09.30.10

What Apple, Microsoft, and GNU/Linux Mean to One’s Freedom and the Bundling Issue Revisited

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 1:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

KDE 4.0

Summary: How Apple and Microsoft actively harm software freedom; GNU/Linux is ready for the desktop, but is the abundance of regulators ready to tackle market distortion and put GNU/Linux on the desktop?

A FEW hours ago we came across this good new article from our reader “Agent Smith”, who put together a three-part series on what different corporations mean to Free/open source software. We largely agree with the analysis which in part 2 labels Yahoo! and IBM as “Neutral” and Oracle as “Neutral-Hostile”. The last part, part 3, names Apple and Microsoft as most hostile (SCO is probably too small to be covered fully but there are more companies listed at the bottom). Taken from the analysis of Microsoft:

But it was not just that: Code being used in its virtualization supervisor , Hyper-V, also had traces of copy of Open Source projects. Microsoft, caught with the hand in the cookie jar, then quickly made a “donation” for Linux kernel drivers.

In the same spirit of “inspiration” for the work of others, Microsoft has also been inspired by Plurk to create a similar service, MSN Juku. Of course, had to shut it down after it became public their Juku service was a blatant rip off.

Some time ago, Microsoft sued Tom Tom, a maker of GPS devices, about patents on file systems. And recently, sued Salesforce , aggressively and unprovoked, as its CRM system can not compete with the Open Source Salesforce’s CRM system.

And then, there are the agreements with Novell, HTC, Samsung, LG, which adds an “imaginary” licensing fee of their patents, so others can use open source projects, of which Microsoft has never helped and never wanted them to thrive.

Besides Mono / Moonlight, which is a time bomb, which enables Microsoft to take actions as Oracle’s lawsuit against Google. That is, if the Mono / Moonlight is not ejected from the Linux environment, we can see, in a not too distant future, more ridiculous lawsuits such as Oracle’s.

Stuart Jarvis has also just posted this comparison between Apple and Linux (and Microsoft too, to a lesser degree):

How Apple works

Apple sells you hardware that they design and specify and they include software for you to run on that hardware. It works, mostly, very well. If it didn’t then they would really be failing – they control everything, know exactly what they need to test with, etc, etc.

How Microsoft works

Microsoft sells you software with basic hardware requirements. They throw in a few drivers for some popular hardware, but mostly your shiny new PC comes with Windows and drivers from the manufacturer already installed. The manufacturer only has to test that their small range of hardware works with Windows and their drivers.

It is worth adding that Microsoft found a way to virtually force people (including OEMs) to buy Windows. This is anti-competitive and the European Commission should do something about it because Windows refunds are still hard to get, let alone machines with GNU/Linux pre-installed (the refunds of Vista 7 are work in progress).

“Linux has better hardware support than Windows…”
      –Stuart Jarvis
The importance of unbundling is best explained by Jarvis, who writes: “Linux has better hardware support than Windows (certainly than XP when that was current, I can’t compare directly to Vista or 7).” Well, there should be no problem installing GNU/Linux distributions on most barebone hardware these days, so the excuses run out for OEMs. KDE4 works great for any new GNU/Linux user whom I’ve tested so far. All the hardware — wireless included — works out of the box.

“Some vendors will sell you Linux-friendly hardware and even pre-install Linux for you,” adds Jarvis. “Make some real Linux hardware, better quality and better presented than anything from Apple, with a Linux distro and Plasma Desktop tweaked to work perfectly with the hardware and sell it as the ultimate home computer. It would take money (big, established vendor money) and balls (no one ever got sacked for selling Windows, you might for this) but maybe, just maybe, you could be the next Apple. But free.”

Stuxnet is Immortal on Microsoft Windows, Siemens Should Just Move Fully to GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 1:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Siemens generator

Summary: The worldwide epidemic known as “Stuxnet” is unresolved and Siemens continues to take a serious hit from this Windows-only worm

Stuxnet is turning into quite a Windows nightmare [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16]. Microsoft has not yet resolved this problem and according to The Register, “Stuxnet worm can reinfect PCs even after disinfection” (i.e. there is no permanent solution).

A security researcher has found yet another way the Stuxnet worm infiltrates computers used in nuclear plants and other industrial facilities, a technique that has the ability to reinfect machines even after they’ve been cleaned of the malware.

Stuxnet has already proven itself as one of the most sophisticated pieces of known malware ever. Its ability to target four vulnerabilities that until recently were unknown and unpatched allowed it to spread through USB sticks, Windows file shares, and other vectors. The worm is especially adept at targeting industrial-control applications developed by German software maker Siemens, allowing it to act as a guided missile of sorts that sabotages plants that meet very specific criteria.

Siemens should consider a move to GNU/Linux (it already uses it in some areas of operation) and stop lobbying for software patents in Europe while it’s at it [1, 2].

“Gates had never been involved in any of the architectural design of Windows, nor had he ever been personally involved in writing such large amounts of code. Now, very late in the game, he was throwing out knee-jerk requests based on the competition. And he seemed totally oblivious to the fact that every such feature change radically screwed up Windows’s stability, testing, and ship date.”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul

KDE Still Does Not Support LibreOffice

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, KDE, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle, Standard at 12:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

KOffice Logo

Summary: A polite call for KDE to put its weight behind LibreOffice

“LibreOffice and the Document Foundation are for sure a hot topic today here at OWF,” wrote Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer this morning.

