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01.11.10

Latest Vista 7 Failures and Microsoft Dumping

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenOffice, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 11:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An extensive look at our accumulation of news from the past week, focusing mostly on Vista 7 and Microsoft’s hijack of the education channels

THE reality behind Vista 7 requires further inspection this week. We managed to find just one headline about “Vista”, compared to at least 14 clusters of headlines about “Windows 7″ (in Google News). They have successfully buried the “Vista” name, even tough Vista 7 is just Vista in a new gown. It’s the “Real Mojave”. Ubersoft.net has just published nice new cartoons that have fun with this truism. “Windows” is called “ND” and part of it says:

King, are you still running Nifty Doorways Xceptional product? Why haven’t you upgraded to ND 7?

Microsoft’s dumping tactics are rather effective (if not illegal) and Microsoft is selling a heavily-crippled version of Vista 7 to fill up cheap computers with Windows, then upsell.

Apart from shameless promotion from Microsoft boosters like Shane O'Neill (same Vista 7 ‘informecial’ here, for increased readership), Microsoft announced that it is miserable enough to almost give Vista 7 away for market share gains. “Upgrade Incentives” is what it’s called and it is the same with Office. EDGI against OpenOffice.org is not enough [1, 2, 3], apparently.

Microsoft’s long list of dead products already included Microsoft Works, which is officially dead now based on this report. One of the new plans is to combat Free software using the *Spark programmes [1, 2], which target developers, students, and businesses (under separate names containing “Spark”, which is like cigarettes in the sense that it’s a free sample that gets users addicted and dependent on the “dealer” for a long time to come).

Here is Microsoft giving special honour to a BizSpark partner at CES:

CES: How to get mentioned in a Steve Ballmer Microsoft keynote

[...]

Turns out Graphic.ly is part of Microsoft’s BizSpark One program, which provides mentorship, free hosting for a few years and developer support to accelerate the growth of startups. Companies apply to join the program.

Our reader Ryan tells us that Microsoft is now offering free Windows Server even to some high school students (under the *Spark programme). They try to get them “addicted” to it before they finish school. Speaking of schools, there is a lot more Microsoft indoctrination in them, with evidence that we found in the past week under:

1. Boost your skills

Easter Seals Crossroads is Indiana’s only Microsoft Accessibility Resource Center. The partnership between Easter Seals Crossroads and Microsoft allows training participants to learn more about how Microsoft Windows can be better utilized by individuals with disabilities.

2. Microsoft teams up with community college for certification

Microsoft has teamed up with community colleges in eight states, including North Carolina, to offer free vouchers to take the exam at various designated “certiport centers.”

3. ‘Real life’ video

4. Tech School Shuts Down, Students Without Diplomas

Handy won’t get his diploma because ComputerTraining.edu went out of business last week. In operation since the early 1990s, the school operated 22 locations in 14 states. It called itself “America’s Largest Microsoft IT Academy.”

5. Investigation widens into computer school closure

Students paid more than $13,000 for a six-month Microsoft course, which is nearly three times more expensive than an identical certification program at a local community college.

6. Microsoft working with Irving ISD students

Irving ISD reports that 37 high school students from MacArthur High School recently visited the Microsoft campus in Las Colinas to participate in a contest.

7. NECC offers Microsoft Excel

The business, math and technology division at Northeast Community College in Norfolk has scheduled another Microsoft Excel class to begin in January.

Needless to say, all the above are cases where Microsoft is controlling or trying to control people’s education. Here is an opinion/update about the situation in Danish schools where Microsoft was accused of using a “scare campaign” against OpenOffice.org:

Unfortunately we don’t know how many students complained, how much influence came from teachers who resisted change the way old farts do, how much influence Microsoft’s local sales team brought to bear, or even whether there were any students and parents who applauded the decision to save a fortune in licensing costs. What I can definitely say for my part is that the kids I’ve had contact with in Central Scotland, although not reputedly the most intelligent in Europe, can easily use OpenOffice with practically no instruction whatsoever. And if they’re familiar at all with MS Office then it’s even more likely that they could intuitively move to OpenOffice. I’m sure the Scandinavians are just as bright. On the “Another Ubuntu Blogspot” article, one post by Aaron Wilson summed this up: “They gotta be smarter than American students. That said if you know how to use Office and you can’t figure out how to use OpenOffice you are a retard.” His words, not mine.

Iowa schools are going to receive compensation from Microsoft. They will hopefully use all this money to acquire hardware for GNU/Linux, or even services from firms that support a GNU/Linux deployment. Buying from the same company that committed crimes would make no sense whatsoever. From the news:

Representatives from Iowa school districts are currently strategizing how to best utilize their shares of the more than $60 million they stand to receive from the settlement of a lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. The money is a portion of a $180 million settlement of the lawsuit, which alleged that Microsoft overcharged Iowa consumers and businesses for computer products.

We previously wrote about Microsoft and Iowa in:

Watch the minister of education Bill Gates earning a computer science chair at the University of Washington. This new article from NPR (which receives funding from Gates by the way) had the following things to say some days ago:

“What this nation should be investing in is jobs that create other jobs and that’s what technology jobs do,” says Ed Lazowska, who holds the Bill and Melinda Gates chair in computer science at the University of Washington.

