Summary: Why Boycott Novell covers a particular type of stories
WE are occasionally being asked why this Web site bears a negative tone in the sense that it mostly covers bad news.
Daily links present the positive news for the most part, with the exception of the “leftovers” which are beyond the scope of this Web site (it would be nice to properly cover these too). Other Web sites already do a fine job covering this type of stories.
“Microsoft is covered a lot because Microsoft is by far the biggest opponent to Free software, and certainly the most active one.”Issues that need to be “unspun” or addressed for the risks that they are will usually be turned into posts in order to understand threats to freedom. This is why an impression may be given that the site has an “alarmist” aspect to it. Microsoft is covered a lot because Microsoft is by far the biggest opponent to Free software, and certainly the most active one.
In a very recent interview, Richard Stallman explained that he tends to look at the lurking dangers rather than savour too much the victories. Resting on one’s laurels is unwise if the saying “only the paranoid survive” holds true. █
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Summary: Microsoft brings “Worldwide Innovative Teachers Forum” to a country whose schools abandon Windows en masse
THE WORLD’S largest migration to GNU/Linux probably takes place in Brazilian schools where 52,000,000 students will be exposed to the platform. They are gaining independence in the sense of digital autonomy. It was pretty darn obvious that Microsoft would not let it be as Microsoft just can't leave Brazil alone. It’s like the digital equivalent of an uninvited military coup.
People of Brazil ought to be aware of the fact that in a nation of Free software-based education Microsoft has just chosen to host the “Worldwide Innovative Teachers Forum”. Why did Microsoft choose Brazil? Of all the countries across the world, Microsoft is probably the least invited in Brazilian education.
More than 40 U.S. teachers showcased ed-tech projects in national forum; winners move on to world competition in Brazil
The project’s creators, teachers Harriet Armstrong and Autumne Streeval of Columbus East High School in Columbus, Ind., took top honors at Microsoft’s U.S. Innovative Teachers Forum, held Aug. 17. Armstrong and Streeval will travel to Brazil in November to compete in the software giant’s Worldwide Innovative Teachers Forum.
“It is really an honor to have won the U.S. Forum,” said Streeval, who teaches social studies. “We are excited to go to Brazil to learn more about what is going on in education on a global scale. Teachers often struggle with similar challenges, even in very unique settings, but the Worldwide Forum will allow us to collaborate and tackle obstacles together.”
Armstrong, who teaches family and consumer science, added that she hopes to return from Brazil with more ideas and connections to other teachers.
Is Microsoft trying to lure school administrators and teachers in Brazil to join the celebrations and lobby against GNU/Linux? It sure seems possible if not very likely. Microsoft has various schemes for turning students into customers of Microsoft while they are still young. The Live@Edu programme is one example of this and we have just found what’s pretty much an advertisement disguised as an article about Live@Edu. There is no shame. Microsoft is advertising Live@Edu despite admitting that its E-mail services get hijacked — a quality only to be expected from Microsoft.
Microsoft pointed to e-mail account “hijacking” as becoming an increasing problem, especially among Windows Live Hotmail users.
According to Microsoft, a hijacked user account would allow a hacker to send e-mails to the user’s contacts, which could result in both the user and those contacts unwittingly downloading worms onto a workstation. From there, such malware can spread to the network.
There is a lot more to be said about Hotmail and we wrote about it in:
- Has Microsoft Fired Its CIO Because Hotmail Secretly Runs on Free Software?