This is an important cause at this particular stage, primarily because of Oracle. The goal it to override OpenOffice.org (notice how it came from proprietary StarOffice to dual with OpenOffice.org and now all the way to freedom with LibreOffice).

LibreOffice boasts a growing list of supporters (growing as we speak), but KDE has not yet been added to this list. GNOME has been there for several weeks (based on information Techrights received in advance [1, 2]), so we can only assume that KDE was approached for support and declined.

“[W]hy does the steering committee and founding member list have only two developers?”
      –Aaron Seigo, Plasma developer
Aaron Seigo, one of the most prominent voices from KDE, has voiced his opinion in Identi.ca by writing: “best of luck to Libre Office, as Oracle’s ship of F/OSS sinks faster and faster … though somehow i doubt they care… though i have to say .. “Document Foundation”? really? contender for “Poor Foundation Name Of The Year”, subcategory “Vague and Misleading”… and why does the steering committee and founding member list have only two developers? (inc one guy who worked on the KDE integration)… are there really that few developers left, or are the local(ization) teams for OO.o the managerially savvy ones?”

For reasons we explained this morning, Oracle is not a safe company to trust. Can KDE explain why it has not added itself to the list of supporters, or at least not yet? Might it be because the KOffice team collaborates with OpenOffice.org on some code?

Interestingly enough, 2 years ago we mentioned "LibreOffice" based on this post (“It is time we had a ‘LibreOffice’”).

Links 30/9/2010: GNU/Linux Growth in Data Centres, XtreemOS Opening Up

Posted in News Roundup at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 116
  • Windows users face as many choices as Linux users

    When I want to install Windows or Linux, I can opt for support by a company, or not. If I want support for Windows, I have to buy it from Microsoft or one of their resellers. When I want support for Linux, I have to buy it from RedHat, Novell, Oracle or Canonical.

    When defining a distribution as a ‘collection of software’, Microsoft offers different distributions of Windows for different goals. Microsoft offers ten different Windows distributions for servers, called Windows 2008, and six distributions for desktops, called ’7′. If I want, I can still buy the older six distributions of Windows Vista.

    Those distributions are aimed at different needs: Microsoft has a software collection for netbooks, another for developing countries, one for enthusiasts and small businesses, one for the family, one distribution with all those features included, and one for large enterprises – which has its own distribution channel. Because of a requirement of the EU, all those have a distribution with or without Windows Media Player. The cheaper versions have different distributions per language.

    Looking at corporate backed Linux, the situation is not that different: There are different distributions for different goals. The only difference is, there are more companies to buy from if you want ‘enterprise Linux’. When it comes to ‘consumer Linux’, not so much, Canonical seems about the only choice, now Mandriva seems fading and Linspire disappeared. Most Linux distributions include all languages and a media player, leading to less choices to be made.

  • Real Men Run Linux (and not Windows)

    Last Wednesday was The Day. IE9 had me convinced that it was time to finally leave Vista behind and move to Windows 7, ignoring the iron rule that you should never change a running (Windows) system. I got what I deserved: A failed Windows 7 upgrade that destroyed my Vista installation, a screwed up hard drive with new partitions and useless support from Microsoft. Having spent more than 40 hours to restore my PC, once again, I am ready to leave my wimpy self behind. It is time to switch to Linux.

  • Server

    • Data centres increasing reliability on Linux

      “The penetration of Linux has been going up even in the data centre, and this has been to Dell’s advantage and benefit,” he said. “Linux is replacing Unix based systems with more growth coming from open source.”

      [...]

      “We now see as much as 40 per cent of data centres being built on Linux,” he said. “When you look at cloud computing, you’re seeing higher penetration of software companies which are open source, and I think this trend will only continue.”

    • XtreemOS Consortium Announces Public Access to Open Test Bed

      The XtreemOS consortium, an FP6 European research project, funded in part by the European Commission, is pleased to announce the opening of a publicly accessible test bed.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Download Faenza Icon Theme For KDE4

        KDE4 users will be glad to know that the gorgeous Faenza icons theme has been ported to KDE4. Unfortunately since this pack is not supported by Thieum (the original Faenza icon theme author), the package is not available in the Equinox PPA – but that shouldn’t be such a big issue since the icons are very easy to install.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 2.32 released

        The GNOME development team has released version 2.32 of the GNOME desktop for GNU / Linux and Unix. It includes numerous bug fixes, but relatively few significant new features because many GNOME developers have moved on to working on GNOME 3. Version 3 of GNOME was originally scheduled for release about now, but in July the release date was put back by six months to April 2011 because the GNOME release team felt it wasn’t sufficiently mature.

      • Celebrating the release of GNOME 2.32!
  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Is Red Hat Just Too Red Hot?

        “When it comes to tech,” Cramer said Tuesday, “value destruction is far more important than value creation.”

        [...]

        Of course, you may wonder how Red Hat makes its money given that open-source software is free for anyone to use. Well, it earns revenues through services. Any system, open source or not, needs maintenance and that’s where Red Hat comes in. The company presently controls 75% of the pay-for-support Linux market, but has also used acquisitions to move into virtualization, consulting, middleware and storage-infrastructure software, expanding its addressable market to $50 billion.

      • Red Hat: The New Big Monopoly?

        First, I think it’s misleading (at best) to say these companies are “stealing” Linux. How is what they are doing any different from what Canonical, Novell, and Red Hat do to Linux? Are they also “stealing” Linux to make their own distribution? I feel like this is the point of free software — allowing anyone to build customized versions of software to fit their own needs; good for Oracle and Amazon for taking full advantage of the benefits of Linux and free software. I don’t think Oracle and Amazon are going to prevent loading other Linux distributions; it’s just that the bundled distribution will be Oracle Linux or Amazon Linux AMI, as opposed to Microsoft Windows or Ubuntu.

