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Summary: Another migration to Free software and ODF in Denmark; ways in which Microsoft currently responds to the “ODF threat”
NOT only the third world is embracing ODF, thanks in part to a recent initiative from Canonical and IBM*. Highly developed nations too have decided that ODF is the better route, debunking myths of “poor man’s standards”.
As a spurious reminder, Microsoft is no friend of ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], which it fought like fire. ODF is currently gaining ground in Denmark, despite the many offences of Microsoft over there. For details, see:
According to this latest report from the Observatory, another migration to ODF in Denmark is now being implicitly confirmed.
The administration of the Danish municipality of Lyngby-Taarbæk is installing OpenOffice on some 1700 school desktop PCs, the administration announced yesterday.
There is other good news about OpenOffice.org, including an approaching conference. Rob Weir writes: “OpenOffice.org 2009 Conference draft programme posted. Best ODF track ever.”
This ought to be enough to make the Danish Microsoft ecosystem at least a little nervous. When one place sets an example for others to follow, then it becomes akin to Kissinger mercilessly chasing the “Red Threat”. Microsoft McCarthyism, anyone?
Microsoft’s bestest [sic] friend in Denmark still heckles ODF all the time, as he has done for years while pretending to have genuine interest. “I’ve been fixing various bugs for koffice2.1 that should make ODF interop much better,” writes Thomas Zander from Nokia. “Hope you can test that version,” he tells the Microsoft provocateur.
“I think I see informal signs of migration of XML folk from working on OOXML to contributing to ODF, wondering if stats over time document it”
–John CodyMicrosoft Denmark would love more control of ODF too [1, 2, 3]. If enough people forget the many scandals, Microsoft’s minions will manage to get nearer and they might as well get their way. For the time being, things appear to be safe enough. “Despite to soaring rhetoric from Redmond OOXML meetings are just Microsoft,” remarks Scientes. “ODF has a broad coalition,” he adds while citing Rob Weir’s latest report.
Mary McRae, the Director of Technical Committee Administration for OASIS (this includes ODF), agrees with Weir and John Cody, who seems to be in a position to influence New York’s policy on ODF, currently writes: “I think I see informal signs of migration of XML folk from working on OOXML to contributing to ODF, wondering if stats over time document it”
Over at Wikipedia, Microsoft’s hAl adds lengthy OOXML promotion to the article on ODF (OpenDocument). They just can’t help it, can they? It’s their nature. █
* They bring ODF along with GNU/Linux, so these two are not entirely mutually exclusive.
Summary: One of the biggest proprietary failures ends up turning to Free software; Korea has lesson to teach the UK
Last month, the LSE announced it will acquire Sri Lankan trading firm Millennium IT for £18 million, replacing its Accenture built, Microsoft .Net-based TradElect platform. The new platform is understood to be based on Linux.
What we were unable to determine last month was the underlying framework of Turquoise, which is now said to be bought by the LSE.
The London Stock Exchange is in exclusive talks to buy Project Turquoise, the rival trading platform set up by nine banks in order to push down transaction fees.
One of our British readers, who was unfamiliar with Turquoise and its use of GNU/Linux, asked us: “What technology does this rival platform run on and when will Microsoft be reported to the monopolies commission?”
The other day we wrote about potentially-illegal deals that Microsoft signs in the United Kingdom's public sector. They turn the nation into a monoculture filled with vendor lock-in, so Glyn Moody, who is based around London, currently uses Korea for a cautionary note:
Korea Cottons on to the Microsoft Monoculture
That is, by instituting a monoculture, and becoming completely dependent not just on one manufacturer, but on one particular – and very unsatisfactory – technology used by that manufacturer, the Koreans find themselves trapped, left behind even by Microsoft, which wants to move on.
There could be no better demonstration of why mandating one proprietary technology in this way, rather than choosing an open standard with multiple implementations with the scope for future development, is folly.
Here is the post cited by Moody:
The article goes on to cover a lot of the issues affecting web users in Korea and how many valiant efforts have gone into trying to affect change, most significantly the 3 lawsuits that Dr. Keechang Kim has brought against various Korean policy-making bodies, without success.
Summary: Novell loses business to Microsoft and other companies
Novell sees revenue from small companies shrink
The Hungarian company is not allowed to publish local business and financial data due to the parent company’s stipulations.
