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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 22nd, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Links 22/2/2010: FSF Pushes for Free Video in YouTube

Posted in News Roundup at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • There’s a way to get new wallpaper images every day on a GNU/Linux system

    One of the apps I loved when I was a Windows user was Webshots, a great app for not only rotating wallpaper images but also for finding new wallpapers. Of course it’s only available for Windows so GNU/Linux users have to manually look for new wallpapers and use another app for changing walls on a regular basis. I’ve used Desktop Drapes, which is a really nice app for managing and changing your desktop wallpaper, but for the longest time I kept going back to WallpaperTray. The big plus for WallpaperTray is that you can not only look for specific wallpapers but the icon is a thumbnail of the wallpaper image itself and if you hover your cursor over the icon it tells you the path and filename for the active wallpaper. This is a big plus if you have a lot of wallpapers across a number of directories.

  • LB – Episode 50 – Milestone Debauchery by Linux Basement
  • Who is Linux, really?

    While Linus developed the first Linux kernel he is not Linux. Linus is the father of Linux and Linux is his creation so Linus cannot be Linux. Richard is the founder of the GNU revolution and most of the key programs in a typical Linux distribution are from the GNU umbrella but they are only a part and not the whole of Linux. Mark has single handedly done more for Linux popularity than just about anyone else. He is the one who I would say that put glamour in the Linux name. Who can put any higher praise on Linux than someone who has been to space I ask you? Tux has been around almost as long as the Linux kernel has when a guy called Larry Ewing was inspired to draw a penguin relaxing after gorging on bountiful fish. Since then Tux has been the Linux mascot and one of the most famous computing mascots of all time, so much so that many businesses not even related to computing are using his image. If you want to see just exactly who Linux is then follow these directions.

  • The Last Act of Courage…

    Bruno spent years teaching thousands of people how to use Linux. Brunolinux is a website devoted to do just that and the lion’s share of my knowledge of Linux grew from that tree. From bash scripting to my feeble attempts at learning C…

  • Advanced Technologies Selects Ada for U.S. DOT Traffic Signal Control Program

    ATI used the Ada language, the GNAT Ada development environment for GNU Linux, and the GNAT Programming Studio (GPS) Integrated Development Environment to build the prototype system. ATI utilized AdaCore’s GTKAda toolkit along with the GLADE 2.0 GUI Builder to implement the graphical user interface (GUI) and display for the prototype.

  • Desktop

    • Distrowatch.com Stats

      If a newbie reads about 5 distros before choosing one, that could mean that 7000 newbies switched to GNU/Linux each day for the last year. That’s 2.5 million converts in a year. These are mostly geeks, of course. Ordinary folk just take their software pre-installed. Assuming there are 20 ordinary folk adopting GNU/Linux per geek, that is 50 million converts. Of course geeks might lead a few to GNU/Linux or they might help them buy a PC pre-loaded with GNU/Linux.

      The world is becoming a better place, one convert at a time.

  • Graphics Stack

    • Hook for catching X.org freezes

      X.org freezes are perhaps one of the most frustrating bugs in Ubuntu. These were such a pain during Hardy that special debugging procedures were developed to enable users to gather the data upstream needed. But these procedures are pretty technically involved to do, and had to be done while ssh’d into the frozen system – not always an easy task!

    • AMD Gets A Seat With The X.Org Foundation

      The new X.Org Foundation board members include Alex Deucher, Keith Packard, Matthieu Herrb, Matthias Hopf, and Eric Anholt. Alex Deucher had the most votes to be seated and this his first time sitting on the board and now provides some AMD representation where he works on their open-source driver stack and documentation.

  • Applications

  • Games

    • Quake Live Tips

      Quake Live is a free, manly game to play. QL is a version of Quake 3 that runs as a browser plugin for Firefox, Safari, and IE. It features a skill-matched game finder, a friend’s system, and other modern features. Think a Lite, browser-based version of Steam. Quake 3 came out in 1999, and people have been playing it on a regular basis since. That’s about 11 years ahead of you if you’re new (doesn’t mean you can’t become excellent fast.)

    • Chocolate Doom 1.3.0
  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Interview With Netbook Master Marco Martin From the KDE Plasma Team

        What part of KDE development are you involved in?

        I mostly work in the Plasma team, on the library and on the main workspaces: Plasma Desktop and Plasma Netbook.

      • day 2 of tokamak 4 (and a bit about day 1, too)

        Yesterday was the first full day for Tokamak 4 with most of us having arrived from near (e.g. right here in town) and far (Brazil, Canada) the day before. We had a great series of presentations to catch each other up on where we are right now and where we are going. I opened the proceedings with the usual “state of the plasma” presentation where, after recapping the motivations and core design values we had defined together over the past couple of years, I likened our efforts to those of a sculptor. We had before us just raw materials, a rough-hewn stone if you will: Qt4 with QGraphicsView in it’s earliest infancy, KDE 4′s libraries and a simple vision.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • My typical archlinux desktop

      The more distrohopping I do, the more I realize I’ll never feel as comfortable as on arch. I don’t like being forced to use applications or settings that other people think are the best, I have my own best, and I can only do that if I build a system from the ground up.

    • Do we really need all these different Linux distributions?

      One very good example which I can think of is Knoppix. Before Knoppix arrived on the scene hardware configuration of Linux hardware was a manual affair requiring intimate knowledge of your hardware details. With Knoppix came a great advancement in automatic hardware detection and configuration. Nowadays just about all Linux distributions have the same ease in hardware detection and configuration.

    • New Releases

      • Tin Hat: High security Linux

        Tin Hat is a Linux distribution derived from hardened Gentoo which aims to provide a very secure, stable and fast Desktop environment that lives purely in RAM.

        Tin Hat boots from CD, or optionally a pen drive, but it is not a LiveCD. It does not mount any file system from CD via unionfs or otherwise. Rather, Tin Hat is a massive image (approx. 2.3GB) which loads into tmpfs upon booting.

      • CloudLinux OS Set to Surface At Parallels Summit

        During a Feb. 23 keynote, Seletskiy is expected to describe how hosting service providers can leverage CloudLinux to maintain balance between number of users per server and the load the server can carry. The Parallels event is expected to mark the first time Seletskiy takes the stage to talk about the CloudLinux OS.

    • Ubuntu

      • There’s an antivirus called ubuntu

        Ubuntu will be the best choice for him. It’s very good that he chose ubuntu forums. Just to know that you have a whole community to help you when in trouble, that’s lovely!

        We meet lots of people having similar problems – who don’t know what an operating system is, who just want to know how to get their surfing and wordprocessing done hazzle-free. All we people need to do is to carefully guide them in their transition to Ubuntu, without burdening them with technical stuff. Just make their life in ubuntu wonderful and exciting!