      • Mad Money goes up close, personal with Red Hat CEO
      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 beta takes MeeGo for a spin

          This release will also see the expansion of Fedora’s netbook “spin” – as the Fedora project calls them – integrating MeeGo for mobile devices. For most users that means netbooks, though MeeGo is designed to support multiple platforms – think in-dash car systems, handsets and more.

        • Security features of Linpus Lite 1.4

          Linpus Lite 1.4 is the latest update to the Linux distribution published by Linpus Technologies, Inc. of Taipei, Taiwan. Though designed for use on netbooks and low-power computers, it is one of the best distributions that I have reviewed for publication on this website. It boots up real fast and shuts down even faster. It features a slick installation program (see the screenshots) and a Simple Mode interface that would make it an ideal distribution for tablet computers.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Release Candidate Is Out – See What’s New!

          Ubuntu 10.10 Release Candidate has just been released. There aren’t too many visual changes since the beta version (most of the visual changes happened before the beta so see THIS post), but there are a few things worth mentioning. Read on to see what’s new in Ubuntu 10.10 Release Candidate (since Ubuntu 10.10 beta)!

        • Ubuntu developing open source font family

          In his blog Tuesday, Ubuntu creator and lead developer Mark Shuttleworth announced the publishing of the first source code for Ubuntu — the font — and revealed plans for an entire open source font family.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint: the tastier Ubuntu

            So what’s the bottom line on Linux Mint? Actually, I like it a lot! So much so that I just might decide to blow away my main desktop’s long-standing Ubuntu OS in favor of a tasty new Linux Mint alternative.

          • The Gaia ’10 Linux Desktop

            Reader gabriela2400′s desktop uses the Gaia customization set to completely revamp the Linux interface into a beautiful work of art, complete with wallpapers, icons, and a custom GTK theme.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Minimalist kiosk distro revs to Ubuntu 10.04 foundation

      Linutop released version 4.0 of a Ubuntu Linux-based distro optimized for kiosk applications on small, energy-efficient fanless PCs, including legacy 386-based PCs and the company’s own mini-PCs. Linutop OS 4.0 is based on Ubuntu 10.04 (“Lucid Lynx”), has a 700MB footprint, is available in a bootable USB key, and offers a variety of display and security features, says the company.

    • Vision control PC supports six IP video cameras

      Lanner announced an Atom-based PC that supports up to six IP video cameras and is designed for vision control applications. Featuring a separate Ethernet controller for each port, the LEC-2026 runs fanlessly, supports either hard disk or CompactFlash storage, and has connectors for both a VGA monitor and a serial console, the company says.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Life-sized robotic android running Android

          Check out this fantastic life-sized robotic RIC Android from RT Corporation and Brilliant Service. The arms and head are controllable, walks on two legs, and can be controlled via an Android smartphone

Free Software/Open Source

  • Teambox is an Open Source, Social Network-Influenced Online Project Management App

    Teambox is a neat online project management app that integrates what works with social networking to try to make a more enjoyable and effective collaborative experience. Plus it’s open source, so you can fully customize it, too.

    While the idea of bringing a Twitter-like experience into a working environment doesn’t really sound too appealing at first, it’s actually a more speed-appropriate channel for communication (which we like). It’s good for reducing email volume, plus project communication is heavily status updates anyhow. While I found the idea off-putting at first, it really looks to be an effective means of communication in the workplace.

  • Events

    • Open World Forum opens with optimism

      The Open World Forum began this morning in Paris with several keynotes that were universally optimistic about the future of open source and the importance of openness.

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • Couchapp Walkthrough: Part 2: The couchapp tool
    • MySQL fork Drizzle goes beta

      With the release of Build 1802, Drizzle, the community driven fork of MySQL, is now officially “beta” software. The new version includes an enhanced version of drizzledump which can now be used to migrate databases from MySQL to Drizzle without any intermediate files. When connected to a Drizzle server it will perform a normal dump, but it it detects a MySQL server it converts all structures and data into a Drizzle compatible format which can be sent directly to a Drizzle server.

      Other improvements in what is officially referred to as Drizzle7, include the introduction of Sphinx based documentation and the ability for the Drizzle server to understand MySQL’s network protocol, which should allow MySQL applications to run with Drizzle with only minor changes. The current development work is expected to be completed in February 2011.

  • Oracle

    • Everyone but Oracle demands Java independence

      Earlier this month, the Java Community Process (JCP) – the only body with the power to ratify and approve changes to Java – passed a resolution calling on Oracle to spin the group out as an as a independent, vendor-neutral body where all members are equal. In 2007, Oracle itself called for such a spin-out, and this month’s resolution insists that Oracle live up to its three-year-old proclamation.

  • Blender/Video/Graphics

    • Online film release: September 30

      Well you never know… Amsterdam can flood or so. But we target at next week thursday for spreading our film online! Work on the DVD with the loads of extras still continues, when this goes to be duplicated I’ll notify you!