As part of the migration strategy, Salford Software will upgrade all the existing Novell Netware and Microsoft systems to Microsoft’s Windows 2008 and Exchange 2007 platforms. This will provide a distributed, resilient foundation for the College IT infrastructure.
Lastly, also from the UK comes this column which mentions past lessons Novell refuses to learn from.
That could lead to the kind of damming of revenue streams Microsoft has been famous for inflicting on the likes of WordPerfect, Novell, Lotus and others in the past.
Novell has plans for countering the blows. It is already offshoring and outsourcing jobs without making too much noise. The man in charge of Novell’s Open Source strategy happens to be reading about outsourcing at the moment. He used to work for Microsoft by the way. Yes, the Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Open Source at Novell used to work there when he met Miguel de Icaza. █
Summary: Will Microsoft concede defeat and head towards the nearest exit now that its search falls deeper into irrelevance?
According to the web analysts at StatCounter, Microsoft’s Bing search engine continued its worldwide decline in September, down to 2.59 per cent, a slippage of 28 per cent per cent from its peak of 3.59 percent in July.
We strongly emphasise many times (e.g. [1, 2]) that Microsoft loves citing US-only figures because they massively exaggerate Microsoft’s impact in search; in reality, Google commands close to 90% of the world’s queries. Here is more on the same topic:
According to comScore, Hitwise, and Nielsen, Bing gained ground in August, but StatCounter has released info indicating that Bing has experienced its first monthly decline in the US, in September.
Microsoft spent about $100,000,000 just marketing its new brand and even paying blogs for publicity. Given the trends seen above, Microsoft will carry on losing billions of dollars on the Web. How long can it afford this burden? █
“Bartz says search engine Bing unlikely to make significant mark”
This week IBM’s developerWorks celebrates its 10th anniversary. The developer website was founded on 28th September 1999 as an open source community portal, with particular emphasis on Java, XML, web services and Linux. The portal now has around 4 million unique visitors per month.
Instead, Linux Australia plans to submit a proposal addressing the future purpose of the conf.au domain.
The NSW Office of State Revenue (OSR) collects about $14 billion a year and Linux plays a key part in it.
Forget the netbook or the net-top PC: How about a net-server?
A Japanese vendor is touting a lilliputian Linux Web server that weighs 8 ounces and consumes just 8 watts.
Plat’Home has launched a new model of its OpenBlockS series, a line of Linux micro servers. The OpenBlockS 600 comes with a fanless and spindle free design and gibabit ethernet in a palm-sized box.
Dirk Hohndel has been a member of our community since the earliest days. In recent years, he has helped direct Intel’s (very friendly) strategy toward Linux – a job which has required, one assumes, a great deal of educational work inside the company. Dirk also spends a fair amount of time outside of Intel, advising the community on how it can work better with vendors, with customers, and with itself. His thoughtful talks on the topic are usually well worth hearing. In two separate talks on the first day of the first LinuxCon, Dirk had some fairly general thoughts on how the next steps toward world domination can be taken.
The developers also want to pull the X.Org drivers back into the X Server core, which was done previously before their modularization, but they want to put the drivers back into core in order to come back to a more coherent API. This though will not be happening until early 2011 or so (around X Server 1.10).
Over the years, the one big area where it’s been said that desktop Linux falls down the hardest is with the lack of good video editing suites. And to a degree, this is both true — and not entirely accurate at the same time. In reality, there are plenty of applications out there that work with all of the major desktop environments, the trick is finding one that is both stable and easy to use.
Kino Video Editor
Kdenlive Video Editor
Blue’s News pointed out that Tycoon Games has announced Heileen 2: The Hands of Fate, a visual novel set in the 1600’s:
Like Tycoon Games’ most recent game, Bionic Heart, the events of Heileen 2 rely heavily on the user’s decisions. The final game will feature more than twelve unique endings and an enhanced version of the original quest system in Heileen.
Google Chrome for Linux and Chromium for Linux — Development (Dev) builds, like their Windows counterpart, now have an extension manager that offers an easy and convenient way to monitor and manager your extensions that strange enough do not work.
How do you get to use the extension manager: Type chrome://extensions in the address bar and get to see what this new feature is all about. As in shown in the screenshot above, you’ll be able to “Disable”, “Reload” and “Uninstall” your add-ons via the extension manager. You can also install “non-extracted” extensions via the “Load unpacked extensions..” button on the right.
