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12.09.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 9th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Patents Roundup: Peer-To-Patent Australia, Microsoft and ACTA

Posted in America, Australia, Free/Libre Software, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents, Wikipedia at 6:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ACTA

Summary: Peer-To-Patent skepticism, ACTA rears its ugly head with Microsoft as an excuse, the effect on the sight-deficient noted

EARLIER ON we wrote about Peer-To-Patent Australia. It was mentioned critically in this new post and others agree that “this [might] do more harm than good by legitimising “good” software patents…”

More staffing around patents is hardly a solution. Abolishment is the best option.

In the same vein of endorsement through expansion, argues Glyn Moody in relation to the news about “ACTA Secretariat”, “just what we need: *another* global intellectual monopolies body…”

The indispensable Jamie Love has posted a much more convenient version of an earlier leaked “non-paper” from Canada which proposes an ACTA “Council”, i.e. secretariat, that would stand apart from WIPO and the WTO.

We previously wrote about ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] and about who/what WIPO represents. Here is WIPO expressing skepticism about Wikipedia, which WIPO must absolutely hate because it weakens monopolies (over information). In general, WIPO views Free software as illegitimate.

But going back to ACTA, Moody shows its connection to Microsoft:

Microsoft Gets in on the ACTA

[...]

Now it looks like Microsoft is joining in:

a common tactic of intellectual property holders is to blur the distinction between counterfeit and pirated goods (and even legal generic goods, in the case of the pharmaceutical industry). Microsoft’s press release exemplifies this, talking about “counterfeit Microsoft software purchased at resellers” and the “black market for pirated software” as if the two were synonymous. In fact, most consumers who obtain pirated goods on the black market realise that they are not original. Whilst Consumers International discourages consumers from using pirated goods, in many countries they have little choice, because originals are either unavailable or are priced far beyond their means.

We wrote about this subject the other day. Microsoft is lying.

Moody adds the observation that “Intellectual Monopolists Scorn the Blind”. This is not the first time we see (or fail to see) it.

This, then, is the reality of “modern” copyright: it fails to serve huge numbers of people, many of whom are already suffering from discrimination in other ways.

Given this situation, various organisations are not unreasonably trying to facilitate access to copyrighted works for those who are visually disabled with a new WIPO treaty that would define basic rights for this group. Who could object to such a humanitarian cause? Well, the publishers, of course.

Last but not least, Moody opines that patent power is drifting over to Asia and he uses this news report as proof.

Asian Tech Firms Buy Up Patents

The days of U.S. technology companies wielding patents to block Asian competitors from the market or collect big royalties may be waning. Ron Epstein, the chief executive and co-founder of IPotential, a San Mateo, Calif.-based patent broker, says South Korean and Taiwanese technology companies have been contacting him to purchase patents. Their goal? To ward off potential intellectual property disputes before conflicts flare.

The trend mirrors a path U.S. companies took several years ago when they first began buying patents defensively, say Epstein, who calls patents a “competitive tool.” “Asian companies have seen the success U.S. companies have had with patent purchasing and are doing it themselves,” he says. He estimates that Asian firms are two to three years behind their Western counterparts in this regard.

A wealth of patents is simply the centralisation of monopolies. Nowhere does it say anything about innovation; it’s just a monopoly, it’s a protection.

Novell, OpenSUSE, and “Those Sweet Numbers”

Posted in Novell, OpenSUSE at 6:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The cat

Summary: OpenSUSE coordinates the gaming of social networks for OpenSUSE hype

IT WAS Microsoft Enderle who promised "amazing numbers" to Microsoft and “OpenSUSE boosters” [1, 2] might be up to similar plans. Shayon Mukherjee has just posted a message to the opensuse-announce mailing list. It starts with the following:

Hello ,
Its great to see that the new openSUSE Board Members are announced[1].And i would take this time to Congratulate Bryen Yunashko , Rupert Horstkoetter and Pavol Rusnak for the same and hope to have a much more better experience , more enthusiasm and more fun working to/for the openSUSE Community as a openSUSE team.

