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02.21.10

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 21st, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 21/2/2010: Thin Clients With GNU/Linux, OpenStreetMap Helps in Haiti

Posted in News Roundup at 8:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The World Is Mourning The Loss Of Bruno Knaapen – Linux Advocate

    I knew little about the man called Bruno. I knew he was a Linux advocate and he knew Linux inside out. He was patient with those who were trying to learn the OS and he always had the answer to any question that was posted in the forum. Looking over in the Scot’s Newsletter Forum, All Things Linux, Bruno has posted over 37,000 replies to questions or information for Linux users. He also had an excellent site called Tips For Linux Users in which he posted everything you needed to know about Linux.

  • Dearest Friends, Students, Admirers of Bruno Knaapen…

    In Amsterdam, where Bruno lives, they have the option of “dignified death” (euthanasia by choice). Bruno has reached that point. He will be surrounded by his family as he takes his final journey beyond this existence. The time is set for this Saturday morning (Amsterdam time).

  • Security Alert: They Should Have Used Linux

    I’ve seen a collection of articles about computer security breaches originating from China and would like to give a report from the ITYS Foundation. ITYS, for the unaware, is “I Told You So.” I’ve discussed the use of Linux on the desktop for years, touting its security, stability, thousands of free software applications and feature-rich interfaces. I’m constantly told that Linux on the desktop is dead. I’ve even said it myself after taking too many verbal lashings when touting Linux as a prospective desktop operating system. Novell and RedHat have both put the Linux Desktop out mind.

    [...]

    It’s my sincere hope that companies will soon discover that their reluctance to embrace Linux on the desktop is foolish. It’s also my hope that virus and malware writers will face the maximum penalties available for costing innocent people millions of dollars in lost time and data. I know how China will deal with them. Perhaps the rest of the world should take note. You’d think under penalty of death that these individuals and groups would find some way of using their programming skills for good.

  • How the Internet makes us stupid – or not

    But he’s wrong about Linux. When Helsinki-born Linus Torvalds first posted a fledgling version of Linux on an obscure software bulletin board, no one – apart from the most diehard open source evangelists – would have predicted that open-source software would be much more than a short-lived hackers’ experiment. And yet, within a few short years Linux became the largest software engineering project on the planet and spawned a multibillion-dollar ecosystem that upset the balance of power in the software industry.

    Today, Linux is used in everything from the smallest consumer electronics to the largest super computers. It helps run Germany’s air-traffic-control systems. It also runs a number of nuclear power plants (whose names cannot be disclosed for reasons of national security). If you drive a BMW, chances are it is running Linux. And, at the time of writing, more than 500 million users of set-top cable boxes, TiVos, Android phones and other home appliances use Linux, and more than 1.5 billion people use it indirectly every day whenever they access Google, Yahoo or myriad other websites.

  • Linux Fund To Introduce UK Business Credit Card

    Pioneering Open Source funding organization Linux Fund and MBNA UK today announced Europe’s first credit card that supports Open Source projects and events with every purchase.

  • Desktop

    • Broadband Computer Co Alex review

      You know how it goes: you help a relative buy a PC for their simplistic needs and then you spend the rest of your life giving out free technical support. If that’s a familiar story, Broadband Computer Co’s Alex could well be of interest.

      [...]

      Once into the main computer, Alex has been designed to keep things as simple as possible. As such, there’s not the usual desktop layout; so, there’s no start menu or task bar, windows can’t be resized or moved and there’s only the choice of applications that come preinstalled. While most operating systems have bright, large icons, but Alex is back to basics using buttons with clear text labels.

    • Linux laptop takes the strain for technophobes

      A Newcastle-based company has launched a Linux-based laptop and support package designed to encourage technophobes online.

    • Suddenly a Vista-phonic Moment

      I dumped Vista and put Ubuntu 9.04 and later 9.1 on the exact same DELL with NO hardware changes and it has never even hiccuped once. It has run without ANY failures and only has required one reboot (outside of new kernel installs)in the year since I installed Ubuntu 9.04.

  • Thin Clients

    • NEC

      NEC, sadly, tries to discourage potential customers from using GNU/Linux instead of welcoming them to twice the benefit from using GNU/Linux and thin clients instead of that other OS.

    • Acceptance of Thin Clients

      For the most part, I have replaced old thick PCs with new servers and thin clients. There is no clinging to the old ways from that perspective. It is just unreasonable to assume any non-profit organization has the ability to replace old PCs with the state-of-the-art new PC periodically to stay up to speed while they can upgrade a few servers for much lower cost. My cost of server per user is about $25 these days, not the $100-$500 cost of some PCs. For that I get the advantage of huge RAID, RAM, multiple cores and gigabit/s networking. I will give up sluggish USB to get those more frequently needed resources. If there are some users for whom faster USB is important they can use thick clients. It should be a minority in most schools.

    • Userful upgrades multi-seat Linux desktop virtualization solution

      Calgary AB-based Userful Corporation has announced the release of Userful Multiplier V.3.7, the latest version of their multi-seat Linux software which turns a single PC into 10 virtual machines.

    • Don’t You Just Hate Some Analysts?

      A server for AD/file/print with 2 gB RAM can handle 20 users with GNU/Linux, so the “extra” cost of using GNU/Linux terminal services is -$1800 . Seems like a good deal to me. Sizing the server reasonably scales out a long way. I budget about $25 per user on the server as I save more than $100 on the client hardware because of smaller case, CPU, memory, power-supply and case. I can run gigabit/s on CAT-5 if needed so the cost of network upgrading is minimal on any system wired in the last ten years. Take that, Sloan.

  • Server

    • Linux is now Oracle’s low-end offering

      Oracle Corp. has rekindled its Solaris love. Sun’s Solaris operating system will underlie new high-end data center appliances running the Oracle software stack. And Oracle EnterpriseLinux now becomes the preferred OS for lower-end commodity hardware.

