Novell mail fail
Summary: With the Los Angeles decision made final, Novell resorts to cheap shots and excuses to defend its proprietary software
SEVERAL DAYS ago it was made official that Los Angeles will dump Novell's GroupWise. There is a lot of press coverage about it, and by no means good press for Novell, which got dumped for performing poorly.
Here is the relevant part:
The migration from the city’s Novell GroupWise e-mail servers will be handled by contractor Computer Sciences Corp. Other applications such as calendaring, document sharing and chat will be handled by Google Apps too.
Novell’s GroupWise is being labeled “slow and crash-prone” in the New Zealand Herald, so Novell responds.
The move will also end the city’s seven-year contract to use Novell’s GroupWise email and record-keeping software, which city workers have complained is slow and crash-prone.
A Novell senior vice president said during the council hearing that many city departments were not using the most recent version of GroupWise and reiterated an offer to provide additional services for free.
Microsoft too loves saying that the “most recent version” of Windows will fix everything. It is also common for Microsoft to speak about future (even if imaginary) versions of Windows.
More damage control comes from Novell’s PR team (the director Ian Bruce even). It’s a poor response that says for example:
In addition, independent financial data showed that the new system will actually cost more, not less.
No link, no proof, not even a name of the source. Novell also adds FUD about security. Should it maybe use the Sidekick fiasco for more effective FUD? We wrote about it in:
In short, Novell has lost a major client to the so-called “cloud” and it has only poor excuses to defend itself with. █
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Summary: Vista 7 slammed or at least criticised in the press; GNU/Linux offered and also tested as a substitute already
THE reality behind Vista 7 is more than some people are willing to bear. Ahead of the release it was harder to find rants because those who had used Vista 7 before it reached the shelves were mostly Windows enthusiasts and/or computer veterans. It was exactly the same with Windows Vista.
It is difficult to know where to start when it comes to Vista 7 rants. Here is one roundup from IDG. It’s like Vista all over again.
Don’t go to their new stores expecting to talk to anyone who know more about Windows than you do. I had to be passed off to 4 different employees, they called it escalating, before I was able to talk to someone who could tell me if Windows 7 still used a “registry”, and it does. The same old house of cards is still the basis for the “new” OS.
He says it took him more than an hour to upgrade his 3-year-old ThinkPad, and now he’s decided to switch to a MacBook Pro. (Hey, maybe Apple will feature him in a commercial.)
Our reader Ryan tells us that “Hotmail is pinning Windows 7 spam to all email you send.” He explains that Microsoft has added “Windows 7: It works the way you want. Learn more.” to the bottom of all sent messages. Hotmail has been quite a mess recently. Well, anyway…
Harvard University may move to more of GNU/Linux (it already uses some) now that it’s testing Vista 7. New from The Harvard Crimson:
He added that he would not recommend that Harvard switch its computers over immediately because it uses so many clients. Uchiyama also mentioned that Ubuntu, a competing operating system, is due to release a new version today, which gives FAS IT another option. Harvard currently uses Ubuntu on several Science Center computers.
BetaNews has just published an unusual article, considering how much in favour of Windows that Web site really is. The headline says: “Unconvinced by Windows 7? Ubuntu 9.10 debuted today!”
In addition to the new desktop interface, a Karmic Koala Netbook Remix and Server Edition (featuring Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud) were also released today.
Another person calls Ubuntu 9.10 the “easiest, cheapest upgrade ever.”
Having run the upgrade from 9.04 to 9.10 beta, I’m not too worried about any snags. We’ll see how my freshly configured Joomla! install holds up after the upgrade, but since I was already using the most up-to-date versions of MySQL, Apache, and PHP, there shouldn’t be any issues there, either.
Tux Radar provides actual proof that Ubuntu 9.10 performs better than Vista 7. It’s a video depicting one test.
Hot on the heals of the final release of the Karmic Koala, we’ve put together a video montage of 64-bit versions of Microsoft’s Vista and Windows 7 operating systems booting alongside Canonical’s Ubuntu 9.04 and 9.10. Watch all four at once and see which one wins!
