Summary: This is a screenshot showing how one of our readers (from outside the UK) is seeing an article about a GNU/Linux product
The BBC is funded by tax money, yet it has developed a habit of advertising Microsoft because of the editorial staff (and beyond). The above is probably not intentional, but BBC readers may find it obnoxious. █
“We have 17.1 million users of bbc.co.uk in the UK and, as far as our server logs can make out, 5 per cent of those [use Macs] and around 400 to 600 are Linux users.”
Summary: An overview of moves carried out by Microsoft in order to restrict use of non-Microsoft software in several “strategic” countries, age groups, and institutes
THERE IS nothing more absurd than a very abusive corporation liaising with states. Well, maybe there are more absurd things out there, but when it comes to software, this ought to be a top issue. Are the companies states now? Are they unethically handed over an entire generation of young people to train them to become customers? This is a subject that this post will address with citations from the past 2.5 weeks.
“The Importance of Microsoft Certification Training to Your Career” seems like another new advertisement disguised as an article. It says:
Look for the Microsoft Certification courses that could open several job opportunities for you. Learning innovative skills and enhancing your current skill-sets will take you way higher within your career. As a matter of fact there are lots of IT training companies offering Microsoft certified training programs for corporate employees.
The world is moving beyond Microsoft. Recent surveys showed that demand for GNU/Linux skills is soaring, whereas it is diving for Windows.
Local education and economic development officials are preaching the value of a new partnership between the Microsoft Corporation and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Microsoft’s Elevate America program was launched in Kentucky by Gov. Steve Beshear late last month.
Other recent stories about “American EDGI” neglect to say anything negative about what Microsoft is doing. Perhaps the PR offensive was just too damn effective; it’s inconceivable to reporters that something unjust is going on here and maybe they just dare not say so in public.
Anyway, here is another new PR offensive where Microsoft pretends to like black people, even after blunders like this one (Poland racism). PR stunts like this one are reminiscent of “Imagine Cuffs” (Imagine Cup).
Last Friday I was invited to my local Microsoft campus here in Charlotte for Minority Student Day. The event, which is in its’ 8th year, is hosted by Blacks @ Microsoft.
Microsoft, IEEE Join Hands To Create Truck Drivers
Microsoft has collaborated with IEEE to increase the number of students engaged in technical pursuits with the long-term benefit of strengthening business and society through the use of technology.
The later part of the ‘goal’ is a cover-up, the core part is through this deal Microsoft will be able to ‘sell’ IEEE student members its latest servers, development tools and eLearning — with ‘privileged’ access to more than 300 software titles as part of the MSDN Academic Alliance, a subscription service traditionally available only through educational institutions.
It’s all about ‘show me the money’.
The deal will also ensure work force for Microsoft as the press release says, “exposing science, technology, engineering and math students to job opportunities with Microsoft partners and customers through the Microsoft Students to Business program.”
To upgrade the skills of engineering students, especially in the field of information technology, Microsoft IT Academy made a presentation at the Gulzar Institute of Engineering & Technology in Khanna. As part of this programme, Microsoft will be providing training to students on various computer applications including programming skills.
Also from India: “Microsoft is corrupting DU [Delhi University] education,” said one of our readers who shared this article from the news:
Tech-tonic shift in Delhi University
Microsoft Corporation India and Institute of Lifelong Learning (ILLL), this may ssoon be a reality.
Our reader Ryan sarcastically says that they “teach people to depend on Windows and Office. It’s the Christian thing to do.” For more information about Microsoft’s dumping on India, see e.g. [1, 2]. We also have this Wiki page on EDGI.
Microsoft’s BizSpark programme, designed to catalyze the success of entrepreneurs by making Microsoft’s end-to-end software solutions available to early-stage startup businesses, witnessed remarkable success in India with over 1000 startup companies joining the platform in the last one year. Building on the momentum, Microsoft India is now turning its focus to high potential startups with the launch of BizSpark One
Microsoft will work hand-in-hand with the Government, educational and health entities as well as various private sector organizations to cater to the IT needs of schools, universities, hospitals, clinics and other related organizations and institutions.
