05.31.09

Microsoft’s Numbers a Lot Worse Than IDC Tells

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Servers, Windows at 11:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IDG, IDC and Microsoft

Summary: If IDC says Windows Server is down 29%, then it is a lot worse in reality and in practice

AS we wrote yesterday, IDC indicates that Microsoft’s server revenue is down 29%, but IDC's numbers are notoriously useless, except perhaps for a relative basis on preinstalled units in particular countries.

It was pleasant to see the following critical comments about IDC’s latest numbers. “How is it measured,” asks one person in ZDNet.

Estimated sales blah blah blah. How do they estimate ? My company buys servers from Dell, after they arrive some get Windows and some get Red Hat Linux. We don’t tell Dell what they are being used for.

All of them come with a Windows image preloaded, which is erased no matter what OS we put on top. Is that counted as a Windows sale ?

If the answer to that question is “yes”, then the estimate (for us) is out by about 75%, since of the ones coming in about 75% are used for linux. What if everyone does that ? What if no one does that ? What is some people do that ?

As Matt Asay has just pointed out:

Microsoft’s Windows Server revenue is down 29 percent. Meanwhile, Novell’s and Red Hat’s Linux businesses are thriving.

These numbers do not tell the whole truth. They were designed to actually flatter Microsoft, so the truth would be a lot worse for Microsoft. Other numbers that are rigged (in Microsoft’s favour) come from Netcraft [1, 2] and from Net Applications [1, 2]. Bias is where money can be made in this business of surveying, otherwise it’s unsustainable charity/voluntarism.

“Forty percent of servers run Windows, 60 percent run Linux…”

Steve Ballmer (September 2008)

“We are not on a path to win against Linux”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft's Platform Group Vice President

The GNU/Linux-Hostile MSCOSCONF Event (Mis)Uses the “Open Source” Brand

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 10:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

George Orwell

Even Eric Blair would be proud

Summary: MSCOSCONF promotes Microsoft and Windows but claims to be about “open source”

IN ITS typical and shameless Orwellian fashion, Microsoft loves labeling its anti-GNU/Linux efforts something like “open” or “open source”. We see it all the time. This strategy makes it a lot harder to point at the offending events, precisely because they go under banners that deliberately deceive and therefore mix one’s language and thus connotations. Here is the latest example which Yoon Kit wrote about yesterday:

MSCOSCONF

[...]

Apache not good enough?
The official website of MSCOSCONF is running on IIS. IIS is a proprietary product. The majority of websites on the web runs a fully fledged Open Source product called Apache as a webserver. When queried on why the mscosconf website is running on IIS, there were rumours that the front facing IIS just a “proxy” however. The other rumour was that it was because one of the sponsors only have Windows machines to host the website. Whatever the case, this is strange because the community have offered to sponsor the hosting of the website with a certified freedom stack.

This fortunately can be resolved easily in the future.

The Microsoft “Competition”
Its great that Microsoft has been playing a significant role in terms of sponsorship for this event. Their efforts in publicity and community relations have been positive, together with their support for the foss.my 08 event.

What is interesting is that they are currently sponsoring a competition which sports a RM10,000 prize in the porting of popular PHP webapps which currently exist on a completely free stack, to a completely closed stack. Yes, the purpose of the competition is to port webapps which run using Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (LAMP) to Microsoft Windows, Microsoft IIS and Microsoft SQL Server, PHP (WIMP). This contest was a misnomer and spun as LAMP2WIN, as should be more accurately called LAMP2WIMP.

This to me is a bizarre requirement and totally goes against the philosophy of what an Open Source competition should be. I’m not sure what rationale was during the design of the competition, but this could have been easily designed with a more “Free” objective.

[...]

For example, and ironically, the “Sponsorship Prospectus” (amongst others) which has the purpose of wooing potential sponsors to promote open source, is written and published using Microsoft Office 2007. It may seem like a normal business decision to use whatever tools they are familiar with, but to us freetards, it seems rather distasteful. Also they need a better copywriter in their social media alerts.

Microsoft did the same type of thing in Japan several months ago. They are using competitions and thus monetary incentives to push software away from GNU/Linux and right into Windows. Is it a coincidence that the acronym of this event starts with “MS”? Microsoft is a very big sponsor and it shows.

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Microsoft Takes Legal Action to Keep Windows XP Out of the (Black) Market

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Windows at 10:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”

Bill Gates

Summary: More crackdowns hint at tougher stance on Windows giveaways and more urgent need for revenue

People really, really don’t want Windows Vista. As pointed out last year, Vista has made Windows XP quite a hot (and “forbidden”) item on the black market. Microsoft wants to put an end to it.

Oceanside Man Charged with Selling Bootleg WindowsXP

[...]

An Oceanside man accused, along with an Illinois resident, of conspiring to buy $500,000 worth of counterfeit Microsoft software and then selling it over the Internet pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges.

As we showed many times before, Microsoft has no problem with counterfeiting as long as it helps Microsoft (and very often it does). See for example:

Now that Microsoft faces issues of debt, it is working extremely hard to squeeze every penny is can. From the African media this week:

MICROSOFT in conjunction with the Uganda Performing Rights Society (UPRS) have nabbed Asians in Kampala with pirated computer software.

The Asians were caught during an anti-piracy operation coordinated by the society in the city centre and its suburbs.

The two Asians were manning Infopoint shop that deals in computers and accessories on Kamu Kamu Plaza on Entebbe Road. They were nabbed by the Police and taken to Central Police Station (CPS) for interrogation.

Even charities are among the victims of Microsoft this month. Now is a good time to escape to Free software and adopt GNU/Linux.

“People everywhere love Windows.”

Bill Gates

Microsoft SQL Server and DirectX Enable Full Machine Compromise

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 9:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Network server
Microsoft still the weakest link in networked computing

Summary: Complete systems compromised, all caused by proprietary Microsoft software and APIs

YESTERDAY WE wrote about Windows compromising the national security of the United States. It is now confirmed that a Microsoft component is the culprit. It’s not just Windows though; it’s apparently Microsoft SQL Server, according to CNET.

