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09.16.10

Microsoft Software: a Darwin Test for Incompetence

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Servers, Windows at 8:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SharePoint logo

Summary: Relying on Microsoft still a way to destroy one’s career or overspend in a company for the use of inferior technology

FOR REASONS we wrote about in literally thousands of posts, Microsoft software ought to be avoided. It deserves to be avoided not just due to Microsoft’s despicable behaviour but also because it’s technically inferior. One example of this is the muchly-hyped SharePoint, which does almost nothing that a combination of free/libre software cannot achieve and do a lot better. Consider the SharePoint crashes for example. An executive is now comparing SharePoint to an ashtray:

SharePoint software is like a “Rolls Royce ashtray” for government departments: it’s free with the car but it doesn’t add much, according to Bryan King, director of strategy and innovation with the South Australian Chief Information Office.

In other words, it’s a waste of money (long-term lock-in). Who would be foolish enough to take this route? The only thing Microsoft software can relay reliably seems to be worms (see this new incident [1, 2] and also new Stuxnet reports [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]) and spam, which are a brute-force problem where loss of a high proportion of messages may be tolerable. Microsoft software is notorious for data loss tendencies and Exchange, OneCare, and Outlook are just some of the examples. Security and data loss are correlated for obvious reasons and a company’s safety (e.g. in communications) depends heavily on computer security too. Maybe that’s why HP is buying ArcSight.

ArcSight makes software that monitors corporate networks for unusual activity, such as a hacker’s attempt to break into a system.

How about using UNIX/Linux to reduce risk of that? Based on this other new article, even ‘hardened’ Windows is not effective against common attack methods:

The 15-page PDF was able to compromise PCs even when they ran Reader on versions of Microsoft Windows that are fortified with protections designed to lessen the damage from garden-variety bugs – such as the stack overflow being targeted in Reader.

Why deal with all this mess? The Darwin award seems to go to those who choose Microsoft for their infrastructure. It is not a coincidence that almost all major competitors of Microsoft are based on GNU/Linux. That’s just the way to survive and thrive nowadays. Google recently banned Windows for good reasons (on desktops too).

Wall Street Journal Confirms VMware is Looking to Buy SUSE

Posted in Novell, OpenSUSE, Servers, Virtualisation, VMware at 7:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rupert Murdoch

Picture by Zil

Summary: Murdoch’s press says more about VMware’s plan to buy SUSE

It’s hardly just a rumour or a mere speculation anymore. Rumours about Novell being split and sold [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] are now developing into concrete evidence. One article jointly written by Microsoft’s booster Ben Worthen for Mudoch’s press says that “VMware is pursuing Novell’s SUSE Linux operating system business, these people said. Attachmate Corp., a private-equity backed software company, could end up buying some or all of the remaining assets, including NetWare, Novell’s network operating system. Attachmate, which is owned by buyout investors including Golden Gate Capital and Francisco Partners, sells software to companies running older IT applications.

“VMware is hardly a desktop-oriented company, so OpenSUSE should seriously start thinking about a fork.”“Novell is most likely to sell its Linux business to VMware, although the two sides still differ on valuation, the people familiar with the matter said. Analysts say the Linux business, which has tools for managing virtualized operating systems, will strengthen VMware’s presence in cloud computing, a catch-all term for software and services accessed over the Web The company may decide not to sell its remaining assets to Attachmate if it decides that the price being offered is too low, the people said.”

We have already explained why this is bad news. We have this page about VMware’s recent history (victim of Microsoft “Slog”, then entryism, just like Yahoo! in some ways). VMware is hardly a desktop-oriented company, so OpenSUSE should seriously start thinking about a fork.

Nokia, Zeitgeist, MeeGo/Maemo, and Moonlight/Mono Threat

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 7:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nokia on red

Summary: Nokia’s connections to Microsoft (or Novell) software like Mono are made more pronounced, commitment to Linux is taken aback, and Zeitgeist too is getting the ‘Mono treatment’

MeeGo was to some extent devoured by Mono, owing to work from Novell employees [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. This started just months before apparent Nokia entryism, wherein a Microsoft president was made the company’s CEO [1, 2, 3] (only months after Microsoft and Nokia signed deals). As several journalists pointed out (we cannot provide a complete list), MeeGo was already de-emphasised this week. This is a bad start for the company that has just put a Microsoft man in charge. Here is one new article of interest:

MeeGo a no-show at NokiaWorld, but CTO says it’s “critically important”

One of the oddest things about the keynote presentations during the NokiaWorld conference was the conspicuous absence of commentary about MeeGo, the Linux-based mobile platform that is expected to eventually displace Symbian as the dominant operating system on Nokia’s high-end products. During the major product announcements on the opening day of the conference, the only time that a Nokia executive mentioned MeeGo was to say that there would be no MeeGo-based products announced this week.

