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01.12.09

Links 12/01/2009: KDE 4.2 Previews, OpenOfice.org Rave

Posted in News Roundup at 10:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

  • Wireless Linux Terminal Services

    Schools like terminal servers. How else can you explain the popularity of Microsoft’s RDP server to provide file-sharing and controlled Internet access to it’s laptop owning students?

    The problem is that MS RDP is:

    * quite expensive
    * creates complex licence issues
    * pretty slow
    * requires a hi-spec laptop to run the RDP client

    The ideal solution for a school would be good old netboot or PXE boot. The client computer does not need to have school applications installed nor even have a functioning OS. It fetches all it needs from the server.

  • Red Hat’s Open Source Software of Value in These Recessionary Times

    With the current recessionary environment, perhaps it’s not such a bad time to take a look at investing in penguins and fedoras. When I say penguins, I mean Tux, the official mascot of the Linux kernel and when I say fedoras, I mean Red Hat (RHT), the Raleigh, NC-based provider of open source enterprise solutions.

  • Google Chrome Dumps WinHTTP, Linux Version Inevitable

    The preview (alpha) version of Google’s browser, Chrome, was released last week with a number of new features including an update to the V8 Javascript engine, form autocomplete, and experimental user script support that they are calling “similar to Greasemonkey.”1 But probably the most interesting item of note is that the development team has rolled their own HTTP stack.

  • Open Sourcing the Third World

    As I started this series I noted that my interest in Linux was first motivated less by technology and more by philosophy and ideology. Thus, by extension, one way you can encourage the developing world to go open source is by doing it yourself.

    You’ll think of the rest of the world immediately if you check out Ubuntu, the Linux distribution I use. Global accessibility is one of the big goals of Ubuntu developer Mark Shuttleworth, a native of South Africa. The first step of installing, or checking out Ubuntu from a live CD, is choosing your language. Like Press 1 for English on the voice mail, only with lots more options, 64 to be exact. Rep. Steve King (Know Nothing-IA) would first have fits and then try to get it banned under our English Only law. Don’t get scared, the default is the world’s default second language, English. Sure, Windows supports a lot of languages too. But the Ubuntu install process literally makes you think of the rest of the world as the very first thing.

  • An Unexpected Aquarium Experience

    One point here that bears noting: I’ve gotten so used to Linux that I didn’t bother to think about system performance issues when I installed the iso into the Virtual Box. The ISO and the virtual drive happened to be on the same physical drive and even worse in the same partition. Installation took over 2 hours. When I realized what I had done, I realized one user issue that isn’t easily addressed by Linux, if you have more than one drive and you like to jack the performance up, having two drives actually improves performance. The caveat being that if you’re reading from one and writing onto another volume, they need to be on separate physical drives.

    After doing a lot of other things while Visaster SP2 (Windows 7) installed, I’d look in on it and watch what was going on. Somewhere along the way I wondered why the sunlight was streaming down from the sky on the desktop. Yeah I have to admit a really nasty semi-biblical thought passed. Then somewhere along the way the Siamese fighting fish pops up. Oh OK, I think, “We’re under water”. I wasn’t sure if that was a counter-play to Aero or not but I laughed anyway.

  • Linux Outlaws 71 – Evil@Home

    MP3 – 1 hour 36 minutes 42 seconds, 44.4 MB — you can also download all our episodes in both MP3 and Ogg Vorbis format from the Outlaw Archives.

  • kernel

    • Kernel Log: What’s new in 2.6.29 – Part 1: Dodgy Wifi drivers and AP support

      Scarcely two weeks after the release of Linux 2.6.28, Linus Torvalds has integrated comprehensive changes for kernel version 2.6.29 into the main development branch. As of Friday morning, he had added a whopping 7550 patches that changed 8388 files and included more than 1,061,513 new, changed, or moved, lines of code. Over the weekend, the merge window closed and the second phase of the development cycle, which usually lasts some eight to ten weeks, has started with the release of 2.6.29-RC1. In the second phase only corrections, or small changes that do not threaten the code, will find their way into the main development branch.

