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10.11.08

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: SCO Litigation Update, Few Products News

Posted in Mail, NetWare, Novell, SCO, Videos at 3:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Today, for a change, we publish only a couple catchup posts (there’s not much to cover), the first one being about GNU/Linux. This second one catches “everything else”, starting with SCO.

SCO

The Novell-SCO trial has not been through anything too exciting. Groklaw was the only site with some coverage. Here is the first post.

Read the rest of this entry »

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part I: OpenSUSE Board Changes, SLED Sub-notebooks, and Xandros

Posted in Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED, Xandros at 9:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SLED cube

It has been a fairly idle week as far as technology news is concerned (possibly caused by the collapse of the world’s financial markets), so we aggregate a variety of topics which we typically cover separately, starting with OpenSUSE.

OpenSUSE 11.1

Kristin Shoemaker, who frequently writes about SUSE, published this post about the betas of Ubuntu and OpenSUSE.

Today, both Ubuntu and openSUSE are releasing beta versions of their upcoming releases.

Over at Heise, the release of OpenSUSE’s second beta made it in as an article.

OpenSuse’s developers have released a second beta of OpenSuse 11.1 after the first beta had problems and could damage Intel e1000e network cards. The problem, which appears to affect all Linux Kernel 2.6.27 releases candidates up to rc8, involved some unknown process overwriting the NVRAM settings of the network chipset which was left writeable by the network driver. The fix has been a patch to the network driver to lock the NVRAM and stop the overwriting. It is this patch which has been incorporated into this second beta and in the Linux Kernel 2.6.27-rc8 release.

A screenshots gallery of this beta was published early in the week.

I must say I have always loved SUSE for the desktop, but after a month or so I always wind up switching back to Ubuntu or Ubuntu based Distributions. Now OpenSuse always maintains it’s beautiful look as always as well as the infamous YAST tool. In the end of this install it failed trying to install GRUB, since this is in Beta I would have to assume this is a bug but none the less OpenSuse is a great OS.

As OpenSUSE 11.1 comes nearer and nearer, OpenSUSE 10.2 is being phased out. Here is a summary of some updates:

* Advance notice of discontinuation of openSUSE 10.2
* openSUSE-Education 1.0 for 11.0 is Ready
* openSUSE 11.1 Beta 2 Now Available
* Board Election – Phase 1: Nomination of second voters
* openSUSE News: Status of the e1000e Issue

Technical

Waxborg (Vahis) has published a new page about installation of FreeNX in OpenSUSE. He has been doing this type of stuff for quite a few years. There are some more technical posts in the OpenSUSE Web site. Here is one about zypper.

I[']m impressed how many users don’t know new zypper features.

There is also the experience of another person who chose Apple hardware for his OpenSUSE setup.

This is my experience with openSUSE 11.0 on the eMac G4, 1.25Ghz, sporting a Radeon 9200 graphics card. The specs are here. Mine was the lesser of the two modles, with the 40GB drive, but 1GB of RAM.

Organisational

It seems like the end of an era because Andreas Jaeger retires from the board.

I have served as chairperson of the openSUSE board the last year and would like to announce that I decided to pass the honours on for the next election period. I’ve made this decision out of personal plans for the next year that will not allow me to devote as much time to the board as it deserves since I’ll be some time on paternity leave.

As Zonker points out in this post, it was Andreas who kicked off the project three years ago.

Just three years ago today, the openSUSE Project announced its first release.

Zonker announces OpenSUSE’s presence in 2 Linuxfests that have just ended or still run today.

The openSUSE Project is going to have a presence at the Indiana Linuxfest and Ohio Linuxfests this weekend.

He also published a good post in ZDNet.

SLED

As mentioned very briefly earlier in the week, Novell is quoted as cheering sub-notebooks. Here is the article from IDG’s John Ribeiro (also appeared in PC Advisor). It smells like an advert for Novell’s SUSE.

The benefit of pre-loaded SUSE Linux for the user is that Novell works with the computer vendor to ensure that all the Linux device drivers are there, and the user has a far better experience than if he were to try to install the operating system on a variety of hardware, Friedman said.

There is already a rebuttal to this article.

The Industry Standard is running an interesting interview with Novell CTO Nat Friedman about Netbooks. In the process he made some interesting statements that seem to indicate that Novell understands Netbooks…at least the way there were initially.

