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


Links 14/07/2008: Acer’s GNU/Linux Laptops and Another Large Migration to OOo

Posted in News Roundup at 4:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish





Links 14/07/2008: New Version of Linux, Mandriva Reviews

Posted in Boycott Novell at 10:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish





Embracing and Extending Open Source from the Inside — Yes, Again

Posted in Corel, GNOME, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Virtualisation, Xen at 3:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We believe every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability.”

Steve Ballmer

Microsoft continues to show its total disregard for Free software. It only wants to exploit it.

Going against a hugely popular saying, Microsoft is firm in saying “never” to open source. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer had a single answer to a question presented at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2008 regarding the possibility that the company’s flagship products will veer away from its current proprietary business mode. “No!”

Dana Blankenhorn responds to this too. He politely asks Microsoft’s CEO to just STFU.

I hate to go all Bond villain on Mr. Ballmer, but the question of whether Microsoft talks to open source, about open source, or even engages open source is just not relevant any more.

We are past the point with Microsoft where open source needs to fear the Giant of Redmond. Despite Mr. Ballmer’s bluster, the company lacks the legal weaponry to destroy open source, with patents or anything else.

SourceForge Revisited

We have done some research on Microsoft’s relationship with (and attitude towards) Free software. Two days ago we focused on Microsoft's corporate role in SourceForge. We dealt with this before. Responding to the latest report, Groklaw raises an issue: “Question – Has Sourceforge lost its cotton pickin’ mind? Answer – Yes. Or else Microsoft is an inspiration. Who wouldn’t want to help Microsoft figure out who to sue?”

For those who are new to this, here is the gist:

  1. CodePlex and SourceForge overlap
  2. Microsoft funds them and gradually changes the meaning/perception of "Open Source"
  3. The CEO quit recently. He is to be replaced.

patent threat
Photo under the GNU Free Documentation license

Mono Revisited

Well, well. What have we here?

Banshee by default in Intrepid [Ubuntu 8.10]

Since F-Spot is installed by default Mono is now part of the base
install. So outside of all the debate around Mono, have we considered
installing Banshee as the default media player in Intrepid now that
Banshee 1.0 is released?

Banshee is of course Mono based. Novell seems happy about it because it gains control of the Free Desktop. Watch the bottom of the homepage: “The Banshee name is a registered trademark of Novell. This does not include Banshee source code, which is licensed under the MIT X11 license.

“Banshee is of course Mono based. Novell seems happy about it because it gains control of the Free Desktop.”Novell is the next Corel. Let’s say that again: Novell. Is. The next Corel. This is how Mono is likely to take over GNOME. First the applications, just as we predicted. It’s infecting other distributions too, including Fedora, which is perhaps only beginning to wake up and smell the coffee.

Here is how it goes: First you neglect or phase out applications that are written using other (non-.NET) P\Ls. The core of GNOME needn’t be rewritten — yet. It’s like a staged introduction which application maturity and priority might make inevitable.

Virtualisation Revisited

It’s another case of “embrace, redefine, and extend” technology. It’s a strategy that revolves around dependency and weakening of the GNU GPL. Hyper-V’s purpose, for example, is partly to ensure that Windows is always the host and Linux just a guest. That guest, moreover, must be the Microsoft-taxed SLES.

Virtualisation is hugely important to GNU/Linux, as today’s news reminds us. Microsoft wants to put an end to this using money, manipulation, and acquisitions.

With Microsoft’s virtual control of Xen (it’s owned by its Partner of the Year, which begs for similar questions about VMWare), one has to wonder about the effect on Sun too. Microsoft is stealing critical bits of the FOSS stack. Sun tries to play a similar game; so did Oracle a long time ago.

Citrix/Microsoft seem to have turned Xen rather sour of the subject of Free software. Now there’s a confrontation.

A war of words has erupted between two bitter opponents in the Xen open source-based hypervisor (define) market. Citrix, which owns XenSource and drives the Xen project, has insulted arch-rival Virtual Iron, saying, among other things, that it owns the hypervisor while Virtual Iron just consumes the product.

This fired up Virtual Iron’s chief strategy officer Tony Asaro, who slapped back by saying Citrix chief technology officer Simon Crosby is out of line because Virtual Iron has been a substantial contributor to the Xen project and Xen belongs to the open source community.

