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11.29.09

Links 29/11/2009: New Linux Mint Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Exactly Why We Are No Longer UNIX-ish

    We didn’t have to jump on with X11, where bloat and complexity are present for no apparent reason whatsoever, and where nasty hacks have resulted in even more complexity. We didn’t have to jump on with KDE where a lack of extensibility, parsimony, clarity, modularity, simplicity, and repair lead to the need for a rewrite from the ground up, and left many of us hating the new version. We didn’t have to jump on with GNOME or XFCE that are facing similar growing pains. We didn’t have to sign on with any of this, but we did. We are now paying the price as our systems get heavier and heavier, and like the guys on the other side of the fence (Windows and such), we are going to start upgrading our systems just because our OS demands a better machine.

  • Differences Between Linux And Windows

    The Linux Kernel is an operating system, which runs on a wide variety of hardware and for a variety of purposes. Linux is capable of running on devices as simple as a wrist watch, or a cell phone, but it can also run on a home computer using, for example Intel, or AMD processors, and its even capable of running on high end servers using Sun Sparc CPU’s or IBM power PC processors. Some Linux distro’s can only run one processor, while others can run many at once.

    [...]

    In conclusion we will conclude that the Linux OS really is the superior software. Other than a few minor nuisances, linux out performs Windows in most categories. The fact that Linux is more secure is the tipping point, that tilts the scales in the favor of Linux. Windows simply suffers from far to many security vulnerabilities for it to be considered the better over all desktop environment.

  • Virtual computers in a virtual world.

    Even better is that while you are evaluating this new and exiting version of, say, Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora or Arch Linux, your existing operating system is also active and can be used at the same time. Providing you have enough memory and CPU power you can have more than one virtual machine running concurrently. On my pretty standard (sub standard by today’s standards) of an AMD 5200+ CPU and 2Gb ram I have had three virtual machines running side by side as well as my, at that time, Debian operating system serving web pages and managing email. With a good virtual machine program, I use virtualBox myself, you are only limited by the amount of hard disk space and ram on your beast box.

  • Remix Linux: how to customise your install

    Mainstream Linux distro developers have to make decisions that affect thousands of potential users.

    Should they include or remove a particular package? Should they apply a patch that may break compatibility with older machines?

  • Literature

    • FREE online editon of Linux+ magazine

      Linux+ is going to release FREE online editon of their magazine. There will be 6 monthly issues with 60 pages each available for free download. They are looking for your support!

    • Must have Linux books for Christmas

      The gift giving season is right around the corner and if you have any geeky relatives or friends, then this list of Linux books to buy for Christmas is a good reference.

  • Google

    • Does Chrome OS mean anything for schools?

      Google representatives have already made it clear that they are hard at work enabling HTML-5 features in Google Apps and plan to significantly improve the richness and fidelity of their core Apps products within the next year. But we won’t need Chrome OS to access any of these new features. We just need to use a modern browser and be willing to trust in the cloud.

  • Kernel Space

    • Plymouth Gets Tighter Integration With GDM, X

      For about two years now Red Hat has been working on the Plymouth project to replace RHGB with this graphical boot program that leverages kernel mode-setting and other newer Linux innovations to provide a clean, flicker-free boot experience. Over the course of the past few Fedora releases, Plymouth has continued to pickup new features and is also now being used by Mandriva. While Plymouth already does a great job at mode-setting to the display’s native resolution and then showing the selected Plymouth plug-in and then to switch over to GNOME’s GDM quite smoothly as the X.Org Server starts up, this process is getting even smoother now.

  • Applications

  • KDE

    • Device automounting in KDE 4.4
    • KDE Community and Apliki Cooperate on Understandable Icons

      It is good to see the KDE community engage in cooperative relationships with parties outside the community, seeking mutual benefit. We welcome collaboration for any individual or organization which believes in improving the quality of our software and helps us realize our goal of getting the best Free Software anywhere!

    • Second KOffice Developer Sprint 2009 Kickoff

      In Oslo, Norway, the second KOffice developer sprint this year has started. The KOffice developers must be getting used to seeing each other regularly – besides the two sprints there were many other meetings and events with a handful of KOffice developers present. However, their ‘own’ sprints still are special – dedicated to some team building, designing and hard work in a cooperative and positive atmosphere.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Linux Mint 8 “Helena” released!

