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09.08.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: September 8th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 08/09/2009: Foxconn Makes GNU/Linux Sub-notebooks

Posted in News Roundup at 7:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Foundation talks on next-gen kernel plans

    Like a fervent preacher appearing before his flock, Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin emphasised benefits and potential for the Linux platform Thursday during an industry conference that also featured an update on mobile Linux efforts.

    At the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in San Francisco, Zemlin cited advances by Linux into multiple spaces, including supercomputing and embedded systems. “It is the fastest growing platform in every aspect of computing,” Zemlin said, “Linux is growing two to three times faster than any other platform out there today.”

  • Linux in The Virtual Classroom

    The virtual classroom consists of live interaction between instructor and student using VOIP and allowing students to login to the instructor’s screen to view demonstrations. These are the keys to any successful training, especially as it is related to acquiring skills on Linux servers. One of the major trends that we see every day is the movement of Windows Administrators to Linux Administrators.

  • 100 Reasons Why Linux Kicks Ass

    Linux is the universal operating system. It runs on everything from personal computers to traffic signals. Airplanes, automobiles, and even wrist watches can also run Linux. Originally started as a hobby in 1991, Linux creator Linus Torvalds claimed that Linux “won’t be big and professional…” Given the rapid global reach of Linux today it’s easy to see why many believe this was the biggest understatement in all of computing history.

  • (Video) The Last Patch: A Funny Movie About The Battle Between Microsoft And Open Source in Arabia.

    The battle between Microsoft and Open Source is never ending. This video produced by Jordanians mimic how fanatics on both sides defend their turf.

  • Desktop

    • Dell Ships Ubuntu 9.04 Systems Ahead of Windows 7 Launch

      Dell’s U.S. website has started offering Ubuntu 9.04 on a Mini 10V and Inspiron 15N laptop. The move comes less than two months before Microsoft’s Windows 7 launch — essentially reinforcing Dell’s commitment to Ubuntu in some targeted markets. But will Dell pre-load Ubuntu 9.04 on a desktop PC? Here’s some analysis.

    • Learn about Linux/OSS at the Solano Stroll

      We will be manning an open source software / Linux booth at the Solano Stroll. The Stroll is a fantastic street festival in Berkeley/Albany on Solano Avenue with a lot of great food, entertainment and vendors. If you are in the area, come check it out and stop by to say hi and learn about free software. Look for us a couple blocks from San Pablo.

    • Spoilt for choice – spoiled choice: Finding the right Linux distribution for my old laptop

      Generally, if you are new to Linux, a community as great as this will help you (and will definitely help me) to further your knowledge about Linux in general, and has already. I have been compiling my first programs from source code already, a thing which I have tried but never succeeded in other distros. VL just seems cleverly designed, slim enough to be fast, yet powerful enough to cater for my needs and it just makes sense.

  • Server

    • Where is the value in Linux?

      For some companies which I know of they value Linux because it is free and has better support for the applications they wish to use. Some use it for their databases, others use Linux in the products they manufacturer, PBX’s for example. Even though the Linux operating system itself is free they still purchase support contracts for that finger pointing feeling which is so important in enterprise culture.

    • Victorian Department of Transport All Aboard with Unisys Passenger Information System for Metropolitan Train Stations

      The new application, to be developed by Unisys, is expected to be built in the Linux Open Source environment using Java development tools. The Open Source approach is designed to increase the flexibility of the application environment to reduce support costs through easier maintenance of the system.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.32 To Get R600 KMS Along With 3D

      David Airlie has pushed a horde of new code into his drm-next Git tree, which is what will get pulled into the Linux 2.6.32 kernel once the merge window is open. Most prominently, this new DRM code brings support for kernel mode-setting with R600 class hardware as well as 3D support. Of course, to benefit from those features, you will also need the latest libdrm, Mesa, and xf86-video-ati DDX code too.

    • Good News for Logitech Audio Hub Owners

      I have come across some very good news to those who, like me, own a Logitech Audio Hub USB speaker system. Until now it did not work properly on Linux systems, there was always a constant clicking in the sound. I have been dragging it back out and trying it again from time to time, as new Linux releases come out… and I am pleased to report that it works beautifully with three of the current test distributions I just tried – Ubuntu 9.10, openSuSE 11.2 and Fedora 12! Hooray!