[...]

In my experience this is half right. Netbooks tend to be used both for net browsing/email and light notebook tasks like note taking and simple office documents. On top of that are some elements of leisure activities, like watching video or reading ebooks. Linux can certainly handle most of those tasks just as well as Windows can, however people still tend to want to be able to install applications the way they are used to on Windows, and use programs they are familiar with, like IE or Outlook.

Xandros

Not much to see here either, but Xandros is reportedly used as the base for testing this Blackberry-GNU/Linux sync software.

A developer of Mac-based sync utilities is seeking beta testers for what it calls “the first Linux-to-BlackBerry sync solution.” Information Appliance Associates (IAA) is initially testing its free “PocketMac for BlackBerry, Linux Edition” software on Xandros Linux running the KDE PIM suite.

Later on we will post the remainder of the news.

Novell’s Linux Poison® (Mono) Reaches 2.0, Contains Extra Cyanide (WinForms)

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents, Windows at 7:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘We had some painful experiences with C and C++, and when Microsoft came out with .NET, we said, “Yes! That is what we want.”‘

Miguel de Icaza, October 2008

I agree wholeheartedly with Groklaw, which wrote: “It’s hilarious to see the push on “Linux” named sites to push Mono lately. But if you are like me and want to avoid Mono, the list will help you. If you use Mandriva, avoidance includes noticing the automatic updates offered and unchecking the ones that relate to Mono, if you have update set to offer everything there is, not just updates to what you have installed.”

“We have already seen Novell ‘gagging’ journalists or pressuring them to cover Novell news, so this is definitely worth a quick review.”Where is all that coverage coming from anyway, and why? If a lot of people cover Mono, there will be this illusion that it’s liked and accepted by many. We’ll try to explore this situation and find some answers later in this post. We have already seen Novell 'gagging' journalists or pressuring them to cover Novell news, so this is definitely worth a quick review.

Patent Issues

Having asked Microsoft for Mono patent licences, we are saddened to inform that we received no response. We can wait though. Maybe Microsoft is doing the ‘patent math’ to produce a bill for us [sarcasm /]. Why does Novell obtain 'protection' for Mono anyway? We’ll continue to pursue this question until we have some hard answer.

Last night we received a headsup from a reader, who found suspicious in the following page the inclusion of contributors: “jeff stedfast ,joe, miguelito.”

There is actually a much larger list in there and it includes C.J. Collier, a Microsoft consultant who always hangs out in our IRC channel. It’s suspicious. Anyway, also pointed out was the inclusion of “patented winforms using Mono.” We wrote about WinForms before, in a variety of different contexts in fact [1, 2, 3]. Didn’t Miguel de Icaza say that code will be removed where it is known to infringe on patents? Microsoft patents in particular?

The Mono page says:

Windows.Forms: New Controls

Mono 2.0 contains an API complete implementation of .Net’s System.Windows.Forms (winforms) namespace, allowing winforms applications to run on Linux, MacOX and other Unix systems.

Thank you to everyone on the winforms team (past and present), everyone who has contributed code to winforms, and everyone who has submitted bug reports, helping to make winforms (and Mono!) what it is today!

Look at this one: US patent, owned by and granted to Microsoft.

Winforms control hosting in unmanaged applications

Geoffrey Charles Darst et al

Abstract
Systems and methods for hosting managed code controls within unmanged hosts, such as MICROSOFT Word and Excel. There are two components to the hosting architecture, a wrapper control that implements various interfaces and a container control that hosts the managed code control. A design-time implementation allows for a designer to drag and drop managed code controls onto documents that run in a design component process. A runtime component allows managed code controls to run within hosts under security permissions specified by a policy.

Application number: 11/148,620
Publication number: US 2006/0282817 A1
Filing date: Jun 9, 2005
Inventors: Geoffrey Charles Darst, Eric Hyde Carter, Michael Shneerson, Stephen James Styrchak
Assignee: Microsoft Corporation

U.S. Classification
717106000

Is this one relevant at all? If not, there are plenty more candidates. It’s a bad neighborhood to play in.

A Question of Control

Another true danger of Mono is the issue of control, as previously discussed in [1, 2].

As we stressed before, s/he who seizes the API will subsequently make the rules. Also, from the Mono FAQ:

Should GNOME programmers switch over to Mono now?