    • OpenShot bug suggests UI redesign
    • Novacut – FLOSS ideals for Video editing

      Why am I excited about this and telling you about it (and aside from them seeking donations via Kickstarter)? Because in their video (embedded below) they sold me with the promise that not only will artists be able to share their final product, but Novacut will also allow others to see the process that the creator took to make that product. In effect, the source files of the video. We have this for code, most definitely. We also are starting to have this more often for music with people uploading the individual tracks to community sites like ccmixter.org. But aside from really awesome projects like the Blender Foundation, there isn’t much of this for the video world.

    • Inkscape is finalist of Open Source Awards 2010

      Packt Publishing announced finalists of the Open Source Awards 2010, and Inkscape is among them in the Open Source Graphics Software category! Voting for the winner among finalists started this Monday and will last till November 5.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman and the free software movement

      Richard Stallman is something of a legend in the global software community. In 1983 he created the free software movement, through which highly trained and often highly paid professionals give their time to producing software for the public good.

      The movement produced the GNU operating system, a free alternative to proprietary software such as the Microsoft or Apple operating systems. GNU is a both a humorous “recursive acronym” standing for “GNU is Not Unix”, and the animal mascot of the GNU system and GNU Project.

    • Quillen: The curse of Ref. A

      In the fall of 2003, I was getting comfortable with GNU/Linux after ditching Microsoft Windows because I was sick of the Blue Screen of Death. In Linux, I found many new programs to play with, among them one called “wget,” which would fetch the entire contents of a website and store it on my computer.

    • Free Form: Free Software News for September 29th 2010
  • Government

    • UK.gov refines pub sector software code, database re-use licence

      UK public sector workers have been handed a new Open Government licence this morning from The National Archives office that allows easier re-use of some gov data.

      It is interoperable with the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence, but it also comes loaded with a number of restrictions.

      Public sector employees throughout Blighty can use the licence, which covers databases and software source codes to copy, publish and distribute information. Data can additionally be adapted and “exploited” commercially, said The National Archives office.

Leftovers

  • Late Night Frustrations

    I use Evolution as my mail/contacts/calendar/task manager. About three days ago my outgoing email stopped working. I could access the incoming email, but all outgoing email simply stayed in the outbox of Evolution. When I tried to schedule the email for delivery, dialog boxes would come up telling me that my smtp server was denying access. Almost simultaneously I saw a brief tweet from my ISP mentioning that they were “working on a problem” (but no real description of the problem), so at first I thought the issue was with the ISP.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • UK to Europe: Trees Not Tricks!
    • Earth-Like Planet Can Sustain Life

      A new member in a family of planets circling a red dwarf star 20 light-years away has just been found. It’s called Gliese 581g, and the ‘g’ may very well stand for Goldilocks.

      Gliese 581g is the first world discovered beyond Earth that’s the right size and location for life.

      “Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say that the chances for life on this planet are 100 percent. I have almost no doubt about it,” Steven Vogt, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at University of California Santa Cruz, told Discovery News.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Singer imprisoned for publishing “subversive songs”

      ‘Torture Without Trace’ was banned by Chinese authorities in central Henan province in November 2009 after 3,000–5,000 copies of the album had already been sold within a month after its October-2009-release in the Amdo region of eastern Tibet. A member of the Henan Mongolian Autonomous Region Arts Troupe, Tashi Dondrup is a popular music star in the region.

    • Privacy Is Ultimately about Liberty While Surveillance Is Always about Control

      Speaking on behalf of the GNU Telephony project, we do intend to openly challenge and defy any such a law should it actually come to pass, so I want to be very clear on this statement. It is not simply that we will choose to publicly defy the imposition of such an illegitimate law, but that we will explicitly continue to publicly develop and distribute free software (that is software that offers the freedom to use, inspect, and modify) enabling secure peer-to-peer communication privacy through encryption that is made available directly to anyone worldwide. Clearly such software is especially needed in those places, such as in the United States, where basic human freedoms and personal dignity seem most threatened at present.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Putting the EU in (Net) Neutrality

      The deadline is 30 September, and the address for submitting comments is mailto:INFSO-NETNEUTRALITY@ec.europa.eu. The document also asks for “the name of a contact person in your organisation for any questions on your contribution .”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Internet Access And Human Rights Highlighted Alongside UN Human Rights Council

      Can the digital environment be used in a way that promotes real human rights? A group of activists speaking yesterday alongside the ongoing UN Human Rights Council believes that it can, and provided several examples of work they are doing to make that happen.

      The internet can facilitate community building, and help coordinate the activities of human rights activists, speakers said. But there are dangers. There is a new action before the European Parliament that would challenge anonymity online, which demonstrates the risk that new technologies could become new tools in the hands of governments in order to control, rather than to encourage more participation, said Marco Perduca, a member of the Italian Senate for the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational & Transparty.

    • Trademark Rights for Sound Recordings

      Recently, the USPTO issued a trademark registration certificate for his “sensory mark.” The mark consists of a sixteen-second musical introduction that Oppedahl uses for his recorded lectures on patent law practice.

      [...]

      The USPTO has registered a number of sound marks, including the NBC chimes in 1972. Harley Davidson eventually withdrew its application to register a mark on the sound made by the roar of its V-Twin engine.

    • Copyrights

      • Guest column: Copyright is no justification for digital locks

        Many creators start with views similar to what Stephen Ellis wrote in this space on Friday. While some retain this naive view, others take the time to learn how the technology in question works. They change their views once they speak with independent technical people, and go through the legal and economic analysis of real-world technology. Far from digital locks protecting copyright, they are the greatest threat to copyright and the interests of creators.