Investigators believe an SQL injection attack was used to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft’s SQL Server database in order to gain access to the servers.

How can a database lead to full compromise? It's surely a design problem and we append at the bottom some references of interest, including the fairly recent news about head of Microsoft SQL Server quitting Microsoft.

As Oiaohm put it, “Does MySQL on Linux run as a root user? Not running as root lowers the damage [...] Has happened in the past with old Microsoft SQL worms. [...] We don’t know how old [a] Microsoft SQL Server this was.”

In CNET, we have also found this report about a DirectX hole which enables the entire system to be compromised. This is madness. How can a proprietary API achieve this? Is it truly as insecure-by-design as ActiveX? Many examples of ActiveX nightmares are accumulated here.

Microsoft on Thursday said it is working on a security patch for a vulnerability in its DirectX streaming media technology in Windows that could allow someone to take complete control of a computer using a maliciously crafted QuickTime file.

Marvelous. Why not just stick to open and free APIs like OpenGL?
_______
[1] Database head to leave daily duties at Microsoft

Paul Flessner, who leads Microsoft’s data storage and platform division, will step down from his daily duties after the new year.

[2] New attack technique threatens databases

A noted database security expert, Litchfield is perhaps best known for uncovering a bug in Microsoft SQL Server database server that was subsequently used by the SQL Slammer worm. Litchfield has long criticised Oracle for the time it takes to fix vulnerabilities in its database software.  

[3] SQL Injection Attacks on IIS Web Servers

[4] Microsoft offers assistance to combat mass SQL injection

[5] Huge Web Hack Attack Infects 500,000 Pages

One anti-virus vendor said the sites might have been compromised through a “security issue” in Microsoft’s Web server software that has been reported to Microsoft’s engineers.  

[6] Study Says Linux More Secure

More than 70 percent people surveyed said they found Red Hat Linux less vulnerable to security issues than Microsoft’s operating system.

[7] Study: 70 percent say Red Hat more secure than Windows

[8] Microsoft officially 425 years behind the times

It’s not just Excel and Exchange that ignore the Gregorian calendar. The Reg has also confirmed that SQL Server 2008, Windows Small Business Server, and Windows Mobile are ignorant as well.  

[9] SQL Server 2005 SP1 won’t work with Vista

It’s no secret that a number of applications, including several of Microsoft?s own, are not going to work properly with Windows Vista when the product ships.

[10] SQL Server 2005 SP2 Critical Update Available

Microsoft is seeking to resolve a technical glitch caused by Service Pack 2. For some installations, cleanup tasks stop prematurely after applying the service pack.

The hotfix, which Microsoft has designated a “critical update,” is available for existing SQL Server 2005 installations with Service Pack 2.

[11] Vista-compatible SQL Server 2005 SP2 likely February 19

Microsoft began warning users of SQL Server 2005 Vista incompatibilities last Fall.

[12] Vista flaw could haunt Microsoft

Microsoft wants a bigger piece of Oracle and IBM’s database business, but an oversight in its new operating system could cost the company plenty.

Microsoft’s “Us” Versus “Them” Mentality Already Backfires?

Posted in America, Asia, Microsoft at 9:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Don't mess with them

Summary: Microsoft’s political sanctions provoke Cuba; President of Microsoft Russia temporarily becomes a journalist

About a year ago, Europe considered an embargo against Microsoft (for chronic white-collar crime). But right now it is Microsoft which is embargoing other countries — a move which some would characterise as pure vanity. These controversial sanctions are still being covered in some newer articles and there is backlash in Cuba. From Mercury:

Cuba criticized Microsoft on Friday for blocking its Messenger instant messaging service on the island and in other countries under U.S. sanctions, calling it yet another example of Washington’s “harsh” treatment of Havana.

The technology giant recently announced it was disabling the program’s availability in Cuba, Syria, Iran, Sudan and North Korea to come into compliance with a U.S. ban on transfer of licensed software to embargoed countries.

The move “is just the latest turn of the screw in the United States’ technological blockade against the island,” a technology writer said in an article published by state youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde.

Pro-Microsoft reporters are quick to find some other examples of a few other services which do the same thing. It appears like ‘damage control’ because the company’s already-poor reputation is getting injured further. But Microsoft need not rely only on reporters who promote the company. EE Times Asia appears to have also become a platform for Microsoft employees to voice their message as though it is worth an article. Here is a brand-new example about Russia. Here is how the article is signed.

- Nikolay Pryanishnikov
President, Microsoft Russia

Microsoft is currently fighting GNU/Linux adoption in Russia. The company has been particularly worried about GNU/Linux in Russia for quite some time. Why are Microsoft employees becoming authors? The New York Times and the BBC occasionally do the same thing. Whose press is it? Who is in charge?

“Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful! Does wisdom perhaps appear on the earth as a raven which is inspired by the smell of carrion?”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Head of Microsoft Philippines Ditches the Company, More Layoffs Revealed (But Microsoft Withholds Details)

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, Open XML at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Philippines flag

Summary: Microsoft is frail in the east and forth we put the latest evidence

THE CITIZENS of the Philippines saw many of the major cases of Microsoft’s OOXML fiasco. Some posts that provide examples from the Philippines are:

In addition to this, more recently we wrote about Microsoft dumping software at no cost in order to suppress Free software. See for example:

Days ago, the English-speaking press in the Philippines declared that the head of Microsoft Philippines had abandoned the company, just like in Singapore where there were similar OOXML abuses. It’s said to be the same case in India.

Microsoft Philippines head quits

[...]

INQUIRER.net tried to contact Rollan but was unavailable for further comment.

In addition to this, far in the east we find that Microsoft's global layoffs continue. This goes beyond the previously-announced cuts and what was mere hearsay just a while ago is finally confirmed.

