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Links 14/01/2009: Qt/Nokia for LGPL, Oracle Layoff

Posted in News Roundup at 10:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • Kernel 2.6.29: Corbet Says Btrfs Next Generation Filesystem

    Linux kernel developer Jonathan Corbet has just previewed the features of the upcoming Linux Kernel 2.6.29 that includes Btrfs, which he claims is the filesystem of the future.

  • Linux Day Italy 2008

    A little bit in late to release this article, but important to let know KDE community about our involvement to spread KDE to Italian people. Last October, three members of KDE Italia gave talks in three different Italian cities. Daniele Costarella in Salerno, Salvatore Brigaglia in Sassari and Diego Rondini in Castelfranco Veneto (TV).

  • Linux institutionalized, a little look back

    This is part of what makes Linux and institution. It relies not as much on money but on people. individuals who because of their contributions, take a bit of ownership in the whole. They are proud of the accomplishment an contribution s not only they make but of others doing the same thing. To see so many users adopting it and praising it validates their feeling of accomplishment and ownership of something tremendous.

  • The Windows 7 party pooper

    I haven’t blogged that much lately. Sure, I scanned the headlines every day. KDE4 is coming around nicely, Mono isn’t getting anywhere (fortunately), Compiz is still the cutting edge window manager, Vista is getting battered by the press all the time, Linus is doing what he does best, that is making great kernels, what is there to blog about?

  • Applications

    • Top 10 Linux RSS readers

      RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication (but also sometimes refers to Rich Site Summary or RDF Site Summary). It is an XML-based format for sharing and distributing web content. An RSS reader (sometimes called a newsreader or news aggregator), allows you to receive and view data feeds from various sources in a single interface. There are many RSS readers available, web-based and desktop clients. Here I compiled a list with the best (IMO) 10 RSS readers for Linux…

    • 21 of the Best Free Linux Backup Software

      Backup software is used to perform a complete back up of a file, data, database, system or server. It enables users to make a duplicate of everything contained on the original source. This type of software is also used to perform a recovery of the data or system in the event of a disaster.

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE

      • Qt Everywhere: 4.5 To Be Relicensed As LGPL

        All-in-all today’s news means tremendous things for Free and Open Source software. The possibility of extending the reach of all of our work is exciting in and of itself, and this announcement could lead to a veritable explosion of Qt and KDE adoption.

      • Qt goes LGPL!

        As of version 4.5.0, Qt will be released under the LGPL version 2.1. Jaw off the floor yet? Good.

      • Nokia Hopes to Increase Qt Popularity With New License

        Nokia has added LGPL (Lesser General Public License) as an option for Qt, saying the move will increase developer flexibility and increase popularity, it announced on Wednesday.

      • KDE 4.2 RC Released for Final Testing

        January 13th, 2009. The KDE Community today announced the immediate availability of “Cilense”, (a.k.a KDE 4.2 Release Candidate), the only planned release candidate for the KDE 4.2 desktop. Cilense is aimed at testers and reviewers. It should provide a solid ground to report last-minute bugs that need to be tackled before KDE 4.2.0 is released. Reviewers can use this release candidate to get a first look at the upcoming KDE 4.2 desktop which provides significant improvements all over the desktop and applications. It is not recommended for everyday use, however.

      • KDE 4.1.4 and 4.2 Release Candidate Available Now

        The KDE community has made available two new releases of the KDE desktop and applications today. KDE 4.1.4 is the latest update for the KDE 4.1 series.

    • GNOME

      • New Volume Control Interface For GNOME

        One of the items being worked on by Red Hat for Fedora 11 is making the GNOME volume control and sound preferences area more intuitive and easier to use. With Fedora and most other distributions now using PulseAudio, they are beginning to take advantage of some of the features available through this sound server. Some of this work involves reworking the user interface for controlling GNOME Sound Preferences, which we are providing a glimpse of in this article. Among other benefits, there is finally the ability to adjust the volume level on a per-application basis.

      • GNOME Foundation: Friends of GNOME Program is Live!

        The Friends of GNOME website is live! The Friends of GNOME program is a way for individuals to help the GNOME Foundation to pursue 2009 goals.

