‘We recommend that we *informally* plant the bug of FUD in their ears. “Have you heard about problems with DR DOS?”‘
–Microsoft (internal correspondence)
• Is Apple Suggesting That The DMCA Prevents Terrorism? [Note: jailbroken iPhones might also molest the children, so new legislation and enforcement are needed immediately]
However, Apple’s response to the Library of Congress, suggesting that open or jailbroken iPhones could be used by terrorists to bring down cell towers is both preposterous and totally unrelated to the issue at hand. First it’s preposterous, as there are plenty of “open” devices out there already, and there has yet to be a single report of anyone taking down a cell tower with their mobile phone.
• IBM flings FUD at Neon zPrimers [Note: IBM is the originator of "FUD" as we know it today and it still uses software patents FUD to advance itself in the GNU/Linux market at the expense of others]
£50 cash back & £50 off selected Toshiba laptops
As El Reg anticipated when the zPrime mainframe acceleration software tool was announced by Neon Enterprise Software, the tool has not only gotten the attention of IBM, but has compelled Big Blue to warn its customers about using it.
• Struggling With the Vistaster Disaster [Note: this is not an example of FUD as much as it is another case of forced Windows purchases where myths about "ease of use" in Windows are debunked]
Since ASUS refused to refund the cost of Windows on the N10J that I recently purchased (not surprising), I figured that I am stuck with it, I might as well at least see how both Vistaster and XP Professional work on it. I’m now into my second day of fighting with this monstrosity, and I still don’t understand anything about it. Seriously.
Before I go on, let me say that this is UNIQUELY a Windows disaster. I can install any one of a variety of Linux distributions on the N10J at any time that I want, and be done in well under an hour. I’ve probably spent in excess of 12 hours over the last two days trying to get EITHER Vistaster OR XP Professional to reinstall, with extremely limited success.
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Summary: The BBC and Microsoft share common interests (not just staff) and it shows
A couple of weeks ago we showed that the BBC misrepresented Europe (as in the European Commission). It was wrong about Microsoft antitrust, and not so surprisingly because the BBC too came under European Commission pressure after it had colluded with Microsoft. The BBC continues to turn a blind eye to the inherent insecurity of Windows while illegally hijacking the platform en masse and then ‘forgetting’ to mention that it is a Windows problem.
“Contrary to common belief, the BBC is run as a business, but it is unique in the sense that it is also a national service.”We could go on forever listing the many posts here about the BBC. Contrary to common belief, the BBC is run as a business, but it is unique in the sense that it is also a national service. It does great disservice at times by misinforming the public and even former employees of the BBC complained about it, including one prominent one whose name was Eric Blair (better known as George Orwell).
Yesterday we wrote about the atrocious Yahoo-Microsoft deal, which sank Yahoo’s stock like it was a rock. Needless to say, the BBC portrays this as a good thing, whereas others are calling for regulators to intercept the deal because it is very damaging to competition and to end users. Now catch this stunning coverage of the deal. Look who the BBC is quoting (with an entire video):
Microsoft’s Ashley Highfield: “It brings scale and innovation to the search market”
Yes, that’s right. The BBC approaches Ashley Highfield, the the man who used the BBC to exclude Microsoft’s rivals. The BBC, where he worked and caused trouble for a long time, is now quoting him on behalf of Microsoft. This is insanely creepy.
This morning we also found this report from The Register.
Microsoft to launch UK ad-funded online video player
The software giant’s ad-funded MSN Video Player will be made available to Blighty broadband customers and will feature TV programmes from BBC Worldwide and All3Media.
Ex-BBC technology chief Ashley Highfield, who quit Project Kangaroo for Microsoft taking on the role of MD and veep of consumer and online in November 2008, told the Guardian that MS had a “fair crack of the whip” with attracting viewers to the service.
Yes, that’s Highfield again. How predictable. It is the man who said (wearing a BBC hat): “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.”
“The BBC hardly ever covers GNU/Linux; when it does, it is very derogatory.”That was a lie.
But wait, that’s not all.