There are already rumours or speculations about Nokia striking an alliance with Microsoft against Google and Apple (those suggesting this are Microsoft boosters for the most part) and Nokia’s response to Google and Apple (with Symbian, not Linux) is seen as laughable by some:

Nokia has announced a number of sleek new handsets at its on going Nokia World 2010 in London. These devices are clearly aimed at going after both the iPhone and Android, two platforms that are bent on eating up all of Nokia’s smartphone market share.

MeeGo faces a threat from another new front.

Philip Van Hoof, who expressed strong anti-Stallman sentiments (we mentioned Philip in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) is speaking to the guy who may put Mono in GNOME Zeitgeist. Earlier today a reader told us: “just bumped into a blog posting from a Zeitgeist developer. Note the comment from Philip van H (iirc the sparkleshare developer) to integrate the Maemo version of Zeigeist “deeply” with tracker. Seems the mono fanboys are trying to push mono everywhere they possibly can: http://seilo.geekyogre.com/2010/…

To quote Philip: “Dude dude dude! This is awesome stuff. Let’s get this on Harmattan and integrated deeply with the latest Tracker 0.9 stuff.”

gnufreex balked at “Integrate deeply” and claimed: “He is working for MS probably.”

He is not.

Whether he develops SparkleShare [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] or not, it doesn’t seem so, but “That is [an] anti-RMS guy,” gnufreex remembered correctly, “He proposed GNOME to spilt from FSF”

That’s correct and there is more to it. We already covered this before. “You can tell a man by his enemies,” wrote Wayne Borean, “RMS has so many enemies, all of who tell lies, that you know he’s got to be a great person.

“I have read all kind of RMS bashing, and none makes sense when you see whole picture.”

“Everybody says he is an extremist,” responded gnufreex, “nobody can prove it… When I say everybody I mean those who criticize him.”

“RMS has so many enemies, all of who tell lies, that you know he’s got to be a great person.”
      –Wayne Borean
Wayne wrote: “Just like they say Roy is an extremist. For that matter I’ve been called an extremist too. As has PJ. You will note that the common factor behind the attacks, is that someone is making money doing something, and is afraid that they might actually have to work. Think Microsoft and Free Software. Or The SCO Group and Groklaw.”

“I was called extremist too… more than once,” argued gnufreex. “Some people think everybody who don’t use Windows is some kind of extremist. It is good to be this kind of extremist then”

“In some cases they should worry. I’ve actually got a plan in place to do some damage to the RIAA member companies in Canada, by taking away their market. But this is legal. Outperforming the current market leader is legal,” added Wayne.

Responding to gnufreex he wrote: “Windows users are like battered spouses who keep going back to the abusive environment after being promised that ‘I really will change this time’”

“That is exactly what I think,” gnufreex concluded.

Going back to Nokia, let us recall Nokia'a Silverlight deal from 2008 and connect that to Moonlight, which was also rejected by Moblin (Intel) [1, 2, 3]. They picked Silverlight instead. What is with all the Mono in MeeGo then? Why is it that few people are willing to point out that Silverlight is dying [1, 2, 3, 4]? GNU/Linux “doesn’t really need it anymore (did it ever?),” I wrote to Glyn Moody earlier today because he mentioned it. “[I]ndeed,” he said, “the point is *Microsoft* needs Linux….”

Then, “to complete the sentence,” I told him, “‘*Microsoft* needs Linux…. to become more of a property of Microsoft’ (APIs, patents, software..)”

“[S]ure,” Moody replied, “I am not advocating it, just analysing it” (he linked to a Microsoft booster whose personal blog said in the headline that “If Microsoft is serious about Silverlight, it needs to do Linux”).

The booster, Tim Anderson, talked about cross-platform at Adobe and then mentioned Silverlight:

Microsoft, on the other hand, will not be able to play in this space unless it delivers Silverlight for Linux, Android, and other open platforms.

