Summary: A rare glimpse at a common phenomenon where Microsoft uses national papers to spread fear and the advertisers in newspapers are said to be playing a role
Microsoft and its slaves in the Government of Oman (who gave Microsoft taxpayers' money) have only led to further criminalisation of the population, which Microsoft loves calling “pirates” (an inappropriate term). Occasionally Microsoft and its bully, the BSA, organise intimidation campaigns which even cables reveal are just intended to create a scare. In the following Cablegate cable there is concern that the newspapers did not do as Microsoft and the BSA please; they didn’t spread enough fear by naming the country targeted as an "enforcement showcase":
DE RUEHMS #0938 2810622
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080622Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY MUSCAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8838
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
UNCLAS MUSCAT 000938
STATE FOR NEA/ARP, EEB/TPP/MTA/IPC
COMMERCE FOR COBERG
COMMERCE PASS TO USPTO (PFOWLER)
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON, ETRD, KIPR, MU
SUBJECT: MICROSOFT SETTLES WITH OMANI SOFTWARE PIRATES
1. (U) On October 7, Econoff discussed Microsoft's conclusion
of an out-of-court settlement with four Omani companies
engaged in software piracy with Jawad al-Redha, Microsoft's
Gulf Anti-Piracy Manager and Co-Chair of the Business
Software Alliance. Redha noted that the settlement was the
product of over seven months of work in negotiating with the
violators, identified as al-Madina, al-Rafraf, al-Arabiya,
and World IT. Under the agreement, each company will pay
Microsoft USD 3,000 in compensation and pledge to refrain
from selling illegal software in the future.
2. (SBU) Redha expressed optimism that the agreement will
create momentum in enforcing IPR in Oman. He was quick to
point out that Oman's purported software piracy rate of 62%
was still high for the region, but that concerted efforts
such as this would help bring that statistic down several
percentage points each year. Redha said that improvements
need to be made on the public relations front in reaching
this goal. As an example, he noted that the press release on
the settlement was only published in the English-language
daily Oman Observer, and only after the government cleared on
text that did not include country-specific references. Redha
speculated that the publishers of Oman's Arabic-language
dailies, which declined to publicize the settlement, were
worried that they would lose advertising revenue from the
companies cited in the text of the announcement.
3. (SBU) Comment: Microsoft's settlement comes on the heels
of change in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the lead
Omani agency in promoting intellectual property rights.
Econoff learned on October 3 that the director of the
Intellectual Property Department has been reassigned to a
lower-level position in a different office of the ministry,
and that his deputy has been transferred to an unrelated
department as well. Post suspects that the director's
ineffectiveness during the implementation stage of the
U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement may have precipitated the
reshuffle. End comment.
They are trying to use newspapers as a propaganda tool. Advertisers affect the content of newspapers. █
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Summary: Colonisation in Ski Lanka using Microsoft and the American Chamber of Commerce, who make the poor country dependent on American rules and proprietary/non-free software from America
IN THE FOLLOWING promotional Cablegate cable (remember that these are US officials in foreign countries), Microsoft is described as using miserable people to spawn new ‘microdrones’, i.e. people whose main skill is serving the Microsoft monopoly, with supposed knowledge in “computers” (Windows). The same type of thing is done to turn teachers in Ski Lanka into 'microdrones' and last but not least, the abhorrent front group known as Chamber of Commerce helps Microsoft change Ski Lanka’s law to be more in alignment with the conqueror, the United States. This is consistent with what we have seen in other countries; the embassies and consulates use Microsoft to expand their empire and made foreign countries assimilated even when it is against their interests (e.g. being dependent on proprietary software from another country). Here is the promotional cable:
RR RUEHBI RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #0852/01 1660321
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 150321Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6272
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1098
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 0208
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 7191
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 5298
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 2204
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 7777
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 5437
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2130
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000852
STATE FOR EEB/EPPD NSMITH-NISSLEY AND SCA/INS
DOL/ILAB FOR TINA MCCARTER
MCC FOR S. GROFF, D. TETER, D. NASSIRY AND E. BURKE
TREASURY FOR LESLIE HULL
GENEVA PASS USTR
FOR EEB ASSISTANT SECRETARY SULLIVAN FROM AMBASSADOR BLAKE
E.O 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON, BEXP, ETRD, ELAB, KSEP, SENV, AMGT, CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA - NOMINATION OF MICROSOFT FOR CORPORATE
REF: A) STATE 47222 B) COLOMBO 754
1. I am pleased to nominate Microsoft-Sri Lanka for the Secretary's
Award for Corporate Excellence in the multinational enterprise
category. While meeting all eligibility requirements for this
award, Microsoft-Sri Lanka has demonstrated outstanding corporate
citizenship by enabling reformed drug addicts to obtain better jobs
through information and communication technology (IT) training. It
has helped contribute to the advancement of Sri Lanka's scientific
and technology policies by conducting seminars for developing
IT-enhanced curricula and counseling students in their career paths.
Microsoft-Sri Lanka has contributed to rule of law by sponsoring an
intellectual property rights (IPR) training program for judicial
CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP: EXPANDING CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AND
OBJECTIVES OF EX-DRUG ADDICTS
2. In 2005-06, Microsoft-Sri Lanka partnered with the Sri Lanka
Anti Narcotics Association (SLANA) to attempt to integrate ex-drug
users back into society, by providing them with IT skills to
facilitate employability. Microsoft donated $113,000 to help SLANA
set up three centers and directly train 400 people. This project is
designed to positively influence over 1,500 people over two years.
