EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.25.10

Microsoft Kills Another ‘Killer Project’, Patents Killed Commodore Amiga

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Boing ball

Summary: The era of computer games as a platform’s “killer feature” is ending; patents turn out to have been responsible for Commodore Amiga’s demise

Rupert Goodwins from ZDNet UK writes about this new blog item which says that “Microsoft Killed a Killer Project”.

I never thought I would be more disappointed in the industry then when Microsoft killed Ensemble Studios. ..however nothing surprises me anymore :)

Rumor has it that there was a project many many months ago at Microsoft that was under wraps. The goal was to bridge XBOX gamers with PC Gamers so they could play against one another in games like Unreal, or Gears of War. This was all part of their Live strategy, and had Microsoft just stuck to their guns and made it work PC Gaming might be in a much better position than it is today.

Not to say that PC Gaming is in a bad position, but it’s not like it used to be. The PC is shifting, as I’ve said many times over the last couple of years. The need for multiple high performance graphics cards is all but dead. You can play any PC Game on an HP Envy at high resolution with high detail, for example. PCs are becoming more mobile, form factors are shifting, touch is being embraced as well as other technologies. The word “PC” is dead, but the concept of personal computing isn’t. ..but this isn’t the point.

[...]

So I’m calling out to all game developers. It’s time you followed the money and looked to the future. Opportunity is in scale. webOS will have tremendous scale and reach.

You might even think about developing titles exclusively for webOS in the future, but for now perhaps you should look at taking some of your best titles – and don’t think port – think about taking full advantage of our hardware, cameras, sensors, etc. The possibilities are endless – and while it may take time for new devices to start showing up, you can rest assured that the wait will be worth it.

This is indeed an encouraging sign for Linux-based operating systems. A more commonly used Linux-based operating system is Android. However, in practice it contains very little GPL-licensed software (Linux aside) and Google pretty much controls its direction totally. This point was raised in a current debate which also had someone tell us about the “sad state of Open Source in Android tablets”. The short new story is that, “[w]ith the exception of Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader, a device that isn’t even really a tablet, I couldn’t find a single tablet manufacturer who was complying with the minimum of their legal open source requirements under GNU GPL. Let alone supporting community development.”

Goodwins also shows that an XOR patent ended Commodore Amiga, as claimed some years ago*. Personally I’m too young to have grown up in the age of Commodore Amiga, but I do recall these computers because of their games.
______
* Goodwins studies some other patent-related issues at the moment, for example: “I must learn more about patents and the early radio/electricity industry. Tons of parallels.”

Links 25/7/2010: Catch-up With Last Week’s News

Posted in News Roundup at 10:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Virgin charity limbers up for London Marathon with open source tools

    Businesses everywhere clearly want to achieve maximum visibility and control over key management information. Whether open source tools can play a special part in building more cost effective IT infrastructures for the acutely ‘cost-aware’ charity sector is open to question.

    Looking to realise efficiencies via this route, Virgin Money Giving will be using the open source Talend Integration Suite with the Jaspersoft reporting tool to restructure and optimise its data for reporting.

  • Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary Partners with ByWater Solutions for Koha Support and Implementation

    ByWater Solutions, an open source community supporter and official Koha support company, announced today that the Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, of Allen Park, MI. has partnered with them for the installation and support of the official Koha integrated library system.

  • Digium and Open Source Software

    Asterisk is the open source telephony software created by Mark Spencer in the late 90s as an alternative to more expensive proprietary PBX systems. At the time, Spencer needed a telephone system to distribute customer service calls to his Linux engineers and decided to “build” his own PBX rather than pay for a new system.

    Spencer also opted to make Asterisk available as open source software to minimize ongoing development costs (this business model was also consistent with the anti-proprietary software movement of the time). A beautiful example of necessity (+ limited capital funds) being the mother of invention.

  • Facebook Built Walled Garden with Open Source Software

    Facebook supports its social network of 500 million users with LAMP software infrastructure. This open source approach, also used by Google, Twitter, Yahoo and others, is a departure from the proprietary products offered by Microsoft, Oracle and IBM.

  • MobileBeat: Aava offers a truly open-source mobile device platform
  • Ocean Blue Releases World’s First Open Source MHEG and CI Plus Authoring Tool Supporting Development of Innovative Digital TV Applications
  • Reports

    • Open Source Gains Respect From Mainstream Vendors

      Several major IT vendors, including Dell, HP, Citrix and Rackspace Hosting gathered at OSCON this week to deliver a host of open source-related announcements to the ever growing open-source market.

