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Links 18/10/2010: Fusion Linux 14, Debian Live Raves

Posted in News Roundup at 9:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 169 – Ubuntu-Proof

      This week on the show: Ubuntu 10.10 is released, System 76 says Unity is slow and confusing, Black Duck acquires Ohloh, LibreOffice now officially a fork, Fab reviews the O2 Surfstick, Microsoft launches Windows Phone by having Ballmer look stupid and Apple patents a completely obvious sentence.

    • KDEMU – Claudia Rauch
    • ‘Pop’ goes OSS

      You may still not find many people rooting for Ubuntu for their laptops, but the shift towards open source is palpable.

      While we are not quite at the tipping point, we are cruising towards it.


      “They did not know what ‘open source’ meant,” says Mangudi. “While all of them are learning programming languages such as C sharp and the web framework dot net, none of them is exposed to languages such as PHP, which powers Facebook or Ruby, which powers Basecamp.”

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • LunarG Proposes A Shader And Kernel Compiler Stack

        LunarG, the consulting company providing professional services for Mesa / Gallium3D that’s led by Jens Owens, the founder of Tungsten Graphics, is beginning to commence work on a new project: LunarGLASS. Last year, LunarG wanted to provided better Linux graphics documentation, but this new LunarGLASS initiative is much more ambitious and it’s about providing a complete shader and kernel compiler stack.

        John Kessenich of LunarG has posted a proposal for LunarGLASS on the mesa-dev mailing list. “LunarG has decided to work on an open source, long-term, highly-functional, and modular shader and kernel compiler stack. Attached is our high-level proposal for this compiler architecture (LunarGLASS). We would like to solicit feedback from the open source community on doing this.”

      • Geek Time with Rusty Russell

        Free software advocate and Linux developer Rusty Russell sat down for an interview with Google’s Jeremy Allison when they were both in Japan for LinuxCon. They discuss Rusty’s role maintaining the Linux kernel (0:15), why Australia has produced so many top notch open source developers (3:13), and suggestions for people starting out in their careers and looking to get into open source (9:13). Enjoy!

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • GeeXboX Develops The OpenBricks Framework

      The developers behind the GeeXboX multi-media Linux distribution have written in to inform us a new framework they have been developing and just released called OpenBricks. The OpenBricks Embedded Linux Framework is “an enterprise-grade embedded Linux framework that provides easy creation of custom distributions for industrial embedded devices. It features a complete embedded development kit for rapid deployment on x86, ARM, PowerPC and MIPS systems with support for industry leaders.”

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Release Candidate Available to Partners

        Back in April, we began talking about the development road toward the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 when we delivered the first beta of the platform, with noteworthy improvements spanning performance enhancements to new security features to expanded virtualization capabilities. With the introduction of the first beta, we began working with our customers, partners and the community to test and further develop the release into an ambitious and robust operating platform. Since then, we have continued the momentum of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 development with the delivery of a second beta in June with additional updates and technologies. We also recently announced an agreement to certify Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 under Common Criteria at Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) 4+ in August.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Understanding Debian’s release process

        Currently, the main product of the Debian project is its stable release. Those release come out approximately every 18-24 months. This article gives a short overview of the process leading to the next stable release.

      • Release Team meeting minutes (and release update)

        As previously announced[RT:PM], the Debian Release Team held a meeting on 2 and 3 Oct, 2010 in Paris, France. The meeting was kindly sponsored by IRILL[RT:PMS]. The attendees were Adam D. Barratt (adsb), Luk Claes (luk), Julien Cristau (jcristau), Mehdi Dogguy (mehdi), Philipp Kern (pkern) and Felipe Augusto van de Wiel (faw).

      • New Backports Suite created
      • Debian Live is getting better all the time

        Nobody writes much about the Debian Live Project, which went from a bunch of stable images for Intel architectures to offering stable and testing images not just for i386 and amd64 but also for PowerPC, the latter in a time when many distributions (Fedora, Ubuntu) have abandoned the Power architecture almost entirely.

        Users of i386 and amd64 can also choose from monthly, weekly and daily builds of Debian Live with GNOME, KDE, Xfce, LXDE or the standard install, and there’s also a Web-based utility to build a custom Lenny, Squeeze or Sid image.

      • State of Squeeze
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 214
        • Is Ubuntu 10.10 the perfect rescue distro?

          I liked the fact that you get an automatic preview of .ogg sound files by just hovering over the icon (this feature does not work with MP3s, though).
          Firefox (3.6.10) runs fast, too. The dictionary is a nice add-on. Hibernation seems to be working (I am not sure because I was running a Live CD, but the computer reacted as it should have). Both my USB card reader and my MP4 player were supported. Wired network connectivity was perfect.

        • Ubuntu, open source apps use on the rise: Linux Users Group

          Ubuntu is breaking out from the Linux community into wider mainstream use in Australia, with schools and government agencies leading the charge, according to the Sydney Linux Users Group (SLUG).

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Edubuntu WebLive

            Since the Edubuntu 9.10 release, Edubuntu has been available on a DVD that also features a complete Live environment. This allows users to start up an Edubuntu session and try out some of its features before installing.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • The Qt Future – Mobile on Nokia

          When Nokia acquired Trolltech, there was a question mark over Nokia’s long term strategy for the Qt framework. Qt for many, is the toolkit behind the KDE desktop and it’s associated applications, so what would a phone company do with it. Over the past years, the strategy has steadily crystallised, and at this years Qt Dev Day, Rich Green, the new CTO at Nokia and first Nokia CTO to speak at the annual Qt developer conference, confirmed that Qt is core to all of Nokia’s plans for mobile applications; “We’re betting the whole company and smartphones on Qt” Green told the audience at the opening keynote.

      • Android

        • GPL violation reports in HTC G2 Android phone

          There have been various reports and blog posts about HTC again committing copyright infringement by not fulfilling the GPLv2 license conditions in their latest Android phone, the G2.

          While at this point I haven’t studied the situation enough in order to confirm or deny any actual violations, let me state this: The number of GPL Violation reports/allegations that we receive at gpl-violations.org on HTC by far outnumber the reports that we have ever received about any other case or company.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Dell likely first to deliver Ubuntu Light netbooks

        A new report pegs the new Canonical distro of Ubuntu Light for netbooks to begin appearing on shipping Dell netbooks within the next month. Dell is considered the most likely to be the first vendor to launch netbooks featuring the OS, as it currently sells more PCs with Ubuntu than any other manufacturer. The netbook optimized version of Canonical’s Ubuntu 10.10 is able to boot in 7 seconds.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Redefining “Realistic”

    As open source has shown, some of these creative solutions offered models superior to what we had before. In the world of software development, free software redefined “practical” and “realistic.”