      • Wubi does the job
      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 181

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #181 for the week February 14th – February 20th, 2010. In this issue we cover: Debian Import Freeze in effect, Feature Freeze in place – Alpha 3 freeze ahead, New MOTU, Ubuntu single sign on service launched, Meet Jelmer Vernooij, Sikuli — scripting your use of GUIs, Global Bug Jam, Taking Lucid for a test spin, Opportunistic Developer Update, Ubuntu One Music Store, One Hundred Paper Cuts, Mark Shuttleworth to give keynote at PyCon 2010, Ubuntu UK Podcast returns, Ubuntu torrents are now IPv6 enabled, and much, much more!

      • Making Myself Clear About Ubuntu Development
      • Element is designed to be run as a dedicated media PC in the lounge room, connected to a high definition television.

        Element is an Ubuntu-based distribution for home theatre or media-centre personal computers featuring a ten-foot user interface and designed to be connected to a HDTV for a digital media and Internet experience within the comforts of a living room or entertainment area.

      • Customizing the Ubuntu Application Stack Before Installation

        Ubuntu is way easier to install than certain other operating systems. But it would be even greater if I could select which applications I wanted on my new system before the Ubiquity installer goes about its business–an idea that was proposed recently on Ubuntu Brainstorm. Here’s why it should go through.

      • Ubuntu Linux is not suitable for you if…

        * You cannot understand the simple differences between the two main software development models called Open Source and closed source or proprietary.
        * You expect to see the yellow, green, blue and purple ( is it purple???) colors made into flag when you boot Ubuntu.
        * You find it difficult to shed your 1997 notion of a typical Linux OS: command line and again CLI driven.

      • Confessions of an Ubuntu Fanboy

        Ubuntu is easy to learn

        In the past, I’ve been guilty of installing Ubuntu on a new computer and leaving the poor user with words like “don’t worry, Ubuntu easy to learn, it’s really not that different from Windows.” While this is true for geeks and people who love experimenting with computers, I’ve learned that it’s simply not true for most users. Computers are difficult!

      • Edubuntu is Ubuntu for the Classroom

        Ubuntu by Canonical, one of the most popular Linux distributions, provides a few different variants. One of them is Edubuntu. It is the same operating system as Ubuntu but comes loaded with many educational applications and games. In this article, we’ll install Edubuntu and discover exactly which applications come preinstalled. Now lets get started!

      • Mint

        • Taking a look at Linux Mint 8 “Helena”

          DW: What’s new in Mint 8? What are some of the new features people will enjoy in Helena?

          CL: We answered many of the requests we received after the release of Linux Mint 7 and some of the changes we made were quite popular among our users. The Update Manager now allows you to ignore updates for certain packages. The level associated with each package is something we maintain so this addition gives a lot more power to the user. We also improved many aspects of the Software Manager and we implemented numerous little things to make the system more comfortable to use.

        • Linux Mint 8 Fluxbox CE review: Lightweight, fast, surprisingly cohesive

          Linux Mint 8 Fluxbox Community Edition is based on Linux Mint 8 Main Edition, the 2.6.31 Linux kernel, and Fluxbox 1.1.1. As a longtime Fluxbox user and a recent enthusiast of Linux Mint, I was pretty excited that there was going to be a Fluxbox Community Edition based on the most recent Mint release, because to me it seemed like the best of both worlds — the streamlined, clean “cohesiveness” I’ve come to enjoy in Linux Mint, plus the fast, highly customizable Fluxbox that I tend to install on my own anyway, regardless of what default desktop or window manager is included in any distro I’m using.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Android

        • Archos to launch Two New Android Tablets at CeBIT.

          We’ve just had word from Archos’ German PR company that Archos will announce two new Android Tablets at CeBIT.

        • Two Archos Android home-use tablets at CeBIT 2010

          The Archos 7 looks pretty much to be locked-in for CeBIT in around a week’s time, but according to Archos’ German PR team the company have a second Android-based internet tablet to bring to the show. CarryPad have heard that two new devices are in the works for the Germany-based show, both described as “good value Android Tablets that are specially designed for use in the home”.

      • Sub-notebooks

        • ARM at 28 nm This Year

          Did I mention these things are small? At 28 nm the cores will be half the size of their 40 nm devices which are very competitive with Atom. Running GNU/Linux instead of that other OS, these new ARM CPUs will kick Atom with that other OS out of the park.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Of the powers we choose to lose

    It is the fact that the market will reflect the mentality and culture of the people. If the people are so easy to convince into giving up their power then they will do it in a multitude of ways. Perhaps buying an iPhone isn’t as immediately harmful as voting for a law that creates a yet another victimless crime, but it is the reflection of the same mentality. They have gotten you so easily convinced that convenience must come at the expense of your personal power just as the government has gotten you convinced that security comes at the expense of liberty.

  • Tips to help users migrate to OpenOffice

    The migration from other office suites to OpenOffice really isn’t that difficult. In fact, many users might hardly notice the difference. But there are users that might wind up in a panic when they see their old friend MSO was replaced with OO. With these tips it shouldn’t be all that difficult to ease their worries. What about you? Have you found a tip or two to help ease the migration? If so, share.

  • Open-Xchange: Another Big SaaS Partner Win

    Open-Xchange, an open source alternative to Microsoft Exchange, continues to gain momentum in Europe and North America. The latest example: Bull, a €1,110 million solutions provider headquartered in Paris, is offering SaaS and on-premises Open-Xchange to its end customers in Germany.


    As you may recall, Open-Xchange claimed 2009 was a banner year for the company; more than 15 million people worldwide were running Open-Xchange at the end of 2009, an 80 percent increase from 2008. CEO Rafael Laguna is expected to provide another business update (and potentially more news…) during this week’s Parallels Summit 2010 in Miami; the event is attracting cloud and SaaS experts from across the globe.

  • A handbook for the open source way, written the open source way

    The book is entitled The Open Source Way: Creating and nurturing communities of contributors and you can access the current text here and the wiki for contributors here.

  • SCALE 8x: Day 1 – WIOS Talks

    My review of the first day of SCALE 8x and the WIOS talks I attended.

  • New medical FOSS listing/platform online

    Medfoss.apfelkraut.org should provide a comprehensive and structured overview of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FOSS) projects for the health care domain.

  • Mozilla

    • Hands-on and under the hood: Ars tests Firefox on Android

      I really want to emphasize the fact that what we tested in this article is NOT a release, a prerelease, or an official build from Mozilla. I copied the code directly from the active working branch of a Mozilla developer and poked it with a sharp stick until I got it to compile. The purpose of this article is to shed some light on the development process and provide a helping hand to other enthusiasts who want to get it to compile. The bugs, performance issues, and other limitations that I’ve discovered are not indicative of what the final product will be like.

  • Databases

    • Zmanda hooks Tivoli cop into MySQL

      Open source vendor Zmanda is adding hooks into its MySQL database backup software for shops using IBM’s Tivoli Storage Manager to mastermind the policies.

      The company on Monday unfurled a new feature for Zmanda Recovery Manager called — get ready for some unwieldily precision here —Tivoli Storage Manager Option for Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL.

