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09.06.08

Links 06/09/2008: New Version of Wine, Django 1.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 9:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

Laptops

KDE

  • Plasma, Context and Nepomuk

    Imagine if you will … (ah, such a classic start! =) You are working on a work project involving Sarah and John and Marmaduke; you switch to working on your MySpace profile … Let’s call each state (the work project, MySpace fiddling) a “context” and changing between them a “context switch”. What happens with the rest of the software running on your computer when you switch contexts? Answer: pretty much nothing. At least not automatically.

  • 10 Fine-looking Icon Sets for KDE Desktop

    Since plenty of you love our collection of icon sets for Ubuntu/GNOME Desktop, I’ll be sharing to you all yet another set of my favorite desktop icons. This time, I’ll try to cheer up some KDE users by showcasing a few excellent and fine-looking icon sets that are specially made for the K Desktop Environment.

Ubuntu

F/OSS

Chrome

Leftover

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Larry Augustin, GNU Linux business visionary 04 (2005)

Ogg Theora

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

IDG, IDC, and Microsoft Money on Their Table (Updated)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, SCO, Windows at 5:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ComputerWorld, NetworkWorld, LinuxWorld and many other publications tainted by Microsoft influence

The honourable Larry Lessig argues that when there is money on the table, trust is gone (highly recommended speech by the way). He is absolutely right. As witnessed many times in the past, at least within the scope of this Web site, money is being used to distort the computer industry. Examples include:

  1. Microsoft bribes to fight against (and almost ruin) an already-signed Mandriva GNU/Linux deal [1, 2, 3, 4]
  2. Microsoft pays its employee millions of dollars to stop his lawsuit against Microsoft (over financial fraud) and for the evidence to disappear from sight
  3. Novell pays millions of dollars to its investors in order to end a securities fraud lawsuit [1, 2], which was never resolved
  4. Novell supports Microsoft's OOXML after receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from Microsoft
  5. An author encourages a lawsuit against Linus Torvalds, using a book whose writing is funded by Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4]
  6. Microsoft recommends investment in SCO and also invests in SCO itself amid lawsuits against Linux users
  7. Polymorphic pressure groups, which are funded by Microsoft [1, 2, 3], attack Microsoft’s rivals and defend Microsoft from regulation
  8. Microsoft-funded groups attack ODF, GPL, and call for software patents to spread

The catalyst for today’s post is the following new article from IDG, which parrots IDC. This appeared in LinuxWorld and it need not be considered innocent. It just happens to include Novell too, but that’s not the point.

Sydney, 2 September 2008, A new IDC report has shown the competition in the Identity and Access Management (IAM) market in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) has intensified over the last 12 months. Oracle has established a strong presence in the market, challenging other incumbents including IBM, CA, Sun and Novell.

It’s unfortunate to find IDG as an almost-exclusive source that publishes not one but two articles (ComputerWorld and NetworkWorld) about identity and security management from Novell, as mentioned less than an hour ago.

We hereby decalre that IDG too has Microsoft money on its table. And sadly, the publication known as ComputerWorld is owned by IDG, which is quite an empire. It has a great effect on people’s minds, especially in information technology. IDG owns a variety of others such as NetworkWorld and LinuxWorld, which used to carry blatantly anti-GNU/Linux ads and run Windows.

IDC and IDG are virtually the same thing by the way.

IDC is a subsidiary of IDG , the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company. Additional information can be found at www.idc.com.

IDG is huge, so the bias is clearer to see. IDC has been in Microsoft’s pocket for a long time [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Here is an example from 6 years ago (intended to show that these biases may have gone on for a long time):

Microsoft-sponsored white paper from IDC found the Windows 2000 server cheaper over a five-year period.

It was also covered here. The key phrase is “Microsoft-sponsored”. IDC/IDG is doing business with Microsoft, so a relationship was formed.

Just yesterday, Matt Asay complained once again about the uselessness of analysts (like IDC).

The problem is that analysts like Gartner get their information from the vendors that subsidize their research, as well as from CIOs. Neither is a good indicator of where the market is going.

