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Links 21/12/2009: Release of KDE Software Compilation 4.4 Beta 2, Parted Magic 4.7

Posted in News Roundup at 10:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Graphics Stack

    • X Server 1.8 Snapshot 2 Released

      With there being just more than three months left until the planned release of X Server 1.8, Keith Packard has just issued the second snapshot for those interested in trying out this developmental X.Org server. The first X Server 1.8 snapshot came two months ago, but this second snapshot is arriving later than expected after having to deal with some bugs.

    • Wayland Updated With KMS Page-Flipping Ioctl

      In separate commits, a few dozen lines of code dealing with Cairo’s surface code was also re-factored. The Wayland Display Server still will not work with all of the latest mainline packages in an “out of the box” configuration, but we’re getting closer to a point where more Linux desktop users can experiment with this unique display server that fully leverages kernel mode-setting and other newer technologies.

  • Instructionals

  • K Desktop Environment

    • KDE Software Compilation 4.4 Beta 2 Released

      In just a bit over a month should be the release of KDE 4.4, or more properly known now as KDE Software Compilation 4.4. A month and a half ago was the first beta release, but now KDE Software Compilation 4.4 Beta 2 is ready and has been released to the public this morning.

    • KDE Software Compilation 4.4-beta2 Out Now: Codename “Claus”

      December 21st, 2009. Today, KDE has released a second preview the KDE Software Compilation (KDE SC), 4.4 Beta 2. The second beta version of KDE SC 4.4 provides a preview and base for helping to stabilize the next version of the KDE Plasma Workspaces, Applications and Development Platform.

      The list of changes this time around is especially long.

    • Merry Christmas : digiKam 1.0.0 is there…

      Dear all digiKam fans and users!

      digiKam team is proud to announce digiKam 1.0.0 !

  • Distributions

    • Parted Magic 4.7 with Google Chrome

      Parted Magic Logo Developer Patrick Verner has announced the availability of version 4.7 of Parted Magic, an open source multi-platform partitioning tool. Parted Magic can be used to create, move, delete and resize drive partitions and will run on a machine with as little as 64MB of RAM. Supported file systems include NTFS, FAT, ReiserFS, Reiser4 and HFS+, LVM and RAID are also supported. The latest 4.7 release is based on the Linux kernel with squashfs-lzma compression and includes several bug fixes, performance improvements, updates and new features.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • MicroNet Rack-Mount Storage Delivers Up to 16TB

      Businesses can never have enough hard drive capacity, and two new offerings from NAS (network attached storage) expert MicroNet Technology help ensure that even a fast-growing organization has plenty of storage headroom.

    • MontaVista integrates multi-core analysis plugin

      MontaVista Software LLC announced a partnership with CriticalBlue to integrate the latter’s embedded multi-core analysis Eclipse plug-in into the MontaVista DevRocket integrated development environment (IDE). The CriticalBlue Prism plug-in enables MontaVista Linux customers to run simulations to analyze and tune the behavior of their code on multi-core processors, says MontaVista.

    • Phones

      • Is the Success of Google’s Android a Threat to Free Software?

        Worse, if efforts to enable Android apps to run on distros like Ubuntu succeed, then we may see closed-source software being used on the free software stack there, too. Ironically, Android’s success could harm not just open source’s chances in the world of mobile phones, but even on the desktop.

        The free software community needs to address these problems by encouraging many more developers to build great Android apps that are truly free. In fact, we have an excellent example of how to do that with the rich ecosystem of Firefox add-ons that are free software. Moreover, this should be an attractive challenge to ambitious coders given the exciting possibilities that mobile offers for new kinds of programs (and not just those based on trendy areas like augmented reality). Maybe the time has come to shift the emphasis away from trying in vain to conquer the legacy desktop, towards excelling on mobile, likely to be the main computing platform for most of humanity.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Clouds, Universities, The One, and What It Is.

        Some packages are already Ubuntu One aware or at least have optional Ubuntu One integration; Tomboy Notes, for instance, to keep track of all those little ideas floating around in your head. You can also load up the evolution-couchdb package if you would like to keep your contact information in sync using Ubuntu One. Client packages come in a desktop-agnostic python version, and a nice GNOME-integrated version (which comes with the Ubuntu Netbook Remix). There is also a KDE client under development if you’d like to give it a try.

      • Jolicloud Wants to be your Other Linux OS

        Overall this distro is pretty slick. It generally succeeds on the stated goal of delivering a Linux version that’s easy to install and works well either as a replacement for your original Netbook OS or alongside. With the extensive list of supported Netbooks, it should prove to be a winner. You have no more excuses if you’re looking for a solid Netbook OS without the Windows baggage.

      • Jolicloud thoughts

        The webpages on the Jolicloud site are also well thought out and well designed. More information about Jolicloud and support can be found on the community page. While you are here you will also notice that you can contact the Jolicloud crowd through Facebook, Flickr or IRC. The online documentation is quite good, although not as good or extensive as the documentation you will find in mainline GNU/Linux distributions such as Fedora, CentOS, Debian and Ubuntu.

