11.23.10

April (or Others) Should Sue the French Government for Illegal IT Procurement Favouring Microsoft

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Microsoft at 3:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

French flag

Summary: April, which promotes software freedom in France, can take its awareness campaign further and arrange a lawsuit to end Microsoft corruption of the system

Free software gains popularity and proprietary software comes under fire in Italy and in France where members of the government adopt GNU/Linux (on their desktops/laptops). April has just made this statement in French and OSOR helps in demystifying it:

FR: Advocacy groups camparing against discriminatory IT procurements

French public administrations will be educated on how to properly procure IT solutions. April, c, and the National Council of Free Software (CNLL), a group representing French providers of free and open source software services, last Thursday announced a campaign to raise awareness on illegal IT procurement.

April should consider suing, especially after the OOXML fiasco in France (we covered it in 2008). A similar action proved fruitful in Quebec where there was a lawsuit Microsoft lost [1, 2, 3]. In Switzerland too there was a lawsuit which we covered in:

  1. Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
  2. Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
  3. 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
  4. Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
  5. Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
  6. ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
  7. Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
  8. Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
  9. Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
  10. Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
  11. Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements
  12. Lawsuit Over Alleged Microsoft Corruption in Switzerland Escalates to Federal Court
  13. When Microsoft-Only/Lock-in is Defined as “Technology”

This case is still going on. It is not impossible to sue one’s government for discriminatory procurements and actually win the case. The government exists to serve the people, not Microsoft.

Apple Expected to Have Antitrust Trouble as Anticompetitive Practices Carry on

Posted in Antitrust, Apple at 3:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apple is having a tough time because of its own behaviour which can be characterised as conceited (vanity) and abusive (not obeying the rules)

EARLIER this month we mentioned Tim Wu for his criticism of Apple and now there’s a whole new article about it over at TechCrunch (AOL). It’s titled “How Apple’s Closed Ways Could Land It Into Antitrust Trouble” and it says:

Is Apple’s design ideology really “exclusionary” in this sense? Not always, but consider, for example, the iTunes-iPod setup. The “exclusion” occurs when a consumer wants to sync a music player other than an iPod to iTunes. It doesn’t work, and arguably, Apple is “excluding” or “refusing to deal” with independent music players so as to defend its monopoly.

More specifically, Apple’s habit of “upgrading” its products to exclude competitors could be a source of trouble. In 2009, Apple modified iTunes several times to prevent the Palm Pre from syncing with iTunes. While its hard to know exactly what the upgrade did, at least some of the upgrades, like 8.2.1 seemed to have little purpose other than blocking Palm’s sync capacities. Apple, for its part, stated blandly “iTunes 8.2.1 provides a number of important bug fixes and addresses an issue with verification of Apple devices.” That turned out to be a code-word for blocked the Pre.

Steve Lohr says that “Apple and I.B.M. Aren’t All That Different” (being like IBM is not a compliment) and there’s news about Apple becoming friends with Rupert Murdoch of Fox infamy. Steve Jobs is helping these deceitful people:

Rupert Murdoch, head of the media giant News Corp, and Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, are preparing to unveil a new digital “newspaper” called the Daily at the end of this month, according to reports in the US media.

More information about it can be found in [1, 2] and Microsoft booster Thom Holwerda says that “European Carriers Threaten Apple Over Built-in SIM Card Option” [via] while pointing to a report from Murdoch’s Financial Times.

We previously saw Murdoch getting closer to Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14]. This man must love proprietary software for DRM antifeatures, just as he loves monopolies in general (his networks help defend US billionaires, who use the likes of Glenn Beck to mobilise the masses in favour of less regulation over these billionaires, ironically under a “Tea Party” banner/flag).

Speaking of monopolies, a familiar Apple boosters site speaks about (former) SGI filing a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. Patents are merely monopolies and almost nobody would argue that monopolies are a positive thing.

Microsoft Forced to Offer Windows Reimbursement in Brazil, Will Probably be Sued for Denying Vista 7 Refunds Elsewhere

Posted in America, GNU/Linux, Vista 7, Windows at 3:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vista 7 sticker
“The hardest thing about replacing Windows 7 with Linux is getting the damn sticker off,” Tim from OpenBytes wrote (credit: OpenBytes)

Summary: Progress is made in the fight against predatory and clearly discriminatory bundling

Tim from OpenBytes has attempted to get a Vista 7 refund in the UK [1, 2] and on numerous occasions he has told the story of Microsoft tax, which comes in many forms. In the next episode of TechBytes we are going to cover the issue of patent tax Microsoft imposes on competition such as Android.

