EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.28.08

More Microsoft Abuses in Italy and Europe

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft at 4:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

KOffice Logo
Foreign tyrant back in Italy

IN yesterday’s news we found this article about shyness among European schools about the use of Free software, despite repeated attempts to bring constructive change.

The Italian city of Pontedera has just installed 45 new PCs running open source in computer labs in three schools. Teachers are being instructed how to use the GNU/Linux based systems, according to a report on the website of Radio Nostalgia. It quotes analyst Stefano Tognarelli: “Our goal is to increase the use of open source software by young people and by public administrations.”

The overall message of this article is that there is antagonism though. Microsoft can never let it be easy for people to make decisions and follow them through.

Why all this resistance anyway? We decided to explore and discover whether Italy is subjected to the same Microsoft pressure/influence on education as in France. It typically ascends to a tier of corruptible politicians, as we showed some days ago in reference to Italy (see the Italian government coming under fire following another, much older Microsoft agreement). We have also shared many examples over the past couple of months [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and they transcend the borders of Europe, by far.

“It typically ascends to a tier of corruptible politicians…”An informant of ours wanted to draw readers’ attention to universities in Italy. “Microsoft helped them with millions,” he said, “[in order] to help [the] Italian government open 2-3 Microsoft research centers in some universities. The most part will be paid by the government by the way [and] the code won’t be open.”

Further to this, we were told that, “apparently, in Piemonte they promised to make code public. In Trento we’re are still waiting for an answer, that won’t come.”

Given that the code is written using taxpayers’ money, i.e. public subsidies, this makes little or no sense.

Moreover, “they don’t only retain the copyright on the code. Patents allow them to annoy you even if you re-write from scratch,” says the informant.

Corporations must not taint public institutions like academia, but they increasingly do. Microsoft is a major culprit in that respect.

The University of Trento is one to be named and possibly shamed for this. Their site does not run Windows, so it’s definitely not a ‘Microsoft shop’ (well, not yet). But there are apparently at least 3 centers in 3 regions apart from the one in Trento. “There are nice links departing from that article,” we are told, but it’s not in English.

Since articles of value and substance are difficult for a non-Italian speaker to understand (even with an automated translation), this one reader of ours provided a translation, as follows:


May 2007 – Brunetta (minister of Public functions and Innovation) signs a deal with Microsoft for the opening of 3 centers in Italy (generic locations: Piemonte, Tuscany and Campania)

Following protests from free software associations, Professor Profumo (director of the university “Politecnico di Torino”) stated publicly that “since the money is be public, so will be the results”

The Microsoft research center in trento, though, is not part of the above deal, it’s just a different thing.

In Trento, the situation is different, even if the results of the research are 50% Microsoft’s property, the costs of “Centro di Ricerca di Trento” will be substained wholly by citizens (see: http://softwarelibero.it/delucidazioni-sul-trasferimento-di-fondi/).

The “Associazione per il Software Libero” points the following:

  • Microsoft’s (financial) involvement not only is less than the public involvment, but is provided in form of “versamenti in conto capitale” which may go back to Microsoft at the end of agreement (note: probably it would happen in the case the Center has not debts at the end of agreement)
  • Even if many people from Microsoft and the government talk (about the agreement as a way to) about avoid “Brains escape from italy” seems like the researchers earning will be a little more than a tenth (1/10) respect their English colleagues.
  • Even worse, the results of the center’s research won’t be freely available. In fact, terms to avoid commercial use are already in place (nothing forbids them to be patented in the time to come, anyway).

We also accumulated many examples of Microsoft OOXML-related misconduct in Italy. As the country increasingly adopts Free software and GNU/Linux [1-20], there will be resistances that knows no ethical boundaries, particularly from Microsoft.

Other News from Europe

Over at Groklaw, one of their readers points out an incident from Holland, titling it “Accused of Illegal Sale of Microsoft Software, Dutch Co. Files EU Commission Complaint.” The report is in Dutch, but the core of the complaint is: “Microsoft abusing its monopoly to artificially inflate prices in the EU as compared to the ones in the US.”

“…Microsoft uses its monopoly to elevate the prices as much as the market can bear”As many people are probably aware, Microsoft’s software products are hugely expensive in Holland and in other part of Europe where Microsoft uses its monopoly to elevate the prices as much as the market can bear. Explanations from Microsoft UK were far from satisfactory. They found excuses, trying to place blame on local GDP, which is not only absurd but also incorrect.