The plan has already begun working. A 25-year old former heroin
addict wrote that the program "made me realize that I could pursue
numerous avenues...I further understood what I could do with the
support of new technology." A 20-year old ex-drug user who
completed the program wrote, "I realized that there is a world
beyond drugs. [The program] exposed me to many things I could do in
life. It also created a special interest in computers."
CONTRIBUTING TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL
POLICIES: CURRICULUM REDESIGN AND IT TRAINING; PROMOTING IT CAREER
3. Sri Lanka has identified IT as a potential growth sector, and
seeks to encourage its growth. In Sri Lanka, mainly upper-class
urban residents have access to the Internet, while rural communities
are left without IT training or access - tools that are essential
for economic advancement in today's world. In 2004-05,
Microsoft-Sri Lanka provided a grant of $110,000 to set up 12
telecenters island-wide, to enable rural youth to access IT and to
receive training. Microsoft estimates that the grant has trained
3,500 young people, and affected the lives of an additional 10,000
4. In 2006, Microsoft-Sri Lanka urged and coordinated with other IT
companies, including IBM, HP, IDM, and Suntel, to contribute to the
development of four rural IT projects. This practice has evolved
into a Global Best Practice for Microsoft, which has adopted it in
over a dozen countries within the past year.
5. Microsoft-Sri Lanka also identified the need to reduce "fear of
technology" among Sri Lanka's teachers. The company, together with
the Ministry of Education, launched the National Teacher PC Drive,
aimed at enabling 50,000 teachers to own PCs. It provided several
subsidies for this initiative, including provision of free training
to any teacher who buys a PC, and free lesson plans. Approximately
6,900 teachers have received this training delivered by the company,
in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. This represents a
total classroom size of approximately 332,000 students.
6. Microsoft-Sri Lanka co-sponsored with USAID/Sri Lanka a job fair
in June 2007. The fair featured prominent Sri Lankan local and
internationally based businesses, seminars on applying for jobs and
where opportunities lie in the job market, and counseling services
on how to interview and which technical fields are most appropriate
for the skills of the students. One of the 900 student participants
commented that this job fair provided him with more knowledge and
practical experience about the job market than all of his years of
COLOMBO 00000852 002 OF 002
CONTRIBUTING TO RULE OF LAW: JUDICIAL TRAINING IN INTELLECTUAL
7. Microsoft-Sri Lanka partnered with the local American Chamber of
Commerce in a multi-pronged intellectual property rights campaign.
In addition to its non-publicized financial contributions to a
public-awareness component of the campaign, Microsoft staff
conducted training on Sri Lanka's Intellectual Property Act and the
importance of IPR enforcement for judiciary staff who rule on
intellectual property rights cases. One American Chamber of
Commerce member reported a significant increase in the size of fines
imposed on IPR violators following the training. Due to the success
of this program, Microsoft executives have expressed interest in
supporting continuing training programs within the court system.
Additionally, the Embassy requested funding (Ref B) to support
continuation of this program.
When they write “IT TRAINING” and “IT CAREER OPPORTUNITIES” they actually refer to helping Microsoft. █
Update: The same US-backed, self-congratulatory ‘honour’ can be seen emerging in Brazil as well. it’s very promotional and they also use kids for their marketing. One cable (advertisement) goes like this:
DE RUEHBR #1131/01 1691742
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181742Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9268
INFO RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 0161
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 4605
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 6823
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 001131
EB/CBA FOR SMITH-NISSLEY
RM FOR PINEDA
WHA/EPSC FOR SALAZAR
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON, BEXP, ELAB, ETRD, BR
SUBJECT: AMEMBASSY BRASILIA NOMINATES FORD AND MICROSOFT BRAZIL FOR
THE SECRETARY'S 2007 CORPORATE EXCELLENCE AWARD (MULTINATIONAL
1. (U) Based upon their leadership and commitment to corporate
social responsibility (CSR), Ambassador Sobel nominates the U.S.
multinational companies Ford and Microsoft Brazil, as
representatives of the 50 U.S. multinational companies that support
the U.S. Embassy Brazil CSR Initiative, for the Secretary's 2007
Corporate Excellence Award.
2. (U) Begin Text of Award Nomination
In October 2006, the U.S. Ambassador, together with Microsoft, Ford,
and a select group of American companies founded a U.S. Mission
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, aimed at
leveraging the assets of U.S. companies doing business in Brazil.
This initiative, which has expanded and now brings together 50 U.S.
companies, has focused on encouraging CSR partnerships and joint
investments while increasing the visibility and recognition of U.S.
development efforts overseas. It has shown that partnerships have
the power to increase both the effectiveness and efficiency of
public and private sector development assistance.
This whole effort began when the U.S. Mission in Brazil sponsored a
CSR roundtable, in conjunction with 31 U.S. companies in Brazil and
the Sao Paulo American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham). That
represented the first step towards the development of an innovative
Public/Private-based model for corporate social responsibility.
However, none of this would have been possible without the
commitment of the movement's principal private sector leaders: both
Microsoft and Ford Brazil. These two companies chair initiative's
two main committees: visibility (Ford) and partnership (Microsoft).
Accordingly, the Ambassador nominates the U.S. multinational
companies Ford and Microsoft Brazil, representing the group of the
50 U.S. multinational companies that currently support this
initiative. Their exemplary efforts in guiding this group have been
key to making this campaign a best practice to be replicated
Corporate Citizenship and Exemplary Employment Practices
The group of 50 companies sponsors a wealth of social responsibility
projects, in such diverse fields as education, the environment, and
health. Combined annual investments are estimated at $250 million
(cash) and another $250 million in in-kind contributions.
