“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”
–Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO
Summary: Novell has a Mono-based replacement for the GIMP and some of the most expected sources are covering it
THREE months ago, one of our readers hypothesised that the GIMP would be replaced by Paint.NET, at least in Ubuntu. The man who ported Paint.NET (for GNU/Linux) is working to receive a paycheck from Novell, which is in turn funded by Microsoft. He says that he “work[s] on Mono, specifically on Mono Tools for Visual Studio.” It’s about assimilating to Microsoft rather than the other way around.
Earlier this week we mentioned this article from The H. It is about a Mono project named Pinta, developed alone by that Novell employee who had previously ported Paint.NET. Thom Holwerda, who is quite often seen as hostile towards GNU/Linux (he loves Windows Vista 7 and he loves Mono), promoted this application, calling it “a Gtk+ Clone of Paint.NET.” DownloadSquad did the same thing and in Heise/The H we found the sole comment which says: “I read an article earlier on today that stated Novell were trying to get over the problem of mono being so unpopular with everyone by writing all the programmes themselves. Is this true? Just who else is writing programmes in mono?”
“Mark Shuttleworth once said that if the Windows API becomes the default on GNU/Linux, then there is no point to GNU/Linux.”Pinta is just more trouble, very much like Moonlight. Mark Shuttleworth once said that if the Windows API becomes the default on GNU/Linux, then there is no point to GNU/Linux. He was right, but he ignored his own intuition and embraced the Trojan horses from Microsoft and Novell (there is another side to this story). Those who are always defending and promoting Mono applications are those who offer complimentary coverage to Pinta. One of them is Ryan Paul and among the comments he received there is this one: “Great, yet another Microsoft .NET application to be included in Ubuntu. Before long, they will just switch to a licensed Windows kernel and nobody would see the difference.”
Here is new coverage from FOSDEM 2010:
Last weekend, during the tenth edition of FOSDEM, we had the joy of organizing the first ever Mono developer room. While there had been talks about Mono before (including Miguel’s great presentation at FOSDEM 2007), it was still a rather underrepresented topic. For that reason, Stephane and I requested a developer room and gladly we got it.
So those who asked for the room are contributing not just to F-Spot but to Novell’s very own Banshee too (which only Novell customers can use [1, 2, 3, 4]). █
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Summary: With about 8 posts per day for 3 years we reach another milestone
THIS is post number 9005 in Boycott Novell. We still have no way of sustaining this site financially (the perils of publishing), but let’s see if we can hit 10,000. Thanks to all our regular readers. █
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Summary: After Ashley Highfield had jumped from the BBC to join Microsoft UK, his colleague Erik Huggers (also originally from Microsoft) is caught spending £639 on a cab, or at least so he claims
LAST WEEK we gave a new example to show how the BBC is being used to glorify Microsoft. This is not a coincidence. There is a lot of executive overlap between the BBC and Microsoft UK [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].
The Guardian has this scoop about Erik Huggers, the BBC’s director of future media and technology. He came from Microsoft and he is partly behind the iPlayer fiasco (along with his colleague Ashley Highfield, who is currently working for Microsoft UK). This a fiasco which we have covered in dozens of posts including:
Here is a snippet from the Guardian (published 3 days ago):
As the BBC’s director of future media and technology, Eric Huggers is accustomed to wrestling with the most tricky questions relating to the corporation’s role in a rapidly changing digital age.
But even he may find himself struggling to answer one conundrum thrown up by his newly released expenses claims: how is it possible to justify spending £638.73 on a taxi?
It “must be the Microsoft high life he’s used to,” said Glyn Moody, who has been watching this whole Huggers saga for quite some time. He has just spent about $1000 on a cab. Well, even a trip/cruise from north to south (inside the UK) would not cost that much. Huggers is at least not among the Microsoft employees who are allegedly offering cruises with drugs and prostitutes to Microsoft distributors [1, 2].
