Summary: More patent violations from Microsoft mean that fewer features of Microsoft Office are left and Google takes advantage
Patent violations in Office have already fragmented Microsoft's OOXML based on geography. There may be other patent issues that Alex Brown and Microsoft hid in OOXML (the i4i case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12], just for starters, shows that they lied to the public). Now comes the VirnetX case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10), which castrates Office Communicator:
Microsoft has far from given up on the VirnetX patent-infringement case, but it has started working to strip the technology in question from Office Communicator, an executive said.
Over at the ‘Microsoft press’ we have this post about one of Microsoft’s crooked insiders, Alex Brown [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21], who recently pretended to have nothing to do with Microsoft’s inability to respect ISO [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s an exercise of reputation laundering and now comes the Microsoft response, which is an admission from Microsoft employees that they are not following their own documentation of their proprietary formats. It’s the same formats which had them corrupt national standards bodies. They just don’t give a damn and this latest promise is not a binding contract. Microsoft has already been accused of lying about such plans/promises (the accusation came from Mogens Kühn Pedersen, chair of the Danish Standards Committee). Either way, based on this new article, “Microsoft Office 2010 Is Defeated by Google’s Gantlet”:
Despite the fact that the company has already installed a vast base of customers that use Office products, its mindshare is decreasing because a great part of users moved to Google Apps.
Google is not the solution because it is proprietary software. However, it supports ODF and it is built on top of GNU/Linux. █
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Summary: A pack of Microsoft hyenas serves Microsoft’s recipes and then reacts as a group when someone from the pack gets denied
AS ROUGHLY DRAFTED MAGAZINE pointed out a few years ago, Rob Enderle and Daniel Lyons were cross-citing each other with Microsoft-sourced or Microsoft-inspired talking points about Microsoft or SCO. As revealed in the case of Maureen O’Gara [1, 2], both Microsoft and SCO do use journalists as their stooges with whom to attack other journalists and spread disinformation. As we have stated before, Microsoft's sockpuppet TurboHercules (Microsoft obviously uses them) also has this PR person called Carina Oliveri trying to control coverage by befriending journalists. It’s a dirty business and part of an industry totaling close to a trillion dollars per year in the United States alone.
Microsoft/SCO recruited or assembled its share of flunkies to lie about the SCO case and one of those who participated in it was Daniel Lyons, who is now being rejected by Apple (and had his employer more or less embargoed too).
To Levy, “this is like hiring Rush Limbaugh as your White House correspondent” and expecting to get interviews. Lyons’s “most notable professional accomplishment is a vicious satire of Apple.”
The article is worth reading as whole. Lyons lied about the series of events, which ought to show just how dishonest he is. He admitted this. And guess who comes to his rescue? It’s Microsoft Jack [1, 2, 3], who is spinning for Lyons. It’s like they work as a group. As one person points out in the comments: “Pathetic story. Shows the bubble that journalists live in if this is considered news.” █
“There is nothing so bad but it can masquerade as moral”
–Walter Lippmann (American Journalist, 1889-1974)
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Thomas Friedman, 1990
Summary: Thomas Friedman is spreading Microsoft’s disinformation in the New York Times, thus further substantiating the allegation that the New York Times exists to serve big business, not the readership; Microsoft also pays to produce propaganda about its role in Washington (despite tax dodging)
Microsoft has a lot of news sites, some of which are wholly owned by Microsoft, some are funded by Microosft, some are funded by Bill Gates, and many receive their income from Microsoft in the form of advertising business. Microsoft adds another Web site called “Glo” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], which one of the Microsoft-funded sites (in the form of sponsorships) describes as follows:
Microsoft’s MSN this morning rolled out a new site called “Glo,” an online lifestyle magazine developed in conjunction with BermanBraun Interactive — its partner on the “Wonderwall” celebrity site — and Elle and Woman’s Day publisher Hachette Filipacchi Media.
This will be another Web site masquerading as news while totally controlled by a software company. We have given many similar examples in the past. One really has to know which is which because there are many Microsoft sites where the affiliation is not stated explicitly and bias would be telling only based on a large sample set.
