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03.04.11

ES: Microsoft Contrata a Muchos Mentirosos Para Difamar al Software Libre estos Días

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft at 5:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Annual report by Microsoft

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: La ‘Máquina de Mentiras’ de Microsoft está trabajando en sobremarcha cuando el software libre esta en mejor situación en el sector público.

MICROSOFT recurre a medidas miserables no sólo por poner de relaciones públicas como “noticias”[http://techrights.org/2011/03/03/idg-microsoft-whitewash/], sino también por sobornar académicos (como siempre) y su envío de perros de ataque como siempre, para proponer su agenda aparentemente de direcciones “independientes” . El mes pasado escribimos sobre Josh Lerner y Marcos Schankerman propaganda financiada por Microsoft para los grupos de presión de Microsoft, como la infame Alianza Empresarial de Software BSA [1[http://techrights.org/2011/01/20/factual-errors-and-microsoft-funded/], 2[http://techrights.org/2011/01/19/professors-sponsored-by-microsoft/], 3[http://techrights.org/2011/01/18/controlling-minds/]] (necesitan algo “académico” para impulsar sus demandas ridículas con y, a veces IDC se los da). Hay una nueva entrada de blog de este par[http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6610.html], que contiene los clásicos puntos de Microsoft/Microsoft financiado. No queremos citar un fragmento de ella (que, básicamente, insiste en que el software propietario es una necesidad). No es sólo un comentario y se trata de:

Joel
Consultor
Open Solutions Consultoría

Lástima que Joel no menciona lo más importante. Ellos simplemente “olvidan” mencionar la financiación de Microsoft de estas fruslerías.

Techdirt está muy acostumbrado a desenmascarar las mentiras de la infame Alianza Empresarial de Software BSA[http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/Business_Software_Alliance] y acerca de lo último de la BSA[http://techrights.org/2011/03/02/bsa-tries-to-exclude-freedom/] dice que “BSA reclama que los estándares abiertos aumentarán los costos” y lo refuta de la siguiente manera: “La Alianza Empresarial de Software (BSA), una organización que nunca ha rehuido haber empujando tanto FUD como sea posible para proteger a sus principales patrocinadores (empresas de software propietario como Microsoft y Adobe), esta en esto otra vez. Hace apenas unos meses se envió una carta a los políticos europeos que ni siquiera pasa la prueba de reír, haciendo afirmaciones como que el software libre significaba que era “no comercial”. Su último es para advertir al gobierno del Reino Unido del grave error que sería para soportar los estándares abiertos y software libre de regalías, extrañamente afirmando que esto “aumentaría los costos de administración electrónica.” Sí, mediante el uso de estándares abiertos y software libre de regalías, la BSA insiste en los costos subirán.”

La BSA no está tratando de decir la verdad, es sólo un grupo de cabeza. La BSA a menudo se basa en los “estudios” financiados por Microsoft (ya sea del mundo académico o de IDC, que pertenece a IDG).

“Control Mental : Para controlar la producción mental tienes que controlar lo que entra a lamente”.

-Microsoft, documento interno [PDF][http://techrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/comes-3096.pdf]

Many thanks to Eduardo Landaveri of the Spanish portal of Techrights.

When Software Patents Defenders Change Their Minds

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 11:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Money with money

Summary: Progressive thinkers seem to have decided to leave software patents behind, especially in an age of mass collaboration and ubiquitous computing (where software is a commodity)

IT IS interesting to see how public opinion changes over time, especially regarding controversial issues such as abortion, slavery, death sentences, same-sex marriage, and war. But one subject that never hits the mainstream (meaning corporate media like CNN) is the subject of patent monopolies. Maybe it is too profound for the common audience to master and get involved in. Who knows, but surely the copyright debate is at least starting to take front stage and “modernisation” of copyright law (meaning reform) is occasionally being proposed, with so-called ‘pirate parties’ cropping up all over the world, even in the United States (as of very recently). By contrast, patent reform is a sordid mess that can never get though.