Gates is controlling the education system by putting money in it. We wrote about this subject in:

  1. Bill Gates Puts in a Million to Ratify His Role as Education Minister
  2. How the Gates Foundation is Used to Ensure Children Become Microsoft Clients
  3. More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
  4. Microsoft Builds Coalitions of NGOs, Makes Political and Educational Changes
  5. Microsoft’s EDGI in India: Fighting GNU/Linux in Education
  6. Microsoft’s Gates Seeks More Monopolies
  7. Gates Foundation Funds Blogs to Promote Its Party Line
  8. Microsoft Bribes to Make Education Microsoft-based
  9. Lobbyists Dodge the Law; Bill Gates Lobbies the US Education System with Another $10 Million
  10. Gates Investments in Education Criticised; Monsanto (Gates-Backed) Corruption Revisited

The Abramoff-Gates visas also play a role in US education and this from Seattle ought to make some people’s blood boil:

KUOW: State college enrollment up after new H-1B visa law

[..]

Many Microsoft employees are benefiting from a law passed last year that makes foreigners who are here on H-1B visas, and their families, eligible for in-state tuition at public universities.

Now, we hardly wrote a single thing about Microsoft’s presence at CES (other than the Guardian's interview/advert). The truth is that there was hardly anything to write about. IDG chose the headline: “Why the Microsoft-HP Tablet Is a Big Disappointment”

That was their key product to be shown and dazzle the public. Many others who are saying the same thing include:

The Inquirer: “Microsoft flatters to deceive”

MICROSOFT’S BIG HURRAH ended up being a bit of a damp squib after power cuts, a “blown tube” and ultimately a lack of anything really new to show.

Geeks.co.uk: “CES 2010 – Microsoft’s Plans Fail To Excite”

The first we’ll look at is Microsoft. A giant in the world of computing, you’d expect the technical aspects of a Microsoft Keynote presentation to go off without a hitch. In fact, the presentation began with a power glitch that held up proceedings, and the announcements from Microsoft were similarly disappointing.

This “power glitch” is also mentioned here:

So Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft chief executive, can be forgiven for feeling mightily aggrieved that his opening address last week will be remembered for the wrong reasons: a power cut, a crashed computer and bored and angry online hecklers.

So, what’s in Microsoft’s future anyway? Can they become a security vendor for GNU/Linux when Windows is no longer used as much? GNU/Linux keeps gaining on the desktop and Microsoft offers security not as a characteristic of the O/S but as a premium package, which is ridiculous of course. The Seattle Times lists and answers the following question: “I read your article regarding the need for anti-virus in Windows 7. Any thoughts on why Microsoft didn’t make its free anti-virus tool part of Windows 7?”

Good question. Microsoft is basically selling a product without the security that Microsoft knows is required. And many people still wonder why Microsoft is in such a mess, where large security vendors too are unable to keep track and name of all the Windows malware.

Vista 7 is still not secure. We wrote about this in the posts below.

FFII: EU ‘Trade’ Agreement an Attack on Free Software Developers

Posted in Asia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Law at 10:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: FFII identifies an attempt to inject dirty policy laundry using a treaty with Korea

THE Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) has just released a statement which can be summarised as follows.

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) perceives the free trade agreement of the EU with Korea as a massive competitive disadvantage to the EU and a danger to software developers, free software projects and small and mid-sized companies.

This seems like quite an urgent matter and the full press release is appended below.


FFII calls to remove IP chapter from EU-Korea free trade agreement

Brussels, 10 January 2010 — The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) calls upon the EU Parliament and member states to remove the intellectual property rights chapter from the EU – Korea Free Trade Agreement. According to the FFII analysis, the free trade agreement is a threat to software companies, companies that use software, and free software projects; this undermines innovation, competitiveness and legal certainty.

In October 2009, after more than two years of secret negotiations, the EU and the Republic of Korea initialed their free trade agreement. The agreement awaits ratification by the EU Parliament and member states.

The free trade agreement contains strong measures against patent infringements. It provides injunctions, high damages, seizures, destruction of production materials and removal of online software repositories. A suspicion may be enough for seizures and injunctions. An allegation may be enough to freeze assets.

“A suspicion may be enough for seizures and injunctions. An allegation may be enough to freeze assets.”FFII analyst Ante Wessels comments: “These strong measures may be justified against hard core counterfeiters. They are not justified against software developers. Software patents are so broad in scope, doubtful in validity, and so numerous that unintentional infringement is unavoidable in the normal course of business. Therefore, competitors and patent trolls can always find a stick to hit software companies, companies that use software and free software projects. The whole sector is at risk.”

The free trade agreement also contains border measures against patent infringements. Ante Wessels: “With the numerous software patents out there, all software products and all products containing software may infringe patents. An allegation is enough to have them seized at the border. Then they stay seized until a civil court case made clear whether a patent was infringed or not. This gives competitors and patent trolls enormous power – how many small and medium enterprises, and free software projects, have the money to defend against this? It is the contrary of stimulating free trade.”

The free trade agreement is based on existing EU legislation. “Exporting EU-style enforcement legislation to foreign trading partners is an (un)official goal of EU policy”, professor Annette Kur, Max Planck Institute Munich, remarked in a presentation in December. She added: “If and where legislation is (partly) flawed, export is no recommendable option.”