    • Kernel Log: What’s new in 2.6.29 – Part 2: WiMAX

      In Part 2 of the Kernel Log’s coverage of the major changes happening in the main development branch for the Linux kernel 2.6.29 release, we look at a major new addition to Linux’s networking capability, WiMAX support.

      USB sub-system maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman has brought the WiMAX stack, developed primarily by Intel developers in the framework of the Linux WiMAX project, into the Linux main development branch.

  • Virtualisation

    • WANdisco Unveils Subversion MultiSite Software Appliance Based on Linux

      In general, a virtual appliance is a software application that is pre-packaged with a fully supported ‘just enough operating system (JeOS)’, based on Linux. The application offers everything that is required for the deployment in a virtual machine.

    • 5 Linux-based Virtualization Companies to Watch

      There’s only one company that doesn’t use Linux for its server virtualization platform. Can you guess which one it is? If you guessed Microsoft, you’re correct. Microsoft is a newbie in the virtualization space but wants in and may make significant dents in the already well-established market that is significantly owned by VMware.

  • Desktop Environments (KDE)

    • KDE 4.2 “The Answer” – My Experiences So Far

      This Tuesday (as long as everything goes according to schedule) the release candidate of KDE 4.2 will be released, and I’m extremely excited to see how much has been improved since Beta 2. (Which is what I’m using now). As the final version of KDE 4.2.0 nears release, I’ll be writing more posts regarding my experiences and what you should come to expect. I’ll even include some screen shots for all of you too-much-text-impaired.

      2009 will definitely be an important year for KDE. If you’re already using KDE 4.2 like me, what are your experiences so far?

    • Dragon and SMPlayer

      Kaffeine was the most used Video Player on KDE 3, however, for KDE 4.x it’s in a pretty early stage, but fear not, the SMPlayer (which is technically a Qt application, not a KDE one) and Dragon Player came to fill this hole.

      Why I review two applications that do basely the same? Because Dragon Player is deadly simple, and SMPlayer, while being less simplified, has an amazing feature package.

  • Distributions

    • Interview with Paul Sherman, Absolute Linux lead developer

      Slackware Linux, the oldest surviving Linux distribution, is the parent of many Linux projects that exist today. Absolute Linux is one such distribution, customised for ease of use and speed. It comes with many everyday applications, but just one “fast, stay-out-of-your-way desktop,” all while remaining compatible with official Slackware packages. Absolute Linux 12.2.1 was released last week.

    • A Weekend With Arch

      Within a few months of beginning with Linux, it became obvious that I was one of those who have severe difficulties settling on a distribution. This situation presents some unique challenges, but generally, I’ve found there are more benefits than drawbacks. While I may have favorites, or be more familiar with some distributions than others, they all offer a little something different.

      A few months ago, I wrote about Gentoo. It’s been one of my favorites, as it’s a learning experience and exceedingly stable when it’s been successfully configured. A few commenters suggested Arch Linux as an alternative.

    • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 124

      Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #124 for the week January 4th – January 10th, 2009. In this issue we cover: Next Ubuntu Global Bug Jam, Ubuntu Developer Week Returns, New MOTU’s, New Ubuntu Members, Ubuntu Hall of Fame: James Westby, Good People-Good Teams, Debian Import Freeze, Changes to Launchpad Legal Page, Open Sourcing Launchpad, 12 Days of Launchpad, Ubuntu Podcast #16, Edubuntu meeting minutes, and much, much more!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Can automotive survive without open source?

      The struggling automotive industry needs to embrace open software platforms if it wants to cash in on the growing automotive telematics and infotainment business, says an ABI Research white paper. Partnerships with Linux technology companies are cited by ABI as potential avenues for success.

    • UC Berkeley Extension to Educate Software Developers on Embedded Linux

      For software programmers and developers, the job market can bring promise if they look for opportunities in the smaller consumer equipment sector.

      According to the Embedded Linux Consortium (ELC), cell phone and PDA manufacturers are in need of programmers who are trained in embedded Linux to refine the product’s software code.

    • CES09: iRiver’s Wave Home multimedia web/VoIP gadget

      The iRiver Wave Home does a whole lot more than your traditional night stand clock or digital picture frame. It’s a Linux computer with a 7-inch screen, which has the ability to play music (your own or from the radio) and video, display photos, make VoIP calls and do video conferencing.

