To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
The LTSP-Cluster project is proud to announce that its website is now on-line.
9. Google Search Appliances – Google builds its search appliances on the Linux platform. If you’re using one in your company, you’re using Linux. Sure Google uses a special version of just about everything for their appliances but it’s built on the solid stability of Linux.
8. Monitoring Services – If you’re doing any network monitoring or system performance checking, chances are good that you’re using Linux to do it. Large companies use commodity hardware and free software to do their bidding where possible. Projects like Orca make life easier for IT professionals who must find and deploy tools that are scalable, inexpensive and return a lot of bang for the amount of effort applied. Orca and Sysstat are absolutely indispensable for large networks where you have to manage thousands of disparate systems.
7. Development Platform – Since Linux comes standard with so many development tools such as Eclipse, C, C++, Mono, python, perl, PHP and many, many others; it’s no wonder that it’s the world’s most popular development platform. It contains thousands of dollars worth of development software all free of charge and that’s good news for developers in all parts of the globe.
Finally though, spare a thought for a kernel developer named Dan Carpenter who is currently travelling across Africa and struggling to keep up with kernel development on expensive and infrequent bandwidth. Dan asked for help in cloning a fresh git tree using a protocol such as rsync that supports partial transfers, since he can only purchase 200MB of bandwidth at a time and this is not enough to fetch a complete git development tree. That’s all folks. Don’t forget to visit www.kernelpodcast.org (which had its 100,000th download this month) for daily updates on kernel development.
Although the high-end graphics cards were released months ago, ATI just this week announced the availability of open-source drivers for the Evergreen family of devices.
Of course, many pertaining to the brotherhood of linux have long had a gripe with AMD over its perceived “lesser” support, an issue which really came to a head back in 2007, when things were possibly at their most dire in terms of AMD open source support.
When we contacted the firm to find out why it was that it had such a bad rep on the linux street, we were told by John Bridgman of the firm’s software development engineering group that the image was undeserved.
Earlier this week Nvidia and AMD squared off over support for open source drivers, and it seems neither company is ready to lay down the handbag just yet – this time against the backdrop of OpenCL.
If Brewtarget turns out not to be your pint of beer (har har), brewsta is another free, cross-platform, open-source alternative worth a look. This editor’s definitely going to forward these apps on to his homebrewing dad, but if we’ve got any other experienced homebrewers out there who’ve got their own homebrew hacks and helpers, let’s hear about it in the comments.
Stellarium is a free open source planetarium Software for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.
* default catalogue of over 600,000 stars
* extra catalogues with more than 210 million stars
* realistic Milky Way
Welcome to part four of our look at the KDE 4.3 System Settings panel. In this section we’ll tackle the Advanced User Settings under the Advanced tab. So let’s take a look at what’s available in this section and how it may benefit you.
Nettop is constructed using only open source software and hardware with all tech specs available.
Nettops are nothing new; we have seen many of the desktop machines that run netbook hardware inside. One of the more colorful entries we have seen on the market was the Dell Zino HD unveiled back in November 2009. If your tastes lean more towards open computers than machines that use lots of proprietary software the new Open-PC nettop may be perfect for you.
GNOME-Shell needs no introduction. I’m sure many of you all know what it is, have opinions on it and probably you will have tried it out.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we all had to start somewhere with Linux. When you’re not used to the way it works, or the kind of concepts involved, Linux can seem like a foreign language. If you’re struggling with free software, or if you know someone who needs help making the switch to Linux, we hope this feature will help.
It is felt that Ubuntu Netbook Edition provides too many applications by default, so this specification is about discussing the use cases we want to support, and which applications are needed to provide that.
The PowerBook G4 Mac in the house finally quit working. We splurged $300 on a brand new laptop recently. We got a 3 year old Dell Latitude D820 from Craigslist. With 2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo, and 1920×1200 screen resolution – that makes for an impressive system with Ubuntu 9.10 installed.
All in all, I am very pleased with the clean look and speedy performance of Ubuntu 9.10 on the Dell D820. Linux has come a long way, and now looks totally professional, especially on a high resolution screen. It certainly feels like I’m using serious computing power, and the fact that it’s open source, free, and so adaptable – is just inspiring. Thanks to the leagues of open source developers out there who created an amazing system, which in my opinion is clearly superior to Windows on the basis of speed, flexibility, and cost. I’d like to hear from others if they also have similar opinions on the speed issues – and if so – why isn’t everyone switching to Linux on the basis of that metric alone.
Symbian may have gone open-source, but Nokia’s Maemo smartphone OS had OPEN SAUCE galore at the Push N900 event in London this week.
With the implementation of the Nokia N900 Maemo 5, the menu structure is entirely new, which means that it takes time to get used to. After startup, there are a number of home screens for the user to scroll through. Widgets, average shortcuts or contacts can be added to a home screen. This structure is found on several mobile phones nowadays and is very convenient. It allows you to create your own user environment, containing everything that is important to you, in an easy way.
Android is the name given to a mobile operating system using a customised version of the Linux kernel. It was first released in late 2008. The platform enables developers to write code in the Java language, controlling the device via Java libraries developed by Google.
Would you like to get the Google/HTC Nexus One Superphone for a cool $49?
What if I also threw in the unlocked version of the phone?
Now what if I also said you don’t need to sign a two year contract?
So, Google/HTC could have very easily made this one phone model compatible with not only T-Mobile and AT&T, but pretty much any 3GSM network worldwide if they only included the right combination of power amplifiers. According to iSuppli’s teardown of the Nexus One, the four small power amplifiers that are in the Nexus One only account for $2.20 in manufacturing costs. $2.20! How much more could a different combination of power amplifiers have cost? Maybe another $2 (at most)?!
Competition for the Apple iPad is already threatening to come from many different, well-known companies. Google and HTC may have a tablet this year, Microsoft certainly has a few running Windows 7 from its partner manufacturers. But another tablet looks promising and comes from a complete unknown.
Evidence supporting the theory that Google is planning to release its own tablet computer is mounting, according to new online reports.
While you can argue about what the numbers actually mean, it’s nice to see that the main players in mobile browser are all feeding back changes to the WebKit open-source project. Alongside Nokia (and Trolltech), Apple, Google and RIM are all contributing in some form, as shown in Evan Martin’s blog post to the Chromium web
ByWater Solutions, an open source community supporter and official Koha support company, announced today that Nelsonville Public Library, serving Athens County, Ohio since 1935, has partnered with them for the implementation of Koha, the open source integrated library system.
VivoWare, Inc today announced plans to release source code for VivoSocial™ as open source. This initiative will let developers worldwide participate in the growth of the industry’s most advanced social networking framework for building rich social Internet applications for the DotNetNuke framework. The open source VivoSocial SDK and documentation will be available under the MIT License.
Now the future of Kenai is being portrayed in a somewhat different light. Ted Farrell, Oracle’s Chief Architect with co-responsibility for developer tools and middleware products, has announced that Oracle does indeed plan to close down kenai.com to concentrate on java.net as its central hosting platform, but that Oracle is in the process of migrating the Java community portal to the Kenai technology.
Full disclosure: I like SugarCRM and have a lot of respect for what they are trying to do. The idea of open source CRM is very appealing and can be very successful — like open source operating systems (think Linux), open encyclopedias (like Wikipedia) and open source Web servers like Apache. All of these open source products are very good in their own right and highly sought-after. Let me give just one example of open source success: Apache has 52 percent of the market for Web server software.
Will this be the year open-source PBX and VoIP systems are ready for their close-up? The opportunity is better than ever, argued attendees at January’s Digium Asterisk World conference in Miami. According to one researcher, Eastern Management Group, open-source PBXes now account for 18 percent of all PBX sales in North America — and that number’s rising.
In their paper, which appeared in last week’s PLoS Genetics, the team highlighted “enormous improvements in the throughput of data generation.” The scientists had decided to mainly use open source software for the project, putting in place an open-source analysis and data-management pipeline called SeqWare, which was developed in the lab.
KnowledgeTree, an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) provider focusing on document management software, announced it joined Open Tech, a new channel for open source independent software vendors (ISVs) to market and sell the company’s solutions to thousands of resellers nationwide.
With Pamela Fox (@pamelafox) from Google Australia as our special guest this week, the TWIA crew tried to make sense out of the JooJoo’s new partnership with CSL Malaysia. We also reviewed the future of Naver, the top search engine in South Korea, the Malaysia government’s declaration of 95% adoption in OSS and most exciting of all, the impact of the court ruling on iiNet’s victory over the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT). Not to mention, we weaved Google Wave, FilmCamp SG, the #dIE6 movement and adoption of open source in governments into an exciting week of This Week in Asia.
Paradigm Works, Inc., a world-class leader in ASIC and FPGA development services and software, announced today that it has released its RegWorks™ Spec2Reg tool as Free Open Source Software (FOSS) for the chip development community. Built on VMM’s Register Abstraction Layer (RAL) capability, Spec2Reg provides development teams a fully automated path for taking register definitions from design specification to verification implementation.
The Microsoft Office productivity suite has risen to become the dominant application of its type for business IT management. But there are open source office productivity suites available that may provide a suitable alternative to Office, depending on your requirements.
Are you one who’s been showing presentations and wish that you have an idea what the next slide will be? The Sun Presenter Console might be the tool for you.
The US$ 2.4 million project will help FAO member countries to test and adopt low-cost open source technology for the benefit of their land records maintenance.
ZDNet Asia blogger Frederic Muller, who has been promoting Linux in China for some time, says it’s about ownership and getting credit.
SourceForge, the open source project hosting site, has announced that it has turned off the “blanket block” on access from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
Queensland open source software company Zac-Ware has scored a contract for its Jentla software with the sixth largest educational institution in the US.
John Graves, who ran a multimedia CD business during the dot-com boom and also put in time on Wall Street, is enrolled at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). His doctorate aims to determine how quickly open source software projects can cycle or evolve.
“Gack!” you say (justifiably). “Thank goodness I don’t need to know about this H.264-HTML5-Ogg Theora mumbo-jumbo.” Unfortunately, if you are in charge of encoding video for your Web site, if you design video players, or manage those who do, then you probably do need to pay attention.
Blame it on YouTube and Apple. Though they didn’t start it, their recent moves have brought the debate about open-source video codecs from niche blogs to a wider audience.
There is one major obstacle to HTML5, however: Mozilla, the open-source developer of Firefox, doesn’t support H.264 because it’s a proprietary codec. (Mozilla and others in the open-source community prefer Ogg Theora. And Google is looking to buy On2, the company that owns yet another proprietary video codec.)
While it offers advanced features that enable greater fine-tuning of settings than Mail, Thunderbird’s biggest selling point is its expandability. It supports hundreds of extensions including calendars, antispam, themes and encryption. Thunderbird can also run off a USB stick.
According to the developers, one of the main goals for the Thunderbird 3.1 Alpha 1 release is “to find out about possible problems caused by the changes in the underlying platform”.
Accuity, the leading worldwide provider of payment routing data, AML screening software and services, is pleased to announce that it has acquired a significant minority stake in World Compliance, the Miami, Florida-based Open Source Intelligence company.
“Venture capital flooding into open-source start-ups over the past several years resulted in an explosion of enterprise-ready tools and applications,” writes Mark Madsen, industry expert and president of Third Nature in one of the reports, “Open Source Solutions: Managing, Analyzing, and Delivering Business Information.” The report, published by BEyeNetwork, contains the results of Madsen’s survey of more than 1,000 information technology professionals. About one-third of the respondents claim to have deployed open-source software for reporting, data integration, or database analytics purposes, and more than a third say they plan to evaluate open-source for analytics in the near term. Only 12 percent of respondents say they have no plans to look into open-source BI.
DW: From what I’ve read, PC-BSD makes a strong effort to add to the underlying FreeBSD operating system without changing the base. Are there any parts of FreeBSD you do have to change and what effect does this have on the system?
KM: We’ve actually done a very good job at keeping as vanilla of a FreeBSD base as possible. With PC-BSD 8.0, the only differences are a few extra kernel configuration options, such as “atapicam” support to enable CD/DVD burning and options to enable some specific “pf” firewall features.
DW: Could you please explain the relationship between PC-BSD and iXsystems? Do they own/control the project?
KM: iXsystems owns the trademark “PC-BSD”, and greatly assists it by funding some of its development, along with promotion and support. The project itself is open source, of course. All our code is BSD licensed and freely available.
This means that once a company has begun the open source journey, and started to understand what that implies in terms of how software is created and used, they are then far better placed to work with governmental implementations of the same approach when they appear.
In other words, the more a company deploys open source now, the better it will be able to see – and grasp – future opportunities as government gradually opens up its data treasuries. Yet another reason for not only using free software, but also embracing the underlying ideas it represents.
The VA’s VistA system is open source, but aged. Late in the Bush years moves were made to replace it with a contracted system. In the new budget those moves are expected to bear fruit, just as open source VistA implementations are making waves in the private Electronic Health Record (EHR) marketplace.
But even as politicians start seeing the light, the pace and methods used by governments to free up facts are much influenced by independent, open-source software designers. (One reason that English-speaking governments are ahead of others is that there are a lot of activist anglophone open-source programmers.) Most of the data sets offered by governments bear the stamp “beta”, suggesting that they are open to improvement. With unusual humility, bureaucrats are borrowing jargon from open-source developers.
Open standards have been made mandatory for the IT systems of Hungary’s public administrations. The Hungarian parliament voted in favour of amendments prescribing open standards, to a law on electronic government services, on 14 December. The changes received 197 votes in favour, one against and 146 abstentions, according to the Open Standard Alliance, a Hungarian advocacy group that lobbyed in favour of the amendments.
The Conservative Party says it intends to publish all IT contracts and Gateway project reviews. But the pledge, which is outlined in a paper on its information technology and communications strategy, is likely to be opposed by senior civil servants who have convinced successive Labour ministers of the need for continued secrecy over IT projects.
This week ICEsoft Technologies announced the release of ICEpdf 4.0, its open source PDF rendering technology for Java.
If you want to find an up-to-date map of Haiti, then there is only one place to go. It is not Google Maps or any of its competitors. It is the admirable OpenStreetMap.org (OSM), which is being updated even as I write by volunteers all over the world.
If there is one enduring truth about college students it is that they are usually broke —- and the way business professor Christina Hata sees it, she ought to do something to help them save money when possible.
For the second consecutive year, Hata has used free “open-source” textbooks in place of a $180 hardbound book as the main texts in her Small Business Management course at MiraCosta College.
Open-source textbooks are electronic copies of books that can be downloaded from specialized Internet Web sites that are dedicated to making education more affordable.
Crowdsourcing represents an interesting attempt to generalise the open source methodology to non-technical areas. The basic idea is to tap into the the vast store of knowledge and wisdom among the general population by providing a mechanism to funnel the best ideas to those who can build on them.
Industry-quality open source tools that can be utilized in the development of video games without compromising the quality of the game or the experience.
Ruby on Rails 3.0, an upgrade to the popular Web development framework that features a merger with the Merb framework, has just gone into a beta release, according to a blog post on the Ruby on Rails Web site this week.
In the field of mathematical software packages, applications such as Wolfram Research’s Mathematica, and Maplesoft’s Maple system instantly spring to mind. These are both highly popular, proprietary, commercial, integrated mathematical software environments. Other types of mathematical software packages generally receive much less publicity.
For those of you who use GIMP, you know it is a really great alternative to Photoshop. Like any program, free or not, there is always room for improvement. Plugins are a an easy way to add functionality.
GIMP has two different types of plugins, Script-fu and Python-fu. Right out of the box, you can add Script-fu plugins. To add Python based plugins, there is some additional steps and add-ons needed.
Google long has been an advocate of a single Web, one that’s free of government censorship and barriers to information access.
Asked for comment, Google merely said the domain is used to “identify the servers on our network,” and it hinted that such identification involves reverse DNS lookup – the process of determining which domain name is associated with a particular IP address. Reverse DNS is often used by anti-spam services to verify email senders, but it’s also used a general means of ensuring a network is working as it should be working.
Are web sites today so complicated because they have to be or because they can be?
I am sure if you are a web site designer, you believe the former, but as an end user and part time designer, I am really beginning to wonder.
IBM Research on Friday announced that it has demonstrated a radio-frequency graphene transistor with the highest frequency so far: 100GHz.
On the eve of Sunday’s launch of space shuttle Endeavour, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said he supports President Obama’s goal of making the space industry a commercial venture, but is concerned about potential job losses at the agency.
The space shuttle Endeavour bolted off its seaside launch pad on Monday on a voyage to install the last two main pieces of the International Space Station.
The US space shuttle has made its final night launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Endeavour orbiter soared into the Florida sky on a 13-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
The weather is looking good here at the Kennedy Space Center for Sunday’s pre-dawn launch of the Endeavour shuttle.
China has closed down what is believed to be the country’s biggest training website for hackers, state media has reported.
But McIntyre was meanwhile guarded with his source in Norwich. He emailed him back: “I haven’t seen such a website. You’d think there’d be discussion on the blogs of something like that. I’ll definitely stay tuned!!” Only after the bloggers had launched their great scoop did he inform Dennis.
I testified yesterday to the Senate Banking Committee hearing on the “Volcker Rules” (full pdf version; summary). My view is that while the principles behind these proposed rules are exactly on target – limiting the size of our largest banks and preventing any financial institution backed by the government, implicitly or explicitly, from taking big risks – the specific rule changes would need to be much tougher if they are to have any effect.
Wall Street is strongly opposed to the Volcker Rules (link to the written testimony; webcast) and the discussion elicited some classic Goldman Sachs moments. Gerry Corrigan, a senior executive at Goldman and former head of the New York Fed, suggested that Goldman Sachs has an impeccable approach to risk management and seemed to imply that the firm was not in trouble in fall 2008. When pressed on why Goldman requested and was granted a banking license – and access to the Fed’s discount window – in September 2008, he fell back slightly, “There is no question whatsoever that when you look at totality of the steps that were taken by central banks and government, particularly in 2008, that Goldman Sachs was a beneficiary of this.”
There’s a what? No wonder the American voter handed over control of Congress to the GOP. That’s a pretty corrupt move. Can we get a role call vote on that? And did it go into effect under Bush 41?
Huh. This is the Ethics Reform Act of 1989. And it ‘passed by voice vote.’ It was first used under Clinton. And the New York Times discusses how Paulson could make $48M off it in 2006.
Max calls them “Financial Terrorists” and never lets up on Goldman Sachs. Watch the video and see what else we can agree on with Max Keiser and why… It’s a silent coup d’etat via Goldman Sachs.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is scheduled to testify to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee tomorrow. The hearing is certain to be good theater. Whether it reveals good government, or a government working for the few at the expense of the many, is another matter.
A.I.G. had long insured complex mortgage securities owned by Goldman and other firms against possible defaults. With the housing crisis deepening, A.I.G., once the world’s biggest insurer, had already paid Goldman $2 billion to cover losses the bank said it might suffer.
A.I.G. executives wanted some of its money back, insisting that Goldman — like a homeowner overestimating the damages in a storm to get a bigger insurance payment — had inflated the potential losses. Goldman countered that it was owed even more, while also resisting consulting with third parties to help estimate a value for the securities.
I’ve been writing about this now over a year in regard to the mess that became of AIG, their “financial products” unit, and what I believe is culpability not only of certain financial parties but more importantly our regulators of these firms.
Now The NY Times has published a new article that makes clear that my clarion call for major changes in these areas of the market were not only spot-on, but are even more necessary today than they were back then.
To be sure, Mr. Paulson has not written a book intended to rebut the conspiracy theorists who claim that he was driven to help his old firm, Goldman Sachs, or to aid big investment banks generally. He acknowledges that throughout the crisis he remained “in constant touch with Wall Street CEOs,” and he reports no fewer than 50 phone conversations with Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld between the March 2008 bailout of Bear Stearns and the Lehman bankruptcy in September.
CIA officers are allowed to moonlight, and ply their espionage skills elsewhere in their free time, reports Janine Wedel.
Should Goldman Sachs be regulated? Or are they doing nothing wrong at all? Do people even care about Goldman Sachs? Find out in the video above!
Just last week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to directly pay billions of dollars to banks as part of its scheme to bail out insurance giant American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG).
According to committee Chairman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, the testimony that congressmen heard just didn’t “pass the smell test.”
The same day that AIG received the $85 billion taxpayer infusion back in September 2008, Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer David A.Viniar said he “would expect the direct input of our credit exposure to both of them [referring also to bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings (OTC: LEHMQ)] to be immaterial.”
Throughout the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. extolled the use of market prices to value holdings, saying this instills needed discipline. The firm’s hard-line stance turned to mush, though, when it came time to end a market myth that fueled 2008’s meltdown. Goldman, along with the mutual-fund industry, argues that it is fine for money-market funds to use historical values, rather than market prices, to value holdings. This helps money- market funds maintain a stable price of $1 a share. The problem: the $1 share price gives investors the false impression that money-market funds are like bank accounts and so can’t lose money.
The most ridiculous sentence I’ve read today comes from Goldman Sachs, protesting against proposals that money-market funds should be marked to market. But first let’s remember what Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein has to say about marking to market:
For Goldman Sachs, the daily marking of positions to current market prices was a key contributor to our decision to reduce risk relatively early in markets and in positions that were deteriorating. This process can be difficult, and sometimes painful, but I believe it is a discipline that should define financial institutions. We mark-to-market, not because we are required to, but because we wouldn’t know how to assess or manage risk if market prices were not reflected on our books.
Now read this, from his employee James McNamara:
We do not believe that disclosing shadow prices or market-based prices of portfolio securities would be informative to investors… Investors who perceive a NAV differential between two money market funds may wrongly assume that the fund with the lower market NAV is experiencing a material credit or liquidity problem. This may result in destabilizing — and unnecessary — levels of redemption activity in that fund, which could infect other funds managed by the same adviser or other funds as well. The Commission should be mindful of this type of unintended consequence before adopting regulations mandating the disclosure of market-based NAV’s and market-based pricing of portfolio securities.
Anxious executives at rival banks are awaiting the news with a mixture of envy and alarm. Guesses range from nothing to $100 million. Whatever the final figure is — high, low, or somewhere in between — it will set a new benchmark for pay throughout the industry. Goldman Sachs insisted on Wednesday that no decision had been made.
The average employee at the giant investment bank scooped £308,000 in salary, bonuses and other benefits in 2009, which is £112,000 more than they got the previous year.
Jon Winkelried had 2.8 million shares of GS (essentially all his networth), currently worth $500 million.
William Fischer, Harvard law professor and Free Culture Business Theorist 03 (2004)
Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.
Summary: Lawsuits from many fronts add to the trouble that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 already faces
Well, the word has spread that Microsoft is sued over Live Points. We wrote about this before and Microsoft-sympathetic/paid sites are playing ball for Microsoft’s side, as usual. Microsoft opportunistically uses Psystar versus Apple as precedence and the outcome might be interesting. From BetaNews:
All the major home video game consoles offer downloadable games and add-ons that can be bought from a Web-based store, directly through the user’s console. But of the three major companies, Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, only Sony assigns actual dollar values to its downloadable content. Both Microsoft and Nintendo work on points systems where users must first buy a specific amount of credits that are then spent on new content.
More here at Kotaku:
Samuel Lassoff, an attorney in Philadelphia, is taking Microsoft to court over claims that the Xbox 360′s currency system – Microsoft Points – exists to “unjustly enrich” the console manufacturer.
Microsoft handles several other Xbox 360 lawsuits, many of which involve patents. But here is one which relates to a real fiasco demonstrating that Xbox 360 can only be rented, not owned. From the news we have:
One of the reasons Xbox 360 owners shouldn’t be allowed to use unauthorized third-party memory cards is that users sign away their right to do so when purchasing the console, according to Microsoft.
In other words, the users do not own their own hardware that they paid for. Microsoft wants to bury serious allegations.
Sony is about to bring out a motion controller and maybe even beat Microsoft to it. Microsoft does not impress any of its console competitors because Xbox 360 was a failure from a technology and business perspective (extremely high error rates and massive losses which are related to those errors).
Sony is breathing down Microsoft’s neck, and it’s “not going to take too long” for the PS3 to pass the Xbox 360, the Japanese company has confidently claimed.
Nintendo was the first with the motion controller and it is the winner of this generation of consoles. Its competitors just try to imitate now.
Take yourself back in time to 2006 for a moment. The Wii just came out, and it has a controller that looks like a magic wand and controls games in a way that’s never been done — at least not on such a large scale, and not as the main draw of a console. Motion control establishes itself as a bonafide addiction, and the Wii turns into a runaway success.
“They [Microsoft] have the deepest of pockets, unlimited ambition, and they are willing to lose money for years and years just to make sure that you don’t make any money, either. And they are mean, REALLY mean.”
–Robert X. Cringely
Summary: A look at Facebook’s relationship with Microsoft in 2010; Microsoft employees have an effect in competitors of Microsoft, so this issue is addressed too
The previous post was about Silver Lie infiltrations through NASA, so now is a good opportunity to mention this new announcement: “Microsoft Launches The Facebook Silverlight Client”
Facebook is said to be dropping Microsoft adverts (less spyware from Microsoft) and there is also this in the news:
This is another game that will enable Microsoft to spy directly (not via Facebook) on users. As for Facebook, they still have a Bong [sic] deal that enables Microsoft to watch over Facebook users. Microsoft has a new patent on “personal data mining”, which we last mentioned here some days ago; this is important and Canonical should pay attention [1, 2].
When it comes to display advertising on its own site, Facebook is taking full control of its inventory away from Microsoft. Even prior to Microsoft’s initial $240 million investment in Facebook in 2007, the two companies had an advertising partnership giving Microsoft the ability to serve display ads on the social network. That was a three-year deal which was up for renewal. The two companies just finished renegotiating it, and Microsoft will no longer be serving up display ads on Facebook.
“Facebook Swaps Banners for Search Deal With Microsoft” says this new article:
Facebook is changing its approach to display advertising and dropping traditional banner advertising, which Microsoft has sold on the social network since 2006. But Facebook is also deepening an existing search deal with the tech company that will put Bing.com results in front of Facebook’s 400 million global users.
Microsoft keeps its feet inside Facebook not only with an investment but with search too. People must not underestimate these things because Microsoft has offshoots that are dedicated to data mining on individuals and controlling what they write. This leads us to another problem.
“Microsoft keeps its feet inside Facebook not only with an investment but with search too.”A couple of weeks ago we pointed out that Microsoft was coming near to Red Hat's headquarters. A couple of hours ago, Jan from Red Hat publicly told me: “the exodus at MSFT leaves a bad taste. Are they maybe “infiltrating” other corps and orgs?”
Well, based on the latest news [1, 2], Microsoft might be setting up a datacentre right in Red Hat’s back yard. Locations of datacentres are usually strategic [1, 2] (because of tax, competitors, recruits, and other political reasons [1, 2]).
Another type of strategic move would be prizes/awards. Microsoft is buying more influence in other companies by rewarding them and the CEO of Evolve Technologies has just been made a Microsoft MVP, just like Miguel de Icaza. Miguel is problematic because of his role at Novell and the CodePlex Foundation, the executive of which we mentioned here before (here is the official press release).
Anyway, another company that has just been ‘injected’ with Microsoft influence would be G2G3, based on this press release.
G2G3 appoints industry thought leader as US Director of Architecture
He spent 11 years in a senior position at Microsoft Corporation where he was responsible for the architectural development of Microsoft’s system management products and technologies.
We are actually more concerned about another new Nokia appointment (DRM influence in Nokia came from a man who used to work for Microsoft). Here are the latest details:
Manos joined Digital Realty from Microsoft, where he ran Microsoft’s global data center operations. His new job will put him in competition with other big vendors building mobile services platforms, including Google, Apple and Microsoft, he noted.
Mr. Manos used to head up Microsoft’s vast data center operations. In that role, he set up many of the enormous computing centers that handle Microsoft’s myriad online services, including Xbox Live, hosted e-mail and the Azure business software platform.
And this is the guy whom Nokia hires for a notable role? Recipe for another Wenger-esque disaster. █
“Compatibility with DRM. We understand that this could be a sore point in W3C, but from our viewpoint, any DRM-incompatible video related mechanism is a non-starter with the content industry (Hollywood).”
–Stephan Wenger, Nokia
[PDF] (previously worked with Microsoft)
* Facebook’s father has interpersonal relationships with Ozzie and Microsoft's patent troll Nathan Myhrvold.
Summary: Microsoft-imposed corruption of NASA’s obligation to the public carries on as it strives to capture academia too
NASA is going through some rough times at the moment. In our daily links we have included some stories about budget constraints/cuts, so clearly there are no spending sprees over there, not anymore anyway. What some would find infuriating (as several of our readers did) is that Microsoft is using the tax-funded NASA to sell Microsoft products and close the Web to non-Microsoft customers (public NASA data becomes accessible only via Microsoft Silver Lie or patents-encumbered Trojans). We gave examples in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].
Microsoft is doing it again, this time in Texas. Here is the press release:
In partnership with the Texas Business and Education Coalition, the state of Texas and Microsoft, NASA is pleased to invite Texas high school students to participate in the bliink Web design competition.
We could not confirm if this one too involves Silver Lie, but the rules of the competition make it clear that it’s just some more NASA-backed promotion of Microsoft’s proprietary software.
Bliink is a Web design contest (“Contest”) for students that encourages them to dream big and to express their ideas while building their technology skills. Student participants will design and develop a Web site using Microsoft® Expression® suite of software tools.
Silverlight only? Maybe? Like the last time NASA got involved? We don’t quite know, but either way, Silverlight has pretty much failed in the market years after its release and Forrester admits that there is a problem (Microsoft is a Forrester client).
Microsoft needs to build developer mindshare, on top of its efforts to establish exclusive content deals, to fulfill ambition for Silverlight to achieve Web ubiquity, says an industry analyst.
The headline says that “Silverlight still needs more developers” and NASA is giving it to Microsoft (Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza is also trying). NASA is not a private company, which is what makes it so ludicrous. This is not the only area where NASA is serving Microsoft’s interests as of late. It gives public data to Microsoft and requires that the public buys Microsoft products.
Another way of tricking developers into Silverlight is the set of *Spark programmes, which Microsoft uses to achieve something similar (through dumping, especially on young people). From India we learn about a “Microsoft Bizspark Camp”. Where else have we heard of a “camp”? Here’s where: young MSPs in India attending camps with Microsoft gifts.
The camp was sponsored by Microsoft, Indusa Global, and Cogentes.
Returning to science for a moment, following Microsoft's closing of the Feynman lectures (using Silver Lie), we find the company using ‘free’ samples to lock down research [1, 2, 3, 4]. To quote Microsoft’s old friend from the New York Times:
It uses Microsoft’s Windows Azure computing system, which the company recently introduced to compete with cloud computing services from companies like Amazon, Google, I.B.M. and Yahoo. These cloud computing systems allow organizations and individuals to run computing tasks and Internet services remotely in relatively low-cost data centers.
The previous post showed the latest examples of Azure downtime. This can disrupt researchers in the middle of an important and long experiment or simulation. Bad choice, no? The scientific community rarely chooses Windows (for supercomputers in particular, unless Novell gets involved).
Based on this new press release, Microsoft’s deal with Zend (around 2006) is still being exploited, this time to use PHP to promote Azure. Microsoft booster Gavin Clarke wrote about it in his usual promotional fashion.
Zend Technologies has updated its developer framework to improve the way PHP applications float on Microsoft’s Azure cloud.
It is worth mentioning that Clarke has grown very close to Microsoft and he even collaborates with Mary Jo Foley right now. They are defending one of the most corrupt companies in the history of IT. Last night someone posted the following message in USENET:
I’ve noticed for quite a while that Mary-Jo is simply too much of a Microsoft fangirl to be a truly unbiased reporter. I can understand her not being outright anti-Microsoft because that would get her shut out of the company she’s reporting on. But that doesn’t mean she has to defend almost everything the company does. She almost sounds like a Microsoft PR-spokesperson disguised as a reporter, defending M$ and its management no matter how they screw up and always trying to find a positive spin on any news which negatively portrays the company.
I’ve noticed too that The Register, in the past well known for it vitriolic attacks on Microsoft, has taken a much softer stand towards the company. I rarely see outright scathing critcism on them anymore, instead they usually merely report incidents in which the company is invovled (i.e. security lapses) with mild cynicism. Has The Register succummed to the carrot of Greenbacks?
I replied by saying: “The Register signed a deal with Microsoft and it has Microsoft boosters like Kelly and Gavin on their staff. Microsoft’s payments to The Register paid off.” █
Summary: Microsoft continues to give online operations and online storage a bad name because of its sheer incompetence
ONLY when it happens to Google people tend to notice a downtime and publish reports about it, but Microsoft, whose Azure ‘cloud’ was once down for a whole day, receives almost no flak. Microsoft cannot beat Google because it uses an inferior stack that the London Stock Exchange (LSE) is dumping right now [1, 2]. Even Bing crashed and fell offline some months ago, which was hardly surprising.
Now we learn that Azure fell offline for over half of a working day, demonstrating yet again that Microsoft — not computing over a network — is the weakest link.
On the heels of my story about the Microsoft (MSFT) TechNet registration servers being down for five days, I received an email from a reader claiming that Microsoft Online Service, the current name for its cloud offerings, had a five hour outage. According to the tip, that included the hosted Exchange email service. This is clearly not the sort of thing corporations want to hear when considering who to trust going forward in cloud computing.
Microsoft’s cloud has been hiccuping all week, cutting North American customers off from access to the services included in its Business Productivity Online Suite, which includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Office Live Meeting.
But wait. That’s not all. There are other new examples.
According to a post on the Zune Forums, owners of the Zune Pass are having a bit of trouble accessing the music they’re paying for with their subscription, as first reported by Engadget. In less than two weeks, the thread in question has passed 50 replies as users complain and list what they can no longer access: specific songs, entire albums, or even everything produced by an artist.
This could be like SideKick all over again (but at a smaller scale because almost nobody uses a Zune). For details, see:
Entrepreneur finds Microsoft closed for business
A PERTH small-business owner has been at his wits’ end trying to register a legitimate copy of Microsoft Office on the software giant’s own website.
Jim Embury, a safety and risk consultant for the oil industry, has been talking to Microsoft Australia’s hotline personnel over the course of more than a week to resolve the matter, but there’s no end in sight.
Microsoft’s damage control comes from the ‘Microsoft press’, as usual. It’s like a Microsoft outlet pretending to be official news.
From the same Australian publication happens to come the following report which is deceiving. It is just like BECTA in the UK where they talk about “savings” (on software that costs nothing to copy) but not about “expenses”. It opens like this:
QUEENSLAND is set to save $10 million over three years because of a whole-of-government deal signed with Microsoft Australia late last year.
What an utterly poor opening. It pretends that by paying Microsoft, Queensland is actually receiving a payment. It’s the art of spin. Australia in general is close to Microsoft, partly because it speaks English and trades with the US. We wrote about these factors many times before. That’s another story altogether and it usually annoys the apolitical. █
Summary: Analysis of Canonical’s latest moves, which are being defended by some and severely criticised by others
UBUNTU is an important part of the GNU/Linux family and we defend it at every chance, always giving it the benefit of the doubt. Some readers pressure us to change the tune, which would be hard and counter-productive. I have personally used Ubuntu at some capacity since its very first release (which I was using at work).
In the interest of presenting perspectives of other people and showing Canonical where it can improve, this post accumulates mostly criticisms of the company’s latest moves.
“Canonical has already employed other ex-Novell employees and some might attribute Mono affinity to this.”“PyCon sprint for Windows support” is the title of a post right here at Canonical.com. It made Pamela Jones (over at Groklaw) write “Blech.”
We previously defended this strategy, which we believe to be a case of Canonical reaching out to Windows users. In relation to the Yahoo! deal signed by Canonical [1, 2], Jones wrote: “And if Microsoft offers you money, will you change it to Bing? Wait. Is Yahoo not Bing, if you stop and think about it a little? Microsoft has plenty of money, so if money is all it takes to undermine and corrupt what I used to think of as a FOSS project, it will happen.”
This is why we prefer not to openly criticise (or “attack”) Ubuntu; it would only serve Microsoft if unnecessary infighting was to occur. Novell is a different case because it uses its beloved software patents to directly discriminate against other GNU/Linux vendors and it publicly aligns itself with the monopolist. Microsoft is not completely external here; we have already shown how at least one former Microsoft employee entered Ubuntu, which probably means that Canonical HR did a poor job.
“Shouldn’t we leave the [Microsoft] elephant alone and stop poking it with sticks? Well, the problem is they aren’t going to leave us alone,” said Jeremy Allison some weeks ago. We wrote about these remarks in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. He also warned about Mono in Ubuntu [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Robert O’Callahan from Mozilla wrote some more things about Allison’s public appearance at LCA 2010:
Jeremy Allison’s talk about Microsoft was good. We’ve feared Microsoft for so long it’s become almost unfashionable, but I think Jeremy is right to keep reminding the free software community of the danger there. He talked about Microsoft’s attempts to take over the Web, and kindly mentioned Firefox’s role in pulling us back from that brink. He made the point (which I think is too often overlooked) that which company one works for is almost always an individual moral choice and we should hold people accountable for it … we can’t let people off the hook by saying “oh, the company I work for is just evil and I can’t do anything about it”. The focus of his talk was the suggestion that Microsoft is gearing up for an all-out patent war on free software. I don’t know if this is true — honestly, I expected them to do it long ago and I’m not sure what’s been holding them back — but we certainly do need to keep aware of the possibility. Jeremy suggested that Microsoft will promote “RAND” standards — standards covered by patents whose licenses would require a “Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory” fee, which sound good except that for free software, any non-zero fee is a show-stopper. In fact, as I discussed later in my talk, RAND-encumbered standards won’t fly in the traditional Web standards world — e.g. CSS and HTML5. We have a very good situation there, where everyone understands that any suggestion that can’t be implemented in Gecko (MPL/LGPL/GPL) or Webkit (LGPL) is simply a non-starter. However, we do face a very serious situation in video, where the licensing isn’t even RAND, and possibly in other technologies such as touch interfaces. It was good to be able to use some of these issues that Jeremy raised as launching points for my talk.
“How will Ubuntu’s move to proprietary software affect the free world?” is the title of this post that Groklaw pointed to last week, adding: “Some of the responses are downright worrisome.” Yes, Jones too is concerned that Ubuntu neglects the “Free” in FOSS.
This brings us to the next subject, which is Matt Asay. We have written about his appointment twice already [1, 2] but what we have not yet mentioned is that Matt Asay almost went working for Microsoft some years ago. He wrote about it, but a lot of people do know this. Also, we have not yet mentioned the timing of his departure from Alfresco, which intersects Alfresco’s departure from the GPL. Novell used to pay Matt Asay’s wage, which is another important fact that Ghabuntu mentions:
A founding member of Novell’s Linux Business Office and an early influencer and participant in the company’s move to Open Source, Matt Assay will bring to Canonical and the Ubuntu project an in depth knowledge of commercial marketing of open source
Canonical has already employed other ex-Novell employees and some might attribute Mono affinity to this. Several months ago, when a former Microsoft employee who now leads Ubuntu’s desktop endeavours called for the removal of the GIMP, we immediately responded and later pointed out a reader's opinion that Paint.NET might be added next. Now, watch this new Mono project called Pinta, which strives to mimic Paint.NET.
Anyway, going back to Asay, here is what he wrote in his personal blog:
All day Friday, congratulations hit my Twitter account (mjasay). I got dozens of emails, too, and 50+ comments on my CNET blog where I announced the change. It was overwhelming, because I (perhaps like you) normally assume that no one is that interested in me.
Hopefully none of those messages were from Microsoft, which used to take him out to lunch and other places in attempt to acquire his love. Microsoft calls this "schmoozing". At least he did not end up working for Microsoft; in fact, he went the other way to become a big fan of Apple and their products, which he is miserably trying to characterise as open source (they are just about as closed as something can get, as iPad shows perfectly well [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]). Matt Asay will also need a new E-mail address.
firstname.lastname@example.org does not work well for a Canonical employee.
The founder of the Free Software Foundation Europe writes in reply to Jan (from Red Hat): “RT @jwildeboer: @mjasay making Ubuntu OpenCore now? > He But seriously: Congratulations, @mjasay!”
This notion of “Open Core” (like Mono) for a project such as Ubuntu would not so far fetched. The Source wrote about reasons why Matt Asay joining Canonical is mostly bad news:
For Mr. Asay, this is a good thing: he will greatly expand his influence, and be able to impose his philosophy on what is arguably the most popular distro.
For everyone else, this is a bad thing: he will greatly expand his influence, and be able to impose his philosophy on what is arguably the most popular distro.
Ubuntu is already under too much influence from anti-Free Software, pro-Commercialization / pro-Fauxpen Source thinkers. They hire ex-Microsoft and ex-Novell employees, brook virtually no discussion on fundamentally divisive technologies like Mono and Moonlight, and put profits ahead of both user experience and ethics by making Microsoft the “opt-out” default search provider. At best, this mindset considers the Free Software foundation of GNU/Linux an inconvenience or distraction.
Our reader Goblin wrote the following post regarding Canonical’s decision to drop OpenOffice.org from a minimal version of Ubuntu. He is going further than that:
Ubuntu has been receiving quite a bit of attention on Openbytes. I was (and still am) optimistic regarding possible native Linux proprietary software being offered to users, but what with Gnome being the flagship DE for Ubuntu (led up by Microsoft MVP Mr De Icaza and the “gift to the world” Mono), Ubuntu having the “good ship Yahoo” (bound for Microsoft) as its default search engine, I can’t help feeling that as it stands now Ubuntu 10.04 is far from “Lucid”.
And what of Gimp? Reports from Alpha’s of 10.04 state that the package is still present. Are Canonical going to remove it and if they do is that for the opportunity of a proprietary option or are they going to try it on with a Mono app?
Canonical has, in my opinion a rather large responsibility and a great opportunity. There can be little doubt that Ubuntu is one of the most, if not the most popular Linux distro’s and is many users first experience of the Linux platform. If Canonical decisions and actions are seen as a poorer cousin of Microsoft then I would predict its user base would decline. As Ive said before I believe had Novell not signed “the deal” with Microsoft, it would be Novell in the position that Canonical is now.
Yesterday we showed that Microsoft takes over companies from which it is removing the GNU/Linux focus. We used FAST as an example. Richard Rasker wrote: “Hm, haven’t we seen this before — Microsoft buying a mixed OS outfit, then dropping the non-Windows part, even if it doesn’t make sense? The names Hotmail and GeCAD come to mind …”
“It looks like a divide and conqueror plan to me,” says Locutus in his latest headline:
Being a large and world wide company with deep pockets and short arms they can afford to take the long term view of something. They seem to be relying on the fact that peoples memories can be short sighted. So they buy a company which supports operating systems other than windows and then over time they reduce the support for the other operating systems.
We also saw that happening to Novell, Xandros, Corel, and others. We hope that it is not happening to Ubuntu. Later on we will write about what Microsoft is doing to Facebook, which runs on the LAMP stack. █
Summary: Apple’s iPad still faces sometimes-overwhelming criticism, even from the company’s own supporters and existing/former staff
AS WE have shown before, Apple’s iPad disappointed [1, 2, 3, 4]. Even keen supporters of Apple thought it was a bad product. Now we have it confirmed even by Apple people; to be exact, it’s the former Apple executive behind the Newton:
The iPad is too big and lacks communication capabilities, argued the former Apple executive who oversaw the demise of the company’s iconic-but-flawed Newton more than a decade ago.
Which is rather disappointing, considering the opportunity that Apple had to launch the iPad with Mac OS X and be a truly powerful computing device.
Time.com writes about the iPad’s shortcomings. This product from Apple seems like a miss, not a hit, but the important thing is that it teaches people how standards-hostile and customer-hostile products from Apple have become. █
“Microsoft does not hesitate to use its operating system monopoly power and application program dominance to try to eliminate competition.”
–Apple Computer Senior VP Avadis Tevanian Jr.
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