Also recent (cartoons):
- Dilbert on Microsoft Corrupting Standards
- Cartoon: What Microsoft *Really* Innovates
- The New Ubersoft
Also recent (cartoons):
Summary: Roundup of Novell news from the past 7 days
IT has been another quiet week for Novell (also due to Labor [sic] Day), so this post might be worth skipping.
Groklaw has this new post with an AutoZone chart. Jones writes:
SCO hasn’t changed at all. It hasn’t backed off at all. The complaint, however, has changed, and the changes are to cover its back because the Utah District Court ruled that Novell didn’t transfer copyrights to Santa Cruz in 1995. At least that is how it strikes me. So it has added two copyrights to its list of registered copyrights, UNIX System V: release 4.2MP (the version that was highlighted in SCO v. Novell) and SCO OpenServer: release 5.0.5. That’s because SCO now alleges copyright infringement but also a contract claim related to OpenServer. The other thing that has changed since SCO filed this amended complaint is that SCO management has been replaced by the Chapter 11 trustee, and so we don’t know yet if this case will even go forward now. It’s up to him, not former management. However, you can see what they *would* have done, if it had been up to them, namely continue to sue Linux end users, not just AutoZone, and this was intended to be the template, I gather. They wanted this to be an object lesson: pay SCO for using Linux. Like I said, they haven’t changed at all.
The actual big news comes from Novell, which wants UNIX back (or rather, it wants to clarify that it indeed owns it).
Novell Files for Rehearing En Banc!
En banc means not just three judges, but all the appeals court judges. The filing is 78 pages, and we can read it together.
This may take a while.
Summary: Scarce presence of Novell’s SUSE and Xandros in the news
Summary: OpenSUSE news from the past week
OPENSUSE will be down over the entire weekend, but this does not prevent some progress from being made. A new version of OpenSUSE 11.1 with a newer KDE4 is now released and it is safe to say that KDE3 users ought to step up to the 4 at this stage. KDE4 also becomes the default desktop environment in future OpenSUSE releases.
Image from Wikimedia
Summary: Lessons that can be learned from Microsoft’s latest patent strategy and hostile indoctrination that it spreads to shops across the nation
MICROSOFT has attempted to have patent trolls attack GNU/Linux, according to reputable sources including OIN, the Linux Foundation, and even Red Hat’s legal staff. We covered this in [1, 2, 3, 4]. With Acacia in mind, it is possible that Microsoft did something similar before, and very successfully so. Here is what Glyn Moody thinks:
This is truly bizarre. Why would Microsoft unload a bunch of “Linux-focused patents” – stuff you would think it would fondle lovingly as it ruminated endlessly on the damage they might do in terms of FUD, if nothing else. But no, not only does Microsoft sell them, but they end up in positively the worse place possible, from Microsoft’s point of view: a Linux-friendly bunch with the avowed aim of keeping such patents safely locked away.
Michael from the OSI (and from Red Hat) wrote about it last night, remarking in conclusion that:
I have long believed that software patents are like landmines, devices that have unpredictable destructive power, and a threat to innovators who often cannot know of their existence until the damage has been done. This latest chapter in the story tells me that they are more dangerous than ever, and that it is more urgent than ever to mount a serious campaign to disarm them all, before it is too late. If we can elect a government that believes that “open source is the best form of civic participation”, then we can surely find the political will to make open source (and free software) innovation 100% legal. There are many places to make your voices heard. In the USA, you can start with End Software Patents. In Europe, No Software Patents!. And there are many others. It may seem like a bother, but sometimes political action is needed to enjoy necessary freedoms.
Microsoft lobbyists are directly opposing these initiatives using AstroTurf techniques. Will IBM help support the likes of FFII or will it carry on lobbying to keep software patents in tact by lying about Free software?
…a recent nugget buried in IBM’s amicus brief for the Bilski case takes a novel slant on the issue. Big Blue told the US Supreme Court that software patent lockdowns are actually the secret to open source’s success.
Any remarks, Bob? Will IBM make a public retraction like it typically does after such blunders?
Here is another new gem:
DRM Company: If You Think Patents Are Bad, You’re Un-American
In our recent discussion about another bad idea for a new type of DRM that will surely fail, Steve R. pointed us to an article in Forbes about Intertrust, the DRM company, who apparently is cooking up yet another DRM scheme. But, unlike the system we talked about in the original post — where the guy noted that the concept had to be widely adopted as a standard, and not protected, Intertrust goes on and on and on about how it’s got a ton of DRM patents to protect this new DRM scheme. This isn’t a surprise. Intertrust’s entire business model was based on suing Microsoft for patent infringement.
