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Novell and Microsoft Inseparable in the Press

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Security, Virtualisation at 5:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft ZUN
Who’s toying with who?

Novell is shutting down offices across Europe (these are not layoffs) in order to reduce expenses. However, there might be better ways for Novell to slash unnecessary costs.

Joint Novell/Microsoft ads are appearing very repeatedly in eWeek, so why don’t Novell and Microsoft just call it a day and partially merge their marketing teams? At least then people would also realise that Novell is more of a Microsoft subsidiary than a “Linux company”.

Here is an advertisement which appeared earlier in eWeek. That’s what it says:

Mixed Source Virtualization
Microsoft and Novell: Driving data center agility through mixed source virtualization
Until recently, the burden of interoperability has rested on the shoulders of the IT professional. With the collaboration between Microsoft and Novell, however, this is no longer the case. Join us on Oct. 29 as experts from Microsoft and Novell share insights into how mixed-source virtualization can help improve operational efficiency, and what work is being done to help manage these environments.
Register Now!

Aside from the fact that this Web site displays an ‘expired’ ad (eWeek’s parent company went bankrupt), what is a person supposed to conclude from this? The companies are a pair.

There are even nastier things happening at IDG News Service. A few days ago we showed how Nancy Gohring was entertaining Android FUD over there. She seems to be doing this again by advertising a security product but presenting it as an ‘article’ (see it to believe it). This also contains FUD such as: “SMobile argues that because Android is open source, it will attract more hackers who will be able to look for holes they can exploit to gather user data for malicious purposes.”

You can’t make this stuff up. IDC, is that you again?

Theft of Ideas, Followed by Patenting; Microsoft Sued Again

Posted in Asia, Courtroom, Law, Microsoft, Patents, Vista at 5:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

China is hammering Vista again

WANNA HEAR a dirty little secret? Microsoft does not seem keen on checking for the possibility of duplicates at the USPTO. In fact, it seems to be a matter of principle not only to obtain lots of patents but also to ignore prior art in the process. This revelation came to light yesterday at Slashdot.

Eric Brechner writes a best practices blog called Hard Code for Microsoft under the name I.M. Wright. His most recent post sounds like an endorsement of open source development (and does end with a call for Microsoft developers to participate in the shared source community). But even better is his advice regarding patents: ‘When using existing libraries, services, tools, and methods from outside Microsoft, we must be respectful of licenses, copyrights, and patents. Generally, you want to carefully research licenses and copyrights (your contact in Legal and Corporate Affairs can help), and never search, view, or speculate about patents. I was confused by this guidance till I wrote and reviewed one of my own patents. The legal claims section–the only section that counts–was indecipherable by anyone but a patent attorney. Ignorance is bliss and strongly recommended when it comes to patents.’ Interesting advice from inside Microsoft. I wonder if Ballmer would agree that ignorance should be ‘strongly recommended when it comes to patents’?”

Stealing Ideas

Going back to 2006, it’s possible to see Microsoft accused of theft.

Microsoft denies theft charges

Symantec filed the complaint last week in Washington state federal court.

It claims Microsoft misappropriated data storage software for use in technology such as its new Vista operating system.

“Over the course of nearly a decade, Microsoft has deliberately and surreptitiously misappropriated Symantec’s valuable storage technologies, misled and thereby convinced the US government to issue patents to Microsoft based on technologies invented by Symantec,” the complaint says. Microsoft countered that the suit was a result of “a very narrow disagreement” on the terms of a 1996 licensing deal Microsoft had with software security company Veritas, which Symantec acquired last year.

Going as far back as 2004, another accusation of theft shows up.

Microsoft settles Sendo ‘tech theft’ lawsuit

UK mobile phone maker and erstwhile Microsoft partner Sendo today said they had settled their long-running legal dispute.

The terms and conditions of the out-of-court deal were not disclosed, but it is known that Microsoft will hand back its four per cent stake in the privately held Sendo.

Sendo was Microsoft’s original smart phone partner, but the two fell out in 2002 when the manufacturer accused the software giant of nicking its technology and customers.

We covered more examples in the not-so-distant past. We also elaborated on the meaning of this.

Microsoft Sued for Infringement

The example above (from 2006) reveals that Windows Vista is theft — or put differently — an accumulation of knowledge of other people. That’s just the nature of ideas.

Maybe Microsoft will learn to change as more lawsuits like this new one hit it.

A small Chinese hi-tech firm is suing Microsoft for alleged intellectual property rights violations in its latest Windows Vista operating system, the second lawsuit launched in China this year against the US software giant for alleged patent violations.

