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08.20.08

Links 20/08/2008: New SFLC Guide, Commercial Software for OpenMoko

Posted in News Roundup at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Laptops

Phones

GNU/Linux: General

Red Hat

KDE

  • 10 Most Beautiful Plasma Themes for KDE 4 Desktop

    The latest series of the K Desktop Environment now utilizes Plasma, a ne| desktop and panel user interface tool that aims for a more functional, user-friendly, and sleek KDE desktop. Plasma also supports Dashboard-like widgets called plasmoids.

  • Lancelot Screencast

    I’ve had a feeling that a long period of time has passed since I made a screencast of anything. It turned out that the last one was made more than a year ago.

Hardware

F/OSS

Collaboration/OA

Mozilla/Firefox

FSF/SFLC

Security

Microsoft

Leftovers

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Doc Searls, author, journalist, teacher, performer, blogger, connector, maven 01 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

Mono: ECMA Does Not Make It Safe

Posted in GNU/Linux, Interview, Meeting, Mono, Novell, Patents, Videos at 11:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ECMA is Microsoft

I

n the following video, Miguel de Icaza explains Mono. The video is from 2004. He mentions nothing about software patents and he sure praises the technology and assumes that being an ECMA standard is somewhat an indication of being ‘safe’. It's not.

Ogg Theora

A couple of years went by and Novell bought exclusive 'protection' from Microsoft for the use Mono. Where does that put the choice of Mono? And why is Miguel a fan of the greatest fiasco of this decade (OOXML)?

Breaking: Polish Competition and Consumer Protection Authority Blasts Microsoft

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Law, Microsoft at 11:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Forwards Case to European Commission

A

t the end of last week we mentioned similar actions in Hugary, China, and Taiwan. Thanks to an anonymous reader, we now know that something similar has just occurred in Poland. Here is the article/press release in Polish and an automated translation. This translates — however roughly — to:


Sales of laptops, software, Microsoft may restrict competition. This proposal, carried by the UOKiK President of the investigation. Given the global reach of the action case has been forwarded to the European Commission

The investigation was initiated in December 2007 was intended to pre-determine whether the rules for the sale of portable computers installed with Microsoft operating system did not violate antitrust law.

With the materials collected in the course of the proceedings shows that the Polish market in wholesale sales of laptops present is approximately 12 manufacturers, whose headquarters are located outside the country. In the Polish act only their subsidiaries, which occupy only distribution and advertising products.


If any of the readers can translate the text for us properly, that would be grand. We already have extensive coverage of the OOXML scandal in Poland right here. That too was passed for the European Commission to handle.

Microsoft’s Darkest Crimes Remain Undiscovered, Unavailable

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, IBM, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, SUN at 8:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[Bill Gates] is divisive. He is manipulative. He is a user. He has taken much from me and the industry.”

Gary Kildall

An extensive list of Microsoft offenses is something that we already have, but it does not go very far back. One reader brought this oldie to our attention, adding: “Here’s an item that I considered to be one of the key aspects of the Microsoft-SCO cooperation.”

The Caldera antitrust lawsuit included some of the most damning evidence of Microsoft misconduct; breakware, black propaganda, all was there, the potential embarrassment being such that there was good reason for Microsoft to settle, then try to pretend it never happened. Now, however, maybe it didn’t ever happen – because the evidence is being pulped.

AP reports that the 937 boxes of court-ordered documents, which have been in store since the lawsuit, are currently being destroyed at the behest of SCO, their owner and – surely coincidentally – Microsoft’s new friend. Some 40 boxes have been temporarily hijacked by Sun, which is busily scanning them for use in its own antitrust suit, but after it’s done so they’ll be off for pulping too.

“The rest is a pump-and-dump scheme repurposed for FUD,” he says

The same reader has also warned us that stuff like this keeps popping up in people’s faces: “Microsoft Corp.’s unlikely alliance with Linux software vendor Novell Inc.” This was covered some moments ago, but it’s outweighed by articles from unsuspecting journalists, who continue to just parrot Microsoft and Novell. The Register is a bit of an exception because it says: “Novell doesn’t mind, though. In fact it thinks selling its soul to Steve Ballmer was a tremendous idea.”

Jim Allchin on Novell

Our reader adds: “I suppose the goal is to repeat the myth enough times that people start to believe it. Bill really got his panties in a twist over Novell in 1988 when DR-DOS 5, as well as years before that.

“So, where have these journalists been the last 20 years that they haven’t noticed that Bill Gates has been gunning for Novell since the 1980′s.

“And from 1988 found in Case No. 2:96CV645B, in Caldera’s finding of facts [PDF]:

“You never sent me a response on the question of what
things an app would do that would make it run with MSDOS
and not run DR-DOS. Is there any version check or api
they fail to have? Is ther feature they have that might
get in our way? I am not looking for something they cant
get around. I am looking for something their current
binary fails on.”
Bill Gates, September 22, 1988

There’s a lot more here and here. There’s more about Gary Kildall’s legacy in this page. For background there’s also Wikipedia.

