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12.15.08

Microsoft Appoints Robert Duffner to Fight Freedom and Harm GNU/Linux

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 9:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mission “imprison OSS inside Windows”

Lookng out for the gullible ones, Microsoft is trying to sell a familiar storyline. To a degree, Microsoft succeeds now that it sends another hawk, just it did some months ago in order to threaten GNU/Linux with patents. They seem to be pushing out their new people who soon tell a story, a fairy tale. It’s another one of those legends about Microsoft loving and serenading to open source developers, much like that tune about children in Africa, which we wrote about yesterday.

“They seem to be pushing out their new people who soon tell a story, a fairy tale.”Regarding that story, told us one reader, “I’ve read a few Swedish novels in translation of the West and how it relates to Africa. A couple of them are from Henning Mankell: “Eye of the Leopard” and “Kennedy’s Brain”. They both provide good synopses of living conditions in Africa. The first is more in-depth about conditions in Africa, but the latter focuses on AIDS and speculates that some of these private foundations allegedly set up to find a cure for AIDS are not so good as they appear. The other is “Black Path” by Åsa Larsson. Only a small part of it is in Africa, but the main suspect in the story reminds me of Bill Gates. He doesn’t care so much about what effect his actions have on the world, because the only thing that matters to him is to prove his superiority.”

In the latest pursuit for affection, Microsoft seems to approaching journalists with a sob story about the economy and how Microsoft can help the poor with proprietary software (as in, “they’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade,” said Bill Gates). This is covered not only by InfoWorld (they cite Boycott Novell) but also by eWeek, which plays along with the same old storyline that almost deliberately confuses “open-source” (the dash is intentional) with “cheap”. There is of course not even a morsel of freedom in Microsoft’s pitch because it’s scared of this notion.

Anyway, here is how the eWeek story goes:

So not much will change in the way of messaging regarding Microsoft’s outlook on open source. It didn’t change much when Jason Matusow handed some of the handling of the Microsoft open source strategy to Bill Hilf, or when Hilf handed it off to Ramji.

[...]

Microsoft has appointed a new point man to put a face on its interaction with the open source community. That man, Robert Duffner, takes on a big task as senior director of Platform and Open Source Software strategy at Microsoft. His IBM and BEA roots will help him place his mark on the Microsoft strategy, but the core message remains the same.

This mentions Bill Hilf. Yes, the same guy who threatened GNU/Linux with patents before quitting his role. With people like these in change, it’s clear that they hate GNU/Linux and Free software. They try to modify existing terms and ideologies like “open source” [1, 2]. People like Sam Ramji put a happy face on [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] whilst doing work of malice. They might actually manage to convince themselves (lie to themselves) that they do something good in exchange for generous wages from a law-breaking company.

Going back to that eWeek article, the song Duffner is on about is not necessarily for journalists, some of them won’t even buy it. It’s for them to publish it and for few readers to be deceived, misguided or confused as a consequence.

I met with Duffner and my former eWEEK colleague Peter Galli for lunch here in New York.

Peter Galli is now working for Microsoft. He was doing his Free software damage from inside eWeek before he 'vanished' and then got hired (to unleash his damage directly from Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4]). The eWeek-Microsoft link appears to be tightening and eWeek is known to many as Ziff|Gates, which reflects on the same bias one finds in ZDNet (Microsoft sends its employees to participate there). It’s an issue of ownership and sponsorship.

Here is part of the article which was probably most telling:

Duffner also pointed out that today there are more than 80,000 open source applications that run on Windows, 30,000 of which were built specifically and only to run on Windows.

That’s their goal. It’s an anti-GNU/Linux strategy, turning "open source" developers into just another bunch of Windows ISVs.

I want you for money

How Software Patents Impede Standards and GNU/Linux Development

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat, Standard, Virtualisation at 8:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ISO in moneyLatest evidence from the news

THERE IS NOTHING MORE compelling than fresh examples which demonstrate the severity of the issues, so here are some reports and opinions that emerged this morning.

Patents Can’t Mix with Standards

In a free society, standards and patents mix as well as water and sand. They just don’t. We stressed this point last week and one new discussion from India re-highlights the threat of software patents to many different aspects of life.

Report on Free Software Free Society, 2008.

[...]

But this revolution is being threatened by monopolists who wish to control the generation and dissemination of knowledge. Venkatesh Hariharan, Eben, Mishi and Marco gave presentations on the current state of that stupid idea called software patents.

Glyn Moody says more on the same subject, with emphasis on so-called standards (which only the wealthy are permitted to support and comply with).

For if anything other than royalty-free terms are adopted, open source is effectively locked out – something that Microsoft knows full well, which is why it has pushed for “Reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing” (RAND). At first sight, this appears fair enough – after all, if it is non-discriminatory, what’s not to like?

But the point is that it is not possible for free software programs to support even nominal licensing fees, since the unlimited, unchecked distribution of code makes it impossible to monitor how much should be paid.

We wrote about this subject many times before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and Rambus is a good example of the problems involved [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17]. Andy Updegrove, who is personally involved with that case, has got some new things to say about it.

