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03.14.09

Novell News Summary – Part II: Finance, Virtualisation, GWAVACon Videos and Staff Moves

Posted in Finance, Identity Management, Mail, Novell, Videos, Virtualisation at 4:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IT WAS A MIXED week for the mixed-source company, Novell. Last night they got publicly humiliated in Slashdot and there was too little in the news to suggest that Novell is gathering any steam. That’s just being brutally honest.

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Novell News Summary – Part I: Ballnux Downtime, Presto Instant-on, and Other Xandros News

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE, Scalix, Servers, SLES/SLED, Xandros at 3:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

THERE HAS been no news about SLE* that we could find, but there were a few developments (and problems) for OpenSUSE over the course of the past week. There was also some coverage of public appearances from Xandros. We’ll go through them quickly.

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SCO Wants Copyrights It Does Not Own

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Novell, SCO, UNIX at 8:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amiga UNIX

Summary: SCO refuses to die and here is its latest confrontation with Novell

Having decided to focus only on litigation, SCO has also awoken for a moment and it filed an appeal brief against Novell. Groklaw, as usual, has the details and the pertinent documentation.

SCO has filed its appeal brief [PDF], appealing the decision in SCO v. Novell. Novell has until April 9 to file its brief in response, plus any appeal issues it might itself wish to raise.

Evidently, the court found SCO’s first filing deficient, and so it told SCO [PDF] to correct the deficiencies, which it has done. One deficiency was that SCO failed to tell the appeals court why it felt oral argument was necessary. So, SCO now tells them, in essence, that the case is *complicated*.

Then, the copyright gig got resurrected, as Heise reported:

The SCO Group has filed an appeal against last years ruling that it did not buy the copyright to Unix from Novell. The company is hoping to overturn the judgement and resume its legal action against IBM and Linux. When SCO started to pursue IBM in court in 2003, Novell said that when it sold its Unix business to SCO in 1995 it retained copyright to the code and merely sold SCO a licence to use it. SCO then sued Novell over that claim.

This was also covered locally, in Utah (it’s also here).

The SCO Group of Lindon has filed an appeal reasserting its ownership of the copyright of Unix computer operating system software, a move officers believe will get it back on track to pursue claims against IBM in a case that has riled the open source software community.

[...]

The SCO Group also is moving to sell its computer software business as part of its reorganization in bankruptcy court in Delaware. The company filed for bankruptcy after Kimball’s 2008 ruling. After selling the software business to an outside party, SCO plans to continue to pursue its legal claims against IBM and others.

Regarding the above, wrote Groklaw:

Here’s SCO’s appeal brief [PDF] in SCO v. Novell as text. The Salt Lake Tribune has an article on the filing, of course.

I wanted to highlight something odd I stumbled across going through old documents, something I never noticed before, that relates to one of SCO’s allegations. In SCO’s appeal, you find this statement:

Within two hours of Novell’s public claim that it owns the UNIX copyrights, SCO’s stock plummeted, even though SCO had announced record revenues that day.

I’m not sure that is accurate. According to what I’ve found, as I’ll show you, Novell put out a press release early in the morning, apparently even before the market opened, and yet IDG reported that same day that the stock at mid-morning was trading *up* by 3.33%.

By the end of the day, the stock was down, for sure, but what made it happen? We can only guess. SCO also put out a prepared statement in the morning, almost immediately after Novell’s, and then at 11 AM, SCO held a conference call. If the stock went down by the end of the day, who is to say that it wasn’t the conference call that caused it? Or SCO’s prepared statement, for that matter? Or some combination of all of them? What is SCO’s basis for its claim that it was Novell’s statement that caused the stock to “plummet”? At any rate, piecing together all the evidence I have collected, I am unable to confirm that the stock plummeted within two hours of Novell’s statement, and I see indications that it didn’t happen that way. I will show you what I found so you can draw your own conclusions.

Glyn Moody doesn’t buy this copyright sob story of SCO because it’s all done and over.

