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Ubuntu is Censoring Opposition to Mono by Default

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 3:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Debian a step closer to Mono independence, whereas Ubuntu does not quite tolerate Mono criticism

Gnote has just been added to lenny-backports, so there is hope that Debian will remove Mono as a by-default component. Sooner or later it might, just like Fedora.

Although Ubuntu can follow suit and remove Mono as a default component by simply replacing applications, it does not seem likely to happen when pro-Mono people gain positions of power. We warned over a year ago that this might happen to Ubuntu. Being the most ubiquitous distribution on the desktop, it is a preferred battleground for the likes of Novell and Microsoft to advance interests. Rigging of votes, for example, is not far fetched at all.

The longer time flies, the worse it gets because Ubuntu ignores many people's desire to cull Mono out and even suppresses those who dare to speak against Mono.

Now, watch this from Brainstorm. People make the suggestion that Mono should not be included by default and the page gets frozen with the following reason:

This entry was marked as not being an idea the 3 June 09. If this is a bug report, please use the Ubuntu bug tracker.

How is this not an idea? Sounds like an excuse to silence ‘dissent’.

One of our readers (unrelated to the above) told us this yesterday:

Hi Roy, the other day I noticed you linked to my brainstorm thread about keeping RB and not moving to Banshee, I mostly did it because I like RB and Banshee, besides of bringing a Mono dependency, is not really as good.

The thread, out of sudden was declared a ‘duplicate’, what’s worse is that the votes were not just locked (like what happens in brainstorm when something is marked as duplicate) but completely removed:

It used to have many votes for ‘Keep Rhythmbox” and many negative votes for “Move to Banshee” , it seems that the Mono zealots have acquired too much control of ubuntu brainstorm this is a disgrace.

What exactly is happening with Mono in Ubuntu? This is not intended to seem like a complaint about Ubuntu, but maybe a constructive way forward would be voting with the feet and rewarding distributions that do listen and do recognise the problems with Moonlight and Mono. I still have 3 computers running Ubuntu and they give the false impression that Mono is acceptable; even if removed afterwards it’s akin to buying a computer with Windows just to wipe Windows. That would still count as Windows market share, just not installed base. To people who study trends of perceived consumer desire, this may matter a lot and affect future decisions.

When Microsoft AstroTurfers Are Masquerading as GNU/Linux Users

Posted in Microsoft at 2:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’m a huge fan of guerrilla marketing.”

Joe Wilcox, Microsoft Fan

Summary: Effective AstroTurfing and why it is done

ONE of our regulars and contributors, The Mad Hatter, has composed a rant about what some of us characterise of the Epic Troll — a Microsoft troll masquerading as a GNU/Linux user. We had a lot of such trolling here yesterday. It is a known debating technique whose formula goes something along the lines of (there are variations): “I am/used to be X, but… [something negative about X].” Richard Dawkins did a whole talk about this pattern.

Some months ago we used as an example a stalking troll who goes under the name "Gentoo User" (now nymshifted to “Sabayon User,” but the person visits this Web site using Windows, so it’s neither Gentoo nor Sabayon, it’s a faker). Another person goes by the name “Yggdrasil”, one of the first GNU/Linux distributions. Aggravators of this type are using the illusion of being a GNU/Linux users (the more hardcore, the better) and/or Freedom advocates (the more zealot, the more credible) to discredit the very same thing they pretend to be in favour, along with its real supporters.

This leads up to the writings of The Mad Hatter, which go as follows:

This is not at all surprising. Entrepreneur shape their corporations in their own image. Some times this is good. Some times this is bad. Microsoft is a good example of an entrepreneur who is insecure, greedy, and lazy. This evaluation is based on Microsoft’s actions as a corporation (I have never meet Bill Gates).

Microsoft holds 90 percent of operating system pre-installs. But it is afraid of Linux (and it was afraid of Netscape, and is deathly afraid of Apple). Why? Considering their market share, Linux should be a minor irritant. Instead you get things like the “Get the Facts Campaign”, which was so totally ludicrous that they dropped it. But they dropped long after the damage was done – they made themselves a laughing stock with that campaign.

Another example is the “Laptop Hunters” campaign. Why is Microsoft so scared of Apple? Apple’s market share is so small, that the company is only a pimple on the face of IT. True, it’s an expanding pimple, but 6 percent? Why even dignify it with a response? Because they don’t think they can compete with Apple. Heck, look at the Amazon top 100 list of computers. About the only ones that sell for more than $1000,00 are made by Apple. Microsoft doesn’t think that they can deliver an operating system that will make a computer worth more that $1000,00 to consumers.

And then there’s ODF support, or should I say lack of support. Microsoft is the only ODF implementer that messed up the implementation. It wasn’t for lack of talent, Microsoft has talented employees. Microsoft is scared of ODF, because it can be used (in implemented by a company that isn’t deliberately trying to break it) in a wide range of software. No Lock-In. Microsoft doesn’t want this. They want people to use Microsoft XML (Microsoft calls it Office Open XML, but while it may be used by Office, it isn’t Open since it’s impossible for anyone else to implement). If they are using Microsoft XML, they are locked into Microsoft Office. They are scared that given the option, people will use software from other vendors. They are so insecure that they don’t believe that they can compete in the Office Suite market without lock in.

Microsoft doesn’t want component manufacturers to release their hardware specifications. If component manufacturers do release the specifications, another operating system might be able to use that hardware, and Microsoft doesn’t believe that they can compete in the operating system market. So the company tries to avoid having to compete, but making it hard for other operating systems to use the hardware.

Microsoft is greedy. Why would a company sell a sub-standard operating system (Windows Vista 7 for Netbooks) and encourage people to upgrade? Who would produce six different versions of the same operating system, with different capabilities, using 99.99% the same source code, and prices ranging from $114.00 to $340.00? Greed.

Again, Microsoft is greedy. When they eliminated floppy disks as an install medium for compact discs the price of Windows increased, even though the install medium price dropped dramatically.

Microsoft is lazy. Why offer 6 versions of desktop Windows, and 4 or 5 versions of Server Windows, all of which use virtually the same source code? Often the only difference between versions is that one version has an artificial limit of some sort (such as number of users) while the next one doesn’t. But it’s easier to do that, than to design something that truly is different, with new features that would attract more customers.

Microsoft is lazy. Rather than producing the best operating system in the world, one that would have users beating a path to their door, they produce an operating system that is pedestrian, and then try to block anyone else from the market by exclusionary deals and “Marketing Bonuses”.

And of course we have the Internet. Microsoft would rather pay trolls to trash Linux and OSX, rather than producing something that is so much better than Linux or OSX, that you’d be crazy to use either. They would rather use advertising money to “bend editorial views” than produce something that reviewers would love.

With the amount of talent that Microsoft employs, they should be able to totally blow away Apple, totally blow away Linux, and make users so happy that they’d be crazy to use anything other than Windows. They could do this. But they are too insecure, too greedy, and too lazy to do this.

And if they don’t change, it is going to kill the company. Read their SEC filings, the company is in bad shape. Not as bad as GM or Chrysler, but unless something is done, the company is headed for deep trouble. The current management team is a large part of this, They were hand picked by the company founder, and reflect his views. Steve Ballmer is a good salesman. He might be a great salesman. But as a company manager, he’s terrible.

So, yes. You get a lot of trolls. People who say, “I’ve been running Linux for 5 years, and it’s really not that good,” because Microsoft would rather encourage trolls, than make a great product. If you check the Apple news sources and blogs, you see the exact same sort of posts, stating that OSX just doesn’t work as well as Windows, that it doesn’t support the right software, that it isn’t really reliable, etc. Whether it’s Linux or Apple that they are attacking, all of these people are lying. The proof is in the targets. Microsoft thinks that Apple and Linux are dangerous. They don’t think that the BSD based operating systems are, so they don’t get attacked in the same way, or at the same level. They don’t think that Solaris is dangerous either, and you’ll note in the Solaris blogs that you don’t see this sort of attack very much either. You will if they decide either BSD or Solaris is dangerous.

And it’s a terrible waste. Because Microsoft, if it wanted, could produce something fantastic. They have the talent. They have the capabilities. They don’t have the drive.

Until they get the drive, I’ll avoid using Microsoft products, and I’ll advise others not to. And when I see trolls, I’ll fight them in the forums. I hate dishonesty.

For those who insist it’s merely speculation, we append obligatory readings below.

Microsoft AstroTurfing examples:

Direct link

Novell News Summary – Part III: Offshoring, More Financial Analysis, and SCO

Posted in Courtroom, Finance, GNU/Linux, IBM, Identity Management, Mail, Marketing, Microsoft, NetWare, Novell, SCO, Servers, UNIX, Videos, Virtualisation, Windows at 2:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Utah State Capitol Building

Summary: A grouping of Novell news from the past 7 days

AS we showed last week, Novell is offshoring some workforce in a move whose value exceeds $100 million.

Read the rest of this entry »

Novell News Summary – Part II: SUSE Videos, Some Moblin, and Just a Little More

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Novell, Ron Hovsepian, SLES/SLED, SUN, Videos, Xandros at 9:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Water dragon

Summary: Another relatively quiet week for SUSE, so new articles that merely mention SUSE are searched for and presented instead

SUSE Financial Results

THE STREET, a publication mostly known for its pro-Big Business slant, has written about Novell’s results, casting them as “Threat to Microsoft”. Here is a portion from the article.

“Our Linux and Identity businesses have the greatest potential to continue to expand operating margins,” CEO Ron Hovsepian said in a statement, “and we plan to attain profitability within these businesses no later than 12-18 months from today, barring unforeseen circumstances.”

Novell carries very heavy baggage from the past, so its SUSE business (franchise) does not grow quickly enough [1, 2, 3].

Read the rest of this entry »

Novell News Summary – Part I: OpenSUSE Graphics, Ark-ZYpp Win, and More Open Development

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 8:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Happy lizard

Summary: Artwork and screenshots for OpenSUSE, Ark picks ZYpp, OpenSUSE might revive Ted Haeger-type podcasts, and distribution development gets opened up a bit

Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft Stalks Its Competitors, Offers Them Money to Defect

Posted in Antitrust, Finance, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 7:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Last drink
Microsoft wants to buy you a drink

Summary: How Microsoft turned a GNU/Linux developer into a Microsoft employee

THE OTHER DAY we were made aware of this item from last year:

Normally, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. But, I’ve been told it is ok to share this information. Last week, I was in Las Vegas. While at the bar in the Mirage, my friend and I were talking. He was asking how the my project was going and I was filling him in… Unbeknownst to either of us, our conversation was being listened to by the fellow next to us.

After a few minutes, the fellow sitting next to us introduced himself as Jeff Chaucer, Senior Manager of Windows Media Center Edition.

Jeff, goes on to tell us that he overheard what we were talking about and he is interested in learning more about KnoppMyth (I may not care for Microsoft, but my parents taught me not to be rude.). So, I tell him how I started the project, etc. “Interesting” he says.

Jeff then goes on to tell me that Microsoft is looking to make changes to MCE and if I’d be interested in joining the team. I tell him that I’m happy with my current employer and that if I were to be a Microsoft employee that I imagine my working on KnoppMyth would be frowned upon. He says “No, not at all. Microsoft is looking to change it’s image and there would be no issues with me continuing to work on an Open Source project. The only sipulation is that it doesn’t interfare with an employee’s day to day duties.”

Interesting I thought, but I declined. Jeff insisted I think about it and to contact him in a few days. We exchanged information and he paid our tab.

I got a call from Jeff yesterday and he has sweetened the deal. Not only will Microsoft double my income, I can work on KnoppMyth 30% of my time. In addition, I’ll have full access to their hardware labs to test KnoppMyth.

So, starting April 21st, I’ll be a full time Microsoft employee.

Let us see what we have here. A lot of this story is eerily familiar.

Remember how Microsoft Malaysia was stalking BRM attendants at the hotel's lobby? It’s always supposed to look like mere coincidence or remote chance that they show up in the very same place, even if it’s halfway across the globe.

“Microsoft’s PR department is stalking people, assembling dossiers about them in order to influence or trip them up.”Let it be remembered that Microsoft's PR department is stalking people, assembling dossiers about them in order to influence or trip them up. There is concrete evidence showing this. It leaked. In fact, Microsoft proudly describes this as part of its strategy.

So that’s all there is to know about ‘coincidental’ encounters. There are more examples though.

Moving on a little, we see the recurring theme which is that Microsoft pays the bills of other people, usually its rivals too. We saw Microsoft buying dinner for ODF people and we saw it flying people over to nice vacations if they were considered “Microsoft doubters”. The same goes for journalists whom Microsoft pampers (policing the news is vitally important when your products are inferior [1, 2]). Sometimes it’s just lunch, sometimes it’s drinks at the pub*, and sometimes it is a sponsorship. Whatever it is, Microsoft is trying to buy love. As those notorious laptop bribes show (just for practical example), Microsoft expects something in return. It usually gets it, even in exchange for slush funds. In other cases, Microsoft pays the (put_rival_name_here)-faithful as much as $15,000 to attack (put_rival_name_here). How typical a behaviour.

The last part worth addressing is ruinous defection of employees, which is intended to destroy rival companies or projects. Borland is an old example of this and a newer one suggests that Microsoft is poaching Adobe employees in India. It revolves around stalking and endowment, which makes one wonder about what lured Gentoo’s founder into Microsoft in the first place (he quit shortly afterwards).

Microsoft’s routines (modus operandi) of acquiring employees — including skeptics — are all too familiar. This should not change the fact that, as the following article states, “Microsoft [has] ‘Bad Karma’ with Developers.”

Postscript: Vembu says that Microsoft could take some basic steps to regain his trust—like supporting web standards for Internet Explorer.

Google is the latest company which tries forcing Microsoft to support SVG. Everyone supports it except Microsoft, to whom it’s a matter of profit which suppresses Web standards and thus stifles progress on the Web. Even the creator of the World Wide Web slammed Microsoft for it. Web developers are rightly pissed off and IE8 continues to annoy many of them because it breaks interoperability on the Web. One just needs to take a look at Comes vs Microsoft, for example, in order to get a taste of reasons for developer alienation. Why are some developers still selling out and helping the company which sues GNU/Linux and "sabotages" Free software even when it runs on Windows?
* To give another example, Dan Bricklin writes: “Microsoft is going to provide free food and drinks, as they did last month. Thank you! They’re adding something new: This month they’ll be giving away an XBox 360.

Does Microsoft Moonlight Do to Firefox What Microsoft Does to Firefox?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 6:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Firefox context menu

Summary: Microsoft Moonlight is said to have just landed automatically on Mozilla Firefox, without its user’s consent

LAST NIGHT I came across a very curious post from Sinister Midget, a regular in USENET’s Linux advocacy newsgroup where I post. He wrote: “when I tried to install it I was informed a mono file was installed that blocked it. And I found it as it said. Not sure how that got in there because I specifically removed everything mono-related once already.

“This morning I found silverlight installed on Firefox. I never installed it. I never authorized installation of it. But when I looked I found the moonlight-plugin was installed. I dumped it.

“This morning I found silverlight installed on Firefox. I never installed it. I never authorized installation of it. But when I looked I found the moonlight-plugin was installed. I dumped it.”
      –Sinister Midget
“Both of these things bother me. I know I wasn’t careless about letting just any old crap install. Perhaps one might slip by me when I needed to have something else installed if it was a dependency. But two of them? And when I removed them neither told me they required the removal of anything else!

“This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this happen either. When I had Eeebuntu installed I marked some packages for removal. When I added others to be installed, those packages marked for removal would drop from the list. When I selected them again, they didn’t claim they needed to uninstall other things, nor did they deselect the items I’d chosen for installation.

“I let that last one slide, figuring it for a bug. I didn’t report it since they were rapidly working to get Eeebuntu 3.0 out and I planned on reporting it if I saw it again in that. But I went to Ubuntu 9.04 instead, and this morning was the first sign that something wasn’t right. Tonight was the second.

“Now I’m thinking it’s time to revisit what I’m going to run on the netbook. I was considering Mint 7 anyway (I have Mint 6 on the desktop and never saw this sort of thing happen). But I think I should give the Ubuntu people an opportunity to help me figure this out or explain why this is happening before I just abandon it.”

The principal question worth asking is this: “how (and why) did Moonlight make it into Firefox in the first place?”

Only about a week ago we found Microsoft shoving its agenda down the throats of Firefox users. It added a plug-in to someone else’s software (Mozilla) without asking for permission [1, 2].

So who is responsible for installing the trouble which is Microsoft Moonlight (already forbidden by Red Hat) inside Firefox without users’ explicit consent? It is more likely to be the distributor than the owners of Moonlight (Microsoft and Novell). Would Novell ever stoop to this? Not likely because it probably hasn’t the power. But as Dr. Oliver Diedrich points out in his good analysis at The H, Novell has been facing an identity crisis it still cannot resolve.

Although it has been one of Novell’s success stories, the company has none-the-less remained circumspect about committing to Linux.


Clearly Novell doesn’t yet really believe that you can earn money with open source; it appears to be afraid of opening up its own products and prefers to rely on traditional proprietary software.

Moonlight with codecs is proprietary software and it truly shows that Novell does not care. See for example:

  1. Novell Promotes ASP.NET, Demotes OpenSUSE
  2. Novell Recommends the IE Browser
  3. Novell Serenades to Microsoft in Novell.com
  4. Novell Supports Microsoft ActiveX, Leaves Windows Open for Hijackers

Can anyone reproduce the aforementioned experience of spontaneous Moonlight installations?

Does Microsoft Corrupt the Term “Netbook” to Belittle GNU/Linux on ARM?

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 5:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft dirty tactics

Summary: A new pattern in the attack on GNU/Linux-based mobility is identified, dissected, and named

Microsoft’s “Slog” [PDF] against GNU/Linux on sub-notebooks had already begun, as we pointed out repeatedly [1, 2] using very extensive evidence. Carla from Linux Today has just published a short article that warns her readers about heightened FUD.

I may be more aware of current FUD, disinformation, and anti-Linux propaganda trends because of my job. I visit dozens of Web sites every day and read all kinds of blogs, news, articles, and reader comments.


The one big thing I don’t get is why anyone would be a fan of Microsoft? Is it billionaire worship, the idea that any random robber baron is worth worshiping? Microsoft hurts everyone. DRM, stifled innovation, collusion with hardware vendors, worldwide malware damage in the tens of billions of dollars every year, price fixing, hardware fixing, corrupting legislative and standards bodies, no real competition except Linux– why on earth would any rational person find that admirable?

According to The Inquirer, it seems safe to echo the sentiment that Microsoft’s relationship with Intel is on the rocks. It has been stated publicly for quite a while.

Why the WinTel axis is crumbling


Questioned by one Charlie Demerjian about Android, Chandrasekher said Intel was keen to enable all comers to run operating systems on MIDs powered by its chips. “It’s not that we don’t support Windows, he said separately, “we’re just following the action” (in the marketplace).

And in MIDs at least, that action is increasingly moving away from Windows and towards more open source offerings and that, in no small measure, is thanks to Moblin2.

Steve Ballmer once said, “The Unix phenomenon is scary. It doesn’t go away.” Indeed it doesn’t. In fact, Ballmer recognises that on the desktop too, GNU/Linux is a greater risk to Microsoft than Apple and disruptive trends like mobile computing prove challenging to both. Most of the world does not have Apple stores and commodity hardware rules the roost, globally.

Asked whether Microsoft can do much about a diversity of architectures (the elevation of ARM to new form factors), here is a reasonable new response:

Could Microsoft derail the smartbooks plan?

I don’t think so! The problem is that Microsoft does not have leverage on mobile network operators like it has leverage on computer manufacturers. The operators on the other hand have huge leverage on the device manufacturers: They are in reality their customers since they purchase the machines that will be sold or given away away to the final consumer. They can decide what they want to buy or not, and if they decide that they do not want to pay for Windows, they won’t. Since no manufacturer would refuse an order of half a million devices from AT&T or Verizon the manufacturers will do what they are told.

But why is it called “Smartbook” anyway? Apparently, as the Microsoft-faithful Gavin Clarke suspects, Microsoft strives to rename and reclassify devices so as to advance the perception that ARM-based devices with GNU/Linux are incapable of ‘real’ computing.

Qualcomm called the full Java SE port an important factor in delivering on its vision for “smartbooks.” That’s a phrase Microsoft used this week at Computex and that Microsoft defined as meaning a “low cost small notebook PC.” Microsoft has been extremely shy using the phrase that everybody else has used to describe the sub-notebook category of computer – netbook.

Vendors are now, it seems, starting to position smartbooks as somewhere between a smartphone and a netbook.

Qualcomm tried to explain Smartbooks as a: “New class of devices that bridge the functional divide between smartphones and laptops, delivering the best aspects of a smartphone experience on a larger-display form-factor.”

It is interesting to see how Clarke, who is on Microsoft’s side, takes something that is all about Linux/Java and puts “Microsoft” in the headline. Some days ago we highlighted a report about Microsoft's renaming of the "Netbook" and the reasons behind it. One of our contributors, Fewa, claims that “Microsoft is setting its rules on netbooks, making sure they can’t get cheaper, faster. Then it tries to create an illusion that it is in control, so that it actually does gain that control. That article put Microsoft on naming what different netbooks are called, because that suggests that Microsoft somehow is fit to regulate what netbook’s specs are. It’s total junk that they put that spin on a system that has nothing to do with Microsoft however. Microsoft will never have any sway over such systems.”

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