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02.23.10

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 23rd, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 10:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

ZDNet’s “Open Source” Blog Still Hostile Towards Freedom (the “F” in FOSS)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 5:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ZDNet

Summary: New criticisms of ZDNet bias and hypocrisy based on the past few days

THE importance of self expression is an area of debate where Stallman and Torvalds think alike. There are other such areas which encompass their similar opinions on mobile phones. But that’s not the point though; the point we are trying to make is that these two great thinkers/engineers are not as far apart as the press tries to portray them (radicalising Stallman’s image with selective quoting/footage and thus the creation of hostilities). GNU is just as important as Linux, but its philosophy scares some people who thrive in exploitative systems.

ZDNet’s ownership has always made the site incompatible with Free(dom) software. We wrote many posts to explain this (e.g. [1, 2]), but that’s the past anyway. Today we focus on what ZDNet calls the “open source” blog — a blog that incorporates a bias that we explained last year. And to give some of the latest examples, Linus Torvalds is currently being criticised by Paula Rooney in this blog. She uses the headline “Torvalds vents about religious extremism” while referring to an innocent Torvalds post from a few days ago (we referenced it at the time). Then she adds:

I remember more than a few myself. Once I wrote an analysis that carried the headline, “Is Linus Killing Linux?”

It was hyperbole, of course, and designed to provoke interest in a story that examined who or what might become the controlling “manager” of the Linux kernel — or which commercial interest might try to hijack the code. [This was before the SCO lawsuit.]

This is not journalism. Rooney should know better than that. Her colleague Dana Blankenhorn is also sort of provoking by reversing truisms. Jason from The Source has already addressed this issue:

Over at ZDnet, Dana Blankenhorn tries to concoct some scenario where Google opening up a codec turns into an antitrust violation. I’m not shocked (considering the source), but there it is.

Jason also wrote about the Craig Barth incident, which ironically enough ZDNet is using (or trying to use) to cleanse its own image:

If there’s one thing to take away from the Ars / ZDNet / xpnet / WinSuperSite tardfight, it’s don’t go latching on to someone just because it appears they support your position.

A postscript

Also, is it just me or does ZDNet have the most idiotic tech community on the internet? Seriously, if you’re feeling smart and motivated read the comments there – I guarantee you’ll come out the other end drooling and suicidal. I think we can derive a formula that the quality of comments are proportional to the quality of the original content.

Let’s remember that ZDNet is mostly just blogs, passed around as though it’s a presentation of “news” (and aggregated by Google News for example). The reality is even more complex and we have explained this in previous posts about ZDNet.

“The author of the email, posted on ZDNet in a Talkback forum on the Microsoft antitrust trial, claimed her name was Michelle Bradley and that she had “retired” from Microsoft last week.

“”A verbal memo [no email allowed] was passed around the MS campus encouraging MS employee’s to post to ZDNet articles like this one,” the email said.

“”The theme is ‘Microsoft is responsible for all good things in computerdom.’ The government has no right to prevent MS from doing anything. Period. The ‘memo’ suggests we use fictional names and state and to identify ourselves as students,” the author claimed.”

Wired Magazine

As a side note, regarding something we ought to touch on a little later, Blankenhorn’s idol Matt Asay received this open letter and a followup for what seems like “Open Core” inside Ubuntu:

Part of your role appears to be figuring out how to help a Free Software company make money (monetise is not a great word). We don’t think “Open Core” is the right way. That might work for a proprietary company that just wants to leverage a community to do free marketing for them. We would like Canonical to be a Free Software company – and for it to make money.

We’re sort of being pushed to suggest that Canonical gets close to Microsoft, but that would be foolish to suggest. The thing is, Canonical is just trying to find more sources of revenue; it’s just a shame that it looks for revenue in the wrong places sometimes [1, 2, 3, 4].

Novell is Already Poisoning MeeGo With Microsoft Trojan Horses

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 5:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mee gnu

Summary: Mono employees are already trying to put .NET inside a GNU/Linux platform that was announced over a week ago

AS we mentioned the other day, Novell wants to bring Mono to MeeGo and this is finally official. Microsoft’s MVP Miguel de Icaza formally announces this in his blog:

We just landed the support on MonoDevelop’s trunk to support developing applications that target MeeGo powered devices.

Another company that pays Microsoft for Linux is now embracing MeeGo, which means that it will pay Microsoft for the use of MeeGo. What does Nokia have to say about this? What about Intel, which writes portions of Linux? Moblin has already rejected Moonlight [1, 2, 3], whereas others celebrate the Mono line of products with this showcases for Mono. It’s like watching a tumour growing inside a healthy body; you know it shouldn’t be there, but Microsoft and Novell insist that it should. Swap “Linux” for “Mono” in the memorable quote below.

“Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Microsoft Moles Galore

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 4:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Close-up of a mole

Summary: Former Microsoft employees (or existing ones) who have a lot of influence are being tracked for their impact on other companies or establishments to be understood

IN the previous post we showed how Microsoft entryism at Amazon led to severe consequences (Microsoft also hijacked Yahoo! through personnel). This post accumulates new examples from the past couple of weeks — examples where prominent Microsoft employees are entering companies/entities other than Microsoft.

Here is a U.S. Forensic Technology Solutions Practice getting ‘poisoned’ by Microsoft staff:

Edward Gibson, Former Chief Cyber Security Advisor for Microsoft LTD in the U.K., Joins PricewaterhouseCoopers’ U.S. Forensic Technology Solutions Practice

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) announced today that Edward Gibson, the former Chief Security Advisor for Microsoft LTD in the United Kingdom, has joined the firm as a director in PwC’s U.S. Forensics Technology Solutions practice. Mr. Gibson will focus on helping organizations with issues involving investigating economic espionage, complex money laundering, cyber fraud schemes and intellectual property theft. He will be based in PwC’s McLean, VA (Tysons Corner) office and will service a wide range of clients in matters of security breach investigation and overall risk management strategies.

While serving as Microsoft’s Chief Cyber Security Advisor in the U.K., Mr. Gibson was the chief spokesperson and point of contact for Microsoft Ltd U.K. on all matters of cyber security and IT infrastructure risk management for global businesses based in the U.K., government, law enforcement and security services, press and consumers.

Another new example:

Singapore based Georgie Farmer, Asia Travel Manager, Microsoft, was unanimously appointed to a second term as Regional Chair, ACTE Asia-Pacific by the Association of Corporate Travel Executive’s (ACTE) Board of Directors during a 20 January meeting.