      By making the Sparc/Solaris tandem the foundation of big-iron SMP appliances, the company is going back to its roots when Oracle and Sun were joined at the hip. Pre-Linux, Solaris was the de facto development platform for new Oracle software. New Oracle databases came out first on Solaris and later on everything else.

    • Piper Jaffray: 3 Firms To Grow Big In The Cloud

      Still, I wasn’t sure Red Hat had emerged as the overwhelming, dominant supplier of Linux to the cloud computing vendors. The report’s authors note that all examples of the next generation, cloud computing data centers are running Linux, and more often than not, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. That would include Salesforce.com, Google and Amazon.com. In effect, cloud computing “leverages the compelling economics of open source components,” Murphy and Schwartz wrote.

    • Oracle in no hurry to clarify OpenSolaris’ future

      When Oracle Corporation announced its plans for the various products it had inherited as part of its purchase of Sun Microsystems, one open source project was prominently absent – OpenSolaris.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • the limits of virtual desktops

      so… we’re going to be talking about activity stuff at tokamak this week. there’s a lot of things that aren’t final yet… but… one thing that’s pretty much settled is that the activity/context stuff is going to be separate from virtual desktops. regardless of whether we *should* do such a thing, it’s not possible to do it properly anyways. I’ve been asked about this a few times so I’m going to explain the whole thing in excruciating detail so that I never have to explain it again. :)

    • On the menubar

      KDE developers are currently discussing whether Rekonq could replace Konqi as KDE’s default web browser. I’m glad that this discussion has not (yet) turned into a flamewar like we saw in the days when Dolphin replaced Konqi as the default file manager. Instead, people are mostly discussing whether Rekonq is up to the task it is supposed to fulfil, and many people are arguing against that (including the Rekonq developers themselves!).

    • Configure and use the KDE 4.4 pager
  • Distributions

    • Think you’ve mastered Linux? Prove it, with Suicide Linux

      Linux gurus who pride themselves on their skills with the command line would finally have a way to prove it if one guy’s wacky idea came to fruition. Yes, it’s Suicide Linux, where any unrecognized command is parsed as “rm -rf /” … that’s Linux for “your hard drive’s content go boom.”

    • Red Hat Family

      • Savvytek lands Red-Hat Linux Virtualization implementation project

        In partnership with Red Hat and Oracle; and in their endeavor to lead the market towards a more proficient, secure and better performing infrastructural solutions; Savvytek was chosen by Middle East Payment Services (MEPS) to implement their new core application – RS2 – based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Oracle technologies. This technology migration project comes to support MEPS direction in building a Highly Available, Cost-Effective–Ready Data center that hosts and supports their mission-critical, dynamic operation.

      • Lenovo promotes ThinkServer brand with Tech Data, Red Hat rebates

        Lenovo has announced a rebate program with Red Hat and Tech Data that will give resellers rebates when they purchase select Lenovo ThinkServers and Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced. The rebates are designed to give Red Hat resellers an incentive to try out Lenovo’s ThinkServer brand.

    • Debian Family

      • Element OS- Your ultimate entertainment Linux OS.

        It is based on the Debian Packaging System (.deb), same one that Ubuntu uses. Unlike other Debian/Ubuntu based systems, Element OS utilizes its own online app center for software installations, where many of the most popular Linux applications that are compatible with our interface standards have been ported.

      • Debian Installer

        A few weeks ago, I noticed some really good e-Bay deals on used, Opteron-based servers. I mean, they were going for less money than I had to pay for old Pentium III-based servers just three years ago. So, I decided that maybe it was time to upgrade.

      • Ubuntu

        • Debian & Ubuntu on my Acer Aspire One D150

          A few weeks ago, I won an Acer Aspire One D150 on Ebay. For anyone not in the know, it is a netbook with a 10.1 inch screen. Apparently, the machine was an unwanted Christmas present and the owner had not used it very much, if at all.

        • Little Things That Matter: Ubuntu 10.04′s MessagingMenu

          I’ll round off this little personal love-fest for awesome user-design with a picture of the latest addition to the Lucid MeMenu. We’ve already seen it get Gwibber integration and now but the latest updates have given it a personal touch, knocking it ¾ of the way into the proposed design ballpark.

        • U1 Music Store – Store Music in U1?

          After the post I made about the Ubuntu One Music Store, I’ve noticed a couple of things which might indicate what’s coming.

          Firstly as we know Rhythmbox is the music player of choice in Ubuntu and we can already see the placeholder for the music store in the app.

        • Kubuntu Lucid Review

          I am an early adopter of KDE 4 and I welcome the radical changes it has made from earlier versions. I have been using KDE 4 from 4.0 release and has been following its growth from simple & buggy to feature-rich and mature. The fifth installment of KDE 4, KDE SC 4.4, released on February 9th caused a lot of excitement among KDE fans like me. I could not wait for the shiny new packages arrive in a distro near me.

          Kubuntu seemed to be the winning choice because I have seen early KDE 4.4 reviews state that Kubuntu was the easiest and less buggy path to 4.4. In this article, I will be reviewing both Kubuntu Lucid Lynx the new KDE SC 4.4. I chose the 32 bit version of Kubuntu Lucid Lynx alpha 2. The test machine was Compaq Presario V3000 series (V3624AU) with AMD Turion 64 X2 @1.8GHz cpu, 3 GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce Go 7150 integrated display card and Broadcom wifi card.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Marvel Reveals ARM-Powered Notebook at MWC

      Even though ARM processors are generally dominant as far as the mobile market is concerned, the CPUs have not been able to make an incursion into the mobile PC front so far because of the chip architecture’s lack of support for the Windows operating system. However, the Linux platform is gaining momentum and its support for ARM has opened up a series of possibilities for the processors, with the most recent development being an ARM-based notebook.