This is not the first such complaint from Asay. There are other publications as such, which are worth exploring in the future. For example, according to one reader, LinuxInsider was sold to ECT, which now uses it to attack GNU/Linux sometimes. It didn’t use to be like this. LinuxInsider is also somewhat notorious for quoting Laura Didio extensively (she and her employer are a Microsoft talking point [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]) and for allowing Rob Enderle to write and publish entire articles there on a regular basis. As an introduction to Enderle’s inclinations, consider some quotes:

“I saw what appeared to be a word-for-word copy of about every third line of code in the central module of the Linux kernel” — Rob Enderle (regarding SCO)

“Many Linux supporters are a bunch of potty-mouthed malcontents. Enterprises are better off staying away from Linux and open source” — Rob Enderle

“Linux is being widely used on the desktop in the third world, where applications are limited and labor is inexpensive…” — Rob Enderle

“I have a hard time seeing the Zealots as any different from terrorist… I strongly believe that if September 11 showed us anything, it was that zealots” — Rob Enderle

“I started writing about Linux because I was told I couldn’t and the more people told me I couldn’t, and particularly when they said ‘or else,’ the more the Linux dirty laundry became attractive to me” — Rob Enderle

We’ve also addressed the problems in ZDNet and CNET [1, 2] very recently. The bias in the media is a known problem and we shall continue to study it.

“As discussed in our PR meeting this morning. David & I have spoken with Maureen O’Gara (based on go ahead from BrianV) and planted the story. She has agreed to not attribute the story to us….

“[...] Inform Maureen O’ Gara (Senior Editor Client Server News/LinuxGram) or John Markoff (NYT) of announcement on Aug 28, 2000. Owner dougmil (Approval received from BrianV to proceed)

“Contact Eric Raymond, Tim O’Reilly or Bruce Perrins to solicit support for this going against the objectives of the Open Source movement. Owner: dougmil [Doug Miller]. Note that I will not be doing this. Maureen O’Gara said she was going to call them so it looks better coming from her.”

(From Microsoft’s smoking guns)

Update: To give a more complete list of the publications owned by IDG: InfoWorld, CIO, ComputerWorld, CSO, Demo, GamePro, Games.net, IDG Connect,IDG World Expo, Industry Standard, IT World, JavaWorld, LinuxWorld, MacUser, Macworld, Network World, PC World and Playlist.

LinuxInsider changed hands in 2003 or 2004.

Red Hat: Open Source Just a Hobby to Novell

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, SCO, SLES/SLED, Steve Ballmer at 5:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones.”

Linus Benedict Torvalds, 1991

Anonymous reader informs us: ‘Here’s something you may find interesting. Yesterday, we had some Red Hat sales representatives take us out to lunch. On their own, they asked us whether we use Novell/Suse. My reaction of course was “why would we do that?” and I later made a comment about how they so casually signed the deal with Microsoft, which makes them suspect. After receiving comments like that, they still took the trouble to say that Novell still primarily makes money by selling proprietary software and that they only “do open source as a hobby.” Clearly, Red Hat is worried about Novell. (Come to think of it, why not? After all, we all know what happened to Novell’s original Linux spinoff which started out as Caldera.)

Steve BallmerHere is what the reader is referring to: Novell Rejected GNU/Linux a Decade Ago

Can Novell be the next SCO or at least spawn another SCO?

As we wrote very recently: SCO Also Used to Contribute to Linux, Just Like Novell

Remember what Microsoft’s CEO said: “We believe every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability […] I do think it [Novell deal] clearly establishes that open source is not free.” Sounds familiar?

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part III: Some New Novell Figures, Products, But No Source

Posted in Finance, Identity Management, Novell, Security, Videos at 5:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This accumulation will be a fairly quick one, but the links below provide plenty of additional information.

Finance

Novell’s financial situation has been discusses a lot recently. Because it is a Saturday, it would only be fair to present articles that are positive about Novell. These include:

Read the rest of this entry »

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: SUSE, Samsung, and Free/Linspire

Posted in GNU/Linux, Linspire, Novell, Samsung, SLES/SLED, Xandros at 4:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell-SUSE event

SUSE (SLES/SLED)

Sub-notebooks were probably the centre of attention as far as SLED is concerned. Firstly, MSI brought out its SUSE unit to the market under better conditions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part I: Several New OpenSUSE Releases

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE, OpenSUSE at 3:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cute penguin

One size does not fit all

Experimenting

Several people have taken OpenSUSE for a test drive. Here is one of them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Patents News: Philips Pirates, Candidates Wants Reform, Trolls Still on the Loose

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 9:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

With Patent Pirates Like Philips, Who Needs WIPO?

Patent Pirates shall be a term which refers to large companies that attack smaller ones with the help of armed “pirates”; this is not to confused with patent sharks, also sometimes referred to as patent trolls. If big companies are allowed to daemonise sharing of knowledge or information using words like “pirates”, why can’t we?

