07.16.09

Patents Roundup: Peer-to-Patent Annual Report; FFII, FSFE and IBM Weigh in

Posted in Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 12:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A large load of patent news of importance

THIS is a long roundup of patent news, with the usual focus on software patents.

Peer-to-Patent’s Take

As we noted in an update the other day, Peer-to-Patent had not shut down. In fact, Peer-to-Patent has just released its 2nd annual report and they mailed us an update:

We are proud to announce that Peer-to-Patent, recognized by the White House Open Government Initiative as an innovative social networking program, successfully completed its second year. To celebrate this occasion, the Center for Patent Innovations at New York Law School has today released the Second Annual Report.

The report illustrates the growth that Peer-to-Patent underwent from the first year and details the results from the second year of public collaboration in the patent examination process. As a baseline, the first year data showed that an open network of reviewers could improve the quality of information available to patent examiners by producing relevant prior art for the claimed invention. The second year data, expanded on these results by illustrating that Peer-to-Patent reviewers possessed the time and motivation to voluntarily participate as a community in reviewing more patent applications covering broader subject matter. Most notably, reviewer dedication to the project grew as the project expanded.

This culmination of the second year is bitter sweet for us at Peer-to-Patent. While Peer-to-Patent gained governmental, national and international notoriety, the USPTO has chosen not to extend the program beyond June 15, 2009, so that they can evaluate the program’s success and assess it’s future. In the meantime, we will continue to review applications submitted before June 15th. We hope that further review of the Second Anniversary Report will provide proof that Citizen Experts are ready to participate in the Open Government Initiative.

To view this report in its entirety, please visit: http://dotank.nyls.edu/communitypatent/CPI_P2P_Year… [PDF]

To view the NYLS press release, please visit:
http://www.nyls.edu/news_and_events/releases/pee…

FFII’s Take

The FFII is still trying to reform the system in favor of the Digital Majority.

On the other hand we have the maximalists, such as this. FFII’s president says that “Peter Messerli is vice-President of the EPO and member of the EPOorg EBA.” How can it be both? As Henrion puts it, “where is the [separation] of powers?”

Moreover, based on the same Web site (subscription required), “Microsoft [is] behind the Stockholm Network biased index.” That’s what Henrion claims anyway. He also shows another attempt to push software patents into Europe (Goteborg). “New round table titled “Software patents as a business opportunity” on September 9th at CIP FORUM 2009,” he notes. The original says: “#CF09 New round table titled “Software patents as a business opportunity” on September 9th at CIP FORUM 2009: The Future of Innovation.”

Vigilance is important here.

FSFE’s Take

The FSFE’s founder and former leader visited an event where General Electric (GE), an advocate (with Microsoft) of software patents in Europe, got quoted extensively. When GE does not complain about patent trolls it seems very busy acting as a maximalist. It uses patents as monopoly enforcers.

Georg writes:

[1]

‘#WIPOGC: GE: “All of you who believe in the IP system as I do.” That seems to summarise the issue of faith based policy setting well.’

[2]

‘#WIPOGC: General Electrics counsel http://2tu.us/k6q: If there were compulsory licensing for green technologies it would reduce investment.’

[3]

‘#WIPOGC: GE: Spent 50m USD on hydrogen engine problem to get patents. They failed. So how did patents help? And they won’t recoup elsewhere?’

Also from the same event and person:

‘#WIPOGC: Johnsons claim: No cost to the “IPR system.” As a physicist I am astonished by the invention of the perpetuum mobile by economists.

Glyn Moody shares this article about GE and intellectual monopolies.

Moody also posted a series of short articles where he is blasting these intellectual monopolies. Among the latest: “What Are Intellectual Monopolies For?”

If you still doubted that intellectual monopolies are in part a neo-colonialist plot to ensure the continuing dominance of Western nations…

[...]

We can’t possibly have dveloping countries protecting their traditional medicine and national lore – “genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore” – from being taken and patented by the Western world. After all, companies in the latter have an inalienable right to turn a profit by licensing that same traditional knowledge it back to the countries it was stolen from (this has already happened). That’s what intellectual monopolies are for.

Here is what the FSFE wrote on the subject:

On ‘Intellectual Property’ and Indigenous Peoples

[...]

