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05.29.09

Links 29/05/2009: Dreamlinux 4.0 Preview and the Win of Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • IBM’s new event stream

    IBM has announced the release of its own stream processing technology, InfoSphere Streams. Stream processing, a form of complex events processing (CEP), isn’t new. IBM’s entry is aimed at the high end of the market, encompassing a new stream processing language and engine, coupled with Red Hat Linux-based Intel clusters. InfoSphere Streams is intended to transform business intelligence (BI) from historical analysis to near-realtime predictive mode. Although currently too costly and complex for most enterprises, in the long run enterprises of all sizes will have need for predictive BI. The trick is for IBM and its rivals to package the technology into simpler, more digestible bundles that will ultimately expand the market in much the same way that online analytic processing (OLAP) was commoditized.

  • Paragon Software Focuses on OEMs at Computex

    On hand to meet with some of the world’s largest router, NAS, HD media player, and chip manufacturers, Paragon will be presenting its latest embedded solutions featuring Paragon UFSD™ (Universal File System Driver) technology — including NTFS for Linux, and the new HFS+ for Linux.

  • Events

    • The SouthEast LinuxFest

      The SouthEast LinuxFest is a community event for anyone who wants to learn more about Linux and Free & Open Source software. It is part educational conference, and part social gathering. Like Linux itself, it is shared with attendees of all skill levels to communicate tips, ideas, and to benefit all who use Linux/Free and Open Source Software. LinuxFest is the place to learn, to make new friends, to network with new business partners, and most importantly, to have fun! [Reader says: "France is being highlighted at next month's LinuxTag. There has been a lot of progress over the last years there in IT. One of the most visible cases has been the Gendarmerie."]

    • LinuxTag

      LinuxTag is the most important place for Linux and open source software in Europe. In 2009, the 15th LinuxTag presents news for professional users, decision makers, developers, beginners and the Linux community – from 24th until 27th June on the Fairground in Berlin.

    • Linux Professional Institute’s 10th Anniversary at LinuxTag Berlin (June 24-27, 2009)

      The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization (http://wwwlpi.org), announced a program of events and activities at LinuxTag, Berlin, Germany (June 24-27, 2009) in celebration of the organization’s 10th anniversary.

  • Desktop

    • Linux on tap in netbook, nettop

      HP has upgraded its Linux-ready “Mini” netbooks, offering its new “HP Mini 110 with Mi” at a much lower $280 pricetag than the previous Mini 1000. Meanwhile, Shuttle switched from an Intel Atom to Via’s 1.0GHz Nano U1700 processor for its latest, low-power Shuttle XS29F nettop.

  • Server

    • 5 Server Operating Systems For Your Business

      There isn’t one Linux operating system — rather, you can buy a boxed version of Linux from a company or download it from a company or an individual. Most Linux server distros run the same Linux kernel but differ considerably in terms of software packages and licensing/support models. Prices range considerably, as well, from free to a couple thousand dollars, which is what the Red Hat server OS tops out at.

    • HDE Announces Karesansui: Open Source Virtualization Management Software for Linux

      HDE, a leader of Linux server management software in Japan, today announced Karesansui, free, open source virtualization management software with web-based user interface, which supports Linux servers and Xen. To download Karesansui, visit http://karesansui-project.info/get/.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Ext4 Linux file system

      Ext3, the default Linux file system for many years, is definitely starting to show its age. Modern mass storage devices are approaching its limits and block-based data management is no longer adequate for modern file sizes. High time for an update!

    • Testing Out The SSD Mode In Btrfs

      One month ago we provided benchmarks of the Btrfs file-system and found that while it contained many features to make it a next-generation Linux file-system, its disk performance was rather displeasing. We had found the EXT4 file-system ran faster in a number of the tests and even EXT3 and XFS had their own advantages. Besides offering features like snapshots and online defragmentation, Btrfs has a mode that is optimized for solid-state drives. Will the Btrfs SSD mode cause this new Oracle-sponsored file-system to be the best for non-rotating media? We have benchmarks in this article, but the results may not be what one would expect.

      [...]

      The Btrfs SSD mode ended out our last test still being slower than not using the SSD mount option.

    • Linux Kernel, Meet Windows Kernel. Behave.

      The best thing to do with the Linux kernel right now is to make sure it has a stable programming interface that makes writing binary applications for Linux itself as appealing as possible. That’s up to the kernel team, of course, but the more they can be encouraged to include things that benefit Linux directly — instead of Windows indirectly — the better of Linux will be as a whole.