Industry rumours were set to rest when Microsoft confirmed a number of changes to its staffing.

According to Microsoft the restructure will affect a small, but unspecified, number of jobs and is part of the efficiency drive announced by Chief Executive, Steve Ballmer earlier this year. It follows job cuts that occurred earlier this month.

A Microsoft spokesperson said: “As part of this effort, we are making some changes in New Zealand.”

Microsoft’s recent blow in New Zealand we have already covered last week in:

We have found some more new articles about it:

By frequently breaking the law, Microsoft has caused layoffs in many of its competitors over the years, usually leading just to further concentration of power which made Microsoft quite a political movement. If Microsoft was to collapse, people would find a place in more ethical companies to work for, under a leadership which actually respects competition and more importantly obeys the law.

“Microsoft retaliated against industry participants that supported DR-DOS. For example, when Z-Nix Inc. bundled DR-DOS 6.0 and Microsoft Windows 3.1, proclaiming no incompatibilities, Microsoft’s Brad Silverberg wrote: “look what znix is doing! cut those fuckers off.” Within three weeks, Microsoft demanded an audit of Z-Nix’s entire business and then commenced a copyright and trademark infringement action. Z-Nix was forced to file for bankruptcy in or around 1995″

Comes Petition [PDF]

Links 31/05/2009: Smartbooks Coming, New Mozillaca

Posted in News Roundup at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Editor’s Note: Linux Is Easy

    The report discusses all the usual criteria for evaluating migration candidates, such as what applications do your users need, are there any good FOSS alternatives, and how technically proficient are the users. The report glossed over the last one, but that factor might be the most important one of all: some people are naturally more adept at using computers, and don’t mind learning new things. That is the demographic to zero in on after you figure out which tasks are good candidates for a Linux migration. Age, sex, race, experience, religion, or any other handy label are irrelevant; technical aptitude and willingness are the traits to look for. Zero in on these folks first, and you have a good start and an ad-hoc support staff.

  • Find A Kid To Fix It

    I finally handed over netbooks to each of the year 5 and 6 students this week and it was a momentous occasion for me. I have dreamed of what it would be like if all the kids in my class had their own computer on their desk since the day I started teaching 25 years ago. All those years ago I had one Microbee computer with a cassette tape drive in my classroom that took 30 minutes to load a simple program

    [...]

    Am I worried that I will have to make changes to 66 new machines to fix the problems that the kids found? Not at all. One of the many great things I am finding about Ubuntu (yes it is free as well) is that I can make changes to the one master copy of the software on their netbooks and as soon as they restart their machines, the changes are automatically installed and enabled.

  • Spice up your LUG!

    Finally, there’s no reason why your LUG can’t embrace the social networking revolution, and create a community on one of the many social networking sites. This has the advantage of being more media rich than traditional communication channels, and is usually more pervasive and immediate, with people keeping in touch on their mobile phones, for instance. This is worth looking at if the average age of your membership is on the lower side, as older folks seem to have an in-built cynicism towards the benefits of social networking. But whichever strategies you do take, the most important part about being online is that the website is kept up to date. Without that, it’s worthless.

  • Magazines

    • Linux New Media Launches Ubuntu User Magazine

      Linux New Media USA, LLC, announces the launch of a new print publication, Ubuntu User magazine.

      Canonical’s popular Ubuntu operating system continues to win followers around the world, and Ubuntu User is the first print magazine specifically for this rapidly growing audience. “Ubuntu is popular with software developers and IT professionals, but it is also a hit with hobbyists and other desktop users who are looking for an alternative to Microsoft Windows and don’t want the restrictive hardware policies of Apple,” says Joe Casad, Editor in Chief of Ubuntu User.

    • PCLinuxOS Magazine, Special issue

      PCLinuxOS Magazine, Special issue (Issue 29) is available to download. You can find it at the PCLinuxOS Magazine website. If you’d like to be informed immediately about our releases, please signup for the Magazine-Announce mailing list .

    • Full Circle Magazine: Issue 25

      This month, we’ve got some good stuff for you. Coming your way is all the usual, including:

      * Command and Conquer – Shell History.
      * How To: Test Drive VirtualBox, Increase Game Speed In X, and Inkscape – Part 2.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Xorg’s X Window innovation – it’s not ALL about the graphics (but there’s quite a lot of it)

      Some proprietary drivers emulate overlays, but for that to work they have to run in kernel space anyway; so, in the case of video, 2D acceleration became worse with time. And currently, on recent chips, 2D acceleration is emulated through the card’s 3D core via its firmware. The day when even this emulation goes bye-bye, 2D acceleration won’t exist – period.

    • Linux Ported to Dingoo A320

      Homebrew Coders have already ported ScummVM, PRBoom (Doom Engine) to Dingoo Linux.

    • Linux Foundation Updates Linux.com Website

      Visitors can now register and begin contributing to the community. Registered site users can produce blogs hosted at Linux.com, post product reviews and submit “how-tos” and tutorials. Users can also earn points toward their “Linux Guru” standing by participating in activities on the site. Each year, the site’s top user will be crowned the “Ultimate Linux Guru,” and will be given a “dream” Linux notebook computer signed by Linux founder Linus Torvalds. Other active users will win prizes throughout the year.

  • Applications

    • Phoronix Thread Leads To New Linux Game Ports

      Svartalf, a member of the Phoronix Forums and developer for Linux Game Publishing, recently asked our readers on the forums to provide a wish-list of games they wished to see ported to Linux. There ended up being an outpouring of interested Linux gamers with more than 1,120 replies! Svartalf shared that “[the] effort that actually did much more than I’d hoped for” and “as it stands, we’ve got one on contract (stalled though…) and one complete game as a result of this thread.”

