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05.10.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: May 10th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

Links 10/05/2009: Mother’s Day for GNU/Linux Too, KDE4 Gets Vista 7 Gown

Posted in News Roundup at 7:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Thin Line Between Victim and Idiot

    And if you have to use it at work…I understand. Unfortunately, as flawed as it is, it is still a Windows world. The good news? Slowly but surely businesses across the globe are making the switch. Even those that are not yet Linux companies are letting some employees run their choice of operating systems on their work computers. That choice is Linux.

    Look. Here is the way it is.

    When you buy a new computer, chances are it will have Microsoft Windows on it. That didn’t come free…the price of the computer is jacked up anywhere from $100.00 to $300.00 to pay Microsoft. It’s known as the Microsoft Tax. Microsoft has entered into deals with many of the computer manufacturers to insure that Windows is on about every machine they sell. The kicker here? Those agreements are secret and you and I cannot see them. We’ve written about this before.

    Microsoft has a virtual monopoly on new computer sales.

  • Dealing with a computer that shuts itself down

    One way to tell, is to boot the machine using a Linux live CD. I’ve written before that everyone should have a Linux live CD, this being one of the reasons.

    But, he didn’t have a Linux CD, so I suggested booting to the BIOS setup screen and walking away. If the computer was still running after a while, the problem was with Windows. If it turned itself off again, then it was a hardware problem.

  • Hooked!

    So, I now have three Linux installations. The problem is, I know nothing about Linux.

    But the latest Linux versions have full GUI and great functionality. You don’t feel you are using Linux. What’s more, they are stable, don’t crash and are, more importantly, free.

  • Why Windows users should switch to Linux

    Forget the thousands of school and university students running Linux on their desktops. Forget the nonprofit and charitable institutions worldwide using Linux to power their systems.

    Forget Google, NASA, the US Department of Defense and dozens of global government agencies that use Linux for their day-to-day operations. Why should you run Linux on your computer?

  • InformationWeek Analytics: State Of Open Source

    As for open source desktop operating systems, we saw growth in use of Linux in 2008 primarily among developers. But as this group enhances desktop Linux variants and contributes that code back to the community, projects like Ubuntu become more viable alternatives for the enterprise.

    On the support front, while 18% of poll respondents purchase support from their open source vendors, most depend on internal resources. Few end users will be able to diagnose and repair even minor issues in open source desktop software, and even fewer will be able to decode the highly technical forums and wikis that comprise the support community, so competent in-house IT resources are a requirement for any organization using open source on the desktop.

  • Mother’s Day

    • Why Your Mother Wants You to Use Linux

      4. You don’t have to ask her for money to buy new computer hardware to cope up with the latest software since there are lightweight and resource-efficient Linux distros that could make your old computer fly. So another money saved and another spa for your mother.

      5. She wants you stop using bad words after a BSOD. Linux rarely crashes so she should be happy hearing you say “Wow” instead of “F*@k!” or “S#%t!” :-)

    • Happy mother’s day, Linus Torvalds

      Today, May 10th 2009, is Mother’s day for many countries around the world from Anguilla to Zimbabwe. How fitting, then, to offer a tribute to Linus Torvalds, the “mother” of Linux.

  • Shows

    • Report: Linuxfest Northwest 2009

      I really enjoyed the show. I wish I had some pictures to share. My presentation was well attended so I can’t complain.

      The last timeslot on Sunday only had a couple of presentations, nothing that we were really interested in… so we decided to leave early.

      We stopped briefly in Spokane for some dinner at a Carl Junior’s. We ended up stopping for the night in Wallace Idaho at the Wallace Inn. It was a bit overpriced, the security guard was creepy and their wifi was substandard… but it worked.

      I look forward to attending LFNW next year if I can. Thanks for a great show!

    • FLOSS Weekly 68: Cinelerra and Lumiera

      Guests: Joel Holdsworth and Aaron Newcomb for Cinelerra.

      Joel Holdsworth is a Mechanical Engineering student at Imperial College London. He has contributed to open source projects such as Wine and Inkscape, and now works as a core developer on Lumiera.

