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09.14.09

More Early Signs That Vista 7 Will be Rejected by Businesses

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 8:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vista 7 starts now

Summary: Vista #2 does not impress decision-making personnel

CIOs are not easy prey to the artificial hype over Vista 7, based on this new report which a reader sent to us. Here is the opening:

After Vista flop, Indian CIOs not open to new Windows

Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, may be throwing parties for potential customers to test its Windows 7 operating system to be launched in October, but many chief information officers (CIOs) are not joining the party yet.

Reliance Communications, Asian Paints, Essar Group and some other companies will wait to see how efficient the new product of Microsoft is before shifting to it, after the Vista failed to deliver on the promise of a faster and sleeker operating system.

Windows Vista was lauded and hailed prior to its release and shortly afterwards, before it got some real-world tests, leading to testimonies which overrode pseudo-reviews that Microsoft PR had managed.

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

George Santayana

More Thoughts About the Microsoft CodePlex Foundation: New Links

Posted in Apple, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 7:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

iPhone XP

Summary: The Mono team brings the iPhone closer to Microsoft’s turf; CodePlex Foundation analysed further

F

IRST OF ALL, congratulations to the Mono team, which has just ‘Microsoftised’ the iPhone. Microsoft must be very proud, just like the PR people who infest the comments section in Slashdot. To quote the gist of it all, “MonoTouch consists of a suite of compilers, libraries, and tools for integrating with the iPhone and iPod Touch SDK. It lets developers use C# and other .NET programming languages for the Apple devices, rather than wading into C and Objective-C.

Why use C? There is this lovely patents-encumbered language from Microsoft, whose direction Microsoft will always control. Wouldn’t board member Miguel de Icaza wish the best for his bosses at Microsoft, which is rapidly losing market share to Apple’s iPhone?

Here is some other lovely news about the new (part-time) home of Mr. de Icaza:

The Potemkim Village Experiment 2: Electric Boogaloo

This is a business organization, not a non-profit organization

Just in case you might have thought otherwise. I’m sure there is absolutely no intent to decieve by calling it a “Foundation” and having “.org” in the domain name.

Here is the explanation on the website:

While the Codeplex Foundation may eventually evolve into a charitable non-profit, the requirements for a charitable non-profit are more stringent. The set-up time for such an organization would have been longer, and the planning process considerably more complex.

I bet the requirements are “more stringent”. That’s exactly what we need, and Microsoft doesn’t want. Stringent requirements.

And I love how “set-up time” is an excuse, like non-profits aren’t started everyday by two dudes trying to help the world, and Microsoft with it’s army of lawyers and billions of dollars just can’t quite get a handle on the process.

Does Microsoft Have an Open Source Strategy Any More?

Whenever I write about Microsoft here I usually get a few comments asking me, with varying degrees of politeness, why I am wasting electrons on this subject on a site devoted to GNU/Linux. The reason I do this – and why I am about to do it again – is that whether we like it or not, Microsoft remains probably the single most important external factor in the free software world. It’s useful, therefore, to try to understand what exactly the company’s open source strategy is, in order to head off some of its worst aspects, and to build on any positive elements. The trouble is, I don’t think Microsoft has an open source strategy any more.

[...]

Rather, it seems to me that the centrifugal forces within the company have finally overcome that lone centripetal force of Sam Ramji, with all those “engineering and business leaders across the company” adopting widely differing, and at times contradictory, attitudes and actions with regard to open source. Without Ramji, I think the situation is going to get even worse; what about you?

CodePlex Foundation founding flawed says legal expert

Andrew Updegrove, co-creator of the MIT licence and an expert in creating consortiums, has examined the founding documents of CodePlex Foundation and believes its creation is flawed. Updegrove, in an extensive article on Consortiuminfo.org, points to the lack of initial co-sponsors, the small size of the board, which in 100 days time is scheduled to shrink from 5 to only 6 members and to the fact that the majority of its members are Microsoft employed. He also notes that the foundation has not been set up as a membership organisation which he says is “very unusual for an organisation operating in an area that usually relies on consensus”.

The Curious Case of the OIN Patent Coup

“It’s time for Microsoft to stop secretly attacking Linux while publicly claiming to want interoperability,” Zemlin wrote. “Let’s hope that Microsoft decides going forward to actually try to win in the marketplace, rather than continuing to distract and annoy us with their tricky patent schemes.”