Also in the news at the moment is this latest Portuguese government concession to Microsoft (yes, yet another [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]). According to this article (English), they permit themselves to get locked in without exploring better alternatives which the government has control over. The gist of it (thanks to Tony Manco): “The Institute of Employment and Vocational Training of Portugal will pay, by 2011, more than three million for 3700 licences to Microsoft, according to the authorization published yesterday in the Daily Republic.”

___
[1] Europe’s schools remain shy about open source

The Italian city of Pontedera has just installed 45 new PCs running open source in computer labs in three schools. Teachers are being instructed how to use the GNU/Linux based systems, according to a report on the website of Radio Nostalgia. It quotes analyst Stefano Tognarelli: “Our goal is to increase the use of open source software by young people and by public administrations.”

[2] Italians Vote: Give Us Linux on System z!

Region Calabria, one of the largest regions in all of Italy with more than 2 million people, today announced that it has gone live with a new IBM information infrastructure of servers and storage as a means to transform its data processing center.

[3] Open Source Events: Linux Day is today!

Linux Day 2008 – ILS, the Italian Linux Association today runs its eighth annual Linux Day all over Italy, in 119 cities. Enjoy!

[4] OpenOffice.org: The Italian Linux Day foster the creation of “MS Office Angels”!

In occasion of the Linux Day 2008, that will take place on Saturday in 119 Italian cities, the Italian Linux Society and the Italian OpenOffice.org Association are launching a campaign for a special endangered specie.

[5] IT: University starts Open Source master course

The University of Perugia is offering a master course on Open Source. “Software developers and IT policy makers need to understand the importance and potential of this type of software and how to combine it with proprietary IT systems.”

The ‘Master di I° Livello in Sistemi e Tecnologie Free Libre Open Source per la Società dell’Informazione e della Comunicazione’ (First level master in Open Source systems and technology for the Information Society) was presented during a seminar on Open Source in the city of Orvieto, on 13 September.

[6] Open source tour of Europe: Italy

In July 2007 the IT department of the Italian Parliament presented plans for the migration of 200 servers and more than 3,500 desktop PCs to Linux and OpenOffice. The migration was due to begin in September and take two years.

Regional government projects include Cremona, Foggia, Rome, Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, Genoa, Bologna, Balzano, Savona, Umbria, and Tuscany again.

More details are available of Rome’s open source policy, Genova’s OpenOffice trials, Bologna’s open source projects, and Bolzano’s FUSS project.

[7] Just a coincidence?

According to Davide Dozza, Chairman of Associazione PLIO: “The numbers are exactly the same. If it’s just a coincidence, it’s a very strange one. Downloads of the Italian version of OpenOffice.org were 800.000 in 2006 and 1.800.000 in 2007: the difference is exactly in the million of Italians that – according to Microsoft – have downloaded the trial version of Office 2007. We think that these users have decided to switch to OpenOffice.org as soon as they have realized that the effort to get used to the new ribbon interface is higher than the effort to migrate to the open source suite. In 2007, the majority of information requests has been about the compatibility with Windows Vista, and the trend stays unchanged in 2008″.

[8] Italian Ministry of Justice Adopts Red Hat Solutions

Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that the Italian Ministry of Justice has selected Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the platform for its web-based Civil Justice applications, including those used for general cognizance, for civil execution and for the offices of the Small Claims courts.

[9] Commission to MEP: We are able to accept and generate ODF

An assistent of Italian MEP Marco Cappato (ALDE) contacted us with the news that an answer to a parliament question has arrived.

[10] Italian TV talks about Ubuntu

In this video an Italian TV program, NeaPòlis, talks about ubuntu as a very stable, high performance and easy to install operative system.

[11] Telecom Italia Rejects Microsoft IPTV

For Microsoft, Telecom Italia’s decision is clearly a blow.

[12] Plone: Official launch of PloneGov in Italy

The Chamber of Commerce of Ferrara, the first PloneGov Italian member, invites 100 representatives from the public sector and open source experts to participate to the official launch of PloneGov in Italy on September 16, 2008.

[13] Linux reaches the Italian Parliament

As reported by the Italian newspaper Repubblica on July 10th, 2007, a plan suggested by the left deputies Pietro Folena and Franco Grillini to migrate all the computers of the Parliament from Windows to Linux was approved by the Chamber.