Consequently the monopolising system is breaking the bond of solidarity, sharing and communication connecting all of humankind. To the Indigenous Peoples it means their language, rituals and heritage will be in danger of becoming extinct along with the last generation that grew up with them.

So in a perfectly working system and world, the price to pay for such expansion of monopolies may be nothing less than the cultural identity of the Indigenous Peoples.

Also, there is this long analysis, which highlights some countries that are negatively affected (exploited and oppressed by intellectual monopolies)

At the heart of the discussion lay a proposal by the African Group which called for the IGC to submit a text to the 2011 General Assembly containing “a/(n) international legally binding instrument/instruments” to protect traditional cultural expressions (folklore), traditional knowledge and genetic resources. Inextricably linked to the legally binding instruments were the African Group’s demands for “text-based negotiations” with clear “timeframes” for the proposed program of work. This proposal garnered broad support among a group of developing countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Fiji, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Cuba, Yemen India, Peru, Guatemala, China, Nepal and Azerbaijan. Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan co-sponsored the African Group proposal.

Patent Critique from Glyn Moody

Few journalists are as vocally opposed to intellectual monopolies as Moody is. Earlier this week, in Twitter, he wrote: “Agreed competition is healthy, but don’t think patents do anything to promote that, because monopolies aren’t helpful

Here is another batch of new blog posts from him. It’s succinct and punctual.

i. Are Patents Intellectual Monopolies? You Decide

Talking of intellectual monopolies, you may wonder why I use this term (well, if you’ve been reading this blog for long, you probably don’t.) But in any case, here’s an excellent exposition as to why, yes, patents are indeed monopolies…

ii. Batik-Makers Say ‘Tidak’ to Copyright

Interestingly, this is very close to the situation for software. The batik motifs correspond to sub-routines: both are part of the commons that everyone draws upon; copyrighting those patterns is as counter-productive as patenting subroutines, since it makes further creation almost impossible without “infringement”. This reduces the overall creativity – precisely the opposite effect that intellectual monopolists claim.

IBM’s Take

Bob Sutor, the IBM ‘Linux’ Vice President, writes to say: “With Microsoft making promises about Mono, they should pledge that they will not assert their necessary patents against the Linux kernel

We meanwhile find out that IBM is being sued for patent infringement by patent troll Mosaid.

Patent licensing firm Mosaid Technologies Inc said on Monday it was taking IBM to court for allegedly infringing on six of Mosaid’s U.S. patents.

Mosaid said the long-running dispute was over IBM’s making and selling of microprocessor and application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) products.

IBM played a role in the Bilski test, which it is claimed to be wholly behind, but the above appears to be more hardware oriented, so Bilski killing software patents might not be of use in this particular case. Here is the official press release where In Re Bilski’s role in squashing a software patent gets a mention:

DealerTrack Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: TRAK), a leading provider of on-demand software and data solutions for the U.S. automotive retail industry, today announced an update regarding its patent infringement litigation against RouteOne LLC and Finance Express LLC.

[...]

DealerTrack also has pending patent applications in the United States Patent and Trademark Office that would not be impacted by the Bilski decision.

Patent Lies

Maximalists continue spreading their lies about software patents. Here they are fraudulently using Google’s name to claim that Google wants software patents:

Software Patent Supporter Tries To Pretend Google Harmed Without Software Patents

There’s a somewhat bizarre and ethically questionable post up on the usually excellent Patently-O blog, hyping up the fact that Google may lose its patent on PageRank (which Google only holds a license to, since Stanford actually owns it). First off, this isn’t new or particularly surprising. It’s talking about the upcoming decision on the Bilski case, which we’ve discussed at length. The decision could impact all software patents, and the author is merely using the Google name to get extra attention.

Patently-O had some decent posts in the past, so it will be losing some big points over this. Here is another short article about the perceived value of patents:

Often, the value of a patent is not publicly known because parties often settle matters out of court. Other times, the value of a patent becomes abundantly clear after a blockbuster court case. For example, a jury yesterday awarded nearly $1.7 billion to Johnson & Johnson, whose patent the jury determined was infringed by Abbott Laboratories’ drug, Humira. Abbott Labs plans to appeal the verdict.

Watch how MPEG-2 claims credit for lowering prices rather than freeing people’s own content, which they helplessly store in patents-encumbered formats. They don’t even understand that they do this.

The MPEG LA, the organization in charge of handing out MPEG patent licenses, said that it will drop the fees for “essential” MPEG-2 patents beginning next year.

Go Away, Daddy

GoDaddy manages our 3 domain names (not my choice), but it is a greedy company that participates in the software patents mess. Here it is doing it again:

Go Daddy Group Inc. has filed a patent for a method of selling equity in domain names and protecting the domain names in which the equity is issued.

This would not be an isolated case because years ago GoDaddy was accused of going on a “patent-filing binge”. From the older article: “One interesting application will allow [...] GoDaddy to ping customer’s computers with alerts…”

How innovative.

Patent Trolls

The father of patent trolls, Ray Niro [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], is finally losing his mojo. Had Niro lost all of his junk patents, maybe he would make a living suing some more bloggers who tell the truth about his unethical business practices.

Lawyer Raymond Niro, for whom the term “patent troll” was apparently first coined, has been known to use the fact that he represents a company called Global Patent Holdings (GPH) to his advantage. GPH owns patent 5,253,341, but looking at it there won’t do much good. You see, Niro and others claimed that the patent covered pretty much anyone running a web server, leading to quite a few legal battles, including one against a guy, Greg Aharonian, who called it a “bad patent.” For claiming that, he got sued for patent infringement. In fighting the patent, it was re-examined, and all 16 of its claims were rejected… but a 17th claim was added and allowed to stand.

Here is another new article which is titled “The Patent Troll”.

Spangenberg predicts a day when corporations and trolls will live in relative harmony. He estimates that in the near future, litigation will be taken out of the patent equation, and people will buy and sell intellectual property in a way similar to the method now used to buy and sell works of art: auctions with built-in criteria to determine value.

He explains: “The courts are intermediaries for patents right now, and the courts are extremely inefficient. Patents will trade as a commodity in the next five to six years, and what I do won’t even exist.

Wallclimber told us that “the guy predicts that someday patents and “IP” will be traded like commodities, bought and sold on the market.” This sounds like the vision of Microsoft's chief patent troll, who says that “Intellectual property is the next software.” These would be the words of Nathan Myhrvold.

Microsoft and Other Patent Abusers

Nathan Myhrvold’s buddy Bill Gates is also totally and insanely obsessed with patents, based on this new interview where he says that “We’re going to make the cows that don’t fart.” No kidding. Read the transcripts below.

And you’ve been doing some stuff with Intellectual Ventures. I know every time you show up on a patent application that, folks get interested in what you’re looking at, whether it’s stopping hurricanes, or beer kegs, or what-have-you.
Gates: That’s right. We’re going to make the cows that don’t fart. You name it, we’ve got it under control.

That’s been really exciting to take this idea of gathering top scientists from a broad set of areas and think about problems that can be solved. And in the case of the foundation, you know, Nathan (Myhrvold) has used that ability to convene great scientists to look at things like how do you deliver vaccines without having to use as many refrigerators, or how do you pasteurize milk in a better way, some very interesting things. And then I also sit down with that group when they’re looking at their rich world applications, including things around energy, and one of those has actually led to creating a company called TerraPower, which is focused on a new, very radically improved nuclear power plant design, which is a hard thing to get done, but extremely valuable if it comes through.

The last time we we wrote about Bill Gates and his patent-trolling firm [1, 2, 3] was four days ago. As part of a broad new strategy, he tries to monetise life and death using patents. He already does that with drug patents that he financially supports. He is well positioned behind the the pharmaceutical cartel. For more information, see:

The EU is finally calling pharmaceutical patents anti-competitive and an antitrust action gets launched. How does Bill Gates always manage to find himself doing anti-competitive things and ending up with antitrust scrutiny?

EU Finds Anti-Competitive Abuse Of Pharmaceutical Patents, Launches Antitrust Action

[...]

Pharmaceutical companies are manipulating the intellectual property rights system and are “actively trying to delay the entry of generic medicines onto their markets,” a top EU official said of an EU inquiry into the pharmaceutical sector released Wednesday. As a result, there has been a decline in the number of innovative medicines getting to the market, it says.

For older information from the press, see:

The short story is that Gates was repeatedly accused of monopolising drug research. He is accused by several prominent people like the chief of malaria at the World Health Organization (WHO). Why does the press not cover this sufficiently? Notice how the EU official talks about business (and uses business terms) to justify antitrust action, but nothing is said about ethics and the loss of lives. It’s business as usual.

How Microsoft Sabotages GNU/Linux Adoption in Russian Schools

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Russia

Summary: Microsoft uses government funds to spread Microsoft dependency and also sabotages GNU/Linux migrations by advocating unlicensed Windows (which later they will whine about)

FOR background about what Microsoft is doing in Russia now that GNU/Linux migration are surging over there, see the following posts from the past few months:

One reader has just provided us with valuable information, which we edited and can finally present below.


There is a joint program of the Russian Government and Microsoft to support start-up businesses. It is called “Microsoft Business start 2009″. Its site is www.fasie.ru. Here is a Google translation of the program’s description. If you click the “Bid documents”, you’ll see translated version of competition rules. The idea is that the Government pays money from Science development fund, and business start-ups should develop new innovative software to receive this money. However, if you search for the word “Dynamics” in the translated document, you’ll see that all developed software should be strictly Microsoft.Net based. From the page: “Software should be developed based on technology Microsoft. Net (ie, demand for the work assigned. Net Framework) and / or work with the software interface of client and server products of Microsoft, and / or work on the platform for building business applications Microsoft Dynamics. ”

“Microsoft sent a “Windows Upgrade” disk instead of Windows itself, which costs $7 per seat for schools. But you need to have Windows already installed in order to use this (schools had Linux).”In other words, the Government pays businesses for innovations, but all developed software is Microsoft-based. Microsoft only sends its “experts” to evaluate this software, and helps start-ups to find investors.

There is another funny story. In Volgograd, Russia, there were elections of a city mayor and a head of region. A regional candidate deployed computers, network and Linux at Volgograd schools, in accordance with a government program. He proudly presented that as his own achievement. At the same time a mayor candidate (from different elections) talked to Microsoft and deployed Microsoft applications at the same schools. Microsoft proudly reported that here. In short, Microsoft provided schools with typical “academic” package. However, Microsoft sent a “Windows Upgrade” disk instead of Windows itself, which costs $7 per seat for schools. But you need to have Windows already installed in order to use this (schools had Linux).

In order to deploy Windows Upgrade, Microsoft told them to install counterfeited version and “upgrade” it. You can read long version of this story (in Russian) here. Moreover, Microsoft claims that it replaces Linux in Volgograd schools. However, schools say they simply use both systems now.


An obligatory Bill Gates quote that fits here is: “They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

“Drugs, drugs, drugs,” called it Fewa and Oiaohm thought it was a trick for getting free (gratis) Windows. Fewa argues that they are “telling people to break the law so later they can use change their mind — good cop/bad cop.”

The source of this story, Andie, says that “Microsoft tells lots of nonsense in its public release about this event. For example, they say ‘Linux deployment was very cost-ineffective, because sysadmins had to learn new system.’ Russian schools don’t have sysadmins at all. [...] or, they said that Linux deployment was not followed by trainings and books were not provided. [...] On the contrary, Windows package had no books, and no trainings were [held]. Why, if you’re a teacher, would you need a book or manual to read about new system? [...] however, [the] Linux package had books and stuff.”

Oiaohm thinks that “Linux should use that as a marketing game. [...] If Microsoft wants to dump, let’s play on it. [..] Linux never goes negative to win. [...] Remember 5 years ago Microsoft would not have to dump in counter to Linux. Linux desktop improvements are forcing Microsoft into competing with something that cannot simply be defeated.” Fewa explained that “Linux can dump much better than Microsoft. [...] but it needs to be targeted. [...] but then they try to force huge changes in their own OS that break all sorts of things.” Exidy argued that “what they do need [are] good education packages [...] people inherently resist change, or at least need a good reason for change.”

Schools must teach methods, not train for Microsoft products.

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.”

Albert Einstein

Microsoft’s Brad Silverberg: “Please Make Sure This Request Doesn’t Get Filled.”

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft at 8:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Antitrust exhibit from DRI is dissected

WE HAVE BEGUN working on some older Comes vs Microsoft exhibits and today we properly document Exhibit PX00891 (1991) [PDF]. It starts with Brad Silverberg, one of Microsoft’s crudest people. At Microsoft, they were speaking about Digital Research, which they committed abuses against (see our DRI reference page). Here is part of the correspondence (the full text is at the bottom of this post):

Customer: Digital Research, Inc.
UK Address: 70 Garden Court
Monteray, CA

Contact: John Constant
Telephone: 44(0) 488 684587
FAX: 44 (0) 488 683135

Digital Research would like to become a beta site. They would like to enable their operating system to support Windows 3.10. Specifically they need to modify the LoadHi VxD (now part of VMM) allowing their memory manager to function correctly.

NOTE: John Constant would like to be contacted by telephone as soon as possible.

What was Microsoft’s response?

> From johnen Fri Aug 2 15:14:52 1991
To: bradsi stevetho winbeta
Subject: RE: BETA REQ: Digital Research, Inc.
Date: Fri Aug 02 15:11:40 PDT 1991

Um, I don’t think so.

Watch the response from Brad Silverberg:

From bradsi Fri Aug 02 15:20:58 1991
To: johnen kalak stevetho winbeta
Subject: RE: BETA REQ: Digital Research, Inc.
Date: Fri, 02 Aug 91 15:20:25 PDT

ha ha ha ha ha…

kala, please make sure this request doesn’t get filled.

What a cooperative company. So little has changes since then, but Microsoft now has superior policies for shredding E-mail. Now, that’s a change, that’s the “New Microsoft” — malicious and secretive rather than malicious, blunt, and sloppy.


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit PX00891, as text


Read the rest of this entry »

How Microsoft Daemonises the EU Commission and Advertises Vista 7, with the MSBBC’s Help

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 7:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft BBC

Summary: The BBC practically advertises Vista 7 at the expense of TV licensees; BBC reporter also spins for Microsoft and against the European Commission

THE BBC strikes again. Whilst heavy lobbying against EU regulators is carried out by Microsoft (attempts to charm Neelie Kroes again), the BBC supplies Microsoft with precisely the same lies and spin that Microsoft requires for popular support and ammunition.

To offer the factual story, Opera, Mozilla and the European Commission all denounced what Microsoft did regarding Web browsers in Vista 7, but as a reader of ours put it, the BBC published a “free advert for Windows and a distortion regarding the EU commission.” Here is the Windows advert from the BBC, which contains the sentence: “Because of a recent European Commission anti-trust ruling, Windows 7′s European version will not be integrated with Windows’ Internet Explorer, meaning that a browser will have to be installed separately…”

“NO, NO, NO,” says our reader. “The EU never told Microsoft to remove IE, Microsoft arbitrarily decided to remove it, pretending the nasty EU made them. In effect penalizing European users. Like a kid taking his ball home cause the others won’t let him score.”

“It’s promotional. It even speaks about “Discount” and it showers Vista 7 with congratulatory remarks.”What a terrible article from the BBC, which plays right into Microsoft’s hands, as usual. Watch the content. It’s promotional. It even speaks about “Discount” and it showers Vista 7 with congratulatory remarks. “Where, how, who, got any real data,” asks our reader. Here is a quote:

Analysts IDC predict that some 177 million copies of the operating system will be in place by the end of 2010, 50 million of which will be in Europe. The firm estimates that products and services surrounding Windows 7 will generate $320bn (£195bn).

Just two days ago we wrote about how IDC, one of Microsoft's favourite puppets, will probably come out and do some propaganda for Vista 7, just as it did for predecessors. We were right about IDC just a day in advance. It is actually confirmed by surveys that Vista 7 will be poorly adopted, but Microsoft spinners like Ed Bott bend backwards to reverse this scientific message which is based on polls (and other Microsoft bloggers reference Bott). Now the BBC plays along. This is just amazing! On the very same day the BBC is glorifying their business partner Microsoft, calling them (in the headline) “king of UK brands” and showering this convicted monopolist with unrestrained flattery. No disclosures there about the relationship between the two companies (including business ties), but that’s just typical.

“No disclosures there about the relationship between the two companies (including business ties), but that’s just typical.”And look at this. Another new advert for Vista 7. Has Microsoft borrowed the BBC for a day? It is worth mentioning that some former Microsoft employees are partly running the BBC now [1, 2] and it shows.

Our reader ThistleWeb, who is based in the UK, writes: “I notice the link on the ‘Windows flies off the shelves’ page……to the Windows 7 pre-order page. I wonder if the BBC are getting kickbacks affiliate style for orders coming from their site. [...] of course it won’t be noted on the books as affiliate sales, it’ll no doubt be discussed when the BBC need a new round of Microsoft licences, with the more sales they pumped through to Microsoft, the bigger the discount [...] along with the more positive stories.

“I reckon the only evidence you’d likely see if you could obtain it was a minutes of meetings with Microsoft [...] any affiliate stuff would be a strict no no for the BBC officially [...] of course that’d all be hidden behind “commercial sensitivity” excuses.”

“We have 17.1 million users of bbc.co.uk in the UK and, as far as our server logs can make out, 5 per cent of those [use Macs] and around 400 to 600 are Linux users.”

Ashley Highfield, BBC (now Microsoft)

Microsoft Exploits Feynman Lectures to Spread Lock-in, Does the Same in HPC

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono at 6:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Feynman ID badge

Summary: In another assault on open access and free (libre) science, Feynman’s work is being seized by a proprietary software vendor and wrapped in proprietary formats

GLYN MOODY probably said it best:

But wait: what do we find when go to that “free” site:

Clicking will install Microsoft Silverlight.

So it seems that this particular free has its own non-free (as in freedom) payload: what a surprise.

That’s a disappointment – but hardly unexpected; Microsoft’s mantra is that you don’t get something for nothing.

What was this written in reference to? Here is context from The Register:

Forget Windows 7, the most useful thing that Microsoft will do this year is host the videos of a famous lecture series given by Nobel prize winning physicist Richard Feynman back in 1964, so anyone can watch them and see a brilliant man engaged with the workings of the physical world and the people he is trying to get hooked on physics.

Does Feynman, who is now in his grave (passed away in 1988), know that Microsoft is exploiting his good work to pollute the Web and deny access to his lectures if the viewer uses a Free operating system like BSD or GNU/Linux? Would he have approved this? A reader wrote to tell us that “Feynman lectures [are] for free… on Silverlight only.”

“Silverlight is proprietary and it is owned and controlled by a multiple-times monopoly abuser that ardently combats the scientific model of development.”The word “only” is very important. If and when Microsoft goes out of business (all commerce has its shelf life), will Feynman’s work still be accessible? Silverlight is proprietary and it is owned and controlled by a multiple-times monopoly abuser that ardently combats the scientific model of development. It is about sharing.

According to our reader’s interpretation of this (to paraphrase a little), Microsoft thinks that it can ‘give away’ the Silverlight client and make sure it doesn’t run on GNU/Linux (except for the “Mono-polluted stuff”). Then, Microsoft removes IE from Vista 7 in Europe and blames the EU Commission. “Is there a pattern here,” asks the reader. “They’re repeating the same thing they did with IE and Windows. As in, create web-tools that can only make web sites that work with IE+Windows. Here they’re creating flash incompatible sites that ONLY work with Silverlight+Windows. Where’s the interoperability in that? If they were made to open up Silverlight, they would produce a crippled version and blame the regulators. And the fools will continue to let Microsoft get away with it.

Microsoft seems to be planting a Trojan horse in high-performance computing as well. It is exploiting ignorance among parts of the scientific community and Glyn Moody explains why:

So basically Project Trident is more Project Trojan Horse – an attempt to get Microsoft HPC Server cluster technologies into the scientific community without anyone noticing. And why might Microsoft be so keen to do that? Maybe something to do with the fact that Windows currently runs just 1% of the top 500 supercomputing sites, while GNU/Linux has over 88% share.

Microsoft’s approach here can be summed up as: accept our free dog biscuit, and be lumbered with a dog.

Nothing ever changes when it comes to Microsoft’s behaviour. It’s only the degree to which it is able to conceal its behaviour that changes. Our readers usually call it “drug dealer mentality”.

“What we are trying to do is use our server control to do new protocols and lock out Sun and Oracle specifically”

Bill Gates

Microsoft + Ecosystem Block ODF, OpenOffice.org, Firefox

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 6:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Nightmare

Summary: A look at new reports that show a consistent worrisome behaviour

BNET has this article which is titled “How Microsoft Ratted Itself Out Of Office.”

Microsoft dodged a bullet in Massachusetts, but realized that if its Office productivity suite wasn’t adopted as a de jure standard, rather than merely a de facto monopoly, it would eventually lose customers who were mandated by law to use only standards-based applications. That’s why it fought tooth and nail to convince ISO to adopt OOXML as a standard — even if that meant publishing its entire specification.

In order to ‘convince’ ISO (Microsoft did a lot more than “convincing”) Microsoft and its ecosystem embarked on one of the biggest IT scandals of this decade. Some press in India is trying to change the story right now. It says:

Single standard is supported by the open document format (ODF) brigade that includes IBM, Red Hat and Sun Microsystems in India while multiple standards are supported by Microsoft, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and industry bodies like Manufacturers’ Association of Information Technology and Nasscom.

This is some very ugly spin with weasel words like “brigade”, a small list of vendors on ODF’s side and then a larger list of small vendors (Microsoft partners) that are claimed to support “multiple standard” as if it’s better to have a proprietary format (assisted by abuse to push it down ISO’s throat) and a fork of ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

Microsoft employees carry on preaching their hostility towards fair competition or real standards like ODF and Rob Weir drew attention to this report about “ODF mobile combat robot” (not related to OpenDocument) only to receive a lukewarm response from ODF skeptics. In Twitter, Microsoft employees and their partners of course mocked it (and Rob Weir) because they hate ODF. Thy see it as a nuisance which they must cope with.

The reality of the matter is that OpenDocument is gaining as we last showed moments ago. jOpenDocument appears on the scene now as well.

jOpenDocument is a free library for developers looking to use Open Document files without OpenOffice.org.

jOpenDocument is Open Source (under GPL or commercial license).

More DOF events are being organised, such as this one in LinuxCON 2009.

OASIS ODF Adoption TC Chair, Don Harbison, will present a session entitled:

“OpenDocument Format v1.2 – Interoperability, Conformance & Tooling”

This talk will focus on the application implementation implications of ODF V1.2, for IT leaders and developers of desktop, and cloud solutions. Beyond the completion of ODF 1.2, complementary work has progressed to support ODF interoperability and conformance needs. A new ODFDOM API and tools are available from the ODF Toolki Union, enabling the development of excitig new document-centric solutions. The talk is introductory in nature.

Roberto Galoppini on the ODF Plugfest:

The Dutch government is showing the way to go: the Minister for Foreigng Trade Frank Heemskerk opened the now famous ODF Plugfest saying that a joint course of action for developing effective ODF support in each other’s products is needed.

We previously mentioned the ODF Plugfest in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

Meanwhile, however, guards of the Microsoft monopoly are working to block ODF-compliant software like OpenOffice.org. Watch the picture. We often learn from readers that Microsoft has many people out there in IT departments who are compulsively blocking competition to Microsoft. How about this new example from Orange?

Orange UK exiles Firefox from call centres

[...]

This technician tells us that about a quarter of the Bristol staff had moved to Firefox after growing increasingly frustrated with IE6′s inability to open multiple pages in the same window and overall sluggish performance. But a recent email from management informed call-centre reps that downloading Firefox was verboten and that they would be fined £250 if their PCs experienced problems and had to be rebuilt after running Firefox or any other application downloaded from the net.

“Under no circumstances should Firefox be downloaded,” the email read. “Downloading any application from the internet is against Orange policy. There is NO support for Firefox in the operational environment. Orange Web applications are all designed to run on IE6 and therefore there is a likelihood that functionality will be impaired on Firefox.”

According to the reader who alerted us about it, this “begs [the question] how they can install applications on a supposedly secure and locked down desktop.”

Microsoft Internet Explorer is a very bad thing to standardise on because it deliberately deviates from Web standards [PDF]. In fact, YouTube is now ditching IE6 support.

Judging by this screenshot taken by an IE6 user who was watching some videos on YouTube, it appears the Google company will be phasing out support for the browser shortly. I don’t have Internet Explorer 6 installed on my computer, so I can’t verify this first hand, but illogical it seems not and a simple Twitter search shows multiple people confirming the news. Heck, some are even downright ecstatic over the news.

Even Digg has begun pondering an IE6 ditch:

Should Digg block IE6?

Currently, IE6 usage accounts for 10% of Digg visitors and 5% of page views on Digg. While this is down from 13% and 8% a year ago respectively, IE6 still accounts for a fairly large portion of Digg usage. That said, a lot of time is spent by Digg engineers supporting site activity like diggs, buries, and comments in IE6, and while it accounts for 5% of site traffic, IE6 accounts for only 1% of diggs, buries, and comments.

Watch out for Microsoft and its followers looking to block ODF, OpenOffice.org, and Firefox. It happens all the time, but the issue is scarcely reported on.

“Microsoft sees what’s coming. Things like Word and Excel sort of like a drug now getting ready to go generic.”

Market Watch

It’s Official: Microsoft Windows Servers to Blame for Attacks on Korea and the United States

Posted in GNU/Linux, Security, Windows at 5:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Look back at Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC
Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC

Summary: Windows victimises nations as it is used as a weapon on the Web

LINUX TODAY has just shared this finding about the source of the cyber attacks. We mentioned this a few days ago on a couple of occasions, but it could not be confirmed at the time that Windows zombies were behind the attacks. Well, it’s confirmed now:

In order to locate the source of the attacks, we have fought against C&C servers and have gained control of 2 in 8 of them. After analyzing the logs of these 2 servers, we discovered the IP address of the master server, which is 195.90.118.xxx. This IP is located in UK. The master server is running on Windows 2003 Server Operating System..

No change should be expected because following many “critical” flaws, some known ones remain unpatched and they won’t be addressed until August (at the earliest).

Microsoft released six bulletins – three covering critical flaws – on Tuesday as part of its monthly Patch Tuesday update cycle.

It’s back to the same familiar cycle. They ought to upgrade to GNU/Linux.

“Two security researchers have developed a new technique that essentially bypasses all of the memory protection safeguards in the Windows Vista operating system…”

Dennis Fisher, August 7th, 2008

ODF Officially Approved as Malaysian Standard, Brazil Offers Massive Endorsement Too

Posted in America, Asia, OpenDocument, Standard at 5:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brazil's ODF cap on Lula
Original

Summary: Latest raves and wins for ODF at the government level

Yoon Kit proudly announces that according to MAMPU, “There are nearly 300 agencies using ODF already – and a detailed study will be conduct to roll out further.” Also he adds: “Glad to say after all the work, ODF has been approved by the minister as a Malaysian Standard!” John Drinkwater points it out too.

Malaysia is not the only country where such positive transformation is occurring despite sheer abuse from Microsoft (and possibly violations of the Malaysian law). Here is a wonderful report from Brazil (also in Portuguese):

After the speech, when I left the room where the President spoke, I was very happy to see the joy of Furusho, because he gave an ODF cap to Lula and the crown took some photos of Lula with the cap. This is the kind of stuff that made Furusho’s work to be recognized by the ODF Alliance with the ODF Awards (and detail: it was Furusho’s initiative to produce the ODF shirts and caps and endure into the crowd to deliver them to President Lula. I really admire this crazy Nipo-Brazillian folk :) ).

Here is the famous photo (Brazil’s president wearing an ODF hat), with many more here and more extensive coverage here.

“That particular meeting was followed by an anonymous smear campaign against one of the TC members. A letter was faxed to the organization of the TC member in question, accusing the TC member in question of helping politicize the issue (which is, of course, untrue). I too had the dubious pleasure of hearing first hand how Microsoft attempted to remove me from the TC (they did not succeed, thanks to integrity and cojones of the organization I am affiliated with).”

“If this unethical behaviour by Microsoft was not sufficiently despicable, they did the unthinkable by involving politics in what should have been a technical evaluation of the standard by writing to the head of the Malaysian standards organization and getting its business partners to engage in a negative letter writing campaign to indicate lack of support of ODF in the Malaysian market. Every single negative letter on ODF received by the Malaysian standards organization was written either by Microsoft, or a Microsoft business partner or a Microsoft affiliated organization (Initiative for Software Choice and IASA).

A Memo to Patrick Durusau

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