    • Pogoplug Safely, Seamlessly Shares Your Personal Cloud with Others

      The Pogoplug is a small device, basically a custom designed Linux computer with four USB ports (for your drives) and an Ethernet connection. You plug drives with shared files into the USB ports and then connect the Pogoplug to your home router (or switch) directly.

    • SYSGO ELinOS supports TI’s OMAP35x evaluation module

      SYSGO has launched ELinOS 5.0, a Linux operating system that supports the Texas Instruments OMAP35x Evaluation Module. The new SYSGO support package combines high performance and minimal power levels with industrial grade Linux in a single chip. The package enables rapid development of reliable long-lived applications.

    • Android

      • Wipro to offer commercialisation services on TI’s OMAP processors

        Wipro said that these services, which include Linux baseport, Android operating system (OS) porting on hardware platforms, middleware, third-party component integration, application development, and operator customisation, addresses commercialisation requirements of OEMs designing on Android.

      • TI’s OMAP gets Android development support from Wipro

        Wipro Technologies is offering range of design services for Texas Instrument’s OMAP processors such as Linux baseport, Android operating system (OS) porting on hardware platforms, middleware, third-party component integration, application development, and operator customization. These services are aimed at helping OEMs in commercializing Android based products quickly.

      • AdWhirl Android SDK Now Available

        AdWhirl, a growing leader in mobile advertisement, as just announced the Android SDK for their ads. Could this mean that Ad companies are loosing interest in the iPhone? The Press Release is below. Find out for yourself.

    • Tablets

      • Nvidia tablets could use Intel’s Meego

        Asked whether Nvidia would consider bunging Intel and Nokia’s new open source Operating System on its tablets and other Tegra powered devices, Neil Trevett, the firm’s vice president of embedded content said it would take the lead from its OEM partners.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Competitive Advantages of Free Software [PDF]
  • What is freedom anyway?

    Late last year Steve, the co-founder of Shimmer Project, wrote a longish blog entry about freedom. I wholeheartedly recommend that you read the article thorough. Today I’d like to raise up some points from Steve’s blog entry and go even further, pondering what freedom means for me and how I feel it actualizing. Things aren’t going to be easy to say, probably harder to read and even harder, almost heartbreaking, to admit.

    [...]

    Good communication means people can throw suggestions around and give constructive criticism without anybody feeling they are not valued. We should trust our developers work according to the responsibility they got when they were appointed as team leaders and became part of the Xubuntu team.

    Now that all this is said, it’s time to start taking actions. Let’s continue the discussions about new governance, start communicating more efficiently and attract new developers. If we can do that, it’s very likely that the Xubuntu community will be more powerful than ever.

  • Metasploit Gains Further Commercial Adoption
  • Learner’s Edge Selects rSmart Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment to Enhance and Expand Its Services

    We chose the open source rSmart Sakai CLE over the leading commercial course management systems because it meets all of our technical requirements for functionality, scalability, and stability, and because of rSmart’s excellent reputation and track record for support services.”

  • Imonggo Free POS Software Possible with Open Source Technology and Cloud Computing

    The Imonggo team revealed today the technology behind the award-winning Imonggo POS software that has attracted thousands of small business retailers. Imonggo is the first software-as-service (SaaS) company to offer the global market a web-based point of sale software, which is easy to use, scalable, and affordable.

  • Events

    • SCALE 8x – Wish you were here

      Greetings from sunny L.A.! I’m scurrying around before we finish setting up our Linux Pro and Ubuntu User booth, but I thought I’d post a quick update on the first day at SCALE 8x. It looks like attendance is up quite a bit over last year, which bodes well for both the event and the economy. Several old friends are noticeably absent and missed this year, while there are also a lot of new faces – I met several first-time SCALE attendees yesterday and a couple of first-time open source event attendees, too. SCALE is a great ‘gateway’ event for first-timers because if its relaxed atmosphere, affordability, and jam-packed schedule with options for everyone.

    • Atlantic.Net to sponsor California Linux Expo 2010

      Orlando, FL (February 19, 2010) – Atlantic.Net (www.atlantic.net) a privately–held high performance data center services company, today announced its participation as a sponsor for the California Linux Show 2010.

    • Eclipse Foundation at CeBIT
    • Pentaho Open Source BI vs. Proprietary Heavyweights at Caesars Palace
  • Training

    • LinuxCertified Announces its next “Linux Fundamentals” Course
    • Marakana Offering Special Open Source Training Deals

      Marakana is a privately-held company based in San Francisco, CA. Since 2001, Marakana has been helping IT professionals get better at what they do by providing an extensive range of training services on open source software solutions and agile practices. The Around Dublin Blog is teaming up with our friends at Marakana to offer our readers a 10% discount on any course from their extensive training catalog. To qualify for this discount, simply type “Around-Dublin-Blog” when prompted for the coupon code during the course registration process.

  • Mozilla

    • Google’s microsoft takedown helped by rivals

      Personally, I prefer Mozilla Firefox, a descendant of the Netscape browser that Microsoft vanquished in Browser War I. Maintained by an open-source community, Firefox is available for PCs, Macs and Linux computers, and is the second-most-used browser after Internet Explorer. The program benefits from a well-developed ecosystem that includes thousands of add-ons for everything from speeding up YouTube downloads to StumbleUpon, which adds a button that helps you discover and share websites that match your interests.

  • Databases

  • Business

    • SugarCRM Targeting 100 Indian Customers for 2010

      The Cupertino-based commercial free and open source CRM software company has been driving on its free downloadable software — Sugar Community Edition, the offering previously known as Sugar Open Source for the last six years. The users could freely redistribute Sugar Open Source and the license allowed for the inspection and modification of the source code and for the creation of derived works.

    • Investment firm manages business rules with open source

      Aiming to improve the flexibility of its compliance system to improve user efficiency and reduce mounting system queries, investment company Millennium Global Investments (MGI) recently deployed JBoss Enterprise BRMS (Business Rules Management System), an open-source business rules solution developed by Red Hat, Inc.

