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09.14.08

Links 14/09/2008: Xfce 4.6 Reaches Alpha, London Stock Exchange (LSE) Backlash

Posted in News Roundup at 6:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

LSE

  • About that London Stock Exchange IT failure

    All of which should have you wonder what Linux has to do with any of this – Microsoft’s headline, you’ll recall said that the LSE picked Windows over Linux for reliability.

    The answer is that Linux has nothing to do with any of this: Microsoft simply hung an anti-Linux label on a very carefully worded story about a pair of committed Microsoft partners, HP and Accenture, getting together with Microsoft to sell rather simple technology to a willing customer – and neither Linux nor Solaris is mentioned anywhere in the text.

  • Furse should not resign, she should be sacked

    The farce of the London Stock Exchange not only crashing but failing to get its systems up and running again should surprise no one.

    Well, no one except LSE boss Clara Furse, who demonstrates little understanding that technology is crucial to her business.

    I’ve worked for members of the London Stock Exchange and everyone agrees she is world-class at corporate presentations, but the evidence that she can actually run things is rather harder to come by.

    No one expects her to write FIX handlers, or optimise an order-matching engine, but her yes-men simply were not in the position to make any intelligent decisions on technology, if we look at the board of the LSE.

    Do we see anything that even looks like experience in technology? No. We see three from the media, and of course accountancy, but no mention of technology.

F/OSS

Firefox

DRM

Leftovers

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Brian Behlendorf, lead developer of the Apache Foundation 05 (2005)

Ogg Theora

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

Microsoft ‘Media Mole’ Goes on the Payroll

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenDocument at 6:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…Will get paid to spread the FUD he used spread for free

We already know for a fact that Microsoft is using journalists (through collaboration) to promote business agenda. We saw proof of this before [1, 2]. It does the same thing with analysts and we are therefore discouraged to find that Microsoft has officially captured Peter Galli. Hardly surprising though. He can carry on doing what he used to do but wear a Microsoft hat rather than a ‘journalist’ hat. Zonker is the same thing for Novell.

Peter Galli was not a writer about technology in the first place. He appears to have come from the south to San Francisco where he wrote about Microsoft technologies and open source. Under the reign of what’s sometimes known as “Ziff/Gates”, Galli wrote the most outrageous things sometimes. In some cases, his headlines, which are significant, were incorrect or deceiving, so they needed to be consequently changed.

Memorable examples of missteps include a saga where he repeatedly threw FUD at OpenDocument format. Other people complained about him as well.

So to sum up – really, Mr Gilli, stop trying to make out there’s a major controversy and massive fighting amongst the Open Document Format advocates, because in reality there is none. The only thing which has happened is that a from what I can tell extremely minor participant in the Open Document Format committees has basically gone away in a hissy fit because they didn’t get their own way – that’s how I personally see it anyway.

Galli also used the IDC lies (Galli & Gillen) to produce poison-filled headlines that slam GNU/Linux. It’s all part of the Big Lie, which is manufactured through bogus statistics. Galli was typically covering “Microsoft Linux” stories at the later stages (before ‘disappearing’). This was pointed out in the IRC channel on several occasions [1, 2].

Since Microsoft-Xen-CItrix is something that’s discussed at the moment, it’s worth adding that Galli once wrote the article “Will Microsoft Buy the New Citrix?”

Anyway, according to Matt Asay, Galli is now a Microsoft employee. He can carry on the deception without any journalistic guilt.

Microsoft’s pulls its new community manager from the press corps

Who knew that when eWeek’s Peter Galli wrote in 2007 about Microsoft fracturing the open-source community, Galli would become the very person to help strengthen Microsoft’s role in the open-source community?

This past week Peter Galli accepted a job as the newest member of Microsoft’s open-source team, focused on community relations.

In our eyes, Galli lost his credibility a long time ago. This latest step from him merely seals the envelope.

