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What is ‘Club SCO’ Doing Near the Linux Foundation with Novell?

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, SCO at 4:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Where’s Waldo?

Linux Foundation

Summary: Respected members of the community complain about SCO players lurking among jesters for the Linux Foundation’s “Fake Linus Torvalds” game

SCO used to contribute to Linux, but a lot of people do not remember this anymore. Some pundits opine that Novell will be the next SCO Group and the company’s increased fascination with .NET is not an encouraging sign. Novell is firing Linux developers [1, 2], one of whom we spoke to in our IRC channel just two days ago. Some of these layoffs occur silently and it should not be surprising that Novell's contributions (patches) to Linux dropped sharply this year.

Microsoft’s indirect influence inside the Linux Foundation withstanding (influence via Novell), it was hard to ignore the fact that an anti-Linux character who promoted SCO was almost a guest of honour at LinuxCon. Boldly enough, the Managing Editor of Linux Today complained about this. She wrote:

And check out the winning Fake Linus– Matt Asay, who I would not characterize as any kind of great Linux advocate; his views on Linux and FOSS change as often as he publishes a new blog posting, which is several times a day. But at least Mr. Asay has some genuine FOSS creds.

Dan Lyons as contestant is just plain baffling. You might recall this is the same Dan Lyons who used to publish reams of anti-Linux trolling and pro-SCO guff for Forbes magazine. So what happened, wasn’t Rob Enderle available? Or Maureen O’Gara? With Ms.O’Gara you get a twofer– anti-Linux troll and your token woman. I suppose it’s a play on his schtick as Fake Steve Jobs, which is about as relevant to Linux and community-building as any random celebrity impersonator. A Fake Elvis would have been better, then we would have some cool music to listen to.

Carla spoke for many of us when she shared the thoughts above. She didn’t speak about the other Fake Linus who is a Novell employee, only the former one, namely Asay. Jason (of Mono-Nono fame) wrote

Linux Today on LinuxCon


Not Ms. Schroder’s words, but she rightfully points out the baffling inclusion of Daniel Lyons in the proceedings. This is a gentleman who enthusiastically supported SCO’s lawsuit activities for years, never missing a chance to smear and degrade the FLOSS community in the effort.

Among some of Mr. Lyons more enlightened diatribes include “Linux’s Hit Men“, where he goes through great pains to distort the role of the FSF and GPL, even reaching for the good old “comrade” Communism allusion. Or perhaps “Linux Scare Tactics” is more to your taste, where Mr. Lyons opines on the “FUD” from “Linux zealots”? You can hit on any random Forbes article from Mr. Lyons on the topic of Linux to be treated to 100% Microsoft approved misinformation and spin with all your favorite code words and key phrases.

Mr. Lyons is just one example of the less intellectually sophisticated Linux detractors / Microsoft apologists, but he serves here as an interesting example of a strange phenomenon among some in the FLOSS community to welcome, or even vigorously defend those who have spent enormous effort to destroy that same community.

I call it the FLOSS Stockholm Syndrome here because it seems to be part of that same mental abberation of hostages sympathizing or defending their captors!

Looking back at Carla’s post, here is an interesting comment from Antero, who writes: “Linus Torvalds atleast “sabotaged” the good reputation of Linux by that “Linux is too bloat” comment. What a interesting thing, everytime something negative has said about Linux it reaches the headlines. Atleast here in Finland. And don’t you ever think that we here see Linus “The Son of Nils” Torvalds as an “god” at all. Personally i find Richard Stallman as a man who really has something to say. His comment about one traitor might sound a bit “Stalin’s Purge” but honestly – it was rather realistic. Linus tries perhaps subconsciously escape the stalinism (connected always here to his father’s past)

“Microsoft just loves quoting Linux authorities as saying that Linux has technical deficiencies.”Our previous post debunked the whole "bloat" remark, which no doubt will be used by Microsoft against Linux. In its internal anti-Linux presentations, Microsoft just loves quoting Linux authorities as saying that Linux has technical deficiencies.

So anyway, why on Earth was Dan Lyons brought this close to the very same foundation whose cause he was attacking for years, equipped with SCO's slander?

This would not be the first such bizarre incident. Matt Asay, a former Novell employee who is also conspicuously included in this contest despite his professed love for Apple and Macs, joined Dave Rosenberg in citing and inviting Dan Lyons to an audio show, essentially playing along with this vicious character that curses folks like them. Maybe they just don’t know who Lyons really is, but they E-mailed me in advance, suggesting that I propose a question for the show (to be addressed for Lyons to answer). Maybe they know the history of my criticism of Lyons and him linking to Boycott Novell from Forbes Magazine. Another bizarre appearance of Dan Lyons was a keynote at EclipseCon 2008. This is part of a worrying trend where people who speak ‘on behalf’ of FOSS are not even FOSS users and are sometimes anti-FOSS (even secretly).

People who do not know Lyons’ role in advancing SCO’s cause can probably find all the answers at Groklaw, which is now waving an interesting analysis of an amicus brief that favours software patents.

Lineo was, of course, an offshoot of Caldera, spun off in 1999 as a wholly owned subsidiary. Why would it want Hollaar’s web site? For what business purpose would it fund it? According to a report in April of 2002, by Maureen O’Gara, Lineo had ran out of money and was bouncing paychecks. If true, maybe paying professors to put up web sites isn’t a viable business model? I am starting to wonder how long ago the idea of suing over the GPL first began to stir.

Harris replaced Bryan Sparks as CEO of Lineo in 2001, by the way. He started out as VP and General Counsel at Lineo when it began. Sparks founded Caldera, Inc. in 1994. Harris worked for Summit Law Group also, and in fact he was a founding member (more Lineo history at that link), and he was the lead technical lawyer for Caldera in its lawsuit against Microsoft. You’ll find Palumbo in the Caldera v. Microsoft filing also. You can find Hollaar’s other amicus brief submitted by him and IEEE-USA in the Bilski case, the one he filed earlier with the appeals court, on his page of papers.

Starting to feel like the Ozarks, where everyone is creepily related to everyone else you keep bumping into? The point is, there is a connection between Hollaar and Caldera/SCO that goes back years.