    • Open Source Technology Set for Rapid Growth, Study Says

      More than two-thirds of organizations anticipate increasing their investment in open source technology, according to a recent survey by Accenture. With such an open source expansion, there is a need for effective training solutions that will show organizations how to harness open source technology properly. LevelTen has released a schedule that will offer a fast-paced Acquia training overview for Drupal users.

    • Open source growing quickly
    • Open Source Technology Set for Rapid Growth, Study Says

      Of those surveyed, 40% said they plan on migrating mission-critical software to open source platforms within the next 12 months.

    • Open Source Software In Enterprise Application Infrastructure Market – New Market Report Published

      Open Source Software (OSS) has been a part of the IT market for over two decades. Recently, the commoditization of IT markets, changing attitudes to the production and distribution of intellectual property, and the recession have put the OSS firmly in focus, particularly in the application infrastructure part of the stack.

    • The situation with the social media – a position paper

      Open Source as a concept is solely devoted to finding out the best methods to spread a product in an open manner, where open is to be understood purely within the logic of the market. The hacker attitude, based on play and sharing amongst peers, has been co-opted therein by an approach that is based on the logic of exploitation of time and labor with profit as the driving motive, and not individual and/ or collective welfare.

  • Events

    • Open Source SIG: The next instalment!!
    • O’Reilly Open Source Awards announced

      At the OSCON 2010 open source convention taking place in Portland, Oregon, O’Reilly Media’s Edd Dumbill has announced the winners of this years O’Reilly Open Source Awards. The awards have been presented each year since 2005 to individuals for their “dedication, innovation, leadership and outstanding contribution to open source”.

    • Open Hardware Summit

      The concept of open source hardware has interested me for some time. There are a number of wildly popular (at least with the geeks) products available for “free”. This particular type of free is akin to freedom and not cost. If you have the materials and tools on hand you could build a Makerbot from scratch or mill a circuit board and solder up your own Arduino compatible board, but even then it isn’t completely free. The freedom comes from sharing the design, making incremental improvements, and combining the community effort with a product to make it better.

  • Mozilla

    • An Introduction to Firefox’s Tab Candy
    • Firefox 4 Beta 1 Will Change Browsing Experience Forever !
    • Mercury News interview: Mitchell Baker, chairwoman, Mozilla

      In the days after Microsoft’s Internet Explorer had ground its browser rival Netscape into the digital dust, Baker, who had been working on the open-source Mozilla project within Netscape, was laid off in 2001. She stayed on at the nonprofit Mozilla organization as an unpaid volunteer because she believed its mission was crucial to the Internet’s future.

      Nearly a decade later, Mozilla’s Firefox browser is the window to the Web for nearly a third of the planet’s Internet users. Firefox is even more popular in most of the rest of the world than in the U.S., and in some countries, including Germany, has become the most popular browser. Microsoft Internet Explorer, meanwhile, has slid from a dominating 95 percent of the market to a bare majority of users.

  • Databases

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Acquisition of Sun May Spark Resurgence of Java and Faster Growth of MySQL According to New Survey of Open Source Developers and Enterprise Customers

      Jaspersoft, the world’s most widely used business intelligence platform, today released the findings of a global survey of open source community members about the future of Java and MySQL under Oracle (ORCL). Contrary to dark predictions by many in the open source community prior to its acquisition of Sun, Oracle was viewed by most respondents as a better steward of Java and MySQL than Sun. Indeed, most large organizations planned to use more Java than before and most expected to see MySQL innovate and improve faster under Oracle than under Sun.

    • Oracle’s “stewardship” of MySQL and Java: how’s it going so far?

      There is a generally accepted edict in the technology publicity business that when you run out of news and product announcements, the best idea is to commission a survey for the hell of it. Despite this reality of ‘lies, damn lies and statistics’ – on the face of it, the poll carried out by open source BI player Jaspersoft may have some validity.

      The company polled 130,000 customers and community members and found ‘people’ are planning to do more with MySQL and Java under Oracle than Sun. I’m slightly worried by the fact that the company used the term people rather than programmers (or IT professionals at least), but let’s continue.

    • Report: Java and MySQL doing fine under Oracle
    • Study: Most MySQL users not too worried about Oracle

      Some 43 percent of respondents said they believed MySQL development would improve under Oracle. Another 35 percent expect it to remain the same, while 22 percent are anticipating the database will suffer under the giant vendor’s wing.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 3 review

      WordPress is now seven years old and, with millions of active users, is widely recognised as the world’s most popular blogging platform. The latest release is the open source platform’s 13th major update and is crucial to WordPress’ ambitions to move on from its blog-based origins.

  • Healthcare

  • Semi-Open Source

    • Open Source Business Models Become More Attractive

      On the former, OpenGeo offers a whole stack of geospatial data. Those sophisticated enough to be able to plow through the databases and apps and extract the data they need or desire can do so. For others, OpenGeo sells its services in building software based on that data or in supporting that software.