“Right now it looks like Mundie inherits a role once taken by lobbyist and convicted criminal Jack Abramoff.”One of Microsoft’s top lobbyists is Craig Mundie, who is already close to Obama [1, 2]. Many of his activities which we’ve covered here characterise him as a Microsoft lobbyist, not just an executive (he also hangs around with the Bilderberg group [1, 2]). Here is a recent example of Mundie’s activities that affect government.
Right now it looks like Mundie inherits a role once taken by lobbyist and convicted criminal Jack Abramoff. Mundie is influencing the New York Times just like Bill Gates did back in January. Mundie uses the publication to lobby for more visas (i.e. foreign workers) and Friedman acts as though he is a Microsoft mouthpiece for hire. He repeats everything he is told and the Microsoft boosters then reference him as though it’s an authority that’s reliable.
So, did you read Thomas Friedman’s column in Sunday’s New York Times? In it he floats an idea for saving the U.S. economy by creating jobs here for “high-IQ risk-takers” from overseas. And it seems to be based off of an interview he did with Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer.
Classic Abramoff maneuvers. More here:
Friedman’s argument springs from what appears to be an interview with Craig Mundie, the chief research and strategy officer of Microsoft (MSFT). Although Microsoft has been a relative laggard technologically for at least the last decade, Friedman appears to be swept away by Mundie’s viewpoint.
Some of our readers dislike Friedman with a great passion. Here he is just printing the words absorbed by him after chatting with a lobbyist/executive. What room does that leave to critical thinking?
It is unfortunate to see other new “independent” studies from Microsoft being covered as though they bear a meaning and can be trusted. These are funded by Microsoft, yet Microsoft shamelessly calls them “independent”. Here is Microsoft paying Forrester (whom Microsoft sometimes pays to attack GNU/Linux [1, 2]):
New Independent Study Reveals Enterprises Are Under-Investing In the Protection of Corporate Secrets
RSA, The Security Division of EMC (NYSE: EMC) and Microsoft (MSFT) today announced the results of a commissioned global survey conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of RSA and Microsoft, entitled “The Value of Corporate Secrets: How Compliance and Collaboration Affect Enterprise Perceptions of Risk.” The survey of 305 IT security decision-makers worldwide revealed that enterprises are investing heavily in compliance and protection against accidental leaks of custodial data (such as customer information), but under-investing in protection against theft of far more valuable corporate secrets.
Microsoft told them exactly what to produce and how. From now on Microsoft will be able to cite an “independent” Forrester report to corroborate. That’s just their business model.
Here is another new case of Microsoft security ‘studies’. They come down pouring.
Only Microsoft boosters (2 sites in total [1, 2]) covered another ‘study’ which was funded entirely by Microsoft. One of those two reports says:
The study, funded by Microsoft, says the company was directly (through employment) and indirectly (through spending by Microsoft and its workers) responsible for 8.4 percent of the state’s employment as of 2008, or approximately 267,600 jobs. That was up from approximately 6 percent in 2005, 3.5 percent in 2000, and less than 1 percent in 1990, according to the study by UW economics professor Theo Eicher.
This is just more propaganda whose message is that Microsoft saves Washington’s economy. This is utter nonsense. The article states and shows that “Microsoft’s Brad Smith discusses the report today on the UW campus.” Is that the same Brad Smith who is named by Jeff Reifman as one of the perpetrators of Microsoft’s tax avoidance [1, 2, 3], which has already cost Washington about a billion dollars in missing money? It is worth adding that a lot of Microsoft’s workforce in Washington is brought from overseas and Washington residents openly complain about this. █
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All things considered, I still believe that Linux desktop security is superior to that of Windows in a home environment. Here’s why:
- The default firewall setup offers a very safe configuration off the bat.
- The software repository model is safer.
- Viruses are no concern.
- Social engineering is definitely a threat, but following a few simple guidelines should keep it safe.
Some have raised a very valid concern about the lack of reactive security in the Linux Desktop. Unlike Windows users, we have nothing to fix or even detect the situation once security is compromised. While I agree with such concerns, in my opinion all that means is that Linux users need to approach security differently to Windows users. Windows users have grown accostumed to a reactive model. They have a wide variety of tools to detect a security threat and kill it. The key to Linux desktop security is to take a proactive approach: Preventing over healing.
To me, it boils down to this: Linux desktop users are safe as long as they follow a few best practices, which is more than what Windows users can say today, even with the help of an antivirus. In addition, in the event of security being compromised, the severity of damage is generally much more limited.
