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10.29.08

Use of False Promises to Attract Free Software Developers

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 6:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If thought can corrupt language, then language can also corrupt thought.”

George Orwell

Further to a couple of previous posts about MicroFOSS [1, 2], it seemed important to provide evidence of Microsoft’s plan to imprison FOSS developers inside its proprietary stack, whose direction and cost it always controls. Over the past decade (or more), Microsoft has exploited control of its stack to discriminate against hospitable rivals like Netscape. FOSS developers who refuse to recognise this are doing so at their own peril.

According to Linux Magazine, Microsoft is so serious about pulling FOSS developers away from GNU/Linux that it now dedicates a whole technology centre to the task. It’s located in Europe.

Microsoft Corporation has opened an Open Source Interop Technology Center near Munich, Germany that should promote open source software on Windows and improve the relationship of its products with the free software community.

There is some more information about this general theme with focus on content management systems.

Surprisingly, Microsoft is aiding administrators with installing popular open source software packages — including WordPress, Drupal, DotNetNuke, phpBB and Graffiti CMS.

This is not a victory for FOSS projects. It’s merely part of a strategy that Microsoft unveiled (or let leak) a year ago. Alastair at Tectonic has surprisingly, once again, helped promote this notion that Microsoft wants open source developers… merely to enrich lock-in like Silverlight (XAML) and cloud computing.

Microsoft has announced its cloud computing initiative and it’s called Azure. The company also says that Azure will include support for open source web development tools.

Open development tools for proprietary clouds? Spin, spin, spin. They tried the same thing with Silverlight [1, 2]. They cast this as something that’s open source-oriented when it fact it is very much the opposite because it strives to replace or destroy open and free alternatives. It wrecks a commodity.

Compatibility with Microsoft’s #1 rival is another important factor. Yes, GNU/Linux is #1 rival, according to a recent admission from Microsoft’s CEO, who complements the spin with lies that are repeated over and over again.

“There’s a lot of Linux out there — much more than Microsoft generally signals publicly — and their customers are using it…”

Paul DeGroot, a Directions On Microsoft analyst

It was roughly 6 months ago that Microsoft’s intent to leave GNU/Linux out of its cloud became visible. Robert Scoble, formerly of Microsoft, pointed this out.

There is another certain item that stood out in yesterday’s open source news. It’s about Blackboard [1, 2, 3], a Microsoft-funded patent-loving attacker, which is facing a battle against attractive Free software competitors like Moodle and Sakai. Blackboard seems to be trying to embrace and envelope these competitors, making them part of itself. From a new press release:

Blackboard Inc., a leading provider of educational enterprise technology, announced today that it has partnered with Iowa State University to develop software that will allow institutions to connect their Blackboard(R) learning environment with the open source Moodle course management system.

In July, Blackboard announced a similar partnership with Syracuse University to develop an integration for the open source Sakai course management system. Both efforts — which will be made available at no cost to institutions in the Blackboard community — are part of Project NG, Blackboard’s multi-year, multi-release effort to deliver a next generation teaching and learning

Are they trying to lump FOSS in just so that it becomes part of a Blackboard ‘prerequisite’? Like Microsoft wants to put GNU/Linux applications on top of Windows to leave Linux dried up? Here is another new article about it.

While open source advocates tend to view Blackboard’s for-profit, license-based model with disdain, the company has responded with a public commitment to embrace free sharing of code when possible. Its first effort to that end, earlier this year, was a partnership with Syracuse University to develop a free software plug-in that would bridge the divide between the Blackboard interface and data from Sakai, one of the main open-source course management packages.

Today, at the annual conference of Educause, the higher education information technology group, Blackboard is announcing a similar project to integrate with Moodle, the other primary open source alternative. Although it was previously known that Moodle would be next, the announcement revealed that Iowa State University would develop the plug-in with support from Blackboard.

As noted in the news several hours ago, Blackboard is dropping in terms of market share, much like Microsoft still loses to Apache (in the month of October).

Meanwhile, although enterprise, license-based learning management platforms continue to dominate the higher education landscape (56.8 percent use Blackboard, down from 66.3 percent last year), the potential for increasing open source adoption remains.

I ought to admit that I am not intimately familiar with the diplomatic affairs of educational software, so maybe this is all benign. It does, however, resemble Microsoft’s attempts to devour Free sofwtare projects.

“Forty percent of servers run Windows, 60 percent run Linux…”

Steve Ballmer (September 2008)

Hewlett-Packard Dumps Novell’s SUSE, Picks GNU/Linux Instead

Posted in GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft, Novell, Windows at 5:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

To be totally sarcastic for a moment, has H-P listened to us [1, 2, 3]? The company is dropping SUSE and it’s being covered all over the place although this one minor detail about Novell is mostly left out.

First of all, is this a clearance sale of SUSE-based machines?

