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IRC Proceedings: June 26th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Links 26/6/2010: HP and Linux, GNOME Shell 2.31.4 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 7:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Security/Aggression

    • Peace campaigner, 85, classified by police as ‘domestic extremist’

      For John Catt, protest has never been about chaining himself to a railing or blocking a road in an act of civil disobedience. The 85-year-old peace campaigner’s far milder form of dissent typically involves turning up at a demonstration with his daughter, Linda, taking out his sketch pad and drawing the scene.

    • Senator Moves To Form Federal “Cyber-Emergency” Agency

      The President would gain the power to unilaterally declare a national cyber-emergency and order operators of “critical infrastructure” to immediately implement “response plans” as provided for by the act. Those who fail to do so would be subject to fines, while those who comply would be protected from civil liability for any damages they might cause in doing so — government speak for “you can break people’s stuff and they’re just out of luck.”

    • FBI Failed To Break Encryption of Hard Drives
  • Environment

    • Ushahidi tracks the Gulf Oil Spill: Open Source Crowdsourcing at Work

      Together, crowdsourcing and open source are a potent combination especially during possible emergencies. In this case, the Ushahidi based Oil Crisis Map has helped share data across communities and has openly presented the magnitude of the oil spill. Also, it has enabled people on the ground to actively participate in solving this crisis using current and accurate information.

      Ushahidi (Swahili for “testimony”) itself emerged from another emergency – monitoring a disputed Kenyan election in 2007 with a mash-up of eyewitness reports onto a Google map. Today Ushahidi has developers from Kenya (where it started), Ghana, South Africa, Malawi, Netherlands and the US. Ushahidi was also used in Project Vote Report India for India’s 2009 general elections to track election irregularities.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Reporters Without Borders unveils first-ever “Anti-Censorship Shelter”

      Reporters Without Borders today launched the world’s first “Anti-Censorship Shelter” in Paris for use by foreign journalists, bloggers and dissidents who are refugees or just passing through as a place where they can learn how to circumvent Internet censorship, protect their electronic communications and maintain their anonymity online.

  • Copyrights

    • Creative Commons Responds to ASCAP

      Yesterday, we reported that ASCAP said that organizations like Creative Commons were undermining their copyrights. Today, we’ve received an official response from Creative Commons with regards to the letter writing campaign.

      In the same article, we discussed how Creative Commons was, contrary to what ASCAP said, not about undermining anyone elses copyrighted material, but rather, giving artists an option that was not the Public Domain (no rights reserved) nor Copyright (all rights reserved).

      Eric Steuer, a Creative Commons spokesperson, thanked ZeroPaid for the earlier posting as being well-thought out and was happy to respond to ASCAPs letter

Clip of the Day

CLUG Talk 25 August 2009 – Experiences as a Novice Linux User (2009)

Eye on Novell: SCO, People, Business, SLED/Ballnux, SUSE HackWeek, and Other Events

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, SCO, SLES/SLED at 4:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Divers find Novell

Summary: This week’s roundup of Novell news, including news about OpenSUSE


Blank Rome Files a 4th Bill in the SCO Bankruptcy

Another Blank Rome bill has been filed in the SCO bankruptcy, their fourth, this one covering January and February of 2010, which brings us closer to up-to-date, but we are not there yet. That means there will be more bills to come. The total bill is $244,836.50 for fees plus $3,783.55 for expenses, but for now they ask for the usual 80% of the fees, or $195,869.20.

Novell Files Bill of Costs (once again) in SCO v. Novell


Fortinet appoints new regional director for Thailand, Southeast Asia & Hong Kong

Chang’s previous roles include: Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Asia Pacific & Middle East at inter-Touch, Managing Director of STSN, a global internet service provider, and Market Development Manager for Asia Pacific at Novell.

Interview with Jan Newman, SageCreek Partners

Jan’s been in the Utah technology industry for awhile, having been a Executive Vice President at Novell, and founder of KeyLabs, another of the area’s successes.