“Huggers is at least not among the Microsoft employees who are allegedly offering cruises with drugs and prostitutes to Microsoft distributors.”We previously warned that Microsoft was spreading to all sorts of other companies and establishments like some kind of a dangerous cult. it’s sometimes known as “revolving doors” when staff goes back and forth like this, occupying both the media and the industry which it covers (or the regulators which watch over a company, e.g. Monsanto and the FDA).
“In the state of South Carolina,” wrote to us a reader last night, “Microsoft and its partners and field operatives are apparently now required to register or face a $25,000 fine.”
Another reader told us about it last night. █
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Summary: Tuesday’s patches make Windows XP unbootable or prone to blue screens of death for some clients; Xbox has had and is having similar problems
EARLIER TODAY a reader told us that last week's Conficker attack in Leeds hospital was partly caused by negligent administrators who had not patched their Windows boxes. He added that they probably did not patch the operating system because very often those patches render the machines unbootable. On Tuesday came a large number of security patches for Windows [1, 2] and according to Brian Krebs from the Washington Post, those patches broke Windows XP, Microsoft’s most widely deployed operating system.
If you use Windows XP and haven’t yet updated your system with the applicable security updates that Microsoft issued Tuesday, you might want to hold off for a bit. Turns out, a non-trivial number of XP users are reporting that their systems suffer from the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) and fall into an interminable reboot loop after installing the latest batch of patches from Redmond.
Watch the number of comments. People can relate. “I wonder if Microsoft will issue an apology,” said the person who brought this to our attention. Can Microsoft blame anyone else, just like it always does? Maybe some PC manufacturer? It did accuse HP when some Vista patches had messed up machines with a particular CPU (which fortunately not many people were using). Remember: it’s never ever Microsoft’s fault. It can’t be, as that would be harmful to Microsoft’s already stagnant-reputation and thus be bad for its shareholders.
Microsoft was also bricking/banning Xbox 360s (there were many cases of accidental bricking, especially around 2006-2008 [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]) and the situation over there is so bad that more people are ditching Xbox. The following is a new example brought up by a reader of ours earlier today:
If I cancel my paid subscription to Xbox Live this week (which, let’s be honest, is a empty threat at best), it’s in protest to what I’m about to have an almighty hissy fit about.
Here’s the vexation: When I switch on my Xbox, I do not expect to have smutty advertisements for body spray thrust in my face. I don’t really expect any ads — I already pay for the service, after all. But if you must promote something, promote some DLC for a game you know I regularly play, perhaps.
Walmart is already responding to decreased demand by de-emphasising Xbox 360. █
 Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against MS For Bricked 360s
According to Gamespot, the suit seeks a minimum of $10 million in damages, depending on how MS decides to defend itself.
 Numerous Reports, November 30 Xbox 360 Update Is Bricking Consoles
Some consoles are being bricked by Thursday’s dashboard update. Issues range from freezing, red ring of death and VGA adapterm alfunction. Microsoft isn’t acknowledging the issue and billing $140 for repairs.
 Update brick your 360? Speak up
Since yesterday’s update, there are numerous reports about 360s being bricked. Some people suspect that this is being done by Microsoft intentionally to stop modders and hackers. Xbox Scene thinks it has more to do with certain combinations of hardware and firmware.
 Autoupdate killed my 360!
I was fine yesterday gaming with the VGA cable but after getting the autoupdate today, I get a black screen. Does Microsoft test these things? My connection to the TV didn’t change yet its screwed. Thanks for nothing Microsoft.
 Xbox Gets a Longer Warranty
This autumn, Microsoft acknowledged that a glitch in the Xbox’s online update system damaged a small number of customers’ consoles before the problem was quickly fixed. At least one customer has sued over the incident.
 RedOctane admits to problems with GH2 patch
While the patch was supposed to solve the problem of whammy bar responsiveness on GH2 controllers, it also seemed to have the unfortunate side-effect of bricking and freezing consoles, if the Xbox 360 forums are any indication.