    • X Input 2.0 Hitting Master In Seven Days

      X Input 2.0 is officially set to arrive in the X Server in just seven days. This input extension update for X.Org has been a longtime in the making and is needed for Multi-Pointer X and also improves other areas to enhance the input subsystem. X Input 2 was supposed to hit X Server 1.6 but then that got pushed back and now the X.Org 7.5 / X Server 1.7 schedule has been pushed back yet again to allow Xi2 to finally merge.

    • NVIDIA Releases 185.18.14 Display Driver

      NVIDIA hasn’t released as many Linux driver updates in May as they have in past months, but this week they are out with the NVIDIA 185.18.14 driver update. This proprietary driver for x86 and x86_64 Linux features a variety of bug-fixes, VDPAU enhancements, and better support for newer Linux kernels. Interestingly, NVIDIA hasn’t updated their proprietary FreeBSD or Solaris drivers to this latest version, nor have they even been updated in a while.

  • Applications

    • Business Card Tutorial in Inkscape.org

      This tutorial will demonstrate how to create a business card template using Inkscape. The steps in this tutorial will work for Inkscape versions 0.46 and 0.47.

    • PiTiVi Video Editor: At the Start of Its Journey, Showing Lots of Potential

      PiTiVi is a non-linear video editor based on the GStreamer multimedia framework.

    • Hedgewars 0.9.11

      Hedgewars, an open source turn-based strategy game like Worms but with hedgehogs, is at version 0.9.11.

    • Top 10 Apps that Boosts Ubuntu’s User Experience

      1) Ubuntu Tweak

      Ubuntu Tweak allows changing all the itsy-bitsy pieces of Ubuntu desktop OS. It is the equivalent of TweakUI for Windows. You can achieve the same results by using the gconf-editor tool in Ubuntu. Ubuntu Tweak also helps install third-party upgrades in a simpler fashion so it definitely gives a new boost to your clumsy Ubuntu desktop and increases UserExperience.

    • Qt vs. GTK: Konqueror, Arora, Firefox, Midori, Epiphany

      I’ve mentioned a couple of times that, at least in my opinion, KDE is losing out to GNOME because there simply aren’t as many Qt applications as GTK ones. Competition breeds quality, and as a result, I find Qt applications in general to be inferior.

  • KDE4

    • Put a net in your book

      What’s that screen? it shows the embryo of our idea of user interface for a netbook. the actua plasma executable is another one that is way simpler that the full fledged plasma-desktop one, and it features just a panel (final layout still to be defined) and a main view (don’t call it desktop eh:p) that will display one of the two main activities we will ll come up for this project that are: SAL, a fullscreen application launcher/search interface/document browser/whatever (MoRpHeUz will talk more on that in the future:p) and the Newspaper activity, that’s where i spent the last 2 days of development, besides making the mini plasma shell work a bit better.

    • Who wants a pony ?

      Pony is a simple image manager written in PyKDE4.

  • Distributions

    • PC/OS 10 Open64 Workstation edition released

      PC/OS Developer Roberto J. Dohnert has announced the release of PC/OS 10 Open64 Workstation. The desktop distribution designed for 64-bit systems is based on Ubuntu 9.04 and includes all of the latest security and bug patches up to the 25th of May. All of the PC/OS editions, including OpenDesktop, OpenWorkstation and WebStation, utilise the lightweight Xfce desktop environment and focus on providing ease of use out-of-the-box.

    • Calculate Linux Desktop 9.6 KDE released

      This anniversary version of Calculate Linux Desktop, the first version of which was exactly 2 years ago.

    • Dreamlinux 4.0 Gnome – Sneak Peak

      Well, that was the sneak preview of what’s to come. Dreamlinux 4.0 has no release date at the moment, and is still under heavy development. There will be the standard default Xfce edition, Gnome edition, Fluxbox edition and possibly an Lxde edition as well.

      The aim is to keep Dreamlinux light, fast, and stable. There will be a few changes, and some amazing innovations with this release. They will not be announced until the final release as they will most certainly be “borrowed” by other distros.

    • Fedora 11′s best five features

      Personally, I like having absolute control of my audio system, but then before I ever touched a computer I was working with stereo equipment. For most users, the multiple slider approach is over-kill. Jonathan Corbet, the well-known Linux developer, has the best answer: “the volume control should have an ‘expert mode.’” Hopefully this common-sense suggestion will be implemented as the default in forthcoming versions of GNOME.