The severe consequences of flawed enforcement legislation were on display in the recent EU seizures of life saving medicine meant for developing countries. After these seizures became known, the Dutch Minister for Developmental Aid, Bert Koenders, said that he wants to change the EU rules on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, and that he would even like to violate these rules.

Ante Wessels comments: “The seizures of life saving medicine and the treatment of software developers as hard core counterfeiters are two consequences of flawed EU legislation. Europe should be well aware that if we export this flawed legislation, the agreement will be binding. We will not be able to repair our own legislation anymore.”

Contact

Ante Wessels
+ 31 6 100 99 063
ante@ffii.org
(Dutch/English)

Benjamin Henrion
FFII Brussels
+32-2-414 84 03

+32-484-566109
bhenrion@ffii.org
(French/English)

About the FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in over fifty countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, and open standards. More than 1000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights in data processing.

City of Orlando — Like Los Angeles — is Dumping Microsoft and Washington State Attorney to Provide Evidence of Microsoft’s Tax Dodge

Posted in Finance, Fraud, Google, Mail, Microsoft, Novell at 10:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Los Angeles perhaps just the first amongst a chain of local authorities that move from Microsoft to Google; progress made on Microsoft’s massive tax dodge investigation

Novell and Microsoft suffered a major blow in the City of Los Angeles and it seems to have set a precedence which is spreading to the East Coast too. From the news:

Orlando goes with Google to save on e-mail

[...]

Orlando’s contract includes Google Docs, which includes word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation software meant to compete directly with Microsoft Office. But Cross said the city will stick with Office for now to avoid the expense of retraining employees.

Microsoft must be getting very nervous and envious of Google right now.

“Microsoft must be getting very nervous and envious of Google right now.”In other news, Mr. Reifman, a former Microsoft employee, makes progress with his action against Microsoft’s massive tax dodge [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. According to his latest update, “Washington State Attorney General Reviews Our Public Records Request,” which means that the next step is likely centralisation of hard evidence (or proof). Mr. Reifman should be applauded as about a decade ago, another Microsoft insider helped expose financial fraud inside the company [1, 2, 3]. He lost his job as a result, Microsoft paid him millions of dollars to shut up, and with enough cronies inside the United States government Microsoft managed to eventually get away with it. Microsoft will hopefully not attempt to bribe Mr. Reifman so that he shuts up, just as it did before in order to bury evidence. Can Microsoft pull some crony strings to also derail Orlando’s migration away from Microsoft to Google? Microsoft did fight back against Los Angeles, but eventually it lost. Microsoft’s software is too expensive and outdated.

FBI/Facebook Wants to Know Your ‘Friends’

Posted in Action, Boycott Novell, Law at 9:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“True friends are like diamonds; precious but rare. Fake friends are like fall leaves; found everywhere.”

Anonymous

Summary: Timely reminder of the value of people’s privacy

Tactless remarks from Novell’s former CEO Eric Schmidt have led us to writing a post about the dire, potentially-criminal consequences, but the same type of debate returns now that Facebook’s boss makes a similar type of remark. This was covered (and spun a little) in:

No one wants privacy these days

SOCIAL NOTWORKING SITE Facebook’s boss Mark Zuckerberg told TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington the other day that privacy is a thing of the past.

Zuckerberg: People Are Comfortable Without Privacy, So We Threw Them All Over The Cliff

[A]s you may recall, a few months back, Facebook tried to make that big shift anyway, pushing many people to reveal what had previously been private.

Zuckerberg: ‘I am a prophet’

Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that he is a prophet, declaring that he had foreseen that people will soon have no qualms about displaying every minute detail of their private lives on the internet.

Facebook’s database of binary connections between profiles is problematic for all sorts of reasons and one of our readers has explained why in the following message:

Internet Scumbags Spin Privacy Concerns to Their Advantage

Got a privacy problem? Embarrassed by something you gave others to publish? Perhaps the nice people running the databases and PR astroturf firms can help you get what you really want. The bad guys want to help you, really. This unlikely turn, where the exploiters and extortionists proclaim themselves the good guys, is amazingly being presented as reasonable policy and legislative framework.

A new wave of Google bashing and Facebook glorification is hitting the news. Instead of having a good look at real problems, such as ChoicePoint, and the problematic uses of databases by both government and industry, the databases that people can see and derive some benefit from are lambasted.

The Register is running an amusing article about Facebook that hints at some of the more serious issues.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/11…

“Critics have slated the social networking site for burying privacy controls, highjacking its users’ data and allowing advertisers to farm Facebookers to help them flog tat. Oh, and eroding an generations’ respect for their own and other people’s privacy.”

“The fact is, Zuckerberg said, that people want to share everything, and they want to share it on the internet. That is the “new norm”, and he saw it coming.”

Good for the Register to point to commercial exploitation of centralized databases and the intentional erosion of privacy by the exploiters. The article is amusing and worth reading in full.

If only more serious publications had as much sense. “Mainstream” coverage is looks more like this:

http://neteffect.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/…

Google and digital freedom, aka “piracy,” are presented as cause for concern while astroturfers and spammers are presented as the cure. Reasonable legislation in France, where people would have the right to demand of
commercial databases that pictures of themselves be deleted, is ridiculed as hopelessly naive because “piracy” means the pictures will always resurface. Google is smeared with the piracy label, rather than a company that promises private sharing but then allows commercial data mining and tells you not to worry about it. The authors finally recommend the vigilante justice of “search engine optimization” and “reputation defense” which are euphemisms for astroturf and spam. PR companies that follow Microsoft’s TE training manuals will “defend” their clients by relentlessly libeling competitors, often anonymously or through pseudo names. Without search engines, their work would go doing damage without victim awareness. Google seems to be a convenient, visible target for the crimes of others. Big publishers have always hated digital freedom, which makes them unnecessary, and Google which supplants them.

