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10.31.08

Silver Lie is Still an Open-Source Lie

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hey, Gavin, what are you doing?

AS vital background to this rant, be sure to have read previous posts about Microsoft casting Silverlight as “open source <something>” [1, 2]. It’s a distasteful attempt to market Silverlight to developers under a false premise. It’s a game of words. It’s dishonesty at its very finest.

Courtesy of Gavin from The Register, herein you can find more of that old spin about Silverlight/XAML and “open source.”

Microsoft wants open-source recruits for new model army

[...]

The company has released M, its new programming language for building textual domain-specific languages (DSLs) and software models using Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) under its Open Specification Promise (OSP).

Once again it’s Gavin Clarke who helps them manufacture these headlines (it is his pattern [1, 2, 3]). It’s not to be overlooked. Headlines matter a great deal because they enjoy a wide circulation and they make first impressions. It is rather laughable that even an infamous OSP makes its appearance again (for background, see [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]).

To make matters worse, later comes another article from Gavin Clarke and the the headline contains the phrase “Open-source Silverlight.”

Moonlight has also benefited from Microsoft’s engineering input and media work as a result of the relationship between Microsoft and Novell – the chief sponsor of Mono and Moonlight.

Thank you, Novell. Thanks for nothing. Some of the comments are worth seeing too.

Bad Silverlight

Dell, Please Fix Your Ads… and Your Web Site

Posted in Australia, Deception, Dell, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Videos, Vista, Windows at 12:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Decent proposal, gentle advice

WE SHALL try to keep this short and polite. It’s supposed to be constructive criticism, not a complaint, and it’s needed because Dell is doing something which angers some GNU/Linux enthusiasts. It’s seen as a bit of a insult, which should be trivial to correct.

Some Background

It was over a year ago that Dell’s GNU/Linux ads began to appear.

While working on my personal blog site, which happens to have Google Adsense ads running on it, I was surprised to find Google ads for Linux-powered Dell desktops showing up.

Earlier this month, some more adverts were spotted by Joe.

It’s one small step for Dell and consumer Linux — and one giant leap for Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux efforts. Specifically, Dell is spending advertising dollars to promote PCs with Ubuntu Linux preinstalled. The move has significant implications for the business world as well. Here’s why.

First, some details about the advertisement. Many many U.S. newspapers on Sunday, October 12, included a multi-page Dell flier. Among the many products advertised was the Dell Inspiron Mini 9, a low-cost sub-notebook designed for email and Web browsing.

Early in the year Dell produced some viral videos and more professional commercials even made it into television, as shown here last week.

If this an Dell / Enfatico spot– we take back all the slams we had to the advertising agency prior… It’s about Linux! Whoo hoo!!

We’ve produced an Ogg version of this video, as some readers prefer it that way.

Ogg Theora

Direct link

This is good. Dell is showing GNU/Linux in the mainstream.

But Why Make a Mess on the Carpet?

Over at the blog of Ken (of Lobby4Linux fame), it’s shown that Dell’s paper advertisements for GNU/Linux-based sub-notebooks are ‘decorated’ with a prominent reminder that Dell recommends Windows. What’s that about? If you advertise Coke (as in Coca Cola), you don’t attach a label to it saying that Pepsi is the better choice. It makes no sense. Are they trying to actually sell what they advertise? Watch the image in Ken’s blog and pay attention to the cynical remarks.

Dell screwed up. No wait…they didn’t screw anything up. They fully intended to do what they did. Now tell me they are not under the thumb of Microsoft. Why was this statement necessary? Let the customer decide. So tell me Dell is a friend of Linux or that they are not complete quislings for the Redmond Empire. Oh please…I do so want to hear you tell me this. It will be an Academy Award performance. It will have to be to explain away this.

Ken warned about this type of stuff before, but he lacked convincing proof (other than history).

You can’t advertise Linux because Microsoft has threatened you with exorbitant licensing fees and other sanctions if you do. That would be my guess. In fact, If I were to guess further, I would hazard a guess that those top-secret vendor agreements Microsoft demanded you sign actually states that you cannot actively advertise or promote Linux. I could be wrong…but if I am I’m not far off.

For what it’s worth, we remain suspicious — based on actual evidence — that Dell pays Microsoft quite handsomely for sales of GNU/Linux-based computers. We don’t exactly recommend Dell, and that’s putting it gently.

With regards to the advertising strategy, when Windows suffered an Epic Fail at the Olympics, SJVN wrote.

The biggest Blue Screen of Death ever

[...]

Why? Because, according to the Morning Herald, both the Beijing Olympics committee and Lenovo, a major backer of the games, had deliberately chosen to run XP operating system on the games’ PC because they didn’t trust Vista. Turns out they shouldn’t have trusted XP either, but they should have known that. Best of all, Lenovo chairman, Yang Yuanqing, said Lenovo had chosen not to use Vista because, “If it’s not stable, it could have some problems.”

