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11.30.09

Confirmed: Vista 7 — Just Like Vista — Has No Substantial Impact on Sales

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 7:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Well the initial impression is how much it [Windows 7] looks like Vista. Which I think is…uh…the thing I’m not supposed to say.”

Microsoft Jack Schofield

Summary: Vendors begin to speak out about the effect (or lack thereof) of Vista 7 being released

THIS is the latest lesson in the reality behind Vista 7. It is not getting any better.

In the past week there have been zero headlines about Vista, at least in Google News. We wrote about this trend last week too. By contrast, Google News had 22 clusters of items with Vista 7 (“Windows 7″) in the headline. It is obvious that Microsoft is trying to bury Vista because of its name. Microsoft would rather pretend that the two operating systems are totally different, just like in the Mojave Experiment (an experiment in marketing).

“Microsoft would rather pretend that the two operating systems are totally different, just like in the Mojave Experiment (an experiment in marketing).”Last week we wrote about a parents group complaining about Microsoft's Vista 7 ads in 'Family Guy'. It turns out the those ads have been aired despite being "axed". Did they pull a fast one? Or was it all just posted online? Either way, Gizmodo’s headline sums it up like this: “The Killed Windows 7 Family Guy Special Even More Horrible Than I Imagined”

It is really just like Vista. It becomes obvious when they get started with some superficial propaganda and superstars to make huge hype (worth hundreds of millions of dollars, allocated to marketing of one product alone). For Vista it was Seinfeld, Jackass, NASCAR, and Bollywood, to name a few examples. Microsoft recruited these to promote Windows Vista. For Vista 7, Microsoft is now tapping Sugababes. How corny.

Interpublic agency UM is behind a campaign to encourage listeners of ballad-heavy UK radio station Heart to visit a website dubbed “Sugababes love Windows 7″ to suggest locations for the girl band to perform in.

From the Telegraph: “Microsoft marketing thinks that women = Sugababes”

Aiming for that crucial eight-year-old girls market, Microsoft’s abysmal marketing department have signed up the Sugababes as the new face of Windows 7. Follow the three unrecognisable singer-dancer-actress-models in a series of painfully stilted videos as they use the new, fast, easy to use operating system to organise their busy lives. As though they don’t have a retinue of PAs and record company stooges, for God’s sake.

Microsoft does not resort to such a pathetic strategy until the products fail to sell. It was exactly the same with Vista, as Microsoft got slammed for using celebrities only after it had failed to make healthy business (as measured in terms of “sales”, where the definition varies).

As we stated before, increase in Acer sales was hardly noticeable after the initial launch hype (exactly the same as Vista because avid fans are the first/only ones to buy it off the shelves). Here is a new report which contains some numbers now that Acer speaks publicly about it.

Windows 7 is a small impulse to pc sales

Gianfranco Lanci, chief of Acer, said into an interview that Windows 7 had a noticeable but small influence in hardware sales. People bought pcs more because of the natural cycle to replace or upgrade old hardware, and not to have a prepared computer to run Windows 7 properly.

Also Dell noticed a lift to its own sales but hasn’t said whether it has planned for a more sustained boost. For now corporate buyers, the business sector are skeptical when we talk about windows 7 and they still wait to a mature product, they still want to see how Windows 7 behaves on different hardware, and more important if Windows 7 will involve also and upgrade at hardware level to be compatible with new OS. In this economic environment, with lower budget, other costs would not be a good thing. Business sector learned the lesson from Vista, the biggest failure of Microsoft, when was released, incompatible with available hardware, an OS with huge system requirements, unavailable for big part of existing hardware at that time.

What also ought to be mentioned is a new conflict of interests. What Acer does not say is that it developed some special relationship with Microsoft, under the banner “Genuine Partner Program”. From last week’s news:

Under its Genuine Partner Program, Microsoft and Acer are enabling partner resellers such as VillMan to showcase Acer PC systems powered by genuine software such as the Windows 7 operating system and Microsoft Office at reasonable prices.

The Microsoft-faithful reporters have attempted to spin Acer’s words to produce Windows promotion. This happens for obvious reasons, but not much is said about scale and correlation to time of the season (holiday), as Vista was released well after Christmas, not to mention last year being the midst of an economic drought. This has impact on year-to-year projections.