        The 8th release of Linux Mint comes with numerous bug fixes and a lot of improvements. In particular Linux Mint 8 comes with support for OEM installs, a brand new Upload Manager, the menu now allows you to configure custom places, the update manager now lets you define packages for which you don’t want to receive updates,the software manager now features multiple installation/removal of software and many of the tools’ graphical interfaces were enhanced.

      • Linux Mint 8 Helena Screenshots

        Linux Mint 8 “Helena” is based on Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” and it features the latest versions on many applications. Linux 2.6.31, Gnome 2.28 and Xorg 7.4 are all included in Linux Mint 8 along with significant changes to the menu, software manager, update manager, and a brand new upload manager. As has been the case in recent releases, the Linux Mint artwork has been adjusted to give the Gnome 2.28 desktop a beautiful look. What’s your favorite feature of Linux Mint 8?

      • Ubuntu-Based Greenie 6k Screenshots

        The Greenie Linux 6k CD is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that is focused on Slovak and Czech users but supports English and many other languages as well. In October I wrote a Greenie 5j review and was impressed with the distribution. The most recent version has a nice set of current applications such as Linux Kernel 2.6.31, GNOME 2.28, OpenOffice.org 3.1.1, Firefox 3.5, and WINE 1.1.33.

      • Review – Crunch Bang Linux

        Test setup – Fujitsu Siemens C1020, 256mb of RAM, 1GB RAM, 20GB HDD, Intel Pentium 4 1.8ghz CPU, 32mb Graphics Card

        Crunch Bang Linux (also known as #! Linux) is a lightweight distribution aimed at older, underpowered hardware. It is based off the Ubuntu 9.04 Minimal CD and the OpenBox windowing system.

      • [Full Circle Magazine] Issue 31
      • Ubuntizing People!!

        In conclusion… Ubuntu ROCKS!! I’m very amazed that he did pretty much everything he needed without any help and that he loves it. He is just happy that he does not have the same problems he has with windows in the same time frame. Anyways, I guess that this is all thanks to the developers who put so much effort in the Upstream Projects, and to all of those who make Ubuntu Rock!!

      • Roll Your Own Ubuntu Private Cloud

        Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud, or UEC for short, lets you create your own cloud computing infrastructure with nothing more than whatever commodity hardware you’ve got that already runs Ubuntu Server. It’s an implementation of the Eucalyptus cloud-computing architecture, which is interface-compatible with Amazon’s own cloud system, but could, in theory, support interfaces for any number of cloud providers. Since Amazon’s APIs and cloud systems are broadly used and familiar to most people who’ve done work with the cloud, it makes sense to start by offering what people already know.

      • Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04LTS – Landmark release?

        Ubuntu One continues to go from strength to strength. I have been using it since the beta test invite and can see that being another decent revenue stream for Canonical who appear to have been delivering an out of the box platform for many years with little reward.

        Of course with every Ubuntu release comes the promise of faster boot-times, so we are not disappointed when we hear that 10.04 is aiming for a 10 second boot up and in addition to the faster boot times, you can guarantee that the calls surrounding “the ugly brown theme” will start up again!

      • Taking the Ubuntu gospel to the Anime nation

        People all over the world use computers for many different reasons. Yet, often Linux evangelists focus on those who already have a technical bent through initiatives such as software freedom day. The Ubuntu community in Massachusetts decided its time to reach out to a new crowd.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Oracle & Sun & the European Single Market

    A lot of people have been busy commenting on the EU’s investigation into the competitive dynamics of Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun, so I thought I’d join in.

  • Sixth Sense Technology

    Here something for all of you techie tinkerers to try when its released. In a presentation by Pranav Mistry on “several tools that help the physical world interact with the world of data”, Mistry says he’ll open-source the software behind SixthSense, to open its possibilities to all. I expect we’ll see some of these ideas interfaced with Blender in the future, we’ve already had others such as Wiimotes by Thomas Eldredge

  • 6 of the Best Free Linux Data Warehouse Software

    A data warehouse is a repository of an organization’s electronically stored data. Data warehouses are designed to facilitate reporting and analysis.

  • When Open Source Meets Closed Minds

    Caller: “I need to report a very serious computer crime! The local university is running an illegal computer system!”

    Me: “Could you please repeat that?”

    Caller: “The local university is running an illegal computer system! They’ve hacked it!”

    Me: “How could you tell they’d hacked it?”

    Caller: “Well, when it booted, it didn’t say Windows or Microsoft or anything! It said something about Deviant Linux, I think, and the main screen looked nothing like my good, legal Windows screen at home! I think they hacked that, too!”

