“It’s going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on.”
–Ron Hovsepian, Novell's CEO
Guess who inside Novell has just been promoted? Well, it is Justin Steinman, who called non-customers “hobbyists”, lied about reception of the deal (using manufactured and bogus ‘studies’ [1, 2), upset the FSF [1, 2]], and threw FUD at Red Hat on numerous occasions.
Justin Steinman, erstwhile marketing director for Novell’s open-source business, just got an upgrade to vice president, Solution and Product Marketing at Novell;
He has a dual role that involves Microsoft too (hence the title). As Novell’s dependence on Microsoft increases, it’s only natural to see the company pushing and advancing Microsoft technologies. Amid financial disaster, now more than ever Novell needs to please Microsoft.
In today’s news there is a prime example of this obedience to Microsoft’s agenda. Novell announced the release of Mono 2.0 a couple of days ago and Paul Krill, who typically serenades for Microsoft in some of his articles, is quick to cover this.
Microsoft is working with de Icaza and Novell on Moonlight, which will enable applications built for Microsoft’s Silverlight browser plug-in to run on Linux. Moonlight 1.0, a more complete release than what has been available, is set to be released by the end of this month.
Whose project is it? Is it Novell’s or is it Microsoft’s? Either way, here is one comment which says that the guys Novell fail to learn from history.
MS .Net is being used, via Mono, the same way Microsoft used the Win32 application programming interfaces(APIs) to move UNIX into a less significant position in the workstation and server market in the 90s.
Jose_X says: “to me mono is the attempt at that addiction but for the developers not users.. it’s effective and it’s independent of the patent thing and still very important.” In the same vein, Bill Gates once said about end users: “They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”
This developer ‘addiction’ which can cost dearly at a later stage. The habitual issue was previously discussed here or here, at least in part. It’s the forgotten and overlook effect of Mono adoption. There is also the issue of patents and a new comment in OSNews says:
What makes you think the Linux kernel is safe? Microsoft has claimed that the kernel has hundreds of patent infringements in it. What about Samba or Wine? I don’t understand this focus on Mono. If you’re really worried about Microsoft’s software patents then I suggest you stop using any kind of software altogether.”
Carla Schroder wrote this article about Mono and it led to a heavy volume of reactions.
The Mono project has been branded as evil, a sellout, a product of a Microsoft-loving lackey from its inception. I think this is a misguided attitude that is rooted in a mistrust of the power of FOSS, and especially the GPL.
Linux Today readers disagree, as can be seen in these comments and also these (a lot more comments in here).
SplendidCRM comments there too, but there’s an obvious vested interest (they use .NET as ‘open source’). Other than that, the responses are quite consistent. People dislike Mono, which they label a “Trojan horse.”
“People dislike Mono, which they label a “Trojan horse.””Another issue worth mentioning is a Microsoft consultant who always lurks in our IRC channel (some say he’s a ‘spy’, alongside Novell’s spy, Benjamin Weber). He seems to be informing or being informed by Mono boosters, who are now intervening in a thread whose goal is to add or prevent the entry of Moonlight into Debian.
If someone’s radar detected Moonlight trying to creep into Debian, why is a Microsoft consultant watching over this? And why intervene by announcing this in the #boycottnovell IRC channel?
Moreover, who would possibly want Microsoft’s most toxic Poisonware inside Debian? Only Novell and Microsoft would probably want this and they sway careless minds who believe that this thing is innocent, despite an independdent legal analysis which led Fedora to forbidding Moonlight.
Jo Shields seems to be ignoring the fact that Debian lacks the prerequisite patent grant to distribute Moonlight. Only Novell has such a grant, which is something that is documented very clearly and unambiguously by both Microsoft and Miguel de Icaza. █
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Stuffed committee effectively renders ISO obsolete
ISO does nothing to save itself from sinking. Beginning with slightly older news about the protests in Norway and the subsequent exodus [1, 2, 3, 4], there is this new article from Heise, which explains how it relates to ISO’s incompetence.