    • Kernel Log – Extra round for 2.6.31, X.org 7.5 on the horizon, staging area to be cleaned up

      Linus Torvalds will release 2.6.31 a few days later than previously announced and has scheduled another release candidate, RC9. After some delay, the development of X.org 7.5 is now going ahead at full steam, and the developers plan to have the final version ready by the end of this month. Greg Kroah-Hartman wants to clean up the staging area – this could also affect Microsoft’s Hyper-V drivers. Con Kolivas has released BFS, a process scheduler specifically tailored for desktop systems.

    • Intel P55 Chipset Preview On Linux

      This morning Intel has introduced their new mainstream desktop chipset, the Intel P55, and has brought forth the Core i5 processor family along with new Core i7 processors for use with this new chipset and socket. Intel sent us out a review kit of this new hardware so we are already able to comment on its Linux compatibility. In this article we are talking specifically about the Intel P55 and its Linux compatibility with regard to the Intel DP55KG motherboard while in the next article we have Ubuntu Linux benchmarks using an Intel Core i5 750 and Core i7 870.

  • Web Browsers

  • KDE

    • Fast Compositing with KDE4 and FGLRX

      After a much heated discussion about how to fix the horrible resizing and performance bug with FGLRX and KDE4, no one knew where to start looking. The X team had to do a little digging; the KDE4 team needed to change somethings; the FGLRX warehouse needed to get their shit together and listen to the users… bla bla bla the flame wars raged on, fingers were pointed, and nothing ever got done.

    • Multimedia frameworks in Qt

      I’ve also started the work on an advanced configuration dialog for Phonon-Xine, like the Xine configuration dialog in Codeine (the Xine-based video player in KDE 3), exposing all the available options, without having to edit the config file by hand.

  • Distributions

    • Slitaz 2 – 30MB of joy

      Compared to version 1.0, Slitaz is an improvement. It’s more refined and polished, better looking, more intuitive to use, and simplifies a number of important system functions with friendly GUIs. Samba sharing has also been added.

    • Gentoo

      • Rolling vs. Fixed Releases

        Fixed releases offer a measure of stability as much testing is done on the packages within that release. New versions are released on a schedule and typically given a cool name. This may sound very appealing also, but you typically find your app versions are slightly dated and doing a complete OS install for each new release may be a bit of a pain.

      • The Gentoo Pandora Project becomes Neuvoo

        After nigh on a year of sweat, tears and beer, Viridior, JavaJake and the rest of the Gentoo Pandora team have restructured, repurposed and renamed their project Neuvoo.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat defends its subscription license model for Linux

        Anyone finding Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) subscriptions a tough sell for management used to Microsoft’s one-time license fee for Windows must emphasize that there are more factors to be considered, chiefly return on investment, Red Hat officials said Friday.

      • Red Hat’s Whitehurst: What Next For Open Source?

        Red Hat can’t match Microsoft or Oracle’s marketing budgets, but the open source paradigm gives it an advantage in the long term, chief executive Jim Whitehurst told eWEEK Europe

        Red Hat chief executive Jim Whitehurst is on a high after the company’s annual customer conference. The event, launched RHEL 5.4, it also took JBoss middleware to the cloud, and included new cloud projects

      • Red Hat Announces Finalists in Third Annual Innovation Awards
      • Goldman Sachs Upgrades Red Hat (RHT) to Buy

        Goldman Sachs upgrades Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) from Neutral to Buy and raised their price target from $18 to $28. The firm cited a robust upcoming server cycle, an appealing strategic platform position in the migration to cloud-based computing, and “Street” estiamtes are too low.

    • Ubuntu Family

      • How do Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Edubuntu fit in?

        In addition to the highly popular Ubuntu operating system, Canonical also sponsors several “official” derivatives of Ubuntu, aimed at different types of hardware, different user preferences, and different use cases.

      • Ubuntu tweaking for everyone

        One great tool power users in the Windows world have long enjoyed is Microsoft’s unsupported TweakUI. A range of similar Tweak utilities have followed for successive versions of Windows. Ubuntu Linux users have their own little-known tool called Ubuntu Tweak to help achieve the same degree of modification.

    • New Releases

      • Tiny Core 2.3
      • GParted 0.4.6-3
      • Frugalware 1.1 (Getorin) released

        The Frugalware Developer Team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Frugalware 1.1, our eleventh stable release.

      • Zenwalk 6.2 has been released !

