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Links 05/02/2009: Fedora 11 Alpha; Vodafone and Moto for Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 11:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • Open Source Engineering, a new blog on Electronics Weekly

    We are delighted to announce a new addition to our stable of blogs on ElectronicsWeekly.com – one that addresses an increasingly important area.

    The new Open Source Engineering blog features the use of Linux and GNU software in industrial, embedded and mobile applications. We hope it provides useful, informative and entertaining content, and please feel free to contribute with your own comments on the posts.

  • Top Linuxy Alternatives and Staying True to FOSS

    Following up on his “State of the Penguin” report, Helios’ Ken Starks issued a new blog entry on the state of Linux in business, and it still isn’t great. Until Linux and open source software can overcome the perceptions of CEOs who think that “you get what you pay for,” Linux will remain a second-class citizen, he writes.

  • 6 Linux Myths Busted

    Linux is steeped in myths. And like most technologies that offer an alternative to a de facto standard, these myths keep many business owners leery of moving from Windows to Linux. Busting some of these myths may change your mind.

    If you’re in the business of myth-making, the IT world is a good place to make your fortune. And few technologies are as steeped in myths as Linux. Myths are great entertainment, but if you run a small or midsize business and need to make sound IT decisions, they’re confusing. And sooner or later, that confusion will cost you time, trouble, and money.

  • Desktop virtualisation at over 3lk workstations

    Userful, ThinNetworks, and Positivo announced that they had been selected to supply 324,000 virtualised desktops to schools in all of Brazil’s 5,560 municipalities.

    This initiative would provide computer access to millions of children throughout Brazil. It is a historical achievement being: the world’s largest ever virtual desktop deployment; the world’s largest ever desktop Linux deployment; and a new record low-cost for PCs with the PC sharing hardware and software costing less than $50 per seat.

  • The Economics Of Private Storage Clouds

    ParaScale is about to release new software that lets customers create “storage clouds” using commodity Linux servers. The economics are such that the cost of a petabyte of storage, once the domain of only the largest organizations, is coming within reach of more companies.

    Based in Cupertino, Calif., and founded in 2004, ParaScale’s cloud storage software runs on Linux OS, the Linux XFS file system, and IP networking. The platform is designed for unlimited scalability, though in its first iteration it has been tested to 100 nodes. ParaScale describes its software as an object file system that’s “largely self-managing.”

  • 12 Awesome Unix Custom License Plates

    These geeks decided to show their appreciation towards Unix using their vehicle license plates. My favorite from this list is rm -rf *. Imagine someone who has no clue about Unix seeing this car on the road and trying to figure out what “rm -rf *” means.

    Out of these 12 awesome Unix related license plates, which one do you like the most? Have you seen any Unix related license plates that I’ve missed in this list?

  • A tip of the hat to Linux’s European friends

    There is no way I can touch in one article how many ways Europe impacts Linux in a positive way. I also don’t want to give the impression that only Europe has been a supporter and benefactor to Linux as a whole. This one article is just to give proper credit where it is due.

  • Linux Provides Steady IT Foundation for Banks in a Tough Economic Climate

    Times are tough in the banking industry. According to the AP, 100,000 bank employees have been laid off over the past two years. Overall, banking industry unemployment has almost tripled and bank stocks have cratered. Even with astronomical bailout money becoming available, banks are looking for ways to consolidate.


    In this environment, Linux provides a distinct competitive advantage. Linux has zero licensing fees, so pure cost is a key benefit. Linux support can be found at almost any level; from free e-mail and bulletin boards to 24/7 mission critical support via enterprise subscriptions. Banks that are running Linux have an operating system with support for the greatest number of chip architectures, hardware platforms and forms of computing (blades to mainframe).

  • Graphics

    • LCA: Catching up with X.org

      For years, linux.conf.au has been one of the best places to go to catch up with the state of the X Window System; the 2009 event was no exception. There was a big difference this time around, though. X talks have typically been all about the great changes which are coming in the near future. This time, the X developers had a different story: most of those great changes are done and will soon be heading toward a distribution near you.

    • [compiz] Release plans for Compiz 0.8.0

      The Compiz 0.8.0 release will be the first release to include what was formerly known as Compiz Fusion.

      A complete feature and string freeze for Compiz 0.8 is in effect from Friday 5th of February, 23:59 GMT. I urge anyone with patches to submit them ASAP, regardless of their state.