  • Releases

  • Government

    • The Future Growth of Russian Open Source Market Ensured: Key 2009 Partnerships, Milestones and Resources

      The head of the Ministry Igor Shchegolev and Vice President – General Manager EMEA of Red Hat Corporation Werner Knoblich met on the 4th February 2010 at the Ministry of Communications and Mass Communications. They discussed both global and Russian open source market trends and Russian achievements in 2009.

      [...]

      A number of Russian universities implemented open source software educational programs.

      The Russian Association for Open Source Software was established.

    • Open Source In Government: What’s the Problem?

      Tiemann’s argument was that the U.S. government has settled into a procurement system that locks contracts in for longer than they should. By having the long lock-in he noted that it prevents faster user driven innovation.

      Makes a whole lot of sense to me. If government agencies are restricted by master agreements that have the goal of locking in software it makes it harder for anyone new – open source or otherwise to get access.

    • MPs live in dark ages with their software choice

      We have to be realistic here: it was never likely that MPs would opt for an open-source operating system for the House of Commons’ own machines – much as the idea of them searching round for an open-source package to keep track of their expenses has a certain appeal – the choice of Vista is frankly bizarre.

  • Openness

    • (Video) When Open Source Works In The Offline World

      The introduction of open source processes continues to re-invent innovation as far as software culture is concerned, but can we see this seeping into the analogue world? Cesar Harada’s research centers on this process. His most recent project Open Sailing explores developing a sustainable architecture for research and eventually future living conditions in the oceans.

    • Open Source Maps Are Helping the World Bank Save Lives in Haiti

      The humanitarian relief effort underway in Haiti is proving the true potential of open source map building. Don’t take my word for it, follow the Tweets and blogs of my friend Schuyler Erle. He’s on the ground in Port-au-Prince along with Tom Buckley, a developer of mapmaking program GeoCommons Maker. The pair are advising the World Bank on the use of crowd-sourced mapping, primarily through the open-source program OpenStreetMap, in the relief and recovery effort in Haiti. They are also dealing with rain, illness, PowerBar meals, World Bank contacts snowbound back in DC, and bureaucratic alphabet soup.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Obama Boosts Nukes

      On February 1, the Obama administration delivered a budget request calling for a full 10 percent increase in nuclear weapons spending next year, to be followed by further increases in subsequent years.

    • Obama’s atomic blunder

      As Vermont seethes with radioactive contamination and the Democratic Party crumbles, Barack Obama has plunged into the atomic abyss.

      In the face of fierce green opposition and withering scorn from both liberal and conservative budget hawks, Obama has done what George W. Bush could not: pledge billions of taxpayer dollars for a relapse of the 20th Century’s most expensive technological failure.

      Obama has announced some $8.3 billion in loan guarantees for two new reactors planned for Georgia. Their Westinghouse AP-1000 designs have been rejected by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as being unable to withstand natural cataclysms like hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.

  • Environment

    • A surreal argument for biofuels

      A leaked paper has set out the idea that palm oil plantations can be considered ‘forests’ – and the EU seems to be buying it

    • Deep-sea trawling is destroying coral reefs and pristine marine habitats

      Deep-sea trawling is devastating corals and pristine marine habitats that have gone untouched since the last ice age, a leading marine biologist has warned.

      A survey of the world’s reefs and seamounts – giant submerged mountains that rise more than a kilometre above the seabed – has revealed widespread damage to the ecosystems, many of which are home to species unknown to science, said Jason Hall-Spencer at Plymouth University in the UK.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Scandals

    • Wipro Investigates Alleged US$4 Million Fraud by Employee

      Indian outsourcer Wipro said Wednesday it is investigating the embezzlement of US$4 million [m] from the company after an employee allegedly obtained a colleague’s online password.

      The fraud, which was detected in December, had been going on for about a year, although the company has been able to recover half of the money, a Wipro spokeswoman said.

    • BBC Trust blows £3m on new HQ

      The BBC Trust signed a £2.2m, eight-year lease for the first floor of a converted Edwardian mansion in central London last month to house its 60 staff. It spent a further £1m on refurbishment, including £250,000 on interior designers, project management and removals, and £400,000 on fitting out the building.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Leaked ACTA Draft Treaty Reveals Plans for Net Clampdown

      In a separate leak that first appeared on blogs last week, the European Commission updated members of the European Parliament on the most recent face-to-face meeting between the signatory countries, which took place in Mexico at the end of last month.

      According to that leak, the Internet chapter of the treaty was discussed, but no changes to the position suggested by the U.S. last fall were agreed.

      “The internet chapter was discussed for the first time on the basis of comments provided by most parties to US proposal. The second half of the text (technological protection measures) was not discussed due to lack of time,” the memo said, adding:

      “Discussions still focus on clarification of different technical concepts, therefore, there was not much progress in terms of common text. The U.S. and the E.U. agreed to make presentations of their own systems at the next round, to clarify issues.”

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Christian Einfeldt’s DTP presentation in Berlin 2004 09 (2004)


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

Microsoft Lawyer: Microsoft “Covers up Alleged Misconduct, Mischaracterizes Evidence [...] Protects the Perpetrators and Retaliates Against Victims.”

Posted in Finance, Fraud, Google, Law, Microsoft, SCO at 11:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Misconduct

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Summary: Microsoft moves legal department to India and the whistleblowers come out to tell the truth about how Microsoft operates

IN THE previous post we discussed Microsoft’s funding of SCO, which is attacking Linux in the courtroom. Microsoft loves to sue its competitors using “dummy companies” (see the lawsuits against Google for example), which works out pretty well because Microsoft decreased its legal budget by 15%, it fired 450 of its lawyers, and according to the following two news reports, Microsoft will “outsource general legal work to India”.