    • Debian/Ubuntu

      • GiftWrap helps you create .debs

        If you’ve ever tried to write some sample application with Visual Studio you surely already know that creating an installer for you Window application is pretty trivial. You follow the wizard, click here and there, et-voila ! You have a nice installer ready to be shipped wherever you want.

      • Linux Netbook Reviews: What The Wall Street Journal Missed

        What a shortsighted comment. Forget about initial costs. Let’s focus on total cost of ownership, and software productivity. A Dell Mini 10 with Ubuntu will never suffer from the security and virus issues that a Dell Mini 10 with Windows XP will surely experience.

        Running mounds of security software on a netbook can suck up processing power, slow down the system, hit your wallet … and the list goes on.

      • Guide To Building An Open Source HTPC / Media Center on Ubuntu

        HTPC is an acronym for Home Theater Personal Computer. A computer system designed with the sole intention of being connected to a television, for entertainment purposes such as watching live TV, playing movies, surfing the Internet, games, listening to music, or viewing digital photographs. A HTPC may also be referred to as a Media Center, which is usually the software portion of the device that combines the functions of a personal computer and media software into a single convergence device.

      • Portable Ubuntu: Definitely a keeper

        And now I have an option too. I tried Portable Ubuntu for Windows today, during a few hours’ break from my weekly grind. This is the culprit, running on a fresh installation of Windows XP.

      • Features Of Ubuntu 9.04

        Ubuntu is getting better. It’s easy to see why it leads the charge as the Linux desktop OS. This isn’t to say other distros can’t do the job (because they certainly can), but the user-centric nature of Ubuntu is what makes it great. Version 9.04 continues with that modus operandi and that’s why Ubuntu users enjoy the OS so much.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Google Expects 18 Android Phones This Year

      HTC has the only commercially available Android handset with the T-Mobile G1, but Samsung has shown off an Android smartphone that’s expected to be released in June. Companies like Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and Asus-Garmin also are expected to release smartphones with the Linux-based operating system.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Qualcomm unveils ‘smartbook’ Linux netbooks

        Pineda said smartbooks would have battery lives of up to eight hours, based on active usage. The devices, which will be made by Qualcomm’s partners, will have GPS and HD video playback, and will run on Linux with a smartphone-like user interface.

      • The MIPS Processor and the $150 Linux Netbook

        Back at the start of the millennium I was working for a large government contractor supporting an agency of the U.S. federal government. This agency was a major customer of SGI. Many of the scientists who worked there had very nice SGI workstations and some of the SGI servers I supported were, to say the least, impressive technology at the time. At the time SGI systems, one and all, had 64-bit MIPS processors under the hood. SGI spun off MIPS Technologies in 1998 and stopped selling new MIPS based systems in 2005.

        [...]

        Although it takes considerable work it is also possible to run Debian Etch on the Alpha 400. The screenshot below, originally posted on the linked page, shows a Debian desktop using the IceWM window manager with windows open for Mozilla Firefox and mrxvt.

      • Moblin version of Linpus Linux Lite OS at Computex

        With the release of the Linux Foundation’s Moblin 2.0 Beta, a number of people have missed the fact that the software is targeted more at Linux distributors and not at end-users. However, you would not think so when you take a closer look at some of the promotional activities that have taken place.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-source software in the recession: Born free

    The “free and open-source software” movement, as it is officially called, has come a long way from its anti-establishment origins. Pioneers such as Richard Stallman did not want users to be locked into monolithic products, but to be able to change programs in whatever way they wanted, and to share their modifications.

  • Unlocking the cloud

    Open-source software has won the argument. Now a new threat to openness looms

    [...]

    But now there is the danger of a new form of lock-in. “Cloud computing”—the delivery of computer services from vast warehouses of shared machines—enables companies and individuals to cut costs by handing over the running of their e-mail, customer databases or accounting software to someone else, and then accessing it over the internet. There are many advantages to this approach for both customers (lower cost, less complexity) and service providers (economies of scale). But customers risk losing control once again, in particular over their data, as they migrate into the cloud. Moving from one service provider to another could be even more difficult than switching between software packages in the old days. For a foretaste of this problem, try moving your MySpace profile to Facebook without manually retyping everything.

