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05.20.09

Mono Wants to be Everywhere

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mono, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu, Videos at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The relationship between Novell and Mono is explored again; Moonlight as a Web-imposed Mono enforcer

Stefano Forenza has just published an in-depth article which presents a somewhat entertaining critique of Novell and Mono. It contains a homourous element to keep readers engaged enough to read the factual information.

Just before someone replies stating that a lot of ground is already patented, and cites – let’s say – Microsoft patents in COM that permeate the most popular pieces of software in Ubuntu, or stuff like that. Patent concerns are always there, and are there to stay. Still, what makes Mono different is the patent agreement itself.

Only a dumbass may think that violating a patent that you didn’t know even existed and deliberately violating a patent you know about are the same thing.

The agreement legitimates the patents existence and their validity concerns. Did I mention such agreement will also timeout in 2012 ? Will they renew it ? Or not ? Prepare yourself for a great suspense !

The following video was uploaded to YouTube a couple of days ago. It’s from Novell. Watch how they represent the GNU/Linux system — pretty much as Linux, SUSE, and Mono (Tux/penguin, Geeko/lizard, and monkey/Trojan horse)

Ogg Theora

There are many problems with Novell’s dissemination of Mono and subsequent embrace. Ushimitsudoki1 has warned us that “someone [is] testing the waters at getting Moonlight in Ubuntu by default.”

“Silverlight technology is very widespread on the Internet,” says the proposer and promoter of this idea. Is it really widespread on the Internet? Well, even Microsoft may not think so. Why put the cart/wagon/carriage before the wooden horses? “Ubuntu has lots of users that don’t care about Free values,” says Ushimitsudoki1, who added that they “basically just want a no-cost version of Windows.” It’s a gross generalisation of course, but many new GNU/Linux users approach Ubuntu because it’s really good and realisation of Freedom usually comes after a migration, not before switching to GNU/Linux (it’s not Ubuntu bashing by the way, I actually have 3 computers running Ubuntu).

Mono GNOME

Microsoft Proud of Digital Colonialism in Africa

Posted in Africa, Fraud, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Boycott Novell newspaper

Summary: Another glimpse at Microsoft’s strategy in the continent of Africa

THERE ARE many valid reasons to be critical of the BBC, some of which we covered in [1, 2, 3, 4]. One of the more disturbing acts, however, is revisionism. See for example:

Last week (while our site was unable to serve) the BBC unleashed one of those familiar denialist-themed articles [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft is known (notorious) for its brutal techniques down south in Africa, so the BBC offered Microsoft the soapbox where it could whitewash what had been claimed.

“Despite the wealth of information that gets around, it’s sad that sometimes reality has a hard time catching up with perception,” said Dr Cheikh Modibo Diarra, chairman of Microsoft in Africa.

“I think that that perception comes from the fact that we are very successful because wherever we are, we are competing respectfully and openly; you can verify that everywhere,” he told the BBC World Service’s Digital Planet programme.

“We are competing respectfully and openly,” exclaims the chairman of Microsoft in Africa.

“Respectfully”?

Like the Kenya blackmail? How about other insulting deeds in Kenya (Microsoft casts GNU/Linux as “piracy”) and what seems like illegal tenders?

“Openly?”

Let us look at some facts.

How about dumping on and insulting South Africans?

How about alleged bribery in Nigeria (in order to hurt Mandriva)?

Let us not forget the fact that African rulers are sometimes affiliated with Microsoft employees, so there is an intersection in interests.

Anyway, the BBC article was fed into Slashdot and stirred up greater debate all across the Web. Glyn Moody calls this neo-colonialism by Microsoft:

Microsoft is stitching up Africa in the cruellest way:

Microsoft is on its way to becoming a dominant brand in Africa, mainly through the deals made with various governments.

“We are very conscious of the environment in which we do business, where our employees and customers live, we always try to empower those communities,” said Dr Diarra.

“Africa is really the last frontier in not only developing technology that is specific to people’s needs, but eventually even developing new business models that will enable the emergence of local software industries, such as young people who have the skills to be able to write their own applications for their own community,” he said.

Fine words, but the reality is that if those “local software industries” do indeed emerge, they will be formed from programmers who are completely dependent on American software for the livelihood: it’s neo-colonialism, pure and simple.

Here is more information.

Microsoft’s approach to give away some of its core software to universities, schools and governments often creates the appearance that just like Open Source software,„Microsoft is also free in Africa“. This statement is often heard, meant both sarcastically and seriously. Software donations and aggressive lobbying are common in many African countries but have not always proven to be a successful strategy.

To offer help to people is not to offer them a dependency. It is hardly more helpful than the offering of predatory debt.

“Microsoft corrupted many members of ISO in order to win approval for its phony ‘open’ document format, OOXML. This was so governments that keep their documents in a Microsoft-only format can pretend that they are using ‘open standards.’ The government of South Africa has filed an appeal against the decision, citing the irregularities in the process.”

Richard Stallman, June 2008

Black Duck to Promote Microsoft/Windows-only Code

Posted in Deals, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 4:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Duck

Summary: Black Duck Software embraces CodePlex

BLACK Duck Software, a proprietary software company which was founded by a (former) Microsoft employee, has just entered an agreement with Microsoft. From the press release:

Black Duck Software, a leading provider of products and services for accelerating software development through the managed use of open source software (OSS), has entered into an agreement with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) through which projects from the Microsoft CodePlex open source project hosting site will be fed automatically into Black Duck’s open source KnowledgeBase repository.

We wrote some more about Black Duck and Microsoft in the distant past [1, 2].

Big Strides for Free Software in the Browsers War

Posted in Antitrust, Deception, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft at 4:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of browsers news with focus on Internet Explorer’s demise

SOME DAYS ago we learned from a private source that Microsoft had used lobbyists to deflect antitrust attention to Google and Chrome, even in public events. The anti-Google EU defense is another important issue that we covered [1, 2] and the following suggests that “Microsoft pays yes men to spread more FUD about Firefox, Chrome, and Opera.”

Since Microsoft cannot promote IE on it’s own merits:

They have apparently paid for another biased opinion from a bunch of spin doctoring suck ups, to try and do damage control on Internet Explorer 8, the slowest and most brain damaged browser on Windows in a fair benchmark conducted by myself, comparing IE 8’s (lack of) performance compared to it’s competitors.

What can Microsoft do when push come to shove? Just what it always does:

Microsoft criticized for aggressive Internet Explorer updates

Microsoft continues to make it all too easy for even tech-savvy PC users to dump Firefox or Opera and make Internet Explorer 8 their default browser, complains Hakon Wium Lie, CTO of rival browser maker, Opera, which is popular in Europe. Lie is particularly peeved that Microsoft continues to label IE8 as a “high-priority update” in Windows Update, (see link) despite widespread criticism about the finer points of how Microsoft actually delivers this update.

SJVN, who is known for his love of GNU/Linux, is gloating about Chrome’s performance.

As these changes mature, I really believe that Chrome is poised to become a major Web browser player by year’s end. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe Microsoft. The Evil Empire is currently trying to convince the European Union that if they have to bundle Chrome with Windows in Europe, Google and Chrome will grab a monopoly-sized share of the Internet. Not bad for a Web browser that has less than a 1% market share at the moment eh?

Look at Internet Explorer in some new analyses. It’s a turtle, just like Windows Vista:

i. Surprise, the fastest browser on Windows is in fact….

Google Chrome 2.0.180 is 376% faster than IE 8

Chrome 1.0 is 326% faster than IE 8

Safari 3.23 is 273% faster than IE 8

Opera 10’s May 13 weekly build is 247% faster than IE 8

Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 is 224% faster than IE 8

Opera 9.64 is 179% faster than IE 8

Firefox 3.0.10 is 149% faster than IE 8

On a technical level, IE is competing with Firefox 2 for speed and Firefox 1.0 for standards support.

ii. Microsoft’s JavaScript strategy hurting IE 8?

Microsoft’s focus on selected improvements in Internet Explorer’s handling of Javascript has cost its latest browser in the race against competitors.

Internet Explorer 8 is ninth in a list of 10 browsers that have been tested for speed, with the previous version of Microsoft’s browser – IE 7 – coming last. This list arrives from 3D-graphics specialist Futuremark.

Here is some good news about Firefox:

i. Firefox 3.5 Release Candidate Coming in Early June

Beltzner’s post says that Mozilla is working on 52 remaining code blockers and 12 non-code blockers, with “great progress” being made. “The finish line is very much in sight!” he writes.

ii. Creative Brief for the New Firefox Icon (more here)

The overall direction for the next phase of the Firefox icon’s design is going to be primarily based on some conceptual sketches and renders created in 2007 by Jon Hicks, the designer who rendered the original Firefox icon.

Is it too late for Internet Explorer to rescue itself? Some people do believe so. See:

i. IP Internet Explorer: 1995-2021

Some of us in the web community really wish Internet Explorer would die. It makes web designers’ lives a pain, and it makes users’ computers less secure. So you might be glad to know that Internet Explorer is dying: really, really, really slowly.

ii. Can I Recommend Internet Explorer 8? Should I?

So I suppose these e-mail exchanges will continue. Maybe the “endorsement” I should deliver for these updates goes something like this:

“I tried this update on [at least three, ideally five or more] computers, none that I knew to have any existing software problems, and saw no issues with it. If you have kept yours in proper working order, you should be fine too. Unless you’re not. This is the chance you must take running Windows, an aging operating system that can get pretty fragile in daily use. If you don’t like that risk, you need to use a different operating system.”

Too harsh? Too depressing? You tell me.

GNU/Linux comes with even better browsers preinstalled.