  • What open source community?

    Foreign Policy had the same debate [log-in required] in 2002 about the phrase “the international community.” They invited a set of practitioners, scholars, and journalists to weigh-in. Although they were thinking in terms of a world filled with sovereign nations, international institutions, and treaties, the debate has some striking parallels.

    Let’s start with the negative crowd.

  • Events

    • “Best practices for open source” session at EU Internet of Services meeting

      There is something that I mentioned many, many times: EU projects tend to talk about Open Source, but it is sometimes difficult for project managers to really grasp what OSS is, and how it can be used for real – not only during the project lifetime, but afterwards as well

    • Nordic Free Software Award 2010 – 7 days left to nominate

      For one more week you can nominate a person, a project or an organisation for the Nordic Free Software Award.

      The Nordic Free Software Award given to people, projects or organisations in the Nordic countries that have made a prominent contribution to the advancement of Free Software. The award will be announced during FSCONS 2010 in Gothenburg.

    • Q & A: The Ubuntu Developer Summits

      Last week I had a nice email exchange with a good friend of Ubuntu, Professor Michael Terry at the University of Waterloo. We met at UIST 2010, but he and Ivanka Majic have been conferring about design and usability in Ubuntu for a while. Delighted with UIST in general and specifically with conversations Mark, John, and I had with Michael and one of his students, we invited them to UDS in Orlando at the end of October.

  • SaaS

    • Open Source And Cloud Computing: Open Source Is The Key To Cloud Economics

      Regular readers of this blog know that I am a strong advocate for Open Source in this cloud based world. In fact, I have argued many times here that Open Source is equally important as Open Standards in ensuring the freedom of the users. I am going to push this meme again here quoting a back of the envelope calculation regarding the costs associated with proprietary license path and open source path in the case of a scale-out model.

  • Oracle

    • Microsoft trashing OpenOffice is a good thing

      The claims made by the ad are not new. There are undertones of political attack in it, only natural given that this is a political season. And since OpenOffice.org doesn’t have the resources to respond, some may consider it unfair.

      Please stop the whinging.

      Microsoft can advertise the advantages of its product all it wants, but when even a student version costs $84, with the full deal going for almost $700, and OpenOffice.org can be downloaded free, the difference is obvious. (Whether you can get it a little cheaper is not the issue — the fact is Microsoft software costs money.)

      Speaking of politics it reminds me a bit of Proposition 16, an attempt by a California utility to maintain absolute control over the market earlier this year. The proponent was a gigantic company with an unlimited budget, the opponents a small collection of consumer advocates with no money.

      The consumer advocates won.

      People aren’t stupid. I know we’re all trained to think that if one side has money and the other has none, that the side with money is going to win. Not true. When people pay attention all the money in the world won’t change their minds.

      And when it’s a choice between spending money on something or downloading it, I like my chances, no matter how many attack ads Microsoft puts out.

    • Oracle wants LibreOffice members to leave OOo council

      A group of key OpenOffice.org (OOo) contributors and community members recently decided to fork the project and establish The Document Foundation (TDF) in order to drive forward community-driven development of the open source office suite. Oracle has responded to the move by asking several members of TDF to step down from their positions as representatives on the OOo community council.

  • Semi-Open Source

    • Fear and loathing and open core

      Bradley M Kuhn published an interest blog post at the weekend explaining why he believes Canonical is about to go down the open core licensing route and heavily criticising the company for doing so.

      My take on the post is that it is the worst kind of Daily Mail-esque fear mongering and innuendo. Not only does Bradley lack any evidence for his claim, the evidence he presents completely undermines his argument and distracts attention from what could be a very important point about copyright assignment.

      The premise? Mark Shuttleworth has admitted that he plans to follow the open core licensing strategy with Canonical.

      The evidence? Mark praises the strategy Trolltech took of selling proprietary licenses.

      The problem? Trolltech did not follow the open core licensing strategy. Neither did MySQL, which Bradley suggests inspired Trollech’s strategy.

      Both MySQL and Trolltech utilised a dual licensing strategy, which means that the same code base is available under on open source license or a closed source license (also known as “selling exceptions”. This is not open core licensing, although it is related since open core sees vendors dual licensing and offering extensions only available in the closed license version.

      A significant difference between dual licensing and open core is that Richard Stallman has explained why, in his opinion, it is okay to sell exceptions to GPL code via a dual licensing strategy. In fact one of the examples he uses is… Trolltech.

  • Licensing

    • Interview with Jordan Hatcher

      Over the past twenty years or so we have seen a rising tide of alternative copyright licences emerge — for software, music and most types of content. These include the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) licence, the General Public Licence (GPL), and the range of licences devised by Creative Commons (CC). More recently a number of open licences and “dedications” have also been developed to assist people make data more freely available.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • 7 Ways Sharing can Make You Happy

      1. Sharing involves reciprocal giving, and the research is full of the benefits of giving, from greater physical health to personal happiness.

    • Toward open source peer-to-peer material production. An interview with Michel Bauwens

      Bertram Niessen and Zoe Romano: we are witnessing many examples of small, open enterprises that are becoming competitive on the markets because of their p2p approach (see Wikonomics). Fashion production lays in the middle between material and immaterial production; that’s a great challenge from the point of view of new, open and p2p forms of productions and new type of business models. What are the main issues at stake when material production becomes part of the activity?

    • Open Data

      • Rewired Stately

        This is both for programmers over the age of 50 who would like to take part in a rapid development event using open data as well as developers and scrum masters of all ages who would like to get involved in coaching developers in agile programming.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Which works enter the public domain in 2011?

        Every year on January 1st hundreds of works enter the public domain around the world. So how do we know which works will come of age in 2011?

        Like last year we are keen to get a picture of this well in advance so we can start planning celebrations for Public Domain Day 2011 (see here for our round up of the 2010 highlights!).


  • Special report: Morality put to the test
  • Meritocracies – built to fail
  • Researchers one step closer to ‘bootless’ computer

    Transistor technology ‘will essentially give memory some brains’ and reduce power consumption to the point where PCs and phones could stay on all the time

  • PayPal robbed my bank account

    PayPal has a pretty bad reputation when it comes to dealing with inbound payments that sit in your ‘paypal account’ pending withdrawal. It’s not unheard of that they freeze your account without provocation and only release the funds up to 6 months later (or not at all, in some cases).