We shall carry on watching Microsoft-tied patent trolls and their satellites. Microsoft vehemently hates GNU/Linux and it is actively attacking, although it may require some leaks and analysis to show. How low has Microsoft sunk? To quote DesktopLinux:
Clearly, Microsoft has increasingly been spreading fear, uncertainty, or doubt (FUD) about Linux, as it has about Apple’s Mac OS X in its recent “Laptop Hunters” TV ads. Last month, Dell Computer took it upon itself to stand up and refute Microsoft statements about high Linux netbook returns, saying that Dell’s Linux returns were roughly equivalent to those for Windows-based netbooks. Canonical has also questioned Microsoft’s statements about netbook returns. Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence suggests that Microsoft has been increasing its pressures on both PC vendors and retailers to steer clear of Linux netbooks.
Microsoft appears to be taking Linux seriously, despite the fact that by some counts Linux represents only a single percentage of the overall PC market (others place it higher, but not by much). In an SEC filing posted this summer, Microsoft added Linux distro vendors Canonical and Red Hat to its list of perceived competitors for Microsoft’s Client division.
Microsoft has been suffering financially for over a year. It’s largely because of GNU/Linux and other GPL-licensed software [1, 2]. But Microsoft will not compete; as history teaches, Microsoft will try to just squash the competition in all sort of nefarious ways. █
“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”
Summary: The goal of the CodePlex Foundation is to sell more proprietary software like Windows, Visual Studio, and SQL Server
Could that have anything at all to do with the decade of misinformation and FUD Microsoft has directly and indirectly funded, including the Best Buy disinformation campaign running at this very moment?
The chutzpah it must have taken for the author to actually type out that sentence, knowing full well that his own employer is the overwhelmingly largest single engine of misinformation, lies and destruction aimed at the Open Source community! You almost have to admire a man you can look you right in the eye and lie, knowing that you know that he knows that you know he is lying!
And there we have the fatal flaw of the CodePlex Foundation revealed: because it is a Microsoft mouthpiece, it can not speak directly and honestly about the single biggest challenge Free and Open Source Software faces – the aggressive hostility and lies spread about it by Microsoft.
The amazing thing is some people believe it! I guess some people fall for Nigerian scams, order Vigara from links in random email, and franticially dial 1-800 numbers during infomercials so they can get the deal that is ONLY AVAILABLE TO CALLERS IN THE NEXT 5 MINUTES!!!
In the meantime Microsoft is looking for a new open source person to fill the space left by Mr Ramji.
My money is on Mr De Icazza – he has sure earned it (IMO).
Here is the analysis found in JupiterMedia:
The foundation is initially being funded by Microsoft and will be led by Microsoft’s Sam Ramji (**UPDATED** Ramji is leaving Microsoft on September 25th) . Novell’s Miguel de Icaza will be part of the new foundation’s Board of Directors (don’t forget Microsoft and Novell have an interop and patent deal).
So why does Microsoft need its own open source foundation? And what’s the difference vs what they are doing with Codeplex.com anyways?
I understand that CodePlex has its own ecosystem, but I would have expected the path to commercialization might have been better served through Microsoft itself rather than some shell open source foundation.
Microsoft has created a new foundation, the CodePlex Foundation which claims to be about bringing open-source and proprietary software companies together to participate side by side in open-source projects. Yeah. Right.
Besides, just like the snake in the story, Microsoft is more than happy to poison open-source software even as it proclaims that it wants to co-operate with open source. Just off the top of my head there’s the revelation that Microsoft’s ExpertZone training for Best Buy and other retailers is stuffed with anti-Linux lies.
And, then there’s Microsoft’s patent attacks on open-source using companies like TomTom and its thwarted efforts to sell anti-Linux patents to a patent troll. According to Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, “The details are that Microsoft assembled a package of patents ‘relating to open source’ and put them up for sale to patent trolls. Microsoft thought they were selling them to AST, a group that buys patents, offers licenses to its members, and then resells the patents.” What actually happened was that Microsoft ended up selling the patents to the Open Invention Network, a pro-Linux intellectual-property organization.
Strangely enough, Roberto Galoppini interviews Microsoft’s Hank Janssen, who is trying to move Free software developers off of GNU/Linux and over to Windows instead. This is done by embracing Zend/PHP for example (see the Janssen videos cited here). Janssen also writes hooks for Hyper-V, thanks to Novell.
“Essentially, Microsoft wants free labour to add value to Windows and the rest of Microsoft’s stack.”David Williams speaks to Microsoft’s Sara Ford, whose goals are pretty much the same. As Steve Ballmer put it 2 years ago, “I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.” Essentially, Microsoft wants free labour to add value to Windows and the rest of Microsoft's stack. That’s not “open”.
Speaking of abuse dressed up with the “open” label, read this new blog post.
Jonathan recently wrote about the availability of open dictionaries. In a recent comment to that post someone pointed us to Macmillan’s “Open” Dictionary (the reasons for the quotes will soon be apparent).
Such potential for abuse of the “open” label is a major reason we created the open definition — where open content and data are clearly defined as material that you, and others, are free to use, reuse and redistribute without restriction.
Here is a dictionary project which does it the right way.
The purpose of this project is to create a free, open simple dictionary for students to use. This dictionary will ultimately be published in a variety of formats and for multiple platforms.
To Microsoft, “open source” should ideally mean that the user is required to buy proprietary products like Windows and SQL Server merely to run the program/s. That’s what CodePlex is about. █
“Based on years of conversations, I am convinced that part of the cause of the problem is the tendency to call the system Linux rather than GNU, and describe it as open source rather than free software.”
Summary: As another example of bias in the press, new appointments shed light on the intersection between commerce and supposedly-independent reporting
Against this background:
BBC Worldwide’s digital sales and business development head Peter Mercier is leaving to be Microsoft’s content acquisitions and strategy senior director – the latest in the revolving HR door between the two companies.
BBCWW hired Mercier from MobiTV as head of mobile in 2007 before he got a wider digital role in ‘08. Ashley Highfield left as CEO of BBCWW’s Kangaroo JV last year. Microsoft’s UK online services group VP Chris Dobson went the other way to be BBCWW’s WVP and GM of global ad sales, leading BBC.com ad sales in particular; he later took two BBCWWers with him.
Rather than try to cover up the symbiotic relationship between the two organisations, wouldn’t it just be simpler if they merged them together now? At least then there wouldn’t be any pretensions of independence by the BBC Worldwide…
It cannot be stressed strongly enough that companies like Microsoft control (and sometimes own) the press, even if it’s funded by taxpayers. Microsoft is also pressuring journalists who do not comply although their publications are in no way funded by Microsoft. In the following video with Andrew Marr, a point is being made that even well-known journalists are secretly very cynical about the way the press really works, in practice. █
“The visionary denies the truth to himself, the liar only to others”
Summary: Apple kicks Linux-powered phones out of iTunes — again
APPLE has already gone past the third anti-Linux strike and it was out — it was reported in a formal complaint to the Feds. Apparently, Apple feels confident enough to do yet again.
Apple gives Palm the boot – again
Cupertino’s latest update of its music management and online-sales app, iTunes 9, disables the Pre’s ability to sync its music player with Apple’s app.
How often does Apple even mention the words “standard” and “interoperability”? Apple supported OOXML, amongst other things that it supported as a favour to Microsoft. They signed a deal similar to that of Novell [1, 2].
What does Microsoft give Apple in return?
Read this from the news:
CE-Oh no he didn’t! Part LXII: Steve Ballmer publicly ridicules Microsoft employee with iPhone, threatens to smash it
Not every man was born with common sense. And anyone who’s ever seen Steve Ballmer take a stage knows that you don’t want to get in the way of the emotionally-charged big man when the curtain opens. So we’re not terribly surprised to learn that Steve grabbed an iPhone he saw during his big entrance to a private Microsoft company meeting held at Seattle’s Safeco Field. Apparently, the hapless employee (allegedly from the Windows group) was trying to snap a photo of his boss when Ballmer grabbed the device and made some “funny comments” met by boos and jeers from Microsoft’s employees. Steve then set it on the ground and pretended to stomp on it before walking away — later teasing the employee during his presentation by noting that he hadn’t forgotten him.
Well, that’s Ballmer. That’s the person who leads Microsoft. It figures. █
“My children – in many dimensions they’re as poorly behaved as many other children, but at least on this dimension I’ve got my kids brainwashed: You don’t use Google, and you don’t use an iPod.”
–Steve Ballmer (on CNN)
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