Juniper has absorbed several Microsoft executives, including the current CEO [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. The company recently settled fraud allegations using $169,000,000 and there is the following news: “Juniper Networks Protects Customers from New Microsoft Vulnerabilities”

Microsoft’s new guardians, eh?

The Boston press writes about Microsoft’s former AstroTurfer Don Dodge [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and other news sites write about the extension of this Microsoft community of boosters/employees whom Microsoft is trying to keep under control:

Microsoft is telling some of its biggest fans to stay off Twitter for the next few days.

That’s because right now Microsoft is holding its annual MVP Summit — a gathering of over 1,000 people who are, according to Microsoft, “committed to helping others get the most out of their experience with Microsoft products and technologies.”

Lastly, former Microsoft employee Howard Schmidt, who is now the US cybersecurity czar [1, 2], is commenting about his former employer in this new interview: [via]

That’s why you see a lot of the activity going on, Microsoft with their End to End Trust program, Oracle, with some of the security programs they’ve got. You see a lot of private industry critical infrastructure owners and operators saying, “Well, we get the message. We understand that we’ve got to do things differently. We’re gonna put a higher priority on security.”

Schmidt worked at Microsoft, so he ought to know that their software is not secure. Brian Valentine, who was a top Windows executive before becoming a top Amazon executive (SVP), said that Microsoft’s products “just aren’t engineered for security.”

Earlier today we explained why Microsoft's failure at security may have cost trillions of dollars. It’s because approximately one in two machines is a zombie PC if it runs Windows and the effect it has on online banking gets explained in the following new post:

Man in the Browser a.k.a MITB is a new breed of attacks whose primary objective is to spy on browser sessions (mostly banking) and in that process intercept and modify the web page contents transparently in the background. In a classic MITB attack, It’s a very likely that what the user is seeing on his/her browser window is not something which the actual server sent. Similarly, what server sees on the other end might not be what user was intending to send. Why MITB? How different is it from conventional browser hijacking? I’ll explain that shortly.

This has a direct effect on the banks. Will the banks mind? Well, sadly enough, they too are connected to Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], sometimes owing to Microsoft staff like Susan Hauser who lies on behalf of large banks in order to promote racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

Microsoft’s Deal With Amazon is Extortion and Should Get Reported

Posted in Fraud, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat, Steve Ballmer, Windows at 4:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Al Capone mugshot and Steve Ballmer

Summary: Analysis of the patent deal with Amazon and why it is a breach of some laws and should therefore be reported to authorities or regulators

IN THE previous post about Amazon’s patent deal with Microsoft we called for a boycott. Some people in Slashdot have independently made similar calls. In this longer post we shall look at some reactions to the news and then analyse a little further.

Glyn Moody, a journalist and author, says “shame on you” to Amazon’s founder, president, and chief executive officer:

Microsoft has consistently refused to give any details of its absurd FUD about GNU/Linux infringing on its patents, which is not surprising, since they are likely to be completely bogus and/or trivial. So Amazon is showing real pusillanimity in making this unnecessary deal. Shame on you, Jeff.

SJVN starts his post as follows:

What was Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, thinking?

As we explained earlier, Jeff surrounded himself by Microsoft employees who joined his management. Brian Valentine, formerly of Microsoft, is now an SVP at Amazon. There are many more like him who jumped over from Microsoft to Amazon, so it’s a bit like Yahoo! being seized from the inside.

Now they create precedence for charging GNU/Linux hosts and DCs, as well as e-readers. In response to this, said one person: “Let’s see….tell me again why Microsoft news is not relevant for Linux?”

We get asked that question quite a lot here at Boycott Novell. People hopefully realise that the truth is elusive and they hopefully understand why Microsoft is so unique. To ask the above question is to discourage people from looking at what really matters a lot and what requires constant scrutiny.

Basically, what we have in our hands right now is Amazon’s participation in racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. These previous posts explain why this qualifies as racketeering. This involves servers too, so it’s definitely not about FAT like some people are trying to suggest (this deal is unique and very different compared to TomTom’s for example).

“Microsoft knowingly breaks the law and simply perceives itself as above the law.”Microsoft tried getting around signing of deals with Red Hat and instead it is approaching their customers (Amazon mostly uses RHEL), which are stuffed with unethical individuals who couldn’t care less about Free(dom) software. Microsoft surprised Amazon when it came up with statements that were probably intended to be secret (protected by an NDA). This is some really nasty back-door dealing and as a former Microsoft lawyer explained some days ago, the company is sometimes intimidating and retaliating. Microsoft knowingly breaks the law and simply perceives itself as above the law. Steve Ballmer, for instance, needs to be arrested (not that rich people are ever apprehended, just look at Dick Cheney). Many people are not aware of this because of endless PR, including the ongoing scams of the Gates Foundation. It’s impossible to explain this in a minute or two (the concision constraints).

Microsoft blogs are of course serving their own delusion and are justifying Microsoft’s side in subtle ways. Microsoft has put a lot of PR effort into patent propaganda, so they probably believe their own spin and lies. They are controlling the message and telling the public how to think and how to feel about it.

Microsoft booster Ina Fried is delighted about this extortion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] because it’s beneficial to the company she promotes. That same rubbish (it’s a blog post) from that PR person has reached ZDNet as “news”, where there is the one-sided promotion with quotes from Microsoft and no criticism whatsoever. People should not blindly accept such bias. “Microsoft licenses Linux to Amazon” is what our reader called it after reading this poor article (promotional, no criticism whatsoever of Microsoft’s racketeering) and he added: “This has to be illegal, MS is making some sort of property claims, else they are engaged in an extortion racket.”

It is an extortion racket indeed. In previous posts we showed why. It must have been made possible in part due to those former Microsoft employees (including vice presidents) who entered Amazon. Should the industry ostracise those Microsoft employees who seem to promote Microsoft’s interests almost everywhere they go?

Here is the coverage from Microsoft booster Richard Waters (he has a long history even bashing Microsoft’s competitors in the Financial Times):

Some big Asian tech companies – including Samsung and LG Electronics – have already reached similar deals to license the Microsoft patents, which the software company claims cover IP that has been copied in Linux. But the Amazon arrangement looks far more significant given Amazon’s massive data-centres.