While we’re on the subject of Microsoft-faithful ‘reporters’, it’s worth adding Laura DiDio as an example of an ‘analyst’ Microsoft rewards through lucrative contracts to produce ‘studies’. DiDio’s past is far from flattering. There’s the Amityville Horror story, which Wikipedia summarises thusly:

Ms. DiDio made a splash on the national scene many years before she turned to reporting the computer industry. She was intimately involved in the alleged haunting referred to as The Amityville Horror. Two months after the Lutzes moved out, she held what she called a “psychic slumber party” involving herself and a number of paranormal investigators.[9] During this time, pictures were taken in which some claim to see a small child in a window. There is also some evidence to suggest that DiDio encouraged the Lutzes in their initial reporting of the story. Also involved was Hans Holzer.[10]

Here is one article of interest, which can also be found here

As word spread of the Lutzes’ experiences, people interested in the paranormal contacted them. Two months after the Lutzes moved out, reporter Laura Didio assembled a group of psychic researchers to evaluate the family’s claims.

The investigators spent a night in the house, walking from room to room trying to pick up ghostly vibrations. “It was like a psychic slumber party,” didio remembers.

One of the researchers, Lorraine Warren, remembers an “overwhelming feeling” of “horrible depression” in the house. The team also took a series of time-lapse photos of the upstairs landing. None of the photographs showed anything out of the ordinairy except one, which had what Didio describes as “the face of what appeared to be a little boy, peering out from one of the bedrooms.”

“Didio, got a book out of the Amitiville horror. turned out later it was the family cat looking in the window. And some damp stain on the wall, used to be called distemper, stuff to prevent mold growing, it stains through to the surface,” says a reader of ours. Where does Microsoft find these people, who later slam Microsoft’s competitors [1, 2]?

“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]

Eating Suzie’s Lunch

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Red Hat, Servers, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu at 5:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer rides SUSENo matter how you pronounce it, SUSE is still lagging

Microsoft, which has failed to halt the growth of GNU/Linux, is saddened by the fact that there is no point of failure — so to speak — for its gruesome executives to crush. There is no single company that Microsoft can attack to collapse this thing which we know as “Free software”. It tried everything, even "The Slog". At the moment, Microsoft wants to wrap the entire world with FOSS-hostile laws and also imprison all GNU/Linux users (desktops and servers in particular) inside some sort of a corporate cage that it can later destroy. At the moment, that cage happens to be SUSE Linux and Microsoft offers its customers some coupons (choice) between Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Linux (Ballnux). It’s supposed to injure leading distributions like Red Hat, Mandriva and Ubuntu; it hardly affects existing Windows deployments that Microsoft is unwilling to let be replaced.

Given that Microsoft is paid money for SLED and SLES (which are being morphed to become more Windows-esque), this offer of ‘choice’ from Microsoft is what Bruce Perens once called a “Clever Fraud”.

Microsoft’s new “Software Choice” campaign is all for your right to choose… as long as you choose Microsoft. It’s too bad that Intel and the U.S. Government couldn’t see through the rhetoric.

Microsoft is worried about Peruvian Congressman Edgar Villanueva’s proposal for his nation’s government agencies to standardize on Free Software for their own internal use. But Villanueva makes an important point: everybody has to deal with the government. If a government uses proprietary software, its citizens will probably have to use the same software to communicate with it. A government web site that only supports Internet Explorer would lock citizens into that Microsoft product. In contrast, a government site using open standards and avoiding patented software would allow citizens to choose between many different kinds of software to access the site.

In reality, fortunately enough, Microsoft’s attempts to congregate all users of GNU/Linux under a single roof it can subsequently crush have so far failed. Here is another new example of a user who, rather than move into the pen, is moving away from it.

In December 2005 after looking around for a Linux distribution, SUSE 10.0 seemed a good choice. SUSE, which was later renamed openSUSE, remains a good Linux distribution. At that time there were a few mentions of a newer distribution called Ubuntu. People using Ubuntu seemed to be quite enthusiastic about it. It seemed interesting, but early attempts to install it on my hardware were futile.

The problem that I ran into with several versions of openSUSE was the reliability of the wireless connection on my laptop. Version 10.0 was good. 10.1 not so much. 10.2 was perfect, and 10.3 was problematic. Not having reliable wireless connections was pretty much a deal breaker for me. I looked for solutions, and I had vanilla Intel PRO wireless hardware. When it became clear that 10.3 was going to be a problem, I looked again long and hard at Ubuntu.

