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10.16.08

At Microsoft, Cutting is Shipping

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 10:56 pm by Shane Coyle

And Shipping is a Feature.

Folks here in America have likely been hearing all too much about "Joe the plumber" for the last few days – by some counts nearly two dozen times in last night’s presidential debate alone, which occurred about a half hour drive from here, featuring a few Long Island style left turns, at Hofstra University.

Well, Microsoft is never shy about mimicking something that seems to work, and has decided to feature their own "ordinary Joe" developer, Larry Osterman, to provide some ground-level perspective into the Windows 6 – I mean 7 – development process that is ongoing, or perhaps complete since he refers to the process in the past tense a time or two, as noted by the Register.

Microsoft has of course not said when Windows 7 will ship, but there’s a widespread belief Windows 7 will arrive next year.

According to Osterman, it’s the Windows 7 feature teams are calling the shots on cutting features with management “standing behind them.” “In Vista it would have been much harder to convince senior management to abandon features,” Osterman reckoned.

“One of the messages that management has consistently driven home to the teams is ‘cutting is shipping’, and they’re right. If a feature isn’t coming together, it’s usually far better to decide NOT to deliver a particular feature then to have that feature jeopardize the ability to ship the whole system,” he said.

Astute readers will have noticed Osterman is using the past tense when talking about Windows 7. This suggests engineering has been completed. The reality, though, is Windows 7 is far from finished and Microsoft has been working on internal builds.

*blink*, *blink* So, the process for dropping planned features is now easier than it was during Vista development? I mean, did I read that right? Arguably, the perception that Windows Vista suffered a "death by a thousand cuts" is one of the most persistently negative impressions that is held by many techies regarding Vista (although, some folks would disagree).

Other than Multitouch and baked-in virtualization, what planned features of Windows 7 are even compelling enough to notice if they were dropped? Of course, should one of those two features not make the cut, it would likely be equivalent to the loss of WinFS for Vista – embarrassing, if not catastrophic.

As Moore’s law keeps on trucking and hardware continually gets faster and more affordable simultaneously, Vista will lose the stigma of sluggishness and bloat that has plagued it amongst consumers since its first introduction, and forced Microsoft to embark on the Mojave and Seinfeld expeditions.

However, the lack of excitement amongst the technical user base is something that continues to plague Vista, and from the sound of things it doesn’t appear to me that Microsoft has learned anything in that regard from their Vista development process, save integrating the testing team into the development process from the get-go, a staggeringly ’90s realization.

To borrow another overused term in this year’s presidential race here in the ‘States, it seems like Windows 7 is an instance of Microsoft trying to put "lipstick on a pig", if perhaps a slightly more svelte one that may help steer consumers to their Windows Live services, they must surely hope.

Embrace, Extend, and Apache

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Servers, Windows at 10:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“It’s part of a continuing behavior pattern by Microsoft that I think it’s fair to call “dirty fighting.” GoDaddy was using Apache (I assume on Linux) because it was a great technical solution. They didn’t switch to IIS on Windows Server 2003 for any technical reason. The switch was accompanied by a press release by GoDaddy, containing Microsoft promotional language. Now, I’ve changed many servers from one thing to another, but I’ve never made a press release about it. GoDaddy wouldn’t be doing that unless Microsoft had offered them something valuable in return. There has been talk in the domain business that Microsoft has been offering the large domain registries a wad of cash to switch their parked sites. There is no other reason to do this than to influence the Netcraft figures.”

Bruce Perens

APACHE HAS BEEN GAINING at the expense of IIS for several consecutive months now, despite dirty tricks from Microsoft. It’s an important ongoing discussion because Apache is a FOSS poster child. Microsoft just can’t stop this project, so it may be opting for a different strategy.

Just as Microsoft tried to gain control over ODF (blame all the luring, it seems to be have just approached and obtained partial control of Apache now that it’s cleared to commit code to it.

Few will have noticed, but Microsoft’s Jim Kellerman just announced that he and a Microsoft colleague have “been cleared to contribute patches again” to Apache, and specifically to the Hadoop project.