Microsoft has a curious history of cross-platform Silverlight announcements. Early on it announced that Moonlight was the official Linux player, though in practice support for Moonlight has been half-hearted. Then when Intel announced the Atom Developer Program (now AppUp) in September 2009, Microsoft stated that it would provide its own build of Silverlight for Linux, or rather, than Intel would build it with Microsoft’s code. Microsoft’s Brian Goldfarb told me that Microsoft and Intel would work together on bringing Silverlight to devices, while Moonlight would be the choice for desktop Linux.

Well, too bad (that’s sarcasm by the way) hardly a word is ever heard from Moonlight anymore and its developer, Novell, is allegedly being sold [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. How might this affect MeeGo’s/Nokia’s relationship with Moonlight/Silverlight and Mono/.NET? Thoughts about this can be a wee troubling.

IRC Proceedings: September 16th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Why Google Should Have AstroTurfer ‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ Investigated (or Sued)

Posted in Deception, FUD, Google, Microsoft at 6:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

 <blockquote cite="">  </blockquote>

Summary: ‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ is being exposed in more and more Web sites for its real agenda, which is not sincere scrutiny of Google

WITHIN minutes since our previous post (about Microsoft-funded anti-Google lobbying), one reader told us that Consumer ‘Watchdog’ (yes TechDirt uses scare quotes too), a known AstroTurfer linked to Edelman, is just somewhat of a scam. “Consumer ‘Watchdog’ Anti-Google Video Just Part Of A Stunt To Sell Books?” says the headline. A “Consumer Watchdog person in Techdirt comments,” says our reader, alerting that they already respond. That’s called “damage control”.

As we have shown before (see wiki page), it’s not just about selling books. ‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ is AstroTurfing and there should be an investigation into it. Such an investigation can probably be invoked by Google, via the FTC for example. Otherwise, maybe Google should sue. ‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ is funded to the extent that it can produce complex animated videos and buy many placements in highly expensive billboards; it can afford a legal defence, assuming it has one at all.

Microsoft’s Patent Lobby and Scott Cleland as Anti-Google Weapon

Posted in Apple, Deception, FUD, Google, Microsoft, Patents, RAND, Red Hat at 5:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microwave antenna

Summary: Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) exposed for more Microsoft lobbying this week; Scott Cleland’s latest attacks on Google neglect to mention his financial relationship with Microsoft

LARGE AND UNUSUALLY ABUSIVE companies love hiding behind front groups that pretend to represent the very opposite side and receive millions of dollars to do this job as fake “activists” (actually reverse “lobbyists” who should just be labeled criminals and laws be passed to jail them). At PR Watch we have a new example today:

PR Watch has another new example where companies rename to avoid/escape a connotation:

  • A New Name for High Fructose Corn Syrup?

    Philip Morris tried to escape its tarnished reputation by re-branding itself “Altria” and the private military contractor Blackwater tried to ditch its bad image by re-naming itself “Xe.”

The interesting thing is, lobbyists too occasionally change names. A case of nymshifting was once exposed when ATL (infamous for letters from dead people in support of Microsoft) more or less became Association for Competitive Technology (ACT fakes representation of small businesses), which is just another Microsoft front group which massively attended and took over the discussion at IGF [1, 2]. The FFII was viewing this event and it gave the following quotes from ACT’s Zuck. The first is “incenting [sic] the people who are going to create the new technologies.” The second is “Open standards are very important, but they are not a panacea.” This is lobbying for software patents.

The head of the FSFE wrote (via Jan Wildeboer): “Poked Microsoft’s in #IGF Open Standards session enough to get clear statement from him: “Open Standards = RAND & FRAND, not RF” [RAND & FRAND are incompatible with Free software]”

Lo and behold — US senators call for action on a patent bill. Watch the propaganda in favour of “[s]trengthening our patent system”:

A bipartisan group of 25 senators urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Wednesday to bring legislation that would overhaul the U.S. patent system to the Senate floor for a vote.

With the legislation stalled for months, the senators led by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, R-Vt., and ranking member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., called on Reid in a letter to bring a compromise version of a patent overhaul bill the Judiciary Committee passed last year to the floor “as soon as possible.” They note that the compromise measure, which would be offered as a manager’s amendment on the Senate floor, enjoys broad support and would help spur economic activity.

“Strengthening our patent system and spurring innovation and investment is an action we should take now to stimulate our economy,” the senators wrote. They added that, “Patent reform is bipartisan legislation, supported by the [Obama] administration, that will improve the economy and create jobs without adding to the deficit.”

As we showed the other night, the Obama administration is in favour of the patent lobby. No surprise there.

