02.27.09

European Open Source Software Workgroup a Total Scam: Hijacked and Subverted by Microsoft et al

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Think tank on “open source” — brought to Europe by proprietary software vendors

WE presented and wrote about some preliminary evidence yesterday and now we have substantial, concrete proof [PDF].

Companies which want to harm Free software and protect their monopolies have taken over panels discussing and creating policies about their competitors. They are there to actually write the policies and explanations about open source*. But they don’t even do open source. They are there to spread hostile misconceptions and strike out anything not favourable to themselves, just as Microsoft’s Geri Elliot did some years back (she quit Microsoft recently). Let’s not forget the OOXML corruptions and Microsoft’s attempts to ruin ODF by subverting and polluting it. Microsoft is doing the same thing to open source while mercilessly suing it.

But Microsoft is not so careless. It does not edit documents directly. It hires guns to do its work on its behalf. People like Zuck from the Microsoft pressure group ACT [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] (also related to ATL) and others from CompTIA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] totally hijacked a workgroup dealing with Free/open source software. They are spreading lies and disinformation all over the document, which reached Wikileaks. It’s summarised as follows.

This file is an edited version of the EU OSS Strategy draft with the input of Jonathan Zuck, President of the Association for Competitive Technology, an organisation that has strong ties with Microsoft.

The file is a draft for an expert panel formed by the European Commission. This panel is divided into workgroup (IPR, Open Source, digital life, etc.) ACT and Comptia have been infiltrating every workgroup, even the one on Open Source (WG 7). They are doing the best they can to drown any initiative that would not only promote OSS in Europe but also that could help Europe create a sucessful European software sector.

The audience for this document could be journalists who would be interested in getting to know more how lobbies of all kind influence the European institutions. Here it is perhaps even more stringent as ACT is clearly an US organization with ties to Microsoft. Verifications might not be easy as this is an internal draft. The best contact might be commission personnel: Lars.PEDERSEN@ec.europa.eu ; Michel.Lacroix@ec.europa.eu

It has been leaked as it is important to have the public know how actual policy making is being influenced by lobbies that are precisely under the legal scrutiny of the European Commission. The urgency of the publication of this document is real in the sense that outside pressure would foce the Commission to “clean the committees” or at least give a lesser credit to the work of this workgroup.

To those not familiar with Jonathan Zuck, here is a gentle introduction from Source Watch.

Jonathan Zuck is President of the Association for Competitive Technology and founder of Americans for Technology Leadership. He was very active on the software patents directive, taking a position in favor of patenting software. ACT seems to be tied to corporate members like Microsoft, and Mr Zuck has been visited by Mr Gates in February 2005. ACT has also taken positions to defend Microsoft against the antitrust ruling of the Commission.

Having read the above, should this American man be trustworthy inside a panel that writes about open source software? How about one in Europe? Here we have an American lobbyist working for an American monopolist writing recommendations on “open source” in another continent. And he’s not alone because there are other cronies right there. Look at what these people are writing:

Regarding the “Europe Digital Independence” our group thinks it is, in general, not an issue. However there may be situation where a particular piece of software plays a key role in some economic activity or may create security related concerns under certain circumstances.

There are so many other examples. In page 6 for instance:

….while noting that the increasing use of OSS within mainstream commercial offerings and mixed-source software and solutions makes a distinct treatment of or preferences for OSS more difficult to define.

They are trying to blur the gap and pretend that open source does not truly exist. Further down it says:

OSS as part of mixed solutions blending open and proprietary code.

In page 7 they pretend it’s just a complement to non-Free software.

…technologically viable alternative or complement to dominant proprietary products and services in some areas.

As the comment points out:

COMMENT: a) Free Software was never “hobbyist” or “garage” in origin. Its concepts are derived from science, and scientific progress and innovation through allowing co-innovation by all participants. I believe the true roots of Free Software are important, and a strength, so should be mentioned. b) It is important to avoid the false antonym “commercial” vs Free Software, because it falsely implies that the interest of the software industry in Free Software is not commercially motivated. The rephrasing also explicitly counteracts that misunderstanding by emphasising commercial Free Software.

in page 8, in large fonts it says:

Open Source Software cannot be 100 % free

Also:

COMMENT: Too strongly anti-American sentiments are most likely not helpful, so tried to rephrase to keep the notion of the problem intact, but rephrase it in a more diplomatic way.