  • CMS

    • QuickStudy: Drupal

      Drupal is free content-management software designed to let an individual or user group publish, manage and organize Web sites that feature a wide variety of content. Drupal is currently being used to power community Web portals, discussion sites, corporate Web sites, intranet applications, personal Web sites and blogs, fan sites, e-commerce applications, resource directories and social networking sites. Recently, the Obama administration adopted Drupal as the foundation for the WhiteHouse.gov Web site.


    • Media Advisory: Controversial Free-Software Activist to Speak at UB

      Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation and one of the most controversial figures in the history of the Internet, will discuss “Copyright and Community in the Age of Computer Networks” on Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. in 112 Norton Hall on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus.

  • Licensing

    • FOSS Legal Strategy Session Silicon Valley: Success!
    • Bruce Perens: Inside Open Source’s Historic Victory

      Jacobsen v. Katzer is closed, after five years. Open Source won, and big. A manufacturer who attempted to collect royalties from an Open Source developer has lost two patents. As terms of his settlement with the developer, the manufacturer is paying $100,000 to the Open Source developer, has agreed to place himself under a permanent injunction, and has signed a release of any liability to all members of the Open Source project. The case was not “sealed” like so many settled cases, so its documents are available to the public now.

    • FOSS devs can collect damages from license violators

      Although the ruling won’t set a broad precedent due to the fact that it emerged from a district court, it’s still a significant victory for open source software licensing enforcement. The threat of having to pay monetary damages will give software companies a big incentive to refrain from abusing or misappropriating open source software code. In response to the ruling, Katzer finally agreed to settle with Jacobson last week. The conflict, which originally started five years ago, has reached an end.

  • Programming

    • New Python shell is a DreamPie

      DreamPie, a new interactive shell for Python developers, has been released with support for Python 2.5, 2.6 and 3.1, Jython 2.5 and IronPython 2.6. DreamPie is described as a “new concept for an interactive shell”, with the display divided into a history box for commands and a code box for “in work” Python code. The shell provides automatic completion of attributes, displays function arguments and documentation, can save session history as a HTML file and allows for interactive plotting with matpotlib.

  • Applications

    • pyLoad, lightweight and powerful one-click hoster download manager

      This tiny tool will definitely catch your eye of interest if you’re downloading a lot of files from Rapidshare, Megaupload or hotfiles: pyLoad, entirely written in Python, is a download manager available for GNU/Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and most interestingly for routers!

    • iPFaces – Mobile Application Framework

      If you can program Java, you can now program also mobile applications. iPFaces is distributed under GNU/GPL for community usage.

    • Pidgin update fixes security vulnerabilities

      The Pidgin developers have released version 2.6.6 of their open source instant messenger application. In addition to the usual changes and bug fixes, the maintenance and security update addresses a total of three vulnerabilities in the the multi-platform instant messaging client.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open letter to Google: free VP8, and use it on YouTube

      With its purchase of the On2 video compression technology company having been completed on Wednesday February 16, 2010, Google now has the opportunity to make free video formats the standard, freeing the web from both Flash and the proprietary H.264 codec.

    • Older blog entries for dwmw2

      To me, HTML5 looks less like a standard and more like a set of broken hackish kludges to work around the fact that people out there aren’t actually capable of following a standard.

    • Risks in Google killing Adobe Flash

      My son loves The Daily Show, but for some reason he can’t load Adobe Flash 10 on his Windows PC. It claims to load, but then Windows tells him it’s not there. (I tried “switch to Linux.” It just re-opened the Generation Gap.)


      Google could solve his problem in a flash, the Free Software Foundation says. Just switch from supporting Flash to the VP8 codec recently acquired with ON Technologies on YouTube.

    • Let My Codecs Go: Will Google Free VP8?

      The good news is that if anyone has the resources to sort out the legal and technical problems, Google has. The reason why it might want to go to all that trouble is to free itself from any dependence on the patent-encumbered codecs of others, and to promote a flourishing open video ecosystem, and with it lots of lovely content that it can sell ads against.

    • Free Software Foundation urges Google to open On2 codec

      We question whether yet another plug-in is the best of ideas, but the post has other ideas. “You could interest users with HD videos in free formats, for example, or aggressively invite users to upgrade their browsers (instead of upgrading Flash). Steps like these on YouTube would quickly push browser support for free formats to 50% and beyond, and they would slowly increase the number of people who never bother installing Flash.”


  • Science

  • Security

    • FBI launches probe into schools accused of spying on kids through webcams

      The FBI has launched an investigation into a Pennsylvania school district that has been accused of spying on students through webcams on laptops it issued to those students.

    • Feds open school spycam probe

      The school offers pupils MacBooks as part of its “21st Century Learning Initiative”. On Friday the school said it had appointed lawyers to look at its past and present laptop policies.

    • McKinnon gets a date for ‘final’ appeal

      Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon and his legal team have been given three months to prepare for a judicial hearing on whether the Home Secretary proceeded correctly in allowing extradition proceedings to proceed in spite of dire medical warnings.

    • Twitter bomb threat joke man faces possible jail sentence

      The message was reported to the authorities, who treated it as a threat and called in the police. Officers from South Yorkshire police arrested and later charged Chambers “with sending… a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”. Police confiscated his iPhone, laptop and home computer.

  • Environment

    • ‘Mountains’ of e-waste threaten developing world

      Urgent action is needed to tackle the “mountains” of e-waste building up in developing nations, says a UN report.

      Huge amounts of old computers and discarded electronic goods are piling up in countries such as China, India and some Africa nations, it said.

      India could see a 500% rise in the number of old computers dumped by 2020, found the survey of 11 nations.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Herald ends payments for online content

      In December 2009, the media company began providing a link for voluntary payment at the end of each online story. “After evaluating two months of response, we’ve decided to end the program,” said Elissa Vanaver, a company vice president and assistant to the publisher. She would not say how much money the effort had raised.

    • Author Who Claimed $9.99 Not A Real Price For Books Admits Comments Were A Mistake

      Of course, it looks like the backlash got even stronger following that quote in the NY Times. Robert Ring alerts us to io9′s coverage, saying that after the NYT’s piece came out, Preston’s book started getting one-star reviews on Amazon, with many people mentioning the NY Times quote as a reason not to buy the book.

    • Tenenbaum: $675,000 is absurd when I caused $21 in losses

      Joel Tenenbaum, the second P2P defendant to take his case all the way through trial, is on the hook for $675,000 in damages. But according to his lawyer, Tenenbaum only caused the record labels $21 in damages.

      The disparity between these two figures is, in the words of Harvard Law’s Charles Nesson, “monstrous and shocking.”

    • ACTA

      • ACTA “internet enforcement” chapter leaks

        Someone has uploaded a PDF to a Google Group that is claimed to be the proposal for Internet copyright enforcement that the USA has put forward for ACTA, the secret copyright treaty whose seventh round of negotiations just concluded in Guadalajara, Mexico. This reads like it probably is genuine treaty language, and if it is the real US proposal, it is the first time that this material has ever been visible to the public. According to my source, the US proposal is the current version of the treaty as of the conclusion of the Mexico round.