Microsoft Corp. has entered into an agreement with legal outsourcing provider CPA Global to offshore legal work to lawyers in India.

The technology giant began a pilot scheme with CPA in October and formally rolled it out at the end of 2009. A team of between three and five qualified lawyers at CPA are handling multi-jurisdictional legal support work, including legal research, for Microsoft. The lawyers are based in CPA’s offices in Gurgaon, near New Delhi.

Microsoft has been outsourcing basic intellectual property and patent renewal work to CPA for five years, using a team of around 70 CPA staff. However, the new arrangement for general legal work operates separately.

Also:

Software giant Microsoft will begin outsourcing general legal work to India after signing a deal with legal process outsourcing (LPO) company CPA Global. The news comes as CPA outlined plans to expand its Indian workforce from 600 to 1,000 by the end of 2011, and hinted at opening another outsourcing centre.

Microsoft’s massive layoffs and migration to India is not news. What definitely is news ought to be the following major report from Courthouse News:

Fired Worker Calls Microsoft ‘a Lawless Place’

Calling Microsoft “a lawless place,” a longtime worker claims in a class action that he was fired in retaliation for reporting supervisors’ misconduct. He claims the company “routinely produces and/or condones deficient investigations, covers up alleged misconduct, mischaracterizes evidence, refuses to preserve or provide pertinent facts and data, protects the perpetrators and retaliates against victims.”

Craig Bartholomew worked for Microsoft for 21 years, he says in his complaint in King County Court. He says he was fired after complaining that his supervisors had created a “dysfunctional environment that was harming Microsoft and risking certain of its programs and objectives.”

“Microsoft has twice tried to cover up what really happened, first wrongly claiming his termination was a layoff or RIF. Neither was or is true,” according to the complaint.

According to his complaint: “Microsoft can be a lawless place. Courts have found that its key executives have violated the law and/or sought to circumvent court rulings. Powerful employees, because of their perceived value to the company, has (sic) been protected. Employees who have reported misconduct by senior management have been punished or fired based on trumped-up charges.

It is hard not to recall the i4i trial misconduct which had Microsoft fined $40 million some months ago. This is clearly a company that disregards the law, even today. The new lawyers from India are likely to be more obedient to their masters and thus be less prone to retaliation. The above is not the first whistleblower by the way; putting aside allegation of Microsoft orgies and drug parties [1, 2], there is a long history of Microsoft's abuse of the law. A US government official once said that “the government is not trying to destroy Microsoft, it’s simply seeking to compel Microsoft to obey the law. It’s quite revealing that Mr. Gates equates the two.”

Now, it’s not just legal abuse. Let’s take the Xbox for example. It led Microsoft to getting sued for homophobia [1, 2, 3] (homosexual employees and clients) and a former Xbox employee who was trying to save customers (Xbox 360 put lives at risk). Microsoft ended up retaliating by firing him for saying the truth.

“It is hard not to recall the i4i trial misconduct which had Microsoft fined $40 million some months ago.”Looking at Microsoft’s financial department (we’ve just covered legal and technical), a former Microsoft employee is slamming the company for tax evasion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] and it is reasonable to suspect more malpractice, especially given the shady past of financial fraud [1, 2] (Charles Pancerzewski from Microsoft’s financial department was paid millions of dollars to shut up about misconduct/fraud after he had produced evidence of it). Another former Microsoft financial executive might be leaving the Seattle area based on this news. Is he following the footsteps of the CFO?

Our reader Chips B. Malroy wrote to us earlier about this comment from Mini-Microsoft (mostly anonymous Microsoft employees) which says: “I don’t know how this is hidden, but fact is that Microsoft earns a lot just moving money across countries, betting on currency fluctuations. A lot of people in Finance are dedicated to this. When you have 60billion to move around, we are not talking about pennies here…”

“So MS might be playing the money game,” argues Malroy, “and getting away with it because they are an international company. This is most likely another way to evade taxes as well… playing the currency markets.” One of our readers has said to us the same thing for a couple of years now. It is too difficult to prove with any certainty because it requires audits. In a later post we will show what Microsoft has just been doing with President Obama.

Speaking of whistleblowers, here is Joe Wilcox sharing yet another confession from former employees of Microsoft. “There were a ton of bozos” is the summary.

Do middling, middle managers run Microsoft? That’s the consensus among the former Microsofties who shared their work stories with me over the last couple months. The new work week starts with another Microsoft Confessional — the fourth in four days — from 13-year company veteran Boris, which isn’t his real name, of course. Boris was smart enough to see the end coming, and he made preparations in the days before his May 2009 layoff. He learned to read middle managers the way a genuine fortune teller might read tea leaves.

“Microsoft Needs More Traitors,” says this new article from BNET:

Most companies dream of having loyal employees and managers. They want people who will follow the company strategy and stick to their jobs. But at Microsoft, a culture of loyalty has turned into slavish devotion to outdated strategy, outmoded thinking, and personal fiefdoms that today threatens to bring the company down.

[...]

Really? Microsoft focused on one narrow example and ignored every other criticism — the VP in charge of Office refused to adapt the product line to tablet computers, poor timing on Web TV and MP3 players, lost share in key product areas, and the steady exit of the company’s smartest employees. Yup, it was ignoring significant criticism because that’s not part of the program. It would just make the people in charge look bad.

Maybe the problem is that many traitors already work at Microsoft. They just don’t realize it.

Over at the Huffington Post, Microsoft’s Jim Allchin is quoted as saying “we were smoked”. It’s one of the Comes vs Microsoft exhibits that include Allchin’s “we are not on a path to win against Linux”, "we feel a huge threat from Linux", and "there’s going to be a patent lawsuit on Linux."

“Government attorneys accuse Microsoft of using its monopoly position to bully, bribe and attempt to collude with others in the industry, while illegally expanding and protecting its Windows franchise.”