Yes, we believe that Mono 1.0 is ready to be used as the main development platform for building applications for the GNOME desktop. Mono includes Gtk# a .NET binding for GTK+ and various GNOME libraries which together with C# and the System libraries provide developers with great productivity for building graphical applications especially when compared to GTK+ or Java Swing.

Wonderful. Where is Jeff Waugh when he’s needed? He said there was no intention to have Mono enter GNOME (dependence in particular), yet according to Novell, which is bashing GTK and Java as usual [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], GNOME developers should turn to Microsoft’s intellectual monopolies to (re)build the Free desktop. You can’t make this stuff up!

Anyway, as promised, here is a rundown through some of the coverage Mono received.

A Glance at the Hype

No company other than Novell Incorporated was the one to pay for a press release touting Mono. Not so long afterward it hit the wires and even reached Trading Markets. The headline was: Stockwire.com: Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) just released some important news.

Wow! Important news. Got to cover it then, right? Here is ‘the scoop’

Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL), just announced Mono 2.0 for Cross-Platform Microsoft .NET Development

Then came the OSS/Linux journalists, believing this thing was innocent and important enough to be worth coverage. Sean wrote: Is .NET on Linux Finally Ready?

Novell releases Mono 2.0 with compatibility for Microsoft .NET 2.0 but Novell execs admit it still some catching up to do.

It clearly says in the opening sentence that “Novell execs admit it still [has] some catching up to do.” Well, so why not use something complete then? Like….. err….. Java, anyone? Has GNU/Linux run out of programming languages and frameworks? Why embrace Microsoft, a sworn enemy of Free(dom) software, whose framework snubs GNU/Linux? Why use a poor copycat that’s owned by Microsoft’s close partner, Novell?

Eric Brown and Henry Kingman wrote about this too and Henry later published an interview with Miguel de Icaza. We covered it earlier in the week.

Mono is a from-scratch implementation of Microsoft’s .NET runtime and application development framework. Novell acquired the technology with its 2003 purchase of Ximian, a start-up co-founded by Mono project instigator Miguel de Icaza.

That sentence is interesting because Novell called Ximian a "red carpet". Red carpet to Microsoft maybe?

Following this initial ‘flock’ there were several more articles about Mono, including:

DaniWeb: Linux Has Mono

Today the Mono Project released the much-anticipated Mono 2.0 for Linux. After two-and-a-half years in development, Mono 2.0 is finally here and ready to run your .NET 2.0 applications, Windows Forms, ASP.NET content on Mac OS X, BSD and Linux. Mono is multi-language capable–choose your own path from C#, VB, Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, Eiffel, F#, Oxygene and more.

Ars Technica: Mono 2.0 released, brings C# 3.0 to Linux and Mac OS X

Windows.Forms in 2.0 offers improved implementations of the .NET DataGridView and ToolStrip/Strip controls. It also includes support for the SplitContainer table and flow layouts. A growing number of C# applications developed for Windows can now work on Linux and other platforms supported by Mono without requiring recompilation.

CIOL: Mono 2.0 brings .NET to Linux

Other features include the Mono Tuner which is a tool to apply arbitrary user-defined transformations to assemblies. Mono uses this library to produce the Silverlight core libraries from the main system libraries and the Mono Documentation tools framework has been upgraded to support documenting generics and extension methods. The tools can be used to produce online and offline documentation for any any APIs, and are used by the project to document our own APIs.

Phoronix: Mono 2.0 Platform Released

For those using Mono to run F-Spot, Banshee, and other C# and .NET programs, you may be pleased to know that Mono 2.0 has been released.

Charles Babcock at InformationWeek: Mono 2.0 Brings Microsoft C#, .Net To Linux

Mono, the project that brings Microsoft’s C# and .Net to Linux, has released version 2.0 of its development framework. The framework provides a runtime system for C# and Visual Basic code to run on the Linux operating system instead of Windows, although it doesn’t attempt to duplicate the complete .Net environment.

Heise: Mono 2.0 adds LINQ and C# 3.0 support

Mono 2.0, the open source implementation of Microsoft’s closed source .NET framework has been released. Mono 2.0, unlike .NET, runs on Unix, Mac OS X and other non-Windows platforms. Version 2.0 has C# 3.0 and LINQ (Language Integrated Query) built into the Mono framework, bringing Mono closer to the current state of .NET 3.5.