Related posts:

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: September 14th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

IDG on IDC+BSA Deception, OpenOffice.org Growth, and Thoughts on ODF

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 7:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: IDG makes an attempt at criticism of its very own output (poor attempt, obviously); OpenOffice.org grows regardless

AS we pointed out last month, there is clear evidence to suggest that Microsoft front groups such as the BSA promote the false perception that free is illegal. They try to discourage adoption of Free software like OpenOffice.org.

Here in ComputerWorld there is rare type of new article where deception from the BSA is actually debated in the sense that the other side of the story (the truth rather) is being told, in addition to the usual fabrication of big numbers and sob stories. It’s the annual BSA/IDC propaganda, indirectly funded by the likes of Microsoft [1, 2]. It’s analogous to propaganda which is manufactured by the MPAA/RIAA on behalf of the big studios.

The loopholes are always the same, but the mainstream press refuses to pay attention, so it parrots and deceives the public time after time. This type of obedience/compliance is what keeps it in business, by business, for business. From IDG:

But critics of the study say it fails to account for the possibility that pirated software could be replaced with Linux or other open-source options. If it were, the BSA’s global loss figure of $53 billion would drop sharply, they maintain.

The imbalance in this article is stunning. Only a single sentence gets dedicated to this very important issue that may as well debunk the message as a whole. Then again, it is the job of IDG to propagate these words of big business; it’s rarely about challenging them effectively. IDG happens to be one of those gigantic businesses*, not just an advertising partner [1, 2, 3, 4]. The conflict of interests here is obvious. From the same source we also gather some numbers which may or may not mean something. As the following new post states (with caveats):

InfoWorld runs an article titled Windows Pulse: The Real-World State of Windows, in which they report the results from a network of machines that voluntarily downloaded a reporting application. How the machines were chosen was not specified, and the sample size of 20,000 may not provide an accurate picture of global trends, but the data shows OpenOffice installed on 12% of those machines, which looks like great progress!

As further advice for the likes of OpenOffice.org, here is one bit of opinion on the subject: [the scrupulous Microsoft employee wrote (via Glyn Moody): “Interesting read, but do you know why thinkovation.com blocks access from Microsoft?”]

I happen to think that Microsoft’s OOXML shouldn’t be called an “open standard”. It’s not about “open” it’s about “closed” it’s not about the “future” it’s about the past.
The development of OOXML must have been like driving a car using only the rear-view mirror to tell where you’re going. It’s a nasty kluge designed to serve the dual purposes of reinforcing Microsoft’s virtual monopoly and providing some backward (backward in every sense of the word) compatibility. I also object to the shenanigans associated with the OSI process – but I do feel obliged to note that the activity of filling committee rooms with your supporters wasn’t invented by Microsoft – many other vendors have “stuffed” meetings in the past in order to sway votes, and many more will in the future.

In interviews and analyses last year, no-one was able to find anything close to the corruption demonstrated by Microsoft. Yes, corruption. Not everyone is familiar with the pertinent stories, but the facts speak for themselves. Microsoft too is unable to defend itself.

Protest against OOXML

____
* IDC works with the BSA on those numbers and it's more or less a subsidiary of IDG.

Proprietary Failures: Daily Links

Posted in Security, Windows at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Global warming

Summary: Interesting stories that don’t fit into the daily group of pro-Free software links

MS insists bodged fix didn’t spawn Windows crash risk

Vulnerable systems can be crashed with only a single malformed packet, according to Laurent Gaffié, the security researcher who discovered the so-called Teardrop attack.

FTC forces Sears, Kmart out of the spyware business

When Sears and Kmart offered visitors the chance to earn $10 by participating in some research, few realized that they would be sending even secure session browsing information to the big retailers. Now, the government has put the kibosh on this “blue light special.”

Skype Kills Extras (and Its Developer Ecosystem)

Today the company announced that it’s killed Skype Extras, an API-based effort that was launched with much fanfare in June 2007

‘European’ Software Strategy Published, Written by Lobbyists and Multinationals

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Microsoft at 6:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EU flag

Summary: Truths one should know about the European Commission’s Software Strategy document

André Rebentisch has just heralded the formal release of documents which we covered and scrutinised here before. To use his own words:

The Commission of the European Union has published the final report on the European Software Strategy. It is a document drafted by several industry stakeholders, ironically most of them do not represent European companies. The preparatory documents are also published. The leakage of draft documents by an American SME representative causes great confusion. The editing policy did follow the same practice as the ICT Taskforce paper.