In order to track what people think of software patents (and it is important to set aside patent lawyers and monopolies due to vested interest), Techrights keeps an eye on patent news and yesterday it found this:

It was an exciting time in a young industry, defined by its innovation, before it was reduced to two choices, Microsoft or Apple. We were marketing a graphics application created by Cunniff, with innovations that have not been equaled today. Numerous concepts that Cunniff developed were certainly patentable; however, we felt that software patents stifled innovation and did not pursue them.

They felt right.

Former Microsoft employee Keith Curtis has also just given a Microsoft-boosting Web site a decent piece opposing software patents. Too bad he is promoting a Microsoft patent trap, Mono (our main source of friction with him). From his piece:

Software patents are frequently in the technology news, a multi-billion dollar licensing model existing in parallel to the traditional ways people acquire technology. Very few patents are enforced, but those that are often result in the transfer of secret and large amounts of money — not connected to the amount of work required to create the invention, but to the thickness of the wallet of the defendant.

[...]

It is interesting that a man like Nathan Myhrvold would start a company whose primary purpose seems to be acquiring software patents. It means that one of the deep thinkers of Seattle does not realize that software is math. In the 1930s, Alonzo Church created a mathematical system known as lambda (λ) calculus, an early programming language that used math as its foundation, and was Turing-complete, which meant it could express any program written today.

See our Intellectual Ventures (IV) wiki page as we wrote about the subject for 5 years and it’s not getting any better now that IV is reportedly extorting Linux.

In other news, Peer to Patent has been mailing people, yours truly included. It tries to promote its project which seemingly fights against software patents but actually only legitimises some of them. Andy Oram (of O’Reilly), a longtime supporter of software patents, has just written about this and he seems to be softening too (he is being vague this time, so it can be subjected to misinterpretation).

I am not a zealot on the subject of software patents. I’ve read a lot of patent applications and court rulings about patents (see, for instance, my analysis of the Bilski decision) and explored the case for software patents sympathetically in another article. But I have to come down on the side of position that software and business processes, like other areas of pure human thought, have no place in the patent system.

Maybe Rivest, Shamir, and Adleman deserved their famous patent (now expired) on public-key cryptography–that was a huge leap of thought making a historic change in how computers are used in the world. But the modern patents I’ve seen are nothing like the RSA algorithm. They represent cheap patches on tired old practices. Proponents of software patents may win their battle in the halls of power, but they have lost their argument on the grounds of the patents to which their policy has led. Sorry, there’s just too much crap out there.

All innovation is dependent upon prior work. That’s why the idea of granting monopolies on mere improvements is a bad idea. Inventions are always aggregations of many improvements, in which case the chain of monopolies complicates things far too much. Subsequent innovation can become unbearable. In the case of software, very fundamental ideas are treated as patentable merely because they are a digital equivalent of something which has existed for centuries if not millennia, e.g. the progress bar.

The Patent Reform Act is a Joke

Posted in Law, Patents at 11:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Writing a check

Summary: Why the “Patent Reform Act” is a waste of time and hardly a progressive piece of proposed legislation

OVER THE past month or so we wrote almost half a dozen posts about the so-called “Patent Reform Act” [1, 2, 3, 4] (also see Patent Reform Act from 2009 and from 2008), which is pushed by several senators, some more controversial than others. The Computer & Communications Industry Association is against it and TechDirt is sceptical too. As we have emphasised right from the start, this “Patent Reform Act” is not actually trying to address the real problems. Erick Robinson, a Senior Patent Counsel at Red Hat, agrees with this interpretation in his new essay which helps show that the “Patent Reform Act” is not quite what people are led to believe; it’s pointless and hardly a real reform, besides the name. But to use his own words:

Congress has been considering some form of patent reform for several years now, beginning with the Patent Reform Act of 2005. Once again, patent reform in is the air, as the Patent Reform Act of 2011 (the “PRA”) has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and is scheduled to be debated by the full Senate this week. Although full reform of the U.S. patent system is needed for many reasons, the PRA has been watered down to a point that minimizes its usefulness. A thorough discussion of the need for patent reform is left for another day. This article provides a short overview of main provisions of the PRA and concludes by noting some potentially useful provisions in earlier versions of the bill that have been left out of the PRA.

