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04.03.09

Links 03/04/2009: ASUS Linux Phones, More Free Software in Russia

Posted in News Roundup at 8:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Shuttleworth: Windows 7 an Opportunity for Linux

    “The principals of diversity in the desktop space are well established,” Shuttleworth told InternetNews.com. “The benefits to consumers and industry of having an alternative are very substantial. Any change in the status quo is an opportunity.”

  • Downloading and first impression of Ubuntu-Linux

    I would suggest you to shift to linux ASAP. More update on my Linux experience soon.

  • Linux Outlaws 84 – Ext4 Brains

    This time on the show: Last.fm, Microsoft and the German state FAIL miserably, Linux router worm, an ATI rant and Dan reviews Arch Linux.

  • Applications

  • KDE

    • wallpapers and other bobbles for 4.3

      We have a number of new Plasma components lining up to make it into 4.3. Not least among them is a geolocation DataEngine, making it absolutely trivial for anything Plasma to get at the information either via a GPS device or by looking up the location of your network address if you are online. Along with a handful of new widgets, some I’ve already written about recently, we also have no less than six new wallpaper plugins that may make it into 4.3!

    • KDE 4.2.2 and Konqueror

      To the entire KDE community, great job on the 4.2.2 release today. Everything upgraded smoothly, KMail seems to be syncing faster now with GMail in dIMAP. Once again thank you and congratulations on a job well done!

  • GNOME

    • Gnome sets sights on 2010 for 3.0 release

      With Gnome 2.26 safely out the door the Gnome development team is now planning for Gnome 3.0, a release it expects to make in March next year. Responding to growing criticism that the Gnome project lacks vision the team says that the 3.0 milestone release will have to have “big user-visible changes”.

      “If you look closely at our community, it’d be wrong to say that people are lacking a vision; but the project as a whole does indeed have this issue,” the team said in its public posting. With this in mind the team is looking at a release that will both streamline the desktop as well as revamp the overall user experience by giving users new ways of interacting with their desktop and managing files.

    • GNOME plans for run up to 3.0

      A roadmap for the immediate future of GNOME desktop has been published on the GNOME Live site. The roadmap charts the planned progress of the Linux and Unix desktop from its recently released 2.26 version and the 2.26.1 update due in April, through a GNOME 2.28.0 release in September to a GNOME 2.30.0, which will be renumbered as 3.0.0 when released in March 2010.

  • Distributions

    • Review: Moon OS 2.0

      MoonOS is one of those elegant distros, where it focuses a lot on eyecandy and looking good. And it definitely has a lot of good things to look at. Sorta like something that comes by and catches your eye in a way that nothing else can. But good looks don’t mean that what’s underneath is all that great. But sometimes the good looks are only the beginning of the greatness hidden beneath that flashy exterior. So which is it for MoonOS? Let’s find out.

    • Slitaz Linux – Tiny but fierce

      When someone asks you to name a small Linux distro, under 100MB, names like Puppy and Damn Small Linux come to mind. Now, the featherweight category has another candidate, a 25MB fighter called Slitaz.

      [...]

      At 25MB, Slitaz cannot possibly satisfy every need. Slitaz is an incredibly light and fast distro, visually pleasing, stable, and well made. It has a solid, modest baseline of programs and a very convenient software management utility that makes it quite easy to expand. Other functions are lacking, like networking and automounting of drives. I’d like to see improved Wireless support, connectivity for Windows (Samba) and better multimedia.

    • Debian 5: Lenny

      The installation was smooth. In the same server when we installed Windows server 2003 it could not detect the RAID driver and hence it didn’t detect the HDD as well.

      Bottomline: Considering its features and support architecture, it is well suited for work stations and servers.

    • Red Hat

      • CentOS 5.3: This Works

        All I can say is “WOW!” No, not the fan-boy stuff; it has to work the way I work. I can be quite merciless about discarding the most expensive, the best supported and wildest hyped, and I really could care less who you are and what matters to you — if it won’t work for me, it’s not worth my time. I haven’t tested every detail, but I’m getting there. However, the things I always look at first are the things which impress me most about CentOS.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu server adoption slow but steady in the data center

        Although the Ubuntu desktop has won wide popularity, Ubuntu’s fairly sophisticated server OS has yet to establish significant inroads in U.S. data centers.

        In a recent Ubuntu global user survey, nearly a third of the respondents worked for companies with 10 or fewer employees and only 28% worked in the U.S. (compared to 55% from Europe). And the overwhelming majority are using it for basic functions like Web, print and file, database and backup servers, with only a small minority using it for advanced tasks like virtualization or cluster computing. (The low usage for the latter mirror the findings for Linux as a whole in a TechTarget data center survey last year.) The most prevalent Ubuntu industry sectors, unsurprisingly, were technology and education.

      • Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04 Beta released

        The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the beta release of Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04. This is the first release of UNR to be fully integrated into the Ubuntu family, fully up to date with the latest applications and hardware support.

      • Ubunchu! The Ubuntu Manga is now in English

        Now thanks to the author (Hiroshi Seo), two ubuntu-jp LoCo members (Fumihito Yoshida and Hajime Mizuno) and myself*. We finally got the rights to translate the comic into English, got the script translated and re-edited each image page, replacing the Japanese with English.

      • Ubuntu Podcast Episode #24 – Mark Shuttleworth

        Mark Shuttleworth joins us for a video podcast to discuss the upcoming 9.04 release, Ubuntu history, Linux on the desktop, impacts of cloud computing, Ayatana, the community and Ubuntu, Ubuntu and Canonical, Google Summer of Code, Ubunet, and much more!

      • Five years with Ubuntu

        The third secret Ubuntu community is enthusiastic. Account throughout the world with 5,000 volunteers dedicated to promoting their use and distribution 38,000 translate to multiple languages. Most of this community is in Europe, but sympathy is extended throughout the world. Like him, as at the time happened to Google and others. In fact, Google employees use a modified version of Ubuntu, the Goobuntu.

      • Which Ubuntu Derivative Is Right For You?

        If you’re interested in Linux then most likely you have taken a look at Ubuntu. And if you have taken a look at Ubuntu then you know there are a lot of derivatives out there that specialize in one cross section of society or another. But which one is right for you? That is where gHacks comes in.

      • Ubuntu Server’s Ambitions No Longer Cloudy – Er, Murky

        A big feature for 9.04 is cloud compatibility, in the form of a) being able to run instances of 9.04 directly on Amazon EC2 clouds and b) being able to provision cloud-computing infrastructures with local servers (Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud). There’s a whole raft of other goodies, too, most of them built around making servers that much easier to provision and manage, but the cloud features made me sit up and pay attention.

  • New Releases

    • Clonezilla 1.2.1-50
    • AsteriskNOW 1.5.0
    • Webconverger 4.4
    • VectorLinux 6.0 Light released

      The VectorLinux team is pleased to announce the final release of VL6.0 Light.
      Find it here:

      * VL6.0-Light-Final.iso
      * md5sum 770b8789100a8097f3d200561205c0bb

      Light is aimed at users with some Linux experience. It is biased towards technical simplicity and high performance. Based on VL6.0 Standard, the most resource hungry applications have been removed or replaced with lighter alternatives. Running services are kept to a minimum.

    • GParted 0.4.4-1
  • Devices/Embedded

    • The newly-formed phone maker finally let us get our hands on the Garmin-Asus Nuvifone G60 and the new, Windows Mobile, Nuvifone M20. Was it worth the wait?

      Though it’s not technically a smartphone, the Nuvifone G60 is still based on Garmin’s own Linux-based platform, and the company bragged quite a bit about the length their own software developers went in order to make this an original device.

    • Phones

      • Asus Eee Linux-based Skype Videophone

        Appearing a somewhat solitary member of the Asus Eee product family, the unique AiGuru SV-1 Videophone stands alone in more ways than one. At around 25cm tall, with curves akin a to Brancusi sculpture, this tabletop unit bearing a widescreen 7in LCD features built-in 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and a rechargeable battery to deliver round-the-home portability.

      • Some Fun Facts About The Google Phone

        Robert Dotson, chief executive of T-Mobile USA, delivered a keynote speech this week at CTIA in Las Vegas. It was full of revealing facts and figures about Google’s G1 smartphone, which launched last fall. An estimated 1.5 million of these phones were ordered, though it’s still not clear how many phones have been sold by T-Mobile, both here and abroad. Here are the best bits from Dotson’s speech…

      • AT&T mistakes netbook for phone, sells with service plan

        AT&T is testing whether customers will want to buy their laptops like they do their mobile phones: cheap at first but expensive over the long haul. Subsidized netbooks sold like phones is a service supported by Linux leaders as a way to beat Microsoft’s Windows in the growing netbook segment, and that’s been mooted as a possible direction for Google.

        At this stage, though, it’s not clear whether AT&T will make Linux or Windows available on its netbooks.

      • The Palm Pre Will Be an iPhone Killer

        After seemingly disappearing off the face of the earth while companies like Nokia and RIM released multiple phones, and while Apple’s iPhone 3G has continued to enjoy immense popularity, Palm has finally hit back. The Pre is considered a make-or-break release for Palm — the smartphone is built on an entirely new Linux-based operating system called webOS.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Microsoft losing control of netbooks

        The Wall Street Journal has reported how HP and other PC OEMs are currently exploring their options for Android-based netbooks.