On the next page, I’ll wrap up my lovefest for KDE 4, and add in some thoughts on what I’d like to see taken care of in future version updates.
The developer’s name and code are there for all to see. Which theoretically leads to better software because devs are more accountable, have more reason to take pride in their work, and anyone (theoretically) can contribute.
Amarok 2.2, codenamed “Sunjammer”, is now out of beta and the final version has been released now. The Amarok team has also announced that Amarok 2.2 will now come with Karmic Koala, which is due for release on 29th October. It, however, is not available for Jaunty and as they have said, there is no plan as of now to make it available for Jaunty users.
The beta release of Karmic Koala, the next version of Ubuntu Linux, just arrived on the net. Wondering what’s new inside the open-source operating system? We took a tour and brought back these screenshots.
AdelaVoice is shipping a voice-enabled MID that’s tuned to social networking sites. The Lighthouse SQ7 is based on SmartDevices’ ARM11-based SmartQ7 design, offering a seven-inch, 800 x 480 touchscreen, 128MB of RAM, 1GB of flash, WiFi, and an Ubuntu Linux-based interface with voice-enabled Facebook and Twitter updates.
While this is not the first time I’ve questioned Google’s approach and Matt has illustrated the problem with half-open, I do believe it is among the key stakeholders in the open mobile opportunity. Still, it is now being put to the test and will have to respond appropriately if it is to retain widespread respect among developers. And Google and Apple are not alone. Any vendor that is picking its fruit from the open source tree must be wary of the line between being open and not.
It appears Palm is seeking to follow Apple’s footsteps in gaining a reputation for inconsistent and spurious rejections and removals of iPhone and iPod Touch applications. In this case, Palm has resisted including a free application because the source code is attainable elsewhere.
The most exciting part of our interview with Mozilla Mobile VP Jay Sullivan was when he mentioned how Fennec, a Firefox-based mobile browser (that might land on Android someday), will give Firefox users the ability to sync browser history, passwords, bookmarks, or even the last set of tabs opened. Google can likely go beyond these basics, and should. The only thing better than a fast and snappy browser is one that’s a simple extension of your already-snappy desktop browser.
Processor manufacturer MIPS Technologies has joined the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), a consortium of around 47 companies headed by Google, involved in developing the Android mobile platform.
The ad marketplace AdMob has released a study that looks at how often the ads on its network are accessed by various mobile platforms. The iPhone ruled the roost at 40 percent, but Android’s figures showed considerably growth. “Android phones actually have only four to five percent of the U.S. market, and they account for 13 percent of usage of AdMob’s network,” said JBB Research CEO Julien Blin. “That’s interesting.”
The netbook phenomenon was going to hail in the reign of Linux on the desktop. It hasn’t, yet. Now however the Moblin project is changing the game, so much so that we just might see Linux take back that market share which it lost in the very beginning.
1. While the decision panel debates [See http://lists.sugarlabs.org/archive/iaep/2009-September/008746.html] whether or not Sugar Labs should be a GNU/Linux distributor, I thought it would be worthwhile surveying the GNU/Linux distribution’s plans regarding Sugar Release 0.84.
Two open source consortia have announced they are to join forces.
Paris-based OW2 Consortium, whose members include Alcatel Lucent, France Telecom, Red Hat and Thales, will merge with California-based Open Solutions Alliance, which represents organisations including Unisys and Ingres.
Zmanda is adding new features to its cloud-based backup offering to better compete with market leaders EMC (NYSE: EMC) and Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC).
Zmanda uses open source-based backup software and Amazon’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Simple Storage Service (S3) to best EMC’s MozyPro and Symantec on price. Now the company hopes its latest features will catch on with small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) looking to back up their Microsoft Windows environments while meeting security and compliance demands.
As my fellow OSI board member (and report draft author Rishab Ghosh) explains “If you cannot quantify these exit costs, then you should limit them. If you cannot limit them, then you either need other software, or you need better criteria.” When the question is “How do we wasting $1T USD per year on ITC spending?”, the answer is that we’re using inferior tools when superior tools are available. When the question is “Why are we wasting so much year after year after year?” the answer is proprietary lock-in that was never part of our initial procurement calculations. I have spoken with procurement people around the world in both the public and private sectors, and the single best way we can help them do the best job is for a line of business (or a public adminstrations) to communicate clearly and concretely the message that exit costs are real costs, and should be considered in all tenders. They have the necessary expertise to see that those costs are properly evaluated in the context of future procurements.