Additionally, 48 of these companies support a volunteer network of
over 100,000 individuals. Their 200+ projects benefit all of the 26
Brazilian states and the country's Federal District.
Specifically, the group has:
-- Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the AmCham to promote
employment of "Youth Ambassadors" - a U.S. Embassy-funded program
targeting young leaders from low income families/schools across the
country that has produced outstanding results. Over fifteen
companies are now in the process of hiring several Youth
-- Collaborated in the establishment of the U.S.-Brazil Higher
Education Program, yet another example of the power of partnerships.
This program, jointly funded by Ford, Microsoft, and the USG, aims
at revitalizing vocational education. This effort has been welcomed
by the Government of Brazil's Ministry of Education and is already
serving as a model of how industries and governments can cooperate
to meet social and economic needs in a sustainable way.
-- Sponsored a highly-regarded speech/media event, featuring noted
economist Jeffrey Sachs, for companies participating in the
initiative. We have invited Microsoft CEO Bill Gates as the next
Several other activities are currently being designed under the CSR
Initiative and will be launched soon. These include:
-- the design of a CSR Challenge Fund, which will combine USG and
private sector resources for programs in youth employability,
entrepreneurship, and the environment;
-- the development of a CSR Best Practices Catalogue;
-- a survey of member companies on their individual CSR activities
and willingness to partner with the Mission and others (this series
of surveys resulted in a matrix of CSR activities by member
-- a volunteer day during which Consulate Sao Paulo personnel can
participate in community activities (planned for July 2007); and
BRASILIA 00001131 002 OF 002
-- a CSR Workshop, which would bring together the 50 member
companies with speakers from local/international institutions such
as the Rockefeller Foundation and the Kellogg Foundation.
Contribution to the Overall Growth and Development of the Local
Member companies are highly committed to the development of the
-- the group of 50 directly employs an estimated 1 million
-- they lead several value chains in Brazil across the entire
-- the combined annual income of this group is estimated at US$100
-- their presence in Brazil is on average 50 years. Companies like
Ford have been responsible for the development of an entire
-- newcomers such as Microsoft have taken the lead in key areas
such as education.
Many of these companies have established policies to promote
minority suppliers, and the group is working towards
institutionalizing the following new activities:
-- the implementation of a minority suppliers development program.
This work will be launched in August during the visit of the head of
the American Minority Suppliers Development project.
-- there are several ongoing initiatives related to responsible
sourcing, including a partnership between the U.S. Embassy and
Wal-Mart to source fair-trade coffee from Brazilian small farmers.
-- In addition, work is proceeding on the design of an innovative
minority suppliers development program focusing on cooperatives of
people living with HIV.
Development of Competitive and Innovative Activities
Other group activities aimed at fostering competitiveness and
-- the development of a report to measure the combined social and
economic impact of the CSR projects supported by the U.S. corporate
sector in Brazil;
-- planning for a joint volunteer day to take place in August 2007;
-- the design of a public outreach web site within the U.S. Embassy
Brasilia portal; and
-- various CSR-related meetings and planning sessions to take
place in CY 2007.
End Text of Award Nomination
Here is another bit of promotion of the company from around the same time in Hanoi. Watch how US diplomats serve as Microsoft de facto PR agents:
DE RUEHHI #1451 2251734
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 131734Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6089
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 3526
UNCLAS HANOI 001451
DEPT FOR EAP/MLS AND EEB/EPPD NSMITH-NISSLEY
USDOC FOR 4431/MAC/AP/OPB/VLC/HPPHO
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT, BEXP, ECON, ELAB, ETRD, KSEP, SENV
SUBJECT: DUE DILIGENCE: MICROSOFT 2007 AWARD FOR CORPORATE
REF: STATE 109403
1. (SBU) Could there possibly be any downside or embarrassment
caused by the selection of your post's nominee?
Embassy Vietnam is not aware of any information that might prove
embarrassing to Post, to the U.S. Department of State, or to the USG
with regard to the nomination of Microsoft for this award.
2. (SBU) Do you have any information concerning job creation in the
United States resulting from the operations of the company you
Microsoft had 20,561 employees in 1996. In 2007, the company
employs over 76,000 employees worldwide with 46,700 employees in the
United States. Microsoft is a leading software developer whose
bread and butter is its intellectual property. By expanding its
activities in Vietnam, it is promoting the export of U.S.-origin
product, which creates jobs, directly and indirectly, in the United
States. Just recently, Microsoft concluded an agreement with the
Government of Vietnam (GVN) under which government offices will buy
legitimate software from Microsoft for hundreds of thousands of
computers. While this means a direct increase in sales for the
company, Microsoft's success has wider implications for all U.S. IPR
interests because it shows the GVN can improve the situation for IPR
when there is political will.
3. (SBU) What is your assessment of the company's trade and
investment activities with regard to helping stimulate economic
growth in the U.S. and increasing American exports
(what is the U.S. content of its products)?
In 2006, Microsoft earned $12.6 billion on global revenues of $44.28
billion. Microsoft is the world's leading software developer with
products such as Microsoft Office, Windows XP, and Windows Vista.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft has played a major role in establishing
the global dominance of the U.S. software and information technology
4. (SBU) What is the state of labor conditions in the company's
facilities and are workers unionized?
Labor conditions are generally excellent for Microsoft Asia Pacific
employees. Microsoft Vietnam employees are nonunion. The company
has low employee turnover, pays high wages (typically $1000-$1500
per month for a mid-level manager), and has employee benefits that
include health insurance, education reimbursement, and work/life
5. (SBU) Are you aware of any litigation pending in local courts
involving the company?