      Though the “open core” business model has come under attack lately, this doesn’t seem to fall under that category.

  • Government

    • AT: Increasing number of schools turn to open source

      The number of schools in Austria that are considering to use or are using open source is increasing, according to school IT administrators and open source developers involved in education.

      For instance, the number of schools using LinuxAdvanced, based on Debian Linux, is ‘continuing to increase slowly’, says Rene Schwarzinger, one of the developers of the Linux distribution tailored for use by schools.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • IDES 101, PART II: 5 More Open-Source Coding Environments for Developers

      2) NetBeans
      If you’re a Java developer, you’ve at least heard of NetBeans, a free, open-sourced IDE originally created for Java development. With this Java focus, NetBeans — with its just-released 6.9 version — supports the full Java EE 6 specification as well as a basket of Java standards including Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) 3.1, JAX-RS 1.1, JAX-WS 2.2, JAXB 2.2, and Java Persistence JPA 2.0. Aside from Java, NetBeans also supports JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby, Groovy, C/C++, Scala and Clojure. The IDE includes direct integration of Project Kenai for hosting open-source projects.

Leftovers

  • Security/Aggression

    • WPA2 vulnerability found

      Perhaps it was only a matter of time. But wireless security researchers say they have uncovered a vulnerability in the WPA2 security protocol, which is the strongest form of Wi-Fi encryption and authentication currently standardized and available.

    • Ian Tomlinson ruling: we must all fight this whitewash

      Hundreds of thousands of us have now seen the footage of the newspaper-seller shambling peacefully home from work. We’ve seen how, without warning or provocation, PC Simon Harwood attacked him from behind, hitting him with a baton then shoving him to the ground. We know that the officer had unlawfully removed his badge, and that his face was obscured by a balaclava. We know that, a few minutes afterwards, Ian Tomlinson collapsed and died. We also know that the Metropolitan police lied about his death to the media and to Tomlinson’s family.

  • Digital Economy (UK)

    • A Guide to the Digital Economy Act – Part 2

      This is the second in a series of posts explaining what the Digital Economy Act will do, how it works and how it will affect individuals. It is aimed at providing an objective and descriptive overview of the legislation, rather than opinion or comment on the content. Some parts may be legally technical.

    • Government’s Online Tools Used Against Digital Act

      The FSF is calling on opponents of the law to use the government’s online feedback service to call for it to be repealed

      [...]

      In a statement this week, the FSF called on UK citizens to use the government’s newly created “Your Freedom” site to call for the repeal of the Digital act. The “Your Freedom” site was created by the coalition government as a forum for citizens to nominate laws and regulation which should be scrapped.

Clip of the Day

OSCON 2010: Paul Fenwick, “The World’s Worst Inventions”


IRC Proceedings: July 24th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Has BP Already Abandoned Windows?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Windows at 3:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

BP logo as XP

Summary: No indication yet that BP took a lesson from its computer error and decided to move to a reliable platform for alerting

IT IS AMAZING — but at the same time not surprising — that oil rigs where risk of failure is enormous put Windows in real operations. The Deepwater Horizon disaster could be prevented if it were not for Microsoft Windows BSODs [1, 2] and now it turns out that a new Windows security flaw allows remote code execution (see the recent Siemens fiasco). This permits vandalism from remote countries.

DEVELOPER OF INSECURE SOFTWARE Microsoft has announced the discovery of a serious security vulnerability that allows remote code execution on many of its Windows operating systems.

Time for BP to dump Windows, no? Since Bill Gates is a BP investor [1, 2, 3], there might be some pressure to stay with Windows, but BP ought to put safety first.

No version of Windows is secure and Vista 7 scepticism continues to be published, even in Microsoft-sympathetic sites like ZDNet. From days ago:

In conclusion, I think a lot of companies are just continuing on with business as usual, waiting to see what Microsoft does with Windows XP. The OS is almost a decade old, so I can understand that the plug needs to be pulled at some point. Any migration (XP to 7, Windows to Linux) needs a lot of work, time, money, and lots and lots of patience. But companies need a list of good reasons to move forward with the migration. And so far, I haven’t seen too many good compelling reasons that show this migration should take place anytime soon.

Actually, many GNU/Linux distributions are released several times per year. This too makes them more secure and robust. If a company leaks millions of barrels of oil into the ocean because it runs Windows (probably XP based on photos), there is no valid excuse.