  • Archiveteam Project Collects Lost Web 2.0 Content

    Under the rubric Software, the project collects tools, tips and tricks. Included is the GNU wget command that, with some appropriate parameters, secures a complete WordPress blog on a local hard drive. Some site-specific pages relate to Google, Livejournal and Twitter.

  • Standardized Data Exchange with SDMX: a Case Study

    The European OSOR information service has a mission to “support the collaborative development of Open Source Software (OSS) applications and solutions, particularly cross-border collaborations and exchanges of knowledge and software.”

  • The 8 most successful open source products ever

    Open source in itself is a success story. From being a niche concept, it has become a mainstream movement (well, more or less) and has received the attention of both individuals and businesses worldwide.

    There are thousands of open source projects and products out there, but which ones are the most successful? By successful we mean widely used and widely known. While there are many successful open source products, a few stand head and shoulders above the rest. We have listed them here below.

  • Recession and the Victory of FOSS

    The interesting side effect of that was the sudden realizations by these companies and individuals such as “Wow, FOSS is actually better!” or “Wow, and we get all this for free?” And what’s even more interesting is how not only are these companies not going back to previous proprietary solutions, they’re actually telling their friends and fellow businesses about FOSS.

    And all it took was a simple recession to finally give FOSS and Linux the kick in the pants it needed. And if you don’t believe me, look at how Microsoft is taking hit after hit after hit against it’s empire. If we were in an economic boom, that wouldn’t be happening. But since we’re not, it is.

  • If open source has won, then where do we go from here?

    Supporters of open source are fond of quoting Mohandas Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Did he happen to say what happened after that?

  • Business

    • True cost of migrating to open source

      How do we, as technologists, respond to the reality of far less money, increased competition in a shrinking market and the ceaseless demands by management for innovation? How do we square this circle?

      Microsoft knows the answer is free and open source software, just as well as we do. It has spent a fortune analyzing the ‘threat’ and has chosen the cost of migration as the attack most likely to succeed.

  • Openness

  • Programming

    • Poll: 90 per cent are satisfied with the Eclipse development environment

      The Eclipse Foundation has published the results of the global Eclipse Community Survey 2009 in The Open Source Developer Report[icon:pdf]. The Foundation held the survey from mid-April to mid-May in order to get developer feedback on the tools and software that they use. The organisation wanted to learn how the respondents used open source software and how they interacted with the Eclipse community. Nearly 1,500 participants took part in the Foundation poll, of which 27.8 per cent were from Germany, followed by 15.7 per cent from the United States. Only 0.6 per cent of participants were from the United Kingdom. Approximately 80 per cent of the respondents worked for companies that are not members of an open source consortium.

    • Eclipse Survey: Linux More Popular as Deployment Platform

      More tellingly, Linux is now the leading deployment platform at 43 percent and Windows has dropped to 41 percent among Eclipse users surveyed.

    • Eclipse survey results show growth in Linux, open source

      The Eclipse Foundation has published the findings of its latest user survey. According to the results, the number of developers using Eclipse on Linux workstations and deploying their applications on Linux servers has increased. The results also show an increase in the number of respondents who say that their companies are contributing to open source software.

    • Google Declares ‘The Web Has Won’

      Google kicked off its I/O developer conference here with a spirited endorsement of new Web tools and adoption of new standards, particularly HTML 5, as driving a new generation of more innovative applications.

      “The Web has won — it’s the dominant programming model of our time,” said Vic Gondotra, Google’s vice president for engineering.

    • Google Wave: Screenshots

      Sydney developer Lars Rasmussen has done it again. Check out the first screenshots of Wave, Google’s new centralised collaboration tool that mashes together emails, instant messaging and wiki style communication into one open sourced service.

    • Google Waves Goodbye to E-Mail, Welcomes Real-Time Communication
    • Browser Chiefs Aiming Squarely At Web Apps

      Is innovation in browsers where it should be? We’ve reported before on how most of the innovation is going on in open source browsers, as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer continues to lose market share. This week, at two separate conferences, officials from Google and Mozilla have weighed in on how browsers need to improve. Notably, they primarily agree, and their focus doesn’t seem matched by Microsoft with Internet Explorer.

    • Are Open Source Developers Throwing Good Code After Bad?

      Most people I have talked to have responded this way: It’s their project, let them do what they want with it, something good is likely to come of it, and hey — there’s a lot of programming fish in the sea, it’s not like we’re losing them. And my response has been: No, it’s “throwing good code after bad”, to put a turn on another common phrase. It diverts the attention of very talented people into something they tell themselves is worthwhile, but is borne out of a premise that doesn’t really lift all the boats with its tide.