        Zenwalk 6.2 is mostly new code (nearly all packages have been updated), and the base system has been slightly modified (EXT4, kernel 2.6.30.5). The switch to LZMA for package compression has reduced the overall size of the ISO image (490MB) while allowing us to provide more applications and drivers.

      • Zenwalk Linux 6.2

        Continuing on with the theme of Slackware based distros, today I tried out the latest version of Zenwalk Linux. The 6.2 version had been released earlier this week, and it caught my attention, so I tried it out.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • HTC inks in Android-based Tattoo

        Such swap-shop options seem unlikely, because HTC’s already announced the handset’s hardware features.

      • Nokia Confirms Dual Mobile OS Route

        In remarks reported by Digitimes, Nokia’s Multimedia Vice President Jonas Geust (who last made a splash way back in 2007 when he predicted the iPhone would tank) indicated that Nokia was planning on taking the Dual OS road for their smartphones and mobile devices.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Easy Peasy 1.5 released

        Other changes include bug fixes, upgrades to Picasa and OpenOffice, the replacement of Songbird with Banshee and a new hybrid image format for distribution which works as an .img and .iso file at the same time.

      • Review: Easy Peasy 1.5 Released

        The Ubuntu-based netbook distro Easy Peasy was formely known as Ubuntu Eee. Easy Peasy uses the Ubuntu Netbook Remix graphical user interface and provides a mix of popular open-source and proprietary software. If you’re trying to stay away from proprietary software completely (not a bad idea) this ones not for you. I found it interesting that so many have commented on Easy Peasy working out of the box. Along with my questions about compatibility I was curious about the features, new appearance and day-to-day usefulness of Easy Peasy 1.5. Could the Ubuntu-based Easy Peasy be anything more than a toy?

      • Karmic Netbook Remixes: Kubuntu 1, Ubuntu 0

        Although this is still only Alpha 5 of Karmic Koala, Kubuntu NBR feels very, very stable. Unlike the constant crashes of ‘Window Picker Applet’ that the netbook proper version seem to dish out on schedule, Kubuntu feels like a finely tuned release already.

      • Foxconn working on ‘sub-£100′ ARM-based Linux netbooks

        Will ARM-based netbooks retail for under £100? The Taiwanese contract manufacturer behind the Foxconn brand seems to think so.

        A Hon Hai Precision staffer – one Young Liu, special assistant to the company’s CEO – admitted this week that “we have a few smartbook projects and I think there is demand for these sub-$200 devices”.

      • Foxconn developing inexpensive, Arm-based smartbooks

        Foxconn Technology plans to launch its first smartbooks next year, which are mini-laptops that use microprocessors from Arm Holdings normally found in smartphones.

      • Sharp PC-Z1 NetWalker Mini Netbook Hands-on

        The PC-Z1 NetWalker by Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp is a mini-netbook with a 5″ touchscreen (1024x600px) display that runs Ubuntu 9.04 or more precisely Ubuntu Smartbook Remix with a custom user interface adapted to the small size of this mobile device.

Free Software/Open Source

  • IBM is its own open-source lab for social software

    IBM seems to have figured out better than most how to marry the global open-source laboratory with a massive internal laboratory. Talking to Schick, there appears to be a very blurry line between “internal” development and “external” development, giving the company a significant advantage over proprietary (Microsoft) and open-source (Liferay, Open-Xchange) competitors alike.

  • Weka open source tool claims trophy for Waikato

    Local student wins data mining competition using software developed at Waikato University

  • Affordable BI

    Furthermore, future business leaders will have a completely different attitude and be less sceptical towards Open Source and free software. This Millennial generation grew up with software like Linux, Gimp, Open Office, etc., and knows that product price and product quality are two totally independent factors.

  • IT, key business enabler in downturn

    Internally, we have developed solutions based on Open Source software, including a custom-built software configuration management solution. We were able to save significant costs on licensing fee and acquisition costs, by adopting Open Source software for developing the solution.

  • The dark side of open source software is Stoned

    When rootkits are mentioned the things which come to mind are generally hackers, Trojans, even Sony BMG. Now you can add open source software to the list with the release of the first open source rootkit framework called Stoned.

  • Transverse Receives 2009 TMC Labs Innovation Award
  • TomTom Introduces OpenLR, an Open-Source, Royalty-Free Dynamic Location Referencing Technology for All to Use

    TomTom, the world`s leading provider of navigation solutions and digital maps, developed a dynamic location referencing technology as an open standard for the navigation, mapping and ITS Industry, called OpenLR.

  • More LUV for Donna Benjamin

    At the Linux Users Victoria (LUV) Annual General Meeting, held on Tuesday 1 September 2009 at Trinity College, Melbourne, Donna Benjamin was elected to the position of President for the second year running. With a membership of 1793, LUV is a significant organisation in the Australian Free and Open Source software community.

  • London Marathon 2010: Virgin launches donation site built on open source

    Virgin has used open source components, including the MySQL database, JBoss application server, Apache web server, Jaspersoft Business Intelligence Suite and Talend extract, translate and load database tools, to build a service-oriented architecture to take donations on behalf of UK charities.

  • Open source camera could pave the way for open source hardware

    Recently a Techrepublic reader sent me a link to this story from Science Daily about a professor (Mark Levoy) of computer science at Stanford who is developing an open source camera. The article tells the story of a fledgling program, Computational Photography, which researches photography to help improve cameras. Mr. Levoy developed the camera so that other computational photographers could help improve the software.

  • Open Source CMS Typolight releases 2.7.3

    It’s a busy day for releases today with a new release from the Typolight team as well. This new version is 2.7.3

  • ipoque’s Industry-Leading Deep Packet Inspection Engine Goes Open Source

    ipoque, the leading European vendor of Internet traffic management solutions, today published its award-winning DPI engine as open source software. OpenDPI is derived from the commercial PACE product, ipoque’s traffic classification engine that is used in its carrier-grade DPI and bandwidth management solutions.

  • WSO2 Wins InfoWorld Best of Open Source Award for WSO2 Carbon

    WSO2, the open source SOA company, announced that it has been named an InfoWorld 2009 Best of Open Source Software (Bossie) Award winner. The company was recognized in the platforms and middleware category for the WSO2 Carbon Framework, which serves as the basis of WSO2’s fully componentized service-oriented architecture (SOA) platform.

  • Fog Computing

    • How to Make Cloud Computing Vanish into Thin Air

      I’m not quite sure about the “epic” bit, but it’s certainly clever. If the operating system is being abstracted away by clouds, Red Hat seems to be saying, the best thing to do is to abstract away the entire cloud computing layer by hiding all the different APIs currently out there with another API on top – by means of open source code running on GNU/Linux – and writing to that.

    • Open source, P2P and the Pirate Party

      P2P is the antithesis of the Cloud. The former uses individual computers that interact with each other using the Internet merely as a relay infrastructure. The latter is a server-centric model where services and data are hosted centrally and with which individual computers interact with the servers via the Internet.

    • Hadoop buzz continues to excite the cloud

      Hadoop is the popular open-source implementation of MapReduce, a powerful tool designed for deep analysis and transformation of very large data sets. It enables you to explore complex data, using custom analyses tailored to your information and questions. It’s also one of the most buzz-worthy, talked about open-source projects around.

  • MySQL

    • Why the EU should block Oracle/Sun

      Last week, I argued that the European Commission, the European Union’s top competition authority, was wasting its time delaying Oracle’s acquisition of Sun. Since then, I’ve heard from Henrik Ingo, the COO (chief operating officer) for Monty Program Ab, the MySQL fork headed by MySQL’s founder Michael “Monty” Widenius. He has a different take on the EU’s opposition to the deal, and I thought it worth sharing his viewpoint with you.

      First, Ingo notes that “While it’s true that many use MySQL for free [under the open-source GPL license), and some even hack on the GPL’d source code, most of MySQL’s paying customers use MySQL under a commercial license which has nothing to do with Open Source. It is in this market that MySQL competes against Oracle and for those customers the GPL version of MySQL offers no consolation. This is the main reason why the EU is concerned.”

    • On the question of MySQL’s state of health
    • The Curious Case of the Failing Connections
    • EU holds up Sun buy-out over open source

      Sun has got it in the neck – again – and the EU gets it right.

      The EU has delayed the now long-running acquisition of Sun by Oracle – out of which Sun’s founders stand to make a very large pile of cash – because it wants to investigate a potential monopoly.

  • Mozilla

  • Openness

    • Interview with Shane Walter, founder of onedotzero

      Our talks, presentation and workshop strand is always a must – a unique chance to get closer to the creative process, hear from and experience how, why people work they way they do and this year more than ever get hands on across toy hacking, open source, digital distribution, city interventionism and sharing as a creative business model, thoughts on topics such as how we are creatively educated and, how you make friends and influence people!

      [...]

      A lot of this thinking is hinged on the convergence and collaboration ethos that onedotzero has championed for over a decade and is still at the heart of . I also think the idea of open source and sharing is a recent development hat is now being taken more seriously by larger brands and companies. it’s good to be open is a panel discussion that explores this. open source developed out of an open distribution of software, offering practical access to source code for others to improve and develop together. this open and collaborative approach has spread much further as a means to approach design, development, and new production models as the world wakes up to the value of sharing and openness. with fantastic speakers including nokia, tinker.it! creator joel gethin lewis and new media thinker Russell davies.

    • Kofi Annan’s Open Source TckTckTck Campaign Supported by Over 1 Million People

      The tcktcktck.org website will today receive its 1 millionth pledge from people all over the world campaigning for a just and binding global deal at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Myths debunked: YouTube, please use Ogg Theora for HTML 5

      It’s incredible how many people are sympathetic towards Google and Apple’s opposition of Ogg Theora within the HTML 5 codec debate. Of course, nobody expected anything else from Apple, but Google, really? Outside of YouTube, Google seems to be very supportive. YouTube may still be somewhat separated from the rest of Google. The site still looks more like it did pre-aquisition than it looks like a Google project. The Google Chrome web browser, a “pure” Google project, supports Theora, and a blog post Google made on the Ogg Theora book sprint which specifically makes mention of HTML 5 leads me to wonder if they might actually be planning on supporting it.

Leftovers

  • Expelled student sues over “unreasonable” cell phone search

    A 12-year-old was expelled from school after having his cell phone confiscated and searched by authorities. What did they find? Pictures of him dancing. Now, the ACLU has taken up the case, arguing that even students are protected from unreasonable search and seizure.

  • The Health Care Debate: A Resource for Journalists

    Yet press coverage of the debate has often been lacking. The Project for Excellence in Journalism, for example, found that so far this year 55 percent of coverage of health care has been about the political battles, 16 percent about the protests, and only 8 percent about substantive issues like how the system works now, what will happen if it remains unchanged, and what proposed changes will mean for ordinary people.

  • Copyright law threatening

    On Dec. 13, 1981, Poland’s communist government declared martial law to put down the Solidarity movement. Telephone lines went silent across the country, and once service was restored, each time anyone picked up the telephone they were greeted with a voice: “Rozmowa Kontrolowana.”

    “This conversation is being monitored.”

    Since telephone service was still a rare privilege in a country where the political establishment feared citizen-to-citizen communication, some could shrug their shoulders because it did not directly apply to them. When, days later, the government set up regional censorship offices to read everyone’s mail, shrugging one’s shoulders ceased to be an option.

    Not quite 30 years have passed, and tales like these remain common, from the Egyptian government’s efforts to register and track users at Internet cafes, to Iranian government agents showing up on Twitter this spring to intimidate protesters.

  • Damien Hirst installation owner charges teen art-rival with theft of £500,000 for removing box of pencils from installation

    A teenaged artist who was forced to stop selling his collages when Damien Hirst sent threats to his gallery (the collages incorporated ironic images of Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull sculpture) is now facing a possible jail sentence because he took a box of pencils from a Hirst installation as a prank and offered to return them only if Hirst would let him go back to displaying and selling his art.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Goodbye, DRM; hello “stealable” Digital Personal Property

      People hate DRM, but one IEEE study group has a possible fix for many of its problems: make digital content easy to steal from others. The moment that happens, consumers can be trusted with content.

    • Free Software Foundation files objection to Google Book Search settlement

      Today the Free Software Foundation (FSF) filed an objection in court to the proposed Google Book Search settlement (The Authors Guild, Inc., et al. v. Google Inc.). The objection urges the court to reject the proposed settlement unless it incorporates terms that better address the needs of authors using free licenses like the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), and does not provide special competitive advantages to Google.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • 5 Reasons Why Nobody is Buying Your Music

      Don’t be discouraged if nobody is buying your music. If your music is genuinely good then you just need to update your business model. The business of selling music has changed. Music sales may be down but music consumption has never been higher. The demand for music is bigger than ever. People WANT your music. There is no one strategy I can give you, what works for on artist probably won’t work for another, but hopefully the points above have given you something to think about.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Mandriva CEO Jean Francois Boncilhon 04 (2005)


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

Greetings from KDE 4.3.1

Posted in Boycott Novell, GNU/Linux, KDE at 11:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

KDE 4 in 2009
Click for full-sized image (4.4 MB)

Summary: Quick recommendation of KDE4

OVER the weekend I’ve made the migration, and it’s wonderful. KDE makes GNU/Linux a technical leader in desktop operating systems.

Don’t listen to people who bash KDE. The latest release is splendid.

Vista 7 Less Secure Than Predecessors? Remote BSoD Now Possible!

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft, Security, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 4:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

BSoD for Novell

Summary: Vista and Vista 7 can be crashed remotely due to a newly-disclosed vulnerability

SO, Microsoft rewrote some networking components for Windows Vista, which may sound like a positive thing. Security experts warned that Microsoft had simply abandoned mature, well-established BSD code and they were right. Does anyone remember those flaws in Windows 95 which enabled remote computer users to ‘nuke’ their friends and foes (causing their computer to BSoD) given only their IP address? Well, that’s back in Vista 7.

Freshly disclosed: “Windows Vista/7 : SMB2.0 NEGOTIATE PROTOCOL REQUEST Remote B.S.O.D.”

V. BUSINESS IMPACT

An attacker can remotly crash without no user interaction, any Vista/Windows 7 machine with SMB enable. Windows Xp, 2k, are NOT affected as they dont have this driver.

VI. SYSTEMS AFFECTED

Windows Vista/7 All (64b/32b|SP1/SP2 fully updated) and possibly Win Server 2008 as it use the same SMB2.0 driver (not tested).

Wow. That is some serious stuff. What might it do to the already-poor track record of Vista 7 in security? The Register wrote about the death of the “Vista” brand and it might be just a matter of time before Vista 7′s brand is tarnished to the same extent.

Microsoft spent an absolute fortune on the Vista brand. In marketing terms, the Vista campaign was huge by any standards, and was a big success insofar as raising awareness of Microsoft’s next-generation Windows offering was concerned.

Sounds familiar? Vista 7 is Vista all over again; the resemblance in terms of hype and marketing is uncanny.

Well, if “Windows 7″ ends up like Vista in the market, then Microsoft will at least have the “Mojave” brand. Microsoft (and its extended ecosystem) can no longer just throw trolls at the problem. The hundreds of millions of dollars spent on building brands and bullying critics [1, 2, 3, 4] do have a limited shelf life.

“I am currently testing the Beta of Win7 in a closed VM environment. I am considering deleting it. It’s actually worse than Vista. Multiple program crashes, refusal to install any software, naff looks and many other complaints.”

Moog

Best Buy Has Collusion/Racketeering History with Microsoft, Anti-GNU/Linux Training Comes to Staples Employees Too

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Sometimes attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

Summary: A set of rebuttals to Microsoft’s hostile actions and reports on some new actions of this type

ALTHOUGH it has been a long weekend in the United States, everyone is talking about the Best Buy incident. Here is a mirror of the original Best Buy post (Photobucket did not serve the images at the most critical moments).

“This isn’t the first time Microsoft and Best Buy have colluded in racketeering,” remarks Slated, who reminds people of events from 2007:

Best Buy, Microsoft Accused Of Racketeering

When you think RICO you think Al Capone, or maybe Tony Soprano if you watch too much HBO. You don’t really think of Best Buy and Microsoft, do you? James Odom does. He’s the original plaintiff in a now 4 year old class action lawsuit that just won’t go away for Best Buy and Microsoft, one that now includes racketeering charges.

Are they warranted? Maybe. If what Odom says is true, some seriously shady business was going down between MSN and Best Buy—specifically, Odom accuses the store of taking money from Microsoft to sign customers up for accounts with MSN using their credit or debit card numbers without their consent.

For those who did not follow the recent events, Daily Finance has this summary.

Microsoft (MFST) is “indoctrinating” Best Buy (BBY) workers to sell its highly anticipated Windows 7 operating system using outright lies about the performance of open-source competitor Linux, according to Linux experts and at least one Best Buy employee who has seen the alleged Microsoft training slides.

Is it all true? Microsoft is certainly not denying it.

Microsoft has been asked about the memos but has neither confirmed nor denied their legitimacy. However, the material is both consistent with Microsoft’s visual style as well as its frequent attempts to discredit Linux as a threat, which in the past have involved paid-for studies that allegedly show Windows as superior to Linux for servers.

Our reader Ryan wrote a good long post on the subject.

There’s a certain demographic that will pay any price because they have lots of money to set on fire. These same people buy Hummer H2’s. The rest spend about a month’s salary every year or two on Microsoft software and partner products under the mistaken impression that they simply have to. They don’t want to, they’re not evil people, they’ve simply been led astray by the sales associate, the lowly peon making $8 an hour at the Best Buy store, the unwitting foot soldier in Microsoft’s propaganda battle. Exactly what’s in it for the sales associate if people continue maxing out their credit cards on shit they don’t need? They may be able to come back to work next Monday, or Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or whenever they’re expected to show up for their 4-8 hours shift so they can continue making the $8 an hour. It’s how retail treats people.

Rami wrote a technical rebuttal to Microsoft’s points that are erroneous.

In an effort to thwart Linux sales on netbooks, Microsoft has started a training program at Best Buy to “educate” their “experts” on Linux. And true to their fashion, MS resorted to FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) and straight out LIES! However, Microsoft still maintains that Linux is not a threat to their market, they are just spending all this money to “help” people make an educated decision. Funny thing, is that they ended up promoting Linux.

Another stronger rebuttal (warning needed about language) comes from this blog:

No iPod support? Really? And the Zune doesn’t work on the Mac either although there has been some progress from the Linux community. And I’ve never had any problems pulling pictures from cameras.

I’ve yet to see a printer that doesn’t have a driver. You might have to download it from the products website though (gasp!).

Yeah yeah. Software. Although WINE has been vastly improving lately (we even got around that stupid Secu-ROM).

There are free alternatives to all of the Windows Live “essentials”.

A UK perspective from our reader Goblin addresses the problem with similar shops in the UK (Microsoft would not get away with it all in the UK because of the law and the ASA).

“Stupid Customers” say PCworld/Currys staff? & FUD Training for retail?

[...]

The post is from a Best Buy employee who underwent Windows 7 training to sell Windows 7. The author of that post has provided commentary and it shows IMO a very good example of the sales techniques that some use to promote Windows on the net. Many lies are put about Linux on the net and my advice to any interested Linux user is simply to download a Live-CD and try it for yourself.

The danger being though, on the net its harder to tell a salesperson from an “ordinary user”.

Everyone is talking about Best Buy, but it’s not just Best Buy where this type of routine is being done. Here is what Staples employees are being exposed to.

I thought I’d post these images of Microsoft’s propaganda they’ve been distributing to Staples employees.

Numerous lies like greater compatibility than GNU/Linux-when most of the older hardware won’t work with MS Windows Vista. GNU/Linux is compatible with more hardware than any operating system in history. It may not work with some of the latest and greatest-but for the most part it works better. I don’t spend 3 hours fiddling with installing my printer drivers. I plug it in- and it just appears as an option in whatever program I need to print with.

“Microsoft has gotten them thinking about all the extra sales they can make,” explains Ryan, “selling you the software Windows doesn’t come with and “services” like when your Windows PC gets pwned by spyware, they can charge you $75 an hour to fix it. As far as extra software sales, they failed to mention that people like me still buy video games and such with the intention of running them in Wine [...] or MP3 players, because Linux does recognize all of them, except the Zune. [...] Microsoft slipped some Zune “training modules” into the Walmart employee training system. [...] They were hosted on their corporate intranet and the kiosked copy of MSIE was all you could run.”

“It looks like they’ve passed the “ignoring” stage…now they’re just fighting…badly.”
      –Wallclimber
Will says that “The best way to handle it would be for the salespeople to be like “Linux, what’s that? Never heard of it.” The fact that MS is having to train sales people against Linux means that people must be talking about it.”

“I agree,” says Wallclimber, “they are making way too much noise about it. It makes people more curious. It looks like they’ve passed the “ignoring” stage…now they’re just fighting…badly.”

Microsoft is giving itself a reputation of a bully again, helping us all forget about the legendary “new Microsoft”.

Will adds: “I’m not sure how to put this, but It still feels a bit odd that MS is simultaneously training people not to sell stuff they don’t offer anyway, as well as not to sell stuff they do offer.”

I’ve asked whether going to shops and trying to forbid sales of rivals would be illegal. Ryan raised the “Truth in Advertising” flag, arguing that “they probably word their arguments vaguely enough to get away with it.” Will wrote: “Like I saw somewhere (maybe here, maybe /., can’t remember), ‘Does BMW send stuff to train other car dealers not to sell GM, Chrysler, what-have-you?’ [...] BMW relies on its reputation to sell stuff. Apple does the cute ads, but in general they expect people to come to them. MS doesn’t have that kind of reputation or rapport.”

Microsoft is resorting to similar practices elsewhere, as noted by one of the regular contributors of ZDNet UK here:

MS-BS Quotient Off the top of the Charts.

Those numbers touting an 11 second boot time are from HIBERNATION files. Not from a cold start. As a result, they are total crap. I did my own “tests” on Win 7.

The reality behind Vista 7 proves that there is a lot of false advertising. On top of that, in order to suppress GNU/Linux use in sub-notebooks, as well as sub-notebooks as a whole, Microsoft pressures OEMs. It is about the sub-notebooks market. It’s just too troubling to Microsoft's profitability.

With limitations on hardware and pressure on OEMs, Microsoft is able to eliminate low-end machines, which in turn harms consumer choice. Where are those $199 sub-notebooks these days? As pointed out here, gaps were blurred such that Microsoft can restore margins.

Can we all agree on something? There’s no longer a difference between a netbook and a notebook. Thanks to netbooks’ move to more features and larger-size screens, the distinction between the two can now be considered little more than marketing speak.

It is sad to see a software company (but also Intel) telling OEMs how to sell computers; it should be the other way around, but there is no monopoly in OEMs, so Microsoft can discriminate and ‘punish’ those who do not obey demands.

Related posts:

Eye on Microsoft: The Security Comedy Resumes

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 2:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Penguin bubbles

Summary: A roundup of Microsoft’s latest examples of poor performance at securing its software

Microsoft’s incapability with security has already cost the economy trillions of dollars. Some days ago we wrote about the impact on parts of national operations that are funded by taxpayers; they too pay the toll.

Conficker borks London council

[...]

The May incident took several days to clean-up and landed the west London council with a bill of £500,000 in lost revenue and repairs, The Guardian reports. Because IT systems were borked, the council was unable to process more than 1,800 parking tickets, at an estimated cost of £90,000, libraries lost out on £25,000 in fines and booking fees, council property rent went uncollected, and £14,000 was spent in overime sorting out delayed housing benefit claims.

Some time ago we also wrote about IIS coming under siege. It is getting worse:

New IIS attacks (greatly) expand number of vulnerable servers

[...]

Attackers have begun actively targeting an unpatched hole in Microsoft’s Internet Information Services webserver using new exploit code that greatly expands the number of systems that are vulnerable to the bug.

3rd parties jump to Microsoft’s (or their customers’/users’) rescue. This is also covered in:

Exploit code affecting the FTP module for certain versions of Microsoft IIS has been posted online. US-CERT recommends taking countermeasures.

Another press release heralds another security problem in Microsoft’s stack. Microsoft is investigating and denying it.

For more than a year, Microsoft has been sitting on a purported SQL Server vulnerability that could enable a malicious insider to obtain users’ passwords, claims database security vendor Sentrigo.

There is also coverage in Dark Reading and net-security.org, which states:

Sentrigo has discovered a vulnerability in Microsoft SQL Server that allows any user with administrative privileges to openly see the unencrypted passwords of other users, or the credentials presented by applications accessing the server using SQL Server authentication.

More reasons are given to believe that Vista 7 will persist with the same security problems of Vista. A company warns about UAC.

While changes to Windows 7’s UAC benefit the home user market, enterprises must be aware that the new “slider” feature is only for administrators and may increase security risks.

Applications with an anti-viral goal still show that they may cause more trouble than it’s all worth.

McAfee false alert snares innocent JavaScript files

[...]

Faulty virus definition updates from McAfee that flagged legitimate JavaScript files as potentially malign caused a headache for some sysadmins earlier this week.

In other news:

Compromised Computers Host an Average of 3 Malware Families

[...]

Unfortunately, we are talking about infected files and not doughnuts. According to security company ESET, the average compromised machine is home to 13 infected files as well as malicious programs from three different malware families.

Liability issues linger on:

An Illinois district court has allowed a couple to sue their bank on the novel grounds that it may have failed to sufficiently secure their account, after an unidentified hacker obtained a $26,500 loan on the account using the customers’ user name and password.

Given the scale of botnets, nobody should be left surprised. Systems which were not built to be secure in the first place can never be properly secured.

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

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