  • Warn HN: When PayPal doesn’t know the meaning of “Donation”…

    I write free software. My free software has a “donate” link that goes to the PayPal donation page. The idiots at PayPal froze my account since I couldn’t prove 501(c) exemption (which I don’t have – and more to the point, never claimed to!) and insist that it’s “illegal” to receive donations unless you’re a registered non-profit with 501(c) IRS clearance. All this happened when I changed the name of the account from my name to the name of my website (because I didn’t want my name on the payment page), bringing to their attention my site and PayPal account.

  • Stop the Signature-File Insanity

    Today I received an e-mail from a someone who, I would argue, went a little crazy with their signature file — that virtual Rolodex card at the bottom of a message that holds all manner of contact information. Here’s a fictionalized version of what showed up (I’ve changed all of the details to protect the innocent, but the type of content and the line count is the same as what I got), inspired by James Bond novels and movies .

  • With a Little Twitter Help

    Surprisingly, I was able to get a lot of work done on the launch during my tours, thanks in part to social media. While on the road, I put out a call on Twitter for someone to help me tweak my launch template—after all, the different audio/hardcover/paperback/e-book choices can be hard to present in a clear way. I offered a limited edition hardcover in exchange, despite warnings that professional designers would be upset by this “devaluation” of their work. A designer named Andrew Crocker came through with a brilliant design and even put together the HTML/CSS template, saving my Web master, Mike Little, some time. I also put together the graphics while I was on German trains and e-mailed them while waiting on platforms, using sporadic blasts of Wi-Fi.

  • eBooks And The Ease Of Self-Publishing

    October 19th is the release date for “Draculas,” a horror novel that I wrote with Blake Crouch, Jeff Strand, and F. Paul Wilson. How four guys were able to collaborate on a single narrative is an interesting story, but not as interesting as the way “Draculas” is being released.

    Though together we have over sixty years of experience in the print industry and have worked with dozens of publishers, we’ve decided to make “Draculas” a Kindle exclusive. Not only that, but we’re publishing it ourselves.

  • Science

    • Magnetic monopoles imaged for first time

      Monopoles – magnets which have just a single pole – were theoretically conceived by the British-Swiss physicist Paul Dirac, who showed in the 1930s that their existence is consistent with quantum theory.

      The scientists were able to image the monopoles directly by using the highly intense x-ray radiation from the Swiss Light Source at the Paul Scherrer Institute.

      “Some of the most important theories explaining how quantum matter behaves in the universe are based on their existence, but they have eluded direct imaging since they were first theoretically conceived in the 1930s,” says Prof Hans-Benjamin Braun from University College Dublin.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Prostate cancer urine test nears

      British scientists have moved a step closer to developing a simple urine test to identify men at risk of getting prostate cancer.

      They have discovered that a protein found in urine is affected by a genetic change linked to the cancer.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Inside the Lawsuit That Could Ground Deadly CIA Predator Drones

      A new lawsuit alleges that Predator drone targeting software was pirated, and emails obtained by Fast Company suggest the CIA knew it was sub-par.

    • When Brute Force Fails

      Liberals don’t like talking about crime. The classic answer—fixing the root causes of crime—now seems hopelessly ambitious. And our natural sympathy for the millions ground down by an out-of-control prison system and a pointless war on drugs doesn’t play well with voters, especially when most criminals can’t vote. The general belief seems to be that the problem of crime has been solved—after all, crime levels have dropped dramatically since the law-and-order 80s—and that the real problem now is not too much crime, but too much punishment. If voters don’t agree, it’s because TV news continues to obsess over violent crime even as actual occurrences of it have cratered, leaving behind a population who wants to do even more to crack down on an army of bad guys who don’t really exist. The smartest liberal position on crime seems to be changing the subject and talking about white-collar crime instead (which, as recent economic news has made clear, is a real epidemic).

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • ‘Humans will need two Earths by 2030′

      Humans are overusing the planet’s resources and will need two Earths by 2030,a new report warns.

      According to the Living Planet Report, human demands on natural resources have doubled in under 50 years and are now outstripping what the Earth can provide by more than half; and humanity carries on as it is in use of resources, globally it will need the capacity of two Earths by 2030.

    • NOAA reports 2010 hottest year on record so far*

      Following fast on the heels of NASA reporting the hottest January to September on record, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center has released its State of the Climate: Global Analysis for September.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • CeBIT: Quarter Of Germans Happy To Have Chip Implants

      CeBit: If it means shorter lines at the supermarket, a quarter of Germans would be happy to have a chip implanted under their skin

    • Opt Out of Behavioral Advertising

      The NAI Opt-out Tool was developed in conjunction with our members for the express purpose of allowing consumers to “opt out” of the behavioral advertising delivered by our member companies.

      Using the Tool below, you can examine your computer to identify those member companies that have placed an advertising cookie file on your computer.

    • Facebook in Privacy Breach

      Many of the most popular applications, or “apps,” on the social-networking site Facebook Inc. have been transmitting identifying information—in effect, providing access to people’s names and, in some cases, their friends’ names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Ofcom supports Get online week
    • The internet is full. Go away.

      We’ve got a successor protocol (IPv6) — it’s been around for years, although nobody uses it much. The IP depletion isn’t going to affect end users signficiantly in the short term; new/low-end ISPs will probably switch from using a pool of dynamically allocated public-facing IP addresses, allocated one per active customer, to doing some kind of transparent masquerading/forwarding, to increase utilization. This will prevent incoming connections to customers … but that could be seen as a benefit, not a drawback. However, there is going to be a problem for businesses and folks who want to run servers. Not to mention being a show stopper for Dynamic DNS services, and facilities like Apple’s “Back to my Mac” (a part of the MobileMe package that lets travelling users get a remote desktop on their home system from wherever they are). And the inevitable migration to IPv6 is going to cause headaches.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intellectual Property Primer – Part One – Trademarks

      Trademarks on the other hand, are forever. As long as the mark is in use, it remains the property of the holder (it can also remain their property if it’s not in use for periods of time, check the law in your jurisdiction). The Disney Company holds a trademark on Mickey Mouse. It will still be valid, even if the copyright on a work that features Mickey Mouse expires. Never mind the patent on the camera that was used to shoot the film.

      Remember – Trademarks are the oddball of Intangible Property. Unlike Copyrights and Patents, a trademark doesn’t represent a creation, even though creativity was involved in choosing the mark, and designing the logo.