The Denver Post has this new piece which explains Vista 7 and promotes GNU/Linux.
For instance, when you read “best Windows ever,” you should remember that reviewers said the same thing about turkeys like Windows ME and Windows Vista.
Further, Microsoft is a big company with thousands of smart employees. Wouldn’t you expect the latest rendition of its flagship product to be the best to date? After all, you expect that from other companies.
When the reviewer says “product activation went smoothly,” it means “to please Big Brother, who may be watching your machine all the time, you’ll need to enter an arcane 25-character activation code, and it may take several tries.”
“Exciting new features in the desktop interface” actually means “You’ll spend many frustrating hours trying to do familiar tasks because they’ve moved everything around.”
“You may need to install new drivers for many of your peripherals” means “You will have to buy a new scanner because the scanner company does not make a 64-bit driver for your five-year-old device, and the driver that worked fine under 32-bit XP will not function under 64-bit Windows 7.”
More about the Vista 7 hype:
Listen closely. Can you can hear it? It’s the kapocketa-pocketa-pocketa of the Microsoft hype machine, as the Windows 7 launch bears down upon us.
Though it’s never worked quite as well as it did back in the halcyon days preceding Windows 95, Microsoft still drags the thing out of the basement every few years, fills the tank with diesel, cranks it up, and hopes it doesn’t spew oil on the carpet or overwhelm us with fumes.
Of course, this time Ballmer really means it. He also really meant it when he said the same things about Vista, XP, NT, Windows 98, Win 95, and every other Windows OS going back to DOS 2.1, with the possible exception of Windows ME. More disturbing is that he truly believes it.
Ballmer actually knows that Vista 7 will fail in the market. █
“[W]e’re not going to have products that are much more successful than Vista has been.”
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Summary: Vista 7 gets called “just Vista with small changes” and RTM is not suitable for use
IN SOME of our latest posts about Vista 7 we showed that it lacked polished and argued that one should wait until SP1 (or later), which is essentially the fourth service pack of Windows Vista. Yes, it’s true. Watch this new review of Vista 7, which comes from a typically pro-Microsoft Web site. It says that Vista 7 is just Vista with “small changes”. Jim Louderback said the same thing. Here is the overview of this honest review:
Windows 7 review: ‘New’ OS is just Vista with small changes
Cons: No system performance upgrade compared with Vista, still has annoying Vista pop-ups, expensive for somewhat minor enhancements.
Ease of Use: A
Price: $319 (for full Ultimate Edition)
Just as people predicted, Vista 7 is too buggy for everyday use (all Microsoft RTMs are) and Syracuse urges not to touch Vista 7 until SP1, if at all. [via]
Users should wait for Microsoft to work out the bugs in Windows 7 before jumping on the new operating system, a Syracuse, N.Y.-based computer support company said today.
“From the calls we’re getting, as well as our own experience in the past with all Microsoft’s operating systems, we’re recommending that people stick with their time-tested OS and wait for the dust to settle,” said Josh Kaplan, president of Rescuecom.
Microsoft will not appreciate this. It’s bad enough as it is. █
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Summary: Many months after Microsoft attempted to resolve Conficker using a bounty, things are worse than ever
THE BBC almost never explains that viruses are a Windows problem and the following new report is no exception.
An IT expert from Scotland has denied sending out a computer virus which allowed him to spy on strangers using their webcams.
We have also come across many headlines about Facebook Trojans. It is all over the news, but the obvious does not get mentioned.
Our reader Will has noticed this report about Conficker [via], which is still affecting many millions of people and businesses.
The Conficker worm has passed a dubious milestone. It has now infected more than 7 million [m] computers, security experts estimate.
Some individual sources say that almost half of all Windows PCs are compromised, whereas Microsoft finds that about a third of them are infected. Either way, the total figure of Windows zombies could be something close to 300,000,000, so Conficker is just a tiny part of this problem.
Webopedia has added a new page about the term “zombie”, where it fails to give Windows the special mention it deserves.
