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08.01.08

Links 01/08/2008: GNU/Linux Sales Multiply, Boxee Introduced

Posted in News Roundup at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

KDE4

  • KDE 4.1: Better Than Any Mac Or Vista

    For KDE 4 series, it is just the beginning of the journey, currently it is for those users who want to use bleeding edge technology or experience, but we hope soon KDE 4 series will take on the world.

  • Going wild with KDE 4.1 themes.

    whiteish theme Now KDE 4.1 is out, I’ve played around a bit with different themes. I’ve installed the KDE artwork package, and a couple of themes via GetHotNewStuff. KDE’s coloring system has seen quite a lot of love, as has Plasma’s theming engine. The results are quite impressive, as you can see in the screenshots.

Mobile

F/OSS

Microsoft

Leftovers

How Many Lobbyists (and Congresspersons) Does $2.3 Million Per Quarter Buy?

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Microsoft at 4:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

$2.3 million just a lower bound

We wrote about lobbying earlier on in the day. Now watch some newly-released figures about Microsoft lobbying. The numbers continue to increase (and recall that severe cases from the OOXML fiasco include briberies and political influence in several nations). Additionally, watch how a merger is being stifled at the moment by the investment arm that manages Bill Gates’ fortune.

BGI, the investment office that manages the assets of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) founder Bill Gates, urged market leader Waste Management Inc. (WMI) to abandon its proposed merger with rival Republic Services Inc. (RSG).

Gates is still a very busy man these days, but he keeps a lower profile.

Barriers to Reporting Truths

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Mono, SCO at 4:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OLPC a good example

Writing for popular publications can be a frustrating experiencing if one wants to speak one’s mind out. A journalist often needs to rely on statements made by other journalists, some of whom merely echo shamelessly-promotional press releases. Some PR lies gradually become factual, at least in some people’s minds. it’s dangerous.

Wealthier companies are able to push their press releases (and more of them) into a broader audience, which pollutes the pool of truth. Moreover, one must also be careful when making direct accusations even where compelling evidence clearly exists.

“Speaking based on personal experience, some editors feel afraid of material about Microsoft.”Examples of an inability to make accusations is the SCO case, where circumstantial evidence that can be found here is considered insufficient. To repeat the SCO strategy, Microsoft may try to 'poison' FOSS projects. Sadly, even the KDE Commit Digest now states: “Start of resurrecting C# support in KDevelop.” How can this be countered?

Speaking based on personal experience, some editors feel afraid of material about Microsoft. It can either be watered-down or reprimanded about in advance. Microsoft is a powerful force in trade journals. It’s an advertiser. For criticising Microsoft, as oppose to covering mundane topics, people will call the reporter a 'hater'. Of course, denouncing crime is a bad thing in our cautious press and fantasy-chasing society.

Over the past few years, I have been attacked using obscene slander (e.g. as in this recent example) by numerous pseudonymous characters whom I believe are connected to Microsoft (there is evidence to suggest so). There are signs that suggest things may change.

The unmasking of the posters marks a milestone in a rare legal challenge to the norms of online commenting, where arguments live on for years in search-engine results and where reputations can be sullied nearly irreparably by anyone with a grudge, a laptop and a WiFi connection…

Both women tried in vain to persuade the administrators of the AutoAdmit.com site to remove the threads, according to the lawsuit. But then the story of the cyber-harassment hit the front page of The Washington Post, and the law school trolls became fodder for cable news shows. Soon after, the female law students, with help from Stanford and Yale law professors, filed the federal lawsuit in June 2007 seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

The Jane Doe plaintiffs contend that the postings about them became etched into the first page of search engine results on their names, costing them prestigious jobs, infecting their relationships with friends and family, and even forcing one to stop going to the gym for fear of stalkers….

A federal judge ruled in January that the attorneys could serve subpoenas on ISPs and webmail providers. Using that power, the lawyers have unmasked some — though not all — of the AutoAdmit posters.

This type of process (lawsuits to unmask people) become more routine. Another case was reported yesterday. Could new laws, as opposed to litigation, ever deter and this stop corporate AstroTurfing?

Possible New Dumping Tactics, Pulling a Netscape

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Security at 4:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I feel we are much too smug in dealing with Novell. Perhaps they didn’t hurt us in DOS yet — but it’s not because of product or their trying. It’s because we already had the OEMs wrapped up.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft

“I don’t understand how IE is going to win. The current path is simply to copy everything that Netscape does packaging and product wise.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft

Watch the following new article. Consider its meaning and implications in the context of what’s quoted above.

Microsoft strikes deals to preinstall OneCare

[...]

The deal covers 12 countries and includes hardware providers MDG Computers Canada, LEO Gesellschaft fur Computer & Kommunikation, Wortmann, Olidata, Hyrican Informationsysteme, Sotec Company, TICNova Quality Team, Sony Corporation of America and Toshiba Asia Pacific.

