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04.29.09

Links 29/04/2009: Ex-Microsoft Executive Says Microsoft is Doomed, FOSS to Thrive

Posted in News Roundup at 6:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • $100 card converts old PCs into Linux thin clients

    Igel has released an add-in card that enables old desktop PCs to be turned into Linux thin clients on the cheap. The “Igel TC Card” costs $100 and requires a computer to have an available PCI slot and an IDE interface, the company says.

  • Windows 7, Microsoft’s Midlife Crisis?

    Linux and Mac users can rightly point out that many Windows programs can be run on those platforms using WINE or in virtualization technology like that offered by Parallels, but Linux and WINE is not ready for prime time, and Macs are expensive enough as it is without having to buy Parallels and a copy of Windows XP as well.

  • Linux Inside … again

    I’ve given several talks in the last two months about the relationship of Linux to the Smarter Planet initiatives. The key elements to that are the three “I”s: being instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent. This Jeopardy! project is definitely related to the last. To borrow from a slide I use: “How can we take advantage of the wealth of information available in real time from a multitude of sources to make more intelligent choices?”

  • B’ham Native, Ex-Microsoft Exec, Argues For Open Source

    Curtis’ ideas about software are heresy for a former Microsoft Corp. executive. He says the days of proprietary software are numbered and companies like Microsoft are likely doomed — and that free open-source-code software will eventually run the world.

  • XO’s learning software goes walkabout

    Sugar Labs has launched a beta version of its Sugar Learning interface designed to run directly from a USB memory stick.

    The Sugar software was originally created for the OLPC’s XO laptop, and features a circular icon-based interface packed with educational games and software.

  • Kernel Space

    • WiFi cards to offer Linux drivers

      Socket Mobile has joined the trend of offering Linux support for WiFi cards by announcing Linux drivers for its Go Wi-Fi SDIO WLAN cards and modules. The drivers will be offered via a partnership with Embwise, which is porting its SDIOWorx stack to the devices.

    • Regiscope Certifies Digital Check’s TellerScan 215 With Linux Driver

      Digital Check, a provider of desktop check scanners, announced that Regiscope has certified Digital Check’s TS215 scanner with its Linux driver.

  • Applications

    • Announcing VirtualBox 2.2.2 for Linux

      The popular, open-source, virtualization software VirtualBox reached yesterday, April 27th, version 2.2.2. Being a maintenance release, there weren’t any new major features added to it. The following list includes bugfixes and added items that apply to the Linux client:

    • MythTVCast podcast kicks off

      A new semi-weekly podcast concentrating on the building, configuration and running of MythTV has begun. Each one hour episode will cover the ins and outs of building and running your own MythTV system. The first episode of the MythTVCast can be downloaded directly: Episode 00

    • Kontact: The Swiss Army Knife of PIMs

      Kontact is the KDE entry in the groupware client race. It is the proverbial tortoise in a race with one giant hare, but as the race continues, Kontact improves and evolves at a faster pace than any of its competition. Does that mean Kontact is ready to usurp your current groupware client? Probably not, but it is definately worth a long, hard look. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the features it offers.

    • The List: Top 10 FREE Linux Games (Multi-Platform)

      It often gets me when a lot of people say there are no good Linux Games. That depends on what you consider “good” in the first place. Do you like shooters, Real-Time Strategy, or RPG? It all depends.

  • Distributions

    • Lin-X: A Quick Review

      Recently a new Linux distribution was born, called Lin-X. Based off Ubuntu 8.10, and designed to look like Mac OS X, it grabbed my attention.

    • Calculate Linux 9.5 Has Desktops In A Cube

      Calculate Linux 9.5 is provided as LiveDVD, which could be tested into a virtual machine or installed onto an existing computer. It seems to be a promising Linux distribution from the point of view of usability, overall performance, customization options and accessibility.