Microsoft Software Patents and Profit

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Samba at 3:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Centrify

Summary: A few remarks about Centrify and Likewise — the Microsoft-esque companies which pretend to serve open source

Centrify is an interesting case [1, 2, 3] of software patents and Microsoft promotion disguised as “free”. Centrify is a subject we covered here many times before (even days ago) and it makes some more headlines at the moment due to this press release that helped produce some articles [1, 2, 3]. They use the term “Express” — just like Microsoft does — in order to introduce a gateway to software patents and pricey proprietary software that strengthens Microsoft’s monopoly.

Centrify Express is a set of free software applications and tools, content resources and community forums designed to help organizations improve security and compliance of data center and desktop systems.

Another new article that’s related to it helps remind us of the bad side of Active Directory, which Microsoft controls and Centrify promotes. We have already explained the Centrify-Microsoft connection (including staff commonalities), which reminded us of Likewise (created by Microsoft folks and currently stepping on Samba with ‘open’ core and with Microsoft patents). “Likewise Software has Record First Half,” says this new press release. Apparently it pays off to pretend to be “open source” (Likewise is not open source) and to promote Microsoft in open source circles. Likewise — unlike Samba — helps put a software patents tax on SMB/Samba functionality. It’s just something to watch out for. Likewise is what Microsoft wants Samba to be.

Links 25/7/2010: Russian Government and GNU/Linux, Old OpenBSD Interview (Video)

Posted in News Roundup at 2:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • [Russian] Government Computers to Get Linux-Based Operating System

    The government is hoping to launch the first version of a “national operating system” for its computers as early as next year, a senior Communications and Press Ministry official said Thursday.

    The operating system, for use on the computer systems of government agencies and state-run companies, will be 90 percent based on the open-source Linux operating system, Deputy Communications and Press Minister Ilya Massukh said.

  • Infinitely Virtual Begins New Partnership with Turnkey Linux

    Infinitely Virtual is pleased to announce a new partnership with Turnkey Linux–an open source project that develops a free virtual appliance library, featuring the best server-oriented open source software. Infinitely Virtual looks forward to announcing the benefits and the exciting new products the partnership between Turnkey Linux and Infinitely Virtual will bring to current and future virtual server clients.

  • Netsolutions expands headcount

    Tester will be tasked with providing senior consultancy to customers, helping them to integrate their business and technology functions. Dionisakos will focus on growing the Netsolutions Linux support offering.

    Prior to joining the company, Tester worked as an independent consultant, helping companies improve operational performance through developing and implementing training programs and procedures.

    He has more than 15 years consulting experience and has held a number of senior roles at PMP Print.

    Dionisakos previously worked for Goldman Sachs, where he was Linux lead engineer.

  • Ultra-Low-Cost Computer Solution for Schools Bundles Free K-12 Education Software

    Userful Corporation, the world leader in multiseat Linux computing, today announced the preview release of Userful Linux MultiSeat 2010™ – a complete Linux-based classroom software solution on a single install DVD. Userful’s flagship product, Userful Multiplier™, turns 1 computer into 10, and is the foundation of this new product release. This evaluation software provides a sneak preview of some of the major feature enhancements that will be included in the commercial release of Userful Multiplier V.4.0 and Userful Linux MultiSeat 2010™, in Q4 2010.

  • OtherOS Lawsuits Still Going Ahead

    Maxconsole is reporting that the various lawsuits aimed at Sony after they removed the option to keep a Linux installation on your PS3 if you chose to upgrade your firmware have been combined into one mega-sized super-powered Über lawsuit.

  • 10ZiG Integrates New Quest vWorkspace Connector for Linux on Thin Clients

    Quest vWorkspace manages, secures and provisions virtual desktop environments, brokers connections, and delivers virtual applications and desktops from multiple hypervisors, Remote Desktop Session Hosts (Terminal Servers) and blade PCs through a single user access point and management center. The Quest vWorkspace Connector for Linux offers features for an enhanced end user experience on Linux workstations and thin clients, including multi-monitor support, Flash redirection and bi-directional audio.

  • Server

    • Cloud Linux’s SecureLVE Will Be Supported By Parallels Panel Products By Q4 2010

      Cloud Linux Inc., an innovative software company dedicated to serving the needs of hosting service providers, announced recently that its CloudLinux’s SecureLVE security solution will be supported by Parallels Panel products by Q4 2010. Parallels Plesk Panel is the number one control panel in the world with thousands of applications that deliver the easiest, most profitable and most complete service for virtual, dedicated, and shared hosting providers. Integrating SecureLVE into the control panel will give hosting providers new security controls previously unavailable.

    • Sutus Business Central 200

      The hardware box runs Linux and is powered by open-source tools. So theoretically, you could put together software with the same features for free. But the product’s interface is its real strength.