The migration will affect about 3500 boxes of the Chamber, both desktops and servers, and each Deputy/Party may also ask to migrate his/its (private) computers to the Free System.

[14] Linux certification comes to Italy

A non-profit organization devoted to Linux training and certification has established an affiliate organization in Italy.

[15] Free software in free elections

A new initiative promoted by the italian association for free software for the next italian political elections (provided that they will actually take place…). The initiative consists in asking the candidates to sign a letter where they engage themselves, in case they will be elected, to promote the use of free software through their political activity.

[16] Italy adopts OpenDocument as a National Standard

Italy has adopted The OpenDocument Format (ISO/IEC 23600) as a national standard. The decision was made by UNI, the Italian Organization for Standardization, which is responsible, under appointment from the Italian Government and the EU, to develop, approve and publish technical standards in all economic sectors (industry, trade and services) except for electric and electro-technical ones.

[17] 2006 Italian Linux Day: A nationwide success

The 2006 edition of Italian Linux Day on October 28 was the first in the six-year history of the event to be celebrated in more than 100 cities in every corner of the country.

[18] User-friendly Free Software for Senior Citizens

The project has deep roots in open source: it was developed in accordance with a set of rules and with the support of the open source community; Eldy was released freeware in order to guarantee the feasibility of the project, but it will have an open future and a self-installing Linux distribution.

[19] Historic victory of the “Associazione per il Software Libero”! [in Italy]

WE WON. Therefore 4.5 million Euros of public money will not be spent on proprietary software licenses, since the Ministry failed to consider free software options.

[20] Italian Company Debuts Petit ARM9 CPU With Linux

Elpa, based in Italy, has debuted the RD129, an ARM9-based module delivered with Linux kernel 2.6.21.5.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. All Software Should Come With a Cheat Mode

    Cheat modes are useful for developers because they enable debugging, and are sometimes called "Debug mode"



  2. Linus Torvalds Checks If It's Still Inclusive Enough to 'Bash' Bad Technology (of the Company Whose TPM Pusher Has Just Successfully Pushed to Remove Many Words)

    In the age of endless control of language (e.g. large corporations pushing for "inclusive" language whilst earning billions from bombing of 'inferior' countries) we see that it is still possible to condemn corporations on technical grounds (at least if you’re Linus Torvalds)



  3. Even Before Microsoft Paid ('Joined') the Linux Foundation Jim Zemlin Had a Preference for Microsofters

    Even years before the Linux Foundation was receiving money from Microsoft it had a tendency to hire Microsoft’s people for key positions (a lot of people no longer remember that, but it’s still in the public record; it was Jim Zemlin who approached if not chased Mr. Ramji to offer him the job and the colleagues saw no problem with that)



  4. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 11, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, July 11, 2020



  5. Links 12/7/2020: KDE Plasma 5.20 Preview and Elive 3.8.14 Beta

    Links for the day



  6. [Humour] The 'Orange One' Does Not Respect Judges Either

    More than two years after taking over the European Patent Office (EPO) António Campinos has done absolutely nothing to restore judicial independence of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO



  7. The Systemd Song

    Speak out about IBM's strategy before we're all using GNU/Linux distros 'barcoded' with systemd



  8. Monopoly (or Vendor Lock-in) is Not Modularity

    IBM cannot totally control the kernel, Linux; IBM's control over GNU/Linux may be worth even more than what it paid for Red Hat as that's the key to overpriced support contracts and the general direction of development (important trends such as file systems and various low-level stacks)



  9. The Internet Archive Doesn't Forget, Whereas the Internet and the Web Forget Very Fast

    World Wide Web history is grossly undervalued and preservation of such history (e.g. by the Wayback Machine) is taken for granted by far too many people; the robber barons of today benefit the most from erosion of collective memory as they get to rewrite the past to suit their present and future interests



  10. Environmentalism and Free Software Can be Viewed as Closely Connected and Help One Another

    Modest lifestyles are an overlapping pattern in the Free software community and green activists; there's room for alliances and collaboration, bettering society by reducing consumption and discouraging voyeurism



  11. Free (as in Freedom) Software + Social Control Media ≠ Free Speech

    Speaking through middlemen and private platforms is bad enough (that gives others unjust power over speech); to claim that because the underlying platform is free/libre software it therefore becomes a non-issue is also dishonest