The antitrust case: a timeline

Just in Time: SCO Finds Another Cash Injection Proposal… from Former SCO Chairman

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, SCO at 10:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Money in Brazil

Summary: The company that just refuses to die suddenly finds a new fountain of cash and Microsoft continues to stifle Free software through infighting and infiltrations

MICROSOFT has a proven (and thus factual) history of putting money in SCO, which has been suing Linux for almost a decade, always finding some extra cash to fund more motions and ensure that the trial does not end. On numerous occasions in the past we showed that Alwaleed bin Talal, a friend and/or partner of Microsoft’s Bill Gates, made his appearance in relation to investments in SCO [1, 2, 3, 4]. There are a few other examples like this (the firm of Bill Gates’ father for example), where Microsoft seemed like it was still funding these baseless lawsuits against Linux. Well, according to Groklaw, Ralph Yarro wanted to give a couple of million to SCO just a short while ago:

You’ve been expecting this, I’m sure. Ralph Yarro wants to loan SCO some money, $2 million, or more accurately up to $2 million, and the SCO trustee, Edward Cahn, wants to let him. It’s all at “arm’s length” and “in good faith” negotiations with this SCO insider, don’t you know. So, does this mean nobody else wants to fund SCO? No potential buyers? Just Ralph? And Cahn asks the court to please shorten the time to handle the motion. Is SCO on its last legs or something?

The motion calls Yarro the “former Chairman” of SCO’s board of directors. See all the stuff you can hide if you don’t file MORs or with the SEC, despite being a public company? Say, didn’t Cahn promise to file those MORs by now? What, they look too awful? Still, they’re supposed to be filed. Well, well. SCO’s MO seems to be catching. Delay, delay, delay while they keep their greedy hand reaching desperately for the brass ring.

“The Trustee is advised that Seung Ni Capital Partners, L.L.C. is a newly formed entity formed by Ralph J. Yarro III (“Yarro”) and was created for the purpose of providing postpetition financing to the Debtors. Since Yarro is the former Chairman of the Debtors’ Board of Directors and the Debtors’ largest shareholder, Yarro is an insider pursuant to Bankruptcy Code section 101(31). See 11 U.S.C. § 101(31). The Trustee represents that at all times the negotiations among the Trustee, his advisors and Yarro were at arms-length and in good faith.”

Wait. Look at page 2. It’s a loan from Ralph in public and “other lenders from time to time”. Uh oh. Page 3:

9. In accordance with the Credit Agreement, additional Lenders may also make loans to the Debtors under the Credit Facility from time to time.

Not another weirdo deal with shadows… Remember the York deal in 2007, speaking of shadows? It was a Super Dooper Senior Secured Super-Priority Credit Agreement too. We’d better look at the exhibits, which set forth the precise terms. I’ll swing back by after I do that.

[...]

The H has coverage of this too.

In the dispute between the SCO Group and Novell about the copyright for Unix, the new jury trial scheduled to begin on the 8th of March is apparently set to go ahead: according to a statement by Chapter 11 trustee Edward Cahn, SCO’s majority owner Ralph Yarro wants to inject a loan of $2 million dollars into the financially stricken company.

Legal observers at Groklaw reported that Ralph Yarro intends to finance the loan via his investment company, Seung Ni Capital Partners. The loan is termed to run for a year at an interest rate of 6.6%. SCO will have to repay the loan before settling its other open debts. Among these is a court order to pay $2.5 million to Novell. Earlier, trustee Cahn had told the bankruptcy court that SCO was in urgent need of further funding if it was to survive the new trial. The trustee said that without further funding he would not be able to continue SCO’s business.

Pogson wrote about the duration of this. The longer it goes on, the more Microsoft benefits. It provides FUD against Linux.

Presumably Novell will soldier on with this handicap and SCO gets to bring up years of irrelevant evidence as it did before. How the trial can go in two or three weeks with this Pandora’s box now opened is beyond me.

Another strange thing. The judge made his ruling without a hearing… That can happen if the matter is clear but there is obviously a dispute. Why not have it out in a hearing? I fear the fix is in. SCO is getting everything its own way, even having Utah law applied to a California contract. Novell will have to start all over again in SCOTUS. How many years will it take?

Other new articles from Groklaw (regarding SCO) are:

More filings can be found here.

What’s also worth commenting and remarking about is Microsoft’s OSBC keynote. Darryl Taft wrote about it, but he changed his headline (or maybe the editor did) from “Microsoft to Spread Open Source Love at Business Conference” to “Microsoft to Talk Open Source at OSBC”. Why the sudden change?

In any case, Dana Blankenhorn wrote about this too and he used a provocative headline, namely “Will open source accept Microsoft leadership”:

It will once again be a “platinum sponsor” at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco next month and its National Technology Officer for the U.S., Stuart McKee, will deliver a keynote.

At Groklaw, Pamela Jones wrote: “This is where precise language matters. Free Software, the F in FOSS, will never accept Microsoft’s “leadership”, since that leadership has given evidence of attempting to destroy or make useless the GPL and has actively FUDed against Linux, threatening it with patents. Besides, their software is poorly designed, in the community’s view, so leadership to where? to what? for whose benefit? If you read the exhibits in the Comes v. Microsoft litigation, you’ll find there have been earlier “charm offensives”, as Dana calls it, and they were indeed for the purpose of destroying competitors. So the real answer to Dana’s question is, only if they’re stupidly naive.”

“If you read the exhibits in the Comes v. Microsoft litigation, you’ll find there have been earlier “charm offensives”, as Dana calls it, and they were indeed for the purpose of destroying competitors.”
      –Pamela Jones
Regarding the CodePlex Foundation picking Paula Hunter as Executive Director (we covered this in [1, 2, 3]), Jones quotes Andy Updegrove: “As you’ll see from the announcement, one of Paula’s prior jobs was as the Executive Director of UnitedLinux. UL was a client of mine, and that’s where I first met Paula. And if you’ve never heard the saga of UL, it’s a rather fascinating story.