      • The year of the netbook

        After doing all the research, I pounced on a President’s Day sale and bought a 2.2 lb. Dell Mini 9 for $199, pre-installed with Linux Ubuntu. While this computer hardly sets the world on fire with speed or features, it cost $900 less than my entry-level MacBook. It’s taken some getting used to, but it’s a capable backup and perfect for working on the road. It has decent speakers, modest battery life, good wireless connectivity, several USB ports and a built-in memory card reader. Mine has a tiny 4 gigabyte hard drive (it comes in larger sizes, too). In this world of Web-based Gmail and Google Docs, I actually doubt I’ll fill it up, since Ubuntu is lean and mean, and I’ll still use my MacBook for my photos and music.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mozilla Support Announces Version 1.0

    Earlier this week, we launched version 1.0 of Mozilla’s community support project called SUMO — this is the project behind the popular support site Firefox Support. Driven by the Mozilla community, SUMO has already made a big difference to Firefox users around the world.

  • IT for health

    The solution to the problem of flexibility lies in free and open source software. India has already adopted open source approaches in administrative systems and education projects. This represents a good policy foundation on which to build a national eHealth system. It could, for a start, leverage the strengths of the large open source software community.

  • DimDim Version 5: Better Performance, Security for Online Meetings

    There are also many performance and security enhancements in DimDim version 5. The application automatically recognizes webcams and microphones, and the company claims that DimDim uses less bandwidth in this version. You can also share videos and the like with meeting attendees, not just static web pages.

  • A downloading guide for freeloaders

    RICHARD Stallman once wrote that the point about free software is it is “free as in freedom, not free as in beer”, meaning people should be at liberty to do as they pleased with software, rather than subscribe to its restrictive licences.

  • 5 Best BSD Distributions

    As some of you may know, Linux is not the only Unix-like operating system available. There are other UNIX derivatives, and one of the most popular among them is called BSD. If you have been to Distrowatch, you will see different BSD distributions listed in there.

    I have said before that I’m interested in trying BSD distros, but until now I still can’t find the time to actually do it. I just did some research about several BSD distributions and read a couple of reviews so if I have the time to finally take the plunge, I’ll be prepared.

  • 25 Cool and Geeky BSD Wallpapers
  • VLC 0.9.9: The best media player just got better

    If you’ve yet to try VLC, do so. Whether you just want to play media files or also want to convert them, VLC can handle just about anything you throw at it. When all other media players fail, whether on Windows, Linux, or the Mac, VLC will almost always deliver.

  • FSF/GNU

    • Libre.fm – Building An Open Last.fm

      Now there are plans afoot to create a completely free (as in freedom) alternative called Libre.fm. I’ve been on Last.fm for a couple of years now and the main benefit for me is keeping track of the music I listen to whilst also advertising my fabulous *ahem* taste and sharing with friends. It keeps track of the music you play through a back-end system called Audioscrobbler which records song names, artists, albums etc and shows them on your profile page.

  • Government

    • Russia’s geek-in-chief

      As a true geek, Medvedev is probably also not a big fan of Microsoft. While the rest of the world has been battling Bill Gates’ empire for almost two decades, it’s only now that Russia has waken up to the challenge and has placed the company on a government antitrust watchlist. CNET has more.

      I wonder if the persecution of Microsoft is somehow related to much-discussed plans for the development of a genuine Russian “national open-source operating system” that could overtake other open-source projects like Ubuntu. Most open-source systems are – how should I put it – already (or still?) very hard to use; giving them an extra Russian edge would make them appealing only to the small tech-masochist niche – or, perhaps, the Russian bureaucrats who are the usual victims of such experiments (in late 1990s, they were all complaining about having to drive Russian cars to work). But of course, the situation would change dramatically if the Russian geek-in-chief were to ban Microsoft from Russia!

  • Programming

    • DreamFace 2.0 Web App Development Platform Announced

      DreamFace 2.0 will be available under a dual-license open source model based on GPL 3.0. DreamFace 2.0 Beta 1, including the enhanced widget platform and the new mobile services features, will be available this month. DreamFace 2.0 Beta 2, including the social networking framework, will be available next month. In order to get the beta, you have to join DreamFace’s community and a notification will be sent when the first beta is available.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • floating players subtle victory for web standards

      What all these apps which have adopted this model have in common is something that will delight people who are passionate about the use of open standards rather than proprietary tools: you can’t make a player float over the page using pure Flash, so none of these players are 100% Flash anymore. Pure-Flash in-browser playback has become a lagging edge thing.

Leftovers

  • Residents challenge Google camera

    Police were called to Broughton, near Milton Keynes, after residents staged the protest accusing Google of invading their privacy and “facilitating crime”.

  • Gang of villagers chase away Google car
  • HADOPI Law Passed – by 12 Votes to 4

    It is difficult to believe in democracy in which we aim to live and write. After 41 hours and 40 minutes of passionate discussion on the text, there remained only a handful of courageous members around 22:45 Thursday evening when the National Assembly decided, on the instructions of the Secretary of State Roger Karoutchi to pass immediately to vote on the Creation and Internet law, which was not expected before next week. One exception, which allows you to hide the large number of UMP deputies who would have abstained if the vote had been, as tradition dictates, after the government issues Tuesday night. Thus wished Nicolas Sarkozy.

    [...]

    So one of the most important, and contentious piece of legislation in recent years is passed by trickery. In this way, those pushing this law have shown their true colours and their contempt for the democratic process.

  • French pass ‘three strikes’ file-sharing law
  • “Piracy Law” Cuts *Traffic* not “Piracy”

    All this means is that people aren’t sharing so much stuff online. But now that you can pick up a 1 Terabyte external hard drive for less than a hundred quid – which can store about a quarter of a million songs – guess what people are going to turn to in order to swap files in the future?

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • The State Of DRM: Is The Customer Right?

      McSherry says it’s that control — not piracy prevention — that’s the real goal of Digital Rights Management. Which is why it may be around for a long time.

    • Canadian ACTA Consultation Report Revealed

      In an earlier post, I noted that the Department of Foreign Affairs will be holding a consultation meeting on ACTA next week. DFAIT first consulted on ACTA in the spring of 2008. While I discussed some of the findings based on documents obtained under the Access to Information Act, I did not previously have access to the entire draft report. I do now (through ATIP) – it is posted below for research and news reporting purposes.

    • Consumer Interest Groups Ask Obama To Stop Appointing RIAA Lawyers

      With the Obama administration appointing a whole bunch of copyright maximalists to various positions (despite an early indication that perhaps he recognized issues with copyright law), a bunch of public interest and consumer interest groups have gotten together to write a letter to Obama, asking him to recognize that he seems to be filling every open slot with a very heavily biased viewpoint which could do significant harm towards innovation. Some of the letter may be inspired by the rumored candidates for the IP Czar position — all of whom also fall into the copyright maximalist camp. Though, the fact that it’s taken Obama so long to appoint this position (upsetting the Senators who wrote the law requiring the position in the first place) suggests (at the very least) he isn’t considering this to be a priority.

  • Copyrights

    • Shepard Fairey Challenges AP Copyright by Jonathan Hunter

      By all accounts, President Barack Obama’s road to the Oval Office was one replete with firsts. For example, the 2008 presidential campaign marked the first time many had heard of Los Angeles street artist Shepard Fairey. Fairey’s stylized poster of Obama—which bears the Obama campaign watchword, “hope”— became a symbol of Obama’s candidacy among many supporters. Now that image has landed Fairey in a legal battle with the Associated Press, which claims that Fairey’s poster infringes on its copyright to a 2006 photograph. On Feb. 9th of this year, Fairey fired back, seeking a declaratory judgment that his poster of Obama does not infringe on any AP copyrights.

    • Record Labels In Germany Learning That YouTube Has The Leverage

      Just as in the UK, where Google decided to block all music videos from the major record labels, after those labels demanded payments that Google felt was way out of line with what could be made from advertising, it looks like Google has now pulled music videos in Germany as well. Once again, the record labels will likely complain and demand investigations — even as other artists have learned that they don’t need to profit directly from their videos on YouTube, but that they can profit indirectly and that pulling their videos down actually does a lot more harm than good.

    • Congrats, Recording Industry: You May Now Have Killed Seeqpod Too

      The record labels’ animosity towards Seeqpod has never made much sense. Seeqpod is a basic search engine that seeks out music files online. Some of these files are, undoubtedly, unauthorized copies, but Seeqpod has always been focused on streaming the music rather than letting you download the tracks.

    • User-Generated Content: Microsoft vs. Google

      Now, I’m not naïve enough to believe that José Manuel Barroso will personally ponder my ideas on this issue, but I hope that someone, somewhere, in the European Commission will at least note their existence when offering a summary of the views expressed. In other words, I do think it’s worth giving your two ha’p'orth on this matter, if only to counterbalance other views.

      Talking of which, it’s fascinating to compare and contrast what two giants of the computing world, Microsoft and Google, have to say on the subject in their submissions.

      As you might expect, Microsoft loves copyright, and wants everything to be done to keep it as it is, nice and strong, with no silly exceptions that might let people do anything so subversive as taking content and using it to create something new. Here’s its opening comments…

    • Users rights MEPs chair EU anti-piracy conference

      One could reasonably ask why four members of the European Parliament’s committee which is putting through such an important piece of legislation which affects users Internet rights, and which should be giving full consideration to the users’ views, agreed to chair presentations at a conference which is geared towards measures that will erode users rights ?

    • Trautmann deal wraps up Internet limitations

      Limitations are being written in, and any hints of users rights in respect of the Internet are struck out, as the Council moves to close the deal with the European Parliament.

    • Using The DMCA To Stop Patients From Rating Their Doctors

      Of course, it does bring up a few interesting points of discussion. First, is that the main purpose of using copyright here is so that the doctors can make use of the DMCA’s notice-and-takedown safe harbor provisions, rather than be stymied by the similar (but not quite the same) CDA section 230 safe harbors for things like defamation.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Nat Friedman 11

Ogg Theora

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

Microsoft and Novell (Almost Merged) versus IBM and Sun (to be Merged)

Posted in Database, Fork, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Java, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, SUN, TomTom at 2:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: As IBM’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems inches closer, Novell’s role in harming Java and OpenOffice.org is revisited

According to two independent sources, namely The New York Times and Bloomberg, an IBM takeover is likely to come shortly (SJVN seems to believe in a Monday announcement). This would mean that IBM becomes the benevolent dictator behind GPL-licensed Java and also the owner of OpenOffice.org, which it might as well merge with Lotus Symphony. As for MySQL, IBM has already got some database software, but as a former investor in MySQL, it is likely to find room for more.

“Sun’s products are not at risk.”IBM too has come to the realisation that money is to be made from services and hardware, so digital scarcity where duplication is possible (e.g. software) has had its shelf life expire, much like software patents to an extent. It’s the same when it comes to book publishers, newspapers, and other industries where duplication is possible, so its inhibition is a moot fight that can never be won. One can die trying.

Novell’s War on OpenOffice.org

Sun’s products are not at risk. “If IBM doesn’t invest similarly to Sun, people will likely fork,” says Jose X. The trouble that may arise is that forks are coming from Microsoft or its GPL slave, Novell. Go-OO[XML] is just one such example [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. “That’s just a fork,” says Jose, “to add Microsoft’s embracing into it… [they] can do that to any product out there… will do that to any FOSS product that gains traction.”

Microsoft has already used Novell to harm ODF, which Sun and IBM promote.

Novell’s War on Java

Novell will never admit this, but it harms Java by promoting its direct rival. This is just one type of harm. Another is the patent trap which Mono has become, as Jose explained in this LinuxToday comment that cites private E-mails from Microsoft.

LinuxToday’s Managing Editor wrote a short essay which discusses this endless controversy because it keeps coming up in that Web site. The crowd which opposes Mono by far outweighs that which defends its existence.

Opinions on whether Mono is dangerous, and on whether it should be avoided or accepted fly thick and fast. If you’re bored with the whole deal feel free to go read something else, but I suspect that the controversy is going to grow as more Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu, ship with Mono applications by default.

To quote a couple more comments from LinuxToday, one says that “the controversy just won’t quit. Microsoft has a lot of chum and other bait. Their house in the middle of the forest is made up of lots of types of candy. No matter how many times we shun their advances, they keep coming back, each time coming from a different angle.”

“It is worth emphasising that Java is still the leading choice among programmers, as measured in several different terms or criteria.”Microsoft has already tried to 'extend' (or ‘fork’) Java and it failed badly, also for legal reasons. So what it is doing right now is substituting Java with .NET using Mono, which can be thought of as the equivalent of early attempts to derail Java. It is worth emphasising that Java is still the leading choice among programmers, as measured in several different terms or criteria. And as Microsoft’s CEO said, it’s all about “developers, developers, developers, developers.”

To quote one last comment from LinuxToday, “After the TomTom affair, the patent threat hidden in Mono must be considered much more seriously than it has been before. There’s no reason why Microsoft would not try and cash from their .Net patents the same way they have been doing with their FAT patents. At the moment they are probably just waiting for Mono to gain a significant userbase, when more people have been locked in they’ll come. As the TomTom case has shown, it doesn’t really matter whether their patent claims are actually valid or not. Most people will simply bow and pay rather than undertaking a very long and expensive legal journey.”

‘We had some painful experiences with C and C++, and when Microsoft came out with .NET, we said, “Yes! That is what we want.”‘

Miguel de Icaza

Novell spooky

Novell Downgraded

Posted in Finance, Novell at 1:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Graph down

Summary: Amtech downgrades Novell (NOVL)

WITH abysmal results and no major deal since the last quarterly report, Novell is clearly headed nowhere, whereas Red Hat — by contrast — carries on growing, so it’s a Novell issue, not a GNU/Linux issue.

Novell (NOVL) is being downgraded right now. From Microsoft’s news:

Novell downgraded to Hold at AmTech Research . AmTech Research downgrades NOVL to Hold from Buy as shares approach the firm’s tgt price of $4.50.

One of Microsoft’s long-time fans wrote about this too.

Amtech analyst Brad Whitt this morning cut his rating on Novell (NOVL) to Neutral from Buy.

SLE* 11 has been released, but there is no reason or indication that this can turn things around.

The United States and Russia Take Extra Steps Against Microsoft’s Monopoly Abuse

Posted in America, Antitrust, Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 8:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell car licence plate
Banned up north

Summary: US states want Microsoft supervision extended; Russian authorities view Microsoft as a monopoly

ABUSIVE BEHAVIOUR is a justifiable reason for oversight if not intervention or legal action. According to this report, there is a push to extend US oversight of Microsoft until 2012.

Some US states may ask for continued supervision of Microsoft, to ensure the software giant isn’t breaching the government’s 2001 anti-trust agreement.

Microsoft oversight is due to expire on November 12, but states that signed on to the Department of Justice’s (DoJ’s) deal with Microsoft may now seek an extension that would last until 2012, according to a report.

Something similar is happening in Russia right now. Microsoft is trying to impose 'Linux tax' on Russians, the OOXML vote over there was a sham, and Microsoft is also dumping non-Free software on them. According to Profy:

Yesterday Russian anti-monopoly authorities informed us about the fact that they intend to officially include Microsoft in the register of monopolies doing business in the country.

[...]

In this manner the company will be monitored to see if it uses prices that are unreasonably high or unreasonably low and prevent competition in the market.

That latter part refers to dumping techniques, as last illustrated a couple of days ago. In addition, Microsoft is suing its competitors which can hardly afford defence (TomTom), so no wonder that in response to this strategy, the president of Bluehost.com said that “Steve Ballmer is a Jackass!” People have many reasons to be angry and Microsoft keeps giving more such reasons, even to highly potent authorities.

“We should whack them [Dell over GNU/Linux dealings], we should make sure they understand our value.”

Paul Flessner, Microsoft

Monopoly

Monopolies are no game

Microsoft Uses Pseudo “Open Source” to Fight Against GNU/Linux and the GPL

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Law, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, TomTom, Windows at 7:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shotgun

Like a gun that turns against its owner

Summary: Microsoft deceives on “open source” and uses it to exclude or to poison (with software patents) GNU/Linux

MICROSOFT IS UP to no good, but this is hardly news. The news can be broken down as follows.

Microsoft Tries to Make Silverlight be Perceived as “Open Source”

We saw this before and we are seeing it again. It was last mentioned with examples just over a week ago (Microsoft’s /opensource page trying to associate Silverlight with “open source”). Now we see Microsoft joining forces with Rupert Murdoch and issuing a press release which is summarised like this:

World’s Premier Social Portal Works With Microsoft to Launch Open Source Kit for Silverlight Developers

When Microsoft puts the “open source” label next to Silverlight, then it’s known that the company renders the term almost worthless and deceiving. Silverlight is blocking GNU/Linux users (out of Web sites) whilst Microsoft is falsely claiming that Silverlight cross-platform, which it is not. As we will show in a moment, Moonlight is neither a Silverlight clone nor is it safe for GNU/Linux users to touch. It’s the type of thing which Microsoft’s Partner[sic] Group calls patent trap (or "poison pill"). We already know how close Gartner is to Microsoft.

Microsoft Shuts GNU/Linux Users Out of NASA

The above example comes from MySpace, which is a private entity, but what about NASA? There was a similar deal/arrangement with NASA recently, bragging about an open source platform (not really open), which helps totally exclude GNU/Linux users — or users of any open source platform for that matter — from access to NASA data. As Matt Aslett put it, “it would appear unfortunate that while the data will be hosted on an open source platform individuals with an open source desktop are not going to be able to view it.”

This case involves national assets, much like the Library of Congress [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] where Microsoft pulled similar stunts with Silverlight. Since Microsoft’s Silverlight is not catching on, Microsoft actually paid this government/federal section to pick up a patents-encumbered technology that excludes those who are not customers of Microsoft, thus denying them access to national assets that they own (library).

More Poison Against the GPL

Here is a new publicity stunt with Microsoft’s ‘poison pill’ licence. Last month we explained what makes the MS-PL so problematic (it’s incompatible with the GPL, by design) and it is hard not to see what is happening here.

Regarding this Microsoft publicity stunt, Miguel de Icaza has already enhanced some PR efforts for his good friend Scott Guthrie from Microsoft (even though it’s a Windows technology) and so have Microsoft fans like Gavin Clarke.

“Let’s remember that with an increased investment of $100 million, Microsoft essentially pays some Novell wages.”For a sobering reality, the comments in LinuxToday are worth a look. These comments are ranging from “Senor Microsoft de Icaza is all giddy….” to “Miguel == MS” — a comment that states: “I remain convinced that Miguel De Icaza and Nat Friedman are on the Microsoft payroll (probably using some shady accounting tricks to hide it). Ximian (now known as “Novell”) are a Microsoft cancer infecting Linux and Open Source and should be eradicated.”

Let’s remember that with an increased investment of $100 million, Microsoft essentially pays many Novell wages. Nat Friedman actually worked for Microsoft prior to his days at Novell. In our daily links we’ve recently tried to show who is really is by adding video interviews. Miguel de Icaza wanted to work for Microsoft before starting his Free software endeavours in the late 90s. A lot of what he has built recently did more harm than good, notable examples being promotion of Microsoft technologies at the expense their competition, the “superb” OOXML remark, and even him telling off European regulators who watched over Microsoft’s abuses.

Here is a recent video where de Icaza expresses his feelings about Microsoft. He is still totally ignoring the FAT/TomTom situation and saying nothing about what it means to trust in Microsoft, the risk of Mono, and so on.

Quoting from Microsoft's very own evangelism 'bible', one of the commenters in LinuxToday writes:

http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2009-03-31-029-35-OS-NV-0007

Every line of code that is written to Microsoft’s standard is a small defeat; every line of code that is written to a Linux standard is a small victory.

You want to destroy Linux? Just continue to use MONO or begin using ASP.NET. After everything Linux is dependent on MONO and ASP then watch the other shoe fall: updates cut off, licenses reversed, and lawsuits for infringement begin.

De Icaza is doing EVERYTHING he possible can to make Microsoft technology dominate on Linux. Microsoft’s past history and current examples of unethical and illegal behavior doesn’t seem to phase him.

It is time to consider that he is a STEALTH Microsoft employee who does NOT have the best interests of Linux at heart.

Corresponding transcripts about Microsoft’s standard strategy can be found here and none of this is new, just leaked. The TomTom case was merely a reminder of the harms of Mono [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Groklaw: Time to Get Mono and Moonlight Out of GNU/Linux?

As Groklaw put it yesterday, “Perens on TomTom: Be Wary of FAT, OOXML, .NET, Mono, Silverlight.” Pamela Jones even did a detailed post to mention this, so it’s not just in News Picks.

Ah, yes. Mono. Once again. And OOXML. Might governmental agencies wish to particularly take note of OOXML in light of the TomTom settlement? I would think so. And .NET and Silverlight. Perhaps you can think of others.

[...]

Wake up. Microsoft should be treated like Microsoft.

It is what it is. It is what it always has been.

Microsoft asked recently to be judged by its actions, not its words. OK. The TomTom settlement *is* Microsoft actions. We watched it, and we judge them by it.

Will Novell listen? Not everyone has paid Microsoft for the use of Mono.

“There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to Novell customers.”

Bob Muglia, Microsoft President

Linux is Getting ‘Built-in’ Tivoization Equivalent

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Kernel, Tivoization, Videos at 5:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Could this have played a role in Linus’ decision regarding GPLv3?

Richard Stallman and the GPLv3
GPLv3 launch

Summary: TPM in Linux raises important questions about Freedom

A COUPLE of years ago Linus Torvalds wrote “I think Tivoization is *good*,” which led to lengthy discussions.

Yesterday in the IRC channel a fascinating tidbit resurfaced as IBM’s Trusted Computing ambitions for Linux reared their ugly head again. The idea of embedding ‘trusted’ computing in Linux (it is the very opposite of trust) probably involved work from IBM, at least based on some prior reports and the Linux Weather Forecast, which has the following for Linux 2.6.30.

Support for integrity management in the kernel has been merged. This code makes use of the trusted platform module (TPM) built into many systems to ensure that the system’s files (including its executable software) have not been corrupted, maliciously or otherwise.

This can be misused to achieve the very opposite, where “corrupted” means benignly hacked. An older article about this seems innocent enough, but questions may arise, such as: could Linus have known something about TPM when rejecting GPLv3?

“What would this mean to Linux as a Free underlying platform?”“It was one of the main reasons for the rejection in the Linux kernel mailing list,” writes oiaohm. If binaries are changed (or their ‘integrity’ not authenticated), then programs won’t run.

“Problem is, there are devices where TiVo style security is needed,” claims oiaohm, “Like you don’t want people tampering with electronic voting systems.

“As I said, there is good and bad to it. Good for very particular uses. You really do want to be able to inspect the source code of a electronic voting machine to make sure it is not stuffed up. You also don’t want people tampering with it. If you look around, you can find other valid uses of the tech.”

What would this mean to Linux as a Free underlying platform? The GNU/Linux operating system could suffer from this. “Problem is, I would bet almost all the money I have that it will be abused to harm users,” concludes oiaohm.

Video on Trusted Computing:

Ogg Theora

Hypocritical Novell Lacks a Sense of Humour

Posted in Humour, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, Videos at 5:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Press jumps the gun

Movell and Nicrosoft

Summary: Novell does not want people to think that Microsoft has already acquired it; littering of YouTube resumes

THIS year’s April Fool’s Day was filled with pranks and Red Hat too was a victim. IDG insinuated that it was going proprietary. When it comes to Novell, however, the suggestion that Microsoft was buying it upset the company because the prank was ‘too’ believable. Here is the short story:

The idea that Microsoft would buy Novell isn’t exactly that far-fetched. Events on April 1 have proved this.

A spoof run by iTWire, written by Linux expert David M. Williams, and headlined “Linux beware: Microsoft acquires Novell, become UNIX copyright owner”, was sufficient to cause a few people to call Novell in the US and inquire if there was some truth to the story.

Novell PR chief Ian Bruce phoned iTWire and asked that the story be retracted. iTWire editor Stan Beer had to add a paragraph to the story to state emphatically that it was an April Fool’s joke.

[...]

He replied: “I wasn’t angry. Unfortunately, your story was so well done as a spoof it got picked up in the US and we actually had a couple of calls. Amazing, I know. The headline did it, I think. Sorry for the alarm.”

That people took such a story seriously tells us more about Novell, Microsoft and the public impression that the infamous patent contract has created, than any of the articles that have been written analysing, criticising or praising the deal.

So, here are Novell’s marketing people trying to remove ‘bad’ publicity despite the fact that it’s obviously a joke and almost every large company is a victim of such jokes.

It ought to be added that, based on what we found yesterday, Novell keeps flooding YouTube with corporate brainwash, so there’s a tinge of hypocrisy in its acts regrading publicity. Yesterday alone we found someone called “Phil” shoving an extraordinary amount of Novell advertisements into YouTube. “Phil” apparently describes himself based on his employer, saying that “PJA creates marketing as innovative and inspirational as your technology and science.” It also says “Interests and Hobbies: BtoB Advertising and Marketing.” Has Novell hired these people to do this? Why can’t Novell leave YouTube alone? As evidence of this latest mass insertion of marketing material, here are the videos which “Phil” added yesterday:

Also worth adding is the fact that the Microsoft press (Redmond Developer) has just added webcasts that promote the Microsoft-taxed SLES. There are two of them.

Are Windows Zombies (Conficker) Crippling DNS Again?

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista, Windows at 4:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Parabolic radar

Summary: Network turbulence continues and Windows Vista is heading for a quarantine in Texas

IN yesterday's post about Conficker we showed that DNS was affected. While it could not be confirmed that Conficker was the cause, it was in fact the cause some time in the past and it appears as though it could be happening again. The following showed up yesterday:

Register.com suffers DNS problems

The gossip on Twitter suggested that the company’s name servers were the target of aDDOS attack, though this hasn’t been confirmed.

Register.com suffers further DOS attack

There is another noteworthy report:

Conficker is a lesson for MPs – especially over ID cards

A trio of news pieces for you. The Conficker worm has got into the Houses of Parliament’s network and infected computers there. MPs have been told, in a written answer, that use by them of PGP, the commercial encryption system, is “not recommended” on the parliamentary network because it is “not compatible” with its current VPN (virtual private network). And, as I write, the database of MPs’ expenses is being hawked around to newspapers, for a high price.

Even British hospitals were affected by Conficker. In other words, the cost is mortal.

An ‘upgrade’ to the latest version of Windows would resolve or at least address absolutely nothing. It has probably been seen by many people by now that the Fiasco of the Year (Windows Vista) is potentially getting banned in Texan authorities.

Windows Vista gets a lot of grief both in tech circles and the general public — but one Texas lawmaker wants to make it a matter of public policy.

There is a lot more coverage that includes:

  1. Texas Bans Vista For State Gov
  2. “Texas senator: Let’s ban Windows Vista purchases
  3. Texas to Windows Vista: Keep Walkin’? (or this)

Et tu, Texas?

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