        I will not speak about audiences of copyrighted works. I am a creators’ rights activist trying to protect the interests of fellow creators, and oppose the C-32 digital locks based on this. The fact that digital locks also harm the interests of consumers is in addition to its harm to creators, not a matter of allegedly balancing the interests of one over the other.

      • Cmec Copyright Consortium Pursues Legal Option On Fair Dealing Rights For Students In Canadian Schools

        The Copyright Consortium of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), is appealing the July decision of the Federal Court of Appeal upholding the Copyright Board of Canada’s photocopying tariff for K-12 educational institutions. This decision establishes a narrow interpretation of “fair dealing” in the federal Copyright Act as it pertains to making copies of learning materials for distribution to students.

      • The Pirate Bay Appeal Day 2: Lost Sales

        The Pirate Bay appeal is moving forward faster than expected. On the second day representatives for the music and movie industries talked about lost sales and revenues they claim can be attributed to The Pirate Bay. In addition, the prosecution uncovered ad sales and money trails to portray The Pirate Bay as a commercial organization.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA Negotiators ‘Meeting’ With Consumer Advocates Involved ‘Negotiators Eating With Negotiators’

          We already discussed how ACTA negotiators last week announced the timing of a “meeting” lunch for negotiators with consumer rights groups in such a way that it was impossible for most of those groups to attend, and then the negotiators refused to reschedule to a more convenient time. Of course, some people were able to make it, and their reports suggest that ACTA negotiators never really intended to talk to consumer rights groups in the first place…

Clip of the Day

“The GNU Record Utilities”


Credit: TinyOgg

Novell Crash Disrupts Campus and British Department for Health Dumps Novell

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat, Servers, SLES/SLED, Virtualisation, VMware at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Surgical instruments

Summary: The National Health Service (NHS) is cutting down its contract with Novell; there is more cluelessness among Novellers who have no clear strategy

NOVELL’S imminent sale (of the company) is said to be interfering with Novell sales and a major crash being reported in the news cannot help, either.

Yang, a Novell computer server, crashed at 10:45 a.m. Sept. 21, causing setbacks in departments across campus, including The Tech Talk and athletics.

Novell has just suffered a major blow in the UK as the NHS dumps Novell (as a ‘blanket’ type agreement):

The Department for Health has confirmed the £6m Enterprise Wide Agreement with Novell, due to expire next month, will not be renewed. Local trusts will be responsible for ensuring compliance.

Coming only months after Microsoft’s £80m EWA was brought to an end by the Department for Health (DfH), the deal with Novell, which included ID management, discovery tools and maintenance looked unlikely to get the go-ahead, but some have still branded the government’s decision as short-sighted.

As stated in the previous post, the Microsoft-stuffed VMB_ware is expected to seize control of SUSE, which the the Microsoft-stuffed Amazon is also promoting at the expense of Red Hat (that it pays Microsoft for). From The Register we learn that:

Novell might not be sure about what it wants to do with itself, but the company has been pretty clear what it wants you to do with its products. It wants to build virtual software appliances with all kinds of software stacks running inside of virtual machines and atop its SUSE Linux Enterprise distro.

For Novell, the direction/vocation at the moment seems to be very proprietary. In fact, the proprietary software which we wrote about some days ago appears to be the only formal news from Novell (at least from this past week):

Novell on September 23 announced a new version of Novell Access Governance Suite, a set of software products that simplifies how customers govern user access to corporate resources and manage regulatory compliance.

We found only one ‘article’ (not original) based on the press release about Novell Access Governance:

Helping companies to control user access to corporate resources and manage regulatory compliance, Novell has unveiled a new version of Novell (News – Alert) Access Governance Suite.

This is one of those products which Novell knows not what to do with. What company would conceivably be interested in this asset now that Novell wants to sell its entire portfolio?

Novell Vice President Becomes VMB_ware Channel Director Amid Acquisition Plans, IDG Propaganda Begins

Posted in Marketing, Novell, Virtualisation, VMware at 5:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Palacio de Lopez

Summary: The Microsoft-stuffed VMware picks a Novell manager to be its channel director; Novell buys some virtualisation propaganda from IDG; other Novell staff on the move is being tracked

MOVEMENT of staff is sometimes indicative of things to come, which is why staff migration from Novell to VMB_ware should be seen as significant. According to this new report from IDG, Novell’s Donovan is “crowned VMware channel director”:

VMware has appointed John Donovan as its new director for partner organisations across A/NZ.

Donovan will take the reins as of November 1 and will continue his position at Novell as its Asia-Pacific vice-president of alliance and channel sales until then.

Here is another IDG article which names Novell as competition of VMB_ware:

VMware, Microsoft and Citrix, the most widely used virtualization vendors, are all touting their ability to automate management of virtual resources and build cloud networks. But they have competition from Red Hat, Novell and others.

Another new article asks, “Should VMware add Novell’s virtualization management tools?”

VMware’s customers say that the server virtualization vendor still lags third-party specialists in virtualization management. And though uncertainty about the rumored Novell merger continues to reign, some parts of Novell’s management portfolio could bolster VMware’s.

Initial reports on Novell’s ongoing liquidation sale held that the process would happen in two phases: one deal with a “strategic buyer”– reportedly VMware Inc. — for the SUSE Linux OS business, with the rest, including its NetWare and IT management software product lines, going to another buyer. Now, Reuters reports that talks have stalled and quotes a source describing Novell’s management tools as “a dying cow.” But at least in some corners, Novell’s virtualization management tools are the most intriguing part of the acquisition rumors.

It is still being said by the financial Web sites that VMB_ware is likely to buy at least part of Novell (the stock is affected accordingly). Well, Novell has just bought some PlateSpin whitepapers (propaganda) [1, 2] from IDG/IDC, which means that IDC shows what the client wants shown and then IDG pushes this into ‘news’ channels/circulation. Here in Novell’s PR blog IDC was even writing blog posts last week. How corruptible.

Guest Post by Brett Waldman, Analyst, IDC

It will be interesting to see if other Novell staff moves to the Microsoft-stuffed VMB_ware (or vice versa). In the mean time, all that we see this week are the following movements:

- On Mark Cuban and Novell:

When I started there were no local area networks. There was a company you might remember called Novell that was called Novell Shared Data Systems back then and we were like the third or fourth reseller nationally. So we took the initiative.

- GemLogic, which was acquired by SilverStream/Novell, has its co-founder become Vice President of Marketing at VoltDB:

Prior to OSA, Holahan was co-founder of LexiBridge Corporation (acquired by Level3 Communications), GemLogic, Inc. (acquired by SilverStream/Novell) and Active Endpoints, Inc. He also held leadership roles at Progress Software and Interactive Data.

- Eric Schmidt’s role as CEO at Novell is mentioned in some news sites, including IDG where Dave Kearns writes:

And to show that not much as changed in 10 years, I added “Even more indicative, though, were comments made by Novell executives including CEO Eric Schmidt that eDirectory was now the core of Novell’s business.

More here:

In 1997, he left Sun to become the CEO of Novell, then, a premiere networking company in the business world.

- The new CEO of Apperian comes with the burden of Novell roots:

There’s some interesting personnel news today in the world of mobile software apps for companies. Boston-based Apperian, a mobile development and platform startup, says it has appointed a new CEO as of last week. He is David Patrick, a veteran of Lotus, Sun, Novell, and a number of cutting-edge tech startups on both coasts. He succeeds founder Chuck Goldman, a former Apple executive who is staying on as chief strategy officer and will continue to run the company’s services, sales, and business development.

Novell is a shrinking company, so migration of its top staff continues to matter. The same goes for Microsoft.

Increased Opposition to Bill Gates/Microsoft Exploitation of Schools, Shameless PR Explained

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Classroom

Summary: More overlap is shown between Gates’ plot to change schools and Microsoft’s use of schools to indoctrinate young people; the role played by money that Gates passes to the education press (and other PR efforts) gets dissected and shown for scepticism to be justified

THE tax-exempt Gates Foundation is a lot more sinister than PR would have people believe. It operates just like a business and it has a business-like agenda. Watch this new video which helps explain the effect of rich people paying too little tax (or no tax in Gates’ case) on the US economy. That is what happens in a system which is influenced heavily by lobbyists, who get hired by those most able to afford them (Microsoft and Gates still lobby a lot to change tax laws).

“It gives Bill enormous lobbying power, which in turn he uses to benefit companies he invests in.”To put it in simplified terms, the foundation (just a name for Bill’s bank account, which gives it tax exemptions) is building a brand, the “Bill Gates” brand. It gives Bill enormous lobbying power, which in turn he uses to benefit companies he invests in. In a future post we will give more new examples of this.

One area that Microsoft relies on to keep its monopoly going is the school system. As noted this morning, Microsoft indoctrinates children at taxpayers’ expense, using children to sway an office’s choice of software and using teachers as a training workforce for Windows™ and Office™, among other proprietary software products from Microsoft®.

In order to keep schools under strict control by the likes of Gates (schools become increasingly digital over time), there is an intense lobbying campaign which children’s parents and to a certain extent teachers too are protesting against. Arne Duncan is now named as part of the problem.

The first article in this week’s New Yorker questions the ‘gold standards’ and personality cults that have been built up around education reform. The Gates Foundation is not specifically mentioned …

And then Arne Duncan was profiled in the weekend magazine. It doesn’t say what school Arne sends his “little guys” to. Private or public?

The cited articles are both from New York and we are going to come across Arne Duncan later on in this post.

As we pointed out last week, Bill Gates uses singing star Legend to further his personal agenda in schools. He also uses PR around films for lobbying. Is it not funny that Gates wishes to change public schools while he sends his kids to private schools? Here is the sort of brainwash that comes from the film (this article is from a critic):

Education movie points the wrong way for change

[...]

The film suggests public education is failing and points in the wrong directions for change. The filmmakers have not done their homework. They universalize a very specific U.S. experience and engage in simplistic and divisive finger-pointing at teachers, at a time when education needs collaboration and respect for teaching as a profession. An opportunity lost.

It is clear that Gates’ attempt to toy with education systems is not welcomed, which is why the brainwash is needed. Gates has spent hundreds of millions of dollars advertising the change he wants. There is nothing to be admired when it comes to PR, which simply collides with reality, it rarely complements it.

The blog Seattle Education 2010 is pleased to have a forum with Diane Ravitch, who is a well known critic of Gates’ dangerous experimentation with school systems [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Here is another new post about this forum and a reminder from Dora Taylor that privatisation by Bill Gates spells trouble for pupils and their teachers (it gives Gates a lot of control over them):

Dora Taylor is a parent of a high school student at a public school in Seattle, Washington, and is an architect and teacher. In response to school closures in the Seattle Public School system, Dora and her co-editor, Sue Peters, started the blog Seattle Education 2010 to report on and analyze education issues, and to protect the Seattle public school system from the corporate model and privatization efforts of the Gates Foundation, headquartered in Seattle.