A fuming Asaro told InternetNews.com “the dangerous thing Simon said is that Citrix owns the hypervisor. That’s wrong; Citrix bought Xen and sells the Citrix commercial product and are the drivers or owners of the open source project, but it’s the community that works on open source.”

Crosby’s “irresponsible statement about the open source community is counter to the philosophy of open source which he’s the biggest proponent of,” Asaro added.

There are some announcements to come from Citrix/Xen and Microsoft, according to Crosby.

Microsoft is trying to steal Open Source.

Joe Barr Knew Microsoft’s Tactics All Too Well

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, IBM, Marketing, Microsoft at 2:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Great man, beautiful mind


r. Barr, an excellent writer and Free software evangelist, passed away a few days ago. The news about him was very sad as he was not only a great man but also huge asset to the GNU/Linux community. Among his legacy was this page about Microsoft Munchkins. He understood very well how Microsoft had been operating. It is, without a doubt, a must-read.

By Joe Barr
Originally published September, 1996

SLIME 1. Spin, Lies, and Insults by Microsoft Employees. The extension of Microsoft’s corporate ethic to online community.

One place that’s been SLIME’d is Canopus, the forum on CompuServe
that had become my regular online habitat. At one time it was a
bastion of independent thought, consisting of contrary but
industry-wise regulars who were never afraid to criticize the
powerhouses in the industry, be they IBM or Microsoft or anybody


I think the change began about the time Win95 debuted. For one thing,
honest debate and sincere conversation began to decline with the
arrival of Arnold Krueger. Whatever it is that brought him to
Canopus, or keeps him there, it is definitely not honest discourse.
Arnold is a one-man propaganda machine, boosting Win95 and dis’ing
everything else. He is the kind of guy who belongs in one of the
comp.os.___.advocacy newsgroups. And no where else. Since the first
day he arrived, his message has been simply this: Win95 is it, if you
don’t use it you are stupid, if you computer won’t run it, it’s a
piece of crap.

One unfortunate reality of Microsoft’s reputation for dishonesty is
that its employees can immediately gain credibility by claiming not
to be MS employees. Steve Barkto and Bill Diamond are two of the best
known examples.


And spin he does. He is easily the most gifted liar the forum has
seen. He is not a buffoon-like bozo like Arnold Krueger who puts out
so much crap that it is laughable. No, Richard Shupak does it with
style. He mixes truth, fact, and bullshit in amounts calculated to
bring the most believability a spin-doctor can hope for. He uses
inuendo like a scalpel. Almost always his goal is to deceive.

A couple of days ago, Groklaw thanked Mr. Barr for this gutsy response to Rob Enderle.

Not many people have the experience of going deep down into Microsoft’s dirty tricks. The same type of slimy tricks live on to this date. We have accumulated some examples in:

Ever seen a company withdrawing GNU/Linux from its store shelves? Check this one out.

Two weeks ago a startling post by a Canadian Canopian claimed that
London Drugs, a chain of stores, had an agreement with Microsoft that
prohibited them from displaying OS/2 on their shelves. I knew it
couldn’t be true. Microsoft is hard at work trying to have Sporkin
removed as the presiding judge at the hearings on their consent
decree. This sort of restraint of trade would blow up in their face
at just exactly the wrong time. Still, I decided to track it down.

I got the phone number for the store in Edmonton, Canada, and called
and asked for the computer department. Color me surprised when the
clerk told me that it was true, that they could not display Warp,
although they kept it in the stockroom and sold it on request. I
asked to speak to a manager. Said manager repeated the same thing,
that for ‘certain considerations’ from Microsoft, they kept OS/2 off
their shelves. This was too hot to hold for the next issue of
Tech-Connected, so I passed it on to a well-known and highly
respected newspaper man.

Joe Barr will be sorely missed. His more technical writings have always been superb.

OOXML too received its “In Memoriam”.

So swiftly moving on, I really don’t think OOXML is worth wasting much time over any more. Even M$ it seems doesn’t really want IS29500. The rest of us really care little about it, especially now there are so many other avenues for preservation of our data and the world is finally starting to “grok” what Open really means.

No matter how pointless or tedious it gets, it would be wrong not to talk about OOXML because the level of abuse needs to be shown, especially in the face of endless denials and disinformation. Moreover, the OOXML fiasco has taught us a lot about sources of corruption and led to the departure of some people.

“Microsoft has announced the “Microsoft BlogStars” contest, to Hunts for Developer Bloggers in India. After feeling the power and increase of the Bloggers community in India, Microsoft tries to trap and hunt Bloggers in India to buildup the blogging community, for writing blog posts supporting towards Microsoft Technologies.”

