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09.07.09

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

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

Links 07/09/2009: New Debian, Linux 2.6.31 @ RC9

Posted in News Roundup at 6:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Skype Trojan targets Windows; Linux and Apple unaffected

    A programmer who wrote a Trojan that allows third parties to listen to Skype calls has released the code so that computer security firms can develop countermeasures.

  • Atlanta Linux Fest 2009

    On the speaker side, Bradley Kuhn, of Software Freedom Law Center, will be talking about GPLv3. Rikki Kite, an editor at Linux Pro magazine, and Kirrily Robert (who gave a keynote at OSCON), will be discussing women in open source.

  • Linux Journal Contents #186, October 2009

    When it comes to hacking nobody does it like an OSS hacker does. An OSS hacker is a real “hacker” and not a “cracker”. This month’s focus is “Hack This/Programming Hacks”. First up on the hacking plate, and on the cover: Coreboot. Coreboot is meant to displace one of the most intransigent pieces of proprietary software: your motherboard BIOS. Next up is a bit of FPGA programming. Then comes some simple O/S development using KVM to learn your first steps. And if you’re an Android drooler, find out where you can put it. In the “unfocused” part of the magazine you’ll find our normal offerings on things such as Spam-Fighting, OpenGL/Clutter, Laptop Hardening, RSpec, HTop, Open Cubic Player, and at least a zillion other things.

  • Linutop 3 – Linux powered Nettop

    The Linutop 3 has 2GB of internal flash memory to store the software and the operating system. It features a custom Linux OS (Ubuntu) & standard software like Firefox, Open Office & VLC mediaplayer.

  • Desktop

    • Linux kernel speeds up on the desktop

      While many Linux geeks were looking forward to USB 3.0 support and new Firewire drivers, kernel developers have also been working on improvements to desktop interactivity, particularly when the OS is under memory pressure.

    • 10+ buzzwords that should be banned at the office

      11: Cutting edge: So modern, it’s to die for. Example: Sleeperama’s cutting-edge mattress will take the country by storm.

      I was going to try to leverage all of the above to produce an essay, but I was afraid that in the effort, I would want to take a cutting edge to my throat. Anyway, word to the wise: Now that these expressions have been officially identified as irritating jargon, you might want to give them up. Unless your boss is planning to circle back to reach out to interface and socialize to your value-add. What can I tell you? It is what it is.

    • The slow route to Linux

      She’s been booting into Linux by default now, because at the moment it’s that or a crippled Windows. The best thing about it is that I haven’t forced her to pick Arch. She made the choice herself.

      The best thing for me is that I have to do the support of her laptop anyway, and I’m much better at it in Linux. Everybody happy.

    • Linux and Digital Rights Management (DRM)

      The principles of open source software and the film and record companies’ perceived need to control how film, video and audio recordings are consumed seem incompatible. This article explores the issues.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.31-rc9

      I know I said I’d just release the final 2.6.31 when I was done diving, but there were more pull requests while I was away than I’m comfortable with at this stage. So I’m doing an -rc9 to let it simmer for a couple of days and get some last-minute testing before doing the final release.

  • Applications

    • Wine, Linux and Multimedia Software (Part 1)

      Installing Ubuntu was easy, with all of my hardware being automatically detected including my laser printer. I was immediately impressed with how simple everything is to use. Some of the software that I used under Windows is also available under Linux. Skype, FireFox, and OpenOffice are three of my most frequently used applications, and the transition to Linux for these applications was painless. However, there remained one significant barrier to becoming productive under Linux. Unfortunately, the developers of many of my favorite Windows software have decided not to release a Linux version. Whilst there are Linux alternatives for many of these applications (some of which, no doubt, are just as good or in fact even better than what I had been using in the Windows world), this did not alter the fact that I would need to learn how a large set of new software worked. Do not get me wrong, I love experimenting with fresh software. But to be faced with having to learn about so many new applications simultaneously was a bit daunting.

    • Creating Pseudo-3D Imagery with GIMP: Part 1

      Here again, I would stress that nothing beats a properly planned image, that applies to all genres you can think of. Some might think it’s a waste of precious time to start sitting and planning without having a concrete output at the end of the thought process. But believe me, the ideas you planned will be far more powerful and beautiful than those ideas you just had, when you were just messing around and playing with the tool directly.

