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01.08.09

Links 08/01/2009: Lots of GNU/Linux-based Sub-notebooks, Distro Reviews

Posted in IRC Logs at 10:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

  • Microsoft’s Windows 7 Vista replacement plan

    No, if Microsoft really wants to make its customers happy, they should do what my friend Jason Perlow suggests, “since Windows 7 is essentially a performance and usability fix for a defective product, I’m of the increasing opinion that a Windows 7 upgrade should be free to anyone who was conned into buying Windows Vista.”

    You know, he has a good point. While I personally think you’d be a lot better off with buying a new Mac or moving over to Fedora, openSUSE or Ubuntu, if you still want to stick with Windows even after suffering with Vista, Microsoft should give you a copy of Windows 7 for free. After all, haven’t you suffered enough?

  • The 2008 Linux and free software timeline

    As always, 2008 proved to be an interesting year, with great progress in useful software that made our systems better. Of course, there were some of the usual conflicts—patent woes, project politics, and arguments over freedom—but overall, the pace of free software progress stayed on its upwardly increasing trend. 2008 was a year that saw the end of SCO—or not—the rise of Linux-based “netbooks”, multiple excellent distribution releases, more phones and embedded devices based on Linux, as well as major releases of software we will be using for years (X.org, Python, KDE, …). We look forward to seeing what 2009—and beyond!—will bring.

  • Turning Linux’s Advantages in to Advantages

    This is how you install and update software on Windows:

    1. Open a web browser.
    2. Download an executable file from an (often un-verified) source.
    3. Press next, next, next, next, next, next, next, next, finish.
    4. Launch your software.
    5. Wait for each individual piece of software to nag you about the latest update. (”Logitech is going to look for updates…,” “Adobe PDF Reader version 8.4 is available. Please install it now,” “QuickTime needs an update (hey, mind if we sneak Safari in there, too? *wink*)”)

    On Linux, on the other hand, it works something like this:

    1. Open Add/Remove programs.
    2. Press a check mark and hit apply.
    3. Launch your software.
    4. Sit back as your software is automatically updated.

  • Help On The Way: Five Great Linux Support Sites

    Linux support and documentation sites are a dime a dozen — and some aren’t worth much more than that. Here are a few sites that really give you your money’s worth . . . or at least they would, if most of the content wasn’t already free.

    This certainly isn’t a complete list of quality online Linux support resources. Think of it as a snapshot of some of my current favorites; even if these don’t deliver what you need, they at least show you what to expect when you go looking for other, similar, Linux support sites.

  • Multiseat Computer for 12 users

    12 users can work on one computer : surfing, mailing or office jobs.
    Needs only 410Watt. With Debian or Ubuntu Os and the newest software as Firefox 3 ,Openoffice 3.0 and Gimp.

  • Turn Your Linux Desktop into an Alarm Clock

    Several months ago, I posted here a rather geeky tip on how to turn your Linux box into an alarm clock using a Python script. This time, I’ll keep it simple by showing to you some free and open-source programs that you can easily install and use to make your Linux desktop as an alternative or shall I say an improvised alarm clock.

  • iTWire journo nominates for Linux Australia council

    Linux Australia is undergoing its annual election process; if you’re a member be sure to register your vote to further the cause of Linux in 2009! (Plus! iTWire columnist nominates!)

    Linux Australia is the peak body for Linux User Groups (LUGs) around Australia. This is a total membership of some 5,000 users, developers, students and just generally passionate Linuxphiles.

  • HyperSpace

    • CES: PCs Load Apps Even Before Windows Starts

      HyperSpace and Windows can’t run at the same time, but HyperSpace could still act just like new quick start options from Lenovo and Sony, which load a small subset of applications into a Linux-based environment for the times when a user doesn’t need the full firepower of Windows and Windows apps.

    • Is Phoenix about to Enter GPL Violation HyperSpace?