The situation with software patents in the United States is rather messy. The opportunistic law firm mentioned in this new page exploits In Re Bilski to make some more money out of patents:

The Juhasz Law Firm introduced an offering named “virtual link” patent claim defense for corporate holders of software patents that are vulnerable to being challenged or struck down in the wake of the Supreme Court Bilski decision of June 28, 2010.

That’s just who/what patents are for. A law firm invents nothing, it’s just a pile of paper. How about a reform that defangs them along with patent trolls, combined with elimination of patents on thought processes? We’ll carry on this discussion in the next post.

Google and Microsoft Are Not Friends

Posted in Deception, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 10:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Plot to kill Google

Summary: Pro-Microsoft campaigners are trying to sell the illusion that Google is a buddy of Microsoft rather than a victim of Microsoft (which is being glorified as a saviour)

WHILE it may be true that Google hired some people from Microsoft (an HR problem), those two companies are far from friends. For starters, Microsoft constantly lobbies against Google and while Microsoft is suing Google’s Android/search from many different directions, Microsoft boosters like Microsoft Florian and Peter Bright spin something ‘new’ as Microsoft collaborating with Google on patents (far from it!). This is totally deceptive, but Florian pushed this spin into Slashdot himself and that’s where others point to. Did they not learn their lesson from his most recent lies? The spin is that Microsoft and Google are sitting on a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G, or — as one person put it in our IRC channels — that Microsoft is saving the world from “bad” trolls (Microsoft is one of the biggest patent bullies around, not just the company which lifts other companies’ inventions). So watch out for spin. Microsoft has been hiring a lot of people to lie recently (without disclosure). Microsoft Florian and Peter Bright have been attacking Free software quite a lot lately, too.

US Justice Department Takes on the MPEG Cartel as IBM Distances Itself From Cartel Defenders

Posted in Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Standard at 10:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MPEG LA logo

Summary: The perils of cartels orbiting around multimedia formats are recognised by the federal government and an IBM senior slams the BSA

The MPEG cartel is a subject we wrote about extensively, especially last year, e.g. in:

According to Murdoch’s press, there is federal action against this cartel, which also includes Microsoft and Apple. An “interesting development” British journalist Glyn Moody calls it and his colleague says that the “US Justice Department [is] reportedly investigating MPEG LA over VP8 threats”:

The US Justice Department is reportedly studying whether attempts by owners of the H.264 video patent pool to find out whether Google’s free and open-source VP8 codec infringes their patents are unfair.

It has opened an antitrust probe to find out whether the MPEG LA group or its members are trying to stifle the alternative format, which Google is pushing as a cost-free alternative for video on the web, according to the Wall Street Journal.

As a reminder, the BSA too is currently lobbying in favour of the likes of MPEG-LA in the UK [1, 2] and IBM’s Rob Weir says he’s proud IBM is not associated with the BSA (it was dumped by IBM recently). To quote Weir:

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is at it again. They are claiming that new UK Cabinet Office policy in favor of open standards — the kind of standards that the web is built on and which has created billions in new economy jobs – is actually a bad thing, since it would (according to the BSA), “reduce choice, hinder innovation and increase the costs of e-government”.

Really? Are they serious?

Those with a penchant for the history of economic thought may recall the 19th century French liberal economist Claude Frédéric Bastiat, and his satirical economic parables, which attacked prevalent economic errors of his time. We have need of Bastiat at this hour, especially his skewering of an entrenched industry’s rent-seeking tendency to push for government protection from lower cost competitors. His attack on protectionism was called “The Candlemaker’s Petition“…

See the rest of the details in Weir’s blog. It’s like OOXML all over again (with Candlemaker rather than broken windows, bridges, or light bulbs this time around).

MSBBC Finally Calls Out… Android (to Scare People)

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Security, Windows at 9:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The BBC does not call out Windows but it sure calls out Google when there is something wrong. Techrights nails the BBC for a pattern of disinformation.