Jan Newman: My background, is I started at Novell, and spent ten years there. I worked at the executive level for lots of years under the tutelage of Ray Noorda. When Ray retired, and went outside of Novell, I founded KeyLabs, which we sold to Exodus Communications for about $50M in 1999.

Can your leadership handle the hotdog?

The biggest claim to fame I suppose is the good Dr. Eric Schmidt when he was the CEO @ Novell.com. It’s a long story, but involves a couple of newly hired guys (me and another guy from Toronto), sushi and a mansion in San Francisco. Eric (I have a hard time not calling him Mr.) eschewed everything that a leader should be, and that I will always carry with me – both as a goal, and as a role model.


Ogilvy & Mather wins Best in Show for IBM campaign at Ace Awards

For best ad campaign with a budget of $250,000 and less, PJA Advertising+Marketing, Cambridge, Mass., won for Novell Inc.’s “Making IT Work as One” campaign.

New grading system gets school board OK

The school board also approved purchases of over $15,000 for Novell, Weidenhammer Systems Corp. and Norlight Inc.

How Clouds Are Working for Public Sector Users

The City of Los Angeles has received lots of attention for moving to Google Apps. This $7.25 million deal, serving 34,000 employees is one of the biggest deployments of Google Apps anywhere. It replaces an aging Novell GroupWise email system and includes a privacy provision providing the city with unlimited damages if its nondisclosure agreement (NDA) is breached by Google (Nasdaq: GOOG).


HP Announces Mini 100e Education Edition Netbook (mentioned at an earlier stage)

The little netbook has a 10.1-inch screen and weighs 3.19 pounds. The display is LED backlit and has a WSVGA display and the keyboard is 92% full size. The little rig will be offered with Windows 7 Starter, XP Home, and SuSE Linux OS’.

HP launches Mini 100e netbook for students

Interestingly, a pre-release version of this netbook was on view at Computex earlier this month at the Novell booth. At the time, I assuemd it was a Classmate PC, but looking closer, it becomes clear that the design is similar but not identical to computers based on Intel’s reference design.

Share your appliances with SUSE Gallery!

SUSE HackWeek

One-click, part 2

the future of Nautilus

Ixion – threaded formula calculation library

Hackweek V: YaSTroid (interesting project, but shades of MonoDroid [1, 2, 3, 4])

Hackweek is an excellent opportunity to try something new. Hackweek V was not the exception. From June 7th to June 11th I joined a fantastic group of hackers to implement YaSTroid, our Android Front-end to WebYaST.



FTC Launching Investigation on Apple

Examples of developer tools that are fall out include Adobe’s Flash platform and Novell’s MonoTouch.


Let’s beat the drum for openSUSE conference 2010 (Michael Löffler also suggested drifting away from Novell)

openSUSE 11.3 Launch Party in Nürnberg (15.7.)

LinuxTag 2010

WebYaST at Linuxtag 2010


Shiny new openSUSE and WordPress toys to play with

Planet openSUSE site stats

Microsoft ‘TEs’ (AstroTurf Employees) Comment on Predictions of Microsoft Doom – Using Talking Points, Without Disclosure

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 3:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Paid Microsoft AstroTurfer (probably several, but not yet confirmed) copies and pastes talking points from his bosses, typically as comments in response to blog posts that are critical of Microsoft

OUR earlier explanations of Microsoft problems contain many citations of other posts and articles on the subject. Kara Swisher from the WSJ (Murdoch) has been defending Microsoft in posts we would rather not cite here; she is quoting Microsoft’s talking points and propaganda, printing, defending and publishing them verbatim (without challenging the obvious fallacies and made-up numbers).

Those who have read this site for the past week or so will know that Microsoft has many predictions of doom about it not only in blogs but also in the mainstream press (Forbes for example). Microsoft has taken a massive PR hit and it knows this.