How can a professor of computer science not know that software didn’t start out as proprietary? That came second, not first. And talk about missing the point of the open source development model, where sharing knowledge is deliberate. You could call it the scientific method. It’s like doctors sharing their knowledge from experiments and such, so other doctors don’t have to repeat what they’ve already done. It’s not about keeping that knowledge secret; the whole point is to share, so that the state of the field can quickly advance. The FOSS community shares on purpose, in order to share knowledge, also so the knowledge remains available to all. It has nothing to do with cloning anything. “GNU’s not Unix” is a meaningful phrase. And the GPL in no way downplays copyright protection. It is based on copyright law, and the GPL is enforced using copyright law, so his footnote is grossly inaccurate, not to mention offensive and demeaning, to me anyway.


Oh, and speaking of small worlds, Hollaar’s bio says “Professor Hollaar is currently working on a new approach to patent reform and laws governing shrink-wrap and click-on licenses.” Speaking of Psystar. And look at a comment submitted, according to Terekhov, by Hollaar to the FSF during the rewriting of the GPLv3:

This is not a correct statement of copyright law, at least in the United States. With respect to “propagate”, it is likely a tautology because of the defintion of “propagate” covering only things “that require permission under applicable copyright law”. But for “modify”, 17 U.S.C. 117 permits the “owner of a copy of a computer program” to make an “adaptation” in particular circumstances, and makes it clear that making that adaptation does not “infringe copyright if you do not accept this License.” It also does not seem to recognize the “first sale” doctrine codified in 17 U.S.C. 109, that permits the transfer of a lawfully-made copy “without the authority of the copyright owner”. Perhaps the interplay between the definition of “propagate” and this section covers it, but it is certainly not made clear and, in fact, misleads one in thinking that the only way to redistribute a lawful copy is to accept the License.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? A little like Psystar’s position, isn’t it? A lot like Psystar, huh? Coincidence? I don’t know. But it’s eerie, to me.


And in 2003, “alexander” posted this comment on Groklaw about how to work around the GPL, a la Psystar, as I read it, and included a link to the SCOX Yahoo! message board, to comments by Alexander Terekhov in support of SCO Group, making the circle complete.

I know what will interest you the most is the Hollaar brief, particularly the arguments on software and whether it is math, but at least you will understand from all this why, despite not knowing exactly how all these pieces fit together, I have come to suspect that the same folks behind SCO are somehow behind Psystar too, and that at its most fundamental, it was and still is an ideological attack on the GPL.

Regarding Professor Hollaar’s disinformation, Dr. Glyn Moody claims that “he doesn’t understand that algorithms are still maths – just ask Knuth”

A connection between Hollaar and SCO would be trickier to understand, but as SCO continues its battle over UNIX copyright, it is clear that Novell is not giving up and it would go all the way for the kill, as LamLaw shows in this analysis.

Novell Files for Rehearing En Banc!(Groklaw)


But, for the immediate future I do expect the old SCO nuisance lawyers to submit a brief arguing against the petition for an en banc hearing. After all, they have been prepaid for their legal services, right? And even though their hopes of ever getting to the actual trial have all but vanished as the new trustee was appointed by the court, they have been paid and they have been working a losing case all along. And they knew that from day one.

Either you have a transfer agreement that spells out which copyrights you have or you do not have any copyrights. Certainly the SCO lawyers knew that getting into the courtroom (trial court, appellate court or supreme court) would not be enough if Novell, IBM, Red Hat or even AutoZone? insist upon litigating their rights. Even nuisance lawyers are not ignorant of the law. They just think they can cause enough of a stink to get paid off.

Is Novell trying to help Linux (the PR factor) or does it want to keep the “UNIX” ammunition? Novell is not a charity after all.

In a new article from Richard Hillesley, this entire case is called the party that never ends.

Two years ago, we reported the imminent end of the long running legal battle between The SCO Group and the Linux Community, represented by Novell, IBM and others. But like the bad actor in a Victorian melodrama, SCO refuses to lie down, and keeps coming back for more.

It is not hard to come back for more when companies like Microsoft provide funding.

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Linux ‘Bloated’ Claims Came from Novell, Debunked

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Novell, Ubuntu at 3:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Tracing the source of the claims about Linux being “bloated” leads to no surprises and the allegations are soon being refuted

THOSE in the press who are constantly Linux hostile have become preoccupied with Torvalds’ admission that Linux is getting larger (more code). Is it getting more “bloated”? That’s debatable.

Little attention was paid to the original source of the claims. It is not as though Linus Torvalds came up with the statement. He was more or less being fed words in the sense that he was merely presented with a sort of complaint, which he was then left to acknowledge or deny based on no independent evidence. Torvalds does not perform benchmarks, so we at Boycott Novell contacted those who do. We spoke to Phoronix and others who are more intimately familiar with Linux development (kernel space).

First of all, a question worth asking is, where did the claims come from? It turns out that a Novell employee, James Bottomley, is the one who raised the issue. We presented a video of his in this post about Microsoft's (and Novell's) increasing influence inside the Linux Foundation. Here is a report from The Register, which was cited very widely:

During a roundtable discussion at LinuxCon in Portland, Oregon this afternoon, moderator and Novell distinguished engineer James Bottomley asked Tovalds whether Linux kernel features were being released too fast, before the kernel is stabilized.

Citing an internal Intel study that tracked kernel releases, Bottomley said Linux performance had dropped about two per centage points at every release, for a cumulative drop of about 12 per cent over the last ten releases. “Is this a problem?” he asked.

That’s what friends are for, eh? Microsoft is unlikely to ever bring up criticism of Windows in its very own conference which is covered by journalists. Here is one report that references the above.

According to the report, Novell engineer James Bottomley referred to an internal study done by Intel which had found Linux performance had fallen by 2 percentage points at every release. Over the last 10 releases, the drop had been about 12 percent.