    • How to choose the best Linux distro for you

      Choice is the best thing about Linux. Without choice, we may as well use an operating system where the developers make those choices for us. As we’ve covered in the past, anyone can create a Linux distribution. If it is different enough, it will survive, but most disappear without a trace. There is a flip side to all this choice however, and that’s finding the time to find the perfect distribution for you. You really need to try several before setting on the one you prefer, and downloading, installing and testing a Linux distribution takes a lot of time.

    • Ubuntu 9.04 vs Zenwalk 6.0: performance

      I know that Ubuntu and Zenwalk should not be compared because there are a lot of differences between them. Ubuntu uses gnome and Zenwalk xfce. Xfce is more lightweight than gnome and Zenwalk tries to be a lightweight distribution.

      [...]

      The difference between Ubuntu and Zenwalk as far as performance goes is pretty small which is really a surprise, everyone says Zenwalk is much faster that Ubuntu.

  • Mandriva

    • Which KDE 4 Distro for my Laptop?

      So, as Mandriva Spring 2009.1 final is about to release, I give the tip my hat to them (providing no show-stoppers show up at the last minute), particularly for newbies, over Kubuntu Jaunty.

    • Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring Installfests

      Mandriva rallies the community of Linux users in many cities across the globe on June the 13th, 2009.

      In order to bring Linux to new users and present the new features and technologies available in Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring , Mandriva is mobilizing

  • Red Hat

    • Fedora 11 Preview

      The Fedora 11 Release Candidate is expected to be available on the 12th of May while the final release is scheduled for May 26, 2009. The Fedora 11 Preview release announcement along with links to their Torrents can be found on the Fedora announcement list.

    • Learning from F11-Preview
    • Preview of the Fedora 11 Linux distribution with new update function

      Following the one week delay in releasing the one and only beta in late March, today’s ‘Preview Release’ of Fedora 11 sees the Fedora Project back on schedule. The development team plan to produce release candidates in two weeks time, before finally releasing the eleventh version of the Linux distribution on 26th May.

    • What I’ve learned from Fedora.

      As important as each of these three distributions are, none would be complete without features, innovation and talent involved in creating the other two. As a result of the hard work of the developers and communities surrounding these three distributions, we are able to have and enjoy many different Linux distro’s, large and small, general and specified, free and non-free. We have a choice, and that choice, regardless of what distribution you choose is wonderful.

      My choice from now on however, is Fedora.

    • Call for submissions: Innovation Awards and RHCE of the Year

      It’s that time of year again–the Red Hat Summit and JBoss World are fast approaching, and with them, Red Hat’s annual awards ceremonies. But first, we need nominations. And for that we appeal to our customers, readers, partners, and friends. That’s you.

    • History (and Releases) Are Cyclical: This is Fedora 11!

      The Fedora Project is rolling out some impressive new features and functions with Leonidas. One of the most notable is the use of ext4 as the default file system (while many distributions are planning on making ext4 the default in the near future, some recent releases have chosen to keep it optional this time around). The Fedora team says that aside from ext4 performance enhancements, Leonidas users will be treated to faster boot and shutdown procedures, an automatic font, codec and clipart installer, and the DeviceKit device management tool designed to work with (and sometimes stand in for) hal. Fedora 11 users can also look forward to updated versions of the KDE, GNOME, and Xfce desktop environments, improvements in direct rendering, and better volume control and power management tools.

  • Ubuntu

    • Ubuntu’s Koala food hits open-source supermarket

      After hitching a ride on the new Ubuntu, Eucalyptus has followed the Koala-fixated Linux distro into the world of commercialized open source.

      Today, the creators of the open-source cloud compute platform announced the formation of Eucalyptus Systems Inc., a Santa Barbara, California-based company that will float private clouds for high-flying businesses and fluff them as needed. Using the same API as the much-hyped Amazon Web Services, the Eucalyptus platform provides a means of mimicking Amazon’s public cloud inside your own data center – but on a (much) smaller scale.

