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08.13.08

Links 13/08/2008: Entire Malaysian State Moves to OOo/ODF, GNU/Linux on Many Dells

Posted in News Roundup at 7:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Dell

gOS

GNU/Linux

Devices

  • VDC Releases Embedded Linux Research

    According to a recently published research by Venture Development Corporation (VDC), embedded systems manufacturers and their suppliers are driving the development of open source and industry-specific standards around Linux as a means to increase availability of more robust underlying solution platforms and development environments. The new standards enable OEMs to reduce development costs and time-to-market while at the same time keeping pace with the advancing and unique requirements of the customers.

  • Linux-Based NVR offers full support for Sony IP cameras.
  • LinuxWorld’s Garage

Appearance

Red Hat

Audio

  • Musix 1.0 R2R5 Released
  • 7 Best Linux Distributions for Multimedia Enthusiasts

    Graphic designers, movie editors, music composers, and multimedia addicts have specific needs when it comes to software. That is why there are specialized Linux distributions that cater to them.

    Here are 7 Linux distros that will surely win the hearts of multimedia enthusiasts:

    Ubuntu Studio

    [...]

    GeeXboX

KDE

AMD/ATI

F/OSS

Leftovers

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Charles Schulz, Lead of the OpenOffice.org Native Language Confederation

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

Eye on Microsoft: Today’s Injuries and Slog

Posted in Apple, Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 6:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OLPC

The Sunday Times led to this great analogy.

The article points that the stand taken by Intel and Microsoft is similar to the stand by large drug companies who, instead of working for the illnesses that plague the poor, (such as malaria) choose to focus on low-volume, high-margin drugs for cancer, heart ailments and diabetes.

This was covered a few days ago. Disgusting. No, no. Wait a second. It’s repulsive and it’s criminal. The world should learn from this.

Security

So much for ActiveX controls, a tool for ‘extending’ the Web to lock out rival. Microsoft seems to be giving up due to security issues, but it kills third-party software rather than its own. Very typical.

Microsoft kills more third-party ActiveX controls

Microsoft Corp. today issued “kill bit” updates for ActiveX controls from HP and a Washington state developer, the third time it’s disabled third-party add-ons in the last four months.

One security researcher linked the release to a new program Microsoft announced last week that’s designed to help other vendors find and fix bugs in their own software.

Woohoo! Kill switches. So, if you program for Microsoft, it can shoot you down any time, just like Apple with the iPhone. Here is another new flaw in Windows.

Microsoft Injuries

After much abuse, endless agitation and proxy fights, Yahoo! enumerates some damages caused by Microsoft.

Yahoo today updated the amount it has paid for advice in fighting off Microsoft. The new, higher total? $36 million.

In the earlier stages of this, Microsoft behaved no better than an organised mafia. Wearing suits doesn’t cushion the blow.

Microsoft/NBC Also Excluded Mac Users the from Olympic Games

If it’s any solace to GNU/Linux users, some Mac aficionados feel the same pain and they are angry.

Online Olympics offerings leave iPhones, some Macs out in the cold

Friday’s opening ceremonies not only marked the beginning of the Summer Olympics from Beijing, China—it also marked the start of NBC’s ambitious plans to offer streaming coverage of Olympic events to both computers and mobile devices.

When they say “computers” they actually mean “Windows”, as though the two words are synonymous.

More about this here.

As a result of this resentment and anger Microsoft is earning itself, it continues to be slammed in Apple/Mac Web sites. Watch how Microsoft and NBC (MSNBC) are used to discredit Windows Vista in Mac Daily News.

“This is how bad things have gotten for Microsoft Corp.: The software behemoth has a virtual monopoly in computer operating systems, and yet it still can’t get people to buy the latest version of its flagship product, Windows,” Allison Linn writes for MSNBC.

Microsoft: When Everything Fails, We Do “The Slog”

Watch Microsoft mocking its competitor because it’s unable to catch up. For those who don’t know what “The Slog” is, start here.

Quick Mention: BSoD in Opening Ceremonies is Microsoft’s Fault, Not Third Party/ies

Posted in FUD, Microsoft, Windows at 6:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft, notably represented by its apologists, were fast to defend themselves and blame other companies for an embarrassment that ushered the Olympic Games in China (and no, it’s not just the abomination associated with Silverlight). For a detailed analysis, go to this page.

Microsoft Wants Filipino FOSS Developers to Sell Out

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Windows at 6:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The following new article makes it clear that the same strategies persist.

Microsoft continues to woo open-source developers

MANILA, Philippines — Microsoft is set to launch a developer program aimed at local companies creating applications using the open-source model.

[...]

“It’s easy to recruit because a lot of developers here are creating software for mobile devices on Java, for example. It should be a win-win situation for them since device support for Windows Mobile is increasing,” Dela Cruz said in an interview with INQUIRER.net.