    • LB – Episode 39 – Chad in a FOG by Linux Basement
  • Desktop Environments

    • Download Windows 7 Transformation Pack for KDE

      You’ve heard of Vista Themes and Transformation Packs for XP. Now, it’s time they made one for KDE already.

      Vistar7 is a Windows 7 Transformation Pack for KDE desktops on Linux. This Windows 7 Transformation Pack for KDE has got everything you might need – Windows 7 icons, themes, splash screens, sounds, MS font

  • Distributions

    • Mandriva

      • Choosing the right edition of Mandriva Linux
      • Mandriva Linux 2009.1 (Spring) – Steps Ahead in Linux Desktop War

        My Last tryst with Mandriva was the Powerpack version of 2008. It was good but not great. PClinuxOS 2008 MiniME seemed to me a better choice in terms of stability, wireless configuration and usability.

        I had tried Mandriva 2009. It was full of promises (though there were some showstoppers). When a few days back Mandriva released the latest version of its operating system, Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring, I could not stop myself from downloading it.

        [...]

        Once the leader of desktop linux, Mandriva is all set to acquire its old glory. 2009 Spring release is great in many ways. The more you use it, the more you will like it.

      • Mandriva 2009.1

        This GNOME desktop was excellent, and it maintained the layout of the KDE menu, which is good for someone who wants to try both desktops out.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Atom-based handheld knows just who you are

      Amrel announced a handheld biometric computer that scans faces, fingers, and iris patterns and checks them in real time. The Linux-compatible “HBS-2″ runs on a 1.6GHz Atom processor, has a five-inch touchscreen, includes three cameras and built-in flash, and has a fingerprint scanner, says Amrel.

    • Micro-display PMP runs Linux, Android

      BlueRadios announced a “near-eye” portable media player (PMP) with a Kopin SVGA micro display. The WiFi-enabled WiPC (Wireless internet PC) weighs three ounces, offers the viewing experience of a 15-inch display, runs Linux, Android, or Windows CE/Mobile, and consumes one Watt of power, the company claims.

    • Android

      • T-Mobile to Launch Many Android Devices Later This Year

        T-Mobile USA is looking to introduce Android-based devices from three different manufacturers, Cole Brodman, chief technology officer of the company, said in a conversation with me earlier today. Android is a mobile OS developed by Mountain View, Calif.-based technology giant, Google.

      • World first Android Netbook- Skytone Alpha680

        Great netbook with the latest emerging software system. This is how the Skytone Alpha680 the Netbook based on Android performs. These are some of the typical applications we run on Alpha680. there are a lot more applications to come.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • ARM11 MIDs run Ubuntu

        Chinese portable media player (PMP) vendor SmartDevices is selling an ARM11-based mobile Internet device (MID) and larger 7-inch screen tablet device. Both the SmartQ 5 MID ($150) and SmartQ 7 ($190) devices run Ubuntu Linux, and offer WiFi and Bluetooth, according to Chinese retailer EWorld.

Free Software/Open Source

  • We’ve made a few changes!

    Gitorious now is a project maintained by Shortcut AS, which I co-founded. Shortcut AS now officially supports and develops Gitorious in cooperation with contributors outside Shortcut. Gitorious is, and will continue to be, 100% free software, licensed under the Affero GPL.

  • ICEpdf PDF rendering engine now open source

    ICEsoft is the developer of ICEfaces, a J2EE/Ajax framework for developing thin client and rich client applications. It is also known for its ICEbrowser HTML rendering component, which has recently, and quietly, been removed from sale and an end of life date of December 31st 2010 has been set for existing customers.

  • Low-cost software used to train up Aer Lingus pilots

    The airline chose Moodle, a free and open source e-learning management platform, which made the project considerably cheaper than it would have cost with commercial software.

    Enovation Solutions, a Dublin-based open source consultancy firm, modified elements of the Moodle platform to include Aer Lingus’s courseware, which includes simulator training with procedural and aircraft operation training.

  • Group Establishes Kosovo FLOSS Organization

    A group of Kosovo Free Software enthusiasts established last week the Kosovo Free/ Libre/ Open Source Software (FLOSS Kosovo) organization. The organization aims to promote Free and Open Source Software and knowledge in the newborn South East European country of Kosovo. It will do this by providing essential infrastructure and organizational framework for the support and development of open knowledge and software projects and other endeavors which serve this mission.