(1) A computer that has been implanted with a daemon that puts it under the control of a malicious hacker without the knowledge of the computer owner. Zombies are used by malicious hackers to launch DoS attacks.
Why not say “crackers” instead of “malicious hackers”?
At the beginning of the year Microsoft offered a $250,000 reward for anyone who helps the capture of Conficker's maker/s. It was nothing but a blame-shifting attempt and it never worked. █
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Summary: Apple kicks Palm’s Linux-powered phones out of iTunes and Blackboard spreads FUD about Free software counterparts
AFTER patent intimidation and illegal proposals [1, 2], Apple saw Palm filing a complaint against it. But more infamous would be Apple’s harming of interoperability with Palm, which really just ought to strike a deal with Amarok or something (it is a Linux gadget after all). The invitation is already there, whereas with Apple it’s an abusive one-way relationship; as The Register put it yesterday, “Palm Pre evicted from iTunes (yet again).”
Apple’s Thursday update to iTunes – version 9.0.2 – yet again kicks the Palm Pre off Cupertino’s media-sync reservation.
Typical Apple. And then we have Microsoft’s friend*, Blackboard.
Blackboard sues its rivals using patents [1, 2, 3]; when it does not use patent FUD against Free (libre) educational software, Blackboard turns out to be throwing other types of FUD. This just in:
Blackboard’s Response to Open Source: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt
Blackboard has not been having a good time in the state of North Carolina. As I noted recently, the University of North Carolina (a Blackboard customer) reported highly favorable results of their pilot study of Sakai, with an outcome of further investigation into Sakai as a full replacement of Blackboard as their primary LMS. It turns out that this was following on the heels of a similar study done by the North Carolina Community College system favorably comparing Moodle to Blackboard. The details were different but some of the underlying dynamics were the same: the open source system in each case was found to be functionally equivalent to Blackboard for all practical purposes, the open source platforms did roughly as well as Blackboard (in the Moodle evaluation) or better than Blackboard (in the Sakai case) in usability evaluations, and Blackboard was deemed to be expensive relative to the alternatives.
Read the rebuttal; it’s funny how the notorious Magic Quadrant [1, 2] gets a mention. As a reminder, Microsoft tried to piggyback Moodle in order to promote its own lock-in. It must be stressful to them losing all this market share to Free software. █
* Blackboard was initially funded by Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4].
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Summary: Another voice (among many) raises an issue with the Gates Foundation’s fake numbers
EARLIER this year we showed how Bill Gates uses "malaria" to attack GNU/Linux adoptions. The short story is that Bill Gates has ambitions of making money out of Africa [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], but those who are not familiar with the lesser-known deeds of the Gates Foundation will easily fall for these illusions; as for informed critics, they make rational arguments and produce evidence, but impatient politicians may find such allegations shocking and hard to comprehend (a popular defense is to say critics are “just jealous”). By pretending to help, Gates opens the door to political favours, with numerous proven examples. It’s tit-for-tat.
Well, according to Aid Watch, the Gates Foundation should once again be accused of making up numbers to exaggerate its role and present deceptive plans. From the rather detailed new analysis:
Actually, we have also previously argued that aid has been more successful in health than in other areas. However, one petty and parochial concern we had about the progress reports is that Bill and Melinda Gates continue to make a case for malaria success stories based on bad or fake data that we have criticized on this blog already twice. The Gateses were aware of our blog because they responded to it at the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Yet they continue to use the WHO 2008 World Malaria Report as their main source for data on malaria prevalence and deaths from malaria in Africa. As we pointed out in the earlier post, the report establishes such low standards for data reliability that some of the numbers hardly seem worth quoting. From the WHO report: “reliable data on malaria are scarce. In these countries estimates were developed based on local climate conditions, which correlate with malaria risk, and the average rate at which people become ill with the disease in the area.” Where convincing estimates from real reported cases of malaria could not be made, figures were extrapolated “from an empirical relationship between measures of malaria transmission risk and case incidence.”