Once again, it’s all about having them develop for Microsoft Windows. There is some more information about it in this new article and it’s the same old chorus.

“It’s a Microsoft business trip and many children’s freedom is at stake.”This lab in the Philippines was mentioned here the other day and it has nothing to do with open source. It’s about finding new ways to subjugate open source developers and make them pay for software patents, which are not even valid in this country (although Microsoft is trying to change that in the Philippines too, having already shot down an open source bill).

A couple of days ago, we mentioned Bill Gates' escapades in China. It’s a Microsoft business trip and many children’s freedom is at stake. This non-stop push by Gates shows that he is far from retired (new article from Associated Press). Is this philanthropy? Or is it just a cloak of invisibility, whose purpose is to give Gates more room for maneuver with lower levels of scrutiny?

Microsoft Claimed to Have Lost $18,000,000,000 in 1998

Posted in Deception, Finance, Microsoft at 5:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Has anything changed since?

“Share and share unalike” was published in The Economist back in 1999. Strangely enough, the Economist’s permanent URL is broken and the article is no longer there. Was it pulled?

Either way, we’ve managed to find this copy. Read this part closely:

For instance, Microsoft, the world’s most valuable company, declared a profit of $4.5 billion in 1998; when the cost of options awarded that year, plus the change in the value of outstanding options, is deducted, the firm made a loss of $18 billion, according to Smithers.

A reader who brought this to our attention added: “About that time Bill stepped down, probably having seen the books in advance.”

One day we may all know the truth. In the mean time, and also this week, there are those who throw away all of their Microsoft shares whilst Microsoft is claimed to be very aggressive on the buybacks side.

We recently wrote about Microsoft’s financial state in [1, 2, 3, 4].

“Truth is Treason in the Empire of Lies”

Eye on Microsoft: Less Money, Mo’ Problems

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista, Windows at 10:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Blues Over the Olympic Games

The Los Angeles Times (Blogs) has published this complaint about Silverlight and the Olympics.

NBC’s Olympic video site leaves many out to dry

[...]

And computers running the Linux operating system — an open-source alternative to Windows — were also left out of the mix. When unlucky users try to fire up the video player to catch a few rounds of pingpong, they’ll instead be greeted by a screenful of technical requirements that their computer doesn’t meet. Next time you’ll call it table tennis…

[...]

But in dozens of comments on our initial post, unhappy Mac and Linux users thought NBC still should’ve provided a way for all Web surfers to watch Olympic clips.

Watch some of the comments:

NBC Olympics not only cheated iMAC+Linux users it cheated Windows users too.
The video does not play at all. All in the name of quality. NBC and GE will
not go free!!

[...]

It’s infuriating to be summarily left out just because I choose to use a superior OS, Linux, instead of the crap M$ puts out. Oh well, I guess NBC doesn’t care how many viewers–and, yes, we ARE viewers as well, not just people online–they’re alienating by their idiotic decision to go with a Micro$oft only application. What morons…

SJVN writes about the gigantic blue screen of death and he ends it with another shrewd nugget of information.

Why? Because, according to the Morning Herald, both the Beijing Olympics committee and Lenovo, a major backer of the games, had deliberately chosen to run XP operating system on the games’ PC because they didn’t trust Vista. Turns out they shouldn’t have trusted XP either, but they should have known that. Best of all, Lenovo chairman, Yang Yuanqing, said Lenovo had chosen not to use Vista because, “If it’s not stable, it could have some problems.”

So, next time you go to an online PC sales Web site and you see that line about “We recommend Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium,” just remember: They’re lying.

Axe Over Windows

Did you know that “Midori” is actually GNU/Linux?

It’s true: Microsoft has confirmed that it’s abandoning Windows as we know it. Cagey as ever, the Microsofties won’t say when it’ll happen, but they have talked a little bit about what the next OS is going to look like–or not look like.

[...]

Midori for Linux?

One of my smarter-than-me buddies, Gary F., told me that Linus Torvalds worked on something called Midori a few years ago, an embedded Linux for mobile devices: “I doubt Microsoft would ever release something that could be traced back to Linux, but if I recall correctly, Transmeta’s Midori had some rudimentary ‘cloud computing’ features vaguely similar to Microsoft’s Midori.” Read “Details emerge on Transmeta’s “Mobile Linux” and “Transmeta Exports Midori Linux to China” for details.

Paul at InfoWorld is rather dissatisfied with Windows Vista.

However, I’m not going to be staying in Vista-land. Since I do have other choices, I still prefer Mac OS X and Linux.

The Start menu in Vista (and all other iterations) has become far too ornery for me. Navigating to new apps, or to find apps is annoying and too clumsy.