In chronological order, we covered this in:

The process has been somewhat of a farce; the outcome, likewise, would be hard to trust because it was impacted by American lobbyists and companies that injected misinformation. In that sense, it is not exactly a European software strategy, as the name might misleadingly suggest. And as Glyn Moody reminds us this week, governments do have a political agenda. In reply to this obvious fact he adds:

I see, so what they’re saying is that the EU has a political agenda, and is trying to protect companies in Europe. And this would be different from what the US does, or Japan, or China, exactly *how*….?

Bottom line: watch carefully who wrote this ‘European’ Software Strategy document. For instance, it included a Microsoft lobbyist from Association for Competitive Technology.

“Television to brainwash us all and Internet to eliminate any last resistance.”

Paul Carvel

Links 14/09/2009: Ohio LinuxFest is Coming, Linux Mint 7 XFCE Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Ohio Linux Fest [September 25-27] Back to the Future of Linux!

    Don’t miss your last chance to register for Ohio Linux Fest! A mere two weeks away on September 25-27, it’s coming faster than a Free Software freight train! Registration has been lighter than past years please forward this release to friends in the Ohio and surrounding areas. Columbus, Ohio The seventh annual Ohio LinuxFest will be on September 25-26, 2009 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, in downtown Columbus, Ohio.

  • Ohio LinuxFest is ready for 40 Years

    Ohio LinuxFest is definitely one of my favorite Linux and open-source conferences. If you’ve never been to a Linux conference, now is a great time to begin. If you have, it’s also a great time to experience this conference.

  • The Atlanta Linux Fest
  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 62

    We start this weekly with a beta testing of the Spri Linux Beta distribution. The following Linux distributions were announced last week: Easy Peasy 1.5, CRUX 2.6, GoblinX 3.0 GNOME Edition, moonOS 3, Bluewhite64 Linux 13.0, Absolute Linux 13.0 and Linux Mint 7 XFCE Edition.

  • How to turn your old PC into a home media server

    Head to www.ubuntu.com, download the ISO image for Ubuntu (currently at version 9.04) and burn the image to a CD. On your media server PC, change the BIOS settings to boot from CD, pop the disc in and let the Install wizard run its magic.

  • Desktop

    • Windows 7 review — from a Free Software activist

      KDE, GNOME and Mac OS X handle this much better. On KDE and GNOME the screen darkens around a password entry dialog, and the dialog is modal, so the user cannot escape and must make a conscious decision.

      [...]

      Windows 7 is neither overly powerful, customizable or modern. It does avoid many of the problems of Windows Vista by introducing aggressive prefetching and changing the UI design so actions require less clicks, and this makes the system appear faster. This comes at the expense of chewing up a lot of RAM, so a gaming system should probably have 4 GB or more.

    • Grubbing XP Pro to 2nd Boot

      I had a hard drive failure on my home Windows XP Pro DELL system last week. I decided this morning at about 4AM to rebuild the system as a dual boot with Ubuntu 9.04 on the second partition. The goal is to minimize my “Windows dependency” status as much as possible. Another goal was to come up with functional partitions that could be imaged and cloned. I couldn’t sleep anyway.

      [...]

      So for the price of:
      1 hour and 27 minutes more of my time installing Windows XP Pro versus Ubuntu;
      20GB of hard drive space used by Windows XP Pro versus 8GB of hard drive space in Ubuntu;
      no differences in functionality;
      potentially becoming XP-ground-zero for every malware-writing jackass in the world;
      I get the “equivalent” in Windows XP Pro?

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • BFS Scheduler Benchmarks

      While BFS lost with the Threaded I/O Tester disk benchmark, it won with the PostMark test profile. The BFS scheduler delivered just fewer than 5% more transactions per second than the Completely Fair Scheduler.

      Nine tests carried out on a single low-end system (we may carry out more tests on multiple systems if there is sufficient interest) is not enough to call one scheduler better than the other.

  • Applications

    • 10 of the Best Free Linux IRC Clients

      Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a type of real-time Internet text messaging (chat) or synchronous conferencing. IRC was born during summer 1988 when Jarkko Oikarinen wrote the first IRC client and server when he was working in the Department of Information Processing Science at the University of Oulu, Finland. This system enables millions of people around the world to communicate in real time.

    • Quick Previews In Gnome & Ubuntu With Gloobus [AMAZING!]

      Gloobus is an extension of Gnome designed to enable a full screen preview of any kind of file. Gloobus currently supports the following files: TXT , PDF, JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG, PSD, MP3, OGG, MPG, WMV, XCF. Finally I can preview PSD and XCF files :D .

    • Midori Lightweight Web Browser Alternative

      Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari. Those are the usual web browser names that make the news these days on the Internet. This are also the web browsers that the majority of web users use actively. Other web browsers face this tough competition. Last to feel the competition was the Google browser which – despite Google’s marketing power and efforts – remains at the lower end of web browser distribution.

    • 15 Relatively Unknown Linux Apps

      Most people go for the big apps when switching to Linux, and for good reason: they are easy to find, usually very polished, often updated, and there’s a lot of online documentation for them. What if you’re not looking for the most popular, but instead the best app for you? Below are 25 excellent, high-quality Linux apps that go neglected far more often than they should be. Some are popular amongst those who have been at the Linux game for awhile, and others have become a staple of certain distros while remaining relatively unknown by users of different distros. No matter the reason they’ve sat in the midline of popularity, you can be assured that these apps do what they claim to do, and they do it well.

    • Five Best Virtual-Desktop Managers

      If you like your virtual-desktop managers to come with some flair and eye candy, Compiz is definitely worth a look. Linux users who just want simple workspace switching might be better served by Gnome Workspaces, but if you’re on a rig with a nice graphics card—and you want to live it up with fancy graphic-intensive transitions between virtual desktops—Compiz’s more advanced effects are pretty nifty. Compiz comes with a core of plug-ins that cover all sorts of 3D effects which can be further supplemented by using Compiz Fusion, a version of Compiz that sports additional plug-ins and enhanced graphics.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS Magazine September 2009 Issue

      This month’s issue includes:

      * KDE 4.3 vs Windows 7 Comparison
      * Behind The Scenes: An Interview with Neal Brooks
      * IRC: The Forgotten Chat Frontier
      * Through The Lens: Photo Management Software
      * How To Set up Easy Samba File Sharing
      * How To Make A Cheap Film Scanner
      * How To Share A Printer With Windows Without Samba
      * Video File Format Cllomparison
      * PCLinuxOS on the Acer Aspire One
      * Creating Movie Archives with dvd::rip
      * Computer Languages A to Z: C and C++
      * Scripts-R-Us: Repo Speed Test
      * Double Take by Mark Szorady
      * Forum Foibles
      * And much, much more!

    • A distro odyssey, part 2 – the Arch way

      Is the extra work and effort worth it? I think so, at least from what I’m experiencing so far. Arch is nimble and solid, and the rolling release means I don’t ever have to go through the installation process again on this machine if I don’t want to (barring a hardware catastrophe, of course). Arch has become my new home base from which I’ll continue the odyssey.

    • REVIEW: Webconverger 5.5

      Whilst the home user isn’t going to consider this as their main desktop solution (IMO). What it does, it does very very well. Boot time even from the LiveCD was very good and the system is virtually unbreakable, even for the most persistent of users!
      I was very impressed with the speed in which BBCiplayer performed on the test machine, giving a very smooth results even in fullscreen. I also tested it on the Twitterfall site which often appears to bog browsers down after when there are numerous other tabs in use. This did not happen with Webconverger and scrolling remained smooth.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat is BACK!

        There is more, no doubt. The biggest contribution they have made is to step up and answer the FUD about GNU/Linux not being ready and able to supply mission-critical needs in business.

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu Gaming made easy with PlayDeb
      • Testing with Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) Alpha 5: Icicle XLR Adapter now Working.

        Ubuntu is in heavy testing for its next release, code named Karmic Koala, or version 9.10. It is currently in Alpha 5, and it looks very promising already. There is a huge focus on reducing the boot times of Ubuntu for Karmic. Jono Bacon, Ubuntu’s Community Manager has recently posted some interesting tidbits about other things coming to Ubuntu in this 9.10 release…

        [...]