Of course, we HATE this political economy theory when it’s applied to US. We are VERY unhappy when people conclude that because we are skeptical about malaria data quality (and thus whether they show progress), therefore we really don’t care about how many Africans are dying from malaria and wish that all government money went to subsidize fine dining in New York. And, the Gateses would probably not be fond of this political economy explanation of their actions and beliefs either. Both of us would prefer the alternative “academic” theory of belief formation, in which it is all based on evidence and data, not political interests.
The above may suitably be described as “Numbers of Mass Distraction,” as the following new blog post (from earlier today) called the shameless tactics of the MPAA/RIAA/BPI/other front groups.
It’s not just about digital sales either. The Beatles are reported to have sold 2.25 million albums in two weeks recently. Again, data with some backing.
I like numbers. But not when they’re Numbers of Mass Distraction (NMD). Not when 136 people can become 7 million people.
Why should I care what numbers are bandied about in the press? Why should I care when someone says “Only 1 in 20 downloads in the UK is legal” or words to that effect?
Yesterday we showed another good example where Bill Gates and his colleagues deceived the gullible using warped numbers. Maybe this practice runs deep in the veins by now. █
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Summary: Rumours and speculations about Microsoft and expansion into Ask.com; the brutal story about Microsoft’s moral corruption in the fight against Yahoo! makes a sudden return
THIS morning we wrote about Carl Icahn, who had helped destroy Yahoo!, thus making it a zombie state of Microsoft. Whilst antitrust barriers remain [1, 2, 3, 4], speculation has been spreading that Microsoft might be interested in Ask.com, leading to further enthusiasm in the Microsoft circles.
Since IAC/InterActiveCorp CEO Barry Diller indicated on Tuesday that he’s willing to sell Ask.com, the question on many people’s minds has been, “Who might buy it?” And at this point, the most likely answer seems to be “Microsoft.”
It may be a suitable time to recall how Microsoft used AstroTurfing (yes, for a verifiable fact, plain and simple) to capture Yahoo! and prevent Yahoo! from escaping to Google, for example. A new article from Ars Technica reminds us of a memorable incident where Microsoft got caught hiring AstroTurf agencies:
The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that the metadata attached to public records is itself a public record. Given the frequency with which metadata outs lobbyists’ and corporations’ efforts to mask their own contributions to public debates, this is a good thing.
The very next month, the tables were turned when the American Corn Grower’s Association somewhat surprisingly threw its weight behind the idea that Congress should launch a hearing to look into the possible anti-trust implications of the Google-Yahoo advertising deal. CNET’s Declan McCullagh took a look at the PDF letter that the group submitted to Congress, and found that it had been authored by a staffer at the LawMedia Group, a DC lobbying shop whose client list includes the anti-Google, anti-net neutrality National Cable and Telecommunications Association.
We alluded to the LawMedia Group under (in chronological order):
Metadata, in addition to the valuable leak, would have assisted in exposing another Microsoft AstroTurf group — one which affects Europe. We gave examples of its activities in:
A new Web site called OpenUpNow.org is trying to help the exposition of lobbyists and corruptible politicians. In its blog, examples are being given today:
Newspapers occasionally report that votes have been declared “three-line whips” by particular parties. Here are just a few reported examples:
* In 2002, the Conservative party imposed a three-line whip forcing their MPs to oppose the adoption of children by gay couples.
* In 2007, both Labour and the Conservatives imposed three-line whips in favour of a proposal to renew Britain’s nuclear weapons system, Trident.
* In 2008, the Liberal Democrats imposed a three-line whip which instructed their MPs to abstain on a vote to ratify the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.
* In 2009, Labour imposed a three line whip in favour of a vote to keep the full detail of MPs expenses secret from the public.
Those who rule out lobbying and politics, leaving it out of the equation and simply assuming that Free software will be chosen based on merits, ought to wake up and see what giants like Microsoft are doing. █
“Geeks like to think that they can ignore politics, you can leave politics alone, but politics won’t leave you alone.”
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