Gates’ lobbying carried on in Memphis, whose schools he is trying to change not by contributing much in terms of assets; it’s all PR, it’s usually about communication, i.e. signaling to other states that they too should want the same type of school ‘reform’. From this new editorial:

That’s why spending some of that money on marketing makes sense. The effort to upgrade teaching in the district could be enhanced by the school board’s decision to spend $310,000 this year and perhaps more in the future to develop ways to help Memphians understand where the $90 million Gates grant is going.

To better understand what goes on in Memphis schools, see our previous posts which touched on the subject, e.g.:

There is a huge amount of education-flavoured PR going on (more PR from AP) and Gates pays for it because there will be returns, there are simply gains to be made. In order to promote his agenda in schools, Gates’ staff has arranged for him to appear on Oprah’s show and Microsoft is of course directly involved in these efforts too, in order to indoctrinate children. Julie Bort from IDG’s Microsoft Subnet has this new article titled “Bill Gates, Microsoft call on you to contribute to education reform” and “Microsoft [is] selected by Demi and Ashton,” says another headline. We have already given many other examples where Gates’ involvement in a so-called ‘reform’ is directly benefiting Microsoft, which he co-founded and still have shares of. The Gates Foundation is to Microsoft what in some sense CodePlex Foundation/Outercurve is to Microsoft.

Dora from Seattle Education 2010 proceeds to writing on the subject of Arne Duncan, whom we mentioned earlier. What Dora may not know is that the article she cites comes from a Gates-sponsored (and thus biased) source. Yes, it’s true. Education Week is sponsored by Gates to glorify him as it so often does [1, 2]. She opens as follows: “In the mindless march towards privatization of our public schools through the edicts of Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top agenda, the least among us who Duncan, Broad and Gates claim to be helping are the students most damaged by their plans for a charter school in every pot.”

Education Week is sponsored by Gates to glorify him as it so often does.”A lot of people are still not realising that Gates now owns/contributes to a lot of the education press and thus he can better control what people think. It’s not just Education Week as we have given many other examples. It’s not just about education press, either. The popular progressive British newspaper (Guardian), for example, was recently 'bought' by the Gates Foundation to promote its agenda in the under-developed world. No wonder Gates is now advertised in all the relevant articles (see top banner), which also promote his agenda, e.g. in this new example. According to this disclosure (The Guardian at least does not hide the fact that Gates pays it), it is revealed that it’s a 5-year ‘bribe’. “Gates Foundation to contribute to site funding until 2015,” says this update and “[i]t is envisaged that the Gates Foundation will contribute financially to the new site up to 2015 as part of its commitment to the millennium development goals.” Watch/listen to what the Gates-funded NPR is saying about Gates right now [1, 2]. NPR lost all credibility because of the money on its table. More NPR propaganda is being used to promote the Gates agenda under the guise of “national” radio (national but privatised). This includes help to abusive companies like Monsanto. We have already given many other examples where NPR promoted Gates and companies he invested in after Gates had ‘donated’ millions to NPR.

It is too easy to get distracted by puff pieces like this one (“I will not leave $53B fortune to kids, says Bill Gates”). It’s just one pointless article amongst others of its kind [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] which tell no news (been heard many times since almost a decade ago, thus it’s just PR about his children, reiterated).

“Gates is getting richer while being portrayed as a giver and the middle class still vanishes (widening gap between rich and poor).”To put things in perspective, Gates has been saying this and spreading such a fairy tale for ages, all of it while not paying taxes. He is still getting richer based on Forbes’ list (so much for retirement or giveaways), so how is that promise of not leaving a fortune to his kids being fulfilled since he first made it about a decade ago? Gates is getting richer while being portrayed as a giver and the middle class still vanishes (widening gap between rich and poor). Well, maybe this newly-updated list is the reason for repeating old news and getting people off his back. Microsoft Nick and many others have spread the news about Bill Gates being #1 in Forbes’ rich list [1, 2, 3], so there couldn’t be better timing to say that this fortune will be given away (even though it continues to expand). In a world where being most rich also means being most “generous” (at least when greased up by a PR machine), why not exploit people’s ignorance or gullibility?

There is propaganda in printed newspapers to build an icon of someone who robbed society and now runs it. People are supposed to love those who hurt them the most. Using euphemisms like “reform”, “education”, and “health”, there is an increase in suggestion that only the super-rich can save the world. Here is some health-flavoured PR about Bill Gates and Seattle growth and here is a new press release about Microsoft “health”. More about this whole “health” agenda will be the main discussion of tomorrow’s post. In health too there are monopolies and vast profits.

LibreOffice Has the Potential to Altogether Replace Oracle OpenOffice.org (OOOo)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, Mono, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle, SUN at 2:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU in the wild

Summary: The FSF-endorsed, community-run office suite gains momentum and there are reasons to believe that it can make Oracle relinquish control at some stage

A COUPLE of days ago we helped introduce LibreOffice, which contrary to what some Mono/Novell trolls are saying, is not a rebranded Go-OO. The idea is similar in the sense that copyright assignment gets changed, but here there are a lot of vendors involved and the steering committee is diverse.

A lot has changed since Novell first tried to fork OpenOffice.org and take control away from its rightful owner. Besides, a lot has changed in the stewardship because Sun was a trustworthy steward whereas Oracle disregards freedom. Its CEO recently sent E-mail to a journalist calling him a scumbag. That’s not the type of person a community can look up to.

“Libre” appears to be a focus of the new office suite, whereas Go-OO added some Microsoft elements like Mono bindings and OOXML. Responding to the worries that there is too much overlap between what was once known as Go-OO and LibreOffice, Charles-H. Schultz clarifies as follows:

I had a chance to ask Charles-H. Schultz, on the steering committee of The Document Foundation some questions I had swirling in my mind after their announcement today of LibreOffice, and he was kind enough to take time on a really busy day to answer.

I wanted to know about Mono and OOXML and all the things you are wondering about too. I had become quite worried about OpenOffice.org and Go-OO, and naturally that was on my mind, given who is involved in LibreOffice. The answers are reassuring. The Document Foundation is serious about avoiding non-free elements, and they are on the same page about that. I guess that’s how they got Richard Stallman to bless the project, now that I think of it, along with so many others. And I wanted to ask him how we all can help out.

[...]

Question 2: What about Mono? What about OOXML?

Schultz: Well, that’s quite easy. Mono was never really inside OOo or Go-OO to start with. What was inside Go-OO was the possibility of Mono integration, and even that sort of exists inside the “vanilla OOo”. So we made sure that didn’t add to this.

As for OOXML, well, we didn’t take the Go-OO approach and did not include the patches developed with the “aid” of Microsoft. All in all, LibreOffice is clean, very clean, and we look forward stay that way. But enough talking on OOXML, a standard that does not exist. Let’s rather focus on ODF, an existing open standard we support and promote.

We discussed this in IRC last night. I said that I had gone to the IRC channel of LibreOffice only to find that at least half of the operators are Novell staff. “Meeks has been pushing for this for a long time,” wrote Saul, “and it seems like he found a way to get his way and fork it.” Well, Novell seems like it has just weeks/months left to exist (in its current form) and as for Meeks, “he might probably be ready to go elsewhere,” told us a source. There is a slight worry that if VMB_ware got hold of LibreOffice, then it would be like Microsoft executives controlling part of Microsoft’s opposition, like they do with Zimbra. But anyway, this is too speculative and even far fetched at this stage.

One of the forces behind LibreOffice, Leif Lodahl, is thrilled to see the good reception the project has gotten:

I saw discussions on freenode about how to compile localized version. I saw Twitter run more than 800 tweets per hour and I have heard about Catalan hackers talk with Spanish journalists. The last thing – I have heard – doasn’t happen every day.

Zonker wrote about it and so did Matt Asay who says that “LibreOffice [is] An Idea Whose Time Has Come (and Gone)”. Well, coming from the person who almost replaced that free/libre office suite with Fog Computing (Google) at Canonical, this is not too shocking, but regarding Apple and Oracle, Matt Asay has just posted the following decent article:

  • Apple and Oracle Must Let Developers Have Their Say

    It’s getting harder to be a monopoly these days. Microsoft owned the desktop for decades, milking its Windows platforms every step of the way. Apple, on the other hand, hadn’t even managed four years of iOS dominance before Google’s Android staked a serious claim to the mobile market.

    This isn’t because Microsoft is somehow smarter than Apple, but rather because the underlying dynamics of the technology industry have fundamentally changed. In brief, the technology world is increasingly embracing “write” communities, as Jono Bacon calls them, not simply “read” communities. Open source may have kickstarted this trend, but open APIs and open data are taking it to new heights.

One must remember that Oracle and Apple think alike in many ways and their CEOs are good friends [1, 2, 3].

Here is some nice analysis from Matthew Aslett:

  • If you fork it, will they come?

    Which is not to say that LibreOffice will not be a success, but when it comes to forking, creating the fork is clearly just the start. It takes time, and a lot of effort, to generate the momentum for a fork to be truly successful. There is bound to be an initial spike in developer and user interest. Turning that into a meaningful and productive community will be the hard part.

There is a fundamental difference between OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice. It’s mostly to do with copyrights.

In quite a timely fashion, Richard Stallman warned about copyright assignment the Oracle way. From the FSF’s Web site:

Companies that develop free software and release it under the GNU GPL sometimes distribute some copies of the code in other ways. If they distribute the exact same code under a different license to certain users that pay for this, typically permitting including the code in proprietary programs, we call it “selling exceptions”. If they distribute some version of the code solely in a proprietary manner, we call that releasing a purely proprietary version of the program.

LibreOffice has a lot to offer to GNU/Linux users and with over 20% market share in some countries, as well as with major deployments all around the world, LibreOffice might soon be used by hundreds of millions of people, especially if Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN) is right and Oracle is about the drop the ball on OpenOffice.org (which seems possible, unless it decides to sue instead):

What I mean by a fork, by the by, is an actual split in the code. For example, Ubuntu can be seen as a fork of Debian. No one doubts that Ubuntu is based on Debian Linux, but it’s also clearly a Linux distribution in its own right. Simply changing out some trademarks and product names, which, for example, is what Oracle did with Red Hat Enterprise Linux when it created Oracle Linux, isn’t the same thing. At this early point, that’s all the Document Foundation has done with OpenOffice.

My expectation is that Oracle will quietly let OpenOffice gather dust, and LibreOffice will become the new open-source office suite of choice. What do you think?

Development on LibreOffice is already active and although it’s not so different from OpenOffice.org (SJVN says it’s not a fork yet, but we disagree), it is quite unique. So give LibreOffice a go and download the latest build. It’s better to rely on GNU/Linux users and vendors than it is to rely on Oracle. Besides, even the FSF endorses LibreOffice.

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