    • Top 10 Server Virtualization Myths — Debunked

      Typical host OSes are bare bones Linux installations for which you have to manually set up Secure Shell (SSH). This means the host OS is very secure since it runs few, if any, standard network services.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.35-rc6

      Another week (and a couple of days), another -rc.

    • Linux Plumbers Call for Papers Deadline Extension to July 26th

      The Linux Plumbers conference planning committee[1] is announcing an extension to the call for papers deadline by one week to July 26th, 2010. We’re also taking this opportunity to clarify the difference between presentation[2] and micro-conference[3] proposals. There has been some confusion, and we want to make sure that everyone is happy with their submissions.

  • Applications

    • Blu-ray project for free media players launched

      The VideoLAN project, known for such developments as the popular VLC media player have developed a free library for Blu-ray playback. The main task for libbluray is navigation, menu control and the support of the BD Java (BD-J) used on Blu-ray discs.

    • Wine

  • Distributions

    • Damn Vulnerable Linux: Educational Security Tools

      Damn Vulnerable Linux is a security distro, which can be an excellent learning tool. The distro includes older version of popular software like Apache web server, MySQL, PHP and others. The objective to create such a distro is to let users try out known hacks and vulnerabilities on these technologies and hone their skills.

    • Lightweight Linux to the rescue!

      I will be installing a lightweight linux on my mobile classroom of Dated Dells, as I am noticing quite a lag using the GNOME desktop, lovely though it is.

    • Reviews

      • User Review of Puppy Linux 5.0

        Lucid Puppy Linux 5.0 was released back in May of 2010, but as one of my favorite distros, I have been playing with it heavily since then. I have been so impressed with the new version that I wanted to take a moment and write a quick review of this release.

    • New Releases

      • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 106

        · Announced Distro: Zencafe 2.2
        · Announced Distro: openSUSE 11.3
        · Announced Distro: T2 SDE 8.0
        · Announced Distro: Netrunner 2
        · Announced Distro: Linux Mint 9 LXDE
        · Announced Distro: Sabayon Linux 5.3 XFCE & LXDE

      • Yellow Dog Linux for CUDA updated

        The Japanese Fixstars Corporation, which specialises in software for the Cell processor line, has announced the release of version 6.2.1 of its Yellow Dog Linux for CUDA distribution optimised for GPU computing. CUDA, an acronym for Compute Unified Device Architecture, is a parallel computing architecture developed by NVIDIA that uses GPUs to improve the performance of some types of applications.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Download ClearOS Enterprise 5.2 Now

        Michael Proper from the ClearFoundation announced yesterday evening, July 21st, the immediate availability of the ClearOS Enterprise 5.2 operating system. Being based on CentOS 5.5, the new release adds some important features regarding security and overall performance, as well as various improvements and fixes. ClearOS 5.2 is a network & gateway solution, a Linux server based on the open source CentOS distribution, which is based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux mammoth.

    • Ubuntu Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Killer 2100 NIC review

      The Killer M1 and later the Killer K1 boasted dedicated processors that the company deemed Network Processing Units (NPUs), and were mini systems in their own right, running a version of Linux and having access to their dedicated memory.

    • ARM and TSMC buddy up

      With an increase in the number – and quality – of chips available, a win in the netbook sector could leave ARM well positioned to make an assault on the far larger notebook market – and should Microsoft feel threatened enough by open-source Linux distributions making inroads on ARM-based netbooks to produce an ARM-compatible version of Windows 7, even industry leader Intel could have cause to worry.

    • MontaVista Software Launches DevRocket 6.1 Integrated IDE for Embedded Linux Development
    • Baidu Working on an Android Rival

      According to Xinhua, China’s official news agency, Chinese search company Baidu is working on a Linux-based mobile OS of its own to take on Google’s Android. Baidu is currently the largest search engine in China, with a search share of a whopping 70 percent versus Google’s 27.8 percent, and it makes sense that with over 800 million mobile phone users in China, Baidu would want a piece of the mobile operating system pie on which to put a scoop of its own search engine sorbet.

    • Phones

      • Chasing Android: Notes on developing for the mobile platform

        Android is an open source operating system/platform intended for mobile devices and sponsored by Google. It features applications written in Java with security precautions designed to allow a variety of different applications to live on the same device without exposing user information. Android is also notable for being designed to support an ever increasing variety of hardware functions. The operating system presents a very favorable environment for both hardware and application developers because it is open source and Android’s low level kernel is based on Linux.

    • Tablets/Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • How Politics in India try to kill FOSS

    C Umashankar (an IAS Officer) is a well known name in Indian FOSS community. An ardent supporter of FOSS, the Tamil Nadu bureaucrat has been instrumental in implementing FOSS solutions in several e-governance processes ranging from documentation to servers. He regaled his young audience with two inspiring talks on “Why free software is going to rule the world”.

