“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”
–Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO
WE SHALL start with SCO, just as we so often do. In an interview with Pamela Jones, she explains why the bogus & frivolous lawsuit is not over until it’s practically over.
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A WIDE variety of “Enterprise” releases from Novell have received some coverage over the past week.
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IT has been a pleasant time for the project just a couple of weeks ahead of a big release (OpenSUSE 11.1). Cyberorg, mostly an OpenSUSE blogger and contributor, writes about Compiz in this important release, which will be accompanied by a SLE* (version 11). Here is another technical essay about Xen in 11.1 and about remote access (file-wise).
That last item is from Zonker, who also took part in FLOSS Weekly, which is a popular audio-based Web show.
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“Microsoft is pulling out every favor it’s got … It has a very close relationship with DOJ and the White House, and all of that pressure is being brought to bear.”
–Knowledgeable tech industry source [via]
Just when you thought there would be Change™, Microsoft's political movement (or lobby) steps right in. Yes, there is an IDG report about Bill Gates and Barack Obama meeting to discuss ideas. There are already some widely-spread rumours about Obama receiving a Microsoft Zune, which Microsoft bloggers now use to promote the gadget. We have already commented on disappointing provisions on the issue of intellectual monopolies, as well.
Gates’ political crusades are nothing new to us. Shortly after that so-called ‘retirement’ he lobbied the United Nations and the Chinese government. He is also feeding patent trolls who are hostile towards Free software and changing laws in India (striving to legalise or legitimise anti-Free software clauses, then proceeding to extortion).
“Shortly after that so-called ‘retirement’ he lobbied the United Nations and the Chinese government.”Not so long ago, Gates personally pressured the Mexican and French country leaders to approve OOXML despite opposition (bypassing the technical people). He was also caught making phonecalls to flip US votes on Microsoft OOXML.
Gates is now advising the soon-to-be president on issues like taxation while at the same time personally avoiding tax, just like Microsoft [1, 2]. If this is the company Obama takes advice from, then people will have good reasons to be concerned. Gates is a lawyer, not an economist. Being richer does not mean he understands macro-finance and having stolen so much from the industry (“He is divisive. He is manipulative. He is a user. He has taken much from me and the industry,” said Gary Kildall about Gates) does not mean he knows economics better than professors in this field.
Let us never forget those lies for selfish gain (about foreign workers and visas [1, 2]), even personality issues that serve as an advance warning. █
‘But when Noorda raised the possibility that Washington might block a merger anyway, Gates replied, according to Noorda: “‘Don’t worry, we know how to handle the Federal Government.”‘ (Gates strongly denies this. “Are you kidding?” he snaps. “The Department of Justice makes their own decisions.”)’
More: Going after Microsoft: the FTC didn’t know what Bill Gates did – but they were sure he must have done something wrong – investigation into alleged collusion between Microsoft and IBM to control computer operating software systems; CEO William Gates – Cover Story
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Deadly embraces, deadly extensions
A Microsoft press release which we mentioned the other day demonstrated the fact that Microsoft remains hostile towards Free software (Microsoft calls it “open source”), yet people are expected to believe that this is not happening. Glyn Moody has explained what all this FUD means (or doesn’t mean).
Those with good memories may recall a phase that Microsoft went through in which it issued (and generally commissioned) a stack of TCO studies that “proved” Windows was better/cheaper than GNU/Linux. Of course, they did nothing of the sort, since the methodology was generally so flawed you could have proved anything.
Worth remembering are the recent attacks from the Gartner Group, which is behind "TCO". Here is a new InformationWeek essay that describes Microsoft as “Open Source Schizoid”, not just "Open Source Xenophobe".
The best word for Microsoft’s attempts to deal with open source is schizoid. On the one hand you have the folks at the Open Source Lab, who are building what bridges they can — and on the other, you have the rest of the company, including its marketing and PR divisions, who may end up undoing what good is done. At the end of the day, they’re still a proprietary-platform outfit, and they have to uphold that.
Who would be fooled by such a two-faced monopolist with a long history of well-documented crimes?
Embracing and Extending Free Software in the Philippines
Winston Damarillo is a renowned Free software advocate, but he seems to have just sold out to Microsoft.
Microsoft’s motives and strategy are very clear. It’s something along the lines of: “Here some money. Stop promoting freedom. Help Windows. Promote ‘open’. Help us sell proprietary Microsoft stacks.”
Here is the main report about this (in English).
Microsoft Philippines is looking to pursue more collaboration with open source developers in the country through its Open Source Interoperability Lab project.
The current Open Source Interoperability Lab is housed in the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) office at the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City.
As part of this increasing collaboration with the open source community, Microsoft Philippines has inked a partnership with open source software engineering firm Exist Global headed by Winston Damarillo.
This created a small wave and it’s exceptionally disappointing.