ThistleWeb addresses an important FUD pattern about the role of nationality. There are US-based companies opposing software patents (e.g. Red Hat) but especially foreign ones. Here is an interesting perspective:

I’ve noticed a talking point among some Microsoft astroturfers, who seek to use it as an argument for staying with Microsoft and not using Linux / FOSS software; you should reject “foreign” when “good US companies” like Microsoft are at the forefront of everything. In other words, “vote patriot”. At first I thought this was a bed idea for Linux / FOSS but now I’m not so sure.

If we see this as an example to follow, then those US companies will find themselves minority players in no time. The US after all is only around 6% of the global population. Right now companies like Microsoft and other US companies strangle smaller companies from other countries. If others “vote patriotism”, it means they reject US companies in favour of their own. In cases where there are no national corps that fit the bill, there is the global FOSS option.

* Microsoft = US
* Apple = US
* Novell = US
* RedHat = US

[...]

I’m not sure the pro-Microsoft astroturfers playing the patriotism card was all that well thought out. If applied globally it would ruin Microsoft. Imagine every government outside of the US dumping Windows and Office. Imagine every non-US company, school, hospital etc following suit. As I pointed out earlier, you could be a good US “patriot” and switch to RedHat Linux, which still cuts Microsoft out of the loop.

Among the four companies above, all have software patents, but only Red Hat seems to be working to get rid of them. Apple is no better than Microsoft when it comes to software patents, but its lobby is a lot smaller, just like the company itself. Some of its products become cultural items, so the following news, which has nothing at all to do with hypePhone in particular, seems to associate it with lawmaking or rulings:

iPhone using juror causes manslaughter conviction to be overturned

[...]

Defendant was accused of killing his new neighbor and was indicted for murder. The jury convicted him of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Contrary to the headline, it has nothing to do with Apple’s gadgets. It’s to do with access to texts. It’s about being better informed.

“Cleland is not a mere campaigner, it’s just another lobbyist”As one final item, Wayne brought to our attention the curious case of Scott Cleland, whom we wrote about before. He is linked to Microsoft and allegedly also to Bell, so his output was mentioned here before in relation to Microsoft's net neutrality policy. His writings about Microsoft are biased and telecoms seem to be his top priority. He is routinely accused of being a “Telco Shill” (on the payroll), yet IDG writers offer him a platform. Having seen hundreds of articles from him, it is safe to allege that IDG’s Tony Bradley takes Microsoft’s side a lot of the time (yet we don’t name him much).

Now that a fake ‘consumer’ group (AstroTurfer) uses regulators to harass Google [1, 2, 3, 4], Scott Cleland joins the party and claims that Google is destroying the economy (reducing employment). Our insightful reader Wayne shared with us this good rebuttal which starts thusly:

Ron Rezendes was the first of a whole bunch of you to send over PC World’s coverage of Scott Cleland’s latest attack on Google, though, bizarrely, Tony Bradley at PC World, fails to (a) fill in the details on Cleland’s history and current job or (b) challenge any of the many false assumptions Cleland makes. He does question the overall conclusions, noting (accurately) that the tech world is littered with “monopolies” that were killed off by upstarts, but there’s a lot more worth questioning in Cleland’s piece. Cleland, as we’ve discussed in the past, is known throughout DC policy circles as the official attack dog of every anti-Google company out there. He’s literally paid to make up attacks on Google, no matter how ridiculous.

The thing about Scott Cleland is, by merely googling his name (maybe that too is why he hates Google) one can find a lot. The National Journal reported that Cleland “signed on as a hired gun for Microsoft earlier this year.” Follow the money. Cleland is not a mere campaigner, it’s just another lobbyist.

SCO is Selling UNIX® Assets and Novell (UNIX® Owner) is Selling Too

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, SCO, UNIX at 4:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UnixSummary: Novell’s allegedly imminent announcement of a sale is debated and SCO is meanwhile raising funds by selling virtual (invisible) assets

NOVELL is rumoured to be weeks ahead of formally announcing its splitting and sale [1, 2, 3, 4]. Nobody knows for sure what this kind of thing may mean to the SCO trial, especially since no buyer was actually named.

Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer describes his “Weird nightmares” where “NOVL gets split up, VMWare takes SUSE and SCO buys the UNIX (c) to continue its “fight”…”

Carlo Piana responds to this by saying “…or ORCL buys Suse and both SCO and UNIX(c) go to MSFT (oh, wait a minute, isn’t SCO already MSFT’s)? :-P”

Joe Young foolishly passes forth the suggestion that Red Hat may acquire Novell. It also mentions the following:

IBM (NYSE: IBM) was not mentioned in this publication, but if it was or were to be, Jefferies sees potential headline risk for Red Hat, since IBM has been the key OEN and development partner of Red Hat for many years. Should IBM be named or publish intention to purchase SuSE, the financial impact on Red Hat could total ~$60M annually.

gnufreex adds “about Red Hat buying SuSE… they probably won’t. I just don’t know what could happen if VMware get it. They want to kill Red Hat and they might bundle free Linux support with virtualization… and everybody uses some VMware virualization. It might hurt Red Hat.”

IBM supported Novell’s buying of S.u.S.E., which is used a lot in mainframes, “at which point,” explains The Mad Hatter, “you have to wonder if IBM might not get involved. I can’t see that having VMware in control of SUSE would be good for IBM.”

As we explained yesterday, former Microsoft executives run VMware.

Here are this week’s stories that we found about schools dumping Novell because of Microsoft:

i. Chesapeake School Board spells out list of year’s goals

Roberts said he’s also working on a new science and medicine magnet program for Deep Creek High School, building relationships with community businesses, and switching the division’s computers over from the old Novell operating system to one developed by Microsoft.

ii. Campus Increases Internet Bandwidth

The changes consist of a new password policy, switching from the Novell program to Microsoft Active Directory, and expanding the Wi-Fi access across campus.

The latest development in the SCO case is explained in the following new press release from SCO:

The SCO Group, Inc., (Pink Sheets: SCOXQ), www.sco.com, a leading provider of UNIX® software technology, today announced that it is pursuing a sale of substantially all of the assets of its UNIX® business, including certain UNIX system V software products and related services. The asset sale will be free and clear of liens and encumbrances pursuant to Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Interested parties must submit a bid by close of business, October 5, 2010. For information on the company or the sale, please contact Ocean Park Advisors, LLC, 6033 West Century Blvd., Suite 1290, Los Angeles, CA 90045, Attn: Bruce Comer, Managing Director, (310) 670-2721; Mark Fisler, Managing Director, (310) 670-2704.

Joab Jackson wrote an article about it for IDG:

Even as it continues to battle for Unix ownership in court, the SCO Group plans to auction off most all of its Unix assets, including “certain UNIX system V software products and related services,” the company announced Thursday.

Interested parties must submit a bid for the assets by Oct. 5.

Glyn Moody said, “this worries me,” but Carlo Piana said to him, “what you fear, that they end up to a troll, sorry, to a litigation firm? As if they weren’t already? ;-)”

Amiga UNIX

Bill Gates Called a “Strong Eugenicist”

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance at 3:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Gates’ recent remarks on “death panel” still cause a storm among those who accuse him of having a eugenics agenda

Big Phama backer (and investor) the Gates Foundation is a subject we explore a lot because there are armies of PR agents working to hide its agenda. The “Gates Foundation” is the tax-exempt bank account of Bill Gates and it is mostly being used to invest in some companies that harm society (the lesser-advertised part of its activities).

Some people have been connecting Bill Gates to eugenics and we are seeing more and more of this type of accusations over time [1, 2, 3, 4] (usually invoked by slips of the tongue or messages between the lines, maybe misinterpreted). A few days ago Omar made us aware of this new video where Gates explicitly mentioned “death panel” and it doesn’t take bizarre logic to interpret this. Moments ago a reader shared with us this new link to the post “Bill Gates’ discussion on ‘death panel’ invokes a huge outcry”. It says:

Bill Gates made a comment regarding decreasing the world’s population and favoring the ‘death panel’ which incited a huge outcry amongst the conservatives

Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft and one of the richest men on earth and is also running a foundation called ‘Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’ which provides vaccines to third world countries. So when Bill Gates made the comment of decreasing the population of the world and favoring the ‘death panel’, it came as a huge surprise for most people.

[...]

Bill Gates is a strong eugenicist who believes that instead of spending millions of dollars on old people who just have months to live, the money should be spent elsewhere where it can actually benefit people.

We are not sure “eugenicist” is the right word. And while population control is necessary for the survival of the species, the problem is that private companies and wealthy individuals get to make the decisions rather than democratically-elected governments with consultation from the entire population. The developing nations (euphemism) do not need “super-rich patents” from the West deciding for them on reproduction and increasingly they understand how they are being gamed. This is a class war where debt and patents (i.e. wealth and power) play a huge role. It’s not a war of brands or races.

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