  • Distributions

    • Progress with Pardusman

      I have been getting extremely lazy to blog enough these days. I have came across lots of new updates with pardusman project. The first improvement is with the UI graphic design. After building the UI layout I was staying tuned for comments and suggestions for improvement. Hiran came to me and told that he is interested to help me regarding UI. HIran is a UI guy on inkscape, Gimp, fonts etc.

    • antiX M8.2 Test 1 now available and looking GREAT!

      Here with antiX M8.2 Test 1, running live. Let me tell you why I like antiX so much as a Live CD.

      1. Loads, even to RAM, in under two minutes, faster than that to run straight from CD.

    • A look at Eeebuntu Base 3.0

      Tim Conneally tries out the bare-bones Ubuntu distro specifically designed for the Asus Eee PC.

      [...]

      For Eee users familiar with Ubuntu who know the open source programs they frequently use, Eeebuntu Base is worth checking out. It is stripped down not to the absolute basics, but to the point where very little elbow grease is needed to get the system running efficiently.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Light, low-cost e-reader runs Linux

      A U.K. startup called Interead will soon ship a Linux-based e-book reader claimed to be about 40 percent lighter than an Amazon Kindle 2, and over $100 cheaper. The “Cool-er” is equipped with a 400MHz ARM9 Samsung processor and a six-inch E-Ink Vizplex display.

    • Telematics reference design supports Linux

      TES Electronic Solutions announced an automotive telematics reference design supporting advanced location-based services. The “Titan” platform is offered either as a thin client running Linux or Windows CE, or as a low cost M2M platform, and incorporates GPS, GSM/GPRS, and configurable I/O, says the company.

    • SoC brings HD video to navigation devices

      Renesas Technology has announced a new Linux-ready system-on-chip (SoC) targeting terrestrial digital broadcast capability in security cameras, car navigation systems, and personal navigation devices (PNDs). The SH-MobileR2R can play and record HD (1280 x 720 pixels) video and 24-bit audio, says Renesas.

    • SOFTWARE TOOLS: MontaVista Linux 6 enhances embedded design flexibility

      MontaVista Software, Inc., touts its recently launched MontaVista Linux 6 as a revolutionary new approach to embedded Linux development. By delivering Market Specific Distributions combined with the new MontaVista Integration Platform, commercial device developers enjoy much more flexibility to design and deliver products uniquely tailored for their target market.

    • TAP Airbus pictured booting Linux 2.4

      Nearly 2 years ago Slashdot covered the news that Airbus was to include Linux in every seat on the new A380. Well, we just found out(the fun way) that the A330 already does.

    • Phones

      • Google Kicks Off Android Developer Challenge Part Deux

        In an effort to continue fostering the Android development community, Google has announced the second round of its Android Developer Challenge – a competition that rewards some of the platform’s best applications with large cash grants.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Qualcomm, Freescale say ‘smartbooks’ to rival Netbooks

        Smartbooks will use processors based on an ARM design and the Linux operating system. And 3G connectivity will be standard–like a typical smartphone.

      • Qualcomm’s Smarter Netbooks

        Like smart phones, smartbooks will boast a constant Web connection via cellular broadband and location-based services through global positioning system technology (GPS), will power on quickly, run Linux or a mobile operating system and last eight to 10 hours on a single battery charge. Most netbooks include Wi-Fi connectivity, but not mobile broadband or GPS, and deliver more speed, but less power efficiency.

      • Web Extra: Why Netbooks are So Popular

        Netbooks have in fact become so popular so fast that they are threatening to take a bite out of Microsoft’s PC market share. That’s because many of the devices don’t run Windows and instead opt for the barer-boned Linux operating system (when they do run Windows, it’s almost always XP – NOT Vista).

Free Software/Open Source

  • Latvians Love Firefox

    The first day of each month often brings great news. A month ago, we saw that the latest browser market share data showed Firefox surpassing the 50% milestone in Slovakia and the Philippines. Today, we can say the same about Firefox usage in Latvia!

  • Calling all beta testers New Mozillaca

    Mozillaca.com provides a micro-blogging service that you can use to write short notices about yourself, where you are, and what you’re doing, and those notices will be sent to all of your friends and fans.

  • Is Amazon Going to Open Source its Web Services and Cloud APIs?

    Although it’s only a rumor, Reuven Cohen reports hearing from more than one source that Amazon intends to open source its (AWS) Web Services APIs. “Word is Amazon’s legal team is currently ‘investigating’ open sourcing their various web services API’s including EC2, S3, etc,” he writes. Cohen argues that the move would make a lot of sense, and I agree. Although Amazon’s APIs are, as Cohen writes, “the de facto standards” in cloud computing, Amazon faces significant threats from open source cloud computing efforts if it pursues a purely proprietary path.

  • Baby Steps: Zappos.com’s Switch to Drupal Content Management

    Dries Buytaert, founder of Drupal, has a post up on how Zappos, an e-commerce web site with more than $1 billion in annual revenues, is using Drupal. The Drupal.org site also has a case study up about how Zappos uses Drupal, which illustrates how flexible a platform it really is, and provides a lesson in how many sites using expensive proprietary CMS solutions could gradually transition to the many open source alternatives.

  • Government

  • Openness

    • How Open Source Will Save the World (Really)

      Fantastic to see someone with considerable power making the connection between intellectual monopolies and the problem of mitigating climate change – and seeing that open source is a practical way to get around the problem.

    • OpenGov.pot

      One of the most obvious downsides of seeking greater public input into the government’s agenda-setting process has been the almost inevitable hijacking of this process by groups with their own (often rather radical) agendas to promote. Such groups usually manage to quickly mobilize their supporters, who then visit the site and usually vote en masse (often from different computers), rendering most campaigns to aggregate public opinion on what the government priorities should be pretty useless.

    • Bulgarian criminals seek shelter as MEP candidates

      Several controversial ‘businessmen’ indicted by the judiciary have registered as candidate MEPs and have been granted immunity from prosecution, the Bulgarian press revealed.

