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03.14.10

Microsoft Should be “Sued for Breach of Contract” in Vista 7

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Elecronic signature

Summary: Microsoft covers up invasion of privacy, claims one of our regular members

Ryan Farmer, a former Microsoft MVP, tells us about a new bug that says: “In certain scenarios, an Emergency Alert System (EAS) message does not automatically tune to the appropriate channel in Windows Media Center.” He adds that: “in the Windows 7 CEIP will be affected by this part of the update. This update limits the diagnostic information that can be collected by the CEIP.”

“They get caught spying,” he remarks, “say it was an accident, and “fix it”. Shouldn’t they be sued for breach of contract?”

“In other words, business as usual,” concludes MinceR.

As a side note, Vista 7 is facing real pressure because it’s not being deployed like Microsoft wants people to believe. From the news:

Not everyone is interested in upgrading to Windows 7 — at least not right away. Computerworld’s survey respondents who said they have no plans to upgrade reported that they just don’t see enough benefit, particularly in these tough economic times, to warrant the cost of migration.

For Carl Weddle, director of IT at Quality Trailer Products, Windows 7 isn’t even on the radar. “We were clawing our way out of a hole until a few months ago,” he says, referring to the recession. Even in better times, he adds, “I tend to stay on the back end of the technology curve because it’s cheaper there.”

An upgrade to GNU/Linux would be even cheaper and provide a very modern platform.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 14th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:56 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.

Michael Gartenberg’s AstroTurfing for Microsoft Takes ‘Entelligence’ Tag

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google at 6:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Entelligence

Summary: A Microsoft mole gets into Engadget and attacks Linux from over there

LAST WEEK we wrote about Michael Gartenberg’s latest attacks on GNU/Linux [1, 2]. He used to work directly for Microsoft and he is still serving the Microsoft Way as an “independent” person. Just how “independent” he really is one can tell based on his writings, which we sampled in:

Gartenberg has gotten himself a corner in Engadget, where he is slamming Linux (Android in this case), as usual. We point this out just to warn that Microsoft has minions out there in large Web sites.

“We point this out just to warn that Microsoft has minions out there in large Web sites.”In this one particular piece of FUD, diversity is being cast as “fragmentation”. It’s old FUD from the old scriptures. Vendors love choice because customers do too (individuality) and they can customise their platforms for added value to be offered. But under the ‘Entelligence’ keyword at Engadget expect to see a lot more spin like this. Microsoft’s PR campaigns are being merged into sites that used to be trusted and many journalists are now relying on Microsoft’s partner [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], comScore, for numbers about Android and Windows Mobile. For the time being, Android (Linux) is winning, but Microsoft has a history of using its power over statistics firms to tweak the outcome when it’s possible to identify a favourable criterion/method.

“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.”

Microsoft’s internal document for paid evangelists like Gartenberg [PDF]

Apple Makes Toys, GNU/Linux Still Ahead of It

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google at 6:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jealous Jobs

Ballmer's slide on Macs and GNU/Linux
Steve Ballmer’s presentation slide
from 2009 shows GNU/Linux as bigger than Apple on the desktop

Summary: News about Apple’s primitive products (from a technical perspective) trying to catch up with their Linux-powered counterparts

Given Apple’s patent lawsuits against GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], it’s hard to see why any Free software developer would choose to develop for Apple, let alone buy anything from the company. One of the latest products from this company is being mentioned far too much by the technology press. It’s a disappointment even in the eyes of some avid followers of Apple [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and just like Palm OS, iPad and iPhone have no multitasking. No multitasking! It’s not a joke. Now there are rumours about no camera support, either.

Can Apple catch up with Linux and actually implement multitasking? Some people think so [1, 2]. Those folks at Apple are ‘stealing’ from Linux again (just as they did from BSD when they made OS X)? Does it make them “great artists”?

Multitasking, or the lack thereof, has been one of the most prevalent complaints about the iPhone as a serious business smartphone–although I am not sure it is iPhone users who are doing the complaining. The lack of iPhone multitasking was a prime target of Verizon’s “Droid Does” marketing campaign for the Android-based Motorola Droid.

The iPad has no multitasking ability, either. These devices are toys and they are also built by children, based on this news report.

That iPhone you adore may have been built by a child.

Nearly a dozen underage teens were working for Apple-contracted facilities in 2009, the company has revealed. The news was posted to Apple’s Web site under a section labeled “Supplier Responsibility.”

To make things worse for Apple, they have lost the right to own the small “i”. [via]

Apple has been dealt a severe blow having been told that it no longer has a monopoly on the letter “i2″ as part of the name for its products.

A trademarks tribunal has knocked back Apple’s bid to stop a small company from trademarking the name DOPi for use on its laptop bags and cases for Apple products.

Apple argued that the DOPi name – which is iPod spelt backwards – was too similar to its own popular portable music player, which has sold in excess of 100 million units worldwide.