Thanks to one of our readers we now have some evidence that Microsoft unleashes its employees to ‘fight back’ against truthful articles. How? Talking points and propaganda. The damage control is clearly extracted from the head of propaganda at Microsoft (Microsoft names it ‘Communication’, just like the Gates Foundation names this role which Larry Cohen abandoned last year). Microsoft’s current ‘Communication’ minister was put in place after a few shuffles which even involved Waggener Edstrom. This ‘Communication’ minister (officially a VP), whose Microsoft TEs join as they post copies (as in “copy and paste”) of his message (c/f Kara’s original) in blog comments without any disclosure about their employer, is a sign of great failure, maybe even a violation that the FTC should investigate. The blog comments are sourced from Microsoft, posted by paid Microsoft AstroTurfers (TEs), without disclosure. Microsoft ought to develop products, not people who hound Microsoft critics.

“Microsoft must be rather scared given how low it has stooped.”This particular example which we gave happens to have come from a Microsoft employee who smeared this site [1, 2] and smeared me personally with a comparison to a serial killer. It’s part of the same technique which is used against one’s opposition in the least ethical of ways, essentially a daemonisation which portrays one’s opponent as a dangerous terrorist or something of that sort [1, 2]. In some cases, the intention is to provoke and rile up one’s opposition for an insult to be blurted out in return and then used completely out of context as ‘dirt’.

But anyway, the main point is that a reader of ours found evidence that Microsoft still uses old tricks to rescue a reputation it lost long ago. It’s not just one example as there are many others like the Microsoft employee in question and they are all on Microsoft's payroll. That’s their job.

Microsoft must be rather scared given how low it has stooped. Kara Swisher should know better.

Twitter results
Read this post for an explanation of the screenshot

Entryism Watch: Australia’s Largest ISP Dumps GNU/Linux Mirror Months After Putting Microsoft in Charge

Posted in Australia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Search at 3:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pencil and paper

Summary: Telstra provides some examples of what ‘former’ Microsoft executives can do to a company; we also look at The ‘Open’ University, SIIA, and Yahoo!

ESTABLISHMENTS that get associated with Microsoft often react differently than those which do not. When former executives from Microsoft become part of another company’s management (or when a deal is signed), decisions that are made eventually make less sense to the surroundings and more sense to Microsoft.

As we pointed out last year, a portion of Microsoft’s executive ranks was entering Telstra [1, 2], which is of course parenting BigPond. This pair (Microsoft and Telstra) was then signing more Microsoft deals and getting closer to the companies’ point of intersection, as expected.

A reader has just told us that “Australia’s Largest ISP Ditches Linux Mirror,” according to Slashdot:

An anonymous reader writes “Australia’s largest ISP, BigPond, has decided to ditch its local mirrors of Linux and other open source operating systems, as well as various other open source software and Creative Commons media. BigPond posted a terse update on the service’s website, citing reasons of low popularity and the existence of better services like download.com and Tucows. BigPond customers are not impressed by the move, given that the ISP is infamous in Australia for its high prices and relatively low monthly quotas of bandwidth (many users are on 10gb or 25gb per month plans) and all downloads from this service did not count towards their monthly limits.”

Here is a forum thread and files index. As we showed 2 years ago, Bigpond had also removed OpenOffice.org. It would be hard to prove malicious intent which is caused by Telstra’s relationship with Microsoft, recruitment of Microsoft executives, and subsequent deals, but it’s reasonable to suspect a correlation.

Yesterday, Glyn Moody wrote about The ‘Open’ University serving Microsoft even more after adding Microsoft’s Martin Bean [1, 2, 3, 4] as a vice-chancellor (highest rank in UK universities).

Naturally, offering such courses about closed-source software is an important part of providing a wide range information and training. And I’m sure there will be similarly courses and qualifications for open source programs.

