Summary: IBM’s dark side shown to the public
THE story we wrote about this morning is spreading to news sites. Here is some coverage of interest:
• IBM uses pledged patents against open source mainframe emulator
The letter includes a “non-exhaustive” list of 106 IBM patents and 67 pending patent applications. Mueller found that on examining the list, two of the patents mentioned in the letter, 5613086 and 5220669 are among the five hundred patents in the IBM patent pledgePDF. Mueller says “This betrayal of the promise is unbelievable, but I never believed that IBM was sincere about that pledge in the first place”. He calls for regulatory intervention against IBM and points out that TurboHercules had already lodged anti-trust complaint with the European Commission.
• IBM: Open Source’s Friend? Not So Much Now
IBM certainly has some explaining to do. It needs to make clear where it stands on open source, and where on software patents. It needs to understand that the two are not compatible, and that it cannot truly be a friend of the former while deploying the latter as weapons against free software, even when the victims sit on the latter’s fringe rather than at its heart. After such a long and mutually beneficial relationship, it would be sad if IBM decides that it prefers software patents to open source – and ultimately to its detriment.
• IBM tears up open source patent pledge, claims FOSS
• IBM Breaks Open Source Patent Pledge
• IBM breaks OSS patent promise, targets mainframe emulator
• IBM TurboHercules Patent Threat Letter
For people reading this page from Slashdot, I have to confess that IBM is still lobbying for software patents in the European Union though the creation of a central patent court. IBM, like Microsoft, is actively lobbying in Brussels not to reopen the software patent directive through the Community Patent discussions, and the creation of a central patent court.
• Open-source Advocate Enters IBM Antitrust Fray
Software developer and political lobbyist Florian Mueller weighed in on the European Commission’s investigation of monopoly abuse claims against IBM, accusing the computing giant of deserting the interests of the open-source software community.
• Florian Mueller finds a new windmill to attack in IBM
Fresh off his humiliating defeat at the hands of Oracle, Florian Mueller is now tilting at IBM, accusing it of open source treason for trying to enforce a monopoly it won before he was born.
The question is just how much IBM credibility might be lost as a result of TurboHercules. Mueller wants to make certain it’s a lot.
Regardless of Mueller’s agenda, the letter from IBM is authentic. To IBM, it’s a black eye. Is it a blunder because it contradicts IBM’s policy or is it a blunder because it was leaked? Either way, IBM has a habit of patenting insulting things and then backtracking/apologising when there is public backlash (i.e. only when it gets caught and exposed). If IBM is a friend of Free software, then unlike Novell, it ought to trash software patents rather than quietly hoard them. As Glyn Moody put it, IBM needs to understand that Free software and software patents are simply not compatible. █
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Summary: Rudeness from proponents of Mono, signs of hostility, and further betterment of Visual Studio for Windows
OUR longtime participant MinceR has decided to call Microsoft MVPs “Most Valuable Propagandists” and Omar calls them Microsoft Most Valuable Hypocrites after being called names by Miguel de Icaza (insults like “you are talking out of your ass”). How typical [1, 2, 3]. It came up when this Microsoft MVP, de Icaza, wrote: “It is all fun and games, until IBM sues your open source project for patent infringement”. IBM behaves badly, but what if it bought Novell? Would de Icaza flee to Microsoft? Some pundits opine that IBM is in a position to buy Novell, whereas others believe that HP is the more likely candidate.
Last week Christopher Dawson posted a list of reasons why IBM should buy Novell, but with this announcement by Microsoft and Red Hat it would seem that HP buying Novell (or perhaps HP partnering with Intel to make a joint purchase) would make far more sense right now. Everything that Chris said about IBM buying Novell remains true with HP doing the buying, with the added bonus of guaranteeing that there would be continued development of Linux for HP’s flagship processor. HP has made a significant investment in the Itanium-based Integrity servers and the limiting of future options for the processor isn’t a recipe for long-term success.