    • Copyright Needs Limits, As It Restricts Innovation

      The ultimate irony is that when innovators follow the law and license content as they have through a “creative commons” license, they are criticized as opponents of copyright. Such a view ignores the numerous successes by the army of content lobbyists, and the fact that those who occasionally oppose their excesses, like technology innovators, are less interested and reliant on lobbying and more dependent on free market forces.

    • Gary Shapiro: The Copyright Lobby Is Restricting Innovation And It Needs To Stop
  • Programming

    • Google Says HTML 5 Tools Leave Microsoft In the Dust

      One new Chrome extension is Google Web Elements, a program that enables developers to add Google applications to pages with minimal coding. Google is actively experimenting with many of the major HTML 5 concepts, including canvas tags (bringing sophisticated graphics to Web applications without plug-ins), video tags and geolocation (as in Google’s Latitude application).

Leftovers

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Chasing the WIPO representative

      I think I’ll try to follow up on this on Tuesday. The meeting will be long done by then and the treaty proposal probably clobbered, but it’s a worthy battle. The problem is, this entire exercise – while taking on 30 minutes – was like out of a bad episode of Yes, Minister. Organizations pointing at each other, despite best intentions, without anybody actually answering the question. In bureaucracies, the concept of democracy gets ignored once the elections are up and the bureaucrats take over the reins. I wrote a piece about bureaucracy earlier which, I think, illustrates this fairly well.

      The fact that delegates to conventions such as these have almost zero accountability to the people they claim to represent is a black mark on the idea of democracy. It is one of many things that I aim to fix.

    • Obama Joins Group to Block Treaty for Blind and Other Reading Disabilities

      I am attending a meeting in Geneva of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This evening the United States government, in combination with other high income countries in “Group B” is seeking to block an agreement to discuss a treaty for persons who are blind or have other reading disabilities.

    • Study On How DRM Harms Free Expression

      The study says that there hasn’t been a catastrophic blockage of free expression, but clearly some had occurred, even though technology measures could have allowed the expression without seriously compromising the purpose of the DRM.

    • Australian government admits less than 32% of secret censorship list is related to underage images

      The Australian government told a Senate estimates hearing this week that less than 32% of the country’s secret internet censorship list is related to underage images.

      During the hearing, the government also stated that the WikiLeaks publication of the full list in March has now been officially referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

      The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) “blacklist” is slated to form the backbone of a national, mandatory, internet censorship system.

  • Copyrights

    • P2P: worth more than the Global Financial Crisis

      In other words, basically, P2P is worth three times more revenue than the cost of the Global Financial Crisis.

    • ACS:Law Anti-Piracy Lawyers Are Copyright Infringers

      Lawyers ACS:Law have entered the anti-piracy revenue generation scheme previously inhabited by Davenport Lyons. They write to alleged file-sharers demanding payment of hundreds of pounds or face legal action. However, those same individuals can point the finger straight back, since ACS:Law are copyright infringers themselves.

    • Why the “Copycats?” Report has a Copycat Problem

      After stupidly trying to defend this indefensible position, The Conference Board of Canada has now backed down, admitted that the report plagiarised material, and withdrawn it, along with two others.

    • Shhhh. Newspaper Publishers Are Quietly Holding a Very, Very Important Conclave Today. Will You Soon Be Paying for Online Content?

      Here’s a story the newspaper industry’s upper echelon apparently kept from its anxious newsrooms: A discreet Thursday meeting in Chicago about their future.

      “Models to Monetize Content” is the subject of a gathering at a hotel which is actually located in drab and sterile suburban Rosemont, Illinois; slabs of concrete, exhibition halls and mostly chain restaurants, whose prime reason for being is O’Hare International Airport. It’s perfect for quickie, in-and-out conclaves.

    • Newspapers Gather In Secret (With An Antitrust Lawyer) To Collude Over Paywalls
    • Conference Board of Canada admits that its publicly funded, plagiarized, biased copyright “research” is junk

      The Conference Board of Canada, a Canadian think-tank that was caught regurgitating a US lobby-group’s press materials in a tax-funded report on the Digital Economy, has withdrawn its copyright-related reports, stating “these reports did not follow the high quality research standards of The Conference Board of Canada.”

    • Anti-Piracy Group Raids P2P Admin’s House Without Warrant

      Ever since it became clear that running a P2P links site is not a crime in Spain, music anti-piracy group SGAE have threatened civil action. Yesterday the admin of two P2P sites had a home visit by members of SGAE, who took advantage of the admin’s legal naivety and conducted a search of his property without a suitable warrant.

    • On-demand book publishing booms in 2008

      The U.S. publishing industry passed a key marker last year, with the publication of more “on-demand” or short-run titles than traditional books, a U.S. company that keeps publishing statistics says.

      While the swing may be temporary, caused as major publishers retrenched, it could be “a watershed year in the book publishing industry, fuelled by the changing dynamics of the marketplace and the proliferation of sophisticated publishing technologies,” said Kelly Gallagher, vice-president of publisher services for Bowker, which provides bibliographic data and services.

    • Music Labels Cut Friendlier Deals With Start-Ups

      With CD sales dropping fast, it is not hard to imagine how the major music labels could benefit from the growth of Web start-ups like Imeem. The company’s service lets people listen to songs, discover new artists and share their favorites with friends. And in return, Imeem owes the labels licensing fees for use of the music.

    • New Goal Set for Project Gutenberg: One Billion Readers

      The first goal of Project Gutenberg was simply to reach totals of estimated audiences of 1.5% of the world population, or the total of 100 million people.

    • Newspaper Journalists Claiming TV Reporters Are ‘Plagiarizing’ The News

      The person complaining the most is Seattle’s Tri-City Herald editor Ken Robertson. He’s careful not to use words such as “stolen” and only goes as far as to say his stories were “lifted.” Which makes sense because even he knows he has absolutely no copyright claim on the news itself. But if he knows that, exactly what is he complaining about? That he didn’t get his pat on the back when an important news story got wider coverage?!