The increasing ease of integration and compatibility with different platforms has seen businesses in the Asia Pacific region increasingly evaluating Open Source software as a viable alternative as they continue to look for ways to reduce operational expenses.
The FSF is taking an increasingly aggressive attitude towards the free software issue, and has been taking on some of the biggest players in the business. The organisation recently criticised Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 7, and won a court action against Cisco after the firm used unauthorised free software in its Linksys routers.
As a result, GPL court cases have all (as far as I know) been ruled in favour of the GPL, whereas EULA court cases have sometimes been ruled in favour and sometimes against EULAs. GPL: clear-cut. Abide, or lose in court. EULA: muddy. You never really know where you’ll land.
Proposed legislation demanding up to two years in prison for electronic speech meant to “coerce, intimidate, harass or cause substantial emotional distress to a person” was met with little enthusiasm by a House subcommittee on Wednesday.
It’s also alleged that Goodrich then opened his shirt to reveal a 9mm handgun, adding: “I’ll do it right now. Look!”
Their analysis of the 2008 presidential campaign found that University of California employees were Obama’s top donor, giving a collective $1.6 million. That system is run by the state of California, and hence is a public employer.
Investment adviser Stanley Chais, facing lawsuits for directing client money to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, said his bank account was frozen without proof it wasn’t his personal property.
D.C. staffers are so pissed by the ridiculous lobbying that they’re leaking the lobbying materials.
But Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone’s political reporter, who accused Goldman in a recent article of being “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity,” now contends that Goldman is spreading disinformation through its lobbying effort in order to confuse government officials, a charge the investment bank denies.
I thought of Groucho’s quote when I read Matt Taibbi’s article for the July 13, 2009 edition of Rolling Stone magazine on the role that Goldman Sachs has played in contributing to the tech bubble of the 1990s and the housing bubble of the late 2000s.
“If you think selling bad investments to the market is fine, then (Lloyd Blankfein) is your CEO,” he said.
Dominic Grieve’s policy paper Reversing the Rise of the Surveillance State is welcome but even though some important principles are expressed, it is difficult not to feel that the Conservatives are just doing enough to distinguish themselves from Labour before the next election.
This bill is bad news, and it’s yet another attempt by the entertainment industry to get Congress to start slapping specific restrictions on any software it doesn’t like.
The Disney Movie Appreciation Club, an organization that was set up with the goal of providing an outlet to relieve overly stressed students, had to be closed down recently due to potential license infringement. The length of a Studlife column is too short to give a comprehensive argument against intellectual property rights. Nevertheless, the recent closing of the club stands out as a perfect example of how, contrary to their original intent, intellectual property rights only limit the availability of information and expression.
Summary: Microsoft manages to grab seats in its competitor’s table; Explanation of why CodePlex it to “Open Source” what OOXML is to “open standards”
WE HAVE already shown ISO ODF being stuffed by Microsoft under everyone’s nose [1, 2]. The press did not cover this important issue, unlike last year's obvious indication that Microsoft had hijacked SC34.
In the following new post, figures are being shown to demonstrate the obvious — that ISO got cracked by Microsoft, which then pushed a proprietary format (controlled by Microsoft) down its throat using illegal means. From the conclusions:
I suppose this [OOXML] is “global” in a sense, in the same way one could stage an “International Food Festival” and then have McDonalds show up and contribute a Big Mac from the U.S., a Big Mac from Germany, a Big Mac from the Ivory Coast, a Big Mac from Finland and another Big Mac from Brazil and so on. Certainly, you could claim this was “international”, but you would be laughed right out of the festival if you did.
Evidently there is no one capable of fixing this. ISO says that domination by a single corporation is not their responsibility, because only NBs vote and each NB determines its own participation rules. But individual NBs also don’t see a problem, because any single one of them only has one Microsoft employee at the meeting. So the NB itself is not necessary stuffed (although that does happens occasionally as well). So by placing Microsoft employees in many NB delegations and putting the overflow into the Ecma delegation, Microsoft can still dominate the ISO committee and not trigger a rule violation in ISO or in any NB.
This is essentially how Microsoft hacked ISO. Now that the flaw has been demonstrated, any large international corporation with sufficient funds and interest can exploit it as well. So long as the rules remain as they are, ISO is vulnerable. ISO defends this criticism by pointing out what good work they’ve done in the past, and how they rarely have problems of this kind before. But this shows little appreciation for the nature of the problem which have been demonstrated. It is like arguing that a newly discovered (though long latent) security flaw in an operating system is insignificant because you’ve never had an attack before now. Of course, this misses the point entirely. Once the vulnerability is known and publicly exploited, you’re living on borrowed time until you can secure the system. Today ISO is living on borrowed time and is very close to becoming a Microsoft-infested zombie server.
The author, Rob Weir, is already being heckled by Microsoft employees and their MVPs, who try to change the topic of discussion because defending corruption is so much more difficult. Sadly, Weir is perhaps too shy to admit that he is not happy with the company that attacked ODF so viciously and now forks it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] sitting on the ODF table.
To repeat an old analogical expression, Microsoft wants to stick its finger in all the pies, including Linux and Free software (or “open source”) where it is doing the same type of routine.
Microsoft and its army of partners have their limits though. They did not manage to stuff OSI like they did stuff ISO, so they created their own separate entity [1, 2, 3, 4], akin to OOXML. Jason Brooks, writing on the subject in his latest column, thinks that this could lead to flames.
For its part, the FSF has spent the summer alternately blasting individuals and groups for and warning them against using or adopting technologies distributed or even invented by Microsoft. For instance, the FSF this summer launched a Website devoted to cataloging the “sins” of Windows 7 and has weighed in on multiple occasions as to why, despite what Microsoft promises, no open-source developer should code in Microsoft’s C#.
For one thing, PJ has a bit of experience dealing with such nastiness. The irony of course is that she gained it while investigating SCOs attacks on Linux, and will probably be using it for Team Mono and Friends attacks on Freedom now! There’s a certain symmetry to that, I think.
Another thing is that I’ve noticed that the pro-Mono attacks are looking a bit faded lately.
I guess that’s what happens when you keep attacking honest people truly interested in Freedom and your basic weapons are ad hominem and disinformation.
Matthew Aslett makes the following brow-raising statement:
Microsoft is no different from any other proprietary vendor in this regard. The like sof IBM and Oracle and SAP have all had to find their own ways of coexisting with FOSS.
“Microsoft is unique among proprietary software companies: they are the only ones who have actively tried to kill Open Source and Free Software. It’s not often someone wants to be your friend after trying to kill you for ten years, but such change is cause for suspicion.”
–Bradley M. Kuhn (SFLC)
Summary: As Windows Mobile’s small market continues to decrease (while Linux gains), Microsoft drops Recite
Microsoft has announced that it is discontinuing Microsoft Recite, an application for Windows Mobile that uses voice-search technology to let users record and search voice notes. The product never made it out of the Technology Preview status.
Microsoft is discontinuing Recite, a Windows Mobile application that lets people record audio notes to themselves and search them later by voice, according to a notice today on the Microsoft Recite site. The app will no longer be offered as of Dec. 31, 2009, the company says.
This is indicative of the declining relevance of Windows Mobile, which Microsoft intends to complement or replace with its own phone, assuming the rumours are true.
Other coverage of the ending of this relatively new product says: “It’s a shame this has been discontinued so quickly. Recite showed real promise in giving Windows Mobile a technical advantage so desperately needed, especially given Ballmer’s admission that they are lagging the competition.”
Among Microsoft’s competitors in this field: Linux.
Linux-powered phone platforms include Android, WebOS, and LiMo. According to the following, Microsoft’s CEO still cannot say the “G” word, let alone the “L” word.
Ballmer Won’t Call Google by Name in Interview
In a strange part of what was otherwise and interesting and insightful interview with TechCrunch this week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer went out of his way to avoid naming Google, instead referring to them repeatedly as “the incumbent.” This seemed to be a deliberate strategy and left me shaking my head wondering why he couldn’t refer to Google by name. (The whole interview is interesting, so I encourage you to watch it, but the part I’m referring to begins at around 6:30.)
One of the reasons Comes vs Microsoft exhibits are valuable is that Microsoft publicly avoids using the “L” word, unless there is no choice. But looking at internal mail, it is beyond evident that Microsoft knows its "most potent" competitor. █
“Google’s not a real company. It’s a house of cards.”
–Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO
“[If I ask you who is Microsoft's biggest competitor now, who would it be?] Open…Linux. I don’t want to say open source. Linux, certainly have to go with that.”
–Steve Ballmer (Microsoft’s CEO), February 28th, 2008
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