Post is not aware of any Microsoft-related litigation pending in
6. (SBU) Please confirm that the Chief of Mission and others
involved in the nominating process do not hold shares of stock or
have other financial interests in the company.
Neither the Chief of Mission nor others involved in the nominating
process hold shares of Microsoft stock or have other financial
interests in the company.
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Summary: Cable from Oman shows how Microsoft is steering the government and making the population Microsoft dependent
We recently looked at Oman and onwards, reaching Ukraine in the north and Vietnam in the south. All across the world we find evidence of government-assisted Microsoft deals which at times reveal misconduct. Many of the same tricks are used everywhere, so it is worth learning these. The following Cablegate cable is also one from Oman.
DE RUEHMS #0580/01 1601237
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091237Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MUSCAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8362
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
UNCLAS MUSCAT 000580
STATE FOR NEA/ARP, EEB/CBA
COMMERCE FOR COBERG
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON, BEXP, ELAB, ENRG, KSEP, AMGT, MU
SUBJECT: NOMINATION FOR CORPORATE EXCELLENCE AWARD:
REF: STATE 47222
1. Embassy Muscat is pleased to nominate Microsoft Oman for
the Secretary's 2007 Award for Corporate Excellence.
Microsoft Oman's strong commitment to actively supporting
government efforts to promote greater computer literacy in
the Sultanate makes this company the right choice for the
2007 Corporate Excellence Award. End Summary.
2. Oman's information communications technology (ICT) sector
currently is not well-developed. According to a Booz Allen
Hamilton study commissioned by the Department under the
Middle East Partnership Initiative, the industry overall
employs only 1300 people, with most positions concentrated in
a few large corporations. Compared to the population as a
whole, the figure represents 0.4 IT employees per 1,000,
which lags behind the EU-25 average of 5.5 IT employees per
1,000. Booz Allen Hamilton further estimated that the number
of university students graduating from computer science
disciplines reached only 386 in 2004.
Background: Government Focus on Raising IT
3. In an effort to boost public awareness of Oman's need to
move increasingly toward a knowledge-based economy, the
government launched its "E-Oman" campaign in 2006. Under the
slogan "Transforming Oman, Empowering You," Maqbool bin Ali
Sultan, Minister of Commerce and Industry, officially
unveiled the government's plans regarding Oman's e-government
programs, as well as other initiatives designed to promote
Oman's transformation to a knowledge-based economy.
4. Under the direction of the recently created Information
Technology Authority (ITA), the Omani government embarked on
a pilot project electronically linking four ministries
through one computer network, a plan that will eventually be
expanded to include all ministries. In addition, the
government is working on developing an electronic national
registry system, smart ID cards for citizens and residents,
and a one-stop-shop for business registration.
The Microsoft Partnership
5. In 2006, Microsoft concluded a three-year, five million
USD per year agreement with the Omani government for the use
of the company's licensed products on over 22,000 terminals.
The contract, which includes a commitment by Microsoft to
invest two million USD per year in training programs for
government employees and the general public, represents the
beginning of a valued relationship between the two entities
as they both strive to improve computer literacy in the
6. As part of its plan to foster this relationship, Microsoft
has committed to investing in Oman's IT capabilities.
According to Microsoft country manager Abdullah al-Lootah,
this commitment is essential to efforts to raise technology
usage in government operations, which currently is very low.
In terms of promoting knowledge transfer opportunities,
Microsoft will sponsor six-month visits by government
officials to the company's Dubai office to educate them on
"best financial practices." Coupling with the government's
E-Oman initiative, Microsoft is reaching out to the Omani
people by installing computer laboratories in 10 schools for
public use during the evening hours.
Training for the Future
7. Microsoft demonstrated its strong, continued commitment to
building Oman's technical capabilities in March 2007, when
the company concluded an agreement with the ITA to launch an
innovation and support center to be housed at Knowledge Oasis
Muscat (KOM), the government-run technology incubator. The
agreement calls for a joint investment of six million USD in
establishing the center, one million USD of which is to come
from Microsoft under its investment partnership accord with
the Omani government. The center will host resident
Microsoft engineers, who will train between 20 to 40 Omanis
on technology solutions to deliver services to government
entities under the "E-Oman" initiative. Graduates would then
form IT steering committees within their respective
8. This initiative is one of several Microsoft is pursuing to
"bridge the technology skills gap" in Oman. In addition to
the innovation center, Microsoft will partner with Knowledge
Oasis Muscat and other selected entities in training 300
Omani government professionals per year. The trainees will
work with Microsoft engineers to develop and implement
solutions to promote efficiency in delivering government
services electronically. Salim al-Ruzaiqi, Chief Executive
Officer of the ITA, praised Microsoft's efforts in the media,
noting, "This new center will create more quality job
opportunities for local Omani graduates in the ICT sector."
9. Microsoft also has been active in supporting efforts to
raise computer literacy among women through a partnership
with MEPI's "Women in Technology (WIT)" program. The company
is currently working with the Oman Women's Association in
Muscat to train women throughout the Sultanate on IT skills.
Under a "train the trainer" initiative, Microsoft donated its
"Unlimited Potential" curriculum to the organization to allow
participants to pass along skills taught by Microsoft
trainers to women residing in the secondary cities of Oman.