This may be scandalous not only because they try to shelve their competitors, which for many years defended the Windows platform (or at least tried to). Microsoft already uses this strategy along with H-P. But there is deeper issue here. They sell an operating system which lacks something called security. People need to purchase it separately (trial versions leading to subscription fees) or become one of about 320,000,000 zombie PCs.

Similar tricks are already used with Microsoft Office, bar the security issue. And speaking of which, watch this from the news:

The software giant will be selling it for just RM99 at the Kuala Lumpur PC Fair, which starts on Friday. Normally, the product would set you back RM499.

As a gentle reminder, this comes from Malaysia, which is moving to OpenOffice.org and ODF. There might be obvious motives here and the same type of thing was seen in a neighbouring country just a few days ago. A few weeks go this was done in South Africa, too.

For those who recall the Wipro-Microsoft dance/tango with OOXML [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], watch this new collaboration. They are rubbing each others’ back and some would say they are inseparable.

Hey, Microsoft, Leave Them Reporters Alone

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Novell at 3:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We don’t need no education”

Novell and Microsoft are a good pair. They both like to exercise their ability to gag, pressure or influence reporters’ writings. This was seen before. More recently we even caught what was probably a Microsoft employee (he didn’t deny this) trying to get Matt Asay sacked for writing critically about Microsoft.

About a year ago, Novell was seen bending the arm of Dana Blankenhorn after he had criticised them. It’s something that may be widespread. Now it’s Microsoft doing the same thing to him. Watch this new comment from Sam Ramji.

And in other news, the Writer’s Guild of America filed a complaint against Dana Blankenhorn for writing and publishing comedy without a license.

Dana, you crack me up. Keep working on the lighter side. It keeps me young.

What does that mean?

Movell and Nicrosoft

Links 01/08/2008: GNU/Linux Gains Momentum, More Software

Posted in News Roundup at 7:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

  • LinuxWorld: Community roots bolster Linux growth

    Linux is beginning to find its legs as the foundation in many different technologies and in the process is fueling a feedback loop that is helping accelerate the operating system’s popularity.

    As more and more people contribute from areas such as mobile, data center power management, and real-time technologies, innovations are coming rapid fire and when folded into the Linux kernel provide benefits across a wide spectrum.

    For example, power management features for the data center are being tapped to help extend battery life in Linux-based mobile devices.

  • eeebuntu: yet another Ubuntu-based build for the Eee PC

    Another good tip from Robert found its way to my inbox: I’m sure there’s Eee PC owner or two out there that will appreciate it. There’s a new and “eeemproved” Ubuntu distro that’s customized for the Eee called eeebuntu. You can go with the snazzy Compiz Fusion enabled gnome version or go plain-vanilla with the Ubuntu Netbook Remix packages. Performance looks pretty darn good on the original 701 4G model Eee PC too: just check it in the above vid and supply your own audio track. I made mine funny, but feel free to make serious commentary when you watch.

  • Haiku running on Asus EEEPC!
  • Acer Aspire One ZG5 (Linux)
  • Linux tablets gain slick remote desktop tech

    LogMeIn announced a beta plugin for Nokia’s Linux-based N800 and N810 Internet Tablets. The LogMeIn Nokia N800/810 Browser Plugin enables Internet Tablet users to access and control their Windows PCs or Macs running the free or commercial versions of LogMeIn.

  • Will LSB 4 Standardize Linux?

    Not all Linux distributions are made with the same components, which can make it difficult for software developers to write applications for multiple Linux distributions. That’s where the Linux Standards Base (LSB) comes into play.

    [...]

    Zemlin noted that some people will always want to support one platform, be it Red Hat or otherwise, though he doesn’t expect that will be the majority once LSB 4 is released.

  • MontaVista Linux Now Supports Cavium OCTEON Processors
  • PC/104 SBC bridges factory networks
  • Is KDE back? 4.1 launches

    As if to apologize for KDE 4.0, the project’s release manager, Dirk Muller, released 4.1 along with the news that some 20,803 commits had happened since 4.0, not counting 15,432 translation check-ins, nor about 35,000 commits that went into “working” branches. That’s a lot of hacking.

    [...]

    The rest of the changes include library enhancements, improved applications and frameworks — all the little things. It sounds promising!

  • What’s next in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (part 2)

    There’s even more where this comes from–new versions of Firefox, new firewire stacks, and more. If you want to know what’s down the road for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, check out Fedora 9– that’s where the innovation happens.

  • Create your own web based personal desktop – eyeOS

ODF

F/OSS

Hypervisors

  • Virtual Linux, coming to a desktop near you

    Virtualisation is on the brink of turning operating systems into a commodity item. It may be realistic to see software applications shipped as virtual computer images in the near future. Linux has much to benefit from this, with a repeat of the phenomenal adoption rate it has enjoyed since the ASUS Eee PC.

    [Roy: when Microsoft talks about virtualisation, its plan is to replace all the existing choice with just Microsoft/Citrix/XenSource, which it owns (VMWare too is now controlled by (formerly) Microsoft's Maritz). Then, virtualisation will only mean Windows under Windows or Microsoft-taxed SUSE under Windows. Microsoft won't allow GNU/Linux to be a host or permit 'untaxed' distros like Ubuntu.]

  • VMware’s Fusion 2.0 boosts Windows and Linux integration with Mac OS X
  • CIO Reality Check: Linux and Virtualization

Leftovers

Yankee Group Again Attacks Paymaster’s Competition

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, SUN, Virtualisation at 7:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Open source is not a movement; it’s a religion. It is a set of principles and practices that let everyone share non-existent or semi-existent intellectual property. Remember the Communist Manifesto: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” It is this generation’s Woodstock.”

Howard Anderson Framingham
Founder of The Yankee Group (2007)

Several months ago there was a Yankee-VMWare confrontation (later mentioned in [1, 2]). For the uninitiated, the Yankee Group is one of the more notorious groups of people hired by Microsoft to publish ‘studies’ — however flawed they may be — against GNU/Linux and Free software. They are now on a warpath against VMWare. One of their recent ‘studies’ they were forced/pressured to take off the Web for being utterly false. Guess who still had a copy up for display to the public? That’s right, Microsoft.

If you thought this Big Scam was over, think again.

Research firm Yankee Group Research Inc. released two separate reports Wednesday on the virtualization market that asserts that the industry’s dominant player, VMware Inc., is facing tougher competition from rivals.

Palo Alto-based VMware (NYSE:VMW), a subsidiary of Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC Corp. (NYSE:EMC), is “under siege” from rivals such as Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT), Citrix Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS) and Novell Inc. (NASDAQ:NOVL).

What about Sun, Oracle, Virtual Iron, KVM and a few others? No, the Yankee Group only mentioned the Microsoft partners as a risk to VMWare. This smells like a self-fulfilling prophecy, trying to create the illusion that the market leader is in danger because of Microsoft, which stood at about 0% market share at the time. Might they try to kick-start adoption on behalf of a long-time funding source?

“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]

Don’t Play Politics and Diplomacy with Microsoft

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Did you know that there are more than 34,750 registered lobbyists in Washington, D.C., for just 435 representatives and 100 senators? That’s 64 lobbyists for each congressperson.”

CIO.com

Microsoft’s lobbying activities were summarised back in May. Here is a short new article that that speaks about Microsoft, among other companies and their lobbying muscle. It ends with:

Last year a total of $2.82 billion was spent lobbying Congress, according to OpenSecrets.org, and 2008 is well on its way to surpassing the $3 billion mark.

Some people fail to understand the scale of such corruption. It motivated Larry Lessig to abandon his work and start the “Change Congress” campaign. Software patents, for example, are part of the problem.

“The worst one can do is try to beat Microsoft at its own game using the same tricks or blind cooperation”To tackle this issue, it probably needs to be targeted at its root. The worst one can do is try to beat Microsoft at its own game using the same tricks or blind cooperation. The Linux Foundation, which tried to fight fire with fire when it hired Al Gillen for propaganda, got it all wrong.

Likewise, one must not try to just accumulate as many supportive politicians as possible to defend Free software. They work based on money, so it would never work out. It’s like trying to kill software patents one by one rather than eradicate them as a whole. The system which permits this is probably the biggest culprit.

Dana Blankenhorn isn’t just a writer focusing on open source software and health care; he’s also somewhat of a politics buff, so he frequently weaves politics in with technology, just like Microsoft does. He compares the games Microsoft plays with Free software to the games which the Administration plays with the public.

Every few years Microsoft gets a new “good cop” regarding open source.

He makes great pronouncements, donates some old code, maybe tosses a few bucks the way of open source.

Then Steve Ballmer opens his yap and we’re back to square one.

This is not entirely true. The likes of Ramji are part of this, not just Microsoft’s CEO. Watch what Bill Hilf, Ramji’s predecessor, said after the Novell deal:

“We would like to strike similar patent deals with all the Linux vendors, but we had to start somewhere,” said Bill Hilf.

Don’t let the likes of Ramji and Ballmer/Ozzie play “good cop, bad cop”. It used to be Bill & Steve playing that game. As Novell’s Ray Noorda described this pair: “Pearly Gates and Em-Ballmer: One promises you heaven and the other prepares you for the grave.” It’s the same with Ramji, who promises FOSS developers a heaven (peaceful coexistence in harmony), trying to lull the ‘community’ to sleep. As Pamela Jones put it recently, they are “taking notes”. FOSS developers at OSCON should treat Microsoft as though it’s already suing because she believes they will (Novell too is a problem).

Only a couple of days ago we saw Microsoft using its patents offensively. Pamela Jones has just written: “Another [way to look at it] is that this could be the new business model. Anyway, we know now that they didn’t file all those patents just for defensive purposes.”

Microsoft knows what it’s doing and it’s worried about the growth of GNU/Linux. To use the infamous “war on terrorism” meme, remember articles like
“Sun exec accuses Microsoft of ‘patent terrorism’” and ““Convicted Monopolist Terrorizes Software Industry.” Who would befriend such a beast?

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