    • Has Harry Potter crossed the line?

      The claimant says the Goblet of Fire takes five main plot elements from Willy:

      1. a wizard contest
      2. the wizards have to work out what their task is
      3. they work it out in a bathroom
      4. they complete the task using information from helpers
      5. the task involves rescuing hostages held by half-human, half-animal creatures

      Do these elements add up to a substantial part of Jacobs’s work?

    • Copyrights

      • Response to Janis Nixon re the Hamilton Spectator interview

        Microprocessors make copying easy, cheap, and fast. Did you notice how I haven’t talked about computers at all? This is because even if you were to totally destroy every personal computer in Canada, it wouldn’t do you any good. Within days there would be new ones, and they be running on the microprocessors that control your microwave oven, your DVD player, your CD player, your cell phone, your MP3 player, your television, your automobile (which may have up to 40 different processors), your motorcycle, your watch, your game console (there’s one super computer made of PS3 game consoles), your dishwasher, your clothes washer, your clothes dryer, your sewing machine, your guitar amplifier, your digital camera, your digital video recorder, your digital picture frame, your clock radio, your, well, you get the picture. The average house has over a hundred microprocessors, each of which could be used to build a General Purpose Computer. And I know of people who have done this. Anyone with a college education in electronics, or for that matter with a book from the library and a bit of stubbornness can take apart a Microwave oven and make a computer out of the guts.

      • Movie Rental Outfit Hacked, Emails Leaked, Redirected to The Pirate Bay

        ACAPOR, a Portuguese organization which represents the interests of local movie rental companies, has been defaced by Anonymous as part of Operation Payback. The ACAPOR website currently shows a message from Anonymous and then redirects to The Pirate Bay. To make the shaming complete, a 640 MB email database of the outfit was leaked and posted to The Pirate Bay.

      • ‘Pay me $1.2M’ Officer Bubbles tells YouTube

        If ever there was someone who represents the worst in policing it is, IMHO, Officer Bubbles, as Toronto 52 Division constable Adam Josephs (left) is now known around the world.

        He had a young woman arrested during Stephen Harper’s billion dollar G20 mutual admiration fest.

        Unfortunately for him, the entire incident was video-taped by Nazrul Islam, going viral online so the whole world can watch as he bullies Courtney Wikels, armed and dangerous with a deadly plastic hoop and a jar of soap detergent.

      • Another Massive Email Breach – ACAPOR Emails Reportedly Leaked on The Pirate Bay

        There’s been another massive email breach – this time Acapor’s email’s have been leaked onto The Pirate Bay. This comes just moments after ACAPOR’s website was hacked and redirected to The Pirate Bay. We are currently gathering more information and will expand this article as news progresses.

        According to Anonymous, Acapor was targeted for their efforts against The Pirate Bay. Their site was attacked earlier today, and apparently exposed a rather ugly security hole. Anonymous also stated, “Acapor wanted to block The Pirate Bay in Portugal. We decided it had to stay up. P.S. Hire real site admins!”

      • CC Talks With Lulu

        Our fall campaign is in full swing and superheroes are giving at all levels – as such, it’s a great time to shine the spotlight on some of our most significant donors.

        Lulu, the fantastic open publishing platform, is one such organization. Beyond offering creators of all types the means to publish their own work, Lulu offers a CC-licensing option for authors when they are creating their books. Over a million creators have used the service to date with approximately 20,000 titles to Lulu’s catalog each month.

      • Anti-Piracy Company Pirates Queen-Issued Coat of Arms

        This year has seen an explosion of companies all trying to cash in on the ‘turn piracy into profit’ mantra. These companies, many of them involving lawyers, are copying other people’s work like crazy – they’re even copying from each other. Today we bring news that one of these companies has taken a Coat of Arms issued by Elizabeth I in 1600, modified it, and used it for their own commercial purposes.

      • Why Won’t Universal Music Let You See The 20/20 Report From 1980 About How The Music Industry Is Dying?

        Here’s one for the “sky is falling” folks, who insist the music industry is dying. Orin Kerr, at the Volokh Conspiracy points us to an episode of the TV magazine show 20/20 all about how the music industry is in trouble… way back in 1980. What’s amusing is that the story is the same.

      • Targets of Predatory Lawsuits Fight Copyright Troll in Washington, D.C.

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has asked a judge in Washington, D.C., to dismiss copyright infringement claims against two defendants wrongfully ensnared in mass movie-downloading lawsuits.

        In an amicus brief filed Friday, EFF argues that the copyright troll behind the suits — a law firm calling itself the “U.S. Copyright Group” (USCG) — is flouting court rules and engaging in unfounded speculation in order to pressure people into paying premature settlements. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, and Public Citizen Litigation Group joined EFF in the amicus brief.

        USCG has filed these suits against approximately 16,000 defendants so far in Washington, D.C., alleging that they participated in unauthorized downloading of films including “Far Cry” and “The Hurt Locker.” Two of the defendants have submitted evidence that they do not live in Washington, D.C., and since neither of the plaintiffs is located there either, the court ordered the plaintiffs to explain why D.C. is the proper place to sue those individuals. EFF and its co-amici filed Friday’s brief to urge the court to dismiss those defendants and put a stop to USCG’s legal gamesmanship.

      • Media Copyright Group Gets Sued by Competitor

        Media Copyright Group, which represents various adult companies in a number of BitTorrent John Doe piracy lawsuits, has been hit with a trademark infringement lawsuit by a competitor, U.S. Copyright Group.

        Attorneys for U.S. Copyright Group sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Media Copyright Group, claiming trademark infringement.

      • ACTA/Digital Economy (UK

        • Digital Advocacy’s “Weak Ties” Should Not Be Underestimated

          Malcolm Gladwell, the best-selling Canadian writer for the New Yorker, recently turned his attention to the use of Twitter, Facebook, and the Internet for digital advocacy. Gladwell dismissed claims that digital advocacy has been an effective tool, lamenting that “people have forgotten what advocacy is about.” He suggested that effective advocacy that leads to broad social or political change requires “strong ties” among people who are closely connected, committed to the cause, and well organized. When Gladwell examined digital advocacy initiatives he found precisely the opposite – weak ties between people with minimal commitment and no organizational structure.

          My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the Gladwell article was published two days after Canada, the United States, the European Union, and a handful of other countries concluded negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Although some issues must still be sorted out, the countries have agreed on a broad framework and announced that no further negotiation rounds are planned.