And now its the time to Tweet , Blog , Digg and facebook the announcement and let everyone know the new energetic team of the openSUSE Board is up. So go ahead and spread the Word.And make a point that this time we have more than “Those sweet numbers” like we had for the openSUSE 11.2 release.

Then, subscribers are given the URLs to potentially “boost”.

Well, we are used to seeing Novell staff in Reddit for example. From other Webmasters we have learned that Novell IP addresses are also being used to anonymously defame yours truly.

Novell’s Channel Breaks Further, Novell Loses Over $200,000,000 in 2009 (Fiscal)

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Ron Hovsepian at 6:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trolley

Summary: Novell is losing its UK distributors and there is little hope for rebound based on the financial situation and general trend

Hitherto, Novell has been pretending that Microsoft’s patent deal will spell the renaissance of Novell. Not even as a Microsoft subsidiary can Novell be incarnated given that it’s losing business to Microsoft. To give just one example from this week’s news:

Domino’s was using Novell’s GroupWise for about 1,000 users and realized that encryption was necessary to protect the communications involving the employment information that’s transmitted between its stores and its outside benefit providers. The restaurant chain began deploying Proofpoint and Voltage’s encryption products while still on GroupWise because it planned to work with both GroupWise and Microsoft Exchange/Outlook when the company upgraded later, Anderson explains.

That’s what friends like Microsoft are for.

We actually found it interesting that Novell is ‘pulling a Microsoft’ [1, 2, 3, 4] with a new “study” that’s intended to help Novell lobby and elevate sales.

The goal of Novell’s study was to find out what sort of solutions are used by the Hungarian CIOs (focusing on the large enterprises, governmental and educational institutions), if they are content with their current systems, what are the major challenges they face and in what direction do they plan to advance.

Regardless of Novell’s efforts to successfully woo CIOs, its channel in the UK keeps breaking apart.

In the UK Novell has reduced its distribution by 35 percent – including the addition of Avnet in August. Veitkus says he expects its number of ‘non-performing’ resellers to shrink by roughly the same figure.

We wrote about this before. Novell’s broken channel and abandonments do not help and now comes another major UK setback:

Software licensing VAR Trustmarque has cut the number of distributors it works with for 14 of its main vendor lines worth a combined £30m annually.

Some 14 distributors bid for the business but only 10 were selected following a three-month tender process that finished last week.

Vendors covered by the tender include Citrix, Novell VMWare, McAfee, Adobe and Websense. Magirus picked up the VMware piece, Interactive Ideas bagged Novell, Arc Technology the McAfee business and e92plus the Websense segment. Other distributors to make the cut include Bell and Computer 2000.

So the future is not so bright, either. Novell’s terrible financial results that we wrote about last week [1, 2] are discussed in the same publication as above. It says:

Novell has swung to a $206m (£124m) loss for its fiscal 2009 after taking a whopping $279m impairment hit in its final quarter.

More here:

Novell Inc. NOVL said its fiscal fourth-quarter loss widened to $255.7 million, or 74 cents a share, from $16.3 million, or 5 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding one-time items, the IT management software company said it would have reported earnings of 11 cents a share. Revenue fell to $215.6 million from $244.7 million last year.

And here:

Software company Novell Inc.’s (NOVL) fiscal fourth-quarter loss widened on a $279 million impairment charge and lower revenue, although revenue from its Linux-platform products increased 14%. Novell, Inc. (NASDAQ:NOVL, $4.04, +$0.13, 3.32%) dropped 1.73 percent to $3.97 on Friday morning pre-market trading session, while on Thursday, shares of Novell were up 3.32 percent and closed on $4.04.

To quote a comment on the subject:

Ron is asleep at the wheel ? No more after a few big customers ?

Submitted by atang1 on Sat, 12/05/2009 – 04:33.

When the chips are down, the CEO has to bring the big customers in? Ron Did British Telecom(security management) and Peugeot(Linux desktop) and Micropsoft paid for Linux services(bugs fixing) for their customers, then silence for years.

One has to examine one’s own destiny? Miguel does not have any technology that can be turned into money?