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Summary: Microsoft — like Bill Gates — is giving presents with no physical value in order to suppress and reduce competition in different areas
MICROSOFT fights the adoption of GNU/Linux using a programme called EDGI. We gave the latest examples of it some days ago, but what we hadn’t discussed as much as necessary (due to lack of time) is the so-called 'gift' (permission to run some code) Microsoft is giving to researchers so that they steer away from GNU/Linux.
As everyone hopefully knows by now, GNU/Linux is huge in supercomputers, so as Glyn Moody put it, Microsoft approaches the NSF and making an offer that even the devil should/would refuse (Moody’s words).
So, basically, you sell your digital soul by using Windows instead of GNU/Linux and get three years’ cloud computing in return: I don’t think even Faust would have gone for that one.
We wish to politely remind readers that this ‘donation’ business model is also being used by Bill Gates in order to sell more of the patents he is investing in. Why is the press so blind to such simple games of economics? It’s really trivial to understand. Donation of access to patented concepts is less than a donation of even air! Imaginary value accompanies imaginary property and one can sell as much of it as one wants (it’s abundant).
As GatesKeepers put it this week, there are conflicts of interests in the press (which Gates is often funding, as we showed using numerous examples in the past).
Here someone from the Center for Global Development (Is there any other kind of development?) is overly polite in making suggestions on how to leverage funds and then imagining that the Gates Foundation has already thought of them all. Is she being cute as she has already suggested them to the Foundation or careful as her organisation is a beneficiary of Gates Foundation largesse?
Separately, GatesKeepers reminds us of the secrecy in the Gates Foundation.
They still have a LONG way to go to become truly transparent.
If everything that the Gates Foundation has been doing is so wonderful, then why is it so secretive? And why does it employ so many people in PR? These questions were raised before. █
“Key to Microsoft’s success is its public image. Whatever reality may be, it is critical for Microsoft to keep the public on its side. To this end they employ a number of PR (Public Relations) firms, most prominently Waggener Edstrom. Microsoft pays Waggener Edstrom about a quarter of a billion $$ a year (that’s billion with a B) and other PR firms many millions more to keep Bill Gate’s image polished and Microsoft shining in the public eye.”
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Summary: Mac blogger Ronald Carlson and IDG write about the FSF and the former (at the least) associates the messenger rather than the message with controversial neighbourhood
THE USE OF smears to attack a source of criticism rather than its actual message is a shameless tactic. The FSF is doing some fantastic work in recent months, e.g. [1, 2], but it is subjected to the same daemonisation tactics that Boycott Novell suffers from. Interestingly enough, Novell employees are among those who smear the FSF, not just those who smear Boycott Novell for obvious reasons (they get caught and exposed).
We were curious enough to find another FSF-hostile rant which compares the FSF to religion (explicitly evocative of “bible”). It’s a typical attack [1, 2, 3] against a largely-atheist/antitheist institute. It would be better not to parrot the slurs from an Apple proponent (he is angry because of the iPad [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]), but here is part of his rant:
That said, I don’t like DRM, but I dislike the Free Software Foundation (FSF, the actual people behind this “protest”) even less. Whereas the area of software patents needs urgent reform and the concept of fair use needs to be defined and codified, these folks want all software to be “free,” a slippery concept that they describe as “free as in free speech, not as in free beer.”
The author, Ronald Carlson, does not confuse freedom with price, but that said, the FSF is wrongly being described as incompatible with business. It couldn’t be further from the truth given the many examples where Free software pays the wages of many thousands of developers.
The above makes religious references (for example, “the bible would read if it had been written by software engineers”), but sometimes we see the FSF compared to "terrorism". That’s a lot more serious and a few days ago we found the following weirdly-worded overview from IDG, which receives income from Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. It says (in full):
Our fourth annual compilation of the current year’s most notable technology-related 25th anniversaries includes Microsoft’s release of Windows 1.0, registration of the first dot-com domain names, the founding of AOL, the publication of Richard Stallman’s GNU Manifesto, and the first fatal attack by the Unabomber.
This last bit smells like a smear by association and proximity. The IDG author mentions Unabomber (who had an infamous manifesto) right after the GNU manifesto. It could be a coincidence though it could also be intentional, but it’s impossible to prove this. On several occasions, Internet trolls tried to compare yours truly to the serial murderer Unabomber, so the text above strikes a nerve. █
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Summary: More problems with the iPad and how Free software makes its case at Apple’s expense; some other Internet Explorer news
Apple’s highly-hyped iPad [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] seems to be going nowhere, but it gives us an opportunity to show that not every device needs to run Microsoft Windows. More importantly, it shows the increasing backlash against DRM and the presence of GNU/Linux in this area (predating Apple). Katonda.com wrote a couple of posts on the subject and since they haven’t been brought up here yet, we thought they would be worth sharing:
1. iPad Vs HP, Google, Dell, Camangi Slates
Interestingly, the iPad will not be challenged from Microsoft but from the sleeping-giant Gnu-Linux. Here is a comparison with some of the to-be-released Gnu-Linux powered tablets.
2. Hold On Apple, Amazon Brings Kindle Flood
Most blogs and reports are putting the iPad in direct competition with Amazon’s Kindle. Some even say that the iPad will kill Kindle; it seems Muktware* (Gnu-Linux) powered Kindle is hard to kill.
The academic community too may soon realise the negative impact of the actions of Apple, which is essentially colluding with the copyright cartel (Steve Jobs is close to it). New articles on the subject are as follows:
1. Education and the iPad’s architecture of control
Also alarming is how susceptible a closed platform like the iPad could be to exploitation by service and content providers. A closed platform makes it very simple to enforce rigid controls on what kind of content is made available to students. Just think of the AT&T strangehold on iPhone service, and scale that up to textbooks in an entire school district. This monopolistic control is annoying for well-funded, sophisticated consumers of technology. It is disastrous for the poor, and catastrophic for the developing world. Delivering 100 free iPads to a village in West Africa or a struggling school district in Mississippi isn’t charity, it’s a set of handcuffs.
2. How the iPad Could Drive Up College Tuition
That is, costs won’t come down unless universities act boldly to replace the expensive texts and butts-in-seats classroom models with mobile, wireless, open-source education.
Microsoft and its extended family are throwing mud at the oversized iPhone called iPad (it is funny because Microsoft is trying to make Windows Mobile more like iPhone by removing multitasking) and one mobile developer claims that iPhone is the new Internet Explorer 6 (IE6). This is an amusing comparison for many reasons, the least of which is the hostility between IE6 and the World Wide Web.
Over in China, most people are unable to use anything but IE6 because Web sites were built badly after Microsoft had ignored and corrupted web standards. We covered this problem in China a few weeks ago and also gave examples (it is the same in Korea). The good news is that, according to a Mozilla blog, one of China’s largest banks is phasing out the IE-only policy. [via Glyn Moody]
With such a move, CCB became the first major Chinese bank to support Firefox.
A couple of days ago we wrote about Microsoft's publicity stunt that attempted to 'sell' IE8 by exploiting children, as usual. Glyn Moody wrote a whole post to explain what Microsoft had done there. How shameless and desperate they must be.
I’d never heard of the UK government’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), but that’s not surprising, since I’m allergic to organisations whose approach is “truly holistic” as CEOP brightly claims. But as well as being susceptible to embarrassing cliches, it seems that the outfit is naive, too.
It couldn’t be that the young and innocent Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre has allowed itself to be, er, exploited by that wily old Microsoft here, could it?
A new article from the Hindu, one which is titled “And may the safest browser win!” is making a GNU/Linux recommendation:
So is upgrading really the answer? Free Software advocates will point out that GNU/Linux-based operating systems (Ubuntu, Fedora and Debian, to name a few) are the most secure options owing to their inherent architecture.
As we showed half an hour ago, it is not possible to secure Windows, not even with anti-virus software. █
The large “X” says “No”
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