Apple is a control freak. More on that later, in a much longer post about Apple’s bullying.

More EMC-VMware Snuggling (and Why Microsoft Executives Were Put in Charge)

Posted in Microsoft, Virtualisation, VMware, Windows at 5:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EMC and Microsoft

Summary: VMware’s latest step sheds clues on the past, including the demotion/sacking of Greene

VMware, which is run by former Microsoft executives [1, 2, 3], is also controlled by EMC, which is Microsoft’s Partner of the Year for 2008. It was in 2008 that EMC did a lot to destroy 'old' VMware (putting former Microsoft executives in charge, in due course). Now we find out that it goes even further as more of Microsoft’s friends from EMC [1, 2, 3, 4] will descend to VMware.

Virtualization software company VMware will be taking over a line of data-center management software from parent company EMC, the companies announced Thursday.

And then comes this new explanation regarding change in leadership:

EMC still allows VMware to partner with competing storage vendors, but fired Greene in July 2008 in a move apparently caused by rifts between Greene and the EMC leadership. Greene was replaced by former Microsoft executive Paul Maritz.

An EMC executive indicated that Thursday’s transaction would have been less likely to happen if Greene were still VMware’s CEO. When asked if negotiations between the companies were difficult, Jay Mastaj, general manager of EMC’s Ionix division, said “Let’s put it this way: It was a hell of a lot easier than when Diane was here.”

Two years ago we wrote about Maritz and Tucci's Microsoft slog against VMware's management. It’s ugly stuff and former VMware staff mailed us about these issues.

Internet Mayhem With Microsoft Windows Botnets

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 5:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fire

Summary: News reports about security, mostly from IDG and almost exclusively about Microsoft and Windows

ZeuS Botnet Still Mutating, Still on the Move

New capabilities are strengthening the ZeuS botnet, which criminals use to steal financial credentials and execute unauthorized transactions in online banking, automated clearing house (ACH) networks and payroll systems. The latest version of this cybercrime toolkit, which starts at about $3,000, offers a $10,000 module that can let attackers completely take control of a compromised PC.

ZeuS botnet code keeps getting better for criminals

New capabilities are strengthening the ZeuS botnet, which criminals use to steal financial credentials and execute unauthorized transactions in online banking, automated clearing house (ACH) networks and payroll systems. The latest version of this cybercrime toolkit, which starts at about $3,000, offers a $10,000 module that can let attackers completely take control of a compromised PC.

[...]

The Windows-based ZeuS Trojan software, which takes up about 50,000 bytes on a compromised Windows-based computer, is designed to plunder accounts in North American and United Kingdom banking systems via the victim’s computer. The criminal might be located a continent away, directing unauthorized transfers of funds to accounts through elaborate command-and-control systems.

One-third of orphaned Zeus botnets find way home

The takedown of 100 servers used to control Zeus-related botnets may be a short-lived victory, security researchers said after discovering that about a third of the orphaned channels were able to regain connectivity in less than 48 hours.

The resurrection of at least 30 command and control channels came after their internet service provider found a new upstream provider to provide connectivity to the outside world, autonomous system records showed on Thursday. As a result, some of the rogue customers who used the Troyak ISP to herd huge numbers of infected PCs were able to once again connect to the compromised machines and issue commands.

Zeus Botnet Dealt a Blow as ISP Troyak Knocked out

After Takedown, Botnet-linked ISP Troyak Resurfaces (Windows not mentioned)

Zeus is a botnet kit used by a large number of cybercriminals. Researchers have counted 249 Zeus command-and-control servers to date. Another Internet service provider named Group 3 was also knocked offline Wednesday. It has not been reconnected, however.

Estonian DDoS revenge worm crafter jailed

An Estonian virus writer has been jailed for two and a half years for creating a Windows worm family that launched denial of service attacks on the websites of a local insurance firm and ISP.

Artur Boiko, 44, was convicted by a jury of creating the Allaple worm and sentenced to two years and seven months following a trial. Boiko pleaded not guilty but prosecutors persuaded the jury that he became a malware author in late 2006 to seek revenge against insurance firm IF following a dispute over a rejected car accident insurance claim.

FBI Embeds Cyber-investigators in Ukraine, Estonia

Hoping to catch cybercrooks, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun embedding agents with law enforcement agencies in Estonia, the Ukraine and the Netherlands.

Homeland Security is recruiting new cyber-warriors (they aim for prevention after the act instead of eternal cure)

Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said during a keynote speech today that her agency has new authority to beef up the department’s team of cyber-warriors and couldn’t help making her pitch before the thousands of security experts in the room.