Thirteen of the twenty three members of the Standard Norge expert committee, which dealt with the standardisation of Microsoft’s OOXML document format, have announced their resignations. They are protesting against the way Norway’s decision in favour of ISO standardisation was made. In an open letter, they state that Standard Norge has clearly placed commercial interests ahead of what is best for society and what is technically and professionally desirable. In their opinion, the way it dealt with the process has resulted in Standard Norge forfeiting all credibility within the IT sector.
Now comes the uglier stuff. A reader has just infromed us that:
We now have a partial response to the question above, straight from the horse’s mouth: According to Alex Brown:
“By my (rough, unconfirmed) count, there were eight MS employees in 15 NB delegations (+ 4 people in the Ecma group) out of the 35 or so attendees.”
12 Microsoft + Ecma people out of 35 people ! Isn’t this a record ? But of course Microsoft is NOT hijacking SC 34, as “Delegates are charged with representing national positions” (from the same horse’s mouth).
Here is the post from Rob Weir, who in protest decided not to even attend or participate in Korea’s behind-closed-doors fiasco.
To put it in perspective, the US SC34 shadow committee currently has around 20 members. Before Microsoft stuffed it we had around 7. Regardless, the US SC34 mirror committee typically sends a delegation of 2 or 3 people to international meetings. IBM attendance at these meetings has varied from 0 to 2. It really depends on where the meeting is being held. If it is being hosted by an NB where an IBM employee is a member, then he will typically attend. If something is on the agenda that I find interesting, then I’ll typically attend regardless of location.
Further reading reveals an ugly picture.
Earlier on we wrote about Microsoft hijacking Brazil's voice (Microsoft hijacks many voices [1, 2]) and here is another nugget of information.
The company from Redmond is heavily investing in the ISO SC34 committee. Thanks to a brazilian blogger who manage to shed some light on what was going on in there, we hear now that Microsoft Korea was paying for dinner.
This seems like the old 'gentle bribing' of people using uninvited love and/or money. We covered such examples before [1, 2, 3, 4]. Microsoft does this type of thing quite routinely, especially when it wants to gag critics or needs to buy their consent.
At the end of the day, why capture the SC34 committee? It’s about hijacking ODF [1, 2], as expected.
In relation to those implicit threats that I received from Alex Brown (he has just moved his Web site from PHP to Microsoft ASP .NET by the way), ComputerWorld had something to say.
The point is, the *entire process* should be out in the open: that’s how we do things in the 21st century, remember – the Internet, open source, Web 2.0, that kind of stuff? You know, a collaborative endeavour that draws as widely as possible on people who have relevant skills, whoever they may be? If the ISO wants to cling to secret squirrel meetings with Terribly Important Experts in closed rooms, that’s its prerogative; but if it does, it can’t presume to be a modern global standards body with any credibility, and it should make way for others to do the job.
A transparent process should be a badge of honour for the participants, since no one can then impugn their actions, and a basic act of respect towards the users of that standard, who are not made to feel like peasants receiving grace as the holy ISO tablets are handed down from Mount Geneva.
Given the decidedly turbid process that has swirled around the standardisation of OOXML, the need for some clarity is all the greater. The idea of the ISO suing someone for doing what ought to be one of its primary responsibilities, because it might result in a loss of “revenue” – as if the whole point of the ISO and national standards bodies were to make money – is sad in the extreme.
To fight corruption, it is not always possible to remain gentle and abstain from becoming more blunt sometimes. It’s interesting to see the ODF Alliance Awards being referred to as heroism. A lot of people took heaps of personal attacks and smear campaigns [1, 2, 3, 4] for ‘daring’ to defend ODF and the integrity of the standards process. Even Andy Updegrove, the polite standards expert who wrote about this award, has already been assigned the label “Microsoft hater” (labels like these are nasty [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) by the familiar group of snobs that is Microsoft and its money-sharing partners.