After all, free software not only already totally dominates areas like supercomputers, the Internet and embedded systems, but is also rapidly gaining market share in key sectors like mobile, so it would obviously make sense to offer plenty of opportunities for students to study and work with the operating system of the future, as well as that of the past.

That’s true for all academic establishments offering courses in computing, but in the case of the Open University, even-handedness assumes a particular importance because of the context:

The Open University has appointed a Microsoft boss to be its fifth vice-chancellor.

Martin Bean is currently general manager of product management, marketing and business development for Microsoft’s worldwide education products group.

What a farce. The ‘Open’ University will teach young people to be proprietary. Oh, the irony.

Speaking of bad influence from Microsoft in Europe, the SIIA takes his international attacks on Free software to Europe this week.

Five months after expanded its policing of counterfeit software applications to Europe, the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) has filed a trio of lawsuits in Germany and the UK accusing online sellers of hawking stolen or knock-off versions of Adobe Systems’ applications on eBay.

SIIA, a trade association representing roughly 500 software and digital content companies, has been on a mission to eliminate or at least reduce the rampant sale of stolen or counterfeit software on popular e-commerce sites — most notably eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY).

SIIA is a front for companies like Microsoft and Novell.

Last but not least, after Microsoft was displacing the leadership of Yahoo! to grab control of their search engine users we hear this predictable news from Joseph Tartakoff and many others:

One of Yahoo’s key search executives, who sought to put the best light on its decision to outsource back-end search crawling to Microsoft over the last several months, is leaving the company.

Microsoft ruined Yahoo! from the inside. Why don’t others learn? It’s called entryism.

When Windows Collapses, So Will Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 10:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pendleton - sinking ship

Summary: Another look at the problems Windows is having and why the rest of Microsoft is very much hinged upon Windows

WINDOWS Vista 7 is not selling as well as Microsoft wants people to believe. In fact, it fails to attract even Windows XP users. As the following new blog post points out, Microsoft managed to do better than Vista, but it’s not enough. Almost anything is better than Vista.

I’ve been listening that Microsoft did a good job regarding Windows 7. For crying out loud! I would like to understand what a good job is for the ones who share this idea. After all, Windows Vista was a disaster and anything that replaces it is preferable, but unlikely to be labeled “a good job” because of merely being “different”.

Microsoft defended Vista with every weapon the company had, but the attempt was a doomed enterprise. Users refused abandoning Windows XP to adopt Vista. Not even the Mojave experiment could change their perception about the substitute of Windows Longhorn. The last hope for Vista was the change from 32 bit to 64 bit systems, but that also failed. Nothing worked. The only course left was to say “Hasta la Vista!” to the hated OS and, thus, everyone celebrated the coming of Windows 7 with fireworks…because it had to be better than Vista.

Yet, if Windows 7 is better than Vista because it is not Vista, then everything is BETTER than Vista. XP is better than Vista. XP SP2 is better than Vista. XP SP3 is ALSO better than Vista. Ultimately, that repulsive Garbage Pail Kids movie IS better than Vista.

On top of this, Windows has a serious “fragmentation” issue [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], especially since Vista. Here is a good new listing that highlights this fragmentation:

Linux is regularly accused of being too fragmented but Microsoft has its own minefield to navigate.

One of the regular criticisms levelled against Linux is that with so many versions available the platform is “fragmented”. The idea is that because there are so many “distributions” of Linux, users will be confused and unsure of which to pick.



1. Windows 7 Starter – The edition with the fewest features;
2. Windows 7 Home Basic – A version available for emerging markets;
3. Windows 7 Home Premium – The standard home user-focused edition of Windows;
4. Windows 7 Professional – More features for enthusiasts and small business owners;
5. Windows 7 Enterprise – Aimed at the enterprise market and sold through volume licensing only; and
6. Windows 7 Ultimate – A version of Windows 7 Enterprise but available to users as individual licenses.