      If ultraportables were last year’s big surprise success for GNU/Linux, one of the potentially exciting technologies for this year is the instant-on pre-operating system that loads in seconds when you power up a desktop or portable. DeviceVM’s Splashtop is probably the best known example. These are highly relevant to the free software world, since such instant-on systems are usually based on GNU/Linux, and once people start trying them out, they may simply stay there using the free software apps available, rather than wait minutes for the full glory of Windows Vista to chunder into its vitiated life.

      [...]

      The last point is the interesting one. Does Phoenix hope to get away without respecting the GNU GPL?

  • Cisco

    • Should open source boycott Cisco’s contest?

      While lawyers debate the merits of the FSF’s suit against Cisco, open source developers may be asking themselves how they can make their views heard.

      Here’s an idea. Boycott Cisco’s contest.

    • Cisco: Huge international interest in developer contest

      Cisco Systems Inc. has claimed that international interest in its recently launched contest for router-centric application development has been so strong that it must extend the first-phase deadline from Jan. 12 to Feb. 27.

  • Distributions

    • Puppy Linux On Windows Desktop

      Puppy Linux is an interesting Linux distribution which offers multiple features, despite of its low file size (around 99 MB). An average computer user will find enough flexibility and an increased speed during the execution of common tasks like web browsing, text processing, image editing and more.

      Puppy Linux integrates many simple to use applications useful for office related tasks, multimedia playback, gaming and networking. It has many installation options too.

    • gOS Gadgets aims Ubuntu at cloud computing

      Overall, gOS represents an intriguing Ubuntu re-spin. Its most significant contribution will probably be its use as a proof-of-concept platform for netbooks, netpads, and MIDs intended to run mostly web-based applications — what might be called mobile “cloud computing” devices.

    • SimplyMEPIS 8.0 – Review

      If you’re a Linux enthusiast, you have probably heard of SimplyMEPIS. It is a Debian-based distribution, aiming at being simple and usable out of the box. Currently, version 7.0 is available to the users, with advanced betas of version 8.0 getting ever more ready toward the release.

      [...]

      SimplyMEPIS is a nice distro. It’s neither spectacular nor catastrophic. It sits somewhere in the middle between very simple and very un-simple distros. Compared to Ubuntu or SUSE, it does lag somewhat behind.

      The greatest disappointment are the bleak live session and the clumsy network support, which could have been so easily avoided. On the other hand, it does come with lots of goodies pre-baked, like Flash or MP3 codecs. When it comes to configurations, the layout of menus and the wording used are not very intuitive. Yet, it is fast and good-looking.

    • MoLinux 4.2: Linux de La Mancha

      I like the idea of regional governments offering a personlized, free operating system based on a well-established distribution. MoLinux doesn’t dilute the Ubuntu pool so much as uses it as a base upon which to improve.

      The introductory window is something I’d like to see in Ubuntu proper, and I’m pretty sure the idea has been suggested before. That’s the beauty of open-source. Nothing is stopping someone from translating that tutorial and tossing it back upstream.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • DLNA router technology runs Linux

      At CES, fabless chip-maker Mindspeed Technologies will demonstrate a prototype of a consumer DLNA router that combines its Comcerto 100 broadband processor with Wind River’s Platform for Consumer Devices, Linux Edition. The media sharing demonstration will also feature DigiOn’s DiXiM Media Server (DMS), says Mindpeed.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Refocusing on our mission
      • Computer makers set to launch Netbook 2.0

        The netbook category is posing a challenge for Microsoft, the biggest software group, as manufacturers turn to alternatives to its Windows operating system, writes Chris Nuttall.

        To help cut costs, the free Linux operating system is featured in many products, while the use of flash memory rather than hard drives along with ‘virtualisation’ techniques means that Windows is being bypassed in others.

        Consumers are beginning to associate netbooks with “instant-on” features, which mean that they can be used in a few seconds rather than waiting a few minutes for Windows to be booted.

      • EMTEC unveils new Gdium netbook

        It appears that EMTEC’s new Gdium netbook is ready for prime-time, or in this case, ready for display at CES. We went hands-on with a non-functioning prototype of the Gdium last August at IFA 2008 and now have pictures and specs for what appears to be the final product.