In the market for a Netbook? Amazon has the baseline HP 2133 on sale for $299, down from $499. Right away that solves one of the HP’s main problems: its high price. Best of all, this is a new unit–not a refurb–and you don’t have to deal with any rebates.

It turns out that Business Week was right. Roughly a month ago it claimed that H-P was working on its own custom-built GNU/Linux distribution, much like the Xandros derivative from ASUS. It’s worth adding that, according to Shawn Powers of Linux Journal, “I’m sure Asus has their reasons for not allowing a download of the restore ISO. Perhaps they are under some legal obligation to keep it off the digital shelves.”

There is no apparent sign in the news of what distribution the new offer is based on. Here are some examples:

1. HP expands mini-notebook line in time for holidays

HP is really going after “digital snackers” with a second model, the HP Mini 100 with MIE (Mobile Internet Experience). This model, available in January at a starting price of $379.99, does away with a traditional operating system in favor of an HP developed Linux platform that is designed for specific applications. You can get e-mail through a Thunderbird client, web browsing through a Mozilla-based browser and access to all your photos, videos and music.

2. HP revs netbooks: Attempts custom Linux OS

Hewlett Packard on Wednesday rolled out a netbook lineup designed to play catch up with Dell, Asus and others. But the real interesting play here is HP’s move to develop a custom Linux operating system for one of its netbooks.

3. HP gets serious about Netbooks

The HP MediaStyle interface is available on the Mini1000 MIE version, which comes with Linux rather than Windows XP like the other two models. MediaStyle sits on top of Linux and is a dashboard that takes users to music, IM, photos, videos, and the Web with one touchpad click, which HP says will shield users from ever having to interact with the open-source OS.

What is it based on anyway? We could not verify this for sure, but it’s claimed to be Ubuntu GNU/Linux.

… with the MIE graphical interface:

http://www.crunchgear.com/2008/10/29/hp-breaks-the-netbook-mold-with-the-mini-1000-and-mie-linux-netbook/

I posted this information in the other thread about the new HP Mini. Most likely the MIE interface can be changed to a more conventional desktop such as Gnome, KDE, or XFCE. The real news here is that HP DROPPED SUSE FOR UBUNTU!!! :D

The cited post says: “HP gives you the choice of either Windows XP or an Ubuntu-powered “experience” MIE operating system. This Mobile Internet Experience streamlines most common uses into a custom built homescreen that screams of HP’s Touchsmart interface – that’s a good thing.

This is also good news because it may be another step away from Microsoft ‘Linux tax’.

Bad decision

Quick Mention: “Merry Christmas, Easy Recession, Now Pay Up”

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Windows at 3:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

Bill Gates

WHEN will people finally understand the harms of ‘free samples’?

MICROSOFT will rip an estimated $70 million out of the aged care sector’s IT budget over the next 18 months as it forces users to pay full commercial rates for previously discounted software.

Aged care providers are shocked by Microsoft’s decision to revoke their not-for-profit status, which gave them access to its products at a heavily discounted rate. As a result, Microsoft’s Office, Sharepoint and SQL server products are firmly entrenched in the sector’s IT infrastructure.

Microsoft did the same thing to British charities last year. It needs money — and fast. We previously mentioned what it had begun doing in China [1, 2]. They too are annoyed with this ‘trial version’ ending and a second lawsuit has just come to light.

A second Chinese man has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft demanding it remove a notice from his computer accusing him of using illegally copied software.

Even Chinese officials have woken up.

Now, vice-director of China’s National Copyright Administration, Yan Xiaohong has cast aired doubts over Microsoft tactics.

Microsoft is losing a lot of money in terms of overall value and bank balance. It has begun squeezing users and customers. Now is the time to escape to Free(dom) software.

GNU in the wild

Let the people roam

SUSE Linux to be Powered by More Microsoft .NET?

Posted in DRM, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE at 10:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer rides SUSEAssimilate or be shunned

Pascal Bleser, who has just been elected for the OpenSUSE Board (he won by a good majority in fact), clearly seems to be defending and almost welcoming Mono in his blog. It probably would be surprising had he expressed the opposite opinion because Novell is funding Mono-based projects, promoting Tomboy even for proprietary platforms and sponsoring Banshee, which replaces perfectly-fine applications that are free from Microsoft technology.

Ryan Paul still defends this too, as he typically does. Why the apathy? They simply help the Microsoft API (along with associated software patents) penetrate a Free platform. Bleser admits that Java is a decent option, so why does he join Novell’s Java opposers [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]?

It’s an open question.

Elsewhere in the news, it’s being suggested that Netflix will deliver to GNU/Linux… but only provided that the user accepts unacceptable risks like Silverlight.

Soon, with the aid of Silverlight’s integrated PlayReady DRM, Intel-based Mac users will be able to stream their chosen content.

Too bad there's no Silverlight for GNU/Linux, eh? Maybe the legally-unsafe Moonlight from Novell will bring DRM too. That would not surprise because Novell does not care about freedom and we have been speaking for quite some time about the possibility that Novell will bring DRM to its desktop.