Since then, SCO has seen its revenue fall, and blames the losses on competition from Linux. It sued Novell after Novell claimed it and SCO owned the Unix copyrights.

But in August of 2008, Kimball granted Novell’s request for summary judgment. After a trial, he also awarded Novell about $2.5 million, plus interest in licensing revenue.

What’s interesting is that unlike six years ago, nobody thinks that SCO stands a chance; even more tellingly, nobody is even *interested* any more. SCO is fighting a zombie case: it’s dead but somehow still moving.

One service that SCO has done to the open source world is demonstrate finally and irrevocably that there is no copyright infringement in Linux – because if there had been, SCO would certainly have found it by now.

Groklaw has a few more articles about SCO and it seems to have returned to a full-time posting pace (with the RSS feeds finally restored after months of being frozen).

Ultimately, SCO seems to be running away with that devilish tail between its legs. “What a surprise,” writes PJ, “SCO has withdrawn its Motion for an Order Establishing Sale and Bid Procedures, Approving Form of Asset Purchase Agreement, etc.” Still all about deception, eh?

SCO is very much over in many respects. Let us focus on future risks such as Novell, which Microsoft is fueling in exchange for uninvited trouble like Mono.

“[Microsoft's] Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Licence plate from Utah

Microsoft Loses to Google, Microsoft’s Anti-Google Lobby Unable to Change Laws Anymore

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Windows at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Partners in crime
Microsoft wants more competitors…
in prison!

Summary: Microsoft’s presence on the Web continues to decline; two Microsoft lobbies stalked again

ACCORDING TO SOME search engine figures (there are several contradictory ones, including bogus ones from Microsoft), the bribery Microsoft offered did not work as its market share slides further down.

Microsoft’s share of Internet searches in the U.S. fell to a 12-month low according to Comscore’s report of Internet search queries for February.

Microsoft is now relying on Yahoo's Bartz selling out to her former partner, Steve Ballmer.

It’s not just search where Microsoft is headed nowhere. It is the same in accompanying on-line units like advertising and analytics. We’ve already mentioned AdCenter Analytics getting the guillotine treatment and it becomes evident that Microsoft will continue losing billions of dollars on-line until or unless something changes radically. Here is IDG’s report on the latest cost-cutting closure:

Microsoft on Thursday said it will discontinue its adCenter Analytics service at the end of the year, and it appears that the company does not plan to replace it.

Also from IDG, it turns out that Hotmail had a considerable downtime.

Microsoft scrambled to fix a global outage that hit its Windows Live Hotmail service for several hours on Thursday.

Alas, this is hardly reported. How come the press makes so much noise when GMail goes down but it’s almost radio silence when the same happens to Hotmail? It’s worth adding that Hotmail does not exactly tolerate non-Microsoft platforms or Web browsers [1, 2] and that’s not the way to gain market share. Hotmail’s market share actually continues to erode, based on metering.

“Hotmail’s market share actually continues to erode, based on metering.”What does Microsoft do when it cannot compete based on merit? It tries to sabotage or derail the competition, of course. Remember what Steve Ballmer said about Google when he threw a chair?

Not so long ago we summarised some vicious games that Microsoft had attempted against Google. Microsoft is still trying to turn the law against Google, just as the music industry (conglomerates rather) tries to suffocate Internet radio using changes to US law and Microsoft is trying to harm or illegalise Free software using proliferation of software patents and lawsuits.

Here is a potential anti-Google coalition which was created by Microsoft (there are more). It seems to be disguised as “Privacy Group” and it tried to change the law so as to illegalise Google’s existing algorithms. The following report from IDG merely suggests that this group will no longer attempt to change the law.

A Microsoft-led group set up three years ago has backed away from its original goal of pushing for comprehensive U.S. privacy legislation.

Originally, the Consumer Privacy Legislative Forum was set up to bring a diverse array of consumer companies, technology vendors and even advocacy groups together and help drive privacy legislation. But now the group has been renamed the Business Forum for Consumer Privacy and is instead being billed as “an organization focused on fostering innovation in consumer privacy governance,” according to the group’s new mission statement.