SCO’s Chapter 7 and Novell’s Response to It

Posted in Courtroom, Finance, IBM, Novell, SCO, UNIX at 4:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Number 7

Summary: Update on the SCO situation

SOME TIME ago we wrote about SCO and Chapter 7. SCO is at the stage where saying “goodbye” to it would be reasonable.

The news is quite significant assuming that SCO is technically not history just yet. Chapter 7 would spell its death. It’s still covered in some press, including Law360.

Law360, New York (May 12, 2009) — Novell Inc. and IBM Corp. have asked a judge to convert UNIX software provider SCO Group Inc.’s bankruptcy from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7, claiming that SCO is squandering its estate on pointless copyright litigation against Novell and IBM.

Novell finally has a formal statement about this, a portion of which is:

Novell believes that SCO has completely failed to move forward with a workable Plan of Reorganization and has significantly depleted the company assets. Novell agrees with the United States Trustee that it is time for an independent evaluation of how to best preserve the estate for the benefit of SCO’s creditors and shareholders.

LamLaw has resumed some writings about SCO vs. Novell, but apart from that, the stage is all Groklaw’s. It has the key documents now:

For context, see this article:

IBM and Novell have each filed motions in the SCO bankruptcy to convert the SCO Chapter 11 cases to Chapter 7. That makes three such motions. Here’s the US Trustee’s motion, if you are new. We’re working on text versions. Keep in mind these are motions, not yet granted, and SCO can file objections and/or can still file a plan to try to abort the motions if anyone wishes to give them a truckload of money. Anyone?

Groklaw has connected another valuable transcript to it:

Here at long last is the transcript [PDF] of the May 25, 2005 hearing in SCO v. Novell, and while it is dated, and even quaint in some respects, some of it is very timely because the arguments include some of the same or similar arguments heard in this week’s hearing on the appeal, specifically what was Amendment 2 to the SCO-Novell Asset Purchase Agreement for? What did it achieve? Was it a copyright transfer?

Other new articles from Groklaw:

Groklaw deserves great credit for the admirable job it does tracking SCO.

“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens

Microsoft Does Not Think it Will Buy a Company Like Novell at This Point

Posted in Deals, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Servers at 4:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Blue screen

Summary: Interview with a Microsoft executive and another Red Hat speculation from Jefferies

SOME weeks ago, the more reputable Australian press wrote about Novell's response to a question regarding Microsoft buying it. There was another recent article in the Australian press where the other company was talking about the very same subject. There is now yet another new article in the Australian press where one of Microsoft’s biggest amongst chiefs is asked a similar question. His response following this question:

Does it make sense for Microsoft to buy a Linux company?

I don’t think so at this point.

They don’t rule it out, either. This may not mean much, but it is worth keeping track of.

In other related news, Katherine Egbert is once again playing with Red Hat (RHT) by spreading rumours, and subsequent speculations sure have an impact. For a little bit of background on her track record, see this post. Time after time she has always been wrong and every now and then she says things that damage Red Hat’s position. First she said Oracle would hurt Red Hat (2006). Red Hat sank as a result at the time, but 3 years later we know that she was wrong.

More recently she said that Oracle would buy Red Hat. Well, Oracle bought Sun Microsystems.

So on she moves to another target, having already missed twice (at least). She even admitted her mistakes once or twice.

Now she says IBM will buy Red Hat. It’s like the boy who cried “Wolf!”, is it not? Here is some coverage which — interestingly enough — comes from Microsoft-friendly press for the most part (especially at the early stages):

IBM To Buy Red Hat (Eventually), Jefferies Contends

At some point, IBM (IBM) is almost certainty going to buy Red Hat (RHT), according to Jefferies analyst Katherine Egbert.

IBM Won’t Buy Red Hat, but You Should

Barron’s has gone a bridge too far this time. The venerable investing magazine this week calls Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) “a tempting target” for takeovers. Yeah, right after these pigs fly down to Miami for a snowball fight. Ain’t gonna happen, folks.

Red Hat ‘inevitably’ a target — stock jumps 8%

Is an IBM purchase of Red Hat inevitable?

‘A Hot Hat’ – Analysts add sizzle to Red Hat shares with more takeover talk. Will IBM buy?

Does that make much sense? Regardless, the source of the rumour/speculation is one that always gets it wrong on Red Hat. In theory, she could pump the stock for friends and colleagues with such rumours. For those who think this is not done, see this video of Dennis Kucinich versus fraudsters. There is also this in the news (fraud in the SEC itself): “CBS News has learned that two attorneys at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are under “active” criminal investigation by the FBI for trading stocks based on inside information.” We wrote about the SEC’s proven incompetence before (e.g. [1, 2, 3]).

“One of the questions I’ve always hated answering is how do people make money in open source. And I think that Caldera and Red Hat — and there are a number of other Linux companies going public — basically show that yes, you can actually make money in the open-source area.”

Linus Torvalds

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