In page 9:

Indeed, much of this business is generated by players who have mixed source business models, indicating how success for this ecosystem depends on a pragmatic approach towards both OSS and proprietary software.

[..]

MS comment: NESSI figures, full reference needed. Is this consistent with CompTIA’s claim: “an estimated €1.2 billion has been invested by European firms in open source software development” ??
FSFE comment: This number indeed seems high. It is probably true for large corporations, but may neglect the impact of SMEs?

For full realisation of what is happening there, the PDF needs to be seen with the colours included. It’s hysterical. It’s a sham.

In page 10, they strike out the entire truth. They don’t want anything that emphasises the advantages of free/open source software to be seen. They essentially sabotage the document and promote “Growth of the mixed model” (hey, who needs freedom anyway, right?).

The economic success of firms based on mixed model, however, suggests it is a promising model for the future.

[...]

3.1.6. The “mixed model” is also true for OSS users OSS users are companies, administrations, public institutions, schools and universities, SOHO enterprises, end users : they usually have to integrate and use different software components to meet their needs, proprietary or open source.”

In page 15 it states:

Open Source will never be THE solution which will modify the whole economy and the IT world. Open Source is not magic. The solution will come from an intelligent cohabitation and mix of proprietary and open source components. Then, it raises issues for users, services providers and industries.

It’s just like watching Microsoft moderating and watering down a document which states the obvious.

American lobbyists for Microsoft writing about “Europe Digital Independence”?Page 19 is about RAND and patents, which involve directly CompTIA. That lobbying arm suppresses such debate in the panel and even Erwin Tenhumberg, now a SAP employee, is peddling their party line. It might be useful to properly annotate the document to get all the contributions from each participant (also have them distinctly visible).

American lobbyists for Microsoft writing about “Europe Digital Independence”? What on Earth is that???

There is so much more in there that hasn’t been touched on yet, though it’s really outrageous. Those who are ruining this document should really barred from accessing Europe, not just prevented access to panels which discuss their direct opponents’ policies. These lobbyists tend to act as colonialists who cause damage by "schmoozing" European politicians (face to face) whenever they get the chance. What exactly needed to be done there in order to invade the panel?

Glyn Moody (in 2007) and Bruce Perens (in 2008) were both correct when they suggested that Microsoft would wave some “open source” flag just so that it can harm it from within, especially in Europe. Microsoft's evangelism notes may give insight into this strategy as Microsoft pretends to be “open source” so as to redefine and sabotage it from the inside. Thanks to Wikileaks, people can see it better for themselves — or better yet — start protesting about this scam which is the “European Open Source Software Workgroup.” It’s chaotic, it needs to be amended, and failing corrective intervention it must be shunned or ignored.
____
* All for personal gain that directly harms those which the report is about.

Microsoft Shamelessly Lies About Windows Security (Yet Again)

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 9:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

JUST OVER a week ago, Microsoft went to great lengths to blame other parties for its own recklessness. It didn’t want people to know that security problems were its own fault; it wanted to be left alone because many critics said the truth which was not good for business. Microsoft is quietly pulling some similar stunts at the moment. It fixes a serious design issue which had NASA spaceships and even US army bases [1, 2, 3] become victims of Windows viruses and sometimes zombie chaos.

Microsoft is arrogantly pretending that the fix is not a security fix. The Register explains this paradox, on which it begs to differ.

Microsoft aims ‘non-security’ update at gaping security hole

[...]

We’re not sure about that. What we do know is that if this update is the difference between Autorun being enabled or disabled, it will make users infinitely safer, and that can only be a good thing.

Microsoft is known for its censorship of journalists who say the truth about Windows vulnerabilities — issues that UNIX/Linux are inherently immune to.