In summary, just when you think that ISO could not dive any lower, it keeps surprising. It’s already a wreck due to Microsoft OOXML; now it wants to hijack and ruin ODF too, bending it Microsoft’s way. It has already become evident who pulls ISO's strings. █
From the Campaign for Document Freedom
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Yes, it’s true. In other news, Microsoft is down about 7% at the moment, hitting a new 52-week low.
Image from Wikimedia
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We’ve already mentioned TiVo’s role in the patent mess several times in the past, e.g. [1, 2]. Here is the very latest on this subject. [via Digital Majority]
The Supreme Court is refusing to disturb a $74 million judgment against Dish Network Corp. for violating a patent held by TiVo Inc. involving digital video recorders.
TiVo sued in 2004, alleging that EchoStar, a satellite broadcaster, infringed on TiVo’s patented technology that allows viewers to record one program while watching another. EchoStar Communications changed its name to Dish in late 2007.
Equally notorious for software patents is Amazon ('one-click shopping', anyone?), which has patented another very trivial ‘invention’.
Amazon patents ‘customer review incentives’
The self-described patent reform advocates at Amazon.com don’t seem to have broken their habit of putting legal hooks on just about anything they dream up.
Last Tuesday, Amazon was awarded a patent for “creating an incentive to author useful item reviews.”
Over at IAM, it is being claimed that a back door to software patents in Europe is likely at a standstill.
The vice-president of the European Commission, Gunter Verheugen, claims that he remains hopeful that a way forward can be found in negotiations over the creation of a one-stop Community patent covering the entire European Union. In an interview published at the end of last week, Verheugen – who is so committed to patents he fell asleep during a press conference on the subject in May – saluted the efforts of the Portuguese and Slovenian presidencies in getting talks moving. However, he did not mention France, the current holder of the presidency, despite the interviewer’s claim that the Community patent was a priority for the French.
Where is the “innovation” that they speak of? All we have here is a lawsuit, a laughable patents, and political games. It’s a total waste of time. █
“I think that “innovation” is a four-letter word in the industry. It should never be used in polite company. It’s become a PR thing to sell new versions with.”
“It was Edison who said “1% inspiration, 99% perspiration”. That may have been true a hundred years ago. These days it’s “0.01% inspiration, 99.99% perspiration”, and the inspiration is the easy part. As a project manager, I have never had trouble finding people with crazy ideas. I have trouble finding people who can execute. IOW, “innovation” is way oversold. And it sure as hell shouldn’t be applied to products like MS Word or Open office.”
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Whilst we angrily keep writing about Microsoft’s apparent attempt to ‘take over’ ODF [1, 2, 3], a warning from Brazil arrives. Microsoft is indeed hijacking the process and now represents an entire very large country in a meeting that involved ODF.
Last week, 1st of October, was held in Seoul (Korea) a meeting of SC34, the JTC1 committee responsible for standards as the ODF and OpenXML.
At this meeting, Brazil was represented by Microsoft.
I and several other members of our committee protested against this indication, but we had our protests silenced by the Director of ABNT (Brazilian NB) that said that this decision was not our prerogative and that if Microsoft would pay for their own representative’s trip, their indication was approved.
Also reminded us that since the beginning of activities of our group at ABNT, he tells us about having a “financial fund” provided by the committee’s organizations, to cover expenses like this. As we do not have that fund and Microsoft has offered to pay their own expenses, their indication was approved by him (rather not comment on anything about it, I get stomach ache by remembering this sad fact). Just to clarify, the other committee’s members did not indicated any representative because we tought that this wasn’t an important meeting to spend our time and money with.
This is not the first time that Microsoft, a selfish and vicious convicted monopolist, is assigned to 'represent' the interests of entire nations. Time for people to stand up and protest? █
Update: the stuffed committee (with Microsoft employees) is already having its negative effects. It inches a step closer to Microsoft shenanigans taking control of ODF, slurring OASIS in the process.
The international standards body ISO has offered to help maintain the ODF document standard alongside its work on the rival Microsoft-originated OOXML specification, saying its creator Oasis is not dealing with defect reports quickly enough.