While most Linux users are fine with just using the kernel supplied by their distribution vendor, there are some enthusiasts and professional users who end up tweaking their kernel configuration extensively for their needs, particularly if they are within a corporate environment where the very best performance and reliability is demanded for a particular workload.
I like sparse software. I like programs that do one thing. I like applications that don’t try to manage my life or my schedule or my music. I want clean interfaces with straight lines and no rubbish. I don’t want glitz, I don’t want frills, I don’t want glossy album covers fanning out between tunes, all hovering over a mirrored backdrop. And I definitely don’t want one-button clickable interfaces to social networking sites owned my multimedia conglomerates.
I expect to release another article soon and squeeze in a few more games. You should also expect a review of payware and demo games, like Quake 4 and UT2004 soon. We’ll also have a Best of … article. Furthermore, since most of the games reviewed are in constant development, you should expect re-reviews of individual games periodically, just as I’ve done with Nexuiz and AlienArena.
Today, we would like to present you a fresh Ubuntu 10.04 inspired wallpaper, brought to you by Opentechblog.com to accompany your morning coffee.
Its the time to gear up for the next version of Ubuntu. Codenamed Lucid Lynx, Ubuntu 10.04 is slated to hit on 29th April 2010. Let’s have a look at the changes & new features to be incorporated in this new Ubuntu LTS(Long Term Support) release.
The recent Beta 2-release of Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) features a new sleek installer that brings a fresh breeze of professionalism into the installation procedure.
So how do we, in the Linux press make people outside of the Linux community aware that Linux does not equate to Ubuntu? That is the real challenge we now face if we want Linux to be more widely accepted.
I was reading an article about how Ubuntu is a bad standards barer for the “Linux” desktop. I’ll leave aside how paradoxical the brand “Linux” is used to mean desktop when it means nothing of the sort and I assume she means FreeDesktop (FDO).
But I was struck by the problems that she has had and the comments to the entry. When comparing them to my own support roster for the past few months of sudden grub mortality (8 cases) where grub just looses all ability to boot anything with cryptic errors such as “Invalid symbol ‘u’ found” and ‘Error 15′.
I have been using Ubuntu 10.04 since beta 1 and it has been quite stable until this week.
Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 2 uses a kernel based on version 18.104.22.168 (2.6.32-16.25). But already now the current stable version is 22.214.171.124 so I would not be surprised if the release would be based on this one (or even a newer one). Check your kernel version with the command uname -r (from your terminal). If you have a new computer with dual core, i5 or i7 processor, then you should consider updating your kernel to a kernel where support for older cpu´s are removed. You can try to use the server version of the kernel instead of the generic one.
Ubuntu 10.10 will released on October 28, 2010.
June 03rd, 2010 – Alpha 1 release
July 1st , 2010 – Alpha 2 release
August 12th, 2010 – Alpha 3 release
September 2nd, 2010 – Alpha 4 release
September 23th , 2010 – Beta release
October 21st , 2010 – Release Candidate
October 28th, 2010 – Final release of Ubuntu 10.10
Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat release schedule
Linux Mint 6 Felicia will reach end of life on April 30, 2010. This release was based on Ubuntu 8.10 which is planned to reach end-of-life at the same date.
According to ABI Research, people will download around 6 billion mobile apps in 2010, up from an estimated 2.4 billion downloaded in 2009. The main drivers for the increase: the rise to the rapid adoption of smartphones (which had a 20% sales growth in 2009) and the proliferation of App stores for those platforms. And with two new platforms set to debut later this year (Samsung’s Bada OS and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7), the growth will only continue.
Last year I wrote an article, which explored the nature of the rivalries between the big three: Google, Apple and Microsoft. In that article, I posited that Google’s entry into smartphones, the development of Chrome, and the firm’s titanic efforts in the cloud and with advertising not only obsoleted Microsoft’s presence in these spaces, but elevated Google to Microsoft’s old role as Apple’s arch nemesis.
While plenty of virtual ink has been spilled over the Google/Apple device battles, could they be approaching a bigger online battle as well? It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility — and given its control over the devices it sells, perhaps it could get a pretty good starting position with a search engine. Still, it does seem like a bit of a reach for Steve Jobs and company. At this point, it seems more like some analyst just looking for a more interest “Google vs.” prediction than anything serious at this point.