The racketeers from Sisvel [1, 2, 3] may soon be served some justice for taking the law into their own hands. This blow-your-kneecaps-or-pay-for-patents firm may have its proprietor, Philips, be taken to court for its illegal (never mind excessively aggressive) raids on potentially-legitimate products.

Electronics giant Philips is being threatened with legal action following raids at a major German trade fair sparked by Sisvel, the Italian licensing company. Sisvel. which administers patents related to MP3 technology on behalf of a number of companies including Philips, asked German customs authorities to take action against a group of exhibitors at the fair, claiming that products they had on show were infringing.

If a lesson is worth learning here, it is the lesson that large companies like Philips do their ‘dirty work’ via proxies that have no products and hardly even a public face. Recall Microsoft and those Microsoft-occupied shell companies like Acacia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] and Intellectual Ventures [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Crisis of Intellectual Monopolies

Whereas McCain seems likely to encourage more of the same [1, 2], the following post suggests that both presidential candidates want a patent reform.

Intellectual property advisors to both US presidential candidates have said that the US patent system is in need of reform. The advisors told a meeting at last week’s Democratic Conference that patent quality must be improved.

Perhaps it’s true that there will be a reform. Maybe a reform for the worse (a deform), assuming AT&T’s desires are eventually fulfilled.

It’s interesting that AT&T is bragging about its pursuit of “more patents” rather than, say, more R&D spending or more innovation. AT&T isn’t exactly known for its record of high-tech innovation, so it’s a little surprising to see it hold itself out as a poster child for the patent system—particularly when we remember that AT&T and other telco incumbents have used the patent system to extort tens of millions of dollars from companies like Vonage that are actually innovating.

AT&T for patents

Free Software Magazine has this good new article about the adversities at play.

Intellectual freedom versus intellectual property

The liberation of information has been going on for a long time: one might say for all of human history, as history itself is one of the oldest forms of information sharing. There are several major landmarks dotting that course, which I might point to: the invention of spoken language, of writing, of ink and paper, of block printing, movable type printing, digital typesetting, electronic distribution, and most recently, the internet.

Each of these steps has produced an opening up in the exchange of information, resulting in more efficient technological progress, followed by additional steps in increasing our communications abilities. These steps have been associated closely with massive and rapid improvements in science, health, and standard of living, for most of human history. And, despite post-modernist angst, the reality is that there aren’t many of us who would genuinely trade our present lifestyle for that of our ancestors: especially if we consider the additional pressures imposed by population growth.

Bad, Bad Software Patents

Watch how the TiVo patents saga unfolds. With its software patents used offensively, TiVo is clearly no friend of Free software, despite its adoption of the Linux kernel. [via Digital Majority]

Another change is that TiVo won a key lawsuit against Dish Networks. In that lawsuit, a federal court ruled that Dish’s recording devices infringe TiVo software patents. In fact, a hearing begins Thursday in federal district court in the Eastern District of Texas on how the penalties against Dish will be enforced.

Another integral part of this problem is Amazon, which has been awarded a patent on a bunch of nonsense. Tech Dirt has the dirt on Amazon:

theodp writes “Amazon was awarded a patent Tuesday for its Interactive Time-Limited Merchandising Program and Method for Improved Online Cross-Selling, which appears to be lawyer-speak for presenting customers with one limited-time offer after another until they finally bite on one or decline them all. So be careful – the next time you offer folks 10% off on a garden rake if they purchase it within sixty minutes after declining to buy a saucepan, you could be guilty of patent infringement!”

At a lower scale, the Sheldon Goldberg troll [1, 2, 3] is still keeping busy.

Patent Troll Strikes Again! Targets: AOL, Digg, Google, and Yahoo!

They’re all targets in a lawsuit filed by a Mr Sheldon Goldberg, a patent-bearer who’s infamy as a conniving troll stretches back to 2004, when he began to go after companies for purportedly infringing on a couple of his holdings. His aim: to seek legal (and financial) restitution for all things solitaire related. Or most all things, anyway.

Yes, you read it right. Solitaire. The still-phenomenally-popular card game. That’s his beef.

More patent troll ammunition is up for sale. It’s funny to see how it’s being marketed.

“In addition to the pay-per-call application, our click-to-call
patented technology has many other applications, including but not limited
to search-engine-results, online directories, websites, advertising
banners, auction-site postings, branded desktop buttons, and any
communication delivered via email such as newsletters, statements, order
confirmations, opt-in email campaigns, all part of the online advertising
world. Our patent protection goes back to May 1999. Our portfolio of
patents claims the front end to any ‘click-to-call’ transaction, no matter
where the ‘click-to-call’ technology is utilized,” says Liebster.