        • Digital Britain and the return of the Stationer’s Company

          Last week also occasioned the passage in England of the Digital Economy Bill, which, for the first time, made ISPs legally liable for the actions of their subscribers and imposed on them an affirmative obligation to protect copyrights to which they are not party. The timing of the passage was surely a coincidence. It’s unlikely many in Parliament were aware of date’s significance. But it presented a striking juxtaposition nonetheless.

Clip of the Day

Screencast of OpenShot Video Editor!

Credit: TinyOgg

Bill Gates’ Successor Quits Microsoft!

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 6:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ray Ozzie at Web 2.0 Conference
Photo via Wikipedia, speech bubble added

Summary: The man behind the ‘reinvention’ of Microsoft is giving up

THIS was predictable. We said it would happen some months ago. We wrote about him on numerous occasions as well. For anyone who still has doubts about Microsoft’ fast demise, this is possibly the seal.

Coverage so far includes (“retirement” is somewhat of a cushion/euphemism by the way):

This massive news marks the beginning of the end of ‘new’ Microsoft — the one which dreamt of Fog Computing. Is Ballmer about to leave too?

“Microsoft can’t charge $80 or $100 when there’s Linux for free on netbooks,” Rosoff said. On regular PC sales, Microsoft’s profit margins are typically about 70 percent to 80 percent, he explained.”

Microsoft Press

Microsoft’s and Apple’s #1 Weapon Against Software Freedom (Including Linux) is Software Patent Monopolies

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: A concise look at what Apple and Microsoft have been doing with software patents recently

RATHER than name companies we could name behaviours or policies that impede GNU/Linux adoption. But companies which attack Linux using software patents are almost exclusively Microsoft, Apple, and Microsoft-tied entities such as Acacia.

SCO too is funded by Microsoft, but its empty allegations were copyright based and they go a long way back. It’s all nonsense and obviously anti-competitive. “Rethinking Intellectual Property” is a recommended upcoming course from Stephan Kinsella. He does make the distinction between patents and copyrights. He also explains why both laws require change. They are tools of abuse.

Here is a new piece titled “Microsoft Keen On Protecting Its Intellectual Property” and some European propaganda about Microsoft “innovation” (often a prelude to patent lobbying). It ought to be clear by now that “Microsoft Is Playing Hardball with Motorola” over Linux as part of its attack on Android. From the beginning of the month we have:

Microsoft Marshals Dealmakers, Lawyers to Take On Android


On Monday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said he looks forward to collecting revenue from Android handset makers, including HTC, which has a licensing agreement with Microsoft.

It’s not just Microsoft that’s doing this. Apple too is using these disgusting tactics (patent lawsuits against Linux) and Motorola is now pushing to invalidate Apple patents. From Engadget:

The smartphone intellectual property wars are seriously heating up, as Motorola sided with HTC this week in an effort to cover its own rear. Remember those twenty patents Apple aimed at the Taiwanese OEM? Motorola says they’re no good, and is trying to get them thrown out of court — an important tactic, because if the patents do hold water and are successfully used against HTC, Apple might turn around and sue Motorola with them too. That’s because there’s more at stake here than OEM phones, but Android as a whole, and as such other manufacturers that implement Android might potentially be targets as well.

Remember some of Apple’s outrageous software patents, including the very recent so-called ‘anti-sexting’ patent (text filtering) [1, 2]. “Do you really want to teach kids not to be creative with language,” asked Pamela Jones in Groklaw. “Now they can’t type LOL, unless someone in authority puts it in a dictionary? Think there might be a creative lag? I understand the purpose, but have they thought through all the implications and perhaps unintended consequences?”

“Now they [Apple customers] can’t type LOL, unless someone in authority puts it in a dictionary?”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
Apple and Microsoft are both patenting limitations, i.e. they want a monopoly on attacking people’s freedoms and basic rights. “Game console ‘rejects’ under-age players” says this new article about Microsoft and there are some other weird ideas thrown around at Microsoft, often to be patented sooner or later.

The good news is that Apple and Microsoft may gradually learn their lesson (Apple in Texas and Microsoft in Canada because of i4i for example). TechDirt asks, “Will The Supreme Court Review Patent Invalidation Standard In Microsoft vs. i4i Case?”

“Patent suit targets Apple, Microsoft, others over digital distribution” says this article from Apple Insider, so there is still some smacking going on. There is hope that patent trolling will increase so much that Apple and Microsoft too will decide to just abolish software patents [1, 2, 3, 4]. Check out the article “One Cheer for Patent Trolls”:

As the Stanford paper suggests, in the vast majority of cases the authors studied the asserted patents were in fact junk, at least as determined at trial (judge and jury may have their own biases, of course). The inventors shouldn’t have gotten anything for them, either from the defendants or from the patent troll, because the patent never should have been granted in the first place. Again, the trolls may know better than the study suggests the real value of their holdings, and may be betting that the transaction costs of litigation will encourage defendants to settle anyway.

That bet is a game of chicken, for if the defendant chooses to litigate then both sides must absorb heavy litigation costs no matter who wins—the troll bets that the defendant will simply pay them to go away.

Patent trolls may make most of their money, in other words, from arbitraging the inefficiencies and failings of the current patent system.

“But stupid patents in the first place is the issue, is it not,” Pamela Jones asked rhetorically in Groklaw. “He’s writing about a study that found that only 10% of such patents are found valid at trial. So since only 10% of these patents that trolls use end up valid, and 90% of them are not, what’s the real loss in this picture if no one will buy up these predominantly invalid patents?”

Dave Methvin writes about “Microsoft’s Two Minds on Patents” and in an alleged “Exclusive” article/report, Tom’s Hardware says that “Microsoft Patents The Search Engine”:

Microsoft has received a patent that covers a search engine platform that is based on a “bag-of-words” and “essential pages” ranking system to make searches more efficient.

Well, it does not guarantee that this will stand in court. “Microsoft seeks a patent for its Helios distributed operating system” according to another report and “Microsoft Attempts To Patent The Optimus Keyboard” claims this new report among several which led to a lot of debate because there is prior art and it’s trivial [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Are patents all that’s left in Microsoft’s vision?

Fortunately, software patents become increasingly controversial and Patently-O indicates that in the United States too these patents are on rocky grounds:

In Ex parte Venkata, App. No. 2009–007302 (BPAI, October 5, 2010), the Board held that “the claim’s body recites nothing more than software [and therefore] lacks statutory subject matter.”