  • Applications

    • Realeyes IDS 0.9.5 Released

      There is a new download available for the Realeyes IDS version 0.9.5. Read the release notes for details, but essentially, this release is about new user interface features. The screenshots have been updated and there are two new demos, one on installation and configuration, and the other on the new features. There are links to all of this on the technology page

Leftovers

  • EFF Launches Copyright Curriculum To Counter RIAA Propaganda Being Handed Out To Schools

    It’s been quite troubling that for years various schools have simply accepted propaganda and totally inaccurate “teaching materials” about copyright and used them to teach students. These programs have been created by both the RIAA and the MPAA, at times. More recently, a lobbying organization backed by both of those organizations, the Copyright Alliance (which has a long history of making up the most fantastic myths about copyright) has been pushing a copyright curriculum on schools.

  • Pirate Party Backed by Sweden’s Most Prolific Writer

    In their race for one or more seats in the European Parliament, the Swedish Pirate Party has gathered support from all layers of society, including some well known public figures. One of them is Lars Gustafsson, one of Sweden’s most prolific writers, who openly expressed his support for the Pirate Party today.

  • The Conference Board Of Canada Recalls Three IP Reports; Admits Plagiarism

    Separately, the CEO of The Conference Board of Canada has supposedly admitted the report was plagiarized. Kudos to Michael Geist for his relentless following of this story, and making sure it got the attention it deserved… and kudos to The Conference Board of Canada for actually backing down (despite first defending the credibility of the report) once it realized how problematic it was.

  • USA, Canada and the EU attempt to kill treaty to protect blind people’s access to written material

    Right now, in Geneva, at the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization, history is being made. For the first time in WIPO history, the body that creates the world’s copyright treaties is attempting to write a copyright treaty dedicated to protecting the interests of copyright users, not just copyright owners.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Kendall Dawson, Linspire Community Liaison 07 (2005)

Ogg Theora

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

Novell Outsources Provo (Utah) Staff

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Novell at 12:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trousers and belt
More belt-tightening moves

Summary: Novell’s 5-year contract is estimated at about $135 million, compromises existing staff

BACK IN APRIL we saw Novell offshoring GNU/Linux developers (mostly Germany-based) to Taiwan. It’s a sacrifice, but Ron Hovsepian's family wants his huge bonuses. In last night’s financial report Novell bragged to investors about cost reductions and this might be it. Novell’s CFO spoke about needing to reduce expenses further, according to the transcript of the call. Around the same time we find this ACS-Novell press release (also located here).

Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. (NYSE: ACS) and Novell, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL) today announced a strategic partnership to expand their core technical capabilities and suite of services. As part of the partnership, Novell will outsource part of its internal IT operations to ACS, which will also provide SAP consulting and applications development and maintenance system integration services as part of a $135 million, five-year contract. ACS will also partner with Novell to enhance its global data center operations and will purchase at least $30 million in Novell products during the first three years of the partnership.

There are already articles about it:

Novell, ACS form outsourcing, supply partnership

[...]

The outsourcing partnership involves shifting service delivery from the 156 employees of Novell Information Services and Technology group in Provo, Utah. A release from both companies does not outline where ACS will then outsource this work, but Novell officials expect “significant cost savings.”

There is this talk about “cost saving” again. More in this British Web site:

ACS AND NOVELL LAUNCH STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP

SAYS AS PART OF THE PARTNERSHIP, NOVELL WILL OUTSOURCE PART OF ITS INTERNAL it operations to ACS

And more from the British press:

Novell, having reported its second quarter financial results yesterday after Wall Street closed, said it had inked a deal with Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services to have that outsourcer take over its ERP systems and related data center in Provo, Utah.

This is a 5-year contract weighing about $135 million.

Novell Falls 5% After News of Lowered Sales, Key Products Failing to Produce Profit

Posted in Finance, Novell, Ron Hovsepian, Servers, SLES/SLED at 12:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell Q2 2009

Summary: Novell’s revenue is down, expenses are down, and more cutbacks are said to be needed

A MORE comprehensive analysis will come tomorrow, but here are some quick findings about Novell’s latest results, which obviously it is trying to spin (all companies do).

This morning’s article from Timothy is probably the best so far as the author is typically isolated from marketing bias and mindless flocking which cascades down from press release that are selective by design.