“The Microsoft-faithful reporters have attempted to spin Acer’s words to produce Windows promotion.”All along we were expecting to see some fake numbers about Vista 7 “sales”, and quite rightly so. Microsoft has tricks for cooking these books. It is rather pathetic yet deceiving when they are trying to make improper comparisons with one bad version of Windows (usually Vista) being replaced by a newer one (Vista 7, the “Service Pack” of Vista). There are also many headlines comparing it to Apple in the US, with bogus numbers [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. It’s the art of spin. They only make comparisons that make Vista 7 look like a success while avoiding all others.

According to new statements from Gartner, which is biased in favour of Microsoft, not all is good, to say the very least.

Gartner says Windows 7, Microsoft’s new operating system, will have a little impact on holiday PC sales, but noted that 2010 PC shipments could be affected.

And also:

Gartner also forecasts a limited impact on sales of the introduction of Windows 7, the new PC operating system from Microsoft.

That’s the same Gartner which lied about Vista, saying in 2007 that “Sooner or later, most organizations will deploy Windows Vista.”

Vista 7 is a failure. As this cartoon reminds us, it is just not as bad as Vista. Too many people still pay attention to marketing messages. They never learn.

“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Microsoft Partner Starts Harassing GNU/Linux+ARM Product Vendors

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft dirty tactics

Summary: Microsoft’s “Slog” against ARM-powered devices began some months ago, but is the latest debacle in any way related to Microsoft?

SEVERAL months ago when the word “Netbook” was manipulated by Microsoft we finally complained about the name “Smartbook” [1, 2, 3, 4]. It was almost as though this name was made up by Microsoft in order to separate between a class of computers capable of running Windows and those that cannot.

According to this, a Microsoft partner suddenly says that the word “Smartbook” is no longer permitted. “I wonder,” writes Pamela Jones, “if it’s a coincidence that Qualcomm is being harassed over the name smartbook by a Microsoft partner, just as it gets ready to launch?”

As an important reminder from the news:

Helping to reduce cost will be Smartbook manufacturers’ relief from paying for a Microsoft licence because Microsoft has refused to port Windows XP/Vista/7 to ARM.

A reader has just sent us what he titled “Eye on Microsoft Slog,” referring to what Microsoft calls it when it attacks major rivals like a bulldozer. Sub-notebooks are among the victims (see links at the bottom of this post) and the illegal steps taken by Microsoft had been documented here before Microsoft started to whitewash and have people forget the truth, then believe that GNU/Linux lost, based on lies.

Windows ARMageddon Proceeds Smoothly

Microsoft has some fundamental market problems and is trying to substitute FUD for product. The market for smart phones and netbooks is hot. The market for desktops and Windows is not. Windows Mobile is a mess and the Vista family is never going to fit into your pocket. How do you spin that on its head? Easy, recycle previous lies and project doom onto the latest commercially successful threat, Chrome OS.

Current Microsoft talking points are that Google Android and Chrome OS will fail in the market just like GNU/Linux netbooks failed. Well disproved lies, such as higher rates of returns for GNU/Linux than Windows on netbooks and bogus market share numbers, are trotted out as supporting evidence. Damage control also extends to disparaging new wireless technologies that Google is pioneering. The Microsoft story is plastered all over Google Sci/Tech News through the usual suspects and analysts. The Microsoft party line is so backward that it would be funny if it did not mask prior criminal actions and were not a part of their current slog against Google.

Reality, of course, looks nothing like the Microsoft story and GNU/Linux netbook sales are surging. The illegal squeeze on GNU/Linux netbooks was short lived and much resented by retailers and OEMs that took a bath instead of making lots of money in a white hot market. New market data from ABI now shows that GNU/Linux is shipped on about a third of netbooks and they predict a majority share in 2013. Their numbers do not include “fast boot” GNU/Linux or home installs, just what shipped on 30 million netbooks. Predictions of dominance come from the rise of ARM systems. ABI’s predictions are too optimistic for Microsoft because they think Microsoft might do something with ARM and that Vista and Windows 7 might run on netbooks.

Boycott Novell should congratulate itself for conclusively documenting Microsoft’s attack on the Asus EEE PC and OLPC projects. Informed
predictions can only be made from correct history and correct technical knowledge.

References

Linux owns 32 percent of netbook market, says study
ABI’s Jeffrey Orr on rising Linux netbook sales
Linux’s share of netbooks surging, not sagging, says analyst

The lies from Microsoft keep popping up in places.

Related posts:

Musical Chairs in The European Commission

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 5:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bush and Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy with Laura Bush

Siim Kallas - GWB
Siim Kallas with George Bush

Summary: Seats swapped and some familiar figures depart as a new generation of regulators is to be installed

A WEEK ago we warned that the European Commission keeps getting filled with Microsoft cronies.