      • eRacks Offers Top Netbooks Preinstalled with Ubuntu and Fedora Linux

        eRacks Open Source Systems is now offering Asus, MSI, and Acer Netbooks preinstalled with Ubuntu or Fedora Linux. eRacks’ netbooks use Intel’s new Atom processor and are smaller, lighter, and more portable than laptops. Netbooks are also significantly less expensive but can easily handle the daily tasks like web-browsing, email, writing documents and spreadsheets. Other vendors sell netbooks with a simplified version of Linux, such as Linpus, but eRacks goes the extra step and configures the fully functional Linux operating system on its netbooks.

      • How To: Become a Linux Netbook Power User

        So, the season of giving has just come and gone, and you’ve received a Linux-based netbook—the popular new class of ultra-cheap, ultra-portable computer. By definition, netbooks are very limited in what they can do; they’re primary meant for accessing the web as well as some moderate office and multimedia use. Their low-speed processor and minimal memory means that they’re just not suited for more intensive applications like gaming or video editing.

      • CES 2009: Nova Updates Rugged UMPC with New SideArm 2

        It is being called the SideArm 2 and it will, depending upon the needs of the user, support either Windows Vista, Windows XP or Linux.

    • Phones

      • Qualcomm Runs Android on Netbook Chip

        Qualcomm said today it is running Google’s Android platform on its Snapdragon chipset designed for netbooks and mobile Internet devices. This isn’t earth-shattering since Snapgragon is an ARM-based chip, and another Qualcomm ARM-based chip powers the G1 Android phone. Qualcomm is also a big Android backer through the Open Handset Alliance.

      • Mot taps Linux for rugged mobile phone

        Motorola is readying a rugged, weather-resistant 3G HSDPA clamshell phone for ATT Mobility. Targeting outdoor enthusiasts, contractors, and (cruel but true) “teenagers,” the Motorola Tundra VA76r runs Linux, and offers aGPS, Bluetooth, a 2-megapixel camera, and Push to Talk (PTT), says Motorola.

F/OSS

  • Cfengine Launches Commercial Open Source Company

    Cfengine is open-source (GPL) software for configuring, monitoring and autonomically maintaining computers. It’s been around for over 15 years and is pretty prevalent among Unix administrators with a lot of machines to manage. The concept around CFengine involves having a centralized configuration that can propagate out to servers a common use would be to develop a template or set of templates that can be used to “build” a server.

  • 25 essential Firefox add-ons for power users

    A bare copy of Firefox is a wonderful thing, but when you start stuffing it with add-ons it gets even better.

    So what are the best add-ons for power users? Here’s our top 25:

    1. All-in-one Sidebar

    All-in-one Sidebar makes Firefox’s Sidebar more useful by displaying pretty much anything you might want: source code, downloads, add-ons, page info, entire web pages…

  • Open Source, Less Labor, More Love

    Open source software is inextricably tied to the idea of “giving it away.” Projects open their code for a number of reasons — to better the codebase, or to allow others to bend an application to their own needs. Maybe the reasons are entirely altruistic, or maybe the altruism is the happy side effect of more project-centric decisions.

  • Bug Labs Open Source Gadgets Getting Pico Projector, 3G modules and More

    Bug Labs, the system of open source gadget building blocks, is getting pico projector, speaker, 3G, combo Bluetooth/WiFi and a 802.15.4 radio module.

    The pico projector and 3G modules are the most interesting of the group. The DLP powered display has a 480×320 resolution, 9 lumens and integrated stereo sound. The 3G modules can be used to send text messages but also place calls and of course, transmit data.

  • Open Cloud Conundrum, Open Cloud Consortium

    One of the hot areas in 2008 was cloud computing, and 2009 looks likely to be a year that is equally occupied with the subject. But cloud computing represents something of a conundrum for the open source world.

    Much of it is built using free software infrastructure – naturally enough, since it scales well both in terms of performance and cost. But it’s not clear from a legal viewpoint whether providing cloud computing services constitutes distributing software in the sense of traditional free software licences like the GNU GPL.

  • Wireshark

    The open source network protocol analyzer is backed by support, training, and complementary products from CACE Technologies.