On the BBC, Peter Day’s new Red Hat interview was very hostile. He gave away his hatred of collaboration, Free software, Wikipedia, people who develop code, and the young(er) generation. It is almost as though the purpose of the interview was to grill, to daemonise, and to be rude. Listen to it for a more personal judgment. It gets crass towards the end. This was debated some more in the IRC channel (later in the day) and more historical context in needed for newcomers to understand the convictions of the BBC, which got filled with former Microsoft staff recently. The BBC hardly ever covers GNU/Linux; when it does, it is very derogatory.
The BBC is usually glorifying Microsoft (even Windows Vista, which is undeniably a failure) and glamourising intellectual monopolies while consistently calling dissenters “pirates”. Here is a new BBC article about patents, which totally lacks proper criticism.
The voicemail-to-text service Spinvox has applied for two patents which describe the service as being operated by humans, the BBC has learned.
Spinvox has previously claimed that state-of-the-art speech recognition technology is the basis of its service.
However, its patent applications claim the approach is accurate precisely because it employs human operators.
The BBC needs to advance onto the new age; as it stands, the BBC remains a promoter of DRM, monopolies on knowledge, Windows Vista, Microsoft, the MPAA, and the RIAA. Being a defender of status quo where elite interests are always further advanced is nothing to take pride in. Maybe Auntie Beeb should make a bid for Bill O’Reilly sooner rather than later. █
Eric Blair’s memo of resignation from the BBC
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Advantages of Linux
* The company will spend less money in IT resources. Less license fees (free in most cases) and less hardware is needed to run the same services in Linux.
* Technical Department will spend less time fixing problems and they will have more time to improve the company’s IT services. Due to the open-source nature of Linux, the IT department will have unlimited control on the software it uses.
* The employees of the company will have faster computers with less problems, so they will work more efficiently.
Some people have taken their love for Unix and Linux on the streets literally by displaying their Unix/Linux-related personalized license plates. Though I haven’t actually seen one in real life yet, I have collected several photos that will show some of these cool custom license plates in action, which I’m going to share with all of you.
I’m using the Linux distribution Ubuntu for over a year now – I hopped on the train with version 8.04 LTS. Although I still ‘need’ Windows for a number of things, like vector editing for example, – no vector drawing software in Linux satisfies my needs – I am more than pleased with this operating system.
“Before we awarded the contract to Progress last year, there were other FAA programs like TFM [Traffic Flow Management], our weather-monitoring programs, and a new terminal program, TDDS [Terminal Data Distribution System]. Those program are and have been using Linux. We had a total of five such programs in SWIM Segment 1, and now that we have FUSE in place, that’s a total of seven.”
MobaLiveCD also lets you add a menu entry to the right-click menu of ISO images so that you can directly run the ISO image from the right-click menu. To set up the menu entry, click on the Right-click menu button in MobaLiveCD:
Now when you right-click on an ISO image, you see the entry Test this with MobaLiveCD in the right-click menu. Select this if you want to start the ISO image in MobaLiveCD…
In recent weeks, Dell.com’s U.S. website has not offered Ubuntu Linux desktop PCs. But that situation could change the week of August 2. Here’s the scoop from The VAR Guy.
Our resident blogger stirred up some market confusion on July 22, when he noticed Dell’s Ubuntu site (www.dell.com/ubuntu) only offered laptops and netbooks with Ubuntu installed. Alas, Dell apparently wasn’t offering Ubuntu on desktop PCs anymore.
In time for the X.Org 7.5 release (whenever that may come), David Airlie has put out new driver releases for nineteen of the X.Org video drivers. These aren’t updates to the mainline ATI/AMD, Intel, or even NVIDIA drivers, but some of the drivers for less common graphics hardware.
If Linux starts going down that backwards compatibility path then I think it will be on a slippery slope down to bug kingdom and security black holes. Alan Cox quite clearly stated his reasons in terms of security for his patch. For Linus to dismiss that reasoning with such an arbitrary and thoughtless manner seems to me that his mind is less on the kernel and more on other matters.
In the past when this sort of user land breakage happened, the user land programs were quickly fixed and life went on as before. It was no big deal and an expected part and parcel of dealing with rapidly changing open source software. It was what made Linux and open source great. To lock down the kernel in such a manner means that it will not advance and that means stagnation.