    • Linksys launches Linux-based wireless audio

      Linksys is betting that the market for home servers and streaming media is ready to take off, and it wants to go along for the ride. The company’s launched a salvo of home media kit ranging from a sweet-looking server to a range of digital audio gear to stream music around the house.

      The centepiece of it all is the Media Hub, which is a souped-up NAS designed to share music, video and photos across the local network and the Internet. Beneath the Media Hub’s shiny skin beats a customised Linux distro – no Windows Home Server here.

    • olsrd ported to the google phone (android, G1)!

      I have been sitting together with Ivan Klimek from CNL in Slovakia and we had a great hack evening. While I was briefly busy in the meantime he ported over olsrd-0.5.5 to the Google Android Phone! Hurray!

    • Fast Boot

      • Instant-on PCs Could Take off With Netbooks

        Phoenix introduced its own quick-boot environment for netbooks called HyperSpace Dual at CES. Offered as a quick-boot option to Windows, many of the applications included in the instant-on Linux software are browser-based. It can be installed on netbooks or laptops, and can be downloaded from Phoenix’s Web site. It is priced at US$39.95 for one year and $99.95 for three years.

      • A Close Look At Phoenix’s HyperSpace

        With all the talk there’s been about Linux displacing Windows on the desktop, the big question is how is it going to happen? Here’s one possibility: it will outflank it. One way this may happen is through HyperSpace, Phoenix Technologies’ Linux-based boot environment that could give people one less reason to boot regularly into Windows.

F/OSS

  • MPs Propose Use of Open Source Software in Public Administration

    Ljubljana, 12 January (STA) – Three deputies of the ruling Social Democrats (SD) have proposed to the government to overhaul the state and public information systems by abandoning the use of chargeable licence programmes in favour of open source solutions.

  • Corporate IT Skills in an Open Source World

    I’m no programmer, but they sound right to me. In a sense, what we are talking about here is the development of a new kinds of higher-level abilities: not just how to code, but the ability to find, modify, combine and share reusable bits of code, to draw from and feed back into the great free software commons.

  • 2009

    • Commercial open source community strategies in 2009 and beyond

      The open source vendors that are successful in 2009 and beyond will be those that find a balance between the two positions. Nothing new there, but I suspect that this year we will see significant discussion on how to achieve and maintain that balance.

    • Open Source trends in 2009 – what’s new?

      The beginning of the year marks the time for predictions and trend-spotting. Over on Infoworld, Zack Urlocker posts his Open Source trends for 2009:

      * More commercial Open Source
      * More experimentation with business models
      * More acquisitions
      * More power in the user community
      * More mainstream

    • 10 predictions for Linux and open source in 2009

      2009 is here. And for people like me, that means it’s time to put together not a “year in review” but a “year in preview.”

      I don’t like to look back; I like to look ahead. So I offer you this list of what I see in the year to come for the Linux operating system and open source software.

  • Sun

    • The LXF Guide: OpenSolaris distros

      OpenSolaris is the much talked-about open source version of Sun’s industrial strength operating system. It’s a Unix derivative aimed at the same general demographic as Linux or the free BSDs: system administrators, developers, and desktop users. Under the guidance of Debian founder Ian Murdock, OpenSolaris has taken its place alongside Linux and the free BSDs as another viable alternative operating system, and has built up support for 12 languages. It offers commonly used software as found in Linux such as Gnome, Evolution, Pidgin and Firefox. In addition, OpenSolaris includes graphical config tools such as the Device Drivers utility and Package Management suite – the latter having a look and feel that’s not alien to Synaptic users.

    • Review: Free OpenOffice.org Writer surpasses Microsoft Word under the hood

      Pleased, I authored a handwritten note on my card, put it inside an envelope, stamped it, and set it aside to be mailed.

      Next, I wondered how OpenOffice.org would fare against Microsoft’s Save As PDF Add-In. I often need to export documents to PDF, and I’ve noticed that Word tends to produce PDFs that are considerably large in size.

  • Applications

    • The PeC Review: Magento Is the Open Source Powerhouse

      Magento is an open source ecommerce platform designed to empower online merchants and remove barriers in business process and flow. The platform has been downloaded more than 600,000 times, Magento says, perhaps making it the fastest growing ecommerce solution in the market.