  • KDE

    • Camp KDE Talks Part Two

      The day started a bit late, but Guillermo Amaral really made up for it by providing us with a funny and interesting talk about the opportunities for the Business use of KDE in Mexico. He pointed out how important it is to handle cultural differences well, continuing the theme set by Pradeepto Adriaan and Till.

    • KDE 4.2 Release Parties All Over The World

      Last week, the KDE 4.2 release was not only received well in several reviews, but also celebrated by contributors and users on a global scale. A number of release parties were organised by enthusiasts, often with surprisingly high numbers of participants.

    • KDE 4.2 and KOffice 2.0 beta 6 available for Maemo

      KDE developer Marijn Kruisselbrink has released packages of KDE 4.2 and KOffice 2.0 beta 6 for Maemo, the Linux-based software platform that powers Nokia’s Internet Tablet devices.

    • Remote Controlling a KDE 4 Desktop
    • KDE on Windows: Subversive, but Useful

      For many of us, I suspect that KDE on Windows is something that we will try for a brief afternoon before scuttling back to GNU/Linux. But, if you have to use Windows, then maybe KDE on Windows will soon be able to relieve much of your pain.


    • GNOME 2.25.90 beta release!

      This is the sixth development release, and the first beta, towards our 2.26 release that will happen in March 2009. By now most things are in place, and your mission is easy: Go download it. Go compile it. Go test it. And go hack on it, document it, translate it, fix it.

    • GTK+ theming hackfest announced

      A GTK+ hackfest in Dublin later this month will start work on prototyping next-generation theming capabilities of the open source toolkit.

  • Old PCs

    • Having Good Functional Running Old PC’s

      A lot of us have old PCs stuck in the corners of classrooms, machines we just can’t afford to replace and whose owners just can’t do without. At the same time, a lot of us are acquiring netbooks and inexpensive hardware instead of investing in the latest and greatest “Vista-capable” computers. Normally for FOSS people like me its a YEHEY think to put in Linux in those running Boxes.

    • Creating a Linux Distribution for the Common User

      In the end, we settled on CentOS, which is directly derived from RedHat’s Enterprise Linux (RHEL). We note Scientific Linux is another good choice, but we were more familiar with CentOS. Every derivative of RHEL is well supported by a handful of third-party repositories.

  • Red Hat

    • Red Hat Expands Real Time Linux Cloud

      Linux vendor Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) is out today with its newest Real Time Linux platform, MRG 1.1 boasting new performance, messaging and grid computing (cloud) capabilities.

      The new MRG 1.1 platform marks the debut of Red Hat’s commercially-supported grid technology, which helps users create their own enterprise clouds as well as leverage the power of Amazon’s EC2 service.

    • Announcing Fedora 11 Alpha (blink)
    • Fedora 11 Alpha Comes With Huge Feature Set

      Starting with the installation, Fedora 11 is now using the EXT4 file-system by default but there is support built into the Anaconda installer for Btrfs, which recently entered the mainline Linux kernel.

    • First days at Red Hat, first impressions

      Well, I took my first trip to the USA, ever, this week and it was down to Raleigh, NC, for orientation with Red Hat. I’d like to say it was an experience (meaning the trip), but it wasn’t… I was mostly fighting too hard to stay awake so it all really seems like a haze already. =) I guess only getting 1.5hrs of sleep the first night, and only 5 the second, will do that to you.

  • Ubuntu

    • Ubuntu Server Linux is for business

      When you think Ubuntu, you probably think of an outstanding, easy-to-use desktop Linux. You probably don’t think of Ubuntu as a server operating system. Maybe you should.

    • Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 4 Screenshot Tour

      The fourth alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 (codename Jaunty Jackalope) was uploaded a few minutes ago on the official mirrors. As usual, we’ve downloaded a copy of it in order to keep you up to date with the latest changes in the Ubuntu 9.04 development.

      What’s new in Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 4? Well, the big news is that Nvidia and AMD have finally released some new and improved video drivers for Linux systems, in order to keep up with the latest technologies. Therefore, starting with this alpha, the Nvidia proprietary video driver has been added and it supports the latest X.Org server, version 1.6 (see screenshots three and four on the first row). ATI users will have to wait a little bit longer, as the fglrx proprietary video driver is not yet supported (it will be fixed until the Beta release arrives).

    • Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” Alpha 4 Released

      Not only did Fedora 11 Alpha make it out the door today, but so did the fourth alpha release for Ubuntu 9.04 (the Jaunty Jackalope). Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 4 continues to build upon a bleeding-edge set of Linux packages (though still tracking the Linux 2.6.28 kernel) and has installation support for the EXT4 file-system and new notification capabilities.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Upgraded FPGAs, tools, support Linux

      Altera announced two new FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays), and has upgraded its Linux-compatible FPGA design toolkit. The Quartus II 9.0 toolsuite adds support for the new Stratix IV GT and Arria II GX FPGAs, adds an SSN analyzer tool, and debuts a ModelSim Altera Starter Edition simulation engine.

    • Proposals open for Cortex-A8 system contest

      Genesi and Freescale are offering free systems with Linux board support packages (BSPs) to developers with innovative proposals for developing on Freescale’s new netbook-oriented i.MX515 system-on-chip (SoC). The i.MX515 Developer Program is now open for proposal submissions for developing on the ARM Cortex-A8-based platform.

    • Sprint EOL list reveals target Palm Pre launch, plenty more

      For the Treo Pro, we know that the target in-stock date corresponds with the launch of 2/15. This could indeed put the Pre launch on or around 3/15, but we wouldn’t bet on it. Sprint wants to move their stock of Treo 755Ps before they get to the Pre, and if we were a betting bunch, we’d peg the Pre release closer to May/Early June than Mid-March.

    • Phones

      • Mobile Linux firm boasts cheery financials, funding round

        French mobile stack developer and LiMo (Linux Mobile) Foundation member Purple Labs announced 2H 2008 revenues of 11 million Euros (~$14.1M), quadruple its revenue in the first half of 2008. The company also said it raised series-B funding of 22 million Euros (~$22.8M) during the half.

      • Vodafone signs Linux deal with U.S. firm Azingo

        Vodafone (VOD.L) has picked U.S. software firm Azingo to develop Linux-based applications, the latest sign the world’s largest wireless operator by sales is keeping Linux operating system LiMo as one of its key choices.

        Privately held Azingo unveiled the deal on Thursday.

        Vodafone, one of the founding members of mobile Linux foundation LiMo, has stressed the importance of cutting the number of different operating systems, raising some media speculation it could dump LiMo support.

      • World’s largest mobile operator takes LiMO

        The Linux Mobile Foundation (LiMo) got a huge boost today, when global carrier Vodafone, world’s largest wireless operator (by sales), tapped U.S. software firm Azingo to develop Linux-based mobile applications. Reuters called the news “the latest sign (Vodafone) is keeping Linux operating system LiMo as one of its key choices.”

      • Motorola disses Windows Mobile: Android “more competitive”

        Handset maker Motorola has revealed plans to scale back its commitment to Windows Mobile as it continues to increase its investment in Google’s open source Android mobile platform.

      • Motorola: Becoming a ‘Peripheral Player’

        To do that, Motorola will draw on its experience tinkering with the same Linux-Java software used in Android to make what it hopes are compelling tools and other applications. Social-networking apps, for example, are one area of focus for the Android phones. Jha says in an interview that Motorola engineers are working closely with Google to develop appealing apps.

      • Navigation phone debuts

        Personal navigation device (PND) vendor Garmin and consumer electronics manufacturer AsusTek (Asus) have merged their smartphone development efforts. The “Garmin-Asus Nuvifone G60″ (pictured) will ship in the first half of this year, say the companies, and may run Linux, Android, or Windows Mobile.

      • Garmin, Asus Team to Bring Smartphones to U.S.

        Garmin and Asus, best-known for GPS devices and PC components respectively, announced an alliance on Wednesday to produce co-branded smart phones. In a conference call, Garmin execs hinted strongly that they wanted to bring the devices to the U.S. for an “attractive” price.


        The line will begin with Garmin-Asus’s Nuvifone G60, a Linux-based GPS smartphone that the company announced in January 2008, but that they never brought to market. The Nuvifone G60 will come to shelves in the first half of 2009, Pemble said. Another model will be announced at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Feb. 15 or 16, and “we look forward to introducing additional Nuvifone models during the course of 2009 and beyond,” Pemble said.