For its quarter ended April 30, Novell sales fell by 8.5 per cent to $215.6m. But because it has been tightening the belt and it had a pretty bad corresponding quarter last fiscal year, bringing $15m to the bottom line looked good by contrast. Nonetheless, Novell has a ways to go before it is as profitable as it needs to be or investors want it to be, and as it turns out, key product lines are not profitable.

[...]

Novell booked $7m in restructuring charges in the quarter, and its headcount was the same as it was at the end of the last quarter, with 3,900 employees. Russell said that in a normal fiscal year, the second half usually sees a revenue bump, but he warned that sales could stay flat quarter to quarter (as they did so far in fiscal 2009), and that means Novell is going to be under pressure to cut costs to keep in the black.

From Seeking Alpha:

# Novell (NOVL) Q2 EPS of 5 cents misses by 1 cent. Q2 revenue $216M vs. consensus of $218M.

More here:

Software service provider Novell Inc. (NOVL) said its second quarter profit jumped from a year ago as expenses declined, despite an 8.5% fall in revenues reflecting a huge drop in software licenses and services revenue. On an adjusted basis, earnings came in above Street estimates, while revenues fell short.

Novell’s SLE* business is still growing, but it is not growing fast enough to keep Novell afloat in its current scale.

The software provider achieved revenue of $216m (£134m), down from $236m in the same period last year. Net income was up to $16m from $6m in 2008.

Well, they laid people off and cut expenses associated with luxuries like BrainShare. It’s worth noting that the whole of Novell’s income combined is about twice that of Ron Hovsepian's bonus for 2008. And that’s just one person’s bonus, to put things in perspective. There is no recession for the CEO’s household/family.

According to this, “Novell, Inc. closed yesterday up 1.37% on over 6.7 million shares traded.” But today it goes down sharply, unlike the market as a whole. Novell (NOVL) fell as low as $2.5 some months ago. To quote:

Novell, Inc (NOVL) in the last one year traded as high as $7.10 in May 2008 and as low as $2.49 in March 2009. Based on the yesterday’s closing price $4.43 the company has market cap of $1.53 billion.

NOVL is still considered a stock to watch today.

Friday’s biggest gaining and declining stocks

Companies whose shares are expected to see active U.S. trading on Friday include General Motors, Dell, Novell and Office Depot.

A new report about NOVL (SADIF Analytics) says that “Novell, Inc. is an average quality company with a positive outlook. Novell, Inc. has weak business growth and is run by efficient management. When compared to its closest peer, MICROS Systems, Inc., Novell, Inc. shows similar overvaluation and is equally likely to outperform the market.”

Well, Sun was acquired and it amasses huge losses. This comparison does not work in Novell’s favour.

Neelie Kroes, Microsoft, and Software Patent Tax (Video)

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft, Patents, Videos at 7:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

THE president of the FFII says that he “has just copied the European Commission’s video where Neelie Kroes explains that Microsoft can tax competitors with patents.” Here is a high-resolution version [MPEG] and the Ogg version below.

Ogg Theora

Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft at 7:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cow with bell
Microsoft cash cows get no green pastures

Summary: Microsoft’s contract in Switzerland shot down by lawsuit

Previous posts about the Swiss government being sued for blindly selecting Microsoft are:

  1. Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
  2. Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
  3. 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
  4. Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
  5. Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
  6. ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
  7. Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead

The initial outcome is finally in (Swiss press) with partial English translations in Slashdot, whose summary is:

Looks like the challenge to the Swiss Administrative Court concerning the government contract given to Microsoft without any public bidding was successful: The court has issued a temporary injunction (note: article in German) against the Federal Office of Buildings and Logistics (BBL), effectively stopping the CHF 14M (£8M; $15M)-contract to deliver licenses and support for software used on government computers for the next three years. According to Swiss Government practices, any contract over CHF 50’000 has to undergo a public call for offers. The BBL cited ‘no serious alternatives’ as the reason which this contract never did.

Free/open source companies can now follow the same footsteps and carry out similar actions in other European nations, e.g. the UK and Hungary, even Italy. Quebec did this last year.

An anonymous person tells us that the “only problem is, what happens when they do another round of bidding, and find out that there’s maybe one or two 10 year old, crusty proprietary apps that won’t run in Wine? [...] Still those specialized apps out there that were coded only for Windows years ago (either by a niche proprietary group or an in-house group that has since moved on) can be a bit or a problem for Linux adoption. It’s not Linux’s fault there, but then the business doesn’t always have the time, money, and/or manpower to have brand new code written and debugged.