Professor Gets Money For Cybersecurity Research

More problems surfacing:

New Internet Explorer Flaw Revealed

Microsoft Warns of New Bug Affecting IE Users

Microsoft warns of new IE bug; attacks under way

IE Zero-day Exploit Code Goes Public

Exploit code for the unpatched bug in Internet Explorer was published on the Web yesterday, a step security pros said earlier would be the precursor to widespread attacks.

McAfee inadvertently speeds creation of Metaploit IE exploit pack

Chinese Hack Attacks Said Likely to Recur (Internet Explorer was the cause [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12])

Recent Internet attacks from China against Google and other U.S. companies will more than double this year if the pace during the first two months continues, a security expert says.

US expert: Chinese gov’t likely behind massive cyberattacks

The Chinese government is likely behind recent cyberattacks on U.S. government Web sites and on U.S. companies in an apparent effort to quash criticism of the government there, an expert on U.S. and Chinese relations said Wednesday.

FBI Director: Hackers Have Corrupted Valuable Data

Hackers breaking into businesses and government agencies with targeted attacks have not only stolen intellectual property, in some cases they have corrupted data too, the head of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said Thursday.

FBI: Cyberfraud Losses Doubled in 2009 (no wonder it costs so much to recover)

Last year was a tough one for most businesses, but for cybercriminals it was one of the best yet.

According to data released Friday by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), victims reported total losses of US$559.7 million in 2009, more than double the tally for 2008.

Trojan armed with hardware-based anti-piracy control

The latest version of the Zeus do-it-yourself crimeware kit goes to great lengths to thwart would-be pirates by introducing a hardware-based product activation scheme similar to what’s found in Microsoft Windows.

The newest version with bare-bones capabilities starts at $4,000 and additional features can fetch as much as $10,000. The new feature is designed to prevent what Microsoft refers to as “casual copying” by ensuring that only one computer can run a licensed version of the program. After it is installed, users must obtain a key that’s good for just that one machine.

Zombies in another sense (traditional and not harmful):

Six Essential IPhone Apps for a Zombie Attack

ZombieSmash Coming to IPhone

Negative Pricing at Microsoft

Posted in Antitrust, Finance, GNU/Linux at 4:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Handcuffs for sale

Summary: Microsoft goes as far as paying companies just to avoid buying from the competition and choose Microsoft lock-in instead

Microsoft’s negative pricing is a subject we’ve covered a lot when exposing EDGI (HP still helps Microsoft in that regard). When the competition becomes too intense for the Microsoft monoculture to endure, then Microsoft starts dumping ‘free’ proprietary software or even bribes for people to accept it. When a company with a monopoly (especially an illegally-obtained monopoly) pays rather than charges customers to become trapped, then it becomes a violation of competition rules. In the case of GNU/Linux, EDGI E-mails reveal that the abusive company tracks what it calls “Linux infestations” and then escalates this to a department that secretly negotiates with the “dissenters” (those leaving Windows) to stop this. They use money games and they isolate decision makers from those whom they supposedly represent.

According to the following news report, Microsoft is paying businesses to dump NetSuite just as it’s paying/compensating nations to dump GNU/Linux. Microsoft tried this with Munich, using extremely considerable discounts. Microsoft reportedly pays Verizon half a billion dollars not to let customers use Google [1, 2], so it’s a general strategy everywhere.

Here is another report that gives away some numbers:

US-based companies could be paid up to $850 for every NetSuite user that makes a switcheroo to either Microsoft Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV or Dynamics SL, said Redmond.

In order to compete, NetSuite needs to bribe as much as Microsoft, but can it afford to do this? To Microsoft, it’s about driving competition out of the market, then allowing price hikes that Canadians sue over at this moment. Robert X. Cringely wrote that Microsoft “have the deepest of pockets, unlimited ambition, and they are willing to lose money for years and years just to make sure that you don’t make any money, either. And they are mean, REALLY mean.”

When the world’s industry needs to fight a bribe using another bribe, where does it leave Free software or startups? Also in the news today we found: “Nvidia denies bribing developers”

GRAPHICS CHIP DESIGNER Nvidia has denied accusations that it has been paying game developers for implementing GPU-accelerated processing of physics effects using its PhysX code.

The accusations were made by Nvidia’s rival graphics vendor ATI, but it seems they are based on the fact that the Green Goblin has been helping out games developers.

A bribe is a bribe and a spade is a spade. It’s time for this type of practices to be regulated in the sense that there should be heavy fines.

Canada Sets Precedence in Class-action Lawsuit Over Microsoft Abuses; Gates Still Uses Money for Influence

Posted in America, Antitrust, Bill Gates, Courtroom, Microsoft at 4:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Canadian flag

Summary: Canadians demand compensation after Microsoft illegally removed competition, but those Canadians may not know just how deep Bill Gates is inside their government

WE have not forgotten Microsoft’s dirty tricks in Canada (e.g. for OOXML) and exploitation of a Canadian company that ended up ruining OOXML.

Bloomberg and AP finally report on a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft Canada and the Canadian press covers it too:

1. “Microsoft to appeal B.C. court ruling on class action lawsuit

Microsoft Corp. plans to appeal a British Columbia court decision that certified a class-action lawsuit alleging the computer giant illegally got rid of its competition, then raised its prices.

In a ruling released this week, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elliott Myers certified the action on behalf of “all persons in British Columbia who, on or after Jan. 1, 1994, indirectly acquired a licence for Microsoft operating systems and/or Microsoft applications software for their own use.”

That covers pretty well everyone who bought a personal computer, or Microsoft Word or Exel, in the province since 1994, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, J.J. Camp, of Camp Fiorante Matthews, said in an interview. That includes governments as well as banks and other organizations that would have bought thousands of computers, he said. “It’s a very substantial number.”

2. Class-action suit targets Microsoft software

A British Columbia judge has certified a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft that could affect hundreds of thousands of people who have bought personal computers containing Microsoft software over the past 16 years.

The representative plaintiffs — a small Richmond, B.C., computer-consultant company named Pro-Sys Consultants Ltd., and a Vancouver engineer named Neil Godfrey — allege that the software giant engaged in predatory, “anti-competitive” activity in virtually wiping out the competition.

And finally:

3. Judge certifies class-action lawsuit against Microsoft Canada

VANCOUVER, B.C. – A British Columbia judge has certified a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft that alleges the software giant engaged in anti-competitive behaviour that enabled it to charge higher prices for its products.

Justice E.M. Meyers concluded in a ruling released Monday that Vancouver-based Pro-Sys Consultants, which is leading the plaintiffs in the case, has met requirements for certification for the lawsuit to proceed as a class action.

The legal action against Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was launched in 2006 on behalf of a number of indirect purchasers who acquired Microsoft software from resellers and from those who had Microsoft software pre-installed on their computers.

They argue they were forced to pay more for the software component of their purchase as a result of Microsoft’s anti-competitive actions.

Pro-Sys alleges that the indirect sellers suffered harm from paying prices that were artificially inflated by anti-competitive behaviour.

“This could be the start of cases like the ones the States,” says Chips B. Malroy. “Imagine how many countries, and or class action lawsuits there could be around the world wanting to happen,” he adds.

A Canadian GNU/Linux enthusiast wrote:

I love it. I tried to get the Competition Bureau to act years ago but they declined in deference to the US DOJ. Why surrender sovereignty?

What a lot of Canadians may not know is that Bill Gates invests over $1.5 billion in the Canadian government (it buys him influence). Too many people think that Gates is benign because of that foundation he set up to manage his money, conveniently forgetting Gates' long past of criminal activity. Will Hutton even published the following shocking article where he helps whitewash by claiming that Gates is among the ‘clean’ figures in the list of rich people.

Sixty-two of the 1,011 are Russian oligarchs. Twenty eight are Turkish oligarchs. Even Carlos Slim made his fortune from being the monopolist who controls 90% of Mexico’s telephone landlines and 80% of its mobile phone subscribers. The OECD notes that he charges among the highest usage fees in the world. But hey! He is a billionaire and what matters today are his riches – not the manner in which the money is made. He may have started out as a productive entrepreneur. Today he is using his power to expropriate wealth on a mega scale.

The contrast with his rival Bill Gates could hardly be greater. Microsoft may have had its head-to-head confrontation with the EU Commission over anti-competitive practices, but Gates built his company by innovating around one of the great historic general purpose technologies. Information and communication technology is like the railway, internal combustion engine or air travel – a technology with massive spill-overs and implications for society. It is a classic example of productive entrepreneurship. Gates may not deserve $53bn, he was lucky to be in the right place at the right time with a great university system around him, but he undoubtedly deserves to be rich. Both Gates and Slim are exploiting their market position to get above average profits, but one is more overtly political than the other. Put another way, Gates has grown the economic pie. Slim represents a tax on it.

This is ridiculous. It’s based on the assumption that Microsoft invented computing rather than crippled progress in computing. It merely reiterates PR campaigns and endless lies because anyone with a clue about history knows that Microsoft was taking other people’s ideas — sometimes illegally — and then breaking the law to destroy a once-competitive market, putting instead low-quality and overpriced software while bullying anyone who disagrees in all sorts of creative ways. This is more like a cartel and the reaction to competition includes racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and costs a lot more than crimes of the Russian mafia. The United States government finds him guilty, but one person who posts an article in the Observer/Guardian decides that he knows better. Hasn’t the Guardian done enough Microsoft PR already [1, 2, 3, 4]?

“The advance planning and sense stimuli employed to capture a $10 million cigarette or soap market are nothing compared to the brainwashing and propaganda blitzes used to ensure control of the largest cash market in the world: the Executive Branch of the United States Government.”

Phyllis Schlafly

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