Microsoft Jordan is sponsoring 100 university graduates as part of a Graduate Internship and Employment Program that was launched in May 2009 by the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MoICT), the Ministry of Labor (MoL), USAID’s Jordan Economic Development Program (SABEQ), and sector associations that include int@j and Jordan Computer Society. Microsoft Jordan is providing a number of free training courses that will help develop the IT skills of graduates hired under the Program and better prepare them for their careers in the IT industry.
The Government is helping graduates find suitable employment within the private sector, subsidizing 50% of each student’s salary during the first 12 months of their employment and 25% during the subsequent six months employment period. Every graduate hired under the Program also receives a two-week soft skills training course. Microsoft’s contribution to the Program will further expand the skills developed by the recruits.
“Recruits” is quite a word. That’s how Microsoft views people. █
Summary: Lobby groups of the maximalists from the United States are trying to eradicate Free software in other countries, using lies of course; the BBC blocks Free software
SOME months ago we showed how the Copyright Cartel controls the United States government when it comes to the field that affect its paymasters. It’s highly imbalanced as it assumes that those with wealth should call the shots and the remainder of the population simply accept anything that’s being decided in secret meetings.
According to this fascinating news story, the Copyright Cartel is traveling around the world and reverses truths; it says that Free software is bad for one’s economy, altogether neglecting the factors that are digital autonomy and control, not to mention the jobs which get generated when a nation builds and maintains its own software.
The US copyright lobby has long argued against open source software – now Indonesia’s in the firing line for encouraging the idea in government departments
It’s only Tuesday and already it’s been an interesting week for the world of digital rights. Not only did the British government changed the wording around its controversial ‘three strikes’ proposals, but the secretive anti-counterfeiting treaty, Acta, was back in the headlines. Meanwhile, a US judge is still deliberating over the Google book settlement.
As if all that wasn’t enough, here’s another brick to add to the teetering tower of news, courtesy of Andres Guadamuz, a lecturer in law at the University of Edinburgh.
Guadamuz has done some digging and discovered that an influential lobby group is asking the US government to basically consider open source as the equivalent of piracy – or even worse.
It turns out that the International Intellectual Property Alliance, an umbrella group for organisations including the MPAA and RIAA, has requested with the US Trade Representative to consider countries like Indonesia, Brazil and India for its “Special 301 watchlist” because they use open source software.
There’s a fantastic little story in the Guardian today that says a US lobby group is trying to get the US government to consider open source as the equivalent to piracy.
The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), an umbrella group for American publishing, software, film, television and music associations, has asked with the US Trade Representative (USTR) to consider countries like Indonesia, Brazil and India for its “Special 301 watchlist” because they encourage the use of open source software.
A Special 301, according to Guardian’s Bobbie Johnson is: “a report that examines the ‘adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights’ around the planet – effectively the list of countries that the US government considers enemies of capitalism. It often gets wheeled out as a form of trading pressure – often around pharmaceuticals and counterfeited goods – to try and force governments to change their behaviours.”
Another line of familiar propaganda says that giving something away free of charge is “unpatriotic” or “unamerican” (Microsoft just labels it a "patent infringer" and resorts to extortion). There are many articles out there which expose this pattern of slurs. At least they don’t compare Free software to terrorism just yet (Rob Enderle comes close when comparing Free software advocates to people who crash planes into buildings).
Anyway, Microsoft’s old friends at the BBC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] are still adopting the same train of thought as the Copyright Cartel. The BBC not only supports Internet policies that are proposed by the Copyright Cartel (e.g. BPI) but it also uses improper insults or daemonisation terms like “piracy” and “pirate”. According to this exclusive new report, the BBC is now rejecting Free software plugins:
The BBC has quietly updated its hugely popular iPlayer with a verification layer that closes the door on open source implementations of RTMP (real-time messaging protocol) streaming, The Register has learned.