Verizon supported the Android 2.0 gadget with a $1 million marketing promotion, which helped the company make hundreds and thousands of sales of Droids at the time of holidays.
GOOGLE’S Android phone operating system is moving into more new handsets as the battle for smartphone supremacy heats up.
Still, it seems like history could repeat itself, with the rest of the industry closing the innovation gap with Apple fast. With Google subsidizing the mobile OS, other phone manufacturers have an economic advantage as well. Jobs is trying everything he can to hold back the Android advance, including suing HTC, the largest manufacturer of Android phones. He is fighting Google with everything he’s got—undercutting Google’s pending acquisition of AdMob by entering the mobile advertising market and creating fear among Android partners with his patent lawsuit.
Here’s some good news if you’re in one of the many European DEAD ZONES where Google has yet to launch official access to the Android Market – Vodafone is launching its own app-selling shop front to sell Android apps to its customers.
Since I expect Android on tablets to be a big thing in 2010, I am experimenting with the closest thing I can get: Android in my eee 701 Surf 4G…
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The Asus Eee Box has got the Chinese Linux distribution, The Red Flag Linux, which is going to help you to buy it. The coolest thing is the price of this Asus Eee Box. The features for this model are just the way they were supposed to be. The complete features of this Asus Eee Box are not yet know, but we have go few of the features which this model does carry.Spec Details :1) Red Flag Linux2) Atom N270 processor3) 160GB hard drive4) 1GB of RAM5) standard Intel integrated graphics
If an open source project turns proprietary then there will be a fork and the open source lives on. The open source culture is all about freedom. Freedom of information. Those who try and limit their information only end up limiting themselves, not those around them. This is why proprietary companies have come and gone yet open source has out lived them all. When those proprietary companies head off to the failed company afterlife. All of their secrets and locked in knowledge, goes with them. When individual open source projects are shut down then nothing is lost. The information is still available for effective usage in other projects.
If the community-driven Open Source application development is to be considered the new age equivalent of the hippie movement, the coding community goes through a Summer of ’69 almost every year.
Coding challenges like the Google Summer of Code (SoC), organised between May and August, have, in many ways, altered the landscape of Open Source endeavours.
UNIX was written by one person in a month, but today the space has been democratised, and an enthusiastic under-grad sending in an important bug fix becomes the new star on an Open Source mailing list.
Mozilla’s been playing around with interface changes in Firefox 3.7 for a while — there’s the updated default theme and built-in glass support (which made a very brief appearance and has yet to return). In yesterday’s nightly build, another UI option appeared: a simple right-click allows you to move your tabs to the top of the browser window.
This would, perhaps, be the second most shocking/sad news after the resignation of Jonathan (former Sun CEO). I’m sad and upset after hearing the confirmed news that James Gosling will be leaving Sun/Oracle.
James Gosling, the creator of the Java programming language, has resigned from Oracle, he announced in a blog entry on Friday
Gosling resigned on April 2 and has not yet taken a job elsewhere, he reported.
“As to why I left, it’s difficult to answer: just about anything I could say that would be accurate and honest would do more harm than good,” he wrote.
Gosling was the chief technology officer for Oracle’s client software group and, before that, the chief technology officer of Sun’s developer products group.
In 2006, Clive Thompson wrote in a watershed New York Times Magazine article “Billions of dollars’ worth of ultrasecret data networks couldn’t help spies piece together the clues to the worst terrorist plot ever. So perhaps, they argue, it’s time to try something radically different. Could blogs and wikis prevent the next 9/11?” (Open-Source Spying) At the Gov 2.0 Expo, Clive Thompson will discuss the progress made in the Intelligence Community since that 2006 with Matthew Burton, Chris Rasmussen, and Lewis Shepherd.
If I told you that Google had helped fund an ARM code optimised version of the Theora video codec, most people’s reaction would be immediately to skip forward to the next blog entry. Audio and video codecs are the classic example of things that no one cares about, until they don’t work.