In any event, about 2 months ago we learned about preparations being made for a class action lawsuit against Microsoft, specifically for bundling (we cannot give the specifics yet because the case has not been filed).

Another new post that we found yesterday says:

A Class-Action Lawsuit In the Making: No Windows 7 Refund

I recently purchased a Toshiba Satellite L675 laptop from Best Buy with the explicit intention of installing the 64-bit Fedora 14 GNU/Linux operating system on it. I talked to the resident “Geek Squad” guy and told him that I had absolutely no intention or desire to EVER run Windows 7 on the laptop. So my question is this: why should I have to pay for a piece of software that I have no intention of ever using? I told the “Geek” that I intended to install Fedora 14 on the laptop, and that I wanted a refund for the pre-installed Windows 7. He informed me that it was Best Buy’s policy that they would not and could not issue a refund. I purchased the laptop, got it home, and refused to accept the Windows 7 licensing agreement. I wiped Windows from the hard drive and proceeded to install Fedora. The laptop came with Windows 7 Home Premium.

After I had put the above story in Identi.ca Mr. Alexandre Oliva told me that UFA “just got a MS Windows reimbursement in .br (in pt_BR)” (this is a very important precedence). Other countries should follow suit.

Eye on Security: ClamAV Says Windows is a Virus, Microsoft Compromises Mac OS X, and Stuxnet Runs Wild

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Security at 2:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

May bug

Summary: News about ClamWin, Mac Office 2004 and 2008, and the Stuxnet Windows worm

WE are still recovering from a marathon of posts about Novell. Here are some important security headlines worth keeping track of:

Free ClamWin virus scanner moves most of Windows into quarantine

A “very unfortunate coincidence” when updating virus signatures and scanner software caused the free ClamWin (ClamAV for Windows) virus scanner to run amok and move large numbers of files into quarantine on Windows systems. On the ClamWin forum, various users reported that 25,000 files, including system files, were moved into quarantine as a result – more or less the entire system.

Microsoft forgets to patch Mac Office 2004, 2008

Microsoft on Tuesday revealed four vulnerabilities in the Mac version of its Office suite, but then failed to produce patches for the 2004 and 2008 editions.

Code clues point to Stuxnet maker

Detailed analysis of the code in the Stuxnet worm has narrowed the list of suspects who could have created it.

The sophisticated malware is among the first to target the industrial equipment used in power plants and other large scale installations.

“Executives from security software developer Kaspersky told CDN that the level of sophistication in the Stuxnet super worm could challenge the competitivness of Canadian businesses,” adds this article (“Stuxnet will impact Canadian business competitiveness”) and more information about Stuxnet can be found in the posts below.

  1. Ralph Langner Says Windows Malware Possibly Designed to Derail Iran’s Nuclear Programme
  2. Windows Viruses Can be Politically Motivated Sometimes
  3. Who Needs Windows Back Doors When It’s So Insecure?
  4. Windows Insecurity Becomes a Political Issue
  5. Windows, Stuxnet, and Public Stoning
  6. Stuxnet Grows Beyond Siemens-Windows Infections
  7. Has BP Already Abandoned Windows?
  8. Reports: Apple to Charge for (Security) Updates
  9. Windows Viruses Can be Politically Motivated Sometimes
  10. New Flaw in Windows Facilitates More DDOS Attacks
  11. Siemens is Bad for Industry, Partly Due to Microsoft
  12. Microsoft Security Issues in The British Press, Vista and Vista 7 No Panacea
  13. Microsoft’s Negligence in Patching (Worst Amongst All Companies) to Blame for Stuxnet
  14. Microsoft Software: a Darwin Test for Incompetence
  15. Bad September for Microsoft Security, Symantec Buyout Rumours
  16. Microsoft Claims Credit for Failing in Security
  17. Many Windows Servers Being Abandoned; Minnesota Goes the Opposite Direction by Giving Microsoft Its Data
  18. Windows Users Still Under Attack From Stuxnet, Halo, and Zeus
  19. Security Propaganda From Microsoft: Villains Become Heroes
  20. Security Problems in iOS and Windows
  21. Eye on Security: BBC Propaganda, Rootkits, and Stuxnet in Iran’s Nuclear Facilities

AttachMSFT and Novell for Fog Computing, Worse Than Proprietary Software

Posted in Site News at 2:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Foggy wood

Summary: Novell’s emphasis on “Cloud Computing” (a better name would be Fog Computing) is noted now that assets in the form of staff and copyrights are being passed to AttachMSFT [sic]

The only thing worse than proprietary software is proprietary software behind a so-called ‘cloud’ (Fog Computing). The user gets access to neither the code nor the binaries, as Dr. Stallman pointed out quite eloquently earlier in the year. For quite some time it has been acknowledged that Novell moved further away from free/open source software. We see it in the latest new products which also include Log Manager. Over in YouTube, new videos are promoting this section of Novell’s proprietary software [1, 2], even in foreign-as-in-non-English languages (many videos uploaded by NovellItalia, e.g. this one in Italian).

What is important to point out is that in Fog Computing too Novell does almost everything the proprietary way. Not only does Novell help companies take away control from users but it also takes away control from these companies. The users are therefore becoming hostages of both Novell and the company which operates Novell servers, including servers running SUSE for instance. One example of Novell’s proprietary software in this area would be PlateSpin, which has this new video about it.

There is also a new video about PlateSpin Recon and IWM (in German). Dipto Chakravarty speaks about logging from Fog Computing and it’s just one video example among other new examples (e.g. this video from Messaging Architects, a Novell partner). These are all proprietary and they make Fog Computing exceedingly risky. “It is very possible, then, that cloud management could quickly become the primary function of the CIO at many top organizations, according to Novell’s Benjamin Grubin,” claims this new article. Well, then why fall into a proprietary trap then? Red Hat offers similar functionality which is free/open source software.

“Red Hat offers similar functionality which is free/open source software.”Watch Novell coming out with some new Fog Computing propaganda. There is a new so-called ‘survey’, but upon closer inspection it’s just more marketing. “The survey [is] sponsored by Novell,” says this page, but a lot of articles quote it as though it’s a reliable reference, e.g. [1, 2]. To quote just this one example: “But according to a recent survey from Novell, half of businesses still see the state of cloud computing security as a barrier to adoption, and 81 percent have compliance-related concerns over storing data in the cloud.”

Some new “research” (opinion) on McAfee and Novell gets titled “Security and Services Take to the Clouds” and Novell “Receives Honors in First Annual HPC in the Cloud Editors’ Choice Awards” (also covered here in the form of a press release pushed by Novell’s deception professionals)

There is this new article from The H which mentions Novell and it is titled “Processor Whispers: About Clouds and Fogs”. Another new article which mentions Novell is titled “Dell’s cloud strategy: Do-it-yourself private clouds”.

Almost everywhere you look at Novell these days (even in Linux events) you find Fog Computing and it is done the proprietary way, even though Novell does not mention this. The company does not care about software freedom and neither will AttachMSFT. It’s just another trouble in the making. It would be wise to abandon Novell now.

Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza Does Not Know What Will Happen to Mono

Posted in Mono, Novell, Patents at 2:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Axe

Summary: Novell’s sale to AttachMSFT [sic] leaves Novell VP and Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza unable to promise Mono’s safety

Quoting Slashdot regarding the deal and particularly this thread:

Just sent two tweets to Miguel de Icaza about this:

@migueldeicaza So does it mean you will be somehow now working for Microsoft

@migueldeicaza Sorry meant to add a question mark… And how about IP rights for Mono? What does it mean copyrights-wise? Not worried?

And here’s his answer:

@2green Dont know the answer to that.

Further down it rightly says:

Miguel was very quick indeed to try to spread FUD and capitalize on the uncertainty that Oracle brought to Java, e.g. see: http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2010/Oct-26.html [tirania.org] I wonder how is this going to impact his disposition. Let me guess, it’s still better than Java right?

Another person says:

He has clarified that “don’t know” now:

@migueldeicaza So apparently Mono is NOT part of the IP that is being sold by Attachmate to Microsoft?
@eric_sink I dont know, what I know is that the exact details of the transaction are under SEC regulations, so info is limited.

Moonlight is probably as dead as Siverlight, so let us hope Mono is next to die. These are Microsoft projects, not GNU/Linux projects.

Novell is Not an Open Source Company and Neither is AttachMSFT

Posted in Novell at 2:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Abstract shapes

Summary: Setting the record straight on the nature of Novell’s business based on some very recent news

AN article that caught our eyes the other day labels Novell an “open source company”. Well, even Novell does not pretend to be an open source company, it calls itself a “mixed source” company. Watch the discussion where Matt Aslett corrects this:

With just under 1,600 combined customers and revenues that doubled in the last year, de Montcheuil claims that the combined company will be the fifth-largest open source company, following Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), Novell (NASDAQ: NOVL), Sourcefire (NASDAQ: FIRE) and Ingres.

451 Group analyst Matthew Aslett said the company “may well be there or thereabouts; depends on how you cut the numbers.”

“You have to decide where to draw the line on ‘pure play,’” Aslett told eCRM Guide. “For example, we would not count Novell. Although they do break out figures for the Linux business, if you include that you could also include a company like Actuate [$18 million in BIRT-related business last year] and then you might as well include IBM or Oracle.

The truth of the matter is, almost everything which Novell does these days is proprietary. We wrote many posts to illustrate this. Novell’s PR people are still clinging onto corruptible yardsticks like the so-called ‘Magic Quadrant’ which the Gartner Group uses to make companies pay for Gartner contracts, according to numerous allegations. Needless to say, it’s usually proprietary software whose owner pays Gartner that makes it into the Magic Quadrant. Gartner was even sued for it. Anyway, looking at the remainder of the Novell headlines, Novell’s BSM (business service management) product has an announcement to make just before the sale of the company (rushed disclosure of products before AttachMSFT [sic] comes).

Here is an announcement of a Novell partnership [1, 2, 3], which is further explained in “New Version of SAPERION’s ECM and BPM Suite Successfully Merges Compliance With User Friendliness; Joint Solution With Novell Provides Collaboration, Compliance, and Revision-Proof Archiving” (Guess what? That’s proprietary too).

Novell SecureLogin gets this security product attached to it:

To address market demand for strong authentication support for Identity and Access Management solutions, Authasas® now offers full support for strong authentication to Novell® SecureLogin.

Novell gets mentioned among other companies in all sorts of lists including this one:

As this step becomes more complex, a commercial enterprise access governance tool — such as Aveksa Inc.’s Access Certification, Oracle Corp.’s Oracle Identity Analytics, Novell Inc.’s Access Governance Suite, etc. — is needed to perform this activity.

There is also this report from New Zealand about a school that looks for change, including the possibility or replacing Novell’s proprietary stack (now is a likely time for it to happen).

The Ministry has contracts in place with Renaissance, Novell and Datacom for software licensing and support for Apple, Novell, Symantec and Microsoft technology, and with Telecom, Watchdog and Websense for web filtering and firewalls.

Back in 2005-2006 Novell had a lot of SUSE news to share. Now it’s just a proprietary company, so passing of this company to AttachMSFT is not a major loss. The free/libre (or open source) community will do fine without Novell.

Novell Buys Keynote

Posted in Deception, Novell at 1:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How sponsoring an event allows any company to give the impression that it is the leader in some domain

A LITTLE item we spotted the other day helps us illustrate a common phenomenon where a company helps organise an event where the company itself runs the show while it’s presented to the public as “independent”. One recent example of this comes from the Gates Foundation, which organises events for itself to spread propaganda from. TEDxChange is a recent incident [1, 2, 3, 4].

It is usually the same story in all conferences (just watch what Microsoft did to LinuxTag 2010 [1, 2, 3] and to the OpenOffice.org Conference) and the following excepts from a press release hopefully show who runs a show that’s said to be organised by UBM TechWeb (media company):

In addition to an extensive customer line-up, Enterprise 2.0 Conference recently confirmed Colleen O’Keefe, General Manager and Senior VP of Collaboration Solutions and Global Services, Novell, as a keynote speaker to join fellow thought leaders and industry executives on the keynote stage during the event.

[...]

Event sponsors include IBM, Jive, Novell, Moxie Software, Adobe, Broadvision, Microsoft, Rackspace Hosting, Spigit, SuccessFactors, Workday, BlueKiwi, and Saba.

Are they sponsoring for a keynote? What about the other companies? Do they too get their money’s worth? “My talk for cloudconf got refused because Microsoft gets to approve every speaker and they don’t like us,” said a person very recently. Some time earlier we learned that “Microsoft refused to sponsor the conference unless the conference organizers denied Zimbra the opportunity to take a big, prominent booth at the event.”

“A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to select die panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can’t expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to get the moderator to agree to having only “independent ISVs” on the panel. No one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the competing technologies would be allowed -just ISVs who have to use this stuff in the “real world.” Sounds marvellously independent doesn’t it? In feet, it allows us to stack the panel with ISVs that back our cause. Thus, the “independent” panel ends up telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover this panel, and you’ve got a major win on your hands.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

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