[...]

I was quite annoyed that when common devices such as mice, USB flash drives, and so on were inserted into the system, it takes Vista quite a long time to locate and install the drivers. In Linux and Mac OS X, these devices are usable nearly instantly.

Microsoft is Down

Watch this eye-opener.

Summer traffic up for Google, down for Microsoft

The lazy days of summer on the Internet seem to be a boon for Google and Yahoo, but not Microsoft.

Spotting the trend yet? According to this, MSN search sank from 9.85% in June 2007 to just 5.46% last month.

Microsoft Under Fire

26 new flaws and 6 “critical” patches yesterday.

“People are going to be quite busy with this load,” said Jason Miller, security data team leader for Shavlik Technologies, a patch-management software provider in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Security-wise, Vista is a mess. Here’s what Bruce Schneier said about the latest blow:

This is huge…

Google tries cleaning up the mess that Windows zombies are leaving (over 100,000,000,000 SPAM per day).

Anyone wanting to learn more about related issues has been invited to attend a webinar called “How spam is changing your inbox, and what to do about it.”

These Windows zombies are not only used to SPAM people. They are being used to suspend entire countries. It’s like cyber-war.

Danchev and others have found evidence that points to a self-starting militia composed of volunteer hackers and cyber criminals who control large-scale bots, or collections of previously-compromised computers, as behind the escalating attacks that have knocked Georgian sites offline.

Links 13/08/2008: Large Migrations to GNU/Linux, More Laptops

Posted in News Roundup at 10:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

Mobile

  • Google Android just four weeks away?

    Back in June, some unnamed sources told The Wall Street Journal that Google’s currently closed open mobile platform could be delayed until 2009. But this week, another unnamed source told TmoNews – a T-Mobile obsessed blog – that the American wireless carrier will offer up the first Android phone for pre-sale on 17 September.

  • Motorola Linux phone ships in U.S.

    Motorola announced that its LiMo-compliant Moto U9 phone is now available unlocked for GSM networks in the U.S. Available in gray, pink, or purple, the music-oriented U9 has a rounded, contemporary flip-phone form factor, highlighted by a seemingly borderless OLED (organic light-emitting diode) external display.

Laptops

KDE

Ubuntu

AMD

F/OSS

MAFIAA

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Michael Roberston, Chairman of Linspire, Inc.

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

Patent News: The Big Myth, Microsoft vs. Avistar, Trolls, and Urgent Reform

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 9:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patents as a tool that protects the ‘small inventor’ may be a Big Myth. They only protect monopolies and feed patent trolls that are not the ‘small inventor’ but are rather the ‘vicious lawyer’. It’s about the investor, not the inventor, but that’s not what many people were led to believe. Investors further monetary agenda, whereas inventors create new work and thus further science.

Here is the Big Myth again, from the latest issue (August) of IEEE Spectrum.

Patent attorneys charge between US $7000 and $15 000 to prepare and file a ­patent application. If only there were a cheaper way, a kind of poor man’s patent. But it just doesn’t exist.

Some people think they can protect their ­invention by writing a ­patentlike description of it and ­mailing the ­document to ­themselves, but this is no substitute for patent ­pending. At best, the letter shows that you ­conceived an ­invention by a certain date, but you’ll ­probably be able to prove that with ­engineering notebooks, e‑mails, dated PowerPoint presentations, and the like. Moreover, ­evidence of an ­invention’s conception date is ­useful only in a limited set of ­circumstances, most of which involve actually ­filing for a patent at some point in time. So save yourself the paper and the postage stamp.

[...]

Patents are expensive, no doubt about it, and the requirements are fairly strict. But as my grandmother used to say, you get what you pay for.

This ending says a lot about insidious attitudes against Free software and pro patents. But there’s a perfect example right from the news to squash this tired myth.

Microsoft-Avistar

Avistar is a rather small business. Can its patents protect it from Microsoft? Haha, of course not. It’s just how Richard Stallman put in it his good talks on this subject. His prose aside, you can’t beat a Beast in ‘Mexican shootouts’.

Earlier this year, Avistar Communications Corp. was in talks to license some patents to Microsoft Corp. when Microsoft threw it a curveball. The software giant asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to re-examine all 29 of Avistar’s patents.

[...]

Indeed, about a month after it disclosed Microsoft’s challenge, Avistar, a San Mateo, Calif., maker of videoconferencing and collaboration software, cited the potential impact on its financial outlook as it announced plans to cut 25% of its work force, or 27 employees.