Any suggestions?

IDG, ACT, CompTIA and the Rest of the Microsoft AstroTurf

Posted in Antitrust, Deception, Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 6:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

20 dollar bill

Summary: Rob Enderle still attacking Google and GNU/Linux (and Preston Gralla from IDG likewise); Spinners from IDG tilt Microsoft antitrust in Microsoft’s favour

IDG’s relationship with Microsoft is a subject which we wrote about quite comprehensively in the past [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. This company has its share of Linux-hostile writers, one of whom is Preston Gralla. His Microsoft crusade is something we previously wrote about in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Gralla sells Windows books, so his agenda merely aligns with his pockets. But why does he spend so much time attacking Microsoft rivals he knows nothing about? Why does IDG permit this? Ad revenue?

“Gralla sells Windows books, so his agenda merely aligns with his pockets. But why does he spend so much time attacking Microsoft rivals he knows nothing about?”There are quite a few reporters in IDG (also ZDNet) who write about GNU/Linux despite not using it. Ever! That would be the equivalent of someone who never tried any Apple products writing about how Macs suck (based on screenshots and other reporters). It’s simply not appropriate.

Preston Gralla is to GNU/Linux what Rob Enderle is to GNU/Linux, but the former is still far worse at hiding the source of his poison pen [1, 2]. Gralla is somewhat of a wannabe of Enderle, who is still at it by the way — currently aggravating Google with an outrageous comparison to Palin over at ECT.

Another person is calling out Gralla for his seemingly endless attacks on GNU/Linux.

In this weeks (May 18th, 2009) Computerworld print edition’s opinion column “Desktop Linux: Why you Shouln’t Care” Preston Gralla (who?) bashes Linux for no apparent reason other than to bash something he obviously knows nothing about. I’ve never heard of this guy before so I checked out the rest of his blog post, and to my surprise (note the sarcasm) yep he loves his Microsoft. It’s fine to love your operating system of choice but it’s another thing to spread out right lies about the operating system you choose not to use.

It is valuable to put one’s effort citing (and thus ‘fueling’) the writings of those reporters who actually use GNU/Linux and write about it, not those who provoke to defend their personal interests. They are like lobbyists dressed up as writers and sometimes they even swap such roles (analysts-lobbysists-journalists-marketers). Some of these roles are easily interchangeable as Peter Galli, Peter O’Kelly, and Michael Gartenberg [1, 2] demonstrate very nicely.

A couple of days ago, Glyn Moody drew attention to the Web site of ALT (not to be confused with Microsoft lobbyist ATL), which stands for Alliance for Lobbying Transparency.

The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency (ALT) is an alliance of civil society groups concerned about the growing influence of professional lobbying on Government decision-making and life in the UK.

Banning or jailing would be even better and more suitable than just transparency.

The above is a very timely pointer because of ACT [1, 2, 3], an incarnation of Microsoft lobbyists ATL. Paul Meller is again promoting (by parroting) the ACT party line in IDG:

The latest Microsoft antitrust battle in Europe has sparked a turf war between lobby groups that claim to represent small and medium size enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the case.PIN-SME, a lobby group on the side of the European Commission — Europe’s top antitrust authority — hit out at rival the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) in a statement Thursday. The document dismissed ACT’s claim earlier this week that SMEs need a solid Windows platform containing Internet Explorer (IE) for building software.

[...]

Another long-serving Microsoft ally in its European Commission antitrust battles, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) Thursday backed up Zuck’s argument that SMEs are on Microsoft’s side in the case.CompTIA is intervening in the Microsoft case on behalf of 90 SMEs, it said.

What is Meller doing? He is bringing another Microsoft lobbying gun (CompTIA to be precise [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]) into this debate so as to verify and virtually justify ACT’s talking point, which is Microsoft’s.

“It’s the illusion of confrontation or a debate between straw men.”A informant calls the author “MS Meller”, explaining that he “puts ACT and Pin SME on equal footing, impl[ying] Pin SME was on the same grounds.” It’s the illusion of confrontation or a debate between straw men. To suggest that there is representation of small businesses here is also the illusion that businesses large and small (Mirosoft AstroTurf) support Microsoft in this particular case. it’s not just dishonest and unethical; it should be considered criminal.

“Have a look at his article history just for the NYTimes,” says our informant about Paul Meller. He is among the Brussels correspondents (IDG says that he explores “European Commission” issues).