  • Medical

    • VistA now all open source

      The big open source struggle that began with Linux, moved to enterprise applications and then the consumer space, is now pointed directly at the heads of doctors and hospitals.

      VistA, the public record EHR and hospital management software created by the Veterans Administration, is once again an open source movement with word that DSS, its biggest commercial licenser, is switching to the Eclipse Public License.

    • Healthcare Conference to Focus on Open Source Solutions

      Panels, presentations, and Birds of a Feather meetings are certainly the highlight of next month’s Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE), but that’s not the only thing happening during the event. The Demonstrating Open Source Health Care Solutions (DOHCS) conference will be co-located with SCALE and both will get underway on Friday, February 20, 2009.

  • Vietnam

    • Vietnam mandates government adoption of open source

      Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications is aiming to migrate the country’s government to open source software by the end of 2010. The ambitious plan, which was reported Wednesday by VietnamNet calls for rapid adoption of open source software and extensive training to ensure that IT staff and government employees will be able to adjust to the change.

    • Vietnam goes “100 per cent open source” by 2010

      Vietnam’s government is going “100 per cent open source”. VietnamNet Bridge reports that the Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communications has set out an aggressive policy to go “100 per cent open source” by December 31st 2010.

  • Graphics

    • Tungsten Creates New VIA 3D Stack

      Thomas Hellström of Tungsten Graphics is preparing to release a new DRM module and Mesa 3D driver that supports some of VIA’s older hardware — and eventually their newest graphics processors.

    • FSF, SGI Cooperated to Resolve Licensing Issue in X.org, Mesa

      The FSF is obviously thrilled by the news. “We couldn’t be happier with this decision, and we’re very grateful to SGI for all their assistance,” the FSF states, “The FSF is committed to ensuring that everyone’s computing tasks can be done with free software and this SGI code plays an important role in scientific and design applications and in the latest desktop environments and games.”

  • Annual

    • 10 predictions for Linux and open source in 2009

      Jack Wallen believes that the new year holds a great deal of promise for the Linux OS and open source software — from an explosion in the mobile arena to large-enterprise scalability to widespread adoption of OpenOffice 3. See if you agree with his outlook.

    • OpenOffice.org : What was done in 2008

      First of all I want to wish everybody a happy and successful new year. When I talk about successful I have to highlight the last year. 2008 was a great success for OpenOffice.org. Mid of October OOo 3.0 was released and until now more than 28 million downloads were done. If this isn’t a success!

      Beside this event 5 other releases were done for OOo. So there were a lot work for the QA and release teams last year. 6 releases are more than in the past years!

Music/Restriction

  • Reznor ‘Leaks’ 400 GB Of High Def Concert Footage

    Trent Reznor is making it awfully difficult for me to finish the presentation I’m giving about him next week at MidemNet, because he keeps on doing stuff that should be mentioned in that presentation (I may have to ask the MidemNet folks for more time!).

  • Is The FTC Interested In Protecting Consumers From Bad DRM?

    We’re so used to hearing the government fall for the industry propaganda about the need for DRM that it’s almost… shocking, to hear that the FTC is even willing to consider the question of whether or not it should be involved in protecting consumers from DRM.

  • Trusted Computing Not So Trustworthy

    As pretty much anyone in computer security recognizes, any bit of “secure” computing is only secure for a limited period of time.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Digital Tipping Point: Lena Zuniga, Program Officer for Bellanet 04 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

SEC Goes Hunting Microsoft Again, Violations Alleged

Posted in Finance, Fraud, Microsoft, Novell at 7:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft’s perspective is best reflected by Bob Herbold, Chief Operating Officer, to whom the CFO reports. Bob very sincerely replied, “Bill, everyone is doing it.” My response was that Microsoft is a leader and that others are now seeking to emulate these fraudulent practices they have legitimized. Naturally Bob was not pleased by this perspective and that was our final conversation. A second informal response came when Microsoft asked PR Newswire to stop issuing my press releases.

“Microsoft is PR Newswire’s largest client.”

Bill Parish

IN THE WORDS of Yogi Berra, it’s deja vu all over again.