Microsoft Traps and Hunts for Bloggers in India !!

“Two Microsoft employees threatened to sue me if I wrote about their behavior online, so I not only wrote the story, I mailed each of them a personal copy.”

Joe Barr, Free Software Hero

Blast from the Past: Losing Your Job for Criticising Microsoft on Security

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 2:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We mentioned Dan Geer several times before [1, 2] because he is said to have lost his job for legitimately criticising Microsoft over poor security. Almost 1 in 2 Windows PCs is now a zombie PC, so he was right all along.

For saying the truth, other people seem to have gotten sacked as well. This is an old story, but one which is worth bringing up again.

It seems that my post is seen by Microsoft Security as being a security violation. The picture itself might have been permissible, but because I also mentioned that I worked at the MSCopy print shop, and which building it was in, it pushed me over the line. Merely removing the post was also not an option — I offered, and my manager said that he had asked the same thing — but the only option afforded me was to collect any personal belongings I had at my workstation and be escorted out the door. They were at least kind enough to let me be escorted out by one of my co-workers, rather than sending security over to usher me out, but the end result is the same.


So, I’m unemployed. I am somewhat lucky in that I’m not technically unemployed — I am still on the roster for my temp agency, who has been very good to me so far (and hopefully will continue to be), but as their ability to place me anywhere does depend on the current job market, it’s not a foolproof guarantee of employment coming in quickly. I’ve put a call into them and let them know of the situation and that I’m available and willing for whatever can be found, so with any luck, they’ll be able to find a placement for me. However, it appears that it’s also time for me to start hitting the streets and shopping my resume around again.

It was only 2 days ago that we also mentioned how Microsoft strong armed Tracy Reed for discovering weaknesses in ActiveX.

Why improve security when you can just gag (or get fired) those who know and spread the truth? Remember this story?

“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Another Small Defeat for Software Patents (and Win for Free Software) in the US

Posted in America, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat, SUN at 1:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Where can Red Hat collect its refund?

Red Hat’s current leader never spoke to Microsoft about patents, but he saw his company surrendering to software patents abuse. Well, guess what? It was all in vain

Mike Dillon, Sun’s general counsel, has put up a weblog entry describing that company’s efforts to invalidate the Firestar patent – the one Red Hat just licensed.

Dillon writes:

Unfortunately, the PTO’s response comes a little over two weeks after Red Hat entered into a settlement with Firestar. Although the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Quanta Computers v. LG Electronics protects downstream Red Hat licensees through the application of the doctrine of patent exhaustion it doesn’t insulate others in the open source community from future actions by Firestar. It’s our hope that the rejection of the patent through the reexamination process will become final in August eliminating this threat for all members of the open source world.

Speculation: could Firestar reduce its claims in order to entice Red Hat to cough out money, knowing that the software patent in question would soon be invalidated?

Also found a couple of days ago in Digital Majority: IBM limits patentability based on criteria that include “tied to a particular machine or apparatus.”

IBM filed an amicus brief in Bilski arguing for a principled approach based on the precedents of the Supreme Court. IBM’s test would limit the scope of patentable subject matter to avoid granting exclusive rights to non-technological business methods while broadly allowing for protection of new technological advances. Under IBM’s proposed test, a patentable process must either (1) be tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or (2) cause transformation or reduction of an article to a different state or thing, and in either instance produce technologically beneficial results. IBM’s approach is not only consistent with the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, it is also substantially consistent with prevailing international standards, including those of the EPO and its member states.

Microsoft too said something along those lines, but perhaps went further:

MR. OLSON [For Microsoft]: The ’580 patent is a program, as I understand it, that’s married to a computer, has to be married to a computer in order to be patented.
JUSTICE SCALIA: You can’t patent, you know, on-off, on-off code in the abstract, can you?
MR. OLSON: That’s correct, Justice Scalia.
JUSTICE SCALIA: There needs to be a device.
MR. OLSON: An idea or a principle, two plus two equals four can’t be patented. It has to be put together with a machine and made into a usable device.

The Inquirer has some new coverage of the Rambus-Nvidia case (“memory controller interfaces” being a good reminder of OOXML’s dangers). it was mentioned the other day.

This is one of the more severe cases where companies are fined billions merely for following industry ‘standards’ or intuition.

Photo from the public domain

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




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts