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10.14.08

Links 14/10/2008: GNU/Linux in Schools, Qantas Planes

Posted in News Roundup at 8:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

F/OSS

Leftovers

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Digital Tipping Point: home audio video buff Marc Merlin 02 (2005)

Ogg Theora

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

Media Reality Check: Microsoft Silverlight a Big Programming Scam

Posted in Apple, Deception, DRM, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Windows at 7:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Neither open source nor cross-platform

This post is not a rant. It is justified criticism of 'the media' which, having been fed Kool-Aid from Microsoft, flooded “open source” feeds with one of the worst poisons out there, which are not only harmful to open source but are also harmful to the future of the Web, open access (OA) included.

To paraphrase some memorable quote, “Silverlight is cancer on the Web.” It is intended to restrict or altogether block access to information, discriminate to promote Microsoft’s business agenda, force developers and users to purchase software from a monopolist, harm digital durability and curation (DRM, specifications), and stifle search engines too. Silverlight was already looked (still is being looked) by antitrust regulators in two continents: Europe and America. Relevant links are appended to the bottom of this post.

“Watch how they ‘decorate’ the uninteresting announcement of Silverlight 2 with popular terms like “open source” and “Linux”.”Silverlight is a big danger, potentially bigger than OOXML and SharePoint. Who could possibly befriend such a monster and why?

It’s not just Microsoft’s fault. Well, the news feeds are flooded with wrong headlines and misleading messages because Microsoft did a publicity stunt abusing the term “open source” and abusing the term “cross-platform”, partly thanks to help from Novell.

We shall defend this contention with evidence. Watch how they ‘decorate’ the uninteresting announcement of Silverlight 2 with popular terms like “open source” and “Linux”. Dishonesty or lies about open source, as well as their relation to platforms, are things that we discussed before. It’s developers whom they want to capture and deceive in order to spread XAML around the Web and thus gain greater control over Web content.

Here you can see Miguel de Icaza do his role pretending that Silverlight is Kool (Aid) with GNU/Linux. He’ll be presenting at a Microsoft conference by the way.

In the Q&A, Tim Anderson asked about Linux support. Right now Silverlight has partial support for 1.0 (though it doesn’t include video or MP3 playback, two of the main features of Silverlight 1.0) and there is no support for 2 on Linux right now. As Tim notes, it’s misleading to tout the cross platform aspect of Silverlight without an actual release. It’s also surprising that there was absolutely nothing in terms of a roadmap for Linux. My hunch is that they wanted something to announce for PDC and this may be it. As Brian Goldfarb mentioned in the Q&A session, Miguel de Icaza, who runs the Moonlight effort, has a session at PDC although his session doesn’t say anything about Silverlight/Moonlight so I’m not sure what to make of that.

The funny thing about PDC is that the page about sponsors almost gives the effect and impression that many companies are involved. A whois lookup, however, quickly nets:

 Registrant:
        Microsoft Corporation
        Domain Administrator
        One Microsoft Way
        Redmond, WA 98052-6399
        US
        domains@microsoft.com
        001-425-8828080  Fax: 001-425-9367329

    Domain Name: MICROSOFTPDC.COM
    Registrar of Record: Corporate Domains, Inc.

    Administrative Contact:
        Microsoft Corporation
        Domain Administrator
        One Microsoft Way
        Redmond, WA 98052-6399
        US
        domains@microsoft.com
        001-425-8828080  Fax: 001-425-9367329
    Technical Contact:
        ORCSWEB, Inc.
        Tech Contact
        3020-I Prosperity Church Road
        Charlotte, NC 28269
        US
        webteam@orcsweb.com
        001-909-7153115  Fax: 000-000-0000000

    Domain servers in listed order:

        NS1.MSFT.NET
        NS5.MSFT.NET
        NS2.MSFT.NET
        NS3.MSFT.NET
        NS4.MSFT.NET

    Created on..............: 09-Sep-03
    Expires on..............: 09-Sep-10
    Record last updated on..: 08-Sep-08

Anyway…

Here is a whole article which only found it interesting that Silverlight is touching ‘something’ called Eclipse.

This, said the company, will enable ports of Silverlight to the Macintosh and Linux platforms. In addition, Novell is working on its own Linux port.

This is deceiving. Once again there’s this vague talk about a port to GNU/Linux. This is not a port. Moonlight is not a port; it’s an independent poor copycat, which will never catch up. Dana Blankenhorn compared it to a “lead pony” (in a horse race).

Here is another yucky one:

Microsoft’s second Silverlight courts open-source coders

Microsoft is courting open-source developers with Silverlight 2.0, as it strives for cross-platform uptake of the browser-based media plug in.

The impression one is supposed to get is that Silverlight targets an open source crowd. This is deceptive and it’s unlikely to be a coincidence. Silverlight is proprietary and the article only talks about a tiny or inexistent niche for the technology.

Here is another such example:

Microsoft Shines Open Source Initiative on Silverlight

[...]

The authoring tools for Microsoft’s Silverlight, the new rich-media Web plug-in, will soon be available for those working on Macs and on open source programs.

What about GNU/Linux?

Some people still fail to understand the point about Novell striving to make Microsoft’s .NET some sort of de facto ‘standard’. Miguel de Icaza already storms a page to defend himself in the following post that contain this:

Having Silverlight used on such a massive event like the Olympics also helps MS help to convince people who switched to Macs that they are on the wrong platform. After all, all they have to do is release a new version of Silverlight and not release it to the Macs on the same day. Bam, people start jonesing for Windows again.

This type of problem is only to be expected. Moreover, it’s all about DRM, money, and PR.

Microsoft announces the availability of Silverlight 2 with new features including DRM and enhanced advertising support. Microsoft also announces funding for an open-source project to create an Eclipse plug-in for Silverlight.

And there are many more examples of this distraction and open source detour:

In an attempt to bring more non-Microsoft and open source developers into the fold, Microsoft announced that it would be funding the development of Silverlight-related capability in the Eclipse Foundation’s open source development environment, not only Microsoft’s Visual Studio.

At all costs, Microsoft is hoping to spread this proprietary XAML disease across the Web, along with the Mono disease (did anyone know there is a novell [sic] called Momo?).

To summarise, Silverlight is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Discourage Webmasters who make use of Silverlight and discourage those who accept the content or download appropriate plug-ins, of which there are none for GNU/Linux. Microsoft used Novell as its excuse for ignoring GNU/Linux as a target platform, despite (or because) it being Microsoft’s #1 rival.

Silverlight toilet

Related reading (internal):

Related reading (external):

ODF, New OpenOffice.org off to a Great Start, Despite Novell’s ‘Sabotage’ Attempts

Posted in Deception, Fork, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Java, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Review, Standard, SUN at 9:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Downtime and Novell hecklers out of the way

The word “sabotage” is a bit strong, so we put it in scare quotes. But the word sabotage was previously used to describe Microsoft’s malicious interception of a big OSDL announcement [1, 2], the sabotage of PlayStation3 launch parties, and similar not-so-laudable conflicts throughout VMware’s big event [1, 2, 3]. There is a whole long history there and Novell is inheriting Microsoft’s tactics now [1, 2].

Ryan Paul sort of fell into Novell’s trap in his coverage of the release of OpenOffice.org 3.0. It does begin with some good bits though.

OOo supports several file formats, but uses OASIS’s OpenDocument Format (ODF) by default. ODF is rapidly gaining widespread acceptance and is also supported by Google Docs, Zoho, IBM’s Lotus Notes, and KDE’s KOffice project. ODF is increasingly being adopted as the preferred format by government agencies in many different countries. This trend has placed pressure on Microsoft, which has agreed to include native ODF support in future versions of Office.

Towards the end, it becomes rather clear that Novell — albeit through its programmers (well, companies are just people) — is trying to throw mud at this announcement in order to gain greater control over the project.

“There is a whole long history there and Novell is inheriting Microsoft’s tactics now.”The headline used by Ars Technica is deceiving because it’s based on the words of a senior Novell employee, whose message is disguised in a seemingly-innocent post about the success of OpenOffice.org. The gentle insults are piggybacking the limelight earned by Sun for a few days.

For clarification, see the other side of this debate. There is no “development stagnation.”

Why would Novell do this? And no, please don’t buy the “I’m just a hacker” defence — an excuse or exemption from “an uncontrolled community” that shelters Novell from many critics (same tactics are being used to defend Mono). It’s possibly done in order to give this illusion that CIOs cannot depend on OpenOffice.org or that “the future is not bright.” It’s a contamination of an important announcement and message at a very strategic time. This timing is not a coincidence and there was possibly a plan and preparation of this.

Either way, the timing of this actual release was good. This came at a good time for special reasons:

OpenOffice 3 launch timed perfectly but will Sun, IBM exploit opportunity?

[...]

As the global economic crisis dries up credit and whacks IT budgets, corporate chiefs and administrators are going to be more open to a Microsoft Office alternative that is more compatible with Microsoft Office.

Novell wants to make more/most of the money from the project (support contracts) while at the same time ably adding some unwanted elements (and potential costs) to this hugely popular software. Novell/Microsoft use as an excuse Sun’s control, but it’s intended to increase their own control (Novell along with Microsoft) as they exaggerate existing and perceived issues in the process. It’s self serving, brutal, and dishonest. It’s about choking Sun, not just subverting Free software using patents, OOXML, and .NET (Sun is a JAVA company).

OOXML patent issue prompt

There is a rebuttal to the Novell FUD, which was posted in the GullFOSS blog. It draws some figures and concludes with the following:

OOo 3.0 was a Major Release and in it many general restructuring and refactoring was started. Also from now on the default file format is based on ODF 1.2 (the standard will be approved soon) instead of ODF 1.1 in OOo 2.x. All these changes could be done in a major step only, because of possible incompatibilities to the the 2.x code line.

This major release was a challenge for all release driver on OOo. Also the OOo teams for QA and L10N had many new things to organize, which didn’t exists on OOo 2.x code line or wasn’t a problem for that updates. Thanks to all the teams for their hard work.

The release was a success if demand is something to judge by, but enormous demand knocked down the key server (index to mirrors) at a most crucial of times. NBR has some more details on that:

One major hitch: intial interest in Open Office 3 was such that the openoffice.org download site crashed, unable to cope with the traffic (and as I write, half a day into the release, there are still “technical difficulties”).

As the world turns to cost savings and real standards like ODF, such demand needs to be expected and appropriate preparations made. As Bob Sutor indicates in his latest essay, the world is rapidly embracing ODF as a national standard. He presents a map of nations extracted from his presentation slides.

What always strikes me at such gatherings is the passion of those who have committed to adopting ODF. You get people who have decided for all the usual reasons that ODF makes sense for their use, or that of their department, or their agency, or their government. We’re seeing interesting and varying bottom up, top down, and middle out patterns of adoption in different parts of the world.

Any smart CIO (or small business) should invest in software which is controlled by customers and end users. Anything other than that, especially in schools, is a case of letting people become ‘addicted’ — as Bill Gates put it — to a particular vendor. Moreover, in the case of education, there is a chance and even a responsibility to teach children transferable skills using Free(dom) software. This can help them build their own economy (just watch Brazil go). All countries should do this and some already do.

Lastly, Ovum has this so-and-so analysis of argumentation involving document formats.

The debate on ODF versus OOXML continues to rage, with ISO offering to take on the maintenance of the ODF standard that is currently under the care of the standards body OASIS. This follows resignations from the Norwegian standards body, Standard Norge, with accusations that there were improprieties in the OOXML adoption vote.

Added below is some press coverage for a sense of completeness.

Release Coverage

Here is the press release.

Celebrated at a launch party in Paris today, and just in time for the eighth birthday of the project, the OpenOffice.org Community today announced the release of OpenOffice.org 3.0. The third major update of the leading productivity suite delivers significant enhancements and advanced, extensible, productivity tools for all users, including Mac users, as OpenOffice.org now runs natively on the Mac OS X platform.

Other coverage includes:

Heise: OpenOffice.org 3.0 Reviewed

OpenOffice.org is a free cross-platform office suite, originally developed as the proprietary StarOffice suite. It combined a word processor, spreadsheet, database and presentation tools and was available for Unix and Windows based systems. The StarOffice code was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 1999 and released under a LGPL/Sun licence in 2000. In 2005, OpenOffice.org’s licence became LGPL only, prompting greater adoption by the open source community and Linux distributions. Now, OpenOffice.org is about to release their third major version of what is the de facto standard in open source office productivity.

iTWire: OpenOffice 3.0 released, ready for download

Finally out of the beta and release candidate versions, Sun Microsystems’ OpenOffice.org 3.0 has been released for anyone to download and try for themselves. Here’s my “first look” at this brand new Office suite!

Linux.com: OpenOffice.org 3.0 is an incremental improvement

At least OpenOffice.org’s frumpy interface is familiar. And with all the changes in version 3.0, most users will probably discover at least half a dozen ways in which their office productivity is suddenly easier.

Ars Technica: OpenOffice.org 3.0 officially released

The new version offers some aesthetic enhancements and usability improvements, including a new icon set that makes the user interface cleaner and a convenient slider control for adjusting page zoom. OpenOffice.org 3.0 also has a new launcher interface, improved support for annotations, and a handful of other new features.

Examiner: Treat yourself to a suite alternative: OpenOffice.org 3.0

Your mileage will definitely vary, and how much it varies depends on just how you use these productivity applications. Although, given the fact that OpenOffice.org is one free 150MB-ish download away, it can’t hurt to give it a run in your own productivity environment.

IT Pro: OpenOffice 3.0 now available for download

New features in the word processing software ‘Writer’ include multilingual support, better zoom tools for editing, and the ability to edit web-based wiki documents. The spreadsheet, called ‘Calc’ now supports 1024 columns per sheet and a collaboration mode for multiple users, as well as a new equation solver. Graphics program ‘Draw’ can now manage images up to three square meters in size, while presentation software ‘Impress’ now has a table designer.

Web Monkey: OpenOffice 3.0 Embraces Microsoft File Formats and Adds Mac Support

Other changes include a “Start Center”, some new, more legible icons, and a zoom control in the status bar. On the whole the beta doesn’t look much different than previous versions, but each of OpenOffice’s apps have received some welcome new changes features like improved PDF creation throughout and a much better Notes tool in Writer, the OpenOffice word processor.

This last article wrongly claims that “OpenOffice 3.0 Embraces Microsoft File Formats.” It’s a common mistake that’s repeated in some other Web sites.

There will be many more articles, but most of the actual news is already out there for everyone to see.

A certain Novell hacker contacted us a couple of hours ago, so the contents of this post were changed slightly.

OOXML data vacuum

Novell Incorporated: Convergence of Windows and GNU/Linux Since 2006

Posted in GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Windows at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patents incorporated also

Novell and Microsoft piss on GNU/Linux codebase

SEVERAL DAYS ago, in an essay from Novell’s management in Canada, the relationship between Microsoft and Novell was reaffirmed in the sense that it was shown once again that Novell competes not against Microsoft and Windows; it competes against UNIX, Apple, Sun, Red Hat, Ubuntu (Canonical) and so forth.

To quote Ross Chevalier, “It’s not about replacing Windows with Linux, it’s about making it dead simple for the two to work together.” He also adds: “No other software company our size is as about interoperability as we are.”

Clearly enough, Novell has not heard of open standards as a bridging element. Or maybe Novell is just indifferent, almost uninterested, so it facilitates and reinforces Microsoft lock-in instead. Had Novell behaved properly, it would be capable of saying: “No other software company our size is as about open standards as we are.” But Novell supports ActiveX, Windows Vista, Internet Explorer, .NET, and even XAML.

NindowsNovell seems as obsessed as Microsoft with this sound bite: inter-oper-ability. Big word, empty promise, no substance. What would make better ‘interoperability’ than an almost-complete unification (imitation rather) of APIs, based on Microsoft’s own terms, of course? Software patents (equals cost) as well as control are only two among a variety of broad issues. Whereas reverse engineering like Wine encourages no developers to actively build the Free desktop using Microsoft APIs (including DirectX), Novell’s MonoDevelop is a sign that Novell has sincere yet risky intentions to do so.

Well, as the road to Mono clears up and even Microsoft people join the cause (yes, not only Novell staff is on board anymore), lots of media hype is generated to usher what Novell wishes to label “inevitable”. It’s true, Novell gave up fighting and it wants us too to become defeatists. Novell insists that Windows and .NET are not going away and therefore they must be embraced, even through internal assimilation of GNU/Linux to Windows’ 'superb' security model and intellectual monopolies (.NET).

Sam Varghese has a new article about the unexplained hype surrounding the release of Mono 2.0. We are not the only ones to have noticed an abnormality.

As Novell vice-president Miguel de Icaza, the head of this project, has been blathering on about Mono for years and years, one did not expect that this announcement would have any more traction than the grandiose announcements of previous releases.

Mono, after all, is a project that tailgates APIs from Microsoft, and its development and adoption increasingly makes those who use it open to patent infringement claims by Microsoft.

Surprise, surprise! Many sections of the tech press went bonkers about this announcement. To use a phrase from a former Australian politician, a whole conga line of suckholes lined up to write about it and even interview de Icaza.

[....]

In June 2001, Ximian set up the Mono project. Today the project defines itself as “an open development initiative sponsored by Novell to develop an open source, UNIX version of the Microsoft .NET development platform.” The Novell bits were introduced in 2003 after the purchase of Ximian.

When Microsoft can proudly claim that Free software developers use .NET (Mono) it can then invite them to do it with ‘real thing’ (Visual Studio) for the ‘real’ platform (Windows Vista). Novell and Microsoft help promote a notion, not just among users but also among developers, that GNU/Linux is a second-class choice, a clone, a compromise [1, 2]. They prevent those developers from taking the lead with already-leading and highly-proven technologies like Java.

Mono, ECMA, Microsoft

Another reasons to avoid Mono may be backward compatibility, as pointed out by one of our readers.

I really do not understand why Net is not backwards compatible but I suppose at least I should be happy that the libraries can co-exist instead of the old DLL hell. Microsofts attempt to replace Java could have been implemented in a better way.

Novell’s attitude remains both tactless and dangerous. It puts itself (and moreso others) in unnecessary danger of reliance and dependency, both from a technical and a legal perspective. Moreover, it does almost nothing to compete with Windows.

Novell’s attitude is something like: Why compete with Windows? Just try to work together with Windows (and really hope that Microsoft won’t bite the heads off). Other people knew better, but they learned this lesson the hard way. It was already too late, but they can still teach us something many years later.

“I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense — I deserve it.”

Be’s CEO Jean-Louis Gassée

“Pearly Gates and Em-Ballmer
One promises you heaven and the other prepares you for the grave.”

Ray Noorda, Novell

Nokia, Apple, Microsoft, and Other Software Patent Brats

Posted in Apple, Asia, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patents protest against EPO

Latest Damage Assessment

A few days ago we wrote about the derailing of the Indian and English patent systems, partly due to Nokia (Symbian). The monopolists want software patents even where the law explicitly forbids it. Microsoft does this too, e.g. in South Africa and in India.

To change laws by breaking them — thus potentially setting a precedence — is still a felony; it’s not a victory and people should be furious. As ORG puts it, in relation to the latest debacle in the UK:

“Unlike copyright, patents can block independent creations,” said ORG. “Software patents can render software copyright useless. One copyrighted work can be covered by hundreds of patents of which the author doesn’t even know but for whose infringement he and his users can be sued.”

Companies that are in favour of software patents include Microsoft, which encourages companies to licence software from patent owners.

Ciaran from the Free Software Foundation Europe wrote: [via Digital Majority]

[I]f the drafters intended the exclusion to be meaningless, why did they bother adding it? Of course, the EPO’s interpretation isn’t at all what was intended.

A second obvious problem with the EPO’s interpretation is that it doesn’t just render meaningless the exclusion of computer programs. It renders all the exclusions meaningless, so games, doing business, scientific theories, “rules and methods for performing mental acts” (yes, ways of using your brain), and all the other things listed in Paragraph 2 of Article 52 should be patentable. Which is completely absurd.

Unfortunately, a UK appeal court has recently upheld this bizarre twisting of patents – and that article mis-reports the patent dangers as “protection” for software developers.

Developers want copyrights. They don’t want to work inside an unfamiliar minefield (patents). Polls consistently suggest so.

Nokia

Let us look a little more closely at what Nokia, the sole owner of Symbian, is now doing. Over in India, where the situation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] is already turning complex due to Microsoft, BT, and some other companies like Symantec (mostly dependent on Microsoft), there is this attempt by Nokia is trying to sneak in some software patents too.

New Delhi, Oct 12: World’s largest mobile phone maker Nokia has filed a patent application in India for its networking solution which allows a user group to share multimedia contents during a group communication.

And this is the owner of Qt?

Glyn Moody has just published an article to explain this catastrophic landmark ruling, attributed to Symbian (Nokia).

Although I’ve written elsewhere about the recent court case of Symbian v Comptroller General of Patents, noting that it was bad news, I hadn’t realised quite how bad the news was until I went through the complete judgment.

It’s plain that the judges in question, who to their credit tried their level best to understand this mysterious stuff called software, failed to grasp the central issue of what software is. As a result, they have passed down a judgement that is so seriously wrong it will cause a huge amount of damage in the future unless it is revoked by a higher court.

[...]

Basically, the UK patent office appealed against an earlier appeal against its own refusal to grant a patent to Symbian for a programming technique. Yes, you read that correctly: the Patent Office was trying to get an appeal against its refusal to grant a patent struck down, because it didn’t believe that the original patent application should be allowed. Through its own appeal, the UK Patent Office was trying to establish what could and could not be patented in the world of code.

There are so many more articles about this subject, including ones that propose an overhaul due to economic reasons.

No matter what the degree of adequacy or inadequacy of the system to today’s technology markets, a situation that is based on deliberate abuse of the law cannot be desirable. Therefore, either the law as it is should be more strictly enforced, or it should be adapted to better fulfil its economic purpose.

On the other side of things, Nokia has just been sued by a patent troll called Azure Networks. The case was filed in Texas, as usual.

A patent-holding company has sued Nokia Inc. for allegedly infringing two patents related to computer network security appliances, according to a new lawsuit.

Nokia may attempt to argue that its software patents are intended to defend it under such circumstances. Well, too bad that according to Azure Networks’ Web site, the company has no products. The renders such an argument for software patents totally moot.

Apple

Apple may be recognised an easy target to pick on, but the matter of fact is that its patents are hurting GNU/Linux desktops. Here is Apple’s latest (among very many) patent.

As per the patent, one of key components is a hardware component called “voice-to-command analyzer” which would determine whether the audio is meaningless or represents an action request. This would save other processors the burden of deciphering speech.

How can Apple be labeled a friend of open source when a lot of what it does is obtain intellectual monopolies which act as fences against programmers?

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today… some large company will patent some obvious thing… take as much of our profits as they want.”

Bill Gates

Eye on Microsoft: Being Booted from Land of the Lobby

Posted in Courtroom, Google, Microsoft, Office Suites, Servers, Windows at 5:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We have lost pace and also lost track of this series of posts which readers have requested, so here is a fast catchup.

Bye Bye, Miss American Pie

One of the headlines that stood out was about Microsoft losing the very same place it’s manipulating like no other technology company. Yes, Washington has decided to say farewell to Microsoft Office and shortly we will do another post about OpenOffice.org.

Washington D.C. has joined 500,000+ businesses and organizations in moving its communication and productivity tools into the cloud. Vivek Kundra, CTO for the District, signed an agreement with Google to migrate the organization’s 38,000 employees to Google Apps, the search giant’s web-based offering of communication and productivity tools. Washington D.C. is a not-insignificant win for Google, and yet another blow to Microsoft’s incumbent Office suite, as a surge of web apps steadily replaces their desktop counterparts.

Realty Check

The sub-heading at the very top is a bit of a stretch, but amid these troubling economic times, the following among 20 quotes is still fascinating:

19. “There is such an overvaluation of technology stocks that it is absurd. I would include our stock in that category.” Ballmer comments on the dot-com bubble, back in 1999. It burst not long after, proving him right.

At least Microsoft’s CEO is being honest. Sometimes. And with very heavy buybacks approved to be issued, Microsoft may fall into debt pretty soon. Bill Gates expressed deep concerns for the economy a day or so ago, so he must know something (inside information) about Microsoft, which Steve Ballmer openly insisted is not immune to the financial crisis. That was over a week ago, just before the most horrendous week or trading.

Super VIsta is Still Just a Vista

Colleagues of mine had the ‘pleasure’ of working with Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. Back in 2006 I sat down and wrote my thoughts about it. It went like this:

“…Been in a meeting just a moment ago. It was comical.

“Some folks have decided to experiment with Microsoft’s latest ultimate super
ultra high-processor/computing offer. Guess what?

“The computational server can — for whatever reason — accept only two
connections at the time. To make matters worse, one has to log off, so being
idle is out of the question. Even then, there are bugs that leave sessions
hanging, IIRC.

“It gets worse.

“40 nodes are available but sometimes only one is actually used. With two
users logged on, one would sometimes keep 39 nodes occupied while the other
gets just one.

“I am told it’s buggy. I am told it’s unstable (even from people who favour
the use of Windows on the desktop). People who wanted to take this gamble
with Microsoft on the server are complaining and probably have regrets. “We
have informed Microsoft”, they say, but what do they expect? Microsoft holds
the code and it’s too arrogant to take care of bugs upon the customers’
demands (just look at Internet Explorer). Bill Gates, who is the mastermind
that insisted on releasing the product, will soon retire. The product was
released half-based after long delays.

“Problems only on the server? You bet it ain’t the case. A colleague of mine
is spending weeks (if not months) trying to run experiments on a Windows XP
laptop. Hibernation fails, jobs are crashing after long runtimes, and
certain movements of the laptop (e.g. the jerking in a car) lead to crashes
as well.

“Thank you, Microsoft, for reminding people why software you produce is going
down the dustbin. It’s better to produce a reliable desktop before deciding
to take entire clusters down.”

That’s what I wrote back then. Now comes SJVN with some testimonials from customers.

Microsoft, after spending decades paying no real attention to high-performance computing, wants to be an HPC player with the release of HPC Server 2008. Can you believe it? Yes, there was Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. After a long search, I found one user. He told me, “Updates that require reboots are far too frequent for production-use systems,” “Jobs randomly crash,” and “Few HPC applications actually support Windows compute nodes.”

It does not sound as though much progress has been made since then. There are more urgent issues to address, mainly using vapourware techniques.

Taking Another Company to Court

Microsoft, having amassed so many cases against it, has just sued DHL.

Microsoft Sues DHL After Train Dumps 21,600 Xboxes

Microsoft is suing U.S.-based cargo-delivery service DHL Express for allegedly losing 21,600 Xbox game consoles because of a train derailment in Texas, according to court documents.

The XBox business has already accumulated billions of dollars in losses. Where will it end and why it Microsoft hiding the truth?

“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: October 13th, 2008- Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: October 13th, 2008- Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

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