Microsoft further donated over $50,000 worth of software and
90 refurbished computers to support the continuation of the
In short, Microsoft is indoctrinating government employees so that they come to depend on Microsoft technologies, at taxpayers’ expense. For those who do not know what “Unlimited Potential” is (a euphemism to say the least), see our posts about it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. █
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Summary: Bill “monopoly” Gates is still collecting new monopolies and his friends who attack Linux/Android with patents are at it as well; Kroes comments on the EU as a safeguard from trolls
Microsoft’s co-founders are both patent trolls. One has a patent troll called Searete (Bill Gates) and the other one’s patent troll is called Interval (Paul Allen). In addition, Bill Gates bankrolled the world’s biggest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures (headed by Microsoft’s former CTO). These trolls are very much loathed for their actions (including extortion against Linux), but one person, Microsoft booster Todd Bishop, has been whitewashing their characters for several years. He is boasting about more patents (monopolies) from patenting maximalist Bill Gates (see the comments in Slashdot) in this week’s news. Maybe it’s time for him to move on and stop this reputation laundering of sociopaths. These are the same people who taunted the industry and extorted much of it over the years. Former Microsoft executive Paul Maritz starts warning about patent lawsuits (Microsoft proponents amplify his words) and according to other reports, RIM’s patents might soon be up for sale as well. “Research In Motion,” says this report, “should consider seeking a buyer or spinning off its patents to boost investor returns after a slump in its stock price, investor Jaguar Financial Corp. of Toronto said Tuesday.” Microsoft, its cartel (which includes Apple), or one of its trolls might be going after these patents. Microsoft’s interest in RIM goes back as far as 2008.
Currently, developers can avoid much of the hassle by staying outside the US and not selling anything there. Neelie Kroes has just blogged the following about Europe (her blog is composed by her speechwriter too): “we have a less litigious and costly patent system, an issue currently troubling many US companies.”
See the responses to it in the comments, including one from the FFII’s president who argues:
Europe has right now plans to make the patent system more litigious, notably via specialized patent courts, a central patent court and EU-wide damages.
There are risks to make things worse, since it might be more attractive for patent holders to file lawsuits in Europe then in the US, due to the bigger market size.
It’s better this way, too. Kroes could use some more feedback from non-lawyers. From an economic point of view, Europe has little of nothing to gain from patents in general. Nokia’s patents have just been passed to a patent troll in Canada. █
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Summary: Why most mentions of a “reform” in the USPTO are misleading for the time being
THE NEWS on the patents front quieted down this month. We are not ignoring any of it. But it interesting to see that preservation of broken systems seems to strike a nerve with the public, yet officials mostly ignore it. What does that say about the government allegedly elected by the people (with corporate campaign funding)?
The truth of the matter is, based on news reports [1, 2] only a fake ‘reform’ is being put forward and sites like TechDirt correctly slam it:
With Congress and the President pretending that a bad patent reform bill is all about “creating jobs” even as there’s little evidence that the reforms will actually do anything, Congress appears to be poised to approve the bill. Of course, the bill does almost nothing to address the real problems of the patent system, but that won’t stop the grandstanding. More important, it won’t stop the political back-scratching. While Congress won’t debate the bigger issues, they will be considering amendments that benefit a particular constituency rather than looking at anything that will actually benefit innovation or the economy.
Brian Proffitt is being pessimistic in his new post, “The bottom line of software patent reform”. In this somewhat defeatist post he argued that: “Critics of software patents argue that it would be great if all the extra legal overhead of this litigation could just go away. But if the bottom line says that it’s cheaper to just hire better lawyers rather than suffer the potential risks of young upstart competitors stealing even more revenue and customers, then businesses will opt for the former every time.
“This is why lawmakers only make half-hearted efforts to examine patent reform. They may listen to the latest big company that complains (like Google), but if and when that company moves on to pursuing their own litigation, why bother listening? Not to mention lobbying pressure from all the lawyers who are getting paid quite well to pursue these cases on behalf of their clients.”
Google is a tricky one because it is not doing the right thing by choosing the expensive and ineffective path. Clint Boulton says that they bought junk patents and we already know that Microsoft plans to attack Google through patent trolls like MOSAID. Google cannot use patents defensively against patent trolls.
Proffitt continues: “It’s a depressing situation all the way around, in all business sectors, at all levels of government. Litigation is a business expense that many businesses are willing to put time, effort, and money into if it can give them an edge over a competitor.
“Can software patents ever be reformed? Possibly, if enough lawsuits lose and companies realize that there’s no percentage in the game.
“It won’t be an ethical decision that drives reform, sadly, but a financial one.” █
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Summary: Small update on Novell, Attachmate, SUSE, and Xamarin
OUR “Boycott Novell” initiative was a true success and right now we are starting to track quite closely the actions of Attachmate, which officially bought Novell a few months ago. Amid the sale there was separation that put SUSE aside, later to become Microsoft sponsored. It also put Xamarin, which keeps pushing Microsoft development tools aside entirely. Attachmate later gave its blessings to Xamarin (along with so-called ‘IP’), but it still owns the “OpenSUSE” trademark and Microsoft has not promised not to sue Xamarin clients or Xamarin itself. The whole thing is a tad dodgy and Attachmate also owns UNIX, which can complicate things further. Here is a new report about Attachmate trying to approach Novell partners in Sydney. From SUSE we have a not-so-imminent release and a pizza party (Microsoft’a pizza? They help fund SUSE) preceding the conference.
Our position on the subject is still the same. Novell, Attachmate, SUSE and Xamarin are still more like tentacles of Microsoft. They ought to be avoided. █
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Summary: Status report on Cablegate at Techrights
THANKS to those who are helping us with Cablegate. An hour or so ago we asked a question about Econoff and soon afterwards found out that it’s an unnamed economic officer, who is referred to not as a collective but a person (this was stated in one Web page). It is interesting to see what role government plays in promoting Microsoft’s agenda. The term Econoff is mentioned a lot when one lobbies for interests of Microsoft.