So, next time you go to an online PC sales Web site and you see that line about “We recommend Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium,” just remember: They’re lying.

it’s all part of a silly scheme that was never intended to assist customers. Shouldn’t the likes of the ASA step in?

An Illusions of Choice

A reader of ours from Australia sent a gentle alert about Dell’s Web site in his country. “The Dell website fails,” he writes.

“I went there yesterday just to check things out, did a search for “Ubuntu” to see what search results I’d get. The first system that came up was a Vostro notebook with Ubuntu, so naturally I clicked the link [but] it comes with Vista. And there is no option to choose Ubuntu.”

To summarise, says the reader: “It was rubbish, you get a Vostro notebook put in front of you like “hey we got these with Ubuntu”, then when you click the link its, “you can have Vista or umm Vista”.”

Maybe it’s an innocent mistake. Hopefully it is.

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

Paul Flessner, Microsoft

With ‘Partners’ Like These, Who Needs Competitors?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mail, Microsoft, NetWare, Novell, Open XML at 12:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

ON MICROSOFT’S BEHALF, Novell has already caused so much to harm the Free software community. It turned its back on the GNU GPL, leading to a domino effect that has had Turbolinux and Xandros sell out and Linspire close shop. This also fueled FUD attacks on GNU/Linux, appeased regulators for no good reasons, enabled Microsoft to exclude competitors from virtualisation [1, 2, 3] and so forth.

What has Microsoft done for Novell recently? Well, other than those payments that perpetuate exclusion and enable further harm such as OOXML, how does Microsoft repay? Standing out in the news this week was the following report about Brighton Council tossing Novell out. In whose favour? Microsoft.

Brighton & Hove City Council is moving its IT infrastructure onto a single network that will provide Microsoft software for all its 4,500 staff.

The council previously had a number of disparate servers and IT systems including a Lotus Notes email system and Novell networking technology.

It appeared in several on-line magazines in the UK.

Novell’s special partner is also publishing whitepapers that directly compare (and dismiss) Novell’s products. Here is the latest example from 4 days ago. It’s a case study.

The company was using a Novell-based networking and e-mail system, which it found increasingly challenging to integrate with its business and IT applications from other vendors. As a result, the company decided to standardize on Microsoft technologies, migrating to Active Directory®, Microsoft® Exchange Server 2007, and the 2007 Microsoft Office system.

When will Novell realise that its no-compete-like clause/agreement with Microsoft is an abomination? Microsoft asks Novell to take a nap while its ‘robbing’ its core business, which accounts for about 80% of Novell’s revenue.

Novell won't survive by following this route because its cash-generating produces run dry and it’s allowing this to happen. It’s almost as though Novell gave up and handed away leadership.

Dry ground

Is this a future?

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: October 30th, 2008 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: October 30th, 2008 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

Eye on Microsoft: Picture of a Monopoly in Constant Decline

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista, Windows at 5:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“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]

Hasta La Vista, Vista

Microsoft appears to have given up after unsuccessful ad campaigns and a lukewarm response. It moves on to 'vapourware mode' once again, after 5+ years of vapourware mode for Windows Vista (2001-2006). Here are some supportive new references:

1. Embattled Vista set to ride into the sunset

Otherwise, despite the fact that Windows’s toughest challengers – Linux and Apple Inc. – remain bit players in the operating system game, Microsoft risks suffering in the arena of public perception, again.

2. Microsoft bailing on Vista

It is a commonly known truth that since Vista was launched, alternative operating systems from the likes of Apple and Linux are doing better than ever.

3. Windows Vista No Longer Matters

Make no mistake: Microsoft has moved beyond Windows Vista, which will become all too apparent during this week’s Professional Developer Conference. Windows 7 is the future, and in many ways it’s the present, too.

4. Vista is doomed

AS MICROSOFT goes into this week’s Professional Developer Conference, it is hard to find anyone keen to talk about Vista. True, it is a developer’s forum, so you would expect a fair slice of the talk to focus on Windows 7, but it seems that no one wants to mention the V word, according to Microsoft Watch.

Almost 2 years after the RTM milestone of Vista, Apple and Vista still don’t get along, proving that maturity and compatibility may still be far off.

iTunes 8 to Vista: Give Me a B, an S, an OD

[...]

Apple says the problem can have more than one cause, and the company hasn’t yet promised a patch. But if you’re suffering from this unhappy pairing,

Vista graphics

Vista 7 Already Open to Hijackers

Yes, only a short time after reaching the hands of testers, Vista 7 [sic] is open to attacks, just like the rest of those versions of Windows.

“A security issue has been identified that could allow an authenticated remote attacker to compromise your Microsoft Windows-based system and gain control over it,” the security update says.

The more than 6,000 attendees who will be walking away from the sold-out event with the Windows 7 operating system software in hand could have been vulnerable to an attacker exploiting the security hole.

Some early testers of Vista 7 are far from impressed.

My initial evaluation of Windows 7 shows that it’s really just Vista with a fresh coat of paint

This says that Vista 7 is just as slow as Vista.

More on Security

Pseudonym Bob X Cringely has published the article “Windows: Unsafe at Any Speed,” which reached the New York Times and provoked to then receive a lot of reactions. Here’s a reflection:

I like the convenience-store analogy. But when a 7-Eleven gets robbed, everyone who shops there doesn’t end up getting his wallet lifted. When there’s a critical Windows flaw like the one they patched last week, everyone is vulnerable. We need more than security cameras here, bub.

According to the BBC, kids as young as 11 capitalise on the insecurities.

“I see kids of 11 and 12 sharing credit card details and asking for hacks,” said Chris Boyd, director of malware research at FaceTime Security.

Many teenagers got into low level crime by looking for exploits and cracks for their favourite computer games.

To those dare to exploit trivial loopholes receive severe punishment, but shouldn’t the vulnerable system deserve at least some of the blame?

Student charged after alerting principal to server hack

[...]

A 15-year-old high school student in New York State has been charged with three felonies after he allegedly accessed personnel records on his school’s poorly configured computer network and then notified his principal of the security weakness.

The unnamed student of Shenendehowa Central School was charged Thursday with computer trespass, unlawful possession of a personal identification information and identity theft, according to news reports. He has been suspended from school and ordered to stand charges in family court in Saratoga County.

There’s not much hope when intrusion might as well be assumed.

“State and local officials are investigating if state and law-enforcement computer systems were illegally accessed when they were tapped for personal information about “Joe the Plumber.”

Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher became part of the national political lexicon Oct. 15 when Republican presidential candidate John McCain mentioned him frequently during his final debate with Democrat Barack Obama.

The critical flaw which affects virtually every version of Windows and enables almost any machine to be hijacked without user intervention is actively being exploited already.

A public exploit has been circulated for the recent RPC hole in Windows. When the vulnerability was publicised last Wednesday, Microsoft still said in its security bulletin that although there were targeted attacks, the actual attack code wasn’t publicly available – but the company did warn that the the hole was a potential target for worms. It now seems that this prediction has come true, as a program called “Gimmiv.A” has reportedly been sighted in the wild. Gimmiv.A infiltrates vulnerable computers and sends information back to base. Some virus scanners and intrusion detection systems already offer signatures to recognise these attacks.

Azure Means Giving Microsoft Your Computer, Too

It has been said for months that cloud computing has the danger which is lock-in. Mike reminds his readers of that.

There was a ton of press coverage today over Microsoft’s not-particularly-surprising announcement of Microsoft Azure, its attempt to get into the cloud computing business, competing with the likes of Amazon, Google’s AppEngine and (now) Rackspace, among others. Microsoft entering this space isn’t a surprise at all, so it’s a bit disappointing to see the sheer lack of details surrounding the announcement. Amazon has succeeded in the space because of two main things: incredibly cheap prices and ridiculous ease-of-use.

The troubling thing is that Microsoft’s platform is merely lock-in 2.0.

First of all, Microsoft doesn’t have the greatest track record on the Internet, and it’s not clear that developers will jump onto the Windows Azure bandwagon. Will businesses be willing to commit to a proprietary platform and lock their cloud applications to Microsoft’s datacenters?

Well, that least Microsoft is being honest.

“When you hit the quota…it’s possible we will block access to your site,” Microsoft’s Manuvir Das told PDC after a session, Lap Around Windows Azure. Das did try to reassure potential developers blocking was not guaranteed, but noted: “We have the capability to do that and may have to do that.”

Miscellaneous

The astounding failure rate of XBox 360 is still leaving customers angry, as evidenced by the following post.

A supposedly ‘Elite’ system which I had to purchase last year the DAY after Halo 3 was released since I got the Rings of Death?

This is very bad for the Microsoft brand. Between the Line sums it up well by writing that “Fear of Microsoft Fades.”

[I]t’s exactly 10 years ago this week, that a live audience of Microsoft watchers was trying to crowd into Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson’s court room in Washington, D.C., so grab a glimpse of Chairman Bill Gates’ video deposition on whether Microsoft had used the monopoly power of its operating system to drive Netscape and its Navigator browser out of business.

Those who claim that Microsoft suffers no decline are simply not keeping up with things.

Links 31/10/2008: Ubuntu 8.10 Released, Strong Week for GNU/Linux Overall

Posted in News Roundup at 4:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

F/OSS

Leftover

  • Opera Sings an Ode to Browsers Everywhere

    Mr. von Tetzchner said that Opera’s engineers have developed a version of Opera Mini that can run on an Apple iPhone, but Apple won’t let the company release it because it competes with Apple’s own Safari browser.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Dan Gillmor, creator of the phrase, “Distributed Journalism” 06 (2005)

Ogg Theora

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