  • Events

    • Brucon 2009: Open Source Information Gathering 2/4

      This talk is about using the current open source tools to generate a detailed target footprint for a blackbox penetration test. Suppose for our penetration test we are given nothing but a domain name.

    • RTEMS Workout at FOSS.IN 2009

      If you are enthusiastic about Free and Open Source Software and you are anywhere near Bangalore (even if you are not, there is nothing stopping to be near Bangalore during this time), make sure you head to FOSS.IN 2009. FOSS.IN is the first conference for Open Source that I attended back in 2005 and was impressed. Since then I have attended all FOSS.INs except the 2006 (away from the country on an official trip).

      If you are enthusiastic about Free and Open Source Software and you are anywhere near Bangalore (even if you are not, there is nothing stopping to be near Bangalore during this time), make sure you head to FOSS.IN 2009. FOSS.IN is the first conference for Open Source that I attended back in 2005 and was impressed. Since then I have attended all FOSS.INs except the 2006 (away from the country on an official trip).

  • Mozilla

    • New Firefox 3.6 Beta Enables Local File Handling

      Earlier this morning, Mozilla released the fourth beta version of Firefox 3.6. Besides over 140 bug fixes, the new beta also introduces support for HTML5′s local file handling API. This feature gives web apps the ability to access and handle local files selected by the user. A photo site that implements this feature can now work with images locally, for example. You don’t have to upload your images to the site – instead, the web app can just manipulate the photo through the browser locally and an upload is only necessary if you want to store the image remotely.

    • Finally Some Good Use For The Firefox Home Button

      The home button in the Firefox web browser – and actually in every web browser – opens the default homepage of the web browser when it is clicked. Most users do not need that functionality because of better alternatives that are provided by the browsers. It is for example possible to add the homepage to the visible bookmarks, use a keyboard shortcut to open that website or to enter part of it in the address bar.

      The developer of Usable Home Button for Firefox must have had similar thoughts. The add-on changes the standard behavior of the home button in Firefox so that it always leads to the root level of the active website. This can be quite handy as it is not always a given that a webmaster has included a link back to the root page of the website on the website.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU

    • RMS: An American Free Software Advocate

      In 1983 Stallman wanted to create a free Unix-like operating system so he launched the GNU Project and set up the Free Software Foundation just a couple years later. “The name “GNU” was chosen because it met a few requirements; “first, it was a recursive acronym for “GNU’s Not Unix”, second, because it was a real word, and third, it was fun to say” (FSF).

      Stallman also pioneered the concept of copyleft which is a legal mechanism to protect the modification and redistribution rights for free software. He is the main author of several copyleft licenses including the GNU General Public License (GPL), the most widely used free software license. “The Foundations of the GPL states that nobody should be restricted by the software they use. There are four freedoms that every user should have:

      * the freedom to use the software for any purpose,
      * the freedom to change the software to suit your needs,
      * the freedom to share the software with your friends and neighbors, and
      * the freedom to share the changes you make” (FSF).

  • Government

  • Openness

    • Outrageous. Incredible. International expert was spoken word only even within OS

      So here’s what happens. You have a report. You happen to bump into an old mate. “Hey, want to read my report?” you say. “Sure,” they say. They read it. “Seems OK,” they say. You go back to your office and tell people “I met X who says it’s fine.” Even though the report is a thrown-together farrago of disconnected information about various national mapping agencies and their charging methods, combined with an unrelated chunk of poorly displayed data about national GDP versus national R&D expenditure, which cannot by any reasonable measure be claimed to justify anything about any charging model.

      This then becomes “The document was also reviewed by an internationally recognised expert in Geographical Information and National Mapping who agreed with the analysis and conclusions.”

    • We deserve better commodity information
    • Distripedia

      Announcing Distripedia!

      A first crack at a distributed, crowd sourced and perhaps crowd funded encyclopedia. (I had to get in a buzz word or two but they are not offtopic.)

    • Openness as the Foundation for Global Change

      In other words, openness lies at the heart of this work, and that’s probably the most exciting thing for me about this whole venture, however modest its current scale: it is taking the ideas that lie behind open source and open standards, and applying them in real-life situations to make a real difference to people’s lives, and that’s hugely important. Let’s hope that Tim Berners-Lee’s latest project is ultimately as successful as his more famous one.

    • Which works fall into the public domain in 2010?