  • Debian/Ubuntu

    • The Secret Lives of Ubuntu and Debian Users

      Popularity-contest reports four main statistics for each package: The number of installations, the number of hosts on which the program in the last 30 days (or Votes, as the package calls this statistic), the number of hosts on which the program was not used in the last 30 days (or “Old”), and the number of hosts on which the package was upgraded (“Recent”).

    • Ubuntu 8.10 upmc for the Asus EeePC? Don’t bother, just install the full distro

      I discovered recently the truth of the old saying that necessity is the mother of invention. Yes, I finally did it. I bricked my beloved EeePc. I had just installed the Smart package manager and a subsequent reboot saw me stuck in, well, an eternal boot loop. Impulsive mixing of repositories always ends in tears—but not being able to boot? Argh! To rub salt into the wound I had mislaid the Xandros DVD to do a reinstall and I didn’t even have an external CD/DVD drive anyway. Organised or what? Well, I might not be organised but I’m a persistent little bugger and I was determined to either fix Xandros or replace it with something as good or better without shelling out for an external drive in the process. Ubuntu appeared to come to the rescue and not just any Ubuntu, but “the” Ubuntu specifically modified for ultra portable micro computers and MIDs—on a flash drive no less. Canonical seem to be taking netbooks seriously.

    • Ubuntu 9.04 Boots in 21.4 Seconds

      There are only two days left until the third Alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) will be available
      (for testing), and… we couldn’t resist the temptation to take the current daily build for a test drive, before our usual screenshot tour, and taste the “sweetness” of that evolutionary EXT4 Linux filesystem. Announced on Christmas Eve, the EXT4 filesystem is now declared stable and it is distributed with version 2.6.28 of the Linux kernel and later. However, the good news is that the EXT4 filesystem was implemented in the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 3 a couple of days ago and it will be available in the Ubuntu Installer, if you choose manual partitioning (see the screenshot below for details). The bad news is that EXT4 will not be the default filesystem for the Ubuntu OS until version 9.10, due for release in late October this year.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux Powers New Security System

      French security company M2M Solution has developed a security gateway device called Homebox to monitor your home, office, vehicle, and even your pets while you’re out. M2M and Texas Instruments, Inc. (TI) designed the system from the ground up in only nine months using Linux-based tools and open source codecs.

    • CES 2009 – Followup

      Of the many interesting companies I found who were showcasing Linux powered equipment, iRiver was one of the most surprising. They were exhibiting at CES presenting their new Wave Home device, an LCD video phone system designed to do more than just be a video phone. You can send SMS messages, do Video conferencing, build contact lists, leave notes, schedule events, run widgets to check the weather, browse the web, locate information, watch movies, view photos, and even do either Internet Radio or FM radio. And all of this done through an embedded Linux OS.

    • Audio system taps Linux, 802.11n

      Cisco’s Linksys division is shipping a networked home audio distribution system that runs Linux and uses 802.11n WiFi. The Cisco Wireless Home Audio system supports Internet radio and DLNA discovery, and includes a variety of receivers, speakers, players, iPOD docks, and a tablet-like touchscreen remote.

    • Imeem for Android Will Rock Your G1

      Imeem’s android application offers an easy and clear-sounding way to listen to music on your G1. While it doesn’t quite duplicate all the functions of the Web version of Imeem, it does serve up plenty of music without costing a penny.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • ARM Powered Pocket Size Linux PC With GPS & GPRS

        Round Solutions has rolled out the AarLogic C10/3, a breadboard which contains a complete Linux PC on a surface of just 104mm x 63mm.

        Despite its small surface area – approximately size of a matchbox – its 160-pin socket provides a wide array of connectivity options. Aside from keyboards, digital cameras and reading devices, this also includes WLAN, Bluetooth and GPS components, the company said.

      • The real (sort of) $100 laptop

        Once upon a time, we were all excited about the $100 laptop, Nicholas Negroponte’s OLPC (One Laptop per Child). While the OLPC did eventually see the light of day, it never did make the $100 price. Instead, OLPCs retail for about $200. Dell, however, will sell you an Inspiron Mini 9 netbook for only $99.


  • Marketcetera goes gold

    In an interview with ZDNet co-founders Graham Miller and Toli Kuznets said their algorithmic trading and routing system will compare initially with commercial rivals like Flextrade and Portware.

  • Coyote Point Builds on FreeBSD to Accelerate

    Making Web applications faster is big business for big businesses-like carriers. Mid-market enterprises can also benefit from web acceleration, which is where Networking vendor Coyote Point is concentrating its efforts.