  • Mozilla

    • Prism 1.0 Beta Launches With New Website

      Eighteen months ago, we introduced an experimental project called Prism with the goal to “to bridge the divide in the user experience between web applications and desktop apps and to explore new usability models as the line between traditional desktop and new web applications continues to blur.”

    • Mozilla Education: map of active students

      One of our Mozilla Education goals for this year is to get students from around the world working on projects similar to the ones we see coming out of Seneca. There are two ways that this might happen: 1. more colleges offer courses like the ones at Seneca; or 2. individual students build on the existing Seneca program to do their own independent study projects. A couple of months ago, we asked Dave Humphrey to see what he could do to help on both these fronts out.

  • Thunderbird

    • Thunderbird visual refresh on Linux

      Been working on the appearance of Thunderbird for the last two months now and as things are starting to land in the Nightly builds, things are indeed starting to look quite nice. As always, Lapo have been of great help in the icon department.

    • Getting insight into one’s own email

      What other kinds of visualizations, summaries, and analysis would you like to see in Thunderbird, or in add-ons?

  • FSF/GNU

    • The smallest unit of freedom: a Fellow

      Stian Rødven Eide: Your involvement with GNU/Linux started while you were active in the demoscene, which was rather huge in Finland during the nineties. Were you already familiar with the philosophy of Free Software at that time? Was the culture of studying, sharing and improving each other’s code relevant to the demoscene?

      Timo Jyrinki: I don’t think I was really familiar with the Free Software philosophy at all at that time, and not even for some time after starting to use GNU/Linux. The demoscene did have an atmosphere of improving on other’s ideas, but actually seeing code was mostly totally out of the question, except for maybe some snippets. My real introduction to Free Software came from my involvement with Wikipedia.

  • Government

    • Obama and Free Software

      While free software was once considered by some as a fringe movement, it is now mainstream. Fortune 500 companies are embracing free software programs like R to analyse data. Linux, Apache, MySql and PhP (LAMP) servers power much of the Internet. Many cell phones, Kindle 2, and other devices run Linux. There is enormous interest in the development of every aspect of free software tools and applications. Some of the most profitable software companies today are those that are providing services over free software platforms. Free software also is important for empowering and protecting other social movements that routinely rely upon free software for a wide range of services.

  • Healthcare

    • W.Va. saves money on electronic medical records

      Doctors and hospitals in the U.S. worry about costs as they switch over from paper patient records to electronic systems, but West Virginia’s seven state-run health care facilities have found a cost-friendly solution.

      Using open-source software based on the system in Veterans Administration hospitals, they’re avoiding millions of dollars in licensing fees.

    • Are open source electronic health records the future?

      Though West Virginia may not be in the top national rankings when it comes to overall health, wealth and education, it is leading the way in electronic health record (EHR) open source adoption.

      Recently the state chose to adopt EHRs the old fashioned way…by stealing from the federal government…sort of. By tapping into the Veteran’s Affairs (VA) EHR system that is available to health providers at no cost, West Virginia became the first state to adopt the EHR system state-wide, implementing the software across its state-run hospitals and nursing homes.

  • Open (But No Source Code)

    • California open source digital textbook plan faces barriers

      The governor of California has launched a new initiative to compile open source textbooks for the state. He hopes that the plan will help cut costs and improve the quality of education. The effort seems very promising, but the state’s complex standards and arduous textbook evaluation process will pose major challenges.

Leftovers

  • Media Vacuums Will Be Filled

    Because the new breed of publisher – the ones doing it for pure passion, at virtually no cost – will and up wounding us where we’re weakest. Because we’ve neglected parts of our audience, pandered to our own prejudices and missed opportunities.

  • Endless Possibilities: Norm Walsh on the Changing Nature of Publishing
  • Is Lala’s DRM a new way to lock up music?

    Robertson–the controversial founder of MP3.com, Linspire, and MP3tunes.com–has accused Lala of attempting to transfer control of its users’ music to the recording labels.

    Robertson claimed last month on his personal blog that Lala had developed an “insidious new plot” to entice its users to upload music to the company’s servers and then trap the music there by embedding digital rights management into the servers. This would enable Lala and the big music labels to exercise greater control over the tunes. He compared Lala’s plan with a “roach motel,” where songs check in but they can’t check out.