At a meeting in Korea last week, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) committee for document standards, SC 34, issued a liaison statement to Oasis, the body that created ODF. It requested an “alignment” of maintenance of ODF between the work done at Oasis and that within ISO.
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The usual crony/ies appear to be resorting to intimidation now that OOMXL texts are out there for all to view (and no, it’s not just in Boycott Novell as other Web sites got hold of the files around the same time it circulated, and published them too). The files could also reach Wikileaks, so what’s the difference? There’s none.
Let’s set the record straight: The OOXML saga has been corrupt from start to finish. Will anyone try to challenge the strong and extensive evidence? Good luck with all that. As a matter of fact, even the man on top of the process has already admitted that it had gone awry. To quote:
“This year WG1 have had another major development that has made it almost impossible to continue with our work within ISO. The influx of P members whose only interest is the fast-tracking of ECMA 376 as ISO 29500 has led to the failure of a number of key ballots. Though P members are required to vote, 50% of our current members, and some 66% of our new members, blatantly ignore this rule despite weekly email reminders and reminders on our website. As ISO require at least 50% of P members to vote before they start to count the votes we have had to reballot standards that should have been passed and completed their publication stages at Kyoto. This delay will mean that these standards will appear on the list of WG1 standards that have not been produced within the time limits set by ISO, despite our best efforts.
The disparity of rules for PAS, Fast-Track and ISO committee generated standards is fast making ISO a laughing stock in IT circles. The days of open standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are getting “standardization by corporation”, something I have been fighting against for the 20 years I have served on ISO committees. I am glad to be retiring before the situation becomes impossible. I wish my colleagues every success for their future efforts, which I sincerely hope will not prove to be as wasted as I fear they could be.”
–Martin Bryan, ISO ‘Escapee’
Formerly Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 WG1
Throughout this appalling process, some people lost their jobs. Many others were smeared by anonymous characters and even directly, i.e. by Microsoft employees. It is all well documented.
The text in question (OOXML) is appalling in terms of quality and yet it was kept secret and hidden away from the very same people whom it affects. This is transparency?
There are two issues of transparency here:
- Transparency of technical documentation. How can a standard ever be called “open” if not even the terms of Open Access (OA) are being met?
- Transparency of the process. ISO, caring for its broken reputation, will insist that the process was fine, yet to fails to provide any proof of it. As the BRM in Geneva taught everyone, it’s all just a back-door arrangement involving stuffed panels congregating behind closed doors to decide ‘on behalf’ of ‘the world’.
The ISO process was horrendous. Tim Bray, a world authority in the field of XML, called the process “brutal and corrupt”. It was so bad that it ended up going under a formal investigation by the European Commission.
These investigators must be so overwhelmed by evidence that they do not even know where to start and what to choose. And yet, despite all of this, Alex Brown, who essentially markets Microsoft OOXML (talk about conflict of an interests) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21], had decided to threaten me with vague allegation of lawsuits.
And (I did hint we might come down from being high-minded) talking of copyright violation I notice some of the dafter quarters of the web have published the ISO/IEC 29500:2008 (OOXML) text. Now, while not many people know for sure what ITTF do to a text when they prepare it for publication, one thing they do do for sure is to put a copyright statement on every page. So what we have witnessed is a brazen act of copyright violation. The boobies have even been so good as to boast about the bandwidth requirements their crimes have occasioned (no further questions, m’lud).
Even now, I can hear those Geneva lawyers licking their lips over this one … ”
Given how ugly the process has been thus far, it hardly surprises that it continues to be ugly. People who were appalled by the corruption have already spilled some beans before (against the ‘precious’ yet ridiculous rules).
Threats are cheap and we've witnessed them before, Alex. They make ISO look even worse.
Watch the photo here. It’s hilarious.
So let’s call it tit-for-tat, Alex. █
“Microsoft corrupted many members of ISO in order to win approval for its phony ‘open’ document format, OOXML. This was so governments that keep their documents in a Microsoft-only format can pretend that they are using ‘open standards.’ The government of South Africa has filed an appeal against the decision, citing the irregularities in the process.”
