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08.13.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: August 13th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

Eye on Microsoft: Security Synopsis

Posted in Deception, FUD, Marketing, Microsoft, Security, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 6:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

My keys

Summary: Failures and cover-ups (sponsored by Microsoft)

Security is a process

I often point out that Windows is insecure. It’s so insecure, in fact, that I, in all seriousness, propose that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) should start forcing users to secure Windows-since neither users or Microsoft will do the job, Windows PCs should be banned from the Internet. That said, nothing, and I mean nothing is really secure.

[...]

It doesn’t work that way. Security is a process, it’s not a product. Some systems are more secure than others. Linux, as anyone who pays any attention to security news knows, is a lot more secure than Windows. If we were talking cars, Linux would be an Audi A4, the Mac, BMW 330 and Windows would be a mid-70s Ford “Hit here to blow up” Pinto.

Microsoft: 2 year response to critical 0-day hole (Vista 7 too is suffering from the same symptoms)

It turns out Microsoft has known about the critical security vulnerability in its Office Web Components (OWC), which was fixed last patch day, for more than two years. Only since it has been actively exploited has the behemoth sprung into life and, within a month, released a patch.

Microsoft IE 8 shines in Web browser security test (emphasis in red is ours)

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 rated tops among five browsers tested by NSS Labs for effectiveness in protecting against malware and phishing attacks—though NSS Labs acknowledges Microsoft paid for the tests.

Virus arms race primes malware numbers surge

The amount of catalogued malware by Panda was 18 million in the 20 years from the firm’s foundation until the end of 2008. This figure increased 60 per cent in just seven months to reach 30 million by 31 July 2009.

Twitter briefly knocked offline by hackers (again) (Microsoft Windows is a culprit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6])

Twitter suffered from yet more security jitters on Tuesday night, after another attack left the site briefly unavailable.

Aussie arrested in botnet allegation (74,000 down, ~319,926,000 to go)

Inspector Blue Knacker of the Adelaide Yard claims that the 20 year old is also suspected of having developed software capable of launching virus attacks on 74,000 computers worldwide.

[Microsoft Wordpad is Vulnerable, Exploit Available]

Why Does Microsoft Treat Vendors and Customers Like ‘Thieves’?

Posted in DRM, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Office Suites, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 6:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”

Bill Gates

Summary: The experience of vending or using Windows is still marginalising and demeaning

SEVERAL days ago we gave an example of a seller who was tricked by Microsoft to offer copies of its software under conditions which were not legal. As we pointed out at the time, this is part of a trend [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] because Microsoft is feeling the pinch. Here in the United Kingdom Microsoft is getting busy as well. From the news:

Microsoft catches 11 UK pirate retailers

[...]

Computer Clinic, Bolton ; Computer Port, Walsall; Eazy PC, Redcar; Goldcast Computers, Stockton-on-Tees; Matrix Computers, Stockton-on-Tees; PC Assist, Oldham; Personal Touch Computers Ltd, Portsmouth; Platinum Computers, Hartlepool; Spacebar Computers, Litherland, Liverpool, and The Little Computer Shop, Griffithstown, Pontypool.

Those retailers will not be huge fans of Microsoft after the crackdown, so GNU/Linux and Free software might be offered as an option on their PCs in the future. There is no revenge sweeter than this and as the quote at the top ought to remind people, for many years Microsoft has permitted shops to distribute Windows and Office against the rules. As long as Microsoft benefited from freely spreading its software and making it a de facto standard, it was all fine.

Another area where Microsoft is criminalising not retailers but actual customers is Vista and Vista 7. For those who remember what a DRM mess Vista was, it is worth reminding that Vista 7 is just the same.

Microsoft, Windows 7, cable television, and the so-called “PlayReady” DRM scam

[...]

What I’m about to show is Windows 7 artificially crippling an otherwise normal, uncrippled cable television channel. PlayReady DRM hooks into Windows Media Center and artificially degrades your standard cable TV service provided that the channel involved has paid Microsoft a lot of money.

Vista 7: limiting one’s experience artificially because everyone (including paying customers) is assumed to be a “criminal”. Very poor diplomatic skills from Microsoft and yet another reason to find permanent comfort in GNU/Linux.