  • [Google] The 2008 Founders’ Letter

    Given the tremendous pace of technology, it is impossible to predict far into the future. However, I think the past decade tells us some things to expect in the next. Computers will be 100 times faster still and storage will be 100 times cheaper. Many of the problems that we call artificial intelligence today will become accepted as standard computational capabilities, including image processing, speech recognition, and natural language processing. New and amazing computational capabilities will be born that we cannot even imagine today.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Thomson Reuters Subpoenas Zotero Hacker Identities

      Zotero is a fantastic Firefox addon for reference management. Mozilla used to ship it as part of Firefox Campus Edition. Recently, they got sued by Thomson Reuters because Zotero 1.5 acquired the ability to convert citation-style files from their proprietary Endnote software. I have an SVN/Trac account there because I contributed a little bit, and I just got this email:

      Dear Zotero Development Community Members,

      First off, please allow me to apologize for clogging your inbox with this unsolicited message, but I hope you’ll understand that the severity of the situation requires me to contact you. In its ongoing litigation with George Mason University, Thomson Reuters has demanded that the university produce contact information (name, email, and username) associated with all two hundred eighty-six Zotero SVN/Trac accounts.

    • Ugly Chapter in Yahoo!’s History Revisited

      New Bill Would Prevent Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft from Aiding Oppressive Governments Crack Down on Free Speech

  • Copyrights

    • ‘New’ Anti-Piracy Lawyers Chase UK File-Sharers

      Over the last couple of years everyone has got used to hearing about UK lawyers Davenport Lyons and their campaigns against those it accuses of illicit file-sharing. Now everyone will have to get used to a new player – they’re called ACS Law and the similarities to Davenport are raising more than a few eyebrows.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Steve Weber, creator of the phrase “anti-rival goods” 07 (2005)

Ogg Theora

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

EPO in State of Turmoil, Patents Kill

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 6:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

Candle

Summary: The EPO faces trouble as greed takes over it; ethics of particular patents questioned thanks to the openness of the Internet

THE EPO’s problems are a subject that we covered in recent days [1, 2] and the FFII has just issued a press release about:

Software patents plot buried under amicus avalanche

The EPO’s latest attempt to validate their widely criticized practice of software patenting has been met with a much stronger response than expected. This broad public interest comes in reaction to the referral on the patentability of software to the Enlarged Board of Appeal. The referral procedure allows interested third parties to file statements – Amicus Curiae Briefs – to present their views to the members of the board. The Enlarged Board of Appeals asked for such statements to be submitted by end of April and a total of 89 such statements have been published by the Register so far.

In another new report that Groklaw calls “a disturbing article” some more details finally emerge and there is no need for a subscription to read.

European Patent Office (EPO) President Alison Brimelow informed her staff that she will “not be seeking extension” when her current three-year contract is up at the end of June 2010, EPO Director for Media Relations Rainer Osterwalder told Intellectual Property Watch. Choosing a new president is the member-driven job of the administrative council of the EPO, but it is unclear when they will start such a process.

Following last week's remarks from Intel's Grove, warnings about a patent bubble are taken seriously and EDN has just published an article which is somwhat critical of the existing system in the US. Intel’s counsel is quoted:

At that point Simon dropped a bomb. “This is something we should definitely fix,” the Intel counsel said. “Right now there’s $35 billion out there trying to buy patents and form them into pools. And I can tell you that there is much more money coming in soon.”

Even more dire, Simon said that recently one of the experts on his team had been approached with a job offer from an investment bank. The bank is putting together a team to pool patents and create financial derivatives based on the pools.

This would, in effect, create a mechanism by which speculators could bet on the future cash flow from patents. Because more aggressive litigation would be expected to increase the flow, it is likely that a patent derivatives market would significantly further increase the assertion of patents by NPEs, and hence further increase the risk of innovation for real technology companies.