Let’s remember HP’s involvement in UNIX and also in .NET. ECMA has something to say on the subject. Speaking of which, David Worthington carries on promoting Microsoft and .NET while his friend de Icaza promotes C#. He and/or his team have just released more Windows software to help Microsoft:
We just released our updated version of MonoTools for Visual Studio
We have already provided examples to show that Mono is quite the Visual Studio recruitment tool [1, 2, 3]. █
“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”
–Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist
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Summary: Microsoft has found ‘creative’ ways of preventing people from actually choosing a Web browser other than Internet Explorer, according to Håkon Wium Lie from Opera Software (the infamous butterfly ballot is shown above)
THE BROWSER BALLOT has changed since it was first introduced because Microsoft cheated or had convenient (self-serving) bugs in it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. There are still problems being reported and Opera accuses Microsoft of blocking the ballot with Internet Explorer, according to the following source:
Opera Software — makers of the popular Opera browser — is once again causing some trouble for Microsoft. The Norwegian-based company told The Register that the browser-ballot screen introduced by Microsoft is covered almost completely with an Internet Explorer configuration wizard [pictured], thereby lowering the chances that people will pick up a browser other than Internet Explorer. “When you’ve been through the 10 screens of IE settings, you are limited with what you can be bothered doing next,” said Opera Software Chief Technology Officer Håkon Wium Lie. Microsoft, on the other hand, believes such situation could never really take place outside a simulation laboratory.
Microsoft’s friend Gavin Clarke wrote about this too.
Opera Software has told The Reg that it has informed the European Union of a possible problem with a fix that was designed to make Internet Explorer in Windows comply with EU antitrust law. Opera has also informed Microsoft.
Opera said the browser-ballot screen Microsoft introduced to Windows so users could pick a browser rather than take Internet Explorer by default is being almost completely hidden by a set of 10 IE configuration screens. Opera illustrated the problem at The Reg’s San-Francisco, California, offices with a set of screen shots taken from a Thinkpad X31 running Windows XP SP2.
In any event, based on several Indian sources [1, 2], Internet Explorer is losing market share in India where there is not even such a ballot.
According to research firm Statcounter, Internet Explorer has shed its market share by as much as 20 percent in the past two years in India. This, even though things like the browser ballot is yet to arrive here. The steady decrease in the usage of Internet Explorer is attributed to the perception that it offers comparatively lower security protection compared to other browsers and due to the huge publicity any Internet Explorer loopholes related story were out in the media.
It is the same elsewhere [1, 2]. █
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Summary: Microsoft’s state-sponsored or state-assisted domination of people’s mindset expands to more US states, the counterfeit propaganda returns with more lawsuits (against people indoctrinated by states), and Microsoft suppresses Free software in Nepalese colleges
‘American EDGI‘ is harming the minds of innocent people, slowly progressing like a flu, state by state (3 more this time). Last week we wrote about the state of New York very briefly (it had only just come up). Right now, however, more information about New York reveals the role played by Governor David A. Paterson, who lets Microsoft take control of his people with potential financial aid from the state [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8].
What a shameful situation. Microsoft uses state power to increase its monopoly power and even a state as prominent as New York falls for it, along with Massachusetts.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State of New York recently announced plans to offer free technology training through Microsoft’s Elevate America program. Nearly 100,000 Microsoft online training and certification vouchers will be offered to unemployed residents of the two states, at no cost to the recipients. New York and Massachusetts join thirteen other states’ efforts to provide technology training.
In readmedia.com there is even more coverage, but here is the interesting thing. They have issued a “Media Advisory” as though they try to control what journalists are saying. To clarify, this is not a business transaction but an abuse of taxpayers’ money by Microsoft. This is why we only ever complain about government contracts of this kind; if a private company wishes to engage with Microsoft, that’s its own choice because corporations are tyrannical structures by nature; citizens and their states, however, are supposed to be a flattened representative structure where all are equal and elected officials fulfill the desires and interests of voters.
Moving on to Massachusetts, we recently wrote about a Boston museum (public property) becoming a victim of Microsoft. Boston (Massachusetts) is of course the home of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and one of the historical venues that are incorporated into US history. Governor Deval Patrick does not honour the spirit of his country by allowing his citizens to be subjugated and indoctrinated by a convicted monopolist [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. This shameful new deal is covered by the “Elevate America” programme which we call “American EDGI” because of its true nature and intention.
Patrick and Microsoft Vice President of State and Local Government Gail Thomas Flynn made the announcement of the Elevate America partnership at the JobNet Career Center in Boston, one of 37 Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development jobs centers that will distribute the vouchers.
Some weeks ago we showed that Microsoft was doing the same thing in Michigan [1, 2, 3, 4] and here is new coverage about it.
Ottawa County Michigan Works has more than 1,000 free vouchers for individuals interested in receiving free online training on a range of Microsoft products. Interested individuals should call (616) 494-3407 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a voucher. All vouchers must be activated by April 11.