The Beeb applied the update to its online video catch-up service on 18 February, just four days after Adobe Systems penned a corporate blog post about its “content protection offerings”.
There is at least one software company that will be pleased. Well, many of its employees are now working inside the BBC. █
Summary: Microsoft’s extortion racket against Free software is debated further and the Linux Foundation, which is not opposed to software patents, chooses to ignore the problem
IN OUR PREVIOUS TWO posts about the Amazon patent deal with Microsoft [1, 2] we called for a boycott against Amazon and complaints about Microsoft, which are hinged on the RICO Act. Microsoft has become a rogue corporation that operates based on threats or retaliation and that’s just neither acceptable nor legal. “I’m outraged,” says this one person who explains what Microsoft is doing here:
Every time I read about these ‘secret’ deals I’m outraged. M$ consistently alleges patent infringements in Linux without exposing the details.
So, first of all, the alleged infringements cannot be challenged, tested and validated or removed if extant, or kicked into touch if not validated. M$ use their (financial) muscle to achieve this, intimidation by any other name.
Furthermore, I’ve always understood that once a patent infringement is identified (alleged) it must be exposed to preclude profiteering. Secret deals do not satisfy this satisfy this requirement and, are in my opinion an abuse of an already discredited patent system by a discredited monopolist. It seems to me that this is just legal chicanery and legal extortion (the new version of the twenties protection racket).
Ballmer used to speak of Linux as a cancer. It seems to me that M$ are now the cancer, exhibiting all the symptoms of the development, growth and potential consequences of a cancer.
As my colleague Darryl Taft points out in his most excellent article on eWEEK, Microsoft has signed more than 600 licensing agreements since launching its IP licensing program in 2003, with companies ranging from Apple and Hewlett-Packard to Nikon and Fuji Xerox. Such deals help avoid those pesky patent-infringement lawsuits hated by virtually everybody except intellectual-property attorneys with Bentley payments.
Microsoft has long maintained that free and open-source software violates 235 of its patents. It’s already used this fact to coax companies including Novell, HP and TomTom into signing patent agreements.
The deal has already stirred up open-source advocates. “If the strategy isn’t to create uncertainty around Linux, it’s hard to say what it is,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation.
What disappoints us but not exactly surprises us is that Zemlin, speaking on behalf of the Linux Foundation, says that there is “Nothing to See Here”. He writes:
Companies reach broad cross-license agreements all the time, never disclose the patents involved and don’t often issue press releases about it. Amazing how despite the “broad range of products and technology” covered in their cross license, Microsoft chose to focus on Linux and open source – distinctly calling it out from “proprietary software” and wasn’t specific about any patents.
Well, IBM or the Linux Foundation are not spokespeople of the whole GNU/Linux system; maybe they speak for the kernel, but the operating system involves many more people and groups. Here is the ‘Microsoft press’ referring to the Novell deal in its coverage of this latest deal with Amazon.
Microsoft elicited controversy among open source Linux advocates when it announced a deal with Novell in November of 2006 over IP used in Novell’s SuSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. In May of 2007, Microsoft was accused of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt over Linux licensing after a Microsoft executive claimed that Linux violated 235 of Microsoft’s patents.
It’s Novell that came to Microsoft and started a lot of this patent crusade against GNU/Linux. This is why Boycott Novell exists.
Pamela Jones from Groklaw wrote the following text about this deal with Amazon:
Amazon isn’t a Linux company, and it sells a hardware device. And I gather Microsoft’s MO is to make any company signing up with them in a patent cross licensing deal sign an NDA, so only Microsoft speaks in public, then they put out a press release which makes claims no one can check or verify, wave their arms about Linux, then go on to the next victim. Unless they show some details, it means absolutely nothing to me, except that Microsoft is very good at marketing (fear, uncertainty and doubt.)
The paper also says that Microsoft has reached a patent licensing agreement with Amazon.com that gives the online retailer rights to use open source software in its Kindle e-book reader. At the moment, the Kindle uses both open source and proprietary software components made by Amazon. Under the agreement, Microsoft said Amazon will pay it an undisclosed sum.
As long as Amazon does not deny Microsoft’s statement about the Kindle and GNU/Linux servers being part of this deal, well… then Amazon is complicit. █
Summary: How the Gates Foundation is controlling this system through perceptions that offer privileged positions of authority
Bill and Melinda Gates make money from illness, but there are other areas where they work to ensure that schools, for example, only use Microsoft software and get children “addicted” to Gates’ proprietary ‘drugs’. There is a payoff here and Bill Gates once said that “they’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.” Despite the obvious facts, Gates is being treated as though he is minister of education as we previously showed in posts like:
It is not unusual for the Gates family to promote its agenda by ‘planting’ some articles out there in publications with a great reach. The husband of the former head of the Gates Foundation did just that, but it needn’t be so shallow anymore; the Gates Foundation is hiring a lot of PR personnel for what ought to have been about charity. As we asked many times before, what are they trying to hide using spin? We already know the answer and we showed it many times in a variety of contexts.
Melinda makes an informercial disguised as an oped for a newspaper where she sits on the board
Next time Gates Keepers wants to publish an infomercial disguised as an oped in a newspaper we will be sure to go to a newspaper where we sit on the Board of Directors. That is what Melinda has done. Has this Gates Foundation board member no shame? Why didn’t she send it to another paper where she doesn’t sit on the board?
The same site has also caught this piece from an anti-abortion/contraception group that is religious.
In exchange for perpetuating this glorious deception and maintaining a silence on the Gates/Buffett world-wide killing machine, CRS has received in excess of $40 million for global and agricultural development and financial services for the poor from 2003 to 2009. Compared to the billions Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett and his family spend on their true passion – baby killing and. population control – it’s a drop in the bucket, of course, but I’m sure they consider their money well spent. In reviewing the anti-life record of the Gateses and Buffetts, one they have successfully keep out of the public eye, thanks to organizations like CRS.
This stance on abortion/contraception is not necessarily something that most people would agree with; regardless, they call the Gates Foundation a “world-wide killing machine”; considering what happens in Nigeria (see video at the top), there is an element of truth to it. █
To make matters worse, Microsoft officials are now lobbying for the spending of $4,650,000,000 on a new bridge. Microsoft is going beyond lobbying and has just launched some kind of an advertising/PR campaign. Needless to say, Microsoft won’t contribute to this bridge financially; after all, Microsoft is a tax dodger [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] and imminent bankruptcy of Washington is of no concern to Microsoft executives who can always just travel.
The cost to replace the 520 bridge is $4.65 billion. One group, including Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, opposes the current bridge replacement plan. They want light rail on the new bridge, which is not part of the plan.
“Let’s take another, closer look at this bridge. Let’s take another look at what we’re planning, and let’s get it right, not just for ourselves but for our children,” said McGinn.
Although Microsoft has made its position clear on local and regional issues in the past, it’s uncommon for the company to launch a campaign in support of its views. Microsoft is holding a news conference on the topic later this morning in Redmond, and we’re planning to attend, assuming we can get across the bridge in time.
Microsoft says “spend, spend, spend,” but it’s not actually among those who pay for it.
Microsoft is often perceived as a source of jobs and prosperity in this area, but considering the Abramoff visas, the benefits to foreign workers and their families, and also the massive tax evasion, how deluded need people be? Microsoft is a leech but PR staff continues to deceive a lot of people. █
“In the fall of 1982, Pam Edstrom [of Waggener Edstrom], a diminutive woman with piercing blue eyes, was recruited by Microsoft. [...] In modern-day business, flacks were responsible not only for avoiding bad press, but for spinning the good. [...] Hanson and Edstrom would spin a whole new image for Gates himself. They would tap the best and worst of Chairman Bill, changing his clothes, his voice, and his allegiances, driving him to become not just the boss, but, essentially, the company mascot—a sort of high-technology Colonel Sanders.”
“Microsoft implemented ODF with all the grace of a 6 year old asked to tidy up their room”
–Jeremy Allison, LCA 2010
Summary: How boosters of Microsoft have covered the insulting “support” of ODF in Microsoft Office
IN THE previous post we explained that Microsoft pretends to be a friend when it’s obviously not. It’s a lulling technique against critics.
Microsoft is attacking ODF — at least indirectly if one pays attention — in all sorts of ways while pretending to have embraced it (which would make no business sense). We have given so many examples over the past year. One vector of attack has been Microsoft’s bribed [1, 2, 3] and sometimes just loyal ‘reporters’ (loyal to Microsoft). We are seeing examples of it even this week. Here is Microsoft’s booster Gavin Clarke attacking ODF with a headline that says “ODF’s doomed mission to break into Microsoft Office”
There are the following two criticisms being mentioned:
Free-Software-Foundation president Richard Stallman has told Neowin that the Office ballot screen is designed to actually deter potential users from using ODF. Stallman concludes Microsoft is simply going through a pretense – to be able to say it offers ODF support.
ODF managing director Marino Marcich pointed to a bigger issue, saying a ballot screen is meaningful only if the ODF implementation is “complete, current, and interoperable with other ODF applications.”
Clarke is ending with his Microsoft party line: “Would it take fresh regulatory pressure on Microsoft this time? Possibly. Microsoft is within its rights to support ODF as much – or a little – as it wants in Office.”
That’s not true. Microsoft’s strategy of “embrace and extend” was at times ruled illegal and had Microsoft penalised. Microsoft is still doing this to ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] because it wants to get rid of ODF by making it look bad and thus discourage its use. Other Microsoft boosters did the same thing. The Microsoft-boosting site called Neowingot its hands on a screenshot that we mentioned a few days ago. It’s like those fake “leaks” [1, 2] that are actually controlled — leaks where they are setting the tone for all followup articles (breaking the news artificially). Neowin’s biased coverage has fed other Microsoft boosters like Marius Oiaga who cites Neowin and Mary-Jo Foley (whom Microsoft contacted based on the statement which says “the Redmond company confirmed officially to Mary-Jo Foley, after Neowin published a story accompanied by the file format screen which is apparently being served to users of the Release Candidate version of Office 2010″). Even sites that are not in Microsoft’s pocket had to rely on biased coverage from Neowin, which fortunately they took with a barrel of salt.
As for Office, Neowin has revealed Microsoft will use a similar ballot screen to prompt users about which file format they would prefer to use: Office Open XML (OOXML) or OpenDocument (ODF) document formats. OOXML is the suite’s default format, but Canadian software company i4i filed a patent dispute over the way Word uses these XML files. In December Microsoft surprisingly lost an appeal against i4i’s sales injunction and has had to act quickly.
So can these matters now be drawn to a close? Highly unlikely…
Mark Kenrick, a partner at patent and trademark attorneys Marks & Clerk, explores the recent Microsoft injunction, prohibiting sales of its flagship Word program. How did it come to pass that David beat Goliath in this fiercely contested patent dispute, and what does this mean for the software industry at large?
Update: Marino Marcich, managing director of the ODF Alliance, had this to say via email this morning:
The ballot screen, although it may at first look like it gives users a fair choice between OOXML and ODF, doesn’t give ODF a fair shake, and it isn’t likely to have much impact. Not only does the ballot offer OOXML as the first option, but more significantly, it provides what is essentially a warning — OOXML is designated to support “all the features” of the software, while ODF is explained to enable “many features,” but “some content or editability may be lost.”
At the end of the day, the key issue here is the level of ODF support and functionality. A ballot is no substitute for a quality implementation of the format. In this case, a ballot that offers the user the choice of ODF in MS Office is only significant if the ODF support in MS Office is complete, current, and interoperable with other ODF applications. Previous attempts, in Office 2007 SP2 fell far short of this. We have not yet evaluated the level of ODF support in Office 2010.”
Here is an update on where Google stands when it comes to document standards. █