  • Yes, We Can Make the Stimulus More Stimulating

    6) Funding for the Development of Open Software

    In the same vein, the government can spend $2 billion a year to develop open source software. This money can be used to further develop and simplify open source operating systems such as Linux, as well other forms of free software. The payoffs from this spending would be enormous. Imagine that every computer buyer in the world would be able to get a computer for which the operating system was free, as was almost all the software that they would ever use.

  • Economist suggests federal funding of Open Source

    US ECONOMIST Dean Baker suggested on Monday that the federal government ought to fund Open Source software development as part of this year’s economic stimulus package.

    The subsidy was one of seven ideas he mentioned in an article published online at Truthout, including extending health insurance coverage, public funding for clinical drug trials, cash buyouts for older vehicles, subsidies for public transportation, federal funding for creative artisans and artists, and tax incentives for shorter working weeks and more holiday time off.

  • Getting right by open source

    One big trend we saw last year was companies trying to “get right” by open source.

    Even Microsoft and Oracle sought accommodation with the open source imperative. (Picture from USLAW.Com.)

    But this has also existed in the open source movement. We saw it at SugarCRM. We see it in companies with whom, on the surface, open source has no quibble.

  • Browsers

    • Firefox to use Chrome-like tabs

      Mozilla has announced a subtle but significant change to Firefox, tweaking the way tabs work on the browser.

      Writing on his blog, Mike Beltzner, director of Firefox at Mozilla, announced a “small change”, which essentially means when you click on a tab it will appear immediately to the right of the tab you are working on.

    • Google Introduces New Open Source Sitemap Generator

      Google has introduced a new Sitemap Generator for webmasters to help them create better sitemap files. Google had previously introduced one back in 2005, and watched many other people make their own, but this one is different they say.

  • Europe

    • BE: Information Day on Call 3 of ICT PSP (Policy Support Programme)

      The ICT Policy Support Programme (or ICT PSP) aims at stimulating innovation and competitiveness through the wider uptake and best use of ICT by citizens, governments and businesses particularly. The approach is based on leveraging innovation in response to growing societal demands. The programme will facilitate the development of lead markets for innovative ICT-based solutions notably in areas of public interest and will open a wide range of new business opportunities in particular for innovative SMEs.

    • EU: Call for tender – Economic and social impact of software and software-based services

      The European Commission has opened a call for tender on “the economic and social impact of Software and software based Services”. The submission deadline is 2 February 2009, at 16:00 CET.

      The purpose of the study will be:

      * to identify the potential economic and/or social impact of the European software and services industry on Europe –now and in the future – and the elements that are determinant for its growth and competitiveness;
      * to assess the future market impact and expected market transformation due to the emerging Internet of Services;
      * to derive policy recommendations to remove barriers and foster the development of the software industry.

      Most of the current studies of economic and social impact are related to the ICT industry and market in general, but do not identify the software and services specific industry and/or market segments. However, the software and services industry is expected to drive the evolution towards the online service economy.

  • Asia

    • Freedom Walk: A walk to claim, ensure and preserve freedom

      Free software had remained a technological and an economic issue in the state of Kerala and it had been very successful in being so. A team of four people decided to take the fundamental principle of the freedom behind free software and take this message of freedom to the masses in Kerala. They decided to project free software as an empowering agent to change the lives of people and in solving social, environmental and technological issues. They wanted to take free software and the freedom behind it to the common man in Kerala.

    • Malaysian Government Saves Big with Open Source

      Open Source in the public sector seemed to be all the rage in 2008, with government agencies all over Europe — not to mention agencies of the EU itself — adopting, and in many cases, mandating Open Source software and standards. Of course, Europe was not the only continent cozying up with a copy of the source code — governments in Africa, Asia, North & South America, and all over the South Pacific were exploring and implementing Open Source in 2008. Now, one of those governments has revealed the savings-side of OSS, and the numbers they’re tossing around are pretty nice.

  • Applications

    • PDF-based presentations with 3-D effects

      Both PDFCube and Impressive are works in progress, with some ways — and, at the current rate of development, perhaps some years — to go before their 1.0 releases. However, in the current versions, PDFCube has the superior basic engine, while Impressive allows users the greater control. Despite PDFCube’s lack of options and Impressive’s mediocre OpenGL support, both are worth keeping at least an occasional eye on.