“Since it was a client, I can’t go into many details, but suffice it to say that it was an early casualty of SCO’s maniacal and misguided obsession with trying to tax the development of Linux.”

“And now she works for Microsoft’s Codeplex,” says Jones. It’s a small world when Microsoft acquires what only looks like competitors.

“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens

Eye on Microsoft Crime: Microsoft “Consumer Fraud Class Action Lawsuit”, Wallace vs Microsoft, Arizona Antitrust

Posted in Antitrust, Courtroom, Finance, Law, Microsoft at 10:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Police line

Summary: News coverage about Microsoft litigation and compensation for illegal business practices which continue to this date

School District of Mauston cashes in on Microsoft settlement, stimulus funds

The Mauston School District will benefit substantially from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), also called the stimulus package, and the Wisconsin Microsoft Settlement allocations.

At the Monday evening regular school board meeting held at the district office, Steven Smolek, superintendent of schools, said the ARRA and the antitrust settlement brought millions of dollars to Wisconsin.

[...]

Rob Demeuse, technology and phone systems director, highlighted some of the uses for the $255,072 coming to the district from the settlement from a Microsoft antitrust and consumer fraud class action lawsuit.

WALLACE v. MICROSOFT CORPORATION

Keller Rohrback L.L.P. and DeRoon & Seyfer Announce Settlement Disbursement in Antitrust Matter Against Microsoft

Budget-beleaguered Arizona state and local government entities are getting a little help this week as payments from the settlement in Daisy Mountain Fire District v. Microsoft Corp., No.07-2851 (D. Md.) begin to roll in. A total of $4,415,258 in cash has been distributed pursuant to the settlement agreement approved by the Court. Daisy Mountain Fire District, represented by antitrust experts at the law firms of Keller Rohrback L.L.P. (Seattle and Phoenix) and DeRoon & Seyfer, took the lead in bringing antitrust claims against Microsoft on behalf of a class consisting of all Arizona governmental entities that indirectly licensed Microsoft Operating System software and/or Microsoft Application software between May 18, 1994 and December 31, 2008 (the “Class”).

The complaint alleged violations of the Arizona Antitrust Act and with the leadership of Class counsel, Daisy Mountain Fire District pursued Microsoft regarding its engagement in anticompetitive and monopolistic practices. The cash settlement benefits will be distributed among the Class for the purchase of new computer programs and equipment.

Related posts:

“The day the Mac shipped in January 1984, Gates told McGregor to run out and buy a Mac for the Windows developers. “Reverse engineer it,” Gates told him. “I have applications like BASIC and Multiplan that we’ve hacked out for the Mac, and we’re working on other Mac applications like Word with a graphical user interface. I want to run all those Mac applications on Windows.”"

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul

Microsoft’s Ballot Screen is a Farce, Decoy

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Google, Microsoft at 9:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft uses its Web browser to promote its own Web services while pretending to offer Web browsers in addition to its own

THERE is a lot of coverage this week about the Web browsers ballot screen which Mozilla employees like Asa are covering in their blogs, whereas Microsoft employees are pushing as ‘news’ — making it their own biased ‘coverage’ — into R&D Magazine (there is a lot of Microsoft-written material there). This is yet another example of Microsoft’s control of the media (there are more examples coming later). As mentioned before, right after SJVN had brought this up, people are missing the more important news and instead covering irrelevant subjects [1, 2, 3]. IE8 is reducing choice even in the search bar. As a reader of ours explained it yesterday:

I’m sure you have covered this topic, but I haven’t read about it on Boycott Novell yet. I use Windows only rarely for 2 things: 1) as a VMWare ESX client, 2) if I need to experiment with Outlook. The administrator of the Windows instance which I use upgraded to Server 2008 R2, so I decided to give it a try. I can now share my experience with trying to make Google the default search engine on IE8. As previewed, Microsoft does indeed make it difficult to add or change the default search engine. It’s necessary to navigate a menu, go to a Web page on “microsoft.com” and click the right links there. The first time I tried it, I got a security pop-up which said that “download.microsoft.com” is not a “trusted” site. My change didn’t take effect. I tried again after adding “download.microsoft.com” as a “trusted” site and, while I didn’t see any more security popups, Bing remained as the default search engine. Finally, I went to Google manually, searched on “make Google default search engine IE8″ and saw a Google discussion group: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p… as the first result. The first suggestion I saw outlined the steps which I took but which didn’t work. I tried the second suggest, which was to go to a different page which purported to do the same thing, except for IE7. That worked for me the first time I tried it. All in all, this process is a very clumsy one which is far more difficult than it should be.

This is another example of Microsoft playing dirty. Will the European Commission pay attention to it? Almost nobody is discussing it.
_______
[1] Microsoft’s About To Lose More Web Browser Users

This is in compliance with a December European Commission antitrust agreement that stops it from pushing its own Internet Explorer exclusively, and is likely to mean a market-share hike for Google’s Chrome, Firefox and Opera, whose complaint to the EC kicked off its year-long competition inquiry.

[2] Microsoft Browser Poll could be heaven for hackers

Hackers find a way to get into every corner of the internet and Microsoft’s antitrust-busting ‘Browser Poll’, due to launch in Europe next week, could be no different.

[3] EU Browser Ballot: Which Would You Choose? — A Poll

After years of legal squabbling between Microsoft and the European Commission, Redmond will soon make it easier for Internet Explorer users in Europe to switch Web browsers. Starting next week, Microsoft will offer a “Web browser choice screen” to Windows users in Europe who have IE as their default browser.

Office Watch: Microsoft Smears Google Apps in Videos, Biased Articles, ODF-hostile Dialogues

Posted in FUD, Google, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Videos at 9:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft is still attacking its competition rather than focus on its own products and comply with industry standards

Microsoft — like Novell [1, 2, 3, 4] — uses YouTube to promote its products and to spin/lie (e.g. about OOXML), but according to the following two reports, Microsoft also uses YouTube to disparage its competition. Microsoft not only sues Google and resorts to whisper campaigns; right now it has employees going out there to smear a rival of Microsoft’s biggest cash cow (and one of the very few products that are profitable):

The Irony of Microsoft’s Anti-Google Apps Campaign on YouTube

[...]

In a Microsoft video extolling its virtues, the narrator makes the point that marketing is difficult with Google Apps. It’s far simpler with Microsoft Office.

So we find it deliciously ironic that Microsoft is marketing a number of anti-Google Apps videos using Google’s YouTube. Hmm…doesn’t that defeat the point a bit?

[...]

It all feels like a company protecting its power base more so than embracing the current disruption in the market.

Also:

Microsoft Attacks Google Apps … on YouTube

[...]

They’ll let anything onto YouTube these days. No, I’m not talking about the millionth video featuring a squirrel lip-syncing to Right Said Fred, but a set of Microsoft-created videos attacking Google Apps. I guess Google, which owns YouTube, really has no inclination to censor anything aside from content that violates copyrights; but watching the Microsoft videos play out next to that YouTube logo is like watching promos for a TV show like “Dexter” (produced by Showtime) playing on HBO or another rival channel.

OOXML is badMicrosoft sometimes uses former employees from the Office group in order to do the smearing/belittling of Google Apps and the Microsoft-paid blog called TechFlash is now giving a platform for a former Microsoft employee (“He worked in Microsoft’s Information Technology Group in the early 1990s,” says the bottom part) to do the same type of things. This control of the press is a subject that was demonstrated in the previous post and one which we’ll return to later.

It’s easy to see why Microsoft is so concerned. First it was ODF and now it’s Google Apps. One dismantles Microsoft’s lock-in using open formats that everyone supports and the other challenges Microsoft’s core business model. Microsoft's old friend, Dina Bass from Seattle, has just disseminated this Microsoft narrative which she originally published in Bloomberg:

Microsoft Corp. President Stephen Elop is preparing for the biggest shakeup to the $19 billion Office business in a decade as the company races Google Inc. to sell Internet-based programs.

The article is imbalanced and Google is hardly quoted at all (even though it’s a subject of the article). It reads almost like an advertisement for Microsoft. Speaking of which, Microsoft already advertises a product that’s not even available (Office 2010) and someone sent us this screenshot of a new dialogue, which he described as “Satan’s talk with Jesus, at the desert.” As usual — and as we have expected all along — Microsoft sells people the illusion that ODF is defective. Microsoft doesn’t even implement it properly [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

New AstroTurfing from Microsoft Philippines, Increased Pressure on Businesses

Posted in Asia, Marketing, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Philippines flag

Summary: Microsoft Philippines “targets Manila’s top 100 Netizens” and also targets so-called ‘piracy’

THE head of Microsoft Philippines quit the firm last year but not before being part of Microsoft’s OOXML scandals. Among posts that covered OOXML in the Philippines we have:

A leopard does not change its spots and Microsoft Philippines is still very unethical if not simply corrupt.

We previously covered examples where Microsoft had bribed bloggers [1, 2, 3, 4] to rave about Vista 7. Some months ago we also showed that Microsoft fed 777 prominent Korean bloggers in order for them to do this type of promotion and now we are finding something similar in the Philippines. The following article has changed since it was first published. Its older headline was “‘VIP Mix’ of Microsoft targets Manila’s top 100 Netizens”

Microsoft in the Philippines is trying out what looks and sounds like the second-oldest sales strategy in the book.

[...]

To secure a free VIP invite, a prospective guest needs to comply with certain requirements previously set by the company.

Last December, when it held its first VIP event for students, the software company chose the top 100 students with the most number of friends on Facebook.

Those who emerged on top of the pile had an average of 2,000 Facebook friends, an achievement made possible by their extensive networks, de Dios said.

[...]

An unofficial Facebook account of Microsoft friends in the Philippines — known as MSfriends Philippines — has also been created.

Who knows how much buzz that will generate?

No one does, as of yet.

But one thing’s for sure: Bill Gates is smiling.

Yes, Bill Gates is always smiling all the way to the bank because there are enough fools out there who fall for his PR operations and fail to see his continued abuse of society (more on that later).

“Microsoft is just trying to alter press coverage and blog coverage in the Philippines.”The article above can also be found here and it’s hard not to think of Melvin Calimag, a Microsoft booster/journalist from the Philippines — one whom Microsoft flew to the United States at its own expense for some OOXML brainwash and poison against ODF (courtesy of Microsoft employees, who disparaged ODF “independently” at the time). Microsoft is just trying to alter press coverage and blog coverage in the Philippines. It’s as simple as that.

At the same time, Microsoft suppresses Free software adoption in the Philippines using dumping techniques that we covered in:

  1. The EDGIfication of the Philippines
  2. Microsoft’s B.A.D. in China, Philippines

Our reader Chips B. Malroy has just shown us this new article that says: “Citing a study by a global technology research firm, Magsadia said the country has a 69 percent software piracy rate. Magsadia bared the Microsoft Philippines has decided to reduce the standard retail price of its Windows 7, for instance, from P9,000 down to P2,000, to help alleviate the problem on piracy.”

We are going to write about the latest “piracy” propaganda from Microsoft a little later (today or tomorrow). As Malroy explains, the above shows that “MS first goes after the “business” users. Last I knew 50peso to the US dollar, so MS is selling Seven for less than $40 to these cafe owners, in order to get some of them to buy.”

Microsoft is suppressing GNU/Linux in Internet Cafés [1, 2] where Free software is a good fit (mostly safe Web browsing is required). “MS going after piracy, is another way to squeeze out more revenue as profits decline. MS attempts to do this will increasingly become evil,” concludes Malroy.

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