“This whole effort pays off as it received mainstream coverage that helps expose Microsoft, e.g. in Tunisia.”Currently we are focusing mostly on Microsoft cables, but that will change quite soon. The plan is a strategy of one-at-a-time, as at some stage we’ll turn to other subjects and go through them one by one, e.g. cables about open source. “These cables from a search of “open source” and software,” explains Mr. Love who collected many, “plus additional searches using the terms Linux, FOSS, Ubuntu and “free software.” I have included excerpts to relevant sections of the cables, as well as links to the full cables, for additional context. I will be adding more cables as I find them.”
We found that there are also dozens about Linux and assigned these to those who are willing to give a helping hand. This whole effort pays off as it received mainstream coverage that helps expose Microsoft, e.g. in Tunisia. To help us out, please join the IRC channels. █
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In essence all Linux systems are the same. They all have the same tools, they all pretty much have the same desktops and they all can be configured, adjusted, tweeked or modified to look and operate in just about any manner. The only real difference is the ease of which this can be done.
It was circa 1999 (and we were partying like it was). I was new to the whole tech-reporting gig, but not so new to Linux. I, along with every early adopter, thought, nay KNEW, Linux was bound for world domination. It wasn’t a matter of if it was a matter of when. Even though, in the early days, the fledgling operating system struggled with hardware support and couldn’t seem to keep pace with the competition. Even with its faults, we all still knew it was destined for greatness on a level no proprietary system could ever dream of.
Here are three reasons to use Linux for your home use:
Arch Linux is great. I can run Ubuntu but I rather keep that in my Macbook Pro where I can run it inside of VirtualBox.
Leading recruitment specialists, GCS, have moved their GRIP Recruitment Software infrastructure from a Microsoft Windows Server to a Linux Server platform to enable greater performance, flexibility and cost savings.
NSA’s label-based approach to security resembles another open source project NSA developed and released in 2000, called Security Enhanced Linux (SE Linux). With SE Linux, administrators can create policies that dictate, in fine-grained detail, what actions each program on a computer can execute. Red Hat has integrated SE Linux into its Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution.
There is less than one week to go until the 2011 X.Org Developers’ Conference begins in Chicago, United States. The tentative schedule has been published on the X.Org Wiki. Among the topics to be discussed are the Nouveau driver, GPGPU computing, OpenGL 3.0 support, the Low-Level Virtual Machine within Mesa, and much more.
In preparing for XDC2011 Chicago, the X.Org developers’ summit that begins in just ten days that I have organized, the schedule is being worked out at the moment. One of the items that is set to be talked about at XDC2011 during the Nouveau driver discussion is TimeGraph. This is an open-source GPU command scheduler that sounds fairly interesting.
Next week at XDC2011 Chicago there will be a rather unique discussion taking place that’s quite different from what normally goes on at this annual X.Org Developers’ Conference. There is going to be a moderated panel discussion (tentatively titled “Contributing to X.Org and Open-Source”) about contributing to X.Org, the Linux kernel, Mesa, and open-source software in general. For those not residents of the Chicago area, this session will be broadcast on the Internet.
There was a time when I, like many, covered my Linux desktop in all manner of Screenlets, gDesklets and widgets. I grew out of this, but ‘PlexyDesk‘ – a new widget-toting project, may just light those creative fires on my desktop once more…
One popular question many new programmers such as myself, and old programmers a-like have, is what IDE should I use? The result is of course a different recommendation from different people as you would expect. You often will hear some of the following: “Netbeans, Eclipse etc…”
Different Linux distros build in favorite cleaning products. For instance, Ubuntu has Computer Janitor. CentOS, Fedora and Red Hat Linux use Yum Clean to remove cached package data. But BleachBit goes beyond such distro-specific cleaning services to accomplish a more complete spit-and-polish session to Linux’s file structure in any distro.
Linux is a superior audio production platform, and one of its shining stars is the Hydrogen Drum Machine. Hydrogen is an advanced software drum synthesizer that is easy to learn, and yet packed full of great features.
The worlds of open source and freeware both include many outstanding applications for working with graphics and photos. These include standard fare such as image editors, but it’s also worth looking into more unusual graphics tools that you can work with for free. Whether you want to produce splashy graphical documents, enhance graphics on a blog or web site, create eye-catching logos, or more, check out this collection of five great, free graphics apps.
Nearly every day I hear about people who express interest in taking the leap into the Linux space. What would-be Linux users fail to realize is that there’s software that makes switching between the Linux and Windows worlds almost effortless.
So in the interest of sharing this knowledge, I’ve put together this article to share different applications and technologies that can be helpful to blur the lines between the two platforms.
We’ve been sitting on this a few days, and have put its author through extensive testing and re-writes in order to bring this to you. We’re fairly certain that the following instructions brought to you by OnLiveInformer community member: Dephyre will really excite those of you who have an affection for penguins.
Nemesys, a game studio run out of Budapest, is porting their game titles to Linux. The studio’s current titles include Fortix 2, A.C.S, and Ignite. Nemesys Ignite, in particular, is a very promising racing game that will surely roar things up for Linux.
Nemesys is not to be confused with Namesys, the former company of Hans Reiser that developed the ReiserFS and Reiser4 file-systems.
Twice a year, the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch host secretive retreats for an exclusive list of corporate America’s rich and powerful to strategize and raise money for their right-wing political agenda. Mother Jones has obtained exclusive audio recordings that shed some light on the brothers’ latest retreat, held at a resort near Vail, Colorado, in late June.