Microsoft is desperate to intervene with Apache’s direction [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Why is that? Might they be trying to earn the privilege to add Windows-only/Microsoft-oriented extensions, just as they contributed patches for SQL Server around the time of their Apache announcement (payment for a free pass)?

“They merely isolate competing projects from their other competitors.”To Apache, “GNU/Linux vs. Windows” is not an important debate. It’s clear enough that Microsoft, being another reckless for-profit business, will attempt to increase installations of Apache atop Windows Server. So, is this really good news, as Matt Asay tries to put it?

Microsoft engineers are not foolish. They merely isolate competing projects from their other competitors. They divide their rivals (divide and conquer). Without the neutrality of GNU/Linux, which enjoys a so-called ‘Switzerland status’, projects are left at the mercy of Windows, i.e. Microsoft.

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

Be’s CEO Jean-Louis Gassée

“Microsoft has had clear competitors in the past. It’s a good thing we have museums to document that.”

Bill Gates

Links 16/10/2008: Signs of More Free Software in Europe

Posted in News Roundup at 10:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

  • Migrating to Linux: How and Why

    Linux has gained a firm position in the embedded market. This raises the question of whether it is worth developing new products with Linux and replacing an existing operating system with Linux. There is effort and risk in any migration of an operating system, and the technical difficulties and analysis and planning for migration to embedded Linux require consideration and time.

  • Gartner: Mini laptops keep PC market from sinking

    Early in June, Acer dove into the mini-laptop market with the Aspire One netbook, which is designed to use Intel’s Atom N270 chip. Acer’s netbook runs either the Linpus Linux Lite operating system or Windows XP Home.

  • Hazy Computing
  • E17 adapted to Linux devices, demo’d on Treo650

    Carsten “Rasterman” Haitzler has adapted his Enlightenment window manager to low-powered, small-screen devices like mobile phones. The Linux desktop graphics pioneer has released a pared-down widget set, along with ports and video demonstrations of E17 on OpenMoko’s NeoFreerunner phone and Palm’s Treo650 (booted into Linux, naturally).

  • Five Ways to Keep Up With Linux
  • SoHo NAS devices run EMC Linux
  • Liquid Computing drops IQ for Ethernet

    The good news is, the LiquidIQ 2.0 machines run more than a modified version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, as the original machines that shipped in November 2006 did.

F/OSS

Leftovers

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Colin Angle, Co-founder and CEO, iRobot 01 (2005)

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

Silver Lie

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, RAND at 9:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

THE “scam” that Silverlight had become in 'the media' was covered here two days ago. We included many examples to show how Microsoft fooled the world through journalists, striving to give the impression — no matter how bogus it is — that Silverlight has something to do with open source and is cross-platform (it’s neither).

This type of dishonesty has shown little or no signs of abatement as disinformation continues to be disseminated to deceive Web developers. Here, for instance, is an article from TechWorld which states:

Also, a Linux version of Silverlight, dubbed ” Moonlight,” is being developed by a team of developers led by Miguel de Icaza at Novell, Microsoft officials noted.

The illusion of cross-platform must end. There is no “Linux version of Silverlight.” Those “Microsoft officials” are lying. There is no “port” either, just to refute another wrong terminology used by other journalists. Moonlight and Silverlight are separate. The latter is the ‘real thing’, whereas the former is a Novell me-too project which strives only to cling to coattails [1, 2].

The same type of mistake, calling Moonlight “a version for Linux,” is being repeated in InformationWeek:

Silverlight will run in Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer on Windows and Mac OS, and Novell is working on a version for Linux.

That’s incorrect. Developers might get the impression that Silverlight targets GNU/Linux users. It does not. Let’s repeat this again: GNU/Linux has no Silverlight and Microsoft has no plan to change this strategy.

Gavin Clarke, disappointingly enough (yes, again), wrote this article in The Register where he covers Flash but gets totally distracted by his showering with kisses for XAML, which is is trying to describe using terms like “open source”. It’s a gentle form of disinformation.

Microsoft wrapped the Silverlight 2.0 news with the announcement it’s funding a project at the open-source Eclipse Foundation to build open-source tools for Java. Also, Microsoft is releasing controls under its Open Source Initiative (OSI)-approved open-source license and releasing its XAML documentation under the company’s Open-Specification Promise (OSP).

Oh, goodness! Not that OSP again [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Silverlight media

Picture contributed by a reader

Mono Watch: Where Is It All Coming From?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, KDE, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent protection expires

Mono is still a controversial thing among readers of Linux Today, one of whom has just said:

Mono is a solution looking for a problem where the problem does not exists. If you want Web programming, there are enough Open Source alternatives that work actually better than NET in many cases and equals to it it in most cases.

VM environments include Java, PHP, Ruby, and Python. Frameworks include MVC type packages from Spring, Struts, WebWorks, Ruby on Rails,Ambivalence, WACT, CakePHP, etc. If NET is so wonderful, then why is MS so intent on offering a Ruby and Python for NET?

For whatever reason, while Ars Technica understands the problems with OOXML, it fails to recognise the known issues of Mono. To make matters worse, Mono continues to be promoted there.

Controversy erupted in the standards community this week when key members of Norway’s national standards body resigned in protest over procedural irregularities in the ISO approval process for Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) format.

This week also brought the long-awaited release of Mono 2.0, the latest version of Novell’s open-source implementation of the Microsoft .NET framework. Mono 2.0 includes support for C# 3.0 with Language Integrated Query (LINQ) support and many other compelling features. We also looked at the Mono 2.0 Live CD, which makes it easy for users and developers to try out the new version of Mono.

That Live CD comes from Novell and this type of infectious hype also made its way into EFYTimes.

The Mono project, an open source initiative sponsored by Novell, has 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.

Overall, this level of coverage dedicated to an unimportant piece of software is rather baffling. We mentioned this bafflement before [1, 2]. It’s truly curious that a lot of the coverage actually comes not just from Novell; it also comes from its partners at Microsoft. Here, for instance, is some coverage from Justin James at TechRepublic. James appended a disclosure: “Disclosure of Justin’s industry affiliations: Justin James has a working arrangement with Microsoft to write an article for MSDN Magazine.” No wonder he promotes Mono.

For developers who want an alternative to Microsoft Visual Studio, there is Mono Develop. A new version of Mono Develop is slated for release in January 2009; it will deliver improved usability and an enlarged feature set, including support for Visual Studio file formats. This will allow developers on the same team to use both Mono Develop and Visual Studio, with no conversions between the two needed.

From the same site comes coverage of GNOME Do, which depends on Mono. They covered Banshee a few days ago. It’s Mono based and Novell-sponsored as well; same with Kerry Beagle (for KDE), which I came across the other day while looking for desktop search programs. It’s frustrating to see how Mono spreads down the dependency trees, even in KDE-based distributions (this was on Mandriva 2008.1).

For a couple of months now we’ve been tracking the movement of Mono around KDE [1, 2, 3]. It was seemingly gone — at least in terms of progress — well, for about a month. Now it’s back to making progress. From the very latest KDE Commit Digest:

Richard Dale committed changes in /branches/KDE/4.1/kdebindings/csharp:

* Promote the C# bindings from the trunk to the KDE 4.1 release branch
* Regenerate the KDE and Plasma sources from the 4.1 headers

This raises some concern.

What ever happened to forgotten article like this one from Tina Gasperson: “The patent trap: If Gnome gets Mono”

From the “things that could happen if Mono is incorporated into Gnome” department: Intel, having gleefully taken advantage of the MIT licensing on Mono’s class libraries, enforces its patents against every entity making use of its modifications, including the Gnome project, effectively shutting it down.

[...]

We are surprised we heard little complaining when Ximian CTO and Mono project leader de Icaza told The Register, “I’d like to see Gnome applications written in .NET in version 4.0 — no, version 3.0. But Gnome 4.0 should be based on .NET. A lot of people just see .NET as a fantastic upgrade for the development platform from Microsoft.” de Icaza took issue with The Register over the headline on the article, but he didn’t deny that he made the statements as quoted. We don’t know what, if anything, will come of the Mono license change, and of course, de Icaza is not the CTO of Gnome, only of Ximian. However, we’re also not sure why Intel insisted on the MIT license instead of the LGPL, but you can be sure it has everything to do with protecting so-called intellectual property.

So, even if they are not part of the Free Software religion, shouldn’t Open Source software developers be doing everything they can to keep software patents out of their projects? If you think Intel. or any other company, would do whatever it takes to protect their profits, then the idea that they would insert patented processes into the Mono libraries, sit back while Gnome makes use of them, and then try to cripple or even shut down Gnome through sky-high royalties or refusal to grant license doesn’t seem implausible. What better reason to use the GPL or the LGPL? What was de Icaza thinking when he adopted the MIT license?

How true certain words can be even 6 years down the line.

“Linux: the operating system with a CLUE… Command Line User Environment”

comp.software.testing

Is Microsoft ‘Hijacking’ NComputing in Order to Tap Children?

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OLPC, Ubuntu, Windows at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

WHAT IS happening with NComputing, particularly in India?

Days ago it was reported that they were looking into the use of Ubuntu or another variant of GNU/Linux (NComputing offers several options). From IDG: “NComputing is working with the state governments of Assam and Tamil Nadu on pilots for the deployment of its virtual desktop technology on Linux PCs, according to Dukker.

Then, a day or so later, it was announced that Windows somehow made it in, despite this national interest in GNU/Linux. What happened? Well, fortunately we have been tracking some rather mysterious moves in NComputing as of late, namely an appointment of a former Windows manager [1, 2] (one of the highest ranked ones, alongside Jim Allchin and Brian Valentine, both of whom left as well).

It would not take a genius to merely speculate that Microsoft may be getting its grubby hands on more and more companies that ‘dare’ to distribute GNU/Linux in large numbers. As we pointed out before (see links), schools in entire countries offered GNU/Linux to their students because of NComputing.

Another thing that we pointed out before is that “Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential” is code word for “anti-GNU/Linux budget.” We provided examples that show how reactionary Unlimited Potential really is [1, 2, 3]. It’s chasing GNU/Linux wherever there is ‘danger’ of it being deployed.

In the following new press release, the involvement by Unlimited Potential is made very clear. The press release states: “The computing labs will be used to teach computer skills and office productivity (spreadsheets, word processing) as well as subjects like reading and math. The entire system will run on the Microsoft Windows Server operating system and use Microsoft Office Suite. “India holds a strong position in the knowledge economy today due to the country’s consistent investment in education over the years,” said Javier Arrupea Gitlin, director, Microsoft Unlimited Potential Group. “In India and around the globe, Microsoft is committed to enabling affordable access to computing for education. Through Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential commitment, we are continually looking for innovative and affordable technology solutions that can sustain social and economic progress. Initiatives such as this announced today that leverage the value to educational computing provided by the Windows Server platform represent yet another solution that can help move us towards this goal.”

William Poole used to head Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential program briefly before he left and then joined NComputing. Is Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential sneaking people into actual companies where they can blindly sign deals with Microsoft? Are they doing deal with themselves? Shades of Paul Maritz inside VMware, that’s for sure!

Anyway, the possibility of an ‘inside job’ is fairly reasonable given what was seen before. Over in Portugal, disappointed peoples still wonder about those Magalhães laptops, whose parent company is in court for fraud allegations at the moment.

After the sickening OLPC incidents, it would be naïve to assume that Microsoft plays this one fairly.

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: October 15th, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

Links 16/10/2008: Flash Player 10 Released, RPM Fusion in Testing

Posted in News Roundup at 3:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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GNU/Linux

F/OSS

Land of the Criminal

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Digital Tipping Point: home audio video buff Marc Merlin 05 (2005)

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