Culture

  • The Culture of Free, and The Power of Less

    A few people on other websites have commented on the irony of me selling a book (The Power of Less) about working and doing and living with less, saying something along the lines of:

    “Yes, I’m going to live with less … starting with not buying books!”

  • How Open Source could save the Media Industry

    Youtube was a brilliant idea. Allow users to sign up for accounts and upload video after video after video. Without dolling out so much as a penny Youtube managed to gather millions of user-created videos that other users could watch and enjoy (or not). It was content created by the masses at no charge to the owner.
    But if you read the licensing close enough you realize that basically once you upload a video you can not modify said video (or any aspect of the youtube experience). You can not redistribute user videos on Youtube even though the user may have no copyright on the video.

    [...]

    Take a look at what Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails did with their Ghosts I-IV recordings. Not only did he release these albums in a “Pay for it if you like it scheme” (which, by the way, netted him over $750,000 in three days after releasing) he also released the music and artwork under a creative commons license which allowed the fans to remix the music and alter the artwork. His fans ate it up. This culminated in his allowing fans to video tape the last leg of his Lights In The Sky tour. He eventually released the videos for the fans to enjoy and edit.

  • let the remixes begin (UPDATED)

    Sam did the first remix of my Colbert appearance.

Internet Censorship

  • China tightens Internet hold

    THE GLORIOUS People’s Republic of China has shut down one of the most popular blog sites claiming that it is too vulgar for the previous snow flakes which are the nation’s youth.

  • [UK Wikipedia Censorship]

    The censorship is run by IWF, but no one forced you to join in the first place. I just hope you
    realised what sort of backlash (or Streisand Effect, making Virgin Killer the most visited wikipedia
    article by several thousands pageviews)
    your (and other ISP’s) action created. We are not in China
    or in Australia. About Phorm, I just hope you will inform me as promised, I take you by word.
    Now, to the major problem I have got with your company. What does it mean, exactly, that
    you take matters like “false advertisement” and “lying to potential customer” very seriously? I don’t
    really care what happened to your sales person, I would like to know what are your procedures in
    cases like this with regard to your customer.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Digital Tipping Point: IP attorney Julian Summers end (2005)

Ogg Theora

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

Survey: Novell Likely to be Acquired (by Microsoft?)

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 5:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Most Likely Not to Survive 2009

Novell is recruiting and appointing Microsoft employees or Microsoft-sympathetic figures to occupy top positions. At the same time, it viciously fights Microsoft rivals like Sun and Red Hat whilst veteran Novell engineer, Greg K-H, chooses to throw mud at Ubuntu/Canonical.

It’s not exactly shocking that, based on this new survey, Novell may not survive for more than 12 months. It still operates at a loss.

Watch Novell…

#1 among technology companies… as one which is likely not to survive this year.

Novell in survey
Novell positioned ‘number one’ in badness league (they even
chose a colour scheme to suit ours)

People have already explained the rationale of Microsoft buying Novell, so this is neither far fetched nor a figment of our imagination. We wrote about this roughly half a dozen times over the past 2 years. Since then, Novell has readjusted its roadmap so as to focus more on Microsoft technologies, i.e. technical alignment. [Hat tip: Lyle Howard Seave]

Microsoft Novell

Microsoft: “Never Leave an Opening for Novell or IBM”

Posted in Antitrust, IBM, Microsoft, Novell at 2:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“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

THIS MAY be very minor, but the following exhibit, Exhibit px07724 from Comes vs Microsoft [PDF], is about the mythical MS-DOS 7, which much like Windows 7, is intended to be released Real Soon Now™ (after Windows 95). Was it ever released? Well, either way, it was intended to keep Novell at bay.


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit px07724, as text


Read the rest of this entry »

Bill Gates: “Where Are We on This Jihad?” (Against Linux at Intel)

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Kernel, Microsoft, Servers at 12:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In previous posts we mentioned Intel because Microsoft was trying to turn Intel’s attention to Windows, at the expense of Linux. The following exhibits are what one reader called “the deep concern at Microsoft when Intel switched their internal industrial dev OS to GNU/Linux.”