Needless to stress, this pretty much defeats the whole purpose of this system, which clearly does not protect the ‘little guy’. It’s just draining his/her money while making solicitors a helluva lot richer. Avistar, by the way, has just been awarded a couple of more stones US patents. They are junk, as usual, and they probably won’t serve it well in this David-versus-Goliath duel. Here’s the description:

The two new patents cover systems and methods for login-based routing of real-time communications (such as text instant messaging, VoIP and two-way video conferencing) between users employing a quick-dial panel (such as a buddy list) or a screen-displayed list or rolodex. Users can flexibly login at any number of devices or locations and can choose from a number of real-time communications options, including text-based real-time messaging.

Trolls

Trolls and small businesses are totally different creatures. The latter is developing, whereas the former is only ever litigating. Making money using infringements alone makes one a ‘toxic leech’ that’s clung onto the patent system. The patent trolls to the USPTO are like ECMA to ISO. They are self-serving parasites that suck out money using loopholes and room for manipulation that exists.

Here is a good example of a company that turned from a developer into a leech, just like SCO. It gets its way, too.

RIM Pays Off Wi-LAN To Get Rid Of Another Patent Suit

[...]

Wi-LAN is a Canadian company that did some early work in the wireless field, but was unable to actually make much of a business out of its work, so it took the loser’s route: it started suing lots of companies for patent infringement. It’s the same old story: winners innovate, losers litigate — and litigate seems to be about all that Wi-LAN does these days.

Guess where they are suing?

Wi-Lan filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division — a court that is favored by patent-license companies seeking big judgments.

Watch the description of this company.

Wi-LAN, founded in 1992, is a leading technology innovation and licensing company.

Hold on to that thought. “Innovation and licensing company.”

Time for Change

Digital Majority has found this good explanation of why it’s time to call it quits.

Patent Weakness #1: The patent office is filled with lawyers not scientists/engineers.

The patent office has, for the past decade or so, been giving out patents for genes and software like Amazon’s One Click.

Pharma companies didn’t invent DNA or genes. They simply discovered the gene for a disease and thereby a possible path to cure. Why should anyone have to pay royalties for studying said gene or discovering a cure independent of the pharma that identified the gene.

In my opinion Amazon’s One Click patent was the epitomy of the stupidity of the patent office. The patent clerks kept arguing for prior artwork deomonstrating that someone else had already developed a One Click feature. This is ludicrous. The point of software is automate mundane tasks with a minimal amount of information and work by the user. So what does One Click do fundamentally different than any other button on any other piece of software?

Mike Masnick has explained why there should not be such thing as “intellectual property” simply because abstract intellect is not a property. It’s ideas, which are not concrete, except for in the La-La land where monopolists desperately try to establish more monopolies that transcend implementation (already protected by copyrights) and brands (protected by trademark law). Masnick’s assertion is backed by others:

We’ve pointed out in the past why it doesn’t make much sense to treat “intellectual property” as “regular property,” since it ignores some very important differences between the two. James Bessen and Michael Meurer, who wrote the recent book Patent Failure have always taken a slightly different approach.

Over at the European patent system. Dr. Berthold Rutz argues that collaboration pretty much renders the notion of patents moot. But here are his exact words [PDF]:

The powerful paradigm of open and collaborative innovation is no longer limited to the area of software development but has found proponents in other technical fields such as consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and automotive. Are traditional forms of intellectual property protection such as patents, copyrights or design rights still appropriate in a world where knowledge is increasingly shared and innovation becomes a collaborative process? What role will IP rights play in the future and what challenges will they face?

Also worrisome is the ACTA, which is a great risk to Free software. Glyn Moody explains once again
why it must be shot down.

Basically, it is an attempt to bring in yet more punitive measures against alleged infringements of intellectual monopolies, with less judicial oversight and no pesky European privacy protection.

But the trouble with these kinds of crude instruments, cooked up in haste without much deep consideration of their knock-on effects, is that they can backfire.

Here, for example, is a letter to the US Trade Representative from a bunch of big names, including Amazon, eBay and Yahoo. They have noticed a few tiny probs with ACTA:

We appreciate your objective of protecting the intellectual property of American rightsholders from infringement overseas. However, in light of these European decisions, there is a very real possibility that an agreement that would require signatories to increase penalties for “counterfeiting” and “piracy” could be used to challenge American companies engaging in online practices that are entirely legal in the U.S., that bring enormous benefit to U.S. consumers, and that increase U.S. Exports.

Is this rich, or what? Here we have a trade agreement that is essentially trying to export the insanely aggressive US system for dealing with alleged infringements to the rest off the world, but when it works the other way – with European norms exported to the US – suddenly, that’s a problem.

The DHS, realising that people are unhappy with the idea of laptop confiscation or warrantless probes, has just issued this ‘damage control’ page [via Simon Phipps]. The comments are more interesting than this face-saving post.

For more information about the ACTA and its impact, consider reading the articles below.

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