Summary: Microsoft may be using its newly-acquired influence inside the FCC against competitors (Apple in this case, not Google)
THIS post is by no means an apologetic excuse for Apple’s behaviour, which is inexcusable. But to see the scandalous [1, 2] FCC actually performing its job is a little unexpected. For those who have not heard this news, the FCC has just launched an investigation into Apple’s business
The Federal Communications Commission has launched an inquiry to AT&T Inc. (T) and Apple Inc. (AAPL) over the rejection of Google Inc.’s (GOOG) voice application for the popular iPhone.
In letters sent late Friday to the three companies, the FCC asked why Apple rejected the Google Voice application for the iPhone and removed related “third- party applications” from its store.
Whilst Apple lovers deflect the issue, this is covered by a lot of the press, even that which the Gates family has control of.
Right about now, Apple probably wishes it had never rejected Google Voice and related apps from the iPhone. Or maybe it was AT&T who rejected the apps. Nobody really knows. But the FCC launched an investigation last night to find out, sending letters to all three companies (Apple, AT&T, and Google) asking them to explain exactly what happened.
One reader of ours has a different interpretation because of Microsoft’s role in the FCC. We wrote about this less than two weeks ago, noting that Microsoft was wearing the FCC’s pants. “I saw you had covered it right away,” said the reader, “though I myself missed that a Gatesist was even being discussed for the FCC position.
“…[C]haps like Barnett are occupying federal positions from which they serve Microsoft’s interests.”“What I would point out now is that there is a stronger possibility for a causal relationship between the appointment and the action against Apple.”
Not so long ago we wrote about what the FTC did to Apple and Google. It was a similar story. We provided a summary of what forces were at play because chaps like Barnett are occupying federal positions from which they serve Microsoft’s interests [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. █
“Our friends up north [Microsoft] spend over five billion dollars on research and development and all they seem to do is copy Google and Apple.”
–Steve Jobs, 2006
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“Bartz says search engine Bing unlikely to make significant mark”
–MarketWatch (June 2009)
Summary: Analysis of the impact of the big deal, which may still get blocked
SEVERAL DAYS ago we explained that Yahoo! had been seized from the inside in the sense that people who are loyal to Microsoft escalated up the ranks of the company while those who acted as barriers got pressured outside the company. Technically, it was a proxy fight (see the links at the bottom for necessary background). Linux should protect itself from similar dangers, which for the most part it does, but Novell’s participation in development was never particularly helpful [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8].
“We just lost a search engine by this deal. It’s sad.”
–Pamela Jones, GroklawThe following links are mostly ‘borrowed’ from Groklaw, as they very nicely illustrate the stupidity of signing that search deal with Microsoft — a deal which puts terrible propaganda in place of Yahoo! We wrote about many other issues with Bing.
According to APF, Ballmer said : “It is a win-win strategic partnership and it is a win-win deal from my perspective… Together we can create economic value that’s going to benefit Yahoo! shareholders and Microsoft shareholders.”
So why did Yahoo’s stock fall so sharply?
Pamela Jones inquires: “What if you are not a shareholder? We just lost a search engine by this deal. It’s sad.”
This is not final however. That deal may still be blocked based on the following analysis from the Wall Street Journal.
The new Internet-search venture between Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) is likely to face considerable scrutiny from federal antitrust regulators, according to government officials and analysts.
The Justice Department will look at the deal carefully to be sure it doesn’t harm competition by allowing two top Internet companies to team up.
Bloomberg has the article “Yahoo Chief Gets ‘No Confidence’ Vote on Search Deal.” This states the following:
“It’s a tremendous vote of no confidence in Carol Bartz,” said Larry Haverty, a portfolio manager with Gamco Investors Inc. in Rye, New York. The firm manages about $20 billion, including 1.6 million Yahoo shares. “This is anything but a boatload of cash.”
It’s terrible, and it is suggestive that accusations of Bartz “selling out” have a substantial basis to them. It remains obvious who the winner and who the loser is in this deal. Here is how one person put it on the Charlie Rose show.
CHARLIE ROSE: Is this going to work?
STEVEN LEVY: It has a lot of hurdles. I think the upfront money really isn’t the key to Yahoo! The key is, Yahoo! is disbanding their search team, their engineering, and disbanding the team which built their advertising engine to sell ads on search. Now, these happen to be some of the most important aspects of engineering at a company there. And really, if Yahoo! wants to be a top Internet company, it has to have the engineering chops to keep doing that.
So, it’s going to miss out on that. And it will save money by not hiring — having those people to pay, but those are the people you want in your company.