On the mobile front Microsoft also has a good handful of editions, six in fact.

1. Windows Mobile 6.x – The remaining Windows Mobile edition;
2. Windows Phone 7 – The newer smartphone-focused OS that has been so long in the coming;
3. Kin Phone OS – A version of Windows Phone 7 for the Kin phones;
4. Windows Embedded Handheld – The newest edition to the lineup for the Motorola enterprise digital assistant;
5. Windows Embedded Standard – An OS focused on TVs, set-top boxes and kiosks; and
6. Windows Embedded Compact 7 – A still-to-be-released version of Windows 7 for slates and tablets.

Windows is not just another product; This is the product which Microsoft relies on the most because it acts as a pipeline to others and it is among the few products that are actually profitable. Looking at Microsoft’s online endeavours, literally billions of dollars are being lost there and it’s not getting any better:

For as long as I can remember Microsoft Blog service has been hit with a plethora of spam which would fill the comments section with offers of trainers, jewelry and all manner of dodgy offers.

Now that Linux gets into the hands of millions of new users per month Microsoft can only sue and use fake numbers to maintain an illusion of control (Windows has already lost to Linux in several key areas). The truth is, Microsoft goes through the same thing SUN went through several years ago. Without Windows everywhere, Microsoft and Office cease to be a de facto standard. Microsoft also tried to use Office to make Microsoft a de facto standard, but it failed because well-documented corruption led to the correct perception that OOXML is a fraud:

ISO and other standards bodies did not learn from the OOXML debate. Reform of ISO is pending to allow more fast tracked standards from ECMA. Procurement of OOXML might be illegal in Europe.

Henry Blodget says that “odds are increasing that Microsoft’s business will just completely collapse.” It’s time to look beyond Microsoft and look at the phenomena which stand in the way of software freedom. Software patents are one issue we'll know a lot more about on Monday.

Why is Florian Müller Sometimes Promoting Microsoft’s Agenda? (Updated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Servers at 9:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


NEON news

Summary: Florian Müller supports NEON’s case against IBM

WE ROUTINELY quote Mr. Müller, but we very well know that his interests outside the software patents debate do not intersect with ours. It is somewhat sad that as we first showed yesterday, Müller pushes the Microsoft line against GNU/Linux domination in mainframes (be it by IBM or someone else). We wrote about NEON in [1, 2], but the connection to Microsoft’s front does not deter Müller who promotes the anti-IBM line in Slashdot. In his blog he even links to Maureen O’Gara (who needs no special introduction [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]).

Müller portrays this whole thing without mentioning that Microsoft owns parts of the case and even companies involved (e.g. T3 [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]); he uses Dana’s ZDNet blog for consent. From the latest:

The efforts by open source TurboHercules to break IBM’s mainframe monopoly through the European Commission got some proprietary support this week when NEON Enterprise Software LLC of Austin, Tex. filed an EU complaint alongside a U.S. antitrust lawsuit.

NEON was founded by BMC Software co-founder John Moores, so even if you have never heard of it, they have the money to pursue the case.

Müller is a decent guy and he will hopefully rethink what his work against IBM is doing to GNU/Linux in mainframes. Müller harmed the migration to GNU/Linux in Munich and now he harms Free software, essentially by promoting some partners of Microsoft.

Update: In his defence, Müller has responded by E-mail.

From: Florian Mueller
Sent: Saturday, June 26, 2010 6:55 PM
To: Roy Schestowitz
Subject: NEON is not a Microsoft front

Hi Roy,

We’ll always have a combination of items on which we agree and ones on which we disagree. Whether or not you elect to quote from this, I’d like to provide an explanation as to why I welcomed NEON’s announcement of an impending antitrust complaint against IBM.

My primary concern about the mainframe case is the Hercules open source project, which started in 1999 and can therefore not be considered a Microsoft front by any reasonable stretch of the imagination. I believe this is now a situation in which antitrust intervention can benefit free software and open source once again, as Samba benefitted from the EU antitrust case against Microsoft.

