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05.13.10

Have Microsoft EULAs Just Been Declared Invalid in the United Kingdom?

Posted in Apple, Europe, Law, Microsoft at 4:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft’s software licences may lack a legal basis and Apple is tickled for breaking the law as a sacred, secret and specially-blessed hypePhone gets out of Apple’s hands again

SEVERAL years ago, an analysis was published in The Register which contended that Microsoft’s EULA is not enforceable in Britain. Microsoft claims no liability [1, 2, 3, 4] and also forbids benchmarks (which Phoronix produces a lot of these days). A reader has just sent us this new article from The Register. It says that the “High Court rules software liability clause not ‘reasonable’” and that “The IT industry feared that the result would make it harder to make claims for software, but the Court said that EDS’s fraudulent misrepresentation was down to the conduct of one employee, not the whole firm. Experts said that this made it less likely that IT suppliers would overhaul the way they sold their systems.”

“This is a very important story,” explained our reader, “and a good tech journalist would investigate all such ‘only your money back’ agreements.” Like its close partner Samsung, Microsoft has a history of using British law (+EULA) as an instrument of abuse.

As side news, Apple’s 4th generation hypePhone has been ‘leaked’ again. [via]

Wow, Apple aren’t being too careful these days, they appear to have lost another 4th gen iPhone – this one is a 16 GB model. These images have appeared on a Vietnamese website Taoviet.vn.

Rumors are that this handset was bought in the US for $4,000 by a Vietnamese businessman, along with an iPad. What do you think? Genuine? Other rumors suggest this iPhone is fitted with the A4 processor, same as the iPad.

Will Apple break the law again (or have the police break the law) by bullying the person in possession of this phone, just as it did to Gizmodo? (details in the links below)

Microsoft is Against Open Access, Pro DRM

Posted in DRM, Microsoft at 3:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“DRM is the future.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Summary: Microsoft makes the contents of the British Library (shown above) hostage of DRM, limits distribution of material that can be distributed infinitely for the betterment of all society

NOW that we know for sure that Microsoft does not support net neutrality, it is time to approach another related subject, which is what Microsoft has done to the British Library. We last wrote about the subject in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] as the relationship between the British Library and Microsoft is well known and very notorious. Microsoft’s entire business model is based on artificiality scarcity, which it is trying to impose upon other areas of life (Apple does too).

As we explained yesterday, Microsoft pretends to favour "Open Source" where it actually promotes software patents and proprietary software with this fraudulent "open-source" label. Likewise, Microsoft can pretend to support Open Access (OA) as much as it wants; its actions show that it does exactly the opposite. Microsoft does, for example, fake the whole “Open Data” thing, where access is granted only to customers of Microsoft. “Open Data” is that misleading label which Microsoft uses to market proprietary, standards-hostile software to governments and this new post from Cambridge is no exception.

I am delighted to be able to help BMC with their Open Data award, co-sponsored by Microsoft (see below which I quote in full).

It is co-sponsored by Microsoft so that they can spread misleading labels and sell an illusion of something “open” at Microsoft. We have given many examples of this. In reality, Microsoft is helping data be locked down and away from those who wish to access it, even with Microsoft's own DRM. There are several examples of that in the British Library and the same blog from Cambridge has a new series of rants about that: [via Glyn Moody, an author who says "shame on you British Library"]

i. When the British Library “improved electronic access with DRM”

Scraped from British Library site without permission into Arcturus I have found the point in time when the British Library [changed or introduced] its DRM. I quote in full (without permission, claiming fair use) and then comment.

ii. The British Library’s Secure Electronic Delivery

* The electronic copy will be available to download from the server at the British Library for 14 days, after which the file will be deleted.

Access and Printing

You are permitted to make only one paper copy from the electronic copy. We recommend printing it out when you first download it.

iii. The British Library: Mission Impossible; I still need information

So I repeat my request for information about ILL and the BL (and local practices). I shan’t publish names if you don’t want. But if I can’t even get correct factual information then I am disappointed and disillusioned. By acquiescing to DRM for academic materials, you are bringing either 1984 or Fahrenheit451 to our future society.

iv. Campaign to liberate Information from The British Library

I am going to ascertain what these procedures are by using the freedom of information act. The University of Cambridge is required to disclose information under the freedom of information act and I shall make an inquiry to ascertain the current procedures and rules for inter library loans. I shall use whatdotheyknow.com to send a request to the University of Cambridge. This request will be public the university, by law, there is required to respond within 20 days. They reply will be public and I hope it will be informative. From this I hope to gather both what the British library is policy and regulations are and what additional regulations (or possibly removal!) Are imposed by Cambridge.

v. Would Ranganathan have approved of DRM?

If the British library had asked “would Ranganathan have approved of DRM?” I think we can guess the answer. I have no idea what the motivation of the DRM is but I do not believe it is primarily introduced to increase the take up of their material and to increase scholarship. I am absolutely certain that it contradicts the first law.

vi. The BL’s position becomes somewhat clearer but additional comments welcome

What’s rather clear is that the British Library is pushing society back to analogue, urging citizens to embrace artificial limitations that put preservation too at risk. They are fighting like Luddites, even as a public institution. Given Microsoft cronies like Adam Farquhar, it is not surprising that the British Library has gone off the rails. According to Groklaw, Microsoft is involved here. As Pamela Jones put it, “Can they, for just one issue, guarantee that Microsoft will be around in 50 years? That .Net and Biztalk2004 will still work? If not, then what?”

Microsoft’s patent frenzy too is an example of where the company’s policies prove extremely harmful to society. How about this publisher who seeks a patent on peer review?

A scientist in Switzerland is seeking to patent a system for peer reviewing and publishing scientific papers online, Nature has learned.

Henry Markram, a neuroscientist and publishing entrepreneur who works at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, last year filed internationally for a broad patent on systems for interactive online peer review and publishing open-access journals.

The application, says Markram, was filed mainly to protect a fleet of author-pays, open-access journals published by the Lausanne-based Frontiers Media, a company he created in 2008 with his wife Kamila Markram, another neuroscientist at the EPFL.

Ridiculous. These people hold back society and put intellectual achievements (which human civilisation depends on for its survival) in jeopardy.

Samsung Goes Beyond Corruption and Starts Bullying Critics With Lawsuits

Posted in DRM, Google, GPL, Microsoft, Samsung at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Samsung CEO
Lee Kun-Hee, Chairman and CEO of Samsung Electronics and a criminal (picture from Gizmodo)

Summary: Samsung gives another reason to boycott Samsung; Techrights reader to force Samsung to disclose GPL-licensed source code

ONE of the companies which we urge/called for a boycott against is Samsung, which puts a Microsoft tax on Linux and Android. We have only just discovered that in addition to Samsung’s history of fraud there is also a vicious attempt to silence critics. Here is this new example:

Samsung Sues Satirist, Claiming Criminal Defamation, Over Satirical Column Poking Fun At Samsung

[..]

As satire goes, it seems pretty tame (and, really, not that funny). But, Samsung went ballistic, suing Breen, the Korea Times and its top editor for both civil and criminal libel charges. Supposedly, after Korea Times ran a “clarification” that was written by Samsung itself, the paper and its editor were dropped from the lawsuit, but the suit against Breen remains. And, since there are criminal charges, not only could he face hefty fines (perhaps $1 million), he might also face jailtime. For writing a satirical Christmas day column. Tough audience.

To quote the original:

The South Korean electronics giant’s libel suit against a British columnist shows both the power of corporate conglomerates and a different view of defamation, satire and free speech.

Samsung has really gotten some nerve. If anyone should be sued, it is Samsung executives, not some satirist. Here at Techrights we don’t do satire; instead, we provide factual information and opinions.

One of our IRC contributors and regulars, Ryan, has just take action upon the suspicion of GPL violations at Samsung (he was unable to find the source code on their site). Here is his initial report.

I own a Samsung BD-C5500 Blu Ray Disc player:

In the Support section, it offers to show you the licenses for all the free and open source software they used, which happens to be most of the software on their Blu Ray player, the GPL/LGL software alone includes:

Linux kernel, Busybox, Binutils, wireless_tools, uClibc, directfb, ffmpeg, smpeg, libgphoto2, libusb, libiconv, libmms.

As we have been saying since 2007, boycott Samsung. It is an unethical company riddled with corruption and it harms Linux more than it helps it. Samsung is merely an exploiter, not a contributor. It also spreads Microsoft's DRM.

Samsung logo

Novell News Drought

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mail, Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED at 2:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Drought

Summary: Novell hardly has any stories to tell anymore; sale of the company might be imminent

ONE of the main reasons we stopped posting weekly news about Novell is that there is hardly any. A few years ago Novell actually had some things to announce, but now that it’s up for sale, there is nothing going on — i.e. fewer business transactions — and we expect Novell’s financial results (next report is just days away) to truly disappoint and maybe lead to another bid to acquire Novell. Key employees of Novell have already abandoned the company [1, 2], probably because they know what’s coming.

Except for this press release about OES2, all that we found in the news this week is reiteration of some Verizon deal (mentioned in this article too, but it’s old news) and something minor about Wipro, which is Microsoft’s ‘drone’ in India (one among several).

A third award went to Wipro Technologies for their IAM appliance solution based on Novell software which provides a full set of hardware and software components based on standards and optimized for easy configuration.

To quote the India Daily, “Wipro is just a servant of Microsoft facilitating Indian cyber slavery under the American corporate banners.”

Except the above, there are GroupWise-related announcements from GWAVA [1, 2 and others. Justin Steinman, one of the key Microsoft-Novell people, will participate in a "breakfast event" next week, but that's about it from Novell. It's a total news drought. Judging by that, Novell's upcoming results cannot be good. Let's wait and watch because the previous bid to buy Novell came right after the financial results (which disappointed).

On Novell acquisition:

Former OpenSUSE Community Manager (Novell Employee) Hopes Mandriva Doesn’t Find a Buyer

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Mandriva, OpenSUSE at 2:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier, photo by jimgris

Summary: Mandriva is up for sale; Brockmeier seemingly hopes that Mandriva won’t find a buyer

THE old S.u.S.E.-Mandriva rivalry in Europe might not be the cause for this bizarre piece from Novell’s former booster (he no longer works for Novell [1, 2], which is also up for sale), but either way, here he is commenting about Mandriva’s fate, not wishing them what they want.

Maybe it’s better if Mandriva doesn’t find a buyer

[...]

As a non-Mandriva user, I don’t really have a stake in whether the company succeeds or fails or whether something called Mandriva continues to exist in any form. As a Linux user, I love the variety that exists and having many choices of Linux distros — but I also see enormous wasted effort. Too much work, too few hands. And, especially and unfortunately, too many folks unwilling to compromise on any features or technical decisions when they can just fork or have their own playground — which ultimately results in tons of duplicate work and a fragmented environment.

There are other posts that are jokes about Mandriva, which is one of my favourite distributions of GNU/Linux.

Mandbuntu will initially ship with only one desktop environment/windows manager, the newly reconfigured (just for Mandbuntu) DuXfce. Rumor again informs us that a KDuxE version will be available soon. More rumors from lower level custodial crew claim that the French duck dish theme will continue. The next version will probably be Mandbuntu 12.0 – Peking Duck.

For those who believe that this is bad for Mandriva customers, well… in the worst case scenario it is easy to move from one distribution to another, which actually makes GNU/Linux a much safer choice for businesses. There are more contingencies and control of code, which proprietary operating systems cannot ever offer.

To give one example of a contingency, there is PCLinuxOS (rooted in Mandrake/riva), whose latest version Susan Linton has just reviewed, concluding:

Perhaps trumping all the technical aspects of this distro is a sense of ownership for its users. PCLinuxOS is one of the best examples of the “community distro.” The small band of developers take suggestions and cues from their users very much to heart and even solicit opinions, artwork, and software requests. This is perhaps the key to PCLOS’ success. It allows the community to feel not only involved, but important to development. They all can feel as though they contributed at least in some small way.

Our daily links contain many more reviews of PCLinuxOS 2010 and articles about Mandriva’s situation (it is not the focus of this Web site). I ran PCLinuxOS 2010 on my computer 2 weeks ago and it was splendid. Mandriva users have nothing to worry about, no matter what happens next.

Kuwait Government Dumps Novell/Microsoft for Red Hat

Posted in Asia, Finance, GNU/Linux, Red Hat, Servers, SLES/SLED at 2:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ron Hovsepian and Steve Ballmer with red hats

Summary: Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity & Water swaps Ballnux for GNU/Linux; Red Hat upgraded by a longtime foe

Good news has come from Kuwait, which is one of Microsoft’s key victims [1, 2].

The Kuwait Ministry of Electricity & Water has just decided to get rid of Novell’s Microsoft tax and use a GNU/Linux distribution which is free (free as in “no tyrant like Microsoft”). We have found just one report about it so far:

The Kuwait Ministry of Electricity & Water has decided to switch to Red Hat Enterprise Linux to run the servers at its data center, Raleigh-based Red Hat announced Wednesday.

Financial terms of the deal were not released, but the contract victory is doubly sweet for Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) because the Kuwait MEW has been running its servers on a version of the Linux operating system sold by Red Hat rival Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL).

In addition to this, Red Hat has been upgraded by one who has been spreading Red Hat FUD for at least 4 years.

Wall Street analyst Katherine Egbert at Jefferies & Co. is giving a “thumbs up” to Red Hat. (NYSE: RHT).

In a research note issued overnight, Egbert upgraded the world’s top Linux software developer to a “buy” and boosted her projected stock price to $35.

Egbert used to predict doom for Red Hat and she has been wrong almost every single time she commented on Red Hat. Will she be right this time around? Her record is abysmal.

IRC Proceedings: May 12th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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