      • Dell netbook updated with Pineview CPU

        Announced in February, the Dell Mini 10 appears to be the one of the more popular netbooks on the market, along with the similar, scaled down Mini 10v. The Dell Mini models are also some of the few netbooks from mainstream PC vendors that currently offer Linux (Ubuntu) as a pre-installed option.

Free Software/Open Source

  • IBM supports Tunisian ICT sector

    During a working visit and as part of the 5th edition of the free software forum which was recently held in Tunisia, Mr. Robert Sutor, Vice President of Open Source and Linux at IBM met with Mr. Hadj Gley Minister of Communication Technologies and Mrs. Lamia Chafei Sghaier, Secretary of State to the Minister of communication technologies in charge of Informatics, the Internet and free software.

    During his visit, Mr. Sutor presented projects and programs aiming at fostering partnership between IBM and Tunisia namely in the sector of technological innovations and open source softwares.

  • 8 Free, Offbeat Open-source Social Tools

    Identi.ca is the best-known open-source alternative to Twitter. The microblogging platform is used by lots of people in the open source community, and is a good choice for the business or organization that wants to customize an internal microblogging strategy. Laconica is also worth looking into.

  • Diversity in Free Software: South Asians as an example

    Take a look at the Debian developer map again. You’ll see that Debian is certainly not an Americans-only project, or even an English-speakers-only project. South America has a respectable dotting of developers, and Western- to Central-Europe are packed.

    I have strong feelings about Free Software. It emerges from an ethos of personal empowerment, and with open source it has become a dominant force in computing. Yet there are plenty of sharp people — at least women and South Asians — who, somehow, become culturally excluded from participating.

  • Open Source As A SaaS Endgame – Digging A Bit More

    Even though the open source licensing of SaaS app doesn’t guarantee that the app will flourish after the demise of the original developer/vendor, it lives long enough to ensure business continuity and, with some luck, it can even flourish. I still feel it is still a better option to have open source as an endgame for SaaS. Even if the open source version is of no use to the users, the very fact that it will be available as open source helps the users trust SaaS more than what they do now. It gives them a confidence that their business continuity will not be affected with a move to SaaS.

  • Open Source at SAP in 2009

    In June SAP moved up its membership level at the Eclipse Foundation from Strategic Consumer to Strategic Developer, meaning that SAP commits to having at least 8 full-time developers on the project. However, what is more important than the membership level, is that SAP contributed a lot more code than in the past. SAP now has 13 active contributors at Eclipse and contributed more than 1.8 million lines of code in 2009 which makes SAP the third largest corporate contributor to Eclipse. In 2009 SAP even initiated or co-innitiated two new projects at Eclipse, i.e. the Eclipse Pave project and the Eclipse EGit project.

  • openQRM Lives On

    After going from proprietary to Open Source product, Qlusters shutting down shop, openQRM now gets a bright new future, openQRM Enterprise GMBH could well become the RedHat of the Open Source Enterrpise Management tools, or Open Source Entrprise Virtualization tools, or Open Source Cloud tools ..

  • OTRS AG to float on German stock exchange

    Bad Homburg-based OTRS AG, the company behind popular open source help desk system Open Ticket Request System (OTRS), will float on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on the 23rd of December, 2009.

  • Christmas-Themed

    • Tux’s Christmas Carol

      Ebenezer recognised his office, it was in the early days. He was there laughing and joking and so were his old friends. The atmosphere was jubilant. No one minded that all the computers had blue-screened with cryptic messages, they were all toasting the new Government and the newly signed ‘Memorandum of no-understanding’ that would guarantee many years of great prosperity.

    • The most successful open source project ever

      Last night a colleague of mine was giving me a lesson in accounting (as I am going to start rolling out Point Of Sale systems with him). The lesson was valuable and, in a word, confusing (accountants do have a language of their own). At one point in the lesson I brought up open source, and he nearly turned red saying, “Nothing is free.” That statement got me to thinking about free, open source, and open source projects. He is right – nothing is free. At some point, someone had to make some sort of investment into a project to bring it to life (be that investment money, time, labor, etc). This thought sparked another and led me to, are you ready…

      Santa Claus.

  • Mozilla

    • Is Firefox 3.5 the most popular browser?

      According to new data from the StatCounter.com, Firefox 3.5 is now the most popular browser version in the world at 21.9 percent, surpassing IE 7 21.2 percent.

      The catch (because there always is one with stats) is that on a cumulative basis – that is including all versions of IE currently in use and all Firefox versions currently in use – IE is still ahead.

    • Firefox is the world’s most used browser

      THE MOZILLA FOUNDATION will be celebrating after the web counter outfit Stat Counter revealed that its open source Firefox browser overtook Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as the world’s most popular browser for the first time.

  • CMS

    • Alert: What’s Coming In Open Source CMS In 2010

      Normally in this space we look back over the current month and forward into the next month at what the various open source CMS projects are up to. But rather than blindly putting out an update for January, we thought we’d look farther ahead into what everyone wants to accomplish throughout next year. Call it our open source 2010 predictions with less guesswork and high hopes.

    • BitNami Adds New Stacks to List of Pre-Rolled Open Source Software Deployments

      If you’ve ever wanted to run your own blogging platform, bug tracking system, or wiki but were afraid of getting in over your head, BitNami is definitely worth checking out.


    • Tilting at Windows

      But Stallman — a legend in the programmer community for more than a quarter century — considers it his life’s work to proselytize the free-software gospel, educating the lay people who’d otherwise assume that Microsoft or Apple are exclusively synonymous with computing.

      “They think it’s natural that the software developers will have power over them,” he says. “My mission is to point out to them that that isn’t natural. It’s wrong. It’s an injustice. And they shouldn’t stand for it.”

      Some in the open-source community (a note about semantics anon) have griped that Stallman is a stubborn utopian, whose Manichean worldview and rhetoric are counterproductive to the larger cause.

      Others hail him as a principled and pugnacious advocate for freedom and cooperation, waging war against any and all outside interference with the way we engage with technology — which, of course, is these days tantamount to the way we live.

  • Releases

    • OpenNebula 1.4 (Hourglass) Released

      The OpenNebula team is proud to announce the availability of OpenNebula 1.4 (Hourglass), a new stable release of the OpenNebula Virtual Infrastructure Manager.

    • Collectd 4.9 system statistics collection daemon released

      collectd Logo The collectd developers have released version 4.9 of their open source tool for collecting, transferring and storing system performance statistics. The latest release of collected daemon features a number of new plugins, such as as the ContextSitch, CPU, cURL and Network plugins, and the integration of Python as a new language binding.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Hungary mandates open standards

      The Hungarian government has mandated the use of open standards in its departments in a move to help “foster” competition in the software market.

      The Open Standards Alliance said that the Hungarian Parliament amended Act LX of 2009 on electronic public services last week.

    • Google Races to Speed up the Web

      At first pass, it’s hard to argue with this reasoning, particularly when many of the Google efforts are free and available as open-source software, which anyone can adopt, modify and use.

      Plus, Web latency remains a chronic, thorny problem with many improvement opportunities, and Google has the financial and talent resources needed to lead the way and tackle the bottlenecks.


  • Another Leak, the worst so far:

    You’re probably talking about this terrible security disaster already: the largest database leak ever. Arweena, a spokes-elf for Santa Claus, admitted a few hours ago that the database posted at WikiLeaks yesterday is indeed the comprehensive 2009 list of which kids have been naughty, and which were nice. The source of the leak is unclear. It may have come from a renegade reindeer, or it could be the work of a clever programmer in the Ukraine. Either way, it’s a terrible black eye for Santa. Arweena promised that in the future, access to this database would be restricted on a “need to know” basis. And you know who that means!

  • Jennings fined for timing of Twitter post

    Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings has been fined $7,500 for posting a message on his Twitter account after Milwaukee’s 108-101 double-overtime win over Portland last weekend.

  • Privacy group sues DoJ over ‘digital strip search’ data

    A privacy group has filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Justice for allegedly failing to disclose information about the use of devices that capture black ‘n’ white images of people stripped naked.

  • Closeted lesbian sues Netflix for privacy invasion

    The allegations aren’t the first time a large internet company has been accused of breaching customer privacy when releasing data it claimed was anonymized. In 2006, AOL released 20 million search queries from 658,000 users. Although the company removed names and other personal information, the disclosure proved to be a debacle after privacy advocates showed the data could still be used to identify the people making the searches.

  • An E-Book Buyer’s Guide to Privacy

    As we count down to end of 2009, the emerging star of this year’s holiday shopping season is shaping up to be the electronic book reader (or e-reader). From Amazon’s Kindle to Barnes and Noble’s forthcoming Nook, e-readers are starting to transform how we buy and read books in the same way mp3s changed how we buy and listen to music.

  • Environment

    • Now We Know Where Things Stand at COP15

      So, as the UN Conference toiled away through the night hammering out the final agreement, the Klimaforum was disassembling itself, and the attendees were morphing into party mode. But all were aware that after the weekend blowout the workload was going to have to ramp up severely if we were to avoid catastrophic climate change. My take is that this Conference achieved a very valuable thing: now we know what each nation is willing to do when some pressure is applied. Yes, the answer is “not nearly enough to avoid catastrophic climate change,” because that would require replacing coal as a source for electricity by 2030.

  • Finance

    • As Owners of AIG, the American Public Deserves Some Answers

      More than a year after reckless Wall Street gambling collapsed the economy, no employee of a major American bank or financial institution is behind bars. This fact is all the more astounding when it comes to AIG.

      AIG was at the heart of the financial meltdown. Their “innovative” use of risky credit default swaps (a type of insurance policy on bonds) helped transform boring bond trading into a highly leveraged, high-velocity global business.

