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12.11.08

Linux Defenders: Obeying — Not Challenging — a Broken System

Posted in Deception, Europe, Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 10:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

THOSE WHO FOLLOWED RECENT posts about this subject [1, 2, 3] already know that we are not huge fans of the “Linux Defenders” initiative; not because it’s ineffective but because it’s the wrong way to approach the problem. It is a way that pleases big companies (and funding sources) like IBM, i.e. it keeps the things IBM likes and tackles those which it does not like. IBM is, sadly enough, not opposed to software patents. It just wants to weed out the ‘nuisance’ that’s a by-product.

To address the Big Issues, one needs to spend less time pushing papers and more effort fighting Microsoft’s (and others’) expansion of software patent laws — or alternatively back doors — into more countries. The suppressors want universal consent that Microsoft owns all sorts of algorithms and that Free software therefore becomes illegitimate or “not free”.

It used to be the same with DMCA, which expanded and expanded and expanded globally. It’s about taking people’s rights away, however artificially it needs to be done. (Sheesh! Just don’t mention the ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16])

The following article about “Linux Defenders” reminds readers of the source of this push, which is tied to IBM and even Novell.

The whole setup was apparently the brainchild of the Open Invention Network (the OIN registered the linuxdefenders.org domain, in fact), which appears to be patent-friendly twin of Linux defenders. The New York University’s Center for Patent Innovation provided some of the intellectual foundations for the group, and maintains the sites devoted to patent peer review.

Overall, this seems like a lot of effort to dedicate to simply staying out of trouble but, as the SCO case demonstrated, even spurious patent claims can keep open source software (and the companies that rely on it) tied up in court for years. Unless and until the patent system is reformed, Linux Defenders appears to be a necessary protective measure.

Here is a questionable bit from Heise.

Such projects are extremely important to the long term future of open source, which by its nature is vulnerable to patent attacks. As open source grows and gains commercial acceptance, it becomes a more tempting target for patent trolls.

Well, by OIN’s own admission, this approach does not stifle patent trolls. As such, to describe “Linux Defenders” as a response to patent-trolling is totally missing the point.

Digital Majority has been very active recently because it’s keeping an eye on articles discussing the patentability of software, e.g.:

  1. Patents Act 1977: Patentability of computer programs
  2. What “as such” means, what it really, really, nearly means …

EurActiv has been peddling a lot of Microsoft-serving agenda recently. It seems to be ushering a system that would potentially contaminate EU law with the sordid chaos that's the USPTO.

Several days ago we wrote about one example (ACT, a Microsoft shill, pushing for software patent loopholes in the EU), which Glyn Moody finally comments on as well.

The ACT seems to think that the patent system works so well in the US, that Europe absolutely must ditch its own quaintly fragmented approach, and adopt a nicely unified one closer to the Stateside model.

Pity, then, that books like Patent Failure provide hundreds of pages of incontrovertible evidence that the patent system there actually costs more money – in terms of litigation – than it generates for patent holders, with the possible exception of the pharmaceutical industry (and we all know what paragons they are, especially in their licensing terms to developing countries.)

EurActiv is now offering a full interview with a known Microsoft mouthpiece [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Microsoft is not even mentioned in the form of disclosure in this article and Jonathan Zuck keeps pretending to be a representative of small businesses, which he is not.

Fragmentation of the EU’s single market and particularly its patent system represent major obstacles to innovation, which is mainly driven by SMEs, Jonathan Zuck, president of an association representing more than 3,000 small and mid-sized IT firms from around the world, told EurActiv in an interview.

How many of these “3,000 small and mid-sized IT firms from around the world” actually fund Jonathan Zuck and ACT (or other shells)? On the face of it, none. This is not the first time that large businesses like Microsoft and their lobbies steal the voices of small ones.

These hired guns from ACT have even released a ‘study’ and it’s worth remembering who funds them.

There is a new page in “Worst EU Lobby Awards 2008″. ACT is not alone then.

There has been a broad discussion about his role in the debate about software patents in the European Parliament. Lehne has been one of the MEPs pushing for software patents, while Taylor Wessing has a large patent group and advises clients on patenting strategy in the software sector. Lehne has argued that he wasn’t involved with any companies engaged in the patents debate in his work as a lawyer. But still he is a partner in a law firm that boasts that its “patent group is one of the strongest, largest and best known in Europe”.

In conclusion, lobbying is to Microsoft what flying it to a bird. And it continues to this date. “Linux Defenders” is handling small potatoes whilst some big animals in the back yard are messing up with all the plantations. The “defenders” deal with grains, not crops.

In order to step up and resolve this litigious problem, people must never be led to believe that the cure lies in probing of patents one at a time while praying that laws will stay the same and hostile peers will be merciful. History is not forgiving.