        Look for Ubuntu 9.10, otherwise known as the Karmic Koala, sometime in October. Alpha 6 is due sometime next week, and the the Beta should be in early October. If you are adventurous, you can download Alpha 5 now and begin testing yourself. But I must warn that as it is an unstable alpha, things can break and things may drastically change on a daily basis; I would not load this on a machine you depend on.

      • Creature comforts for Ubuntu

        The upcoming version 9.10 of the popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, code-named “Karmic Koala”, is is approaching its October release. As part of the community dialogue over what should be in the next version, “Lifehacker”, a website about getting things done, has come up with a wish list for the free operating system, and Ubuntu has responded.

      • Karmic’s Notification Changes
      • Ubuntu Report Card (2009)

        If I average out these scores (A, D, B, C, A, B, A) using a 4.0 scale, I end up with a solid B (3.0 exactly). I’d say that’s a very accurate assessment of my experience with Ubuntu – generally above-average, but lots of room left to improve.

        To that end, the second half of this article (coming out next week) is an exciting one. It will consist of a group-generated list of features/fixes that need to happen over the next year if Ubuntu wants to remain a viable competitor in the consumer OS arena. This list is the result of conversations with all the Ubuntu users I know – including some great emails that have poured in over the last two days – and should represent a diverse range of input.

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 159

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #159 for the week September 6th – September 12th, 2009. In this issue we cover: Karmic Alpha 6 freeze ahead, UI freeze in place for Karmic, Ubuntu One has moved, New Ubuntu Developers, New Ubuntu Members, Ubuntu Stats, US LoCo Wiki Doc Day 2009, Ubuntu Pennsylvania, Launchpad meet-up: Sept. 28th in London, Meet Deryck Hodge, Ubuntu Forums Unanswered Post Team Meeting, An interview with Nathan Handler, Screencasting using Ubuntu: Part 1, Jono turning ?? – Wishlist predictable, Jolicloud innovates Atop Ubuntu Netbook Remix, and much, much more!

      • Ubuntu r0xx!

        Perhaps somebody has already posted this before and I missed it!

        I just noticed that Ubuntu is mentioned in the l33t subtitles of The IT Crowd Season 1 Episode 1. It’s rather embarrassing since I bought the DVD when I was in London in July of 2007 and just now watched the whole episode with the subtitles on.

      • Ubuntu Variants

        • Linux Mint 7 XFCE released

          The developers note that the Deluge BitTorrent Client has been replaced by Transmission and that the VLC Media Player, Tomboy, Samba, Vim and all of the old artwork has been removed to save space.

        • Linux Mint 7 ‘Gloria’ Now with XFCE 4.6.0

          Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of the Linux Mint 7 “Gloria” XFCE edition, a community-maintained modification of the standard Linux Mint distribution that uses the XFCE desktop environment by default. There are a lot of changes in this new version, and, among the base packages, you will find the Linux 2.6.28 kernel, Xorg 7.4 and XFCE 4.6.

        • Linux Mint 7 XFCE Review

          Linux Mint 7 XFCE really does mix together the stability of the Ubuntu 9.04 base, Linux Mint 7 features and beauty, along with quickness of XFCE to create a powerful, full featured, desktop that’s fast and light enough to run on older hardware.

        • Distro Hoppin`: moonOS 3

          Though you’re probably tired of all these Ubuntu-based distros, don’t hesitate to give moonOS 3 a try. The Enlightenment desktop environment has matured a lot and can provide a solid production platform if you’re willing to forgive its bugs here and there. Also, a big plus is the fact that you can tinker with it in so many ways to best suit your computing needs. Last but not least, it’s simply b e a u t i f u l, without asking for a monster machine.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Casio Hitachi Mobile Communications to Merge with NEC’s Mobile Terminal Unit

      NEC develops and manufactures mobile terminals for NTT DOCOMO, INC. and SoftBank Mobile Corp. that capitalize on the company’s core competencies and incorporate wireless communications technologies such as W-CDMA (*1) and LTE
      (*2), Linux (*3) platform development, low power consumption innovations and ultra-thin technologies.

    • Phones

      • Hard To Believe But Motorola Is Now A Software Company

        Yesterday, everyone was prepared to see Motorola’s latest form factor that would bring it back from the brink. Instead, what we got was an announcement about an innovative new user interface, or skin, that runs on top of the Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Android operating system.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Alpha 680 Android Netbook Review

        We are taking a look at the Alpha 680 netbook from Skytone (no relation to Alfa Network Inc., makers wireless products). The Alpha 680 is the world’s first Android netbook, giving users all the features of Google’s mobile phone operating system right on a netbook. The unit is not yet available in the US, but we got our hands on one because we wanted to test some of our WiFi products with Android, and also had considered becoming a distributor. Because the device was so different from any other netbook we have used, we decided to do a full blown public review. Here is the video, then further down we have more to say about the item and some pictures as well.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Eucalyptus CTO discusses open source clouds

    Rich Wolski, UCSB professor and CTO of recently-established Eucalyptus Systems, discusses the company’s first commercial product for the enterprise — an open source private cloud platform that supports Amazon AWS APIs and leverages VMware.

  • Celebrate Software Freedom Day on September 19!

    If you’ve got friends and family who use Linux or you want them to know more about Linux, why don’t you join Software Freedom Day festivities in your area? There’s a bunch of Software Freedom Day (SFD) groups and you should check out the SFD Maps of Teams Registered for SFD 2009. Each SFD group will have different kinds of activities planned for their respective areas. Maybe your area will have a seminar or some kind of party just to get to know other people who use free and open source software. It could also be a time to let new Linux users to get to know those who are experts in the community. The goal is to celebrate software freedom in whatever possible way and in every possible place in the whole world.

  • Mozilla

  • Government

    • OSS Agency Adoption Charts and Tables

      MAMPU currently collects and tracks OSS adoption statistics and trends for all agencies. The following links provide up to date data for the benefit of agencies and the public. They are updated every two weeks.

    • Selling Open Source software into the Public Sector

      Replacing proprietary solutions with Open Source solutions is not the same as leaving the flock and being eaten by the wolf, but to understand that you have to understand a little more about IT. Otherwise all you can do is choose to believe one side or another.

  • Openness

    • Google Launches the Data Liberation Front

      As well as being welcome, I think this is a shrewd move on Google’s part. It is essentially raising the bar for *all* cloud computing providers. It is obviously pretty confident that it can supply good enough services for people to want to keep their data in them, even if they can remove stuff quite easily. The bet is probably that users will shy away from cloud computing providers who *don’t* offer the same kind of pledges as Google. It will be interesting to see how the other major players respond.

    • MakeHuman Makes Open Source More Human

      Even the alpha version is incredibly impressive – real drag and drop 3D humanoid manipulation (*very* eerie), with a simple-to-use interface. If you think that free software is only about important but boring stuff, try out MakeHuman, and be amazed.

  • Programming

    • The A-Z of programming languages: Groovy

      The key differentiator is the seamless integration with the Java platform underneath. It’s something no other languages provide, even alternative languages for the JVM (Java Virtual Machine), or at least not up to the level that Groovy does.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • 802.11n Wi-Fi standard approved

      Finalisation of the new wireless-networking standard — which is capable of delivering throughput speeds up to 300Mbps (and even higher) — took exactly seven years from the day it was conceived, or six years from the first draft version. The standard has been through a dozen or so draft versions.

Leftovers

  • Police to monitor people never convicted of a crime

    PEOPLE without criminal convictions could be subject to covert surveillance, under new police tactics revealed this week.

    Durham Police has begun applying methods used to contain people found guilty of violent or sexual crimes to individuals not convicted of such offences.

  • Checks Are Indeed Needed – on Reality

    Here’s an unbelievably shameless attempt by Sir Roger Singleton to shout down the justified concern in the face of the insane UK government vetting scheme, which he heads. Let’s consider some of his comments.

    [...]

    So, all-in-all, your statements are a total disgrace, because you simply dismiss all the deeply-felt concerns of parents up and down the country without addressing them in the slightest. You have simply re-stated your own indifference to what the public thinks – a public you are supposed to serve.

  • Haiku Project Announces Availability of Haiku R1/Alpha 1

    This will help the Haiku development team identify and address bugs, and thus improve the quality of the system as development keeps advancing towards the subsequent development milestones. Bugs found in Alpha 1 should be reported to the Haiku bug tracking system at http://dev.haiku-os.org.

  • AstroTurf

    • Academic Researchers Get Up to $110,869 From Industry (Update1)

      Researchers at university hospitals who lead drug and device studies get as much as $110,869 a year from industry, and those who shared data and expertise with companies were “substantially” more likely to report positive results, a survey found.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Retailer Must Compensate Sony Anti-Piracy Rootkit Victim

      In 2005 there was a huge scandal when it was revealed that Sony’s attempts to crack down on music piracy had got out of control. The company included a rootkit (XCP) on many of its music CDs which was installed on the user’s PC without permission. Now a court has ordered compensation to be paid to an XCP victim.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Giving things away.

      I’m a freelance editorial photographer. Which broadly means that I charge a creative fee for my photographic services, the product of which the client is entitled to use, exclusively (called an embargo period), before I then syndicate it, and the rest of the pictures made at the shoot. As such my current business model revolves around my ownership of the copyright of my images and trading the licensing rights thereof. I represent myself and so pay no commission on my fees to an agent on the initial creative fee (though those fees seldom cover the cost of the shoot), however, when syndicated through Corbis Outline, I pay a minimum of 50% if they re-sell it, and 50% of my fee again if one of their agents sells it for them. I also produce self directed projects which I exhibit, and my work is collected by the National Portrait Gallery in London,UK. My total monthly income from archive sales are approx £150 GBP. I also sell my work directly and independently.

    • Japan aims to cut off music piracy

      Every mobile phone in Japan may be installed with software to block illegally copied music if the world’s first such system is approved by talks that start in Tokyo next week.

    • Time for MPs to Face the Music on Sharing

      But the idea that civil liberties should be curtailed simply to keep afloat a dying – and widely-hated, both by artists and consumers – industry, should be self-evidently absurd.

      It’s worrying that the author of this latest simplistic attack on file-sharing, apparently “a former member of Runrig”, is unable to see this. He and other demagogues that attack sharing for whatever reason would do well to look at the facts, and not glibly regurgitate the propaganda of the industry and its lobbyists.

    • Charlie Brooker: What links Lord Mandelson, Damien Hirst and the music industry?

      But no. They’re going to identify and isolate these fans and try to ban them from the internet. Christ knows how that’s going to work. Perhaps they’ll employ a uniformed enforcer to run in and physically knock the mouse out of your hand every 10 minutes. Maybe an email arrives, curtly informing you you’ve been fired from Google. Now clear your cache and get out. I guess the powers that be could pressurise local service providers, but if they start cutting off broadband connections willy-nilly, neighbourhood Wi-Fi “theft” will skyrocket. And how do you stop people using iPhones and other mobile internet devices? Smash their fingers with rocks? Position snipers on rooftops?

    • An ‘extremely obscure issue’

      The example at issue (used by Crosbie to illustrate something he calls ‘Intellectual-property nihilism’) goes like this:

      Crosbie is contracted to write a particular piece of software, and does so, setting specific conditions — how much he’ll be paid, etc — required before he’ll release it.

      A burglar breaks into Crosbie’s house, and steals ‘the program’. (Note the equivocation, which we’ll get to later.)

      At issue, is what punishment — if any — does the burglar get?

      1. According to Crosbie’s (hypothetical) ‘IP Nihilist’, the burglar is guilty only of breaking and entering, OR at absolute worst, the theft of physical property — the USB key or Hard Drive on which the program ‘resides’.

    • Copyright law threatening

      It is increasingly apparent that modern copyright law is utterly and completely incompatible with the right to privacy…. What has changed? Before home computers, compact discs and Internet file sharing, it was conceivable for copyright laws to be enforced in a manner that did not bring the state to any-one’s doorstep. If there was an illegal copy of a book in a bookshop, one could report it to the authorities. If someone brought a video camera into a theatre or a concert, they could be readily seen.

      Given today’s technological realities, this is no longer the case…. the problem lies in the fact that current copyright laws are completely unenforceable unless the government or industry groups start to read every e-mail and analyze every form of online communication done by citizens.

    • Israeli MPAA Goes After Premier Subtitling Site

      ALIS, Israel’s answer to the MPAA, has moved aggressively against a site which provides translated subtitles for movies and TV shows. Three individuals who work to provide free subtitles on Qsubs, one of Israel’s most prominent subtitle providers, have been ordered by ALIS to pay $264,000 each in damages and issue a public apology.

    • Despite Publishers’ Complaints, They Benefit from Used Game Sales

      In a recent interview with IGN, Game Crazy’s Director of Used Games Marc Mondhaschen says that publishers are reaping benefits from game trade-ins, albeit indirectly…

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Jim Hogg teaches GNU Linux to high school kids 02 (2008)


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

Comes Antitrust: How Microsoft Schemed to Destroy Borland (Like It Did Yahoo!)

Posted in Antitrust, IBM, Microsoft at 9:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Gates looks at everything as something that should be his. He acts in any way he can to make it his. It can be an idea, market share, or a contract. There is not an ounce of conscientiousness or compassion in him. The notion of fairness means nothing to him. The only thing he understands is leverage.”

Philippe Kahn, Founder and former CEO of Borland

Nuclear strike

Summary: Antitrust memo that Microsoft paid to bury shows how Microsoft’s management decided to “drop the private neutron bombs” on Borland

LAST YEAR we looked back at several stories that relate to Borland and what Microsoft did to this company [1, 2]. Microsoft offered obscene amounts of money for key staff of Borland to abandon and subsequently pass control over development tools to Microsoft. It’s a vicious long-term investment whose key strategy is destruction of competition, which in turn enables price-fixing.

Borland suffered from some other Microsoft abuses, which we shall properly revisit and cover in the future.

“It’s a vicious long-term investment whose key strategy is destruction of competition, which in turn enables price-fixing.”Today’s Comes vs Microsoft exhibit, Exhibit PX00743 [PDF], provides black-on-white proof that Microsoft’s actions against Borland were very much deliberate. It also shows who was responsible. Not too surprisingly, we find correspondence with a familiar Microsoft bully, Brad Silverberg [1, 2]. There are other such bullies like Joachim Kempin, but Kempin is a lot more focused on just OEMs.

The key parts of today’s exhibit are shown below for those who may lack patience to view the entire document, whose text Wallclimber has kindly provided for us to include at the bottom. There may be inaccuracies in her transcription, so one ought to view the original PDF for a higher precision/fidelity.

The correspondence begins with Brad Silverberg addressing Lawrence J. Magid. It might be this journalist, based on his followup where he speaks to David Cole (Microsoft senior who left 2 years ago after over 20 years at the company).

Here is part of the long message/summary which may explain why Microsoft was worried about Borland. It was not just about development tools but also about operating systems (OS/2 versus Windows):

One ISV said (politely) “it is obvious that MS is no longer considered a key strategic partner by IBM”. This was reinforced by IBM announcing the Borland C++ deal on the 3rd day and flying Phillipe Kahn in on a red-eye to give an unscheduled talk.

While most ISVs did not walk away with a burning desire to write 32 bit apps, they all indicated that they expect to have to keep developing for Windows & OS/2 for a while, and that they found IBM’s strategy to be at least reasonable (some said compelling).

3 hours later, Brad Silverberg passed on to his colleagues this message which was sent to Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer an hour beforehand. It says:

In addition to the non-IBM stuff I recommended, I think we should stay super polite publically but drop the private neutron bombs. Let’s hire all their good guys (let me know if you want me to go after Brad Beitel — I bet we could get him esp. if we let him stay in northern cafifornia – e.g. work for GBU). Let’s go visit all of their key corporate customers and disclose the details of how well NT OS/2 will run 16bit windows apps natively. Let’s visit Jack Kuchler and John Akers and explain to them how much money their PC Group is throwing at a losing proposition and how easy it would be for them to work with Microsoft if they weren’t on a path to take us out of our core business of desktop operating systems. And finally — let’s give copies of the MS/IBM audit to each of the 25 most influencial ISVs. An maybe even corporate customers too if there are no legal issues.

So there we have it. Microsoft admits “drop[ping] the private neutron bombs” and poaching staff from Borland, obviously with chaos in mind. “Let’s hire all their good guys,” it says. Does this happen to remind anyone of what Microsoft did to Yahoo (latest prominent example)? This modus operandi characterises other stories of Microsoft ‘competing’.


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit PX00743, as text


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