      • New Garmin-Asus Smartphones to Take Many OSs

        Asustek has been making mobile phones since 2001 and has launched several smartphones, mainly with Linux or Microsoft Windows OSs.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • First impressions of the HP Mini 1000 MI

        My surprise was total this morning when the FedEx guy rang my bell and handed me a very small box. That box had a brand new HP Mini 1000 MI netbook to evaluate from HP. The MI (or Mini Me) is the Linux-based model with HP’s home-grown UI shell they call MI for Mobile Internet. I haven’t been playing with the 1000 very long but keep reading after the jump for my first impressions and photos of the Mini 1000.


        This interface works very well and I found that I was getting things done in mere minutes after firing the Mini 1000 up for the first time. The web browser is a Firefox variant that works as expected and I added the Foxmarks add-on right away. A minute after adding Foxmarks all my bookmarks and page passwords had been synced with the server and my browsing environment was like it is on all machines I use. I was up and running at that point.

      • HP’s Mini 1000 Mi Edition Netbooks Get Ubuntu

        HP has revealed that their Mini 1000 Mi Edition netbook will have Ubuntu OS pre-loaded. To make things interesting, HP revealed a new custom Ubuntu Linux user interface for their Mini 1000 Mi Edition netbooks. The price of the HP Mini 1000 Mobile Internet (Mi) netbooks starts from $380 (Rs. 18, 000).

Free Software/Open Source

  • In Open Source I trust: Top 5 projects for daily use

    Ubuntu – Although we have been using Debian for years on our client servers (as well as virtualization) I wanted something on my desktop that was easy to use. Ubuntu with KDE (I install kde from source, but you can get KDE on Ubuntu by downloading Kubuntu) is a great combination. You can make your desktop OS your own through customization. Ubuntu doesn’t use as many hardware resources as Windows and it’s free.

  • Getting Electronic Health Record Standards Right

    As of this writing, $20 billion of that amount is included in the current House draft of the Economic Stimulus bill called for by the new administration. The full cost of EHR implementation, including private expenditures, has been estimated to be $156 billion over five years, not including $20 billion in operational costs. With such a price tag, the promise of EHRs had best be realized, or the new administration will have some significant explaining to do.

  • Floola, the portable iTunes replacement

    There are a lot of music jukeboxes out there that aren’t iTunes but still work with iPods. Freeware Floola for Windows, Mac, and Linux is one of the few, if only, portable music players that not only works with your iPod, it will work from your iPod, too. The program’s fully compatible with your desktop iTunes installation, but can be run from the iPod itself.

  • Mozilla’s Ubiquity add-on for Firefox to get photo editing

    Ubiquity is an experimental Firefox extension developed by Mozilla Labs that extends the browser user interface with a context-sensitive command system. The latest version of the extension already includes a lot of really useful capabilities, but we could see some even more impressive features arrive soon.

    In a blog entry today, Mozilla’s Aza Raskin revealed plans for building a lightweight browser-based photo editor that will be accessible through Ubiquity. Jacob Seidelin, the developer behind the Pixastic JavaScript image processing library, will be leading the effort. He plans to begin work on the project next month.

  • National

    • Syria and Lebanon go open source

      A good news for the open source scene. Two great events are running -or going to run- this month in the Arab region. The first one it’s called the iFoss09 and it’s currently going on in Damascus, Syria at the SCS Center, Tishreen Park in Omaween Square.

    • Canadian government eyes open source, asks for feedback

      The Canadian government is looking to shave costs wherever it can and is now eyeing open source software as one way to accomplish that goal.

  • Business

    • Zenoss Announces Community Day as Precursor to Southern California Linux Expo

      Zenoss Inc., a leading provider of commercial open source IT systems and network monitoring software, today announced its first Zenoss Community Day will take place February 20, 2009, in Los Angeles. The daylong event is a precursor to the 7th annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE 7x), where Zenoss is a silver sponsor and exhibitor.

  • FSF


  • Intel will design PlayStation 4 GPU

    Yeah, Intel won the PS4 GPU, no shock considering how much they needed a console win to get people coding for Larrabee


    Given that, and MS’s inclination toward x86 software, that would seem a natural path for them to follow as well, if for no other reason than to protect the living room from the ARM scourge running Linux.

  • Rethinking Think Tanks

    “Fueled by tax-deductible donations and an explosion in philanthropic assets, think tanks have dramatically grown in size and influence during the past 100 years,” writes J.H. Snider, himself a think tank fellow.

  • Is the EU Acting Duplicitously Over ACTA?