    • The Role Of Abundance In Innovation

      This also should (again) get people to rethink some issues surrounding patents. If it’s that abundance and experimenting that leads to all that innovation, aren’t we holding back that innovation by enforcing artificial scarcity, and allowing one company to entirely block others from doing the necessary experiments? In Chris Anderson’s latest book, he builds on Carver Mead’s idea about transistors becoming so abundant that it makes sense to “waste” them. This makes a tremendous amount of sense if you start to follow through the economic implications of “wasting” goods that are effectively infinite.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Kendall Dawson, Linspire Community Liaison 08 (2005)

Ogg Theora

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

63,000 Windows Bugs Versus the Rarity of Command Lines

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Windows at 2:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Strong line
A strong command-line interface is a friend, not an
enemy, and it’s a feature, not a usability bug

Summary: The handling of common disinformation and Microsoft censorship through punishment

THE following new comment was eye catching for its capture of the truth.

I’d just like to say what a refreshing change it is, to see a “tech journalist” so simply describe the quite ordinary purpose of those (in)famous “arcane CLI commands” that are so often used as a bludgeon to scare potential users back into the Windows fold. Anyone who’s ever had to fire up regedit to modify the Windows Registry should be able to see that this is not much different, and easier to understand.

This remark about increasing the perceived complexity is a very good one. People like Preston Gralla do this and Microsoft Jack [1, 2, 3] does this on an occasional basis too. He even did this last week. The matter of fact is that the command-line interface is rarely ever needed unless one insists on it, but it is so essential that even Microsoft is mimicking GNU/Linux now by trying to offer a worthy CLI. References are appended at the bottom.

Is Windows really easy and reliable?

Does anyone remember this report from Mary-Jo Foley?

Bugfest! Win2000 has 63,000 ‘defects’

[...]

Not everyone will be having fun at Microsoft next week. While the software giant and its partners celebrate the arrival of Windows 2000 on Thursday, Feb. 17, hundreds of members of the Windows development team will be busy cleaning up the mess.

Yes, that’s how bad Microsoft releases tend to be and Vista 7 will be no exception on the face of it, just like Vista. Microsoft releases prematurely. Regarding the article above, see how Microsoft treats reporters, alongside the PR department better known as Waggener Edstrom:

In 2000 a leaked memo from Microsoft obtained by Mary Jo Foley (of Microsoft-Watch) revealed that Windows 2000 was released with 20,000 bugs and that Microsoft knowingly released it any way. After this incident, Microsoft would not speak to Mary Jo Foley for two years regarding projects and information of any kind.

Not only did she get sort of banned for years (she once told me about Microsoft’s rewards and punishments system), but according to DaemonFC, Microsoft or other people have already airbrushed this incident and factoid out of Wikipedia: “# (cur) (prev) 06:55, 31 December 2006 Limulus (talk | contribs) (→Windows 2000: moved MJF item into main W2K article; it seems like it would be more appropriate there) (undo)

Waggener Edstrom is known to be editing Wikipedia. It does a lot of other things, too.
_______
[1] The Linux CLI for Beginners, or, Fear Not the Linux Command Line!

Most recent converts to Linux spend most of their time in the GUI — the graphical desktop (whether Gnome, or KDE, or XFCE, or some other interface) that’s made to look and act somewhat like Windows and Mac.  

[2] The command line is nothing to be afraid of.

Many people are apprehensive about the command line when they first try Linux. I was too, even though I started off with the command line on my system 80, I quickly became used to the windows GUI. Like an unused muscle atrophies when not used, so did my command line comfort. Using Linux I regained my command line warrior status and it has migrated over to windows too.

[3] Stupid Firefox Tricks, Part I

Simple Bookmarklets: The Power of the Command Line in your Browser

[4] Webmin: can a graphical front end for system administration replace the command line?

We all love GUIs. For the average user of proprietary systems like Windows they are mostly all they ever need or see. Unix systems are rather different. Long before GUIs became ubiquitous, system administrators (and single machine users too) were weaned on configuration on the command line and spent copious amounts of time mastering their craft.

The increasing use and popularity of GNU/Linux has been educating people about its superior architecture, better security and relatively simple configuration files. It is also true though that the huge availability of graphical front ends has brought in a whole new slew of users who feel right at home with them as they did in Windows. However, the usual criticism is that, good and relatively easy to use as they are, they can never emulate the fine, granular control of the command line. There is a deal of truth in that.

[5] 5 Reasons to Use CLI Over GUI

First, I must say that using CLI is not always faster, not necessarily. There are tasks which can be done faster and easier using some GUI application rather than typing a whole bunch of commands. But, nevertheless, command line is still very powerful and it’s more appropriate to use it for certain tasks. I for one use probably 90% GUI tools and applications and only in 10% of the cases CLI. So, you may ask, what’s the scope of this? Well, in the first place, this article is about the reasons I believe to be noteworthy for using CLI in several situations, and what advantages it has.

[6] 10 Reasons Why the Command Line is More User-Friendly than the Desktop

Keying is faster than mousing.

It’s easier to both give and get help.

Repetitive stress injury comes from the mouse, not the keyboard.

Commands are standard where GUIs are not.

[...]

[7] Why can’t free software GUIs be empowering instead of limiting?

But when graphical user interfaces finally did become available, it was a fantastic improvement. With a well-designed GUI, you don’t have to memorize a whole micro-language of commands and options to get things done. The trade-off, at least with the classic “Windows-Icons-Menus-Pointers” (WIMP) GUI, however is that it isn’t as expressive: it’s much easier to say the common things you need to say, but much harder to say things that the programmer didn’t expect you to need. The surface simplicity comes at a terrific price in underlying complexity, and that creates practical limits on how flexible the system can be.        

[...]

Blender, showing the results of my first go at the Gingerbread man tutorial, and a whopping lot of menus and buttons. This is definitely not a “luser”  interface, it’s designed for power users only

[8] Geek to Live: The command line comeback

The advent of the Graphical User Interface (GUI) forever revolutionized personal computing. A windowed system with point and click icons made computers usable for anyone who couldn’t deal with a black screen and a prompt waiting for arcane textual commands. But in recent years, this enormous interface change is coming full circle. Amongst power users – and more and more, regular Joe’s – the command line is making a comeback in modern web and desktop applications.

[9] Seek Enlightenment for an easy-to-use Linux GUI

There are numerous reasons to become an Enlightenment user:

    * You need a GUI on an older machine that is not powerful enough to run
      the more resource-intensive KDE or GNOME
    * You want something a little different
    * You want to control users so they only have access to certain
      applications
    * You want a GUI that is stable, fast, and flexible

Those reasons may not be show-stoppers, nor will they see IT departments migrating hundreds or thousands of desktops to Enlightenment, but the small list above is reason enough to have many making the switch from their typical GUI to E.    

[10] Two Reasons the Command Line Trumps the Graphical User Interface

Before I get into this I will state for the record I am not a text mode Luddite. I use a graphical user interface (GUI) every day. In fact I am using the fluxbox window manager GUI as I write this article with a WordPress GUI and Firefox GUI. I like my GUI chewy goodness as much as any visually stimulated human. However, for certain tasks a GUI is just not the best choice.

[11] Is Linux Easy to Use?

Today’s Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Suse and Fedora can be installed very easily. In Ubuntu the user required actions are just 4-5 clicks. The installer is clever enough to partition the hard disc without loss of data and co-living with other operating systems installed prior. I love this feature a lot.

[12] What is so bad about the command line?

Graphical interfaces serve a purpose and so does the command line. It doesn’t matter which operating system you use. So I will not accept any arguments that the command line is bad. The command line is good in my humble opinion and those who shy away from it are missing out on a large piece of the computing experience.

[13] Command Line vs. GUI Reality Check

The downside of this is a lack of flexibility. In order for a capability to be available, there must be code in the GUI application. The command line gives an administrator complete control of maintenance procedures, and under certain circumstances, this is the only option.

From a design perspective, the choice of command line vs. GUI seems pretty straightforward. First, how quickly does the code need to be produced? Second, which interface makes the user most productive? While there is plenty of room for different points of view on the answers to these questions, it is simply not true that one is always better than the other.

[14] Along the Commandline

Naturally, we talk about the BSDs, Linux and Mac OS X whenever we speak about shells and commandline interfaces. But why does the commandline have a reputation that belies its power? Why did the hold over users’ minds exercised by Apple and Microsoft lead to an almost complete rejection of commandline interaction? Why do we, the masters of the commandline, feel slightly sheepish in the presence of the GUI builders?

[15] What Non-Techies Should Know About The Command Line

When faced with a shell prompt, the only thing some people, especially non-technical users, feel prompted to do is close it and stay in the confines of their graphical castle walls. For many people, a command-line shell is an unfamiliar thing. It’s foreign, and requires learning foreign languages to speak to it, as far as they are concerned. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way; the command line can be kind of fun. Whether you need to open a Bash prompt to solve a driver problem, or compile a program, or just to automate a simple task, it’s always good to at least be familiar with your command-line shell.        

[16] Fear and loathing at the command line

Whatever the reasons, fear and loathing of the command line is so strong that the claim that GNU/Linux still requires its frequent use is enough to convince many people to stick with their current operating system. The claim is no longer true, but you can’t expect people to understand that when the claim plays on so many of their basic fears about computing.    

[17] Linux administration will become GUI

The question is, how long will it be before the Ubuntu Server edition includes a GUI install option? Instead of resisting this change, we should be encouraging it by improving the graphical interfaces that server admins need. This is how Ubuntu can gain faster adoption in the server market.  

[18] Linux on the line: musings on the CLI / GUI flip-flop

People are a funny lot. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. And one person’s primary means of instructing a computer is met with disdain by another. There’s a perennial battle between mousers and keyboard jockeys, and “what’s in” appears to go in cycles.  

[19] Pros and Cons for Using CLI

In this article I will debate on several major advantages and disadvantages for using the command-line in Linux. When I think it’s ‘better’ to use CLI, when not, and how can this can impact the work speed.

[20] Who needs the command line? (Well, actually, we all do)

“We’ll always have Paris”, Humphrey Bogart said to Ingrid Bergman in the iconic climax of Casablanca – and we will always have the command line. Here’s looking at you kid!

[21] Ars at FOSSCamp: revolutionizing the command line with Hotwire

Unlike Powershell, Hotwire includes a rich visual user interface with support for features like easy history browsing (command history is stored in a SQLite database), icons in file listings, and progress bar displays for certain file operations. The user interface also provides extensive support for advanced autocompletion mechanisms that can be customized by developers.    

[22] Death of the command line

It’s hard for me to imagine using an OS without a strong command line. Even Microsoft has recognized the for that with their Monad Shell (though they are at least temporarily removing that from Vista). Linux of course has its Bash shell, Mac OS X has Terminal (which now defaults to Bash) – everybody knows you need a shell.

[23] The CLIophobia of the Linux Newbie

CLIophobia (n): An irrational fear of operating ones’ computer using the Command Line Interface. Sometimes referred to as Terminal Angst.

[24] You use Command Lines all the time and don’t know it!!!

Man, the heat Linux catches over command lines! The flames! The trolls! The clueless screaming for help! And all the while, command lines are right under your nose the whole time! Yes, even on the most mousy, GUI-driven, WIMPy, point-n-drool interface, whether it be Macs or Microsofties, you’re typing commands into prompts every day!

[25] Microsoft PowerShell isn’t Vista-ready, either

As a few other bloggers noted yesterday, Microsoft’s newly released PowerShell command-line shell and scripting language doesn’t currently work with Windows Vista.

[26] Worm targets Windows PowerShell script

Virus writers have created an experimental form of malware written in Windows PowerShell script, the command line and scripting language used by Windows.

[27] Repairing Windows XP in Eight Commands

    * C: CD ..
    * C: ATTRIB ?H C:\boot.ini
    * C:ATTRIB ?S C:\boot.ini
    * C:ATRIB ?R C:\boot.ini
    * C: del boot.ini
    * C: BOOTCFG /Rebuild
    * C: CHKDSK /R /F
    * C: FIXBOOT

[28] Random Windows Vista Disconnects

   1. Go to your start menu
   2. Open the Command Prompt by typing cmd in the search field
   3. Press Ctrl-Shift-Enter while the command prompt is open to run the
      command prompt as administrator
   4. Type netsh winsock reset then press enter
   5. Then restart Windows Vista

[29] Vista – Fix Large File Copy and Network Disconnect

One of the “new features” in Vista, of course is the new networking stack. As with anything new, you can expect problems but did you know you can disable some of the “advanced” features (for the time being)

After reading all kinds of posts and a couple of MS FAQ’s, it seems the main culprit is the Receive Window Auto-Tuning Level.

One thing people seem to forget is, you can turn this off and on via the command line.

[30] Missing In Action

Microsoft’s infamous Patch Tuesday was this week and the updates that automatically downloaded and installed on my computer caused it to be unbootable, even in safe mode. So, since Wednesday, I’ve been busy using the wonderful Ultimate Boot CD for Windows to get my data off the hard drive and then reload my machine. Wonderful fun.

[31] Reflections on the command line

That’s one of the best things about the Unix command line – no backtalk, no second guessing, no false comraderie. To me the assumption of user competence is profoundly user friendly -and infinitely to be preferred to the smarmy checks and failsafes Windows puts on.

[32] Microsoft PowerShell to make it into Longhorn Server, after all

Microsoft’s command-line scripting shell, originally code-named “Monad,” and known now as Windows PowerShell, is going to be part of Longhorn Server, after all.

[33] IRC Clients for Linux Part 2: List of 5 CLI Clients

As a conclusion, I strongly recommend Irssi, followed by WeeChat and Epic4. The first two are powerful enough, flexible, documented and have scripting support, while the latter is a little harder to use (at least in the beginning) and it has its own scripting language. Despite this, Epic4 has the advantage of giving you total control over how you want its interface to look like, and it also provides many scripts on the official website for customising it. BitchX is too old now and it’s no longer updated, while TinyIRC offers only the minimum features needed to connect and interract with an IRC server.

[34] Review: MOC, text-based audio player

Today I’ll continue with an overview with screenshots of MOC, and hopefully in a few days I’ll also review mp3blaster.

[35] 5 best-practices of a successful Linux user

Do not run away from CLI: You’ve not got hold of quite a few ways to fix things on your Linux machine. You may be happy using the GUI window to install new apps. This may be synaptic, yum, yast or whatever. But having a good hand at the terminal is never a waste. If you can accomplish some basic tasks on the terminal, I am sure you’ll be far more confident and proud than you were without this ability. Hacking into or tweaking you machine is definitely fun but do not intend to just copy-paste commands from the Internet cloud. Try using the man page to know what each of the commands do, so that next time you know what you’re doing before you hit the return key on the terminal.

[36] Look Ma, No Terminal!

A common misconception with Linux is that you have to know how to use the terminal in order for you to use linux. The fact is you won’t have to use the linux terminal more than you would use CMD in Windows or the terminal in Mac OSX. Today we will look into some of the applications that a “normal” computer user would use without having to know the terminal. Here the term “normal” is vague; since every computer users needs are different from one another, but we will try to cover some basic applications that a normal computer user might use.

[37] Got Scripts?

Where’s the FUD? For years, Windows zealots have denounced Linux for being arcane, hard-to-use, and backward. Heavy reliance on the CLI for administration was cited as a failure to progress (through obstinacy, ignorance or both). Now, it appears that Microsoft is admitting that a powerful shell is indeed useful, forcing its fanboys to dine on crow tartare.

[38] SWM, Shell User, Seeks Soul Mate for GUI-Free LTR

“There is a sad truth to the world today,” wrote the anonymous poster of the ad. “I am part of a dying breed of people known as ‘shell users.’ We are an old-fashioned bunch, preferring the warm glow of a green screen full of text   over the cold blockiness of a graphical interface…. The whole ‘Microsoft Windows’ fad will fade away sooner or later, but in the interim, our kind is facing extinction.    

[39] Pimp up your Terminal with Guake and Yakuake

If you’re wondering whether Guake and Yakuake are Polynesian happy mushrooms, you’re a bit off mark. These are Linux command line terminals, modified to behave like the console in the popular First Person Shooter (FPS) Quake. Hence, the funny names.

[40] More lightweight diversions

A couple more, that deviate slightly. Terminal-based entertainment, short of watching movies piped through aalib, could always take the obvious route and remain text-based, as it was a long time ago. To that end it’s still possible to play some telnet games, including Space Tyrant, which is still maintained too.

[41] 13 Terminal Emulators for Linux

Konsole: This is a powerful and full-featured terminal included by default in KDE. It features desktop transparency, background images, profiles, tabs, notifications and plenty schemes to choose from.

[42] 10 Command-Line Applications I Use in Debian and Ubuntu

In this article I’ll briefly review ten of my favourite CLI (command-line interface), not necessarily the most popular or most powerful of them. So if you don’t find your personal favourite, (e.g. Midnight Commander or mp3blaster), it’s because the article includes the tools I use more often.

[43] Rush Hour: Newest GNU Restricted User Shell

The latest stable release of the GNU Restricted User Shell (Rush), version 1.5, includes new configuration offerings and a notification feature.

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