A few hours ago, Jose_X wrote the following comment, which sums it up nicely: “This is no loss to me because there are so many other distros and many more to get developed. Contribute to distros you want to succeed and be tops rather than to those you don’t. Using is contributing. We have choice in Linuxland. Promote distro foundations that don’t give monopolies extra gain or traction.”

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: September 13th, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

Links 14/09/2008: New GNU/Linux Releases, Unigine Demo

Posted in News Roundup at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Releases

GNU/Linux

KDE

  • Introducing the darkest power of PowerDevil

    So, want to give it a shot? PowerDevil is, at the moment, in kdereview, but will be soon moved to kdebase and will be the default powermanager in KDE 4.2.

  • KDE Commit Digest: Issue 127: 7th September 2008

    Rob Scheepmaker introduces his work on “Extenders in Plasma”: I’ve been working on Extenders for my Google Summer of Code project, and while there are still a couple of known (and probably also unknown) problems, they are basically ready for use. I’d like to take this opportunity to explain and show what this extender thing actually is, and why it is awesome.

    Thanks to extenders, it is now very easy for applet developers to embed relocatable widgets in your applet. Any QGraphicsWidget can be wrapped in a so-called “ExtenderItem”, which allows the widget to be simply dragged anywhere by the user. Items that have been “detached” this way, can live on even when the applet that created them goes away, and can even be persistent between sessions. Widgets can also be reordered by the user, they can be collapsed and expanded, and custom actions can be registered for easy interaction. Take a look at the following simple screencast to get an idea about what all this means.

F/OSS

Collaboation

Leftover

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Brian Behlendorf, lead developer of the Apache Foundation 04 (2005)

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: Failures, Corruption, Spying, Insecurity and Voting Machines

Posted in Apple, Fraud, Google, Security, Standard, Vista, Windows at 6:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Technical Failures

Here is an excellent new essay which explains why some Windows crashes are simply inexcusable. It uses the latest Apple-Vista ‘allergy’ as an example.

“Read my lips; no new taxes,” President George H. W. Bush; “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” President Bill Clinton;” and “Windows Vista has turned into a phenomenal product, better than any other OS we’ve ever built and far, far better than any other software available today, Co-president of Microsoft’s Platforms & Services Division Jim Allchin. Three great recent lies, but there’s only one of them that’s still being maintained as the truth: That Vista is a great operating system. Please, it’s not even stable.

[...]

Better still, I’d like to see all operating system developers to take a long hard look at what Andrew S. Tanenbaum has been up to with Minix, the operating system that inspired Linus Torvalds to write Linux. In Minix 3, all device drivers live in user space and its use of what Tanenbaum calls proper fault isolation goes a long way to making sure that bad code in a single place can’t take down an entire operating system.

Ed Bought [sic] is already spinning this ‘on behalf’ of Microsoft in ZDNet. The Apple-faithful are furious over this.

Corruption

We have covered rather convincing allegations of Microsoft corruption and Novell corruption in recent weeks. The SEC is finally said to be stepping up to crack down on this disease.

Laying out his priorities, the new enforcement chief for the Securities and Exchange Commission in San Francisco said Thursday he expects an upswing in fraud cases against public companies.

Knowing Microsoft’s heavy lobbying activities, the SEC is likely to be left at bay as far as Microsoft is concerned. That’s despite the many known issues (older essay).

The so-called “Gates Seven” are re sponsible—whether by accident or design—for creating this massive corruption of our free market system. This fraud is responsible for destabilizing the global economic system and creating the single greatest threat to our economic prosperity as a nation.

The Gates Seven are Sen. Slade Gor ton (R-Wash.); former Treasury Secre tary Robert Rubin; Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R); two of Microsoft’s former chief financial officers, Mike Brown and Greg Maffei; chief operating officer at Microsoft Bob Herbold; and Myron Scholes, a Nobel Prize winning economist and partner in the Long Term Capital Hedge Fund.

Gorton has marshaled large lobbying groups on Microsoft’s behalf, including the Citizens for a Sound Economy. This group aggressively supports Microsoft—even after receiving numerous versions of my study—and also advocates litigation reforms that would make it much harder to sue a company like Microsoft for financial fraud.

There are some more iffy mergers of lobbying groups happening at the moment. In a perfect world, they should be banned, not joined. It’s an enormously ill system [1, 2.

Web/Standards

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has been spyware for quite time (at least since version 7). Going by the definition of “spyware”, a lot of Microsoft software is indeed spyware (it harvests personal data) and Internet Explorer 8 will
take this a step further

The data Microsoft does collect and record, however, is kept intact for 18 months, twice as long as Google will retain search logs under a new policy announced this week. At the end of the year-and-a-half-long period, Microsoft strips some information, particularly the query string, from the URLs it’s obtained from IE8 users. The query string is the part of a URL that’s passed to Web applications, and often includes a username and password, or other confidential information.

For those who do not keep abreast of IE development, Microsoft has known for quite some time every single page that an IE user visits. It collects people’s browsing history and stores that in remote datacentres, rendering privacy an illusion at best because this data gets shared. This never prevented Microsoft from publicly and legally scolding Google, though.

“Whether through ignorance or active editorial spin the articles claim, wrongly, that VML is another standard.”We previously wrote about Microsoft’s SVG snub. A reader has just sent us some interesting information about it: “There are a number of articles floating around recently criticising Microsoft for being the only web browser-maker that does not support SVG.

“Whether through ignorance or active editorial spin the articles claim, wrongly, that VML is another standard. It is not. Firstly, it’s an Microsoft-only deal. Secondly, it’s not a standard.

“Another point is that SVG can be used to hold JavaScript and thus function to create ‘interactive’ graphics and animations much like Flash or Microsoft’s imitation of Flash.”

Security

This new article from CNET explores the anatomy of botnets, which are believed to comprise around 320 million PCs (mostly Windows, of course).

Lately, though, Storm has been evolving yet again. This time it’s isolating its network further from the general Internet traffic by encrypting packets using an embedded key and simple XOR. It also has been changing its initial infection packing or compression process. The outer layers change every 10 minutes, while the interior bot code changes packing more on the order of once a month. Neither the packing nor the encryption have so far proven defeating to security researchers.

Also worth mentioning is this demo showing the failure of proprietary and Windows-based voting machines. It is a video.

This kind of makes you question the whole e-voting system. I am not suggesting you try this, but I am suggesting you question the reliability of these systems. Are any of these machines safe? Don’t forget to check out the other, equally disturbing, video on the web site.

Links are appended below for more information about this subject.

Protest Against ISO and Microsoft OOXML Intensifies

Posted in ISO, Novell, Open XML, Standard at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

W

ord on the street in the news is that CONSEGI 2008 [1, 2] has just gained some more steam with the addition of another protester.

The Dominion of British West Florida Joins Brazil, South Africa, Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, and Paraguay in condemning the actions of the ISO/IEC in rejecting the appeals lodged against the approval of DIS29500.

All Dominion of British West Florida Government offices are required to seek first systems that support ISO/IEC 26300.

The scandals are documented to be remembered.

“it’s just a format,” some would say, but formats and protocols manage many aspects of our lives. This includes our information, memories, connections and communications with people, even cost. Who would possibly promote a format that was created by Microsoft only to serve Microsoft? Apart from those who are literally paid to support it (Novell), there are all sorts of paid ‘supporters’ out there on the Web.

Ogg Theora

We have already pointed out that Microsoft bloggers are citing everything that’s fabourable to Microsoft OOXML in pretty much the same way. Here is a new post explaining this phenomenon.

The role of blogging in corporate communication is challenging for ICT companies. Progressive views from a CEO about customer communications.

This headline, “You are paid to blog, shut up,” echoes the statement made by an Microsoft lobbyist and ECMA/ISO insider. Microsoft financially compensates bloggers if they write favourably about Microsoft’s products. Microsoft also encourages its employees to comment in news sites. Is anyone out there supporting OOXML for reasons other than money and personal gain?

Novell gets 'bribed'

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