Microsoft goes on the defensive.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said Friday it didn’t violate the intellectual property rights of China E-Commerce Info-Tech Co., a Chinese company that is suing it for alleged patent infringement.

The small company, based in Xi’an city in the western Shaanxi province, alleges that Microsoft’s Windows Vista uses a technology that the Chinese company developed for Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, the China Daily reported Friday, citing China E-Commerce Chairman Wang Jianbo.

Will Microsoft ever grasp the ideals it once cherished (see quote below), or will hypocrisy prevail despite all those lawsuits? Earlier on we wrote about Avistar.

“Hey, Steve, just because you broke into Xerox’s store before I did and took the TV doesn’t mean I can’t go in later and steal the stereo.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Wanted: List of Bloggers, Journalists, and Analysts Whom Microsoft Bribed at PDC 2008

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Vista 7 at 4:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wanted! Dead or alive
Give us a name, we’ll gift you with a patent

WE already know for a fact that Microsoft gave laptops to people who covered Vista 7, among other products which were initially introduced at PDC [1, 2, 3]. It is even confirmed in Microsoft blogs now. Despite this, all of those privileged Microsoft-friendly incognitos are keeping quiet about their $2000 gift. There is no blog that comes to sight with an admission of receiving this gift. Judging by last year's experience, doing this leads to erosion of readers’ trust and possibly the loss (return) of the gift.

If any of the readers can help us identify bloggers, journalists and analysts whom Microsoft brought to that secret meeting (yes, Kennedy insists it was secret), please shout out so that we can compile a list. It’s a bribe. Even a former Microsoft manager calls it a “bribe”.

It is also known by now that attendants of PDC 2008 received some free hardware from Microsoft. Here is photographic evidence.

Microsoft delivers the goods at PDC 2008


Attendees to PDC 2008 received pre-beta copies of Windows 7 on DVD, as well as a 160GB Western Digital portable hard drive packed with code.

If we fail to compile a list laptop recipients, then everyone is a suspect. Then again, it has always been that way. The Internet, therefore, will continue to tell lies. Television and paper publications likewise.

“I’ve been thinking long and hard about this, and the only conclusion I can come to is that this is ethically indistinguishable from bribery. Even if no quid-pro-quo is formally required, the gift creates a social obligation of reciprocity. This is best explained in Cialdini’s book Influence (a summary is here). The blogger will feel some obligation to return the favor to Microsoft.”

Former Microsoft manager

Microsoft Brings BAD (Bribing, Addicting, Dumping) to Malaysia

Posted in Asia, Finance, Microsoft at 4:22 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

MICROSOFT appears to be 'pulling a Korea' in Malaysia — a nation which is deploying OpenOffice.org and prescribing the use of ODF faster than any of its neighbouring nations [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. As usual, Microsoft disguises its selfish interests as ‘goodwill’ and this is not the first time that Microsoft abuses the Malaysian people [1, 2, 3, 4].

“As usual, Microsoft disguises its selfish interests as ‘goodwill’…”The local press seems to be missing the complete picture. In one article, Microsoft is echoed without a balancing/counter argument: “Microsoft (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd will invest RM300mil in Malaysia over the next three years in a programme likely to give a boost to the local software technology scene, managing director Yasmin Mahmood said.”

Yasmin Mahmood is disliked for the nonsensical propaganda she has been ‘selling’ the country, as well as her outrageous letters [1, 2].

In another news article, it’s the same old PR-esque content. It’s almost like a rewrite of a Microsoft press release, only with more casual language.

The articles above say nothing about Microsoft’s intentions (to harm Free software). They even describe this as an “investment” and a “boost local software tech sector”. It’s like that BBC 'advert' from the other day.

Matt Asay has just commented about these Microsoft tactics, which capitalise on long-term lock-in, dependency, and predatory pricing.

Will it work? No. Good startups are always looking to save money, and will appreciate the “free production licenses for application hosting and management servers, including Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server, BizTalk Server and Systems Center and soon, Microsoft Dynamics CRM,” as OStatic suggests. But they’re unlikely to move to Windows from Linux, for example, because Linux is a long-term performance and cost choice, not a three-year “I’ll use it because it’s free…for now” choice (which is all that BizSpark gets new startups.


The two companies – Microsoft and Jive – arrived at very different conclusions as to what would drive sales for them. This will ever be the case, and it’s what makes open source, in particular, so fascinating. One person’s cancer is another person’s freedom, as it were. The value of ‘free’ shifts and changes over time.

It has become increasingly important to keep an eye on Microsoft’s chequebooks. Microsoft is beyond the point of charging for software. It’s fighting Free(dom) software at all costs.

