Summary: ZDNet or eWeek (Ziff Davis) spins Microsoft’s illegal contracts as Red Hat whining
LAST YEAR we wrote about ZDNet and its modification of headlines by editors so as to provoke readers and disseminate noise. A reader of ours has just complained that the good article from Peter Judge had an improper headline. “Eighteen vs Red Hat,” calls it our reader, meaning to say that a lawsuit from 18 companies was somehow cast as just a lawsuit from Red Hat. There is also the implication in the headline that Microsoft’s monopoly should be defended and that Red Hat is a crybaby.
“So who was responsible for the irresponsible headline that daemonises Red Hat without reason?”Peter Judge is an excellent ZDNet writer and also a supporter of GNU/Linux for the most part. So who was responsible for the irresponsible headline that daemonises Red Hat without reason? Red Hat is among the victims. “From my understanding, it would be the editorial staff which determines the (pro-Microsoft) titles for articles,” claims our reader. “FWIW, the article itself is fantastically informative. However, the title blows chunks. It seems that the editors always have to spin the titles.”
What gives? Peter Judge would never choose such a headline given his biases, but maybe he approved a change imposed by superiors. Either way, this does no favours to his reputation and the editor of eWeek Europe is probably worth identifying. eWeek is a Ziff Davis publication, so it is deep in Microsoft’s pocket. For background see:
“Eighteen companies are in the law suit but eWeek decides that it is only Red Hat alone in the title,” our reader writes in reference to an article we cited here regarding an incident we last mentioned today. Also see:
A group of open source companies has launched a legal action against the Swiss Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics (FBL). The agency awarded a 3-year, 42 million Swiss franc contract for licence extensions to Microsoft following a “no-bid” process for those extensions. Linux specialists Red Hat, Univention and Collax, groupware vendors Zarafa and Open-Xchange and a range of other companies which earn their living from open source software are now protesting against the award.
The hostile species is Microsoft, of course. The energy moon that exploded, in this parallel is Windows, as Microsoft dug deeper into the franchise it produced Vista which blew up in their faces. Their enemy, the Federation of Planets, would be the open source and Linux communities, who have constantly felt threatened by Microsoft’s posturing over open source. The warring factions have been separated by a neutral zone which few, save Novell, dared to cross. And that attempt to reach out to find détente would be last year’s reaching out to the Apache Foundation and Microsoft’s open source contributions.
That is where we are right now in the story, though with open source, the disruption that threatened the peace was the Microsoft lawsuit against Tom Tom which sent a chill through the Linux community as it mentioned FAT software patents. “See”, the Kirks of the open source community said, “we cannot trust them.”
The convictions of the author are telling. He knows the plot. Thumbs up to Heise and thumbs down (again) to ZDNet or even eWeek, which we wrote about in:
Novell is rightly concerned about its public image. It’s seen as the pariah in many circles of the very same people and products which it targets. As this new article put it:
Patent infringement and sharing have been a big issue for Microsoft in recent years. The company has in some cases avoided going to court by signing patent sharing agreements with several companies, most notably Linux vendor Novell.
Novell is hardly a “Linux vendor”. GNU/Linux accounts only for a small portion of its revenue. The financial reports are just a couple of days away and here is a little preview.
Summary: The impact of the Symbian case revisited; Europe under threat of anti-FOSS laws, which Microsoft craves
NOKIA (proprietor of Symbian) deserves no honour or credit whatsoever for what it did in Europe regarding software patents [1, 2].
According to these lawyers, however, the infamous Symbian case did not really change anything in the UK. To quote:
If anyone thought that Symbian really changed anything at the UK-IPO, the IPKat thinks that they are probably either overly optimistic or mistaken. The test, such as it is, is now still the familiar 4-step Aerotel test, but bearing in mind that computer programs can make a technical contribution, contrary to what the 4-step test might suggest.
In other older news, attempts to legalise software patents in Europe are back, but they are dressed a little differently.
Another open door for software patents in EU
A new international treaty United Patent Litigation System (UPLS) that may create an centralised trusted patent court is the new open door for software patents in the European Union.