The numbers themselves come from Intel, but these were internal. Putting aside Intel's heinous crimes (yes, it commits crimes and then found guilty in multiple continents, by separate independent courts), there are many facts that Moblin fans prefer not see, such as Intel's support of SCO, relentless promotion of Vista 7, notoriously bad drivers for Linux, and collusion with Microsoft. See for example:

Intel would love to publicly appear like a friend of everyone (including Apple, which is a major client now). But Intel is still in the business of selling the most chipsets and there is no x86 supporter like Windows, which is almost exclusively about x86. Intel found itself asleep on the wheel with OLPC and ARM gaining traction, so it is currently trying to tie Linux to x86 by all means available, even Moblin.

As for the claims themselves, knowing that benchmarks are prone to self-serving fraud (Microsoft does this all the time [1, 2]), we have looked at Phoronix benchmarks of Linux 2.6.30, Linux 2.6.28, Linux 2.6.26, and Linux 2.6.23. Linux does not appear to be getting slower. We asked Michael Larabel if it is true that Linux gets “bloated” and he says that “it depends upon the area. Some areas of the kernel have slowed down while others have improved.”

“Michael Larabel was right,” claims our regular reader Oiaohm, who is somewhat of a Linux expert.

“Let us remember that Novell’s Greg K-H self-servingly chose a criterion by which to slam Canonical and poison people’s minds against Ubuntu.”So what is it that Novell’s Bottomley was referring to specifically? Boot time has definitely improved, the file systems get faster as well, but it is always possible to find some specific test/s to suit whatever hypothesis is carved in stone and then requires proving. Let us remember that Novell's Greg K-H self-servingly chose a criterion by which to slam Canonical and poison people's minds against Ubuntu. Canonical contributes a lot outside kernel space, so Greg’s smear ended up looking dishonest. Compare this to Greg’s sweet talking when Microsoft’s contribution to Linux was just a driver for Microsoft products [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Microsoft is his employer’s ally, unlike Canonical.

In conclusion, adds Oiaohm: “Linux kernel is not just black and white numbers. Overall measurements are showing slowing [but] altering particular settings and setting up systems different ways cause completely different performance.”

Referring to another regular reader, Oiaohm informally writes that this is the “reason why Diablo-D3 and me went head to head recently. I have been using cgroups to manage my processes so avoiding lot of cfs hell. Causing by auto grouping into users. So I am seeing way different bench numbers to what Diablo-D3 is getting, even when we are using the same source. It’s also the numbers of merges over that time [...] Most of the independent trees to the main Linux kernel are no more [and the] Price of unifying it takes quite a few versions for all the side effects to be found and corrected. At some point something better in driver detection for hal searches has to be found. The merges into the Linux kernel should slow down soon [when] You get a linux feature list it is getting fairly complete.”

“Microsoft did sponsor the benchmark testing and the NT server was better tuned than the Linux one. Having said that, I must say that I still trust the Windows NT server would have outperformed the Linux one.”

Windows platform manager, Microsoft South Africa
Reference: Outrage at Microsoft’s independent, yet sponsored NT 4.0/Linux research

Latest Evidence That Microsoft is Dying on the Internet

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Servers at 2:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Angry zebra

Summary: Microsoft’s position is slipping as GNU/Linux and GNU/Linux-powered Web clusters gain considerable momentum

AS we mentioned earlier, Microsoft loses a lot of money online and the Bing-sponsored blog finally drops some numbers:

Windows Live lost $560m in FY09


Most notably, Windows Live lost $560 million in Microsoft’s 2009 fiscal year, on revenue of $520 million, according to one of the slides that accompanied the online presentation.

This essentially means that as GNU/Linux continues to take away Microsoft's revenue from Office and Windows Microsoft may be left operating at a loss. Randall Kennedy has just called Office Web Apps “The beginning of the end for Microsoft”. It’s sensationalist, sure, but it is still a timely reminder of the fact that Microsoft must move online to compete (and it fails to compete there). The summary of this op-ed goes like this:

How Microsoft’s half-hearted embrace of cloud computing has signaled the start of an inexorable slide into obsolescence

IBM and Microsoft are meanwhile vying for PHP’s love. Via Bob Sutor:

A group of prominent cloud vendors has banded together behind an open source project that promises to make application services available across clouds. Zend Technologies, the supplier of the PHP scripting language, launched the Simple API project Tuesday, and IBM and Microsoft were among the first vendors to sign on.

Sadly for Microsoft, Zend said a few months ago that 95% among Zend clients choose GNU/Linux for deployment on the server. Microsoft is losing in a very big way.

“The Internet? We are not interested in it.”

Bill Gates, 1993

Microsoft Tax Avoidance, by the Numbers

Posted in America, Bill Gates, Europe, Finance, Microsoft at 2:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Guess who is left to pay Microsoft’s and BIll’s bills

Debt and demand

Summary: Another up-to-date look at how Microsoft loots the American public

SEVERAL readers have independently brought to our attention this post from Slashdot, which reiterates old facts about Microsoft’s tax avoidance.

“With Washington State facing a billion-dollar biennial budget deficit, the spotlight again shifts to Microsoft’s software licensing office in Reno, Nevada. ‘Although the majority of its software development is performed in Washington State, Microsoft records its estimated $18 billion in licensing revenue per year through a corporate office in Reno, Nevada where there is no licensing tax. Just by enforcing the state’s existing tax law from 2008 onwards, we could reduce Washington’s revenue shortfall by more than 70 percent. Alternately, we could pursue the entire $707 million from Microsoft’s thirteen years of tax dodging and cover most of the expected deficit going forward.’ We have discussed Microsoft’s creative capitalism in the past.”

Here is the main source referenced by Slashdot. It states its case by citing some older reports and connecting them to contemporary trends and figures.

Last week, the Seattle Times reported that Washington State’s tax revenue is expected to decline by $238 million creating a $430 million shortfall in the biennial budget. The deficit is expected to grow further as a result of “rising demand for state services and other factors”. Luckily, there is an easy way to shore up our finances – ask Attorney General Rob McKenna to begin enforcing the state’s existing tax law on software licensing.

Over the past thirteen years, I estimate that Microsoft has avoided paying more than $707 million in B & O taxes on sales of its corporate software licenses (see Citizen Microsoft and Microsoft’s $528 million Washington tax break ). Although the majority of its software development is performed in Washington State, Microsoft records its estimated $18 billion in licensing revenue per year through a corporate office in Reno, Nevada where there is no licensing tax.

For more information about Microsoft’s practices, see previous posts on the subject, including:

More recently we showed that Steve Ballmer is blackmailing Obama to protect this status quo. Until people stand up and demand change, nothing is likely to magically correct itself. This whole taxation game characterises not just Microsoft’s finances in the United States but also elsewhere (accounting in Ireland, as outlined in prior posts) and the personal finances of Bill Gates. Microsoft and Gates rely heavily on people’s ignorance not only when it comes to technical computing matters.

“My background is finance and accounting. As a socially conscious venture capitalist and philanthropist, I have a very good understanding of wealth management and philanthropy. I started my career in 1967 with the IRS as a specialist in taxation covering many areas of the tax law including the so-called legal loopholes to charitable giving. […] However, the Gates Buffet foundation grant is nothing more than a shell game in which control of assets for both Gates and Buffet remain the same. […] The only difference is that the accumulation of wealth by these two will be much more massive because they will no longer have to pay any taxes.”

The Gates and Buffet Foundation Shell Game

Likewise: Microsoft Embraces and Extends Samba with Software Patents?

Posted in GPL, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Samba at 1:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Likewise as Microsoft

Summary: A partly Microsoft-derived entity harms Samba by taking its work and making it more Microsoft obedient

A COUPLE of weeks ago we mentioned the company called Likewise because it had been conceived by Microsoft employees, at least in part. The name of the company is very appropriate because it’s centered around a me-too product that is more or less leeching Samba.

It was rather pleasing to see that someone in the press is finally willing to criticise this company, which is selling Samba for a price near Microsoft’s headquarters at Bellevue (there are software patents to be paid for, they would insist).

SMB (Server Message Block) is the network protocol glue that binds many file and print servers and clients for Windows and Linux, but it’s recently been running into some trouble. First, Microsoft’s proprietary take on it, SMB2, has real security problems. Next, Likewise has released a new open-source SMB/CIFS (Common Internet File System) file server software stack to share files among Linux, Mac, Unix and Windows computers, which, in the past, had been based on Samba, the popular open-source SMB server. Samba’s leadership is not happy with this.


Meanwhile, back at traditional SMB, which works just fine, Likewise recently released Likewise-CIFS and its commercial brother, Likewise Open 5.3, under the GPLv2. The company claims it is the only commercially supported CIFS/SMB file server for storage vendors and enterprises. Likewise-CIFS supports both SMB1 and SMB2.

So what’s the problem? As Krishna Ganugapat, VP of engineering at Likewise, said in a recent interview, “We came to realize that most successful open-source companies must be in a position where they control their own technology destiny.” Later, he said, “We now owned our own intellectual property; we held the copyright to all our source code.”

Listen to him extolling the virtues of intellectual monopoly. By his own admission, Ganugapat started his career in the Windows NT Development Group at Microsoft. That was in 1993.

It is worth adding that Likewise is close to Novell, as we showed many times before (Samba protested against Novell’s deal with Microsoft of course). Tony OBryan provides what he calls a “translation” of the article above:

The story deserves an executive summary:

“Microsoft writes new software, and the software sucks. A Microsoft-funded organization once again tries to kill a Microsoft competitor (Samba, therefore Linux).”

That’s the entire gist of the story.

To be more accurate, Microsoft is trying to kill free-of-charge Linux. Likewise’s products will be marketed as a “better Samba than Samba” and since Likewise is right on Microsoft’s doorstep, it may as well receive the assistance which is required (financial too).

People who support GNU/Linux and Free software should avoid Likewise and go with Samba instead.

Novell Helps Microsoft Zune and CodePlex Foundation Helps Novell

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Red Hat at 1:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft ZUN

“[The partnership with Microsoft is] going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

Summary: The reciprocal relationship between Microsoft and Novell continues to be made more apparent

NOVELL is a very .NET-focused company at the moment. The staff spends a great deal of time speaking about it, and not just the technical staff. The latest output from Novell’s Mono team is curious; It looks like a Microsoft product developed at Novell and it is called MonoTouch. We wrote about it in:

Novell has actually worked on MonoTouch for several months and the output of this programme thus far is truly marvelous… to Microsoft. Watch this new report from the Microsoft site Neowin:

A few days ago, Novell unveiled its new ‘MonoTouch’ SDK to be used for developing iPhone applications in .NET…

The developer, Foundation42, posted their milestone via Twitter, showing the power of Novell’s new SDK and what can be achieved with it. The game that was ported is called WordMonger, and was displayed on a YouTube video which we have included below. Many have questioned Microsoft’s games which were included with the Zune HD, as (although they’re free) they display a short ad each time they are launched.

That’s right. Novell has just helped enrich the Zune. That’s the idea of .NET promotion. Novell does not seem to be doing so much apart from this.

Just looking at Novell news in general, there is hardly anything noteworthy (other than demise, as shown in the previous post). What sure does exist in the news feeds are anti-Red Hat whitepapers from Novell. They continue to appear this week, just as they have over the past couple of months. Those papers do not target Windows or even UNIX; Novell’s own Web site is very focused on just poaching existing users of GNU/Linux (mostly from Red Hat).

ITWire has another new report which goes under the headline “CodePlex Foundation will help spread use of Mono.” It is true and it is hardly surprising. It’s an ongoing two-way relationship between Microsoft and Novell (not to be confused with Open/SUSE in Germany).

The appointment of Novell vice-president Miguel de Icaza to the board of Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation has been done for one reason – the Foundation will serve as a handy vehicle to increase the use of Mono.


Wouldn’t that mean less time can be devoted to developing applications for Linux? After all, the same developers are writing the code for both ports, aren’t they?

Bingo, the magician arrives, Miguel with his magic Mono wand. No problem, says de Icaza, just switch to Mono. Then you can code just once and it will run on both Windows and Linux.