Gary Arlen Kildall (May 19, 1942 – July 11, 1994) was an American computer scientist and microcomputer entrepreneur who created the CP/M operating system and founded Digital Research, Inc. (DRI). Kildall was one of the first people to see microprocessors as fully capable computers rather than equipment controllers and to organize a company around this concept.[1] He also co-hosted the PBS TV show The Computer Chronicles. Although his career in computing spanned more than two decades, he is mainly remembered in connection with IBM’s unsuccessful attempt in 1980 to license CP/M for the IBM PC.

“And then,” says our reader, there’s this.

He continues: “Just for the record, QDOS which became MS-DOS when Bill later bought it, was a clone of CP/M and by version 4 sucked so badly that competitors like DR-DOS hopped over 4 in their own versioning to avoid being associated with MS-DOS 4. The market that Gates wanted was dominated by DR-DOS with graphical shells Desqview and GEM. On technical merits, MS-DOS under Windows 2,3,95,and 98 could not compete.”

Apache, Security, IPv6 and Microsoft

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security at 8:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An excellent article on Apache and security has disappeared from ZDNet and a reader suggested that “it might be good to first check with Stennon about why the blog entry had to be removed [or relocated rather]. His current blog is here, but his address used to be on the original article.”

It is an excellent post and an invaluable reference. We contacted Stennon and discovered that a “new model for content” was the reason for relocation of the post, which sounds plausible.

The reader shared some insights on the subject of Apache now that it makes some headlines due to Microsoft’s sponsorship [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Here is goes:


Apache has been a target of Microsoft since the global dominance of the world wide web eventually forced Bill to give up on his “the Internet is a passing fad”[1] approach towards the end of the 1990′s and face the web.

The Internet, defined by standards like IPv4 and DNS, took off in the mid 1980′s, years before Bill got into his “the internet? We’re not interested in it”[2]

Too little, too late, as usual. So market share has to be made up outside normal supply and demand activities.[3]

Apache 2, by the way, supports IPv6 and version 1.3.x of Apache has patches from several projects[4] to provide IPv6 support. Nearly all the systems it runs on, Linux, BSD, OS X, support secure networking, too.

The Bill’s imitation falls further behind when even the design is considered.


Refer back to what we wrote about IPv6 yesterday.

___
[1] http://redmondmag.com/columns/article.asp?EditorialsID=443

[2] http://www.pcpro.co.uk/features/196224/bills-10-biggest-blunders.html

[3] http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=GatesDepo

[4] Here is one example: http://redmondmag.com/columns/article.asp?EditorialsID=443

Miguel de Icaza on ‘Superb’ Microsoft Lock-ins

Posted in Interoperability, ISO, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML at 6:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

T

he man who called Microsoft’s OOXML a "superb standard" under Novell's wing (Novell is being paid by Microsoft to support OOXML) had a different point of view some years ago. Here he is talking about formats as a lock-in mechanism. What has changed since 2004? Is it the many long journeys Miguel takes to the Microsoft campus?

Ogg Theora

This multiple-part interview also contains bits where Miguel speaks about his background as a Windows programmer.

Here is a roundup of the latest OOXML situation. Nothing is over yet.

The rejection of the HypocrISO appeals offers opportunities for another wave of appeals.

[...]

So let me give some points: What can be won through another ISO delay?

* more OOXML uncertainty
* ISO to expose itself even more and get ready for procedural reform
* keep the debate in the news

For further details, see [1, 2, 3, 4].

Microsoft Tries Casting “Open Source” as “Open APIs”

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Windows at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“More Open Than Open [...] I am constantly amazed at the flexibility of this single word.”

Microsoft’s Jason Matusow, integral part of the ‘Open’ XML corruptions (further background in [1, 2, 3])

Here we are moving from the "open-source compatible" meme to “(Open) APIs” as “open source”. Microsoft’s attempts to hijack and deform “open source” were mentioned many times before, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. It’s endless. The same goes for those verbal tricks in the Philippines — tricking developers into getting locked in with “open source” (the Microsoft way) [1, 2, 3].

IBM is accusing Microsoft of deception in the very same publication that previously deceived. A new article, “Microsoft not really following open-source model,” says:

Microsoft has been wanting to get cozy lately with open source developers but a top IBM executive warns that the world’s largest software maker is not ready to give up full control yet.

Michael O’Rourke, Asia Pacific vice president for IBM Rational, believes that while Microsoft said it would open up APIs (application programming interfaces) of its core products such as Windows and Microsoft Office, the company isn’t really “open sourcing” its software.

[...]