The draft UPLS is inspired from the now defunct European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) and is estimated to creat a new international patent court. As FFII (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure) points out, the system will by-pass the national courts. This court system would be shielded against any review by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Thus, hand-picked patent judges will have the last word on software patents, meaning that will have the ultimate power to interpret patent law.
To quote Jefferson, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” Microsoft is still lobbying for software patents in Europe, despite some setbacks. Don’t let them pawn tomorrow’s programmers and even hold them hostage by pieces of paper that symbolise nothing of substance. █
“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway.”
This week’s editorial talks about the Ubuntu Developers Summit. In the Linux distribution announcement section you will find the following releases: Clonezilla Live 1.2.2-14, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.8, NetSecL 2.4, ArtistX 0.7 and Puppy Linux 4.2.1. In other news: AMD announced the release of ATI Catalyst 9.5 video driver suite for Linux systems and the GNOME developers released the second maintenance version of GNOME 2.26. Last week we also published an in-depth review of the Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) operating system. The weekly ends with the video clip of the week, the latest Linux distributions released/updated last week and the development releases.
The biggest problem most people have with making The Big Move from Windows to Linux, indeed the problem I had, is the One Critical App. Yes, you say, the cost is great, the security is better, the use of resources is better, I even like the open source philosophy. But there’s this one program I absolutely can’t live without, and it won’t work.
Crossover Office really isn’t in the open source spirit. It’s based on WINE but contains additional, proprietary code and costs money. They had a free download day last fall, when I grabbed it, but normally each version–Crossover Linux, Crossover Mac and Crossover Games–is $39.95. I’d call it good value for the money.
I’m not the world’s biggest Linux fan and I don’t own a Wii, but I can always appreciate ingenuity, even if the clear benefits of said ingenuity are not immediately recognizable.
Case in point, Matt Cutts has connected a Wii Fit balance board to a Linux box via Bluetooth. So far, all he can do is weigh himself in kilograms and move a red dot around by leaning in different directions on the balance board.
Bob Sutor, vice president for Linux and open source for IBM, was speaking on the publication of a global survey on Linux deployment on the desktop, commenting that there was a gradual erosion of Windows use within enterprises. “It’s not a full frontal assault,” he said. He said that users were learning that there were other alternatives to Microsoft. “It’s not just about Linux,” he said. “It’s the growing use of Macs and the rise of smart phones as alternatives to Windows desktops.” He said that Microsoft must be hoping that it gets Windows 7 right or it’s really in trouble.
After close to two years of development and preliminary marketing in India, IBM’s Smart Cube application appliances went on sale last Tuesday in its home market in the United States, moving one step closer to a worldwide launch. The Smart Cube appliances, which we have been watching closely since Big Blue first started talking about them a year ago, come in Power-i and X64-Linux flavors and are designed to tap into the Smart Market, a clearinghouse for systems and application software aimed at small and medium businesses.
Ok, so 90% of the patch is the addition of one new driver, at around 9000 lines for the the Cisco PCI-Express FCoE HBA SCSI driver.
If you ignore that (and you should – unless you happen to have such hardware and have been pining for the driver to be merged for a long time), the rest is really mostly a collection of small fixes. Several regressions fixed, lots of small cleanup.
A couple of days back, my friend Stuart and I were trying to configure a device via a serial port. You’re probably thinking that’s not so hard, just hook up a console cable, fire up a terminal emulator, make sure you have the right settings and you’re good to go, hey?
Reading around on the ‘net afterwards I came across Van Emery’s Linux Serial Console HowTo which turns things around the other way (using a serial port to get into a Linux machine).
There have been few misconceptions which have been cleared by developers : The software was meant to be released previous year but due to some difficulties they plan it to release with 2009.1 Spring , and they say they don’t aim to UbuntuOne service which is pretty irrelevant ? Even if they initially didn’t launch it to compete with Ubuntu One it doesn’t make sense that it is not in competition with Ubuntu one and dropbox..and this service seems to be a good competitor to Ubuntu One and Rockbox ,.