Added at the bottom we have exhibit px07022 [PDF] and exhibit px07068 [PDF] from Comes vs Microsoft, under Appendix A and Appendix B, respectively.

With help from an unnamed reader we highlight bits of the exhibits that show the relevance of this to GNU/Linux.

Here is an E-mail Bill Gates wrote to Eric Rudder, whose take on .NET we've also just mentioned.

—- Original Message —-
From: Bill Gates
Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2001 12:07 PM
To: Hike Porter; Eric Rudder
Cc: Jim Allchin; Steve Ballmer; David W. Williams; Brian Schuster
Subject: RE: My personal take on INTEL

I went and read the enclosure

I think we will have to live without a Chinese wall clause for the front end of the compiler.

It’s too bad that all source code isn’t Chinese wall but since Intel views their processor specifications as equivalent to source code we don’t want all of these things subject to Chinese wall restrictions.

If we can move ahead having the CLR and backends having Chinese wall provisions then we should take the risk relative to the front end.

They can’t still move our trade secrets or code to another front end but they can have common people work on those things.

Are there other issues outstanding here? Did I misunderstand the discussion?

One reader, who calls this “the Intel Chinese non-Wall,” explains that what Gates essentially tells is: “Let’s wait until we get a look at the processor specs before invoking a Chinese wall on the compiler. If Intel raises objections we’ll say the non-Chinese proviso only applied to the front-end.”

Further, we have:

From: Eric Rudder
Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 8:08 AM
To: Bill Gates; Steve Ballmer
Cc: Jim AIIchin; Christine Turner; Dorothy Veith; Debbie Hill
Subject: My personal take on INTEL
Importance: High

[...]

We do not have a signed agreement yet with Intel to work on the CLR and Compiler. I am actually optimistic we will close on this, but it’s ridiculous that it languished for 10 months before I got here, and I have had to personally spend hours driving.

We need help on:

- Floating Point
- CLR
- 64-bit

FP is a case where we have fallen behind Linux, thanks to Intel’s great work w. Linux compilers. They can help us with the Math libraries and some OpenMP stuff. We want access to their benchmark/test suites. it’s crazy that we can’t get Intel to do Windows first, then Linux (if they must)

[...]

2. If we don’t get Intel off of Linux internally (the failed EDA project) – we will never get the *cultural* alignment that we want. There are simply too many folks at Intel who use/love the stuff and want to improve it. We can *not* stop trying to win this project.

A reader’s interpretation is as follows: “Let’s get Intel to clone their Floating Point Linux ‘stuff’ on Windows, as a stratagem to kill internal Intel Linux projects, let’s get Intel to transfer their people to our project.”

Also interesting is the following part:

I also have a personal ask that if we do the 64bit work that we get INTEL.COM to be a 64bit ASP.NET sites.

Intel runs GNU/Linux in its Web sites, so this favour never worked out on the face of it.

The second exhibit about this is concerned with “getting Intel to dogfood Windows,” to use Microsoft’s own words. Bill Gates inquires, “Where are we on this Jihad?” Yes, Microsoft has used the term "Jihad" -- albeit internally -- on quite a few occasions. Gates also can’t spell Otellini’s name (Intel’s CEO). He writes “Ottelini”.

Here are some highlights that refer to content rather than vocabulary:

From: Brian Valentine
Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2002 5:23 PM
To: Srini Koppolu; S. Somasegar, Bill Veghte; Vinod Anantharaman, Doug Miller, Chris Ray; Eric Rudder; Ann Marie McLeod
Cc: Jim Allchin
Subject: RE: Intel EDA migration

Please make sure Ann Marie is on these threads – I have added her here.

As far as going after them — they are important from the perspective of getting Intel to dogfood Windows. This would be a big thing we could both talk about, etc We want to them on Windows We do need to look at the all the ISVs, etc and make sure that we have good programs in place to move them.

[...]