Software patents are probably the #1 enemy of software freedom. Let’s end them once and for all. Companies that use Free software (IBM, Google, Red Hat, etc.) will take care of the rest because unlike Apple and Microsoft, they do not use software patents offensively. Of course it would be helpful if IBM and Google joined Red Hat’s motions against software patents, too.

Why IDG and Slashdot Let Microsoft Attack Dogs Call Linux “Dead” (Updated)

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux is dead

Summary: What PC World and Slashdot ‘forgot’ to tell you about the author of the latest attack piece on desktop GNU/Linux

ONCE in a few months comes the point where a Microsoft booster goes to the drawing board and reuses old talking points against GNU/Linux. Microsoft has internal and highly confidential presentations specifically dedicated to this. In them, Microsoft speaks of “insider friend, ‘the fox’” (people whom Microsoft uses to push its agenda) and “unix Bigots”. Well, it seems like it’s time for Microsoft to send another one of its “foxes” to attack those so-called ‘unix Bigots’ and PC World is a popular platform for this. PC World is one of many IDG publications (paid by Microsoft) and it occasionally publishes anti-GNU/Linux (desktop) pieces from Gartenberg without disclosing his relationship with Microsoft (former evangelist [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]).

“Windows Vista Magazine seems like a failed publication based on its very poor traffic ranking, so no wonder its editor turns to attacks on GNU/Linux.”Today we find a new article in the Web site and it comes from Robert Strohmeyer. I have never seen him writing for PC World before (I read all the headings in PC World for years until a month ago when I publicly said I dumped it for obvious and excessive provocation/trolling). We prefer not to feed the IDG FUD article by linking to it directly*, but it is fed by the founder of Slashdot, who put it in the front page of the site along with a terribly biased summary. I publicly dumped Slashdot for similar reasons because there was distinctly a period where it was pushing a lot of pro-Microsoft agenda [1, 2], including obvious marketing/trolls. The timing of this piece is interesting as argued by our reader and contributor FurnaceBoy [1, 2]. Well, it’s already being discussed in Twitter/Identi.ca and it is easily being refuted in our IRC channels too. It’s just the same old tired FUD, which has been debunked over and over again for years. We don’t need more of the same arguments again, so we’ll just cut to the chase.

Usefully enough someone in Twitter let me know about the source of this latest attack (the author Robert Strohmeyer):

@schestowitz Linux is Dead according to the editor of VISTA MAGAZINE http://www.blogger.com/profile/5530582

Yes, he says “I’m editor of Windows Vista Magazine and an Moleskine nut.” Guilty as charged, eh? Windows Vista Magazine seems like a failed publication based on its very poor traffic ranking, so no wonder its editor turns to attacks on GNU/Linux.
* Watch what IDG’s IDC is doing for Microsoft at the moment. It’s appalling what money can do to coverage.

Update: Look who joins this FUD attack with almost identical talking points. As the comment from “Denis” says, “How interesting — Robert Strohmeyer over at PC World decided to write pretty much the same whiny nonsense on the same day. Did you guys coordinate or something?”

How Microsoft Lobbyists Expose Google to Legal Trouble Amid Google Gains

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Search, Servers at 2:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Where are we on this Jihad?”

Bill Gates

Ballmer on patents
Original cartoon

Summary: An analysis of Microsoft’s ongoing political and legal attacks on Google; a glimpse at Microsoft’s Fog Computing gameplay, which leads to unprecedented levels of lock-in and is a reactionary strategy amid Google’s rise to power

MICROSOFT AND GOOGLE are fighting over people’s data, including their communication (data going down the wires, not just data stored locally or in Fog Computing). Microsoft advocates the use of Windows, whereas Google advocates GNU/Linux with more Free software components inside the stack, e.g. Apache and Python. Neither company is “good” or “evil”; like in many wars, both sides can be “evil”, but it’s all very subjective. To us, what matters is that neither company promotes software freedom, but Google is a lot closer in the sense that some of its products and its funding go towards enabling software freedom (e.g. Summer of Code, Chromium, and maybe Wave to a certain extent).

It should be easy to see why we defend Google from AstroTurfers like LawMedia Group and ‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ (Bill Gates too does his share of lobbying against Google). Microsoft has ongoing campaigns to destroy Google; the same can hardly be said about Google. Name just one AstroTurf action Google has run against Microsoft. It’s hard to think of any because it’s a one-way boxing match and it helps show why Microsoft is so widely detested in the IT industry.

“Microsoft Has Lobbied for Weaker Protection for Search Engines, ISPs,” argues Groklaw, which points to this page/file which says (the highlight in red is Groklaw’s): “Turning to the issue of limitations of liability, such provisions are important for the development of innovative Internet-based services. However, care is needed in drafting such provisions to ensure that exceptions are not so broad to include activity that is widely regarded as unlawful. Barry referred to this in his comments about Bill C-61. In Microsoft’s view the Internet and other digital network service providers who profit from providing services that enable or facilitate communication of infringing copies – so for example providers of software that help users locate infringing music, movies or software files – should not qualify for exemptions or limitations on remedies. Accordingly, provisions which seek to limit liability, ISPs or search engines should be carefully crafted.”

“I missed this at the time,” writes Pamela Jones (Groklaw) in News Picks, “but here [above] is part of what Microsoft’s Michael Hilliard, Corporate Counsel for Microsoft in Canada, said in the government’s Copyright Consultations round table discussion in Halifax about a year ago, in August of 2009, on the theme of desired changes to copyright law (MP3), and as you read it, have in mind the strategy that Viacom tried unsuccessfully to use against YouTube/Google, asking the court to rule that Google didn’t qualify for DMCA safe harbor protection…”

“[H]ere is part of what Microsoft’s Michael Hilliard, Corporate Counsel for Microsoft in Canada, said in the government’s Copyright Consultations round table discussion…”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
To put things in context, we’ve looked at recent news and gathered information which shows that in the US market (and meters that are not sponsored by Microsoft) Google continues to gain market share (not by excluding but by offering a better service).

Henry Blodget has argued that “Yahoo And AOL Should Immediately Merge” and it's not going to happen (more and more people seem to agree). Yahoo! is already somewhat of a property of Microsoft (the search part at the very least). MediaPost Communications looks at this alliance in the article “Navigating The Microsoft And Yahoo Alliance”. For those who do not remember, Yahoo! was very close to signing a deal with Google, but Microsoft is then said to have hired AstroTurfers including LawMedia Group to shoot down the deal. It was utterly disgusting but very typical for Microsoft. Later on Microsoft took over Yahoo!