In other security news from this week:

i. Experts sound scam threat warning

Hackers are tricking people with a false warning, saying that the computer is infected with a Trojan and getting users to buy a fake anti-virus product.

ii. Hacking Jack Straw

According to the Telegraph Jack Straw has confirmed that he “started getting phone calls from various constituents asking if I was really in Nigeria needing 3,000 dollars.”

iii. Spammers Play to Recession Fears, Emotions

“At a time when concerned consumers may not be surprised to hear from their banks, phishing attacks have risen to one in 190.4 e-mails, from one in 396.2 in January 2009,” the report states.

iv. Fraud linked to US payment processor breach

The breach was significant but affected fewer records than were involved in the recent breach of Heartland Payment Systems, another US-based e-commerce payment processing firm. Heartland said that hackers planted malware on its systems, but didn’t say how many records were disclosed as a result.

It’s important never to forget where SPAM comes from: Windows zombies. A lot of scams (and malware) are enabled by mass mailing from computers that are not under the control of their owner.

Microsoft Cuts by Another 10%… of Wages

Posted in Finance, Microsoft at 8:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cringely believes that half of Microsoft’s staff should be considered redundant [1, 2] and analysts insisted that Microsoft’s layoffs targeting over 5,000 employees were not sufficient because Microsoft is in deep financial trouble. Ever since then, Microsoft has cut its spendings on contractors by almost 15% and more layoffs have affected a large Microsoft subsidiary as well. Now it gets grimmer for temporary workers, some of whom are potentially foreign [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Microsoft slashes rates for temp workers, blaming bad economy

[...]

Microsoft, citing the “realities of a deteriorating economy,” will reduce by 10 percent the amount it pays employment agencies for many of its temporary workers — and cut by 15 percent the target billing rate for future temporary work.

The above news comes from Seattle, which is biased in Microsoft’s favour. There are more such reports from Seattle.

It’s no surprise that Microsoft vice presidents quit in droves just before the announcement of layoffs last month [1, 2]. They knew very well what was coming because they held top positions. There was plenty for them to be worried about.

USS Towers - sinking

Vista 7 Delayed Already: Not in 2009?

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Office Suites, Vista 7, Windows at 8:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“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]

ON several occasions before we had argued that Vista 7 was unlikely to be released in accordance with Microsoft’s unrealistic schedules. Despite being hurried through the door while still in poor shape, the following report from CNN suggests that Vista 7 will be out no earlier than 2010, just like Office 14, which has just been delayed until 2010 at the earliest. “Windows 7 is scheduled to ship in early 2010,” says the article, possibly indicating that Microsoft said something along those lines a few days ago.

This is important enough to be worth a post because it’s a fine demonstration of vapourware tactics, which are an anti-competitive offence. Nathan Myhrvold described it as an attempt to “freeze the market.” GNU/Linux is already here right now and unlike Windows, it’s neither beta nor Vista.

Vista 7 starts now

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 26th, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 26th, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

Links 27/02/2009: KDE 4.2 Praises, New GNU/Linux Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 5:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Close Encounters of the Redmond Kind

    Even more definitively: “No!” wrote erroneus on Slashdot. “Rebooting is a chore. Once people start up, they don’t want to shut down to start up another application. It’s not what they are used to.”

    Then again, “if this were done as a VM where the Linux machine were to boot and they installed Windows XP in a VirtualBox or some other VM, then that might be acceptable,” erroneus added. “Then they would have their safer, virus-free environment for email and web browsing and then a VM to host the applications they need to run. This stuff works really well.”

  • Microsoft’s forthcoming cloud must support Linux

    The fact that 35 percent of respondents at a Linux-oriented conference, reported growth of their Windows OS install base is telling. As enterprises get more comfortable with Clouds, offering an environment to deploy Windows and Linux workloads is a no-brainer. I’m certain that Microsoft realizes this and will announce Linux OS support when the Microsoft Cloud goes live ;-)

  • What CL Desktop has on Craigslist (and what it doesn’t)

    CL Desktop is a new Adobe AIR application (for Windows, Mac, and Linux) that pulls Craigslist.com listings into to a skinnable desktop wrapper. CL Desktop has some nice perks overall, with a couple more baubles than you’d find online. However, a few other features are absent or could be improved.