    It is clear that the scope of this treaty is far reaching: indeed, there is a clear attempt to use it to slip in very powerful clauses that would over-ride national and international legislation. This is simply unacceptable. Moreover, if it turns out that the EU is *not* fighting the above moves, it is nothing short of scandalous that it should be acting in such a duplicitous fashion over ACTA – in which case, those responsible for following this course should be called on to resign.

  • Draft copyright code disputed by both sides

    A draft ISP Copyright Code of Practice, aimed at clarifying sanctions against illicit downloaders of copyright works, has been released for public comment — and internet industry sources are already critical of the effort.

    The 29-page document (with a further four pages of suggested alternative wording on procedures for disputing an accusation) was drawn up by the Telecommunications Carriers Forum in consultation with internet service providers and organisations representing copyright owners.

  • TorrentSpy restarts fight against MPAA

    A YEAR after it was ordered to pay the MPAA more than $100 million for assisting pirating, TorrentSpy is launching an appeal.

  • AP Demands Money For Iconic Obama Poster Image

    Just last week, we wrote about the question of whether or not the iconic image used on Obama posters that was created by street artist Shepard Fairey was copyright infringement. For a while, no one (including Fairey) could figure out what photo was the basis for the image. But a photojournalist tracked it down, and discovered it was by a photojournalist named Mannie Garcia, who was doing work for the Associated Press at the time. Garcia didn’t mind at all, but as we noted in our post, the AP might take a different view on things, since it’s so aggressive with copyright. However, even we thought the AP wouldn’t be so stupid as to actually demand payment for the use of the image… but we were wrong.

  • It’s Official: No Three Strikes In Germany (Update)

    Some European countries have been moving towards a so-called three strikes model to disconnect repeat P2P infringers from the Internet, but Germany’s not having it. The German Department of Justice recently met up with leading ISPs for a confidential consultation to discuss the music industry’s new favored strategy against piracy.

  • NY Times Buys Bogus Movie Industry Complaints About Piracy

    The NY Times is running an article entitled “Digital Pirates Winning Battle With Studios.” From the title, it’s pretty obvious what it’s about — but the article seems to take a lot of talking points from the movie studios. It’s not hard to figure out the main source of the article: NBC Universal’s Rick Cotton is quoted throughout. Cotton is a lawyer who has proven time and time again that he’s a bit clueless when it comes to business. It’s unclear why NBC keeps having him comment publicly about business issues. Every time he does, it just gives people more reason to realize how poorly NBC Universal is managed.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Bdale Garbee, Hewlett Packard computer wizard and Debian lead 04 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

Boycott Brother Industries

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 7:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bad Brother

ANOTHER COMPANY decided to pay Microsoft for unspecified patents that Microsoft claims are infringed on in Linux.

Agreement will cover intellectual property contained in printers and multifunctional products, including certain Linux-based technologies.


Through this agreement, Brother Industries will gain access to Microsoft’s patents for Brother’s current and future product lines, including multifunction products (MFPs), printers and certain Linux-based embedded devices.

There is more information here. This one is similar to the deals with LG, Fuji Xerox, Samsung, and Kyocera Mita.

How Microsoft (with Novell) Subverts the Virtualisation Space to Harm Red Hat

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat, Servers, Virtualisation, Xen at 1:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft’s bizarre relationship with VMware is no news and given the role of EMC in this relationship, it’s clear that so-called 'moles' are driving the affair. According to the latest news, EMC and Microsoft are growing even closer. Much closer.

EMC, Microsoft team for share of IT budgets


While tech spending has not evaporated, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said on Tuesday that most companies have mandated that their IT departments cut a significant percentage from their budgets.

“To save 5 (percent) to 10 percent, you have to save a little bit on a lot of things,” Ballmer told CNET News on Tuesday, in a joint interview with EMC CEO Joe Tucci, “It’s not like there’s nothing new getting done. Some new projects are getting killed. There’s pressure on vendors to reduce prices.”

For the uninitiated, here is some background reading:

As The Inquirer puts it, “Microsoft divides IT budgets with EMC.” By a sort of inference, Microsoft is now sharing money with VMware as well. VMware is managed by former Microsoft employees, some of whom have a criminal past that Microsoft paid a lot of money to hide.