  • My tips for saving money in tough times

    ● Use open-source software. Free software such as Linux is used by millions, including organisations like Google, Ticketmaster and the Canadian government. They pay no licence fees, and the mainstream systems are constantly supported by armies of volunteers around the globe. Many in the IT industry hate the concept because it undermines much of its business model, but qualified advocates are becoming more and more common.

  • SaaS

    • Impact of OpenStack Project Goes Beyond the Cloud Industry Leaders

      Since the announcement of OpenStack crossed the wire on Monday, much of the emphasis has been on Rackspace’s decision to open source their code and what this might mean in terms of the other major (proprietary) cloud players. But there are 25 companies who’ve signed on to the OpenStack organization and the benefit of the open source project will be far-reaching beyond just the cloud service providers.

  • Programming

    • Review: Eclipse 3.6 Release Train Delivers

      Eclipse 3.6, which arrived on the Internet on 23 June sporting the code name Helios, comprises 39 different Eclipse projects, collectively called a release train. While all of the projects are based on the open source, Java-based Eclipse IDE (integrated development environment), the train covers so much ground that it can be difficult to digest all of its enhancements and additions.

Clip of the Day

OpenBSD Interview


Microsoft’s Worst Open Source ‘Infiltration’ Ever

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Interoperability, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 1:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“You want to infiltrate those. Again, there’s two categories. There’s those that are controlled by vendors; like MSJ; we control that. And there’s those that are independent. [...] So that’s how you use journals that we control. The ones that third parties control, like the WinTech Journal, you want to infiltrate.”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

Summary: A close look at Microsoft-initiated ‘infiltration’ into a Linux users group (CLUG) and analysis of ZDNet and IDG reports where Microsoft’s “open source” party line is routinely promoted

ONCE IN a while Microsoft insists on making it seem like it’s an “Open Source” (or open source-friendly) company and it tries to push/impose itself upon those who obviously dislike Microsoft, for justifiable reasons. One of Microsoft’s arrogant people from South Africa seems to have gotten marching orders to come to “Linux people” and these people made the mistake of letting him come (probably not inviting him). This is the type of thing Microsoft calls “infiltrate”. It is trying to put people off or making them look bad (intolerant). They target particular events such as Mac and GNU/Linux conferences, shoving/injecting themselves in and inviting themselves to become part of events where they are obviously unwanted. Sam Ramji did this in some US LUGs that turned him away and the following guy is speaking to a Linux group in South Africa for about an hour and a half. We’ll refer to him as “the speaker” rather than name him, which would make it too personal.

We decided to watch this and rebut his nonsense machine. There is so much nonsense there, so we pick just a few points and remark on them. This clip is from last year and it’s titled “Microsoft: Interoperability and Open Source”. Here it is as Ogg:


As one can see almost immediately (but more so towards the later parts), here we have a pretentious speaker from Microsoft, who insists he knows better than everyone else in the room, yet avoids hard questions, or simply lies. First he talks about “interoperability”, mixing this old notion with “intellectual property” and trying to suck up to “open source” developers, luring them to “write into Microsoft applications”. What we put in quotes by the way are actual quotes from the talk. We have no complete transcript.

Soon after the beginning he names Linux patent extortion as “collaborations” (euphemism) and uses the term “open engagement” — a PR term routinely used for either AstroTurfing or “evangelising”. It soon turns out that they are also trying to recruit. The speaker starts talking about a vacancy and invites them to Microsoft online forums. Later on he starts lying about standards and pretending that Microsoft adheres to rather than fights standards (like ODF). Don’t worry, he’ll be challenged over these claims later on (in the questions session), but he’ll keep trying to escape tough questions from the audience by saying things like, “I wasn’t involved in the decision.”

“The speaker starts talking about a vacancy and invites them to Microsoft online forums.”The speaker describes the whole OOXML scam (and fight against ODF) as a good thing which he wants credit for. What a nerve. Rather than apologise he wants credit. He also doesn’t say that Microsoft won’t support ODF properly [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] — an issue that will only come later from the audience. He hardly ever addresses the questions, just dodges them and tries using poor humour to do so.

“I really can’t answer the question,” he says on quite a few occasions, especially when the questions help expose the unethical/criminal nature of his employer. He gets asked about Microsoft’s deviation from standards, for example, or even about “vendor deals” (like Novell’s). The speaker goes something like, “I don’t know what…”

These exclusive patent deals and secrecy helped show that the guy is talking nonsense, but he doesn’t seem to care. When asked about it he gives no answer.