This sort of anti-Google lobby was conceived and constructed by the company whose operating system and Web browser are inherently the worst spyware out there and there are back door too. A lot of Windows users do not realise that Microsoft gets a list of each Web page that they visit using Internet Explorer and Windows sends Microsoft a lot of information about what the users does (what s/he installs, clicks on, when s/he reboots, where s/he logs in). So who is Microsoft to promote “privacy”?

Speaking of Microsoft lobbying groups, Microsoft has another one that pretends to serve a different purpose, namely “small businesses” (sometimes "charity" is the disguise of choice). It’s the notorious lobby spearheaded by Jonathan Zuck [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], who has just peddled yet another Microsoft interest in “National Pi Day” (remember the recent “Innovation Day” in Europe, being an ACT/Microsoft lobbying party for software patents?). Anyway, CNET reports:

Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association for Competitive Technology, says he’s been quietly celebrating Pi day for the last few years by delivering apple, peach, and blueberry pies to colleagues, congressional staffers, and professional contacts.

Zuck called them “lighthearted reminders about the importance of math and science education,” adding “this year we decided to put together an effort to see if we could use this as a mechanism to increase awareness for math and science education.”

The idea of improving math and science education is thoroughly bipartisan and backed by major tech companies including Microsoft and Intel.

Interesting. Wherever Microsoft goes, Zuck follows*, and vice versa. And in this case he must be promoting the Abramoff visas which Intel and Microsoft worked so hard for. They must pretend that Americans are stupid and cannot cope with the sciences so that Microsoft can carry on giving the finger to congressmen who protest discrimination, even treason.
______
*He has reportedly met Bill Gates personally and he has fought Free software viciously over the past month [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Verdict: The BBC Broke the Law with Microsoft Windows Botnets, Which Conficker Continues Building (Updated)

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

BBC teletext

Summary: Experts slam the BBC for building a zombie PC army; Conficker is far from gone, being the Windows nightmare which it is

A couple of days ago we asked whether or not the BBC was breaking the law by harvesting people’s Windows PCs without their permission. The answer seemed obvious, but now we hear it from the experts too. The Register writes:

A controversial BBC Click documentary which involved researchers obtaining access to a botnet and sending spam is due to screen this weekend despite a growing storm of criticism.

Security experts – including McAfee, a firm whose representatives appear in the programme – have described the exercise as misguided and unnecessary. Legal experts contacted by El Reg reckon the show potentially breaches the unauthorised modifications provisions of the Computer Misuse Act, the UK’s computer hacking law.

From Out-Law.com

BBC programme broke law with botnets, says lawyer

A BBC programme has broken the Computer Misuse Act by acquiring and using software to control 22,000 computers, creating a botnet capable of bringing down websites. A technology law specialist has said that the activity is illegal.

The funny thing is that public money was in fact funding this crime and the BBC is likely to get away with it.

Another criticism came from Glyn Moody, who echoed the concern raised by Mike Brown the othe day. Moody was not particularly surprised to see that the BBC reinforces the notion that only Microsoft Windows exists in this world.

I don’t want to address that here, but a different point: that nowhere in the article does the word “Windows” occur. And yet, I’d be willing to bet that none of those 22,000 machines ran GNU/Linux or Mac OS. Because the fact is, that the vast majority of machines on botnets are running Windows, and that this is yet another problem caused by the Microsoft monoculture.

But nothing of this is mentioned in the BBC piece. Instead, it is presented as if botnets were some inevitable part of computing life – something you might get, just as you might catch a cold, because, hey, these things happen.

How so muchly expected from a close partner of Microsoft, which is literally occupied by Microsoft employees.

In other news, let’s forget about Windows botnets ending any time soon. According to ITWire, Conficker is alive and it gets more sophisticated.

A new version of the Conficker (aka Downadup) worm is working around attempts to stifle its activity by dramatically increasing the number of domain names used to call home for fresh instructions.

For readers’ convenience we include previous coverage below. This is a Windows-only issue; for PC users there is the option to migrate to GNU/Linux at any time and resolve this problem permanently.

More on Conficker:

Update: More from Sam Varghese:

But rather than being educational, the 23-minute episode of its technology programme Click, (report here) which often bordered on the sensational, left one major question unanswered: what kind of computers were these – Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD?

If the programme aimed to be educational, and not sensational, then one needed to know this fact above all. It is well-known that a vast majority of the PCs which are commandeered by cyber criminals – people known as crackers, not hackers – run some variant of Windows, with XP being number one.

The programme began this way: “20,000 computers. All hijacked and waiting for instructions. And all under our control.” And all spoken by a presenter with a wide-eyed look of impending doom in his eyes.

Microsoft’s Path of LAMP Destruction: From Novell to Apache (the L to the A)

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Red Hat, Servers, SLES/SLED at 6:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Stallman young
Richard Stallman (younger days)

“Proprietary software divides the users and keeps them helpless, and that is wrong.”

Richard Stallman

Summary: Novell is left vulnerable by Microsoft while Microsoft proceeds to similar strategies further up the (G)LAMP stack

WHILST Ron Hovsepian receives his huge bonus [1, 2, 3, 4] and goes on luxurious vacations, “the ship is sinking,” one of Novell’s VARs told me about 3 weeks ago.

Novell can deny this all that it wants. The company can also try to come up with explanations to shed light on its abandonment of SUSE workforce, but it won’t change the fact that Novell looks for love in the wrong places (e.g. Microsoft, Citrix, software patents, .NET, Silverlight [1, 2]). Well, it shows. As Ed Moltzen points out two weeks after this quarter’s financial results came, Novell is unable to attract big businesses, whereas Red Hat is doing just fine.

So Novell, one of the biggest Linux distributors in t5673he world, and Microsoft, one of the biggest companies in world history, couldn’t find a single large customer on Planet Earth to buy into Novell’s Suse Linux Enterprise Server software.

Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian has stepped up and, rather than point fingers at Microsoft for that performance, put the blame on his company and its inability to strengthen its reseller channel. In a conference call with financial analysts last month, he said “. . . we don’t have the partner ecosystem to the level of performance that we needed it to be.” Novell, not Microsoft, is responsible for goosing its own market, Hovsepian said.

There are lots of comments in Slashdot. Bruce Perens writes sarcastically: “OK, cue the violins! Now, all of you at once!”

Perens was never ever appreciative of this deal with Microsoft because he knows how Microsoft operates and he understands the SCO saga very profoundly. Speaking of Perens, some days ago he said that Microsoft uses Novell as a “mouthpiece”, probably in order to enter the FOSS world and snatch people to enrich Windows and embrace Microsoft technologies like .NET. He also publicly criticised Apache's willingness to collaborate with Microsoft. Glyn Moody, whose analysis often intersects with ours, is already seeing (and warning) that Microsoft is trying to isolate GNU/Linux from Apache (and other parts of the Free software stack).

This has been going on for a while, and is part of a larger move by Microsoft to weaken the foundations of open source – especially GNU/Linux – on the pretext that they are simply porting some of the top layers to its own stack. But the net result is that it diminishes the support for GNU/Linux, and makes those upper-level apps more dependent on Microsoft’s good graces. The plan is clearly to sort out GNU/Linux first, before moving on up the stack.

It’s clever, and exactly the sort of thing I would expect from the cunning people at Microsoft. That I understand; what I don’t get is why these LAMP hackers are happy to cut off the branch they sit on by aiding and abetting Microsoft in its plans? Can’t they see what’s being done to their LAMP?

Don Marti disagrees with this assertion, but I personally do not. This was Microsoft’s plan with projects like Apache since the very beginning of such relationships [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17].

Dog with a sign

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