K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)
When the Apache Software Foundation was born back in 1999, its sole purpose was to support the development of the Apache HTTP server. One foundation, one project, more or less like the KDE eV and KDE until very recently.
If you’re a regular Linux User reader – and if you’re not, you should correct that forthwith – you’ll be familiar with Parted Magic as one of the utilities we include on our cover disc each month. The chances are good that you’ve never actually tried it, however – and if that’s the case, you’re missing a real treat.
We have already posted some time ago about Nice Ubuntu themes for Maverick Users and this is updated for Natty users now.
In case you are still not aware, Canonical (the team behind Ubuntu) has released the first beta of Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric. There are several new additions to the family, notably the revamp of the Ubuntu Software Center and the replacement of the Evolution with Thunderbird. Follow us for the full review and screenshots tour of the Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Beta 1.
While the first beta of 11.10, called Oneiric Ocelot, is also a little rough at the edges and features some curious design decisions, the version of Unity here is more stable and it is faster than the version that shipped with 11.04. In other words, Unity is making progress, albeit slower than many would like.
Seems Jono Bacon just can’t understand why users are still complaining about the drastic changes that came with Ubuntu 11.04 and the Unity desktop. He begins by stating emphatically that he’s no interface designer, but the problem isn’t the overall design so much. The issue for The Distro for Human Beings is that it actually doesn’t understand human beings.
Flavours and Variants
While Mandriva decided to simplify their offering by keeping only the KDE version alive in the latest release, the Ubuntu family has officialy grown yet again. LXDE – Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment – is here to rescue old computers through Lubuntu. My aging Evo n800c Compaq laptop was craving for some attention and what better way to make its wish come true other than starring it in a Distro Hoppin` episode?
Rumor has it that Samsung is planning to buy Nokia’s MeeGo operating system, a week after Intel reportedly said it would back off development of the platform.
Citing anonymous sources, German blog NetbookNews reported that Samsung was looking to buy the Linux-based, open source OS, which Nokia and Intel co-launched in February 2010.
At Baidu World 2011, Baidu, the company behind China’s largest search engine, has announced that it will produce its own fork of the Android 2.x open source mobile operating system. The new Baidu Yi (Chinese language) mobile application system is expected as early as November on a range of mobile phones and tablets that Baidu will develop with hardware vendor Dell, according to a report from Reuters.
Yes, Android has a forking problem. Google forked its mobile, open-source operating system into two versions: Android 2.x for smartphones and Android 3.x for tablets earlier this year. It also doesn’t help Android any that there are so many different supported versions out in the market. But, what Amazon and Baidu are doing with their forthcoming tablets has nothing to do with forking Android.
Amazon’s Android tablet is a seven-inch, Kindle-branded device that will feature a customized operating system and sell for $250, according to a TechCrunch reporter who claims to have spent an hour with the device. In other Android tablet news, Samsung pulled its freshly announced Galaxy Tab 7.7 from the IFA show in Berlin after Apple won a preliminary injunction against the tablet from a German court.
Acer subsidiary Gateway has begun shipping a rebranded “A60″ version of Acer’s 10.1-inch Iconia Tab A500 Honeycomb tablet. Meanwhile Vodafone announced Smart Tab 7 and Smart Tab 10 Android 3.2 tablets, and Medion unveiled both a Lifetab P9514 10.1-inch Honeycomb tablet and an unnamed 4.3-inch Android smartphone.
BGR has obtained photographs of the still-unannounced HTC Holiday Android phone, which may be AT&T’s first 4G LTE-enabled smartphone.
VIZIO has announced a software update for their 8-inch VTAB1008 tablet today which includes improvements to battery life, overall speed, and universal remote compatibility. According to the press release, the update enables faster scrolling and UI gestures and improved graphics performance and comes quickly on the heels of the Hulu Plus announcement.
We’re happy to announce a new open source resources section. To kick things off, we’ve added pages that highlight open source conferences and events, organizations, and projects and applications. It’s not much, but it’s a start. We have lots of ideas, and want to make this more robust and improve functionality. But for now, let’s see if this idea catches on.
New versions of Firefox (6.0.2 and 3.6.22) and Thunderbird (6.0.2, 7.0 beta, and 3.1.14) are out. These releases remove trust exceptions for certificates issued by Staat der Nederlanden.
In February 2011, Eben Moglen gave a landmark speech to the Internet Society titled “Freedom in the Cloud”, in which he unpacked the problem. In the beginning, he said, the Internet was designed as “a network of peers without any intrinsic need for hierarchical or structural control, and assuming that every switch in the Net is an independent, free-standing entity whose volition is equivalent to the volition of the human beings who want to control it”.
NoSQL is the talk of the town. And we have already covered what it is for in one of our previous blogs. Today I would like to share the NoSQL benchmark test results we have recently conducted. It will help you to understand if the soon to develop system is compatible to NoSQL, and which NoSQL product to select.
In this article we will reveal the characteristics of Cassandra, HBase and MongoDB identified through multiple workloads.
Not being stopped by that knowledge, LibreOffice developers take a strong bite deep in the code base for improvements now and even better future LibreOffice development. I’m not only impressed, but also get more and more confident in the future of this project.
Static sites have better performance than dynamic sites, but you lose a lot of features by giving up a content management system (CMS), right? Maybe not, if you have a framework like Octopress.
Last week I looked at static sites and cloud services, but even Todd Hoff’s excellent coverage put me off a bit. Then I ran into the Octopress 2.0 announcement.
The people and companies … who disregard the Internet “don’t be a dick” rule … need more incentive to comply. However, even they don’t lose the right to use the code permanently unless they decide to “be a dick” permanently. In those cases, it doesn’t matter how many copies of the code they get — each new license for each new copy would be terminated as soon as they attempted distribution outside the terms of the license.
The Swiss Parliament’s control committee for the Federal Court is allowing the publication as open source software of Open Justitia, a document management system developed in-house by the court. The software will be made available under the GPLv3 licence soon.
“There is a need for a flexible, high performance distributed key/value store that provides expressive, fine-grained access labels,” the developers stated on the proposal page submitted to Apache. “We have made much progress in developing this project over the past [three] years and believe both the project and the interested communities would benefit from this work being openly available and having open development.”
Last week in New Zealand, the Ministers of Finance and Internal Affairs adopted a statement detailing a new Declaration on Open and Transparent Government. The Declaration has been approved by Cabinet, and directs all Public Service departments, the New Zealand Police, the New Zealand Defence Force, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service; encourages other State Services agencies; and invites State Sector agencies to commit to releasing high value public data actively for re-use, in accordance with the Declaration and Principles, and in accordance with the NZGOAL Review and Release process. More information on this statement can be found at the CC Aotearoa New Zealand blog.
This article summarizes when the U.S. federal government or its contractors may publicly release, as open source software (OSS), software developed with government funds. This section is intended for non-lawyers, to help them understand the basic rules they must follow.
This article was previously published in the Journal of Software Technology (aka Software Tech News), Vol.14, No.1, February 2011. It is part of “Open Technology Development (OTD): Lessons Learned and Best Practices for Military Software”, and thus is released under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 (CC-BY-SA) License. A one-page summary of this paper is available from MIL-OSS, and the MIL-OSS 2011 conference had a presentation on releasing OSS.
Tim Berners-Lee, to his credit, did not invent the Internet. He did have one good idea. He was not the first person or even the twelfth with the same idea, but he did make it work. Yet most of the underlying work – the bringing together of dozens of communications systems with slightly or wildly varying protocols – was done before him. He just plugged it in, and for that, he gets most of the credit.
Negotiations over the natural gas deal between Egypt and Israel dragged out over 10 years because of “political concerns in Egypt,” a recently revealed Wikileaks cable said.
A partial extract from cable number 05CAIRO4972 of a confidential document prepared by the US embassy in Cairo one day before the deal was signed said the US described the deal as “the most lucrative ever.”
On July 1, 2005, then Egyptian Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy and Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure Benjamin Ben-Eliezer signed the agreement to supply 1.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually to the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) starting October 2006.
In online discussions attributed to PFC Bradley Manning, he says that he hopes his actions will spur “discussion, debates, and reforms” and that he “want[s] people to know the truth, no matter who they are, because without information you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” This is the classic definition of a whistle-blower (a person who tells the public about alleged dishonest or illegal activities/misconduct occurring in a government department).
Unfortunately, the government is charging PFC Bradley Manning with “knowingly [giving] intelligence to the enemy, through indirect means,” under Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice — an allegation of treason and a capital offense. By this rational, scores of service-person-posted blogs, photos, and videos, would now be punishable by death—simply because they are accessible on the Internet. The charge against Bradley Manning appears to be about sending a message to other would-be whistle-blowers.
Wikileaks has its share of critics – the organisation is too centred around Julian Assange and a personality-type cult exists – but surely the vast bulk of information the group has released since 2006 makes it a major force for good (not least because it’s forced governments and many journalists on the defensive about their insider tactics)…
Dave the dolphin whistles, and his friend Alan whistles back. We can’t yet decipher their calls, but some of the time Dave may be calling: “Alan! Alan! Alan! Alan!”
Stephanie King of the University of St Andrews, UK, and colleagues monitored 179 pairs of wild bottlenose dolphins off the Florida coast between 1988 and 2004. Of these, 10 were seen copying each other’s signature whistles, which the dolphins make to identify themselves to each other.
Even by Romanian standards, the plot beggars belief. A hot-blooded young seductress masquerading as a journalist is order- ed by her masters in the Romanian Intelligence Service to lure the Swiss ambassador into bed.
Once there, her task is to find out anything and everything she can about “Ceausescu’s Gold” – the millions of dollars Romania’s late dictator is believed to have stashed away in Swiss bank accounts just before his fall.
Afternoons of passion in the Bucharest penthouse she would persuade him to buy her were to be followed by gentle probing as to the real intentions of ex-King Michael, the former Romanian monarch now exiled in the ambassador’s Swiss homeland.
And far from keeping the affair discreet, the agent is to make sure that she and her consort – a married man with two children – are frequently seen together wining and dining in public and at diplomatic functions. Just for good measure, the exercise will be called “Operation William Tell”.
The New York Department of Financial Services and Banking Department is including several stipulations with its approval of Goldman Sachs’ sale of its Litton Loan Servicing, LP, to special servicer Ocwen Financial Corp.
ON A BRIGHT SPRING DAY in a wisteria-bedecked courtyard full of earnest, if half-drunk, conference attendees, we were commiserating with a fellow journalist about all the jobs we knew of that were going unfilled, being absorbed or handled “on the side.” It was tough for all concerned, but necessary—you know, doing more with less.
In the wake of a proposed fee increase, universities across Canada have opted to leave contracts with once-popular copyright licenser Access Copyright.
Many schools, including York University, the University of British Columbia and almost every school in the prairie region have abandoned their contracts with Access Copyright in favour of steering the waters of copyright legislation on their own.
Hid Behind Scenes to Avoid Impression of Being a Bully
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