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06.12.10

IRC Proceedings: June 12th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Torvalds’ Home Nation Still Besieged by Microsoft and Its Partners

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Ubuntu at 1:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EU and Finnish flags

Summary: More educational interferences by Microsoft in Finland, including stacked panels according to fresh allegations

WE have recently been in contact with several people who are based in Finland, which is where Linux comes from. One would imagine that Finland is all about Linux but it’s not. There are corruptible politicians standing in the way, including some whom we named here before*. One must remember that they are being lobbied by people like Bill Gates, who still works for Microsoft on the side. We wrote about his lobbying visit to Finland just two years ago and now that another Finnish university becomes his prey, this visit is being recalled:

“The cooperation between Microsoft and Aalto University started already in January 2008 when Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen and Microsoft Chairman of the Board Bill Gates met. Since then Microsoft Research in Cambridge has followed closely the development of Aalto University and its profile. As the result of this dialogue, two joint research projects are now announced. With this venture we will continue to observe the further intensification of our research collaboration with great confidence”, says Government Affairs Lead Max Mickelsson of Microsoft.

Why was Gates dumping software in the land of Linus Torvalds? Some say it’s because schools in Finland make many attempts (some successful) to move to GNU/Linux, primarily Ubuntu based on recent reports. Microsoft is trying to derail this, as always. Microsoft’s bad behaviour in Finland is not news to us. We wrote about the subject in posts such as:

A few days ago we were informed by a reader about new developments in Finland, notably the item at the top. Our reader wrote:

Our corrupted Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen visited Bill Gates back in 2008 and from that meeting he brought us Live@Edu for primary, intermediate and high schools.
Now the plan went forward and also three most well-known academic schools, nowadays bundled together as Aalto univ are pwned by Microshaft.

Most of the schools in the whole country are using only Windows exclusively, from servers to desktops.
All the problems with viruses, trojans, break-ins, slowness and breaks in lan/wan networks, problems with different incompatible (MS)office file formsts etc. are not released into the news, even within the organizations.

“Established in 2010, the Aalto University is a new university with centuries of experience. The Aalto University was created from the merger of three Finnish universities: The Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki University of Technology and The University of Art and Design Helsinki.”

And Aalto = Wave in finnish, but it comes from the name of famous .fi architect, Alvar Aalto.

Recent news about PM Vanhanen:

http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Chancellor+of+Justice+keeps+Vanhanen+report+on+foundation+funding+confidential/1135257457753

They’re playing time, together.
Vanhanen is retiring from PM position next weekend and parliament elections are coming up in April 2011.

Another reader from Finland wrote to us and said a little more about the Finland-based Tuxera, which is helping Microsoft at the moment. Our reader asked not to be quoted or identified, but the short story is that Microsoft may be using stacked panels at the moment. It does this in Finland, aided by Ixonos. For those who do not know, Ixonos is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.

“A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to select die panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can’t expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to get the moderator to agree to having only “independent ISVs” on the panel. No one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the competing technologies would be allowed -just ISVs who have to use this stuff in the “real world.” Sounds marvellously independent doesn’t it? In feet, it allows us to stack the panel with ISVs that back our cause. Thus, the “independent” panel ends up telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover this panel, and you’ve got a major win on your hands.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

____
* As a matter of general rule, it is common to have internal and external occupiers, where several internal factors (people or companies) conspire with outsiders in exchange for some benefit and betray the local population. They sometimes hire their critics (paying them) as means of suppressing critical campaigns that expose them.

Latest Examples of Microsoft’s “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” (EEE)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Servers, Virtualisation, VMware at 10:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Emergency

Summary: How Microsoft embraced, extended, and extinguished companies and products; examples from Ulteo, sub-notebooks, VMware, and Novell

MICROSOFT is famous for its “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” strategy (see Wikipedia for details) — a strategy that Microsoft admits engaging in, as shown in Comes vs Microsoft exhibits.

A few days ago we argued that Microsoft’s Ulteo partnership is a mistake, or rather, this is a mistake for Ulteo to make and an opportunity for Microsoft to harm GNU/Linux from the inside. Pogson calls this “partnership” “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” and he explains why:

If Ulteo starts to make big bucks with this “partnership” are they going to want to change to a pure GNU/Linux play, ever? Nope. That is the plan. Maintain the monopoly one way or another. Buy out all competition. Make users of competitive products pay a tax any way you can.

Watch out Ulteo. Do not sell your soul to the devil for a few dollars.