This observation is also being made by Free software companies and it is based on evidence. Based on the latest changes from Barroso (see [1, 2]), Kores is to be sort of demoted which is good news to Microsoft.

The new Competition Commissioner will be Joaquin Almunia.

European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, a Spanish Socialist known for tackling countries’ deficits, will be antitrust chief in the next European Commission, succeeding Neelie Kroes.

As competition commissioner, Almunia, 61, will be responsible for ensuring that companies don’t abuse market positions or unlawfully collude to fix prices. He will also rule on mergers and acquisitions in the 27-nation bloc.

From IDG News Service:

Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced on Friday how he wants to allocate dossiers in his next five-year term in office. His team comprises one Commissioner from each of the 27 member states of the E.U., who were selected by national heads of government over the past month.

Other choices include Neelie Kroes in Reding’s old job. Kroes was competition commissioner for the past five years. During that time she fought Microsoft in the long-running antitrust battle which looks set to end as Microsoft appears willing to settle.

There is more information in the Wall Street Journal and while Siim Kallas stays, he is not the only one worth watching.

Other servants of Microsoft’s interests (like Charlie McCreevy and Nicolas Sarkozy [1, 2]) are mentioned in the news.

Sarkozy Wins Bid to Install Ally as EU Financial-Services Chief

French President Nicolas Sarkozy won his bid to install an ally as the European Commission’s next financial-services regulator, fueling British concern that traders and hedge funds will face stricter rules.

[...]

French officials have pushed for tighter regulations on hedge funds than has outgoing internal-markets chief Charlie McCreevy of Ireland and criticized him for not responding forcefully enough to the financial crisis. The U.K., seeking to protect its financial-services industry, has tried to weaken proposed rules for hedge funds and private-equity managers.

He has actually done far worse things.

Why Microsoft’s Murdoch Tactic is Similar to SCO

Posted in Google, Law, Microsoft, SCO, Search at 5:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not a gate

Summary: Microsoft tries to stir up infighting to cause havoc in Google while also punishing Murdoch’s publications

“Murdoch Looking Towards Microsoft for Search Deal,” says another report, which more or less confirms that this is not just a rumour.

At Groklaw, Pamela Jones is joking about the fact that the Wall Street Journal (Murdoch’s) does not seem to know this for sure and it even cites the Financial Times as its source. Jones also writes: “Could someone please explain to Microsoft that destroying others isn’t the most productive way to compete? They could try, well, merit, instead. What? Too simple? Too clean? Anyway, this is included in News Picks for all the dreamers out there who thought there was a new Microsoft.

Yes, the illusion that Microsoft has changed was last addressed in this post about Murdoch, which follows many others, e.g.:

Some folks are already making up figures, based on some biased poll from a single Web site.

Eighty nine per cent declared the move to be ‘a winner’ with a lowly 11% declaring it to be ‘a loser’.

A pretty good result for a guy that has been called an “old fool,” an “aging idiot,” and as exhibiting, “early signs of dementia” in the press this week.

As one post puts it, “Murdoch thinks Google is doing evil — kleptomania — because he doesn’t understand the new realities of media. Microsoft knows better. Its alleged attempt to woo old-man Murdoch is an act of deepest cynicism. It’s evil.”

Other newer coverage puts it bluntly: “Report: Microsoft May Pay News Corp to Block Google”

That’s not competing, that’s destroying. Microsoft also funded SCO when it was suing Linux, so there is a resemblance in tactics. It attempted something similar with patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] a few months ago.

Microsoft has also destroyed Yahoo! in its attempts to destroy Google. See for example:

After destroying Yahoo! from within, some nations won’t stand in its way and as a reminder of the danger of Microsoft in search, the company is rigging its search results against competitors. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Last week we wrote about calls to boycott Bing. It turns out that Microsoft is knowingly shilling for the repressive Chinese government because Microsoft was warned about this before. It did not correct this.

Microsoft Bing Is No Funny Thing

[...]

Kristof broached this subject with Microsoft back in June, and the company claimed it was a bug. Six months later, he wrote, the censorship continues, with Microsoft claiming “that a search in any given language emphasizes results from within the country that uses that language. Thus if you search in the simplified characters used within China, then you get disproportionately Chinese propaganda.”

There is more information about this here. It is not the first time that Microsoft goes political [1, 2], including international sanctions. Bing is one among those just sued over trademarks.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: November 29th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

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

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