For years now I’ve recommended Mandriva Linux as the best choice for newcomers to Linux. I have always found it to be an incredibly user-friendly distribution that manages to avoid sacrificing functionality for simplicity. I’ve also found that, more often than not, it has fewer significant bugs than a certain more popular distribution that touts itself as being Linux for the masses. Naturally, when Mandriva announced their 2009.1 release a few of weeks back, I was interested to see how the latest version stacked up. I freely admit I had very high expectations for Mandriva 2009.1.
The Ubuntu Privacy Remix (UPR) project is presenting the second beta version of its live CD, at SIGINT 09, a conference organized in Cologne by the Chaos Computer Club (CCC). The conference is debating the topics of monitoring and political interference. The Ubuntu Privacy Remix (UPR) is based on a modified version of Ubuntu 9.04, the most popular Linux distribution.
Many Open Source supporters have noted again and again, that Linux repositories are pretty much the equivalent of an AppStore. Interestingly enough, many Mac users noted the same thing, equaling Ubuntu’s Add/Remove program to the iPhone AppStore.
“The global market for smartphones based on open source platforms including Android will reach 100 million units in three years”. That is the claim made by Panasonic’s director of mobile terminal business this week.
Panasonic is placing its bet on Android and other open-source platforms to aggressively compete with other smartphones, mainly iPhones and BlackBerrys.
Here’s a simple concept that’s been evolving over the past couple months: Create A Facebook Connect Powered Micro-Payment strategy to promote OLPC, generate awareness and ultimately raise funds to deliver more educational tools to children around the world. It works like this…
At the moment, few netbooks come with an interface as slick as the iPhone. Asus’ original Xandros-equipped Eee PC and the Acer Aspire One with Linpus at least have some extra engineering on board. This is particularly important as Microsoft appears to be doing little perceivable work in matching Windows XP Home Edition to this new level of hardware.
While a lot of people are still using closed source, proprietary software, the message of Free Software is becoming better understood by more people. I believe we are gaining the critical mass needed to provide good jobs for anyone writing and contributing to Free Software.
On Tuesday, May 26th I leave for a conference in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. There, as I have for a couple of conferences this year and will for a couple more conferences this year, I will be talking to young people (and not-so-young people) about both the past history and the future promise of Free Software.
There’ve been some siginificant changes to the UI when GIMP went from 2.4 to 2.6. However always keep in mind that the current state is an in-between-state for future improvements of GIMP (I’m thinking of the empty window which was introduced first in 2.6).
You don’t hear people dismissing open source software as a fad, a farce, or an IT freak of nature so much these days. Open source used to be a topic that enterprise systems administrators would joke about. It’s not so funny, and it’s not so freakish, anymore. And that’s not to say the switch to open source software has been flipped to the ON position. This is an evolutionary process and it has evolved to the point that acceptability is much more widespread than it was even a year ago, let alone three or four years ago.
As the global economic crisis deepens, companies are considering options they might once have rejected out of hand in order to cut costs. Open source vendors have long waved the lower-TCO banner, and the recession seems to fueling business in the sector. It’s not quite clear, though, whether a switch to open source will result in cost savings in the long run.
As the global economic crisis worsens, it is likely that adoption of open source systems will increase.
Openbravo, the Spanish developer of professional open source solutions for businesses, has released version 2.5 of its open-source ERP suite. The modular concept introduced with this release is aimed at enabling developers and clients to create additional functions as modules, so fine-tuning the ERP software to meet their wishes better, but without having to change the suite itself. Other new things in Openbravo 2.5 are support for right-to-left languages like Arabic, an autosave function, and improved support for complex organizations.
The latest version offers increased design flexibility with twice the memory (256 MB RAM), additional high-speed USB port, and an LCD expansion connector. Based on a Texas Instruments OMAP3530 processor, the BeagleBoard bridges desktop and embedded development by delivering laptop-like performance in a 3×3-inch form factor.
Here is a report that was sent to us from a reader in Spain this morning.
This is a big and long one. Let me introduce some economic background:
As you know, Spain is being hit especially hard by the current economic crash. Due to the country’s reliance on the building and real estate businesses and due to rampant speculation, there has been created an enormous speculative/corruption bubble that has just burst, leading to the highest rate of unemployment in the EU.
Prime minister Zapatero has been trying to implement urgent measures and to boost public expenditure in order to alleviate the effects of this crisis. He announced plans to change the economic growth model from real estate and speculation (“the economy of the brick,” as we’ll call it here) to one of R&D, IT business, etc. One of his proposals was just announced a couple of weeks ago and it is to bring “a laptop per child” (kind of) to the Spanish school students, subsidising a laptop for each child of the fifth grade (12 years old) (a total of 400,000 or 500,000 units).
There is a document describing most these behind-the-scenes deals and the characteristics of this operation. The situation seems dismal.
It will provide Microsoft Windows pre-loaded HP mini-laptops manufactured in Portugal by a big OEM (Same as the Magalhaes program of the Intel OLPC rival) and these will be serviced by the computing division of “El Corte Ingles” (The Spanish equivalent to Harrod’s — very expensive department stores), leading to an unnecessary and very, very high expenditure, none of which will benefit the local economies (El Corte Ingles is one of the largest enterprises in the country, with a labor policy similar to that of Walmart, i.e. it harasses labor unions, and never gets criticised in the mainstream press for fear of losing the expensive ad campaigns the enterprise inserts constantly in all the major Newspapers, Magazines and Radio and TV channels).
The educational contents (with DRM!!!) would be awarded to Grupo Santillana, the biggest educational books publisher, and part of the corporation Prisa Group, which is the owner of the biggest newspaper in the country “El Pais”, as well as many editorials and several of the country’s biggest Radio (Ser, 40) and TV (Canal+, Cuatro) channels.
It all reminds me of the recent Chilean-Microsoft debacle.
This measure has immediately been contested for its lack of planning and lack of any public tender by many consumer associations, retail vendor associations, teacher associations, and FLOSS associations around the country.
As you know there have already been several very successful educational projects involving FLOSS and GNU/Linux in many regions of the country (Madrid, Extremadura, Andalucia, Catalonia, Valencia, Canary Islands), involving specially-tailored GNU/Linux distributions prepared for education and for different regional languages (Spanish, Catalonian, Valencian), most of which are varieties of Debian or (Edu)Buntu:
Supposedly in order to talk about development projects in Africa jointly with the B&M Gates Foundation, but I’m sure, he will be there to make sure the Linux projects get abandoned and instead the Spanish students get addicted to Microsoft’s (and its partners’) products, thus securing not only the calculated 50 million euros in software licences it will cost the government, but a whole new generation of captive customers (along with the teachers and the educational system nationwide, and associated support/software contracts with MCPs and ISVs). At the same time it eliminates one of the “rotten apples” that could serve of example for other European countries willing to empower their educational systems with GNU/Linux and FLOSS.
Speculation: Top it maybe with some tax exemptions following the Irish (Microsoft’s European Tax Heaven) model, so MSFT can help Zapatero (being a total technological and computer illiterate, and ill-advised by lobbyists as most of politicians) with the “growth model change”???
And in exchange for what? Well, Joe Biden, who is leading a crusade to defend US media and entertainment industry and to obtain legislation similar to the French HADOPI, met recently with Zapatero and there has been an attempt to pass an EU-wide law that would allow national governments to impose their own “HADOPIs” with the typical excuse for the angered citizens “…we have no choice: the EU commands that we do this”.