Virt-manager 0.8.0 release was officially annouced late last night. This latest release includes bug fixes and a couple of new features, my personal favourite being the Clone VM wizard that I briefly mentioned in here. The official announcement lists the following new features…
Wow, it’s quite hot here. Sure, the temperature outside is high, but I guess it’s also because of this computer who worked hard to understand some lines of code and to translate them into something that it can then use to make me happy. Yes. Because running GNOME makes me happy! And the 2.27.5 release is no exception there: it has this magic power on me. It’s a good release to get a first feeling of what will be in GNOME 2.28, with the new modules now being integrated and new features popping here and there, in many differents modules. Ah, if only it could do something for the temperature
Arch Linux is a distro developed without assitance from any of the major distributions, and is targeted at experienced users of Linux. It is unique in the Linux world that it uses a ‘rc.conf’ file which is executed everytime upon start up, an idea borrowed from the BSD style systems.
While this review is technically one of the 2009.02 release, Arch Linux uses a ‘rolling-release’ system, in which the actual system is constantly updated and then ’snapshots’ of the current packages are made into an ISO file and released every 6 months.
The Fedora Project is one of the most popular Linux distributions and has been ever since Red Hat announced its creation in 2003. It is a free and open source operating system which came about as a merger between some of their commercial products. It was to be a community driven project, built entirely on free software and would be a test bed for Red Hat Enterprise Linux offerings. Even though it remains a community distribution, numerous Red Hat employees are involved and help set the direction of the project.
Prentice Hall are happy to send each and every approved LoCo team one free copy of The Official Ubuntu Book and one free copy of The Official Ubuntu Server book. To be entirely clear: this is one copy of each book per team. This will be a great addition to each team’s library of Ubuntu books!
One of the great sources of frustration — and more than a few jokes — for geeks is the legendary instability of the Windows operating system. If you’ve ever had to rescue a box that’s crashing more often than a demolition derby car, the latest offering out of Active Media Products may help you keep your cool.
We all know that like a faithful Labrador, Linux is a geek’s best friend. When it comes to recovering data from a crashed system, it’s particularly friendly, providing the option to boot from a Live CD or other media and recover files. The good geeks at Active Media Products, however, have taken that one step further with the release of their new BLU — Bootable Linux USB.
I wanted a netbook for traveling. I plan to use it primarily for checking e-mail, browsing the Internet, writing documents, listening to music and watching movies. I may also at some point use it as an e-book reader and podcast player.
I’m a moderately competent user of computers. I have a little — but not much — experience with Linux.
Like several economies in the region, open source adoption in the Philippines is gradually expanding as organizations to seek alternatives to expensive proprietary software. But, unlike some markets, early adopters in the country come from the private sector.
Miguel Paraz, an active advocate of OSS who now works for a local IT firm, noted that public consciousness of open source is only at “a superficial level”, with the occasional mention of Linux in the mainstream business news.
Some argue that open-source software can’t innovate. In fact, one of the industry’s former executives, Peter Yared, recently argued that “the only successful open-source companies sell commodities.”
Yared clearly hasn’t heard of SpringSource, an open-source application platform provider that is redefining the J2EE application server and, quite possibly, the future of open source.
Sometimes people open-source code because they want other people to help with the coding. For them, absolutely, they need a community that gets involved. But others just write the code for their own pleasure, because it scratches an itch, or because they want something that does exactly what they want and there’s no such thing already. For them, a community is an irrelevance. It might even be a nuisance. They write the code for themselves, and they’re nice enough to share it. FOSS is different things to different people, you can’t apply one single standard to define what makes a project a success.
Brace yourself for the vanishing menu bar because Mozilla has published an official feature list for Firefox 3.6 in the form of a guide for programmers who need to know about the changes.
Start-up Hexagram 49 has unveiled an engine dubbed RethinkDB. The company says it’s optimized for SSDs, claiming it can deliver performance ten times faster than existing databases.
Glyn Moody says is an attempt to plug into the power of openness without really engaging with it, Matt Asay explains how openness will help the company to enrich its partner experience. Savio Rodrigues also thinks that is a win-win, adding that the goal could have been achieved even by releasing the code under a closed source license. Last but not least he argues that the EPL would have been a better choice, now that the OSI has moved the CPL to inactive (for the records, Intuit is hearing hints and reacting).
The software, called OpenDNSSEC, automates many tasks associated with implementing DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions), which is a set a set of protocols that allows DNS (Domain Name System) records to carry a digital signature, said John A. Dickinson, a DNS consultant working on the project.
Internet Systems Consortium, also known as ISC, is using Drupal on their website at http://isc.org. ISC was founded by three internet pioneers Rick Adams, Carl Malamud and Paul Vixie to support BIND and other software that helps power the internet.
I asked David Dennis, senior director of product marketing at Groundwork, to keep me updated about the initiative, below some answers on the topic of GroundWork Monitor Starter Edition.
A lot’s happened in the few days since my keynote at OSCON and I think it’s time I did a round-up of women-in-open-source-related stuff from the conference itself and the not-quite-a-week since.
Some wins for the conference:
* Gina Blaber from O’Reilly tells me that female attendance is up, and it looked that way to me. I’d guess around 5%, which of course is still kind of appalling, but I think a bit higher than last year.
* Proportion of female speakers is up to 8.9% (from 8.36% last year). That’s just based on actual numbers of people, not the talks they gave; it might be a smidge higher based on number of talks. A small improvement, but any improvement is good at this point.
As a growing number of worldwide learners log on, free of charge, to video and podcast lectures and events at the University of California, Berkeley, the campus is leading an international effort to build a communal Webcasting platform to more easily record and distribute its popular educational content.
Meanwhile, a small suggestion to the AP: Get your legal department’s footprints off your home page (where the top item is “Protecting AP’s Intellectual Property”). In fact, push them to the nether regions of the website. It’s not friendly stuff.
Luis Casas Luengo, Director of Extremadura’s Fundecyt foundation 09 (2004)
Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.
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Summary: Another look at how Microsoft and its affiliates suppress Free software (a potpourri of new examples)
OVER the past week we exposed the interests of Nasscom [1, 2], based on dozens of references which we have accumulated for years. It it truly sad that a supposedly “national” body is at times just a vassal for multinationals. The conflict of interests is not only a perceived one; in fact, ZDNet has just published a long article about it.
Proponents of the open source and proprietary software sectors have clashed over a proposal to support multiple standards for the country’s e-government projects.
Last year, the Indian Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MCIT) released a draft policy, mandating the adoption of freely available standards in the deployment of the country’s e-government projects–estimated to be valued at over US$4 billion.
The trade body supports the inclusion of standards under Reasonable and Non Discriminatory (RAND) terms, and also the usage of multiple standards in the same domain.
That mention of RAND is one that we are seeing in Europe as well. Microsoft loves using RAND as a weapon against Free software and contrary to spin, Microsoft is still not playing fair. In fact, the spin machine carries on.
Microsoft has promised the European Commission a “significant change” in attitude and publishes its proposal for the marketing of Internet Explorer in Windows 7. Additionally there’s news regarding the GPL publishings.
Microsoft’s “GPL publishings” are nothing significant (neither for Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] nor for Moodle) and here comes another article about Microsoft’s GPL violations.
MICROSOFT DID VIOLATE the GNU General Public License (GPLv2) through the way it distributed its Hyper-V device drivers for Linux, the Software Freedom Law Center has claimed.
Stephen Hemminger, a lead engineer for the networking software maker Vyatta and a Linux kernel contributor, apparently discovered Microsoft’s licencing violation.
We wrote some more about it several days ago because the spin machine never rests. In fact, the Register’s Microsoft-oriented guy, Gavin Clarke, has just shown that Zend gives Microsoft and its ally Novell a preferential treatment.
Zend Technologies has announced the latest version of its open-source framework for PHP, offering improved support for Microsoft and Novell environments.
Why Novell? This has more to do with Novell’s proprietary side.
Returning to those claims from Microsoft that it was playing fair with rival Web browsers, this is totally missing the point that Microsoft deviates from Web standards, using Silverlight. In fact, now that Yahoo! is Microsoft's zombie, Glyn Moody expects more Silverlight poison around the Web.
I would also expect to see more Microsoft technologies rolled out across Yahoo sites – in particular, Silverlight. That’s definitely bad news for open source, since it is patent-encumbered and very closely tied to Microsoft’s other products.
I warned about this back in February 2008 when Microsoft made the bid for Yahoo! SIlverlight is proprietary, so what’s the point asking for a patent waiver or documentation? █
“I have no idea what you’re talking about when you say ‘ask.’”
–Bill Gates, in his deposition for the Microsoft antitrust trial
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It’s Free as in Freedom, not Religion
Summary: If software is applied science and engineering, then comparing it to politics and religion should be deemed inappropriate
THREE DAYS ago we wrote about the use of the word "zealot" to describe anyone whom you disagree with. This strategy is not new and it is extensively utilised for political goals. Other words that can substitute “zealot” are “neo-fascist”, “dictator”, “fanatic”, and even “terrorist”.
We try not to be distracted by personal attacks that make systematic use of such labels. Going by the same rules, one might as well describe Microsoft as a “freedom-hating zealot”, but this is not a good way to construct a rational argument. In an excellent new post, the awkward perception that the Free Software movement “hates” Microsoft is being dismissed. Here are some portions of the argument:
Recently, Richard M. Stallman, the founder of the free software movement, expressed some genuine concerns regarding the use of C# to create programs and the use of Mono as free implementation of the .Net framework. Then, something interesting happened. Many people in the open source group were upset at him! Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, made a reference to “Microsoft hating” and linked it to the free software movement.
Excuse me???? Is Microsoft hatred identified with the “free software” community?
Microsoft is not “evil” ethically speaking, it is just a corporation. However, Microsoft is not a friend of the free software and the open source movements. It has declared itself an enemy of the GNU/Linux operative system a number of times, and it has determined publicly and privately its erradication from the market. Remember the Halloween documents? These are memos that circulated within Microsoft which revealed several strategies to drive GNU/Linux out of the market, many of which include deceiving the public. These documents have been recognized by Microsoft as being authentic. Don’t we remember Bill Gates saying that the GNU GPL was a plague and that the open source community was a bunch of communists? Or don’t we remember that just recently Gates purposely misled people saying that the GPL prevents people from improving software? Don’t we remember the bogus suit by Microsoft against Lindows over trademark rights because Microsoft thought that it was the owner of the “indows” part of the name? Don’t we remember the repeated threats made by Microsoft against companies that distributed GNU/Linux with patent suits? And hasn’t the Software Freedom Law Center reported just a few days ago that Microsoft still continues to shake companies with patent threats?
As the above notes, some of the Stallman bashing began at the end of June when Stallman publicly presented his views on Mono. One person from Debian, for example, cursed Stallman, who merely formalised an existing issue that can be dealt with politely. As the following short essay notes, using the very same mental filters, Mono proponents can be described as “zealots”, based on their pattern of behaviour alone.
What this does illustrate, I think, is something that is already obvious to anyone that has been following the Mono controversy: there are people that are just as “extreme” and unwilling to listen to reason as the most zealoty charactertures painted by the Broad Brush of the Most High and (Self) Righteous Community Gatekeepers.
You can spot these people by the mindless regurgitation of other people’s talking points and the inability to make even the slightest concession to any opposing argument; the gleeful participation in any manner of attack or disinformation; the uncritical embrace of anyone or anything that supports thier position. A sure sign is charging the opposition with the very crimes they themselves are in the act of commiting.
It would be best to drop the word “zealot”, which by convention refers to political and/or religious controversies. The arguments here are technical (and sometimes legal) by nature, so no heated debate about software deserves to be called “zealous” (or “zealotry”). It is just a daemonisation term, a propaganda term. Let’s give it a rest because comparing programmers to religious people is what leads to satires and parodies about religion. █
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Summary: Assorted new links about Windows and security
• Almost all Windows users vulnerable to Flash zero-day attacks
More than 9 out of every 10 Windows users are vulnerable to the Flash zero-day vulnerability that Adobe won’t patch until Thursday, a Danish security company said today.
• Microsoft offers patches to ward off ActiveX attacks
A critical patch for all versions of IE will protect consumers, while a security update for Visual Studio will help developers fix the controls and components they built that could be affected.
• Conficker Mystery to Continue at Black Hat Conference
Still, the malware helped build one of the biggest botnets in years—at one point reaching around several million, according to some estimates. In May, even after months of publicity and work by vendors and researchers, the worm was still attempting to infect some 50,000 new PCs daily.
• VG temporarily blocked iTunes, labeling it malware
AVG’s free antivirus product temporarily blocked users from getting to iTunes late last week, detecting it as a Trojan, the company said on Monday.
For about five hours on Friday starting around 4 p.m. PDT, AVG users couldn’t access iTunes because of the false alarm.
• Benign security warnings have trained users to ignore them
It should come as no surprise that most Internet users ignore security certificate warnings, but a new study examines just how severe this behavior is and why people do it. Hint: it’s because legit websites cry wolf with SSL warnings on a regular basis.
• Report finds fake antivirus on the rise
PandaLabs found 1,000 samples of fake antivirus software in the first quarter of 2008. In a year, that number had grown to 111,000. And in the second quarter of 2009, it reached 374,000, Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs said in a recent interview.
• Windows 7 Ultimate Cracked and Activated Permanently with OEM SLP Master Product Key (with SLIC 2.1)
After extracting the OEM certificate and OEM product key, it’s confirmed that Windows 7 uses the same digitally signed OEM certificate (in .xrm-ms extension) that is been used in Windows Vista. Windows Vista OEM cert can be used in Windows 7 has been explained in Windows 7 forum.
• Data Detailing New York Stock Exchange Network Exposed on Unsecured Server
Sensitive information about the technical infrastructure of the New York Stock Exchange’s computer network was left unsecured on a public server for possibly more than a year, Threat Level has learned.
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Summary: Listing of some new OpenDocument milestones and warning about those who try to push a stick into wheels of standards
Malaysia’s latest update regarding ODF was highly encouraging and Yoon Kit adds that “ODF will be published on the SIRIM website within 2 months since its approval in June. Priority will be given over others in their backlog.” Over at the OpenDocument Web site, it is noted that another project — called TEA — finally supports ODF.
TEA is a Qt-based editor for Unix and Windows. Version 25 features better support for reading ODF text files (.odt)
The same site also posts a reminder about this year’s OpenOffice.org Conference (OOoCon). For those who do not know:
OOoCon is where representatives of all the community projects meet to celebrate and learn from the achievements of the past twelve months, and discuss how to meet the challenges of the next twelve.
A lot has been achieved recently. OpenOffice.org was downloaded at a pace of 1.3 million copies per week around the beginning of 2007. At the beginning of this year it peaked at about 3 million downloads per week. Surely enough, the deep economic impact may have played a role in this. Microsoft Office is taking the toll [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], just like Windows is suffering from GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3]. It’s about margins, not just market share. Free software and open standards are eroding Microsoft’s profitability, which makes its business model a lot less sustainable.
“Free software and open standards are eroding Microsoft’s profitability, which makes its business model a lot less sustainable.”We have repeatedly warned and offered examples where ODF-hostile people were entering ODF mailing lists. They pretend to be friends of ODF in order to curse it and have credibility at the same time. Microsoft does this all the time while it’s harming ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and even Wikipedia became a battleground to the monopolist. The ODF Plugfest had injected to it some ODF hostility, courtesy of Microsoft folks. It is all part of the plan to subvert ODF from the inside; if you can’t beat them, divide them.
This whole trend is something that a person who is close to the standardisation process in Brazil has just warned about (also available in Portuguese).
I get very angry to seeing at Wikipedia a message that stating that “appears to have a conflict of interest with its subject” about the contributions to the article … we are all in favor of ODF ? Or not ?
This is exactly what they want … confuse, deceive, hinder, delay … help to fail! And hope it serves as a lesson and prove (or a warning) to all those who think that everything is solved!
When I was preparing to write this post, I made a complete list with names, email addresses, blogs, sites, and in some cases companies of each of the “workers of the gray area” that I managed to identify. With the help of some confidence friends around the world, also prepared a compilation of information that show the questionable not-so-distant past of those folks.
It is important to be careful of Microsoft’s attempts to approach the ODF crowd; Microsoft is not ODF’s friends. The only reason it implemented something that resembles ODF (and is incompatible with all existing implementations) is to increase sales of Office and act as PR gesture that unjustifiably appeases regulators. █
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