It is probably more or less clear that greed alone is a threat to this system, which only over-inflates itself. There is now a new Web site called HarmfulPatents.org. It mostly targets patents which kill people and it opens up with the following text:

More than 20 years after medical expert systems were first developed, the USPTO issued two patents simply on the concept of using a computer to help physicians choose medical treatments. A company that purchased these patents claims that “the diagnosis and treatment of most chronic diseases will fall under the claims of these patents.” Already it has filed patent infringement suits against seven companies in three years and it threatened to sue a university for hosting a freely available HIV database. Perhaps most startling of all, that same university — where much of the seminal research on expert systems took place — entered into a licensing agreement intended to limit the use of the HIV database, which had been created by one of its own faculty.

There is a new report which claims patents are killing in India too.

Do Patents Kill? A Strange Twist in the Ramkumar vs Samsung Saga

[...]

A number of papers report that a death in Chennai could be connected with the ongoing Ramkumar vs Samsung (and others) patent litigation, a litigation that we have been tracking on this blog.

Should people start rethinking this system of endless greed?

“The European Patent Office is a Corrupt, Malicious Organisation Which Should Not Exist”

Richard Stallman

A Lesson for Developers: Why Support GNU/Linux?

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sphere

Summary: GNU/Linux puts developers in charge, whereas Apple and Microsoft treat them as guests

IN TWO previous posts we showed that Apple and Microsoft share something in common. They both deny (some) developers access to their platform; it’s a form of censorship. See the details in:

Here are a couple of updates on the subject:

Wait, So The iPhone’s Browser Can Access The Sun’s Page 3… But If Another App Does, It’s Obscene?

But, of course, anyone with an iPhone could just as easily use the web browser to surf right over to the website for Page 3 and see the exact same photos. So why is it suddenly “objectionable” when the very same functionality comes in a separate app?

Microsoft to forbid VoIP, rival stores at mobile market

Voice-over-IP applications will be forbidden from Microsoft’s Windows MarketPlace for Mobile store, along with programs that are larger than 10MB or that change the default browser on a device.

They are among 12 prohibited application types that Microsoft listed for developers who register to create software for the store. Marketplace for Mobile is due to launch in the second half of the year, along with Windows Mobile 6.5, the next version of Microsoft’s mobile OS.

In case it’s not obvious, both Apple and Microsoft don’t secure users; they basically secure their monopolies by denying competition. Apple says “no” to something which is still accessible anyway (even without any additional software) and Microsoft plays ball for carriers by denying VoIP and also by blocking rivals to its own Web browser and store (cash cow).

Why would developers even give those two companies the pleasure of being served for free?

Speaking of developers, Duke Nukem is Dead Forever.

Veteran games developer 3D Realms has closed down because of a lack of funds.

It has been dragged on for so long, just like Vista/Longhorn. At the end came nothing of substance; 3D Realms went out of business and Windows users went back to XP or switched to platforms like GNU/Linux or Mac OS X.

GNU/Linux Bashers and Microsoft MVPs Masquerade as “Linux Users”

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One penguin

Summary: Not everyone who bashes GNU/Linux (or promotes Mono) is necessarily a peer

A lot of Mono and Moonlight coverage is still coming from the Microsoft-faithful crowd [1, 2, 3, 4] and “Ars [is] hyping moonlight again,” says a reader who shows us this thread. Novell’s PR department does this also, but a lot more amusing was this revelation about Microsoft most valued professionals who masquerade as lovers of GNU/Linux. Their advocacy often goes along the lines of, “don’t get me wrong, I love Linux and all, but <Linux bashing goes here>.” It’s a familiar strategy.

“Im a hardcore Linux user!” – “Oh hang on, Im an MVP!”

[...]

Over on Microsoft Watch I’ve been having discussions about the MS faithful, here’s another example of a questionable poster that I found recently. I have many on my books, some of which I have amassed a considerable of information and supporting evidence on. This chap is one of the obvious ones, who hasn’t considered even the most basic rule, if you are going to link to your site make sure it doesn’t seem to conflict with what you post! Since he’s not really of interest, I thought I’d give you all a quick article on him.

[...]

And after 5 seconds of scanning his site, we can leave this article here. The personal description of him says:

I’m Hemanth, from Kerala,India. I’m a software engineer by profession ( Advanced Windows Installer or MSI technologies) and a webmaster of a number of websites.