Anyway, there is more than just search at stake. Search is just a gateway through which a company can gain a lot of Web surfers and channel them towards particular pages, including their own proprietary services (Fog Computing and such). The Microsoft-friendly 1105 Media is promoting Fog Computing for children right now, including the Live@edu scam (there is a new press release about it and additional complaints about lack of encryption in it). The education systems are still being exploited by Microsoft in order to offer ‘free’ indoctrination that’s akin to American EDGI [1, 2, 3, 4], which is now extending into Washington [1, 2, 3] and gets promoted by Seattle’s Microsoft boosters [1, 2]. Had they been honest, they would state that it’s not free and Microsoft should pay people for the privilege of having them brainwashed at the expense of their own time. Since Governor Gregoire is well within Microsoft’s pocket [1, 2], nothing will be done to stop this. If anything, she is likely to encourage this abuse which is marketed using sheer spin.

Over at Minnesota there is already a surrender to Microsoft's Fog Computing, which is maddeningly irresponsible as it puts state E-mails under Microsoft’s control and it’s ripe to misuse [1, 2]. It’s bad enough that some universities make this terrible mistake and under some new banner called “Microsoft Innovation Alliance” (we never came across it before) Microsoft is taking over many more colleges right now. To quote one example: “Software major Microsoft has enrolled BV Raju Institute of Technology (BVRIT) as its member under the Microsoft Innovation Alliance programme.”

That’ll be regrettable.

Based on what we learned in IRC last night, MTS (Canadian ISP) is also throwing its communications at Microsoft’s servers. To quote:

Well, I guess there’s no worry of getting heck for mentioning this since MTS has a press release about it on their website (August 7th)

MTS is phasing out their in-house email service, and switching to Microsoft Windows Live.


“New customers will be able to take advantage of this new service starting August 17, and existing customers will be contacted by email with directions on transitioning to Windows Live services starting in October. Once the customer completes the transition, their existing emails and content in the customer’s current MTS Webmail online account will be transferred to their new Windows Live account all within a few minutes.”

This too will be regrettable because Hotmail is a disaster, just like the rest of Microsoft’s services (e.g. BPOS [1, 2, 3]), which are very unreliable and now require a downtime dashboard (no kidding!) rather than a permanent solution to prevent future downtimes. To put downtime in perspective by quoting the ‘Microsoft press’:

Microsoft acknowledged BPOS service outages affecting customers in North America on Aug. 23, Sept. 3 and Sept. 7.

That’s terrible. These downtimes were long, too. Imagine Google being down so often. It just ain’t because it’s built on top of Free software, which is a lot more reliable (even Microsoft uses GNU/Linux internally [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], at least for the mission-critical stuff, like DNS).

“Microsoft looks into Hotfail bug” says this new headline:

WEBMAIL PROVIDER Microsoft is looking into a bug that is apparently affecting thousands of its Hotmail users.

We were first alerted to the problem by a reader, as, er, none of us use Hotmail. Ian, in South Africa has been unable to get into his account all week and, quite fairly, thought that there might have been a correlation between the Hotmail security updates we had reported and his being unable to access the service.

Nobody needs Microsoft for Fog Computing or for search. That’s why Microsoft is so desperately trying to destroy Google. It’s the only choice it has left. Microsoft is known for breaking stuff (like competition) and taking other people’s stuff; it rarely creates anything worth using (“Usually Microsoft doesn’t develop products, we buy products,” said Microsoft’s European business security product manager). Google has the thinkers, Microsoft has the bullies.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift; the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” –Albert Einstein

Many High-Level Departures at Microsoft Raise Risk of Entryism, Make Mobile Business Akin to Zune

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 12:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


KIN sinking

Summary: Microsoft Corporation is sinking and shrinking, but the threats move to other places and therefore we must keep track of them; on the bright side, the stack upon which Microsoft’s mobile development depends is in a state of crisis

THE GATES Foundation and other parts of the Microsoft movement (not just Microsoft the corporation) are the foundation which keeps this monocultural beast alive. The Gates Foundation is a subject we’ll leave aside for the time being and deal with separately because it’s more complicated and it’s also political, not just technological.

“Major Departures in Microsoft Leads to Promotions for Others” says this new headline, but the diaspora of executives also means that companies like Nokia, Yahoo! and many others get some Microsoft DNA in them. There goes some loyalty.

As Microsoft crumbles (which it undeniably does, based on several criteria/indicators), major departures will become a greater factor which shapes decision-making. Consider for example the recent resignation of Rosoff, the longtime Microsoft booster whose focus in CNET was often the Zune. He wrote about his departure in his blog and it made the news [1, 2, 3]. It doesn’t mean that Rosoff’s Microsoft boosting will end though. As one article puts it, “in a blog post on his personal blog, he announced he was leaving to join Silicon Alley Insider as West Coast Editor, continuing to focus on, and write about, Microsoft.”

“As Microsoft crumbles (which it undeniably does, based on several criteria/indicators), major departures will become a greater factor which shapes decision-making.”This means Microsoft boosters move somewhere else. To name these people for their biases and convictions is not really rude, we don’t insult them. It’s merely a way of identifying one’s financial/vested interests and sometimes it’s just known as disclosure (Mary Jo Foley, for example, does not provide a proper disclosure, just like many others who make a living from Microsoft literature).

Anyway, let us be aware that Adapx has just recruited a former Microsoft vice president who joined its board. We might come across Adapx in the future. Some of those startups in this area end up becoming complementary to Microsoft, e.g. Visible Technologies.

Another important migration is that of Knook, whom we saw in Microsoft's correspondence about DRM well before he moved from Microsoft to Vodafone. He worked for Microsoft for a long time and he finally left after he had served as the company’s head of the Windows Mobile unit. Now he leaves Vodafone and Microsoft folks wish to know where he goes (hopefully not Nokia for reasons we gave earlier this month).

Seventeen-year Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) veteran Pieter Knook joined in 2008 to direct a new internet services group in Vodafone.

The paper says his departure comes “after important aspects of the operation were scrapped” – namely, because Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) has stopped selling flagship Samsung handsets that bore the gubbins for its Vodafone 360 services suite and because Vodafone in March closed Wayfinder, the nav company it earlier bought for £22 million.