So here they are. Thriving in a broken system that nobody really wants, yet nobody wants to repair, either; promises alone don’t repair a system. Is implosion the only way out of this?

Eye on Microsoft: Windows Shatter, Yahoo Recommends Firefox 3

Posted in GNU/Linux, HP, Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 9:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft Buys Into More Media Companies

A few days ago we wrote about Microsoft's effect on Globo, which along with other publications that Microsoft pays, resorts to more mind-shaping and manufactured consent. It turns out now — not that it’s surprising at all — that Microsoft is still putting its money in media/cable companies, the latest example being an investment in Japanese television. What has Microsoft, a software marketing company, has really got to gain here?

Microsoft and Japanese phone company NTT are joining 11 other companies in taking a stake in Japan’s first 24-hour-English language broadcasting service.

Will they be covering any GNU/Linux? Favourably?

Windows in a Crisis

Business Week is by no means an independent publication, but nonetheless, it covers what seems like a major development.

As Hewlett-Packard steps up efforts to make Microsoft’s operating system easier to use, some want to devise a rival version with Linux

[...]

Others in HP’s PC division are exploring the possibility of building an HP operating system for mainstream desktop and notebook computers based on the open-source Linux system, which competes with Windows, say people familiar with the company’s plans. The goals may be to make HP less dependent on new releases of Windows, and to strengthen HP’s hand against Apple (AAPL), which has gained market share with computers that boast innovative features and inspire a loyal following of users.

This new post compares the above to a Windows obituary.

Wow, a tough day for Windows.

BusinessWeek reports that HP, the world’s biggest PC company, is so troubled by Vista’s ‘tepid reception’ and Apple’s resurgence that it is developing its own operating system. Meanwhile a New York Times columnist writes on his blog that Windows is “already dying a death by a thousand cuts.”

Marketing Problems

It’s widely agreed that the Vista advertisement campaign has thus far been a major failure [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], but the latest ‘suckage’ has proven successful because even FOSS bloggers are spreading the message for free (showing that video commercial to ridicule it). They are demonstrating the effect of viral marketing. It’s better to abstain drawing attention any to it.

Regardless, despite the fact that people are disappointed with those Vista ads, Microsoft has other things going on. Like this one:

Microsoft isn’t opening brick-and-mortar Microsoft stores. Instead, this holiday season, Microsoft will be hiring 150 or so Microsoft-trained “Windows gurus” to work in retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City to help explain how Windows, Windows Live services and Windows Mobile PCs and devices work. The gurus will “assist PC buyers, similar to the Nordstrom model of ‘personal shoppers,’ where the focus is more on informing and supporting the customer than on the actual sale,” according to Microsoft.

There is also an article about this here and a reader who sent this to us adds: “I found the following story interesting, where Microsoft plans to put its own representatives in major retail chains.

“I also liked the placement of the story under “wild, wacky” or “watercooler” stories. It’s supposed to combat something that Apple already does. The writer correctly expresses doubt about how much this will help Microsoft improve its sales. My own take is that this is a sign of desperation, where before Microsoft had no need to try anything of this sort.”

Critical Problems

Windows has not just a marketing problem; there are some more critical problems, such as those which result in approximately 320,000,000 zombies PCs. A fully-updated Windows is currently open for hijackers and patches will be available only next week.

Microsoft will release four critical updates to several software packages next Tuesday, the company said.

The illusion of security need no longer be.

Yahoo! Escapes Microsoft and Recommends Firefox!

According to a report from Bloomberg, Yahoo has been walking further away from Microsoft. That’s what Microsoft seems to suggest, but can its CFO be believed despite alleged securities fraud?

Microsoft Corp.’s chief financial officer said Thursday that the chances of the software maker buying Yahoo Inc. are still “negligible.”

This comes after bullying by Microsoft and a departure of the man behind it. Could the prefect revenge for Yahoo be this new promotion of Firefox 3?

Yahoo is offering a customized Firefox 3 edition which comes with some customizations optimized for Yahoo users:

• The world’s homepage with built-in Search powered by Yahoo!
• Yahoo! Search with Search Assist for instant suggestions as you type, and SearchScan for added safety
• Yahoo! Toolbar to keep your favorites at your fingertips

Embracing Firefox in this fashion makes Yahoo less attractive a target for Microsoft takeovers. In fact, the more Free software Yahoo adopts now, the safer it will be from such a hostile takeovers. Let us hope for more of the same.

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