Also, the US secretary of transport Ray Lahood will be visiting Zapatero next Saturday in order to look at high-speed trains and infrastructure: Many construction enterprises that are rapidly getting into deadline to pay their billionaire debts with the big banks (Santander Bank, BBVA and others would lose millions in their balance, should these deadlines expire and they would have to re-structure their balances, publicly acknowledging loses and losing many good ratings in the international stock markets) and are badly needing new contracts are expecting to be awarded contracts to build the railway infrastructures in the US (these are very big fishes of the Spanish stock exchange IBEX35 index, that many people suspect financed the political parties and campaigns in exchange for public works and building concessions by the governments: Ferrovial, ACS, Sacyr, Acciona…) and also there is the train builder Talgo…
Summary: Bill Gates deposition in the Novell vs. Microsoft case; more on the latest attack against ODF interoperability
SEVERAL months after the Ballmer deposition comes yet another request for Bill Gates to be deposed given further evidence of his misconduct. Mr. Gates is obviously too busy with his personal schemes and he will do whatever is possible to avoid the deposition. This is too familiar an excuse. For some background see:
As Groklaw explains, in the Novell vs. Microsoft case, it is being shown that Gates himself is directly responsible for stifling interoperability. This is a case of mischievous chiefs, not incompetent programmers.
Billg, as you’ll see him referred to in the exhibits, well, at the deposition, he don’t know nuttin’. Not much, anyway, less in the specificity. I know. Shocker. Asked if he knows what the term evangelizing meant as used by Microsoft, his first answer was that it’s used in different ways by different people. His answer when he is pressed for his understanding of the purpose of evangelizing is that it’s “usually to convert somebody to a religion belief.” Right. That’s the ticket.
He must have forgotten the 1997 “Evangelism is War” confidential Microsoft memo. Well, he’s a busy guy. His brain is full. Who can recall all this stuff?
Guess what the subject matter at issue is now? Interoperability. Or more exactly, extensibility, shell extensibility in Windows 95. This is the litigation over WordPerfect, if you recall, and the charge is that Microsoft deliberately withheld documentation to make it harder for competitors like Novell to compete. Like *that* would ever happen. What? Further, Novell’s claim is that it was Bill Gates who personally decided to “de-document” certain shell extensions. Just as they were getting to that topic at the half-deposition, Novell tells the judge, Microsoft unilaterally halted the proceedings.
We are seeing Microsoft as it repeats the same type of crimes at this very moment. See some details in:
In shocking news, Microsoft’s support of ODF in Microsoft Office is basically unusable in many respects, according to the OpenDocument Format Alliance. This is a real problem for ODF’s adoption, since Office users who try using it, either for opening a document or for sending a document to someone else, will likely blame their issues on ODF, and, thus, avoid it.
What Microsoft has done with ODF support seems likely to harm ODF’s acceptance, rather than help it. It’s hard to tell if this move was incompetent or malicious or something entirely different?
What does Microsoft do in response? It’s currently citing long-time Microsoft boosters like Wouter van Vugt [1, 2]. Should Waggener Edstrom be invited to this disinformation party too [1, 2]? They are the masters. Steve Ballmer even married one. █
Hungary – where I am currently based – only a month ago agreed to put open source options on the tender list for government tech projects. Previously, government tenders would simply state, “Microsoft or equivalent products”. Microsoft has splashed its cash around the country both in terms of marketing and lobbying that it has much of the public sector sown-up, as open source guru Richard Stallman remarked on a recent visit to Budapest.
And let’s not forget that the UK only just agreed to “level the playing field for open source” software – basically admitting that up till now the game has been firmly rigged against non-proprietary software.
This implicit admission of misconduct is something which relates to writings such as:
One of our readers writes to say: “Looking in Google’s results, it’s hard to find the announcement that Newham and others gave Microsoft the boot. There as a fair amount of noise that they were going to FOSS. Then more noise that they had “regretted” their decision and signed a lengthy contract with Microsoft. Then a few years later there was a quiet announcement that quickly disappeared that mentioned that they cancelled the contract with Microsoft and went with FOSS + open standards anyway.”
The regulators’ attendance was important, Microsoft said, because they may have been more sympathetic to the company’s argument that the bundling of Internet Explorer in Windows did not represent a breach of European law. The commission typically consults with the national regulators before issuing sanctions and fines in the case….
Jonathan Todd, a commission spokesman, said the panel was puzzled by Microsoft’s request. He said the hearing would have been attended by Neelie Kroes, the competition commissioner for the European Union and ranking executive. Usually, the hearings are conducted only by a staff hearing officer.