Links 13/08/2009: GNOME 2.28 Beta, Oracle VM

Posted in News Roundup at 5:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • AutoTrader web site switches to Linux
  • Chrome OS – Lost in the cloud?

    But Google’s biggest asset is not its search techology per se, but the database of the web which is a by-product of its primary activity and is stored on the proprietary file system that it runs on countless thousands of cheap and cheerful Linux servers, estimated at 650,000 as far back as 2006, and growing by the day.

  • Linux Migration for the Home PC User, Part 7: Making Adjustments
  • Computer viruses slow African expansion

    Unwin says replacing Windows with Linux would help (80% of viruses are written in China, where Windows dominates). The Ethiopian government has, in fact, made open source software central to its IT plans. Khokhar says it’s no magic solution.

  • Open-source hardware heralds greater creativity

    We’re all familiar with open-source software, such as the Apache webserver or the Linux OS, but in the last few years, open-source hardware projects have risen in popularity, including the open-source electronics platform Arduino.

  • Desktop

    • College-Bound Young Lady Gets A Hand.

      If you want to become a Linux Luminary and sponsor the install of a computer to a disadvantaged kid, you can do so by clicking here. The average install costs us 25.00

    • Computer Corner Newsletter for August 13

      But even after all that — and my willingness to sacrifice the contents of the built-in hard drive (all my data is always stored on an external USB hard drive) — I still can’t get Windows Vista or Windows 7 to install or run, even though the open source Ubuntu Linux operating system loads and runs right along without any problems.

  • Kernel Space

    • VIA Soon To Release Its DRM-Using 2D Driver

      This morning Bruce has written on the dri-devel list that they should soon be releasing this new 2D driver. Bruce is hoping that this 2D driver’s source-code will be released in about two weeks. Right now the driver is in the hands of a few community testers for feedback, but they are hoping that the driver will be released very soon unless any new issues are found.

  • Applications

    • Lazarus for Cross-Platform Development

      Lazarus may be the most native cross-platform development environment running on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. Use it to create native applications with platform-independent code.

    • The Zim Desktop Wiki as a Storywriting Tool

      So, now what? What’s the advantage over a full-fledged word processor, aside from having multiple documents? The advantage is the hyperlinking, which we will soon see. Highlight each name you have entered. Then, press CTRL-L like you had done on the first page. Each name is now a hyperlink. From here, you can create a page for each character in your story, giving background information on them, along with personal notes about their history, personality, likes and dislikes, all of that. Then, you can do the same for places, giving as much information or as little as you want about the places and their history. What about events or objects unique or relevant to the story? You can make pages for them as well.

    • Games

  • GNOME

    • GNOME 2.28 Beta Arrives, Release Next Month

      We are just a month out from the release of GNOME 2.28, which is the last major update before GNOME 3.0′s expected arrival in H1’2010. With development on GNOME 2.28 winding down, these desktop developers have announced the first beta release. GNOME 2.27.90 is this first 2.28 beta and it includes bug fixes and other work along with the usual variety of documentation and translation updates.

    • 20 GDM Themes For Ubuntu You Probably Haven’t Seen Before

      The most beautiful part of being a linux user is the choice you have, whatever issue it is. Like any other Linux distro, Ubuntu is infinitely customisable with any number of themes and applications. This include login window themes or gdm themes as well. Major source for themes in ubuntu include www.gnome-look.org and www.deviantart.com. There, you could obtain literally thousands of good quality themes.

  • Distributions

    • SystemRescueCd version 1.2.3 released

      The developers of SystemRescueCd have now released version 1.2.3 of the French mini–Linux distribution. The new SystemRescueCd release updates a range of tools and includes a firmware package missing from the previous version (sys-kernel/linux-firmware). The developer has updated the alternative kernels to Linux 2.6.27.29.

    • Parted Magic 4.4 released

      Version 4.4 of Linux distribution Parted Magic was released yesterday (Wednesday). The system, which includes a range of hard drive partitioning and many other useful tools, contains updated software, such as kernel 2.6.30.4, new versions of hdparm, Clonezilla and GNU Parted and a whole range of new features.

    • GoboLinux 014.01 After a Year

      So, my HDD went bust. I have been using GoboLinux since its launch, and there has yet to be a new release since 014.01. Try as I might, I couldn’t switch distributions. So, I installed. This isn’t an easy task. The install CD is so old that you will have to do a lot of updating to install anything new. So where to start?

    • Red Hat Family

      • Oracle spells out VM tools plans

        In the wake of its acquisition of Virtual Iron, and its hammering out of a converged roadmap for the Oracle VM Server variant of Xen hypervisor, Oracle’s techies are still at work, making tools that wrap around the existing Oracle VM Server hypervisor to make it more useful.

        First up is a gadget called Oracle VM Template Builder. This is a graphical utility that allows software developers or in-house IT departments to create a JEOS skinnied down version of Oracle Enterprise Linux. They can then plunk it and a set of system and application software on top of that streamlined Linux inside of an Oracle VM image.

      • Oracle launches tool for virtual appliances

        Oracle has released new tools for building virtual appliances, the software maker’s first significant move in server virtualisation since its purchase of Virtual Iron.

      • Oracle Deepens Virtual Application Plans
    • Debian Family

      • Debian-Ubuntu debate: an upstream view

        Ever since the release team of the Debian GNU/Linux Project announced that it would be adopting a time-based freeze for future releases, there has been much debate about it on the project’s mailing lists.

      • Ubuntu Coming to Amahi Home Server?

        The Amahi Home Server, an open source system that handles a range of in-home applications, could soon run on the Ubuntu 9.04 desktop environment. Here’s the scoop and some thoughts about Ubuntu’s potential presence in the home server and media server markets.

        According to the Amahi web site, the open source system is a “Home Digital Assistant” (HDA).

        “We came up with the term HDA to describe what the Amahi Linux Home Server aims for. Something as simple to use as a PDA, for the home and home networking.”

      • Ubuntu remixes netbook interface

        Ubuntu’s UNR is a customised version of the standard Linux desktop aimed at making the most of the smaller screen sizes typical in netbook PCs. With its first attempt at the UNR desktop, Ubuntu’s developers removed the obvious top and bottom panels of the standard interface and melded them into the overall appearance of the desktop to maximise onscreen space. They also replaced the bulky panel icons with streamlined tabs for managing open windows as well as making sure all application windows were maximised. By doing this UNR makes it easier to switch between applications and removes the need to drag application windows around.

      • Ubuntu User Interface Tweaks
      • Pearson’s Prentice Hall Professional Publishes The Official Ubuntu Server Book
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • New release of Mozilla Lightning and SOGo

    Open source software company Inverse released the version 1.0.4 of Scalable OpenGroupware.org (SOGo). SOGo provides a rich AJAX-based Web interface and supports multiple native clients through the use of standard protocols such as CalDAV, CardDAV and GroupDAV. It features a very tight integration with Mozilla Thunderbird and Lightning and enable mobile devices synchronization through the use of the Funambol middleware. Version 1.0.4 provides new features such as Apple iPhone OS 3 support, better Apple iCal 3 support and memcached support for high-scalability. Moreover, Inverse releases Lightning “Inverse Edition” v0.9.6. This is a maintenance release of Mozilla Lightning based on our 0.9 release which focuses on stability and includes many bug fixes, several small enhancements and some new features of the upcoming Mozilla Lightning 1.0 extension.

  • Can Open Source Work for SSD Designs?

    I’m spending the week at the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara. Surprisingly, there were something like 1200 registrations and there’s a lively crowd at the Summit. Good news for the business climate, I think. The presentations have been excellent and I’ll be sharing several with you over the next few days. First off is a keynote presentation by Michael Cornwell, Lead Technologist for Flash Memory at Sun Microsystems. (By the way, all of Cornwell’s Flash-related projects have names associated with the fictitious superhero Flash Gordon, hence the map of the Planet Mongo over on the right, which I’ve cribbed from Cornwell’s title slide.)

  • Open source solutions vs. SaaS applications: Weigh the options

    The application options available for the midmarket are many and varied. Two popular alternatives to the more traditional — and often more costly — route of on-premise applications are open source and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. Although both provide many benefits, including reduced capital costs and subscription-based pricing models, it’s the differences between the two models that may dictate which is best suited for your organization.

  • Unicon Announces New Hosting Services for Sakai™ and Moodle™ Open Source Learning Management Systems

    Unicon, Inc., a leading provider of software consulting services and open source solutions for the education market, today announced new application hosting services for higher education institutions wanting to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of open source learning management systems Sakai and Moodle. Unicon’s hosting service fully supports the community source code versions of the open source software, and delivers a feature-rich, fully functional learning management solution based on the comprehensive out-of-the box product capabilities available in Sakai and Moodle.

  • “Stripped-down” open source ESBs still solid middleware engines

    The past year’s economic slump has lead many application architects to explore open source components for their SOA middleware stack – even such complex components as the enterprise service bus (ESB). The decision to adopt an open or closed-source ESB can be tough. It requires a company to weigh cost against complexity and gauge its own programming savvy.

  • 802.11 Planet Insights

    Open Source’s Green Genes

    Open source software negates the existence of software “piracy,” so if enough people began using open source, the industry surrounding the pursuit and prosecution of software “pirates” would go away. All that money and energy could be spend doing something more important. Do you know how many natural resources it takes to manufacture a three-piece suit like lawyers wear? Eliminate “piracy” and you eliminate the need for thousands of three-piece suits every year. Lawyers who work for open source projects don’t need to wear suits. And they probably don’t need to shower as often, either.

  • More open source software to ease your wallet

    Open source projects in software industry said the programs that the design and construction created for the purpose of free distribution under specific license. In addition to these projects, can participate voluntarily people with little or extensive experience in software issues.Good free open source software programs for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems with no adware and no spyware.

  • Business

    • Open-source, Proprietary Vendors Partner on Cloud BI

      Four open-source and proprietary vendors on Wednesday announced a new partnership resulting in a cloud-based BI (business intelligence) stack.

    • Acquia, Supporting the Drupal CMS, Adds 200 New Customers

      We’ve reported a number of times before on Acquia, which offers a commercially supported version of the open source Drupal content management system. OStatic runs on Drupal, and Drupal version 6 is expected to soon run over 240,000 web sites, with many large media companies switching to it.

    • Open source Aussies land $500m VMware deal

      SpringSource, a software company founded by Australian open source entrepreneur Rod Johnson, has been acquired by virtualisation kingpins VMware in a transaction valued at over US$420 million (AU$505 million).

    • Apache makes its first $420 million

      Others and I have made much of VMware’s acquisition of SpringSource for $420 million, but one crucial point has been overlooked: this is the first big acquisition of a company that depends on the Apache license.

    • Commercial open source is essential to enterprise IT

      In the ideal world, open source software would be free of charges and its communities would operate on a Service Level Agreement (SLA) scale.

      There would be virtually no expenses to acquire, use and maintain the software in enterprise IT production environments.

    • SugarCRM’s new CEO on open source CRM and cloud computing

      Nearly three months ago, John Roberts, one of the founders of SugarCRM, a commercial open source CRM vendor, stepped down as CEO. Larry Augustin, a former venture capitalist and one of the driving forces behind SourceForge.net while he was chairman of VA Software, stepped in to replace him. SearchCRM.com sat down with Augustin to discuss his plans while he serves as interim CEO and to get his perspective (as a longtime open source evangelist) on the CRM market.

  • FSF/GNU

    • FSF launch GNU Generation

      GNU Generation, says Shinn in a posting on the Open Source At Google blog, plans to provide a “very informal and relaxed environment”. Participants in the program will have a chance to win a T-Shirt if they are selected as a “contributor of the month” and a GNU/Linux powered netbook if selected as contributor of the year. Details of how to join are available on the GNU Generation wiki.

  • Government

    • Local Googlement

      There is one of its services that Google forgot to promote to councils that could save them a lot of money: Google Code. Local government in this country needs to share code as well as using open source software developed by other organisations.

    • Councils ‘turning to open source software’

      Local authorities in the UK are increasingly turning to open source software as a way to reduce IT costs, says new research..

      Around half of councils surveyed by Public Sector Forums said they will increase use of open source by 2011.

  • Licensing

  • Openness

Leftovers

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Chinese porn blocker killed off

      It’s not certain whether the Middle Kingdom’s U-turn was brought about by public pressure (incredibly unlikely), security fears (significantly more likely) or the impending threat of legal action over copyright infringement (ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!), but it seems that Green Dam will no longer be forcefully installed on every single computer manufactured in or imported to China.

    • China scales back censorship plans
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Why The Associated Press plans to hold some web content off the wire

      That’s one revelation from a document we obtained (labeled “AP CONFIDENTIAL — NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION”) that offers new insight into how the AP is planning to reinvent itself on the Internet.

      [...]

      The link economy

      Plenty of people have observed — and the AP surely understands — that the consortium’s 163-year-old, print-centric methods of syndication don’t really make sense online, where a link can do the work of distributing content. That sounds like the impetus for this rethinking, but it will surely raise hackles among AP members accustomed to publishing that wire content on their own sites (not to mention selling ads against it).

    • Downloading is not enough

      The unwillingness to use streaming services is interesting, especially since I’ve seen every one of my son’s friends sign up to Spotify recently. While is is possible that kids really do value “ownership” of music, I suspect it has more to do with the limitations of their online lives.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Thomas Bartol, computational neuroscientist for the Salk Institute 02 (2005)

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

Vista 7 Vulnerable to Latest “Critical” Flaws

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Security, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patches integrated quickly before RTM

Border

Summary: Microsoft uses a familiar stunt to pretend that Vista 7 is more secure and then makes a lot of noise about it

NOTHING will change when it comes to computer security once Vista 7 is finally released. We wrote about the subject in:

Using what Ryan has called a “sneaky” trick, Microsoft hid the fact that Vista 7 too was vulnerable to the latest bucket of "critical" patches.

In his own words: “There’s articles describing Windows 7 RTM as safe from the Patch Tuesday vulnerabilities that have been fixed in Vista and XP this month, but that’s why Microsoft made 7600.16385 the RTM, they integrated those patches right before they declared it final, then said it was safe from the bugs that affected XP and Vista. 7600.16384 was almost the RTM, but they made a new build just for these.”

“Microsoft hid the fact that Vista 7 too was vulnerable to the latest bucket of “critical” patches.”In short, he argues: “They applied all the patches, called that build the RTM, then said the RTM was unaffected. Then [they] released a press release patting Windows 7 on the back for being more secure, even though at least half those bugs affected it too. You wouldn’t notice this unless you had been following the Windows 7 build process pretty closely.

“Watch what happens on Patch Tuesday in September and October and see how many of those bugs affect Windows 7 cause they can’t declare RTM again.

“They’re still patching Windows XP after 8 years. What does that tell you? I fired it up on my other laptop yesterday and had 9 security updates waiting. Well, after 8 years and ~4,000 patches you’d expect them to have tied up most of the loose ends. They said Windows XP was secure when it launched and they are *still* patching it routinely.”

“Great talker, great liar.”

French Proverb

Why Sqlite Sharp Can Harm GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu, Windows at 7:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Sqlite Sharp/sqlite# causes damage to GNU/Linux in a variety of new ways

THE increased Mono dependency in GNU/Linux distributions could be exacerbated by new endeavours from the proponents of Mono, which mostly helps Windows [1, 2, 3]. It is a facilitator of embrace-and-extend tactics (using patents, developers’ skills, influence over APIs and so on). It’s about assimilating everyone to Microsoft rather than dragging Microsoft towards support of open standards.

The Mono/C# version of sqlite is a case of hypocrisy which was last mentioned yesterday. But another impact that is easily overlooked is that sqlite# — much like NDesk.DBus (ndesk-dbus or DBus#) — is a case of Mono going deeper into the guts of the Free desktop. As one reader warned us last night, “Mono people are trying to put even more dependency on Mono inside Ubuntu. For example, some dev is porting sqlite to C#. F-spot uses sqlite [so the] result = f-spot sharp + sqlite# = more Mono dependency in Ubuntu.”

“sqlite is used in billions of applications and instances and now someone wants to ignore all that bug testing.”
      –Fewa
“Why the hell do they have to rewrite a gazillion bindings? C# is so close to C why can’t they just use the C bindings” asks Fewa, who adds that this “is slowing down ALL [of] sqlite simply for the purpose of encumbering it. It’s a classic example of bloat.” A point was then raised about many applications in Ubuntu using sqlite, so sooner or later proponents of Mono can try to make a transition to sqlite# in order to “save space” or something along those lines (maybe “best-of-breed” arguments).

“He is porting ALL [of] sqlite, not only a simple wrapper,” stresses a reader. “Mono people will probably try to put this version of sqlite in Ubuntu. And I have heard some comments about mono people trying to force Zeitgeist’s developer to use Mono, but thank God Zeitgeist’s dev is smart!”

Fewa later adds: “sqlite is used in billions of applications and instances and now someone wants to ignore all that bug testing.”

“Mono people love to attack gnote,” says another, “but Mono people do a lot of porting. Lucene itext [is one] example [because] Lucene is Java [and] itext is Java.”

Dell Defends GNU/Linux Sub-notebooks, Dismisses Microsoft’s FUD

Posted in Dell, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dell laptop

“We should whack them [Dell over GNU/Linux dealings], we should make sure they understand our value.”

Paul Flessner, Microsoft

Summary: Dell shoots back at Microsoft’s false claims about GNU/Linux adoption and return rates

EARLIER THIS YEAR we wrote about Microsoft attacking GNU/Linux — especially in sub-notebooks — using lies. It was fueled by friendly 'analysts' and very friendly 'journalists' — those who always promote Microsoft’s business agenda. GNU/Linux-powered sub-notebooks are causing an enormous pain to Microsoft's business, so the equivalent of “Get the Facts” is all they have left at Microsoft’s headquarters.

Over at IDG’s OpenSource World, Dell’s Todd Finch is quoted as saying that much of Microsoft’s FUD is baseless (although not in these words).

Todd Finch, Dell senior product marketing manager, said the number of Linux returns are approximately the same as those for Windows netbooks. He categorized the matter of returns as a “non-issue”.

“They are making something of nothing,” he said of Microsoft’s claims. Finch appeared to be referring to Dell’s own netbook sales.

Here is some more commentary about the subject.

I realize Canonical is trying to be polite and stay to the moral high road, but the issue here is that there is a huge disinformation campaign on that Microsoft is “a changed company” or “finally gets Open Source”, and playing into that by …. generously …. stating Microsoft is “a great company” or “better than that”, is: 1. Just not true. 2. Supporting the lie that Microsoft has changed in some material manner.

So, while it is sad and no surprise Microsoft continues to lie and distort, it is nice to hear from a major player like Dell putting the smack down on FUD.

Here is a good new post from Jack Wallen where he advocates GNU/Linux on sub-notebooks, stressing that “Linux is not going anywhere but up in the netbook market.” ARM-powered devices are on their way to the market.

I’ve read countless Microsoft-funded “studies” trying to persuade me that Windows is already dominating the netbook space. According to these studies, Linux might as well just take a curtain call because its act is over in the world of netbooks. That is simply not true. If it were, Asus wouldn’t be selling netbooks with Linux preinstalled.

After Microsoft’s engagement in FUD and alleged kickbacks, the company is said to be colluding with Intel [1, 2], so Linux Magazine wrote some more about the subject.

When Windows 7 comes to market, the Starter Edition will be conceived especially for notebooks. As they did for Windows XP, Microsoft has come up with a list of technical limitations.

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service is already looking into Microsoft's abuse in this area.

Related posts:

Microsoft and Friends Want to Add More Bugs to OOXML

Posted in ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents, Standard at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rubbish dump - OOXML

Summary: Microsoft’s leap year bug-as-a-standard is back; more thoughts on the Word ban, which is challenged by Microsoft

AS we noted last week, OOXML has already 800+ pages of documented bugs. Microsoft and the Microsoft-dominated working group/s seemingly want to have some more bugs. Norbert Bollow, the man behind OpenISO, has the details.

2009-08-12: The ISO/IEC Working Group on OOXML Wants to Unfix the Leap-Year Bug and Related Date-and-Time Problems.

[...]

What can be done?
Obviously, if you’re involved in your national mirror committee for ISO/IEC JTC1, you can seek to convince it or the relevant subcommittee that 29500-4 / DCOR 1 should be disapproved. The international deadline for this ballot is 2009-11-04; the national member bodies of ISO will generally have deadlines in October by when the concerned committees mus make their decisions. While you’re at it, you’ll also be able to argue for disapproval of 29500-4 / FPDAM 1 (for related but different reasons, I’ll explain about that in one of my next blog postings.)

If you’re working for a software company and it is not yet active in the appropriate national standardization organization, you should probably become active to make sure that the emerging body of international standards in the field of IT isn’t going to get in the way of your company’s business interests. This recommendation for getting involved applies even if your company is a small one, or if software development isn’t the firm’s main line of business.

Dana Blankenhorn wrote about Microsoft’s OOXML abuse just a couple of days ago, reminding readers that Microsoft is more ferocious than ever.

While putting it in the way of the weasel, Microsoft is still pushing what amounts to a tax on users of Internet standards. It’s doing this through a definition of “open standards” that would mandate standards bodies to consider patented, protected, proprietary technology on a par with truly open source offerings, and encourage companies to pack standards bodies with paid employees.

[...]

If we learned anything at all from the OOXML debate it should be that any Microsoft victory there was pyrrhic. ODF was able to deliver on its standard long before Microsoft could change its own proprietary scheme to match what the ISO approved.

If their idea was to bury ODF in the corporate user base, Microsoft failed, and at enormous cost, both to its own reputation and that of the ISO standards bodies.

At the same time, Microsoft is accumulating patents on XML. See for example:

Carrying on from yesterday's post covering the subject of a lawsuit, here are some more reports about Microsoft Word being banned in the US. As SJVN put it:

It sounds like a joke. But, it’s real and it’s anything but a joke for Microsoft. Judge Leonard Davis, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, has issued an injunction (PDF Link) that “prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML.”

Here is the official press release. TechDirt correctly points out that it won’t stick and Microsoft has already appealed against the ruling. [hat tip: ZiggyFish]

MICROSOFT plans to appeal a ruling by a Texas judge that would ban the software giant from selling its popular Word program in the US.

Groklaw has the documents from the ruling and one reader has given us the following i4i vs. Microsoft opinion:

<http://www.groklaw.net/pdf/i4ivMS-412.pdf>. Some interesting and arrogant quotes from Microsoft emails about the XML editor market. Read from the last two lines of page 39 through the first line of page 41. Best quote is the one in parentheses that ends on page 41.

Can’t believe those guys actually thought they had a prayer of monopolizing the market for low to medium power XML editors, particularly with Word native file support XML read/write filters.

My prediction: Microsoft either wins a stay pending appeal in the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit or it settles promptly thereafter. Don’t think Microsoft can just remove the code for custom XML schemas embedded in the Microsoft flavor of OOXML overnight. OOXML also serves as the communications protocol between Office and Sharepoint Server, and from there via a conversion to XAML to a bunch of other Microsoft server side Office apps. To boot, Microsoft did the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack, a backport of the Office 2007 native file support APIs modularized with the old API’s replicated in the wrapper. That’s now running in Office 2000, Office XP, Office 2003, and Office 2008 for the Mac. Interesting blog article here by a Softie describing what they did. Rick Shaut, Open XML Converters for Mac Office, Buggin’ My Life Away (7 December 2006), <http://blogs.msdn.com/rick_schaut/archive/2006/12/07/open-xml-converters-for-mac-office.aspx>.

So they’ve got this huge mass of apps that are interdependent and really can’t tweak just one of them. To boot, they’ve got institutional customers already dependent on custom XML schemas, not to mention a few developers who’ve created apps with custom XML
dependencies. See e.g., this article by Doug Mahugh describing the custom XML dependency of Mindjet’s round trip interop with MS Word. <http://blogs.msdn.com/dmahugh/archive/2006/09/16/758090.aspx>.

Did I mention that Microsoft halting the sale of Word 2007 and 2003 in the U.S. is about as likely as the crack of dawn getting raped and thereby impregnated? Microsoft either wins that stay pending appeal or it settles.

When software patents cause so much trouble, it is made a lot easier to explain why they should be deprecated.

MR. OLSON [For Microsoft]: The ’580 patent is a program, as I understand it, that’s married to a computer, has to be married to a computer in order to be patented.

JUSTICE SCALIA: You can’t patent, you know, on-off, on-off code in the abstract, can you?

MR. OLSON [For Microsoft]: That’s correct, Justice Scalia.

JUSTICE SCALIA: There needs to be a device.

MR. OLSON [For Microsoft]: An idea or a principle, two plus two equals four can’t be patented. It has to be put together with a machine and made into a usable device.

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