That’s the end of this week. Microsoft is trying to entice people to become indoctrinated, thinking that they actually acquire skills by memorising user interfaces.
Thanks to Governor Jim Gibbons (who still enables Microsoft's Nevada tax dodge), the same programme comes to Nevada. He sells out.
Microsoft and the state of Nevada are joining in a free computer training program to help employed or displaced workers improve their skills.
More information can be found here and here.
Microsoft will give away nearly 7,000 vouchers for the computer training through the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
Microsoft is hijacking the system while pretending it’s goodwill. It’s state-sponsored Microsoft training and over a dozen states already participate in this. Watch this new press release:
XCourse leading the way for flexible Microsoft Excel training courses
But XCourse makes learning easy and flexible for you. You can try the different business and management courses they offer to help you progress in your career, or merely IT and Technical courses, MS Office training – including Microsoft Excel training – and courses related to Personal Life.
Here is Microsoft exploiting charities to promote its “IT skills training” (Microsoft Office indoctrination).
Software giant and charitable organisation aim to get young people back into work through IT skills training
According to Microsoft’s own research, 77 per cent of all jobs will require IT skills within the next five years.
When they speak about “training” and “skills” what they really mean is “Windows and Office” ‘literacy’.
Watch what happens in Nepal right now:
Microsoft Corporation is equipping 10 colleges in Kathmandu to conduct all software courses designed and certified by it.
At the bottom of this post we add references (2007-2010) to show that Free software was actually gaining momentum in Nepal, especially in education. Microsoft is trying to put an end to that. There is something similar going on in south America (story on that coming soon). “Software courses” mean “Microsoft courses”. Microsoft often disguises the purpose of this using words like “piracy” (overpricing in the market, then labeling all users “criminals” because they can’t afford it). Criminalisation of young people is never justified. It is a tool of control.
“As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours.”
Based on other new observations, Microsoft uses “myths” as propaganda in the Web site where it currently “discusses the evils of ‘piracy’”.
Number 1, Software piracy is a serious crime. According to Microsoft ‘pirated’ software makes money for other people, and in some cases, lots of money. Once again we are reminded that serious organised crime gangs, like we presume the Triads, eagerly await the next version of a Windows OS in much the same way they do the next shipment of dragon-chasing drugs and aphrodesiac Rhino horn powder.
Yes, more propaganda and a new pattern of deception. At the same time, based on this new report from Qatar (this is part of a trend in Qatar), Microsoft is legally attacking those who distribute Microsoft software.
Microsoft Gulf yesterday said that a criminal complaint which it had filed in Qatar led to an anti-piracy raid at a store in the country.
Later on we’ll publish another post about Gates’ agenda in education. Using the Gates Foundation he gradually takes over parts of the system. █
“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”
Free software in Nepal:
 FOSS is rejected by CAN InfoTech Nepal
Every year, for the last couple of years, FOSS community Nepal has been getting a small stall to showcase whatever they have to the unusually large mass that come to witness the event. Not that FOSS is going anywhere in Nepal, but still that opportunity to try and create awareness existed. From this year onwards FOSS community is not going to be able to do that too as they have been told that due to lack of space they will not be able to put up a stall.
 Nepal’s first FOSS Training and Research Center Opened
Nepal’s first FOSS Training and Research Center is opened at Brihaspati Vidyasadan School (BVS) at Naxal, Kathmandu, Nepal. This Center has been made possible by the financial help from Help Nepal Network and BVS Alumni and technical help from FOSS Nepal, the community involved in spreading free and open source technologies in Nepal.
 Nepal pushes for FOSS adoption: Will the world follow?
On the fertile battlefield of open source vs. closed source, Nepal has signalled a change as free and open source software such as Linux has been adopted as a serious contender to commercial software, a la Microsoft.
Most people enjoy free things, the word is used by many a retailer to entice customers in to the shops – “buy one, get one free” and the like. However, free and open source software (FOSS) has struggled to make a serious impact when in the ring with commercial heavyweights like Microsoft, because there were so many pirated versions of Windows operating systems, they were cheap and often come free with hardware which making it difficult for FOSS to gain a foothold.
 FOSS: Price Is Zero, Value Is Priceless
The main factor working against the growth of open source software in Asia has been the ready availability of pirated versions of Microsoft’s software. However, open source advocates are gaining traction in places such as Nepal, where Linux is growing in popularity.
FOSS alternatives exist for almost all commercial software, Pradhananga says. What is lacking is awareness, he says.
Now, Foss Nepal with MPP, Help Nepal Network and other cyberactivists are trying to change all that with public programs and recruitment of young software engineers into the movement.
 [GNU/Linux-based] OLPC Nepal Now
In it’s conclusion the evaluation is positive: “The head teachers in both the schools consider the pilot program as very effective and see great promise in reducing the disparity between private and public schools.” and “With this student-centered approach, students are interacting with each other more often. It has made students more curious and they are eager to learn new things. It has also helped in developing co-operative spirit as students are willing to help each other learn new technology.”
 Software Freedom Day in Nepal
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Community of Nepal (FOSS-Nepal) observed the fifth international Software Freedom Day today. The day was celebrated by over 500 different volunteer groups in 120 countries.
 SFD08 Press Release II
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Community of Nepal (FOSS-Nepal) observed the fifth international Software Freedom Day today. The day was celebrated by over 500 different volunteer groups in 120 countries. The theme for this year’s celebration of FOSS-Nepal was “Create, Share, Collaborate.” Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Ganesh Shah started the proceedings at Yala Maya Kendra in Patan, Kathmandu by unveiling a compilation of Free/Open Source Softwares in a CD named “Nirvikalpa.” Honourable Minister also announced the launch of a web-portal named “Prasfutan.” “Prasfutan” which means “blossoming” in English aims to provide a collaborative environment to a vast number of local talents in Nepal whose creativity has a reach only up to a limited audience comprising of their acquaintances. This is in sync with the theme of “Create, Share, Collaborate.”
 Software Freedom Day to be marked
This is the third year that Nepal is celebrating Software Freedom Day (SFD).
 NepaLinux 2.0 Released
Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya released the localized Linux Distribution, NepaLinux 2.0 .
 Kids In Jiri Love XO [One Laptop per Child]!
All in all, the day was a huge success and another significant step in raising awareness of XO and just how valuable it can and will be to the children of Nepal!
 Founder of OpenContent at FKK Special
FOSS Ka Kura a.k.a FKK is a monthly open-discussion program organized by FOSS Nepal Community, where FOSSians can discuss about FOSS, FOSS applications, Localization, GNU/Linux, etc. The main objective of this program is to create public awareness about FOSS applications and developing a Free/Open Source Community in Nepal. The Free/Open Source Community could involve a wide range of people ranging from experts, enthusiasts, FOSS advocates and so on.
This program was formerly known as Linux Ka Kura and was organized by Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya (MPP).
 FOSS Essentials Training conducted in Nepal
The key objective was to create an awareness about FOSS among general computer users, promote the use of FOSS and to build a network of FOSS practitioners and trainers in Nepal.
FOSS Essentials Training 2007 was jointly organized by FOSS Nepal Community and the Center for International Cooperation for Computerization (CICC), Singapore. The event was supported by National Information Technology Center (NITC, Nepal), and Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya (MPP, Nepal).
 Nepalese NGO Releases Localised Open CD
After the release of two different versions of NepaLinux, a localized Linux Distribution in Nepali, the development of the Nepali OpenCD 1.0 is yet another attempt of Madan Puraskar pustakalaya for promoting the usage of localized Free and Open Source Software in the region.
 One hour with the XO laptop in a Nepali school
On Nov. 5th, 2009, during the first OLE Assembly in Kathmandu, I visited a class that uses the XO laptop in the Binayak Bal School of Badal Gaun, Nepal (several pictures available at the bottom of this page).
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Summary: Microsoft sidles closer to totality in order to weaken Google, which is now taking away lucrative customers away from Microsoft
MICROSOFT has ignored the disruptive trend harnessed by Google for far too long. And now, argues a pro-Microsoft Web site, Google Apps is a “threat” to Microsoft Office.
Apple has taken share from Windows operating systems, and on the lower end, consumer netbooks from Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) and other PC manufacturers have Linux-based operating systems as an option. While these challenges may be a blow to Redmond’s pride, they have yet to be a threat to its business. However, with Google Apps, Microsoft is seeing a major challenge to one of its most important products: Microsoft Office.
The above statement is not true. GNU/Linux is already harming Microsoft a great deal, especially when it comes to margins. Free software has ruined Microsoft’s margins in several different areas, by Microsoft’s own admission.
“Free software has ruined Microsoft’s margins in several different areas, by Microsoft’s own admission.”Other news articles say things like “Microsoft’s Office Suite May Be Challenged By Google’s Alternatives” or even “Microsoft Office Faces Challenge From Free Google Tools,” but they are ignoring the core component of Google’s tools (which are proprietary software built on top of Free software).
Microsoft hardly has any datacentres compared to Google and Windows has lower capacity, so it’s an uphill battle for Microsoft. The price pressure is showing.
Microsoft is so desperate to stop Google that it is now “enabling tyranny” [1, 2] despite pressure from the US government. Here are some new articles on the subject:
Let’s talk about straight business issues and not whether anyone is right or wrong. Although I think the moral and ethical issues are clear if you’re not running a company involved in China, things get murkier when there’s business to conduct and you have not only self interest, but a legally-mandated fiduciary responsibility to investors.
I may have been a bit harsh when saying that this was only a business decisions for Google, and it seems clear that the situation had an impact on company co-founder Sergey Brin, but given how long the company was willing to hold its nose, you know that morality can take a back seat to pragmatism. From purely business considerations, it would be much harder for Microsoft to pull out of China than Google.
A closer look at the past week’s news may also reveal that Microsoft is looking for low-wage labour in China and in India. New facilities are being built in China (also banking relations), whereas in Western countries Microsoft keeps laying staff off. Is this Microsoft’s future?
Microsoft said it would stay in China and continue to obey the country’s censorship laws, which include forbidding pictures of tanks and protests when one searches for “Tiananmen Square,” for example.
Adding insult to injury, Microsoft attacks Google’s Web browser using ammunition that it cannot conceivably use.
Microsoft has publicly attacked Google Chrome, accusing its arch web rival of compromising user privacy with the browser’s data-gathering address bar.
In a video posted to Microsoft’s TechNet site and tagged with the title Google Chrome Steals Your Privacy, Internet Explorer product manager Pete LePage uses a web traffic logger to show Chrome sending data back to Google as he types a url into browser’s more-than-an-address-bar, dubbed Omni Box.
In reality, both companies should reduce their data collection and Microsoft is in no position to take such a stance where it mocks Google for doing exactly what Microsoft does. They are being total hypocrites again and Dave Methvin calls them on it:
The tempest that Microsoft is trying to brew in this teapot basically boils down to this: Google’s Chrome browser combines the function of the address bar and search box in a single input field. When you start typing things into that box, Chrome sends the partial results to Google so that it can send back relevant results.
Let’s clarify a few points here. First, Internet Explorer will happily send back the same sort of information if you type into the search box, rather than the address bar; it’s not as if this is top secret stuff. Second, just about every search engine (that includes Google, Bing, and Yahoo) includes the same ajaxified search box that sends back partial results as you type. Third, if you trust Yahoo or Bing more than Google, you can easily change your Chrome default search provider to them, or turn it off completely. (Notice how the Microsoft video makes some noise about “default settings” in explaining this.)
Here is Microsoft using other companies to slam Google (and admitting this).
But isn’t Foundem just a Microsoft puppet? Its founders say no. Foundem does belong to trade group ICOMP, which is funded in part by Microsoft, as Google pointed out in a blog post. (As Google also pointed out, one of the other complaining companies, Ciao! by Bing, is a Microsoft subsidiary.) In addition, the Register notes that ICOMP’s legal director wrote some “legal bits” of Foundem’s EU complaint.
However, the article says Foundem hasn’t received any money from the trade group or from Microsoft, and neither company has any ownership interest in the other.
* Microsoft’s head algorithms guru says that Google’s search engine beat Microsoft because Microsoft ignored the long tail of search queries. If Google and Microsoft made different product design choices and the marketplace liked Google’s choices better, doesn’t this make it hard for Microsoft to complain about Google’s “anti-competitive” practices? I wonder if this talk was pre-cleared by Microsoft’s antitrust counsel.
It is rather disappointing that Wolfram got itself involved with even more proprietary software companies after it had given in to Microsoft in exchange for a payment.
The latter question was answered in August when Wolfram Research partnered with Microsoft. For those willing to switch from the almighty Google, Microsoft’s Bing displays Wolfram’s fact-based, data-rich results in some search results alongside traditional pages culled from the Web.
That agreement (and a check from Microsoft) facilitated in a way Wolfram Alpha’s move to “ubiquity,” as the developer refers to changes it announced Wednesday.
Microsoft tries to limit options such that the only viable option other than Google becomes Microsoft. This relates to the previous post about Yahoo. █
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