Bills

Summary: Another fine set of examples of BBC bias in this week’s news, favouring Microsoft and spreading lies about Microsoft’s competition, as usual

TECHRIGHTS has given so many examples where the MSBBC, which is partly run by former Microsoft UK executives, ignores or omits vital details about Microsoft flaws. These examples can easily be found by searching the archives.

This week we are seeing more of the same. It’s expected, but it ought to be pointed out. Microsoft veterans and their colleagues seem to be messing with the media and with people’s perceptions; the BBC is a lucrative tool for achieving this because there is belief that the BBC is objective because it is funded by taxpayers. Watch the BBC creating Gmail distrust [1, 2] because of isolated incidents where people temporarily missed some of their mail. Did they forget what happened in Hotmail (far worse)? Microsoft is a death sentence to E-mail and there is a new blog post/article about it (titled “The Problem Isn’t Email, It’s Microsoft Exchange”).

I care about email. In fact, a large part of how I have made a living over the years has depended on a reliable email service. I get a lot of email, and I send my fair share of it too – some of it is correspondence directly related to whatever I’m working on at the moment, some of it is personal, quite a bit comes from topic-oriented mailing lists such as openbsd-misc, and a large chunk of my mail archive consists of automatically generated mail sent by systems in my care. I’ve also been known to treat email much the same as other correspondence, rarely if ever deleting messages. When the mailboxes became too unwieldy I would transfer some of the contents to archive storage.

I’ve become convinced that a large part of the reason I don’t mind dealing with large volumes of email is that I started doing it before Microsoft became an actor in the Internet email market. Way back in the late eighties and early nineties, email of the Internet, TCP/IP, kind would be handled by some sort of Unix box (a BSD or, by the mid-nineties, a Linux variant, perhaps) that would frequently offer shell command line access, but more likely than not also email reading via POP or IMAP interfaces.

Microsoft does not even implement IMAP correctly and this burns users.

A better example of the BBC’s cheeky deception, however, is this article titled “Android hit by rogue app viruses”. As we pointed out before, the BBC names and shames platforms (when they are hit) only if these platforms are not Windows. More importantly, in this case there are no “viruses”. Viruses spread between computers, whereas in this case it is malware that the user must willingly install. That’s not a virus. But the main point is that when the BBC writes about Microsoft Windows viruses these are typically called “viruses” or “computer viruses”; the BBC defends the Windows brand by not telling readers whose fault it probably is. The exception occurs when the fault lies with companies other than Microsoft (if at all, as in this case the malware comes from third parties, not Google, and it also relies on user intervention). Earlier this week we showed that the MSBBC also blames Google -- Not Microsoft -- for London Stock Exchange site malware. Isn’t it amazing that they get away with this spin? The progressive and investigative writer Mark Ballard (who never writes for the BBC, thankfully) has a new article titled “Ban the Microsoft “virus”, government told”; to quote:

Microsoft web software is like a computer virus in government computer systems and must be banned, a meeting of the British Computer Society’s Open Source Specialist Group heard last week.

Called by Home Office lead architect Tariq Rashid, the meeting formed part of an investigation into why government open source policy has floundered. Rashid got a clutch of executives from the systems integrators who control 80 per cent of the UK’s £16-24bn public sector IT industry, sat them before a room full of open source advocates, and asked them to explain why the computer industry had become so stagnant under their watch.

Why for example, asked Rashid, had proprietary Microsoft technologies become entrenched in government systems? The audience seemed more sure of the answer than the panel of executives. The problem was proprietary Microsoft software. Rashid agreed.

Chris Kenyon, vice president of global OEM sales at Linux publisher Canonical, said some technologies had such a malignant effect they should be “banned” from government systems.

There is weird stuff going on behind closed doors in the UK and this week we saw the BSA, which is a Microsoft front group, lobbying against UK policy favouring real standards [1, 2].

To suggest that we single out Microsoft or make people “hate” it would simply be incorrect; Microsoft is the one doing all of those things which no other company seems to be doing. If people hate Microsoft for taking away their freedom and bribing parts of the system/process, who can blame them? And for those who missed it, the BBC got ‘poisoned’ with Microsoft UK executives mostly around 2007-2009 (we gave a lot of examples).