Microsoft clearly makes an attempt to control Free software, under Windows. The speaker does not deny it. The issue of Mono soon comes up and he starts defending the project by talking about “good understanding” and how “the community drives this project” although “we don’t have any interest,” he argues. Well, they co-develop it now. Soon after that part, the issue of Moonlight is raised and the speaker says: “we made specification available” and it’s “up to the community” to implement it. He doesn’t seem to mention Microsoft’s active role (with Novell) to push Moonlight. He praises Miguel (de Icaza, who is now a Microsoft MVP) and when asked critically about it by the audience (which dislikes Mono and Moonlight) he just says things like “I couldn’t answer that question” and something along the lines of “we just make specifications available”; “if anything, Microsoft is actually supporting development of these,” he says. Well, duh. It helps Microsoft and harms GNU/Linux. He just can’t answer questions about the limitations imposed by Microsoft, especially in terms of licensing. Very unsatisfactory.

“The speaker just escapes the hard subjects and uses diversion tactics.”Then he proceeds to pretending Microsoft helped Samba. That’s not the case; They were forced to by the EU Commission, but he carries on pretending that they help (after about a decade in court). Then he gets asked about the corruption caused by Microsoft at ISO (although not in these words). South Africa formally complained about this and it wasn’t alone. The speaker just escapes the hard subjects and uses diversion tactics. For instance, first he seems to be trying to ask the name of the person asking the question (as if that matters) and then switching to other subjects. Once again he lies (probably knowingly) and says “we didn’t oppose ODF”. This is probably a lie, but it’s hard to prove intent. It obviously does not correspond with facts. About OOXML, he says it’s “documented” and he doesn’t say that Microsoft itself never implemented it. He pretends it’s a standard (because of the corruption that put it inside ISO) and when someone raises the point about Microsoft not complying with ODF to encourage interoperability the speaker just lies and tries to contradict the fact with a ‘study’ (probably one that’s sponsored by Microsoft, but he doesn’t actually say which study). All those systematic lies are necessary given the position he is in. He needs to defend the indefensible because he chose to work for a corrupt company.

The speaker then moves on to discussing “Open Source” (the second talk or the second part of his presentation). It’s not about Free software and the term is never brought up. “Let me tell you how I look at Open Source,” he says. Yes, Microsoft wants to define what it is, taking over its own competition’s definition. The speaker’s vanity is really showing here. He tries to pretend it’s a choice of Microsoft to just take someone else’s term, only to disagree and change it. Then he exposes his feelings of superiority over his audience (he must be thinking, “oh! Those Linux zealots!”); he distances himself from them, as though they don’t belong in “Open Source” and Microsoft is the centre of this universe. “We don’t need to agree on this by the way,” he says quite angrily. When told about the formal open source guidelines he just prefers to avoid the subject. He is clearly rushing out of this discussion because he loses this debate. Then, “in interests of time,” he argues, they move on and skip this debate. The speaker is still being asked why they (Microsoft) had to go their own way with licences and repositories. The speaker can’t provide a reasonable answer; the truth is hard to admit.

“The speaker is still being asked why they (Microsoft) had to go their own way with licences and repositories. The speaker can’t provide a reasonable answer; the truth is hard to admit.”Then the speaker discusses repositories like SourceForge. He tries to say that many of the applications there are cross-platform or are for Windows. This is a very familiar talking point, trying to portray “open source” as Windows. We saw that coming also from former Microsoft employees who entered SourceForge as staff (after SourceForge bought Ohloh). This is nasty talking point/spin to watch out for. The notions that include “mixed source” are soon introduced and the speaker is trying to pretend they — the developers — “gain value” from Microsoft’s stack, as though they should all be thankful to Microsoft.

Shamelessly enough, in this Linux-type meeting the speaker starts trying to sell some more Microsoft proprietary software to the developers there. He gets very uncomfortable at this stage, clearly agitated and nervous because the crowd tells him that he promotes proprietary software (while trying to paint it as “open”). He then encourages them to visit Port 25 and other Microsoft sites. “Go read Port 25,” he says, where they “engage with” the public (yes, again with this term; he uses the “engage” word quite a lot and it’s a PR term). Then CodePlex gets promoted and he admits it’s Microsoft’s, not an independent entity like Microsoft now tries very hard to characterise it. He then pretends that they have great relationships with F/OSS companies; he names MySQL and JBoss and brags about OSI-approved licences of Microsoft (never mind if Microsoft shoved them down OSI’s throat under controversial circumstances and backlash). He gets asked by the audience: “why do you need them?”

“I can’t answer” is his reply. Yes, of course.

Then he uses PHP/Zend for self-praise. Typical. This contributes to/promotes their own stack. One person asks: “Why would someone pay money for this WISP platform?”