      You can find the list of 563 authors on our Public Domain Works project, which is a simple registry of artistic works that are in the public domain:

      * http://www.publicdomainworks.net/stats/year/2010

      The list can be sorted by author surname, birth date, death date and number of works by clicking on the relevant headings. Notable authors include the poets William Butler Yeats and Osip Mandelstam, as well as the father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud

  • Google

    • Reducing HTTP latency with SPDY

      Google unveiled an experimental open source project in early November aimed at reducing web site load times. SPDY, as it is called, is a modification to HTTP designed to target specific, real-world latency issues without altering GET, POST, or any other request semantics, and without requiring changes to page content or network infrastructure. It does this by implementing request prioritization, stream multiplexing, and header compression. Results from tests on a SPDY-enabled Chrome and a SPDY web server show a reduction in load times of up to 60%.

    • The Apertium Project’s First Google Summer of Code

      The Apertium Project works on open-source machine translation and language technology. We try to focus our efforts on lesser-resourced and marginalized languages, but also work with larger languages. To date, we have released translators for 21 language pairs, covering languages spoken by 1.1 billion people, ranging from English (est. 500m speakers) to Aranese (est. 4,000 speakers). A similar number of additional language pairs are in development. The Apertium software is licensed under the GPL, but in addition (a rarer situation in the machine translation field) so is the data for all these language pairs. This means that the data can be re-used by other language projects (e.g. in developing spelling or grammar checkers, thesauri, etc).

    • Google Eliminates Gizmo5 Client For Linux

      “Evidence on the Gizmo5 forum (login required) confirms that since Google’s takeover of Gizmo5, only the Windows, Mac, and iPhone clients are available for download from the official Web page. The Linux download link no longer works. This is a potential problem for happy Linux users with paid-up credit in their Gizmo5 accounts if they need to reinstall the software. A back-door download is still available, although it is speculated on the forums that it will go away soon. Does this mean that (as with other Google projects such as Google Talk) Linux will be the poor relation for Google Voice also?”

Leftovers

  • Time to Abolish the Olympics?

    Now, there are two explanations for this. One, is that free speech no longer exists in Canada, which is news to me. I can’t imagine even the most zealous border official was really trying *in principle* to restrict Ms Goodman’s general right to talk about anything.

    The other possibility, seems much more likely: that this was another epiphenomenon of the Olympic trademark insanity, whereby ordinary words are suddenly forbidden to lesser mortals – unless they pay.

  • Do we have a government IT “fat cats” issue?

    One of Gordon Brown’s favoured efficiency czars muttered to me once over breakfast that what Whitehall called CIOs were, as a rule, merely overpaid IT project managers. Seems a bit harsh: surely these people sit on the Board, and are in a position to make services vastly better and contribute immense savings?

  • Environment

    • Oil and the story of energy

      You will see from the Wikipedia article, that one method of controlling consumption of the resource is a tax to try to ensure that the price and therefore the demand for the resource, remains roughly the same. As I understand it, this is what the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme is attempting to do. It will force universities to become more energy efficient in order to lower our emissions. Rather than then use those efficiencies to purchase more emissions producing resources, which is what we normally do, the fines and reputational incentive will force us to keep making year on year savings of carbon emissions.

      [...]

      The purpose of this post, however, was to provide an overview of energy and oil as a reference for moving on to think more about a ‘resilient education’. My interests are in the institutional and organisational effects this might have, particularly relating to our dependence on technology to operate Higher Education Institutions and deliver teaching and research. Another important area to consider is how to develop resilient citizens, as Richard has begun to do. Since its discovery, oil has changed the way we live. It has changed the fabric of society, the institutions we have created, our expectations of the future and our ambitions for ourselves. As the availability of oil changes, so will our institutions and our communities. My interest is the impact to and role of education within this environment of change. My specific interest is the role and value of technology (in whatever forms) to teach and learn in this environment of change.

    • Hacked E-Mail Data Prompts Calls for Changes in Climate Research

      Some prominent climate scientists are calling for changes in the way research on global warming is conducted after a British university said thousands of private e-mail messages and documents had been stolen from its climate center.

  • Finance

    • Dubai’s Debt Troubles: Beginning of the Next Leg Down?

      The Dubai situation is complicated, which is part of the reason why the restructuring of Dubai World’s debt took the world by surprise. Dubai World, the conglomerate behind a huge number of commercial and residential buildings, is the one whose debt is being restructured. The amount of the restructured debt for Dubai World is only about $60 billion, so by itself, is insignificant compared to the size of the world economy. The government of Dubai backs the Dubai World debt. If one includes the government of Dubai, total debts are about $80 billion, which is still not a huge amount compared to world assets.

