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08.08.09

Novell News Summary – Part III: PlateSpin, GWAVA Conference, and More

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Mail, NetWare, Novell, Servers, Virtualisation at 9:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Salt Lake Temple
Salt Lake Temple

Summary: The remainder of Novell’s news for this week

IT was a dry week for Novell’s proprietary business, but here are some highlights.

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Novell News Summary – Part II: SUSE Studio, National Vision, and Xandros

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Servers, Turbolinux, Xandros at 8:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lagarto - running lizard

Summary: Many stories about SUSE and fewer ones about Xandros, Kyocera Mita, and Turbolinux

Novell has a little series about FOSS and lobbying. The fourth (and final) part of these videos was released several days ago and there is a lot of coverage of Studio/Appliance, so we’ll start with that.

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Novell News Summary – Part I: Hackweek, KDE in OpenSUSE, and More

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Green lizard

Summary: Accumulation of OpenSUSE news and debates

BUSY week for OpenSUSE this time around, so let’s get started.

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Microsoft’s OOXML Patents, Apple’s Endorsement, and the Rise of OpenOffice.org

Posted in Apple, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Patents, Standard at 4:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Keyboard closeup
[N]ovell and [M]icrosoft lobbied for OOXML

Summary: Weak defense from Microsoft regarding OOXML boobytraps; OpenOffice.org still downloaded heavily

OOXML Patents Surface

THIS is a tedious topic that we covered yesterday and also earlier this year in:

Microsoft’s latest word-processing patent is stirring up discussion even in the news.

The core of US Patent 7,571,169 which Microsoft was granted on August 4th refers to – “A word-processing document stored in a single XML file that may be manipulated by applications that understand XML”.

The Microsoft crowd is trying to calm things down by saying:

OOXML is covered by Microsoft’s Open Specification Promise, under which Microsoft promised not prosecute those using, selling, or distributing its implementation of a technology or specification.

As we explained before, the Open Specification Promise is a useless promise, based on the analysis of the SFLC. The Microsoft Community Promise is equally bad.

Some days ago we mentioned how Microsoft was trying to sneak RAND into Free software [1, 2] and The Source has a posting about that too.

Recent statements on “Open” give an interesting insight into Microsoft constancy.

In a recent Computerworld UK blog entry, Glyn Moody takes Microsoft’s Jason Matusox to task for conflating “balance” with “open”. I won’t re-hash the points Mr. Moody makes so read his article too!

Basically, Mr. Matusox laments how Open standards are “overbalanced” in favor of standard implementors, and someone is insisting that standards must have “no IP restrictions”.

Yes, Microsoft wants more software patents in standards, and it wants them to be enforceable even in the EU.

Apple’s Role

Microsoft does not treat Mac users as well as a company should, but it still spreads OOXML to that UNIX platform. Given that Apple has been somewhat of an OOXML ally of Microsoft, the following is noteworthy.

Imagine that, Apple supported Microsoft’s Open XML standardisation. Last week’s Microsoft Office 2008 Service Pack 2 (SP2) release wasn’t so great for Mac Office users, a giant fail. You know, when you have a multibillion office applications business who would dare to test for crossplattform compatibility of file formats before you release the service pack? No one does, and Apple users of the Mac Office were absolutely outraged about Open XML.

ISO’s Role

A couple of days ago we showed how Microsoft was controlling ISO. There is more on that at the <No>OOXML Web site.

OpenOffice.org

In more positive news, the OpenOffice.org team says that version 3.1 of the software has already been downloaded over 20 million times (in 3 months), meaning that OpenOffice.org is downloaded over 6.6 million times per month. It is a staggering pace which does not take into account the exchange of CDs, including GNU/Linux CDs, which typically contain OpenOffice.org out of the box (and in the repositories). Heise has this new article about a collaboration plug-in for OpenOffice 3.1 users

Secure collaboration specialist TeamDrive has released its collaboration plug-in for OpenOffice 3.1 users. The freeware TeamDrive OpenOffice Plug-in allows users to create and share TeamDrive “SharedSpaces” (shared folders) and includes version control. Users can exchange files securely and view version comments or open previous versions of a document.

This ought to show the power of OpenOffice.org, which is often the target of heavy Microsoft FUD. OpenOffice.org — like Mozilla Firefox — thrives in a sea of extensions.

The Microsoft Schwag Club

Posted in Hardware, HP, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 4:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dollars in the scanner

Summary: Another look at transactions of computers among fans of Vista and the maker/distributor of Vista

SEVERAL days ago we wrote about Andre da Costa [1, 2, 3], whom Microsoft sent an expensive laptop after he had praised the company in many thousands of postings. Microsoft has a proven habit of using rewards to incentivise positive coverage. Not so long ago we wrote about John Obeto, who runs a Vista glamourisation Web site. Microsoft sent him an expensive laptop. What was even more interesting is finding out that two recipients of gifts from Microsoft are in fact connected too. Here is John Obeto giving Andre da Costa a Vista computer, which was apparently sponsored in exchange for some publicity and positive coverage. This cannot be confirmed however.

adacosta (Andre da Costa) has been selected as the winner of the HP xw4600 Personal Workstation Giveaway by AbsoluteVista.com.

Our reader Goblin is preparing another report to the FTC. His is already 33 pages long (excluding exhibits). The FTC has plans of stopping the bribing of bloggers by companies — schwag in exchange for positive coverage. It is a commendable push, and it had to start somewhere.

“I’ve been thinking long and hard about this, and the only conclusion I can come to is that this is ethically indistinguishable from bribery. Even if no quid-pro-quo is formally required, the gift creates a social obligation of reciprocity. This is best explained in Cialdini’s book Influence (a summary is here). The blogger will feel some obligation to return the favor to Microsoft.”

Former Microsoft manager

How Vista 7 Hype Gets Generated and Why GNU/Linux is in a Good Position

Posted in America, Deception, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 3:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More on the reality behind Vista 7 and where GNU/Linux stands

SO MANY reporters are missing the point that the reality behind Vista 7 will not be known until people are forced to use it. At the early stages — before release, that is — only enthusiasts get to assess the operation system. They tend to be close to Microsoft, so of course all reviews will be improved, by selection. It was more of less the same with Windows Vista (in late 2006). Vista was hailed as the operating system that would soon take over the world. Similarly, Microsoft only releases Vista 7 to fans right now. Should paying members (subscribers) of the Microsoft network be expected to hate the software? Is that an unbiased population whose convictions and hardware are representative of the global population? Of course not.

Our reader Neighborlee says he can vouch “that windows 7 is junk at the moment.”

“I’m not willing to pay almost $200 for privilege of running this supposedly faster OS, not a chance.”
      –Neighborlee
“It can’t even detect my ACPI hardware,” he writes, “so I’m essentially left with none. Computer won’t shut down after X number of minutes. It IS faster than Vista as such, but it does have some problem spots to be sure. I’m not willing to pay almost $200 for privilege of running this supposedly faster OS, not a chance.”

As we showed before, Microsoft seems to be silencing [1, 2, 3, 4] those who complain about Vista 7. There is a huge marketing budget which kicked in last year and some prominent bloggers were bribed.

According to Microsoft, GNU/Linux is outpacing Mac OS X on the desktop (globally) and even US-oriented numbers suggest an increase in GNU/Linux usage, with the usual caveats.

The problem was that a large portion of the website visitors that are counted come from the USA and other English speaking countries. This means that worldwide data was more representative of the USA than of the rest of the world. The problem is that the OS market share is currently very different in the USA than the rest of the world: the Mac OSX market share is much higher, but the Windows and Linux market share are lower.

In Brazil, for instance, GNU/Linux adoption is extremely high (and growing fast).

Brazil flag

More Novell, Microsoft, Software Patents, and Mono Insults

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 3:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft Novell

Summary: Microsoft and Novell still market SUSE using patents; Mono revisited

FOR a couple of weeks now, The Register has been advertising a Webcast about Microsoft and Novell [1, 2]. Jason from The Source watched it and wrote about the shameless (and at times inaccurate) deliverables. Among them.

Here’s a slide where the gentleman from Novell talked up the 3 pillars of value that the Novell-Microsoft collaboration delivers:

“Intellectual Property”

There’s that good old “peace of mind” codeword that Microsoft and Novell love so much to throw around. How does one reconcile Novell’s statement that the ”agreement with Microsoft is in no way an acknowledgment that Linux infringes upon any Microsoft intellectual property” with the constant marketing that only Novell can offer “IP peace of mind” and the bullet point that “Microsoft and Novell” provide “patent coverage”?

A little fancy dancing, perhaps?

Based on the news from Salt Lake City, Novell is still applying for and receiving software patents. Here is the latest:

Methods, data stores, data structures and systems for electronic identity aggregation , patent No. 7,571,172, invented by Scott Alan Isaacson of Woodland Hills, Stephen R Carter of Spanish Fork and Frank Allan Nutt of Austin, Texas, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.

Despite warnings from the Free Software Foundation, Novell carries on spreading .NET in the form of Mono. What’s more problematic is that most GNOME-based distributions now include a tinge of Mono by default.

In order to claim that Mono is not imposed upon users, a prominent proponent of Mono has created the opposite of Bloatnux. This received some blog coverage and now this article, but it only came after Mono proponents had been begging for coverage and even repeatedly insulting those who don’t give coverage (or don’t give “sufficient” coverage) to some software whose name is an insult to its user.

Debian and Ubuntu Mono packager Jo Shields has come up with a Mono-free remix of the last released version of Ubuntu, version 9.04, which he has chosen to call Chicken Little Remix.

[...]

It is not certain that future Ubuntu versions will be dissected in this manner, though; in response to a query which followed his post, he said that it all depended on whether a community built up around it as he did not have the time to keep creating the CLR for every new Ubuntu version.

Chicken Little is intended as a slur, but coming from a rude person, that’s not a surprise. As one of the commenters on the article at the top put it, “Let’s see, this is the same Jo shields who has been dishing out insults, evasions, and misinformation, calls this remix Chicken Little, giving advice on good manners? Considering he was one of the leaders in filling forums with “Immovable, entrenched, irreconcilable viewpoints” and “A degree of outright lunacy”, not to mention telling everyone who wasn’t some kind of approved elite developer to STFU, I can’t imagine why he thinks anyone should take him seriously.”

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: August 7th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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