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04.10.09

Microsoft and the Economics of Crime

Posted in America, Formats, Fraud, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 7:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ooxml_demo_4.jpg

Norway under siege

Microsoft’s “Mission Lock-in” is Accomplished

Summary: Further to this week's Microsoft Office crimes (and conviction) in Germany, the return on investment in OOXML corruption is debated

ONE YEAR after the climatic peak of the OOXML corruption, a person who attended the BRM reveals that Microsoft has no intention to even properly maintain OOXML. It’s just a proprietary format that Microsoft needed an ISO stamp for; it’s not intended for actual use and it remains awfully buggy, by admission that is made openly (it bears repeating that Microsoft will never ever implement OOXML). This would be truly amazing to an outsider but hardly surprising to those who watched how Microsoft bullied, lied, blackmailed, and bribed to pass OOXML past ISO. it’s all documented. Here is where things stand today:

The document N1101/N1168 contains for example, several items in which they recognize that there are decisions made in the BRM (BRM resolutions) which were not incorporated into the final published text of the standard. In other words, even taking almost a year after the aproval of the standard to publish the text (yes, approved without reading), there wasn’t time/attention or anything else necessary to assure that the changes were published in the text (most of those changes, “conditioned” the approval). What makes me much more angry about this is that during the BRM I asked about who would be responsible for verifying that all these changes would be part of the final text and the answer was ITTF (kind of joint ISO/IEC secretariat). When I asked if the ITTF would really make this work, I received as a reply the intimidating: “You are doubting the ITTF, kid ?”…

[...]

I saved the best for the end: document N1187. This one says that OpenXML “as is” contains unintentional errors that may prevent existing documents to be fully represented in this new format. It is amazing because the legacy support was alleged as the main reason for OpenXML development and approval at ISO, and also the reason why several countries supported the development and approval of the standard. In this document, they also explain the criteria that will be used to specify the changes that will be developed, so that they can do it all really quickly (in other words, they go trough the breaches of the JTC1 directives to get these changes incorporated into standard already approved without making much noise about it).

Unfortunately I can not put all these documents here, to allow access trough the blog, because they should be restricted SC34 documents (yep, zero transparency), but I believe that sooner or later they will be published somewhere (and of course, NB members should already received those).

Speaking of OOXML, which can be seen as almost synonymous with white-collar crime, here is a good new article about — and against — lobbying, where Microsoft is the shamed industry leader (meaning that it manipulates governments the most, primarily in the United States [1, 2, 3, 4]).

There’s a reason why lobbying has boomed so much over the last decade. The potential return on investment is just too lucrative to pass up. Some things are easy to quantify, a contract, an earmark, or a direct payment for services. But other things, like tax breaks, can take a little bit more time to figure out (at least for now). For example, a University of Kansas study, to be released today, will show that firms pushing for a “tax holiday” in 2004 received a 22,000% return on their lobbying investment. I’ll write that number again: 22,000%.

The cost of breaking ISO, breaking the law, and making more enemies is perhaps belittled by the high margins of Microsoft’s most profitable product, Microsoft Office. So again, to Microsoft, all this crime was a case study or a textbook example in RoI (return on investment). It’s the economics of crime.

When it comes to the OOXML fiasco, the regret is not to do with the misbehaviour; it’s probably to do with getting caught.

“I have lost my sleep and peace of mind for last two months over these distasteful activities by Microsoft.”

Professor Deepak Phatak

Novell and the Linux Foundation Legitimise a Microsoft Shill (IDC|IDG)

Posted in Apple, Deception, FUD, Microsoft, Novell at 7:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IDG IDC

Summary: IDC attacks Microsoft’s opponents at its behest and Linux establishments respond in the wrong way — adding negative to a negative

AS WE SHOWED earlier today, Novell and the Linux Foundation are not totally separate. Another thing they have in common is that they both feed IDC|IDG, which is the the Fox 'News' of technology. This establishment is interested in making money, not in informing. In other words, those who are willing to pay also make the news.

It is important to stop this cycle that’s dominated by exchange of money because it voids trust and deceives innocent consumers (derogatory term for customers). The Linux Foundation, however, repeats its sins from last year because it fights fire with fire by paying IDC. And yes, it’s Al Gillen again. It is the man who attacks GNU/Linux when someone else pays his wage. This was explained a year ago and the same rebuttal still applies, so last year’s lengthy argument needn’t be repeated really.

Here is coverage of the report which the Linux Foundation bought.

With all that goes on at conferences, it would seem that a white paper presentation would be, invariably, a pretty dry event — with the document itself being even drier. While there are many topics in the Linux Foundation-sponsored IDC white paper, “The Opportunity for Linux in a New Economy” (linked here as a PDF), and one might choose to quickly skim the research, data and projections, this report is really well worth taking a close look through.

Here is an article which shows that Al Gillen, the man who routinely attacks GNU/Linux, is also the one who got paid:

Linux advocates, such as Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, are fond of saying the open source operating system will thrive in a downturn. IDC analyst Al Gillen went a step further Wednesday, saying Linux revenue growth will seem less than spectacular during the downturn because much of its increased use will take place as free guests running on virtualized servers.

There are other (sometimes former) IDC people who attack Microsoft’s competition and one example is Dennis Byron, who cites his old employer when Novell feeds IDC to promote itself.

It is important to clarify all this because we showed antitrust exhibits which expose corruption. IDC analysts are being receptive of whoever pays the most money and often that is Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Sadly enough — and the reason why feeding these shills-for-hire is a bad idea — Novell gives credibility to a firm that counts server usage based on Microsoft’s ‘standards’, which deceive greatly. These investments from Novell and the Linux Foundation legitimise the source of an attack on GNU/Linux, such as this latest one from a week ago:

Linux Servers Take Bigger Hit

Surely they can't measure the installed base of GNU/Linux, can they? Well, but it would be hypocritical to call them liars because, as the article states at the bottom, Novell paid them:

The IDC findings do not conflict with a recent Novell-sponsored IDC report that said the down economy was driving an uptick in Linux evaluation, Eastwood said. “In the short term, Linux is down as is Windows. But over time, we believe Linux will continue to grow,” as will Windows, he said.

There is also this from a few days ago.

Last month, a study by IDC for Novell revealed that over half of IT executives are looking to make use of Linux servers for web hosting and other purposes during the recession.

When will Novell and the Linux Foundation realise that they validate the very same FUD that is used against them by throwing money at its very source? The only one gaining from all this attention (and money) is the shill-for-hire.

“The only one gaining from all this attention (and money) is the shill-for-hire.”There may actually be more to this story about IDC. Balrog, a Boycott Novell regular, says that “Microsoft is heavily attacking Apple even though there’s not too much basis in their attacks.” He shows this latest provocation from Microsoft’s main PR person in CNET (which as a network is pretty close to Microsoft too).

“That’s a ‘critical review’,” says Balrog, but where is it coming from? “There’s a PDF from Microsoft,” he says so “this is clearly coming out of Microsoft.”

“Who did Microsoft pay,” we inquired because we know for a verifiable fact that Microsoft offers a lot of money for Mac bloggers to attack Apple. “They’re doing some weird things, like including Apple’s MobileMe service for the Mac while not providing an equivalent for PC,” argues Balrog.

Microsoft is not so tactless when it comes to FUD. Its people always pretend not to attack with FUD; They hire a shill instead and there are many prior examples, including recent ones.

After some digging we found out that the Microsoft paper came from Endpoint Technologies and Roger Kay. We did a quick background check. It turned out that this is the same guy in relation to whom it’s said: “Microsoft and Intel are winning a market using an old OS and its smallest chip.”

According to Microsoft's close friend Shane O'Neill, “Unusually, Kay and Microsoft also choose to sidestep Apple’s higher-end iMacs altogether and try to equate a Mac Pro with a HP Pavilion desktop; according to the paper, a modern Xeon workstation is feature-equivalent to a mid-range home system with a previous-generation Core 2 Quad processor and slower graphics.” It’s fascinating how they all cite one another. It’s a pattern of behaviour that was identified in other Web sites too, e.g. when it comes to Rob Enderle and Dan Lyons attacking Linux using SCO. They seed one another and manufacture evidence the Microsoft way.

“They seed one another and manufacture evidence the Microsoft way.”Going back to the article, “it mentions Roger Kay, from Endpoint Technologies, who’s the guy behind this ‘Apple Tax’ report,” says Balrog. “This may be a good starting point for a blog post. ‘Microsoft is desperate, attacking Apple’.”

Apple is already spending about $300,000,000 per annum on marketing, so we don’t want to spend so much time defending Apple, but Balrog insists that this is important because “it’s showing how desperate they are becoming [...] FUD-filled advertising is going pretty far (they’re using this stuff in ads too).”

Here is where IDC comes into this picture. It’s to do with the guy behind the original report. The guy “labeled Microsoft’s PDL ‘a PDF killer’ back in 05,” Balrog has discovered. “Officially unveiled as part of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates’ kick-off keynote, the new Microsoft document workflow format, code-named “Metro,” sounds from initial explanations like a page-description language meant to compete with Adobe’s PostScript and PDF technologies,” claims the article from Mary Jo Foley.

“And that’s the point where the coin slips in. He worked for IDC at the time.”Further, says the article: ‘”It sure sounds like it’s meant as a PDF killer to me,” said Roger Kay, an analyst with International Data Corp., who was at this week’s WinHEC conference.”‘

And that’s the point where the coin slips in. He worked for IDC at the time. He was attacking PDF, which it at no real risk 4 years down the line (the article is from April 2005).

Further states this article: ‘Kay, for his part, is hardly a disinterested observer. He’s been consulting for Microsoft since 2006, offering among other services, according to his webpage, “message tuning, spin management, press release support [and] high quality writing.”‘

Hmmm…

Let’s repeat that.

message tuning, spin management, press release support [and] high quality writing.

Yes, that sure sounds like skills one would acquire at IDC (International Data Corp.). “He has his own company now,” says Balrog . “He’s president of Endpoint Technology Associates. He was writing nonsense about Mac and iPhone viruses / ‘security’ before.” The article is nowhere other than the ‘Wintel’ press.

So, credit goes to our reader Balrog and we are hoping to find more through our reader Goblin, who is keeping track of others who are serving Microsoft in disguise.

How to promote Microsoft – The CC.Torment way!

I have alot of time for users with honest held belief and an open mind to alternatives. One such site and user is the owner of the WindowsObserver website. A very nice chap, who supports Microsoft products and has good reasons for him doing so. Then we come to more odious individuals, who for reasons you can decide for yourself have other motives for supporting Microsoft and attempting (badly) to cheapen alternatives.

When it comes to journalists and analysts, there is a lot more than meets the eye and the press gives illusionary first impressions to dazzle and indoctrinate its privileged audience which it wants to influence. That’s just how money is made. If this is hard to believe, then ask Microsoft about it.

“Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. “Independent” analyst’s report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent” consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). “Independent” courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Links 10/04/2009: KDE 4.3 Preview; Mozilla Labs Output

Posted in News Roundup at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Foundation CEO: Linux is “fastest growing platform”

    The Linux Collaboration Summit, which is taking place this week in San Francisco, provides participants with an environment for discussion and education. The event, which is hosted by the Linux Foundation and is accessible by invitation only, consists of presentations and discussion panels about numerous social, technical, and economic issues that relate to Linux and open source software development. The first day of the event delivered an edifying experience and a unique window into the views of prominent members of the Linux community.

  • GNU/Linux mainstream: The Simpsons Test

    Thankfully GNU/Linux doesn’t include such software. But, we also can’t see what kind of market share GNU/Linux holds. To the statistics, it’s like GNU/Linux doesn’t even exist. We have to find/guess what the market share is.

  • The new faces of Linux – Who Do I Yell At?

    I just smiled and told him that the install was done, complete with all but a few codecs he might want such as flash. I told him that would take a grand total of about 5 minutes, maybe less. He was skeptical to say the least.

    It only took about 20 minutes inside the system to remove any skepticism he had. I watched him as he “drove” his new system. He didn’t say much, just made sounds of affirmation to himself as he explored and found things to his liking. I showed him how to use k3b, streamtuner, his file system and most importantly to him, his office suite. Rich writes technical bullitens for his company and spends vast amounts of time in either a rich text editor or a word processor. When those thing met his approval, our business was finished.

    [...]

    I explained to him about the EULA and advised him to read it…things would become clear as a bell then. I told him to just take his blood pressure medication prior to doing it. When I briefly outlined the way Microsoft and other proprietary software vendors had protected themselves he just shook his head.

  • Having FUD With Facts

    I don’t own a netbook and I don’t run Linux on any computers. I do, however, follow news about both and try to stay informed. So when I saw this item about how Microsoft, in one year, has virtually pushed Linux out of the netbook OS market by grabbing a 96 percent share, I was so dumbfounded I couldn’t write about it. I just couldn’t get my head around that fact. It didn’t make any sense to me, but there it was, according to market research firm NPD Group.

    [...]

    In her blog, Carla goes on to make an impassioned and stirring plea for computer users to rise up and break free of Microsoft’s market shackles. Except now I feel like a tool for running Microsoft on a desktop and two laptops. So here is my vow: My next computer will run Linux. I just gotta do some homework first.

    You opened my eyes, Carla. I owe you one.

  • Anti-Linux Propaganda du Jour: Windows Owns 96% Of Netbooks

    The anti-Linux propaganda du jour, being dutifully parroted by “news” publications everywhere, is that Windows now owns 96% of the netbook market, and that Linux netbooks are returned four times more than windows netbooks. Both are untrue and have been debunked repeatedly. Yet they persist– why?

    I think Microsoft is growing increasingly desperate, and in hard economic times is finding equally desperate publications who will say anything for a few bucks. Which may be a harsh judgment, but I would rather believe that than believe they simply don’t care to do even the simplest, most basic fact-checking, or are such hard-core Microsoft fanboys that they are only pretending to be journalists when they are really stringers for Microsoft’s marketing department. How else can we explain the same nonsense repeated endlessly, their allergies to saying “Windows” and “malware” in the same sentence, the short shrift given to non-Windows software, the mind-boggling assumption that Windows is computing?

  • MLB.com looks great on desktop Linux

    If you visit MLB.com and look to see if you can watch baseball games over the Internet, you’ll be informed that you’ll need Windows or a Mac to watch them. Wrong. Any modern Linux desktop distribution will let you keep up with your favorite team.

  • Linux and the Drummer

    DING DING DING Linux is gonna be installed.

    What advantages does he get from Linux?

    Better Web Design utilities and programs.
    Open Source music composition software. He does write music after all.
    A more reliable and secure computer.
    Longer usability on his laptop because newer versions of Windows will most likely be unusable on it.

  • My Boss, with a little help, starts the conversion to Linux

    I think the moral here is, there are different ways to get people to be able to use Linux, and Synergy is one of those great tools that enable people to use Linux without having all the hassle that comes with switching over.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel Development Gets An Early Bug-Fix Stage

      With each release, the Linux kernel is resolving more bugs, thanks to a new staging version of the operating system that identifies problems before the kernel’s next proposed release reaches its final review by Linus Torvalds.

  • Applications

    • Stellarium – Planetarium for the Masses

      Some softwares are just too fun to be let go off and this weekend I discovered Stellarium, a free, open source planetarium software that shows a “realistic sky in 3D”. Stellarium is designed from ground up as a simple, easy to use, open source software to observe and learn about the breath taking beauty of the night sky.

    • Audio

      • 10 Music making Apps for Linux

        Ardouris “the new digital audio workstation”. It aims to be a professional DAW, and offers features like “multichannel recording, non-destructive editing with unlimited undo/redo, full automation support, a powerful mixer, unlimited tracks/busses/plugins, timecode synchronization, and hardware control from surfaces like the Mackie Control Universal.”

      • LMMS (Linux Multimedia Studio) – a FL Studio like FOSS program

        It’s been a long time since I have written a post. Past several weeks has been busy, writing course works, as I’m a chemical engineering undergraduate too. To break off the frost, we’ll start from some MUSIC! What I have here today is a fruity – loops ( the commercial music editor for song tracks) like song/melody editor for Linux, with the full swing! Can you believe it? This is the best use of Qt 4 (GUI library) I have yet seen, and the core is written in C++ makes it heavily powerful and versatile over the other Java opponents. Creation of melodies and beats, the synthesis and mixing of sounds are some of the best wanted features of this program.

  • KDE

    • KDE 4.3 – early preview

      Like it or not, KDE 4.3 will be a great leap forward in this environment’s development. I won’t hesitate to say, it will be a bigger one than KDE 4.1 to 4.2. Interestingly enough, my compilation of development snapshot worked stable and jerk-free – no major issues there.

    • Nicer Direcory Thumbnails, and Thumbnail Sequences

      When I did my last blog post, there were some comments that said that the folder previews didn’t look as nice as they could. I agree, luckily, one day later Fredrik Höglund came up with a patch to do some more complex and nicer painting on the items. Now the previews are layed out like a bunch of physical photos, with some random rotations, a white border, and drop shadows…

    • Dashboards, activities and desktops

      That’s a tiny feature that apparently makes several people happy:
      Now the plasma dashboard is a way to quick access your desktop widgets whente desktop is covered by windows, and i really like this feature as it works.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Mint: Ubuntu plus stuff you probably want

      It will obviously take some time to explore Linux Minut, but after just a couple of hours, I find it to be very promising. If you like Ubuntu, but you want it a bit more refined and polished, and you are tired of having to download and install a bunch of stuff yourself, Linux Mint could be just the ticket for you.

    • My Favorite Puppy 4.2 Addition

      As I looked at the recent release of the 100 MB Puppy Linux I realized Puppy 4.2 includes a few feature that are extremely useful for me. Puppy 4.2 comes with two window managers, choose either ICEWM or JWM which is appealing to a wider variety of Linux users. Users may also find appealing, the additional theme options with Clearlooks GTK+2 theme engine, SeaMonkey web browser with MonkeyMenu extension, Puppy control panel, Pwidgets desktop applications, AlsaPlayer and Pmusic for audio entertainment, Streamtuner internet radio, Gxine full-screen video playback, Puppy Web Desktop, extra shutdown options, a new game lineup and more. These are all great changes in my book but one of them brought me some great productive features.

    • First Look: Linux Mint 6 KDE

      Linux Mint is one of those distributions that have always been dear to me. With truly dedicated developers and a strong, faithful community, Mint reached, in only a few years, a very high level of popularity. Being based on Ubuntu, Linux Mint complements it by providing an elegant look as well as a full, out-of-the-box, multimedia experience. That said, seeing the Linux Mint 6 KDE Edition announcement, I thought it would be a great opportunity to check on Mint’s progress and, for once, try the KDE version.

    • MEPIS – Simply MEPIS 8 review

      It looks terrific and it’s got pretty much everything you need for a day to day operating system. Just not always where you’d expect it to be.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 9.04 Versus Gentoo

        I think I’ll stick with Ubuntu right now because its support for KDE 4 is better than what Gentoo currently offers. From what I can tell, Gentoo got in a big fight over how to package KDE 4, causing them to fall behind in stabilizing KDE 4. That fight seems to be over now, so perhaps Gentoo will catch up and lead again. I will seriously consider a switch when Gentoo marks the latest version of KDE 4 as stable.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Google the Android Open Source Bottleneck

        Google Android Engineer echos what I have been feeling for quite a while as he declares that Google itself is a major bottleneck when it comes to Android being an Open-Source project.

      • Android apps: Free downloads for the people

        Google’s Android operating system is a remarkable concept in itself: an open-source OS for portable devices built on Linux. The benefit? Developers don’t have to pay for the software development kit, for one. (Currently, the price is $99 for the iPhone SDK.) This offers the consumer the potential to have some truly excellent apps from creative developers on college campuses everywhere.

      • Motorola smartphone gets widgety

        Motorola does not advertise which operating system (OS) the Evoke QA4 runs, but several hands-on reports from last week’s CTIA Wireless show say the phone runs Linux, most likely an updated version of Motorola’s Linux/Java MotoMAGX stack. In fact, the Evoke QA4 appears to be the second Motorola phone after the Moto VE66 (pictured below, right) announced in November, to support Motorola’s MotoDev Studio for WebUI “widget” platform for MotoMAGX.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • TechCrunch Tablet makes an early debut

        Leaks are always hardest when they hit at home. Now we know how Apple feels. The party responsible for the leak has been penalized severely (whipped with wet spaghetti), so believe us when we say this kind of thing won’t ever happen again. Anyway, so long as the cat’s out of the bag, we may as well give you a few more pics. What you see is a prototype, equipped with an Intel Atom processor and a 12″ capacitative touchscreen. Looks a little different than it did last time, doesn’t it?

      • ARM Cortex-A8 MID debuts

        The Beagle MID is “loosely modeled after the Nokia N800″ Internet Tablet, says HY Research, a small embedded device firm that claims to have developed one of the first Linux-based appliances back in 1996. The Beagle MID project, including mechanical and electronics work, was said to have consumed about 80 people hours.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 2020 vision: What’s next for news

    Open Source wins. Open Source solutions and platforms will push proprietary systems to the brink simply because of the rate at which they adapt to change and innovation. Pay attention to the Big Media attempt to monetize this Open Source principle through the proliferation of news APIs, but don’t expect it to succeed unless these APIs give developers and end-users more freedom.

  • More universities join Yahoo for Net-scale research

    Yahoo is a major contributor to Hadoop, a project within the Apache Software Foundation’s collection, but Google created the underlying technology through its MapReduce algorithm. MapReduce and Hadoop can be used for tasks such as finding, relatively rapidly, all the Web sites that link to a particular Web site, a task that’s essential to the companies’ search engines.

  • Yahoo Extends its Research Reach, in the Open Source Cloud
  • Low power, flat-screen nirvana with Open Source software

    It started with the announcement by HM Gov that for 16 year-olds the Basic Skills component of GSCE Maths, English and ICT have been dropped. They were due to be introduced because employers complained (and Ruth Kelly agreed in 2005) that students could get good GCSE’s in Maths, English and ICT but be functionally innumerate, illiterate and unable to do more than use MS Office.

  • Open Source CMS Drives Academic Initiatives in Cal State System

    In keeping with its mission to identify learning-related problems, and then apply technology to support effective instruction, CDL has added the WebGUI content management system to its stable of technology tools. Built to give average users the ability to build and maintain complex Web sites, WebGUI is modular, pluggable, platform-independent, and designed to keep the management of content in the hands of those who create content, rather than take up the time of busy IT staff.

  • Samba 4 beta offers platform choice to data centers

    Samba 4 is an ongoing major rewrite of the existing interface between Linux and Windows file servers. The goal of the four-year project, which is proceeding concurrently with a Samba 3 update, is to replicate the functions of Microsoft’s Active Directory in a mixed environment (e.g., for Linux, Unix and Windows). Lead developer Andrew Bartlett, whose work is heavily underwritten by Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat Inc. was working on Samba 4, alpha 4, when we chatted a year ago.

  • Business

    • Asterisk renumbers open source VoIP

      The open source Asterisk VoIP PBX is now at its 1.6.x release — it’s a number that Asterisk is going to stay at for a long time. That’s the message that Kevin Fleming, Director of Software Technologies at Digium and co-maintainer of the Asterisk told attendess at the IT360 conference here in Toronto.

      Instead of changing version numbers for each new feature based release, Fleming explained that Asterisk will now put new features into its 1.6.x point release.

    • Reaping the benefits of Open Source

      Similarly, a study done by IIM Ahmedabad found that the Government of Delhi would save almost 80 percent by switching to OpenOffice.org. One important reason for suggesting the switch to Open Office was its support for the Open Document Format, an open standard for office documents, ensuring that needless upgrades of office suites and the underlying hardware would not be forced upon them. The usage of open standards also helped the Government of Delhi avoid vendor lock-in, which invariably reduces negotiation capabilities of the customer and thus contributes to a higher price tag.

    • Yes to Open Source, No to SaaS: Which IT Alternatives Will You Adopt?

      Open source software is the most accepted among five IT alternatives — already in use by 42% of those surveyed — while cloud computing is at the bleeding-edge — in use by 14% of respondents. What’s a bit surprising, however, is that software as a service (SaaS) is on more “not likely to consider” lists (49%) than is the cloud (47%). These are just a few of the findings of our “Attitudes and Priorities” survey, which is based on interviews with more than 300 readers with responsibility for enterprise IT purchases.

    • Using Zenoss infrastructure monitoring software in your data center

      Open source software and widespread instrumentation have lowered the costs of producing IT management software. Open source systems management companies are using the free nature of an open source product, coupled with the cheap distribution the Web enables, to boot-strap their businesses.

  • Mozilla

    • On Rating Mechanisms

      We’re pondering about (online) rating mechanisms for quite a while now. One reason being, that we want to add the ability for users to rate concepts (an idea, mockup or prototype) in the Mozilla Labs Concept Series. The general thought behind this is, that a robust rating system allows good ideas to bubble up – and thus makes them easier to spot.

    • Taskfox Prototype: Ubiquity in Firefox

      As a user experience exploration, Ubiquity has been incredibly successful. Over a million downloads have highlighted the need for the web to be connected more tightly with by the power of task-based interfaces. Due to the passion of users, the user tutorial has been translated into ten languages. Similarly, the thousands of commands written for Ubiquity illustrate a latent desire to be able to write tiny amounts of code that enhance the web in fundamental ways.

  • Healthcare

    • Federal Government Releases Open-Source NHIN Software

      On Monday, the federal government made available for download and public use the software code that will connect organizations to the Nationwide Health Information Network, Modern Healthcare reports.

      The no-cost, open-source software, called Connect, was developed under the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s Federal Health Architecture initiative (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 4/8).

    • Feds take health care open source

      President Obama has made transparency a hallmark of his presidency, with open source an integral part of this pledge. Obama has also expressed a desire to overhaul the U.S. health care system.

      This week those two goals came together this week in Connect, “a(n open-source) gateway between multiple federal organizations and the proposed national health information network,” according to Modern Healthcare.

    • Connect: An Open Source Effort to Improve Healthcare Info Sharing

      The Obama administration is committed to overhauling government spending on technology by adopting open source solutions, and healthcare professionals are increasingly heeding the call of open source. This week brings an important step in empowering healthcare IT organizations to tie into the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN), a federal initiative to facilitate the electronic exchange of health information. The open source inititiative is called Connect.

  • Government

    • IT: Small open source grants involve public bodies and schools

      Small grants can jump-start open source development projects that are useful for public administrations and schools and universities, a grant program in Italy’s Umbria region shows.

      The grant program of Umbria’s open source competence centre (CCOS) in 2008 approved 46 software development projects, out of 82 submitted. CCOS donated in total 235.000 euro.

      Of these 46 projects, 22 resulted in software to be used by schools in the region and 9 created applications for public administrations.

    • HU: Companies puzzled over government’s open source plan

      Hungarian open source service providers are anxious to see the details of the government’s request for open source that it announced last week. “How is the government going to procure software that usually is available for free?”

      The deputy state secretary for IT and e-Government Baja Ferenc announced last Thursday that the Hungarian government is going to increase its use of open source software. He said the government will make 12 billion HUF (close to 41 million euro) available for open source. The tender will be published in a few weeks’ time.

  • Open Data

    • OpenSecrets Moves To ‘Open Data’ Model

      CRP is expecting all sorts of data mash-ups, maps and other cool projects to result from the new capability. Transparency group the Sunlight Foundation helped fund OpenSecrets.org’s OpenData initiative to make millions of records available under a Creative Commons “Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike” license. CRP will continue to offer its data to commercial users for a fee.

  • PHP Programming

Leftovers

  • Digital Rights Management and Access to Information: a developing country’s perspective [PDF]

    Digital rights management systems (DRMs) together with technological protection measures (TPMs) have become a controversial topic of discussion around copyrighted works, particularly since the controversial Sony BMG case. This paper addresses some of the concerns around TPM-enabled digital rights management systems as they apply to and impact on developing countries. It highlights issues such as digital censorship, international support for digital rights management and the current legislation in South Africa relating to digital rights management. It also discusses types of digital rights management systems and how they affect access to information and knowledge, as well as their impact on the public domain and privacy. The paper provides some recommendations and challenges to librarians and educators in South Africa and for librarians in other developing countries, on how to address digital rights management issues in relation to their obligations and mandates to provide users and learners with unrestricted access to information.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • China and ACTA: Why Is The Problem Not Made Part Of The Solution?

      Section 2. Border Measures:
      Under discussion is whether border measures should apply not only to importations (as TRIPs prescribes) but also to export and transit of goods;
      Another possible point of contention is whether travelers can import counterfeit or pirated goods for their personal use (de minimis exception);
      It is no surprise that ACTA tries to solve some of the points, which especially has frustrated the US (which among other reasons brought a claim against China at the WTO: DS 362): measures to ensure that infringing goods are not released into free circulation and the destruction of goods that have been determined to infringe intellectual property rights.

    • A little bit of good news from France

      In Spain, as in France, Italy and all over Europe, local “artists” are very active on the anti-freedom of downloading campaign, attributing the bad economic performances of the European (respectively, Spanish, French, …) movie industry to the use of P2P software and downloading. As everyone knows, before P2P appeared the European movie industries were thriving and their movies were dominanting the world market.

  • Copyrights

    • Questions Raised About Logo Artist Who Was Accused Of ‘Stealing’ From Himself

      There are also some other claims that Engle had absolutely nothing to do with some of the logos that he said he designed. However, as the public scrutiny of Engle’s story is spreading, Engle’s reputation is taking a big hit — showing how the damage done to one’s own reputation by plagiarism can be punitive, even without invoking copyright law. Reputation is a scarce good… destroying it by lying and duping a bunch of folks is going to come back to bite you.

    • RIAA gives thumbs up to France’s three-strike law

      France has passed a law that requires Internet service providers to cut off Web access of customers accused of illegally downloading copyright material multiple times.

      Last Thursday, the French National Assembly passed the “Creation and Internet” law, which implements a graduated response program similar to one the recording industry is asking ISPs in the United States to adopt.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Nelson Pavlosky, Co-founder of Free Culture.org 02 (2005)

Ogg Theora

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

Rainy Weather in Microsoft’s ‘Cloud’ This Week

Posted in Apple, Hardware, Mail, Microsoft at 11:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Weather rain sign

AZURE was down for a whole day not so long ago, but how about this from the news?

Windows Live Hotmail Suffers Temporary Outage

Microsoft has confirmed officially that Windows Live Hotmail suffered a temporary outage, but indicated that the issue was resolved. And indeed at this point in time, the service is up and running with no problems whatsoever. Various users have started reporting not being able to sign in to their accounts, and the fact that they received messages informing them that their inbox was gone.

Oops: Microsoft wonk hits Live Messenger red button

Microsoft has said sorry to users of its Windows Live Messenger service after it sent out a missive yesterday wrongly instructing people to change their email addresses.

Apple is not without its flaws, either. Also in the news:

Apple admits cracked Macbooks

Meanwhile Apple fanboys have been flooding us with cries that Macbook cases should be cracked and in two year’s time Dell will be following the trend.

By “cracked” they mean physical cracks. Apple’s hardware quality is the subject of much debate these days.

Stormy weather

Who is Pumping MSFT and Pimping Microsoft in Twitter?

Posted in Deception, Finance, Marketing, Microsoft at 9:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry.”

James Plamondon, Lead Microsoft Evangelist

Summary: Identity theft, AstroTurfing for Microsoft, or both?

DETECTIVE GOBLIN has just uncovered something quite fascinating.

Microsoft’s Twitter AstroTurf is divided into two kinds:

  1. The type where Microsoft sends those jobs to other companies [1, 2] and people who do this for Microsoft from a distance (similar to pro-Microsoft letters from dead people, courtesy of CAGW, ATL (Jonathan Zuck), and probably DCI);
  2. The type where Microsoft, without disclosure, has its own employees mock competitors like GNU/Linux in Twitter.

Steve Ballmer rides SUSEA few hours ago, one of our readers mentioned his “challenging of a Twitter user called Optionetics.” To tell the story as he told it: “They were promoting Microsoft stock almost exclusively and after further investigation and challenge it transpired that they were actually imposters, using the name of an innocent company to try and appear legitimate. The real company (as a result of my challenge) made a complaint to Twitter and the account has been disabled. Optionetics actually is a Stock market education company and does not give out stock tips ever. I wonder what the imposters motives were for promoting MS stock under a false name? Could there be a nasty shock instore for shareholders when the next set of sales figures are released? Ill let your readers decide what the motives could be.

“It is a serious problem , which is further exacerbated by Microsoft’s ownership of or affiliation with a lot of the American press.”In his analysis of the real Microsoft, Bill Parish wrote about how Microsoft uses major publications to perpetuate its homebred myth of infinite success. It is a serious problem , which is further exacerbated by Microsoft's ownership of or affiliation with a lot of the American press. These points were thoroughly defended before, so further discussion is not so necessary right now.

Microsoft is now evolving in an age where a lot of influence is exerted in the Web. Microsoft is bribing bloggers and gaming all sorts of Web sites because this type of practices are the way Microsoft competes.

For details about this latest revelation about Twitter activity, see this first post containing examples of twits:

For your enjoyment, heres a selection of their “gems of wisdom” from Twitter:

“Stock Tips of the day. MSFT is releasing a new Xbox, Windows 7, cloud computing. Buy in now before the stock goes up! Way up!”

“Microsoft Stores to Include Games, Xbox Goodies, and Software! Investors love this! A hot BUY op!”

“Show your support for #Microsoft by buying MSFT stocks.”

“Secret tech stock that you must own right now. MSFT (#Microsoft)”

“I’m buying MSFT stocks right now. My analysts forecast it at $24.”

And here is the followup.

Now it appears we have an answer, as this comment was left by the real company Optionetics:

Hi all,

Thanks for posting this to the blog. I’m actually with Optionetics, which has done investor education for 15 years.

We NEVER do stock tips and investment advice like @optionetics has done. That’s illegal. We only provide education and tools to teach people how to increase trading profit and protect downside risk.

We’re currently talking with Twitter so we can take back our company name from this impersonator. Thanks for asking the important questions!

We’re just diving into Twitter now as a company. You can follow me at @AKatOptionetics, or http://twitter.com/AKatOptionetics

Aaron

So it appears our Microsoft promoter Optionetics is not all they seem. I hope this matter gets resolved.

We leave it for readers to decide if Microsoft could be involved in this.

Microsoft dirty tactics

Microsoft Pays Ziff Davis to Promote Windows Vista

Posted in Deception, Dell, Finance, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 8:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Ziff Davis, a supposedly objective publisher, is publicly promoting Microsoft products for the company’s dollars

IT IS NEITHER secret nor news that Ziff Davis is in Microsoft’s pocket. We wrote about this a month ago. There are many more examples we could give (e.g. its publication eWeek [1, 2, 3]), but here is a brand new example that a reader sent to us.

Aaron Goldberg's Microsoft sellout

See that last line. This is sent as a newsletter to many people and the take-home message is that Windows Vista is a must for security, even though it's provably terrible for security.

This is yet another case where Microsoft buys Vista coverage and it's already doing the same for Vista 7

Novell’s Roadmap Claimed Similar to Sun’s

Posted in Finance, IBM, Novell, SUN at 7:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Is a reach for takeover likely?

Novell misery

Summary: Analysis of Novell’s financial state and destiny

A RECENT comprehensive survey showed that, based on votes, Novell is the most likely technology company not to survive this year (in its current form), but Sun Microsystems was a close candidate too. It was beaten by Novell by a small margin. Given how close Sun came to being acquired by IBM (how about Novell getting swept up by IBM?), it is not surprising to see a comparison between the two companies. The following new article from Research 2.0 does exactly that:

We’ve looked at a set of proprietary server spending data from enterprise customers and Sun is in the Novell (NOVL) category in terms of technology roadmap, spending plans and vulnerability.

Another research-oriented report about Novell is being marketed right now.

This report presents an in-depth business, strategic and financial analysis of Novell, Inc.. The report provides a comprehensive insight into the company, including business structure and operations, executive biographies and key competitors. The hallmark of the report is the detailed strategic analysis on the company.

Watch what happened shortly after the second Novell (NOVL) downgrade in less than a week. The downgrade pushed it down despite a relatively strong week for other companies. The effect of this downgrade was noted by Bloomberg too.

Novell Inc. (NOVL US) slid the most since March 20, falling 4.9 percent to $3.89. The second-largest U.S. seller of Linux software was cut to “hold” from “buy” at Jefferies Group Inc.

The stock market races upwards while Novell falls.

H&R Block Inc led decliners in the S&P 500 index with a loss of 4.9% followed by losses in Stericycle Inc of 4.1%, in Novell Inc of 3.9%, in Wal-Mart Stores of 3.7%, in Abercrombie & Fitch of 3.5%.

More of the same in Fox:

Novell Inc. (NOVL)
The rare loser in the software sector, NOVL fell 4.1% to end the week, last trading at $3.73 – a loss of 16 cents on the day.

Novell’s future does not look bright.

Did Novell Hijack a Linux Foundation Panel?

Posted in Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED, Videos at 6:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation

Summary: Microsoft enters the Linux Foundation’s event and Novell dominates a panel (40% of which are paid Novell employees)

Novell’s influence inside the Linux Foundation [1, 2, 3, 4] is proving very problematic because Novell is a Microsoft partner and thus it provides Microsoft a ticket to enter. So it was disappointing to find that the Linux Foundation is now inviting a company that was not only found guilty of criminal behaviour a few days ago. Yes, that would be Microsoft. Microsoft is also pretending it's not suing Linux (TomTom) when obviously it is.

For those who think that they saw Microsoft’s darkest of crimes, be patient. We have a lot more of Comes vs. Microsoft exhibits to publish, but time is a constraint as it would require considerable effort to organise, explain and file up to 9,000 of them (some time later this year, hopefully). We have some lists of serious crimes to share and these were never shown and annotated in public.

Speaking of the Linux Foundation and its latest summit, here is an example of a rigged panel where 40% of the panel are — wait for it — Novell employees. To be specific:

Panelists:
Joe Brockmeier – OpenSUSE
Jono Bacon – Ubuntu
James Bottomley – Novell
Dan Frye – IBM
Karsten Wade – Fedora

Novell seems to have quietly hired James Bottomley, maybe in December, and only yesterday the following video made it into YouTube (uploaded by the Linux Foundation’s account).

Ogg Theora

Microsoft would be delighted to find such a panel as it will say not a word about Microsoft’s behaviour. James Bottomley spoke to the Microsoft press over a year ago.

As further proof that Microsoft likes SUSE, here is the latest post from one of our readers, Goblin:

NeoWin reporter impartial? – I SUSEpect not!

[...]

The point I made at the time (and still maintain) is that someone who has used Microsoft products only is hardly in a position to call themselves (IMO) either a tech enthusiast and/or an expert. They are Microsoft product experts in my opinion and as I recently said on another site, you wouldn’t be happy taking your car to a garage that only had experience in one model of car that was different to yours, the same applies to the IT world.

I still have my doubts as to the impartiality of certain reporters from the NeoWin site. Of course this is my opinion so let me place the evidence in front of you, the reader and you can decide for yourself.

[...]

He said “Build my own Linux OS based on my needs is now few clicks away! http://susestudio.com #linux #susestudio #opensuse”

So we hit upon the subject of impartiality again. For those that don’t know, it is my opinion that openSUSE is about the closest thing you can get to a Microsoft approved Linux distro (since “the deal” that Novell and Microsoft signed a few years ago) For those who are not aware of this deal you can find out more information here: http://www.novell.com/linux/microsoft/

A few days ago, someone failed to see why anyone would buy SLES 11.

I expected the SLES install to go a lot more easily than it did. There’s a few weird default settings (such as using a bridged network interface by default, which I couldn’t get to work at all) and the selections of what kind of host to build don’t seem to make a lot of sense, as they typically install the same exact things.

Can Novell still make it somehow?

Well, Novell’s influence in the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit can be seen elsewhere too, e.g.:

At last year’s collaboration summit, Linux kernel contributor and Novell staffer Greg Kroah-Hartman accused Ubuntu of not having contributed enough to the Linux kernel — a claim that the Ubuntu Linux distribution and lead commercial sponsor Canonical have refuted.

Part of the issue comes down to what actually constitutes a contribution. It’s a topic that the Collaboration Summit will address this year in a panel moderated by another Novell staffer, Joe Brockmeier, who is the community manager for the openSUSE Linux distro. Brockmeier will be joined by spokespersons from Red Hat Fedora and from Ubuntu.

Oops. Sean forgot another person who is a “Novell staffer”. How come?

Up until recently, the Linux Foundation’s technical officer was a Novell employee and it continues to show. Here is the new press release which states “The Linux Foundation to Make the openSUSE Build Service Available Through Linux Developer Network.”

This press release is also in Novell’s Web site (alongside press releases about .NET and joint press releases from Redmond).

The openSUSE Project and the Linux Foundation today jointly announced that the openSUSE Build Service will be added to the Linux Developer Network (LDN). The openSUSE® Build Service is the only development platform that enables developers to package software for all major Linux* distributions, and is used to provide transparent infrastructure for the creation of the entire openSUSE distribution. Additionally, the openSUSE Project, a Novell sponsored and community-supported open source project, announced a new release of the openSUSE Build Service with support for compiling for the ARM platform.

There’s more in Trading Markets and some Linux-oriented sites, including Sean’s blog at Jupitermedia, OStatic (the author always covers SUSE stuff), and eWeek.

One of the first announcements rolling out of the Linux Collaboration Summit in San Francisco this morning is the Linux Foundation’s addition of the openSUSE Build Service (OBS) to its Linux Developer Network. The Foundation plans to provide an interface to the OBS via the LDN site to aid developers wishing to package their projects for all of the major Linux distributions.

 

The Linux Foundation (LF) announced that OpenSUSE’s Build Service will be incorporated in its Linux Developer Network (LDN). Claimed to be the only development platform that enables software to be packaged for all major Linux distributions, the OpenSUSE Build Service was released in a 1.6 version that adds ARM support.

This is not good because Novell may be trying to turn a patents-encumbered distribution from Microsoft/Novell into a de facto standard. Its influence at the Linux Foundation must be playing a role.

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