  • Corporate investment the price of Linux’s freedom

    But now it seems that every corporation has its finger in the open source pie, and every long standing free software developer has been employed by a multi-billion dollar company to work on the project of his or her choice. This change began to happen during the late nineties, prior to Red Hat’s $6 billion flotation on the NASDAQ, but became truly significant when IBM announced its commitment to Linux in December 2000.

  • MyLinuxSupport Inc. Launches Pre-paid Open Source Support Services

    Countering a lack of support for open source software and opening the floodgates for businesses around the world to cut costs on software, MyLinuxSupport (http://www.mylinuxsupport.com) professional support services are expanding options for 24/7 technical assistance for Linux and major open source applications. The MyLinuxSupport resources make it possible for companies tightening their budgets to consider eliminating the cost of proprietary software licenses such as Microsoft Vista or expensive cloud services like Salesforce.com.

  • CrossOver Games 7.2.0 Released

    It has been a number of months since CrossOver Games was last updated, but this morning CodeWeavers has issued a new update for this software based upon WINE that allows gamers to run their favorite DirectX and OpenGL Windows titles on Linux.

  • Kernel Space

    • Tour the Linux generic SCSI driver

      Computers control and transfer data to SCSI devices via SCSI commands. In this article, the author introduces some of the SCSI commands and methods of executing SCSI commands when using SCSI API in Linux®. He provides background on the SCSI client/server model and the storage SCSI command. Next, he explains the Linux generic SCSI driver API and offers an example of using a system that focuses on executing the inquiry command using the generic driver.

    • Ext4

      Ext4 is the evolution of the most used Linux filesystem, Ext3. In many ways, Ext4 is a deeper improvement over Ext3 than Ext3 was over Ext2. Ext3 was mostly about adding journaling to Ext2, but Ext4 modifies important data structures of the filesystem such as the ones destined to store the file data. The result is a filesystem with an improved design, better performance, reliability and features.

    • Fast ext4 fsck times, revisited

      Last night I managed to finish up a rather satisfying improvement to ext4’s inode and block allocators. The ext4’s original allocator was actually a bit more simple-minded than ext3’s, in that it didn’t implement the Orlov algorithm to spread out top-level directories for better filesystem aging. It also was buggy in certain ways, where it would return ENOSPC even when there were still plenty of inodes in the file system.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME

      • Bridging the gap between companies and communities for OSS

        In a presentation at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE), GNOME Foundation executive director Stormy Peters discussed the differences between companies and communities and how to bridge the gap. This issue is becoming increasingly important for open source software projects that are trying to build close ties with corporate adopters and contributors.

    • K Desktop Environment

      • KDE 4.2 Lures Me Back to Kubuntu 8.10 . . .

        Well, I sounded pretty certain in my last post that I was done with KDE 4.1 and Kubuntu 8.10. I was told by a commenter to that post that KDE 4.2 looked pretty promising. I spent this past weekend working with VirtualBox (which itself has matured into a great program – more later) and I got curious about what the Jaunty Jackalope Kubuntu had to offer.

      • My Impressions of KDE 4.2

        Dual screen support in terms of my desktop setup seems to be about the same as it had been, but I think that is because I am using the proprietary ATI driver and not the open source one. It works well enough that I don’t have any issues. I really like the feature where if you have a maximized window on one screen you can just drag it over the other screen and it stays maximized. Maybe other versions of KDE had this… but either way it is real handy.

        I can hardly say enough good things about KDE 4.2 and I am really looking forward to the 4.3 release and some additional bug fixes.

  • Distributions

    • Italian industrial distro goes OE

      Italy-based Koan Software has revised its Linux distribution for embedded and industrial applications, and has joined the OpenEmbedded (OE) community. Version 4.0 of KaeilOS has adopted the OpenEmbedded (OE) build system, and for the first time the distro is offered as a free download.