“Microsoft is not exactly telling developers that they own the platform,” he said. Microsoft of late has been touting its conciliatory stance with the open-source community.

Unfortunately, Microsoft relies on those who are naive enough not to realise that Microsoft sponsors (even creates) events like OSBC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. What for? In order to replace Free software with a monster called “enterprise/commercial open source”, which it hopes will run only/better under Windows and will pay software patent tax, even where such patents are illegal.

Increased Investment in Microsoft SUSE

Posted in GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Scalix, Servers, SLES/SLED, Windows, Xandros at 6:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microvell

“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

Along with Novell, Microsoft continues hijacking GNU/Linux. A press release titled “Microsoft and Novell Expand Successful Interoperability Relationship” has just gone public. The Boston Globe seems to have known about it in advance, so it quickly issued an article which glorifies this disgusting betrayal of the Free software movement and the many thousands of developers involved.

Microsoft Corp.’s unlikely alliance with Linux software vendor Novell Inc. of Waltham is getting stronger.

[...]

Microsoft will resell the licenses to corporate users of Microsoft’s Windows operating system to help customers who want to run both Linux and Windows inside their data centers.

[...]

Microsoft executives alleged that Linux contained stolen Microsoft intellectual property. Linux supporters said the charge was intended to scare people away from switching from Microsoft Windows to Linux.

What the article does not state is that “interoperability” is just a cryptic code word for “software patents coupons”. Here is what Microsoft calls it:

“I’ve heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons “royalty payments”"

Matt Asay, April 21st, 2008

Darryl Taft at eWeek has covered this also, but he offers no criticism of this now-advanced anti-GNU/Linux collusion.

The collaboration is nothing but another attempt to stop Red Hat, Ubuntu and the rest of them, ensuring all of GNU/Linux is taxed and policed by Microsoft. Just watch what they do in China where software patents are not even legitimate [1, 2, 3, 4]. Here is a new and interesting comment from Linux Today:

The #1 Linux myth is: Microsoft is not trying to suppress Linux (especially desktop Linux)

That’s it. Eliminate the Microsoft influence and Linux takes off like a rocket.

Linux is already much better technology and it is getting stronger.

According to eWeek, FUD monger Susan Hauser added some further clues. Is says that “[a]lthough the companies announced the incremental investment on August 20, Hauser said the investments will not take effect until Nov. 1, 2008, and between now and then Microsoft and Novell will solicit customer input on various aspects of the effort.” Of course, PR purposes are part of this whole announcement. We’ll come to this in a moment.

Why don’t the reporters delve deeper into the issues? It’s just a shallow re-delivery of the message from this press release. It’s not an isolated example of poor reporting that either ignores or does not understand the issues. Here is an example from Linux.com, which covered the Microsoft-occupied Scalix last night.

Unless Scalix changes its pricing plan, I recommend reserving Scalix for small businesses with few users who wanted to try email and groupware solutions for Exchange capabilities.

Well, if a company has to compete not only by developing a rival to Microsoft but by also while paying per-unit royalties to Microsoft [1, 2], how can it compete? It’s part of a strategic pattern.

Had the article mentioned these problems, it would be clear why Scalix is pricey and one product to steer away from. Its agreement with Microsoft was its death knell. Scalix is owned by Xandros now and it’ also engaged in protocols licensing, i.e. software patents. It’s not free software.

The purpose of the latest step from Microsoft (and Novell) was probably to tie more companies to mythical software patents in GNU/Linux, but there’s more to it. It”s also about the illusion that Microsoft is not anti-competitive. The Redmond press does not help here. This Kool-Aid for example:

Microsoft and Open Source: The Real Deal?

Sure looks like it, based on the company’s partnership with Novell.

The brainwash machine is hard at work.

The Boston Globe article also quotes Microsoft’s pay-to-say Al Gillen [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Of course, just like the Microsoft-owned press (such as NBC), he praises and plays up this patent deal. It’s just like SCO in the ‘mainstream’ press (back in 2003).

“The Boston Globe article also quotes Microsoft’s pay-to-say Al Gillen.”Prepare for journalists and pundits to pretend that Microsoft plays nice with GNU/Linux. They will try to use that against the European Commission and other active regulators. They might actually buy it. But instead, regulators should be furious to see how Microsoft divides developers and forces them to pay (involuntarily, via Novell) after waves of extortion lacking any evidence whatsoever.

It is very serious trouble when the press does not give a voice to known opposition, despite knowing that it exists. Generally speaking about this subject, the press is largely just a marketing funnel for Microsoft (and Novell). Media inquiries for Boycott Novell do exist, but they are rare. There is no balance. Reporting is gravitated towards money and power, not justice or truth, which may explain the little exposure the Free Software Foundation (and GNU) receives compared to Linux (Foundation).

More details to will arrive shortly.

Gates on SUSE

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