    • Goldman’s secret moral pathology

      11. When bankruptcy threatens, bribe friends in ‘Happy Conspiracy’

      Barron’s: While Geithner was “showcasing what a great investment Washington made in Goldman, the 23% return on the $5 billion of the taxpayers money, Warren Buffett’s deal made him a fabulous 120% return. Goldman’s stock ran up to $180 from $115, a gain of $2.8 billion. Add 8% discount on warrants, another $3.2 billion to him.”

  • AstroTurf

    • Lessons in Legislative Manipulation From the Tobacco Industry

      Corporations will continue to wrest control of our country’s legislative processes away from the people and co-opt it for themselves, but we out number them. It’s time to join together to ensure, as Abraham Lincoln so memorably said in his 1863 Gettysburg Address, that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

    • Obama Pushes Lobbyists Off Federal Advisory Boards

      In a little-noticed blog post published on the White House website in September, President Obama’s special counsel for ethics and government reform Norm Eisen announced that the administration no longer wanted federally-registered lobbyists appointed to agency advisory boards and commissions.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • SWIFT – EU to grant USA nearly unlimited access to all EU banking data

      It’s everything about SWIFT, a company that handles the bank transactions for thousands of bank, inluding most European banks. SWIFT is based in Belgium but has also a branch in the USA. Under the TFTP programme the US government forced the US branch (which mirrors all data based in Belgium) to allow government access to all these bank transactions in order to help anti-terrorism operations.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Dear Mandy: complaining to Peter Mandelson through the power of song

      What’s a good way to get politicians to listen to your point of view? Writing letters? Signing petitions? Inviting them over for dinner in your holiday villa in Greece?

      Or, if none of that works – for example, if you don’t have a villa in Greece – you could try singing a song at them.

      That’s the approach Dan Bull has taken, with a musical letter to Lord Mandelson politely suggesting that he might like to reconsider his proposals to cut off the internet of households if they are accused of filesharing.

    • Day 22: Film studios issue ultimatum to ISPs

      Internet service providers that shirked responsibilities to prevent copyright infringement on their networks should consider exiting the business, the Federal Court heard today.

      As the copyright case between the film industry and ISP iiNet approached its conclusion, the studio’s barrister Tony Bannon SC suggested ISPs that did not want to deal with infringement notices should “get out of the business.”

    • Pub ‘fined £8k’ for Wi-Fi copyright infringement

      A pub owner has been fined £8,000 because someone unlawfully downloaded copyrighted material over their open Wi-Fi hotspot, according to the managing director of hotspot provider The Cloud.

    • What the Queen didn’t say

      The Queen’s speech was notable not so much for the new announcements in it, but for the things it didn’t include. Her Majesty did not say that her government would disconnect it’s citizen’s internet connections, or introduce a £50,000 fine for infringing the copyright of a file that cost £0.00 to reproduce, or that it would give harsher penalties for downloading a file for free than for buying the exact same information on a counterfeit disc.

      But don’t be fooled. This isn’t a sudden outbreak of common sense, all those ill-considered provisions are still there, but for some reason the government forgot to tell the public about them in the Queen’s speech.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Michael Shaw, community reporter for Assigment Zero 05 (2007)


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

Open Letter to Lord Mandelson (Video)

Posted in Europe, Law, Videos at 4:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Dan Bull responds to Lord Mandelson (“Dan Bull – Dear Mandy – an open letter to Lord Mandelson”)

A couple of days ago we wrote about Mandelson’s Digital Economy Bill. Dan Bull has responded to this bill with a song.


Direct link

Please share and sign the petition if you are a UK resident.

Leila Deen and Lord Mandelson
“Business secretary Peter Mandelson is slimed by an environmental protestor outside the Royal Society on Carlton House Terrace, Pall Mall after allegations of ‘favours for friends’ over the Heathrow third runway decision” [Courtesy of "Plane Stupid", via Wikimedia]

“Open” as in “Not Free” and “Non-Standard”

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Novell, Standard at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Open until sunset

Summary: The connotation and meaning of the word “open” continue to degrade

ONE OF the real issues that we have with Novell at the moment is its promotion of Microsoft XAML [1, 2, 3, 4] (departure from web standards), which people like O’Reilly conveniently ignore as there is a conflict of interests perhaps.

Earlier this month we wrote about the 'Open' Web Foundation (OWF), which is not open. It’s not surprising that Microsoft advances it, but then again, the W3C too is at risk (from Apple and Microsoft).

Microsoft makes five Web specifications available under the recently created Open Web Foundation Agreement, or OWFa.

The OWF messes about with software patents, which Microsoft must love. Last week we also warned about API nonsense being described as “open”, which it is not (unless the word “open” loses its semantics altogether). It is about APIs being exposed to programmers outside one vendor, but an interface is all that is.

Some Web services are connecting to Microsoft’s proprietary software via APIs (latest one is LinkedIn [1, 2], which is also proprietary). With eBay doing roughly the same type of thing some days ago [1, 2, 3] it becomes important to reject the word “open” in this context or abandon the word altogether. We previously compared Mono to Open Core. It’s definitely not Free software, not by reasonable criteria relating to redistribution.

Open sign
Lights out for “open”?

“If thought can corrupt language, then language can also corrupt thought.”

George Orwell

Discrediting by Distorting Boycott Novell’s Message

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 3:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer

Summary: Response to people who mischaracterise Boycott Novell and falsely attribute false words to it

SOME regular hecklers of Boycott Novell have intentionally distorted the message of this Web site. They wanted people not to pay attention to our concerns about Mono, so they lied about our argument. Instead of focusing on the message that “GIMP [is] to be removed from Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx” (yes, nearly everyone describes it as a removal), one of the hecklers lied by saying that Novell and Microsoft are to blame according to Boycott Novell. That is a shameful lie, designed to discredit this Web site. It is one among many such smears which attempt to disparage the source or the messenger because the real message is just so hard to refute. What we argued about the GIMP being demoted can be found in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

It is worth repeating the fact that we are not an FSF campaign (there is no affiliation with any establishment/s for that matter) and some people who pretend to speak for this Web site do not speak for this Web site. Some are only inciting and provoking people, thus creating anger against the site. It’s damaging.

Ron Hovsepian as Ballmer

Microsoft Was “Twitter’s First-ever Association with a Marketer”

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft at 2:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer as a bird

Summary: A look back at what Microsoft did to Twitter and what it continues doing to it with a new deal

EARLIER this year we wrote about Microsoft’s partnership with Federated Media, which became the first time Twitter sold out to companies. Microsoft not only pioneered the corruption of Twitter’s integrity (Microsoft has assigned other PR agencies like Waggener Edstrom to help subvert Twitter) but it is also bribing people to tweet positively about Microsoft products. It is a violation of FTC rules [1, 2, 3, 4]. We wrote about the subject in:

Microsoft is now further extending its intervention in Twitter, using Federated Media again.

Six months after Twitter, Microsoft and Federated Media teamed up to launch ExecTweets, a service that streams business tweets from a handpicked collection of executives, the group is debuting a new project, ExecTweets IT.

[...]

ExecTweets was Twitter’s first-ever association with a marketer…

[...]

There are currently no further iterations of Exectweets in the works, according to DiPietro, but FM and Microsoft have teamed with Twitter on other projects, such as BingTweets, a mashup of Bing and Twitter search results, and Harmony Tweets, which is aimed at Toyota Prius owners.

For those who doubt Microsoft’s unethical involvement in Twitter, the links above are probably required reading.

Microsoft Grabs More Control of Schools in United States, Serbia, Still Looking to Derail Brazil

Posted in America, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Open XML at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More countries should follow Brazil’s example, but Microsoft wants a ‘regime change’ over there

Brazil's ODF cap on Lula
Original

Summary: The political aspect of Microsoft continues helping the company in enslaving young people, whose independence is given away so early in their lives by their politicians

IN OUR previous writings about the Gates Foundation we highlighted its role in privatising education, giving schools to corporations that look to increase shareholder value (with control over children comes leverage).

It was very disappointing to find the US president giving Microsoft more control of education. It’s in the news now. It goes under yet another sensational euphemism, “Educate to Innovate”.

Ah, yes. Innovate. Microsoft loves that word.

Here is information about what’s involved:

Barack Obama, the President of the United States, has launched an initiative called “Educate to Innovate”, aimed at getting more people interested in topics related to the so-called STEM, which is science, technology, engineering and math. And it seems that big companies with a presence in the videogaming world are interested in joining him and proving the educational capabilities of their products.

So once again, instead of politicians doing what’s right for the children they seem to be thinking about what’s right for funding of their next election (maybe not so directly/transparently). They deserve the benefit of the doubt and should be judged based on their actions. Either way, children are taught products rather than methods. They are taught the culture of consumerism and made an integral part of it. At a young age, they are hardly given a chance to choose, as they must comply with teachers or be reprimanded (sometimes punished with bad marks, where only conformity is rewarded for). This hinders exploration rather than inspire or ignite creativity, so what kind of education is this when children are trained for obedience?