NEON also filed a complaint, not with a view to emulation but a different scenario in which IBM alleges infringement of “intellectual property”. In NEON’s case one of IBM’s legal theories is based on the DMCA, a piece of legislation that I’m sure you have a critical perspective on.

At any rate, I feel comfortable reporting on NEON because I can’t see any indication that they are a Microsoft front. NEON’s principal founder and owner (besides the company’s employees) is John Moores Sr., a billionaire philanthropist who co-founded BMC (hence his wealth). This isn’t the kind of company that would act as anyone else’s front. NEON has its own beef with IBM, but it underscores the need for antitrust intervention against an abuse of a dominant market position (or, simply put, monopoly) and that’s why I was glad to see them act not only in the US, where they’ve already lodged a complaint, but also in the EU.

Given NEON’s background and the 11-year history of the Hercules open source project, this leaves only T3 as a complainant with a Microsoft connection. I heard that Microsoft is a shareholder of T3 but haven’t been able to find out more detail on how much of the company they own. I haven’t had any contact with T3 nor with NEON myself. I have no reason to assume that TurboHercules is linked to them.

At the end of the day, my view is that there is a serious problem with IBM’s anticompetitive conduct, an antitrust intervention would be justified. A possible Microsoft involvement with one of the three complainants isn’t the issue that the European Commission will be interested in. What matters is whether the European economy is harmed by IBM’s behavior.

I can’t see any negative effects on the mainframe version of GNU/Linux. On the contrary, I have talked to mainframe developers and I have learned that most if not all of the developers of the mainframe port of GNU/Linux use(d) Hercules for their own development and testing purposes, including but not limited to Alan Cox (former Red Hat Fellow, now employed at Intel) and Bernharnd Kaindl (who did the mainframe port of SuSE Linux).

Hercules is available for GNU/Linux as well as Windows.

If there are customers who want to continue to use existing (“legacy”) z/OS program code, they are now forced to use IBM hardware and Hercules would give them a choice for some use cases. For possibly porting their applications to GNU/Linux, the switching costs, risks, delays and efforts involved are huge, but the existence and availability of Hercules certainly isn’t a factor that would adversely affect anyone’s attitude toward ports.

Best regards,


Bogus Software Patents Used Against Google Because Android(Linux)+Services Are Winning

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 9:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patents are for losers

Summary: As Google claims to be spreading over 1 million Linux-based phones per week, Apple which is a self-admitted ‘thief’ is suing again and Frontier Communications does too — using a patent whose description Frontier distorts

YESTERDAY we wrote about the latest patent lawsuit against software that makes the headlines. It’s the Frontier lawsuit against Google (coverage by Reuters), where the patent involved is described as follows:

Oh, and if you want to see how continuation patents are abused, you can check out the original patent application, which focuses on something quite different than the eventual patent. It’s much more about switching calls from one line to another. It’s only in the later patent (not filed until well after Google Voice was widely established in the market), that Frontier made the patent sound a lot more like what Google Voice actually does.

That’s not a concrete patent. It’s software-implemented and it’s inspired by real-world equivalents.

Apple is also suing Android/Linux (via HTC) because about 160,000 Android phones are sold daily while hypePhone 4 encounters a disaster, not just the Gizmodo PR disaster which we covered in:

Against Monopoly writes about Monday’s Bilski decision, noting that it may impact software patents as we last argued yesterday.

Even the most ardent defenders of the current patent regime expect the Court to strike down “business method” patents. The big question will be if the Court goes even farther and delivers a broader decision affecting software patents and other controversial forms of patent monopolies.

Last night we explained why it looks favourable to those wishing to abolish software patents. These patents are not about ingenuity, they are about mixing or extending existing ideas. Apple is not original at all and it admits this publicly (video in the link, with another newer one below).

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