We wrote about the CodePlex Foundation in:

There is yet more criticism of Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation in this familiar parable (where the tortoise and fox are swapped):

For years Microsoft has been spreading lies and FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) about Linux in the hopes that they can keep Linux from being widely adopted. Their latest round of lies is the anti-linux propaganda used in training some Best Buy and Staples employees. My opinion is that the reason Microsoft uses these tactics is because their software is so bad that it cannot stand on its own merits. It’s sad that Microsoft wastes tons of resources trying to kill Linux instead of using those resources to improve their own software.


The fox thought about it and finally agreed. So the scorpion climbed up on his back, and the fox began to swim. But halfway across the river, the scorpion stung him. As poison filled his veins, the fox turned to the scorpion and said, “Why did you do that? Now you’ll drown, too.”

“I couldn’t help it,” said the scorpion. “It’s my nature.”

So, the next time you’re disgusted by something Microsoft does, just remember.. it’s their nature.

Jason Perlow has just published this post which comes across as a little trollish (especially the picture). Being an IBM employee, it is not surprising that he is critical of Stallman’s positions. In conclusion he writes:

Stallman and the FSF, like his Cretaceous ancestors 65 million years ago, isn’t evolved enough to see that his reign is about to come to an end. The Open world needs interoperability, not shut itself off from other standards just because they originate from proprietary sources.

To be fair, Perlow works with two platforms that he connects for clients and also to his credit, he is an advocate of GNU/Linux. But he fails to get acorss a very fundamental point here. He seemingly claims that Microsoft (and Miguel de Icaza) wants interoperability. A bit like the way Microsoft ignored ODF when it comes to interoperability? And instead corrupted standards bodies all around the world?

Novell’s type of sought interoperability is about assimilation to Microsoft and paying for software patents that seemingly do not exist. To claim that Mono is about interoperability is to ignore the fact that Microsoft’s .NET deliberately excludes platforms other than Windows.

Novell UK: It’s Like Singing to Empty Tables

Posted in Europe, Marketing, Novell at 12:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Empty seats

Summary: Novell’s distribution line in Britain is cut by 25%

Novell UK is going through some rough times these days. Its channel chief apparently quit not so long ago, so the channel is broken and some more departures at the top lead to uncertainty in an already-struggling company. The British press came out with two reports that show the level of demise Novell UK has been suffering as of late. The Register talks abut a 25% decline in Novell’s distribution line.

The software vendor had already thinned its UK distribution line up by 25 per cent this year, having axed broadliner Computer 2000 and a couple of smaller outfits. Termination notifications have now been served to two more unnamed distributors, reducing Novell’s UK line-up to five.

Channel Insider indicates that it’s not over yet.

Novell will axe another 10 per cent of UK distributors currently partnering with the software vendor by the start of November this year.


Since the start of this year Novell has reduced the number of disties on its books by 25 per cent. Computer 2000 was one of the casualties in Novell’s initial distributor axe grind.

As Novell’s revenue continues to decline, so will the size of the staff and Novell’s overall impact.

“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

Links 23/09/2009: Big Win for GNU/Linux in Spain, Amarok 2.2 Now at RC1

Posted in News Roundup at 12:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • ES: Andalusia to distribute open source laptops to schools

      Distributing the laptops will cost more than 80 million euro, El Pais reports. “Each laptop will cost around 290 euro. The government has decided to configure the laptops with free software, using the operating system Guadalinex and other free applications.”


      Spain’s Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s announcement in May to distribute about 450,000 laptops to schools in the country was criticised by his own party (PSOE). Zapatero wants these laptops to be fitted with Microsoft’s proprietary software. However, Leire Pajín, the party’s secretary said she wants these laptops to run only open source software.

    • IBM and Canonical partner on software package for Africa

      The Wall Street Journal broke the story this morning of a partnership between IBM and Canonical to provide a software package for users of netbooks and other thin clients in Africa. The package, which can be configured in several ways to provide both netbook-based and cloud-based software, is expected to drive new business for local partners by taking advantage of open standards, file sharing, email, and social network capabilities.

    • IBM Markets Wares to Africa

      International Business Machines Corp. will try to sell a new package of low-priced computer desktop applications to companies and governments in Africa, challenging Microsoft Corp. and other rivals in the region.

      IBM, which has been pushing into developing markets like Africa and Asia as mature markets slow, said the package — which includes basic programs like word processing and email — would be made available to customers via remote “cloud computing” facilities, meaning users could access the programs from the Web. It would cost $10 per month per user, and can run on so-called netbook computers, or low-cost PCs priced around $300.

      IBM is working in collaboration with London-based Canonical Ltd., which makes Linux software and was started in South Africa.

    • Please Don’t Show the Command Line to the Uninitiated

      Not long ago I had the opportunity to show off GNU/Linux to a friend. She’s been a lifelong Windows users and is just your average, non-technical computer user. She’d heard of this thing called “Linux,” but had never seen a Linux distro in use. So, I gladly booted up my laptop and also the desktop (we were at my house, my wife and I having one of our many cookouts) and showed her Linux Mint 7 via a live CD and also Ubuntu 8.10, which is installed on my family’s desktop.

  • Events

    • Registration deadline extended one more day

      Due to overwhelming demand, we have extended the Ohio LinuxFest registration until midnight Tuesday, September 22. Please register today if you have not done so already and are planning on coming to Ohio LinuxFest 2009. Walk-in registrations at the day of the show may be possible for the enthusiast and professional packages (OLFU), subject to space availability

    • The Report from Fake Portland: LinuxCon 2009

      For all of its popularity – Linux is, after all, a multi, multi billion dollar industry at this point – it’s lacked a focused show. OSCON, the Linux Plumber’s conference and a variety of other distribution oriented and community run shows have picked up the slack, for the most part, but we haven’t had a practitioner focused event like LinuxCon for a while now. And while LinuxCon isn’t technically a reboot or rebranding of anything, it’s being seen that way. The show is starting small – between five and six hundred attending, I believe – and even were the economy not currently in the tank this would be the right decision. Because it keeps the emphasis right where it should be: on the content, not the swag. Even small, it’s still full: half the sessions I’ve been to have been standing room only.

    • LinuxCon: Beyond the Hype: The True Cost of Linux and Open Source (liveblog)

      Mid-sized shops that don’t look at development as a core competency is currently a place where Open Source is perceived as weak and can improve its uptake and success rates moving forward.

    • LinuxCon Audio Diary 1
    • LinuxCon Audio Diary 2
    • LinuxCon: Desktop Should Be Better Than Windows

      These remarks on their own were broad enough not to raise eyebrows, but Sutor’s next statement did: “I think making it a complete drop-in replacement is a dead-end strategy,” he said, referring to Linux as a Windows replacement.

    • How Muppets learned to stop licensing and love the comm

      Two very different companies shared their success stories with open source at LinuxCon in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday. One is Sesame Workshop, a relatively small non-profit famous for Sesame Street and other strains of educational muppetry. The other, Sony Pictures Entertainment, the enormous for-profit multinational that owns ancillary rights to your children’s souls as well as The Karate Kid’s.

      Sesame Workshop has only about 400 employees worldwide with about 13 working IT, according to Noah Broadwater, vp of the company’s information services.

    • LinuxCon: The Little Things Make All The Difference

      The first day of LinuxCon proved to be a big hit amongst many attendees, not just for the quality of content but for the extracurricular activities the event has provided.

  • Applications

    • Bordeaux 1.8.6 for Linux Released

      The Bordeaux Technology Group released Bordeaux 1.8.6 for Linux today. Bordeaux 1.8.6 fixes a critical bug in the rpcrt4.dll. If you have had problems with Bordeaux 1.8.x not installing a application we recommend you update to 1.8.6 and the problem should now be resolved. Bordeaux allows Linux users to run many of today’s popular windows based applications and games on Linux. There has also been a couple other small bug fixes and tweaks in this release.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME

      • Azenis Theme Pack For GNOME

        Every now and then I run across a GTK theme that takes my breath away. Yesterday I happened upon the Azenis theme while browsing GNOME Look. I took a quick glance at it and then bookmarked it because I was a bit busy. Today I went back and downloaded all of the theme components. And, just as I expected, it took my breath away.

      • A Quick Look At Gnome 3’s Desktop Sidebar

        The sidebar is disabled by default in current builds of Gnome-Shell (Gnome 3’s new interface) and i think there may be a reason for that: It’s borderline pointless. By the time it takes to shuffle your mouse over to the sidebar you could nudge it up to the top left and get a greater variety of options and files.

      • Gnome Wallpaper Rotate Script
    • KDE

      • KDE: Project Silk Should Integrate Web

        The KDE project’s Sebastian Kügler dreams of a desktop that melts, like silk, into the Web. In a writeup to KDE developers he promotes Project Silk for better Web integration.

      • Amarok 2.2 RC 1 “Sunset Door” released

        As the release of Amarok 2.2 draws closer, the Amarok team is pleased to present Amarok 2.2 RC 1, the first and hopefully last release candidate before the final release. This release contains a few new and improved features, mainly concerning podcasts, and fixes a number of crashes and other bugs. For a list of the most important changes and fixes see the changelog below.
        As always please help us by testing, reporting bugs, sending patches and most importantly by enjoying discovering music.

      • Plasma: Where we are going

        One of the great things about our semi-annual Tokamak developer sprints is that it’s a great way for us to refocus our energies on the future. By doing so, we make sure that the path that our feet are on today is a good one. At Tokamak 3, several goals and vision clarifications emerged and I’d like to share them with all of you.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Parted Magic 4.5
      • Elive 1.9.44 development released

        The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the development version 1.9.44

      • Berry 0.98
      • Network Security Toolkit (NST v2.11.0)

        We are pleased to announce the latest NST release: “v2.11.0″. This release is based on Fedora 11 using Linux Kernel: “″. The architecture for building an NST distribution has been completely redesigned and engineered. Starting with this release, All system, network and security applications are now included as RPM packages. This allowed us to take advantage of the Fedora Live CD Project for spinning off an “NST Live” distribution. This project will also help make it easier to develop future releases of NST.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s Deltacloud at Tip of Epic Change

        Earlier this month Red Hat announced its Deltacloud initiative to “enable an ecosystem of developers, tools, scripts, and applications which can interoperate across the public and private clouds.”

        The potential impact on the ability of users, developers and IT departments to consume cloud services via a common set of tools is, according to Brian Stevens, Red Hat’s CTO, “epic.”

        These days, you must be careful when using the “E” word, because often as not, it’s accompanied by its nemesis: the “F ” word — as in “epic fail.” Especially when talking about cloud computing. Plenty of arguments are made against the concept, like “It was done in the ’60s with a different name and we’ve moved on,” or “It’s just the ASP model all over again, ” or “It’s not secure.” And there’s always the venerable old favorite: “It’s not reliable.”

      • Fedora 12 demonstrates sandbox for desktop applications

        Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) specialist and Red Hat developer Dan Walsh has souped up the security mechanisms in Fedora and SELinux by adding a desktop sandbox which he’s calling “sandbox -X”. Users can run desktop applications of their choice inside his sandbox, which then protects the underlying system from any possible damage.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks

      • $300 tablet runs Ubuntu Linux on AA batteries

        NorhTec has announced a tablet computer that will cost just $300, run Ubuntu Linux on a 1GHz SoC (system-on-chip), and operate via eight AA batteries. The “Gecko Info Pad” will include an 8.9-inch touchscreen display, 8GB of solid state storage, and needs no external power brick, the company says.

      • Chrome Netbook Operating System By Christmas?

        Would you try a Chrome OS netbook? It’s based on Linux, so you don’t have to do everything online any more than you have to do with an XP powered netbook. Open Office, the productivity suite I’m using to type this right now, on a Linux system, works the same whether running in Windows or Linux. Load Chrome, load Open Office, get to work.

      • Dell to offer Intel App Store on Consumer Netbooks

        These stores will offer software applications compatible with both Windows and Linux.

    • OLPC

      • Can a laptop change the world?

        Rwanda has now ordered more than 100,000 XO laptops and plans to roll them out to as many schools as possible, with part of the funding coming from the sale of mobile phone licences. Finally, OLPC has found an African country which appears to be committed to going beyond a pilot and making the laptops an integral part of its education system…

      • OLPC gets microwaved, molded into stunning piece of art

        Kenny Irwin, known for his post-microwave creations, decided to zap one of the low-cost PCs and then mold it into the OLPCSlug while things were still gooey, all in the name of good publicity and charity. You see, the buyer of this lovely piece will see 80 percent of the proceeds head straight to OLPC…

Free Software/Open Source

  • Shapado, a FOSS replacement for stackoverflow

    For this reason, we are releasing our stackoverflow inspired project following the Franklin Street Statement on Freedom and Network Services which consists in:

    * Using the GNU Affero GPL.

    * Developing freely-licensed alternatives to existing popular but non-Free network services.

    * Developing software that can replace centralized services and data storage with distributed software and data deployment, giving control back to users.

  • Bye Bye Blackboard

    Each student would get a WordPress.com blog (because I don’t see the sense of abandoning a VLE to encumber yourself with the admin load of administering WordPressMU or any other centralized installation – let’s put it in the cloud). This would serve as a place to submit assessments and receive feedback. Students could choose whether their blogfolio was public or only visible to instructors. The joy of RSS-everywhere in WordPress would make large numbers of students a joy to administer.

  • More on Firefox in the Philippines

    While we were in the Philippines, Gen and I learned quite a bit about the local Internet landscape there. I thought I would share some more information that I picked up from the trip.

  • Open Source Social Networking at the United Nations.

    This project is about helping people at the United Nations do their job better, with the introduction of just a little technology.

  • DE: Interior minister: ‘Open source reduces vendor lock-in and monopolies’

    Using open source helps to avoid being locked-in by IT vendors and prevents IT services monopolies, says Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s minister of the Interior.

    “Free software has several other benefits, such as increasing the security of IT, because the source code can be verified, and enhancement of innovation, because anyone can participate in the development of such software”, Schäuble writes on Abgeordnetewatch.

  • Crowdsourcing the MacArthur Awards

    Since 1981 the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago has chosen 20 to 40 people each year to receive a $500,000 unrestricted grant. This grant is given to people who “show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work.” On its face the MacArthur Awards appear to be a good idea. For example, these awards shone an early spotlight on Richard Stallman, who has made major contributions to the field of computer science–doing so in a very selfless way.

  • Ellison: No MySQL spin off

    Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, has made it clear that he is not prepared to spin off Sun’s MySQL business in an attempt to placate the European Commission investigation of competition issues with Oracle’s planned acquisition of Sun. The deal has already been approved by US authorities and Ellison thinks that the European Commission will follow saying “I think once they do their job, they’re going to come to the same conclusion”.

  • Packt Publishing Announces Nominees for 2009 CMS Awards

    Technology book publisher Packt Publishing announced the finalists this week for its 2009 Open Source CMS Awards. Winners and runners-up from each of the five categories will win from $500 – $4,000 and take home a share of prize money totaling $24,000. Six 8 GB iPods will also be awarded at random to individuals who have visited Packt’s Web site to nominate their favorite projects.

  • Five enterprise open source wiki apps to watch

    2. Mediawiki

    MediaWiki is the wiki application made famous for running Wikipedia. It’s designed to be run on a large server farm for a Web site that gets millions of hits per day. MediaWiki supports versioning of pages and can manage image and multimedia files. For large wikis with lots of users, MediaWiki supports caching and can be easily coupled with Squid proxy server software. MediWiki supports skins and plug-ins for extensibility. The application is developed in PHP and supports MySQL and PostgreSQL.

  • Myths about Open Source

    Open source has licences that can be beneficial to the creators. Some companies have dual licences, which allows them to charge for their product or services. So their trademark is in place and they can sell their product. If there are individuals who are doing the same for their distributions or software, then it is basically the cost of the media that you will be paying for. (Eg. CDs, DVDs, etc.)

  • Big Win for GNU GPL in France

    One of the fallback positions for purveyors of FUD is that the GNU GPL may not be valid, because it hasn’t been properly tested in court. That’s getting increasingly implausible as a stance. After being upheld in Germany a few times, here’s a big decision in its favour in France:

    In a landmark ruling that will set legal precedent, the Paris Court of Appeals decided last week that the company Edu4 violated the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) when it distributed binary copies of the remote desktop access software VNC but denied users access to its corresponding source code. The suit was filed by Association pour la formation professionnelle des adultes (AFPA), a French education organization.

    The events of the case go back to early 2000, when Edu4 was hired to provide new computer equipment in AFPA’s classrooms. Shortly thereafter, AFPA discovered that VNC was distributed with this equipment. Despite repeated requests, with mediation from the Free Software Foundation France, Edu4 refused to provide AFPA with the source code to this version of VNC. Furthermore, FSF France later discovered that Edu4 had removed copyright and license notices in the software. All of these activities violate the terms of the GNU GPL. AFPA filed suit in 2002 to protect its rights and obtain the source code.

  • Openness

    • Does Digital Kill the Poetry of Proust?

      While on the one hand the digital revolution is bringing a whole new range of access to information, it is also killing nostalgia and stopping us from peering behind ideas of great thinkers.

    • In Defense of The Book

      Digital Barbarism is not as much a defense of copyright as it is an attack upon a distortion of culture that has become a false savior in an age of many false saviors. Despite its lack of mechanical perfections, humanity, as stumbling and awkward as it is, is far superior to the machine. It always has been and always will be, and this conviction must never be surrendered. But surrender these days is incremental, seems painless, and comes so quietly that warnings are drowned in silence.

    • Open Government: Beth Noveck at Transparent Text

      I was especially pleased to hear Beth talking about bottom-up initiatives within government departments, not just outside. While she talked at some length about Netflix-style prizes for innovation in data visualization and sharing, she also talked about decidedly low-tech efforts to get input, like suggestion boxes in government departments. A process at the VA got 8,000 suggestions from a department of 19,000 workers – she suggests that many of the key ideas for opening government may come from people who are already inside government departments and know what steps need to be taken to release critical data and enable more participation.

    • New report on sharing aid information is now open for comments

      We’re pleased to announce the publication of a new report, Unlocking the potential of aid information. The report, by the Open Knowledge Foundation and Aidinfo, looks at how to make information related to international development (i) legally open, (ii) technically open and (iii) easy to find.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • WebGL in Firefox nightly builds, demoed with 3D Spore model

      Firefox’s latest nightly trunk builds now include a working implementation of WebGL, an emerging standard that seeks to bring 3D graphics to the browser. An impressive demo shows how WebGL can be used to display interactive 3D models in an HTML Canvas.


  • Expert challenges UFO hacker’s $700k bill

    The US inflated the $700,000 bill for damages it slapped on UFO hacker Gary McKinnon by stuffing it with costs incurred for patching the gaping holes the hacker had exposed in its computer security, according to a document filed with the Supreme Court.


    McKinnon had used Remotely Anywhere, a software tool, to hack US military computers in search of UFO secrets. The 42-year-old faces extradition after being accused of hacking into 97 US government computers causing $700,000 of damage.

  • Ministers withhold draft report on NHS IT scheme

    Ministers are sitting on a draft annual statement to parliament on the costs and benefits so far of the £12.7bn programme to modernise NHS IT.

    Computer Weekly has learned that the Annual Benefits Statement for the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) was in draft form in November 2008. It has never been published.

  • Big IT projects fail. Open source can help

    The process for open-source companies is so fast because the prospects start using the software long before they contacted the vendor. On average, I’d put this pre-evaluation duration at three to six months.

  • Google climate change tools for COP15

    In December of this year, representatives from nations around the globe will gather in Copenhagen to discuss a global agreement on climate change. The objective is to reduce global warming emissions sufficiently in order to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change and to support the global community in adapting to the unavoidable changes ahead. Denmark will act as host for this fifteenth Conference of the Parties under the United Nations’ Climate Change Convention, known as COP15.

  • Net Neutrality

    • Clearwire Supports Net Neutrality? Does No One Remember Its History?

      How quickly people forget. With the FCC’s announcement about support for net neutrality legislation the PR and lobbying machines of the major telco and cable providers have cranked up, putting out all sorts of fear mongering letters and reports about the damage such a law will do. There was one interesting exception.

    • Do We Need an OpenInternet.gov.uk or OpenInternet.eu?

      You may have noticed yesterday that some of our American cousins were getting excited about a speech made by Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission, and a new Web site he announced: OpenInternet.gov. There you can either read his words, or watch a video of them. Either way, you will probably be struck by his constant harping on a theme dear to our heart: openness, and its importance to the Internet.

    • EU Open Internet
    • The Day Real Internet Freedom Died: Our Forbes Op-Ed on Net Neutrality Regulation

      There was a time, not so long ago, when the term “Internet Freedom” actually meant what it implied: a cyberspace free from over-zealous legislators and bureaucrats. For a few brief, beautiful moments in the Internet’s history (from the mid-90s to the early 2000s), a majority of Netizens and cyber-policy pundits alike all rallied around the flag of “Hands Off the Net!” From censorship efforts, encryption controls, online taxes, privacy mandates and infrastructure regulations, there was a general consensus as to how much authority government should have over cyber-life and our cyber-liberties. Simply put, there was a “presumption of liberty” in all cyber-matters.

      Those days are now gone; the presumption of online liberty is giving way to a presumption of regulation. A massive assault on real Internet freedom has been gathering steam for years and has finally come to a head. Ironically, victory for those who carry the banner of “Internet Freedom” would mean nothing less than the death of that freedom.

    • Declaration of Communication Rights

      Last week, Sérgio Amadeu published an excellent text about the Brazilian National Conference of Communication and in the text, he lists what he considers the rights of citizens in communication through digital networks.

      On past weekend, I met with him and some friends, and agreed that the drafting of a statement like this is very important, because through it, we can express a number of concepts that define the world of free (as in freedom) communication on the Internet that we fight both to build and maintain.We also agree that this statement should not necessarily be only Brazilian, but it could be adopted (and therefore developed with the assistance) of communities around the world.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Internet piracy policing could add £24 to every phone bill

      Tackling internet piracy could push up broadband bills by £24 a year, BT warned yesterday.

    • UK Anti-Piracy Plans Cost More Than Music Industry ‘Losses’

      As the UK file-sharing debate reaches fever pitch, with opinionated artists being shipped in by the bus load to condemn it, inevitably attention is turning to the costs associated with trying to end it. According to a boss at ISP BT, not only are the government’s plans doomed to fail, but could end up costing ISPs a staggering £1m a day.

    • Elton John Flip Flops: Kicking People Off The Internet Is Good! No, Bad! No, Good!

      So, it was a bit of a surprise a few weeks back to see him among the list of big name rockstars coming out against kicking people off the internet for file sharing. Apparently, though, no one told Elton John that he was on that list, because now he’s switched positions again and is saying that he’s all for Peter Mandelson’s proposal to kick people off the internet.

    • Secret criminal measures in EU – South Korea trade agreement

      The EU and South Korea plan to initial a Free Trade Agreement in October. The trade agreement includes civil, border and criminal measures on the enforcement of copyright, trade mark rights, patents and other exclusive rights. The text of the agreement is secret.

      In the Netherlands, Vrijschrift.org last week asked the parliamentary Commission on Subsidiarity to investigate the EU – South Korea trade agreement. In 2006, this commission gained fame with its negative advice on the EU Criminal measures intellectual property directive proposal (IPRED2). Subsequently, both chambers of Dutch parliament agreed with the advice unanimously, and sent a letter to then EU Commissioner Frattini, with translated copies to the other national parliaments of the EU. IPRED 2 is now permanently stuck in the EU Council.

    • French Pirates get 2.06% in by-election

      France’s Parti Pirate fought its first election on Sunday. This was a by-election to the Natonal Assembly in the 10th district of Yvelines. The Pirate candidate was Maxime Rouquet, a 23 year old student, and he got 2.06% of the vote.

TV coverage of Linux.conf.au in Dunedin, New Zealand, 2006

TV coverage of Linux.conf.au in Dunedin, New Zealand, 2006

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