    • Distro Review: Sabayon 4.0

      It may have been a while but I decided I should really get distro hopping again seriously. I like to try out new software, it’s almost a geeky form of OCD and besides, it makes for great review fodder I hope. Today’s candidate is the latest release of a distro I first looked at some time ago, Sabayon. I’ve had mixed feelings about it in the past, I found 2.2 Professional to be very bloated, capable of interesting innovations but overall slightly disappointing.

    • Linux forensics – Part 2: Protech

      In this article, we will talk about Protech, a high-end hacking toolbox for the enterpreneuring system administrator.

      [...]

      Protech is a mighty tool. I’m thoroughly impressed. The distro is fast and stable, it’s good looking enough to become a desktop if needed, it contains a broad range of excellent tools, as well as some unique programs that you do not normally encounter in most distros.

    • You Want A Beautiful OS? Try Elive

      What do you get when you put a stable operating system, an innovative desktop manager and plenty of eye candies together? You get nothing short of a beautiful and functional OS.

      Elive is a Debian-based Linux distro, customized with Enlightenment e17 desktop manager. It is designed with the aim of providing a stable, fully functional and beautiful operating system that can run with minimal hardware requirement.

      [...]

      Elive is a great distro that gives you functionality, stability and beauty. While there are a few other distros that are based on the Enlightenement desktop manager, this is so far the most elegant distro that I have ever encountered. I am pretty impressed by it and I guess it will remain on my computer for a much longer time than any other OS.

    • Five Questions With A.J. Venter – Creator Of Kongoni Linux

      Kongoni is a completely new distribution to Linux, who is behind this and please give some background on what got you to this place.

      Well, the primary blame is mine. I was the lead developer of the OpenLab distribution for many years, in it’s day it was the longest running African distro ever, and it had some major successes. Unfortunately, being commercial put pressures on it that ultimately weighed on me, I was on the verge of burnout suffering early ulcer symptoms and so eventually I quit – leaving distro development behind entirely for almost two years and moving to Cape Town.

    • New Releases

      • Parted Magic 3.7 Is Here

        Just ten days after the Valentine’s Day release, Patrick Verner announced today the immediate availability of his Parted Magic 3.7 Linux distribution. This new version fixes several bugs, adds some new features and updates a few software packages.

      • Linux Mint 6 “Felicia” XFCE CE released!

        The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 6 XFCE Community Edition. Based on Xubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex, Linux 2.6.27, XFCE 4.4.2 and Xorg 7.4, Linux Mint 6 “Felicia” XFCE CE comes with a brand new “Software Manager”, FTP support in mintUpload, proxy support and history of updates in mintUpdate, mintDisk and a lot of other improvements. For a complete list of new features read: What’s new in Felicia XFCE CE?

      • Caos Linux NSA-1.0.8 release is now available!

        The Caos team of developers and contributors from Infiscale are proud to announce the public release of Caos Linux NSA-1.0.8, an updated release to the NSA-1.0 tree. Caos Linux is a community-managed and openly-maintained distribution of Linux focusing on areas where Linux naturally leads and excels: high performance computation (HPC), servers (especially LAMP and general Web), and custom appliances (such as file servers and firewalls).

        The NSA-1.0 release identifies the stabilization and validation of the core operating system, fully tested on some of the world’s fastest public and private systems and architectures. And now with NSA 1.0.8 you get bleeding-edge security updates, the new 2.6.28 kernel, updated packages such as OFED 1.4 and gcc-4.3.3, a streamlined Sidekick system configuration toolkit (making the installation of Caos Linux and Perceus even faster and easier), the latest Perceus 1.5 cluster management software, and Abstractual, Infiscale’s cloud virtualization solution. All of these updates are already integrated in the NSA-1.0.8 ISO release of Caos Linux, available now on our download mirrors.

      • Clonezilla 1.2.1-41
      • Plamo 4.6
    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Makes Cloud Strategy a Big Joke

        Overall, thanks to the recession, the contrast between Ubuntu and Apple couldn’t be starker. For Linux, the future looks peachy. For Apple, it’s beginning to go pear shaped. If you’ll pardon the pun.

      • Karmic Koalas Love Eucalyptus

        Our first steps in Karmic Koala will be at the infrastructure layer. We’re adopting the emerging standard of Amazon EC2 and providing our users with AMI’s and tools to run on Amazon EC2. We’re also providing users with an open source means of implementing their own in-house EC2-like cloud (Eucalyptus). This is not the end but the beginning of a journey, and we will be looking to build ecosystems at all the layers of the computing stack based upon portability and choice.

      • Is Good Great When it Comes to Linux OSes?

        Our Test Center recently took a look at gOS with the aim of examining the operating system as a platform for netbooks, the small notebook-like form factor that’s getting so much buzz these days.

        Reviewers found the OS to be easy-to-use and “intuitive enough for even a Linux novice to navigate.” See the full review here.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux dominates in Amazon Kindle competitors

      Linux runs on the first e-book reader released this year … and on the second … and the third.

    • Smoothing the path for mobile Linux

      “Over the next five years, we believe that those three Linux stacks are going to capture the majority of volumes in Linux-based, mobile phone deployments,” Whitmire said.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Why Windows 7 on Netbooks Won’t Save Microsoft

        Even worse, about a third of netbooks ship with Linux. Microsoft makes nothing from those machines. Microsoft also recognizes that while Linux has offered desktop PC users a less attractive product compared to Windows on the PC (largely due to Linux’ lack of support for Windows games, commercial desktop apps, and some specialized drivers), the barriers holding back Linux on the PC aren’t nearly as significant on netbooks, which don’t play games, aren’t expected to run apps outside of basic things like web browsing and word processing, and have a smaller subset of hardware needs to support.

      • Dell admits to small Ubuntu success

        “We have done a very good job explaining to folks what Linux is” a Dell spokesperson told Laptop Magazine. Which makes a change from 18 months back when we were reporting that Dell staff didn’t seem to know that Ubuntu was even an option.

      • Nokia Multi-Core Linux MID

        Nokia might be one company that comes out with pretty dizzy phones, but that doesn’t mean they are willing to rest on their laurels. Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo already plans to jump aboard the laptop bandwagon, and could be working on a multi-core Linux MID where we’re looking at a 2011 release date.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The dollar is tight, where does that leave open source?

    Given the fact that there are a lot of open source email clients that will do the same job for free, there is a huge incentive for businesses to look at alternatives. I can say definitively that they are. It all comes down to functionality.

    [...]

    So has the financial crises effected the open source movement in a negative manner? In my travels around the intarnut tubes I have not seen any evidence of slowing down or any other financial problems regarding contributions to open source. No one has said, to my knowledge, that they are quitting or have been laid off due to the current financial crises.

  • 8 of the Best Free Linux Blog Software
  • Moodlerooms Brings Google Apps for Education to Moodle

    Last week, Moodlerooms announced that it had teamed with Google to integrate the Google Apps for Education service into Moodle.

  • Towards an Open Source Legal Operating System

    An informed democratic society needs open access to the law, but states’ attempts to protect copyright interests in their laws are a major roadblock. This article urges broader access, analyzes the implications and legal arguments for and against copyright in the law, and considers strategies for access advocacy.

  • A new era dawns for open source

    Open source has some specific advantages for New Zealand and in these recessionary times. It provides source code for free that can be modified, subject only to the provision these modifications must be made available to the public. For New Zealand, with its small market, this means customisation to meet regional differences can more easily be undertaken. For example, American zip codes can be changed to postal codes; VAT can be changed to GST; and numeric dates can be set in the correct order.

  • Business

    • Muglia: Open source to permeate Microsoft

      Alfresco CTO John Newton was twittering the event and posted these comments from Bob Muglia’s presentation:

      At some point, almost all our product(s) will have open source in (them).

      If MySQL (or) Linux do a better job for you, of course you should use those products.

    • What is an “Open Source Company?” The Billion Dollar Question

      My poster child for this is, predictably, Google. As I discussed last year, I consider Google to be an “open source business” because the business is effectively built on open source. True, its software is no more open than, say, the pieces of the IBM portfolio that embed the Apache HTTP server, but it’s undeniable that Google is a business that is built on, with and from open source software. And while some will undoubtedly challenge their side of the give and take equation, given their contributions from Summer of Code to Mark Callaghan’s MySQL patches I find it hard to argue that they are not benefiting a variety of communities.

  • FSF/GNU

    • SFLC tech director wants to liberate the cloud

      Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman made headlines last year when he argued that cloud computing is “worse than stupidity” and called for users to abandon popular Web applications such as Facebook and GMail. We disagreed with Stallman and pointed out that cloud computing is here to stay and that numerous emerging community-driven initiatives have the potential to bring the values of software freedom to the cloud.

      This issue was the primary topic of a presentation made by Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) technical director and community liaison Bradley Kuhn at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE). Kuhn has worked closely with Stallman over the years and previously served as the executive director of the Free Software Foundation before participating in the founding of the SFLC. He is best known for his role in authoring GNU’s Affero General Public License (AGPL).

  • Government

    • The great British open-source arms race

      Politicians of all stripes seem to be espousing open source, but that bluster must be turned into action — and soon, says Mark Taylor.

      First, shadow chancellor George Osborne advocates open source. Now minister for digital engagement Tom Watson promises to use more open-source software, if circumstances permit. The UK public sector just got interesting again.

  • Licensing

  • Open (But No Source Code)

Standards/Consortia

  • Responding to Canada

    Do take a look; if you’d like to re-use any of it, there’s also an ODF version. You’ll note that we think lumping open source in with shareware, trialware and bait-and-switchware is a mistake; it’s not about saving money on licenses, it’s about securing key freedoms. More inside.

  • Britain Endorses ODF; Why Not The U.S.?

    It’s been adopted by Japan, Malaysia, and two states of India, as well as Hong Kong.

    Other countries that have adopted it are South Africa and Russia, according to the ODF Alliance.

    In this group of adopters, Britian is the country with the closest ties to North America. Its economy thrives, if that’s the right word these days, on a similar liberal capitalism and technology-driven development. If Britain can adopt ODF, why not the U.S.?

  • UK really gets FOSS

    The policy on open standards does not say much, but in the Action Plans (#8) it specifically says that ODF (ISO 26300) is required for compliance. OOXML is also mentioned, but merely as “emerging open versions of previously proprietary standards” which is probably the most generous description Ive heard. Its quite clear that the “defacto” binary Microsoft Office docs and Macro enabled OOXML are out.

  • Blogger and Google Friend Connect unite

    Since the introduction of the Following feature on Blogger, it has been adopted by nearly three million blogs, with someone following a new blog every second. Over the past few months, we’ve been striving to make it better, and now we’re proud to announce the integration of Google Friend Connect and Blogger.

Leftovers

  • When Will Journalists Stop Treating Google As The Enemy?

    What Mr. Carroll is actually lamenting is the end of the monopoly era for news sources. Citizens now have more sources of news, and advertisers now have more platforms for reaching customers. As anyone who actually has a degree in economics will tell you, more competition is a good thing.

  • No, The Death Of Newspapers Does Not Mean An Age Of Corruption

    A few folks have sent in Paul Starr’s long but thoughtful article in The New Republic, which worries that, thanks to newspapers dying, we’ll be entering a new age of corruption, since no one will be watching government officials like investigative reporters have in the past.

  • Censorship

    • China Shuts Down ‘Unregistered’ Websites

      We hadn’t heard much about the program since then, but apparently the government has recently decided to shut down thousands of “unregistered” websites, mostly of small businesses.

    • The New Book Banning

      It’s hard to believe, but true: under a law Congress passed last year aimed at regulating hazards in children’s products, the federal government has now advised that children’s books published before 1985 should not be considered safe and may in many cases be unlawful to sell or distribute. Merchants, thrift stores, and booksellers may be at risk if they sell older volumes, or even give them away, without first subjecting them to testing—at prohibitive expense. Many used-book sellers, consignment stores, Goodwill outlets, and the like have accordingly begun to refuse new donations of pre-1985 volumes, yank existing ones off their shelves, and in some cases discard them en masse.

