03.24.10

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How Articles About Novell Turn Into Promotion of Its Spouse, Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 3:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sculpture

Summary: How Novell news becomes promotion of Microsoft; Journalist/columnist publishes a SUSE ramble that echoes myths and PR lies about Vista 7 (he talks about SUSE/Linux and instead turns it into a borderline advertisement for Microsoft)

FREE(DOM) software has mostly been an area where programmers have full control, as opposed to marketing people, managers, and lawyers for example. It helps keep interests such as the entertainment industry’s out of the loop. In many ways, Free software is also an Apple- and Microsoft-free zone, but not where Novell is involved, with projects like Mono and Moonlight. More recently we found Novell staff advancing a Mono-based substitute to replace the GIMP [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. It’s called Pinta and the press in the Philippines gives it some coverage this week, offering Pinta what seems like GIMP parity for some peculiar reasons. This is like a free advert for .NET, thanks to Novell.

As for Novell’s future, this new report says that Novell still reviews its options after Elliott’s bid, which means that Novell is still up for sale and Microsoft is a potential buyer. From the opening of this article from the Wall Street Journal:

Novell Inc. (NOVL) rejected an unsolicited takeover bid valued at about $2 billion, but the software company essentially put itself up for sale by saying it would consider alternatives to enhance shareholder value.

Paul Rubens ponders the value of SUSE (assuming it gets sold separately), but then he veers off his original course and starts promoting Vista 7, repeating common misconceptions about Vista 7 and confusing reality with Microsoft-generated hype that it hires agencies to spread. We ought to correct them very quickly.

First of all, Rubens echoes the myth of compatibility. We addressed it in the following posts:

While we are at it, another common misconception has to do with “security”. We debunked this in posts such as:

How timely the news must be about Web advertising being used to infect Microsoft Windows. Elinor Mills sometimes characterises such things as a Windows-only problem, but not this time. It ought to be recognised that not all desktops run Windows. By perpetuating myths, CNET chooses to ignore reality and stick to a parallel ones of duality (where it’s either “Mac” or “PC”).

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

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A Single Comment

  1. your_friend said,

    March 25, 2010 at 12:21 am

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    Let’s be fair to Mills. She described a Windows only problem in detail but must have been afraid to say, “no other problems are prevalent.” She’s also broadened the Drudge story, which was a strange political thing with poor fact checking, into a general investigation on the prevalence of Windows malware in advertising. Check out the details here:

    Found in ads delivered from those networks was JavaScript code that Avast dubbed “JS:Prontexi,” which Avast researcher Jiri Sejtko said is a Trojan in script form that targets the Windows operating system. It looks for vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader and Acrobat, Java, QuickTime, and Flash and launches fake antivirus warnings, Sejtko said. Users don’t need to click on anything to get infected; a computer becomes infected after the ad is loaded by the browser, Avast said.

    Wow, what an improvement. Most general audience articles blame the user for “PC” problems. Mills has named Windows and the programs that run on top of it that were broken. It is unfortunate that she did not go on to say that these things are not a problem on other platforms. It would have been better had she recognized that everything she mentioned is Windows Malware. She might have been spun by one or two laboratory successes against non free software like Acrobat reader on Mac and afraid of a categorical statement. It is also unfortunate that she is unaware of free software replacements for half of the junk mentioned on top of Windows. Just the same, this is a vast improvement over other coverage that would not have mentioned Windows at all. Perhaps reporters are noticing that the Windows is almost always the disease carrier.

    She also noted, indirectly, that malware puts ads where they should not be, “Google spokesman said it was highly unlikely that malware was served on Google, adding that DoubleClick ads do not run on Google search.” The Windows experience is a non stop stream of advertisements placed by criminal gangs as well as more reputable big publishers.

    Now for something bad. The unfortunate upshot of asking service providers like Yahoo, Google and Myspace about the problem was a false impression that the problem is the fault of the service providers rather than Microsoft Windows. It’s not Google’s responsibility to filter Windows malware out of the billions of ads they serve, it’s Microsfot’s job to build an OS that’s not so easy to break.

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