He struggles to answer. Then he moves on to another subject and mentions KnowledgeTree because of its South African roots. Microsoft worked with them just to put it on Windows.

Silverlight, which is proprietary, is strangely enough being brought up by the speaker. Huh? How come? It’s not clear what it has to do with open source. Then he starts promoting Azure, which has nothing to do with Free software or Open Source.

A few days ago Microsoft was also promoting its proprietary software (Hyper-V) in OSCON, an Open Source convention. From ZDNet:

Microsoft, for its part, announced at OSCON 2010 a new set of Linux Device Drivers to enhance the performance of Linux when virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.

Going back to the talk in question, it gets worse towards the end when the speaker is mentally exhausted. He seems to have run out of things to cover at this stage and instead he uses the defunct Open Solutions Alliance (not open source) to promote Microsoft. He wraps up and he obviously fears more questions. “I’ll open myself to some more damage right now,” he says (he refers to questions). Towards the end he invites them to Microsoft.com (yes, in a Linux group) and in response to questions about Visual Studio (like “why do you have to pay for it?” They don’t give away the tools to develop for the platform) he says: “Again, I can’t answer that question.”

Well, that’s pretty useless.

Then he promotes BizSpark, which is anti-Free software dumping. It’s not development tools, it’s more of an anti-competitive tactic for Silverlight saturation and blocking of F/OSS — a tactic which we covered in:

How miserable. The locking in of students (to Microsoft) is then portrayed as something positive. This speaker has been extremely weak at answering questions and his own presentation too has many holes in it, occasional lies/embellishments, and basically it does nothing to change one’s mind about Microsoft’s back-stabbing attitude towards software freedom.

“Microsoft has a strange open source turn,” said the headline of this article a few days ago.

Open source site Xen.org’s community manager Stephen Spector wrote in a Network World op-ed that it “just makes me want to go right out and start working on this project… I am also still searching the site to find out who owns the source code written and what license the software will be placed under, a basic concept in open source projects.”

Spector clearly thinks Microsoft might not really support its own open source project, and he might be right. The Vole clearly hates open source and has been trying to co-opt and subvert it.

The article cites this one from IDG:

There is a Getting Started section on the website that directs users interested to sign up for the Wiki as well as the mailing lists which is pretty standard for most projects. However, the website itself is a Wiki which does not show all the comments and information on the site unless the user registers. I consider this to be a significant issue as a majority of people in the open source community are not in favor of registering for general websites. Hiding information without registration is not what I would consider a friendly open community.

There are a lot of responses in Linux Today. They don’t trust Microsoft for a second.

Speaking of deception and exploitation, watch this site called “IT Expert Voice” which “is a partnership between Dell and Federated Media.”

For those who don’t know, Federated Media works for Microsoft and this site contains falsehoods about the GPL, as pointed out in Free Software Daily. “Misleading information,” says the comment, which quotes from the article: “If you modify the software and redistribute it in binary form, you have to also release the source code for your changes. This prevents the software from being incorporated into a commercial product”

The commenter says, “You mean like Red Hat Enterprise Linux? Selling free software is allowed, it’s explicitly stated in the GNU GPL section 4.”

The Web has become filled with GPL misinformation, possibly inspired or directly connected to misdirection from Microsoft (whose official Web site also tells lies about the GPL, in Word documents). Microsoft apologists are still abound in IDG; just watch the reactions to Dustin Puryear and Eric Gries. These people who now write for IDG have some history of Microsoft apologism and yet they are presented as “open source” people, supposedly writing about or in favour of “open source”.

Dana Blankenhorn from ZDNet now claims to admire Richard Stallman, but we are sceptical given some of Blankenhorn’s recent writings on the subject.

Some ZDNet writers are sick of Richard Stallman, but I’m still an admirer, because he continues to stand for FLOSS purity.

Well, ZDNet writers comprise a lot of people who are hostile towards Free software. Some of them are Microsoft employees and we covered this before. ZDNet is essentially “stacked” to have a particular bias, through selection of writers.

Here is what Blankenhorn says about ‘open’ core, which Microsoft loves. Blankenhorn gives that a lot of attention this month.

If everything in your “secret source” isn’t rock solid and golden, you can also create trouble for yourself, as Eucalyptus recently found out.

Eucalyptus is not open source. We warned about this last year. Perhaps it’s time for “open source” sites/blogs to just stop covering “open core” and treat it for what it is; it is proprietary software marketed as “open source”. Microsoft would love to pass that as “open source” to help the illusion that Microsoft too qualifies as “open”, to echo Monty’s sentiments which he expressed very recently (he serves Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation).

« Previous Page « Previous Page Next entries »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts