPC Revival with GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 2:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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