Netbooks are changing in architecture(simple multicored cpu for realtime vs. virtualization and USB 3.0 bus), data centers are changing to triple play. Where Novel is going, nobody knows. A $billion dollar company has to size and target customers, all the time?

We are stockholders of Novl. Opinions here maybe biased.

A former employee of Novell says that “Novell’s quarter crumbles” and here is just how bad it is:

In third quarter earnings news, computer networking and services company Novell (NASDAQ:NOVL) reported a loss of 74 cents per share. Analysts had expected a 7 cent per share profit.

That is a lot of money to lose in one year, especially considering the reduced expenses (layoffs and other cancellations).

Novell has reported a net loss of $256m for the fourth quarter of 2009, compared to a net loss of $16m in the same quarter last year. Revenue declined 12% to $216m.

Novell cannot go on like this forever. Is it time for Ron Hovsepian to beg again?

Ron Hovsepian begs Ballmer

Avoid Mono to Put Back the *NIX in GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu, UNIX, Vista 7, Windows at 5:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Direction

Summary: With Mono included by default, GNU/Linux would be heading in the wrong direction

THE case for “avoiding Mono” has just been explained in great length and a key argument it contains is not about software patents (the FSF names it as an issue) but rather it is the issue of control:

I do not use Mono because I believe it is not in our best interests. I chose Linux because it is an alternative. If I wanted Windows and .NET then I would choose that option. It is all about staying distinct and offering something different and better to my way of thinking. Getting Windows and .NET second hand is not what I want. You might not be surprised to find that I also don’t use Wine for the same reason. Truthfully, I probably would not use Mono or Mono applications if its legal status was clear. I do not feel comfortable with giving Microsoft any leverage over us. The more Mono dependent we become the more we become subject to them and I did not get into Linux to be chasing after Microsoft and its standards. That is just me. I love independence. Each person must decide for him or herself.

It is Microsoft’s internal document [PDF] that says: “Every line of code that is written to our standards is a small victory; every line of code that is written to any other standard, is a small defeat.”

There is now a new push to remove F-Spot from Ubuntu and make way for better image editors/organisers that do not load up the bloat of Mono at startup.

Before too much effort is invested into making F-Spot good enough to meet all of the needs outlined at the UDS Default App Selection session, i thought i should bring up Solang<http://santanu-sinha.blogspot.com/2009/06/solang.html>and Shotwell <http://www.yorba.org/shotwell/> to see if it might be worth including instead of F-Spot in Lucid, or if it’s too late, in Lucid +1. GTumb has been discussed, but it doesn’t seem to deliver the goods. Solang is new, yet it’s developed quickly and is showing a lot of promise. Shotwell might also be a contender worth discussing, but i am unfamiliar with it. Hopefully someone else has some insights as to how Shotwell compares to Solang and F-Spot.

We previously recommended Gnote and gThumb for Ubuntu 10.04 (now in alpha 1). See for example:

Either way, Ubuntu has many options if it chooses to steer away from Mono. There is no pride to be taken in a route that mimics a patent-encumbered Microsoft path, which is failing when it comes to simple compatibility. This is something that Mary Jo Foley makes clearer now in relation to Vista 7. We wrote about Vista 7 compatibility issues in the following posts (in chronological order):

Do we want a GNU/Linux that’s more like Windows (and sensitive to threats from Microsoft) or do we want a “best-of-breed” UNIX-compatible platform?

Young Napoleon Comes to Africa and Told Off

Posted in Africa, Bill Gates, Microsoft at 5:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I think he [Bill Gates] has a Napoleonic concept of himself and his company, an arrogance that derives from power and unalloyed success, with no leavening hard experience, no reverses [...] They don’t act like grown-ups!”

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson

Summary: Anniversary of Bill Gates’ illegal monopolisation and similar such attempts in the black continent

A COUPLE of days ago it was a special day. It marked the anniversary not only of Pearl Harbor but also of Bill Gates’ predatory (and later criminal) behaviour against Netscape and by inference against the Net.