        I’ve read it through a few times and it reads a lot like DMCA-plus. It contains, for example, a duty to technology firms to shut down infringement where they have “actual knowledge” that such is taking place. This argument was put forward in the Grokster case, and as Fred von Lohmann argued then, this is a potentially deadly burden to place on technology companies: in the offline world Xerox has “actual knowledge” that its technology is routinely used to infringe copyright at Kinko’s outlets around the world — should that create a duty to stop providing sales and service to Kinko’s?


        Also buried in a footnote is a provision for forcing ISPs to terminate customers who’ve been accused — but not convicted — of copyright infringement (along with their families and anyone else who happens to share their net connection).

      • World going barmy over copyright enforcement

        IT IS NOT CLEAR how accurate it is yet but someone has posted a copy of what appears to be the crucial enforcement section of the secret copyright treaty that the publishing cartels want the world to accept.

      • ACTA leak shows US Trade Rep lied about “3-strikes”
      • ACTA Internet Chapter Leaks: Renegotiates WIPO, Sets 3 Strikes as Model

        Several months after a European Union memo discussing the ACTA Internet chapter leaked, the actual chapter itself has now leaked. First covered by PC World, the new leak fully confirms the earlier reports and mirrors the language found in the EU memo. This is the chapter that required non-disclosure agreements last fall.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Christian Einfeldt’s DTP presentation in Berlin 2004 10 (2004)

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

What Windows Home Server and OOXML Have in Common: They Corrupt Data

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Servers, Windows at 1:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Windows Home Server logo (joke)

Summary: Data corruption glitches inherent and more likely with Microsoft’s sub-standard products that do not comply with industry standards

TWO YEARS ago I called Windows Home Server (WHS) “data corruption server” because it turned out that its unique feature (or antifeature) was that it silently destroyed people’s data rather than make backups like it was supposed to. We wrote about the disaster which is Windows Home Server around that time; it’s built upon pretty much the same codebase that makes up Vista 7.

According to this very extensive new review of the Asus TS Mini Windows Home Server, GNU/Linux is still miles ahead of Microsoft when it comes to so-called “home servers” (Microsoft terminology for the most part). To quote some portions of the text:

Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are essentially small servers designed for use in the home, but generally use modified versions of Linux. It was only a matter of time before Microsoft got in on the action with Windows Home Server (WHS), which it introduced in 2007.

Most NAS devices run Linux on hardware based around embedded processors from manufacturers such as Marvell or Freescale, typically based on the ARM design. WHS, on the other hand, will run on standard PC hardware based around Intel or AMD x86 processors.


Linux is the obvious choice since many distributions are free and its reliability is well-documented. Installing, configuring and maintaining Linux can be a time consuming hassle though, even if you’re already familiar with the OS.


Overall, Asus’s Home Server TS Mini is a disappointment. The hardware’s clumsy design makes adding or replacing a hard disk more difficult than it has to be. Asus’ WHS plug-ins don’t add much value either, although these can always be updated in future or just replaced with alternatives of your choosing. The sluggish performance is particularly disappointing though, limiting the TS Mini’s usefulness.

All of this is a shame, since the WHS OS clearly has much potential, but it’s not without its flaws either. It’s disappointing that almost three years after its launch, there aren’t easily accessible printer sharing options or RAID support.

There is one area where the failure of Windows Home Server is similar to that of OOXML. According to this new post from Rob Weir, Microsoft Office has data corruption problems that affect OOXML.

In this post I take a look at Microsoft’s claims for robust data recovery with their Office Open XML (OOXML) file format. I show the results of an experiment, where I introduce random errors into documents and observe whether word processors can recover from these errors. Based on these result, I estimate data recovery rates for Word 2003 binary, OOXML and ODF documents, as loaded in Word 2007, Word 2003 and in OpenOffice.org Writer 3.2.

My tests suggest that the OOXML format is less robust than the Word binary or ODF formats, with no observed basis for the contrary Microsoft claims. I then discuss the reasons why this might be expected.

It is not exactly surprising because OOXML has corruption written all over it, but Microsoft’s crimes aside, there are clearly some technical deficiencies. Microsoft does not build software for robustness. The London Stock Exchange found this out the hard way [1, 2]. People inside Microsoft know this too.

‘Eller and his team had written what they felt was some very good Windows code. When Konzen came over he appeared to want to counter this impression—he told the Windows team their code was garbage. They had completely misengineered the system, he said.

‘”These Apple guys really know their graphics,” Konzen told Eller.

‘”They’re better, faster, and simply easier to use. You chimps working on Windows don’t have a clue.”‘

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

Randall C. Kennedy is a Scam, But Vista 7 is Still Bloated

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 12:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Little piggy

Summary: Randall Kennedy fooled his own employer (IDG), so his over-the-top ‘reporting’ will be no more; but the claim that Vista 7 is a pig remains in tact

THE reality behind Vista 7 remains unchanged, even after this revelation which will cost sensationalist Randall Kennedy his job:

Editor’s note: The person quoted in this story as “Craig Barth” is actually Randall C. Kennedy, an InfoWorld contributor. Kennedy, who presented himself as the CTO of Devil Mountain Software, no longer works at InfoWorld. Given that he disguised his identity to Computerworld and a number of other publications, the credibility of Kennedy’s statements is called into question. Rather than simply remove stories in which he is quoted, we have left them online so readers can weigh his data and conclusions for themselves.

Let’s remember what Groklaw’s Pamela Jones wrote about Randall Kennedy two weeks ago: “Is he Rob Enderle’s son or something?” Kennedy is attacking GNU/Linux quite a lot too and he lies/trolls in order to do this.

Gregg Keizer was fooled repeatedly by Kennedy:

The Florida firm that last week said most Windows 7 machines exhaust their physical memory, and as a result take a performance hit, defended its data and conclusions after naysayers dismissed its findings.

“Everyone thinks that they’re a [Windows] performance expert,” said Craig Barth, the chief technology officer of Devil Mountain Software, a performance metrics software maker. “They look at their PC and say, ‘My PC doesn’t do that.’”

As a bit of background, Vista 7 was shown to be too bloated as early as 2008 and even last year (it is even slower than Vista sometimes). Kennedy merely reiterated claims, but he relied on a benchmark of memory which got covered in many places like this one.

A Microsoft spokesperson told InternetNews.com that the company had no comment on Devil Mountain’s latest report.

Microsoft had no comment, i.e. it did not deny the allegations when approached by its own booster/journalist.

There is a parallel here involving the leak of E-mails about global warming. Just because there was an alleged scandal does not mean that the actual claims are magically being falsified or that the hypothesis gets refuted; in fact, Vista 7 has been a resource hog for quite a while and various journalists pointed this out and showed it empirically, albeit differently. Maybe there is no “Memory Problem” per se, but there certainly is a speed/performance problem. Microsoft boosters like Preston Gralla are probably among those who would deny and then assume that just because the messenger was fake the results too are invalid (like confusing causality and correlation). It’s natural to think that if the claim comes from a fictitious source, then that also means that there is no memory problem in Vista 7 (well, Gralla is also attacking UNIX/Linux and Macs over security this week while pretending to be “just curious”, which is a common tactic of Microsoft boosters). Windows is demonstrably less secure.

Despite some other reliability problems in Vista 7, Microsoft has its share of partners who are pushing businesses to adopt scarcely-adopted and scarcely-tested software. Microsoft is paying other parties to impose this it upon businesses (without success).

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) released several non-security updates for Windows 7 and its server counterpart, Windows Server 2008 Release 2 (R2) two weeks ago.

The main purpose of four of those patches was to improve stability and reliability of the two operating systems. Unfortunately for an undetermined number of users, one of those updates broke their systems rather than make them more stable.

Windows can never be as reliable as UNIX/Linux. Windows was just built so poorly as a shadow of something that was built more properly, sometimes correctly.

‘While both Microsoft’s and Apple’s systems were graphical, the guts of the two were completely different. McGregor told Gates as much.

‘”How are they different?” Gates snapped back. “They both draw fucking lines on the screen, right? They both put things in windows, right? Mac wrote a windows thing, you wrote a windows thing, they ought to be able to run the same stuff together.” Which is when it became clear to Eller that Gates still didn’t have a clue as to how the Mac system worked.’

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

Microsoft’s Gadgets/Hardware Business is Collapsing (Zune, Xbox, Mobile)

Posted in Boycott Novell, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 12:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Gates’s refusal to adopt Adobe’s technology had something to do with money—Gates was not feeling cash rich in 1984—but it had even more to do with Gates’s persistent delusion that Windows be like the Mac.”

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


Summary: Microsoft’s money sinks continue to leak; present and foreseen future indicate that Zune, Xbox, and Windows Mobile are still going down the sewer


Modeling Microsoft’s mobile business based on the Zune is an atrocious mistake to make because the Zune was a disaster whose sales decline at an alarming rate. Some time earlier this month we wrote about how Zune deleted music and Microsoft is now acknowledging the problem by assigning a firm to deal with it.

Critics of subscription music have often to pointed to licensing as a major problem. Without guaranteed access, the services can often lose significant value if a licensing dispute takes certain music down or if technical issues prevent access for long stretches of time.

This is the (at least) third time Microsoft screws customers when it comes to music. Previously, there were PlaysForSure and MSN Music.


Another area where Microsoft has failed quite miserably (although Microsoft tries to hide it) is Xbox. Sony is laughing at Microsoft’s expense and bashes its policies.

Sony’s PR strategy in the console war seems to be to point out that Microsoft is a devilish, top hat-wearing fat cat lording over the population with its giant dollar-sign labeled sacks of cash.

Back in April, Sony bashed Microsoft for purchasing most of its exclusive titles rather than creating them, and with the recent release of Mass Effect 2 has gone back to those same tactics. Rob Dyer, SCEA Senior Vice President of Publisher Relations, told IndustryGamers that Sony “counters” Xbox 360 exclusives with its own first-party games, which Microsoft simply has no answer to.

The English-speaking press is fixated on US-only market share, so the overall picture can be very deceiving. Microsoft has the only console not from Japan and the US military prefers to buy stock from a US company (even if it’s really made in Asia) only to be declined:

Microsoft restricting Xbox 360 units from Army because the sale wouldn’t give them enough money?


Argue if you want, but the Xbox 360 with it’s cheap hardware, massive online gameplay and options for scenarios, and rather robust library of war games means it’s a pretty good fit as a training tool for the fine men and women training our country. Common sense also makes a might appearance. It’s simple actually. Why should the Army spend upwards of $1,000 on training computers for each and ever soldier if an Xbox 360 can be had for significantly less and be used for multiple soldiers? It’s basic math.

Microsoft was selling the consoles at a loss for quite some time. And to make matters worse, the defective design cost it billions of dollars and annoyed a lot of customers.

Here is one example of “hard luck” with Microsoft’s Xbox 360. It’s from two weeks ago:

Many in the gaming community are familiar with a common pitfall of the Xbox 360. Gamers know the syndrome simply as “the red rings of death.” The issue is common and easily remedied, and is a problem that the newest generations of Xbox 360s are supposedly free of.

So I rested easy after purchasing my 360 Arcade and a 20-gigabyte hard drive last winter, knowing that the folks at Microsoft had eliminated this frustrating problem.

Much to my dismay, I recently powered-on my system and was greeted with a distressing noise. I waited and waited but the system never advanced past the logo screen. After 5 minutes of troubleshooting, the screen flashed to black with the words “error 67” emblazoned near the bottom.

Shit, I thought. Red rings of death I can deal with, but what is this ‘error 67?’ This experience would lead me to verify what I had long suspected: Microsoft isn’t as keen on satisfying their customers as they may appear to be.

Another such error is being reported:

Players face a lot of technical errors. Microsoft must offer some kind of substitutes for their products when they simply stop working. Red ring errors can be solved but technical errors like “error 67” is difficult to tackle.

Yes, Microsoft still has a defect problem in its hands and retailers react. Not good, not good at all.


The Windows Mobile business is also a money sink and the latest version of Windows Mobile (Microsoft has attempted to rename/rebrand it) is rather disappointing for many reasons that we wrote about before. Could it be the end of the line? Here are some opinions:

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 Series: Too little too late?

If you assume Microsoft’s mobile platform share further erodes the Windows Phone 7 launch will have to be big to compete. That’s why you hear the stray rumors about Microsoft buying Research in Motion.

Windows Mobile 7: Too Late to Save Microsoft?

Microsoft is not too big to fail, and it has done so spectacularly in the past. While we have high hopes that whatever Steve Ballmer shows off on Monday can revive the Windows Mobile name, Microsoft will need a hell of a product and brutish PR to overcome the barriers it has already laid out for itself by sauntering into the marketplace years after the game leaders.

Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Series Is Programmed To Fail

The two bullets that Microsoft shot at its feet are:

1) Windows Phone 7 Series is a non-free or Slaveware* operating system. That means OEMs don’t get to see the code. OEMs can not customize or tweak the software to meet their customer’s needs.

2) Licence Fee. Microsoft’s deep pockets owe a lot to the heavy license fee Microsoft charges for its Operating Systems and Office Suites. Windows Phone 7 Series continues to follow the same pattern. OEMs will have to pay a license fee to Microsoft to use the operating system, along with the conditions that they can’t change the code.

The gainers at the moment are UNIX and Linux, so Microsoft seems to be copying them:

Microsoft Mimics Apple

Microsoft Lags Behind Apple, Again…

IPhone, Android Gain Market-Share at Microsoft and Palm’s Expense

Here is an interesting observation from the IRC channel. Microsoft is already up to vapourware tricks on the face of it (and Microsoft Windows Phone 7 won’t actually be out before the end of the year or one year from now).

oiaohm http://blogs.zdnet.com/gadgetreviews/?p=12325&tag=content;col1  Boy idiots and MS press releases. Feb 20 20:32
phIRCe-BNc Title: Report: Microsoft, Asus partner on mobile phone | The Toybox | ZDNet.com .::. Size~: 101.25 KB Feb 20 20:32
oiaohm http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2010/feb10/02-15MWC10PR.mspx Feb 20 20:32
phIRCe-BNc Title: Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Series: New phones designed for life in motion to debut at holiday 2010. .::. Size~: 49.47 KB Feb 20 20:32
schestowitz *LOL* http://techdirt.com/articles/20100219/0353358240.shtml Feb 20 20:32
phIRCe-BNc Title: Could Looking At London’s 2012 Olympics Logo Land People In Prison? | Techdirt .::. Size~: 49.56 KB Feb 20 20:32
oiaohm Until the phones are made just because someone has partnered does not mean they will make phone. Feb 20 20:33
oiaohm They have to partner to get access to all MS specs. Feb 20 20:33
schestowitz oiaohm: yes, seen it Feb 20 20:33
schestowitz The Vista phone is nothing Feb 20 20:33
oiaohm Ie its FUD.  schestowitz Feb 20 20:33
schestowitz It won’t have any effect Feb 20 20:33
schestowitz oiaohm: it’s  vapourware Feb 20 20:34
oiaohm MS FUD we have all these unwilling supporters so its going to take off. Feb 20 20:34
oiaohm This is way different to android. Feb 20 20:34
oiaohm Android they makers could look at almost the full device before deciding if they would partner. Feb 20 20:35
oiaohm Even then after companies did partner places like zdnet said nothing about it. Feb 20 20:35
oiaohm What you call double standards in reporting. Feb 20 20:35

It was interesting to find that Microsoft and its bad ally AT&T [1, 2, 3] are also collaborating here [1, 2], which makes one wonder about Apple’s AT&T exclusivity.

Microsoft booster Joseph Tartakoff shut his eye in the face of criticism and pretended that “[a]lmost without exception, reviewers have praised Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7″. What does he read? Just Microsoft blogs? As we stressed last week, Android/Linux dominated this event in many ways and Microsoft’s phone received its share of criticisms. Why can’t Microsoft boosters ever be objective? In context there is more being said though:

Has Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) upstaged Google (NSDQ: GOOG) at this year’s Mobile World Congress? Almost without exception, reviewers have praised Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 series—but on Tuesday Google got its own chance in the spotlight as CEO Eric Schmidt took the keynote stage. Schmidt’s speech was thinky; holding a piece of paper with his notes, he referred to the rise of cloud computing and faster connectivity speeds as driving mobile adoption. “A device that is not connected is not interesting, it is literally lonely. An application that does not leverage the cloud isn’t going to wow anybody,” he said. “It’s like magic. All of a sudden there are things you can do that we’ve never even (thought of) because of this convergence.”

Business Insider made its “JOKE OF THE WEEK” the fact that Microsoft — unlike its free/open source competition which is technically better in many ways — intends to charge for its proprietary operating system.

Microsoft will charge carriers for its OS, while Google is giving Android away for free. (The other big competitors, Apple and RIM, don’t license their operating systems to third parties.)

Not everyone is impressed by this decision given Microsoft’s weak position (it has less than 10% of the market). Windows Mobile does not have the advantage of compatibility with many third-party applications.

Business Insider has also put up this “CHART OF THE DAY” which it titled “The Collapse Of Microsoft’s Mobile Business”. The page says:

In any event, for Microsoft, the new product can’t come soon enough. After an early lead in the U.S. smartphone war, Microsoft has lost much of its market share and almost all of its relevance, as BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and Apple’s iPhone have taken over.

The market share shown there is for the US alone, it’s not global (almost double the real market share for familiar reasons). Microsoft-loving publications seem to be more fascinated by the latest Linux phones and this analysis from Reuters indicates that Microsoft may end up just buying a rival platform to replace Windows Mobile.

The new Windows phone software is a big improvement on its predecessor but may not be enough to reverse market share losses, and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) may have to eventually buy a Nokia or BlackBerry maker RIM to get back into the game.

That would require borrowing of even more money. Can Microsoft afford it? Can it get the required loans? Microsoft Nick has this to say:

Microsoft Acquiring RIM May Be Bad Idea, Says Analyst

Microsoft is reportedly interested in purchasing BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, but such an acquisition could have negative consequences for Microsoft, an analyst says.

Also in the news:

So, in conclusion, Microsoft has just introduced a new version of its mobile platform and sources suggest that it might have to be thrown away and replaced. Microsoft has already failed with Danger/Sidekick as the links below show.

Patents Roundup: Amazon, Centrify, Microsoft, TecSec, and Bilski

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: This is a set of news links about patents and their injustices

Looking out for Bilski: software patents v. FOSS (see our Bilski index)

This period also saw the rise of FOSS as a threat to monopolistic proprietary software companies. The rule of required sharing of computer program source code in FOSS, and creation of a “protected commons” for the free exchange of ideas embodied in program source code eliminated the need for patents. “Copyleft” sharing, under the GNU General Public License (“GPL”) and similar licenses, helped firms to increase their levels of investment in cooperative production, and to exchange ideas, secure in the knowledge that those investments would not be appropriated by others claiming exclusive rights.

But companies in the business of acquiring patents merely to license or sue parties refusing to pay for a license, called “patent trolls,” also sprang up in great numbers. They imposed license fees that FOSS projects could not afford under terms that unacceptably conflicted with FOSS licenses. They exploited companies’ willingness to pay license fees for patent claims of questionable validity, in order to avoid the high costs of patent litigation.

Usually, these trolls prefer to bite deep-pocketed businesses and not small FOSS distributors, much less non-profit communities of programmers. Proprietary software giants charge their customers high prices, in effect collecting in advance any patent royalties they may be required to pay to trolls. Thus, patent rent is included in the cost of proprietary products: Microsoft and similar companies may sting from reduction of their profits, but their users have been stung in advance. Moreover, cross-licensing works well for them, as they have or can build a portfolio of patents with which to buy others’ claims without using money. But the same approach is not available to FOSS communities, which in general do not seek patents; their users thus risk ending up as casualties in the war.

ITC Becomes Battleground in Nokia-Apple Patent Dispute (more on the ITC’s embargoes right here)

The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has agreed to investigate Apple’s patent claims against Nokia, after already agreeing last month to do the same for Nokia’s patent claims against Apple. With dueling lawsuits pending in federal court over the patent disputes, the ITC has become the battlefield du jour.

USPTO’s 1-Click Indecisiveness Enters 5th Year (FFII’s president shares this link which he says contains “Amazon testimony in front of Congress on 1-click patent, software patents and patent trolls”)

theodp writes “When it comes to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ 1-Click patent, the USPTO is an agency that just can’t say no. Or yes. It’s now been 4+ years since actor Peter Calveley submitted prior art that triggered a USPTO reexamination of the 1-Click patent. Still no ‘final answer’ from the USPTO, although an Examiner recently issued yet another Final Rejection of 1-Click related claims (pdf), admonishing Amazon for making him ‘sift through hundreds of submitted references to identify what applicant allegedly has already submitted,’ which he complained is ‘adding an undue burden’ to his workload. Looks like Bezos’ 2000 pledge of ‘less work for the overworked Patent and Trademark Office’ isn’t working out so well in practice. Not too surprising — after all, Amazon did inform Congress that it ‘has modified its specific [patent] reform proposals from the year 2000.’”

Centrify Suite 2010 Expands Ability to Ensure Higher Levels of Trust, Control and Compliance in the Data Center [1, 2] (more on the latest from Centrify, which is putting Microsoft patents in GNU/Linux)

Pfizer, Microsoft, Viacom: Intellectual Property

Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software company, received a patent for a method of encoding and transmitting network data over a satellite network.

According to patent 7,644,092, one of 4,484 U.S. patents issued yesterday, the technology would enable Internet protocol data packets of variable length to be encoded and sent through a fixed-length multi-packet transport system.

Nazomi sues Amazon, Microsoft, Nokia over Java

California-based Nazomi late yesterday sued several tech firms, including Amazon, Microsoft and Nokia, for allegedly violating patents it owns on translating Java code to specific devices. Filed in a Los Angeles court, the lawsuit complains that the three main firms as well as Garmin, Iomega, Sling, Vizio and Western Digital all have devices that supposedly copy its techniques. These include the Kindle and Zune as well as less common devices like the Slingbox or Nokia’s tablet computers.

Nokia, Microsoft, Amazon Sued on Translation Patents (Microsoft faces patent-related legal action from over 50 directions, including Emblaze)

Nokia Corp., Microsoft Corp., and Amazon.com Inc. were sued by a closely held company which claims they used two patents used for translating Java code for specific computers.

Nazomi Communications Inc. claims in the suit, filed yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles, that each of the companies sells consumer electronics that infringe its patents. The suit is seeking an order stopping the infringement and unspecified damages.

Cognition In Licensing Deal With Microsoft

The firm–which is headed by Scott Jarus–said it has licensed some of its proprietary semantic technologies to Microsoft Corp.

TecSec Aims Suits at IBM, Cisco, eBay (covered the other day, as the situation is akin to that of Eolas [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8])

TecSec, a closely held firm near Washington D.C., filed patent suits against IBM, Cisco, Sun Microsystems and a host of other tech companies after recently settling one with Microsoft.

[Expired patents]

People are increasingly filing lawsuits over expired patents. An engineer’s claim against Sigma-Aldrich, a chemical company, is the twelfth such claim filed this year in courts covered by Courthouse News. Lawsuits over labels marked with expired patents are not a new cause of action, but the sudden surge in such claims is new.

Harold Josephs sued Sigma-Aldrich in Detroit Federal Court on Tuesday, citing seven chemical products he claims the company falsely labels as patented, though the patents have expired.

Sony seeks ‘universal console controller’ patent (prior art, anyone?)

It’s perhaps a step too far to say that just because Sony has applied for a US patent that covers a “universal game console controller” that it’s actually developing one with a view to bringing such a product to market.

Another University Dumps Novell Mail, VMware’s Parent Helps Zimbra’s Direct Rival

Posted in Mail, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Red Hat, Virtualisation, VMware, Windows, Xen at 9:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EMC and Microsoft

Summary: Another loss for Novell and odd new moves in mail and virtualisation

NOVELL is increasingly being dumped for Google and several days ago we found another new example:

Students and faculty alike who have been growing frustrated with Novell Tigermail should soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

The university’s current e-mail client will be replaced with Google Apps for Education. The shift will not require anyone to change their e-mail addresses.

They should host their own mail. Sharing people’s private correspondence with some dissociated company is neither wise nor fair. But that’s another story.

One of the OpenSUSE folks writes about Bongo, which is a mail project that’s derived from what Novell buried [1, 2] after it had signed the deal with Microsoft (see this story about Zimbra, which is now owned by former Microsoft executives at VMware).

I’ll take Bongo as my first example. For those that have no idea what Bongo is let me explain: Bongo is an evolution of some forward thinking by some people who used to work at Novell. It started out as the Hula Project; then Novell sold the related assets off due to strategy alignments (or whatever); a few of us wanted to continue and forked the code and created the Bongo Project. OK so that’s a brief history but what is it? Bongo is a lightweight and simple e-mail & calendaring solution, it is based on proven technology – the heritage goes back to NIMS if I’m not mistaken. Whoopee do there are like a million and one e-mail solutions out there. Yes but not all in one solutions that are light on resources and contain all functions. Bongo is NOT a groupware product, it is aimed at SMBs, geeks education and pretty much anyone that just wants e-mail, calendaring and contacts. Think of it as a FOSS solution to provide the functionality of Gmail+Google Calendar. Here endeth the history lesson.


I know for a fact that there may be one or two items that I’ve listed that could be contentious, and do you know what? I sincerely hope so :-) Now don’t get me wrong, I really do appreciate and am grateful for all the work effort and money that Novell has invested in openSUSE; but it isn’t fair at all for Novell to keep carrying the Project. If anyone thinks they’re not, you are living in lala land. Sure some of it might be their own doing, but a lot isn’t and it is up to us the community help them so that we can benefit even more.

OpenSUSE has been eerily quiet since Zonker left.

Going back to VMware and Zimbra, see the following posts about EMC and Microsoft:

To cut a long story short, EMC has VMware, which has Zimbra. Now there is this new press release which shows EMC supporting a direct rival of its very own Zimbra:

EMC Helps Define Information Governance for Microsoft Exchange 2010

EMC® Corporation (NYSE: EMC), the world leader in information infrastructure solutions, today announced it is expanding its efforts to help customers accelerate their journey to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 implementations and build actionable information governance strategies. Exchange 2010-ready, EMC SourceOne™ solutions further extend the archiving, retention, and e-discovery features of Exchange 2010, allowing organizations to manage their e-mail and other data efficiently and cost effectively while ensuring that all information is protected and available.

That’s a little iffy. Doesn’t EMC support Zimbra? Let’s remember that EMC is Microsoft’s Partner of the Year for 2008 and so is Citrix, which has just partnered with Novell. From the press release:

Citrix Systems, Inc. and Novell, Inc. announced a collaboration that expands choice for customers through increased virtualization interoperability and new assessment tools to help pinpoint the economically most advantageous approach to virtualization. Through this new partnership, Novell has certified SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a Perfect Guest running on Citrix XenServer and both companies will provide joint technical support to customers. As a result of this agreement, the more than 4,500 enterprise applications certified as Novell Ready for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server are now Citrix Ready community-verified when running in a SUSE Linux Enterprise Server guest virtual machine on XenServer.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is the only Linux operating system that has been optimized to be the perfect guest on all major hypervisors, with outstanding performance when running on XenServer.

That last sentence is a strong and ambitious claim, but Microsoft’s support for SUSE can count for something extra (from Novell’s point of view). The above can also be found right here in Reuters and some other sources, but what’s even more interesting is Novell’s apparent attempt to catch up with Red Hat where Xen is involved. Novell already builds a Wiki about what seems like a KVM hypervisor.

Believe it or not, it looks as though Novell is now researching the creation of yet another virtualization platform. No, this one isn’t based on Xen. Instead, the software company appears to be jumping on the KVM bandwagon and is looking to build a new open source project based on KVM.

Well, KVM is Red Hat’s, which makes it just slightly awkward.

Intellectual Ventures “a Combination Mob Protection Racket + Ponzi Monetization Scheme”

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Patents at 9:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: People who are personally or distantly familiar with Microsoft’s patent troll Nathan Myhrvold openly explain what he is doing

THE firm called Intellectual Ventures, which is backed by Gates’ investment vehicle (mentioned earlier this morning) and typically described as a Microsoft-created patent troll, is a lot more than just that. It is connected to 1,000+ other entities such as Bill Gates’ Searete and people who claim to have “had some direct experience with Myhrvold’s group” have a lot more to say. It adds to what we wrote about the New York Times article a few days ago.

The Against Monopoly Web site refers to that same article which reveals the lesser-known sides of Intellectual Ventures:

Is this just a patent troll or a new way to extract money from everybody?


It doesn’t sound to me like Myhrvold has much interest in the poor inventors. Rather, he just seems to want their patents so he can make piles of money suing manufacturers.

One reader of ours says that “Intellectual Ventures & Myhrvold [are a] fraud worse than patents trolls” and he points to this first comment from the Against Monopoly Web site (written by “Repentant Patent Owner”):

Having had some direct experience with Myhrvold’s group (and hence my desire to remain anonymous), I suggest the following. “Patent troll” is too simplistic and limiting. Think of IV as a combination mob protection racket + ponzi monetization scheme.

The goal is build an increasing portfolio of interlocking patents under control through a kind of pyramid scheme. Eventually the principals (Myhrvold, Gates, others) will cash out later. The patents are rarely held directly, instead they are held in an elaborate pyramidal network of LLC’s, LLP’s, etc.

The mob protection racket is in the form of thier pitch to current patent owners & potential licensees: “we’ve never sued for infringement, but of course a few of our patents have been sold to folks who do sue for nasty damages. Be a shame if anything would happen to your nice business, eh? Why not join us as a licensee AND investor? I’m sure we can make sure no patents of interest to you end up with the nasties.”

The idea is to get patent-owning firms (particularly multi-patent owners) to agree to sell ownership of the patents to IV, but also to get them simultaneouslyh INVEST in LLP’s that buy more patents. More investors means more $ to buy more patents, which brings more investors, which (especially when leveraged) brings more patents, which, …. until (someday) they have all the patents (of course Myhrvold & Gates are gone by then). All along the way, IV takes substantial mgt fees for managing all these portfolios & LLP’s.

No, IV isn’t a troll per se. It’s probably worse long-term for the larger economy. Kind of like how some of the worse Wall St creatures haven’t been extorting per se, but when you put together a pyramid of SIV’s levering off each other and buying Mortgage backed securities and then artificial derivatives based off the already derivative securities, all with 1% capital you get something not very healthy for the economy, but enormously profitable for the bank that manages the setup for fees.

If it is indeed a pyramid scheme, then it should be treated as such, despite the massive PR and lobbying that Intellectual Ventures is doing. The president of the FFII points out that “Even the average reader of the Harvard Business Review has a gut appreciation for the fundamental unfairness of software patents.” He points to this VC who speaks about Intellectual Ventures in response to that same report from The New York Times:

Software patents are the problem not the answer


Nathan supports this argument by comparing the current market for intellectual property to the early days of the computer industry. He argues that in the 1970s people did not believe the software industry could be an independent business and that it would always be linked to hardware. He says that software industry developed for two reasons. First, software vendors persuaded software users to respect intellectual property rights through both education and lawsuits, and second, the vendors overcame system incompatibilities and developed solutions that would work on different computers. Nathan suggests that a market for inventions would emerge if the same two conditions are met, and then offers his company Intellectual Ventures as a model for how to meet them.

I do not agree. Here’s why.

Let’s start with software analogy. Put aside the fact that in the 70′s software vendors used copyright law to prevent the outright copying of their software and not patents as Nathan proposes to do. The real reason the independent software industry emerged is that operating systems and APIs made it possible for independent software vendors to develop applications independently. They no longer had to ask permission of the hardware vendors. This same characteristic of permissionless innovation led to the explosion of independently created services on the internet. The rampant abuse of the patent system has created the opposite condition for the creators of software and web services today.

Here is Brad Feld’s take on it:

Perhaps Mr. Myrhvold recognizes this, because in the article he says “I’m trying to get inventions that kind of respect as an economic entity.” (Emphasis added).  IV apparently incentivizes innovation on…inventions?  “Inventions” are actually a term of art in patent law, they are the things for which one can legally be granted patent rights.  IV, therefore, seems to admit that it wants to enforce patent rights so that we can…have more patents.  Mr. Myhrvold wants to create an entire economic category based on payments to entitles that don’t build, produce, sell, etc, any products, or create anything of value (i.e., that don’t innovate, at least in any useful way that advances human progress), in exchange for not being sued on exclusionary patent rights.

Groklaw quotes from the article a part which says: “In the article and in conversation, Mr. Myhrvold describes the patent world as a vastly underdeveloped market, starved for private capital and too dependent on federal financing for universities and government agencies, which is mainly aimed at scientific discovery anyway. Eventually, he foresees patents being valued as a separate asset class, like real estate or securities.”

“A new way to gamble at the public’s expense, as I see it.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
Pamela Jones mocks this comparison to “real estate”. “Is he kidding,” she asks, “After what investors/bankers/hedge funds in real estate did to the world’s economy? He wants to do that with patents? A new way to gamble at the public’s expense, as I see it.”

One of our readers, the one who wrote a short article about Myhrvold glorification in some gullible Web sites, points to this followup and calls it “More vacuous glorification of Gates and Myhrvold, “The Dawning of the Age of Biology” is a dinner that makes me want to gag. There’s a nice picture of Gates looking nasty, but the text is gibberish. It is not surprising to see Huffington Post people at such a gathering, but it is sad to see BoingBoing getting suckered by the “shoulder rub”. Jardin might want to take a shower to wash that rub off if she thinks of what Microsoft business methods will do to medicine and food.”

Yes, those old PR stunts of Myhrvold do receive some attention and the same goes for Gates (coverage from The GigaOM Network which was paid by Microsoft). The writers seem not to pay attention to what really happens out there (lack of context) and overall, the problem is no longer just Microsoft because the Gates family is spreading to other abusive monopolies and even funds/creates this patent menace that Myhrvold is engineering.

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