    • Review: Ubuntu Tweak

      I never install anything outside of the official Ubuntu software repositories unless I am able to audit the source code – this is one of the benefits of open-source software. So, I downloaded the Ubuntu Tweak .deb file and unpacked it. Everything looked fine so I installed it. The installation completed without errors on my Ubuntu 9.04 system so I launched the app from a terminal.

    • Arora – completely FLOSS Webkit browser

      If you want to run a WebKit web browser with no strings attached (unlike Safari and Google Chrome), Arora is surely worth a try.

  • K Desktop Environment

    • KDE Community Forums Awarded phpBBHacks.com Featured phpBB For August 2009

      Over the last year the KDE Community Forums have served as a premier platform for the KDE community to communicate with each other. With over 13,000 registered users generating more than 15,000 topics of discussion the site is growing by the minute. A little over a month ago, the forums introduced a new look while moving over to the phpBB forum software. These improvements have clearly caught the attention of many people as KDE’s Community Forums were selected as the phpBBHacks.com Featured phpBB for the month of August 2009.

    • The Ultimate Blogging Client for Linux

      Ever since i started a blog i had always wanted a wanted a application which would allow me do my blogging (preferably offline ) without having to use the web browser. One of the reasons for this was because i (as at then) did not have a stable Internet connection and had to go to Internet cafe to do my blogging which wasn’t really convenient. I wanted a way to do my blogging offline and then upload later. Even when i had a stable Internet connection i still prefer to having to use a browser for blogging. Unfortunately for me most of the blogging applications ( Drivel BloGTK KBlogger gnome-blog) i tried on Linux just didn’t cut it, some didn’t work with wordpress and the once that did weren’t powerful enough or were buggy or just too basic.

    • Four Nifty Blogging Clients for KDE

      When you sit down to put together a blog post, the last thing you want getting in your way is a finicky blogging client. This week, we’ll take a look at open source blogging software designed for the Linux operating system, as well as apps created specifically for the KDE and GNOME desktop. In fact, let’s get started with KDE first.

    • I’m in Love… KDE 4.3.1

      My first impression of KDE 4.3 is that it is a lot simpler for newcomers (than KDE 3) and it looks fantastic. I used earlier versions of KDE4 and they didn’t cause me trouble, but this one is almost perfect and I am unable to find noticeable wrinkles or creases. In fact, the new release incorporates so many wonderful changes that it would be irrational to ever step back to KDE3 again.

    • Amarok 2.2 Beta 1 “Crystal Clear” Released

      The Amarok team is getting ready for the release of Amarok 2.2 and is proud to release the first beta version of Amarok 2.2.

    • How-To: Install Amarok 2.2 Beta 1 from the Kubuntu Beta Backports

      The first beta of Amarok 2.2, codenamed ‘Crystal Clear’, was released on September 4 and packages are available for Kubuntu 9.04 Jaunty from the Kubuntu Beta Backports.

    • Bitten by singletons
  • Distributions

    • How to be anonymous online with Incognito

      At first glance Incognito may seem suited only for the extremely paranoid, because of the totality of tools it offers to hide your online presence. But those tools, each designed to mask a certain aspect of your online activity, have been around for quite a while. This 430MB-ish live CD has many faithful users, but I can’t quote any on its usefulness since their identities couldn’t be confirmed. Yes, Incognito is that good.

    • First Impression: Zenwalk 6.2

      I have a Dell Latitude c600 laptop that I like to use for light work or when I’m on the go. Between overall awkwardness and to age of the laptop I have found it hard to find a Linux distribution that runs well without too much configuration. This isn’t my main computer so I’ve been putting it off until today.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat and HP Optimize Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for HP BladeSystem Matrix

        Yesterday, Red Hat announced the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4, the foundation of the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization portfolio of solutions. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 is now available on HP BladeSystem and HP ProLiant servers. With this combination, customers can take advantage of an open source, standards-based virtual infrastructure that provides scalability and security capabilities. Additionally, enterprises will be able to leverage management
        capabilities offered by both companies. In the future, customers can expect
        increasing levels of management integration between the system and operating environment to further drive administrator productivity.