US ‘renews’ Microsoft share probe

The US financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has reopened an insider trading inquiry into Microsoft, reports say.

This is not the first time that the SEC steps in because of allegations of fraud against Microsoft (the company settled to escape this previous blunder). With Satyam all over the headlines for massive fraud, this sure could get interesting. Might Novell be next? The SEC doesn't spot it and it's already seen as fishy by some.

Related posts:

Microsoft May Conquer Novell from the Inside

Posted in Corel, Microsoft, Novell at 7:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Assimilation strategy

Novellsoft

We’ve warned about this all along.

Microsoft might be doing to Novell what it has been doing to VMware and to Yahoo. Speaking of which, earlier today it turned out that Microsoft had just nicked another Yahoo executive (head of Yahoo Korea).

Additionally, let us never forget about Corel, which Microsoft may have turned from a GNU/Linux vendor into a .NET workshop. Sounds familiar? How about Mono?

As for Novell, well… we warned about Microsoft’s influence in its management back in October. It goes in precisely the same direction that we had anticipated right from the start. Novell’s channel chief steps down (or up) only to be replaced by… a “Microsoft veteran”.

The Right Stuff?

Still, Colado’s short stint as channel chief raises some questions.

* Was Colado the right pick as channel chief back in September?
* Did Novell’s channel program move forward under his direction? Apparently yes, according to this insight from CRN. (UPDATE: Apparently, CRN took its story down because it lacked the fact that Colado had been promoted. Sorry about the dead CRN link, folks)
* Will Novell hire a new channel chief to report into Dragoon? It doesn’t sound like it.

But we’ve got an email into Novell requesting comment. (Update, Jan. 7, 2009: Novell says Dragoon is channel chief plus Novell hires Microsoft veteran.)

Yes, let Microsoft manage Novell’s channel. What does that make Novell? Part of Microsoft’s ecosystem? Prior to this, Colado only lasted a few months [1, 2, 3]. Pat Bernard too decided to step down (and quit) this role after a few months in the company [1, 2]. She does not seem to have responded to the Var Guy’s plea for an explanation, or maybe it just never got published.

“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

Microsoft Vice President Teaches PR People How to Spin Anti-Linux Programme

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenOffice, Windows at 2:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Storage technology
Core spin: we’re not dumping, we Offer® Value™

LESS THAN A WEEK ago we unleashed the full text on EDGI (further discussion here and here) which exposes Microsoft’s way of dealing with Free software and GNU/Linux adoption. This merited at least one article in the Indian press which explained what EDGI was.

We decided that it would be constructive to continue sharing information about EDGI; in particular, we are interested in what it looks like from inside Microsoft. This will be — in some way or another — the second part of a series.

In today’s post we have Comes vs Microsoft exhibit px09687 [PDF]. We append the full text at the bottom.

Kevin Johnson, a group vice president at the time (he recently quit), wrote:

Several press reports have characterized these programs as designed solely as an attack on Linux and potentially damaging to our settlement discussions with the European Commission.

To those who believe that Microsoft is paid a lot of money for its software, it’s important to remember that usage does not equate to revenue. As the message from Microsoft puts it:

Software piracy rates run as high as over 90 percent in many developing countries.

The rest can be read below. The emphasis in the recipients side is PR films (i.e. “spinners”), who we already know are rubbing shoulders with journalists whose coverage they police. So much for freedom of speech; there is threat to those who say certain truths, as Dan Geer found out [1, 2, 3]. Neelie Kroes too comes under fire from Microsoft spinners for attempting to restore justice. She did complain about a smear complain — much like those which Peter Quinn can attest to.


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit px09687, as text


From: Rodrigo Costa
Sent: Monday, June 02, 2003 1:32 PM
To: Rodrigo Direct Reports Only
Subject: FW: Messaging on the Government and Education Incentive Funds
Attachments: Messaging on the Government and Education Incentive Funds.doc

This is important information
rodrigo


From: Kevin Johnson
Sent: Monday, .June 02, 2003 1:26 PM
To: GMs of Subsidiaries; Worldwide PR leads – Internal; Subsidiary PR Managers; SMSG Leadership Team
Cc: Mark Hill; Jim Desler; Beth Jordan; Erin Brewer; Carlene Chmaj; Stacy Drake McCredy; Dean Katz; Tom Pilla; Larry Cohen; Sandi Baldock

Many of you have likely seen the recent coverage in the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times questioning the validity of the Government and Education incentive program that we have created. I want to assure you that these programs, which were specifically designed with customer benefit in mind, deliver a compelling value proposition in a legal and pro competitive way. The intent of these programs is to provide access to technology for schools and governments in developing countries that otherwise could not afford it. There is nothing wrong with a program that addresses technology access issues while competing fairly with our competitors. We are proud of this program – as ultimately we’re talking about offering a better value proposition to these specific customers and doing it in a responsible and lawful way.

Several press reports have characterized these programs as designed solely as an attack on Linux and potentially damaging to our settlement discussions with the European Commission. I wanted to make sure you had the background on this issue and some talking points if you are asked about this by customers. Attached is a document with the messaging and additional background information. Please refer further press inquiries to Corporate PR. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Regards,
Kevin

Kevin Johnson
Group Vice President
Microsoft WW Sales, Marketing and Services

kevin@microsoft.com
425-705-8081

MS-CC-RN 000001145823

HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL


Messaging:

- The International Herald Tribune article from earlier this month — For Microsoft, Market Dominance Doesn’t Seen Enough, May 15 – is based largely upon two emails sent within Microsoft. The article does not accurately portray Microsoft’s efforts to address the needs of resource-strapped governments and educational institutions.

- Governments around the world, but particularly in developing countries, have called upon Microsoft to help make computer technology more affordable in settings where budgets for technology access are limited. As an industry leader, Microsoft accepts the responsibility to help enable broad access to technology in governments and schools. We have also seen that absent such assistance governments and schools that may prefer Microsoft software might settle upon free or very low-cost software solutions that are typically billed as “good enough.” In other cases such potential customers may simply use Microsoft software without paying for it. Software piracy rates run as high as over 90 percent in many developing countries.

- Microsoft has set aside a relatively modest fund to assist governments and schools that want to benefit from lawful licenses to Microsoft software. The funds may be used to help defray the cost of purchasing new Windows-based PCs, for training or other services provided by Microsoft or third parties, for curriculum content or in other ways. In every case, the funds provided by Microsoft are less than the royalties Microsoft will receive for use of its products.

- The article selectively and unfairly excerpted a Microsoft email as stating “under NO circumstances lose against Linux.” What the email actually said was “under NO circumstances
lose against Linux before ensuring we have used this program actively and in a smart way.” We of course recognize that customers will choose Linux and other free or low-cost products in many cases. We want to be sure, however, that qualified customers are presented with opportunities to acquire Microsoft software that are tailored to their needs and limited budgets.

- Our legal team has reviewed the program carefully. We are confident it complies fully with European and other competition law. In fact, this program addresses important issues of access to technology, and delivers a compelling value proposition to customers in a legal and pro competitive manner.

Additional Background:
- The program highlighted in the piece was developed last year for the education and government sectors and principally designed for developing countries. Understanding our role as an industry leader and the importance of complying fully with all laws and regulations, our lawyers carefully reviewed this program to account for the competitive sensitivities and global scope. This program is pro-competitive and beneficial to consumers.

- We recognize that the European Union competition principles may limit a company with a successful market position from dropping its price to meet competition if the objective of this practice were to “exclude competition.” from the market. With only one deal in the European Union – with benefits granted to educational purchasers in the context of a

MS-CC-RN 000001145824
HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL


government-sponsored IT program — we have conducted this program in a way that could not be construed at all as exclusionary. [Note: any questions that go to the detail of the legality of the program under applicable competition law should be referred to LCA.]

- The IHT article further characterizes the use of discretionary funding for special customer situations as somehow anticompetitive. BIF simply enables the use of consulting services from Microsoft Consulting Services and from our business partners for pre and post-sale activities for our enterprise customers. This is a common industry practice because enterprise customers often benefit from highly skilled consultants in evaluating and deploying software systems for large organizations. This program complies fully with applicable regulations.