“Just as there should be separation between church and state, there must be separation between public education and commerce.”To find out more about what Microsoft does to education, see this comprehensive post from last week. The Gates Foundation plays a role in this. Just as there should be separation between church and state, there must be separation between public education and commerce. Schools should not become indoctrination/recruitment facilities of private companies, whose structure is naturally tyrannical, not democratic (the chain of command implies so).

A few weeks ago we showed that Microsoft still tries to derail Brazil's schools migration to GNU/Linux. In the news we are finding more of the same signs this week.

Muntinlupa HS named a Microsoft innovative school

[...]

Microsoft honored Muntinlupa Science High School in the Worldwide Innovative Education Forum (IEF) in Salvador, Brazil last November. The awardees bested 104 nominees from 41 countries.

Now watch what Microsoft is doing Serbia:

Science and Technology: Serbia, Microsoft sign agreement

The Serbian government signed a memorandum of understanding on facilitating the access and use of IT in Serbian schools with Microsoft on Tuesday (November 17th). The document was signed in the framework of co-operation between the Education Ministry and Microsoft. The company’s Vice-President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Niels Soelberg, said the programme will continue until 2013.

Yes, it is yet another MoU, which may in fact be illegal. Microsoft cannot compete based on merit, so it privately signs deals that eliminate competition. Recent examples include China, Indonesia, and Ukraine. We also wrote about Serbia (or at least mentioned it) in the context of the OOXML blunder. News articles from 2007-2009 are appended at the bottom [1-3]. It is about GNU/Linux in Serbia.

Last but not least, several days ago we found Microsoft dumping in Taiwan. That very recent MoU in Taiwan was apparently not enough in battling Free software. Taiwan accused Microsoft of antitrust violations last year, but here it is victimised again:

Microsoft has launched its WebsiteSpark program in the Taiwan market targeting customers restricted to providers of website design/development services with a staff of fewer than 10 or independent professionals, according to Microsoft Taiwan.

We wrote about the real meaning of WebsiteSpark back in September when it was first introduced, later showing that it is just more of the same dumping programme against Free software (*Spark). Microsoft has just found another accomplice in the UK. Will the European Commission take notice?
____
[1] Serbia ponders cooperation with Red Hat

Serbian government has announced that it will sign a letter of intent with one of the top open source software companies.

Serbian minister of science Aleksandar Popović and Red Hat Corporation vice-president Werner Knoblich will sign a letter of intent on January 15, the government said in a statement.

Red Hat, an international leader in development and distribution of open source software solutions, is a possible future partner which may improve availability and use of the most advanced information and communication technology based on development and implementation of software with open code, the statement said.

[2] RS: Ministry backs localised GNU/Linux distribution and CMS

The Serbian Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society last month presented Cp6Linux, a GNU/Linux distribution translated into Serbian, based on the GNU/Linux distributions Debian and Ubuntu.

The localisation of the GNU/Linux distribution was carried out by the School of Electrical Engineering of the University of Belgrade. Its name is derived from the Cyrillic writing of ‘Serbian Linux’, “срб-линукс”.

[3] Open Source Software in Serbian

Currently, the two Linux versions – Ubuntu and Fedora are being localized whereas the first versions of these programs in Serbian will be available for use starting from March, 2008.

Gates Foundation Looking to Destroy Kenya with Intellectual Monopolies

Posted in Africa, Bill Gates, Deception, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kenya

Summary: The Gates-Monsanto duo is trying to force Monsanto seeds upon the Kenyan population, hoping that poor farmers will be gullible enough to become slaves of more Intellectual Monopolies from overseas

IN the previous post we showed that Microsoft mastered the habit of giving stuff for free (pretending it to be “charity” or a “bargain”) and later pointing fingers, bullying, suing, and putting in jail the very same people who once helped, using merciless lawsuits that sometimes lead to bankruptcy.

As we showed a few days ago, Monsanto quietly filed thousands of lawsuits against farmers, many of whom could not afford legal defence even in the face of false allegations that were common. As a brief explanation of the issue, Monsanto is pushing and spreading dangerous species and extinguishing natural ones in the process. In turn, Monsanto claims ownership of all those new species that it spreads, which means that any new generation of animals or seeds will be considered the intellectual monopoly of Monsanto, which will claim royalty on life (of animals and food like plants). It ought to be mentioned that the soil and the new legal process introduced by Monsanto push aside any real possibility of avoiding Monsanto or competing against it. It is a trap and they know it. That’s the business model.