And the big problem here is that Yahoo! really — they kind of walked away from the most interesting fight on the Internet right now, which is search. And they handed it over to Microsoft for less than any of the previous deals that were on the table. The four real deals that were on the table going back to the $45 or $48 billion offer in February of 2008, the revised search deal that Microsoft offered, which included $8 billion to buy 16 percent of Yahoo! and $1 billion payment for the search part of the business. The Google deal that got squashed, that guaranteed $800 million in revenues. This deal was the worst of all the deals.
To add to those claims about disbanding of engineers, one of our readers warns that “it looks like Microsoft gutted Yahoo and is keeping the outer shell. If PHP and FreeBSD developers were really the target, then this does close to maximum damage because Microsoft was able to eliminate the employment protections in case of buyout.”
Looking back at the past year and a half, this was an ugly saga filled with bullying and cronyism. Yahoo! has only softened because a former Microsoft partner was put in charge of Yahoo! and the board of directors too became saturated with those who were in cahoots with Microsoft. That’s how proxy fights are done (background below). █
“Yahoo will do perfectly fine even if it doesn’t strike any type of deal with Microsoft, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz said Wednesday.”
–IDG News Service (June 2009)
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Summary: Microsoft caught failing with OOXML/MSO, Wikipedia mischief noted again, and more wins for OOo and ODF
specially for those brainless ** who maintain that supporting the “de facto standard” means the best interoperability imaginable,” Richard Rasker says and shares this report from The Register, which aligns with what we already know (that the Mac version of Microsoft Office is not compatible with the Windows version).
Microsoft’s recently released Service Pack 2 for Office 2008 for Mac makes it impossible for many users to open Office files created on PCs.
“Yup, sounds like Microsoft to me,” adds Rasker. “And to think that Microsoft Office is actually their only reliable cash cow apart from Windows. One might expect a little better trial and testing before inconveniencing people like this, now mightn’t one?
“And to think that Microsoft Office is actually their only reliable cash cow apart from Windows.”
–Richard Rasker“Anyway, I think I’ll stick with OpenOffice for the foreseeable future. It simply works, no strings attached. Not to mention the fact that those brainless ** from Redmond have failed to produce a viable version of Microsoft Office for Linux for what, the past decade? ‘Proves that they’re just **, deserving every bit of scorn loaded on their sorry backsides.”
The OpenOffice.org team has meanwhile come up with an interface prototype for future versions of the software, which will be released by Oracle. One of their engineers explains:
The prototyping phase, to create a new user interface for OpenOffice.org, has ended last week. See our monthly project Renaissance status presentation for July and try the prototype yourself (Java 6 required). It is not only about Impress, we are working on a UI for the entire OOo. You will be asked to give feedback when closing the prototype. Make use of it!
Microsoft is obviously nervous about OpenOffice.org because it mentions the "P" word. Microsoft is also very nervous about ODF, which it fought like fire (Microsoft still fights against ODF in more subtle ways [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). Looking at the past 2 days alone, watch how unfamiliar people are stripping off remaining Microsoft criticism from the ODF article in Wikipedia [1, 2]. How familiar a sight. See for example:
The latest malicious edits in Wikipedia are pretending that it doesn’t matter what Microsoft does to Wikipedia and what the ODF Alliance says about Microsoft’s behaviour. It gets whitewashed and John Drinkwater reverses it thusly (by calling it “vandalism”). From the first correction:
Revision as of 19:47, 31 July 2009 (edit) (undo)
Johndrinkwater (talk | contribs)
m (Undid revision 305273577 by 126.96.36.199 (talk) revert vandalism)
From the second correction:
Revision as of 21:30, 31 July 2009 (edit) (undo)
Johndrinkwater (talk | contribs)
m (Undid revision 305237624 by 188.8.131.52 (talk) why remove this?)
In other news, somebody claims that “PSPP now supports output on ODF format!”
No wonder Microsoft is so nervous. █
“It’s a Simple Matter of [Microsoft’s] Commercial Interests!“
–Microsoft on OOXML
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Summary: More insights into Microsoft’s “hell froze over” moment
INITIALLY, GROKLAW responded very skeptically to Microsoft's loadable module for Linux. As we shall show later on, it may as well be a Trojan that inserts Microsoft APIs (or hooks) into the heart of Linux, just like Mono. As more details unfolded, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], Groklaw’s editor became aware that Microsoft’s announcement was a PR charade over what used to be a GPL violation. Responding to Microsoft’s denial of violation (at Heise), Groklaw quotes:
“Stephen merely called the situation to Microsoft’s attention” and that Microsoft have made the right decision to open source the Hyper-V drivers. Hemminger says “once Microsoft was aware of it, they were eager to resolve” the problem, which he discovered in March 2009.
Pamela Jones adds: “I see. So eager it only took 5 months to actually do it.” Later on she linked to the SFLC’s side of the argument, quoting:
The violation was rectified when Microsoft contributed more than 20,000 lines of source code to the Linux community last week….But Ramji said Microsoft was going to release the code under the GPL anyway.
“Cough.Sputter,” remarks Jones. “Stop! If I laugh any harder, I can’t breathe. Seriously, folks, if Microsoft was already talking about it months ago, why violate the GPL? Duh.”
“This viral aspect of the GPL poses a threat to the intellectual property of any organization making use of it.”
–Craig Mundie, MicrosoftThe pro-Microsoft spin will no doubt live on regardless. Sam Ramji was probably lying on Microsoft’s behalf or at least trying to embellish this by making it look like Microsoft was all cuddly and open. Ramji has a history of playing that role [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. Here is the Microsoft enthusiast Gavin Clarke interviewing Ramji after Microsoft had attacked GNU/Linux with plenty of FUD (May 2007). Ramji said: “The reason we disclosed that [Microsoft claims Linux violates 235 patents], is because there was a request for transparency following the Novell deal last November. This was a response to that transparency.”
“Transparency,” eh? So attacking GNU/Linux is now “transparency”? Especially when the patents are ones that either don’t exist or Microsoft refuses to disclose? This is “transparency”? We also wrote about that interview in [1, 2, 3] where it was mentioned for other reasons.
While on this issue of Microsoft supposedly “warming up” to the GPL (simply because it has no other choice), let’s use a quick reminder. As an obligatory insight from Microsoft, here is what Craig Mundie told the The New York University Stern School of Business about the GNU GPL: “The GPL mandates that any software that incorporates source code already licensed under the GPL will itself become subject to the GPL. When the resulting software product is distributed, its creator must make the entire source code base freely available to everyone, at no additional charge. This viral aspect of the GPL poses a threat to the intellectual property of any organization making use of it.”
He added: “The GPL asserts that any product derived from source code licensed under it becomes subject to the GPL itself. When the resulting software product is distributed, the creator must make all of the source code available, at no additional charge.”
This is deception, it’s FUD, it’s Microsoft. It almost implies that no money can be made because of the GPL, despite obvious contradictions and business success stories like Red Hat.
Here are some more of Craig Mundie's views on the GPL. Yes, Microsoft truly “warms up” to the GPL… like it is "warming up" to ODF… warming up like a blazing fire. █
“There’s free software and then there’s open source… there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.”
–Bill Gates, April 2008
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Summary: Another look at what Microsoft’s Group Vice President said about Free software a few years ago
ONE month ago we showed Bill Gates trying to mix up proprietary with “commercial” and Free software with “non-commercial” (or unsuitable for use). This is a classic type of slur from Microsoft and here is Jim Allchin doing it as well (as Microsoft Vice President).
In response to the question “How do you feel about the recent developments in the open source community? Do you still feel open source as a threat?”
“So yes, I view [Free software] as a competitive challenge.”
–Jim AllchinJim Allchin replies: “Customers need to judge non-commercial software and Linux based on the merits of what they provide. This is true in terms of technology, compatibility, and the safety of your investment (whether the product you buy indemnified from patent-infringement lawsuits). Non-commercial software is a competitor to all commercial software. So yes, I view it as a competitive challenge.”
It’s Free software versus non-Free software, not “non-commercial software” versus “commercial software”. Jim Allchin understands that, but he plays dumb to justify the derogatory spin.
Also notice the inclusion of patent FUD in there. Jim Allchin was not asked about patents at all. Let’s not forget that 6 months before SCO sued Linux (with Microsoft funding) Jim Allchin said “there’s going to be a patent lawsuit on Linux. It’s bound to happen.” [1, 2] █
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Summary: Sys-Con status update regarding abuse
EARLY in the week we wrote about Sys-Con viciously attacking those whom it was illegally exploiting. There are some updates on the case for those who may be interested:
• Sys-Con status update: a minor victory and next steps
Summary: Sys-Con Media’s ulitzer.com was delisted from Google yesterday but their sys-con.com domain (with duplicate content and articles that feature keyword stuffing) is still being indexed. IBM is looking into their relationship with Sys-Con. Google News has stopped syndicating the libelous Sys-Con articles about me.
• Sys-Con.com publishes 437 copies of every article
So, on Sys-Con.com alone, there are 437 copies of every article. Ulitzer.com is basically a mirror of Sys-Con.com with different styling but the same content. So, across both domains, Sys-Con Media publishes 874 copies of every article in its system.
And this is how all that duplicate content looks on Google: search Google for inurl:sys-con inurl:439215. There are 241 results returned for just that one Sys-Con.com article. In other words, Google has well and truly been spammed by Sys-Con.com.
• More on journalistic integrity: Sys-Con, Ulitzer, theft and libel
Meanwhile, I’m going to be talking about this to everybody I know at Microsoft, desperately seeking to find out which department engaged the advertising with Sys-Con, and looking to convince them that they don’t need this kind of press or association.
As a quick reminder, Sys-Con typically promotes the agenda of SCO and Microsoft, so bad news for Sys-Con would be good news to Freedom. █
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Issue 1 looks at the Linux KVM Hypervisor Technology, System Automation with Puppet, Cloud and Hypervisor Technologies, Building IP Networks and Linux iSCSI solutions.
GNU/Linux is a really good concept. It empowers the end user and gives you tons of choices, power and freedom. You can choose from hundreds of different distributions, install thousands of free software and customize your OS significanty if you choose to. On the other hand, most proprietary software locks you in and dictates to you what you can do or not do with it.
If you’re in the mood for Linux — and who amongst us isn’t — September may be your month, as the Linux Foundation presents the inaugural LinuxCon in Portland. Just shy of two months ago we sounded the call to rise, shine, and catch the early bird rate — sadly, the early bird’s worm is no more. It’s still possible, though, to grab yourself a spot and shave a nice slice off the price.
Meanwhile, industry heavy-hitters Sun Microsystems, Novell, and IBM Lotus keep building on their Linux heritages with new releases of distinctive commercial word processors. So, too, does, ThinkFree, an innovative California-based start-up that’s just added ThinkFree Mobile Netbook to its growing line-up of crossplatform suites. Haansoft, a South Korean distributor of Linux OS and word processing software, just so happens to hold a majority interest in ThinkFree.
I recently discovered a fairly new project that has an interesting take on Linux music production: the Open Octave Project. The goal of Open Octave is to provide an environment for audio and MIDI production specifically for orchestral music and film scoring. What is different about this project – compared to other Linux audio / MIDI solutions – is that the developers don’t build a new application from scratch. Instead, the team chose to combine and adapt existing projects into an unified framework. This actually works two ways: in using existing applications, the team doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel and can use existing quality tools, and by contributing their efforts back to the original projects, these benefit as well. So what’s in store with the Open Octave Project? Let’s delve a little deeper…
We have had lots of programs featured here on Dedoimedo, but we never really focused on educational software. Until today. I’m going to present Stellarium, a beautiful, pleasant, addictive open-source planetarium software.
Stellarium is a young application. Still, it already shows many exciting, promising features that will surely help it grab wider and wider audience. Stellarium is a great choice for the final frontier fans. It can also help hobbyist astronomers, physics students and seems like an excellent way of getting children hooked into science.
In the past, the dock bar has been just an appearance enhancer in operating systems. People have been led to believe that the dock is for those who are more conscious about appearance rather than performance and because of this, they quickly lost interest in it once they got used to it.
Today marks the final installment in our series that takes a look at educational versions of popular Linux distributions ideal for students returning to class in the next few weeks. We’ve already talked about Edubuntu and openSUSE Education, so today let’s take a look at Debian Jr.
Red Hat will step up its efforts to help drive developer contribution and remains unfazed by desktop competition, according to its chief executive Jim Whitehurst.
The CentOS Development team had a routine meeting today with Lance Davis in attendance. During the meeting a majority of issues were resolved immediately and a working agreement was reached with deadlines for remaining unresolved issues. There should be no impact to any CentOS users going forward.
The CentOS project is now in control of the CentOS.org and CentOS.info domains and owns all trademarks, materials, and artwork in the CentOS distributions.
We look forward to working with Lance to quickly complete all the agreed upon issues.
More information will follow soon.
Motorola Inc. is calling on mobile phone application developers as it readies the release of several new phones later this year.
The company’s turnaround strategy for its mobile phone division rests on Android, a platform created by Google. Schaumburg-based Motorola plans to have several Android-powered phones on shelves for the holiday season.
PCAST is a group of scientists and engineers who advise the President and the Office of the President, providing policy recommendations. The purpose of the meeting is to set priorities for the coming year.
I know many of you are stakeholders, CEOs and executives of companies and leaders and contributors to software projects, but you don’t have to be: the general public can contribute also. I’d so dearly love to go and speak about FOSS, but I don’t feel it would be wise, due to the death threat situation, but you can go and represent yourself. And it will be streamed. There is even an opportunity to send written comments at any time. I’ll give you the details in a moment, but if you’ve ever complained that the government is clueless about tech and FOSS, this is your opportunity to contribute in a positive way.
The Mozilla Project’s long-awaited calendaring app is about to see 1.0. After five years of development, the project released 1.0 beta builds this week. We took Sunbird for a spin to see how it manages our time.
Last year, to commemorate the release of Firefox 3.0, I posted a heavily-annotated copy of Code Rush — the commercially-unavailable documentary from 2000 about the open-sourcing of the Netscape code base and the beginning of the Mozilla project. Shortly afterwards, I interviewed Code Rush director David Winton about the film, who asked that I take the video offline while he decided what to do with it. Last week, he made a decision.
The Eclipse development environment has become a very popular open source project. A flexible software tool kit, Eclipse can integrate the products of several vendors as plug-ins, for example for modelling, development and software tests; for some time now, Eclipse hasn’t just been about Java. The Eclipse Foundation behind the development environment has grown into an influential consortium: in November 2001, IBM introduced the source code of a development environment into the newly established Eclipse.org open source community. IBM then dominated the scene for a long time, until the foundation was established as an independent and non-profit organisation for the development of the Eclipse platform in 2004.
6 Ideas For Those Needing Defensive Technology to Protect Free Speech from Authoritarian Regimes and 4 Ways the Rest of Us Can Help
Introduction: The Internet remains one of the most powerful means ever created to give voice to repressed people around the world. Unfortunately, new technologies have also given authoritarian regimes new means to identify and retaliate against those who speak out despite censorship and surveillance. Below are six basic ideas for those attempting to speak without falling victim to authoritarian surveillance and censorship, and four ideas for the rest of us who want to help support them.
The problem is that this ode to the old country allegedly infringes the copyright of Danish artist Edvard Eriksen. In May, just as preparations for this year’s Danish-themed festivities were getting under way, the town got a letter from the Artists Rights Society — a New York-based organization that enforces copyrights on behalf of artists, including Andy Warhol and Picasso. The letter said that the statue is an “unauthorized reproduction” and had to come down. If not, the town would have to pay a licensing fee.
Internet accessibility of images amassed by governmental organizations, commercial entities and individuals is the basis of novel privacy violation claims. However, Internet distribution of images of both individuals and private places collected from public places remains lawful.
President Barack Obama has nominated Ketanji Jackson, of counsel to the D.C. office of Morrison & Foerster, to fill a spot on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Jackson, 38, would be one of seven voting members of the commission, which overseas the sentencing guidelines used by federal judges and advises Congress on criminal law. The position is part-time, requires confirmation by the Senate, and would end in October 2013.
i started my band in 2000. we didn’t play rock clubs. we played in our friends houses, in our own houses, in art galleries, in lofts, at parties. then we gradually brought the party indoors, into clubs that would book us once they knew we’d bring in 50 drinking/paying bodies. i treated our email list like gold. i obsessively stayed up all night and added named after every show. we took the time to meet every single fan who wanted to meet us after every show (i still do this, and i know that brian does it in his current punk band, world/inferno). but this wasn’t because i felt it was mandatory….i did this because we LIKED it.
Bell is interpreting the Constitutional clause in an even stricter manner — suggesting that any work covered by patents or copyright needs to promote both progress in science and in the useful arts, which is an even higher bar, though I’m not sure I’m convinced it was meant to be both. Also, many would retort that the Constitution grants the Congress the ability to determine if such monopolies promote the progress of science and the useful arts — and as long as Congress says they do, then we should consider that they do (no matter how wrong they might be).
Lawyers from FIMI (Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana) and FPM (Federation against Musical Piracy) say they will sue Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm in Italy, seeking damages in excess of 1 million euros. Their lawyer told TorrentFreak that so far, the prospective defendants have had no official notification.
The European Commission is secretly talking with industry on Europe-wide 3-strikes measures. In what would appear to be British-inspired intiative, it wants to broker agreements between broadband providers and rights-holders, threatening EU legislation if they do not co-operate.
A meeting was held on 6 July, attended by rights-holders, trade unions, and Internet providers. The Commission’s agenda was to start of series of talks to set up ‘voluntary agreeements’ for dealing on online copyright protection of ‘creative content’ which is defined as ‘books, films and music’. ‘Sanctions and remedies’ were discussed, as well as ‘legal alternatives to piracy’. The Commission is threatening to bring in a new European law which would bring in copyright enforcement measures against Internet downloading in all Member States, if no agreement is reached.
Luis Casas Luengo, Director of Extremadura’s Fundecyt foundation 12 (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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