Ask most computer users what their preferred video codec is and they’ll look at you as if you asked what sort of motor they’d prefer in their washing machine. “We just want it to work!” they say. In this regard, it’s exactly the same for content creators and publishers. Every visitor to a website that can’t view a video is one set of eyeballs less for a message to get through to. It doesn’t matter how clever the advertising is, how much time is spent honing the message or how many clever viral tricks are deployed to attract surfers to the site, the moment the page opens up with a big blank box where the content should be, all that has been in vain.
Fortunately, there is some good news in the form of HTML 5. This new version of HTML (the basic language used to write webpages) introduces a video element.
The fact that Apple would make such a hostile and despicable move like this clearly shows the difference between our two companies.
In junior high school, one of my classmates had a TV addiction — back before it was normal. This boy — we’ll call him Ethan — was an encyclopedia of vacuous content, from The A-Team to Who’s the Boss?
In an order (PDF) dated April 2 but entered late Monday, Judge Barbara Major said it was “undisputed” that Qualcomm Inc. improperly withheld tens of thousands of documents from Broadcom Corp.
Attorney Steven Lippman helped his former boss, jailed Ponzi scammer Scott Rothstein, arrange fraudulent transfers while collecting millions of dollars in bonuses, loans and personal expenses, a bankruptcy lawyer claimed in court Wednesday.
Major banks have masked their risk levels in the past five quarters by temporarily lowering their debt just before reporting it to the public, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
A group of 18 banks—which includes Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc.—understated the debt levels used to fund securities trades by lowering them an average of 42% at the end of each of the past five quarterly periods, the data show. The banks, which publicly release debt data each quarter, then boosted the debt levels in the middle of successive quarters.
The Center for Digital Democracy, U.S. PIRG and World Privacy Forum complain that advertising programs used by the companies are “growing privacy threats.”
A trio of privacy groups want federal regulators to take a close look at ad networks that track web surfers’ and sell targeted ads.
The federal appeals court ruling Tuesday in favor of Comcast Corp. at the expense of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission comes as debate over so-called “net neutrality” intensifies, with companies spending heavily to influence Washington, D.C. policy makers on the issue.
Nokia has launched a version of its Comes With Music download service without digital rights management (DRM) for the Chinese market, the phone manufacturer said on Thursday.
Up to now, there has been one characteristic of digital recordings that has provided an important counterweight to the fragility of digital media – it’s what Bollacker refers to as “data promiscuity.” Because it’s easy to make copies of digital files, we’ve tended to make a lot of them. The proliferation of perfect digital copies has provided an important safeguard against the loss of data. An MP3 of even a moderately popular song will, for instance, exist on many thousands of computer hard drives as well as on many thousands of iPods, CDs, and other media. The more copies that are made of a recording, and the more widely the copies are dispersed, the more durable that recording becomes.
The world’s first copyright law was passed by the English Parliament on 10 April 1710 as ‘An Act for the Encouragement of Learning’. Its 300th anniversary provides a unique opportunity to review copyright’s purposes and principles. If today we were starting from scratch, but with the same aim of encouraging learning‚ what kind of copyright would we want?
Digital Economy Bill
The controversial Digital Economy Bill may have had a few parts stripped out, it may even be a damp squib. But the remaining, 76-page bill is still a wide-ranging piece of media and technology reform.
Confused? Read our clause-by-clause guide to the bill as it stands now after being adopted by the House Of Commons and as it awaits Royal Assent …
SourceCode Season 3 – Episode 5: First Nation rights (2006)
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Summary: Apple- and Microsoft-targeted campaigns to launch shortly, but name/identity is to be decided by you, dear reader
WE have not yet swapped domains and we very soon will (
boycottnovell.com and other domains to link to
techrights.org), but the general idea is to make “Boycott Novell” just one campaign among several. As a start, while someone is trying to piece together a permanent site logo, we are trying to come with catchy and playful names for Microsoft and Apple campaigns. Each of these needs to be something gentle and informative (like “Vista 7″, which ought to remind people that Windows 7 is just Vista re-branded, plus very few other things).
“The names and the images ought to be humourous and polite.”Before we redesign the site to accommodate — structurally — the new content, we wish to ask for suggestions of names for a campaign regarding Microsoft and a campaign regarding Apple.
For Apple, suggestions that we got so far are: “Evil Toys”, “Evil Fruit”, “Fruit of Evil”, “Fruit of the Devil”, “MacinToy”, “MacinTrash”, “iBoycott Apple”, “iAvoid Apple”, “MAChinations”
For Microsoft, suggestions that we received are: “Boycott Microsoft”, “Save The World From Microsoft”, “Microsoft: An Ongoing Expose”, “Diablo’s Blog”, “InvestigateMS”
Some readers were upset that we didn’t give enough time for people to vote on or approve “Techrights”, so this one we won’t decide or for a few days to come. When that’s all done, artwork would be welcome too (e.g. for the front page), so readers/contributors can send it over as they quite frequently do.
The names and the images ought to be humourous and polite. I never chose the name “Boycott Novell” and I never liked it either. It’s too abrasive to be effective, but it stayed for consistency. “Boycott Novell” is not going anywhere, either. It becomes a campaign rather than the whole Web site’s name. █
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Deceiver at the Internet Movie Database
Summary: Heavy Rain director alleges that Microsoft is faking videos to accentuate perceived merits of its products; Xbox 360 is falling behind
Microsoft lies a lot. It probably would not even deny this. Several months ago, the chair of Denmark’s standards committee said that Microsoft “is lying” and last week we showed that Microsoft is lying about battery issues in Vista 7.
Today’s example is a little more subtle. Here are many reports about it:
1. David Cage: Microsoft Lied About Project Natal
Heavy Rain developer Quantric Dream said that Microsoft lied about Project Natal in its E3 2009 promotional video.
There were similar lies about DirectX 10 (sample pictures comparing it to DirectX 9), intended to sell Windows Vista. But on we move:
2. Did Microsoft Fake Natal Demo?
Cage adds that “I thought it was a little bit lying to present it that way, because it will let (consumers) think that they will (be able to get) something that they are not really close to getting.”
3. Heavy Rain Dev Says Microsoft Lying about Natal
4. ‘Heavy Rain’s’ Cage doubts Natal demo
5. Cage: Microsoft Lied About NATAL
6. David Cage: Microsoft Falsely Represented Natal’s Capabilities
7. David Cage ‘frustrated’ by Microsoft’s ‘sci-fi’ Natal presentation
8. Heavy Rain director: Microsoft lied in E3 Natal Video
9. Microsoft lied in E3 Natal video, says Heavy Rain boss
Heavy Rain director David Cage has claimed that Microsoft ‘lied a bit’ in its presentation video to show off Project Natal at E3 last year.
Well, it lies a lot, not “a bit”. Many small lies makes Microsoft a big Pinocchio, but there are also Big Lies.
“Microsoft even fired an employee who said the truth.”How about Microsoft’s lies regarding the error rates of Xbox 360? Microsoft even fired an employee who said the truth.
According to another couple of new reports [1, 2], Microsoft chose cheap components for Natal — a decision that could potentially lead to massive hardware problems that have already cost Microsoft billions of dollars and harmed the image of the product/brand.
Why does the Western (especially English-speaking) press give so much coverage to Xbox anyway? Because it’s the only major console that’s not Japanese? The BBC may be promoting Microsoft’s Natal [1, 2], but that’s just because it’s the BBC. Having taken so many employees from Microsoft UK, this should not be very surprising.
“Microsoft Is Letting The Lead Slip Away” says the headline of this new article.
Now currently in 2010 Microsoft is looking like the underdog and may actually be in serious trouble going into this years holiday season if certain changes aren’t made to compete against the new Sony Playstation Team.
Speaking of the Sony Playstation, some people may have noticed that Sony’s exclusion of “other OS” has led to a hack that might enable GNU/Linux installation (with full privileges) on the Slim, not just the old model. Sony’s attempt to suppress use of hardware that people are buying has only made things worse, as expected. █
“The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.”
–George Bernard Shaw (Irish literary Critic, Playwright and Essayist. 1925 Nobel Prize for Literature, 1856-1950)
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Summary: More evidence that the attacks against IBM are actually coming from Microsoft and that Müller plays a role in it (Müller set up his anti-IBM blog when he got connected with CCIA’s Executive VP, who works with Microsoft)
WE keep promising to depart from this overreported subject, but as the plot thickens this becomes harder to avoid. Previous posts about TurboHercules vs IBM are:
- Microsoft Proxy Attack on GNU/Linux Continues With TurboHercules
- Eye on Security: Windows Malware, Emergency Patches, and BeyondTrust’s CEO from Microsoft
- IBM Uses Software Patents Aggressively
- IBM’s Day of Shame
- IBM Will Never be the Same After Taking Software Patents Out of Its Holster
- Thumbs up to Ubuntu for Removing a Part of Microsoft; TurboHercules Likely a Psystar-Type Microsoft Shell
- Why IBM Does Deserve Scrutiny (Updated)
- Patents Roundup: Fordham Conference for Software Patents in Europe, NZOSS Responds to Pro-Software Patents Lobbyists, and TurboHercules’ Ties With Microsoft Explained
For those who are not aware, Florian Müller became a lobbyist, but whose lobbyist? More recently he became known for his attempts to derail the Munich migration to GNU/Linux. Florian Schießl, one of the people leading the Munich migration, currently writes: “Wow, Florian Müller’s Blog started just a few days ago. Only a PR campaign, nothing to do with #swpat in real, imho http://is.gd/bm4BA #fail” (and to Rui Seabra he says that “the whole #IBM patent story is just another PR stunt by the “famous” lobbyist Florian Müller.”).
Müller is still at it on more than a daily basis. It’s like a nonstop attack on IBM in a brand new blog (it’s the same in Maureen O’Gara’s ‘blog’ [1, 2] at the moment). To clarify again, Techrights believes that evidence is sufficient to call TurboHercules a “Microsoft proxy” (see this article from Timothy Prickett Morgan), but IBM’s overall attitude towards software patents has always been a problem in general. According to this, “IBM Denies Open Source Sellout” (which is true). This is not about IBM “selling out” but about IBM defending itself from Microsoft attacks; nonetheless, IBM does not help Open Source by promoting software patents. As the president of the FFII showed this morning using an IBM document
[PDF], “IBM believes harmonisation should occur along lines which endorse the current practice and case law of the EPO.” For the uninitiated, “harmonisation” is a way of bringing software patents to Europe.
All or at least several of the letters exchanged between IBM and TurboHercules are available from TurboHercules (which may have had something to do with the sensationalised, self-serving leak to Müller). Some of the details there reveal IBM’s pride which it takes in software patents and even its contribution to the guidelines developed by the European Patent Office (EPO).
“As for Microsoft, in a perfect world, someone will in due time bring an complaint against Microsoft for arranging antitrust complaints against its competition.”
–Pamela Jones, GroklawHere is Groklaw’s initial take on the TurboHercules vs IBM case (written in “News Picks” before publishing a whole post): “Here’s my take. First, on the author’s use of arguments about Apple and monopoly markets, the courts already ruled that Apple doesn’t have a monopoly in the relevant market, so that analogy isn’t legally on point. Beyond that, remember when Microsoft said their competitors would be having antitrust issues? Remember when Maureen O’Gara was one of the very first to write about the TurboHercules antitrust threat to IBM, almost a year ago? And now Florian Mueller, who disrupted the Munich switch to Linux and later famously tried to use MySQL’s license as a way to block the Oracle-Sun deal, including them suggesting that the GPL license be tossed overboard in favor of a BSD-like license, now appears in the TurboHercules story, attacking IBM. What might that tell us? The Microsoft gang’s all here? That this is a manufactured anti-trust issue? That if you are a competitor of Microsoft, someone will file an antitrust complaint against you? You think? Here’s TurboHercules’s take on why they filed, so you can have the whole picture. I can’t speak for the entire open source community, just for myself. But if Florian Mueller tells me to go to the right, I’m inclined immediately to look to the left or straight up or down for alternative options. As for Microsoft, in a perfect world, someone will in due time bring an complaint against Microsoft for arranging antitrust complaints against its competition. They should put more energy into creating good products. Then they wouldn’t have to resort to such tactics.”
A lot more discussion is going on in IRC (logs available online), but here is the gist of it.
“Müller added a LinkedIn connection to Erika Mann, CCIA’s Executive Vice President and head of CCIA’s European office…”One thing that came up some time between March 22nd and March 29th is that Müller added a LinkedIn connection to Erika Mann, CCIA’s Executive Vice President and head of CCIA’s European office (Microsoft and CCIA work together [1, 2]). That was just before he started to attack IBM like he also attacked Oracle some months ago (along with the GPL). He even created a new blog for this purpose.