“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

Does Microsoft Try to Conquer ODF to Sell Microsoft Office?

Posted in Africa, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Protests in Norway (OOXML)

NO matter one’s point of view, it’s clear that ODF is not going away. It has already become a national standard in several nations, whereas OOXML is typically shunned due to binary Office formats, (X)HTML, and PDF. ODF adoption too is increasing.

According to Tectonic, which is based in South Africa, the government there is “more committed to ODF than ever.” It’s worth remembering the tricks that Microsoft and its lobbyists tried to pull there, without success. In fact, South Africa filed a complaint shortly afterwards.

Open standards are critical in ensuring that the South African government both avoids vendor lock-in and promotes democracy. This is according to South Africa’s minister of home affairs, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

In a prepared speech for the opening of the recent Second International ODF conference in Pretoria, Mapisa-Nqakula said that the department of home affairs was “forging ahead to make open standards a priority” to ensure future ability to process and share documents “using formats which have significant impact on the efficiency, interoperability and accessibility of public services”.

Even if a country has strong pro-ODF inclinations, Microsoft wants to virtually force it to pay for Microsoft Office. As we’ve seen before, it may be capable of sending its lobbyists to threaten governments.

“As we’ve seen before, it may be capable of sending its lobbyists to threaten governments.”If Microsoft is able to take ODF into its own hands, which is something it may already be trying to achieve [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], then a pro-standards policy will be less effective than a Free software policy.

Meanwhile, it sure seems like there are appointments of more Microsoft cronies inside ISO. This time it’s Jesper Lund Stocholm [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. ISO becomes more of a farce as time goes by if it permits itself to be taken over by Microsoft’s interests.

In another new post from Alex Brown, there seems to be more typical agenda of promoting Microsoft Office for ODF. How ironic is is that the sidebar of the blog also includes a “Quotable” from “Jesper Lund Stocholm.” They are all from the same ‘group’, sharing the same vested interests and seeking to exploit the system for self gain, using it to their advantage.

The most un-enamoring thing of it all is infinite dishonesty from Microsoft, which fought ODF like fire. Now it’s just pretending to be its friend and evangelist, having snuck a proprietary format into ISO, using blackmail, bribes, sabotage, smear campaigns and vote-rigging.

“Freedom is primarily achieved by providing the means for self-reliance. When individuals can provide for their own needs independently, without placing burdens on others, they are more free.”

Terry Hancock

More Interesting Prebundling Moves

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Servers, SLES/SLED, Windows at 8:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft Corp is using scare tactics to exert pressure on PC vendors not to explore the potential of desktop Linux”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell

Back in July we saw how Microsoft had subjugated ASUS. This had an effect and it seems to have developed into somewhat of a trend, which is reminiscent of Microsoft’s pressure & retaliation tactics against OEMs.

VIA made a lot of headlines in Linux news sites recently. For starters, they hired a GPL superstar, but they also freed up some valuable code and made promises to GNU/Linux. It seems as though Microsoft is looking to stifle or reverse this newly-found affinity.

VIA, Microsoft launch ‘Bazaar’ program for white-box netbooks.

[...]

There are two things to note here. 1) XP looks like it will live on and in this program, you can bet that its being given away for next to nothing. 2) This looks like an X86-only initiative that will be used in positioning against ARM-based netbooks.

As quite a few people are aware, ARM is preparing to make its entry into the sub-notebooks market. This has been planned and also widely known for almost a year. ARM will be using GNU/Linux and it liaised with a few other popular companies.

ARM processors can’t run a standard version of Windows, so Microsoft can’t be too thrilled about it. Microsoft was also unhappy about BIOS accommodating Linux, and you can bet it intervened… until antitrust action came.

“We should whack them [Dell over GNU/Linux dealings], we should make sure they understand our value.”

Paul Flessner, Microsoft

Admittedly, some of the bits about VIA are a tad speculative and they should be treated as such. Carrying on with this ‘speculative mode’, watch the news about Lenovo servers. Mentioned here was this scoop about Lenovo elevating SUSE. It was discussed further in this older post.

All servers can be pre-loaded with Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, or Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 10, Lenovo’s “preferred Linux operating system provider”.

Where is Red Hat? Does one have to pay Microsoft no matter if the server runs Windows or GNU/LinuxBallnux?

“I’m thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux. … they should do a delicate dance”

Joachim Kempin, Microsoft OEM Chief

Quick Mention: Kevin Carmony Sued

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Law, Linspire, Microsoft at 7:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linspire

With the end of Linspire [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] came a lawsuit and infighting [1, 2]. Kevin Carmony is now being sued as well. Isn’t it ironic? He signed a deal with Microsoft, perhaps for fears of lawsuits.

Anyway, the detailed are here in his blog. Watch and learn what happens to Microsoft sellouts.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: October 28th, 2008 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

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