Serious publications should be focusing their attention on the more sinister practices that have the same but less visible results, data mining of people’s purchasing, email and web browsing. Losses of insurance, denial of
employment and other problems have already shown people the dangers of social exploitation networks. Laws that govern these things are seriously out of line, especially in the US where the PatRiot Act actually encourages violation.

Free software has answers to as many of these concerns as is practical. Modern GNU/Linux systems offer simple interfaces for encrypted email, instant message and file sharing so that only a minimum of user selected material ever needs to be shared to achieve what social exploitation networks promise. The more control people have over their computers and publishing, the more privacy and publishing power they will have. While it is never possible to “take back” what you have given others, no one should need a third party publisher to share with their friends. Data mining of purchasing data and private electronic correspondence can only be reduced by law.

On the issue of privacy, The Register has also just published the following more encouraging article.

Italians take the ‘p’ to fight back against Big Brother

Italians are fighting back against the surveillance society with a grass roots project designed to publicise the location of CCTV cameras – and to “out” those that have been set up contrary to Italian Law.

From BoingBoing today: “Orson Welles on privacy, prescient remarks from 1955″

Amy sez, “In 1955 Orson Welles created a BBC programme called Sketchbook. In this episode he is shockingly contemporary when he talks about passports, privacy and personal rights ending in his assertion that all members of the human race deserve to maintain their dignity and privacy. He also talks about about the role of police – interesting in light of recent invasions of privacy in the supposed interest of protecting citizens.”

It is good to have people out there who fight for everyone’s rights.

Miguel de Icaza Groomed by Microsoft with MVP Award

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 9:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Mono for breakfast? With a Microsoft most valuable professional in charge of Novell’s GNU/Linux desktop, this could be inevitable

Joining the Microsoft CodePlex Foundation was a stepping stone in Miguel de Icaza’s long road to Microsoft, where he was interviewed for a job just over a decade ago. In more recent months we saw him announcing the removal of GPL code from a project that is valuable to Microsoft, which funds many of the wages at Novell nowadays (Novell is not self sustaining and part of it increasingly seems like a takeover target for Microsoft).

In an open letter, we’ve asked Microsoft to just hire de Icaza and take him away from GNU/Linux, but instead they have just given him a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award. He is very valuable to them. He seems happy about it and the .NET crowd is happy about this too (watch Twitter responses).

Thanks to everyone that participated in the campaign to nominate me for a C# MVP award, when I got back to Boston I found on my piles of email that I am now part of the program.

Novell’s de Icaza’s close colleague, Nat Friedman, has decided to leave Novell. Friedman will not return to Microsoft but he will not be focused on Free software, either. It seems like a case of Fog Computing fever, just like with de Icaza’s colleague at the CodePlex Foundation, Sam Ramji, who admitted that the Foundation was determined to promote Mono and Moonlight.

More information on the subject can be found in:

On to something a little different, Jason from Mono-Nono got around to finding and writing about a subject that we tackled almost 2 days ago. It’s about Planet GNOME promoting Microsoft software (yes, again, as de Icaza did this repeatedly too).

Silverlight Promotion on Planet GNOME

[...]

Note that you are directed to press the “Click to Install” button, which does not exist. Oh, Novell – truly it is all worth it for the wonders you have wrought. You are indeed bringing Linux users around the world the Real© Microsoft®™ Experience. I had nearly forgotten the endlessly retarded bullshit one had to deal with just by turning on the computer when running Microsoft Windows – and 800X that hassle when running Internet Explorer – but Novell is bringing it all to Linux! Huzzah!

And, so what if it causes a minor stir in the community – who cares what it took to get where we are today anyway? This is truly important stuff! Damn the principles, full speed ahead to Redmond!

There is also a little something about the recent DirectX/OpenGL debate, which makes a comparison and warns the SVG community (they are already concerned about Microsoft's presence). Jason writes:

What bizarro world indeed where people are going crazy over Microsoft’s latest whatever and actively denouncing competitors? (Some bizarro world-residing promoters of Banshee and Tomboy mayhaps?)

The thing I like the most about the article is not only does it lay out reasons for preferring an Open Standard, it lists and documents how Microsoft promotes DirectX (like all their products):

1. Network effects and vicious cycles
2. FUD about OpenGL and Vista
3. Misleading marketing campaigns

I note with some interest that Microsoft leaving the OpenGL Architecture Review Board is noted as a FUD tactic. This one of the flip sides of having Microsoft “get on board” with you – if they leave it sends a powerful negative message. Pay attention SVG Working Group.

The SVG Working Group should take a sobering look at how Microsoft corrupted ISO. Simon Phipps from Sun wrote: “While it’s great to see Microsoft finally joining the SVG WG after all these years, let’s not forget (as this article does) that they were involved at the beginning and it was their unforgivable NIH attitude in rejecting the decision of the WG not to use Microsoft’s contribution that has kept vector graphics from being a web technology for a decade. Imagine what could have evolved by now had they not listened to their greed and control-lust and instead worked with everyone to perfect web vector graphics. Even still I can’t help myself wondering if they have joined the WG to snuff it out by over-activity.”

Likewise, there is danger when Microsoft proponents like Miguel de Icaza are allowed to have influence on GNU/Linux. Microsoft must be laughing over this while it’s also working to get GNU/Linux sued [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

“You got nothing to lose. You don’t lose when you lose fake friends.”

Joan Jett

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: January 11th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:46 pm 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.

Links 11/1/2010: Amarok 2.2.2 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 6:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Install Linux, Void Your Netbook’s Warranty?

    Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) has never been a favorite company among Linux fans, and that feeling was not improved by the Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) ExpertZone training scandal that erupted last September. A whole new crop of reasons to hurl insults at the chain came up in recent weeks, however, following news of one blogger’s experience.

  • When One Linux Project Wins, All Linux Triumphs

    The TechCrunch story above also points out a very notable statistic: it reported that there are more than 10,000 Android applications available. With, the story added, more likely on the way given the expected popularity of Google’s Nexus One phone, which had pretty much stolen the show even before CES started.

    Meanwhile, Intel announced its AppUp center, a new application store for Moblin- and Windows 7-based applications: the fruits of Intel’s Atom Developer SDK program.

  • Voting for the 2009 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards is now open.

    I’m happy to announce that the nominees have been selected and the polls for the 2009 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards are now open. Congratulations to everyone that was nominated.

  • 10 open source headlines we’d like to see in 2010

    2: Open source helps newspapers salvage their future
    Let’s face it, newspapers (and magazines) are in serious jeopardy of going the way of the Dodo. Most newspapers can’t handle economic downturns and continue to grow. So this headline would be sure to please. How? Newspapers shift their websites to LAMP servers and their desktops to a Linux-based operating system. After that would come a deluge of print servers and more. It would be a win-win situation. Not only would open source gain a boost, but newspapers would live to write another headline.

  • Are source compiled packages really faster?

    This means that, depending on your chosen binary distribution, the available packages may not be optimised for your particular hardware architecture and individual packages may have dependencies which you do not want nor will you use. The end result is a Linux distribution which does not run optimally for your particular situation.

  • LB – Episode 48 – Holiday Geek Roundup by Linux Basement

    Linux Basement Live:

    WARNING: This episode has some language not appropriate for the kidlings or sensitive ears.

    Chad is joined by Threethirty, Lord_d, Pegwole, Claudio

  • Desktop

    • Ubuntu v. Macintosh and Windows

      I really think the future is mobile and Microsoft understands that well and is positioned to support that with mobile devices. Ubuntu and Linux in general is mobile oriented too. Motorola, Google and a host of other vendors are or have developed mobile devices using Linux and Apple Mac while cool is really a desktop OS and although the OS is inexpensive at $29 a copy it is very proprietary after that point. Their real mistake in my opinion is not opening up their platform like Microsoft did with Windows, but that’s because they are desktop or laptop oriented.

  • Kernel Space

    • Discussing Nouveau Driver Power Management

      While the Nouveau driver is now beginning to be trimmed down a bit as non-KMS support is being dropped, this free software NVIDIA driver will be gaining some new code in the form of power management support. Power management for NVIDIA hardware in the Nouveau driver stack is still early on, but a patch is being prepared and a discussion has been initiated how to handle the power management controls for this driver. A discussion surrounding power management controls has also opened up to the larger Linux GPU driver development community at large.

  • Applications

  • Games

  • K Desktop Environment

    • Amarok 2.2.2 “Maya Gold” Released

      A Happy New Year to all of you! We hope you all had a nice holiday season, ate yummy meals and enjoyed some quality time with your family and friends. While doing exactly the same as everybody, the Amarok developers did also sneak out in the middle of the night to sit at their computers and add a bugfix here, a usability improvement there, and polish all around to make sure you will truly enjoy our new release: Amarok 2.2.2!

    • New Stuff again

      now that the KDE Software Compilation 4.4 is branched, it’s time to think about the next iteration. Next to bug fixing that is.

  • GNOME Desktop

    • “Folder view” Screenlet – Linux alternative to “Fences”

      Most of you probably know “Fences”, a program that organizes your cluttered desktop by letting you create and put boxes called “Fences” on your desktop and then you can create multiple fences and put your icons in them. For more info on Fences check out Jacob’s post on Fences. Now i really liked fences when i was using windows once upon a time and i was a little disappointed when i couldn’t find any Linux alternative to Fences BUT, thanks a youtuber named “gotbletu“, this problem has been solved because he found a screenlet called “Folder view” and that’s the same thing as Fences but for Linux. Keep in mind that Fences is still way better than Folder view but i not saying that Folder view is horrible either, as a matter a fact it’s pretty good. Lets begin

      Since this is a screenlet you need to install a program called screenlets first which is a widget program, so just get that from Ubuntu software center.

    • Use KDE Plasma on Gnome with Emerald and Compiz

      The plasma desktop effect of KDE is mouth-watering. It not only looks beautiful, but also has a good amount of usability. But, the interface is available(by default) only on the KDE desktop environment.

  • Distributions

    • Review: openSolaris 2008.11

      Overall, it appears that openSolaris is suitable for someone who’s doing the basics on a UNIX or UNIX-like system. You’ve got Firefox, Pidgin, OpenOffice.org. But there is the weird file structure and the small repository. So I feel that it’s perhaps worth checking out, but I can’t really recommend it above Linux or even BSD. I’d say, if you need it for work (and a lot of businesses use Solaris), definitely get openSolaris so you can get familiar with the platform. Otherwise, stick to Linux or BSD and you’ll have a lot more support for a wider array of programs and standard POSIX directories.

    • The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine January 2010 Issue

      The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the January 2010 issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine.

    • Live blog: Can a student go fully open source for 48 hours?

      I wanted to find out and it’s not the first time I’ve attempted something like this. Starting Monday 11th at midday (London time), I’ll be using Ubuntu 9.10 for an entire 48 hours, and will only be able to use open-source applications.

    • Arch Linux makes Linux fun to use again.

      It’s been a month since I have installed Arch Linux on my workstation and I thought I would talk about this Linux distribution a bit. Arch Linux is pretty much all the rage these days in the world of Linux distributions. If we are to believe the famous Distrowatch stats that were recently published and compared with the data of 2008, Arch Linux is the fastest growing Linux distribution these days. It gained quite many users, probably at the expense of distributions like Gentoo, yet it is not usually considered to be an “user-friendly” distribution. I will briefly outline what have been, and what is, my experience with Arch, and I believe I am going to stick with this particular flavor for a very long time.

    • Examining SliTaz GNU/Linux

      During my time with SliTaz, I had the chance to exchange e-mails with one of the developers, Christophe Lincoln, and he had some interesting things to say about the project. He mentioned that SliTaz is already entering freeze and the development team will be doing testing and fixing bugs from now through to their next release in March. He also mentioned that SliTaz is being used in some organizations and the project is getting a lot of useful feedback. From what I’ve seen so far, I think their next version will be well worth trying out. It’s already stable and I’ve encountered no show-stopping issues.

    • New Releases

      • Frugalware 1.2pre2 (Locris) released

        The Frugalware Developer Team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Frugalware 1.2pre2, the second technical preview of the upcoming 1.2 stable release.

      • [Pardus-announce] Pardus 2009.1 RC

        Release candidate of Pardus 2009.1 is ready ! Like always you can download this release from Pardus FTP servers…

    • Debian Family

      • The Debian Pennybox

        I received an interesting email from Debian developer Raphael Hertzog who has happily allowed me to blog about the ideas we were talking about. His email centers around the funding of infrastructure projects in the Debian distribution and ways to think about funding that avoid socio-political problems.

      • How to safely remove PPA Repository from Ubuntu

        PPA is means Personal Package Archive. It provides a way to easily install application which can not be found in the Ubuntu official repository on Ubuntu ( since the Ubuntu official repo takes a conservative approach to updates and number of applications it includes in its official repository with focus on stability over latest and greatest packages.) PPA is one of the coolest thing about Ubuntu. It creates an avenue for developers, packagers and even users to create their own personal repositories and include their packages which can easily be added and installed on Ubuntu.

      • Ubuntu Tweak 0.5.0 Finally released; Tons Of New Features

        Ubuntu Tweak 0.5.0 has now been released – just over a week after the launch of the online user-interactive database – UTCOM – that the application draws its data from.

      • Mystery Marvell EBOX is tiny, runs Ubuntu, 1080p video

        As I was wandering past Marvell’s exhibit at CES this weekend, I spotted an incredibly tiny PC called the EBOX connected to a big screen LCD. The display showed that the computer was running Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala and that it could handle 1080p HD video playback.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Hands-on the ELSE Linux smartphone at CES 2010

        Despite the fact that the ELSE phone and OS were both at pre-production status, and clearly need work before any sort of launch, the unique ELSE Intuition UI was intuitive and innovative enough to hold our attention. Both the phone and the UI were designed with one-handed operation in mind. As you can see from our hands-on video (below), the UI is tailored to be used with your right-thumb, and your right-thumb only. Navigation buttons line the right side of the device as well, putting them within easy reach of your largest digit.

      • Android

        • Nexus Two – The Next Generation

          We’ve had the battle of the apps and now it’s the battle of the handset. But after all the hype, it has not been the greatest start for Google and the Nexus One phone – maybe we should be looking forward to the Nexus Two and all that might bring with it?

        • H.P. Working on ‘Half-Pint’ Android Tablet

          Hewlett Packard is working on numerous tablet devices that will come in a variety of sizes, shapes and operating systems, including Windows 7, Google’s Android, and possibly the open-source operating system Linux.

          The company has so many different tablet-related projects in the works that a variety of coming publishing partners were surprised to see a Windows 7 version of the Hewlett-Packard slate announced at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • A netbook users review of Linux Mint 8

        Thursday evening I broke my install on my Eee PC 1000HE in such a way that I needed to recover the data from my /home partition and reinstall the OS. I thought that since I’m waiting for EB4 I may as well just install another distribution and play.

        [...]

        Bottom line: This release is what Karmic could have and should have been.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Dimdim- The open source web conference and collaboration app.

    One of the greatest wonders of technology is how it’s made the world a small place. If you want a surefire way to cut traveling costs in your business, then you definitely need to take a look at Dimdim.

  • Asterisk World Preview: Digium Set to Dial Partners

    Digium continues to build stronger partnerships in the unified communications market. The latest evidence: From Polycom to Skype, a long list of companies will evangelize Digium’s open source IP PBX during the Asterisk World conference (January 20-22, Miami Beach, Fla.). And yes, Digium will dial up channel partners during the event. Here’s the scoop.

  • Licensing

    • Explaining free software licenses with icons !fsf !gnu
    • The FreeType License

      The FreeType library is released under a dual license: you can choose either the FTL (FreeType License) or the GPL, version 2. That means that a software stack that uses FreeType has to be license-compatible with one or the other (or both). In cases where the rest of the software stack also allows choices, this can be slightly complex. You end up with a combinatorial explosion of licenses — in theory, if not in practice.

      But why is a choice necessary, anyway?

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Here We Go Again: Video Standards War 2010

      So there we are. With the multiyear HD DVD Blu-ray battle still a recent memory, we have a new standards face off in video, just as we do in eBooks, and just as it looks like we may in on-line print, where a new consortium led by the News Corporation and others is launching a standards-based “digital newsstand.” All of these devices, of course, are targeted at you and I, and each has the potential to not only extend the woes of the music/video/print vendors behind these standards battles, but to waste your money and mine as well.

      Does that strike you as a shame? Me to.

      So if you’ve still got a Betamax in the back of your closet, you might want to finally throw it out. After all, you may be needing the storage space soon for yet another wave of consumer electronic equipment that has been rendered obsolete by a needless standards war.

Leftovers

  • AOL e-mail address: Is it hopelessly square to keep it?

    This is embarrassing, but it’s 2010 and I still have an AOL e-mail address. I wonder if I hold some kind of record. I opened my AOL account in 1997. My first e-mail address was a combination of a nickname and the year I was born. Back then everyone had goofy screen names like Tarheels80 and SwimFan, so mine seemed appropriate. But as I started using e-mail more and more for freelance work, it seemed wrong. In 1998 I changed to a more respectable use of my initials and last name, still with AOL. It’s the e-mail address I have today.

  • Santa Fe man demands half a mill for being near iPhone

    Arthur Firstenberg is suing his neighbour for $530,000 for refusing to switch off her iPhone, claiming that the electromagnetic fields generated are destroying his health.

  • The One Thing Internet Cant Ignoere
  • Security

    • Two attacks highlight counterterrorism’s bureaucratic bog

      The Central Intelligence Agency should be asking some painful questions this week about its performance: How could a suicide bomber have flown to Detroit despite a strong warning to a CIA station that he might be a terrorist? How could a Jordanian double agent have penetrated a CIA base in Afghanistan and killed seven agency employees?

    • Bruce Schneier’s TSA logo redesign contest

      Bruce Schneier is holding a TSA logo-redesign contest, inspired by Patrick “Ask the Pilot” Smith’s suggestion, “a revised eagle, its talons clutching a box cutter and a toothpaste tube. It says ‘Transportation Security Administration’ around the top. Below are the three simple words of the TSA mission statement: ‘Tedium, Weakness, Farce’”.

  • Environment

    • Freak Current Takes Gulf Stream to Greenland

      An unprecedented extreme in the northern hemisphere atmospheric circulation has driven a strong direct connecting current between the Gulf Stream and the West Greenland current. The unprecedented negativity of the “Arctic Oscillation” and the strong connection of the Gulf Stream with the Greenland current are exceptional events. More exceptional weather events are predicted with anthropogenic climate change, but this could be a natural variation of weather and currents.

  • Finance

    • Wash Post Called Out for Outsourcing “News” to the Fiscal Times

      Titled “Support grows for tackling nation’s debt,” the article discusses a proposal to create a government commission to examine America’s growing debt. The new commission, according to the article, would be charged with exploring “how to rein in skyrocketing spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security,” but the article failed to mention other significant sources of government spending, like the $663 billion military budget.

      [...]

      We want to give a hat tip to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) for outing the Fiscal Times as a propaganda outlet masquerading as a news service that was created and funded by Wall Street billionaire Peter G. Peterson, a former member of President Nixon’s administration who has long used his wealth to promote cuts in Social Security, Medicare and other government entitlement programs. The Post initially failed to reveal to readers the origins and funding of the Fiscal Times, and only did so six days later, in a small correction run on January 5. That “correction,” however, reiterated the assertion that the Fiscal Times is “independent” and merely noted that the story should have disclosed that one of the sources quoted in the story was funded by the same funder as the writers of the story.

    • Greedwashing on Wall Street

      All eyes are on Wall Street this week as the big banks get ready to report their earnings and bonuses. Rebounding banks are preparing to pay out bonuses that rival those of the pre-crisis boom years.

      During the first nine months of 2009, five of the largest banks that received federal aid — Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley — together set aside about $90 billion for compensation.

    • Are They Really?

      What’s with the apologies? Goldman Sachs’s Lloyd Blankfein caught his fellow titans by surprise in November, admitting that “we participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret.” That came less than two weeks after he infuriated pretty much everyone else by declaring that Goldman was “doing God’s work.”

      He was not the only banker indulging in the contrition thing. (In March, Bank of America’s Ken Lewis, who presided over the bungled acquisition of Merrill Lynch, issued his own apology and was still pushed out.) Now the former Time Warner chief executive Gerald Levin, who is not even a banker, has plunged into the zeitgeist.

      Mr. Levin issued a belated — by a decade — mea culpa for buying AOL and urged others to follow his lead. “I presided over the worst deal of the century, apparently,” Mr. Levin said. “I guess it’s time for those who are involved in companies to stand up and say: You know what, I’m solely responsible for it.”

    • New Disclosure Rules Arise from Financial Crisis

      Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted new rules requiring public companies to disclose information about their board leadership structure, their risk oversight processes and certain information about compensation structure and how it relates to the company’s risks. The goal, according to the SEC, is to provide additional transparency regarding what goes on in the boardroom so that investors can make more informed decisions.

    • Former Brocade exec gets two months in prison for backdating options

      The former human resources chief at Brocade was sentenced Wednesday to spend two months in prison and pay a fine of $1.25 million for her part in a stock options backdating scandal that dates to the early part of last decade.

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • The Right of Publicity Takes a Hit

      The first controversy involves the portrayal of Michele Obama in a line of lesser celebrities — Oprah Winfrey, Tyra Banks, and Carrie Underwood — with the headline, “Fur-free and Fabulous.” Michele Obama did not appear physically in the line to be photographed (she was photo-shopped into the lineup), but the ad is based on the truthful statement that not only in the image, but also more generally, she does not wear furs. Although public opinion seems to vary about whether it is ethical or tasteful for PETA to use her image without her consent, nobody seems to dispute that the First Amendment would protect PETA’s right to use the photo without her consent, even though it effectively aligns her with PETA’s policy positions and, indeed, with PETA itself.

    • David Pogue tries DRM-free ebooks, sells more books than with DRM-crippled ventures

      Tech writing superstar David Pogue writes about his experiment with DRM-free ebook publishing. He concludes that even though his DRM-free book was pirated all over the net, the sales were as high as he expected them to be, based on his previous books’ sales. Pogue goes on to talk about what he’s learned here — that DRM-free isn’t necessarily bad for sales — and invites other publishers to try it out.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Google Apologizes to Chinese Authors for Book Scanning

      Google has apologized to a Chinese authors’ group over its scanning of books by local writers into an online search system, moving to defuse copyright concerns around the project in China.

    • Disney, Studios Win Dismissal of RealNetworks Antitrust Claims

      Walt Disney & Co. and other movie studios won dismissal of RealNetworks Inc.’s claims that they violated antitrust laws by preventing competitors from selling products that make copies of DVDs.

      U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel in San Francisco threw out anti-competition claims yesterday by Seattle-based RealNetworks, a maker of software for playing music and video games that in 2008 was blocked from selling a DVD-copying product after Patel ruled that it violated laws protecting copyrighted works.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Dwayne Bailey, Founder and Managing Director of Translate.org.za 04 (2004)


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

Microsoft Cracks Down Hard, Viral Advertisers Multiply

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Marketing, Microsoft, Protocol at 1:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An accumulation of observations about how Microsoft treats the industry and how peripheral agents help it accomplish goals

EARLIER today we wrote about Microsoft's anti-counterfeiting chief quitting the company. It happens just as the ‘Microsoft police’ [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] goes hard on businesses that use proprietary software. From eWEEK Europe:

Software Auditors Crack Down As Recession Bites

[...]

Software auditors risk becoming “revenue-generating” traffic cops as the recession put pressure on vendors to collect every penny of revenue

Now, check out this new press release which shows Directions on Microsoft acting as more than an analyst firm focused on Microsoft. They are just making money from the Microsoft ecosystem by assisting with Microsoft licensing, for example, offering remedies to the above "illness". Essentially, they are like Microsoft salespeople, but some have a blog at CNET. What a farce, as if CNET didn’t have enough Microsoft blogs already…

The funny thing is that this press release (with Paul DeGroot at the bottom) says: “Directions on Microsoft is an INDEPENDENT analyst firm formed in 1992 to focus exclusively on Microsoft.” Yes, they even capitalised “INDEPENDENT”. Maybe it’s “INDEPENDENT” in the Peter O’Kelly sense [1, 2]. Eventually he worked directly for Microsoft.

“Essentially, they are like Microsoft salespeople, but some have a blog at CNET.”Then there’s Microsoft Enderle, the “INDEPENDENT” analyst who has just come out with a 3-part series boosting Microsoft. He is routinely attacking Microsoft’s competition and even prominent critics like Groklaw. Private E-mails revealed that he’s working with Microsoft's PR department, Waggener Edstrom (examples in [1, 2]). There’s no shame to these people.

About a week ago we wrote about Centrify and mentioned Likewise; both of these companies engage in Microsoft methodologies (they are run by former Microsoft employees, at least in part) and do protocol promotion with software patents, even on UNIX/Linux (unlike Samba, which is exempted from these unacceptable terms). Likewise is preparing for change. It’s to do with perception and public engagement.

Speaking of which, Microsoft has just sparked some more cheap PR efforts (there’s a $36,000 ‘carrot’ involved) and it offers free lunch to developers (well, breakfast actually):

It will be attended by some of Silicon Valley’s most well known companies, including Yahoo, Microsoft, Mozilla, Yelp, and plenty more. Microsoft is even sponsoring breakfast.

Microsoft also organised/sponsored an anti-Google ("Screw Google") luncheon. Microsoft pays for — not earns — supporters.

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