  • Copyrights

    • Recording Industry Lobbying Group Pushes Congress To Tax Radio Stations More

      MusicFIRST’s latest effort was to drag its dog and pony show to Congress, where it paraded a bunch of musicians in front of Congresscritters to whine about how unfair it was that radio stations helped promote their music without paying them.

    • EMI Continues Suing Innovators And Their Investors

      EMI is making the situation even worse. Rather than just suing the companies, it’s also suing investors and the founders personally. This isn’t just highly unusual, it’s a clear attempt to pressure these companies into settling, as no matter how legitimate your stance is, it’s quite a scary thing to be sued personally, and potentially have personal assets at risk. Suing the founders personally is legal bullying. It’s a clear abuse of the legal system to try to force a settlement, rather than an actual attempt to raise a legal issue.

    • MAFIAA’s Sarko is a “Pirate”

      Is Nicholas Sarkozy One Strike Towards Losing His Internet Connection?

      The latest is that French President, Nicholas Sarkozy, a big supporter of setting up a three strikes law in France, is being accused of violating copyright law himself.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist studying the Free Open Source Software movement 06 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

02.26.09

Novell Results Are in: Net is Down Very Sharply (36%)

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 5:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sell Novell

FORECASTS [1] and waiting games [2] are both over. Novell’s latest results are in and they are no better than the last quarter’s (revealing that Novell operates at a considerable loss).

So first of all — let’s start with the good news. Novell employees needn’t worry about Ron, who received a $6.9 million compensation plan for his ‘wonderful’ achievements. It was similar two years ago.

But what are these achievements? Driving the company to this?

Novell Inc.’s (NOVL) fiscal first-quarter net income fell 36% on sharply lower interest income as invoicing fell short of expectations.

Here are the earnings figures:

For the first quarter, the company reported earnings of $10.7 million, or 3 cents a share, compared with $16.8 million, or 5 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue is down too:

Novell reported net revenue of $215 million, compared to $231 million previous year. Ten Wall Street analysts expected revenues of $229.95 million.

This pretty much confirms what we already know about the layoff because the company must explain to investors what it will do next. Novell has already laid off at least 25 SUSE-focused employees. They would have cost about 25 x $70,000 = $1.75m to keep per year. So they could, in principle, work for 4 years with a good wage at the expense of that “compensation” for Ron Hovsepian. How does it feel to be shafted by the very same management that sold out to Steve Ballmer, who is already busy suing Linux [1, 2]?

“Did they learn nothing from those FAT patents?”Meanwhile, elsewhere inside the company, Novell is making .NET more popular. Did they learn nothing from those FAT patents? Is Novell just another Microsoft department now? One that’s producing Windows software like NetWare and some Microsoft ‘plugins’ or Microsoft ‘addons’ for GNU/Linux (Mono, Moonlight)? For that task, Microsoft must be inside GNU/Linux, hence the alliance with Novell. They get to be inside SUSE, they have indirect membership in places like the Linux Foundation [1, 2, 3] and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They gag critics that way. Even Red Hat must keep polite now.

As a side note, since everyone is talking about TomTom at the moment, it’s worth emphasising that this patent situation shows precisely what Microsoft might do with Mono and Moonlight and why it wants them inside GNU/Linux (Moonlight brings Mono with it to desktops like KDE). Novell increasingly focuses on Microsoft technologies. One of our readers said one hour ago that he tried “compiling mono from SVN on [his] gentoo box and it crashes with a sigsegv in the make process.”

The reader claims: “I go ask at #mono (on the gnome irc network) and miguel says ‘gentoo is eternally broken’.”

That’s nice. On the face of it, the only thing that’s “eternally broken” is Novell. And to quote other people, “Novell Is bleeding to death.”
____

[1] The Outlook

Computer maker Dell Inc., retailer Kohl’s and software developer Novell Inc. of Waltham report quarterly financial results.

[2] Dell, Gap, Kohl’s, Novell on earnings deck

Novell Inc., which provides open source software for businesses, is foreseen posting fiscal first-quarter earnings of 6 cents a share on revenue of $227.4 million. Its shares were up 1.2% at $3.34.

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