      AIGs built up a $500 billion swaps portfolio, but didn’t have the cash when the bond market started to tank. The result? A $180 billion taxpayer bailout. While some of that money may be paid back, we are likely to lose a chunk of it for good.

      The American taxpayer owns 80% of AIG right now, and AIG doesn’t like it at all. It wants to pay back that money lickity split. Wells Fargo and Citibank paid back TARP bailout funds last week. Of course, we didn’t find out until late in the game that Citi was only able to do so because it received billions of dollars in tax breaks from the IRS.

    • The First Shot In An Era Of Open-Source Investigations?

      The authors want to see the communications between the AIG Financial Products division, the emails between AIG and their counter-parties at the financial firms, and more. As experienced hands at determining the timelines and circumstances of financial fraud, these three know exactly where to go to find out the truth – the email record. And as an 80% owner in AIG, the trustees of the taxpayers could make this a reality by demanding such disclosure from the board.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Wikileaks is in trouble.

      Despite frequent press confusion, Wikileaks is nothing to do with Wikimedia at all — “wiki” is a generic term for “mass-editable website” and they use MediaWiki, but there’s no connection.

    • Australian Domain Authority Circumvents Standard Process To Shut Down Site Critical Of Australian Internet Filters

      With the news that Australia has decided to censor the internet, a group of protesters decided to set up a website complaining about this effort by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy (who laughably called internet filters “100% effective” based on absolutely no metrics). In setting up this protest site, they were able to register the domain stephenconroy.com.au. Not surprisingly, that got some press attention, and suddenly the Australian domain authority, AuDA, took notice.

    • Oz anti-censorship site is censored

      The Australian company that runs the .com.au domain registry has been accused of abandoning its own procedures to censor a website satirising communications minister Stephen Conroy’s ISP filtering regime.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Transformative Vs Incremental Change

      OK, I’m going to try and explain why Big Music genuinely doesn’t get what’s happening with the online stuff. It’s easy to dismiss the thoughts coming out about ‘3 Strikes Laws’, and Bit Torrent being to blame for the death of musicians’ livelihoods etc. as being a bunch of really rich people want to keep their massive piece of the pie – and there is some of that, for sure. But there’s also an entire way of thinking that explains why they feel the way they do.

    • Why The Record Labels Are Still Confused: The Difference Between Transformative And Incremental Change

      As in the innovator’s dilemma, however, the labels still don’t recognize this. They can only think in terms of the incremental change of “how can we sell more units of music.” That’s the only change they’ve ever really known. They’re not prepared for a situation where the selling of music may not even make sense, and the level of control over an artist has changed dramatically. But they still view — as is often the case in the innovator’s dilemma — as something to be dismissed. The fact that musicians can record for less money… well, it’s not as good as having a record label bankroll you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    • Vancouver Olympics Demands All Copyrights And Royalties From Musician Just To Hear Her Song

      And, of course, acting in a maximalist manner also means little respect for anyone else’s intellectual property or free speech rights. We’ve already noted that some musicians have complained about a contractual gag order, that forbids any musician performing at any Olympics event to speak ill of the Olympics ever. However, it appears that the Vancouver Olympics folks are taking the maximalism even further. Michael Scott points us to a complaint from a musician who wrote a song which she thought the Olympic committee might like. She sent it to them, and was surprised to get back a contract demanding she sign over all ownership and royalties associated with the song before they would even listen to it. And, of course, it would also grant them the ability to do whatever they wanted with the song.

    • Erroneous DMCA notices and copyright enforcement, part deux

      A few weeks ago, I wrote about a deluge of DMCA notices and pre-settlement letters that CoralCDN experienced in late August. This article actually received a bit of press, including MediaPost, ArsTechnica, TechDirt, and, very recently, Slashdot. I’m glad that my own experience was able to shed some light on the more insidious practices that are still going on under the umbrella of copyright enforcement. More transparency is especially important at this time, given the current debate over the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

      Given this discussion, I wanted to write a short follow-on to my previous post.

    • Village People threaten lawsuit over Jamie Oliver advert

      Lawyer says Channel 4 failed to seek consent for trailers featuring Jamie Oliver dressed as members of the Village People

    • Alabama artist Daniel Moore protests part of ruling limiting uses of his Crimson Tide artwork

      Daniel Moore, the artist who has memorialized some of the Alabama Crimson Tide’s greatest football feats, has objected to part of a judge’s order that says he can’t reproduce his artwork for things such as calendars.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Joerg Heilig, Sun Microsystems Senior Engineering Director talks about OpenOffice.org 06 (2004)

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

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 21st, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

IDC Speculation That Vista 7 is Last PC Operating System from Microsoft, Windows Mobile 7 Already Slips

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Vista 8, Windows at 7:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cemetery in snow

Summary: Cold reception for future releases of Windows and its variants

THE reality behind Vista 7 is not so pleasant, but either way, Microsoft Nick admits that Microsoft tried to bury Vista this year.