We are a little saddened to see that Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN) points the finger at what he calls “Linux fans”* (hello, hypocrisy) and blames them for IBM’s PR damage.
That’s not to say that Linux doesn’t have its share of internal battles that don’t do anyone any good. Free software founder Richard M. Stallman’s insistence that Linux should be called GNU/Linux puzzles more people than it does bringing anyone to Linux, or GNU/Linux if you insist. In the last few days though, another Linux family fight has erupted.
This time around, it’s open-source developer and anti-patent political lobbyist Florien Mueller accusing IBM of breaking its promises to the FOSS (free and open-source software) community of not using patents against it. Mueller’s is ticked off that TurboHercules, an open-source z/OS emulator company, over its possible misuse of IBM patents, which includes two that’s covered by IBM’s pledge to not sue open-source companies or groups using these patents.
I have several problems with this. First, as Pamela Jones of Groklaw points out, TurboHercules started the legal fight with IBM and the open-source software license it uses isn’t compatible with the GPL–the license that covers Linux. Second, this is really just a standard-issue business fight that involves patents. It does not, as Mueller would have it, show that “After years of pretending to be a friend of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), IBM now shows its true colors. IBM breaks the number one taboo of the FOSS community and shamelessly uses its patents against a well-respected FOSS project, the Hercules mainframe emulator.”
There is an old problem here. SJVN must understand that patents are probably the #1 barrier to GNU/Linux adoption, so software patents must go. Here is an excellent article/commentary from Dj Walker-Morgan at The H:
Patents could lead to the mutually assured destruction of the software industry and the parading of pledged patents in the opening of a dispute between IBM and TurboHercules threatens to upset the only progress towards a safer world for open source.
Patents are akin to the missiles of the Cold War. The super powers of the software industry have built up large arsenals of them to give them bargaining power. But if all companies who held patents were to pursue all infringements of their patents at the same time, there would be nothing left of the entire IT industry except the legal departments.
That said, it is somewhat essential to isolate the overarching problems with patents from the specific problem of the pledged patents. The former is a systemic problem which requires complex negotiation, legal reforms and an industry wide consensus that the problem exists in the first place. The latter though is a specific problem, one that IBM can immediately resolve by saying “Sorry, those two patents were not meant to be there”. That one move would reassure the community. IBM could, possibly, enhance their good reputation in the community by creating a new 2010 patent pledge which puts more of IBM’s near 50,000 strong arsenal of patents “beyond use” against open source software.
The only real solution is to invalidate them all or issue a legal contract that renders them useless. This is not realistic (too Utopian) given that IBM uses its patents to milk competitors and make over $1 billion per year doing almost nothing. IBM is now obliged to do this for shareholders. This is unfortunate because they use patents as a welfare system that mostly funds lawyers and cannot be afforded by most companies in the same arena**. These companies do complain sometimes, so ideally, IBM should let go and not carry on controlling using patents, however quietly.
Here is what Microsoft is up to these days: [via]
In a recent patent filed at the USPTO, Microsoft has sought to bolster its product offerings with an interesting recommendation engine. Inspired by the recommendation algorithm incorporated on websites like YouTube, Microsoft TV’s recommendation engine will recommend TV shows, movies based on user interests as well as the program’s functional value.
This is just a fence. Who would benefit from such a patent except Microsoft? And doesn’t that involve profiling (euphemism for “spying on”) a user’s activity?
Stephen O’Grady has the following take on the subject of IBM:
The case also illustrates what RedMonk analyst Stephen O’Grady calls “the inevitable outcome of software patents: They get used.”
O’Grady is against software patents, “not for ideological reasons, but because it is self-evident to me that there is no reasonable mechanism for evaluating and granting patents,” he told LinuxInsider.
We wrote about O’Grady’s views on software patents in this older post. He is right on target. █
* “Linux”, which is the kernel IBM put a lot of money in, is not the whole of Free software.
** IBM could reform the system if it wanted to (IBM’s Kappos runs the USPTO), but that would not be beneficial to IBM’s shareholders. The “indemnification” advantage IBM markets to customers is also a way for IBM to suppress use of GNU/Linux that’s not from IBM (e.g. plain Debian).
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