IDG: Project releases version 2.0 of open source .Net

The Mono Project, which develops an open source implementation of the .Net Framework, released the long-awaited 2.0 version on Monday.

Mono 2.0 offers complete API compatibility with ASP.Net and Windows Forms applications, and is compatible with desktop and server components of Microsoft’s 2.0 version of its .Net Framework.

The Register: Mono delivers Foundation-free open .NET alternative

The open-source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET is due to hit its second release today, with many .NET 3.5 features and a few notable exceptions.

Dr. Dobb’s: Mono 2.0 Released

The Mono project, an open source initiative sponsored by Novell, today announced the availability of Mono 2.0, an open source, cross-platform .NET development framework. Mono 2.0 provides all the necessary software to develop and run .NET client and server applications on Linux, as well as other operating systems. The new Mono 2.0 release is now compatible with the desktop and server components of version 2.0 of the Microsoft .NET framework and features the Mono Migration Analyzer (MoMA), an analytical tool for .NET-to-Linux migrations

Beta News: Mono, the open source .NET counterpart, releases 2.0

Mono also uses Microsoft-compatible bindings to ADO.NET for sequential data operations, Windows.Forms for building basic dialog boxes and control panels, and such familiar APIs as System.XML and System.Drawing.

OStatic: Mono Project Releases 2.0

People often think of open source as being purely a Linux and BSD thing. Perhaps they’re aware of open source on OS X as well, but in general Windows is seen as hostile to open source. And at the heart of the hostility surely must be Microsoft’s proprietary .NET framework, right? But no: the Mono Project provides a cross-platform, open source implementation of .NET. Version 2.0 was released this week, and it has matured into a serious development framework.

Tectonic: Microsoft .Net alternative Mono issues new release

Mono 2.0 can be run on a range of operating systems including Linux, Windows and Mac. Mono 2.0 can be downloaded for free.

There is either some pressure to create this level of hype or simply some sort of ‘cattle effect’ (like the naked emperor). Some blogs and other Web sites covered this too. Paula Rooney included it only in this roundup

As one ought to expect, some of the most vocal promoters of Mono are existing or former Microsoft employees, who are happy about Mono. It makes .NET more widespread, at the expense of Microsoft’s competition that it was never able to defeat. Java, for instance, leads by a long shot, according to Evans Data Corporation and Java is already GPL licensed.

Let’s assume for a moment that Microsoft is, at least in part, involved in this Mono push. Here, for example, you can find MindTouch cited as an example (‘case study’), but it doesn’t say anything about the company’s roots in Microsoft.

“Aside from the great Gtk# applications that are now available on the Linux platform, such as Banshee and GNOME Do, Mono is also seeing wide deployment on the server through ISVs such as MindTouch, which is built on Mono, and sees more than 90 percent of deployments of its Deki collaboration platform on Linux,” Hill said.

MindTouch was mentioned in some other news articles. Just because ex-Softies adopt Mono doesn’t mean it’s ‘safe’. Just because a Microsoft partner (Novell) sponsors Banshee doesn’t mean it’s naturally being selected.

Here is a former Microsoft employee blogging about Mono in ZDNet.

Not being privy to analysis on the issue that I’m sure must have been done by some team within Microsoft, I can’t say what kind of effect a truly cross-platform, fully-supported .NET runtime would have on Windows operating system sales. On the other hand, there has to be some value to be derived from giving Microsoft more heft in the cross-platform API space.

Here is another “Microsoft-centric” product that makes use of Novell’s Mono. From this new article:

SplendidCRM Launches 2.1 on Mono/Linux

SplendidCRM Software, a vendor of Microsoft-centric Customer Relationship Management (CRM) products for open-source use, has announced the launch of Version 2.1 of its flagship platform SplendidCRM on the Mono/Linux platform.

The Microsoft universe sure benefits from Mono.

This new headline is amusing or at least slightly baffling:

Open source Microsoft .net platform available today

The open-source implementation of Microsoft’s .net development platform is expected to be released today.

Whose platform is it anyway?

Here is a new article about the Novell-sponsored Banshee, which is based on Mono.