Microsoft’s old friends from IDC opine that Vista 7 might be the “last PC OS from Microsoft”, but this does not mean that Vista 8 will be called off. Under codenames like “Midori”, Microsoft has spoken about this for a long time, since 2008 in fact. Mozilla talks about this too and Google already implements this with Chrome OS (which Microsoft daemonises because it’s based on GNU/Linux).

Mozilla Claims Browser Will Run All Future Apps

Mozilla is claiming that its new mobile web browser, currently dubbed Fennec, will spell the end of application stores for mobile phones because once developers start writing for it, apps will run on any platform and can bypass platform specific app stores. Yes, that’s right, the old “write once, run anywhere” promise. It didn’t work when Java gained popularity in the 90′s, and I don’t think it will work any better as the new decade dawns.

PC Pro interviewed Jay Sullivan, the vice president of mobile at Mozilla. Mr. Sullivan claims that as developers get more frustrated with mobile app stores and the approval process, they will move their apps to the web. They won’t have to fool with app approval nor with rewriting apps for the major mobile platforms, now numbered six.

“As developers get more frustrated with quality assurance, the amount of handsets they have to buy, whether their security updates will get past the iPhone approval process… I think they’ll move to the web.”

In other news, the reality behind Windows Mobile gets uglier as nothing seems to go right. The next version of the operating system slips as usual (Microsoft cannot ever stick to deadlines, not even last week).

Microsoft has revealed that Windows Mobile 7 – the next version of its smartphone OS – is unlikely to be released until “late 2010″.

Here is where the date came from, obviously leading to disappointment:

The news comes from Microsoft’s UK head of mobility Phil Moore who is quoted as saying: “It has been put back until late next year but it is definitely coming”.

It gets even worse because Xperia X2 too is delayed.

Xperia X2 Delayed Again


It has been quite a while since Sony Ericsson officially announced the Windows Mobile powered Xperia X2.

Sony Ericsson moved closer to Linux in recent months. Might they just abandon their Windows Mobile plans now that Microsoft reveals further delays and a poor strategy overall?

CNN has written about Linux-powered phones from Google and we include links on the subject of Android on an almost daily basis

Google (GOOG) announced on its mobile blog Saturday what dozens of staffers had already leaked: the company has given employees around the world free handsets running its Android mobile operating system. The idea, according to the official report, is to have Google’s own people test various advanced features and offer feedback to the company’s designers — a process known in the business as “dogfooding” (as in “eating your own dogfood”).

Microsoft bloggers are trying to steal the thunder by mentioning Google’s products, in this case the Google phone. Oh, how things have changed (gotten reversed). The Microsoft-sponsored TechFlash blog did the same thing a few days ago when Yelp moved towards Google. There is a lot of Google envy at Microsoft, as the previous post hopefully showed. Microsoft is also very jealous of the iPhone and news coverage from the past week includes:

Windows Mobile on Life Support, Drops Behind iPhone

Apple Tops Windows in Smart Phone Share

Microsoft admits it was “caught napping” by the iPhone

Microsoft mobile chief ‘We’re still playing catch-up’ – with Apple

Apple scored a home run with the iPhone, and rivals are still struggling to catch-up, even while Google’s Android OS poses an additional threat to former smartphone industry leaders.

Here is new analysis from the Gerson Lehrman Group, a self-admitted “big fan of Windows Mobile”:

Microsoft – Losing Ground in Mobile


This year, I’ve been closely watching the horse race between iPhone, Android, and Windows Mobile. As it’s turning out, it’s not much of a race for Microsoft. As a big fan of Windows Mobile, I’ve been concerned that Microsoft would blow it as we headed into this crucial fourth quarter.

Some people argue that Microsoft will try to buy RIM. Older rumours said that Microsoft had already attempted to do this, maybe because it royally messed up Danger/SideKick (more information below).

Posts about the Microsoft-imposed SideKick disaster:

Direct link (Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer laughs at Apple’s iPhone in 2007)

Google and Microsoft Fight Over Data and Contracts

Posted in Australia, GNU/Linux, Google, Mail, Microsoft, Novell at 6:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sun rays

Summary: The race to refine people’s digital profiles (for personalised/targeted advertising) reaches E-mail and Free/libre substitutes do exist

MICROSOFT is hoping to destroy Google, which is a big user of GNU/Linux. Microsoft has managed to wrap its tentacles around Yahoo! in hopes of harming Google’s main source of revenue (search and advertisements), but as the Wall Street Journal puts it, the value of Yahoo! to Microsoft keeps declining.

Drop In Yahoo Search Share May Trim Microsoft Deal’s Benefits

Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) expects to close its search deal with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) early next year, but the benefits of that partnership might already be eroding as Yahoo’s search share slips with each passing month.

An interesting battle where neither Google nor Microsoft deserve a place is E-mail. Sadly enough, institutions and businesses are gradually selling their staff and students to a monopolist, passing all their mail to an untrusted third party which will be scanning people’s communication and profiling based on it. The Chicago Tribune has this new article about it, titled “Microsoft vs. Google”

With university endowments and public school budgets still feeling the pinch, the competition between Google and Microsoft to convert the nation’s colleges, universities and schools to the companies’ free e-mail and other information technology services that run on the Internet “cloud” has grown fiercer.

The common choice these days has become somewhat of a duopoly, with quite a few Australian universities surrendering their personal data to Microsoft. We wrote about a few of them before and we have already explained why universities should use neither if they care about the autonomy and privacy of those who pay tuition [1, 2]. For the time being, it seems safer to cautiously accept Google, rather than give Microsoft a penny.

“For personal reasons, I do not browse the web from my computer. (I also have not net connection much of the time.) To look at page I send mail to a demon which runs wget and mails the page back to me. It is very efficient use of my time, but it is slow in real time.”

Richard Stallman

When it comes to online office suites, there is a third player that does not receive much attention because it’s not a big brand.

Zoho Reports, the web-based productivity suite’s business and data intelligence tool, is ripping off the beta tag and officially launching today with a new pricing model and set of features. Zoho Reports, which was formerly known as Zoho DB, provides developers and database administrators with better ways to manage, digest and understand their data. It’s similar in theory to Microsoft Access but that the application is online.

Those who want a hosted service of this kind should preferably use Feng (formerly OpenGoo). It is Free software, so the server side can be deployed locally, modified, and redistributed too. Here is another article about Los Angeles moving to Google Apps (and away from Novell). We wrote about that before, but for other reasons with emphasis on Groupwise.

Lastly, we have been trying to determine whether this video of a Bing firing was real or just staged. According to this Seattle-based site:

Apparently, this guy was just a little too laidback in his response for Ballmer, who screamed “You’re Fired!” and without skipping a beat pointed at another guy.

Unfortunately, the video is unverified. The chap who uploaded hasn’t responded yet for comment, and this piece will be updated when I know more. What do you think: real or fake?

There is a really embarrassing (and authentic) video of Steve Ballmer taken in September, but it was pulled and we never found it. Microsoft tried to limit footage of Steve Ballmer on stage, maybe because he is very tactless (and candidate for exit).

Neon Challenges IBM’s GNU/Linux Mainframes, EU Challenges IE Bundling, and Microsoft Helps Push Mono and Moonlight Into GNU/Linux

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux, IBM, Interoperability, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Servers, Windows at 5:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Expansion of some news picks from Groklaw, ranging from Neon news to the European Commission, Microsoft, Mono, and Moonlight

IBM has been charged with “anticompetitive” allegations by a company that appears not to be connected with Microsoft. Coverage about this includes:

Now, look at the company’s homepage. We have captured screenshots because the homepage will change in the future.

NEON Web site

Let’s look more closely:


The company’s news section is narrow in terms of scope:

NEON news

T3′s homepage was also all about IBM immediately after T3 had sued IBM. We captured screenshots of that too, writing about them in previous posts about T3, whose connection to Microsoft we wrote about in:

The above might become handy in the future. At Groklaw, Pamela Jones points to this article when she writes: “Well, without knowing anything about the facts of this case yet, I do recall Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith’s remark when the EU Commission announced the deal about the browser, “It is important we believe to create a level legal and regulatory playing field,” Smith said. “Everyone that has a high market share needs to respect the same set of rules. I think a number of these rules are likely to be applicable to other companies and other products.”

Groklaw’s response to the atrocious deal with the European Commission (the “interoperability” aspect of it [1, 2, 3, 4]) initially went into negative territories, after citing the ‘Microsoft press’ that says:

First, Microsoft has committed to implement a range of important industry standards in its software, including Web standards in Internet Explorer. Our agreement also recognizes that standards are often complex, and sometimes imprecise or even incomplete. To account for that, we will publicly document how we have implemented relevant standards so the information is readily available to all software developers. Our customers can reap the benefits of some of this work already in the beta version of Microsoft Office 2010, available today, which enables users to save and open documents in a variety of industry standard formats. These formats include Open XML (a standard originally sponsored by Microsoft) and the Open Document Format (a standard originally sponsored by competitors to Microsoft)….We also are posting our protocol documentation on the Internet, so any developer can access it easily without entering into a license with Microsoft.

Quoting Todd Bishop/Brad Smith from the Microsoft-funded Microsoft blog, Jones mocks the part which says: ‘“The most important question that we look at is whether a feature has APIs, or application programming interfaces, that are going to be important to the developers of Windows applications,” explained Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, in an interview with TechFlash this morning. “The browser is such a piece of software today. It has APIs that other applications call. That’s one reason we included the browser as part of Windows in the late 1990s. I think there was a recognition of the value that this creates for the industry as a whole by the courts in the United States and now the European Commission, in effect, today, because an important part of the announcement today is that Internet Explorer will remain a part of Windows, including in Europe.”‘

Jones writes: “Recognition of the value… hahahaha. Pass out laughing. But first I will point out that this seems to be an indication of what the settlement is about from Microsoft’s standpoint.”

Opera expected this to happen, but it is funny how Microsoft views its role. Last year it was Craig Mundie (Microsoft’s Chief Strategy Officer and lobbyist [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]) who said: “Google Owes Its Business To Us”

Does Microsoft really want people to believe that there would be no computers without Microsoft?

As a side note, Jones also remarked on the Moonlight news, highlighting the following important bit:

There is one catch, however.

The new patent covenant extension is only for Moonlight and does not extend to the full Mono project, which is Novell’s implementation of Microsoft’s .NET framework. Novell updated Mono to version 2.6 this week. As a result, the agreement covers only the subset of Mono that comes as a part of Moonlight. “This patent covenant only applies to Moonlight and the version of Mono that ships with Moonlight,” Goldfarb said.

So the problems with Mono basically remain and Moonlight is still Novell-only software for other reasons. One piece of software that only Novell customers can use safely (that would Banshee) is latching onto Docky now.

No need for a massive evolution from the Gnome-Do Banshee control plug-in, this is a nice addition for Banshee users.

It’s a bit like Telepathy. Mono is grabbing all sort of other parts of GNOME, just like moss in a highly-fertilised garden. Novell is paying for this and Microsoft does too (it pays Novell).

8,500 Posts

Posted in Site News at 4:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novel party

Summary: Another milestone for this Web site, which is only 3 years old

THE previous post was post #8500. 10,000 is not far away, but we might need help from you, our dear readers.

The Gates Foundation Extends Control Over Communication with Oxfam Relationship

Posted in Africa, Bill Gates, Finance, Microsoft at 4:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Oxfam logo

Summary: Many new PR tricks that ought to be tackled; The Gates Foundation uses Oxfam to further promote the Monsanto GMO agenda it’s investing heavily in

MICROSOFT is to a large degree a marketing company. It has great stakes in the media (see links at the bottom) and it is important for Microsoft to control what people think or how they feel about Microsoft and its products. Occasionally we find that Microsoft uses children and AIDS to promote its products [1, 2, 3]. It is a very shameless tactic that a parents group apparently complained about last month.

“Occasionally we find that Microsoft uses children and AIDS to promote its products.”There is a lot of coverage about a PR move from Microsoft right now — one where it claims to be fighting child porn. it is worth stressing that “child porn” is the favourite excuse — whether perceived or real — to justify censorship or removal (annexation affecting online communities) of entire protocols. The copyright cartel uses it to attack peer-to-peer software and politicians use it to kill USENET, which is decentralised. Politicians typically struggle to understand technology, but child porn is something they understand.

That aside, Microsoft is also doing the PR routines in Copenhagen. We wrote about this before because Microsoft is a top polluter. Watch how Associated (Content) is glorying the world's biggest patent troll, who came from Microsoft with financial support from Bill Gates, Microsoft, and Apple. Associated pretends that this patent troll fights Global Warming by amassing the very same patents that prevent action. It is worth adding that Gates denies Global Warming. It’s just not on his agenda, which seems more focused on controlling the world’s food. We wrote about this in:

  1. With Microsoft Monopoly in Check, Bill Gates Proceeds to Creating More Monopolies
  2. Gates-Backed Company Accused of Monopoly Abuse and Investigated
  3. How the Gates Foundation Privatises Africa
  4. Reader’s Article: The Gates Foundation and Genetically-Modified Foods
  5. Monsanto: The Microsoft of Food
  6. Seeds of Doubt in Bill Gates Investments
  7. Gates Foundation Accused of Faking/Fabricating Data to Advance Political Goals
  8. More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
  9. Video Transcript of Vandana Shiva on Insane Patents
  10. Explanation of What Bill Gates’ Patent Investments Do to Developing World
  11. Black Friday Film: What the Bill Gates-Backed Monsanto Does to Animals, Farmers, Food, and Patent Systems
  12. Gates Foundation Looking to Destroy Kenya with Intellectual Monopolies
  13. Young Napoleon Comes to Africa and Told Off
  14. Bill Gates Takes His GMO Patent Investments/Experiments to India
  15. Gates/Microsoft Tax Dodge and Agriculture Monopoly Revisited
  16. Beyond the ‘Public Relations’
  17. UK Intellectual Monopoly Office (UK-IPO) May be Breaking the Law
  18. “Boycott Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in China”

As we showed earlier this month, Gates also pays people to write favourably about the Monsanto plan [1, 2]. As it turns out, based on this new job vacancy, the Gates Foundation uses Oxfam (money injection) to lobby for the Monsanto agenda from that vector too. They are looking for a “communications coordinator”.

The post would be split 50% between delivery on the Gates Foundation funded project: ‘Strengthening Women’s Livelihoods through Collective Action: Market Opportunities in Smallholder Agriculture’. The remaining 50% will support related learning and tools development processes and product delivery, of ongoing work on women and smallholder agriculture (e.g. linked to EDP, Accenture) working closely with Global Gendered Livelihoods and other advisers.

Accenture? As in Microsoft’s strong ally?

At the end of the day, this is about having more influence over agriculture in Africa, which Monsanto strives to control absolutely under the pretext of “world hunger”. Gates and Rockefeller are big financial pusher for this, jointly lobbying for the goal under their euphemistic banner, “Green Revolution”.

Speaking of controlling press outlets, this news article is just several days old:

Roberts began attending Comcast company meetings with his dad Ralph when he was about 10 years old. When Comcast was preparing to go public in 1972, the 13-year-old Brian found a typo in the document that could have negatively affected the initial public offering. At 32, he was the youngest guy in the room when he leaned over and urged Bill Gates to buy 10% of the industry in 1997. A few weeks later, Gates’ Microsoft Corp. invested $1 billion in Comcast, setting off a string of investments and partnerships that revived and propelled cable to new heights.

Now 50, Roberts could become one of the country’s youngest — and surely most powerful — media moguls once the NBCU deal is completed. It is against this backdrop that Multichannel News has named Roberts as its Executive of the Year.

“That Microsoft story is so indicative of Brian,” said Julian Brodsky, one of the original founders of Comcast and someone who watched and mentored Roberts throughout his career.

More information about the Comcast-NBC situation can be found below. As long as they control the news channels, they also control the information people receive. It’s not a coincidence, it’s designed to be that way. If companies never do something malicious, then there is hardly any need to control the press at all (to deliver spin and revisionism).

Related and very recent posts:

Microsoft Announces More SPAM and Bribery Tactics

Posted in Deception, Finance, Mail, Marketing, Microsoft at 3:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Never wrestle with a pig—you get dirty and the pig likes it”

Sometimes attributed to Abraham Lincoln


Summary: Microsoft’s marketing strategy turns very ugly and unethical based on reports and press releases that have received no proper attention

AS WE pointed out many times before, Microsoft loves contracting companies to do its unethical and/or illegal activities. We last mentioned this in reference to Plurk, but we have a lot of posts about Microsoft’s PR agencies, which are doing nasty things to promote Microsoft.

Well, Microsoft has just hired another sort of “proxy” to do its marketing. The name of the firm is Halesowen and in their site they say:

Microsoft picks Halesowen company to feature in new advertising campaign


Simon added: “Not only have we re-initiated old relationships, but by using e-mail Marketing, we now have a targeted way to promote specific business services.”

“E-mail Marketing” a euphemism for spam, or even “legalised” spam which is uninvited bulk mail that’s promotional. Well done, Microsoft. This company suits your character.

Another marketing contract has just been signed with eCoast. Here are the details:

eCoast to Provide Twitter Marketing for Microsoft


eCoast, a provider of outsourced demand generation and channel program management solutions in the technology industry, was selected by Microsoft to offer marketing services to its channel partners through the Ready-to-Go Microsoft portal.

Microsoft already uses Waggener Edstrom to ‘manage’ Twitter. Microsoft also ganged up against the Twitter community (real people) using Federated Media. In addition, see the following:

Microsoft marketing has neither shame nor boundaries. They probably convinced themselves that they are doing a favour to the world. As Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson once put it, “I think he [Bill Gates] has a Napoleonic concept of himself and his company, an arrogance that derives from power and unalloyed success…”

Well, look at this new development; Microsoft is hiring “independent experts” whom it pays and one cannot help thinking whether the PR agencies of Microsoft do the same thing. We know for sure about the lobbying groups and there are many confirmed cases of Microsoft AstroTurfing.

As it turns out, just like last year (when Microsoft first introduced Vista 7), there are big freebies at PDC:

Microsoft surprised attendees to November’s Professional Developers Conference with free touch-screen laptops. It wasn’t largesse, for the company had an ulterior motive: to get developers to write applications that utilize touch interfaces.

Who can forget the Vista 7 laptops bribes from the previous year (PDC 2008)?

According to TechCrunch, Microsoft is now bribing some more bloggers in exchange for coverage.

Microsoft Recruits Student Bloggers With Free Software And Trips To Conferences

We’ve confirmed with Microsoft that the tech giant has launched a new program, called Student Insiders, to enlist college students to blog about Microsoft products. In return, the Microsoft “Student Insider” will be able to attend Microsoft conferences, such as Microsoft’s developer conference, PDC, and others and then write about their experiences and the products. The student will get all expenses paid to attend conferences as well as receive free training on Microsoft products. Student Insiders are expected to cover 15 events or topics a year, with at least “500 engagements per event/topic.”

It appears that Microsoft will try to recruit students with “established blogs” to write about a wide variety of Microsoft products. The advertisement we received focused on getting students to review Microsoft’s Expression Studio, a design and development software.

It is rather strange that TechCrunch complains about it because Microsoft paid Michael Arrington to recite Microsoft slogans in his blog, TechCrunch. He got exposed and turned very rude towards those who exposed him. Either way, Microsoft has an extensive history of distorting blog content by bribing bloggers. The above talks about the bribing of students, but Microsoft bribes professors too.

“Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

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