- The article includes reports of Microsoft employees allegedly misrepresenting their affiliations while attending industry trade shows. Simply put, such behaviour violates our company policy; we are looking into the reports and will take appropriate action. We recognize and accept that, as an industry leader, we are held to high standards of ethical business conduct.

- We understand that our activities and programs will be heavily scrutinized and are open to reviewing issues with government officials and representatives. In fact we have already sent information to the European Commission to respond to any questions they may have based on this article.

MS-CC-RN 000001145825
HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL


Microsoft Sends “Vista 7 PC Ecosystem Team” to Influence Free Software Projects

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Vista 7 at 11:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Window with vapor
“Get ready for Windows 7apourware”

MANY PEOPLE still remember the Blender blunder. Microsoft wants to turn the Free software world into Just Another™ Microsoft/Windows ISV.

Jill Brecheisen from Microsoft is trying to convince (i.e. lobby) Free software projects to prepare themselves for vapourware, such as Vista 7. Here is an E-mail that has just landed in the VLC mailing list:

I am on the Windows 7 PC Ecosystem team and would like to invite your company to participate in Windows 7 Application Readiness & Compatibility Labs. Can you please let me know who the appropriate contact would be to send an invitation to?

Thank you,
Jill Brecheisen
PC Ecosystem ISV Engagement
v-jibrec at microsoft.com

Here’s how the thinking goes at Microsoft: Why fight Free software if it cannot be killed? Instead, let’s try to make people abandon GNU/Linux. Let’s make Free software work better on Windows and have developers overworked because of their Windows ports, which address yet non-existent operating systems.

“The purpose of announcing early like this is to freeze the market at the OEM and ISV level. In this respect it is JUST like the original Windows announcement…

“One might worry that this will help Sun because we will just have vaporware, that people will stop buying 486 machines, that we will have endorsed RISC but not delivered… So, Scott, do you really think you can fight that avalanche?”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft

“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

The Cost — and Cause — for Security Failure, Data Breaches

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 11:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Windows Vista is not a secure operating system and Vista 7 is the same. The ramifications can be very serious and no level of censorship can hide it. According to this report from the Identity Theft Resource Center, the leaking of sensitive data is rising sharply due to inappropriate means of securing it.

More than 35 million data records were breached in 2008 in the U.S., a figure that underscores continuing difficulties in securing information, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC).

Each and every one of us pays for the damage, as costs are collective and our data is centralised not only on our personal computers*. Even our medical records can be compromised.

“Each and every one of us pays for the damage, as costs are collective and our data is centralised not only on our personal computers.”What is responsible for this and who is to blame? Well, based on empirical evidence, it’s Microsoft that has failed. It failed not because it’s an impossible task to secure software but because, as the manager of Windows said a few years ago, “our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Let’s consider GNU/Linux for a second. The platform runs in an environment that’s highly connected; it runs on a very large number of boxes endlessly. In September 2008, said Steve Ballmer: “Forty percent of servers run Windows, 60 percent run Linux…”**

If GNU/Linux was not secure, wouldn’t many of the Web servers out there be compromised? Evidently, they rarely do. Software that’s installed on them with uploaders is a vector of weakness, but that too has not caused much harm.

On the other hand we have Windows, which is once again under a worm attack, according to this new report.

Business systems are being attacked by a worm exploiting a known Microsoft vulnerability, IT security experts have warned.

Sam Varghese, a GNU/Linux user, wrote about “worms, worms, worms” a few days ago. Security troubles under Windows have more of his computers migrated to GNU/Linux right now.

It would have been good to have some equivalent of Delilah on Windows to negate the role of this browser, but, sadly there is none. There are some third-party applications like XPlite , developed by Australian Shane Brooks, which do remove most of IE but then which browser do you use to update Windows? Only IE supports ActiveX.

You can, of course, move from XP to Vista where the updates are done through the control panel but that would be the equivalent of offering a man a choice between arsenic and cyanide for breakfast.