Watch some comments in the following article about Mono and de Icaza. Watch how the writer, Bruce Byfield, goes out of his way and actually joins the commenters in attempt to defend de Icaza and Mono from many critics. This is hardly surprising, but it’s a rarity.

De Icaza acknowledges that Mono may always be struggling for parity. “Microsoft is always going to have some APIs we want to get our hands on — but, for that matter, so will other people. There’s always going to be some APIs we want to have.” However, he points out that parity goes both ways, and, given Mono’s support for projects such as D-Bus, it is also true that “Microsoft has a lot of catching up to do with us,” although he admits that such a comment is “probably a stretch.”

In order to spread Mono further, someone (or some company… sheesh! It’s a Novell employee) has just created this Mono Live CD, which is — you’ve guessed it — based on OpenSUSE.

Mono 2.0, a major new version of Novell’s open source .NET implementation, was released earlier this week. After I wrote about some of the new features, I got responses from readers who were looking for a way to try the new release without having to compile the code or install new packages on their production systems. If you want a simple and easy way to try Mono 2.0, check out the new Live CD.

The ISO file is installable Live CD image of OpenSUSE 11 that includes Mono 2.0, the MonoDevelop IDE, the MoMA migration tool, and a collection of WinForm demos. It also includes recent versions of popular Mono-based GNOME applications such as Banshee, Tomboy, and F-Spot. It is available for download via torrent or directly from Novell’s FTP servers.

So, what’s behind all that Mono hype. Readers are encouraged to draw their own conclusions.

OpenOffice.org 3.0 Out on Monday, But You Can Get it Now

Posted in Formats, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, SUN at 5:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

THE FINAL release of OpenOffice.org 3.0 is scheduled for the 13th of this month and launch parties are already being arranged.

OpenOffice.org is throwing a launch party in Paris on 13 October to mark the eighth anniversary of the popular open source office software suite and announce – it hopes – the release of version 3.0.

It’s bad practice to be hammering on the mirrors prior to an official announcement, but impatient people
already grab their copy and so can everybody else.

OpenOffice.org 3.0 Final has already been uploaded to a variety of mirror download sites ahead of the official announcement Monday 13.

Novell’s Michael Meeks pondersways of measuring the success of OpenOffice.org, which is used by one in four people in Brazil, for example.

Is success measured in downloads, or up-loads ? are bugs filed as good as bugs fixed ? are volunteer marketers as valuable as volunteer developers ? If we have lots of bugs filed and lots of volunteer management material is that success ? is the pace of change important ? Does successful QA exist to create process to slow and reject changes, or by accelerating inclusion of fixes improve quality ? Is success having complete, up-to-date and detailed specifications for every feature ? Is success getting everyone to slavishly obey laborious multi-step processes, before every commit ? Alternatively does success come through attracting and empowering developers, who have such fun writing the code that they volunteer their life, allegiance and dreams to improve it ?

He is taking cheap shots at Sun and we will write about that shortly.

According to a school’s IT professional, OpenOffice.org is more than enough to fulfill the students’ needs. More importantly, it’s Free (libre) software.

For the vast majority of users (students, teachers, and administrators, especially), OpenOffice is more than good enough. The price is certainly right, too.

Here is another new post about OpenOffice.org and other Free software programs in education.

The UK Government, even more so now they have just spanked £500bn propping up the banking system, must start to act and reduce the outrageous and completely wasteful expenditure on proprietary software. Why oh why don’t we just do a nation-wide roll out of OpenOffice.org to EVERY computer in the public sector and especially in Education? It would be a good start, and then we can get rid of that festering boil called Windows later.

* No more extortionate upgrade costs,
* no more public documents created in binary, patent encumbered formats,
* an end to the single vendor lock-in and monopoly,
* no more two-tier children…

Now more than ever (due to the credit crunch in particular), governments must consider OpenOffice.org not just for schools but also for themselves. As the following press release stresses, ODF is essential for presentation Microsoft Office does not support ODF.

2nd Annual Global ODF Conference Convened in South Africa to Discuss Access, Choice in Document Preservation

The South African government, in collaboration with the OpenDocument Format Alliance (ODF Alliance), will host the 2nd International OpenDocument Format (ODF) User Workshop, 9-10 October 2008 in Pretoria, South Africa.

The world could learn a lot from South Africa where freedom is understood better or appreciated much more because it was only recently regained (decades ago).

Eye on Microsoft: Week of Hardships, a Digest

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Microsoft, Security, Steve Ballmer, Vista, Windows at 4:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Catching up with the past week

Crippled by Design

Microsoft’s consumer-hostile and anti-GNU/Linux move still stands.

Microsoft retains 1GB RAM limit on netbooks

[...]

Another limit that Microsoft has in place is a hard limit on the amount of RAM you can have in a “Netbook”, or more specifically how much RAM the “netbook” edition of Windows will tolerate. In this case, it’ll allow an absolute maximum of 1GB. You might think that’s plenty for a “Netbook” – but we all know that the hardware demands of systems change rapidly, and when a “netbook” version of Vista is released I am sure it’ll be anything but RAM-friendly.

Microsoft could change this restriction in the future, but why have it in the first place? In today’s world, 1GB of RAM is really not that much. Even a desktop user with an office suite, an IM app, a few minor programs and content-laden web pages can push themselves up to the wall with a mere 1GB available.

Vista Problems

Another large-scope Vista rejection story:

Londoners can sleep safe in their beds tonight after the London Ambulance Service confirmed that it has no plans whatsoever to migrate to Windows Vista anytime soon.

It appears that, based on Microsoft, the advertisements for Vista were indeed a failure.

Microsoft has confirmed to Pocket-lint that the Seinfeld ads will never appear in the UK and that Americans are unlikely to get any more either.

ZDNet’s “Between the Lines” explains why Windows Vista failed so badly that Microsoft starts speaking about not just one piece of vapourware.

On Friday, Microsoft gave computer makers a six-month extension for offering Windows XP on newly-shipped PCs. While this doesn’t impact enterprise IT — because volume licensing agreements will allow IT to keep installing Windows XP for many years to come — the move is another symbolic nail in Vista’s coffin.

The public reputation of Windows Vista is in shambles, as Microsoft itself tacitly acknowledged in its Mojave ad campaign.

[...]

5. Apple successfully demonized Vista

[...]

4. Windows XP is too entrenched

[...]

3. Vista is too slow

[...]

2. There wasn’t supposed to be a Vista

[...]

1. It broke too much stuff

Microsoft already has “7″, “Midori” and “Strata” as vapourware, indicating that it is facing very intense pressure from the competition. It replaces products with mere promises, with imaginary products. From the horse’s own mouth:

“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

CEO Problems

As we pointed out some days ago, Steve Ballmer was dragged into the Vista lawsuit and ComputerWorld has a nice column about it.

Sometimes Microsoft makes it too easy to point out how slow and stupid
the company has gotten with little Stevie Ballmer in charge. Take, for
example, Microsoft’s claim that Ballmer knew next to nothing about his
company’s “Vista Capable” marketing campaign. And, therefore he
shouldn’t have to testify in the Vista class-action lawsuit that
accuses the company of deceiving customers with the campaign.

In a statement to the court, Ballmer said, “I was not involved in any
of the operational decisions about the Windows Vista Capable program I
was not involved in establishing the requirements computers must
satisfy to qualify for the Windows Vista Capable program. I was not
involved in formulating any marketing strategy or any public messaging
surrounding the Windows Vista Capable program. To the best of my
recollection, I do not have any unique knowledge of, nor did I have
any unique involvement in any decisions regarding the Windows Vista
Capable program.”

[...]

All-in-all, I’m willing to believe Ballmer really didn’t know. I mean
this is the same company where Mike Nash, Microsoft’s corporate VP of
Windows Product Management e-mailed Microsoft’s top brass on Feb. 25,
2007 that “I personally got burned by the Intel 915 chip set issue
that I bought PERSONALLY (eg with my own $$$).” “I know that I chose
my laptop (a Sony TX770P) because it had the Vista logo and was pretty
disappointed that not only wouldn’t it run [Aero] Glass, but more
importantly it wouldn’t run Movie Maker.” Nash felt that he had bought
a “$2,100 e-mail machine.”

Hey guy, a lot of other early Vista buyers felt exactly the same way.
That’s why they’re suing you.

Mac Daily News has found out that Microsoft’s CEO is like Novell's CEO in the sense that he is not keeping up on the competition.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer doesn’t know that Macs can run Windows

[...]

Only Apple Macs run Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, etc. and their attendant applications. In other words, not only is the Mac able to run the world’s most advanced operating system, Mac OS X, it can also slum it as a fast PC when the user so desires (or is forced to by Microsoft’s many attempts at lock-in). Because Apple Macs also offer the full “PC experience,” Ballmer’s criticisms — and $300 million ad campaign — fail completely.

Technical Failures

Looking back at the end of an era, IDG has this list of worst Windows flaws. It starts thusly:

June 25, 1998, and June 30, 2008, marked two important milestones in Microsoft’s evolution of the Windows OS — the passing of the torch from Windows 95 to Windows 98, and the less seemly transition from XP to Vista.

It gets worse further down the list. Pingdom provides more visual evidence of the problems.

The infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) probably hasn’t escaped the notice of anyone who has used a computer in the last decade or so. If you haven’t seen it on your own PC, you probably know someone it has happened to.

There is a gallery of incidents there, including the recent one from the Olympic games.

Law

On several occasions in the past, we’ve already mentioned Bill Gates’ lobby for foreign workers [1, 2]. He was lying.

Now it turns out that this H-1B visa scheme is turning into a fraud. Given the economic climate, it’s a bad time for this to be revealed.

A report released Oct. 8 by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) reveals that 13% of petitions filed for H-1B visas on behalf of employers are fraudulent. Another 8% contain some sort of technical violations.

[...]

Technology companies, in particular, have come to rely on the H-1B visa program to bring in skilled foreign workers to fill jobs that employers claim can’t be filled with U.S.

[...]

Microsoft Chairman and co-founder Bill Gates has twice testified in front of Congress on the issue.

Speaking of fraud, there is some more in Seattle.

Two former top executives from Seattle software provider Entellium were arrested on Tuesday night after allegedly inflating their company’s revenues to attract investments.

Remember what a certain someone once said:

“There is such an overvaluation of technology stocks that it is absurd. I would include our stock in that category. It is bad for the long-term worth of the economy.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO

Real Networks, the company which Microsoft schemed to ‘pull a Netscape’ on, is struggling like many others. Here is a new reminder from the past:

Real Networks had more success with an antitrust lawsuit it filed against Microsoft to compel the software giant to include the RealPlayer streaming media software in Windows. In 2005, Microsoft agreed to settle the case and paid its smaller adversary $761 million.

Finance

Fearing for the welfare of its savings, Microsoft starts digging down its bank account.

Microsoft wants to be kept abreast of the latest developments in Washington Mutual’s bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, to many people’s surprise, Bill Gates ceases to be the richest American. Despite selling $billions in Microsoft shares over the past few years, his worth declines significantly. Gates is heavily invested in some tobacco, alcohol and oil companies, among other iffy businesses, not to mention media companies that he owns and therefore controls (be nice to Microsoft!).

BILL GATES has been the richest American on the Forbes 400 list for 15 years – well not any more, as this crown has been handed over to none other than insurance and jewellery flogger Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett.

Gamer Blorge opines that Microsoft’s XBox/entertainment division is already feeling the pinch, having shut down parts of its operations.

One of the silliest arguments fanboys like to make is that Microsoft has a vast reserve of unlimited resources, all of which can be thrown at the Xbox division. Just like any other business, Microsoft is in the console market to make money and not to fuel useless fanboy fancies.

According to Silicon Alley Insider, Microsoft is in a hiring freeze and slowing down spending for the time being. Initially, it was reported that all of Microsoft would be doing this, but a clarification from a spokesperson indicated that this was false. According to an email sent out by Robbie Bach, head of Entertainment and Devices (Xbox and Zune), only his division will be enforcing a freeze on hiring.

This division has already lost billions of dollars. The myth of Microsoft becoming profitable everywhere it goes is just a tired myth. Period.

Yahoo!

In another major blow to Microsoft, one of its key investors abandons the ship blaming the company’s obsession with on-line business.

A well-known hedge-fund manager has hit out at Microsoft’s “overaggressive and almost panicky” attempts to plump up its online investments.

[...]

Meanwhile, Microsoft shares have tanked over the past few weeks forcing Ballmer to admit on his recent tour of Europe that no one was safe from the dollar meltdown on Wall Street.

Is Yahoo still safe from Microsoft? We sure hope so, but Yahoo is currently exploring its options.