Embracing and Extending Python with Microsoft XAML
IronPython, like JPython, is an attempt to ‘bastradise’ a programming language or framework. Companies want to ‘monetise’ a community.
For reasons that are similar to IronRuby’s, this is s mistake [1, 2, 3], but Microsoft has already hijacked such a project and transformed developers in it so that they adopt its own licences that it (Microsoft) can control and change at any time [1, 2, 3]. Here is an example of a new ‘extend’ phase.
Dan Eloff has announced the release of Silvershell 0.6. (Also known as Python/E – Python Everywhere!).
It runs in the browser with Silverlight 2 or on the desktop with a WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation – which means it won’t run on Mono) User Interface.
We wrote about IronRuby in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. It’s similar and it’s a thing to be avoided. Microsoft wraps Free technologies with proprietary ones that impede interoperability and introduce patents.
Embracing and Extending Perl with Microsoft Influence
Microsoft is applying to Perl a tactic so similar to one which it applied to Apache [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. A reader has just alerted us to this development.
Commencing this month, Microsoft will be providing every CPAN author with free access to a centrally-hosted virtual machine environment containing every major version of Windows.
For those not realising what Microsoft has in mind, the following vanishing article is worth a look. Microsoft is making some stuff up about intellectual monopolies to undermine Free software, which is wants to police. From the Web Archive: “As far as making the source code available, we at MS strongly feel that there is a need to protect intellectual property (IP) as it is the economic incentive to create better solutions.” This article as a whole is worth a read while it lasts.
It’s the same old story, not the exception. They try to tame developers. First they put them on Windows and ensure all the programmers empower the monopoly and leave GNU/Linux isolated, if not neglected. At the earlier stages, it’s just flirting. █
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Microsoft must be pleased with Novell’s disruption
For Microsoft to provoke or to cause infighting is not something new [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. As the father of MINIX put it at the time (just a couple of years ago):
“A couple of years ago this guy called Ken Brown wrote a book saying that Linus stole Linux from me… It later came out that Microsoft had paid him to do this…”
–Andrew S Tanenbaum
As Microsoft’s top secret presentation reveals:
“Gathering intelligence on enemy activities is critical to the success of the Slog. We need to know who their allies are and what differences exist between them and their allies (there are always sources of tension between allies), so that we can find ways to split ‘em apart. Reading the trade press, lurking on newsgroups, attending conferences, and (above all) talking to ISVs is essential to gathering this intelligence.”
The emphasis in red is ours. This is from Microsoft’s own mouth (in obligatory training seminars).
Promoting by Demotion
We turn our attention to Novell’s fork [1, 2, 3, 4] of a Sun Microsystems crown jewel, OpenOffice.org. It’s bad enough that Novell does this to incorporate Java-hostile, Microsoft-serving technologies like Mono into its fork, but the press that accompanies this merely ridicules OpenOffice.org, thus helping Novell and Microsoft.
Go-OO: a fork is sometimes a pitchfork
Worth taking a glance at is this new Linux.com article about Go-OO (we don't trust Linux.com too much). It contains what seems like a promotional pitch. Not so long ago, Linux.com promoted the proprietary SoftMaker by dismissing OpenOffice.org as well.
Go-OO includes enhancements and functions that haven’t been accepted by Sun, and that may never be, because of licensing, business, or other reasons.
Low blow there.
Here is the first comment:
Since it’s Novell behind this move, I wonder if this is really an improvement or an attempt to get mono code integrated into OO.o
If so, no one with a functioning brain is wise to touch it. I don’t have much respect for Sun, but even less for the games Novell is playing on MS’ behalf.
Here is another comment among very many (they created some sort of a Sun/Novell flamewar):
The go-ooo fork of OpenOffice.org is very much a bleeding edge developers’ version, which has not been through the full QA process run by the OpenOffice.org folks. Reporting go-ooo bugs is a good way of winding up people on the genuine OpenOffice.org support forums
As has been stated above, open-source purists might also worry about go-ooo’s origins in Novell, with their close links to Microsoft (and getting closer every day).
I’m amazed why so many otherwise sane distros continue to ship go-ooo in preference to genuine OpenOffice.org.
“This is a classic Microsoft action. Divide your enemies (not that I’d call Novell an enemy to Microsoft). It divides the community,” says one of our readers. “Microsoft would be happy with something that echoes the Unix wars.”
Instead of OpenOffice.org fighting Microsoft Office, part of what remains here is Novell fighting Sun and OpenOffice.org. In the same vein, it has been said that Novell is now targeting Red Hat instead of Windows.
For what it’s worth, Boycott Novell never intends to aggravate or to divide. It points out areas where the friction exists. It’s companies (i.e. managers) that instruct programmers who do the damage for a paycheck. Why has Novell decided to focus on .NET, for example? They routinely use money and favouritism to hurt Freedom. █
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Industry dictator strikes again
Microsoft’s bribery in search is an issue that was explored before [1, 2] and labeling it “a bribe” was never our idea. The word “bribery” is just echoed very consistently across top publications. The same goes for the term “proxy fight”, which is a factual technical term.
This idea of bribing users is not working out so well. Microsoft commissioned some bogus studies in order to show otherwise, but respectable and widely-acknowledged metrics suggest that Microsoft continues to sink in terms of market share, in addition to losing money that it pays to attract (or to keep) users. To make matters worse, there are serious technical issues, summarised thusly:
In summary, here’s how events have unfolded in the past week …
1) Cash-strapped consumers get excited over the prospect of 40 percent cashback from HP.
2) Microsoft’s Live Search Cashback service goes down for much of Black Friday; many people can’t take advantage of the offer.
3) Many of those who do get through get 3 percent cashback, rather than the promised 40 percent.
4) In a published report, Microsoft is quoted saying that the HP promotion will be restarted soon.
5) Microsoft makes it clear that HP promotion actually won’t be restarted in the promised time frame.
Gee, why does Microsoft have such a hard time making money online?
There is an attempt that’s rather desperate to even increase the briberies pace now.
Microsoft is making payback quicker on its Cashback program after the service suffered an outage Friday and failed to give some people discounts they were eligible for.
Mike Masnick explains why this won’t work.
“Dear Microsoft: Bribing Users Faster Still Probably Won’t Help Much
We noted last month that Microsoft was stepping up its program to bribe users to use its search engine, and that process continues with the announcement that Microsoft is adjusting the program to provide the cashback award immediately, rather than making users wait for it.
Based on the news, not only Microsoft’s search business is suffering in this division.
The debut of the new Windows Live, which introduces a set of social networking-like features to Microsoft’s suite of online services, has not gone exactly as planned.
What can Microsoft do to save this sinking ship?
For background that covers the Yahoo-Microsoft saga, see:
A few days ago is turned out that the Department of Justice, which is regarded by prominent people to be heavily influenced by Microsoft (there is evidence too), was going to sue Google. As Microsoft was seen attacking Google with legal means (using intermediaries) in the not-so-distant past, one cannot help being cynical.
DOJ Was Three Hours From Suing Google For Antitrust Violations
Now, that litigator, Sandy Litvack has admitted that the Justice Department was three hours away from filing its antitrust suit, which he was “looking forward to” and he’s apparently disappointed he didn’t get to go to court over it.
We have already covered these developments and showed who was doing the string-pulling and thinking at the Department of Justice, which was not only lobbied by Microsoft but also contains Microsoft cronies inside it. The evidence is in previous posts, so those willing to explore it can do so and see for themselves. The administration made a colossal mistake that harms the consumer.
In the mean time, Microsoft is again shaking Yahoo’s stock by expressing desire to make a deal with the Internet giant. It’s rattling the company, which gradually emits its seniors who just can’t take it anymore. The latest to leave (and join Microsoft) is the search boss.
Buying the company person by person
Before joining Yahoo! Lu was a researcher for IBM – he holds 20 US patents.
He has already been appointed the leader of Microsoft’s very unsuccessful business where billions of dollars are still being lost.
Microsoft Corp. on Thursday tapped a former Yahoo search executive to lead its online push, adding to the intrigue surrounding a possible search partnership between the two rivals.
Todd Bishop covered this too.
Qi Lu, a former Yahoo search and advertising engineering executive, will soon join Microsoft in a top online position, reports AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher this morning, following up on her earlier reports. This would the new “senior lead position” that the company created this summer in its Online Services Business.
Around the same time, Microsoft is talking to its likely-to-be (or have been) proxy fighter out in the open. It’s using Icahn as a Trojan horse and a poison pill. They have already ‘expelled’ Jerry Yang and they seem to be trying to arrange something together now.
Bazillionare investor Carl Icahn has held talks with Microsoft over the purchase of Yahoo!’s search business, according to a regulatory filing.
If this whole Yahoo-Microsoft saga has been in compliance with the law since February, then herein we behold an industry of white-collar crime, where criminals in suits are portrayed as heroes and their profiles brushed up in accordance with business agenda, sometimes through careful revisionism and euphemisms. █
“I’d be glad to help tilt lotus into into the death spiral. I could do it Friday afternoon but not Saturday. I could do it pretty much any time the following week.”
–Brad Silverberg, Microsoft
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“Microsoft corrupted many members of ISO in order to win approval for its phony ‘open’ document format, OOXML. This was so governments that keep their documents in a Microsoft-only format can pretend that they are using ‘open standards.’ The government of South Africa has filed an appeal against the decision, citing the irregularities in the process.”
–Richard Stallman, June 2008
MICROSOFT OOXML remains a patent issue, as pointed out by the SFLC in the past. It is disappointing that ISO, as corrupt as it is (filled with and influenced by cronies), permits this to happen despite so many warnings. Andy Updegrove has a pointer to this bit of new analysis covering patent issues in OOXML and how these foolishly get neglected.
I am publishing this post almost three months later than my initial plan, mainly because the past three months were very complicated ones.
There are many “open standards” definitions, and this great amount of interpretations or views about the subject, allowed distortions to make possible that almost anything on IT market could be classified as an “Open Standard” by marketing departments.
For me, and certainly for many of you, an open standard must meet two basic requirements:
1. Have been developed and is maintained through an open and transparent process.
2. Have open licensing.
The second one, is the so-called RAND (Ressonable And non-discriminatory). One don’t need to “force the brain” to realize that this model is quite complicated to use in practice, because what is reasonable to me may not be for you and to believe that something can be non-discriminatory on our current world is a little bit difficult task, OK ? (if someone disagree with that, please explain me how a Cuban company may RAND license technology from an USA company ?). ISO accepts RAND licensing and OpenXML can be cited as an example of this type of licensing (indeed, if there is anyone encouraged to answer the previous question, please improve the response explaining me how Cuba – an ISO member – can get a RAND license to develop an OpenXML based software… ISO is really a complicated institution.). In other words, for the USA economic reality, a technology license that costs U.S. $ 500 K may be reasonable, but I can’t assure that this resonable in Brazil (same on other countries)… a value like that would be considered “reasonable”? Maybe the participation on international standardization process to latter offer RAND licensing of its IPR may be a good deal.
As you can see, an specification called as an “open standard” can be licensed by one of the three models mentioned above or be the victim of the fourth type and I write this text to warn everyone about this problem.
To those who believe that amid tough times these patents won’t be used, a quick look at the patent storm we so often cover here is probably required. To assume that rights — however imaginary and ludicrous they may seem — won’t be asserted is to forget that Microsoft is already threatening the whole world using patents. Here is a case of abuse of the patent system, which is characteristic of Microsoft's patent troll.
A few months ago, we pointed to Joe Mullin’s excellent article detailing how various patent attorneys were finding a lucrative side business in registering or buying their own patents and suing companies themselves. It’s just that much more lucrative. Mullin is back, describing two Silicon Valley patent attorneys, Dominic Kotab and Kevin Zilka, who have been registering or buying a bunch of patents, and have been quite active in both setting up multiple shell companies, and suing many different defendants.
More abuse of the system is highlighted in another related context that we touched on a week ago.
I’m long overdue on some promised posts concerning the patent system and the harm it does for the healthcare field, but it’s going to have to wait a little while longer. In the meantime, it’s good to see that more people (including those in a position to do something about it) are noticing this as well. While we often feel that the EU goes overboard in declaring monopolies or anti-competitive behavior, it’s finally realizing the one area where monopolies really do tend to be a problem: patents.
Those who are not willing to mess with patents and royalties should steer clear of OOXML. Germany is the latest country to put its weight behind ODF. Other countries are likely to do likewise. OOXML means you have to pay, and not just for Microsoft Office. █
NB: Speaking of patents, the FFII seems to be undergoing some self-improving organisational changes. Their agenda page states:
8.8. Setup new organisation (S. Uhlmann)
The proposed resolution is:
Set up a new association, transferring as many asserts of the FFII as possible to this new organization (when possible by law), allow it to act in the name of the FFII, ask supporters and members of the FFII to join it.
The current problems with the tax office and the public benefit status are harming the FFII. Not only that it costs money. The unclear future and the possibility of unknown liabilities are blocking us. Also it creates friction between ourselves in discussing all these problems.
The idea is to set up another FFII 2.0. The old FFII 1.0 just fades out. The tax office can go after the old “empty shell” but all new activities are done under the FFII 2.0 umbrella. The liabilities will be isolated within FII 1.0.
The new organistion could be set up in another country where association law is more relaxed. May that be Belgium, Poland or even another German e.V. again (maybe with a different foundation place). That should be discussed.
The board of FFII 2.0 could be the same board as FFII 1.0 as a sign that this is not a split-up or separatist movement but only a legal/organisational measure to solve the legal/organisational problem and that we the FFII-people all stand behind FFII 2.0. That should be discussed.
The name of FFII 2.0 should make clear that this is the same FFII as FFII 1.0. E.g. by choosing the same name (if legally possible) or a similar name which is also abbreviated as FFII. That should be discussed.
All members of FFII 1.0 are encouraged to join FFII 2.0. I think it would not be difficult to explain them that this is just because of legal problems and our incompatibility with the public benefit status of German association law.
Everyone is invited to bring proposals for the new association including statutes to the GA.
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