Laws constantly want to be changed because companies and fortune holders always strive to elevate their level of power and control. As Richard Stallman once said, “geeks like to think that they can ignore politics, you can leave politics alone, but politics won’t leave you alone.” He also said that “fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitoes will eliminate malaria” and, to summarise more generally, “value your freedom or you will lose it, teaches history.”

Lincoln_address 1958

Quick Mention: Mozilla Detoxicated from Microsoft Influence

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Security at 8:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Context menu

WE wrote about her before because she was praising Microsoft under the Firefox brand. She is leaving Mozilla now after joining from Microsoft.

Window Snyder, the head of security at Mozilla Corp., will resign her position at the end of the year, she said in a blog post Wednesday.

Some days ago we showed how Windows was tarnishing Mozilla's name.

Rob Enderle Guarantees “Amazing Numbers”, Show E-mails to Microsoft

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 7:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

WW HAVE ALREADY SHOWN, using court evidence in fact, that Microsoft was working with Waggener Edstrom and Maureen O'Gara to “plant” anti-Linux stories.

We recently showed how close Rob Enderle is to Microsoft and a reader of ours has found another gem. From page 19 of this set of evidence [PDF] (the last E-mail to Barry):

From: Rob Enderle [mailto:renderle@enderlegroup.com]
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2005 11:06 PM
To: Barry Goffe
CC: Lisa Worthington (Waggener Edstrom)
Subject: RE: glass vs. non-glass

Well this is what happens when you set expectation high then pull features out. Few people know that Jaguar should have been Panther as a result Apple was praised for Jaguar and Panther while Microsoft is already being lambasted for crippled Vista.

[...]

I get to do a lot of columns these days, could guarantee each of these titles not only would get published they would make the front page or pull amazing numbers.

[...]

One thing has changed since ’85 we have blogs now.

[...]

The press was taken through the product and every time a feature is dropped the calls come in with the take that Vista is just smoke and mirrors now, I can turn some of these but there are limitations to what I can do.

Waggener Edstrom is receiving a copy, so they are in the background and they have ongoing correspondence with Microsoft and Enderle. Watch how he sells out, revealing intentions to “turn”. There is some more interpretation here where headlines are sort of being pondered or negotiated. Linux is mentioned too. Eric Lai has already done some damage control.

“Analysts sell out – that’s their business model… But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Counting money
Buying opinions, analyses up for sale

Nothing New Under the Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cracker

Microsoft’s handling of security is a cyclic routine that goes like this:

  1. Many flaws get reported, accumulated, and then mostly ignored
  2. Attacks on the unpatched flaws begin, so Microsoft ‘kindly’ bothers to work on patches in a rush
  3. Patch Tuesday arrives and Microsoft delivers a slew of patches (occasionally delivering nothing critical for bragging rights in the press, only to deliver a massive number of critical patches the following month, i.e. deferral)
  4. Patches arrive too late, after many servers and desktop have already been hijacked
  5. A number of zero-day flaws emerge, some of which exploiting vulnerabilities Microsoft has been aware of for a long time
  6. Patches turn out to be dysfunctional and consequently many computers are left out of services
  7. Microsoft reworks the patches and then delivers a patch to the broken patches
  8. Repeat (1)

This month was no exception. Microsoft delivered half a dozen “critical” patches (usually meaning that the vulnerability they patch enables crackers to seize full control of a to-be-compromised machine).

Appended below are reports from the past couple of days alone. The lies need to end because everyone suffers.

____
[1] Another Microsoft Bug Revealed on Huge Patch Day

Along with its biggest patch release in five years, Microsoft warned on Tuesday of another potentially dangerous vulnerability in its software.

The problem lies within the WordPad Text Converter for Word 97 files, Microsoft said in an advisory.

The systems affected include Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2, Microsoft said. XP Service Pack 3 and the Vista operating systems are not affected.

[2] Two new zero-day exploits dent Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday

Microsoft’s Patch Day delivered eight updates, but has been overshadowed by newly discovered zero day holes, which are apparently not closed by the new updates.

[3] New Web Attack Exploits Unpatched IE Flaw

As Microsoft readies its latest set of security updates, online attackers have begun exploiting a new flaw in the company’s Internet Explorer (IE) browser.

[4] Third Zero Day exploit appears

Microsoft has confirmed it is investigating another zero day exploit.

[5] Security vulnerability found in MS SQL Server 2000

SEC Consult say Microsoft has been aware of the problem since April this year. Despite the promise of a patch by September, a release date for the patch remains uncertain.

Links 11/12/2008: New LF Technical Advisory Board; Cybersource for Free Software in Education

Posted in News Roundup at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Dolby Linux wizard John Gilbert gives us a look inside the movie industry 04 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

Mono Quote to Bear in Mind

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Quote at 4:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”

Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 10th, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

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