Knook left Microsoft when his unit was a disaster (it still is). As we stated last week, we prefer not to cover Windows Mobile/Phone/whatever_rebranding at this time (it would contribute to the $400 million marketing hype and it’s hard to resist sometimes), but we will only name this one article from which says “Zune is Dead” as it relates to Vista Phone 7 [sic]:

I think I know for whom the Windows Phone 7 ringtone tolls, and it is our old friend, the Zune player. My guess is that Microsoft won’t discontinue the Zune lineup (yet), but I do believe we have seen our last new Zune.

Zune is an example of the many products that fail to make money for Microsoft. At the moment there are also errors to be suffered by the few people who actually own a Zune. To quote: “A number of users — most of which seemed to be running 64-bit Windows 7 — began reporting memory-usage problems, via the Zune Forums, shortly after downloads of the client began.” Just another reminder of why using Vista 7 is risky.

“Zune is an example of the many products that fail to make money for Microsoft.”Vista Phone 7 [sic] is like Zune or KIN, only with a lot more marketing (the CEO’s career may truly depend on it). By the way, Microsoft is now using code which relates to Silverlight in its phones. This is not a good thing for the same reason that Zune overlap has been bad (see Kin for evidence). Microsoft won’t admit this formally, but Silverlight is a dying product [1, 2, 3, 4] and there is not a single headline (none found matching “Silverlight” in Google News) so far this month, or at least the 3 weeks prior to Sunday, based on the sample we have. If Zune and Silverlight both collapse, then there may be a chain effect collapsing Microsoft’s mobile business, whose market share is minuscule anyway and therefore does not justify an investment in its dependants.

Techrights in Linux Format Magazine

Posted in GNU/Linux, Site News at 11:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Format

Linux Format articleSummary: Techrights is in the December 2010 issue of Linux Format Magazine

FOR THOSE who want to know more about the history of Techrights, there is a new article in the December 2010 issue of Linux Format. The content is available only to subscribers. We thank Linux Format for generally being quite supportive over the years. There are some circles that are hostile towards us and upon closer inspection it usually turns out that they also oppose GNU/Linux and/or Free software, in which case this hostility may actually be indicative of the idea that we are effective. Techrights is still a group effort and achievements that are being made are communal, not personal. Thanks to all those who recommend the site to friends and colleagues, thus ensuring the continued growth of readership and input that accompanies it (recently we have been getting translations too). As for the somewhat controversial style, we explained it last month.

Antitrust Authorities Versus Microsoft Vapourware, Not Operating System Bundling

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 10:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sweet dreams
Imagine being charged for a pension of any newly-born baby

Summary: Criticism of the actions of the European Commission, which did not go far enough when it comes to making competition fair in Europe

SO, now that we caught up with IRC logs and learned that there might be class action coming to battle against Windows bundling, it is worth recalling action from the European Commission. The officers should have taken the FSF's advice by ensuring that computers with GNU/Linux or no operating system at all are made available in Europe. Instead, a rather spineless attitude was taken and it was simply assumed that it’s okay for all computers to come with Windows as long as a second Web browser was at least offered as a choice (Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) would still be preinstalled and bundled with all new PCs). We wrote about this tirelessly in posts such as:

  1. Browser Ballot Critique
  2. Microsoft’s Fake “Choice” Campaign is Back
  3. Microsoft Claimed to be Cheating in Web Browsers Ballot
  4. Microsoft Loses Impact in the Web Despite Unfair Ballot Placements
  5. Given Choice, Customers Reject Microsoft
  6. Microsoft is Still Cheating in Browser Ballot — Claim
  7. Microsoft’s Browser Ballot is Broken Again and Internet Explorer 8 is Critically Flawed
  8. The Microsoft Who Cried “Wolf!”

“Browser Ballot Screen Early Feedback Shows Little Impact on Market Share” says this one report (well, IE is a mandatory option regardless of the ballot) and it says: “According to StatCounter reports, Microsoft’s European share has dropped from 44.9 percent in January to around 39.8 percent today, but it’s almost impossible to tell if the browser ballot screen is to blame. Experts argue that the decline curve seen in the EU matches losses in other markets, with much of the lost IE business moving over to Google Chrome. Google’s share of the European market has doubled to 11.9 percent over the past twelve months, and they even managed to pick up 5.8 percent during the same period in which IE shed 5.1 percent. Is this the result of the browser ballot screen? Or just Google making a more compelling product?”

The European Commission has not yet looked into the absurdity of Windows bundling with hardware. It probably ought to. It has become easier to contact Neelie Kroes now that she has a blog (powered by Free software) and a Twitter account, so people can raise the issue politely. She does read the feedback. “Microsoft Deal in Europe Barely Affects Browser Market,” says this headline from The New York Times. This too should be shown to the Commissioner. They did not go far enough, despite all of Microsoft’s whining (through lobbying groups like CompTIA and ACT).

Most of the decline has come amid gains by Google, which introduced Chrome in September 2008. Google’s share of the European market doubled this year, to 11.9 percent in October from 5.8 percent in January.

Many articles have been referencing Statcounter and claiming that Internet Explorer market share fell below 50%. We do not take these numbers seriously (as absolute values) because nothing is said about the distribution of the sampled population in the dataset. What matters here is the trend and it indicates that despite newer versions of IE coming out, erosion carries on. IE9 performance issues and the likes of that ought to ensure that it will change nothing for the better [1, 2, 3]. In fact, last night we posted a link to another set of benchmarks which puts IE9 almost last for its performance. The results are consistent, but truthfully it’s not a final version of IE9.

Microsoft’s booster Marius Oiaga is being a little amusing this month. Not only does he resort to IE9 raves (the product is not even out yet) but he also leaps ahead to Vista 8 vapourware in the context of “Antitrust Authorities” (damn! Those evil, evil regulators!) and he speaks about those non-existent products, making them look good based on mere promises which Microsoft is incapable of delivering on (IE9 performance being one example of false promises):

The information provided reveals that the Redmond company’s next iterations of IE and Windows are being evaluated.

“The State Plaintiffs and the TC (technical Committee) are currently testing beta versions of upcoming Internet Explorer 9 and Windows 7 Service Pack 1 releases for compliance with the Final Judgments,” the report indicates.

The technical committee should look at other operating systems (notably GNU/Linux and BSD) to learn how Microsoft impedes and restricts their availability. OEMs can do a wonderful job preparing those for almost any user, correcting market distortion by being given the leeway.

Here is another new example that we found of Vista 8 vapourware (almost purely speculative), which means that Microsoft is rather nervous and has no compelling products to show to OEMs at present (OEMs are Microsoft’s real clients as they buy about 80% of the licences). And no, Vista 7 ain’t it. It does not even sell well.

“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

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