Another thing that Microsoft is applying the “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” treatment to is sub-notebooks (Microsoft EEE’d the EEE PC). GNU/Linux used to thrive on this form factor and prices hovered around $200 at a time when this was unprecedented (excepting OLPC). Here are some posts about what Microsoft did to the whole phenomenon by ‘embracing’ it:

The short story is that Microsoft was obstructing competition and got away with it. Liliputing says that “Windows XP netbooks are officially an endangered species… again”

Microsoft had planned to stop selling Windows XP ages ago. But netbooks have been largely responsible for keeping the operating system going long past its original expiration date. But that will all change in a few months. Microsoft is reminding us that Windows XP Home will no longer be available for pre-installation on netbooks come October 22, 2010.

Right now, some of these are released with a useless version of Windows, which compels one to just go with GNU/Linux (assuming that option is available at all, especially in places like the United States). Sadly for Microsoft, GNU/Linux is a moving target and currently it beats Vista 7 on tablets/Slates/phones. Will Microsoft pull dirty tricks with OEMs like it always does? It has already cost Microsoft billions and it shows.

We must admit that there is something a little odd going on with Microsoft’s “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” of Novell. If Microsoft boosters are to be believed, Novell moves from Microsoft to another company which is run by Microsoft executives (that constitutes another “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” example).

Microsoft hits back on expanded Novell-VMware alliance

It’s relatively rare that Microsoft execs comment officially on Redmond’s competitors. Something’s got to really hit a nerve before that happens. It seems that occurred this week, based on a June 9 post on the Microsoft Virtualization Team Blog.

Novell and VMWare announced an expanded partnership on June 9, via which VMware will distribute and support the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. VMware also announced plans to standardize its virtual-appliance-based product on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

The newly minted deal didn’t sit well with Microsoft — especially because Microsoft execs love to trot out Novell as an example of Microsoft’s interoperability love. Microsoft and Novell announced a similar distribution and support deal a couple of years ago (which also included patent-protection clauses that irked a number of customers and players in the open source camp). And just last week, Microsoft execs highlighted new high-performance advances achieved by Novell and Microsoft in their joint lab in Cambridge, Mass.

In a June 9 post, entitled “VMWare figures out that virtualization is an OS feature,” Patrick O’Rourke, director of communications, Server and Tools Business, highlights the 3.5 year partnership between MIcrosoft and Novell, claiming it has benefited more than 475 joint customers.

Another Microsoft booster wrote about it. It’s still a move against Red Hat, which works quite well for Microsoft. That’s what pro-Microsoft sources are saying anyway. This pro-Microsoft virtualisation blog even cites the Gartner Group for support. Looking outside their biased scope, we find another type of coverage that continues well into the weekend [1, 2, 3, 4]. Some of the coverage is just being reposted by IDG (as usual), which put a copy of Paul Krill’s early article in its UK-based domain. Amy Newman wonders, “Will Server Virtualization Save Novell?”

It’s been a long time since Novell held center stage. One would would have to go back more than a decade, to the heady days of NetWare and GroupWise, to find Novell at the top of its game. These days, you’re more likely to hear Novell described as “a company going nowhere fast.”

Harsh, no doubt, but the SUSE Linux OS Novell picked up back in 2003 has barely picked up enough steam to be an also-ran against Red Hat’s Linux. And Novell (NASDAQ: NOVL) has lumbered along since then. In March, it received an unsolicited bid for purchase from the hedge fund Elliot Associates. Novell’s board of directors turned it down, believing the company to be worth more than the $950 million, or $5.75 per share, offered. At the time it said the company said it was looking at other options, including “a sale of the company.”

Novell has ambitions in Fog Computing these days (we wrote many articles to show this in May and June), so whether Novell succeeds or not, it hardly matters for software freedom and GNU/Linux anymore. Novell is just more of the same problem. Speaking of a problem that fights against another (like Apple versus Microsoft), one reader wrote to tell us about the end of the SCO case [1, 2]. “The SCO case went on so long,” he argued, “that Novell is no longer one of the good guys. The only ‘good guys’ in the SCO case were PJ and the folks running Groklaw. Novell is going to be a severe problem because it will do what Microsoft partners do — push a Microsoft agenda while calling it Open Source.” Yes, Microsoft embraced and extended Novell over the years when former Microsoft executives entered Novell and GNU/Linux developers were laid off (unless they worked on projects like Mono and Moonlight).

Software Patents Debate in LinuxTag 2010 and Elsewhere in Europe

Posted in Europe, Google, Law, Patents at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Berlin at night

Summary: Coverage of the patent issue which was raised in LinuxTag 2010, the council of the European Union, and also touched on by Google’s chief legal officer (who helps protect from MPEG-LA)

THIS post hopefully contains positive news. This time we write about LinuxTag not in order to say that Microsoft paid to intrude the event and upset people in it [1, 2] (which is true). This time we won’t mention Microsoft.

Opposers of software patents roam LinuxTag 2010. These include the FFII and Florian Müller. Dominik Brodowski wrote a paper [PDF] on “Criminal Regulations by the European Union – New Threats or New Opportunities” and it also discusses software patents towards the end. To quote:

Consequences for Open-Source Software?

But what does all this mean for Open-Source Software? Let me briefly address three major aspects: the protection of intellectual property, the primacy of prevention, and an increasing awareness for safe and secure software.

Protection of Intellectual Property?

First of all – and probably most controversial to those following this presentation – the European Union strongly emphasises the value of intellectual property and acknowledges a need for its protection. This is something, however, at least large parts of the Open-Source Community agree upon: If companies sell products which use modified GPL-licensed software, the Open-Source Community is forcefully protecting their own copyrights. So this is, in principle, nothing to fear.

A distinct point relates to the field of „software patents” – and the enforcement of such „software patents” by means of criminal law. Much has been talked about this issue, and much will still be talked about it in future, for there is large disagreement whether „software” can be patented at all. Let me just point out one aspect: part of the issue might be the overly long protection period – about twenty years – not fitting to the fast evolving development of software.

And yet another, controversial aspect relates to „digital rights management“ – or, more pointedly, criminal law provisions against the circumvention of intellectual property protection. The much-feared „hacker paragraph” – § 202c German Penal Code – turned out not to be a threat in practice; further criminalization does not seem to loom around the corner.

Here is the programme page of LinuxTag for Florian Müller from Germany:

Overview of recent, ongoing and impending decision-making processes at the EU level (legislative and regulatory processes) that are relevant to the commercial adoption, distribution and development of Linux and open source: the European Commission’s Digital Agenda and the European Interoperability Framework; the proposed European patent reform and its impact on software patents; the aftermath of recent competition cases (Microsoft cases; Oracle/Sun merger control; potential new cases and recently lodged complaints (such as the complaints against IBM’s conduct in the mainframe market); other relevant developments in Brussels.

Müller sent us his ODF-formatted presentation (now available online and also in plain text form under his blog). He added: “I know you’re particularly interested in what’s said about Microsoft and there are some slides in it on the Microsoft antitrust case. I would like to point out that when I brought up the slide about how their conduct has changed in a way that I believe is in no small part due to the EU antitrust case, I nevertheless made it clear that I don’t like their lobbying for software patents and certainly everyone will have to watch how things evolve. Right now, however, I am clearly more concerned about IBM and Apple. I know you have a different prioritization but based on what concerns me more and what concerns me less, the exclusionary use of patents (explained in a recent blog post of mine) is the number one concern.

“Right now, however, I am clearly more concerned about IBM and Apple.”
      –Florian Müller
“There’s some interesting stuff that Kroes plans to do about companies that are “significant market players” but not “dominant” like Microsoft is. They want to pass an EU law to require significant market players also to license interoperability information. The best example I can see right now is Apple. Looking at their problem with the Free Software Foundation, it’s really time that their tight grip on everything related to their products is loosened and while it would be very difficult to make a case that they’re dominant (they’d argue Nokia sells more units, RIM is very big, Android is coming on stronger and stronger), there’s no doubt they’re significant and as far as I’m concerned, I think it would be great if the same principles that underly the EU’s ruling against Microsoft were also applied one day to a company like Apple. That would help consumers and application developers, including those who want to develop applications that are free software.”

Regarding other issues he wrote: “About OpenForum Europe I’d like to mention that they try to spin Neelie Kroes’ speech as an endorsement of open standards and while she indicated a preference for patent-free/royalty-free standards, I didn’t see her opposing the concept of patented standards at all. It was more like she said the market would favor “free” in the end.

“I know from good sources that there’s some awareness for those antitrust complaints against IBM and it doesn’t help their push for royalty-free standards in other areas than their #1 cash cow. If they don’t even offer any license deal to resolve the situation satisfactorily, they make themselves just ridiculous by reiterating their view on open standards to the EU institutions. So they hurt the FOSS interest twice, in the particular case of Hercules (which obviously isn’t a MySQL or Firefox in terms of installed base) and more importantly in the overall context of interoperability/standards policy.”

To OpenForum Europe he wrote: “Hope Google commitment never to use [software patents] against open source will be in #ofesummit recordings when published.”

A Red Hat employee shows that even Flash’s co-creator dislikes H.264. It’s interesting because Flash is one of the main vectors through which H.264 gets spread on the Internet. To quote the “Flash guy”:

The second challenge was selecting a video codec. We wanted to use the cool new H.264 open standard but Macromedia did not feel they could afford the H.264 license fee. I believe that the capped $5M per year H.264 license fee was similar in scale to the annual Flash engineering budget at the time. The H.264 license fee model is very anticompetitive. H.264 licensing is free for very small users, expensive for medium size companies and inexpensive for very large companies. This model puts the midsize companies who could challenge the dominant companies at a significant competitive disadvantage and is the reason that we implemented the proprietary but affordable On2 codec in Flash instead of the open and expensive H.264 codec.

MPEG-LA is somewhat of a patent troll, as we explained in the following posts:

Google has fortunately come up with a substitute to MPEG-LA. It’s Free software, but Müller complained about patents last week (even after Google had resolved the licensing issue). Müller may be having second thoughts now. In his LinuxTag presentation he wrote that Google’s attitude is: “anyone using patents against open source is a bad idea, you won’t see us do it”

“Google’s chief legal officer made great commitment,” told us Müller in an E-mail exchange. “He said at the OpenForumEurope summit (when I asked about patents and open source) that I wouldn’t see them use patents against open source and that anyone (without meaning to chide a particular company) doing so is a bad idea.

“I hope they’ll have that in their recordings when they publish them next week or so because this is exactly what all the big guys should say (and, of course, they should then keep that promise, but making it is a great first step per and ups the ante for some others).”

“Google’s chief legal officer made great commitment”
      –Florian Müller
MPEG-LA is reliant on software patents, thus it will have difficulties in Europe (regardless of WebM/VP8 and Ogg Theora). A few days ago we showed that the UPLS is in trouble. It means that software patents will be harder to push into Europe as matter of law. Here is a report from the recent EU hearing [PDF] which also touched on the subject (regarding the “request for an opinion from the council of the European Union”).

In page 10 it says: “As regards the legal basis set out in Article 308 EC (now Article 352 TFEU), Ireland maintains that the creation of a unified patent litigation system cannot be considered to be an objective of the European Union. Nor has it been demonstrated that the effective functioning of the common market requires the conclusion of an agreement on the PC.”

“UPLS is undermining the European Court of Justice to hear and determine disputes in matters relating to Community law,” writes the FFII’s president.

Patents Roundup: Intellectual Monopolies Versus Life and Versus Software Development

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 7:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Baby and mother

Summary: Patents on human life and on a breast cancer gene continue to jeopardise the legitimacy of the patent system (more so than ludicrous software patents, i.e. maths monopolies)

Legal fight over breast cancer gene

Landmark legal action challenging a patent over breast cancer gene BRCA1 is being launched in Australia today.

The Ethical And Legal Problems Of Having Patients Sign Over The Copyright On Doctor Reviews

About a year ago, we wrote about the really troubling concept pushed by a group called Medical Justice, which tries to “protect” doctors from negative reviews online by having them demand that patients hand over the copyright on any future reviews they might write. As we noted at the time, this was an attempt to completely abuse copyright law, way beyond its intended purpose — though we wondered if it would actually work.

[...]

Separately, Jason Schultz points out that this whole scheme appears to violate basic medical ethics rules. He points to a particular rule:

Under no circumstances may physicians place their own financial interests above the welfare of their patients. The primary objective of the medical profession is to render service to humanity; reward or financial gain is a subordinate consideration. For a physician to unnecessarily hospitalize a patient, prescribe a drug, or conduct diagnostic tests for the physician’s financial benefit is unethical. If a conflict develops between the physician’s financial interest and the physician’s responsibilities to the patient, the conflict must be resolved to the patient’s benefit.

How does that apply here? As Schultz explains:

Since the main concern of Medical Justice appears to be preventing harm to the physician’s reputation (and thus financial interest), forcing patients to assign away their copyrights in exchange for medical care strikes me as close if not over this line. It certainly is not putting patients first. When a patient goes to see a doctor, they are often anxious, in pain, or worried and thus in a very psychologically vulnerable position, or what the law often calls a position of “duress” where they will often sign documents without giving them proper consideration. This hardly seems to me to be a fair time to demand they assign some unknown number of future copyrights to their doctor; instead it feels like a huge power grab by the physician.

When you create draconian copyright laws that include free speech removing notice-and-takedown provisions, don’t be surprised when people abuse it for other purposes, well beyond the intent of copyright law.

Gibson, Curtis, PepsiCo: Intellectual Property [via]

Gibson Guitar Corp. settled its patent-infringement claims against Viacom Inc., Electronic Arts Inc. and retailers over the “Rock Band” music-video game, according to court filings.

The companies told Magistrate Judge Juliet Griffin on June 4 “that they had reached a full settlement” and plan to seek dismissal of the case by June 14, according to a filing in federal court in Nashville, Tennessee. Terms weren’t disclosed, and Viacom and Electronic Arts had no immediate comment.

Solo, Hillenbrand, Wal-Mart: Intellectual Property

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, was sued for patent infringement for its alleged use of a vehicle position-tracking and communication system.

ITC Considers Whether to Ban Apple Products After Apple Sued Linux (Android)

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Law, Patents at 7:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Green-red apple

Summary: The International Trade Commission (ITC) is looking at HTC’s complaint and the Motorola-RIM patent fight is settled amidst ITC involvement

Apple is having a hard time with the FTC (for potential antitrust/anti-competitive abuses) and ITC too. It’s part of the mobile patent wars and earlier this month we explained why Apple is the ‘bad guy’ in that regard. Despite being the company which admits "stealing" other people's ideas, Apple has to nerve to bully other companies, alleging that they — not Apple — are “stealing”. Several months ago we saw Apple suing Android/Linux without any prior provocation. Apple targeted HTC, one of the largest distributors of Linux (in the form of Android). In response to this (defensive action because Apple did the same thing first), HTC filed complaint with the ITC and it goes forward according to the latest news:

A U.S. trade panel will investigate allegations made by HTC Corp that Apple infringes its technology, as HTC seeks to win a ban on the U.S. sale of iPhones, iPads and iPods.

More coverage in:

In other news, “Motorola and Research In Motion settle [their] dispute” (in which the ITC was involved).

Handset makers Motorola Inc. and Research In Motion Ltd. said Friday they have settled a patent complaint over mobile technology that Motorola brought to the U.S. International Trade Commission earlier this year.

More coverage of this can be found in:

The ideal solution is to ban software patents, not to use the ITC to ban a competitor’s product.

Canonical Searches for Its Strategy, Confused About ‘Patent Protection’ for Ubuntu

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 7:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Computer Club Ubuntu Party
“Computerclub Ubuntuparty” by Oman

Summary: Canonical makes a statement about “Ubuntu Advantage” — a statement which ought to be revised because it emphasises a bogus advantage that takes the slippery patents slope and puts rival distributions at a position of disadvantage

OpenSUSE, the forgotten project which suffers from the Microsoft-Novell patent deal, “searches for its strategy” according to this lengthy new article from LWN. It says:

While Ubuntu is clearly focused on user-friendliness and Fedora has a “bleeding edge” approach (although it has sometimes struggled with its identity), openSUSE lacks a similar message. Who is the target user? What are the long-term goals of the distribution? What is its unique selling point? For the past few months, the openSUSE Board worked together with some community members on a more focused strategy. The question they want to answer to themselves and to the rest of the world is “Why choose openSUSE?”.

To answer this question, the Board looked at data from various sources, including market share figures and the openSUSE 2010 Survey that the project ran in February, which produced some useful results [PDF]. They also held a series of strategy sessions on IRC with many discussions about the role and the future of openSUSE.

Canonical is actually having a similar problem because it doesn’t know how to make enough money from Ubuntu. One way of raising money is through support contracts (Red Hat does that) and Canonical did well by offering business support to users of Ubuntu. It is compliant with Free software ideals. As we noted a few days ago, Canonical turned Microsoft away when Microsoft tried signing a patent deal, so the following allegation contains baffling new evidence:

Ubuntu apes Novell in IP scare campaign

In its hurry to embark on ventures that would result in making its GNU/Linux distribution a profitable one, it looks like Canonical, the makers of the popular Ubuntu GNU/Linux, has gone a step too far.

Canonical has launched an initiative called Ubuntu Advantage which attempts to sell its product based on many factors, one of them unfortunately being the hoary old chestnut about the possibility of Linux having IP problems.

The wording says it all: “Ubuntu Advantage gives you peace of mind with comprehensive legal cover. Ubuntu Assurance helps customers to deploy Ubuntu without complicated legal concerns. We take care of intellectual property (IP) infringement legal claims brought against customers in their use of Ubuntu.”