      In their separate ways, both demonstrate that, contrary to what many desktop users seem to assume, command line applications are not just archaic remnants. You need time to enter all the options in a command line application, but, if you take the trouble to familiarize yourself with the applications, you may find their controls easier to use than the cluttered editing windows of a desktop application like OpenOffice.org Impress. Far from being outdated, applications like PDFCube and impressive are practical demonstrations that command line applications can be both modern and innovative.

    • 3D graphics are 100% free software 3D graphics are 100% free software

      A few months ago, SGI released a new version of the SGI Free License B. With that change, a lot of code used to provide 3D graphics on GNU/Linux systems was now free software. To make sure that all the code was free software, however, a few developers who worked on code released under a related license, the GLX Public License, needed to grant us permission to release their work under the new terms.


  • CDT Confident Next FCC Chair Recognizes Importance of Open Internet Policy

    WASHINGTON — According to news reports, President-elect Barack Obama will soon name Julius Genachowski to head the Federal Communications Commission.

  • Kevin Martin Opposes Regulating Internet Content?

    A significant part of FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s legacy will be the moves he made — and tried to make — to crack down on indecency while he was in power. The FCC went after TV broadcasters with much more vigor than under previous leaders, trying to impose big fines for “indecent” content, many of which got smacked down later by courts. Martin himself was a major advocate of a la carte cable plans, in which consumers could simply pay for individual channels, rather than bundles.

  • Al Jazeera Announces Launch of Free Footage under Creative Commons License

    Al Jazeera Network today announced the world’s first repository of broadcast quality video footage released under the ‘Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution’ license. Select Al Jazeera video footage – at this time footage of the War on Gaza – will be available for free to be downloaded, shared, remixed, subtitled and eventually by users and TV stations across the world with acknowledgement to Al Jazeera.

  • Nortel Files for Bankruptcy, Victim of Falling Sales (Update5)

    Nortel Networks Corp., North America’s biggest maker of telephone equipment, filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S., a victim of the global credit crunch and declining sales.

  • Huge Oracle Layoff Won’t Be the Last

    Oracle employs 84,000 people globally. An 8,000-employee layoff would amount to about 10% of its workforce.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Digital Tipping Point: Dirk-Willem van Gulik, road builder for the Information Super-highway 01 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

TomTom CEO Explains Why Patents Are Waste of Time, Money

Posted in Patents, Videos at 5:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are some videos of ICT2008 at europa.eu where the CEO of TomTom says that they spent more money on patent litigation in 2005 than anything else combined.

media.ffii.org has this copy. At the end of the clip they also talk about patents. The CEO says: “Once we were successful, the part of technology and the cost and the amount of down again. I remember clearly in 2005, we spent more money on patent disputes, patent fights than all our technology development put together.”

Ogg Theora

Direct link

Could IMS Be Partly Affected by Microsoft? (and How This Relates to BECTA)

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Consultants: These guys are your best bets as moderators. Get a well-known consultant on your side early, but don’t let him publish anything blatantly pro-Microsoft. Then, get him to propose himself to the conference organizers as a moderator, whenever a panel opportunity comes up.”

Internal Microsoft document

OUR PREVIOUS POST took a preliminary look at what BECTA and Microsoft had done. It also summarised prior coverage such as [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and Glyn finally gets around to saying that “UK Outsources Education IT to Microsoft – Again.”

A little more research netted the press release at the bottom (from November). Jean-Philippe Courtois is there and it’s important to remember that he’s also part of the EDGI anti-GNU/Linux correspondence [1, 2], as well as cronyism in Europe. Microsoft’s David Driftmier is one of the key people responsible for EDGI, as noted in [1, 2, 3, 4]. Some digging on Driftmier turns up the IMS connection because a quick Google on David Driftmier turned up some relevant factoids about Microsoft’s involvement in an education consortium, IMS. The technical Microsoft man is Chris Moffatt and some documents worth looking into are included/embedded in this post.

Here’s Driftmier (for e-learning) praising a new interop (yes, how ironic) standard [PDF] in July 2005.

“Even government-level decisions on education are impacted by Microsoft staff that has chairs inside government.”Microsoft hosted this 2007 meeting [PDF] in Redmond.

At this May 2008 meeting [PDF], the Microsoft statement is listed before all the others. Why?

