IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: August 3rd, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Microsoft Wants More Control of Indian Government, US Space Programs

Posted in America, Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 3:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: A repeat offender, Microsoft, wants more direct control of government affairs

SHORTLY after Nasscom had opened the national doors for Microsoft to enter [1, 2], this abusive monopolist from the West was taking further steps towards digital colonialism in India. According to the following new report, “This is viewed by many players as a ‘back-door’ entry vied by Microsoft.”

Microsoft must be going against the interests of the vast majority of this country’s population, relying on those fraudulent partners who help Microsoft colonisation in exchange for personal benefits. It’s just like British imperialism in India, only many decades later (and in digital form).

Even as advocacy for using open standards for the e-governance programme proposed by the Centre is assuming increasing popularity, there seems to be nothing that is plugging Microsoft’s ambitions.

Reacting to Deccan Herald’s story, dated July 19, 2009, “Rat race begins among vendors for contracts,” the software giant said that being a platform based company, Microsoft has worked with a lot of open source players and is even willing to work with industry opponents to get its hands on the projects. This is viewed by many players as a ‘back-door’ entry vied by Microsoft.

As the sole commenter points out, “We should go for Open Source and ditch any monopolistic approach of vendors like Microsoft…Open Source is the future of computing and especially they are being used by so many Governments and companies. The previous excuse and reasons given by vendors towards support and security no longer holds good now. We all know how secure microsoft OSes are considering every now and then out of band patches are released…So much money they charge for such pathetic security of their softwares. OpenSource should be the path taken by Governments simply because they are cost effective, easy integration, and SECURITY!

“Windows has had remote kill switches for quite some time…”To let a foreign company control computing (including databases) is absolutely insane. It gives Microsoft (and by extension the United States) access to all data in India and it also permits them to disable all the computers in India, in case of a political dispute for example. Windows has had remote kill switches for quite some time [1, 2, 3] (and back doors too). There is nothing which prevents them from being misused for diplomatic reasons, not even legal restrictions. Free software, on the contrary, is under complete control by its user/s.

Speaking of Microsoft’s inappropriate interference with government affairs, some time ago we wrote about how Microsoft had used NASA against GNU/Linux. Now, what on Earth [pun not intended] is this? Watch the sponsors and venue.


MediaWiki Replaces Microsoft Office While Microsoft’s Attack on ODF Continues at Wikipedia

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenDocument, Wikipedia at 3:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MediaWiki smaller logo

Summary: The Internet wants to be free and so do computer users; Microsoft keeps standing in their way

BACK in 2007, Wikipedia embraced ODF. The software on which it is built, MediaWiki, happens to be used by Boycott Novell and one of Microsoft’s loyal users has just decided to abandon Microsoft Office in favour of MediaWiki. This is not particularly surprising and by all means it is another win for Free software. The following is a sort of eulogy for Microsoft Office.

I chose MediaWiki, the open-source software that powers Wikipedia. It was relatively easy to install on a virtual Linux server. Since everyone has read Wikipedia, the interface was familiar and so our users needed no training. Because Wikipedia managed to efficiently store—at the time of this writing—all human knowledge, speed and scalability weren’t a problem. Finally, the price (free) was acceptable.


So farewell, Microsoft Word. Don’t feel too bad—you had a long and prosperous run. We had more than twenty years of fun together. You added feature after feature after feature, and I learned how to avoid your crazy style changes whenever I deleted an invisible formatting command. Maybe if you just had “Reveal Codes”… nah, it wouldn’t have mattered. The world simply changed.

The Microsoft-faithful crowd keeps vandalising Wikipedia’s article on ODF, turning it in favour of Microsoft. We last saw this a few days ago, but it just doesn’t stop [1, 2, 3]. Who the heck is “SmackBot“?

On abuse against ODF at Wikipedia:

Net Applications Finally Shows It’s Just a Joke: Mac ‘Market Share’ Halved Overnight!

Posted in Apple, Deception, Europe, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 2:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Net Applications changes its mind about so-called ‘statistics’

WE HAVE been writing extensively about how Net Applications, contrary to Steve Ballmer, places Apple ahead of GNU/Linux in terms of market share. But Apple is virtually out of existence in the large majority of the world’s countries and it has been known for many years that GNU/Linux had gained a lot on the desktop, globally speaking.

For those who do not yet know about Net Applications admitting the deficiency of their US-oriented ‘results’ (and tweaking of them too), not to mention having Microsoft as a paying client and having staff with Microsoft history, read the following:

From the Fortune/CNN Web site comes the following rant which shows just how ‘reliable’ Net Applications must be now that Apple sees a rise in performance, whereas Microsoft reports a sharp decline.

Net Applications: Apple just lost half its ‘market share’

The so-called market share reports issued every month by Net Applications have long been controversial — mostly because they didn’t actually measure market share (which business people typically express as the number of widgets they sell in a given period divided by the total number of widgets sold).

What Net Applications did instead was sample data from browsers visiting their clients’ websites and report what percentage came from machines running Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.

If almost 10% can become 5% overnight (based on some secret recipe), how reliable can those numbers be? Since Net Applications refuses to show its methods and its data, its results are as useless as those that arrive from Black Duck.

“Just having a lot of IP addresses means nothing; it is the distribution and the population of IPs that count…”It is funny how Net Applications always raves about number of IP addresses. Just having a lot of IP addresses means nothing; it is the distribution and the population of IPs that count (here is a great example of it). Net Applications keeps its data secret, obviously, so it usually means it has something to hide, something to be embarrassed of, like Diebold. It is biased in favour parts of the world where GNU/Linux adoption is already known to be very scarce, notably the United States.

Speaking of GNU/Linux adoption, not many people are even aware of the fact that, according to the following new report, “all of the members of the European Union (EU) are required to use open source Linux-based software exclusively, and this includes everything from operating systems to office applications.” Here is a broader quote:

When I thought about it, the list of open source software applications is actually quite long. Some of the major open source applications you may have heard about include MySQL, Apache Server, WordPress, Mozilla Firefox, Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, just to name a few.

I found it interesting to hear that all of the members of the European Union (EU) are required to use open source Linux-based software exclusively, and this includes everything from operating systems to office applications. There is also a move afoot here in this country to attempt to do a similar thing. A couple of the major programs are Government 2.0, that hopes to leverage Web 2.0 federated social networks in government, and Open Source for America, that advocates greater acceptance of open source software and efforts.


Open source Linux actually fostered the emergence of a couple of computer categories – the netbook, including the one laptop per child (OLPC) program where a good percentage are sold with Linux as the operating system.

What is the market share of GNU/Linux on the desktop? According to statistics from the Boycott Novell domain, it is approximately 40%. Honest.

Introducing Bloatnux

Posted in Boycott Novell, GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED, SueMe at 2:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New GNU/Linux distribution from Boycott Novell

IT has been a long time since SueMe GNU/Linux, so one of us decided to create a similar distribution which is based on (Open)SUSE. It is called Bloatnux* because it contains unhealthy doses of Mono and thus it begs for a lawsuit from Microsoft, which has already sued (at least) two companies for using Linux, backed by those allegations stemming from the Novell deal.

Here is the direct download link (via Novell**) and here is a list of the packages installed:


Many thanks to the anonymous contributor who created Bloatnux.
* Therefore the name, which means it’s bloated.
** The download link may not last longer than 7 days. Builds older than 7 days may be deleted to free up space on Novell’s servers. Thanks, Novell, for hosting our distribution. Here is the download link for a USB version.

Links 03/08/2009: Linux 2.6.31 @ RC5, GNU Hurd Monthly Report

Posted in News Roundup at 1:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • New Stuff

  • Desktop

    • Compiz Running With Mesa On R600/700 GPUs

      Just about three weeks ago the AMD developers working on the open-source ATI drivers had reached the milestone in their open-source 3D support for the R600/700 GPUs of having glxgears running on these two latest generations of ATI graphics processors. glxgears running itself isn’t much, but it’s an important step. Last night, AMD’s Alex Deucher is now reporting a new milestone and one that is certainly interesting for a large number of users, that is Compiz is running!

    • Linux Update does not own my machine

      Care to guess what happened after I clicked “Shut Down”? My Linux system actually let me shut down. Like, right then. None of this “let me install a few updates before you really get to shut down your system”, like in Windows. I wasn’t held hostage by an update process that insisted on owning my machine for another hour. The system just shut down, normally.

      Linux “System Update” was done when it said it was done. That is how modern systems are supposed to work!

  • Kernel Space

    • GNU Hurd/ news/ 2009-07-31

      A month of the Hurd: hurd Debian package, union mount translator, bug fixes, and a job opening.

      Samuel Thibault uploaded a new version of the hurd Debian package which improves system stability by fixing a long-standing bug in the exec server that had randomly made it hang, inhibiting the creation of new processes.

    • Linux 2.6.31-rc5

      Ok, I’ve got some pending stuff, but I’m pushing out -rc5 now because it does fix a lot of regressions, and some of the pending stuff I’m not entirely sure about.

      Apart from various regression fixes, the diffstat shows a couple of new drivers (at_hdmac, uc2322, gspca/sn9c20x, ds2782 battery driver), and some big KMS radeon changes (the Radeon KMS source code may physically be under drivers/gpu, but it’s only enabled if CONFIG_STAGING is set, and is considered unstable).

    • SSDs and filesystems

      So I’ve figured out my drive and partition usage, but the things that are causing the most headaches, and occupying the majority of my research time, are:

      1. Which filesystems
      2. Which mount options
      3. Which schedulers
      4. Partition alignment schemes

      See, I will have two SSDs in there with Gentoo installed on ‘em, but I’ll also have a separate magnetic HDD for media storage, so that means a different for each drive.

      For 1, ext4 is looking increasingly attractive for the SSDs. I may continue to use ReiserFS for the media drive, as it’s worked very well for a few years now. But, given that the Portage tree is just lots and lots of tiny files, perhaps I could continue using ReiserFS on it? Though I would need to deactivate the journal. The Mobi drive should not have any journaling on it — too many writes.

  • Applications

    • Software Review: Gimp (for photo editing)

      Simply put, GIMP is the best FREE software for photo editing that you can find on the internet. You can create, modify and enhance any digital image with GIMP with ease and confidence. The best way to enjoy GIMP is to download it and begin to use it right away. In no time at all you will become a photo editing expert without having to pay an arm and a leg.

    • GCstar 1.5.0beta1 – Manage your collection!

      Lets face it, the days of shelves bowing under the weight of DVD cases & CD’s is coming to an end, but even if for you its not, in the days of cheap online stores and what seems to be all year round “everything must go” type sales, most peoples collections are going to be rather large. Whilst GCstar won’t put all your CD’s into their correct boxes, nor will it put them in an alphabetical order on your shelves, what it will do is allow you to document your entire collection on a database. So why is this preferable to any other database package? I hear you ask. Well, if you fancy setting up your own fields with “genre”, “year” et al, then be my guest. Its already been done though with GCstar.

    • KMyMoney getting ready for the 1.0 release

      We are in the final steps toward releasing KMyMoney 1.0. It has been over 2 years since the last stable release and over that time the development team has been busy building a lot of features, while maintaining and even improving stability and performance.

  • Distributions

    • Linux? There Are Simply Too Many Versions!

      No, the lack of “standards” for GNU/Linux is not the problem. The natural human resistance to change, corporate inertia and illegal (or at least unethical) business practices by certain large companies [1][2] are the problems. We cannot overcome resistance to change in people. Where we need to concentrate on change is with our children. Especially children locked in public education systems that are locked into proprietary operating systems [3][4]. Teach our children to use GNU/Linux and we change the future of the computing landscape.

      Too many “versions” of GNU/Linux? No. Too little education about GNU/Linux? Definitely.

    • A look at Slax 6.1.1 “Core” (by Jesse Smith)

      My very first Linux distribution was called Pygmy Linux, a mini-distro based off Slackware. It had no graphical desktop, no compiler, no office suite, no package management and it didn’t recognize my modem. Obviously it didn’t qualify as a replacement for my main desktop system at the time. Nor was it supposed to. But it did do what I wanted it to and that was to teach me the UNIX command line and the structure of a UNIX file system. It did those things very well and I learned a lot. It has been ten years since I plunged into the Linux depths. To celebrate ten years with Linux, I decided to give a mini-distro based on Slackware a test drive. Pygmy is long gone, but others live on. This week I installed Slax on my system and put it through its paces.

    • Pardus 2009 review

      As with Linux Mint, what you notice about Pardus is that there are no games installed. Not one. Also there are no media center applications like Moovida, the media center application formerly known as Elisa Media Center, or XBMC. Not only are these not installed, I could not find them (Moovida and XBMC) in the default repo. With games however, there are a decent collection in the default repo that you can install using the package manager.

    • Mepis Update

      Okay as anyone who loves Mepis knows there is a huge amount of wants and desires and lets not forget the rumors that abound from the Forums to websites. They all seem to have most of the same things mentioned. KDE4 is the biggest thing, while it is available from other sources it has not as of yet made it into the Mepis Repositories.

    • Red Hat

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Desktop Support: Even If No One Wins Big, Everyone Still Wins

        Community support does a fairly good job replacing the mysterious elements with science — and it often, honest to Pete, ends up being an all-out community effort. It all gets sorted out, 99% of the time — but it takes some time. Presumably those people purchasing the Professional support service are smaller businesses, and cliche as it is, time often is money.

        That doesn’t mean that paid support will necessarily work through a problem faster or as elegantly as community support will, but it does mean that your issue is, for the techs, a priority — not something only tackled on lunch and coffee breaks.

      • [Full Circle Magazine] Issue 27

        This month:

        * Command and Conquer
        * How To: Program in Python – Part 1, Scan To PDF/DJVU, Associate A File Type
        * and Inkscape – Part 4.
        * My Story – My Ubuntu Home Server.
        * Review – Amarok 1.4.
        * MOTU Interview – Nathan Handler.

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 153

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #153 for the week July 26th – August 1st, 2009. In this issue we cover: Canonical to Offer Ubuntu Desktop Support & Services, Free Books for Approved LoCo teams, DC LoCo Bug Jam, Atlanta Linux Fest & Mini Ubucon, Ubuntu Pennsylvania & FreeGeekPenn, Sharing translations between different releases, Open Mind & Launchpad, More power to the release manager, Writing code for Launchpad, Exporting translations to a Bazaar branch, New layout for kubuntu-de.org, Ubuntu Podcast Quickie #10, Ubuntu Teams Meeting Summary for July, and much, much more!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • An interview with LiMo’s Morgan Gillis

      Gillis discusses why LiMo is different than other mobile Linux platforms and offers insights on Intel’s Wind River acquisition, Android, Chrome, Symbian, and more.

    • Linux Mobile group readies 2Q push

      The LiMo Foundation will soon announce more handsets, said executive director Morgan Gillis, in an interview with LinuxDevices. Gillis, who sounded off on Intel’s Wind River acquisition, Android, Chrome OS, Symbian, and more, said the mid-August announcement will be followed by bigger announcements in October as LiMo R2 reaches market.

Free Software/Open Source

  • A Primer on Europe for US-Based Open Source Communities and Vendors

    Europe leads the world in open source software adoption and development. Open source solutions have greater market share in Europe than the rest of the world, both on the server and the desktop, and more open source developers live in Europe than on any other continent including North America. Only 18% of the developers on SourceForge live in the United States, while 33% live in the European Union (EU). European firms that contribute to open source projects account for about 565,000 jobs and have combined annual revenues of over €260 billion ($350 billion).

  • Business

    • Actuate Reports Second Quarter 2009 Financial Results

      “Actuate’s solid financial foundation enables us to adapt through any business climate,” said Pete Cittadini, President and CEO of Actuate. “We continue to make forward strides with our open source strategy. For the first time, we are able to identify opportunities totaling multiple millions within our pipeline, where the prospect began by downloading Eclipse BIRT and now expresses interest in Actuate’s commercial offerings. This is further substantiation that our open source investments continue to position us well for growth associated with a new, more profitable enterprise software business model.”

    • OpenLogic Expands OpenLogic Exchange Enterprise Edition to Help Customers Identify Cost Savings From Using Open Source Software
    • Sourcefire Announces 2009 Second Quarter Results

      Revenues for 2Q09 were $22.2 million compared to $16.0 million in 2Q08, an increase of 38%. Revenues for the six months ended June 30, 2009 were $40.8 million compared to $29.7 million for the same period last year, an increase of 37%.

    • BitNami Releases Virtual Appliances for SugarCRM, WordPress, Alfresco, Drupal and More

      BitRock Inc, the leading provider of cross platform deployment tools and services, today announced the release of all of the BitNami Stacks as SUSE-based virtual appliances. BitNami users can now download ready-to-run BitNami Appliances for open source applications such as SugarCRM, Drupal, WordPress, Alfresco and many others. The appliances are available free of charge from the BitNami project website, BitNami.org.

    • KnowledgeTree.com – Your Company Deserves It

      Among the big companies that are using this system you are going to find big clients like Sony Entertainment, Mazda Motors Europe, and many others.

    • An Explanation of the Economic of Open Source

      When I was in University, not long after discovering a thing called “Linux” and all the wonderful free software that came with it, I fell in love with Open Source. The ethics of openness and meritocracy really appealed to me. It just seemed to me to be the “right” way of doing things.

      However it was a source of some good humoured tension between myself and my colleagues, circa Red Hat 6.0. Reaction against the idea of open source basically ranged from “anything given away for free can’t be any good”, to “very idealistic but it has no future since there is no way to make a living off of ‘free’”.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Luis Casas Luengo, Director of Extremadura’s Fundecyt foundation 14 (2004)

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

Microsoft and Apple Gag Truth Tellers, Disregard Risk of Death

Posted in Apple, Deception, Microsoft, Security at 7:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: People’s lives are put at risk due to Apple’s and Microsoft’s greed and secrecy

Microsoft has already fired an employee for daring to warn people about defective products that may cause death. Apple is doing something similar right now by attempting to gag witnesses of an iPod explosion. Nice move from Apple. That truly ought to resolve the problem of exploding iPods for good. If nobody hears about it, then no harm will be done (to Apple’s bottom line). This is not an isolated incident by the way. According to The Times, “Last week it emerged that Apple had tried to keep a number of cases where its iPod digital music players had started to smoke, burst into flames and even burned their owners, out of the public eye.”

Microsoft has actually just done similar things. According to IDG, Microsoft gagged people who are aware of Microsoft security flaws. From the news:

Yesterday, security experts involved with two separate lines of research declined to comment further about the findings they had already published, saying or hinting that they were doing so at Microsoft’s request.

For Microsoft, this is part of a pattern. Security vulnerabilities too can cause death and evidence is abundant.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the national security is also implicated by the efforts of hackers to break into computing networks. Computers, including many running Windows operating systems, are used throughout the United States Department of Defense and by the armed forces of the United States in Afghanistan and elsewhere.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft

Microsoft Sued Melco Group Over Linux and Microsoft is Likely to Lose Another Patent Case (VirnetX)

Posted in Courtroom, Microsoft, Patents at 6:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Processor.com indicates that the Melco deal was a result of Microsoft suing; Microsoft gets slapped by VirnetX

A FRIDAY report from Bloomberg suggests that Microsoft may be poised to lose in the patent dispute with VirnetX.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis in Tyler, Texas, yesterday sided with VirnetX in the defining of key terms in patents it claims are infringed by Microsoft.

Despite it being located in Texas, the trial does not involve a classic patent troll, but all that VirnetX seems to be doing is licensing patents. The “Products” page talks about nothing but patents, so there is no tangible output.

Increasingly, Microsoft becomes more like VirnetX because it uses patents as a racketeering tool, most recently against Melco [1, 2, 3] (this was mentioned briefly also in [1, 2]). It’s a way of leeching off someone else’s products. Here is the latest mention of the Melco betrayal.

As the result of a lawsuit settlement, Microsoft will get an undisclosed sum from Melco Group, which manufactures Linux-based networking tools. Melco Group is paying the amount to ensure indemnity for its Buffalo brand network-attached storage devices and routers. The suit is a result of Microsoft’s complaints that parts of the Linux operating system infringe on Microsoft’s patents, although the company has yet to identify which patents are at issue. The Linux community strongly denies that its operating system violates any patents and has publicly challenged Microsoft to name which patents are being infringed upon.

This is major. So Microsoft not only sued TomTom; Microsoft may be systematically suing and extorting vendors of Linux. Since no patents are being disclosed, this may be in violation of the RICO Act. Microsoft should be reported to the authorities.

“Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering.”

Mark Shuttleworth

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