—– Original Message —-
From: S. Somasegar
Sent: Friday, February 01, 2002 4:35 PM
To: Bill Veghte; Vinod Anantharaman; Doug Miller; Chris Ray; Srini Koppolu; Brian Valentine; Eric Rudder
Subject: RE: Intel EDA migration

I agree on ROI, etc.
With Intel though, it is a crime that these guys are running Linux and it is a shame that we can’t get them to move to Windows for their core development systems. I also think that unless it is a top-down initiative at Intel to “just make this happen”, this will not get traction no matter how much we try.

I happen to know that Intel engineers are indeed using GNU/Linux (in part) because my brother in law works there. Overall, this second exhibit makes Microsoft look pitiful. It’s chasing Intel and the EDA ISVs just don’t want Windows. The same goes for Intel, which talks about disdain for Windows NT (“EDA ISVs got burnt with poor experiences with Windows NT, are wary of taking steps in this direction”).


Appendix A: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit px07022, as text


Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft Inter-Nope: MSN No Longer for GNU/Linux Users?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Microsoft, Servers, Windows at 10:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some time ago we saw Microsoft shutting GNU/Linux users out of Hotmail (and reportedly censoring complaints). Those who rely on MSN (IM) protocols are now suffering from similar consequences of changes; there are complaints all over the Web and here is just one. It works fine for Windows users, but most GNU/Linux users are left out in the cold.

Why is Microsoft doing this? Is this an error? Why should Free software projects come to rely on Microsoft? And yet, the company wants to become friends with projects like VLC? Mozilla can perhaps tell its bitter story about such tactics.

Onions cry

Report: Microsoft Proxy Fight Against Yahoo! Still on

Posted in Microsoft, Rumour at 9:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“P

ROXY fight” is not a term that anyone but the technical literature deserves credit for. In fact, the term “proxy fight” is a very conventional one and it is regularly echoed by the mainstream media. This was already seen in the past when Microsoft threatened with what The Times called a “proxy war” and later came Carl Icahn who agitated Yahoo* and was among the pressures which had Jerry Yang step down. Yang’s replacement is still a process in the making.

Yahoo! Inc. has narrowed a list of candidates for a new chief executive officer to Autodesk Inc. Executive Chairwoman Carol Bartz, Yahoo President Susan Decker and another executive, a person familiar with the matter said.

For previous coverage of Yahoo-Microsoft, consider:

Today’s most interesting report is a few days old and it suggests that Microsoft is once again agitating Yahoo, albeit indirectly.

Investment Group Makes Run For Yahoo, Using Microsoft’s Money

Interest in troubled Internet giant Yahoo has not waned, it just took a break for the holidays. A group of well known Silicon Valley executives and top investment bankers are putting together a Yahoo takeover deal that would be financed largely from debt supplied by Microsoft, we’ve learned from sources with knowledge of the proposed transaction.

Under the terms of the proposed deal, the investment group would make a takeover bid for Yahoo at a relatively low premium of around 20% to its current price of around $13 per share, valuing the company at just over $20 billion.

There were many remarks about this, even in ‘big’ sites. Dina Bass, whom we mentioned in the past because she coordinated Windows Vista coverage with Microsoft employees, has released this report which denies the above, using the words of Microsoft employees.

Microsoft Corp. isn’t holding talks to finance a new bid for Yahoo! Inc., a person familiar with Microsoft’s plans said, responding to a blog report.

The TechCrunch site said today that an investment group led by Silicon Valley executives and bankers is putting together a bid for Yahoo that would be funded largely by Microsoft. The software company would also acquire Yahoo’s Internet-search business under the deal, the blog said.

If the claims from TechCrunch are correct, of course Microsoft would deny them. Such things are supposed to be kept secret. It’s just too damaging and given the sources of this denial, the legitimacy of this Bloomberg report remains slightly questionable.

Ballmer has just denied once again that he is interested in Yahoo.

The mooted acquisition of Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is “a thing of the past,” Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said in an interview to be screened Thursday.

He is probably just trying to knock down the stock so that he can sweep up what he wants (userbase) a little later on — and cheaply.

CNBC reported that Microsoft first proposed a deal in which it would get control of Yahoo’s search business last year, after dropping the full acquisition offer.

A few days ago we also mentioned how Microsoft grabbed a little piece of Yahoo (its top personnel). Here is another report about it.

Microsoft has hired Yahoo executive Kim James Woo to run its operations in South Korea, the company said Thursday.