We have already commented extensively on Microsoft controlling key positions in the education sector, sometimes through double-hatted or former staff [1, 2]. Even government-level decisions on education are impacted by Microsoft staff that has chairs inside government.

Is it not pleasant to find big vendors like Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle sharing IMS membership with niche software vendors and smaller education systems providers, and universities too; no Free software organisations in there nonetheless.

It’s bad enough that Microsoft pressure groups like ACT are in there, as though you can’t escape Jonathan Zuck and other people who are sponsored by Microsoft to shoot down threats from a seemingly-independent direction [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8].

It would probably be too far-reaching and exaggerated to suggest that IMS is a Microsoft front (that’s probably why IBM & Oracle are in there), but still. If their mission really is the creation of “standards for the development and adoption of technologies that enable high-quality, accessible, and affordable learning experiences,” then why can’t a prudent observer find anything about GNU/Linux? Bizarrely, the “open and free” specifications require registration (the HTML versions “may not be printed”).

BECTA is a member of IMS, and BECTA’s logo is on the members page, as is Microsoft’s.

Microsoft and DCSF Sign MOU to Deliver a Better Connected Education
for Students and Teachers in England

LONDON, October 30/PRNewswire/ –

– The First Public Private Partnership Signed by the Department of
Children, Schools and Families

– With Photo

Microsoft today signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
with the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), to better
connect parents with their children’s education, use technology to re-engage
disengaged students and improve teaching standards and career development
through innovative teachers and coaching programmes. This is the first Public
Private Partnership signed by the DCSF.

The MOU is part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning programme (PiL),
which in the United Kingdom aims to help the government achieve the
objectives of the Children’s Plan and improve the education of primary and
secondary students across England. In the United Kingdom, Microsoft has
worked with governments and government’s agencies in England Scotland and
Wales on Partners in Learning programmes that have reached over 150,000
teachers and over two million students in the past three years.

Today’s agreement means that Microsoft will work with the DCSF and an
advisory council, which will include representatives from all schools-focused
government agencies and other partners, to direct the work of the Partners in
Learning programme (PiL).

Ed Balls, MP, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

“Digital technology is changing how we live our lives and is now a vital
part of every child getting the most out of their studies and preparing for
the world of work.

“By 2011, the Government will have invested GBP6billion in ICT meaning we
have the highest levels of embedded technology in classrooms in the European
Union, one computer for every three pupils, and over 97% of schools have got
a broadband connection.

“But there is more to do. Today’s agreement will help us towards our
plans to close the digital divide forever, and ensure that every school is
making the most out of the best technology available and every teacher and
student can get the most out of it.”

Jean-Philippe Courtois, President, Microsoft International, said:

“Microsoft’s vision for Partners in Learning in the United Kingdom is to
enable learners to become confident, successful contributors to a 21st
century society, and we are delighted to be formalising this commitment today
with the DCSF.”

A picture accompanying this release is available through the PA
Photowire. It can be downloaded from http://www.pa-mediapoint.press.net or
viewed at http://www.mediapoint.press.net or http://www.prnewswire.co.uk.

Source: Microsoft
Emma Turner +44(0)20-3047-2202, emma.turner@edelman.com

Is UK Government/Education Accepting Soft Bribes from Microsoft Rather Than Adopt Free(dom) Software?

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Finance, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 12:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Smells like white-collar crime

US and UK flags
Money and solidarity trump logic, integrity, justice, and common sense

Now that we’ve covered many antitrust exhibits showing Microsoft’s tactics against Free software in education [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] we finally have a brand-new example to refer to. It comes from the United Kingdom where lots of such abuse was documented before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

This affects not only education in the UK [1, 2, 3, 4] and since Bill Gates personally invests in governments, there is a lot of room for manipulation. Anyway, here is the news:

Schools minister Jim Knight, who was speaking at the opening of this year’s Bett event at Olympia in London, said today that Microsoft has created something he described as a “re-investment fund”. The software maker will “commit to fund a foundation in support of the Home Access programme,” he said.

However, Knight didn’t reveal how much cash Microsoft was pumping into the initiative, which has been periodically wheeled out by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) for the past 12 months, perhaps in part to help resuscitate Gordon Brown’s premiership.


However, this latest agreement with Microsoft to inject some money into the Home Access programme could ruffle some feathers, particularly among the open source community.

