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02.07.09

Novell News Summary – Part II: Virtualisation, GWAVACon, GroupWise and More

Posted in Identity Management, Mail, Marketing, Novell, Videos, Virtualisation at 8:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Finance

NOVELL’S financial results for this quarter are due in about a fortnight and it seems likely that Novell will announce layoffs around this time.

Novell, Inc. (NASDAQ: NOVL) will issue a press release providing an overview of financial results for its first fiscal quarter 2009 on Thursday, February 26, 2009, at 4 pm ET.

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Novell News Summary – Part I: KDE 4.2 in OpenSUSE, DELL Picks SLED

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE, Novell, OpenSUSE, Scalix, Servers, SLES/SLED, Turbolinux, Xandros at 7:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SuSE logoIt’s Saturday again!

OpenSUSE

FOR OpenSUSE at the least, the past week has been an exceptionally quiet one, but events from the previous week got posted in the OpenSUSE Web site, namely:

* openSUSE@FOSDEM2009
* HP Builds on the openSUSE Education Project
* Masim Sugianto: Tutorial : VirtualBox on openSUSE 11.1 Part 2
* openSUSE Forums: How to install KDE 4.2
* Build maemo-apps with openSUSE BuildService ? – It works !

The biggest event in the past week was probably the availability of KDE 4.2 for OpenSUSE.

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MAFIAA Enters the United States Government, Pro-Patents Lobbyists Also

Posted in Africa, America, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

United States

AS EXPECTED by many outside observers, Biden is putting his significant others in charge of key positions. Some are linked to the MAFIAA and some are linked to Microsoft [1, 2]. This means that Microsoft will have even greater leverage in the already-subverted Department of ‘Justice’ [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], which is a shame but nonetheless normal.

Here is a report confirming that the number of cronies who will promote intellectual monopolies is greater than first imagined. There are at least 4 of them already.

RIAA-fan Biden’s influence in the Obama administration may be larger than anticipated, at least when it comes to file sharing: His good pals with RIAA and BSA connections keep getting Department of Justice’s seats.

In a land of considerable capital, companies and their fronts/lobbyists can become the motors of authority.

Nathan Myhrvold

In other news from the US, Nathan Myhrvold [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] is engineering perception, much like in those sponsored think-tanks and the “Get the Facts” campaign (c/f “Analysts Cartel” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]). It’s about (mis)educating the public, having people believe that patent trolls are a Good Thing™. He is funding a so-called ‘study’ now.

That approach generally defines a firm as a so-called “non-practicing entity,” though within the technology industry a more derisive term is often used — “patent troll.”

Big technology companies such as Myhrvold’s former employer have long complained that many non-practicing entities not only trade in patents without developing products, but also increasingly use them to target deep-pocketed companies with infringement lawsuits.

While Intellectual Ventures has yet to assert its patents in court, it also maintains that litigation “is possible in any business,” according to its Web site.

[...]

Intellectual Ventures would not make Myhrvold available to comment on this story.

South Africa

Over in South Africa, as Digital Majority notes, there is another quiet push for software patents.

Open access is not a mere buzzword in government; it is actually policy, such as the policy on free and open source software use in government. But the Act works against such policies. It promotes software patents so that software can be commercially exploited.

Rens points to the major problem with this: “This requires universities and research councils to obtain software patents; however, SA patent law does not permit software patents.” An oversight, maybe?

So, in the future we could see declines in innovation emanating from publicly-funded research as the focus on profit and IP management stifles research. But, we could see increases in research and development coming from the public domain as public servants view profit from patents as incentives for further innovation. Let’s hope for the latter.

Microsoft is already breaking these laws in South Africa (and also in India for that matter). When will push come to shove?

Antarctica

Another place where intellectual monopolies slide out of control is Antarctica.

50 Years Of Scientific Discovery & Sharing In Antarctica May End Thanks To Patent Greed

[...]

Beyond the rather serious question of why either organisms or molecules can be patented, this is a microcosm of what’s wrong with patents. Patents are supposed to be used to encourage research (promoting the progress, remember). And this treaty has done a great job promoting progress without patents.

There are not only technical issues in this case but ethical ones as well.

Europe

Companies like Microsoft strive to bring similar problems to Europe and there is a chance to stop this although monopolies are hell-bent on ruining the system, which they see as requiring the embodiment of monopolies, by means of law.

The example of software patents – In the case of as “software patents” directive on the patenting of known computer-implemented inventions had a total of two parliamentary readings, a myriad of President conferences, trialogue with the Commission, mediation committees, etc. needed. After 30 months, the parliamentarians of the thread patience finally cracked, and the attempts by the electronics industry, their interests away from programmers and medium-sized enterprises, with a decision by all four groups criticized.

Microsoft already disregards European law by resorting to loopholes that enable it to obtain software patents. Yes, even in Europe.

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway.”

Marshall Phelps, Microsoft

Man with hat

Beware the Patent Gangsters

Microsoft Distorts the Linux and Virtualisation Markets

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat, SLES/SLED, Virtualisation, Xen at 9:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell just one player among more

EARLIER in the week we remarked on a Microsoft-Brother patent deal that covers Linux [1, 2]. Although it received too little coverage in the press, there is this column from ZDNet which makes valid points worthy of echoing:

It’s a familiar story. Microsoft does a secret deal with a company over patent licences. Almost no details are provided about which patents, how much money has changed hands, or why, except for one vaguely worded press release that talks about how such secret deals benefit the customer through openness and innovation.

This time, the lucky donor of cash for secrets is Brother, which will now be allowed to use Microsoft patents to make printers. As Microsoft doesn’t make printers – indeed, doesn’t even make printer drivers – it is an interesting exercise to try and guess what’s actually happened. It’s fruitless to ask either of the companies – and we did try. In cases like this, as in the best gangster movies, nobody ain’t sayin’ nothin’.

[...]

Otherwise, Microsoft’s trick of gaining revenue from licensing open-source software behind closed doors will smell more and more like extortion. As the economy sours and curdles, the values of trust and accountability will prove to be worth far more than a handful of dollars in secret taxation raised on other people’s software.

The signing of patent pacts (cross-licensing) that involve Linux is merely one battlefront to Microsoft. The other strategy being harnessed is one involving exclusion of distributions/vendors that do not pay Microsoft. This is achieved not only by Microsoft but also through its subsidiaries or partners.

“Someone with regulatory powers ought to step in.”Microsoft seemingly took greater control of VMware in order to take it further away from Red Hat. It sure seems like Paul Maritz (along with his new COO from Microsoft) is trying to steer VMware users toward the patents-encumbered SLES. Meanwhile, Tucci is up there shaking hands with Steve Ballmer and allowing all this to happen. The NYT covered the ugly story about him expelling Greene, which had a different plan for VMware.

Someone with regulatory powers ought to step in. This is market distortion and anti-competitive manipulation. Citrix plays this game too. Novell, VMware, Citrix and a few others (PlateSpin comes to mind) are all playing ball for Microsoft. On the other hand we have KVM, which Red Hat took control of.

Microsoft is trying to marginalise GNU/Linux by controlling virtualisation vendors. Now, if only the mainstream press could realise and cover this properly.

Novell error message

Quick Mention: Microsoft Lackey Lands in ODF Community List

Posted in Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 8:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

WHAT does the ODF-bashing, Microsoft-boosting Jesper Lund Stocholm [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] do in the ODF mailing lists all of the sudden?

There are reasons to be apprehensive because Jesper Lund Stocholm serves Microsoft’s interests and Microsoft wants greater control of ODF [1, 2].

The reader who brought this to our attention wrote, “I’m thinking [...] his presence must be indicative of a new political or marketing initiative: things seem to have let up significantly on other forums and that has always been a sign that they are regrouping.”

The Nightmare

“It’s a Simple Matter of [Microsoft’s] Commercial Interests!“

Microsoft on OOXML

Microsoft Plays Hardball in Politics

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 8:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Capitol building

According to this new report, Steve Ballmer is already pressuring the Democrats to impact their decisions, much as everyone ought expect. This is about Microsoft's interests, not the interests of the public who voted for Obama.

How disappointing. This development hardly surprising, however, and Microsoft’s influence inside government is an issue that we more recently covered in:

Not only the United States is affected by Microsoft’s influence. We have already seen this happening in large Asian countries like India and even China. Europe too is a major target and yesterday we saw Fortify, Microsoft’s close partner, mocking -- if not attacking -- a British political party that embraced Free software. None of this is particularly unusual.

“I’m sorry that we have to have a Washington presence.”

Bill Gates

“I thanked Rose for all of his trips to Seattle and his willingness to distract a lot of time for the lawsuit.”

Bill Gates

Microsoft Weaknesses as Told by the Press, Own Employees

Posted in Bill Gates, Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“There is such an overvaluation of technology stocks that it is absurd. I would include our stock in that category. It is bad for the long-term worth of the economy.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft

THE REPUTATION of Windows sinks even lower because of a failed advertisement campaign.

A Seinfeld-fronted TV ad, part of a series that reportedly cost Microsoft $10m and also featured Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, “failed miserably” in its goal according to the New York Times.

Also in the headlines in recent days:

i. Microsoft Employee: Time To Take a Mini-Microsoft Pause

Right now, I’m going through a long building change in perspective and simply reconsidering where I want to focus my energy and spare time (hint: writing, but not here). Also, you can only bang your head on the wall for so long without something getting knocked loose that probably needs to be put back in place.

[...]

BillG is long gone. Within our leadership, there’s no one left who wants to read your ThinkWeek paper, so they’re killing that off. In our future, employee-led innovation, I guess, starts at Level 68.

Microsoft needs a back-to-basics ground shaking rebalancing. And that’s not going to happen with the current Senior Leadership Team.

ii. What’s next for Microsoft’s Flight Sim partners?

Failure to act could see Microsoft lose a familiar and successful operation to open-source and cross-platform competitors as partners drift away in search of alternatives.

iii. Microsoft search bribery machine refuses to pay up

Microsoft’s search bribery machine is on the fritz. Again.

[...]

On the day after Thanksgiving, typically regarded as one of the biggest online shopping days of the year, the bribery machine buckled under the weight of too many shoppers and disappeared from the web for several hours. In some cases, users also complained that Redmond wasn’t returning as much as it said it would.

More about the history of search "bribery" scandals.

Sunken ship

Windows Security: More of the Same

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Security, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 7:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Same mess, different day

VISTA 7 was claimed even less secure [1, 2] than the already-insecure Windows Vista. Microsoft insisted that this was not true and it vigorously denied the problem, as usual. The criticism did not go away though, so Microsoft is finally admits that it was lying and the security problems in Vista 7 are real.

Microsoft admits it messed up Windows 7 security

Following a week where no less than two security flaws were reported in Windows 7 which were officially dismissed and not constituting a vulnerability, it seems there has now been a rather huge change of mind at Microsoft and a frankly astonishing confession.

Microsoft has been at the sharp end of the flawed security stick this week, and the funny thing is it seems that they both made the stick and have been responsible for the continued prodding with it.

Mary Jo Foley came up with an eye-catching headline, namely “Windows 7 chiefs: We messed up.”

We’ve only just mentioned the Pinch Trojan and here is another news report about it.

Variants of the Pinch Trojan are infecting users more than a year after the arrest of its original authors.

More than 4,000 PCs a day were getting infected by just one variant of the information-pilfering malware, according to net security firm PrevX, which bases this estimate on logs from a malware control website left open by cybercriminals.

This very old Trojan is simply not going away and speaking of Trojans, Nato is becoming a victim of them too.

Mr Anil reveals that there has been more than one incidence of Nato officials being socially profiled, and then subjected to “targeted trojans”.

He explains how their unseen adversaries gather as much information as possible about the individual then send them an email purporting to come from a friend or a relative.

Trojan horse

If they open the attachment then a sophisticated “worm” or “trojan” can, in theory, take over their computer, scan its files, send them on, delete them, or perhaps most damagingly, alter them without the user knowing.

The British NHS (National Health Service) worked closely with Microsoft and it turned out to be a disaster that keeps getting worse.

FOR THOSE OF YOU who had little faith in the NHS already, prepare for your blood to boil further as figures show that the number of severe faults in NHS computer systems has almost doubled in the last three years.

This article does not even mention hospitals that became botnets because Windows was required by the NHS [1, 2]. This translates into ‘theft’ (copying) of medical data, which will reach the wrong hands, not to mention the life toll. According to a research firm, there is an ever-increasing number of data breaches reported (many of which never get reported).

My official title may be “analyst,” but market research is the part of my job that appeals to the geek in me. Good thing I work at ESG, where we do market research around information assurance all the time.

We have already seen Windows disasters in bank ATMs and now it’s the Royal Bank of Scotland which becomes a victim, though it’s not entirely obvious which software — if any – was to blame because the article does not say. When will this end?

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