      • Is 7 years of RHEL support still sufficient ?

        It makes a lot of sense, now that Linux in general is maturing (and more specifically, the kernel is not having major bumpy releases) and new main RHEL releases are slowing down. Less reasons for a new major release. Less effort to back-port functionality and features. In turn, Red Hat can better deploy its existing resources to fewer supported releases, but instead support them longer.

    • Debian Family

      • First Lubuntu Test ISOs Available

        Yesterday the LXDE community received an announcement on their blog, in which developer Mario Behling told the world about the availability of the first Lubuntu test images, based on Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala). The upcoming operating system already proves to be a serious contender to Xubuntu, the ISO weighing in at a meager 342 MB. The image is based on the work of David Sugar, with added patches by the community.

      • Update for “Lenny”, Debian 5.0.3

        The third update of Debian 5.0 has been released by the Debian developers. The update provides a number of security updates and bug fixes and an updated installer. The announcement summarises the changes while the change log provides a detailed overview of all the changes.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Gets Unreleased Catalyst 9.10 Driver

        Besides the ATI Catalyst Linux driver still lacking public XvBA support (the library is in the driver, but there’s no documentation or public implementations of it) even though we exclusively detailed the X-Video Bitstream Acceleration architecture nearly a year ago for enhancing HD video playback on Linux, the other leading problem we usually end up facing with AMD’s proprietary Linux driver is their slow response time with supporting new X Server and kernel releases. AMD’s policy has been not to focus on providing support for unreleased kernels/X servers, and then to provide the support once out, but while they do provide new releases on a consistent monthly basis, things usually don’t end up working out as planned.

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 158

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #158 for the week August 30th – September 5th, 2009. In this issue we cover: Karmic Koala Alpha 5 released, New Ubuntu TechBoard for 2009, Jono Bacon: Three Years At Canonical, Canonical adds Advanced Ubuntu Service and Support, Ubuntu Stats, Ubuntu LoCo News, Karmic gets another cloud tool: Tahoe-LAFS, Ubuntu Forums Tutorial of the week & Report Abuse Icon, Ubuntu Developer Week Summaries, Help Fill in the Ubuntu IRC channels, Ubuntu Podcast Quickie #11, Ubuntu-UK podcast: The Android Invasion, and much, much more!

      • Taking a look at xPUD 0.9

        xPUD is based on Ubuntu, with ideas borrowed from Damn Small Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Frankencamera is open source, runs on Linux

      Photo scientists at Stanford University have conceived what is probably the world’s first open-source camera. Their contraption, dubbed the Frankencamera, consists of a Nokia N95 mobile phone camera module, circuit board, a couple of lenses from Canon and Linux for all the open-source goodness.

    • Carrier takes heroic step toward Android

      Sprint will be the first U.S. carrier to offer HTC’s “Hero” Android smartphone, complete with the “Sense” UI and a low $180 pricetag. Meanwhile, Google is responding to criticism from Android developers by adding promotional mechanisms to Android Market, and eWEEK looks inside the Android-based T-Mobile MyTouch 3G.

    • New Atom models target low-cost PCs

      Acer, the world’s third-largest PC maker, is already showing off a Linux-compatible N270 Atom-based netbook called the Aspire One, due in the third quarter.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Application Development: 11 Apache Technologies that Have Changed Computing in the Last 10 Years

    The Apache Software Foundation turns 10 this year and will be celebrating this landmark milestone with the largest ApacheCon event in November. Although a completely volunteer organization, the ASF has helped create some of the most important technologies underpinning the modern Internet.

  • What’s An Eigenbase?

    Organizationally, Eigenbase is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity. It has had contributions of various kinds – servers, IP, etc. from numerous companies and individuals since its founding in 2004. John Sichi, president and chairman, worked for Quadbase Systems and Broadbase Software, and was the original developer of Fennel and Farrago, two Eigenbase framework subprojects. John contributes to a number of other open source projects inside and outside of Eigenbase, including JGraphT and LucidDB.

  • Skype for Asterisk Debuts

    Two big forces in the world of VoIP are coming together in a new solution called Skype for Asterisk (SfA).

  • Medical : Sourceforge Project of the Month

    Medical, the Open Source Health and Hospital Information System, has been the winner in SourceForge project of the month.