Shiny jewelery or shackles in disguise?

Microsoft is Not Interested in Interoperability. Free Labour on the Other Hand…

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE, Microsoft, Standard at 3:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft has decided to change the user interface of Hotmail. For the better? Well, not if the users’ requirements are a criterion to judge by. According to The Register:

Hotmail users bitch and moan about new interface


We asked Microsoft if it would respond to Hotmail users and their grumbles by providing the option to switch between modes, but at time of writing the company had not responded to our request for comment.

Many users are unhappy with the new interface and one of the deficiencies of so-called ‘cloud computing’ is that there is absolutely no control under such circumstances.

Is the new interface better for Microsoft though, as opposed to the users? Well, it sure looks like. Not for the first time, Microsoft is ditching GNU/Linux-using customers, leaving them out in the cold without features (is the Web not built on standards and Hotmail on Free software [1, 2]?) if not altogether locked out of their E-mail account. People have begun complaining.

Microsoft breaks HotMail for Linux users?

A Linux-Watch reader today reported difficulties using Microsoft’s Hotmail service with Firefox browsers running on Linux operating systems. We confirmed that creating a new Hotmail account was not possible, due to an error message suggesting a “browser upgrade.”

To Microsoft, this may seem like a happy ending. Many moms and dads who were migrated to GNU/Linux will blame the operating system and perhaps move away from Microsoft #1 rival, which is better, unless one relies on Microsoft to implement Web standards.

What else have we in the news today?

Well, well…

KDE developers have worked very hard on KHTML. Some even got a job at Trolltech.

People of KDE were in the unfortunate position where Microsoft attacked their work in a variety of low-key ways. Adding insult to injury, Microsoft may now want the fruits of their work. From the news:

1. Microsoft may adopt WebKit, won’t stop IE development

“Apple has embraced Webkit and we may look at that, but we will continue to build extensions for IE 8,” said Ballmer.

2. Hell freezes over: Ballmer considering open-source browser?

3. Ballmer: Microsoft ‘interested’ in open-source browser

Could it be because Microsoft keeps dropping market share, despite heavy development?

For Microsoft to exploit the work (mostly voluntary) of the very same people whom it is abusing would take some nerve, would it not?

“Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”

Larry Goldfarb, investor in SCO

Request for Mono Licence from Microsoft: Ascending to Nicos Tsilas

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 3:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft Licensing seems to be refusing to respond to our previous polite requests for a Mono licence [1, 2], so we are left with no choice but to contact individual people. See the previous requests for context. Here is the latest.

From: Roy Schestowitz
To: ntsilas at microsoft.com
Date: Wed, Nov 7, 2008
Subject: Request for a written license for ECMA 334 implementation

Dear Nicos Tsilas,

I tried contacting iplg@microsoft.com a couple of times over the past month, but was unable to receive a reply. I am therefore expressing my determination to receive a licence for commercial distribution of Mono, in accordance with your terms presented by Bob Muglia:

“There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an
implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by
Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell
is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to
Novell customers.”

According to several legal analyses, Mono is not safe for those who are
not Novell customers to use. I would therefore like to purchase a licence.

Best regards,

Roy Schestowitz

Funnily enough, the man who interviewed Bob Muglia in the article above became a Microsoft employee. Incestuous press, eh?

Let’s hope for a prompt reply. We advise other people who are concerned about Mono (i.e. people who use Mono and are not Novell customers) to do likewise. Here are the contact details.

Nicos L. Tsilas
Senior Director IP & Interoperability Policy
Government and Industry Affairs

ntsilas at microsoft.com
Tel (425) 705-8476
Fax (425) 708-5204

Microsoft Corp
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-6399

This is the person with whom you get in touch for ‘permission’ to make programs play nice with each other, for a fee (paid to Microsoft).

As a side note, the author of the OSP will come to the workshop on patents on in the middle of this month. It takes place in Europe where software patents are not legal (but Microsoft is breaking the rules anyway, using loopholes).

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway”.”

Marshall Phelps, Microsoft

Links 07/11/2008: New KDE Release; GNU/Linux Sub-notebooks Scare Microsoft

Posted in News Roundup at 6:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish





Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Dan Gillmor, creator of the phrase, “Distributed Journalism” 12 (2005)

Ogg Theora

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

Perspective on Microsoft/Novell

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, Videos at 4:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FOR gentlemen who are low-vision or blind like the person who made this video, here is an vocal explanation of the risks of the Novell/Microsoft deal. Also mind the remarks and praises of Linux usability, with regards to accessibility in particular. That’s a lot of FUD-squashing.

Ogg Theora

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