Nine months after Yahoo first rejected a takeover bid from Microsoft, the Sunnyvale, Calif., Web search and advertising concern still is looking for a deal to solve its troubles.

As we recently pointed out, the Microsoft-influenced government and those Microsoft-hired LawMedia AstroTurfers were largely responsible for the Yahoo-Google pact temporarily falling through (put on hold).

The pact was brokered in the wake of Microsoft’s withdrawn takeover bid for Yahoo. At the time, Microsoft had changed course to try and buy Yahoo’s search biz, but Yahoo wasn’t interested in such an arrangement.

Since then, Google’s share of the Web search market has widened to 63% as of August, according to Internet tracking firm comScore. Yahoo dropped to 19.6% and Microsoft slipped to 8.3%.

Yahoo is reportedly talking with AOL now.

Yahoo is continuing its marathon merger discussions with AOL, sources close to the negotiations have whispered to us, and a deal could happen as early as this month. Is this just a rehash of the reported discussions in February and then again in April?

One of Yahoo’s large shareholders is also pushing for a Microsoft takeover.

The investment firm Mithras Capital, a large Yahoo Inc. shareholder, has renewed its push to get the Web-search company to sell itself to Microsoft Corp., according to press reports.

Security

There’s a lot on the security front too. A very large number of serious security flaws were reported in Microsoft software. This includes no less than 4 “critical” vulnerabilities, which enable crackers to hijack Windows computers remotely.

On Thursday, Microsoft announced four security bulletins for next week. The announcement is intended as a heads-up for IT departments before Patch Tuesday. Four fixes are considered critical, six important, and one is moderate as ranked by the software giant.

It’s worth remembering that almost 1 in 2 Windows PCs is already a zombie PC. Windows makes botnets. Such computers are being used to dispatch about 150 billion SPAM per day and Virgin’s server is now collapsing under the pressure.

Tens of thousands of Virgin customers have spent four days cut off from, or with little access to, their e-mail accounts after a suspected spam attack.

The problem affected a company which processes messages delivered through the Virgin.net platform.

Virgin’s E-mail service was down not so long ago due to Microsoft-related issues. [article from February]

Virgin Media customers have been suffering email outages for several days, prompting the firm to call in Microsoft engineers to help with an urgent upgrade.

Also in the UK, those brute-force E-mail floods lead to a phishing catastrophe.

Hi-tech fraudsters are taking advantage of the global financial turmoil, say governments and security experts.

Most scary among the security headaches is this news from the World bank:

World Bank Under Cyber Siege in ‘Unprecedented Crisis’

The World Bank Group’s computer network — one of the largest repositories of sensitive data about the economies of every nation — has been raided repeatedly by outsiders for more than a year, FOX News has learned.

It is still not known how much information was stolen. But sources inside the bank confirm that servers in the institution’s highly-restricted treasury unit were deeply penetrated with spy software last April. Invaders also had full access to the rest of the bank’s network for nearly a month in June and July.

Spyware. Which operating system were they running?

BSoD for Novell

Links 11/10/2008: Linux 2.6.27 Released; Good Mandriva 2009 Reviews

Posted in News Roundup at 2:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

New Releases

  • GIMP 2.6.1 Released
  • Drupal 6.5 and 5.11 released
  • Mandriva

    • Mandriva 2009 with KDE 4: First Impressions

      Great job Mandriva team! I think you have a new user. I’m going to stick with 2009 through it’s cycle (personal commitment) without distro-hopping (if you know me hold me too this), and if it’s successful, I plan to purchase the 2009.1 Powerpack. Would I pay $59 for Ubuntu? Heck no! Would I pay $59 for this, with all codecs pre-installed, and a few commercial apps? Heck yeah!

    • Mandriva Linux 2009 Released
    • Mandriva Linux 2009 released [2]
    • Mandriva 2009 – KDE4 for mass adoption

      Mandriva is the first to release a new version this season among the others like Ubuntu, Fedora and Opensuse. Being early to release a cutting edge version with KDE 4, Mandriva has done a really impressive job. In this way they can win a lot of new users who are waiting for an upgrade. I seriously doubt if there will be better implementation of KDE 4 in the near future.

Kernel Space

F/OSS

Leftovers

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Andrew Pitonyak, author and computer scientist 05 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: October 10th, 2008 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: October 10th, 2008 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

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