Who would support such unethical monsters? As we showed before, Bill Gates is one of their biggest backers and he is constantly promoting them in public while denouncing those who stand in Monsanto’s way (vainly labeling them “environmentalists”, in a fashion that’s intended as mockery). We wrote about this subject in:

One nation that Microsoft has been abusing in the past couple of years is Kenya. We even gave actual examples from the news, which are summarised in:

Using “green revolution” as a euphemism again, Gates and Rockefeller are now imposing Monsanto seeds upon the Kenyan population. Needless to say, the press which is owned by corporations is not telling the true story. When it does (see highlight in red), then it quickly uses some spin and misinformation to dismiss the issue. From the news:

Kenya: Gates Foundation and Monsanto to Develop Genetically Modified Seeds for Small Farmers

Many of the emotionally charged headlines that drive Africa’s food security debate are intricately connected to the critical and complex Kenyan seed industry: Kenya is the second largest seed consumer in sub-Saharan Africa, and a key driver of agricultural research on the continent. For decades, donors and private interests have been funneling millions of dollars into the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), in an effort to develop new plant varieties that can repel pests, withstand disease and produce higher yields.

KARI is now one of the main partners in a new programme funded by the Gates Foundation that will attempt to develop genetically modified (GM) maize that can withstand drought. The plan is to distribute the seeds to small farmers in Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The technology is coming from Monsanto, the American corporate seed giant that does a lot of work for the Gates Foundation in Africa. Normally Monsanto’s patented seeds come at a high price, which has inspired an endless stream of vitriol from activists who accuse the company of exploiting poor farmers for obscene profits. This time, farmers will receive the seeds royalty free – indefinitely – as part of Gates’ push for a “green revolution” in Africa.

There is more news coverage of this (same as above), which is disappointingly one sided. We have already shown what “royalty free” means in this case (how about “organic”, “no patents at all”, or “no strings attached”?). Monsanto is just trying to seed the market (pun intended) and Gates helps them. He’s an expert in this area.

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Microsoft Starts Raiding India, Not Just the Middle East

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft, Windows at 11:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UAE flag

Summary: Last week’s Microsoft raids in the UAE (and some more new raids) are increasingly seen as a business model

LAST week we wrote about what Microsoft was doing in the UAE apart from signing exclusionary deals [1, 2] and removing choice [1, 2].

As part of its recent tours in Asia (recall the marketing blitz in Jordan last month, as well as this new meeting), Microsoft is now engaged in attacking the very same people who have spread Windows over the years. Suddenly Microsoft pretends that they are the “bad people” (using them, then denouncing them, and finally putting them in prison).

Not just the UAE is targeted, either. A few days ago we found out that Microsoft was also raiding India.

LUCKNOW, INDIA: For software developers and resellers, the fight against piracy seems to be an unending one. The recent launch of Microsoft Windows 7 was shrouded with the news of its availability as pirated copies.

In order to check the open and blatant piracy of Microsoft products, the vendor recently launched a scheme called Seven 7s to encourage resellers to sell the original products. But even as the scheme was announced, Microsoft also filed a complaint about the rampant software piracy in a notorious market in Lucknow.

That’s comical. Since when does Microsoft care about counterfeiting in this country? As Bill Gates put it a couple of years ago, “It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.” So typical.

Let us remember that Microsoft was found guilty of tax evasion in India just a over a year ago. Should Microsoft also be labeled “a pirate” in India and therefore its offices aggressively raided? Last month when we wrote about Bill Gates and Microsoft dodging tax we also summarised previous posts about the subject, namely:

The Microsoft ‘press’ is now having a chat with a former Microsoft employee who accuses Microsoft of improperly and even illegally handling tax matters.

Appearing on KUOW’s “The Conversation” on Monday was Jeff Reifman, a former Microsoft employee who has been writing about Microsoft’s software-licensing practices and whether they are illegal.

He asserts that Microsoft sidesteps Washington tax law by licensing its software out of an office in Reno, Nev. Nevada has no software-licensing tax; Washington does.

There is some sweet irony in the fact that a company which commits so many crimes accuses others of being “pirates” or “thieves” and “criminals”. Have they no shame or humility to see the hypocrisy?

“As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours.”

Bill Gates

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