In Age of Its Demise Microsoft Leans on Corruptible Analysts, Infiltration, Loans and Tax Avoidance

Posted in Bill Gates, Debian, Finance, Microsoft, Servers, Vista 8, Windows at 9:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Investiment

Summary: IDG/IDC do their trick again, selling false perceptions about GNU/Linux and about Microsoft, which keeps sliding down while finding new financial ways of hiding its weaknesses

YESTERDAY we wrote about Microsoft hiring liars to defame Free software more frequently than before. Some of those liars call themselves “academics” or “analysts”, but to them the business model is to find the criteria and data which allows them to come up with the required deception and then massively promote it using corporate media arms. IDG does this a lot with IDC as we have shown over the years, which is why Microsoft loves paying IDG/IDC a lot of money, sometimes quite explicitly in order to assist with Microsoft lobbying (we have given examples of that too). Earlier this week IDC released its periodic GNU/Linux FUD and this was covered not just by gullible sites that still take and accept the figures at face value (despite there being detailed rebuttals) and the IDG/IDC overlap, where IDG sites basically promote IDC lies (fake numbers that do not actually reflect on what they are said to represent), can also be seen here. Yes, IDG gives exposure to its own ‘studies’ but wraps all it together as ‘news’, as usual. They know that they deceive, they are told so, but they carry on (see our wiki for details). That’s just corrupt, unfair, and totally unprofessional. Yesterday we wrote about IDG's latest Microsoft whitewashing, which is basically an attempt to wed Microsoft and the “open source” community, using amazing spin and serious omissions. As the 451 Group helps show, Microsoft’s vision of “open source” is one of Microsoft licences and acceptance of software patents (no GPLv3 allowed). How noble, eh?

Over at Identica, Silner writes: “This PHP story got me wondering if Microsoft’s new strategy is divide and conquer: divide !OpenSource from !Linux?”

In reply he got: “That is their old strategy: divide “open source” from Linux, Linux from GNU, GNOME from GNU, stuff GNOME with Mono.”

Silner responds with a question: “What is their new strategy though? You know, I leaning towards the idea they’re hedging their bets”

The context can be seen in Identica along with more analysis. “I should have said the Gnu strategy. I missed that one,” Silner added.

It is correct to say that Microsoft is trying to fragment the community. The Mono and Moonlight boosters (Novell employees) are doing the same thing and they also try to incite Ubuntu members against us, using lies. Popey, for example, is under the misguided impression that we are against Ubuntu when in fact we’ve defended the project since it was conceived. Separately, wrote Popey, “Wow! Windows 8 will have multiple desktops! Welcome to 1985!”

You always know that Microsoft is having a tough time when it brings up Vista 8 promises, just as it was harping about WinFS for many years, promising to deliver Longhorn (successor of XP) by the end of 2003, along with WinFS. People who know Microsoft’s vapourware tactics will understand that it just shows how fragile the company really is. It is facing a situation where few rich billionaires take money out of Microsoft while Microsoft is borrowing money and sees its cash cows Office and Windows falling without signs of this fall stopping. The company has troubling times ahead, just like every company (they all stagnate eventually). Meanwhile, people like Bill Gates are getting even richer while avoiding tax (the Gates Foundation is essentially passing all taxation to the poor by also exempting Warren Buffett). See this new discussion in Twitter [1, 2] which speaks about tax avoider Gates who is still acting like the United States economist for Obama. It’s about this article which is titled “Bill Gates Addresses The ‘Completely Unsustainable’ Crisis In Public Pensions” (Gates is an quotable economist now?):

There are long-term problems with state budgets that a return to economic growth won’t solve. Health-care costs and pension obligations are projected to grow at rates that look to be completely unsustainable, unless something is done. But so far, many states aren’t doing much to deal with their fundamental problems. Instead they’re building budgets on tricks – selling off assets, creative accounting – and fictions, like assuming that pension fund investments will produce much higher gains than anyone should reasonably expect.

How about asking Gates to stop evading tax and actually contribute something other than lobbying, e.g. instructing governments (usually so that they give taxpayers’ money to companies he invests in)?

In summary, this whole corrupt nature of Microsoft is not the only sign of its demise. Microsoft has always been corrupt, it just happens to be very visible this month.

Apple and Microsoft Bribery

Posted in Apple, Fraud, Microsoft at 8:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dark house

Summary: Apple employee took bribes and Microsoft is still said to be bribing companies in order to distort the market

SEVERAL months ago we wrote about Apple bribery, noting that an employee of Apple had been caught “conspiring” against the firm. He has just been found guilty, according to the MSBBC:

A former employee of computer and phone firm Apple has pleaded guilty to multiple criminal charges and admitted he took bribes from Asian suppliers.

Paul Devine is accused of providing confidential information to suppliers so that they could negotiate favourable contracts.

Mr Devine admitted that the loss to Apple from his actions was more than $2m (£1.2m).

Microsoft too yields its share of bribes (we have a lot of examples in this Web site), so an occasional contributor, Slated, is preparing a complaint against Microsoft's market distortion (to reach the Advertising Standards Authority at a later date) and now he mentions similar intentions to also use antitrust material (which Microsoft tried to hide) to prove bribery and file a similar complaint, possibly as part of a wider campaign. From his blog:

I’ve only just heard about something that’s actually quite old news, but may be relevant in future dealings with Microsoft. Apparently: “Former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Howe of Aberavon has criticised the government for “delaying” the implementation of legislation on bribery.”

“Legislation on bribery”?

Hmm.

Well it turns out the UK is on the verge of bringing something called the “Bribery Act 2010″ into force. This might have happened sooner, had it not been for a delay due to mysterious “meetings with a wide range of bodies” … no doubt to forewarn corrupt businessmen that their unethical bizniz® practices were about to be exposed and shut down.

The Bribery Act 2010 (c.23) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that covers the criminal law relating to bribery. Introduced to Parliament in the Queen’s Speech in 2009 after several decades of reports and draft bills, the Act received the Royal Assent on 8 April 2010 following cross-party support. Initially scheduled to enter into force in April 2010, this was changed to April 2011. The Secretary of State for Justice has yet to publish guidance on the interpretation and use of the Act and has announced that it will not come into force until at least three months after such guidance is made available. The Act repeals all previous statutory and common law provisions in relation to bribery, instead replacing them with the crimes of bribery, being bribed, the bribery of foreign public officials, and the failure of a commercial organisation to prevent bribery on its behalf.

The penalties for committing a crime under the Act are a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment, along with an unlimited fine, and the potential for the confiscation of property under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, as well as the disqualification of directors under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. The Act has a near-universal jurisdiction, allowing for the prosecution of an individual or company with links to the United Kingdom, regardless of where the crime occurred. Described as “the toughest anti-corruption legislation in the world”,[1] concerns have been raised that the Act’s provisions criminalise behaviour that is acceptable in the global market, and puts British business at a competitive disadvantage.

Let’s read that again:

behaviour that is acceptable in the global market

LOL! I bet.

Well, it’s about time bribery wasn’t “acceptable in the global market” then, isn’t it?

So what does this have to do with Microsoft?

Need you ask?

Bear in mind the FTC’s prosecution of Intel last year, for bribing Dell to exclude AMD processors, and I think you’ll begin to see the picture. And that’s in the good ol’ US of A, part of the “global market” where bribery is supposedly “acceptable”.

Given the scope of this tough new law, it’s possible, indeed highly probable that Microsoft’s “Incentives Programme” may actually violate it. I certainly hope so anyway.

Of course that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft’s racketeering methods are well documented, so it remains to be seen what else this law catches them out with. For example, if Vole’s minions had done in the UK (after April) what they did in Sweden (OOXML bribery), somebody at Microsoft would be doing hard time in prison.

Interesting time ahead…

Prepare for interesting campaigns to come (more details in the IRC logs). This one is all Slated’s , but we too hope to get involved.

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