Summary: The Unified Patent Litigation System (UPLS) threatens Free software in Europe; Microsoft gets away with deceiving to pass this as law and it harms EU innovation in the process
TWO months ago we wrote about Neelie Kroes strengthening Microsoft's monopoly using software patents in Europe, where Microsoft is fighting to make these legal.
There has just been a live public broadcast which the FFII captured in full. It still requires some editing, mostly clipping.
“Kroes said Commission made a deal with Microsoft about patent last week…”
–FFII’s PresidentRemarking on this broadcast very succinctly, the President of the FFII wrote: “Kroes said Commission made a deal with Microsoft about patent last week, I need to clip that part of the video [...] Kroes was quite clueless about software patents and UPLS, she was favouring interoperability exception…
“Plenty of stuff about ACTA in the video recordings of Kroes [...] Plenty of questions about net neutrality…”
Meanwhile, over at The Register (UK), Microsoft booster Gavin Clarke advertises their software patents (yes, in the UK even). Earlier today he published this piece of promotional nonsense.
Microsoft is not growing the fastest when it comes to USPTO patent awards. That honor in 2009 went to Hon Hai Precision with a 39 per cent increase in awards, followed by LG Electronics and Cisco Systems on 32 and 30 per cent respectively. But Microsoft had a bigger portfolio.
There you have it fanbois: Those who think IBM walks on water because of the patents and IP its generously given to Linux and open-source, the mask as finally slipped. Patents to IBM are a currency it uses to get what it wants.
There he goes, giving away his agenda by calling GNU/Linux users “fanbois” in a supposedly professional publications (it all changed when Microsoft signed deals with it). Here is Clarke glorifying the law-breaking Gates, who protested against patents when Microsoft was smaller (which makes him a hypocrite). It’s no secret that IBM is not a friend when it comes to software patents, so Clarke is attacking straw men.
Some of the stuff Microsoft is patenting gives reasons to grumble. Here is one patent that we mentioned last week:
Trust Microsoft to try to make money out of an oxymoron. Because that’s what putting DRM in the same sentence as P2P amounts to.
Steve and the Boyz reckon they’ve found a way to use DRM on P2P networks to distribute commercial media online.
Microsoft has turned from a company that fails to innovate to a company that actively stifles innovation, using software patents.
Over in Japan, the risk of patent war is said to be increasing, according to Reuters. Japan is one of the few (if not the only) countries in Asia that actually recognise software patents.
Japan tech needs M&A but patent war more likely
To regain their competitive edge, Japanese electronics makers should be looking to mergers and acquisitions, cost cuts and other moves to boost their market share abroad, according to government officials, investors and bankers. But veteran executives tend to be resistant to change, and the many factions found in Japanese conglomerates often slow decision making because of the value placed on consensus building.
Maybe it’s good for China that Japan retards its own progress by innovating in the courtroom rather than the lab. Patents hinder innovation and promote monopolisation. It’s as simple as that and it has been proven by many separate studies. █
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Summary: It is not Google’s fault but Microsoft’s fault that China managed to compromise accounts not just of Google but of over 20 other companies, by Microsoft’s own admission
YESTERDAY we mentioned Google’s reaction to attacks from China, which are now confirmed to be targeting different companies. It was not something against Google as Google is one among several victims and some people doubt there will be an exit from the largest Internet market.
How would leaving the Chinese market actually prevent Chinese crackers from connecting to Google servers? It would not.
Hacking Risks Persist Even If Companies Withdraw From China
Google and other enterprises still face a bleak computer security landscape that makes their companies vulnerable to hackers, whether they do business in China or not, analysts say.
Perhaps the most interesting revelation, which was found buried deep inside reports, is the role of Windows in these attacks on Google. Check this one out for example: (the emphasis in red is ours)
More sources are now claiming the Chinese government is behind the recent cyberattacks against Google and 33 other Silicon Valley companies, reports security firm Verisign iDefense. The attacks, revealed yesterday via a posting on Google’s official blog, were hacking attempts on the technology infrastructure of Google and other major corporations in sectors that included finance, technology, media and chemical, said Dave Girouard, president of Google Enterprise.
While July’s attacks were detected early and were largely uneventful, December’s attacks did find some success. In addition, these same sources claim that the files in both cases share similar characteristics. For example, both attacks used a backdoor Trojan in the form of a Windows DLL, and both share two similar hosts for the command-and-control (C&C) communication. In layman’s terms, if the cyberattack was a ground assault during a war, the C&C would be the general barking out the orders. Also in both incidents, the IP addresses used for C&C are in the same subnet and only six addresses apart from each other. That means both attacks are likely to have been instigated by the same entity and may imply that the recent victims’ technology infrastructure has been compromised since July.
When one in two Windows PCs is said to be a zombie PC, the above should not be surprising. This was a targeted attack which must have relied on China activists’ use of Microsoft Windows.
As the name suggests, the carefully crafted assaults differ from the net-cast-wide malware most often seen. A targeted attack specifically selects its victim and generally sends an e-mail using that person’s name and perhaps business title. The body of the message might reference an attached list of business contacts, or describe it as an invoice, or use any other hook that would allay suspicion and convince the victim to double-click the attachment.
Real activists do not use Windows and should use GNU/Linux. A few moments ago, our reader Jose added information that confirms the above. It’s an AP article titled “Microsoft’s browser flaw exposed Google to hackers” and it says (in the opening): “Microsoft says a security flaw in its Internet Explorer browser played a role in the recent computer attacks against Google and at least 20 other companies.”
In other news, a bank server has just been compromised and Baidu got hit by the same group that exploited Windows botnets to take down Twitter [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. We mentioned this story here and there’s more from The Register:
The same group that used a DNS attack to hijack Twitter last month has defaced the home page of Chinese search engine Baidu.
Surfers visiting Baidu site on Monday night were confronted by the message “This site has been hacked by Iranian Cyber Army”, together with an image of the Iranian flag. Early speculation suggests the attack involved changing Baidu’s DNS records rather than a direct attack on the site itself, but this remains unconfirmed.
Baidu — unlike Google — was not a victim of customers who use Windows. Google should tell customers that it’s not Google that’s vulnerable; it’s Windows. Customers should therefore rethink their platform preferences. The same already goes for banks, for similar reasons. █
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Summary: A sanity check that touches on the facts when it comes to Microsoft, Miguel, and Novell
THE Microsoft blogs are still grooming Miguel de Icaza to help him shove .NET and other Microsoft software (and patents) like Mono and Moonlight into the #1 competitor of Microsoft. Here is the latest example. This Microsoft-rewarded blog pretends by calling Miguel de Icaza an “ex-rival” (of Microsoft), but he was never a rival; he was even looking to work for Microsoft over a decade ago, very shortly before he started GNOME.
The Source (sort of an offshoot of Mono-Nono) writes regarding Miguel de Icaza’s Microsoft MVP award:
Great to see more official recognition from Microsoft to Mr. de Icaza on his tireless efforts supporting Microsoft products and technologies!
Other good new posts from The Source speak about Mono and Moonlight, as well as the attacks on Richard Stallman for daring to resist these.
“Fatal Flaw: On Competition
Example: “Moonlight/Silverlight will force Adobe to step up its game, and that competition benefits everyone”
Example: “Mono/.NET will force Java to step up its game, and that competition benefits everyone”
The argument here is supporting Mono/Moonlight/Microsoft is at least indirectly beneficial — if not directly so — because competition benefits everyone.
When Microsoft talks about “killing” and “fucking burying” competition, driving competitors into a “death spiral” and “out of business”, stacks and bribes standard bodies, and so on, ad nauesum to the extent that courts around the world must step in to correct their behavior time and time again, then I submit to you, Gentle Reader, that is not a culture of co-operative competition.
Outside of a whole raft of general issues with competition (who benefits? for how long? at whose expense? what are the intended end results? what are the unintended side effects? etc), it is clear that not all competition is beneficial. Furthermore it seems clear to me (though I’m sure not so clear to everyone) that Microsoft chooses destructive competition.
Jason repeats an important point:
Thus I return again to my point that the vocal anti-Free Software critics are either ignorant or malicious.¹ The FSF is quite good at laying out its philosophy in great detail on its website. You don’t have to sign an NDA or anything.
¹ The sadly necessary disclaimer: I’m not suggesting there is no valid criticism out there, just that people who play the “zealot” card, ridicule RMS or the FSF for “hypocrisy”, or enage in other such fact and logic-free fallacies are to be dismissed with scorn.
It is not surprising that a lot of anti-Stallman sentiments arrive from the camp which is advancing Microsoft software in the form of surrogate implementations. Stallman is aware of the problem and he wrote to me about it earlier today. Those who attack Richard Stallman usually have a thing in common; they care about power, not freedom. █
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Summary: Clearer insights into the means by which Microsoft responds to the mere existence of competition and a broad public’s awareness of choice
OVER a year ago we showed how Microsoft was fighting GNU/Linux in cyber cafés. It used the infamous “piracy” slur. It was a self-serving lie.
Two days ago we quoted DeGroot from Directions on Microsoft regarding Microsoft’s latest scheme to block GNU/Linux and OpenOffice.org adoption [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. One of the people from OpenOffice.org has just responded as follows: (also here)
OpenOffice.org in internet cafes threat to Microsoft
Another week, another example of how Microsoft is being forced to react to the increasing adoption of OpenOffice.org as the 2010 office software of choice. Clearly worried by OpenOffice.org’s increasing market share, Microsoft has been forced to change its licencing terms in an attempt to hold on to its internet cafe business. Directions on Microsoft analyst Paul DeGroot admits that Linux and OpenOffice.org are a perfectly viable alternative to Microsoft Windows and MS-Office for web cafes.
Similarly, Microsoft is stifling a move to GNU/Linux and OpenOffice.org in British schools. This is achieved through taxpayers-funded indoctrination of the young, as we explained last night. It turns out now that not only BETCA is involved [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Microsoft is also directly involved in this, so it need not rely on corruptible officials. Earlier today we found this report at The Register:
Microsoft tells UK schools: buy our software, save money
Microsoft’s UK education chief insisted yesterday that schools would continue to lap up its software despite tightening budgets and a likely change of government – and education policy – in the next few months.
Earlier this week Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced a national rollout of the Home Access scheme – to get laptops and broadband into around 270,000 deprived homes. Microsoft has been a key player in that particular £300m project.
Another new article from The Register adds: “The then schools minister Jim Knight said in January 2009 that Microsoft had created something he described as a “re-investment fund”. The software maker agreed to “commit to fund a foundation in support of the Home Access programme”.”
“Commit to fund a foundation,” eh? Let us not forget the role of the Gates Foundation in education. We wrote about this subject in:
- Bill Gates Puts in a Million to Ratify His Role as Education Minister
- How the Gates Foundation is Used to Ensure Children Become Microsoft Clients
- More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
- Microsoft Builds Coalitions of NGOs, Makes Political and Educational Changes
- Microsoft’s EDGI in India: Fighting GNU/Linux in Education
- Microsoft’s Gates Seeks More Monopolies
- Gates Foundation Funds Blogs to Promote Its Party Line
- Microsoft Bribes to Make Education Microsoft-based
- Lobbyists Dodge the Law; Bill Gates Lobbies the US Education System with Another $10 Million
- Gates Investments in Education Criticised; Monsanto (Gates-Backed) Corruption Revisited
- Latest Vista 7 Failures and Microsoft Dumping
This degree of market distortion which relies on back room deals and corrupted appointees need not carry on. More people just need to become aware of it and resistant to the propaganda (PR) that eternally disguises the truth. █
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Summary: MEPIS is listing Novell’s Mono among non-Free software, as it probably ought to
MEPIS is a popular GNU/Linux distribution which is built on top of KDE. The KDE 3.5-based build of SimplyMEPIS 8.0.15 is said to include Mono, but this is not correct (Distrolove is inaccurate).
Warren Woodford has announced the release of SimplyMEPIS8.0.15, a new update of the beginner-friendly distribution based on Debian’s stable branch.
What’s New in SimplyMEPIS 8.0.15 :
> Devian 5
> 2.6.27 Linux kernel
> OpenOffice.org 3.1.1
> Firefox 3.5.6
> BIND 9.6.1-P2
> Skype 126.96.36.199
> Mono 188.8.131.52
> you can play any audio/video files.
Having taken a look at the official press release, Mono seems like just an addon, which is advertised alongside the proprietary Skype. █
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Summary: A collection of news demonstrating the upper hand of Free software in the marketplace
AMONG the many success stories for Free software we have not yet included the following articles about GNU/Linux replacing Windows on the desktop (partly proprietary though). Microsoft has attempted dirty tricks against this, but clearly these attempts are failing because more motherboards come with GNU/Linux (alongside Windows). From the New Zealand Herald:
Several programs aim to work around Windows’ slow boot times by simply not booting Windows. Instead, these programs – some of which come installed on new computers from Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Asustek Computer and Acer, among others – launch a stripped-down desktop that allows you to surf the web, handle any email you can view in a browser and perform other basic tasks. Windows is there, but only to be called up when needed.
I’ve been using one such program, HyperSpace from Phoenix Technologies, on a Samsung NC10 netbook for the past couple of weeks.
Press the power button and within 15 seconds the Linux-based HyperSpace presents you with a customisable screen including a browser, a notepad application, RealNetworks’s RealPlayer media software and news, weather and stock information.
Looking at the server side, there is also this new defeat for Microsoft Exchange:
LotusLive Scores Huge Win at Panasonic over Microsoft Exchange
All of these wins show that enterprise customers will move faster to the cloud than many expected. In the coming months, we expect Google and IBM will intensify its campaigns against Microsoft. IBM may also have an advantage against Google as the LotusLive pricing structure makes it easy for customers to make an investment. Google offers its services for free and $50 for a premiere account.
Microsoft’s software is very defective and shoddy (that’s another report about the 2010 bug, this time from CNN) and IDG is now proclaiming that Microsoft should also abandon Internet Explorer:
Microsoft Should Kill Internet Explorer
It’s time for Microsoft to kill Internet Explorer. It has to be done quickly, before it’s too late to rebound. The browser is bleeding market share in a way that a new version alone cannot stop. It’s time for the company to rethink the browser and come at it from a fresh perspective. Microsoft needs a new browser, not a new version of an existing one.
Outside the United States, Internet Explorer may no longer be a market share leader and it also keeps declining (despite illegal preinstalls). █
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Summary: Bill Veghte abandons the company where he participated in strategies that violate the law
MICROSOFT suffers yet another major departure. This time it’s Bill Veghte, the senior vice president whom we wrote about before, especially when Microsoft’s anti-GNU/Linux tactics were exposed (based on court evidence for antitrust). To judge this man’s career based some public interviews would be pointless (he was at Microsoft for almost twenty years); rather, internal E-mails that expose what’s said when the public ain’t watching (no posing for the cameras, so to speak) is what ought to teach about the real Veghte. Last year he was mentioned in:
Subjectivity reigns the news. Reports about his departure include mostly confirmed Microsoft boosters. At least 80% of the following results that we could find are articles which come from the unofficial Microsoft spokespeople:
“Whitewash” is what one of our readers calls this ‘report’ from CNET’s primary Microsoft booster. It’s glorying one of the perpetrators of anti-competitive tactics at Microsoft.
“The crook belongs behind bars for the damage he’s helped do to the US’ reputation and economy,” said one of our readers. “His family can’t have missed what he was up to all those 19 years and claim full innocence.”
Quoting from the booster’s report, he adds:
“rebuild its reputation with customers…”
It never had [any] other than a bad reputation.
Windows will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows 2 will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows 3.0 will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows 3.1 will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows NT will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows 95 will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows NT 4 will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows 98 will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows NT5 / 2000 will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows Me will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows NT5.1 / XP will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows NT5.2 / XP SP2 will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows Server 2003 will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows Home Server will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows Vista will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows Server 2008 will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows Vista 7 will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
Windows Vista 8 will rebuild M$ reputation and get it back on track
. . .
Who is next to leave Microsoft? Maybe Steve Ballmer? █
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