Sam mentions ActiveX, which was probably designed and implemented for anti-competitive reasons (making Web sites operating system-dependent), despite it’s obvious dangers. As Bill Gates put it on numerous occasions, they needed to leverage standards-hostile extensions. In this one E-mail [PDF] he wrote: “Another suggestion In this mail was that we can’t make our own unilateral extensions to HTML I was going to say this was wrong and correct this also.”

Where do Windows users end up because of this? Well, merely visiting a Web site can be dangerous because it gives the site great control over the entire operating system (access to local files even). At the moment, there are reports about Windows-only features in LinkedInmalicious ‘features’

[T]he sort of social media trouble quotient appears to have risen a bit as fake LinkedIn profiles are trying to send users towards malware.

We all reap what they sow.

“In one piece of mail people were suggesting that Office had to work equally well with all browsers and that we shouldn’t force Office users to use our browser. This Is wrong and I wanted to correct this.”

Bill Gates [PDF]

XHTML
Hostility towards (X)HTML came from the top

___
* Where else are they centralised? Well, a lot of people don’t know where or how their medical records are kept or how susceptible those records might be to data theft. Are medical records kept only on private networks? or are they reachable by the outside world (Chinese or Russian crackers, for example). Ordinary people pay more attention once they realise exactly how this situation can cause them harm in a very personal way.

** This is an important point, and it should probably be made even stronger. If GNU/Linux was not more secure, wouldn’t its 60 percent of the Web servers be compromised at least as often as Windows 40 percent? Yet evidence shows that they rarely are.

Microsoft’s Highly Confidential GNU/Linux Share Figures (2003)

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 9:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Antitrust exhibit unleashed

According to Microsoft’s own intelligence, almost 20% of the organisations in Brazil intended to move to GNU/Linux in 2003. Is that why Microsoft sends lackeys over there [1, 2]?

Microsoft calls this “Linux Heat Map.” It pretty much contradicts claims that Microsoft is not bothered by desktop GNU/Linux.

Linux heat map
View large image
View the original PDF

That’s Microsoft own estimation and that’s just for desktops in 2003. GNU/Linux has gained a lot since.

“[If I ask you who is Microsoft's biggest competitor now, who would it be?] Open…Linux. I don’t want to say open source. Linux, certainly have to go with that.”

Steve Ballmer (Microsoft’s CEO), February 28th, 2008

Update: Here it is in ODF format, thanks to a reader who transcribed it by hand. Some of the numbers were hard to make out, so the reader would not claim 100% accuracy.

Factual Mistakes in Byfield’s Article on Office Suites

Posted in Deception, Fork, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Patents at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We already wrote about this subject a couple of weeks ago [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Coming a little late to the party is Bruce Byfield, who still has a vendetta against us [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

We haven’t the time (nor the desire) to do a full rebuttal right now, but a few points are worth making:

  • Byfield repeatedly uses the term “anti-Novell lobby” to daemonise critics, but he never bothers to name them or to link to these critics. He wants to present his own version (or rendition) of their voice without giving readers the opportunity to interpret or judge for themselves. Over at OStatic, Sam Dean went on and deleted (censored) a polite and informative comment from me, which was about 30-40 lines in length. It explained what Novell was doing with Go-OO[XML].
  • Regarding patents, Byfield writes: “And considering that OOXML is now an ISO standard — no matter what dirty tricks might have made it one — the idea that it, at least, could now be used in patent violation cases seems logically inconsistent.” Byfield may not understand patents and the OSP from Microsoft, which does not elude RAND. Being an ISO standard does not prevent patents from being an issue. As always, there is also disregard for more idealogical considerations, which passively endorses corruption.

There are many more points worth making, but we lack the time to address them.

The author has a long track record of defending Novell and that, by association, means badmouthing “Boycott Novell”. Frustration is probably not a factor here, but let’s remember that Byfield mostly writes for Linux.com, which is no longer publishing articles (for now). That can’t be good news to him because that’s how he makes a living.

“There is nothing more that can be done. Everything we do is now available to licensees as well.”

Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s Imaginary Property Officer

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