Glyn Moody has the details:

Yesterday was Pearl Harbour Day, which means that it’s fully fourteen years since Bill Gates declared war:

On December 7, 1995, Pearl Harbor Day, Bill Gates declared war — writing an internal memo ordering Microsoft to throw all its resources into launching a “hardcore” attack on the Internet browser market. At the time, Netscape’s share of that market was close to 90%; by early 2000, Netscape’s share had plunged to 20%, and Microsoft’s browser appeared to have won this war.

I remember the day well, because it marked probably the biggest U-turn in the history of Microsoft. Before, Bill Gates had dismissed the Internet as too hard to use, and only of interest to academics. Afterwards, it became perhaps the single most important focus of the entire company. The success of that move was plain in the steadily rising graph of Internet Explorer’s market share, and the corresponding decline of Netscape.

As we noted a few days ago, under the the “Gates Foundation” banner Bill is now working on establishing new monopolies, including agricultural ones in Africa.

Well, Africans are not as ignorant as Bill Gates needs them to be. In the face of the Gates-backed Monsanto, one blogger argues:

Gates Foundation rhetoric makes Africa sound like a basket case, land-wise: references to “depleted” or “degraded” soils.

We hear relatively little about the continent’s vast agricultural assets—which wealthy investors are now busily snapping up. Andrew Rice visits Africa’s “billion-acre Guinea Savannah zone,” which he describes as “a crescent-shaped swath that runs east across Africa all the way to Ethiopia, and southward to Congo and Angola. “The World Bank and the FAO have declared the tract “one of the earth’s last large reserves of underused land,” Rice reports.

For the convenience of those to whom this is new, more information is added below.

Related posts about Monsanto:

Garlic harvest

Gartner Group Sued for Libel

Posted in Courtroom, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Law, Microsoft at 4:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Speaker angel vs devil

Summary: Gartner is pulled to court for allegations of libel against non-customers

A FEW DAYS ago we added an overview page for the Gartner Group, which had been hired by Microsoft and occasionally attacked Free software.

This is all true and the facts are undeniable. There is court material exposing that type of stuff. In fact, I was invited to take part in a documentary film (for national television) which covers this issue. In quite a timely fashion comes this new libel complaint against Gartner:

ZL files fresh libel complaint against Gartner

Software firm ZL Technologies has filed a new libel complaint against IT researcher Gartner, after an earlier complaint was dismissed by a court last month.

The complaint, filed in a US district court in San Jose on Friday, centres on Gartner’s classification of ZL as a “niche” vendor in its Magic Quadrant reports.

District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled in early November that Gartner’s reports consituted “non-actionable opinion” which could not be the basis of a libel suit, but ZL argues that Gartner presents its analysts’ opinions as being “based on a body of fact”.

The text of this complaint can be found here.

“Analysts sell out – that’s their business model… But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Looking for Violations in Free Software: Fearsome or Awesome?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL, Microsoft at 4:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A boy and a window

Summary: As OpenLogic goes head-to-head with Black Duck, the troubling question again arises, “do they make Free software look scary?”

SEVERAL days ago we wrote about OpenLogic's latest new service, which can be seen as either good or bad (depending on whose point of view). The man in charge, Steve Grandchamp, is from Microsoft and we wrote about the relationship between OpenLogic and Microsoft under:

According to this new announcement, Grandchamp’s company will compete against another company created by a former Microsoft employee; that latter company would be Black Duck, which does not always inspire much confidence in Free software (to say the least). They are both tracking and assessing risk.

OpenLogic, Inc., a provider of enterprise open source software solutions encompassing hundreds of open source packages, today announced a new Source Code Scanning and License Compliance module for OLEX Enterprise Edition. The new module allows companies to identify any open source code used in their applications and ensure they are in compliance with the associated open source licenses. It includes OSS Deep Discovery – a tool that scans a company’s source code to identify open source code, components and licenses. OSS Deep Discovery will be free to customers that purchase the License Compliance module.

What we found in the case of Black Duck is that they also use their software to give a false impression of Microsoft gains. Let us hope OpenLogic never does that.

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