    • Quality Aluminum Ubuntu Stickers

      The stickers are said to be much better than the free cheapos from System76 (hey, you get what you pay for!), with an aluminum base, not paper — see this pic.

    • The Best Place To Buy Ubuntu Case Badges

      About two years ago I went looking through Ebay trying to find a cool sticker/case-badge with the Ubuntu logo on it.

    • Quick and Simple Tips to Personalize your Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

      I’m now on my freshly installed Ubuntu 9.04, like many others out there. I prefered, backing-up, formatting and doing a new install – - all went smoothly. I Immediately noticed that Ubuntu 9.04 is pretty fast at boot-up – - It’s certainly faster than Ubuntu 8.04 LTS.

    • sabdfl speaks: An interview with Mark Shuttleworth

      (12:53:57 PM) jcastro: <Froad_> QUESTION: A new announcement by Microsoft says there will be Open Office support in Office 2007, do you think that one way to gain users is to make Microsoft Adapt to us?
      (12:54:19 PM) sabdfl: Froad_: i’m glad that they will do this, but i hear the support is terrible
      (12:54:29 PM) sabdfl: i think we should rather push harder for open document standards
      (12:54:51 PM) sabdfl: the ISO standards process was embarrassing last year
      (12:55:06 PM) sabdfl: we have this amazing thing – the web – built entirely on an open format
      (12:55:13 PM) sabdfl: and yet .doc lives in the dark ages
      (12:55:35 PM) sabdfl: purely because governments and companies chickened out of demanding that openness
      (12:55:51 PM) sabdfl: if we demand openness, then we’ll get a better long term result

    • Mark Shuttleworth Q+A Part 1: Gnome 3, New Themes, MONO & Peanut Butter On Toast…

      Ayatana is an initiative that spans desktop environments (there are folks there from KDE and GNOME at least, possibly XFCE et al) and I expect us to engage directly with individual upstreams as well as the broader DE’s.

      Notifications will see an evolutionary improvement in 9.10 – that is under discussion on the Ayatana list as will the messaging menu. Those discussions are all public so please join in!

      There are some other new features that we are working on for partners, they will be open source when they release and go into the next version of Ubuntu. More on those in the announcements in due course!

    • Comux 010010

      I see a jackelope and i want to paint it brown?

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Verizon May be Getting on the Android Bandwagon

        So far this carrier has shown little interest in Google’s efforts to bring Linux to mobile devices. It’s even a member of the rival LiMo Foundation, which is working on its own Linux-based operating system for phones.

      • Android-Based G1 Is T-Mobile’s Bestselling Device

        The G1 will also get a software update in May. The “Cupcake” upgrade, or Android 1.5, will give users a touch-screen keyboard as well as the ability to record and play video among other features.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • ARM claims many design wins in battle with Intel

        ARM, Morris said, would be looking to exploit the plethora of new operating systems and User Interfaces (UI) cropping up for little laptops of late, including Google’s Android and Xandros Linux. Of course Intel hasn’t exactly been laying back on its laurels either, with the firm chipping away at its own Open Source Moblin Linux project for MIDs and mobile devices.

      • 24 Open Source Apps for the ASUS Netbook

        While ABI believes that those “inexpensive operating systems” (i.e., Linux) will be the norm on netbooks by 2012, it hasn’t happened yet. In fact, three out of four netbooks sold last year shipped with Windows installed

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Jobs: Olliance Group is Growing
  • Change Impress to improve all of OOo

    If a proposed new concept works for Impress (that means that it stands up to the tests and usability evaluations in the prototyping phase of Project Renaissance) then that concept will be adopted for ALL of the office suite!

  • OSA Alert Industry Interview – Open Source: The Only Viable Business Model

    The term “exonovation” corrects a misfeature of the English language. The term “innovation” makes one think of things that happen within the walls … inside the organization. Indeed, a lot of organizations think of innovation as a core capability. However, in a book that was published in 2005 by John Hagel and John Seely Brown called “The Only Sustainable Edge,” they argued – I think very effectively – that the real excitement in the new world economy comes from the relationships that company build at the edges. The real B2B relationships. The term “exonovation” makes it clear that the interesting new comes from outside, not inside an organization.

  • Apache

  • Healthcare

    • Open Source electronic medical record Medscribbler is released

      Scriptnetics, the leader in Tablet computer mobile healthcare applications, announced today its release of the proprietary source code for the Medscribbler electronic medical record, EMR, to the open source community. Installable components and the code for programmers are available at the globally recognized open source portal, Sourceforge.net.

    • Rockefeller makes support for open source explicit

      While introducing his bill Rockefeller did not mention Medsphere, whose software is installed at many state hospitals. Instead he focused on the Veteran Administration’s VistA system, and the NHIN-Connect system for linking medical records installed by Harris Corp., which includes a lot of open source software from Sun.

    • HITS beyond: Rockefeller’s bill would boost open-source EHRs for rural use
    • Open Source Mobile Technology Software Reinventing Health Care in Developing Countries

      Merging his expertise in the areas of computer science, medicine and public health with his business partner’s background in technology, spurred the development of a sustainable mobile software tool to aid in disease surveillance and the collection
      of public health data in developing nations. Officially established as an electronic data collection standard by the World Health Organization, Selanikio’s EpiSurveyor is now the most widely adopted open source mobile health software in the world.

    • EpiSurveyor and the Call For Open Source Mobile Healthcare Applications

      The announcement also points out that in developing parts of the world where laptops and computers are less prevalent, mobile devices such as cell phones are still in wide use. EpiSurveyor is being especially widely used in Africa, but is also in use in Indonesia and many other parts of the world. Interested parties can download it here, and also download a manual for it. There are also videos showing field tests of EpiSurveyor.

  • Asia

    • Global open source: India ranks 23rd

      France is the leading open source stalwart, followed by Spain, Germany, Australia, Finland, and the U.K. In the Western Hemisphere, the U.S. leads with a 9 ranking, while Brazil is right behind at 12, and Canada trails at 28.

    • Filipino open source developer Morph Labs plans to capture SMEs

      Filipino open source software developer Morph Labs is looking forward to capturing the mid-sized enterprise market globally when it goes full blast with its launch of on-demand CRM (customer relationship management) in May.

  • Business

  • Funding

  • FSF/GNU

    • Episode 0x0C: Patently False

      Karen and Bradley discuss the intersections of software patents with FLOSS licenses. They give a general overview of how patents generally interact with FLOSS, and then discuss the patent provisions of specific FLOSS licenses.

  • Government

  • Open (But No Source Code)

    • Carbon Mountain Unveils Open Source Unified Computing Solution – inVrastructure

      Carbon Mountain, an open source startup company, recently unveiled a new Open Source Platform called ‘inVrastructure’, which is a unified computing solution that facilitates in building next-generation data center solutions ideal for implementing private clouds as well as migration of existing IT deployments.

    • CK-12 Foundation’s Neeru Khosla on Open Textbooks

      We are very excited about the opportunity that the OER community has in this financially stressed out time. To quote Paul Romer, “Crisis is a terrible thing to waste”; this is the time for us to bring OER into the main stream. We typically don’t talk about our future plans; as we believe in getting it done, rather than talk about it.Our Virginia FlexBook project is the first stepping-stone, and we are working with various governmental agencies both in Federal and different State levels to make our mission successful.

  • Firefox

Leftovers

  • Brits Back Away From ‘Big Brother’ Data Storage Plan

    The government said in October it was considering a central database of phone and Internet traffic as part of a high-tech strategy to fight terrorism and crime.

    However, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said Monday the plan had been dropped.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Foolish Phorm

      Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. “Smear campaign” – not much constructive engagement there with your critics there, is there? And what on earth are “privacy pirates”? People who steal privacy? Er, wouldn’t that be Phorm?

      And if you have any doubt that Phorm is totally clueless about how to deal with the criticism it is receiving over its activities, you only have to notice the “Get the Facts” button attached to the alleged instances of “smears”: didn’t they notice the blanket ridicule that was poured on Microsoft’s similar attempt to spin?

      And what might those “smears” be?

    • EU reaches draft deal over Internet spat

      The European Union has reached a draft deal to resolve a spat holding up a sweeping reform of the bloc’s telecom sector, lawmakers and diplomats said on Tuesday.

    • New EU Council threat to Internet users rights
    • Phorm and the Home Office: cold comfort to citizens

      You’ll probably have read today that leaked emails have shown that the Home Office worked with Phorm to offer advice that would give “comfort” to their investors. We condemn this approach to law enforcement: the Home Office’s job is to uphold the law: not to reinterpret it for commercial interests.

  • Copyrights

    • As Sarkozy Pushes Three Strikes, He Pays Up For His Own Copyright Violations

      Now, you might hope that this would cause Sarkozy to rethink his stance on copyright infringement. Instead, it looks like his political party has simply agreed to pay up and make the issue go away, while still pushing for the three strikes law. It sounds like they paid about 30,000 euros, which is a lot more than the single euro that Sarkozy’s party initially offered (yes, seriously). No word on whether or not this counts towards the number of strikes on Sarkozy’s internet connection.

    • RIAA settles for $7,000 after 4 years pursuing NY mum

      For a while she became something of a poster child for the file-sharing community. In January 2006 an online news service collected money for Santangelo’s defence fund as part of its “Fight Goliath” campaign to help “victims” of the RIAA.

    • Education: where copyrighters and publishers are the pirates

      There has been a lot of buzz around both the guilty verdict and now the judge’s alleged conflict of interest in the trial of the Pirate’s Bay operators.

    • The Pirate Bay verdict goes English, and we dish the dirt

      The Pirate Bay ruling has been translated into English, and it’s full of little surprises. Ars dives in to answer the big questions: who possessed those Klomifen tablets, how much did the state pay to defend The Pirate Bay admins, and why did the backers consider moving to Argentina?

    • Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway (or, the Privatization of the English Language)

      Today I received an email from the lawyers of author Susan Jeffers, PhD., notifying me that I’d infringed on her trademark by inadvertently using the phrase “feel the fear and do it anyway” in my post last week, A Guide to Beating the Fears That Hold You Back.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Natasha Humphries on globalization and job security with Free Open Source Software 13 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

The Big Australian Press: “Microsoft Has Ruled Out Buying a Linux Company”

Posted in Database, Fork, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenOffice, Oracle, SUN at 12:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Correction: the old title mistakenly stated ‘The Big Australian Press: “Microsoft Has Ruled Not Out Buying a Linux Company””. This is an unfortunate error that led to a wrong assumption.]

Gates on SUSE

Summary: Increasing proximity between Microsoft and Novell across publications this week

LAST WEEK, the smaller Australian press suggested that Microsoft might buy Novell. This week, news.com.au cites a top Microsoft executive and here is the summary in bold:

MICROSOFT plans to spend its way out of the recession by developing new products and services but has ruled out buying a Linux company or increasing its stake in Facebook, a senior executive said.

[...]

For now, it doesn’t make sense for Microsoft to acquire a firm that deals in open source-based software such as Linux.

But Microsoft had great partnerships with companies such as Novell through interoperability agreements, he said.

A few months ago, Microsoft admitted that Novell was more or less its GPL labourer. Novell is applying changes to GNU/Linux and Free software so as to advance Microsoft’s goals. In return, Novell receives generous payments from Microsoft. It is therefore quite unnerving to find the following in yesterday’s news:

Oracle-Sun deal renews calls for OpenOffice.org’s independence

[...]

Michael Meeks, a developer at Novell Inc. who is overseeing Novell’s custom branch of the OpenOffice.org software, is more blunt. “We need to fix the deeply conservative, entrenched group think around development process in the project,” he said. “Currently, we have a total mess in this regard.”

Novell has already begun seizing control of the project [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], to which it inserted components that strengthen Microsoft’s position in the market.

This involvement from Novell is something to watch out for. Novell wants to do to OpenOffice.org what Monty wants to do to MySQL, but Novell — unlike Monty — is serving the equivalent of Oracle, which competes against Free software.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Microsoft is aggressively boosting Novell and it already gets things in return. Looking at the news, there is some more new evidence this week.

Last week, Sys-Con (Microsoft's anti-Linux PR or planters), the Redmond/Microsoft press, and IDG [1, 2, 3] all promoted Novell and Microsoft. Now we find a new addition to a Microsoft-bent site bearing the headline/title “Advantages of Building Virtual Appliances on SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server.” In the main branch of the same Redmond publisher we find another article that compares Novell to Microsoft (as well as promotes Novell).

The company is also trying to tailor its program to different categories of partners, and if some of what Novell is doing sounds similar to Microsoft’s current and forthcoming partner efforts, that’s no accident-the recently appointed Hale says he’s taken lessons from Microsoft into his new gig.

More of the same in Sys-Con, which has just published:

This vicinity between Novell and Microsoft makes it hard not to become suspicious. Are any more announcements imminent?

Microvell

“[The partnership with Microsoft is] going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

The Novell (and Microsoft) Factor in US Technology Policy

Posted in Apple, Google, Microsoft, Novell, SUN at 11:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Parliament Budapest

Summary: Another look at who’s invited to the big table

BOTH MICROSOFT and Novell will have a role or at least some impact at a formal, national level. Mundie’s involvement is a subject that we covered yesterday [1, 2], but we wrote not as much about Schmidt’s impact. Sun, Google, and Novell are all places where he worked, so his affinity towards particular companies cannot be ignored. Moreover, one reader tells us: “I make a prediction that they’ll send Mundie to Brussels to try and dilute the current EU Commission case against Microsoft — diluted down so as to be next to useless. Part of the solution will be to have Microsoft appointed to a board to monitor the settlement.” A Google-hostile lady in charge of antitrust was a decent start and it was useful to see just how far back Mundie’s involvement in politics goes. From yesterday’s news:

Mundie first took his expertise into the political arena when President Clinton named him to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee in 2000. Another well-known person in the technology community has also received an invitation. Eric Schmidt is relatively new to the governmental advisory role. He currently is chairman and CEO of Google, but has past alliances with Apple, Sun, and Novell.

Regarding Schmidt, CNET emphasises that:

Eric Schmidt is Chairman and CEO of Google Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of Apple Inc. Before joining Google, Dr. Schmidt served as Chief Technology Officer for Sun Microsystems and later as CEO of Novell Inc.

So, there is also an element of Apple in there. Who is left to represent elements like freedom? Or to echo the suggestion from Glyn Moody, why is Richard Stallman, for example, not invited to influence such panels? Who are these panels for anyway? Are they for America’s largest corporations or for American’s very many people? Remember who received an almost-exclusive access to the ACTA, which Obama explicitly refused to reveal (he declined a call).

Microsoft-funded Media Player to Become Ubuntu’s Default?

Posted in DRM, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, TomTom, Ubuntu at 6:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“This is not a case of some accidental, unknowing infringement. There is an overwhelming number of patents being infringed.”

Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft Vice President

Summary: Mono/.NET enthusiasts start pushing Novell’s Banshee into the next Ubuntu

AS NOTED two posts ago, Microsoft is — in essence — paying the wages of a lot of Novell developers. What is the return on this Microsoft investment? Microsoft is neither a charity nor a promoter of GNU/Linux.

“What is the return on this Microsoft investment? Microsoft is neither a charity nor a promoter of GNU/Linux.”Users may not notice this, but working behind the scenes are some people whose obligation seems to be infection of every distribution with the equivalent of Microsoft’s FAT. Whether deliberately or not, they put GNU/Linux distributions in a sensitive position. There are now attempts to push the Novell(Microsoft)-sponsored Banshee right into the heart of Ubuntu, as the default media player. What next? Windows DRM? This is problematic for reasons we've been through before.

Mono advancers are kindly asked to refrain from personal attacks which they have been spreading around the Web because they can’t defend Mono (the technical arguments) and they still refuse the address the trivial TomTom question.

Monkey's skull

Film Director Blasts Microsoft for Exploitation

Posted in Microsoft at 5:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“This anti-trust thing will blow over. We haven’t changed our business practices at all.”

Bill Gates, 1995

Summary: James Gunn, who worked for Microsoft, talks about how Microsoft back-stabbed him

ONE of our readers has mailed us this gem from the lesser-covered news outlets:

“Microsoft/XBox was by far the most dreadful, non-talent friendly company I’ve ever worked for,” claims director James Gunn following his experiences with the company’s “Horror Gone Comedy” video series.

Gunn, who is most notable for writing the two live-action Scooby Doo films, signed on to create a video for Microsoft, “for, essentially, no money,” based on the idea that he would have complete creative freedom. According to a post on Gunn’s blog, it didn’t quite work out like that.

Bungee said pretty much the same thing about Microsoft’s treatment of talented people and those in Ensemble Studios and even Flight Simulator (now grounded) probably realise that priorities at Microsoft are improperly set.

Microsoft’s gaming side — apart from losing billions of dollars — has a track record of mistreating people. Microsoft sacked a key XBox employee for telling the truth and potentially saving lives this way (turns out he he was right). Microsoft also mistreated a gay XBox employee and customers.

Is it possible that Microsoft simply attracts sociopaths?

“Do you feel like you’re screwing a porcupine and you’re one prick against thousands?” the OSCON audience member asked Ramji. Ramji politely replied: “It takes time to change and I knew that I’d be unpopular when I took this job…”

Microsoft: Not worried about open source patents

Hewlett-Packard: You Will Pay Microsoft for Any Laptop You Buy

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat, SLES/SLED at 5:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Refreshing ice cream
Illusion of choice

Summary: Hewlett-Packard supports and offers only the Microsoft-taxed version of GNU/Linux to prospective users

H-P is repeating its older mistakes. For a little bit of background (as this has become repetitive) see:

It’s a little similar when it comes to Dell, albeit nowhere as severe. H-P is still playing for Microsoft and now it gives an illusion of choice, whereby Microsoft gets paid no matter what operating system the buyer chooses.

Reuters was probably first with this report which soon circulated.

The ProBook offers users a number of new features, including an optional Linux-based operating system pre-installed — Novell Inc’s SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 — for those seeking an alternative to the dominant Microsoft Corp Windows platform.

This was also covered in some other sites which neglect to mention the fact that SLE* 11 is a Microsoft-taxed distribution, which is obviously filled with Mono and other Microsoft-like software.

According to InfromationWeek, this is unprecedented for the following reason:

The laptops are available with Windows Vista, which can be downgraded to Windows XP. In addition, buyers can choose Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 as an alternative to the Microsoft platform. It’s the first time HP has offered preinstalled Linux on a mainstream business laptop.

OStatic claims:

Notably, HP is offering SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 as an operating system choice on the ProBooks, in addition to Windows Vista and XP. HP’s arch-rival Dell is also continuing to ship portable computers with Linux installed, and is seeing many users satisfied with Linux. Can Linux remain a fixture on portable systems?

But this is not “Linux”, it’s Ballnux. It’s what Microsoft wants GNU/Linux systems to become — just another cash cow for Microsoft. Even if one erases and replaces SUSE, the Microsoft tax still exists; and moreover, support from H-P is probably then voided.

“Novell takes the role Microsoft requires and segregates the crowd (“legal” versus “illegal”).”To Microsoft, SLE* is to be used where Windows has already lost for sure (e.g. mission-critical Red Hat servers or GNU/Linux desktop loyalists), so they try to shove SUSE in these niches. Then, they indoctrinate the public, call vendors like Red Hat “patent pirates”, and try to fill that area with ‘IP’-riddled SUSE.

If there is anything to be learned from the copyright cartel, it is that their common strategy (e.g. more recently against a book reselling Web site) goes like this: they first call it something evil, then they attack, and they also offer a so-called ‘legal’ remedy (like SUSE in this case, offering “peace of mind”).

Microsoft is essentially trying to change the rules of the market it competes in. It’s basically Microsoft spin to the extreme. Rather than describe its practices as inherently anti-competitive it daemonises GNU/Linux, describing it as some kind of a “criminal”/”thief” and then attacks it. Novell takes the role Microsoft requires and segregates the crowd (“legal” versus “illegal”).

One of our regulars who agrees said that he “meant to focus in on that particular point. The idea that Novell — who relies on the Microsoft vouchers entirely — to remain profitable is going to act in any way that Microsoft does not want is ludicrous.”

We did some rough calculations to arrive at an estimate that Microsoft paid Novell’s wages for half a year about 8 months ago. That’s how dependent Novell has become.

“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

Mandriva Sets the Record Straight: No Microsoft Impact

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mandriva, Microsoft, Mono, Patents at 4:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mandriva

Summary: Mandriva clarifies (again) that it is in no way involved in/a victim of Microsoft’s patent racketeering scheme

A GOOD NEW release of Mandriva will be out very soon and the company has just set the record straight after some question arose due to Manbo.

The short story is that Mandriva and Microsoft have nothing whatsoever to do with patent deals. It is reassuring to learn this from the following new update.

Adam has already unofficially dismissed rumours on François’ part, but still I feel like pointing out the obviousness everybody with some real knowledge of Mandriva should’ve spotted..

Let’s summarize arguments against silly speculations about Mandriva wanting to consider any Microsoft deal seen from my perspective:

1. Mandriva is europe based, not such big pressure in the ~only location where such agreements would hold much relevance

2. Mandriva has no proprietary components with any concerns of Microsoft

3. ALL of Mandriva’s software published is free and has been released under the GPL, proprietary software is none of Mandriva’s concerns, only proprietary software relationships is through partners

It is important to keep Mono out of Mandriva at all costs. Novell’s interference in GNU/Linux makes it increasingly hard and when I attempt to install certain software under Mandriva (even in KDE) it insists on installing Mono where it has become a dependency. It might be worth removing from the repository all software that somehow got tainted by Mono. There are many superb substitutes anyway.

“At Microsoft I learned the truth about ActiveX and COM and I got very interested in it inmediately [sic].”

Miguel de Icaza

Eye on Microsoft: Still Busy Breaking the Internet

Posted in Microsoft at 3:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

High voltage

Microsoft Hotmail blocking GMX mail for some in Europe

Some European customers of the free GMX Mail service have been reporting ongoing problems with GMX Mail-Hotmail interoperability.

eBay restricting Webslices to MSIE users, trashing Firefox users

Again, I have no idea if this is made on purpose or not. If it is, it’s a true scandal. If it’s not, and given the fact the Webchunks extension to Firefox is freely available, it’s a shame. Please note that the embedded JavaScript shows no error or related warning… Please also note that if you use a UAString-switcher in Firefox, the result remains the same; that’s why I think the client-sniffing is client-side and based on window.external.* MSIE extensions. I hope that eBay is going to fix this as soon as possible, because banning Firefox users seems to me a stupid and counter-productive idea…

Analyst: Yet Another Microsoft-Yahoo Scenario

In a report Tuesday, Cowen & Co. Analyst Jim Friedland handicaps the different iterations of possible Yahoo-Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) deals in light of the dismal performance of Microsoft’s online-services unit last quarter. The most likely scenario, according to Friedland? No deal at all. But if a deal does take place, Friedland puts his bets on an arrangement which he first floated last October in which Microsoft would trade its online services business and possibly cash for a stake in Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO).

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