The Microsoft-funded foundation will develop and implement a programme of training and support for teachers, parents, as well as to help create “awareness” for the Home Office programme, said Knight.

Given all that we saw in antitrust exhibits, it is hard not to be suspicious.

“Education and training: Target both developer and knowledge worker environment; Money and resources for curriculum development; Money and resources for teacher training; Subsidized certification on MS products”

Confidential Microsoft document [PDF]

Microsoft Chief: “Under NO Circumstances Lose Against Linux”

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, Windows at 11:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Using money to starve and entrap competitors

IN THIS SERIES of posts we have already covered relevant antitrust material such as

Today we look at Exhibit px08562 [PDF] from Comes vs Microsoft. It’s about EDGI and it covers schools in developing countries. The exhibit comprises bits of internal correspondence at Microsoft and it involves high-level figures such as Steve Ballmer, Jeff Raikes, Jim Allchin, Chris Jones and one of the main men behind this anti-GNU/Linux push, Orlando Ayala.

he exhibit opens with the revelation that Steve Ballmer is (“steveb” in the E-mails) opposed to limits on dumping against GNU/Linux. To quote:

We went in to the BPR with $30MM in mind, but steveb said we shouldn’t cap it, since it’s “net accretive” to the P&L, ie if the field handles it correctly, it’s revenue that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise (ie if we lost to Linux), so even if we make only a few bucks per PC, it’s better than zero, plus we have the oppty to sell addl non-bootable sw into the customer.

Later we find Geri Elliott, who is a Microsoft employee with a hat in government — one that was (mis)used to cross out Free software from education.

Even before EDGI is formalised, says Microsoft’s Orlando Ayala:

Effective immediately, we are significantly enhancing empowerment by the GM to provide services and, where necessary, even dollars back to the customer to offset the cost of buying new OEM PC’s with *legal* Windows preinstalled instead of naked PC’s with Linux and/or other low-cost/no-cost software.

Offering “dollars back to the customer” is this case is what some people would label a bribe. It’s about suffocating the competition, never allowing it to exist or grow. This is done through negative pricing on the face of it (it pays off to Microsoft in the long term).

The “example scenario” Microsoft mentions:

The government of “X” is advocating using open source for all government-funded computers in order to keep “X” dollars inside the country and save the taxpayers millions of dollars. They are therefore looking at rolling out 50,000 PC’s with Linux to all their K-12 schools and run StarOffice for free or a locally-produced package that they can purchase for $5/desktop.

The planned solution:

In order to compete more effectively against Linux and other providers on these deals, we can now leverage the Education and Government Incentive [EDGI] program to help tip the scales to MS in the deal. After engaging the regional team. the region may use funds to provide services and/or rebates to the customer with the following limitation:
Not to exceed the estimated Windows royalties recognized by MS from the OEM selling the PC’s to the customer (in the example, 50,000 PC’s at approx. $100/PC for OEM Windows XP Professional would result in a maximum of $5M for the individual deal).

Initially (2002), this is targeted at:

LATAM, Africa, Middle East, South Asia including India and PRC.

It is important to emphasise that this is not the case of Microsoft adjusting its prices to compete more effectively. It’s a proper dumping (predatory pricing) tactic that specifically targets any gain made by the competition and this is done by a corporation convicted of monopoly abuse*. In bold font face it states:

It is essential, therefore, that we use this in only in deals we would lose otherwise.

General Magagers are referred to CompHot again:

Escalate to the “comphot’” alias…

CompHot, according to Microsoft, targets "Linux infestations". CompHot is a cryptic code word that would be too alien to outsiders. We mentioned it yesterday as well.

David Driftmier is responsible for EdSG, which conducts many of these anti-GNU/Linux operations, but the idea comes from higher above, notably Orlando Ayala, Bill Gates, and Steve Ballmer, based on other related correspondence. Pat Fox is in this loop as well.

Here is the punch lines from Orlando Ayala:

Bottom line do our best to show the great value of our software to these customers and ensure we get opaid for it under NO circumstances lose against Linux before ensuring we have used this program actively and in a smart way.

Yes, Microsoft is not worried about “Linux”. Not at all.

“[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

Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit px08562, as text

Read the rest of this entry »

Why Download 7apourware When the Real Thing (e.g. Ubuntu 8) is Free, Including Shipping?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu, Vista, Vista 7 at 10:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cards on table
Vista 2

Microsoft goes to great lengths to hype up a product that may be released next year (according to more than one reputable source). Early coverage of the product was essentially bought [1, 2, 3].

Vista 7[sic] a second attempt at Windows Vista, which is already giving some curious testers the blues.

What a Windows 7 BSOD Looks Like


It looks the same.

Well, it’s not as though much has changed under the hood.

Why is it that people are curious about this beta build? Is it the notion of perceived value and the artificial scarcity introduced by Microsoft? At GeekZone, there is a reactionary post which states that a stable version of a better operating system is not only free; shipping to one’s house (of several copies that can be installed infinitely) is free too.

Ubuntu 8.10 OS giveaway


We have a copy of Ubuntu 8.10 to give away this week. Ok, not only this week and not only one copy. In fact, get as many as you want, tell your friends as well.

* Powerful, modern, user-friendly desktop environment.
* Out-of-the-box support for most available hardware and USB devices.
* Home networking.
* Home computer backup.
* Secure, multi-user environment, no need to run anti-virus software.
* Thousands of applications for any task, freely available, easily browsable and installed with just a few clicks: Complete office suites (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.), graphic design, multimedia, photo management, games, Internet, education, sciences, programming, and much more.
* 100% DRM free, no restrictions, no license keys, no fees, no charges, no secret collecting and passing on of your data, no artificial limits on what you can do with your computer and your data, 100% respect for you, the user.

Hans responds to the “Linux killer” talking point by saying that “Linux makes Windows 7 obsolete.”

As a matter of fact, Microsofts future is squashed between an obsolete Windows XP and a Vista nobody wants. With many home users getting tired to get and maintain the next pirated version of Microsoft Office and many governments moving to ODF I see very dark clouds for Microsofts main cash cows. It may be clear by now that Windows 7 is nothing more than a refurbished Windows Vista. Aero has been polished a bit more, some of the major resource hogs may have been optimized, but all in all it is nothing more than Vista SP2.

Glyn Moody published in Linux Journal for the first time in a long time. He asserts that the BadVista has probably fulfilled its purpose because Microsoft is just too shy to mention Vista at this stage.

That said, I think it would have been better to have forgone this easy pleasure. Had the FSF post avoided facile declarations of “victory”, or vague claims about introducing people to GNU/Linux through this campaign, and concentrated instead on the very real achievements – in the media sphere, for example – people would probably have been even more impressed. Better to emphasise the superiority of free software and its supporters by rising above Microsoft and its tactics.

Against that background, and with the appearance of Vista’s successor, now would be a useful time to ponder how such campaigns should be waged in the future. Is this focus on negativity a useful way to go about things? If so, should the FSF be preparing a BadOffice site, or BadWindows 7 site, or are their better targets? If not, might it be more effective to adopt a more subtle approach, creating targeted resources for journalists so that they can present the other side? Any views?

Coverage in the news of “Windows 7″ (mythical software) outnumbered that of “Vista” by a factor of about 5 the last time I checked (on Sunday). This means that Microsoft follows its own guidebooks.

“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]

“Microsoft looks at new ideas, they don’t evaluate whether the idea will move the industry forward, they ask, ‘how will it help us sell more copies of Windows?’”

Bill Gates, The Seattle Weekly, (April 30, 1998)

Fraud, Embargo and Slump at Microsoft Partners in India

Posted in Asia, Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 10:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Satyam, Wipro and Infosys, respectively

Police line

THE NEWS from India is may change things very quickly. Microsoft is not well positioned to end up on top of the deep recession, by its very own admission (October 2008). Many people already know that Windows revenue fell and the company is entering debt [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. 10 years ago, a Microsoft insider blew the whistle on his employer, showing financial fraud. Microsoft paid him $4 million to keep quiet and bury the evidence.

“Microsoft’s partners in India show signs of corruption at the moment.”Microsoft is under investigation again (for financial misconduct that’s alleged) and it’s really just a needle in a haystack [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Novell has its share of things to hide too [1, 2, 3], but that’s another story.

Microsoft’s partners in India show signs of corruption at the moment. For those who don’t recall, Microsoft may have gone as far as bribing Indian charities and it was accused of looting the nation along with its Indian partners.

Wipro happens to be one of these accomplices. It helps Microsoft fight GNU/Linux and it also helps in a variety of other ways [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], including involvement in the OOXML corruptions.

Well, guess what? Wipro has just been banned for malpractice.

The World Bank has revealed the full list of companies banned for bidding for future contracts because of alleged malpractice.

Is anyone surprised?

This comes just days after another Microsoft partner* got caught for massive fraud because it could not keep up appearances anymore. That would be Satyam, which also benefited from Microsoft's visa swindle (c.f. Abramoff-Microsoft connections for details). Anyway, here is the latest about Satyam:

Engulfed by a fraud scandal and its very existence under threat, services group Satyam has had three new members on a newly constituted board forced on it by the Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

Another troubled Microsoft partner from India, as first realised in last night’s English-speaking news, is Infosys.

Faced with a tough business environment, Infosys Technologies, India’s second largest outsourcer, again lowered its dollar revenue forecast for the company’s fiscal year ending March 31.

We mentioned the Infosys connection to Microsoft a couple of months ago (re: Kerala). Infosys also helps Microsoft legalise software patents in India [1, 2, 3], exploit Indian people, ram OOXML down ISO’s throat [1, 2] and so on and so forth [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8].

* Partnership mentioned and shown here.

Yahoo: The Biggest Threat Comes from the Inside

Posted in Mail, Microsoft at 9:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A lesson learned from the security sector

Little dragon

ARE WE SEEING YAHOO ‘taken over’ from the inside? A little more than before maybe? It’s hard to say with sufficient certainty, but it does not look encouraging. A couple of days ago we wrote about the inheritance of Jerry Yang's chair. Sue Decker fought away a hostile takeover. She staved off the bids from Microsoft along with Jerry Yang and she competed for the role of CEO against Carol Bartz.

Bartz worked for a Microsoft partner, Autodesk, which is a promoter of lock-in and even software patents (they cross-licensed with Microsoft not so long ago). She will soon become the CEO of Yahoo and this is problematic because:

Autodesk, known for its computer-assisted design software, happens to be a longtime Microsoft partner, so the choice may stir new speculation about a possible Yahoo-Microsoft search deal.

Microsoft’s principal mouthpiece in CNET is already yapping about a Microsoft-Yahoo transaction.

“It depends on their offer,” said a source familiar with the board’s thinking. “If they were to come to (Yahoo) with an offer of $33 a share, (the company) would be stupid if to say ‘no’ now.”

For Microsoft to touch Yahoo would be difficult because it’s a thing that may pose a dilemma; for starters, Microsoft would enter deeper debt [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], but more importantly, Microsoft would take Yahoo’s business to the cleaners, just like it always does. As the following post demonstrated a few days ago, “Microsoft is not a web company.”

I want to talk about Microsoft’s web strategy. But Microsoft is a huge company, with a lot of parallel activities in this space, and there are so many angles from which you can approach the subject. So I’ve decided to focus on a single, instructive example: the front page of Microsoft.com.

Disclaimer: this is a cheap shot. I know it is. A single HTML page does not embody the entirety of Microsoft’s strategic direction and corporate culture. I’m also subjecting it to rigorous scrutiny of the kind few web pages get. Nevertheless, Microsoft.com is one of the most popular destinations on the Internet and they are trying to make a name for themselves in the web space and they do have a gigantic budget which they could expend on their front page.

Here’s where my journey began, and what started my investigation that led to this post. This is the front page of Microsoft.com, rendered in Firefox (v3.0.5, Windows XP). This and all subsequent screenshots are cropped; click for the full capture.

Microsoft never designed software with the Internet in mind. The Internet scared it because it threatened its dominant position. In 1993, Bill Gates said: “The Internet? We are not interested in it.” In fact, several years ago, a senior Windows executive said: “Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

One reader tells us that “the transition from the outgoing US administration is an utter catastrophe in regards to e-mail. Everything from astronomical volumes of files to lost material to multiple, conflicting versions of what should have been the same document.”

“So while VBA, Access and Windows on the “voting machines” helped get us into this mess, Microsoft Exchange will help prevent getting it sorted.”

Can Microsoft ever be trusted with any of Yahoo’s Web properties, given the mess which is MSN or Hotmail, for example?

“You don’t need to buy the company, just destroy them and then take their business.”

Duncan ‘Dragons Den’ Bannatyne

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