- Why Microsoft Doomed Exchange… and E-mail Too
- Microsoft is Not Interested in Interoperability. Free Labour on the Other Hand…
No doubt Microsoft is still fighting to prevent children from being exposed to GNU/Linux at schools. Brazil is hopefully paying close attention to Microsoft’s moves. There are lessons to be learned from India. █
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Summary: Microsoft guy put in charge of Neocleus, Microsoft VP to chair Emmy Awards, and more
A WEEK ago we showed how Microsoft uses "insiders" to put companies within Microsoft's grip (Microsoft calls it the “insider friend, ‘the fox’”). This was based on a presentation from Microsoft, appropriately marked “HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL”. We are now seeing this press release about Les Yetton becoming the president and CEO of Neocleus. It is the history of Les Yetton which is worth paying attention to:
Yetton’s leadership and industry experience spans more than two decades. He boasts a strong track record of successfully building companies, motivating teams, and cultivating customer and partner relationships. Most recently, Yetton worked for Desktone as Executive Vice President for Sales, Marketing and Business Development. Prior to Desktone, he was Director of Business Development for Microsoft in the Windows Management and Solutions Division, following Microsoft’s acquisition of Softricity in July 2006. Recruited to Softricity in 2000, Yetton was involved in all facets of Softricity’s business, including formulating and driving the company strategy, building lasting customer and partner relationships, and establishing that company’s services organization. Yetton played a key role on the executive management team: re-positioning and restructuring the company for the enterprise market and was a catalyst for helping the company to achieve the leadership position in the application virtualization arena. He was the lead executive responsible for Softricity’s business relationship with Microsoft, which ultimately led to Softricity’s acquisition by Microsoft in July 2006.
There are some other new observations of inside influence
Blair Westlake, the corporate VP of Microsoft’s Media & Entertainment Group, will serve as the Gala Chair of this year’s International Emmy Awards, which take place on November 23 in New York City.
The above may seem relatively benign, but issues remain that cause concern, especially since Microsoft loves to embrace and extend other people’s events, companies, and products. For example from the news, here is Ashley Highfield again taking cheap shots at Microsoft’s competition now that he left the BBC and joined Microsoft.
TV facing ‘iTunes moment’ warns Microsoft’s Ashley Highfield
Television industry must act soon or face losing control of its online presence to brand such as Apple, says Highfield
The damage Highfield has already caused to the BBC would be hard to measure. █
“We have 17.1 million users of bbc.co.uk in the UK and, as far as our server logs can make out, 5 per cent of those [use Macs] and around 400 to 600 are Linux users.”
–Ashley Highfield (back in his BBC days)
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Summary: Elements of truth about Vista 7 trickle in just 7 weeks before its release
AS WE ARE WELL aware of the reality behind Vista 7, there is no need for CNET to hype it up in vain, but CNET — along with other such publications — has Microsoft pay a lot of money to advertise Windows. About 2 years ago, CNET signed a very special deal just to advertise Windows Vista; it was not an ordinary case of advertising.
As more and more people find out, the illusion of Vista 7 on sub-notebooks not only evades the reality that Vista 7 is too heavy for what we used to know as "sub-notebooks" (or “Netbooks”); what gets installed is significantly inferior to GNU/Linux distributions because it’s only Stater Edition. PC World has the new article titled “Windows 7 Starter Edition Is Too Wimpy for New Netbooks” and it says:
Given Starter Edition’s lameness, you’d think that netbook vendors might shun it and install Windows 7 Home Premium instead. Not so. Samsung says its Go netbook will ship with SE, starting in November. Nokia’s Win 7 plans are fuzzy at this point. And Dell recently told me that its netbooks will continue to offer a variety of OS options, including “Ubuntu and Windows-based editions.”
Something’s fishy here. It’s not as if the entire genre of netbooks is too wimpy to run Windows 7 Home Premium. If that were the case, Microsoft would have announced recently that Win 7 SE users will be able to upgrade to Home Premium for $80. Rather, this is about Microsoft’s desire to cripple the netbook category and upsell consumers to Home Premium.
Sadly, many buyers will shell out $400 or so for a reasonably-powered netbook with a 10-inch display, only to learn they’ve been saddled with a feeble version of Windows 7. A classic bait-and-switch? It sure looks that way. It’s also a recipe for consumer ire. Nobody wants to pay a fairly significant sum for a consumer electronics device, only to learn they must pay an additional $80 for features they were expecting.
Why are hardware manufacturers not ignoring Vista 7 then? Is it pressure and blackmail? Looking at news headlines from the past week, there is not even one about “Vista”, whereas there are 11 for “Windows 7″, which is not available yet. Microsoft is hyping up Vista 7 not just for direct buyers of the software but also for OEMs that buy this software from Microsoft and then force customers to get it with a new computer (about 80% of licences are sold this way).
Vista 7 is not much different from Vista when one descends back to reality. Even the same compatibility issues persist and Microsoft intends to charge a lot of money to resolve this issue that it itself created. From GCN:
Microsoft introduces application compatibility help desk
However, those beset by such problems need to be prepared to open their wallets to get such support. Microsoft’s Advisory Services help costs $210 per hour and is available for up to 20 hours. The program doesn’t provide any on-site support.
“Windows 7 backward compatibility is now a “profit center’,” argues one of our readers. This is actually very interesting because Microsoft can now make its software less secure, then charge for “security” packages, as it already does. Likewise for compatibility?
Watch this new experience:
Uninstaller overcomes Office 2007′s Error 1310
Now that I’ve managed to uninstall a Microsoft program I didn’t ask for, don’t want, and couldn’t get rid of, I can now install the Microsoft application I paid more than $100 for. Why would anyone choose to do business with such a company?
That last question is of course rhetorical. Time to face reality. █
“Acer and Intel, for example, are already complaining that Windows 7 Starter Edition simply won’t sell.”
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Summary: FASA Interactive warns about getting involved with Microsoft and Tuxera should listen
IN an exclusive little interview, Microsoft got blasted for “destroying” companies that it bought. According to
FASA Interactive founder Jordan Weisman has spoken out about Microsoft’s acquisition of his highly-regarded studio, saying that the corporation “destroyed” its development culture and came close to doing the same with Halo developer Bungie.
“When Microsoft bought FASA Interactive and incorporated it into Microsoft… the two reasons they bought us was, one, they wanted the catalogue of intellectual properties and, two, they felt that we had developed a really good development culture. And the reality is that, pretty much from the day we moved to Redmond, that development culture was destroyed,” Weisman told GamesIndustry.biz.
Needless to say, the above has generated a lot of reactions, even from the Microsoft fan sites:
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, the man who founded FASA Interactive bashed Microsoft for ultimately killing his video-game studio and nearly doing the same to famed “Halo” developer Bungie Studios.
Jordan Weisman said Microsoft “destroyed” the development culture at FASA when the software giant acquired it in 1999. It became part of Microsoft Game Studios and developed Windows and Xbox games until Microsoft closed FASA in 2007 during cutbacks.
The above must come as no surprise. Cisco has already found this out and the same goes for the Bungie Studios affair (mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4]). How about Ensemble Studios and Flight Simulator? Others have complaints about it too. A film director said more or less the same thing and workers can't say the truth about the products. As employees of RazorFish found out [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], integration with Microsoft can spell doom. One must never forget what Microsoft had done to Yahoo! before the original management was overthrown.
To serve as a lesson for the future, here is some more coverage of this latest debacle:
Weisman says that Bungie’s culture was better defended, and the developer says he even wanted the firm left in Chicago; efforts which ultimately failed.
“I tried to convince them to leave Bungie in Chicago, but not winning that I did succeed in getting them to put them in a walled off room, which didn’t follow any of the other Microsoft stuff. We were much better able to defend Bungie’s culture than we were FASA’s culture.”
This is something to remember when calling Microsoft a “great partner”, as Tuxera just did [1, 2, 3, 4]. At Groklaw, Jones wrote: “Hahahaha. “Great partner”… with open source… Microsoft… (cough, choke, tears streaming down face from laughing so hard… benefiting consumers…ha ha ) They should talk to Novell. Or i4i, for that matter. Let me translate, according to the way my brain reads this: Microsoft has some money. Tuxera, an allegedly open source company, is willing to act excited about access to proprietary drivers to make money. It’s just business. Here’s what it isn’t: it isn’t open source to me.”
Carla wrote some more about the Tuxera issue:
This little scenario also highlights the weakness of Free Software– Free hardware. Not free of cost, but open, hackable, and unencumbered by junk patents, silly licenses, and sneaky stuff. Yesterday I wrote about the new official exFAT filesystem for SDXC storage media. To the SD Card Association exFAT, which is FAT64, probably seemed like a natural evolution from FAT32 and FAT16. To me it looks like a chummy industry consortium all propping each other up and helping each other extract excess money for the privilege of using their products.
It takes a lot more money to launch and maintain hardware, so there are few Free Hardware projects. Next week I’m going to follow up with a roundup of Free Hardware projects, and naturally you are invited to chime in with your own suggestions.
Nobody knows what made Tuxera say the things it did. But Microsoft is a bad partner based on its very own track record. █
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Summary: New resources containing information about the SCO case
• What happens next in SCO vs. Novell
With that being the case, and there being no chance whatsoever of SCO successfully pursuing a Linux lawsuit, I strongly suspect that the Trustee will drop all of SCO’s lawsuits and spend his time on rendering down SCO’s remains into pennies on dollars. Rationally, there’s nothing left to do, and with a reasonable person now in charge of SCO’s remains, that’s what I expect to happen.
• SCO 8K Acknowledges its New Reality
As you know, Darl McBride testified at trial in SCO v. Novell that he always files truthfully with the SEC, so you can take this to the bank: “…the Chapter 11 Trustee will have authority over the Debtors’ assets and affairs and the future course of the Debtors’ litigation against Novell, IBM. et al.” So that is who speaks for SCO now.
• What about settling the SCO v Novell law suit?
The trustee is going to get serious about settling those cases. But, the trustee has very little if anything to offer in settlement. Novell and IBM are not going to be interested in paying any money at all either. They know they can afford to litigate those issues. And they know (as does now the public) what the facts are. Well funded companies do not fear litigation. Bankrupt companies run by a trustee have almost no chance. The trustee is just not going to go out on any limb. And that may be true even if the case is a slam dunk. And we are not there folks. This is a losing case for SCO even if they had plenty of money to proceed through the litigation. And they do not have that.
I would say that Novell is sitting in the cat-bird seat. And that is true no matter what the old SCO management might say about vindication, etc. They are not vindicated at all. At best they are getting the trial they claimed they wanted but hoped to no end they would not have to take. Ask the trustee about vindication. He or she is going to be more worried about being paid for the time to close up this company. Creditors want to be paid. And the only assets that can be sold for cash are needed to settle the pending lawsuits. And SCO does need to either settle the lawsuits, prosecute them at great expense or suffer from a default judgment entered against them.
And to think you thought you wanted to be the trustee?
• The Late Great Mythical SCO (NOTE: this makes a colossal mistake by repeating the lies from Microsoft/Ken Brown/Alexis de Tocqueville Institution)
At this point, I’m not sure if it matters who owns Unix. It might not matter who holds the copyright, the license, or the original source code. Why does it not matter, you ask? In the Linux perspective, Linus wrote the Linux kernel off of Minix and publicly available code–plus original code of his own.
• SCO still up creek, searching for paddle despite appeal win
A federal appeals court overturned a lower court ruling that Novell owns the copyrights to UNIX, giving SCO a glimmer of hope in its long-running legal battles. But the bankrupt litigation machine still owes Novell over $2.4 million, and a bankruptcy trustee is now calling the shots.
• Die, SCO, Die!
Microsoft joined the fray shortly thereafter, agreeing to license Unix code from SCO and then using the association to fuel confusion over open source licenses and the liability they could carry for corporate users.
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“[W]e should take the lead in establishing a common approach to UI and to interoperability (of which OLE is only a part). Our efforts to date are focussed too much on our own apps, and only incidentally on the rest of the industry. We want to own these standards, so we should not participate in standards groups. Rather, we should call ‘to me’ to the industry and set a standard that works now and is for everyone’s benefit. We are large enough that this can work.”
Summary: Bits of analysis of Microsoft’s mistakes on Web and document standards
IT IS no secret that Microsoft dislikes open standards; they are not good for the shareholders. The integrity of the company often comes later than short-term gain, so it is not a wise strategy, either. According to this gem, it has just become apparent that OOXML is nothing more than a reactionary move caused by the advent of ODF. It was known all along but there is new compelling evidence to support such an argument.
James D. Mason says:
I spent 22 years as the chairman of what is now ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34. SC34 is the committee that standardized SGML in the 1980s and now is responsible for both ODF, supported by many open-source products, and OOXML, the XML released by Microsoft in response to ODF. Neither ODF nor OOXML has anything to do with ODA/ODIF, which have been dormant since the turn of the current century but were still under development in the 1990s in a committee that was parallel to the one that became SC34.
Our past analysis: OOXML is a response. Thank you very much for the confirmation. Stronger language from Mason found in this article.
Thanks to Andre for finding this out. In his country, Germany, Microsoft has been using Fraunhofer essentially as a shill for OOXML. In light of the very latest deception form Fraunhofer, Jones wrote at Groklaw (News Picks):
ODF is totally open to the world. So where might the bottleneck be found, class? Did you really, really think that Microsoft intended there to be real interoperability? Some of us recall very well what happened in Germany in the OOXML approval process and the role this institute played. Remember their words, as translated from the German by a Groklaw volunteer? –
“The beginning standardization procedure of Office Open XML as an ISO standard will lead to a technological development of both standards – Office Open XML and ODF 1.0. The constructive comments that have been made alongside the DIN approval from leading experts guide the way in direction of interoperability” says the head of the department e-Government at Fraunhofer FOKUS and head of the DIN work group translation of document formats. “We at Fraunhofer FOKUS e-government-lab will support the procedure effectively and accompany our lab-partner Microsoft as a member of ECMA International with our know-how in implementing our recommendations.”
In relation to the patent assault on Free software, Jones later used the OOXML saga as an example too, remarking that it proves Microsoft never wanted to interoperate. “Like Microsoft will run right out and do that [give up on patent threats]“, she wrote, “because it just spent a fortune building up a patent portfolio, and it doesn’t plan on using them against Linux. Dream on. It’s not about hating any company, but there is enough water under the bridge to be able to predict that Microsoft probably will use those patents aggressively, as they already did in the TomTom case, and as they do in FUDly ways already. And what makes anyone think Microsoft wishes to interoperate, after watching the OOXML saga? Best to be realistic about Microsoft. The Linux Foundation may feel it has to say stuff like that, but I don’t.”
Microsoft has a long history of fighting against standards rather than accepting that they are needed. Eventually, inevitably, Microsoft joined ODF but did so poorly in a way that may only harm ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. And now it may do the same to HTML5. As CNET puts it:
The World Wide Web Consortium’s HTML Working Group had been led by IBM’s Sam Ruby and Microsoft’s Chris Wilson. Wilson has stepped down and is being replaced by two others, Paul Cotton, who manages Microsoft’s Web services standards team, and Maciej Stachowiak, who manages Apple’s WebKit WebApps team, according to an e-mail announcement by W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee.
Why are freedom-hostile companies put in charge of the W3C HTML Working Group? We asked that question a couple of days ago, mystified.
“Jimmy the Geek” from Linux Today writes:
About 4 years ago. I could see that Vista was going to kill any momentum that Microsoft had picked up from XP and I was right. I even called the layoffs happening this year.
Sadly some of my friends are caught up in the whole MS layoff situation, which sucks.
My prediction for the next 5 years? Microsoft is going to do a Novell. They are going to try to keep doing what they have always done, despite losing more and more and more market, until in the end they are forced to adopt open source as their core OS.
Well, until then, Microsoft will suffer financially, quarter after quarter. █
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