–Richard Stallman, June 2008
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[Update: "NovellVideo" turns out to be a Novell employee, Ross Brunson. So it's not AstroTurfing, it's just shameless use of YouTube for marketing purposes.]
Several months ago we wrote about Microsoft's trashing of YouTube with OOXML 'propaganda', among other things. It’s probably not something the company would even deny. In fact, being already seen as somewhat of a ‘norm’, companies no longer feel guilty about it.
Novell’s own ‘boosting’ is something that we wrote about and accompanies by examples in [1, 2]; Microsoft is no exception.
“We will start pointing this out in the future, whenever potential marketing people of Novell appear to be littering YouTube a little more.”This post intends to set the record straight on one particular YouTube ‘user’ which goes under the name “NovellVideo”. It’s uploading Novell commercials at a rapid pace, the latest example being this one from yesterday.
What to make of it all? It’s an open question, but extensive circumstantial evidence is there on YouTube. We will start pointing this out in the future, whenever potential marketing people of Novell appear to be littering YouTube a little more.
A couple of days ago, Bruce Perens had this to say about his experiences with viral marketing at H-P. He cites YouTube as an example:
[J]ust about every PR firm offers to help “manage the perception of your company in online communities” these days. What do you think that means? Astroturfing Slashdot, Youtube, etc. In my various manangement positions it’s been offered to me. Indeed, some of the companies offer to create negative publicity for your competition that way – HP had a publicity firm for its Linux activities that told us it would do that when we wanted. I never asked them to do so and hope nobody else did either.
This stuff is just standard these days. You’ve got to expect it.
Perens also had this to say about Microsoft and Open Source, which as we last showed yesterday, is a scam.
I think mostly they’d like to dilute “Open Source” to mean any code with source code. This is important to them because it’s the rights connected to Open Source that scare Microsoft (and others). If you can call it Open Source when there isn’t even the right to compile the code, or to use the information you get from reading it, customers don’t have a reason to ask for it any longer.
Their publicity agencies are here on Slashdot pumping that angle every day.
This is why, despite us being Slahdotted a couple of days ago (thanks for the mention, Rob Malda and folks), we discourage reading of that site, which got manipulated by companies into an oblivion [1, 2, 3]. Without a verified identity of people (who they are and who they work for), there’s too much room for ‘manufactured’ debates, e.g. first provocative comment for propaganda to be latched onto it as followups. it edges out genuine comments further down. We also became aware of organised trolling in the site and something called “karma farming”. There’s some ugly stuff there for sure.
Speaking of AstroTurfing, a couple of weeks ago we mentioned VoicesforInnovation], which is one among many Microsoft lobbying arms. Groklaw found out that “Microsoft owns VoicesforInnovation domain,” adding: “Earlier, we had a News Picks item on VoicesforInnovation.org, a lobbying organization pushing what seemed to me to be a Microsoft agenda in Europe. Sean Daly noticed that the domain name belongs to guess who? — Microsoft. Go to betterwhois.com and search for yourself. Here’s what you will find:
Created On:06-Mar-2006 23:49:37 UTC
Last Updated On:14-Nov-2007 00:21:24 UTC
Expiration Date:06-Mar-2009 23:49:37 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Tucows Inc. (R11-LROR)
Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT UPDATE PROHIBITED
Registrant Name:Microsoft Corporation
Registrant Organization:Microsoft Corporation
The anti-VMWare Web site was a very recent and similar example. Novell subscribes to such tactics too. █
Diversionary tactics, holding action, and retreats may each seem contrary to the achievement of the overall objective when considered solely in their own terms, but taken in light of the overall conflict, may contribute to overall success. In the Chinese Civil War that followed World War II, Mao Tse Tung’s Army ran away from every battle, until they won the war. They knew that overall victory, not local victory, was the objective.
Thus it is imperative to measure each action in accordance with its contribution to overall, not just local, victory.
“A computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software.” This is the mission statement of Microsoft itself; it is the definition of the conditions under which Microsoft itself can declare overall victory.
–Microsoft, internal document
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