Red Hat has indemnification and so does IBM, but it’s not the same thing. If Canonical sells “indemnification”, then it needs to be phrased differently (not the way it’s phrased above). It ought to be clarified that there are no legal issues and if any issues arise, Canonical can indemnify (which is not ideal, either). This is very different from what Novell has been doing, so we don’t agree with the conclusions reached by the article above.

Apple Exploits Free Software, Then Bans Free Software and Also Bans Competition (and FTC Investigation Launched Against Apple)

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GPL at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Scientology Centre

Summary: The Federal Trade Commission is opening a formal investigation into Apple’s practices now that its Hubris-like offences make it akin to a dangerous cult, not just a technology company

THE parasitic nature of Apple is a subject that we last discussed two days ago, having previously provided several concrete examples [1, 2, 3]. Here is another new example of Apple ‘leveraging’ (exploiting) Free software to build its proprietary Web browser, which contains other bits of code that Apple ‘leveraged’ from Free software projects (namely from KDE).

Apple Safari’s new “make web go away” button is based on an open source project distributed under the Apache 2 license.

The Safari Reader – which debuted yesterday with version 5 of the Apple browser — is built using the source code for Readability, an Apache project from Arc90 Labs. In the wake of the browser’s release, Arc90 praised Apple for including a tool that mimics its own — a tool that strips a webpage of its ads and site branding, reducing to text and core images — and only later did the outfit realize that Steve Jobs and cult had actually dipped into its code.

What does Apple give in return? And will the original project accept Apple’s contribution at all?

“Apple would rather remove app than leave open-source license,” says the headline of this new post. That’s how extremely hypocritical Apple can be.

Games, both free and paid, are perennial favorites in mobile app stores. So it was no surprise that GNU Go — the free, GNU-based version of the ancient and popular game of Go — was available as a free download in the Apple iTunes store. Until recently.

It disappeared as a direct result of a complaint from the Free Software Foundation that Apple’s Terms of Service violate the software’s license.

GNU Go is licensed under GPLv2. Section 6 expressly prohibits any “further restrictions” on the license, which allows anyone to copy, distribute or modify the software. But the App Store’s Terms of Service do just that, restricting where the downloads can be installed.

Apple is sort of banning the GPL rather than simply complying. What does that say about Apple? There are many horror stories coming from Apple’s “app” stores, where Apple is essentially abusing its power and removing anything it does not like (the customers are not involved in these decisions).

“Apple bans competing ads from the iPhone” says the headline of another new article:

Apple has tweaked its developer terms and conditions to explicitly lock out in-application advertising services that might compete with its own iAd service.

The new terms, picked up by All Things Digital, spell out the rules. Applications may not collect statistical information for advertising, or any other reason, without Apple’s written permission – and you can be clear that Google, Microsoft and/or Opera need not apply.

There are other examples like that. Many examples. Apple blocks software for competitive reasons. Apple’s bad attitude when it comes to HTML5 is also worth a mention. Apple is working against Theora and against WebM, instead promoting a patent troll and a cartel while pretending that HTML5 is Apple’s own turf. The vanity is astounding.

According to other breaking news, the FTC will investigate Apple for this type of behaviour, which includes a frivolous lawsuit against Linux (Android).

The Federal Trade Commission will open an investigation into whether Apple is illegally using its position in the mobile software market to harm competitors, according to several published reports.

On Friday afternoon, both Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal reported that the FTC had opened a formal probe.

A few days ago Apple got a black eye when details of its customers were leaked. Ryan Farmer writes about wide-ranging implications of this:

With the recent spillage of 114,000+ subscribers personal information, the FBI has opened an investigation:

The problem is that the scope of the investigation is into who took the information and responsibly disclosed it, not into the circumstances which AT&T and Apple provided, making the theft easy, obvious, and repeatable. (Luckily the people that took it were not out to do damage, or it would have been done already.)

In a rush to get a product to market, a typical proprietary software company puts little or no thought into security. After all, it’s not their personal information at stake, it’s the personal information of the persons crazy enough to trust the software that’s impossible to audit. And in DMCAT&T’s case, the network it travels across which is monitored by government spooks as well as criminals.

Here are some other reactions [1, 2], including the involvement of the FBI. Rather than raid the houses of journalists and crackers, the FBI ought to consider raiding Apple’s headquarters and AT&T too. Just because Apple is a big company doesn’t mean that it’s on the right side of the law.

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