I’m a Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional (MVP) awardee in 2007 & 2008, for my contributions in the computer end-user support forums and newsgroups.

Yes, he calls himself a “hardcore Linux user” in public while basically dismissing the platform and disclosing nothing about his affiliation with Microsoft. Goblin has just found another mysterious (and maybe mischievous) pro-Microsoft Twitter user who repeats the words of Microsoft employees. Could this be a Microsoft hire [1, 2]?

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Vista 7 is Free (as in Free Tobacco) for One Year

Posted in GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 5:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Summary: An analysis of what’s coming when Vista 7 marketing wears out and a little more about pharmaceuticals and Gates

THE title of this post — while a little dramatic — probably just states the obvious. Microsoft is no charity and its attempt to have people subscribe to the next iteration of Vista (test build) is very much like the offering of ‘free’ drugs (under trial) to people who become dependent on them. Bill Gates would understand this business model. In fact, he sure does. As Goblin put it a few days ago:

On a particularly interesting article from April 2008, Bill Gates is reported as saying:

“I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them,”

http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2008/04/bill-gates-the-gp…

I believe that Microsoft is getting the RC out to the masses quickly and before the EU makes any ruling. That way, if it does, people will already have Windows 7 on their machines. It is reported on Boycott Novell that Bill Gates has in the past said words to the effect of “get them hooked, we’ll work out how to get a return later” If this is correct then in my opinion its like the local drug dealer giving out freebies to the kids prior to the drug becoming illegal expecting a return from the addicts at a later date.

Think my example is a little OTT? Well its Bill Gates mentioning drugs, not me.

Speaking of which, 2 hours ago a reader mailed us this news story from India.

Journal critique on Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant pattern

New Delhi: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s pattern of funding in the form of grants for global health programmes and projects has been criticised in a research paper in The Lancet.

The paper, by David McCoy of the Centre for International Health and Development, London, and others, is accompanied by a commentary by Robert E. Black of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, U.S., and others, and an editorial. Dr. M.K. Bhan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, is a co-author of the commentary in his capacity as a scientist of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.

“Although it is driven by the belief that ‘all lives have equal value,’ it seems that the Foundation does not believe that every voice has equal value, especially voices from those it seeks most to assist,” said the editorial. The commentary said very limited direct funding to low-income and middle-income countries is “arguably the most unfortunate imbalance in the research portfolio of the Foundation.”

[...]

“Gates Foundation is not a passive donor,” observes the paper.

“The Foundation actively engages in policy making and agenda setting activities; it has representatives that sit on the governing structures of many global health partnerships; it is part of a self-appointed group of global health leaders known as the H8 [that includes the WHO, UNICEF, GAVI and the World Bank]… and has been involved in setting the health agenda for the G8.”

For more information about this, see:

Regarding the original issue of this post, an IT Pro blogger asks (in the headline), “Has Microsoft gone mental?”

Here is what Mental Microsoft has to say on the matter: “The RC will expire on June 1, 2010. Starting on March 1, 2010, your PC will begin shutting down every two hours. Windows will notify you two weeks before the bi-hourly shutdowns start. To avoid interruption, you’ll need to install a non-expired version of Windows before March 1, 2010. You’ll also need to install the programs and data that you want to use.”

This has “disaster” written all over it and here is what Roughly Drafted has to say about Vista 7. Published yesterday:

Why Windows 7 is Microsoft’s next Zune

[...]

Having staked out a business that serves PC makers first, IT drones second, and consumers dead last, Microsoft is left only to advertise that its software arrives on cheap hardware that isn’t burdened with being cool or sexy like Apple’s. As a marketing strategy, that’s so blatantly moronic that it’s hard to imagine a Fortune 500 company could decide to do that.

This company delivered also Vista and the Zune, and all I’m pointing out is that the company is getting ready to do the exact same thing this year. Now will all those people who insisted that Microsoft would never stop making increasing amounts of automatic money regardless of how badly it performs please post an apology? Thanks!

Vista and Vista 7 have been good for GNU/Linux adoption (unlike XP). Let’s save Windows Vista.

“[W]e’re not going to have products that are much more successful than Vista has been.”

Steve Ballmer

“Wine is a better Windows than Vista”

David Gerard

“I am currently testing the Beta of Win7 in a closed VM environment. I am considering deleting it. It’s actually worse than Vista. Multiple program crashes, refusal to install any software, naff looks and many other complaints.”

Moog

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: May 9th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

ISP Under Unfortunate ‘DDOS Attack’ by Microsoft Corporation; Liability of Software Debated in Europe

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stranded

Summary: Microsoft servers run amok and questions about liability return

SIMON PHIPPS has just found this very interesting message about an ISP which was brought down to its knees by “Windows Update”. It is actually a recurring issue that affects networks in all sorts of ways (e.g. global Skype downtime).

We were facing a distributed denial of service attack from the world’s largest “botnet:” Microsoft’s “Windows Update.”

[...]

As Spider-Man creator Stan Lee once noted, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Microsoft, by virtue of its control over Windows-based PCs, has the ability to shut down the entire Internet at will — and must be careful not to do it, inadvertently, by turning 90% of the world’s PCs into a “zombie army.”

Furthermore, content delivery networks such as Akamai, which distributes Microsoft’s updates, must not be allowed to discriminate against smaller providers by making updates uncacheable (at least by a standards-conforming Web cache) and then denying smaller ISPs access to a cache that WILL cache them.

This is reminiscent of past incidents (see [1] and [2] at the bottom of this post). Yesterday we wrote about FAA where the damage of Microsoft’s security, reliability and stability track record seems immense (in a very negative way). Now we find this from UC Berkeley right at the top of the news.

University of California, Berkeley, officials said Friday that hackers infiltrated restricted computer databases, putting at risk health and other personal information on 160,000 students, alumni and others.

Can liability put an end to this? That’s the question the European Commission is asking and Glyn Moody reports on this matter.

Should Software Developers Be Liable for their Code?

Should Microsoft pay for the billions of dollars of damage that flaws in its software have caused around the world? It might have to, if a new European Commission consumer protection proposal becomes law. Although that sounds an appealing prospect, one knock-on consequence could be that open source coders would also be liable for any damage that errors in their software caused.

Here’s what the European Commission is proposing:

A priority area for possible EU action is “extending the principles of consumer protection rules to cover licensing agreements of products like software downloaded for virus protection, games or other licensed content”, according to the commissioners’ agenda. “Licensing should guarantee consumers the same basic rights as when they purchase a good: the right to get a product that works with fair commercial conditions.”

EU consumer commissioner Kuneva said that more accountability for software makers, and for companies providing digital services, would lead to greater consumer choice.

We have already covered this issue of liability and a reader wrote to us yesterday and offered his opinion too:

I suppose that this means that it is soon possible for the new administration to use military force to deal with Microsofters, if they don’t dismantle their movement voluntarily:

Pentagon girds for cyber warfare

Official: No options ‘off the table’ for U.S. response to cyber attacks

Not so long ago, someone (or some group) did the electronic equivalent of cutting holes in the perimiter fence and taking out the guard towers by deploying Microsoft products inside a US Army base inside Afghanistan. The damage was quite bad as a result, and maybe the corrective actions were kept quiet and in-house, but certainly there is a paper trail leading back to those who brought MS products into the base.

In a recent speech, President Obama mentioned that US workers must come first. If that priority is followed, then it leads to removal of threats to US workers. Considering that the conficker Windows worm cost over $ 9.1 billion in the first three months, and that is on par with the other Windows worms, the 100′s of billions saved over a few years by getting rid of any last trace of MS can easily pay for a new tech sector *and* a new economy.

Should Microsoft be made responsible and liable for damages caused by its software? Would this serve as a preventive measure?
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[1] Are we being DOS attacked by a Microsoft employee?

Now I find it funny that a person that lives about 5 minutes from Redmond which is the headquarters of Microsoft is DOS attacking us and I don’t believe that this is a coincidence.

[2] Bots Helped To Boost Microsoft Live Search Gains

In a blog post, Compete analyst Steve Willis attributed Microsoft’s search gains to prizes awarded to users participating in Live Search Club, which features games that post queries to Microsoft’s search engine.

[...]

Microsoft is essentially being DDoSed by thousands of people hundreds of times per minute, but they are mistaking this rise in traffic for people actually using Live Search.”

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