Violation of new European laws, courtesy of Microsoft-hired agencies?
Several readers have voiced complaints about what they characterise as increased AstroTurfing in the already-embattled Slashdot [1, 2, 3], especially over the past week, but then culminating today. We have been told this by quite a few people independently (via E-mails and IRC).
A lot of this phenomenon was explored and covered here before, so old arguments and exhibits will be linked to rather than repeated. If in doubt, follow the links and catch up.
Microsoft does not favour doing its AstroTurfing directly, but there are exceptions such as this recent one (dissident employee perhaps). Matt Asay now takes the time to complain about it in a stand-alone post.
I’m always amused by comments on this blog suggesting that I’m biased against Microsoft.
As the previous post about such incidents shows, it’s actually Microsoft employees who often do this. But there’s more. We recently showed a ‘smoking gun’ about Sys-Con’s Maureen O’Gara [1, 2] and Waggener Edstrom [1, 2]. The intervention (sabotage — or contrariwise — glorification) is well coordinated. Microsoft is arranging and orchestrating events that affect public perception.
It’s still difficult to pass definite judgment on the LinuxHater Blog, but one reader passed us a pointer to this new comment:
Communists, go home and smoke joints. Hail Microsoft, hail
And there’s also this:
Linux is communist stuff.
It’s days are counted.
The code has no quality.
It’s a joke that’s gone too far.
“A guy named ‘mmm’ and ‘mmmm’ (the same origin IP address) posted (dumply hoping) “anonymously” those insulting statements,” said the blogger.
“Funny thing is that he did them from the server mta.fullsix.com a marketing agency. Searching for http://www.google.com/search?q=”fullsix”+microsoft gives you almost 27k hits.”
That would be FullSIX. The blog above is Portugal-based. Watch this new-ish post from a .NET blog:
Last week I was at two events about Scrum, organized by Microsoft and Fullsix Portugal.
The first was called Scrum for Managers and was presented by Mitch Lacey (from Ascentium).
Is that scrum or scrum? Who’s going head-to-head, and if so, why?
The blogger wrote: “So that’s a marketing agency, wh[ich] has strong ties to Microsoft, and someone from their online premises spammed us. Circumstantial evidence, but you may want to keep it for something.”
This may now affect just blogs in Portugal. Watch this from China.
China’s webspace is infamous for censorship, but increasingly, public relations firms there are helping their clients “manage” online conversations. China-based firms such as Daqi, Chinese Web Union and CIC “charge $500 – $25,000 monthly to monitor postings and squelch negative information or to create positive buzz,” reports BusinessWeek.
In a nutshell, companies are outsourcing their trolling, too. This makes it difficult to pin-point the culprits that contaminate the Web with promotional messages and attacks on critics. This following portion comes from a post of an American blog which was removed. The headline was: “MSN Is Spamming The Blogosphere.”
Mr. Youth LLC is a marketing firm and lists MSN as a customer. Their website is here: http://www.mryouth.com/ Their phone number is (212) 779-8700.
I’ve talked to a couple of other bloggers who said they are receiving similar comments on their blogs. This pisses me off because MSN/Mr. Youth should 1) be more upfront about their true identity, and 2) provide a real e-mail address so that I can request they take my blog off their marketing campaign.
It’s a marketing company. Go to mryouth.com and you will see that Microsoft is still their client. Bloggers complained, so it’s not an isolated incident. New European laws were created to forbid this, so in some place, assuming the accusations have merit, Microsoft is breaking the law.
Another reader who had been approached for an assessment added: “Too few people are willing to face even the possibility of the cult-like nature of Bill’s political movement.
“Also, with XP and other failures getting pushed into even hospitals, the cost is not just economic but actual lives. But on just the money side, with the US in the situation it is currently in, having Microsoft Vista shoved down everyone’s throat may be the productivity killer that tips the recession beyond the point of no return.”
If you are aware of more marketing companies that Microsoft uses (there are plenty), please share supportive information here. It’s worth getting to the bottom of this. █
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Mono: Free software Achilles Heel?
Moonlight is a mess and Novell probably understands what it supports. It supports Microsoft, not an already-struggling Silverlight, which Moonlight is not compatible with (and never will be [1, 2, 3]). Novell must only care about the competitive advantage it gains by helping Microsoft, at the expense of other GNU/Linux distributors.
It is worth being reminded that Moonlight is a cooperation between Novell and Microsoft (quoted below from the news). Chances and likelihood of malice aside, the codecs come from Microsoft. That’s downstream Microsoft code in your GNU/Linux distribution and there have been warnings about this several months ago.
The Silverlight technology will allow streaming of video and interactive applications like video games to both Macintosh and Windows PC users. (For example, the new Netflix streaming service is based on Silverlight.) A version for Linux users is available via a joint project with Novell, and a mobile version will be available in the future on Windows Mobile and Nokia smartphones.
Pamela at Groklaw had something to say about the article above: “Note that the article says that Moonlight is available for Linux users. Except, aside from not wanting to touch Mono folks’ code if you are like me, even if you wanted to, if you go to the download page, it tells you clearly it’s not exactly ready for the Olympic trials.
“So thanks, Microsoft, for once again showing us your malice toward FOSS and that there is no new Microsoft. Here’s the warning about Moonlight: “Warning: These are test installers and are not complete or bug free. They are snapshots from our development tree and might not work. New: Firefox 3 is now supported.
“Novell is the only company whose customers are temporarily ‘covered’ for the use of Mono. It’s a trap.”“Note: These are currently built without multimedia support. No video or mp3 playback is enabled on these binaries.”
Perlow seems exdited nonetheless, but it’s that trollish posting style, which he admitted to before.
Novell has a plan. It may actually have several. It wants to lure users in to Moonlight (Mono) and lure users in to Banshee (Mono), among other such programs. Unsurprisingly, both are Novell-funded project. Novell is the only company whose customers are temporarily ‘covered’ for the use of Mono. It’s a trap. By putting enough money into these projects, Novell can generate some buzz, steal the thunder from non-Mono counterparts, and have users of all distributions come to dependent on Mono, its own creation (Novell bought Ximian to serve as a "Red Carpet"). It’s important to prevent this. █
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A couple of days ago, we wrote about the end of Linspire. Linux Journal has just pulled a quote which shows how Xandros lied (or later chose not to keep its promise, to put it more mildly).
…[E]verything coming out of Xandros HQ barely a month ago said Linspire would be sticking around. To quote Xandros PR: “Pending further planning, at this point both product lines will be maintained.” Apparently, Xandros has put planning into overdrive, because they’ve now decided that Linspire has seen it’s last hurrah, as going forward, Xandros will be the company’s distro-of-choice, and anything retained from Linspire will be merged in.
So much for credibility. Breaking a promise within just weeks. █
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A few days ago, we spotted Richard Dale facilitating C# in KDE, which is reason for some concern. This carries on, based on the very latest commit digest.
Richard Dale committed changes in /trunk/KDE/kdebindings/csharp:
* Add a QtScript module for scripting C# apps
Diffs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (+ 10 more)
With that in place, there’s room for more Mono in KDE, but the biggest Trojan horse is actually affecting merely every desktop environment. It’s Moonlight, which depends on Mono. It needs to be rejected (it already is), just like Silverlight, which is poison on the Web. The Commission investigates it for anti-competitive reasons while Novell shields Microsoft from regulators, just as it did to harm Samba.
Yeah, it would have been nice to be able to watch the Olympics event playbacks and live feeds on Linux using Moonlight. But right now, Moonlight only supports Silverlight 1.0 apps, and NBCOlympics.com is implemented using 2.0. As Novell’s chief Mono/Moonlight developer, Miguel de Icaza told me several weeks ago before the NBCOlympics content launch, “Work on this has started, but it will take a lot of work. And sadly, there are very few people willing to contribute to make this happen on time.”
And yet, Microsoft gets to wrongly claim that Silverlight is cool with GNU/Linux. It keeps some critics lawyers away. Another special thank-you to Novell. If it were not for Novell, Microsoft would have ported Silverlight to GNU/Linux, for better or for worse. It suggested this some months ago. █
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“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”
–Bill Gates, about the Chinese people
Look who’s coming to town to ‘save’ the Chinese youth from the ‘horrid’ thing that is Free (libre) software. No, it’s not a suppressive regime; rather, it’s Bill Gates who, despite claims of retiring, is still being spotted lobbying for Microsoft behind the scenes. For information about Gates’ embrace of ‘piracy’ in the fight against GNU/linux, see this article.
In any case, here is the very latest:
Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong met with U.S. billionaire Bill Gates and Microsoft’s chief executive officers here on Monday, agreeing to a stronger collaboration between the software giant and China’s education and science sectors.
The next time people tell you about the 'charitable works' of Mr. Gates, remind them what occupies the man. Apart from the publicity charade (such as the recent glorifying placements in The Time, courtesy of the husband of The Gates Foundation’s former manager), not much has changed. █
“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not”
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