Servers, eh? Maybe a lot of Red Hat. What does Red Hat have to say about this? Should it not be made part of this decision? Can a client of Red Hat decide on ‘Red Hat’s behalf’ that Red Hat requires a licence from Microsoft? This has got to be some kind of fraud. Here is the coverage from IDG:

Among them, the agreement will shield Amazon from patent litigation against its Kindle e-reader, which includes some open-source software components, and against its use of Linux-based servers, Microsoft said.

Why quote Microsoft’s spin? Wording like “shield Amazon” are nothing but deception (like calling patents “protection” and nuclear missiles “defence”). This is not balanced reporting because the supposition is that Microsoft is not breaking the law and is doing something acceptable. Well, it’s not.

TechDirt, which is immune to the gullibility of the mainstream press, asks: “Amazon Has To Pay Microsoft To Use Linux?”

While since it’s a straight cross-licensing deal, it doesn’t sound like any money changed hands, but effectively Amazon had to “pay” by licensing its own patents. It does seem pretty problematic, doesn’t it, when a company has to “pay” Microsoft (whether in cash or via licenses to its own patents) just to use Linux? Perhaps it’s time to redefine the “Microsoft tax.”

The first comment says: “Where are those anti-trust guys?? Perhaps it’s time to abolish the Microsoft tax…”

Another anonymous commenter says: “Yeah, if you are compatible with FAT you infringe. It seems that Microsoft does not like interoperability.

“How much do they want for each use of Linux – $699 ?”

US regulators may seem like a lost cause [1, 2], but we urge readers to write to their members of parliament or regulators; what Microsoft does here is extortion and just because Microsoft executives wear suits does not make their offences any less criminal than those of a shoplifter or a drug dealer; in fact, the damage that Microsoft’s ruthlessness causes to society is orders of magnitude greater. It’s called “white-collar crime” which sometimes can be “organised crime” (involving more than one party, or an accomplice in collusion).

“Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering.”

Mark Shuttleworth

Tim Bray Asks Patent Lawyers to Find Something Better to Do After “Actively Damaging Society”

Posted in Bill Gates, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents, SUN at 2:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Criticism of the patent system is increasing and abolishment too is being considered for what became a hindrance — not a facilitator — to science

Filed under post slug “Patent Fail”, the following new post from Tim Bray is an expression of hatred of patents (Bray works for Oracle, but opinions in his blog are personal). He titled it “Giving Up On Patents”:

Not so many years ago, even as I was filled with fear and loathing of the hideous misconduct of the US Patent & Trademark Office, I retained some respect for the notion of patents. I even wrote what I think is an unusually easy-to-read introduction to Patent Theory. But no more. The whole thing is too broken to be fixed. Maybe it worked once, but it doesn’t any more. The patent system needs to be torn down and thrown out.

[...]

And here are a few words for the huge community of legal professionals who make their living pursuing patent law: You’re actively damaging society. Look in the mirror and find something better to do.

Maybe Bray can confront his employer over this*. Among those new articles that he cites is this excellent Mises analysis which uses the confusing term “IP”:

How should the IP system be reformed? For those with a principled, libertarian view of property rights, it is obvious that patent and copyright laws are unjust and should be completely abolished.[2] Total abolition is, however, exceedingly unlikely at present. Further, most people favor IP for less principled, utilitarian reasons. They take a wealth-maximization approach to policy making. They favor patent and copyright law because they believe that it generates net wealth — that the value of the innovation stimulated by IP law is significantly greater than the costs of these laws.[3]

What is striking is that this myth is widely believed even though the IP proponents can adduce no evidence in favor of this hypothesis. There are literally no studies clearly showing any net gains from IP.[4] If anything, it appears that the patent system, for example, imposes a gigantic net cost on the economy (approximately $31 billion a year, in my estimate).[5] In any case, even those who support IP on cost-benefit grounds have to acknowledge the costs of the system, and they should not oppose changes to IP law that significantly reduce these costs, so long as the change does not drastically reduce the innovation gains that IP purportedly stimulates. In other words, according to the reasoning of IP advocates, if weakening patent strength reduces costs more than it reduces gains, this results in a net gain.

Economists recognise the fact that patents are harmful and so do engineers. But as long as lawyers run our governments and collude with other lawyers [1, 2], rules will be established by the wrong people. It’s a battle between creators and leeches of these creators. A lot of people may not remember this, but Bill Gates was bound to be a lawyer, raised by a prominent (and apparently corrupt) lawyer, so he is not an engineer. Tim Berners-Lee, a true innovator, says that “software patents are a terrible thing”, but Microsoft still uses these for racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], even this week.
_____
* I had arguments with Sun about the subject (but a lot of employees suppress their own opinion because of a paycheck).

Links 23/2/2010: OpenNode Beta, Drupal Adoption

Posted in News Roundup at 9:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 85

    The following Linux-based operating systems were announced last week: Calculate Linux 10.2, SimplyMEPIS 8.5 Beta 5, openSUSE 11.3 Milestone 2 and PC/OS 10.1 Beta 2. In other news: Canonical launches the Ubuntu Single Sign On service, and Phoronix Media releases Phoronix Test Suite 2.4.1. The weekly ends with the video clip of the week, the latest Linux distributions released/updated and the development releases.

  • Virtualised USB key beats keyloggers

    Aimed at companies that want to protect corporate bank accounts, Trusted Access for Banking is actually a standard IronKey USB drive that runs a walled or ‘hardened’ Linux virtual environment inside the PC’s OS. It comes complete with its own browser hardwired to access only a particular bank service, and incorporates RSA Secure ID tokens for authentication.

  • PGP security gets Linux and Win7 support, plus more encryption

    After rolling out the first Linux edition of its desktop encryption security software last month — together with new support for the latest versions of Windows and Mac — PGP Corp. on Monday announced major server updates that will let PGP be managed alongside myriad other approaches to encryption.

  • Opinion: “Confessions of an Ubuntu Fanboy” Response

    Linux is just as easy to use as Windows or Mac OS X especially from the point of view of anyone who has no computer experience. The problem is that so many people do come from other environments and they have spent a lot of time learning those environments… and that knowledge is often a stumbling block to learning something new… in this case Linux. People who have been using Microsoft Windows XP for years seem to forget the learning curve they had to go through at the beginning of that relationship. The truth of the matter is that Windows is NOT intuitive and you actually have to learn your way trial and error… but as with anything, learning pays off and you are rewarded for it.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Linux Training Week: Which Distribution To Choose?

      Another favourite of mine is Fedora Linux, used by none other than Linus Torvalds himself… It’s second only to Ubuntu, which hopefully you’ll be more familiar with after our week of features on it!

    • DeLi Linux: A Linux distro for old computers, from 486 to Pentium III

      DeLi Linux stands for “Desktop Light” Linux. It is a Linux Distribution for old computers, from 486 to Pentium III or so. It’s focused on desktop usage. It includes email clients, graphical web browser, an office programs with word processor and spreadsheet, and so on. A full install, including XOrg and development tools, needs not more than 750 MB of harddisk space.

    • Takeover of Kongoni Linux…

      When this is gonna happen, the next release, at the moment is unknown, as this is my first time of taking over the development of a Linux distribution and plus I need to understand the overall idea of Kongoni.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project at CeBIT 2010

        The Debian Project is happy to announce that it will again be represented at the CeBIT IT fair in Hanover, Germany, this year. At the booth of Univention GmbH in hall 2 stand B36, members of the project will be available for questions and discussions and will give a preview of the new version Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”, which is expected to be released this year.

        In addition the new port to the FreeBSD Kernel “Debian GNU/kFreeBSD” will be presented at the booth as well as in a introductory lecture. The lecture will take place on Tuesday, March 2nd 2010 at 5:15 pm at the CeBIT Open Source Forum (hall 2, stand F38).

      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu for the US authorities

          Autonomic Resources offers the ARC-P dedicated Infrastructure-as-a-Service platform (IaaS) for US government agencies and recommends using the Ubuntu Linux distribution and the Landscape management solution to manage virtual and physical servers, especially when establishing cloud infrastructures.

        • Awesome Ubuntu Software Center Updates

          You should all hunt down mvo on Freenode IRC and tell him he is awesome.

        • My Artwork Landing A Ubuntu 10.04

          As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been working with Scott Ritchie to create a “branding-ubuntu” package. During the Lucid cycle Scott have been working on getting the artwork into the actual Ubuntu 10.04 release (rather than just a separate package). If you play Mahjongg or Klondike (also known as Solitaire and Aisleriot) in Ubuntu 10.04, you will notice the new artwork.

        • Sorbet- Another proposed theme for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Talking Devices Anywhere for Pennies – RoweBots Releases DSPnano Operating System V3

      The DSPnano Operating System offers an ultra tiny embedded POSIX environment for 8 and 16 bit microcontroller (MCU) based development that is also Linux compatible.

    • WiebeTech ToughTech XE Mini review

      The WiebeTech ToughTech XE Mini works with Linux operating systems, as well as Windows and Mac OS and is available with a prefitted drive, as here, or as a bare enclosure so you can fit the drive you wish.

    • Reference Virtual Platform of ARM Model Running Linux Under SystemC/TLM-2.0 Released by Open Virtual Platforms (OVP)

      The Open Virtual Platforms (OVP) initiative (www.OVPworld.org) has announced the release of a reference virtual platform of the ARM Integrator development board using OSCI SystemC TLM-2.0 C++.

    • Talking Devices Anywhere for Pennies – RoweBots Releases DSPnano(TM) Operating System V3

      RoweBots Research Inc. announces and releases the DSPnano Operating System Version 3, achieving a significant milestone in shrinking intelligence into small and powerful microcontrollers and digital signal controllers. Motor control, ADPCM and color graphics along with other advanced networking applications and a Linux™ or POSIX compatible application are cost effective in any device.

      The DSPnano Operating System offers an ultra tiny embedded POSIX environment for 8 and 16 bit microcontroller (MCU) based development that is also Linux compatible.

    • Phones

      • 3D mobiles are the future, says Nokia

        One interesting thing would be more details on Nokia’s Intel deal to create Linux-based MeeGo, but in spite of a question on the subject, Harlow refused to be drawn into more detail, leaving us still speculating as to the scope and impact of the deal.

      • First ELSE Still On Track for Mid-2010 Release

        To remind you, the First Else is, obviously, the first ELSE phone and the OS has been designed for one-handed use. The Linux-based OS has gone through several revisions with new parts added since the last time we saw it, with some honeycomb-style effects and a fish-eye magnifying lens both on display.

      • Marvell to Introduce Wide Array of OPhones Built for the China Market

        OPhone OS is a mobile operating system that runs on the Linux kernel. OPhone OS is linux-based smartphone software based on open source software and mobile internet technologies.

      • Android

        • Qseven module runs Linux and Android on i.MX515

          iWave Systems announced a COM (computer module) based on Freescale’s i.MX51 SoC (system-on-chip). The iW-i.MX51 includes up to 512MB of RAM and 2GB of flash storage, runs Linux and Android, and works with an available iW-Rainbow-G8D development baseboard, the company says.

        • Three short stories, all about Android

          Clearly, free applications exist for Android. But finding them takes work, which is silly; this is a perfect job for a computer. An ideal solution would be for Google to add a “freely-licensed” option to its (proprietary) market application. Failing that, it should be possible (for somebody with a bit more Android application-level programming experience than your editor) to put together an alternative market application which would focus on the growing body of free software for the Android system. It is an area worthy of encouragement; free software doesn’t become less important just because it’s running on a machine that fits into a shirt pocket.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • New Millenium Learners Conference 2010 – Day 1

        The third and last session of the day was “The policy expectations: why countries are investing on 1-to-1?” and included presentations about projects in Maine (probably the most famous 1:1 computing in education project), Uruguay, Portugal and Canada. Additionally Rodrigo Arboleda from the Miami based OLPC Association presented his view of things.

      • Life with Linux: Adapting to the smaller screen on a netbook

        After a few days on Remix I decided I wanted to go back to the regular Ubuntu Gnome desktop and so when I got home I downloaded and installed Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala.” There’s nothing wrong with Remix, it’s just that I’m used to the regular desktop and I decided the screen was large enough to support it.

    • Tablets

      • More touchscreen tablets on the way

        The folks at Slashgear spotted this Android-powered tablet from Mastone at Mobile World Congress last week. It’s powered by a Freescale iMX515 processor and features 3G and WiFi wireless networking.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Local users and analysts upbeat about Sun’s future

    After months of uncertainty, Oracle has achieved its goal of buying one of the world’s most iconic IT companies, providing in the process a roadmap for Sun technologies and products, and increased certainty for New Zealand Sun users.

    John Askew, group operations IT architect at the University of Auckland, which is ranked as New Zealand’s biggest user of IT systems and services by CIO magazine’s MIS100 survey, is optimistic about the buy.

  • Open Source Open World

    Open source is a concept of free sharing of technical information that has been around for much longer than most of us would imagine. When we think of open source today, we usually think of software. As wonderful and widely used as open source software is, according to Linus Torvalds, “the future is open source everything.” From foods and beverages to scientific and health research studies and advanced technological innovations, the world has turned to open source.

  • Web Browsers

    • Brace for Another Skirmish in the Browser Wars

      My main browser is Firefox. 3.5.7 for Linux, to be exact.

      [...]

      It was down to the Ogg Theora video format, but late in 2007, the spec was updated to allow for other formats, and currently the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC is the big contender.

      It should be noted that as of this writing, H.264 is not yet supported by Firefox, nor can it be run in IE without the Google Chrome Frame. Guess which big hardware vendor names after a fruit is among the big H.264 supporters?

      In the past, this kind of standards contention was at worse a nuisance. If you ran across an IE-only site, you would just fire up (shudder!) IE. But with cloud-based computing putting so much emphasis on the browser-interface-as-app-platform, any kind of standards fight could likely cause big problems for cloud users.

    • OSnews Podcast Now Available in OGG

      The Flash audio player has been replaced by an HTML5 audio element. Please report any problems you experience.

      Doing the actual transcoding to OGG and uploading has taken over 20 hours to do, all I can say is that I hope it all goes to good use, I’m knackered.

    • Slideshow – Awesome Image/Photo Viewing Google Chrome Extension

      Google Chrome is growing and so is it’s arsenal of extensions. Google Chrome recently stole the limelight from Safari browser and became the third most popular web browser in the world. With its recent emphasis on teaching people about web browser in general through innovative Google Chrome advertisements, it is genuinely going places. Slideshow is a beautiful yet functional image viewing extension for Google Chrome.

    • Microsoft Browser Ballot arrives this week – 77% of UK don’t know it’s coming

      Mozilla has launched opentochoice.org, a site to explain the browser choice screen and to encourage people to discuss browser choice. Mozilla’s CEO, Mitchell Baker, said “Whether or not you decide to keep your current Web browser, we encourage you to learn more about your browser and the impact it has on the way you see the world, and to make your own choice.” The site at the moment appears to only consist of a blog, with a posting plus a comment, and an option to sign up for future information by email.

  • Databases

    • Protocols, The GPL, Influences from MySQL

      I spent my Saturday at the SCALE conference down in LA. Most conferences I find have a meme and for this conference that was “MySQL’s longterm influence on the GPL”.

      MySQL was the company that had the most influence on how companies and investors viewed the GPL.

      When MySQL said “we will only take contributions via a contributor agreement”, this translated into investors expecting everyone to do this (though requiring contributor agreements destroyed outside MySQL development to the kernel, and left MySQL in a position where no substantial, or many, contributions ever occurred).

  • Drupal

    • Kofi Annan Foundation using Drupal

      The Kofi Annan Foundation is using Drupal. Kofi Annan was the Secretary-General of the United Nations. In 2001 Kofi Annan and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. Since leaving the United Nations, the Kofi Annan Foundation supports Kofi Annan in his current work to press for better policies to meet the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable in the world.

    • Le Figaro using Drupal

      Le Figaro, the oldest and second-largest national newspaper in France, started using Drupal for its social features on http://www.lefigaro.fr. It is still using its old web content management system to serve its main content, but all of the social features such as comments on articles are now provided by Drupal.

    • 5 modules that should come by default in Drupal.

      Drupal is a great CMS no doubt. I have gone round and tried lots of them, but I still come back to Drupal. However, the more I use it, the more I feel that the following five modules should actually come by default with every Drupal installation.

  • Releases

    • Blender 2.5 Alpha 1 arrives

      The Blender developers have announced the availability of the first alpha for what will become version 2.6 of their open source 3D content creation suite. The second official development release includes several changes, new features and more than 100 fixes compared to the previous Alpha 0 release.

    • PC/OS 10.1 Beta 2 Is Here

      There’s no shortage of Ubuntu-based Linux distros but that hasn’t been stopping anyone from coming up with another one so far. PC/OS is based on Xubuntu rather than the vanilla Ubuntu distro and, while it comes with quite a few customizations, it doesn’t stray too far from its source. The distro is getting close to the launch of its latest update and there’s now a new beta, PC/OS 10.1 Beta 2.

    • MediaInfo 0.7.28

      MediaInfo 0.7.28 is released. This tool supplies technical & tag info about a video or audio file.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Devotion to Duty
  • Oompah Loompah Google-y Do!
  • A perfect primer for bloggers.
  • Sorry, English major, the engineers have triumphed
  • Science

  • Surveillance

    • School Spying Scandal Gets Even More Bizarre: Student In Question Was Disciplined For Eating Candy

      The story of the school district that supposedly spied on some students keeps getting odder and odder. While the school district claims that it used the secret remote webcam activation technology 42 times — and only to track down stolen or lost laptops — it still hasn’t explained why this particular student was punished.

    • More Details Emerging About School Laptop Spying, And It Doesn’t Look Good

      Apparently, in various forums, blog posts and videos, one of the school’s techies talked about the technology they were using and how to set it up so that the user would not realize they were being spied on. He also discussed how to prevent a laptop using this software from being “jailbroken,” so users couldn’t discover that their computers were being used in this manner. Other forum posts from students at the school show that they were told they could not use other computers, could not disable the cameras and could not jailbreak their laptops on the risk of expulsion.

    • The Snitch in Your Pocket

      The prosecutors said they needed the records to trace the movements of suspected drug traffickers, human smugglers, even corrupt public officials. But many federal magistrates—whose job is to sign off on search warrants and handle other routine court duties—were spooked by the requests. Some in New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas balked. Prosecutors “were using the cell phone as a surreptitious tracking device,” said Stephen W. Smith, a federal magistrate in Houston.

    • Here’s Looking at You, Kids

      The feature was originally designed to help police and emergency personnel follow up on 911 calls, but the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have been obtaining more and more cell phone location records, without notifying the target or obtaining judicial warrants that establish probable cause.

  • Security

  • Environment

    • Book Review: The Lomborg Deception

      The Danish political scientist won fame and fans by arguing that many of the alarms sounded by environmental activists and scientists—that species are going extinct at a dangerous rate, that forests are disappearing, that climate change could be catastrophic—are bogus. A big reason Lomborg was taken seriously is that both of his books, The Skeptical Environmentalist (in 2001) and Cool It(in 2007), have extensive references, giving a seemingly authoritative source for every one of his controversial assertions. So in a display of altruistic masochism that we should all be grateful for (just as we’re grateful that some people are willing to be dairy farmers), author Howard Friel has checked every single citation in Cool It. The result is The Lomborg Deception, which is being published by Yale University Press next month. It reveals that Lomborg’s work is “a mirage,” writes biologist Thomas Lovejoy in the foreword. “[I]t is a house of cards…Friel has used real scholarship to reveal the flimsy nature” of Lomborg’s work.

    • Saudi Prince, Now Part Owner of Murdoch’s News Corp., Influences Fox News

      Investigative journalist Joseph Trento also reported that a comment he recently made on a Fox Network morning news show, Fox and Friends, about Saudi Arabian money still financing Al Qaeda, was edited out of the show. Trento also reports that Alwaleed “has personally donated huge amounts of money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.” In a rare interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto in January, AlWaleed explained his personal reasons for seeking influence in American politics: the U.S. buys Saudi Arabia’s oil, and the bulk of his country’s gross domestic product (GDP) comes from oil. Fox News reliably broadcasts misinformation on clean energy, and aggressively fights efforts to move America away from being dependent on a fossil fuels.

    • Conservative Activists Rebel Against Fox News: Saudi Ownership Is ‘Really Dangerous For America’

      Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns a 7 percent stake in News Corp — the parent company of Fox News — making him the largest shareholder outside the family of News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch. Alwaleed has grown close with the Murdoch enterprise, recently endorsing James Murdoch to succeed his father and creating a content-sharing agreement with Fox News for his own media conglomerate, Rotana.

  • Finance

    • Deceptive Big Bank Ads Will be Key to Election 2010

      Groups for and against the current financial reform bills have already conducted their polls, polished their messages and are starting to engage in ad-war skirmishes that foreshadow the deluge of big bank spending to come, as Wall Street fights to elect candidates who will protect their interests and privileges.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • New Monsanto and GMO Propaganda

      Multinationals like Monsanto are facing real grassroots opposition in the world, especially over agro-chemicals and GMOs. Monsanto has led the big corporations towards diversionary tactics: they have issued codes of conduct and ethical charters to conceal their real objective of creating value for their shareholders. They are promoting their products as cures for third world hunger and disease, and as an alternative to the dangers of pesticides. They hope to win over a hostile public with advertising.

    • Soda Industry Using Tobacco Industry PR Strategies

      Manufacturers of sugar-laden drinks are adopting Big Tobacco’s public relations strategies in response to government proposals to tax soda and sugary drinks. They are claiming their products are wholesome or harmless at worst, sowing doubt about whether their products are really related to the problem (even when there is no longer doubt that they are), marketing heavily to children, funding front groups to oppose the taxes, and trying to take attention away from their products by focusing arguments on other topics, like individual responsibility and the totality of the diet.

    • Soda: A Sin We Sip Instead of Smoke?

      Still, the idea of a special tax on soda, similar to those on tobacco, gasoline and alcoholic beverages, is attracting more interest. Advocates of a tax note that sugared beverages are the No. 1 source of calories in the American diet, representing 7 percent of the average person’s caloric intake, according to government surveys, and up to 10 percent for children and teenagers. These calories, they point out, are worse than useless — they’re empty, and contribute to a daily total that is already too high.

    • It’s the New, Improved Iraq War!

      The Pentagon is formally rebranding the Iraq war by changing its name from “Operation Iraqi Freedom” to the sunnier “Operation New Dawn,” to reflect the reduced role the American military is supposed to have in that country over the next year.

    • Obama’s Pentagon Rebrands Iraq War, Rolls Out PR Offensive in Afghanistan

      This week, the same week that saw the U.S. military launch a major new assault in Afghanistan — a much ballyhooed effort that is as much a PR offensive as a military one — the Pentagon decided to formally rebrand the Iraq War.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • IOC orders blogger to take down video

      The International Olympic Committee has ordered a blogger to remove a video showing the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili from his website.

    • Did NewTeeVee/GigaOm Violate Copyright Laws By Telling You How To View The 2010 Olympics Online?

      It’s no secret that tons of people are pretty damn upset with NBC’s decisions to tape delay pretty much everything at the Olympics, in an era when everyone is used to real-time info. On top of that, most people recognize that it’s not hard to simply go online to unauthorized sources to watch streams of the Olympics live. GigaOm’s NewTeeVee put up a post over the weekend that explains how to view such unauthorized streams, and the site even titled the post: “Pirating the 2010 Winter Olympics.” Given that this is all rather obvious, it shouldn’t be a problem, right?

    • Next up for France: police keyloggers and Web censorship

      Having just passed its super-controversial Création et Internet “graduated response” law, you might think the French government would take at least a brief break from riling up the “internautes.” Instead, the government is prepping a new crime bill that will, among other things, mandate Internet censorship at the ISP level, legalize government spyware, and create a massive meta-database of citizen information called “Pericles.”

    • Facebook Restores Accounts Of 3 Critics It Mysteriously Deleted

      Apparently, three Argentines who worked on a book that mocks Facebook mysteriously had their Facebook accounts deleted in January.

    • Facebook critics’ profiles restored after press uproar

      After an uproar in Latin American media, three Argentines involved in a book that portrays the social network in a cynical and satirical light had their Facebook profiles restored today.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Is AT&T Shutting Down Metered Billing Trials?

      We reached out to AT&T for confirmation, and while AT&T confirmed to Broadband Reports that they were no longer signing up users to the trial, they wouldn’t technically confirm that the trials had been scrapped. “We are no longer adding new customers to the trial,” says AT&T’s Seth Bloom. “We are still reviewing the lessons and feedback we’ve gained from the trial so far to guide our next steps,” he says. “We don’t have any other plans to share at this time, but we’ll communicate with our customers once we’ve decided how we’ll move forward.”

    • Plans to cut off internet connections of illegal filesharers dumped

      The government has backed away from its proposals in the Digital Economy Bill to cut off people who have illegally shared files online.

    • Has the government changed its position on Disconnection? No

      Please do not be confused by the government’s semantics. BIS and DCMS decided in the summer that they would not refer to ‘disconnecting’ users, because that sounds harsh and over the top. ‘Temporary account suspension’ sounds much more reasonable.

      Language matters. What journalist is going to run a story on ‘temporary account suspension’ (yawn)? This is why the government has chosen these disingenuous terms: it‘s just more spin.

      What we still don’t know is how long a family’s internet might be disconnected for.

      A month? Three? A year? There is nothing in the Bill or any of the notes that we are aware of that might give us a clue.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • WhoseTube?

      MY band is famous for music videos. We direct them ourselves or with the help of friends, we shoot them on shoestring budgets and, like our songs, albums and concerts, we see them as creative works and not as our record company’s marketing tool.

      In 2006 we made a video of us dancing on treadmills for our song “Here It Goes Again.” We shot it at my sister’s house without telling EMI, our record company, and posted it on the fledgling YouTube without EMI’s permission. Technically, this put us afoul of our contract, since we need our record company’s approval to distribute copies of the songs that they finance. It also exposed YouTube to all sorts of liability for streaming an EMI recording across the globe. But back then record companies saw videos as advertisements, so if my band wanted to produce them, and if YouTube wanted to help people watch them, EMI wasn’t going to get in the way.

      [...]

      Embedded videos — those hosted by YouTube but streamed on blogs and other Web sites — don’t generate any revenue for record companies, so EMI disabled the embedding feature. Now we can’t post the YouTube versions of our videos on our own site, nor can our fans post them on theirs. If you want to watch them, you have to do so on YouTube.

    • EMI Gets State Farm To Sponsor Embedding Ok Go Video — But Should You Need A Sponsor To Embed?

      Now comes the news of a “resolution” to the issue, as EMI will allow an Ok Go video to be embedded thanks to an as-yet-unexplained “sponsorship” by State Farm. While this shows, in some way, how different business models can step in and help pay for content, it worries me that EMI now seems to think a video needs to be directly sponsored to allow for embedding.

    • The Irreducible Complexity of Copyright

      Current intellectual property law frowns on “copying” as opposed to mere “influence.” If I write and record a song that is manifestly influenced by the sound of the Beatles, that’s just how culture works; if I remix or reperform a medley of their songs, that’s infringing. One way to think about the distinction is to ask how much mutation of the original work has occurred in my head before I send it out into the world. We can imagine my sitting with a guitar playing “Taxman,” beginning by improvising new lyrics, and gradually altering the melody until I’ve produced a song that is sufficiently transformed to count as an original work, though perhaps still a recognizably Beatlesesque one. I’m free and clear under copyright law just so long as I only record and distribute the final product, which consists of enough of my own contribution that it no longer counts as a “copy.”

      Implicit in this model is the premise that creativity is fundamentally an individual enterprise–an act of intelligent design. Yet so much of our culture, historically, has not been produced in this way, but by a collective process of mutation and evolution, by the selection of many small tweaks that (whether by chance or owing to some stroke of insight) improve the work, at least in the eyes of the next person to take it up. Perhaps ironically, this is the kind of evolutionary process by which myths evolve–myths of life breathed into mud, or of Athena springing full-grown from the head of Zeus. Our legal system now takes these evolved myths as its paradigm of creation.

    • Tech Company Lobbying Group Explains The Importance Of Letting Countries Make Their Own Policy Decisions On Copyright

      So it’s great — if not surprising — to see that the CCIA’s filing to the USTR for the Special 301 report (pdf) actually matches much of my own filing, though from a more legalistic perspective (and focuses on Canada). The key points are the same, however: the Constitutional basis for copyright has never been that “more is better,” but that we should be seeking the most effective ways to “promote the progress.” Second, it notes that countries should be free to make their own policy decisions on copyright law, rather than being pressured into them by the US. It further notes that the USTR Special 301 process shouldn’t be focused on legislative and policy issues, but merely enforcement of the law. Unfortunately, it’s gotten far away from that.

    • ACTA’s Internet Chapter Leaks; And, Now We See How Sneaky The Negotiators Have Been

      Reports spread this weekend that the ACTA’s all-important internet enforcement chapter had leaked. You can download the PDF from that link, or check it out below:
      From here, you can see why this is still quite a dangerous document — and why there’s been so much misinformation from its supporters, insisting that it “can’t change US law,” or even (as stated by the USTR) that it won’t include three strikes. It doesn’t. Sort of. But it does make it very very difficult for any online service provider to get safe harbors without doing something along those lines. Let’s explore deeper…

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Christian Einfeldt’s DTP presentation in Berlin 2004 11 (2004)


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

Microsoft Takes Over Yahoo! Search to Increase Brainwash of the Public

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Google, Hardware, Marketing, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Search, Ubuntu at 5:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Yahoo! Blog from Sunnyvale, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Generic license (caption added by us, with Ballmer’s words

Summary: Brainwash receives a much greater emphasis at Microsoft, a CMO role is created, and Microsoft finds new ways of deceiving the masses

“I hope Ubuntu is getting lots of money for pissing off users with irrelevant search results from Bong [sic],” says our reader Ryan regarding the Yahoo-Canonical deal [1, 2, 3, 4]. “You can tell Yahoo is Bing now, the least relevant crap ends up on top.”

The news is pretty much official that Microsoft has hijacked Yahoo!, sucking the life out of Yahoo! for its own selfish good (and regulators are unable to stop this). To an extent, Microsoft is doing something similar in Amazon, namely gradual assimilation through strategic staff appointments. They don’t adhere to the basics of human resources (HR) or maybe they just simply don’t care.

Anyway, Jerry Yang has just dumped Yahoo! shares. That’s the company he once created, before he labeled Microsoft an “agitator” and saw the company destorying his “baby”.

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) holders probably never want to hear the name Jerry Yang again. Well, those same holders will love this… Tonight after the close a filing at the SEC from Yahoo! showed that Jerry Yang is going to be selling stock in the company. David Filo, the other Yahoo founder, is also selling shares. Normally insider selling or founders selling is viewed with some caution. That doesn’t seem to be the case here, and for good reason.

Microsoft’s buddy, Carl Icahn, has also dumped his shares, as we noted a few days ago (more press coverage in [1, 2, 3]). Yahoo director Ron Burkle is quiting as well, which only shows what type of damage Microsoft did the company. Also see:

i. Yahoo! Director Burkle Stepping Down

Yahoo!(YHOO Quote) director Ron Burkle, the supermarket magnate, won’t seek re-election to the Internet search company’s board at the annual meeting later this year.

ii. Ron Burkle to Quit Yahoo! Board

Ron Burkle will not seek re-election to Yahoo!’s Board of Directors at the annual shareholders’ meeting this year. Burkle gave the usual reasons about other business pursuits and spending more time with his family.

“Now Microsoft, Yahoo Can Tag-Team Google,” IDG says mercilessly and it also quotes the same Microsoft-corrupted DOJ [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] which blocked the Yahoo!-Google deal after intense AstroTurfing from Microsoft (political fights by secretive groups of paid-for protesters who fought for Microsoft and later got exposed). Here is the nonsense that IDG is quoting:

Bing will become a better search engine when Microsoft takes over Yahoo search, and better able to compete with search giant Google, the U.S. Department of Justice said in its decision supporting the deal.

Microsoft suffers over $2,000,000,000 in losses per year in this area. Microsoft has only itself to blame because what it shamelessly calls a “decision engine” is simply a tool for lying to the public. No wonder people don’t take it seriously. Microsoft is [p]rearranging the results such that they mock Microsoft’s competitors and hide Microsoft’s crimes. That alone is a reason to boycott Bing, as some journalists have already suggested. But Microsoft has found ways of forcing people to use its “decision engine”, namely paying carriers to remove Google as an option and probably repeating browser crimes in IE8. Microsoft also uses the Olympics again, not only to promote Silver Lie but also to make people use its “decision engine” and be indoctrinated the One Microsoft Way.

“Microsoft is [p]rearranging the results such that they mock Microsoft’s competitors and hide Microsoft’s crimes.”As usual, Microsoft will later lie about market share, citing US-only data so as to triple its real market share at least in the perceived sense. Microsoft is also using this type of deception to fraudulently enhance perception of Windows Mobile and to belittle GNU/Linux. If they are lying often enough for people to actually believe that Microsoft exceeded 10% market share in search (rather than maintained about 3%), then Microsoft believes that people are more likely to fulfill the bogus prophecy by giving Bing a try. In the same way, Microsoft discourages the industry from supporting Linux, based on some fake numbers that produce illusions.

“Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Microsoft has begun focusing on perception, not products. According to the news, Microsoft has just hired more marketing (i.e. deception) people from the outside [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft hires from the outside because this way it is not held accountable for overzealous behaviour (like phone-spamming that we mentioned over the weekend). Microsoft has also just created a new role, a CMO (chief marketing officer). That’s the equivalent or ministers who are responsible for lying and spinning in order for the public to think wrongly of everything and adhere to blind consent.

As part of a broader realignment of its Central Marketing Group, Microsoft on Thursday named Gayle Troberman to the newly created position of chief marketing officer.

Novell’s chief marketing officer is John Dragoon. Here is more information about Gayle Troberman:

ADOTAS – Microsoft has done some rearranging of its central marketing group and created the position of chief creative officer for Gayle Troberman, a 13-year veteran of the company who was most recently general manager for Microsoft advertising and consumer

Working for an abusive monopoly and lying on its behalf is nothing to be proud of. Steve Ballmer is about to give a keynote talk at a “Search Marketing Conference”. Will he explain to the public how he manipulated search results so as to mock everything he dislikes? That’s just Stalinist.

Two weeks ago we wrote about Microsoft's relationship with Facebook, which is becoming one of the most visited sites on the Web. Facebook will no longer allow Microsoft to spy on Facebook users for marketing reasons [1, 2], but it does embed Microsoft’s shameless “decision engine” in the site. According to another report, Microsoft also wants to buy a Facebook game developer and it tried to buy Yelp:

About two months ago, when Yelp turned down an offer from Google, there had been speculation that Yelp had received a counter offer from Microsoft.

That would allow Microsoft to rank competitors just as it demotes and mocks competitors in its so-called ‘search engine’. It’s a good thing that Yelp turned down the $700+ million Microsoft offer:

When Google offered $550 million to purchase Yelp, Yelp walked away saying it had another offer.

Looks like the other offer was Microsoft. According to Peter Burrows at BusinessWeek, Yelp had “a bid north of $700 million from Microsoft.”

If Microsoft is allowed to rank other businesses and products, then it will abuse this power. That’s exactly what it’s doing with Bing. Microsoft is a morally corrupt company, based on simple evidence.

Regarding the Facebook game developer, there are several more reports about it:

Microsoft Corp. is among companies in talks to buy CrowdStar, the creator of games for social- networking site Facebook, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Microsoft is still trying to control top sites and use them in all sorts of ways, especially spying for marketing reasons. There needn’t be a tacit admission of this.

Here is Microsoft doing some new sniffing for marketing reasons:

v”Microsoft, Starcom Initiate Research On Mothers

[...]

Commenting on the initiative, Pushkar Sane, chief digital officer, North and South Asia, Starcom MediaVest Group said, “This is one of the many joint initiatives with Microsoft Advertising. Our strategic partnership spans across research, education, measurement and innovation. Mothers are an important audience segment for many of our clients. This initiative will help us bridge the current information gap that exists in our understanding of this key demographic.”

For those who don’t know what Starcom is:

Welcome to Starcom. We are a media communications agency that specializes in making connections between consumers and brands.

Yes, more of that very same advertising/spying business.

There is another new liaison of a similar kind — one involving the Intel-Microsoft collusion partnership [1, 2].

Today, FedScoop announced that Intel and Microsoft will be sponsoring an educational campaign focused on the present and future possibilities of cloud computing called, “Minds in the Cloud.” Each week, for 25 weeks, new High Definition (HD) interviews of influential technologists from the government, non-profit, and private sectors discussing their views on the importance of the cloud will be posted to mindsinthecloud.org.

That’s more marketing and Intel is once again helping Microsoft. It will of course be geared towards selling Microsoft software and Intel gear. It’s not about the so-called ‘cloud’, but that’s the banner under which their campaign is disguised. They sort of hijack ‘cloud’ for their own purposes, just as they do with “business intelligence” in the following new case:

Microsoft, Solver and ProfitBase are to host a business intelligence (BI) event in Los Angeles on 23 February, which will look at how companies can leverage their existing investments in Microsoft technologies.

It’s not a “business intelligence event”, it’s a business intelligence with Microsoft software event. It’s a familiar strategy of hijacking movements like the green causes in order to promote heavy fuels (reversal of causes). That’s another subject that’s to do with ethical offences in PR/AstroTurfing where smoking or carbon, for example, are described as beneficial in a way that overlaps the reasons against them, which leads to confusion. Microsoft uses these tricks to make people confused about OpenOffice.org (Office Open XML, anyone?) and “open source”.

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