This week’s news speaks a lot about an open source product from VMware, but almost nobody pays attention to the fact that VMware is now promoting Microsoft’s pet GNU/Linux distribution, which comes at a cost (of software patents). In other words, the ‘new’ VMware (under Microsoft’s management) already helps demote distributions and vendors that don’t sell out to Microsoft, very much like Hyper-V does [1, 2].

We’ll note here that prominent among VMware View Open Client’s features is a Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Thin Client Add-On RPM package and command line interface.

But what about Red Hat?

Isn’t Red Hat the leading GNU/Linux distribution?

It sure seems as though Paul Maritz came from Microsoft to scoop up some former Microsoft colleagues with Tucci’s endorsement (Tucci became Microsoft’s partner of the year last year). Now he’s working from inside VMware to put a software patents ‘price tag’ on GNU/Linux. Wasn’t that predictable? Microsoft pried VMware from the hands of GNU/Linux. It is using its money and its partners to rob parts of the industry of GNU/Linux and impose Microsoft's rules. Remember XenSource too. Here is a new article about it.

If Microsoft Loved Open Source, Who Would It Buy?


Could Microsoft take its cash reserves and buy an open source company? Why not? Who expected Oracle and Citrix Systems to become such big investors in open source. Citrix’ purchase of XenSource sure has worked out–for Microsoft, in my opinion. And that example might seed a desire for more open source code in Microsoft’s camp.


“[Y]ou have to save a little bit on a lot of things,” Ballmer told CNET News on Tuesday, in a joint interview with EMC CEO Joe Tucci, “It’s not like there’s nothing new getting done. Some new projects are getting killed. There’s pressure on vendors to reduce prices.”

For background about XenSource and Microsoft, start here. What Microsoft and its super-close partner did there eventually pressured Red Hat into buying KVM (with its parent company) and maintaining its own virtualisation solution, which is laborious and cumbersome.

As Matt Asay correctly pointed out a couple of days ago, this is Microsoft’s and Novell’s war on Red Hat (and any GNU/Linux distribution that does not pay for mythical software patents).

Going forward, I believe that Red Hat must expand its solution offerings if it wants to take market share from Microsoft. The Unix-to-Linux “low hanging fruit” won’t last forever. When it’s gone, the biggest barrier to Red Hat’s continued growth will be Microsoft. Unless Red Hat starts acting now to build up a holistic response to Microsoft’s value proposition, including the desktop, Red Hat will eventually struggle to grow.

The piece above contains a dramatic exaggeration because we keep seeing businesses that dump Windows for Red Hat, but either way, it’s clear that Novell and Microsoft are both attacking any distribution which is not a vassal to software patents, Microsoft and its ecosystem. Therefore, Novell and SLE* must be stopped.

Steve Ballmer license

Image from Wikimedia

Turkey, France, United Stated Under Attack by Microsoft Windows Insecurities

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Microsoft, Security, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 12:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Time for France to move to GNU/Linux more quickly as its
weapons are now controlled/disabled by Windows viruses

THE PREVIOUS POST shows that even Bill Gates recognised the fact that Windows was not secure. What would be the severity of the impact? Let’s find out based on this week’s news alone.

Under Siege

We have already seen national armies falling prey to Microsoft Windows viruses. This is not just embarrassing; it can cost lives. In fact, it already does, but there is no liability.

“France should move to GNU/Linux more rapidly in order to prevent a disastrous weaponry blunder…”According to this report (in French), Conficker has just shut down a weapons system in France, so the Royal Navy should take notice. This hardly happens with UNIX/Linux systems, which IBM has just deployed to control/manage the nuclear weapons facilities of the United States (see this post under “HPC”).

France should move to GNU/Linux more rapidly in order to prevent a disastrous weaponry blunder, but it’s not just France that made such headlines due to a confidential letter that raised serious concerns about the safety of French military networks.

Turkey is having some similar problems.

A suspect who allegedly used spyware to snoop on Turkish government computers on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) faces charges punishable by up to ten years behind bars in Turkey.

The United States too:

Employees at federal security agencies are being notified that their personal information may have been compromised after hackers planted a virus on computer networks of government contractor SRA International.

SRA began notifying employees and all of its customers after discovering the breach recently, company spokeswoman Sheila Blackwell said Tuesday. The malicious software may have allowed hackers to get access to data maintained by SRA, including “employee names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and health care provider information,” the company said in a notification posted at the Maryland Attorney General’s Web site.