Agitation of Yahoo! pays off for Microsoft whether it buys the company, acquires portions of it, or none of it. And that’s just extreme (or predatory) capitalism in its ugliest of forms. In extremity, it’s counter productive to competition and consumerism. What ever happened to market regulation and a basic sense of ethics? Without these, markets become self destructive and give a bad name to capitalism as a whole, as Microsoft has done for decades.

Capitalism

____
* Icahn communicated directly with Microsoft, so he was not exactly a lone wolf.

Latest Security Dangers Are Windows Only

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Servers, Windows at 8:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More than a million PCs turned to zombies

NOT A WEEK goes by without new dangers to users of Windows, and it’s only fair to list the latest examples since it falls within our scope.

USB drives continue to be a risk to Windows because of the way the operating system handles devices insertion (namely execution) and the privileges it hands over to untrusted code.

Businesses who may not have applied a Microsoft patch issued last year are now being attacked by a worm targeting the vulnerability.

Multiple security organizations have issued warnings about the worm, deemed Downadup, which attacks the vulnerability outlined in the Windows Server service flaw, MS09-067, that was patched last October, Zdnet.com reports. The worm uses a dictionary attack in an attempt to crack user passwords, as well as using “server-side polymorphism and modification to the Access Control Lists.”

According to this report from The Register, the Major League Baseball (MLB) Web site is serving malware which is only Windows compatible. The click-to-install or drive-by-install (ActiveX) paradigm takes its toll.

Once again, Major League Baseball’s website has been caught serving ads designed to infect its considerable base of visitors with malware that trashes their machines.

With so much malware afloat, it’s hardly surprising that almost 1 in 2 PCs is a zombie PC and it keeps getting worse. (emphasis below is ours)

The Storm Worm has been causing havoc for over two years now, transforming more than a billion computers into drones. Following a surprisingly unsuccessful mission by Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool around 100,000 drones still remain.

This fight is being taken to the Web as well. NATO’s Web site has just been cracked, as well as Web sites of the United States military.

The attacks on Thursday took down the Web sites for The United States Army Military District of Washington and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, according to Zone-H, a Web site that tracks defacement activity.

The IRS, which is most likely operating in a Windows-based environment, may suffer a similar fate.

Auditor: IRS Still Vulnerable to Cyber Breaches

“These deficiencies represent a material weakness in IRS’s internal controls over its financial and tax processing systems,” the GAO report said. “Until IRS takes these steps, financial and taxpayer information are at increased risk of unauthorized disclosure, modification, or destruction, and the agency’s management decisions may be based on unreliable or inaccurate financial information.”

Well, at least no lives at risk this time around… ‘just’ people’s finances. How reassuring.

breaking the bank
Cracking the bank

Microsoft Already Drops Clues About Layoffs

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Windows at 6:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Water danger

According to more reports about the layoffs [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], they might be just days away (the announcement at least) and signs are being given away by a Microsoft president.

Microsoft hints at cutbacks

Senior Microsoft executive Robbie Bach has hinted that there may be cutbacks as the Seattle software giant looks to tighten its belt during the recession.

The Street says, “Microsoft Investors, You Have Been Warned.”

The warning from Intel, which said Wednesday that revenue in its fourth quarter will now fall 23% from a year ago to $8.2 billion — a mere half-billion below what Wall Street analysts had expected — wasn’t a complete surprise.

There are still doubts regarding some other new reports about the layoffs — reports whose sources are few but suggest that cutbacks are likely to come pretty soon, just days before the big report. This report seems likely to disappoint by missing already-lowered expectations.

A little less related to this is the observation that Microsoft’s campaign against illegitimate distributors of Windows is continuing and gathering steam.

Microsoft Prosecuting Counterfeiters

[..]

Most of the counterfeit schemes involve Windows XP operating systems and software, including the false “Blue Edition.” The 63 legal actions against counterfeiters are taking place around the world, especially in the United States, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.

These are signs of urgent need for more revenue and this aggression is good news to Free software because its adoption will be a side effect. For Microsoft, patent litigation and lawsuits against the sellers who made its software ubiquitous seem like the way forward.

Diving into water

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