  • Open source may have won, but not by *that* much

    Curtis makes a wide array of valid points, but sometimes they contradict each other. As just one example, he cites Stanford University research that reveals just .17 bugs per 1,000 lines of code in Linux to highlight Linux’s reliability compared to Windows and other proprietary software, which tends to average 20 to 30 bugs per 1,000 lines of code.

  • DesktopBSD 1.7 – last and final version

    Peter Hofer, founder of DesktopBSD, has announced DesktopBSD 1.7. This new release comes with FreeBSD 7.2-RELEASE-p3 as base system and KDE 3.5.10 as desktop environment and includes a large number of pre-installed applications. The easy-to-use graphical installer and utilities allow for a simple installation and configuration process.

  • OpenOffice.org

    • What’s up in OOo 3.2?

      In 2 weeks it is planned to branch off the code line for OOo 3.2. A Beta will be released based on that version if the members of the release status meeting approve it.

      Currently the developer milestone DEV300m57 will be uploaded and will be available soon. To help checking the new features or finding the new UI for translation I created a Wiki page with all integrated feature and enhancements (based on the feature announcements).

    • New: OpenOffice.org 2.4.3 available
    • Project Renaissance – Support from the University of Osnabrueck

      In addition to going through gazillions of feedback regarding the prototypes on different channels, thinking and discussing further UX engineering initiatives, analyzing the data collected using a new, office productivity specific version of the IsoMetrics usability questionnaire, there are two university projects that we give advice to in parallel.

    • 10 Amazing Tricks for Open Office

      Open Office has carved a niche in the office suite market as the most viable alternative for Microsoft Office. It’s popularity is contributed to the fact that it is a freeware and it supports standard OpenDocument Format as well as Microsoft Office formats. With a Microsoft Office like interface and all essential features, the Open Office suite has been designed to meet the needs of most office environments. It’s no wonder that small and mid-sized entrepreneurs running on budget are increasingly switching to this open source office suite. Open Office 3.0 version was a major upgrade and now we have the 3.1 version with enhanced features and bug fixes. Features introduced in the Office Suite includes a vector-based drawing environment called Draw, a presentation program called Impress, a spreadsheet program called Calc, and several others. With so much on offer, you still have a lot to explore in Open Office. To enhance your experience with the Office Suite we offer you 10 amazing tricks for Open Office.

  • Firefox

    • Firefox Mozilla Mockups for version 4

      How would you like the next version of Mozilla Firefox UI to look ? Would you like it to have a spartan look and feel similar to Google Chrome ? Or should it be an amalgamation of all the good UI ideas found in different browsers like Opera, Internet Explorer 8.0, Safari and Google Chrome ?

    • Fresh Roadmap for Firefox

      The Mozilla Project has updated its roadmap for the coming versions of Firefox. The next big release, Firefox 4.0 with Geko1.9.4 underneath, is scheduled for the end of 2010.

    • Review: My Favorite Firefox Extensions
  • Business

    • Mule is Evolving

      Some of you may have read our recent press release about the new MuleSoft Tcat Server, now in public beta. In a nutshell, the MuleSoft Tcat Server is a new web application server that helps system administrators ditch their bloated, legacy infrastructure in favor of the lighter weight Apache Tomcat, without losing robust enterprise functionality and support. This new offering, solves a huge pain-point for our customers and user community.

    • David Nuescheler on Commercial Open Source Software

      At Day we believe in producing a lot of our code ourselves. If we find ourselves in a position where we need to develop commodity code that is generally applicable and reusable we try to open source as much as possible.

    • Open Source Contract Considerations

      At Crowd Favorite we work primarily with WordPress, but also with many other Open Source projects. We are often working with larger companies that have standard Master Services Agreements (MSAs) or Professional Services Agreements (PSAs). These agreement templates are designed so that these companies have a known legal foundation to work from, and include a variety of requirements and terms that apply to the consultants working for them and governing the Deliverables created by those consultants. These agreements often have standard language in them that have some interesting side-effects when you are working with Open Source.

  • Licensing

    • Opinion: GPL delivers clarity and freedom to business

      The Gnu General Public Licence (GPL) has been around in one form or another since the Gnu manifesto published by Richard Stallman in 1985.

      The free software movement founded at that time has not simply created the most successful copyright licence ever, it has acted as a guide to other, similar movements, including open data, open government and open information systems, such as Wikipedia. It is the same principles that Vint Cerf applied in 1983 when he “invented” the internet.

  • Programming

    • Pyjamas: writing AJAX applications in Python

      Maintaining a complex web application that uses a lot of Javascript for client-side, “AJAX”-style interactivity is rather difficult. The clumsiness of the Javascript language itself, as well as the various tricks needed to make an application work consistently across multiple browsers, all of which must be wrapped up inside HTML, makes for a jumble of issues for the application developer. Pyjamas is meant to ease that development, by allowing client-side applications to be written in Python, then translating that code to Javascript for use by the browser.

Leftovers

  • Music industry calls for filesharing tax

    THE LATEST CUNNING PLAN of the music industry is to get the government to bring in a tax to pay what it claims to have lost to ‘pirates’.

  • Flexbooks – a Non-Braindead way to produce textbooks

    I’ve just seen a post on Flexbooks, an initiative of CK-12 so headed over to have a look. I believe initiatives of this kind are extremely important. Because copyright makes the price of textbooks too high, copyright is a significant barrier to education. A poorly educated workforce is a lower production workforce. In short, copyright ideology substantially lowers GDP. Well, no more. The Flexbooks initiative aims to provide textbooks for K-12 under the CC-BY-SA licence. The obnoxious (and anti-social) ‘-NC’ is absent. Thank heavens these are enlightened educators!

  • Thinking about downloads

    In the internet we have something precious and valuable. In the millenial generation we have something precious and valuable. It is time to keep our heads and do the right thing, foster innovation, encourage cultural expression and adaptation. And avoid seeking to alienate an entire generation…. in order to try and implement a failed proposition.

  • Pirates Party to defend non-commercial file-sharing

    That’s the other mistake — demonising teenagers swapping songs with mates, labelling them sleazy thieves. It doesn’t go down well with either parents or society. The industry, despite everything is still trying to resist a basic fact… that the days of physical formats and high pricing are as dead as the dodo.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Mandriva CEO Jean Francois Boncilhon 03 (2005)


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

How Microsoft Sponsors Events Only to Crash Them

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Virtualisation, VMware at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft dirty tactics

Summary: Lessons learned from the effect of Microsoft attending (and sabotaging) its competitors’ conferences

Microsoft’s slog tactics [1, 2, 3] against VMware [1, 2, 3, 4] are accompanied by Microsoft’s increasing control over VMware’s management (many Microsoft executives have entered it). VMware employees are complaining as the company turns its back on Linux, but it does not mean that Microsoft is an ally of VMware; the same goes for Citrix. They just all work together to advance their own separate interests rather than compete properly. it’s the illusion of competition, almost a collusion.

There were several reports out there about Microsoft, Citrix and VMware arguing, but they are merely all from the same camp in the sense that staff and inclinations seem similar. Also in the news we’ve just found this:

VMware says Microsoft ‘shenanigans’ led to new VMworld restrictions

[...]

One year ago, Microsoft handed out casino chips directing VMworld attendees to a Web site titled “VMware costs way too much.” At the time, Microsoft was a “gold sponsor” of VMworld. But at this year’s show in San Francisco Microsoft is no longer a sponsor and claims that new VMworld rules prevent it from exhibiting the latest version of System Center Virtual Machine Manager on the show floor. Citrix has made similar complaints.

We wrote about Microsoft's anti-VMware site about a year ago (when VMware was a lot less occupied by ex-Softies). Microsoft loves crashing other people’s events.

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

Microsoft Lays Off More Employees Across the US, But Hires Near SCO

Posted in Microsoft, SCO at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bryce canyon

Summary: Reluctantly, under pressure, Microsoft acknowledges further layoffs in the US; the father of SCO’s representative welcomes Microsoft expansion in Utah

Microsoft had laid off thousands of employees at the beginning of the year and completed the layoffs earlier than planned. Last month, Microsoft let another 2,000+ employees go when it sold part of itself to Publicis Groupe SA.

With the exception of places where there is cheaper labour, Microsoft is cutting down throughout the whole company so as to lower operation costs.

The Seattle Times has just found out that Microsoft is still laying employees off, more or less forcing Microsoft to acknowledge that the scale is greater than first reported.

Microsoft is laying off 27 employees in Redmond and Bellevue, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department.

[...]

Update 2:59 p.m.: Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos saidthe company is making cuts across the country, but he did not elaborate on how many more jobs in the U.S. were affected.

The Seattle press tries to downplay it and so do the Microsoft blogs from Seattle [1, 2]. Here is the report from Ars Technica and another one from The Register:

In January Microsoft announced plans to layoff 5,000 staff over the course of 18 months.

It’s understood that most of those staff cuts have now been completed.

Microsoft actually hinted several months ago that it would go further than that; now it’s confirmed. How far might it go in the long term?

In another piece of news that we wrote about or at least mentioned several times before, former SCO employees and the current Novell strategy may have led to this idea:

Microsoft opens new research office in Utah

[...]

Microsoft Corp. marked the opening Thursday of its new research and development office where it plans to employ as many as 100 people working on some key areas of the giant software company’s products.

The opening and the addition of those high-paying jobs were announced in June. The facility was opened three weeks ago, and on Thursday the Redmond, Wash.-based, company marked the occasion with a ceremony featuring Sen. Orrin Hatch.

The above is not surprising as it was planned a long time ago. What is interesting, however, is that Senator Orrin Hatch’s son “coincidentally represents SCO,” as Groklaw reminds us. Here he is inaugurating alongside Microsoft.

Another Front Group with Microsoft Employees Joins Coalition Against Google

Posted in Courtroom, Google, Microsoft at 6:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Leiria Library - interior

Summary: EPIC — like Yahoo — joins the opposition to a digital library settlement; further punishments for Yahoo! after Microsoft deal

SPEAKING for myself, while I worry about Google’s logo being put on a lot of digitised literature, I believe it helps in bringing knowledge to a lot of deprived (euphemism “underprivileged”) people. This new article echoes more or less the same point of view.

Blind people, for example, have access to a special library run by the Library of Congress that converts print books into formats readable by the visually impaired, but that library–in existence since 1931–only has 70,000 texts, said Chris Danielsen, director of public relations for the National Federation of the Blind. If the settlement is approved in October, it will give “print-disabled” people “access to more books than we have ever had in human history,” he said.

The Microsoft lobby and its anti-Google antics are no news. The way hostility towards Google is spread has always been curious, with the likes of Preston Gralla and other Microsoft fans attacking Google in public (as “journalists”). The Microsoft-faithful Maggie Shiels (see examples in [1, 2, 3]) adds to this pressure on Google by writing about it for the BBC.

Guess who else is joining the action against Google? It’s EPIC once again, and it uses “privacy” as ammunition in a copyrights debate. There are Microsoft employees on EPIC’s board.

Warning that Google’s $125m digital library settlement with American authors and publishers provides exactly zero privacy protection for the world’s readers, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed a motion in federal court to intervene in the hotly-debated Google Book Search case.

Another recent joiner in this fight against Google would be Yahoo!, which is virtually under Microsoft's thumb. Yahoo’s motion against Google is not news anymore, but this is:

An unhappy memo from Yahoo Inc. CEO Carol Bartz was published Tuesday, a day after investor Carl Icahn revealed he recently sold about 13 million shares in the company.

The Bartz memo published in Dow Jones All Things Digital blog urges employees at the Sunnyvale company (NASDAQ:YHOO) to get back to work and stop debating the merits of her recent search deal with Microsoft Corp.

In it she tells employees to “get out of the sugar low – we have work to do. Stop staring at our navels, stop arguing with each other. Stop debate, debate, debate, and let’s focus on the competition.”

As the above states, Yahoo! is now being ‘punished’ by Icahn. His little gig proxying for Microsoft (they communicated with one another throughout the acquisition battle) or pursuits for self gain are almost done. See the coverage in:

Yahoo! fell into Microsoft’s grip in vain. But then again, that was the purpose of putting cronies inside the company, was it not? See the posts below for background.

Related posts:

The Fall of Microsoft Office and the Rise of FOSS vs SaaS Wars

Posted in Africa, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Mail, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenOffice at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Boycott Novell newspaper

Summary: As businesses shift away from proprietary software, a foreseen struggle may involve location of the software

THIS NEWS was alluded to very briefly in a lump of Daily Links, but here it is in detail along with some additional context.

There are many reports out there about a survey that indicates small businesses in the UK are ditching Microsoft Office.

Despite the dominance of Microsoft Office, Google Apps may be gaining ground with small businesses in the United Kingdom, according to a new study.

Accredited Supplier, a U.K.-based B2B marketplace, polled 1,400 Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) customers, and found that 13 percent plan to switch from Office to Google Apps within the next 12 months.

Some suggest that it means growth for Fog Computing, notably Google. To give an example:

British small biz falls out of love with Microsoft, heads to the Clouds

[...]

In their poll of 1,400 Microsoft customers, all small businesses in the UK, they found that 13% of them intend to switch to Google Apps within 12 months while 22% are “undecided”. In other words a healthy number are either switching or probably poised to switch. Of the remaining, 36% were Not Switching and 29% were “Not aware” of Google Apps.

Google is indeed the point of focus here now that the team at Google makes a push into the enterprise.

The response to Google seems to involve an unhealthy dose of FUD. The other day we wrote about how the press had taken Gmail downtime (Web-based side only) out of reasonable proportions, especially given the fact that many businesses don’t quite mind and it’s not news because nothing is ever perfect.

Businesses Don’t Expect 100% Availability With Gmail

[...]

There’s been plenty of blogging, twittering, and general hand-wringing about Google’s Gmail outage Tuesday. But rather than extend this into yet another philosophical discussion about the viability of cloud computing, let’s keep this in mind: Businesses who’ve signed on for Gmail don’t expect perfection. In fact, both Google and Microsoft only agree to 99.9% uptime for their online email offerings.

Familiar Microsoft shills like Preston Gralla do their usual routine of spitting at Google given the downtime which affected only Web access (E-mail could still be accessed via other protocols).

With all that talk about Google Apps, it is worth emphasising that one should ideally move to Free software such as KOffice or OpenOffice.org. Fog Computing distances control and can sometimes hold personal data as hostage. The reason Google is defended in this case is that it helps weaken a company which is constantly attacking GNU/Linux and Free software in general.

The Los Angeles Times has this new piece about Microsoft’s continued loss in Fog Computing.

Microsoft’s grip on users is being lost in the cloud

[...]

Microsoft’s goal obviously is to coerce me to upgrade to the new version of Office, which would cost me as much as $400, take up an enormous amount of my hard drive space and undoubtedly consume obscene quantities of my computing power.

[...]

Still, the cloud is opening the playing field for sellers of what’s known as “software as a service” — instead of buying a program and managing it in your home or office, you pay these guys a subscription fee to maintain the program and hold your data on their computers. (What happens to your data if your subscription lapses or the servicer goes out of business is another issue still lost in the, er, clouds.)

Glyn Moody drew attention to this alerting reminder of how Microsoft exploits schools such that they become agents of lock-in.

Microsoft’s Education Labs launched a new project this afternoon and it’s better on trees and the environment. The group just announced a new Math Worksheet Generator where teachers can generate math problems and email them in paperless Word format to their students. In addition to Math Worksheet Generator, the group also announced plans for two additional projects to be released in the Fall.

Moody’s response to it is this:

Hard-pressed teachers will love this – and won’t even notice that they are being turned into a vector for lock-in to Word (not that they aren’t already). I predict we’ll be seeing much more of this content-driven approach, whereby Microsoft makes people offers they can’t refuse…provide they take King Billy’s shilling.

Speaking of education and lock-in, here is something to watch out for:

After seven years in rented buildings in Ghana, Ashesi University broke ground on a new campus that’s largely funded by donations from Microsoft alumni.

Microsoft’s EDGI is sometimes used in Africa for digital colonisation. While the above does not seem to say much about the curriculum, it remains to be seen if the campus becomes a training centre for Microsoft, recruiting people to have the nation dependent on the company, digitally. In developing nations, Microsoft is still experimenting with business models for squeezing the most money out of already-impoverished people. “Pay-as-you-go” thinking is not passé yet.

As per the new agreement, Landsteinar will offer Microsoft SPLA licensing schema on a ‘pay as you go’ software leasing basis, charging only for the number of users per month.

Fog Computing is either based on advertising or “pay-as-you-go” (subscription) for revenue, whereas Free software is mostly customisation- and support-based. That is where customers actually pay for real value.

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Microsoft, the Broadcasting Company

Posted in America, Apple, Europe, Marketing, Microsoft at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Television Tower

Summary: Microsoft and the media come together in the UK, Canada, and the United States

BACK IN AUGUST we offered a little summary of Microsoft’s mischiefs at the BBC [1, 2], where there is increasing staff-wise intersection with Microsoft. The Belfast Telegraph has come up with a somewhat alarming headline, saying that “Microsoft plans to become key provider of news to British audiences.”

Microsoft plans to become key provider of news to British audiences

It’s really called a huddle but we are so whacky and new media here we call it The Cuddle,” laughs Matthew Ball, as he heads off into a corner of the newsroom and gathers his staff about him.

Then in a circular space, looking out towards Buckingham Palace, Microsoft’s British editor-in-chief, addresses his team of news, entertainment, motoring and business journalists, as they seek to become major players in the British news media.

What will be next? Glorification of Microsoft and Gates, among other things on Microsoft’s agenda? We saw a lot of this before, particularly where Microsoft has investments and/or former staff.

There is a similar situation in Canada, but it seems a lot less severe because Bell recently disengaged from partnering with Microsoft. In the United States, on the other hand, Microsoft bought quite a few news sites/channels recently, along with MSNBC. It is part of a trend and even blogs are now paid to promote Microsoft.

The Emmy Awards ceremony is to be chaired by a Microsoft corporate VP and here is Microsoft taking its stock of products to television.

The New York Television Festival is partnering with Microsoft’s MSN, Zune and Xbox for the fifth annual event, taking place from Sept. 21-26 in New York City.

Apple Insider argues that “Microsoft’s fight against Apple ads seen as waste of money.”

With Apple’s Mac home market share tripling in the past five years, Microsoft has fought back with its own advertising campaigns attacking Apple for the first time, a move one analyst sees as a mistake.

Marketing does make a difference, but the question is, what is the cost to Microsoft? With multi-billion marketing budgets, Apple and Microsoft sure annul a lot of their earnings. Superficial images and stereotypes are not an ideal method to gain faithfulness from customers, but then again, Ballmer and his wife have an extensive professional background in marketing.

“Steve Ballmer: Advertisers, Advertisers, Advertisers”

Microsoft Still in Court for Failure with Xbox 360

Posted in Courtroom, Hardware, Microsoft at 4:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video editing console

Summary: Microsoft sued over Xbox 360 mishandling and additional reports highlight other issues with the product

Xbox 360 has come under a plethora of lawsuits, some of which over patents [1, 2, 3], but some other lawsuits targeted the obvious issues such as systematic scratching of CDs and the Red Ring of Death (RRoD). One such lawsuit is still ongoing, based on the following unique report.

Microsoft’s motion to dismiss a Madison County suit over its X-Box 360 video game system will be heard Wednesday.

The maker of Windows operating systems and X-Box products is asking Circuit Judge Daniel Stack to throw out a first amended complaint of plaintiff Jason Johnson.

Stack had previously dismissed Johnson’s original complaint in July but allowed him to amend it.

Johnson is suing the company for $50,000 and costs.

Several weeks ago we wrote about the survey which estimated the death toll (in terms of ratio) of Xbox 360 to be roughly 54% and more modest estimates come from another source, which somehow contradicts most prior surveys, going as far back as 2007. Xbox 360 is still by far the most error-prone gaming console.

After the first two years of ownership, 23.7% of Xbox 360 owners reported a system failure, compared with 2.7% of Wii owners and 10% of PS3 owners, according to the latest SquareTrade study. The most common types of problems with the PS3 and Xbox 360 were disc read errors and output issues, while the Wii had more power and remote control problems that the other systems.

Xbox 360 has faced some other waves of criticism this month, one of which is due to this:

VG247 is reporting that Microsoft may be to blame for the apparent standstill in the release of MMOs such as Champions Online on the Xbox 360.

Is there a (profitable) future for Xbox 360? It seems highly unlikely.

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