This has made its stockholders particularly partisan, as its stock has risen and fallen in synchrony with its fortunes in court, and its detractors particularly irate, because they view Rambus not only as a patent troll, but also as one that has gamed the standards development process during the creation of a universally adopted SDRAM memory standard. Hundreds of millions, and perhaps billions, of dollars of royalties are at stake.

Software Patents Can’t Mix with Freedom

Apple’s software patents definitely harm GNU/Linux [1, 2] and it turns out that a GPL violator known as VMware is doing the same thing. This might not be deliberate, but it’s having the same effect. Despite the fact that VMware is a fairly new member of the Linux Foundation, this offers no peace of mind. VMware is now led by a Microsoft lackey [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], who fought Microsoft’s rivals in all sort of nasty ways.

Here is the seminal analysis of the latest problem, which has just become visible to non-subscribers of LWN.

On the kernel page a few weeks ago, we took a look at KSM, a technique to reduce memory usage by sharing identical pages. Currently proposed for inclusion in the mainline kernel, KSM implements a potentially useful—but not particularly new—mechanism. Unfortunately, before it can be examined on its technical merits, it may run afoul of what is essentially a political problem: software patents.

Heise gives the shorter and simpler version of this story.

A report from LWN.net suggests that there may be a patent problem with KSM, a memory management technology that is a candidate for inclusion in a future version of Linux. KSM attempts to extend the idea of sharing memory pages between processes from just managing shared libraries, to any identical memory pages, such as running multiple copies of the same program, or virtualised guest operating systems.

The threat affects KVM, which is now owned by Red Hat, the largest contributor to Linux. Quoting from the above, “The folks behind the KSM project are some of the kvm hackers from Qumranet—which is now part of Red Hat.”

Well, Red Hat has already expressed its support for the Linux Defender project, which it also helps fund. From Red Hat Magazine:

“The idea is to create a defensive patent shield or no-fly zone around Linux,” says Keith Bergelt, the chief executive officer of Open Invention Network, the consortium launching the site. The core members of that group, formed in 2005, are IBM, NEC, Novell NOVL, Philips, Red Hat RHT and Sony.

We previously wrote about this initiative in [1, 2, 3, 4]. More could be done to topple the broken system rather than abide by and obey its rules.

“Fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitoes will eliminate malaria.”

Richard Stallman

Microsoft Xbox Sued Again, This Time for Software Patent Infringement

Posted in Courtroom, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 7:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gamer
Gaming the system

Yesterday we wrote about the latest Microsoft XBox lawsuit. Microsoft deserved that for its arrogance and negligence, but it has just been sued again, this time over patents that are allegedly infringed on. [via Digital Majority]

MS therefore break the patent because they pay nothing to Paltalk for use of the technology with their Xbox Live service, which stretches right across the world. And a quick word of warning to anyone in the UK, since Paltalk have one registered there too. It seems like Paltalk, who run an Instant Messaging service similar to that of Microsoft’s own MSN, are doing this to simply boost their reputation. Live has been up for four years in November. Could they not have pointed it out to Microsoft at the time, before it got huge? Or did they simply “forget” that they had filed the patent until now?

This is yet another example of the reasons why Microsoft should join a coalition against software patents, as oppose to using them to terrorise competitors who stand up for Freedom. For those who are hoping for a patent reform, don’t hold your breath.

…[D]espite plenty of hand-wringing and tons upon tons of evidence of harm done by the current patent system, nothing is going to change any time soon.

Google is being abused by this broken system as well, but although it dislikes the system, it carries on feeding it.

Eric Goldman has an amusing patent lawsuit filed against Google for alleged violations of two patents by Google Reader. The two patents (one and two) have to do with information “coordination and retrieval” with one of them dating back to the late 80s.

[...]

Specifically, the filing suggests that the inventor really, really doesn’t want to file a patent infringement lawsuit, and is really hoping that Google doesn’t think it’s litigious or get upset about it. Instead, the inventor claims that legal precedence forced him to file the lawsuit rather than negotiate.

For Microsoft and Google to be taken seriously by Free software advocates, they must begin by combatting software patents. But it won’t happen any time soon and it’s far from sufficient.

“Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to work together on open source. Making it easier for companies and communities that have patents to make those patents available in a common pool for people to use is one way to try to help developers deal with the threat.”

Linus Torvalds

Microsoft Wants One Throat to Choke

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Steve Ballmer at 6:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

On managing rivals

Gates on SUSE

Here is a decent new comment from LinuxCanuck, who started using GNU/Linux several years ago and also runs an insightful blog that we warmly recommend. He just wrote:

Microsoft would love for Linux to become something that it can deal with. If Linux was to try to become anything other than what it is, then it would make their job easier. The fact that it is decentralized and anarchistic makes it hard to attack. It is like trying to capture smoke.

Microsoft would love for Linux to be reduced to one distribution. This way they can take it over or attack it more easily. They are frustrated by the fact that Linux is not a company, but a concept.

We stated this many times before, so it’s reassuring to see it coming from other independent thinkers. Microsoft’s plan is to group everything inside Novell and under Mono (.NET), then treating GNU/Linux users as though they are jailed in a pen (technical and legal vulnerability).