Further to previous coverage of Microsoft dodging the EU hearing [1, 2], there is also this short piece suggesting that Microsoft deliberately discredits the European Commission.

Whoever tries to slap in the face of the European hearing officer because some potential national observers prefer to go to an international conference, looks pretty incompetent. It was reported also Commissioner Kroes intended to honour the hearing of DG competition with her attendance. It seems also inspiring how failure is spinned in a way to smear the Commission and dig the hole deeper.

At the end of the day, a lot of this boils down to politics and those who cover (spin) this. IDG is hardly a source to be trusted.

Oh Loh! SourceForge Buys Former Microsoft Employees

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mice in the attic

Summary: SourceForge buys a company with a roots in Microsoft

SourceForge has just announced that it is buying Ohloh, a company with more people and data than actual hard assets.

For those who are not aware, Ohloh is a company created by Microsoft folks and it exists inside the territories of Microsoft’s #1 rival, which Microsoft is trying to assimilate. Other such companies include LikeWise, for example. Another one is Black Duck, which was created by an ex-Microsoft staffer (he later left) and now endorses Microsoft as part of "open source". That is the company which is actively attacking open source using software patents.

Here is a statement from SourceForge regarding its latest acquisition:

“We expect that the acquisition of Ohloh and the integration of its technology to significantly improve our insights about the open source development community and our ability to target advertising,” said Jon Sobel, SourceForge’s group president of Media, in announcing the deal. The acquisition is one of very few advertising-centric deals being made in this economic environment, and is evidence that open source continues to have momemtum during the downturn.

On several occasions last year we noted that SourceForge had adopted a softer stance on Microsoft [1, 2]. There was also a major change in leadership, but it’s hard to tell just how much of a role this had, if any.

As a side note, Google too had some more Microsoft people join its staff, which may explain Windows bias (think Chome) and use of software like ActiveX (think Google Maps) and DirectX (think Picasa). Recruiters and acquirers should be careful.

“Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

“Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer [...] I can’t imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business. I’m an American; I believe in the American way, I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don’t think we’ve done enough education of policymakers to understand the threat.”

Jim Allchin, President of Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft

With Vista 7 Already Disappointing, Is There a Future for Microsoft?

Posted in Microsoft, Search, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 4:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vista 7

Summary: Trying a second time does not mend a broken crown jewel product, so what is left for Microsoft to do?

YESTERDAY we wrote about the latest realisation (of Microsoft fans) that Vista 7 suffers from the same problems as its twin, Windows Vista. It has become truly heavy ahead of RTM. Sam Varghese calls Vista 7 “Vista Mark II” in his latest article on the subject.

For sometime earlier this year, there was much talk about how Windows 7 was going to play saviour to rescue its creators from the cesspit that Vista had created. Now it looks like even the biggest fans of that company in Redmond have realised that it is another dud.
I guess the disillusionment has begun with the netbook; for a while Windows 7 was going to run on netbooks at speeds that would rival that of XP. But when Microsoft decided that netbooks needed to be redefined – the classic tactic of moving the goalposts when your argument misses its mark – then the scales fell from admiring eyes.

There’s no need to wonder anymore: Windows 7 will be Vista Mark II. The time for illusions is over and the real stuff is being jammed into the innards of this great operating system – to use bizspeak, ” as we speak, 24/7, seamlessly.”

What has passed for a netbook all this time never was. No, the new specs which Microsoft has brought to the table are those of a low-end laptop. You need to pay through the nose for a toy too.

[...]

If you’re the kind who likes freedom, then GNU/Linux is there in all its glorious flavours. You have the out-of-the-box working kind, or you have the fiddly kind where you learn things that make you appreciate the hard work that goes into creating a multiuser, secure operating system.

Whereas Linux powers computers large and small (from macro to nano), Microsoft is still struggling with trivial things:

Microsoft support: Just wiggle the mouse until the problem goes away

The Web is buzzing with this genius workaround Microsoft devised for an Oracle problem while using Excel. I had no idea my great aunt works in Microsoft’s technical support team, as this is just the sort of solution she’d likely devise:

Method 2: Move Your Mouse Pointer
[...]

This is truly the demise of Microsoft. New names for old products, e.g. “Windows 7″ (Vista reloaded), “Zune HD” and “Bing” (Live is not dead yet) will change almost nothing. It’s only left for Microsoft investors to decide what they waste money on.

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