End within sight? Not likely.

Botnets Grow Bigger

“Spam will be a thing of the past in two years’ time.”

Bill Gates, 2004

Rather than improving, it just keeps getting worse.

Spam continues to pour into the mailboxes of internet users worldwide, despite concerted efforts by security and law enforcement agencies to stop the deluge, including a decisive but ultimately temporary blow late last year.

“Windows has taken a once useful and reliable communications medium and turned it into unreliable garbage,” tells us a regular reader. “For the garbage part, spam is pushing 80% of all e-mail because of Windows. I wonder at what point the milestone in traffic will get passed where Windows malware passes ftp-data.”

More news on Conficker:

The zombie network created by the Conficker worm is yet to go “live”, but it’s displaying curious behaviour that yields potential clues to its origins and purpose.

Conficker is still growing stronger and old Trojans are not going away, either.

A WHOLE year after the authors of a malware site were arrested, some 73 Brits are still infected by a variation of the infamous Pinch Trojan, according to security software vendor, Prevx.

Here is a new example of the impact on every-day lives, including those who do not use Windows.

Malware distributed by fake parking tickets


A malware infection was propagated through flyers put on windshields in Grand Forks, North Dakota, reports SANS institute.

The flyers were fake parking violation notices, and instructed people to visit a website (which SANS did not publicize). Once they visited the website, they were infected with a malicious browser helper object.

Such a sordid mess can sometimes affects banks.

Vista 7 is More of the Same

As we emphasised before, Microsoft says almost nothing about security improvements in Vista 7. Well, that’s because there are none. This is in contrast to the lies Microsoft had been spreading before Vista came.

Despite being in “test” status (beta) that wrongly indicates maturity, the operating system is not secure and it keeps looking worse as people study it more closely.

As you probably know by now, Windows 7 introduces some new in-between modes for User Account Control (UAC). By default, Windows 7 (beta thus far) ships with UAC configured at the “Notify me only when programs try to make changes to my computer.” level. As the UAC helper text indicates, “this setting does not prompt when you change Windows settings, such as control panel and administration tasks.”

Vista 7 builds were already open to hijackers (without security patches made available) and more on the above vulnerability can be read here. Those who want a secure operating environment should take a glimpse at GNU/Linux.

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Stop nuclear weapons
Bad Vista even worse when used in military

Bill Gates Admits Microsoft’s Failure in Security, Gears Up for DRM

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, DRM, Hardware, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 11:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

You got mail

PREVIOUS POSTS in this series include:

We carry on with the Comes ‘treasure trove’ as we continue to pull dark secrets from within Microsoft’s internal communication.

Different response from the last one appears in relation to the Intel/Microsoft report in Exhibit px06568 [PDF] (redone with full text [PDF]). Together, these show the responses to a meeting between Microsoft and Intel and going through these chronologically we have:

From: Bill Gates [to=microsoft/ou=northamerica/cn=Recipients=1648] on behalf of Bill Gates
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 1999 11:35 AM
To: Marshall Brumer
Cc: Jim AIIchin (Exchange)
Subject: RE: MS/Intel Executive meeting notes – 3/3/99 – Santa Clara, CA
Sensitivity: Confidential

I thought they would love the PAE stuff. We need to get them excited about it.

We should get to the bottom of this quick. I thought this was a way we would work together more closely and do things with ISVs.

The same report also appears in Exhibit px06569 [PDF]. It contains another Bill Gates remark about DRM, which Microsoft likes. This remark came just 4 minutes later:

From: Bill Gates [to=microsoft/ou=northamerica/cn=Recipients=1648] on behalf of Bill Gates
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 1999 11:39 AM
To: Marshall Brumer
Cc: Jim Allchin (Exchange); Eric Rudder; Butler Lampson; Anthony Bay (Exchange); Mike Porter
Subject: RE: MS/Intel Executive meeting notes – 3/3/99 – Santa Clara, CA .
Sensitivity: Confidential

I don’t understand the security disconnect at all. Why would our goals be different?

I know we have failed to have an overall view of security and security APIs and its a mess with certs in some places and other approaches elsewhere.

However we are forced to get our act together because of the Digital Rights Management issues, How can Intel see it differently?

There are two points worth paying attention to:

  1. Gates says: “I know we have failed to have an overall view of security and security APIs and its a mess with certs in some places and other approaches elsewhere.”
  2. DRM is mentioned in relation to security, so disasters like Windows Vista immediately spring to mind.

Gates was also meeting Intel’s management and inquiring about IP issues with Jim Allchin and Paul Maritz inside his circulation (c.f. Exhibit px06462 [PDF]). The text is all there in the PDF, but there is nothing particularly malevolent in it as far as Linux is concerned.

A real ‘dynamite’ anti-Linux exhibit we shall cover next (probably tomorrow).

Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit px06568, as text

Read the rest of this entry »

SCO Doesn’t Take Itself Seriously Anymore

Posted in SCO, UNIX at 11:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Signs that SCO has gone insane

From SCO’s Web site:

Winter 2009

Dear SCO Customers and Partners,

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Best regards,

Jeff Hunsaker
President & Chief Operating Officer
SCO Operations

According to Groklaw, SCO is left with approximately 50 employees. SCO’s demise (and sale of asset) is now featured in the cover page of SD Times [PDF], which also has another article that compares SCO’s CEO to George Bush:

As the SCO Group debacle continues to unfold, we can’t help but think that CEO Darl McBride and now former-U.S. President George W. Bush have a lot in common.

Both went to war based on bad information. For Bush, it was the never-located “weapons of mass destruction” he believed Iraq President Saddam Hussein (now executed) was harboring. For McBride, it was the never-proven “Unix source code” that he believed IBM and others harbored in their Linux distributions.

SCO’s last words might be “Blah. Blah. Blah.”

“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens

Novell Layoffs May Have Not Been Announced Yet

Posted in Europe, Finance, Microsoft, Novell at 10:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

100 layoffs merely seismic waves?

LARGE-SCALE Microsoft layoffs have only gotten started according to analysts, but it’s not the exception. Microsoft is likely to have more than one ‘wave’ of layoffs. Its subsidiaries are likely to suffer a similar fate, as they already have [1, 2].

Back in November, Novell was shutting down offices across Europe and German employees of Novell have apparently just discovered/uttered this thing:

“The day after Hovsepian said no more cuts beyond 100, he told German employees (as per German law) that there would be more cuts coming,” the source said.

It also seems that the 100 or so that have been announced could be a conservative count, with this initial round going deeper.

“I’m hearing from all over the company that, in fact, the cuts are deeper than ’100 employees,’” the source said.


It doesn’t take a nuclear physicist to conclude the actual number could lay somewhere between 100 and 1,000.

2.5% in terms of layoffs seemed rather low considering the fact that the company had made only minimal adjustments. The person who talked about these adjustments quit the company a few weeks ago. Novell still operates at a significant loss and it loses business (core business like Netware). Some say it might be acquired by Microsoft one day and Novell was recently voted the least likely technology company to survive 2009.

Eric Lai’s 'damage control' report in ComputerWorld (later it spread itself to other IDG domains) refuted a seemingly inaccurate report from CNET, but it was not able to altogether rule out layoffs. Novell was forced to say something.

Lai’s report was followed by many more, such as:

I. Novell confirms 100 layoffs

The open source vendor Novell on Saturday confirmed that the company was trimming its workforce by less than 100 people, considerably fewer than had been anticipated.

II. Novell cuts 100 workers

As layoffs go, the ones that took place last week at commercial operating system maker Novell were pretty small, and a lot less than was originally reported out there on the Web.

III. Novell axes 100 staff

Novell has confirmed it has laid off around 100 staff after reports of much higher numbers of lay-offs started circulating last week.

IV. Novell dispels rumours but loses 100 workers

As Novell employs around 4,200 people worldwide, the figure represents just 2.3 per cent of the workforce. Some sources had predicted that up to 25 per cent could be handed their marching orders.

There’s no guessing what may happen next. Could the report from CNET actually be right?

As a side note, later we discovered that editors and writers of IDG were being laid off as well.

Novell UK Chief on Microsoft’s Role in Novell’s Future

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Novell at 9:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

Yesterday we mentioned the departure of Jacqueline de Rojas from Novell. The Inquirer now has some coverage about her replacement who will take the lead in the UK and Ireland.

Microsoft has a big part to play in Novell’s future, McCarry confessed. The Microsoft interoperational agreement had so far proved “very substantial” he said.

That’s not news, but it’s merely being recited, so at least it’s known where Novell still stands.

“[The partnership with Microsoft is] going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

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