Steve Ballmer openly said something alone the lines of Linux having no company behind it, which makes it harder to crush (Microsoft is used to doing that). Eben Moglen explains it rather clearly in the following video, which was captured by Joe Barr, R.I.P. [1, 2, 3].

Ogg Theora

Direct link to YouTube

More on the Microsoft-IDG/IDC Connection

Posted in Deception, Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

List of publications affected: InfoWorld, CIO, ComputerWorld, CSO, Demo, GamePro, Games.net, IDG Connect, IDG World Expo, Industry Standard, IT World, JavaWorld, LinuxWorld, MacUser, Macworld, Network World, PC World, Playlist, and many more.

We wrote about this a couple of months ago, if only just to warn that Microsoft is paying a very large media company that earned the name ‘Wintel press’ (among others). Here is another little nugget of information.

[W]hen Microsoft hires somebody like IDG to prove that Linux is less effective than Windows it’s easy to separate argument from arguers – and when the consultants prove their case by hiring the least competent MCSEs they can find and turning them loose with the Linux root password and instructions to “tune” for a couple of days before running the test, you can laugh at the results while admiring the realism – because this, after all, pretty much what happens when the Boss says “Linux” but IT wants Windows.

It’s important to remember which hands are feeding IDG and which publications are affected by this (partial list at the top applies only to IDG).

Intellectual Monopoly Prank Call

Posted in Audio/Video, Humour, Patents, Videos at 2:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ogg Theora

Direct link

Benchmark: Ballnux is Fat

Posted in GNU/Linux, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu at 6:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer rides SUSE
Stevie and SUEsie

Phoronix tests show that SUSE is the fattest among all.

What we gathered from these tests conducted on the Intel Atom desktop was that Ubuntu 8.10 was generally the fastest distribution. OpenSuSE 11.1 RC1 on the other hand was in last place most frequently.

Why would anyone choose SLES/SLED 11 over the competition, which is likely to be lighter and more agile?

Microsoft™ Windows™ Zombies®

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 5:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Do something good for yourself: spread GNU/Linux

This month was a particularly bad one for Microsoft security, but it’s getting worse. It’s easy to see why Microsoft has become so paranoid when it comes to perceptions of Windows security (insecurity). It even twists the arms of journalists now.

There are several important reports that we have not included here yet, so here is a quick rundown.

Internet Explorer Under Fire

This is pretty serious. Here is coverage of the key point:

1. IE zero day bites broader group of users

Secunia goes on to revise what it says is the cause of the vulnerability. Contrary to earlier reports that pinned the blame on the way IE handles certain types of data that use the extensible markup language, or XML, format, the true cause is faulty data binding, meaning exploit code need not use XML.

2. Microsoft: IE5, IE6 Also Affected by Browser Vulnerability

An unpatched vulnerability found in Internet Explorer 7 also affects older versions of the browser as well as the latest beta version, Microsoft warned Thursday.

The new information widens the pool of users who could be at risk of inadvertently becoming infected with malicious software installed on their PC, as Microsoft does not yet have a patch ready.

In an advisory updated on Thursday, Microsoft confirmed that IE 5.01 with Service Pack 4, IE6 with and without Service Pack 1 and IE8 Beta 2 on all versions of the Windows operating system are potentially vulnerable.

3. All Internet Explorer Versions Have Hole?

The unpatched bug in Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) that hackers are now exploiting also exists in older versions of the browser, including the still-widely-used IE6, Microsoft Corp. said.

Friday, a Danish security researcher added that Microsoft’s original countermeasure advice was insufficient, and recommended users take one of the new steps the company spelled out.

There is an early fix for this flaw. It’s called Mozilla Firefox, but there are other fixes available.

Having Only Oneself to Blame

Would it be considered acceptable that Microsoft is patching a known security hole 7 years late?

Microsoft recently released two new patches, one of which fixes a security hole that the company has been trying to plug since 2001.

It was only days ago that Microsoft patched no less than six “critical” flaws.

Palo Alto Networks today announced that its Threat Research Team discovered one of the six critical vulnerabilities communicated in Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday security bulletin this week.

The Future

With so many holes that are most severe, no wonder virtually every Windows box is open to hijackers and almost half of them are already hijacked. The press is rightly preoccupied with stories about the global financial crisis, but one security vendor believes that cybercrime has become an even greater problem.

You might have noticed that the economy is in the tank. Something about this “credit crunch” and “recession” and whatnot. But the amount of attention governments around the world are paying to these issues is giving cybercrime a foothold, according to a new study from a — yep, you guessed it — security vendor…

As the economy declines, this is bound to get worse.

Desperate IT workers who have been laid off will go rogue in 2009, selling corporate data and using crimeware, reports have predicted.

The credit crunch will drive some IT workers to use their skills to steal credit-card data using phishing attacks, and abuse their privileged corporate computer access to sell off valuable financial and intellectual information, forensic experts have warned.

How did we get here and how will we get out of this? Download a fix now.

Ogg Theora

Direct link

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