  12. António Campinos: President or Quasi-Autocratic Corporate Puppet?

    The culture of oppression — and censorship of evidence of oppression — is what today’s EPO is all about; the EPO learned how to better avoid (or block) negative publicity without actually changing its ways; and due to unprecedented speech restrictions you won’t hear that from SUEPO



  13. The Media Continues to Ignore Corruption of António Campinos

    António Campinos has Croatian scandals on his lap; the obedient media, however, refuses to even talk about it (or uses COVID as an excuse to write nothing on the subject, as some journalists have told us)



  14. A Call for Patent Sanity

    The public's call for reform is motivated by improved understanding of today's debased patent system and how out-of-order (detached from its original mission statement) it has gotten; patent maximalism, if it does not completely unravel this whole system, severely discredits it



  15. Declassified US Army Field Manuals Explain Microsoft's Public Relations Strategy (Similar to Selling Imperialism to the Occupied)

    The misuse of public broadcast to brainwash the public is well understood and thoroughly exploited by both Microsoft and the Gates Foundation (which sells this ridiculous lie that the world’s richest people speak for and fight for the poorest, i.e. those impoverished by endless greed)



  16. IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 10, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, July 10, 2020



  17. Links 11/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Openbox, Kiwi TCMS 8.5, Librem 5 Dogwood Update 3

    Links for the day



  18. Education Without Free Software is Training or Indoctrination

    Kids need to decide for themselves what they want to do and what they wish to use when they grow up; schools need to provide general tools and the mental capacity to make good decisions (rather than make these decisions for the kids, sometimes at the behest of foreign monopolists)



  19. Links 10/7/2020: Wayland-Info, diffoscope 151 and Tor 0.4.4.2-alpha

    Links for the day



  20. European FRAND (Related to SEP) Proponent and Famed Programmer Comes to Realise That It's Actually a “Scam”

    Even people who have long promoted the practice of mandatory "licensing" (in effect patent tax one is unable to work around) are apparently changing their minds and their tune



  21. Not Even a Single Corporate Journalist Has Written Anything About These Very Important Bits of News (Updated)

    Constant propaganda from patent maximalists has long infested the media, which is sometimes controlled and even bribed to set the tone and the agenda; important developments are being tucked away and require very deep digging for ordinary citizens to find



  22. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 09, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, July 09, 2020



  23. Racism in Technology (and Who Typically Lectures Us About the Subject)

    Racism is a real problem; some approaches to tackling racism, however, can also be problematic and those who take the lead 'on behalf' of victims tend to be opportunistic and privileged few (piggybacking others' grievances to further advance their financial agenda)



  24. Links 10/7/2020: Debian 8 Long Term Support EOL, Mobian Project, Mesa 20.1.3

    Links for the day



  25. [Humour] COVID-19 is Very, Very Afraid of Human Beings Making More Monopolies Instead of Fighting Together

    The European Patent Office (EPO) to the rescue! Fighting a dangerous pandemic one profitable monopoly at a time!



  26. The News is Never 'Slow', It's Just Journalism That's Slowing Down (and Investigative Journalism Coming Under Attack)

    A mix of censorship and subtle mind control contribute to misinformed societies that shape their perception or misunderstanding of the world based on false measures of authority (where money can determine what is true and what is untrue); many topics remain completely untouched, leading to apathy in a vacuum; it's very much applicable to international organisations, which are presumed benign by virtue of being multi-national or supranational



  27. Social Control Media is About Social Control and If It Doesn't Ban You It'll Shut Down Everyone's Account (One Day)

    It’s time to leave the ‘Internet rot’ which is social control media well behind us; blogging and RSS/XML may seem like a thing of the past, but they may as well become the future (again; if we make the correct and informed choices)



  28. Microsoft's Fingers in Every Pie: The Cult Mentality That Society Needs to Become Wary of

    Microsoft and its co-founder (pretending to do his for-profit 'charity' via the Gates Foundation) are trying to control the world; in the process they've moved to control even their most potent competitor, according to Gates himself, which is GNU/Linux



  29. Links 9/7/2020: Google’s Open Usage Commons, GNOME 3.36.4, Neptune 6.5

    Links for the day



  30. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 08, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, July 08, 2020


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts