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Links 10/2/2010: KDE SC 4.4.0 and OpenOffice.org 3.2.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • One Dad’s Take: Why Windows Could be Worse Than Teen Dating

    Though most of the machines at home are currently Linux driven, there are a couple of Windows machines in the house that are used by my children for Software they Cannot Live Without. My teenager likes games, and my tweenager is quasi-addicted to iTunes.

    Being a tolerant Dad you have to know when to pick your battles. This may be a shock to some Linux users out there, but compared to boys, piercings, and parties, letting them run Windows seemed to rank very low on the Dad scale of things that can possibly go wrong. Did I mention boys?


    Instead, I launched my KNOPPIX liveCD and used this great Linux utility distribution to hunt down and kill the errant files that I found online in this list. There were also registry entries to delete, and KNOPPIX has an on-board registry editor (WINE-enabled) that lets you get in and fix things, too. For me, using Linux as a solution tool made absolutely sure that things were done right.

  • A sensation of wonder about technological developments

    So, after all this reading, one thing becomes clear: knowing where our computers are connecting to can become the difference to detect infections. Later developments seem to favor built in messaging clients with login data. This means that those bots are connecting as we connect the computer, even when not being part of any attack, only waiting forever, making it easy to spot this with any port scanner.

  • Linux Enthusiasts Raise Over $33,000 to Help Save

    The LCA2010 conference is over, but the generosity of its delegates will leave a lasting impression on the Life Flight Trust.

    During the conference closing dinner at the Wellington Town Hall, attendees bid to win a unique opportunity to join an action-packed Westpac Rescue Helicopter winch training mission. All bids were donations to Life Flight.

    Delegates could donate online with their laptops and results were displayed in real-time on an open source application created by Andrew Caudwell of Catalyst IT.

    At the end of the evening a $12,750 donation from Linux Australia brought the total funds raised to more than $33,000.

  • Linux Conf raises $33,000 for charity
  • The Bruno Knaapen Technology Learning Center is Established

    It was just a short time ago that Scot Finnie announced a long-time Linux Advocate had fallen terribly Ill. His name is Bruno Knaapen and he is the author and maintainer of Brunolinux.com. We wrote about Bruno at Blog of helios and told you that we planned to dedicate a technology learning center to him. I began speaking with different people about various possibilities and locations for the center. It became obvious after a short time that we were not going to be able to find a suitable place any time soon.

  • OU announces Linux course

    The Open University has announced ‘Linux – an introduction’ a ten week course on the open source operating system aimed at absolute beginners.

    Starting in May, registration for the first ten week course closes on the 24th of April. The course will cost £185 for students in the UK. The OU gives a second start date of October 2010, although registration for that date is not yet open, and in future hopes to run the course twice a year.

  • mimio for the Masses: Studio 6 Software Available for Mac and Linux Communities

    mimio, a provider of interactive teaching technologies for educators, is now extending its mimio Studio 6 software offering to Mac and Linux users in multiple languages. Available for download on mimio.com, Studio 6 software allows teachers using Mac, Linux and Windows operating systems to simply create interactive lesson content in multiple languages and provide access to features sure to raise the level of classroom participation.

  • Once scorned, twice as nasty

    I speak of course, of the troll wars pertaining to Linux vs Windows vs Mac. Now, unfortunately, Macs tend to get away pretty well in these arguments, because regardless of how much open source software they steal and how much they try to push forward the boundaries of Vendor Lock-In, they are still the under dog in comparison to Microsoft, so MOST people, tend to leave them alone. The troll wars that I am particularly interested in, are those that follow the blog posts of a certain Steven J Vaughan-Nichols (Or SJVN to most of us). You see this is a very seasoned journalist, who has got a LOT of experience in the world of I.T. and he has a tendency to make rather straight forward blog posts. Only this morning I read one on Windows 7 and how good it was, yet immediately after, I read another which claimed Ubuntu 9.10 was better and gave the reasons why he thought so, the post about Windows being good, had barely a bad word said in the comments, no Linux fans jumping in there saying how much Windows sucks or that it’s a crap OS, yet the other post, whoohoohoohoo out come the zealots, and then the defenders of the faith.

  • From Windows to Linux: a sound decision

    When Beasley first looked at Linux, it was Mandrake (now Mandriva) with KDE 2.0 that he picked up along with a PC magazine. “My initial impression was that I could survive in that environment,” he said.

    But it took seven years before Beasley decided to make the move. His Windows set-up caused him constant headaches, with the crashes of both applications and operating system, and given the level of use he was putting his machines to, he had to reinstall at least twice a year. The software also imposed severe limitations on creativity. All this time, he kept track of developments in audio software for Linux through the website of Dave Phillips, whom he describes as “one of the great movers and shakers in Linux audio.”

  • Desktop

    • ABC TV now allows Linux users to watch streaming media!

      Linux users for a long time have been kept out of ABC Television’s streaming media. Today I checked, and this artificial limitation is no more! Thank you ABC for listening to your viewers; Netflix are you paying attention?

    • The Linux Desktop Experience For 2010

      But personally, I think Xubuntu is a really great desktop experience because of it’s key applications and the fact that it’s really customizable and easy to do just that.

      It’s a great choice as well for people to experience for the first time the use of the XFCE environment as a desktop experience that you can build confidence in and get the kind of desktop you really want.

      And it’s a desktop that will appeal right up until the next release which I may add comes regularly so make sure you watch out for them.

      The XFCE desktop is a environment that works well for most hardware as well which makes it great for old computers and can really give your new computers a real edge in terms of being super quick in everything you do with your desktop.

    • Linux Advocacy: The Right Way

      I mentioned that it was not Windows, but something else – Ubuntu. Alright, I lied before then he asked my favorite question:

      “Oh, never heard of that before. How much did that cost?”

      I smiled.

      “It’s free.”

      He then asked:

      “Free? Really? What can it do?”

      “Oh, you know everything you expect a computer to do. Type a paper, surf the internet, solve math equations, play games…”

      He then asked where he could get it from, I gave him the web address and told him if he had any questions about it he could feel free to ask me next week at class.

    • When Linux Nerds Choose Mates from the Windows Herd.

      You take a deep breath and reach for your laptop. In the case, you have a live cd and you tell her that you want to show her what Linux is. You go on to explain that Linux is free and that she can use it without any real worry about viruses.

  • Dell

    • Dell Ubuntu Order Experience

      I believe Jolicloud will make it big. It has all the right ingredients for commercial success. One thing is sure, though. Year 2010 is going to be an exciting year of the netbook wars, and now there’s a new kid on the block. And it has big teeth and a knuckleduster. Watch out.

    • 168-hour days at Dell

      So, I went looking on the Dell support website, and to my amazement, I found the machine is still under warranty and will be until fall 2011. I had forgotten I’d bought a 3-year care package with Next Day Onsite Service. Sa-weet!

    • Memo to Dell: Sort Out Your Ubuntu Strategy

      Small system builders like System76 and ZaReason earn considerable praise for their Ubuntu efforts. Dell would earn similar praise if the company managed to keep Ubuntu available on desktops during product transitions. That doesn’t seem like a lot to ask.

  • Server

    • Inside CloudLinux’s New Linux-Based Cloud OS

      For the past 13-years, Igor Seletskiy has developed a series of innovative new products for the hosting industry, including the control panel H-Sphere, container-based virtualization product FreeVPS, single server control panel CP+, Web-based file manager WebShell, and website building tool SiteStudio.

  • Kernel Space

    • Ksplice debuts zero downtime service for Linux

      Ksplice Inc. today officially launched its no-reboot patching service for Linux servers.

    • FOSDEM 2010: Andrew Tanenbaum Sets Reliability Before Performance

      Computer science veteran Andrew Tanenbaum presented the third version of his Minix operating system at the FOSDEM 2010 conference on February 6-7 in Brussels, Belgium.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Irrlicht 1.7 Released With Many New Features

        Version 1.7 of the Irrlicht Engine has been released. For those unfamiliar with Irrlicht, it’s an open-source, real-time 3D engine that has OpenGL support as well as its own software renderer. Irrlicht is used within games, technology demos, and other projects — even areas like using it as a 3D renderer in CAD applications. Irrlicht 1.7 is a particularly large release that is coming less than six months after the 1.6 release.

      • Notes From X@FOSDEM 2010: GLSL, X, Etc

        Daniel’s talk was on how users expect “every frame must be perfect” and some of the current problems include issues with RandR reconfiguration, video display programs, server implementations are awful, video tearing is common, and window reconfiguration is brutal. Daniel also briefly commented on the Wayland Display Server, but as he said, “X is the best since everything else doesn’t work or doesn’t exist.” Daniel thinks someday Wayland might function according to him.

      • X@FOSDEM 2010 Video Status Update
      • Jerome’s Radeon KMS Short-Term TODO List
      • There’s Evergreen KMS Support & More To Test

        David Airlie has re-based his drm-radeon-testing tree and there’s now a whole lot of new code and features that users can play with and test. The drm-radeon-testing tree is a branch of the Linux kernel and is code for the Radeon DRM area that will ultimately make it into the mainline tree in the Linux 2.6.34 kernel series and later.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • KDE.org Relaunched for Software Compilation 4.4
      • KDE SC 4.4.0 Caikaku Release Announcement

        KDE Software Compilation 4.4.0 Introduces Netbook Interface, Window Tabbing and Authentication Framework

      • Software Compilation 4.4!

        As if the new look KDE website wasn’t enough Software Compilation 4.4 is out too.

        There are plenty of goodies in this new release (see the feature guide for a more complete run down). However, one of the most exciting new features is the Plasma Netbook workspace. Almost makes me want to get a netbook, but I suspect I’ll give it a run out on my old but little laptop anyway.

      • KTorrent: KDE’s BitTorrent client

        The amount of tweaking you can do in Ktorrent’s configuration is extensive. You can specify default ports, maximum download speeds, connection limits, proxies, seeding settings, specify file and disk settings, and select a default save location for your files. The interface is quick and easy to use, while users who expect a powerful file-sharing application will not be disappointed. Ktorrent is free software released under the GNU General Public License and is available for download for Linux, versions of BSD, Windows, and Mac OS X.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Ubuntu 9.10 and GNOME 2.28: Advancing Past Meh

        Many eons ago, GNOME 1.4 still lived, and it was good. It was extremely configurable and hackable. You could use either Enlightenment or Sawfish as the window manager, and could customize it to your heart’s content. It was even friendly to homegrown GTK+ hacks. And then tragedy struck: the GNOME maintainers decided that 1.4 needed a ground-up rewrite, and thus GNOME 2.0 was born.

  • Distributions

    • Best Linux Distributions of the Decade (2000-2009)

      We’ve seen plenty of “Best of the Decade” lists around, but not one is related to Linux distribution. So it’s only fitting that we will give credit to the best Linux distros that dominated the last decade (2000-2009), or most part of it.

    • Kolibri: 1.44Mb of cute

      How KolibriOS squeezes all that into 1.44Mb is beyond mortal comprehension. And it’s not just that there’s a blinking cursor attached to a terminal somewhere, but an entire graphical system, complete with notepads, system monitors, games, utilities and more nifty doodads than you can shake a stick at. The mind boggles.

    • Msec updates getting (mostly) ready for 2010.1

      It has been quite some time since I last posted here about msec. For the past few weeks, it received some attention and now I guess many of the features I wanted to push for Mandriva 2010.1 are implemented. So I’ll describe the most interesting ones in this blog post (and save some for later :) ).

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6.0 Squeeze behind schedule

        The Debian release team are sounding the alarm: With only one month left before the planned release freeze, the number of critical bugs in Debian 6.0 Squeeze is still far too high to freeze development and create the next stable version of Debian. As a result, it has become unlikely that Squeeze will be released this summer as scheduled.

      • Home, Events, and Ubuntu :-)
      • Ubuntu Marketing Focus

        There is a discussion going on in the Ubuntu Marketing team’s mailing list about creating Ubuntu videos in order to advertise Ubuntu to normal users. We got onto talking about existing adverts from Microsoft and Apple and I thought I’d share with the wider community my thoughts.

      • Working with Ubuntu One

        I’ve only recently come back to using the Ubuntu One service; I gave up on it the first few times I tried it. For one thing, I wasn’t happy with the way it created conflict files here and there. In part, I should have expected such behavior, but at the time, I found it too annoying and just switched back to using my good ol’ flash drive.

      • Linux Mint 8 KDE Community Edition

        The final release of Linux Mint 8 (Helena) KDE Community Edition is available for download. I wrote about the Release Candidate of this a couple of weeks ago, so I won’t add too much more now. I’m still more of a Gnome desktop user than KDE, but as KDE 4 gets better and better, and combined with the excellent integration with Linux Mint, this one is a real alternative for me.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Pandora open-source handheld is go

      For quite a while now, I’ve been following the progress of the Pandora, an open-source handheld for music, movies, and games. It’s hard to stay excited, though, when there’s the constant threat of the thing ceasing to exist.

    • Barnes & Noble rolls out second Nook update

      A new software upgrade is now available to owners of Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-book reader. This is the second upgrade since the device launched in early December and it appears to be more substantial than the first, which arrived shortly after the product shipped and addressed a handful of small but pervasive bugs.

    • Android

      • Linus Torvalds: Google’s Nexus One First Mobile Phone I Don’t Hate

        Linus Torvalds, the inventor of the Linux kernel, has an absolute disdain for mobile phones. All of the ones he has purchased in the past, the man writes on his personal blog, ended up being “mostly used for playing Galaga and Solitaire on long flights” even though they were naturally all phones run on open source operating systems.

      • Torvalds’ Nexus One endorsement may be regretted

        I hope people will understand that following Torvalds’ blog post extolling the Google Nexus One.

        Apparently Linus has the same problem my son does (along with millions of other people). Directions are not his strong suit. So for him, Google navigation was a killer app.

        Trouble is, in many ways Linus Torvalds is not “just a programmer.” He’s a brand name. He is, however reluctantly, a celebrity. So a simple blog post can read like an endorsement.


        Google is trying to build a competitive ecosystem in Android, and Android is not the only Linux-based system in the mobile space. It’s like saying which one of your children you like best.

      • Android versus Linux?

        Is Android at odds with Linux after the removal of Android device drivers from the Linux source code tree or is this business as usual for the Linux community and nothing new? The H looks at the issues.


        Google’s Android development takes place behind closed doors, with the company’s own Linux source tree. This isn’t an uncommon model at Google; it runs its own source tree for its internally deployed Linux, allowing them to optimise for its specific uses for the operating system.

      • The New Era of Big Company Forks

        I was intrigued to read Greg Kroah-Hartman’s analysis of what’s gone wrong with the Android fork of Linux, and the discussion that followed on lwn.net. Like Greg, I am hopeful that the Android platform has a future that will work closely with upstream developers. I also have my own agenda: I believe Android/Linux is the closest thing we have to a viable fully FaiF phone operating system platform to take on the proprietary alternatives like the BlackBerry and the iPhone.

        I believe Greg’s comments hint at a “new era” problem that the FLOSS community hasn’t yet learned to solve. In the “old days”, we had only big proprietary companies like Apple and Microsoft that had little interest in ever touching copylefted software. They didn’t want to make improvements and share them. Back then (and today too) they prefer to consume all the permissively licensed Free Software they can, and release/maintain proprietary forks for years.

        I’m often critical of Google, but I must admit Google is (at least sometimes) not afraid of dumping code on a regular basis to the public, at least when it behooves them to do it.

      • 10 Reasons Why the Linux Community Could Influence iPhone Sales

        Over the weekend, Torvalds wrote on a personal blog that although he can’t stand mobile phones, he was pleasantly surprised by Google’s Nexus One smartphone. Torvalds called the device a “winner” and said he’s happy with its design. And since the phone runs a version of Linux, he was even more willing to pick it up.

        The importance of Torvalds’ endorsement of the Nexus One can’t be understated. In many ways, the Linux community follows his lead. When he offers an opinion, the community rallies behind him. The Nexus One will be no different. And considering that the Nexus One competes against Apple’s iPhone, Torvalds’ endorsement could have a more profound impact on iPhone sales than we might expect.

      • App Store craziness: banning the word ‘Android’

        Ok this is crazy. PC World’s JR Raphael reports that Apple has apparently forbidden a developer from using the word “Android” in his app’s description.

      • Archos

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Jolicloud – Jolly good Linux (psst, don’t tell anyone)

        Jolicloud is a really interesting distro. It works great, it provides out of the box experience for just about anyone and it’s dead simple to install and maintain. It’s a perfect solution for the common computer user. Even calling it Linux or distro might be too much, as it could scare away potential customers.


        I believe Jolicloud will make it big. It has all the right ingredients for commercial success. One thing is sure, though. Year 2010 is going to be an exciting year of the netbook wars, and now there’s a new kid on the block. And it has big teeth and a knuckleduster. Watch out.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Top 10 areas where open source leads the way

    With job losses rising and belts being tightened across the country, now is the perfect time to look once again at the benefits of using open source software aside from the reported $60 billion a year savings on offer.

  • Open Symbian: New World Order or Big Yawn?

    Is Symbian finding its way back through FOSS? “Symbian is on its way out,” says Martin Espinoza, a blogger at Hyperlogos. “Even Nokia knows it, which is why their flagship product — the N900 — is based on Linux.” On the other hand, the news “is a fine example of a near monopoly graciously sharing with the world in order to compete fairly and with better products,” says blogger Robert Pogson.

  • Has the Irresistible Rise of OpenOffice.org Begun?

    What’s interesting about these figures – particularly the high numbers in certain countries – is that it takes OpenOffice.org into the same kind of market-share territory that Firefox occupied a few years back. Which raises two interesting questions. First, are we seeing the start of the same kind of growth trajectory, and secondly, how can the open source community help propel it along that graph more rapidly?

  • VMware Partner Exchange: Searching for Zimbra Clues

    More than 2,600 partners will converge at this week’s VMware Partner Exchange conference in Las Vegas. Big channel names such as Arrow ECS and Ingram Micro will lend their names to the event. Multiple cloud and virtualization storylines will emerge. But The VAR Guy is zeroing in on one thread: VMware’s strategy for Zimbra, the recently acquired open source email platform.

  • Clang Successfully Self-Hosts!

    Today, Clang completed its first complete self-host! We built all of LLVM and Clang with Clang (over 550k lines of C++ code). The resulting binaries passed all of Clang and LLVM’s regression test suites, and the Clang-built Clang could then build all of LLVM and Clang again. The third-stage Clang was also fully-functional, completing the bootstrap.

  • My weekend at FOSDEM

    Another year over and FOSDEM has come and gone. It was an amazing weekend, full of interesting talks and meeting people. With so many attendees on this subject, there are so many opinions on subjects, technology, languages and operating systems flying about it can get heated. It’s also rather entertaining!

  • Open Office 3.2.0 Final Released

    Open Office 3.2.0 Final has been released and is currently distributed to mirror ftp servers worldwide to ensure a smooth delivery once the release notifications will be added to the project’s homepage. Five release candidates and numerous betas have made available before the developer’s of Open Office decided to release the final version of the Office suite.

    There are lots of changes and improvements over Open Office 3.1.1, the current stable build that is still offered at the Open Office website.

  • Firefox Addon: Fox Clocks

    So, today I was hanging out at IRC, which I usually do and is totally awesome, a friend of mine, duanedesign, told me about this new Firefox addon, Fox Clocks, which lets you keep track of different timezones. The best part is that you can create watchlists for your different international friends and keep a better track of their sleeping and working timings. Let me show you how it works.


    • Copyrights and wrongs

      One of the issues I have with the Free Software approach is that advocates have habit of throwing the baby out with the bathwater when discussing issues that they see as in any way negative to free software.


      This is a suggestion that deserves more consideration. However, Bradley is so busy protecting the FSF from being maligned by Mark that he completely ignores the point raised by Mark – that copyright assignment policies are confusing, complex, and potentially problematic.

    • Audio and Video of Eben Moglen’s Talk on Freedom in the Cloud is Now Available

      Eben talked to the New York chapter of ISOC on February 2nd about Software Freedom, Privacy, and Security for Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing.

  • Programming

    • Chunking and Programming Languages

      Some of my biases are transparent. For example, I believe that many of the complaints of Perl’s “unreadability” are from people who’ve never bothered to learn how to read the language. You often see this from people who say “Sigils? Pfft. They’re useless—mere syntactic noise!”

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 Theora Video Codec for Silverlight

      I’m glad to announce the first release of our fully managed Theora audio / video decoder implementation for the Silverlight platform! The Highgate media suite will bring installation-free support for HTML5 streaming video to an additional ~40% of web users overnight.


  • Google Gmail Getting Social Features

    Google is reportedly planning to make Gmail more social by allowing users to exchange status updates with friends and share Web content links, features that moves Gmail into more direct competition with Facebook.

  • Google, don’t be evil
  • Is a code of silence evil?
  • Google warns Chinese knock-off to stop using logo

    Google Inc has sent a cease and desist letter to the operators of a Chinese search website whose logo bears a close resemblance to its own.

  • Because When MetroPCS Says ‘No Contract,’ It Actually Means ‘Well, Of Course There’s A Contract’

    The mobile phone business seems to have a serious problem with taking words that have a pretty clear meaning in English, using them in advertising and marketing promotions — but meaning something entirely different. For example, various mobile operators claimed “unlimited” broadband, but to them “unlimited” meant “really, quite limited.”

  • Hardware

  • Security

    • Airport Body Scanning Raises Radiation Exposure, Committee Says

      Air passengers should be made aware of the health risks of airport body screenings and governments must explain any decision to expose the public to higher levels of cancer-causing radiation, an inter-agency report said.

    • Unlawful anti-terror powers planned for use during 2012 Olympics

      Police are planning to use an anti-terror law deemed unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights across the country during the London Olympics, The Times has learnt.

      Senior officers are considering using Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 at every Underground and railway station nationwide.

    • Online safety push for five-year-olds

      Children as young as five are being targeted in a new online safety campaign backed by the government.

    • Wigan Council loses the data of 200 disabled residents

      A Greater Manchester council has lost details of 200 disabled residents – a year after a previous security blunder.

    • Broken CCTV missed vandal attack

      Businessman Barry Clayton was left fuming when his shop window was smashed and he discovered a CCTV camera opposite was not working.

    • Southwark CCTV ‘old and outdated’

      The report says that the network needs massive investment, with many cameras not working, but adds there is “very limited” funding to overhaul the network.

      It adds: “It will not be affordable or cost-effective to fund the cost of repairing or replacing all CCTV equipment that is at the end of its natural life.

      “Many cameras are irreparable, unused, redundant or no longer monitored.

      “The council is in breach of legislation if cameras that are not in use or fit for purpose remain in situ.”

    • Man can’t prove ID with ID card

      Darren McTeggart tried to use the £30 card to pick up a replacement credit card from a branch of Santander – formerly Abbey – in Manchester, where the scheme was rolled out on a voluntary basis last year.

    • 500,000 EU computers can access private British data

      Privacy campaigners expressed shock last night after it emerged that large amounts of confidential personal information held about British citizens on a giant computer network spanning the European Union could be accessed by more than 500,000 terminals.

    • Google Superbowl Ad Explains The Need for Search Privacy

      The poignant story, along with Google’s suite of search stories, masterfully illustrates how some of the most intimate information in our lives–from planning a trip to political activism–are routinely and vividly expressed in our interactions with Google, and highlights the need for that information to have strong protections.

    • Massive Attack Album Cover Banned From London Underground

      BRISTOLIAN sound specialists Massive Attack were banned from advertising their new album Heligoland on the London Underground because it looked like graffiti.

    • Home Office questions

      Home Secretary Alan Johnson has rejected calls to ban a device which emits high-pitched noises designed to cause discomfort to young people.

      At question time on 8 February 2010, he described the Mosquito as “very helpful” in dispersing groups of young people.

    • Gov tempts young London onto ID database with booze, ‘games’

      Youngsters between the ages of 16 and 24 are being tempted into the scheme – and therefore onto the National Identity Register – with the prospect of being able to buy “alcohol, computer games and DVDs, going to the cinema or to a club.”

  • Environment

    • Blackburn hairdresser’s brush with the council over recycling trimmings

      A HAIRDRESSER has slammed “mafia-style” council officers who stopped him recycling the trimmings from his clients.

      Jeff Stone said that for the past 40 years he had taken home the hair from his salon in Fleming Square, Blackburn, to use on his compost heap.

    • Should Stephen Harper be Considered a Traitor?

      The definition of Treason is a very narrow one. It is legal for the Prime Minister to cause tremendous damage to the country according to the criminal code.

      Is this right?

      I personally do not believe so. Consider the supposed Climate Change debate. A close investigation will reveal that it is not a debate. Instead it is an attempt by Fossil Fuel companies to sue confusion in the electorate, because if actions are taken to combat Climate Change, their profits will suffer. Any Prime Minister who damages the country, by working with the Fossil Fuel corporations against the citizens of the country, is guilty of Treason in my opinion.

    • If you’re going to do good science, release the computer code too

      One of the spinoffs from the emails and documents that were leaked from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia is the light that was shone on the role of program code in climate research. There is a particularly revealing set of “README” documents that were produced by a programmer at UEA apparently known as “Harry”. The documents indicate someone struggling with undocumented, baroque code and missing data – this, in something which forms part of one of the three major climate databases used by researchers throughout the world.

  • Finance

    • The situation in Europe is dire.

      After years of profligate spending, Greece is becoming overwhelmed. Barring some sort of large-scale bailout program, a Greek debt default at this point is highly likely. At this moment, European Central Bank liquidity efforts are probably the only thing holding back such a default. But these are a stopgap measure that can hold only until more important economies manage to find their feet. And Europe’s problems extend beyond Greece. Fundamentals are so poor across the board that any number of eurozone states quickly could follow Greece down.

    • Goldman does in AIG, you, and me

      GRETCHEN MORGENSON and LOUISE STORY write in the New York Times today a long story about how Goldman Sachs raped AIG and in the process, got us tax payers, all of the unemployed in America, and all of the savers who received low interest rates because of the need to stimulate the economy link here. It didn’t cause all of the problem, but it lit the match that started the conflagration, forced the bailout of AIG, and then made out in the wreckage.

    • What Do People Really Think Of Goldman Sachs? (VIDEO)

      Rumor has it that Timothy Geithner is on his way out as Treasury Secretary, due to his involvement in the AIG scandal that is now unraveling in hearings before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Bob Chapmanwrites in The International Forecaster:

      Each day brings more revelations of efforts of the NY Fed and Goldman Sachs to hide the details of the criminal conspiracy of the AIG bailout. . . . This is a real crisis on the scale of Watergate. Corruption at its finest.

      But unlike the perpetrators of the Watergate scandal, who wound up looking at jail time, Geithner evidently has a golden parachute waiting at Goldman Sachs, not coincidentally the largest recipient of the AIG bailout. At least that is the rumor sparked by an article by Caroline Baum on Bloomberg News, titled “Goldman Parachute Awaits Geithner to Ease Fall.” Hank Paulson, Geithner’s predecessor, was CEO of Goldman Sachs before coming to the Treasury. Geithner, who has come up through the ranks of government, could be walking through the revolving door in the other direction.

    • Goldman Sachs: Contributor to Mortgage Meltdown

      This article is astounding on several levels, the central one being that Goldman Sachs possibly over stated its mortgage losses, which were insured by AIG, not only because there WERE in fact losses which should have been covered, but because the greater the losses known to the public the lower the market would go — which Goldman had bets on. In other words, by adding to the panic in the markets — by overstating its own losses– it would be able to profit.

    • Goldman Sachs vs AIG

      There is a huge front page article in the NYT discussing what we already know — that AIG extracted billions from AIG before ($5.9B) and after ($12.9B)their collapse.

      We know that Goldie got paid 100 cents on the dollar post-bailout.But what insured party gets to set their own valuation of losses? According to the article, GS nabbed closer to 300 cents on the dollar pre-collapse of losses.

    • Goldman’s payment demands on AIG probed: report

      U.S. regulators are investigating whether the mortgage insurance market was improperly distressed in 2008 because of payment demands that Goldman Sachs Group Inc and other banks made on American International Group Inc, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

    • The Question Unasked Again and Again of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein and Hank Paulson

      A stunning and disturbingly informative front page Sunday New York Times article was written by the Time’s Business Page columnist Gretchen Morgenson and Louise Story, “Testy Conflict With Goldman Helped Push A.I.G. to Precipice”. It quotes Bill Brown, a Duke University Law Professor and former Goldman and A.I.G. employee saying that the dispute between the two companies “was the tip of the iceberg of this whole crisis”.

    • Goldman Sachs Denies Sinister Behavior, Again

      Well. We wouldn’t say it is ridiculous, because Goldman demanding a few billion dollars at such an inopportune time clearly had an impact on AIG (as it would on anyone, few institutions, GS excepted, can take the loss of billions in stride). But does that make the collapse of AIG Goldman’s fault? And if so, does that mean if we borrow money from someone who is a known jerk, such as Citigroup*, and then don’t have the money to pay them back when they come after us with their scary phone calls, that is their fault, and not ours? Just curious, because that would be really handy.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • FBI calls for two year retention for ISP data

      FBI director Robert Mueller is still keen to get US internet service providers to keep their customers’ web logs for up to two years.

      What is not clear is whether the director is talking about which websites are visited or the specific URL – which would require deep packet inspection and probably break US wiretap laws.

    • Kennard goes Mad Rhino on SWIFT

      He indicates the US would negotiate a bilateral agreement instead. Of course it seems legally impossible for member states to enter bilateral agreements and member states would be reluctant to follow that path. Hillary Clinton reportedly phoned Catherine Ashton(?!) and Parliament President Jerzy Buzek. I am sure Buzek and the other members will teach them manners.

    • Why SWIFT data proliferation is counter-terrorism gone worse

      It is not about “privacy” of citizens as the news agencies report, that is really the minor concern. A majority of European policy makers fully agrees in principles to use the data for anti-terrorism requests from law enforcement agencies (which requires careful administration and strongest safeguards).

      In a conventional narrative our personal “privacy” interests would be weighted against public “security” interests of our government which seeks to counter terrorism and other serious crimes. Some politicians and media observers think along these lines which are on a lower level. Here the general trust in financial transaction services, our European financial transaction markets are at stake.

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Appeals Court Says Internet Content Should Be Held To Standards Of Strictest Jurisdiction

      Of course, the court did say that punishment had to be limited to just looking at how many people in that smaller community accessed the content — which could limit the punishment given by the court, but it still seems problematic. Other courts, including one in California, have found differently on similar questions, so it seems likely that, at some point, this issue will finally go back to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, it seems likely that the Supreme Court will focus on what counts as “community standards” rather than whether or not laws against obscenity even make legal sense under the First Amendment.

    • The Pirate Bay To Be Censored in Italy, Again

      Following a lengthy legal procedure the Court of Bergamo has once again ruled that Italian ISPs have to censor their networks and prevent customer access to The Pirate Bay. Millions of Italian Internet users will be denied access to the popular torrent site in an attempt to prevent copyright infringement.

    • Authors Guild: ‘To RIAA or Not to RIAA’

      There’s equal reason to support or object to the proposed Google Books settlement.

      Creating a digital catalog of the worlds’ words might be the Holy Grail of intellectual empowerment.

      Yet building that library in the clouds would be allowed without the rights-holders’ consent — which the Justice Department and others contend is a complete and fundamental alteration of copyright law.

    • Oink.CD – Oink’s Pink Palace Part Two

      This is the second, of a long series of posts about OINK.CD, the music file sharing site run by Alan Ellis, and Alan’s acquittal on charges of Conspiracy to Defraud. My apologies for the delay – I have been trying to obtain information on the case, and while I have obtained some of what I need, I’m still working on getting more.

    • IP is not a joke

      After another comedian, the taping ended. We were informed that the crowd had to stay put because Bob Kelly had to come out and re-film a joke. It was the joke I just mentioned. They said it had to be re-taped because Comedy Central didn’t have the rights to the song “We Are The World”. (My guess is it probably wasn’t worth it to them to obtain the rights, for 1 or 2 seconds of a joke). How ridiculous is this? FOUR WORDS! We then had to hear the same joke, slightly modified, again, and pretend and cheer for it like we never heard it before. I am interested in seeing the final edited product, whenever it eventually airs.

    • Members of European Parliaments ask when they will receive the ACTA documents

      Some Member of the European Parliament have asked when they will receive the ACTA documents, mentioning the Lisbon Treaty article 218 which says that the Parliament have to be “fully informed” of the negotiations. The new trade commissioner Karel DeGucht said previously that the Lisbon Treaty do not apply to ACTA, because the confidentiality of the talks were negotiated before.

      Some Member of the European Parliament are asking the Commission and the Council when they plan to respect the Lisbon Treaty on ACTA, where the next Trade Commissioner Karel DeGucht said in a hearing that the Lisbon Treaty does not apply to the ACTA negotiations, because the confidentiality rules were negotiated before the entry into force of the Treaty.

    • Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner answers ACTA internet chapter question
    • Copyfighter Cory Doctorow.

      Thanks in no small part to Mr. Doctorow you can now get your ACTA news from a number of sources, including a weekly podcast that I help out with. To read his latest you can bookmark his blog, follow him on Twitter and keep an eye out for his posts on Boing Boing.

    • No, Copyright Has Never Been About Protecting Labor

      Ugh. So, we recently wrote about Matthew Yglesias’ quite accurate economic explanation for why the price of music was going to get pushed to zero, no matter what the industry said or what happened with copyright law.

    • Dear Helena Bonham Carter, How Do You Pay Your BT Bill Online?

      Even though you don’t know me, we do in fact share at least two things in common. Like you, I also have a double-barrelled surname, and as you live in the UK, there’s a good chance you’re also a British Telecom customer, and probably have an Internet subscription (although not necessarily with BT).

      The reason I’m writing you this open letter, is to enquire whether you pay your BT bill online, and if so then how? You see, I’ve discovered a rather annoying feature of BT: They seem to be biased against us double-barrellers.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

William Fischer, Harvard law professor and Free Culture Business Theorist 04 (2004)

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

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 10th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Eye on Microsoft: Signs of Game Over

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Courtroom, Deception, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 12:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The press seems pessimistic about Microsoft, which is increasingly seen as unable to evolve and innovate; Microsoft’s security problems (and security PR) persist in a major way

THIS VERY large post contains a lot of details (and new references) about the weaknesses of Microsoft and the endless spin it continues to rely on. We begin with this article from a former Microsoft chief who publicly blasted the company’s technical capabilities. We wrote about this in a previous post that complained about the way he rewrote history when he called Microsoft a “largely accidental monopolist.” From The Source we have this response:

Other stuff: Playing Monopoly

It’s interesting that the official Microsoft Blog didn’t address some of the other interesting claims from Mr. Brass.

Take for example his assertion that Microsoft is “at worst” a “highly repentant, largely accidental monopolist”. Largely accidental? First off, I question the idea that a company can “accidentally” stumble into monopolizing an industry. Secondly, we have reams of documentation (like Comes v. Microsoft) that show Microsoft at all levels is deadly serious about eliminating competition, regardless of the means.

Even if you accept “highly repentant” – which I emphatically do not – Microsoft certainly did not become a monopoly largely by accident.

Other Stuff: Sustaining Economy

Another interesting assertion by Mr. Brass is that Microsoft “helps sustain the economies of Seattle, Washington State and the nation as a whole.”

Perhaps Mr. Brass is not aware of the $1 Billion Microsoft Tax Dodge? Or the over $650 Million in tax breaks Microsoft recieves? That’s just at the state level.

Well, since the tax dodge was brought up, Jeff Reifman’s writings about Microsoft’s massive tax dodge [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] are worth commending. It seems to have had an impact in the sense that the Seattle Weekly has just placed the issue at a highly visible part of the paper. It says:

As our cash-strapped state prepares to cut services for the poor and mentally ill, billions of dollars in tax breaks and exemptions are still being doled out.


Deferral of state and local retail sales and use taxes are also allowed for the construction of buildings for high-tech projects involving research and development. That has Microsoft and its ever-expanding campus written all over it, allowing MS to avoid sales tax on construction costs, materials, and new equipment, for example. Another 500 small and large companies also benefit, says the state. The exemption was created in 1994 and extended in 2004 for another 10 years. Over a decade, that’s $650 million the state is not raking in.

Almost 1,700 high-tech firms also share another $50 million in B&O tax credits for research and development under an exemption that was also renewed in 2004 for another decade. And a $12 million property-tax break goes to companies that use custom computer software.

Microsoft, incidentally, has also avoided paying a ton of state taxes by moving offshore, so to speak. According to writer and ex-Microsoftie Jeff Reifman, Microsoft opened a small Nevada office in 1997 to record software-licensing revenue and skirt Washington’s half-percent wholesale tax on software-licensing royalties. Reifman estimates that has helped the company of billionaires Bill Gates and Paul Allen avoid more than $700 million in Washington taxes. With interest and penalties, the total exceeds $1 billion.

There is also this open letter to Steve Ballmer. It protests against his tax evasion in the Seattle Weekly.

Microsoft Nick (from Ziff Davis [1, 2, 3], not the Seattle P-I) has responded to the article from Mr. Brass in eWEEK (“Microsoft Suffers from Creative Difficulties, Says Former Exec”) and in Microsoft Watch (“Microsoft Failing in Innovation, Former Executive Asserts”). Joe Wilcox, who used to edit Microsoft Watch, does a series called “Microsoft Confessions” in which he shows how rotten things have become inside the company. “Microsoft Confessions: ‘Deeply dysfunctional family’” was one part of it, but another one, “Microsoft Confessions: ‘Killed over politics’,” says that one confession goes like this: “When Bill Gates first started the ‘aggressive schedule’ mantra to get people to work harder, [it was] tell folks we only had 2 months left, when we knew it was six. How could I as a manager look my people in the face and seriously tell them we’re two months from shipping — work your ass off — knowing the bug count was high, the find rate was high and undercover dev work was still being completed?

“I finally had enough when my last reorg had me put under a brand new manager, with less weeks experience than I had years doing his job, telling me I wasn’t doing my job properly. I asked him how many products he shipped. A couple was the answer. Meanwhile, I had three full Lucite blocks packed with ship-it awards on my desk. At that point, I gave my notice.

“How many [Microsoft] reorgs have ever benefited anyone except the folks on top? In all my reorgs, I only ever had one that actually benefited the troops; and that was a super good manager that said if you take me, you take my team. He was one of the best I’d ever worked for — and, of course, he is no longer at MS either. To me, that speaks volumes.”

One last part, titled “Microsoft Confessions: ‘Poor worker bees,’” goes like this: “My former team required 60-90+ hours a week of its employees for several years straight. The average across many weeks was 80-90 [hours], for months on end. If you were unwilling to do the hours any more, you became persona non grata. This meant the least desirable assignments, poor reviews and so on. While the conventional answer to a bad team situation in a big company is to transfer teams, it didn’t work for people on that team.”

It’s all rather revealing, isn’t it? Microsoft is crumbling from the inside because it mistreats employees and brings many from other countries to compete with those who adhere to workers’ rights. Other responses to the article from Mr. Brass are:

The Instability of Monopolies

Weekly high-tech hot topics in the blogs: Microsoft’s creative destruction, Nexus One

Sack Ballmer? Break Up the Company? How Microsoft Could Innovate

Global CIO: Microsoft’s Suicidal Infighting: An Insider’s Story

Late last year, I wrote about how Microsoft had lost its will to lead and had become a big but passive follower and imitator whose competitors regard it this way:

“They see Microsoft as drifting toward fat and complacent, prone to bold talk but tepid action, and increasingly satisfied with being a not-so-fast follower instead of the brash and aggressive embracer of high-risk strategies and approaches that enabled Microsoft to dominate markets by sheer dint of its unmatched will and its sometimes-brutal assault on any and all obstacles between it and the top spot.”

Has Microsoft become clumsy, dysfunctional and uncreative?

Bill Gates is no longer a day-to-day force at Microsoft Corp., but you have to wonder what he makes of the smackdown delivered by a former Microsoft vice president in the New York Times.

Former VP Says Microsoft is ‘Failing’ Despite Windows 7 Profits

Executive blames lack of creativity for the supposed problems at Microsoft, points to RIM, Apple, and Amazon as innovators

How the mighty fall

A sensational piece in today’s New York Times by Dick Brass, former vice president at Microsoft between 1997 and 2004, on the continuing struggles at the software giant. Mr Brass worked on the company’s unsuccessful attempts to develop popular tablet PCs and e-books. You might think he is writing out of bitterness and disappointment. But he offers a measured (and fascinating) commentary on the difficulty big, successful companies have in changing to adapt to new times.

Microsoft responded and IDG has covered this response. “Microsoft flings chairs at former VP,” is how The Inquirer chose to put it:

SOFTWARE MONOLITH Microsoft is fuming after a blog post penned by a former vice president claimed the outfit had lost its edge and is “failing” as a result.

As this new article reminds us, Microsoft is not innovative and competitors have said that for a long time. Oracle’s Larry Ellison, for example, has memorable quotes.

Here’s some quotes from him about Microsoft: “If an innovative piece of software comes along, Microsoft copies it and makes it part of Windows. This is not innovation. This is the end of innovation”. And “Microsoft is already the most powerful company on earth, but you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Going back to the “largely accidental monopolist” remark, here is what Groklaw had to say about it, preceding it with the example of history being rewritten by the BBC:

I had no idea when we began working on this project that the Comes exhibits covered such a broad time period, so far from 1988 to 2003. I woke up this morning thinking about the BBC’s truly offensive series on innovation and the internet, which you can only view in the UK, in which Bill Gates of all people is one of those highlighted as an internet innovator, if you can believe it. Maybe because ex-Microsoft employees seem to be running things there? Having just transcribed several emails that prove that Microsoft was perhaps the very last to hop on board, I realized that with this collection of exhibits, we are indeed publishing The True History of Microsoft. Please feel free to help out. You can either transcribe any exhibit in full, in part or just describe it enough so it’s keyword searchable. Come on and join us if you’d like to help historians in the future know how it really was and what really happened, keeping always in mind that this is still only part of a complex picture, despite their great historical value.

Here’s Microsoft Corporate’s response to the NY Times Op Ed piece, to be complete in our coverage, and fair, but also so you can compare it and Brass’s words with what you find in the exhibits. I think you will agree with my opinion, that Brass’s characterization of Microsoft as “a largely accidental monopolist” is hardly accurate.

A few days earlier, Jones wrote: “I think if you read through the exhibits we are publishing from the Comes v. Microsoft antitrust litigation, you will see that it was hardly accidental.”

Groklaw also gives the text of the “we were smoked” memo (exhibit PX07219 (2003) [PDF] from Comes vs Microsoft), which we are appending at the bottom. We previously wrote about Microsoft’s fear of Apple and Bill Gates wanting to maximise “patented stuff”. That was another memo which was similar.

As for the BBC, on it goes with the same shameful agenda. Part 2 of “The Virtual Revolution” is out right about now (available for viewing only in the UK) and our reader who has already watched it gives the following errata:

(9:50) she trots out that old chestnut, that the the Internet was designed to defend against nuclear missiles. At least that’s what is implied with the visuals.

At (51:38) she mentions DOS attacks against Estonia, absolutely no mention that they are caused by a vast army of compromised Windows ‘computers’.

I’ll watch this show later tonight and hopefully add more to the above.

This reader of ours has noticed that Microsoft uses yet another publicity stunt with kids in it. It is “Paying dividends in good publicity already,” says our reader. “Of course the kiddies will be attracted to the filth, like moths to a flame…

“Microsoft exploits parental fears to push Internet Explorer 8,” he later added, linking to this post from Microsoft Jack [1, 2, 3]. “Personally,” he argues sarcastically, “if you mention something to a kid and tell them not to do it, then they’ll want to do it…”

Our reader ThistleWeb points to Rory Cellan-Jones from the BBC, calling it “More MSBBC PR”. Rory’s headline is “Government advice: Browse safely with Microsoft”

He is not joking, but he asks ORG for a response at least:

But open-source campaigners are concerned that Ceop has been just a little too eager to promote the Microsoft solution.

“Microsoft have scored a publicity hit for a little cost,” Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group told me. “It’s important that Ceop doesn’t persuade people to use a single browser, particularly one which has had a history of security lapses causing other threats to home users.”

Microsoft has a good record in helping to promote safe internet use in schools and homes – and Ceop is working hard to educate parents and children about internet safety.

That last sentence says it all about Rory’s consistent denial of the company’s incompetence, never mind the many crimes (with convictions). The BBC is deep in Microsoft’s pocket because former Microsoft employees are running the show [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. We’ll come back to security in just a moment.

Many people will not have the time to read Comes vs Microsoft exhibits for themselves, but they ought to trust the judgment of those who did go through the documents. Groklaw complains about a silly, misinformed, and biased article from Randall Kennedy (IDG). Pamela Jones writes: “My vote for funniest column of the day goes to this article. The author thinks Microsoft brings standards to the world, and so a world without Microsoft would be so innovative, it would be chaotic without Microsoft’s steady hand making us all follow standards. Because I’ve spent the last couple of weeks transcribing and describing the exhibits from the Comes v. Microsoft antitrust case, I confess I found his “vision” of a Windows-less world simply hilarious. But for any who might take it seriously, it is Microsoft who has a history of “extending” standards in its own proprietary ways, not Open Source. And it was Opera who just pointed out to the EU Commission Microsoft’s refusal to follow HTML standards. The Commission got Microsoft promise to improve, but Kennedy’s vision of Microsoft somehow making the world follow standards… well, it’s priceless. Is he Rob Enderle’s son or something?”

To be fair, he has always been focused on Windows everything. Linux Insider (ECT) gives a ride to that piece of FUD.

One reader sent us a pointer to this article, noting that “Th[is] letter from 2003 sheds some light on how long that Microsofters have been aware of the scam perpetuated there.

“Stuz had lots of good quotes:”

A retiring Microsoft executive delivered a kick in the pants to his former employer, warning in a version of his resignation letter that he posted to the Internet that Microsoft is in danger of being swept away by open source.

Microsoft faces the same embrace-or-be-destroyed alternatives with open source that it faced with the Internet years ago, David Stutz said, Microsoft’s group program manager for the Shared Source Common Language Initiative until his recent retirement.

Our reader then commented on Microsoft’s corporate culture:

Yes, the work culture there has always sucked. It’s not a new thing. The management has always sucked, that’s not new either. The employees have always sucked, too. Between them and the management,that’s why nothing works or is completed on time.

What is new is that individuals go strange. Matt Asay probably went Microsoft quite a long while ago. It’s not uncommon for Windows trolls to use OS X. He’s probably not a Windows troll, maybe just an apologist. Whatever.

I find his amnesia regarding Microsoft unconvincing, to say the least. Didn’t the same strangeness turn up in Patrick Durusau, too? He did a 180 on Microsoft after a ‘meeting’ with some representatives:


What’d they do to him? money? threats? abuse? chemicals? blackmail?

Matt Asay almost went to work for Microsoft a few years ago, but very few people do understand this. Either way, his new role at Canonical [1, 2] will hopefully not shock. As for Patrick Durusau, we wrote about the subject in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. There was a lot of money at stake.

Microsoft had lost over $5,000,000,000 just trying to dethrone Google (in vain) and Microsoft’s latest poor results (which Microsoft scrambled in order to confuse people [1, 2, 3, 4]) showed that the losses online continue. “Admit It, Microsoft: You Suck at the Web,” says GigaOM (not Malik himself, as he is the one who received money from Microsoft). The rant says:

And what does it have to show for all its effort? Years of losses. Since 2002, when Microsoft began breaking out MSN and online services as a separate category, the division has seen aggregate revenue of $20 billion but a total operating loss of nearly $7 billion. In the past 18 months, the losses in proportion to revenue have only grown larger. Microsoft now spends nearly two dollars on its online businesses for every dollar it makes in revenue. Major points for trying, but it’s time to call a failure a failure.

Another insight: “Why Microsoft Can’t Grow– And Why Its Shareholders Deserve More Cash”

There is no shame in Microsoft coming to the realization that they have one and a half valuable properties and that they are wasting time and money on everything else (see chart below).

This takes us back to the subject of security, on which the BBC are others are currently deceiving by advertising Microsoft. One of our readers complained about the following analysis which neglects to blame Windows botnets as the cause.

Covering the last six months of 2009, the report is based upon the findings of the ThreatSeeker Network which is used to discover, classify and monitor global Internet threats and trends courtesy of something called the Internet HoneyGrid. This comprises of honeyclients and honeypots, reputation systems and advanced grid computing systems, all of which combine to parse through one billion pieces of content every day while searching for security threats. Every single hour the Internet HoneyGrid scans some 40 million websites for malicious code as well as 10 million emails for unwanted content and malicious code.

How about Microsoft's role? It neglected to patch its browser for almost half a year and Internet Explorer users paid the price [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. Shortly after the “emergency” patch, yet another flaw came to the surface, followed by another:

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer could inadvertently allow a hacker to read files on a person’s computer, another problem for the company just days after a serious vulnerability received an emergency patch.

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was subsequently subjected to backlash and in recent days we have found news reports, such as:

Microsoft warns that IE zero-day vulnerability causes data leakage

Microsoft issued a new advisory late Wednesday, warning Internet Explorer (IE) users of the potential for data leakage as a result of new publicly disclosed IE zero-day vulnerabilities.

Microsoft were aware of Aurora security flaws

In a blog posting by Jerry Bryant, a Microsoft security programme manager, “when the attack discussed in Security Advisory 979352 was first brought to our attention on Jan 11, we quickly released an advisory for customers three days later.”

“As part of that investigation, we also determined that the vulnerability was the same as a vulnerability responsibly reported to us and confirmed in early September.”

Has Microsoft shot itself in the foot with Security Essentials?”

Expert finds vulnerabilities in Microsoft browser

Microsoft probing new hole in IE security

The newer problem is covered in:

Internet Explorer Bug Can Disclose Local Files

New attack against IE could expose all PC files

Microsoft’s popular Internet Explorer web browser suffers from several minor flaws, which, when combined, can allow an attacker to read all the files on a user’s computer, according to researchers at penetration testing vendor Core Security Technologies.

A lot of patches are coming today (we wrote about it here).

Microsoft slates colossal Windows patch next week

Unlucky 13 Microsoft Patches Due Next Week

Microsoft Patches Coming Tuesday: Brace Yourself

And a system restart will be required for these Windows patches, which will mean down time for servers. In fact, 10 of the record-tying 13 bulletins require a restart.

How about this: “Microsoft to patch 17 year old bug”

Like many teens, the 17 year old bug does not do much other than lounge around the hard drive unable to speak. It only exists because the Vole wanted users to be able to run ancient programs on newer machines and had an insecure app to do it.

Having first appeared in Windows NT 3.1, the vulnerability has been carried over into almost every version of Windows that has appeared ever since.

Despite the obvious problems, Microsoft still treats itself as though it’s an authority in security (there is a press release even) and sticking its nose in Super Bowl security (probably for some publicity). This company is preaching about safety while being utterly negligent by choice [1, 2, 3].

With fake cures and despair, fingers keep being pointed in the wrong direction. Microsoft has a serious design issue that cannot be fixed with patches. For instance, there are no repositories in Windows, so the users rely on a poor system/framework of trust. No wonder this type of stuff still appears in the news:

Fake Microsoft Outlook Update Installs Trojan

A malicious spam campaign caught by Panda Labs is using a fake Microsoft Update notice to trick victims into installing a Trojan. While well crafted, the attack still provides dead giveaways.

Will Microsoft ever abandon Windows and build something atop another platform? It has probably run out of time by now. As Jim Allchin put it 7 years ago (see E-mail below), Microsoft was “smoked”. Back then Microsoft still had some savings in the bank, but now it's just borrowing money.

Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit PX07219, as text (not complete text, see original)

Read the rest of this entry »

Windows ‘Battery Killer’ (Vista 7) Also Has USB Data Transfer Issues and Stability Problems, Does Not Sell Well

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Vista 7, Vista 8, Windows at 10:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dump of firebugs

Summary: Vista 7 is plagued by serious bugs and new patches from Microsoft are said to be making things even worse; Microsoft is still unable to formulate a response to the new problems and Vista 7 sales continue to disappoint, so more vapourware and fake “leaks” are being used instead


HE reality behind Vista 7 continues to move along the lines that we have expected. It is beginning to look more and more like Vista as the weeks go by. Hundreds of millions of dollars in brainwash budget are running out and with this depletion, so does Microsoft’s ability to gag critics or overwhelm them with a bunch of fluff (distraction amid blunders using new announcements).

Today we will show that Microsoft faces new PR gaffes and at the same time it’s pressing ahead, resorting to fantasy (new projects or versions that will supposedly fix everything).

As we pointed out some months ago, Acer saw disappointing sales of computers after the release of Vista 7. A week and a half ago we saw Microsoft’s poor results that it faked with spin [1, 2, 3, 4]. It was all geared towards hyping up Vista 7, but according to the Wall Street Journal, “Windows 7 Fails to Boost Profits of PC Makers”

Microsoft Corp.’s new Windows 7 operating system has fattened the company’s earnings and boosted personal-computer sales at retailers like Best Buy Co. But it hasn’t increased the profits of PC giants Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Inc. and others.

PC makers — unlike Microsoft — did not use deferral tricks to deceive their shareholders. Let’s face it. Vista 7 does not sell well and we keep seeing news reports about it. Microsoft has enough gullible journalists out there who are willing to corner and scare away the truth. That’s a huge failure of the media. Over at Groklaw, Pamela Jones wrote: “If you look closer, you see that this is consumers buying new computers. Their first chance to escape Vista. Not much of a choice of operating systems at the Best Buys of the world. But business sales are down, ditto XBox and Zune. It’s all in how you read and then spin the rest, I gather.”

Take their fan Savitz for example. He is still pumping Microsoft [1, 2], which makes one wonder if what he’s doing is legal. He and Barron’s (whom he writes for) seem to serve a role as Microsoft’s cheerleader, still. Goldman Sachs [1, 2] is also right there alongside Microsoft. That’s just how the analysts (speculators) industry works. Dennis Kucinich did an excellent job exposing it.

Going back to the main issue, Vista 7 is overrated because of PR (Vista was roughly the same in its early days, in least in terms of perception). Now we know that Vista 7 is a “battery killer” [1, 2, 3] and Microsoft is unable to deny the problem. Even Mary Jo Foley is left speechless.

But wait. That’s just the beginning of it. According to SoftPedia, Vista 7 suffers from “USB Data Transfer Issues on PCs with NVIDIA USB EHCI Chipsets”:

Microsoft has made available for download two updates designed to resolve issues related to data transfer failures in computers running Windows 7. According to the Redmond company, machines with Windows Server 2008 R2 can also be impacted by problems involving failed transfers of information over USB. However, the company underlined that customers must have computers with a specific hardware configuration in order for such issues to occur. The software giant explained that machines equipped with an NVIDIA USB EHCI chipset and at least 4GB of RAM were prone to problems when end users moved data over USB.

Those who bought Vista 7 (or had it forced upon them with a new computer) are part of the experiment. Here is what happened next:

1. Windows 7 has stability issues

One of the stability updates, KB977074, has been found to be responsible for compromising the stability of the operating system. Oh, the irony.

The update was one of many issued by Microsoft for Windows 7 just two weeks ago and the stability concerns have been highlighted by some annoyed forum members in a thread on the Vole’s Technet.

2. Windows 7 stability update makes PCs unstable, users report

Some Windows 7 users have reported that their PCs started to freeze or randomly display the infamous “Blue screen of death” after applying a January update Microsoft billed as a stability and reliability fix.

Microsoft today said it doesn’t consider the problem a “major issue,” but acknowledged it’s investigating.

As first noticed by Ars Technica, a short thread on Microsoft’s Windows 7 support forum discusses the update, which Microsoft issued two weeks ago, on Jan. 25.

Microsoft Emil (of Ars Technica) is speechless. He and Microsoft do not know how to defend themselves or spin themselves out of this hole. The response from a regular troll who defends Microsoft is that “it’s not major”.

For Windows 7 customers don’t worry though, as some Microsoft advocates like to say “It will be better next time” So just hang on, then dig deep when Windows 8 is released.

What a mess!

Here is what another notable blogger had to say a week and a half ago. He said that “Windows 7 Is Frustrating”:

I fired up a PC I haven’t used in a while, expecting to have to sit through the mind-numbing Windows Update parade. What I was confronted with was worse than that, as the computer refused to boot properly. I found myself staring at the window above, telling me that something was wrong and asking if I wanted Windows 7 to fix itself. I told it yes and the fun began.

It sat and did something, I don’t know what but the hard disk was thrashing, for a good while. Eventually it indicated it needed to restore the system to an earlier point, so I said yes. This fired off another seemingly endless process that eventually required a reboot.

Yes, join the experiment (Mojave, anyone?). Vista 7 is still messy, which is why almost no businesses actually adopt it. There is already a Windows exodus. In the words of Mary Jo Foley (who comments on Mike Nash quitting):

With Nash’s departure, all of the top Windows marketing leaders who were part of the Windows Business Group created under Veghte three years ago — Mike Sievert, Will Poole, Joe Peterson and Nash — are now gone from the company

And indeed, Microsoft has already begun talking about its Vista 8 vapourware. We are seeing more of the (probably fake) “leak” that we mentioned before [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft must have created some gossip about a “roadmap”, labeling it a “leak”. This leads to excitement for some, even though it’s nothing but a name. “No Telling How Windows 8 Will Be Better than Windows 7,” says SoftPedia.

These are probably all fake leaks. Groklaw said that the recent “leak” of Windows Mobile 6.5 SDK was probably also intentional. “This happens so regularly,” she said,”that one has to ask: is it accidental?” There is one new “leak” for the mobile version of Windows too, not just the SDK [1, 2] (Windows Mobile 7 “concepts”). They try to hype up a dying platform, even though developers are clearly walking away (we showed this before).

Microsoft is charging Windows Mobile developers indefinitely more than Apple and Google

Can you believe that? Market share of Windows Mobile is sinking like Titanic, and competitors have tens of thousands of apps (compared to less than one thousand in Windows Mobile app store), plenty of which are not available at all (!) for Windows Mobile, and what is Microsoft doing?

Microsoft is charging Windows Mobile developers indefinitely more than Apple and Google as you can see in this comparison…

Some journalists have blamed Windows Mobile for HTC’s poor performance (HTC is only gradually moving to Linux/Android). Microsoft Emil makes a suggestion identical to one which we saw 2 weeks ago, namely the use of anti-standards (Silverlight) to advance Microsoft’s own mobile platform. what a preposterous and unethical idea.

Here is another fake “leak”, this one involving Office 2010, which is said to have been “Released by Accident” (to generate a lot of buzz over this version). Joe Wilcox, formerly the editor of Microsoft Watch, says that “Microsoft Office is obsolete, or soon will be” (that’s the headline he uses).

I’ll ask upfront: Do you really need Microsoft Office on a daily basis? Is Office vital to your work day? Do you use it at home? If you use it at work, how often? If you use it at home or for college, how often? Please respond in comments.

My answers are easy. I don’t use Office at all. The software isn’t installed on my laptop.

This is the number one cash cow of Microsoft, whose numbers keep decreasing. No wonder Microsoft relies on obviously and embarrassingly fake “leaks” of Office.

Apple uses the same tactics of fake "leaks" and Microsoft’s former AstroTurfer Don Dodge [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], is sidling with Macs now [1, 2]. It just comes to show how badly Windows is really doing.

For those who are still using the RC of Vista 7, be prepared for Microsoft’s remote kill switches [1, 2] to kick in. Here is how Microsoft treats volunteer testers of its proprietary software:

Windows 7 RC nears auto-shutdown deadline, Microsoft warns

Running Windows 7 RC? Prepare for Shutdowns

Windows 7 RC ‘buy a copy’ shut downs start next month

Microsoft Windows 7 RC Goes Into Reduced Functionality Mode On 15th Of February

Microsoft warns of Windows 7 RC cut off

Although the Windows 7 RC officially expires 1 June, users will be hit with bi-hourly shutdowns from 1 March, making it impractical for day-to-day use.

Considering all the major bugs in Vista 7 (RTM), there is still a lot of testing to be done. But Microsoft says that the next version of Windows will fix everything. It promises, as usual.

“[W]e’re not going to have products that are much more successful than Vista has been.”

Steve Ballmer

Norwegian Agency for Public Management and eGovernment Slams Microsoft OOXML

Posted in Europe, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Protest against OOXML

Summary: The authorities in Norway justify the country’s decision to reject Microsoft’s standards-hostile ploy

IT was almost 2 years ago that people of Norway were marching in the streets after Microsoft corruption. We wrote about the subject in:

According to this report from IDG, Norway’s final decision to stick with ODF was the correct one. It has received endorsement from the Norwegian Agency for Public Management and eGovernment.

Microsoft’s XML-based office document format, OOXML, does not meet the requirements for governmental use, according to a new report published by the Norwegian Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (DIFI).

The agency wants to start a debate over the report as part of its work on standards in the Norwegian government.

For the Norwegian government, PDF is the recommended file format for publishing noneditable files, while Open Document Format (ODF), the native file format of productivity suites including the open-source OpenOffice.org, is the recommended format for publishing editable files. Versions of PDF, ODF and OOXML have all been adopted as international standards by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

“They are not implementing all parts of the OOXML standard, so he [technical director of Microsoft Denmark] is lying.”

Mogens Kühn Pedersen, chair of the Danish Standards Committee

One of our readers has highlighted this comment from the accompanying Slashdot item:

[OOXML] combines “OO” and “XML”, two of the most powerful buzzwords the computing industry has ever seen.

I’m not trying to be funny, either. You wouldn’t believe the number of managers I’ve had to deal with who see those terms, and go apeshit crazy about how good something is. Tell them your technology is “object-oriented”, and they’re sold. Then tell them it involves “XML”, and they absolutely can’t resist it.

Mind you, these people tend to not know a thing about the technical aspects of software development. They don’t know any programming languages, but are convinced that “object-oriented” is the ONLY way. They haven’t got a clue what an XML document even looks like, but insist that it can do anything.

The only thing managers these days slurp up more than “OO” and “XML” are “Web Services”. If Microsoft had named it OOXMLWebServices instead of just OOXML, ODF would’ve been destroyed years ago.

We have written about this deceiving name many times before. It’s also intended to make people (including via search engines) wrongly associate “Open Office” with “Office Open [OOXML]. Microsoft has used these shameless tricks for years.

“The Norwegian [OOXML] affair was a scandal and we are still pursuing it. We haven’t given up hope of changing the vote back to No, and we hope people who experienced similar travesties in other countries will do the same.”

Steve Pepper

Steve Ballmer Visits Obama Once Again as His Fight Against Google Continues

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 8:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

White House in daytime

Summary: Updates on the competition between Microsoft and Google — a rivalry that takes political form

GOOGLE is gradually devaluing Microsoft’s products and Steve Ballmer understands that (Microsoft’s poor results [1, 2, 3, 4] are related to this). Free software and Google challenge Microsoft’s fundamental business model, as opposed to Apple for example. Moreover, watch how Google became an attractive employer, whereas Microsoft dropped like a stone (for several years now, even before the massive layoffs that are still ongoing, having officially begun over a year ago). From CNET:

Among the technology firms that ended up on Fortune’s list were SAS at No. 1, Google at No. 4, Cisco Systems at No. 16, Adobe Systems at No. 42, and Microsoft at No. 51. The firms scored points for a couple of different factors, including top pay and best perks. And with the job market still tight, Fortune also looked at the job growth for each company.

Microsoft is always trying to cause trouble to Google. Microsoft sued Google last month, having previously used other parties to sue Google. See for example:

Here is what Microsoft has been up to in recent days:

This is typical. This type of attitude is highlighted in a new post which is titled “Steve Ballmer, did you ‘f***ing kill Google’ yet?”

Well About 1/2 a decade ago, a key individual defected from Microsoft to Google that lead to one heck of lawsuit. According to official documents, Steve said he was going to ‘fucking kill Google’ as he hurled a chair across the room. literally.


We were just wondering Mr. Ballmer, did you ‘fucking kill Google’ yet? We figured 1/2 a decade has passed now and we were just wondering the status of it.

More in this new article:

If you think this is creepy, then join the club. In terms of collective IQ, Google is the smartest company in cyberspace: for five years it’s been taking the cleverest graduates from elite universities and the most experienced computer engineers. It’s been such a magnet for talent that even Microsoft is enraged. In 2005, for example, an ex-Microsoft engineer named Mark Lucovsky alleged in a sworn statement to a Washington state court that Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, became so enraged on hearing that Lucovsky was about to leave Microsoft for Google, that he picked up his chair, and threw it across his office. (Ballmer called this a “gross exaggeration”.)

Well, nothing that Microsoft has tried (and it tried so many things at a very high cost) has helped it accomplish the goal of simply destroying another competitor. Microsoft managed to pretty much destroy Yahoo! but not Google. Yahoo! Search got hijacked by Microsoft after an AstroTurfing campaign funded by Microsoft had derailed a deal between Yahoo! and Google. Microsoft was tearing apart the company through its staff and Microsoft fans are now saying that “Yahoo! Continues to Slip”. One has to wonder why, eh? Well, here is another fleeing executive of Yahoo! (more here):

It took three years, but former Yahoo executive Dan Rosensweig believes he has found another great Internet gig.

Rosensweig’s career shifted in a new direction this week when he took over as CEO of Chegg.com, a Silicon Valley startup that says it has rented about 2.4 million textbooks to cash-strapped college students since its 2007 inception.

AOL is with Google, still:

Armstrong Hints AOL Will Renew Search Deal With Google: ‘Distribution Is Almost As Important To Us As Money’


During today’s AOL earnings call, which just finished, CEO Tim Armstrong dropped the strongest hint yet that Google is the front-runner in negotiations for who will power search across AOL properties. Google is AOL’s current partner, as it has been for nearly a decade, but snatching the search partnership away would be a coup for Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Bing wants the search deal, which would help it increase its total volume of searches by a couple percentage points since AOL on its own has the fifth largest search share in the U.S.

Here comes Steve Ballmer to the White House (yes, again [1, 2, 3, 4]):

DJ Obama Meeting With Microsoft’s Ballmer, Amex’s Chenault, 8 Other Execs

A group of 10 top corporate executives, including Microsoft Corp.’s Steve Ballmer and American Express Co.’s (AXP) Ken Chenault, will join President Obama for lunch at the White House Thursday, an administration official said.

Some weeks ago we saw Ballmer using his "innovation" propaganda to have Obama promote patents and the Huffington Post helped Ballmer in that regard. Ballmer can also poison the government against Google and fight against the planned fixes for taxation policy (Microsoft is a tax dodger [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]).

Bank of America, Microsoft, Exxon May Face Obama Tax Increases


Bank of America Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Microsoft Corp. would be among companies paying $400 billion in additional taxes under President Barack Obama’s $3.8 trillion budget.

On several occasions in the past we wrote about Microsoft’s influence in the Department of Justice [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] — an immense influence which led to discrimination against Google in that department.

“Microsoft is pulling out every favor it’s got … It has a very close relationship with DOJ and the White House, and all of that pressure is being brought to bear.”

“Microsoft lobbies to fight Yahoo-Google pact”

Watch what the Department of Justice is doing to Google right now:

Kara Swisher and a few other journalists argue that Google too lobbies heavily [1, 2], with Google Watch (Ziff Davis [1, 2, 3]) going further:

Google, Microsoft Meet in the Lobby on Capitol Hill

Google and Microsoft compete in search, cloud computing and Web services, but their battles extend from boardroom bargaining with customers to the nation’s capitol.

One has to remember that when it comes to lobbying, there are secret spendings and political power that is unaccounted for. Microsoft’s influence over the government has become inherent in the system and it’s possible that Google is just more transparent when it comes to lobbying disclosures. Either way, lobbying should ideally be eliminated altogether.

With Google’s domination in video (Microsoft is far behind), there is likely to be regulatory pressure that goes beyond just search.

Google has a problem in China. But it may have bigger headaches in Europe.

According to another perspective:

Germans and Frenchmen are more likely to Google themselves than are Brits and Americans.

The German and French authorities recommended that people drop Internet Explorer [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] after repeated cases of Microsoft negligence [1, 2, 3].

Also in the news in recent days:

1. Google joins the ‘kill-IE6′ campaign

2. A Tad Too Late, Google Begins Phase-Out of IE6

3. Google pushes Chrome browser as PC battle looms

Google has taken the unusual step of using real-world advertising to promote its Chrome web browser in Europe ahead of a regulatory change that will make it easier for consumers to switch Web browsers.

4. Time to die, but Microsoft can’t kill Internet Explorer 6

World governments want you to stop using IE6. Microsoft does too. But the software giant claims its hands are tied — it’s like a drug. Why Microsoft can’t stop supporting IE6.

Google can help the elimination of Microsoft's threat to Free software. For that reason, it is better to favour Google. Rumours suggest that Google might buy Canonical.

Microsoft’s Hostile Takeover of the Healthcare System

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Windows at 7:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft wants to make medical records and management of patients a lot more dependent on Windows and its own private servers

MICROSOFT has just announced another medical takeover. The following text has an interesting description for Microsoft, calling it “developer and licensor of software solutions”.

Microsoft Corporation, a developer and licensor of software solutions, has acquired Sentillion, Inc., a developer of identity and access management solutions for the healthcare industry. Both the companies are based in the US.

There is more information about it here and here. It’s not the first acquisition in this area. A few weeks ago we showed that Microsoft was trying to make the healthcare system dependent on Microsoft’s existence [1, 2]. The NHS is already captive to a high degree [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], but Microsoft wants to expand its influence over people’s lives (and deaths). Ballmer’s tour across the United States (to influence health professionals) carries on and he is even seeding some money to entrap the system:

To that end, Microsoft, along with the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), announced new “Innovation through Technology” grants – in which the computing giant will donate $1 million in software and the HCA will give $250,000 in cash to Tennessee community agencies that focus on, among other areas, primary health.

It is a trap, but large companies like Siemens, a top software patents lobbyist in Europe, are still falling for this [1, 2, 3, 4]. There is a sucker born every minute, including those who are willing to pass records of patients to a convicted monopolist that disregards the law. Microsoft is even doing this in Haiti — a subject that wrote about twice last month (the notion of “disaster capitalism” and the PR whose purpose is possibly to distract people from the role of Free software in Haiti [1, 2]).

Microsoft Nick and Fried are among the distractors. They are arguably trying to take attention away from the real story, e.g.:

Crisis Commons – Open Source in Action for Disaster Relief

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been working to organize a CrisisCamp in Calgary. It was the 1 of 4 happening in Canada this weekend. Based on Barcamp, the focus was on solutions to aid the NGO”s and responders on the ground in Haiti. The code base is all open source and can be modified for other disasters that may occur globally.

Several CrisisCamp events have taken place globally since the quake hit Haiti on Jan 12th. Volunteers in cities across North America, Bogota in Colombia, and London, UK have coded solutions directly requested by non governmental organizations (NGOs) on the ground, all via a website submission page. Visit CrisisCommon for further insight

It is worth adding another item from the news [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft has been trying to control bar codes for several years now, without success. They want to tag objects and people using their patented ideas. It has been mentioned for years and it is not new, either. Nevertheless, last week it was promoted by the Microsoft boosters who pretend to be just innocent reporters.

Microsoft Tag, whose slogan is “Linking real life with the digital world,” is another stab at digital scanners that aim to connect printed materials with online content.

This could relate to the new acquisition of a “developer of identity and access management solutions for the healthcare industry”. Microsoft wants more control over society, even if it means patients and crowd control. Should we give Microsoft such powers? As the links below show, Microsoft and hospitals don’t mix.

Related posts:

More Mono and Patent Poison from Novell

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gorilla bondage

Summary: “Pinta” comes from Novell staff and software patents tax (on SLE*) comes from Microsoft in the form of vouchers

YESTERDAY’S LONG post about Ubuntu has led to some reactions that include this rant about “Microsoft, Ubuntu, Canonical, Novell, and Mono”:

I was reading Goblin’s latest post at OpenBytes. He had some interesting points, but I thought he was missing a few things. At point I hit four paragraphs in response, I decided to answer him here instead, because I kept on thinking of more things to say. Goblin’s concern is that Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu family of GNU/Linux operating systems, is bringing out a new product called Ubuntu One, and they are going to make a Windows version as well as a Linux version.

Goblin’s is right – Canonical seems to be moving closer to Microsoft, both in supplying a Windows version of Ubuntu One, and because of Canonical’s new search deal with Yahoo. Since Yahoo has a search deal with Microsoft, Canonical is in effect delivering Microsoft Bing search results to GNU/Linux users.


Yes, Microsoft is trying to use it’s monopoly to force everyone else out of the market. They’ve bought several companies recently who produced products for multiple operating systems, and then proceeded to make them Windows only. So sorry, we don’t make a Unix version anymore… The only problem with this sort of action, is that those customers who used the Unix version now know what Microsoft thinks of their business. Nothing. So they aren’t going to buy more Microsoft product. There’s no gain for Microsoft. Oh, strictly Microsoft shops might buy a bit more, but they are becoming rarer, as the advantages of GNU/Linux servers become more evident.


Microsoft can limit competition in the marketplace for a short period of time only. This combined with the damage that Microsoft has done to their brand by releasing failures like Windows Vista, which limits the amount of money they can spend on monopolistic practises means that we are probably only five-ten years from seeing a collapse of the company, driven partly by their own incompetence, and partly by the negative image that the Microsoft brand has gained over the last five years. For example Novell made a deal with Microsoft, and Microsoft’s bad reputation has affected Novell’s reputation, to the point where a lot of techs, even those who had used a lot of Novell in the past, will not recommend Novell products anymore. Another example is the migration under way from Yahoo to Google, because of Yahoo’s pending deal with Microsoft.


But Gnome may no longer matter. There are rumours around the net about a ‘New Desktop Foundation.’ The rumour I heard was that this would be a fork of the Gnome desktop, removing all Mono and C# packages. There are enough people who are upset at Ubuntu, Gnome, and Miguel de Icaza (one of the founders of Gnome, and founder of the Mono project, and a Microsoft MVP) that it could possibly be true. I was also told that the use of ‘New’ was deliberate, since in English the pronunciation is the same as the pronunciation of ‘Gnu’.

OpenBytes has meanwhile done some digging into the project called “Pinta” (it was also mentioned yesterday). Guess what? This Mono project is developed by a Novell employee. Here are the details:

I’ve often made the point that if Mono is so great, where is the killer app for it? Where is the app that everyone MUST have? Whatever coders think about Mono and whatever they create, its the end-user who will decide on its future and I challenge anyone to show me a FOSS project that continues to run when nobody wants to use it.

Over at http://jpobst.blogspot.com/2010/02/over-holiday-break-i-stumbled-upon-this.html where the Pinta project has a blog, the authors description says:

…I’m Jonathan Pobst and I am a full-time open source hacker for Novell. I work on Mono, specifically on Mono Tools for Visual Studio.

and he certainly has “great” aspirations for this software. Full time open source hacker? You mean employee then? Implying that he is inspired by Paint.net. Inspired by Paint.net eh?…..moving swiftly on….


If I had seen a mass of Mono apps being released to “hungry” end users I may have seen the need, but when Novell is seemingly trying to create its own killer apps to promote its own implementation of a Microsoft framework then I really can’t see the point of this “gift to the world”.

In the case of Mono and its associated “wares” the most important person is not the coder(s) behind the projects, but the end-user – YOU. The success or failure of such projects will solely depend on if they are taken up by the “average desktop user” who outnumber enterprise/advocates/coders many times over. Ask yourself did you move to Linux for a “FOSS” implementation of a Microsoft technology which is headed up by Microsoft MVP Mr De Icazza or did you (like me) move because you were tired of inhibiting licenses, crashes, bloated software and the blame being placed at the feet of anyone but Microsoft? Were you fed up of the ethos of “everything has a price” or the takeaway menu style purchasing of Microsoft products? – I’ll let you decide.

We didn’t know that Novell staff had made this Mono program. It’s tempting to say that “Embrace and Extend” with Mono would potentially work here. If there was enough of Microsoft inside GNU/Linux, then maybe it would be ripe for adoption by Microsoft. It’s almost as though Microsoft is brewing and fortifying a GNU/Linux is can recommend, with software patents tax, .NET, and all the rest of the stuff.

As our reader Goblin put it last night, “It seems if people won’t use Mono to make apps, Novell will have to do it for them……so much for this “gift to the world”… I think its a “gift to the world” in the same way the atom bomb was.”

To another reader he said: “I’d like to give it back….Marty do you have the receipt? we can get a refund! ;) … Stand by for the “Mono hater” or “Killing the FOSS” comments because I dare to give MY opinion on Mono.”

The Mono team often bullies those who disagree.

In other news, an article which was mentioned in last week's post (and some prior posts [1, 2]) is attempting to portray Microsoft as a GNU/Linux vendor. This portrayal is accentuated by this article, which is just a lot of spin. The comments in Linux Today complement it.

Rainer Weikusat writes: “According the article, Microsoft is the third-largest Linux vendor in the USA. That’s something to remember for the next round of ‘”Linux” is low-quality hobbyist’s software’ …”

Jose X is being more realistic and Bernard Swiss says: “Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but I have grave doubts that in this case, the word “sold” means what I would usually take it to mean.”

A lot of people miss the point that what Microsoft sells here is not GNU/Linux, let alone support. It sells licences to software patents it would not disclose. Matt Asay has connections with his former employer Novell and based on his conversations with old colleagues he said that he had “heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons “royalty payments”,” so it means that they are selling patents, and mostly profiting at the expense of Red Hat. Another comment says that “What Microsoft has done here is keep Windows on all those computers by selling a support license for Linux installed in a virtual machine on a Windows host computer.

“Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but I have grave doubts that in this case, the word “sold” means what I would usually take it to mean.”
      –Bernard Swiss
“So where companies where going to put Linux on the hardware, Microsoft keeps selling another copy of Windows and they still rule the system.

“Why else would they pay so much for so little? Just more protectionism and keeping keeping customers from really knowing what they are missing staying on Windows.”

It’s the same with Mono and the CodePlex Foundation. It’s about putting Microsoft in charge. Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza will soon be joined by Hunter [1, 2, 3], a Microsoft employee [1, 2] whose role is to help Microsoft fight against Free software and GNU/Linux for the sake of Windows, DRM, software patent racketeering and the usual criminal activities that Microsoft still specialises in. eWEEK has an unintentionally deceiving headline that says: “Canonical, CodePlex Foundation Announce New Leadership”

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