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Links 24/04/2009: New Acer Ubuntu Nettop; New Wine

Posted in News Roundup at 7:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Top engineer gives vision for Chinese chips

    Godson will not compete with Intel and AMD for the x86 market since its chips have a MIPS core that does not support Windows. Its creators see the chip as an alternative that could be widely marketed on systems running Linux.

  • America Needs a Renaissance

    And who is taking our place? Three of the nationalities mentioned as producing prominent engineering talent are Chinese, Indian, Russian. Now, keep those three countries in mind. Let’s take a look at a possible indicator, by checking Google Trends for keyword ‘Linux’, discovering who in the world has Linux on their minds enough to search for it.

  • Long-haul radio offers open Linux platform

    Satel announced a “smart radio modem” for long-distance industrial radio communications networks, combining TCP/IP functionality with a Linux development platform. The Satellar Digital System is based on an ARM9 processor, offers a modular design, and has a range of over 10 to 20 kilometers, says Satel.

  • ‘New’ Siemens gets channel religion

    The company will have to work hard to overcome Siemens’ traditional direct sales focus, but Garland has said all the right things. For example, he wants a limited number of good UC VARs to move its Linux-based OpenScape Unified Communications Server product and is willing to pay fatter margins to attract them — perhaps away from Microsoft, Cisco, Nortel, Avaya and other UC competitors.

  • Acer Ubuntu nettop to get quiet storage switch

    Acer’s Nvidia Ion-based micro desktop PC, Revo, will go on sale in the UK on 5 May, with Ubuntu Linux among the available operating systems.

  • The year of the fall of the Windows desktop

    I approach Linux and most software from a technicians point of view. Does it meet the needs that are needing a solution? How well does it meet those needs?

    What type of environment will the OS and software we are looking at or need to look at, be running in?

    It is the needs and outcomes that determines the tools we should use, not public opinion or juvenile one-upsmanship.

    In one situation, we may find that due to financial resources and the intended use by the user, Linux will work just fine and in that case, go right ahead and use it.

  • Kernel Space

    • Again, We Have Another New NVIDIA Driver

      Last month there were five Linux driver releases from NVIDIA and we have already seen quite a few this month, but just days after releasing the 180.51 Linux driver, they have pushed out another new release. This time around NVIDIA released a new beta in the 185 series, which is called 185.18.04.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Gnome 3.0 – General Sociological Research

      This research aims at finding the needs, and practices of users of Gnome 2.x. Analyzing that data will give the Gnome Usability Team very precious information that will shape up the form of Gnome 3.0.

    • Sugar

      • Sugar on a Stick

        Sugar Labs offers ubiquitous access to Sugar in a USB (Universal Serial Bus) flash memory drive (stick). The Sugar on a Stick project (still in Beta) gives children access to their Sugar on any computer in their environment with just a USB memory stick. Taking advantage of the Fedora LiveUSB, it’s possible to store everything you need to run Sugar on a single USB memory stick (minimum size 1GB). This small USB device can boot into the Sugar learning platform on different computers at home, at school, or at an after school program, bypassing the software on the those computers. In fact, Sugar on a Stick will work even if the computer does not have a hard-drive. With Sugar on a Stick, the learning experience is the same on any computer: at school, at home, at the library, or an after-school center.

      • First taste: Sugar on a Stick learning platform

        Sugar Labs has announced the first beta release of Sugar on a Stick, a self-contained Sugar environment that is distributed as a live USB image. It can boot on conventional desktop computers from a 1GB thumb drive.


        The beta includes several new activities, such as the InfoSlicer tool, which can be used by teachers to assemble bundles of Web content that can be edited and packaged for offline use. The beta also includes a new integrated IRC client and a command terminal.

  • Distributions

    • A Dream Distro, looking from a noob’s perspective

      Catch any Tom, Dick and Harry and ask him “What is Linux?”. What is the answer you expect? The result I get is “Linux is the opium of the geeks”. The image which they have of Linux is people sitting in front of black and white screen typing some obsecure characters and the computer replies back with even more weird results.

    • Jargon Jam – Distro

      You could go out yourself and get the Linux kernel, combine it with the GNU toolchain, a desktop environment and all the other things required to make a full system; but realistically not many people have the time, skill, patience or desire to do that. That’s why it’s good have distributions like Red Hat, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Debian, Slackware and many many more. This is what people usually mean when referring to different “flavours of Linux”, the different distributions.

    • Debian Kernel Has No Proprietary Firmware

      Debian developer Robert Millan is offering an alternative kernel for Debian’s Lenny free Linux distro. Unlike the standard Lenny kernel, it contains no proprietary firmware.

    • How Long Until There Is A Linux Distro Focused On Social Media?

      If you check out DistroWatch.com you will see hundreds of Linux distros available. They’re not all widely known, as some are for specialized purposes. You’ll find some that are just for servers and others that were created for a specific task. There are distros out there for just about every purpose you can think of.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva/Ulteo

      • Dropbox for Mandriva 2009 and 2009.1

        This should work on any recent version of Mandriva, but specifically on 2009 (current) and 2009.1 (cooker).

      • Ulteo Expands Open Virtual Desktop; Brings Linux and Windows Apps to the Same Desktop

        The Ulteo OVD is licensed under the GPL v2 and incorporates, by default, a number of familiar open source applications, including OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird and Pidgin.

      • Ulteo release Open Virtual Desktop

        Ulteo, founded by Gaël Duvall, founder of Mandrake Linux (now Mandriva), and Thierry Koehrlen, had previously launched a version which only supported Linux application servers, but did allow for central management of the applications available on users desktops. A full list of features and an installation guide are available. OVD is licensed under the GPL2.

    • Red Hat

      • Available Now: New Fedora 10 Re-Spins

        The Fedora Unity Project recently announced the immediate availability of a new set of Re-Spins for the Fedora 10 Linux distribution. The new ISOs, based on the official Fedora 10 (Sulphur) installation media, include all the updates released until the 14th of April and are available in a stable state for the i386 and x86_64 architectures. There is also an ISO available for PPC processor architectures, but it is still marked as UNSTABLE by the Fedora Unity Project – users are welcomed to test it out and provide feedback.

      • Fedora Unity Releases F10 Re-spins
    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Server: Canonical Launching Training Across 12 Countries

        After Canonical launches Ubuntu 9.04 on April 23, the company will play an encore by launching a series of training courses — for Ubuntu Server Edition and even cloud computing. Here’s the scoop, only from The VAR Guy.

      • Canonical Partners Launching Ubuntu Server Training

        After Canonical launches Ubuntu 9.04 on April 23, the company will play an encore by launching a series of training courses — for Ubuntu Server Edition and even cloud computing.

      • Building Private and Hybrid Clouds with Ubuntu 9.04

        The new Ubuntu server distribution includes two complementary cloud tools, OpenNebula and Eucalyptus, so providing the technology required to build the three types of Cloud architectures, namely private, hybrid and public clouds.

      • Jaunty Jackalope hops onto scene with GNOME 2.26, new features

        Ubuntu is beginning to make considerable progress in the server space. The 9.04 release brings a few noteworthy improvements to the Ubuntu server edition that could help to further accelerate Ubuntu’s growth on servers. It offers a first look at the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud stack, which leverages the Eucalyptus project to to provide software infrastructure that will enable companies to build their own self-hosted computing clouds. Ubuntu 9.04 server edition is also officially supported on Amazon’s EC2 service.

      • Ubuntu 9.04 as slick as Windows 7, Mac OS X

        Looking back to the genesis of Ubuntu 9.04 six months ago, I suspect that its subtle but powerful changes are due to the new user interface team that Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth said at the time he would put in place. If so, that team has already earned its paychecks and even more, and we’re looking forward to seeing what another six months of development will produce.

        In the meantime, kudos to Ubuntu 9.04: you got game.

      • Some interesting firsts for cloud OS

        One thing that seems clear in cloud computing right now — the combination of operating system, hypervisor, clustering, applications and other cloud infrastructure components in the mix is creating some interesting competition. We’ve written before about the fight over the OS role and its relevancy as hypervisor vendors race to cover the OS parts, OS vendors race to cover the hypervisor parts and so on. We’re now seeing a similar battle in cloud computing, where open source looms large, as other vendors step up to the opportunities.


        In terms of the ‘first cloud OS,’ I think Ubuntu Linux vendor Canonical may beg to differ. The company’s Ubuntu Linux is already a popular choice for cloud deployment thanks to its free availability and lack of licensing royalties that can quickly cancel out cloud cost advantages. With its latest release this week, Ubuntu 9.04, Canonical is doing more to back this cloud deployment of Ubuntu.

      • Announcing the Ubuntu Gaming Team

        In recognition of the value of FOSS gaming, the Ubuntu Gaming Team has been formed of mutual benefit to Ubuntu and FOSS gaming. As of today, the team is now open for anyone to join and participate in. Working towards improving FOSS games and developing its community will turn a significant barrier against Ubuntu adoption into an appealing reason to switch.

      • Four Simple Features That Set Ubuntu Apart

        I had to set up a Fedora 8 machine recently. The installation process was simple enough, but configuring the system reminded me of several simple features that I take for granted when using Ubuntu, but which, when absent, make the user experience significantly more daunting. Below are four of the features that provide an extra boost of user-friendliness to Ubuntu.

      • Using The Nouveau Driver In Ubuntu 9.04
      • Review: Ubuntu 9.04 Takes A Swipe At Microsoft

        Linux continues to entice previous Microsoft stalwarts with its increasing ease of use and the willingness of hardware vendors to produce compatible drivers. Ubuntu is one of the more mainstream Linux distributions, especially with the backing of commercial sponsor Canonical. With Canonical’s partner program, Ubuntu is poised to be a serious alternative as both a server and desktop operating system to Microsoft.

      • Jaunty Quickies

        So far, I’m sold to Ubuntu 9.04, because I have to use something on my Acer laptop and, you’re right, XP is boring.

      • Ubuntu 9.04 frankenreview

        It’s official: Ubuntu has taken over the Linux world. On Digg’s Linux/Unix section at the time of writing, four of the top five upcoming stories are about Jaunty (with the other one being a TuxRadar story on programming the Arduino – w00t!). In fact, 11 of the top 15 are about Ubuntu, which is astonishing in a week where Oracle gobbled up OpenOffice.org and MySQL and the first full release of the hotly hyped Ulteo came out.

    • New Releases

  • Devices/Embedded

  • Events

Free Software/Open Source

  • Sun mates MySQL with more iron

    With the preview of the MySQL 5.4 database coming out this week at the MySQL Conference and Expo in Santa Clara, you would have expected Sun Microsystems to be talking up the integration of its systems, storage, operating system, and database even if Oracle hadn’t come along to buy the company on Monday.

  • Midgard2 9.03.0RC2 released

    The Midgard Project has released the second Release Candidate of Midgard2 9.03 “Vinland” – the new generation of the Midgard content repository.

  • BIND 10 starts development

    The Internet Systems Consortium has announced that it has received enough support from sponsors to launch the BIND 10 project, to create a replacement name server for BIND 9. BIND 9 began its development in 1998 and is the most widely used DNS server software on the Internet. Among the sponsors are the UK’s Nominet and Germany’s DENIC.

  • Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: New Features in Postgres 8.4

    The roller coaster announcements coming from Oracle and Sun this week have a number of people questioning the fate of MySQL. While the GPL’d database probably isn’t going anyplace soon, now might be a good time to remind yourself that alternatives to MySQL do exist. And that some, in the case of PostgreSQL, are incredibly feature-rich.

  • results of automated tests for OOO310m10

    Automated testing of recent OOO310_m10 builds is finished. All Cat0 tests were run on English builds by automation team and have been completed. Unfortunately a fix in automated tests resulted in some problems on Solaris Sparc only. This issue #101240 was already fixed in CWS automation310g and results should be cleaned up for next RC OOO310m11

  • Why do Brits love open source?

    Use of, and support for, open-source software is thriving across the globe, but uptake varies from country to country. To date, the factors that influence adoption of open source are little understood, and market watchers cannot explain why open source is more popular in one country than another.

  • Drupal mentioned in Forbes

    Drupal was mentioned in Forbes as part of an article called “Social networking terms you should know”. Great to see our work being recognized by Forbes. Super!

  • Graphics

  • Business

  • Government

    • Utah rolls out first U.S. open-source disease tracker

      Public health agencies in Utah have deployed what the state calls the first open-source, Web-based infectious disease tracking and management system in the U.S.

    • Mampu aims to adopt open source tech for cost savings

      The Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu) aims to enhance cost savings by implementing an open source software system in all 724 agencies under its management in the public sector by early next year.

      The agency’s deputy director of ICT policy and planning division, Tan King Ing, said Mampu has to date recorded total savings of over RM47mil after the adoption of the open source system in 462 agencies.

    • Reaping the benefits of open source

      Of course, CIOs of enterprises need enterprise-class support. The growing adoption of Open Source in enterprises like LIC, Axis Bank, Central Bank of India, Bharti (Airtel), mission critical portals like Naukri.com, Yatra.com etc. point to the growing support infrastructure for OSS. As users test and deploy OSS, the demand for support is growing immensely.

  • Open (But No Source Code)

    • GLOW – Greater London Open source Writers

      March’s GLOW was a great success. A 200% increase in attendance led to an amusing and invigorating evening discussing open source related matters. Onwards and upwards!

    • Public Domain Ideas

      Public Domain Ideas (PDI) is a place where ideas and inventions can be submitted to the public domain. It’s like open-source software, but for ideas instead of code. Once an idea is submitted to PDI, it immediately goes into the public domain and cannot be patented. That means anyone is free to develop the concept without fear of litigation, and without having to pay licensing fees.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Symphony Thursday: Team Blog on Document Interoperability

      The move of Lotus Symphony to the OpenOffice.org 3 code base, and more importantly, having Lotus Symphony based on the current OpenOffice.org code trunk going forward, is the first step. We will see more pressure for full ODF and OOXML support, not the current OpenOffice.org implementation of ODF or the Office 2007 file formats, over the next 12 to 18 months. We as consumers of these products must demand full support of the file format – not the custom implementations out there today.

    • DORS/CLUC 2009

      Croatia’s biggest annual open source and open systems event (DORS/CLUC) will feature a presentation on ODF (by Bart Hanssens, Fedict) and a talk on OpenOffice.org (by Goran Rakić, OpenOffice.org Serbia)


  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Parliament backs crackdown on illegal logging

      The EU took a step towards taking action against illegal logging yesterday (22 April) when the European Parliament voted in favour of stricter rules on timber sold within the bloc’s markets, including the introduction of sanctions against offenders.

  • Copyrights

    • Why copyright damage limits don’t hurt FLOSS

      There’s a move afoot to argue that copyright infringement penalties should bear a rational relationship to the value of what was infringed. You might think that this could harm Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS), but I don’t think so. Here’s why.

    • Judge in Pirate Bay Case Member of Pro-Copyright Groups

      Sveriges Radio’s P3 news programme has found out that judge Thomas Norström is a member of the Swedish Copyright Association. And who are also members of this group? Henrik Pontén, Peter Danowsky and Monique Wadsted, who all three represented the entertainment industry in the case against the Pirate Bay.

    • Judge In Pirate Bay Case Appears To Have Ties To The Copyright Lobby

      Apparently, he’s a member of a few organizations that work towards strengthening copyright laws, and even holds a board position in one of those organizations.

    • Copyright lobby targets “Pirate Bay for textbooks”

      Finnish book rental service Bookabooka is being threatened by national copyright lobby organization TTVK for running a service the lobby group calls “Pirate Bay for textbooks”.

    • BookaBooka Sent A Cease And Desist Letter From Finnish Copyright Agencies

      The Finnish book renting service targeted at students, BookaBooka, has been sent a cease and desist letter (in Finnish only) by the Finnish copyright agencies claiming that the company is breaking the law. The service has quietly received a lot of attention among students as a place to put your books into use – rent them for a monthly fee.

    • Spanish File Sharing Admin Sent To Jail… Despite Not Breaking The Law

      That’s because Spanish courts have made clear that it’s not illegal to just link to infringing content.

    • Copyright Lawsuit Allowed To Proceed Against YouTube

      A federal appellate court has rebuffed a request from Google’s YouTube to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit on the narrow ground that the plaintiff in the case, videographer Robert Tur, voluntarily withdrew the lawsuit in order to join a pending class-action in New York.

    • Tree huggers will confuse shoppers, says Amazon

      Amazee is a Switzerland-based, social “collaboration website” made for social activists and protestors to organize, promote, and fund their public uprisings and Earth-saving efforts.

    • Joe Biden promises a blank check to the entertainment cartel

      VP Joe Biden stood up in front of a bunch of Hollywood execs and promised to appoint a copyright czar, and furthermore, that this would be the “right” person to protect their interests. I would have voted Dem in the last election, if I got a vote, but make no mistakes: the Dems are the party of stupid copyright laws.

    • Administration Lobbyist Ban Not Doing What It’s Supposed To Do

      We’ve already seen how the Justice Department is, for example, being filled with lawyers who regularly worked with the RIAA, MPAA and BSA — three of the biggest copyright lobbying organizations, and those individuals have wasted no time in expressing their desire to continue pushing those industry’s viewpoints in their new positions.

    • Big Entertainment Wants to Party Like It’s 1996

      1996 is gone, and good riddance.

      In 2009, the world is populated by people who no longer believe that “Thou shalt sell media on plastic discs forever” came down off the mountain on two stone tablets. It’s populated by people who find the spectacle of companies suing their own customers by the thousands indefensible. It’s populated by activists who’ve figured out that the Internet is worth saving and that the entertainment industry is prepared to destroy it.

    • Parliament buckles: copyright extension goes through to Council of Ministers

      Against widespread dissent and controversy MEPs in the European Parliament voted this morning to allow copyright term extension to pass a first reading.

    • File-Sharing Admin Convicted For Crime He Didn’t Commit

      Last week a 22 year-old was sentenced to 6 months jail for running a file-sharing site carrying links to copyright works. On the surface it appeared that court ruled that due to placing advertising on the site, the admin had profited from infringement and therefore committed a crime, but all is not as it seems.

    • Appeals Court Stays RIAA Subpoena Vs. Students
    • Can A Sports Organization Claim Copyright On Stuff You Filmed Yourself?

      A bunch of folks have sent in a story by Rory Cellan-Jones about how YouTube took down a video he had uploaded of 37 seconds of a football (soccer for us Americans) match in the UK he had attended. As he noted, he knew that the football leagues in the UK were angry over their content being webcast, but he thought it was for taking the official stream and rebroadcasting it online.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Natasha Humphries on globalization and job security with Free Open Source Software 08 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

From “Microsoft Religion” to “Mono Religion”

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono at 11:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If Mono is a religion, does it make us infidels?

Monkey see, monkey do
They just won’t listen

LAST YEAR we mentioned Microsoft's "Jihad" talk (the term it uses a lot internally, even Bill Gates). The Microsoft ecosystem is said to be working very closely together and some call it "the Microsoft movement" (a term which is usually used in private conversations). Others even call it a/the “Microsoft religion”, so the following new post hit a certain nerve.

Is Mono a religion or a technology?

I blogged a response to an attack on Gnote yesterday, essentially reitterating my views that Mono is not a safe technology when building Free Software.

Now, I did expect many to disagree strongly with me, and I’m fine with that. What I’m not fine with is the continued personal attacks of the Mono camp against all that oppose it, including myself, the Gnote developers and someone we all owe a lot to, Richard Stallman.

It ought to be added that at least one person in the Mono team is on Microsoft’s payroll.

“Linux is a cult that captures the best-and-brightest kids.”

Jim Gray (Microsoft Research)

The Score: Red Hat Revenue Up 18%, Microsoft Revenue Down, Apple Fires 1,600 Full-time Employees

Posted in Apple, Finance, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Red Hat at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU and Linux

Summary: GNU/Linux leader remains the only one standing (and thriving) despite a tough economy

SOME months ago we wrote about rumours of Apple layoffs and their execution, only to be told off by proponents of Apple. Well, it’s a lot more official now:

Apple retail sheds 1,600 full-time positions


Apple’s retail group shed about 1,600 full-time equivalent workers during its second fiscal quarter.

More in The Inquirer and in Gizmodo:

According to figures that somehow failed to make it into the release of Apple’s latest quarterly financial results, Apple’s retail group shed about 1,600 full-time equivalent workers during its second fiscal quarter.

It remains to be seen whether Microsoft will announce further layoffs [1, 2, 3] after abysmal results [1, 2, 3]. Todd Bishop is now saying that Microsoft profits are down 30% although the accurate number is 32% and the truth may be worse because Microsoft has a history of cooking the books [1, 2] and so do Apple and Novell. Like Apple, Microsoft prefers to keep this a low-profile tidbit and to use euphemisms like “reorgs” or “adjustments” while disengaging with outside contracts, temporary workers, and partners; these are redundancies that Microsoft is not obliged to disclose for the benefit of shareholders.

Patents Roundup: Attack on Science, Lobby for Software Patents in EU and India, More Rebellion

Posted in Asia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO backlash

Summary: Scientists are repressed further by lawyers, so there are new calls to fight back and restore freedom of thought

THIS post is a very quick roundup of stories that are too important to miss, even if most “Linux”/”open source” Web sites totally ignore these peripheral issues.

An Attack on Human Knowledge

Free software is based on a scientific premise. It’s not one of cost; it’s to do with maximising value (measured in terms of productivity), reducing duplication, sharing of ideas, and exchange of output. Over in South Africa, this entire paradigm is under attack at the moment. The culprit? The fiend which is intellectual monopoly rights.

IPR Bill Regulations promulgated – the death knell for open science in South Africa?


The Department of Science and Technology has published the Regulations for the implementation of the IPR Act of 2008. These have serious implications for researchers and the universities and research institutions they work in and even more dire implications for open access and open innovation in South Africa.

I set out below my preliminary reading of what these Regulations might mean.

Another garbled mess of intellectual monopolies is the ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14], whose impact on patents is going to be worse than what we already expect. How do we know? It’s coming straight from the European Commission right now:

The EU Commission is “committed to improve the international legal framework for IP protection” and sees “ACTA as one way to reach that goal,” Devigne said. There was no intention to duplicate TRIPS. Rather, “we want to go beyond it,” he said, adding, “TRIPS is the floor, not the ceiling.”

TRIPS is the element of ACTA which is associated with patents.

Sneaking Software Patents Into Europe, India

“Value your freedom or you will lose it, teaches history.” These were the words of Richard Stallman who added:

‘”Don’t bother us with politics,” respond those who don’t want to learn.’

For those who are interested in the reality, it’s worth paying attention to what happens in Europe at the moment. Mega corporations try to legalise software patents without a democracy and Microsoft happens to be among the those who are guilty of it. The Stop Software Patents Web site has just published details about an upcoming conference in Europe: “Conference on ‘Make software patents work for SMEs’”

The European Commission is organising a conference dedicated to “Make IPR work for SMEs” next Monday in Brussels. You can submit your questions by email to me for next Monday on how to “Make software patents work for SMEs”. I might be interested to submit them.

Patents are never for SMEs. They are for patent lawyers, patent trolls (sometimes the same as lawyers), and monopolists who guard their territories using barriers to thought and ideas, not just implmentations.

Over in India, we are seeing what we already see in Europe. Remember Brimelow and her "as such" trap? In India, rather than “as such”, they have “per se”. A Red Hat employee has just explained what he calls “The ‘computer programme per se’ conundrum.”

Under the foregoing definitions, a claim that merely recites software elements without any reference to hardware is per se unpatentable. If a claim recites both software elements and hardware elements, but the hardware elements amount to nothing more than reference to the components of a general purpose computer on which the software is executed, or an information storage medium in which the software is stored, such that the only possibly inventive aspect of the claim resides in the software elements, then the claim is not patentable.

There is an ongoing attempt to push software patents into Indian law [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]; Microsoft and its partners in India are a major force in this reckless, selfish lobby.

Enough is Enough

More and more groups are rising against this abuse from the patent offices. In the recent protests which took place in Germany, Richard Stallman called the EPO "corrupt" and "malicious". If the EPO stands in people’s way, Stallman argues that we should “get rid of it too.” Joining Stallman in the protests were not only activists against software patents but also protesters from Greenpeace, who are sickened by patents around life and animals. Here is another new article about it.

Monsanto Company, already a world powerhouse in biotech crops, is shaking up the swine industry with plans to patent pig-breeding techniques and lay claim to the animals born as a result.

As we mentioned a few days ago, an Op-Ed in The EETimes called upon engineers to go on a patent strike. Mike Masnick agrees and elaborates:

Basically, his argument is that most engineers recognize how harmful the patent system is, but are pushed into patenting by lawyers and management, and the only way to get the message out is to stop assisting with anything having to do with patents.

It’s time to fight for the right to think and to share ideas freely. There is money to be made by a small minority by creating barriers to sharing (i.e. scarcity) and then selling access. This small minority is rarely engineers and it’s very parasitical, naturally.

“On behalf of the Comptroller it is also said that it would be difficult for a third party to search for prior art programs. This is for two reasons. Firstly there is simply not a body of suitable literature about computer programs which can be searched. Secondly much of the prior art will consist of actual computer programs and the outsider will generally find it impossible to understand how these work without the source code – which is normally kept confidential.” —UKIPO, Bailii: Symbian Limited and Comptroller General of Patents

Microsoft’s Profits Down Sharply, Microsoft’s FUD Up Sharply

Posted in Apple, Finance, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Oracle at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Reaffirmation of Microsoft’s problems comes from its sympathisers; Microsoft FUD ensues

MICROSOFT’S ATTACKS on its competitors are peaking. Apple too is target, but we focus mostly on Free software, GNU/Linux in particular.

Like a cornered animal (with net earnings down 32% [1, 2], as now confirmed even by the pro-Microsoft press), Microsoft turns vicious and merciless. It’s not only suing Linux but it slanders it also. We’ll get to a couple of prominent examples in a moment. But first, regarding the possibility of more Microsoft layoffs [1, 2, 3], Mary Jo Foley wrote about it last night:

1. Are there more layoffs coming, beyond the 5,000 announced earlier this year? One Seattle analyst predicted that there would be. A number of Microsoft employees have been walking on eggshells the past week or two in anticipation that more cuts would be announced, possibly today.

We are aware that Microsoft is encouraging its employees to go to ZDNet and comment sympathetically about Microsoft and here is Mary Jo being told off by some incognito ZDNet commenter for expressing her views amid these hard times for Microsoft.

FUD Machine

To give examples of outright FUD, one of the many publications that are in Microsoft's pocket (almost literally) is MSNBC. Watch how Microsoft may be using this ‘news’ platform to attack Android right now, despite the fact that Android has been doing exceptionally well and Google’s CEO was bullish about it after the good financial report earlier this month. MSNBC’s angle is characteristically Linux- and Google-hostile, so it focuses only on the number of devices running Android. It’s the art of selective statistics. The rebuttal to it would go like: “iPhone too is only one phone, but Android has many phone lined up for release and it already sells well.”

Another new piece of FUD comes from Rob Enderle, who is very close to Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4]. Due to the intimacy between Enderle and Microsoft, it’s not worth linking to his latest slanderous attack on GNU/Linux, but Groklaw has already explained:

In short, this is just FUD, or maybe hopeful dreaming on Enderle’s part, and as written, I’d say it’s going absolutely nowhere.

What next? Enderle has already beaten the SCO drum, then the TomTom drum. Now he opportunistically spins the Oracle deal. This FUD typically comes from Microsoft itself but never directly because it would be bad for PR.

‘”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).’

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Eye on Microsoft: Windows (In)Security in the News

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 5:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Windows Trojan That Infected Over 3.6 Million PCs Evolves with Worm Behavior

One of the top families of malicious code targeting the Windows platform has evolved with the addition of worm behavior, Microsoft warns. According to data made public via the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, the Win32/Vundo Trojan infected over 3.6 million computers in the second half of 2008, and occupies the third position in a malware ranking behind Renos and Zlob. Vundo is a family of malware with various components that are designed to serve victims ‘out of context’ pop-up advertisements following infection. Microsoft warns that the Vundo family of malicious software can also
be used to download and execute arbitrary files.

One bot-infected PC = 600,000 spam messages a day

TRACElabs concluded that Rustock and Xarvester, the latter perhaps linked to the down-and-out Srizbi botnet, are the most efficient spam spewers of the nine bots. Each is capable of sending up to 25,000 messages per hour, or 600,000 per day, and 4.2 million per week.

Updated research of the largest base of real-world vulnerability data

4. Exploitation – Eighty percent of vulnerability exploits are now available within single digit days after the vulnerability’s public release. In 2008, Qualys Labs logged 56 vulnerabilities with zero-day exploits, including the RPC vulnerability that produced Conficker. In 2009, the first vulnerability released by Microsoft, MS09-001 had an exploit available within seven days. Microsoft’s April Patch Tuesday included known exploits for over 47 percent of the published vulnerabilities. This law had the most drastic change from the Laws 1.0 in 2004, which provided a comfortable 60 days as guidance.

The Curse of Windows-powered Sub-notebooks

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 3:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: SJVN calls it “the fall of Microsoft” and attributes much of it to GNU/Linux (mostly on sub-notebooks)

BURIED in the news was this interesting nugget of information which suggests that Microsoft’s UMPC partner could be in its deathbed. The emergence of low-cost sub-notebooks which run GNU/Linux could not have done OQO any good.

Atom UMPC first casualty of OQO money woes?

UMPC maker OQO has canned its latest model, if rumours fed by Twitter tweets are to be believed. It has also been claimed that pre-orders have been cancelled.

Who would pay for a high-end UMPC when far cheaper options exist? And actually, Microsoft suffers from this too. Its net earnings dived 32% and Microsoft will surely blame “netbooks” (it won’t use the “L” word because that would give it publicity), but it’s clearly to do with GNU/Linux, which is killing Microsoft in sub-notebooks (financially). SJVN has just published “The fall of Microsoft,” in which he explains why this is indeed the big fall.

For the stockholders among you that means Microsoft’s diluted earnings per share were down 30% over last year and well below what the 39 the analysts were expecting…


It’s more than [the economy] For starters, I blame Microsoft’s management. They’ve been sloppy and lazy for years now.


…instead of focusing on what Microsoft does well — strong-arming hardware vendors into installing Windows software — he’s been distracted by picking dumb legal fights with open source and buying Yahoo.

Or, considering my low opinion of Microsoft, I guess I should be saying, “Please, please keep Ballmer in charge. He’s the man!”

Another major reason is that Microsoft may own the lion’s share of the netbook market now but it did so by cutting its profits to the bone and beyond. Worse still, if you like Microsoft, this new talk of Windows 7 Starter Edition, which is junkware by any standard, being the Windows for netbooks will alienate customers. Microsoft will have a fit trying to hold onto its current netbooks predominance at changes ripple through this market in the rest of 2009.

According to one person, the “Windows division” brought $2.5bn in profit (out of $2.98bn in total profit). That is 84% of the total profits.  So it’s true that almost all the valuable income still comes from very few products. We already knew this. Judging by the looks of Vista 7, Microsoft’s biggest troubles are still ahead.

“LH [Longhorn] is a pig and I don’t see any solution to this problem. If we are to rise to the challenge of Linux…”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft

It’s Unofficial: Microsoft Pays ASUS (Kickbacks) to Block GNU/Linux. Will EU Commission Step in?

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 3:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Laundered money

Summary: “Microsoft is actually paying for using Windows [...] Asus speaker confirmed this in Germany,” says an informant

According to a German Web site, some are being told that Microsoft has been paying ASUS per sale in order for them to install Windows XP and neglect or exclude GNU/Linux. There are some attempts to find the particular place where an official message from ASUS (probably E-mail) let it be known, right after someone had complained about the absence/price of comparable Eee PC with GNU/Linux. Details from the conversation are added below.

“The European Commission needs to intervene if this is provably true.”Considering the fact that less than a year ago an ASUS official said, “currently, we are closely tied up with Microsoft,” the above makes sense. The European Commission needs to intervene if this is provably true. This would mean that Microsoft is still breaking the law behind closed doors. It breaks the laws in some other areas (OOXML for example), but this area should not be neglected. Kickbacks are almost a euphemism for bribes, especially when you are a monopolist. Intel will soon be fined for it in Europe.

Is Microsoft paying OEMs to deny the entry of GNU/Linux into this market (or its survival there)? Could Microsoft be actually charging nothing for Windows XP on some devices? Not even $5? What about the cost of patents that encumber each copy of Microsoft Windows?

Appendix: Conversation log

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