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04.28.12

Cult Mentality at Microsoft and Its Allies

Posted in Microsoft at 3:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’d be glad to help tilt lotus into into the death spiral. I could do it Friday afternoon but not Saturday. I could do it pretty much any time the following week.”

Brad Silverberg, Microsoft

Cult

Summary: News and testimonials about Microsoft

MICROSOFT Corporation was once a giant company with a high market cap. These days it is declining as it loses money in several areas of operation. Its key business, desktop and business ‘productivity’ (if it can be called that), is a mixed bag. Despite growth in the computing market in general, Microsoft is unable to expand and its relative share has been declining.

The decline in quality at Microsoft can be explained in all sorts of ways. It’s not fashionable to work for Microsoft and those who worked there speak of the bad things they saw. Here are the words of one former employee:

Year after year, I began to voice my concerns about the meaninglessness of it all. Why write up dozens of monthly scorecards when nobody ever reads them? Worse yet, why join follow up conference calls? Why schedule get-togethers when there is no agenda? Why spend a month chasing stakeholder-committees for trivial project decisions. Why spam people’s inboxes with monthly newsletters and weekly narratives about how great our team is?

They called it out in my performance reviews: I lacked “respect for authority.” “Microsoft people are well-tenured,” said my boss once. Many employees are with Microsoft for 15 years or more. Sidestep hierarchy and tenure at your own peril.

I became cynical about the whole process. I was seen as a “rebel” and the leadership team began to marginalise me. My planned and promised promotion was cancelled.

Month after month, what I saw as a dubious case was put together. Official HR warnings were sent. My time ran out. I was offered 12-weeks’ pay for an amicable departure. Instead I decided to escalate the thoughts above to the highest echelons of Microsoft.

Some of the regulars at Techrights speak about Microsoft as a cult. It doesn’t take much exploration to find examples where this so-called ‘cult’ attacks critics. We saw that when previous versions of Windows were criticised (reviewers got abused, possibly by Microsoft agents) and we are seeing the same when Vista 8 gets slammed. Here is a new reality check for this incarnation of Vista:

I think Windows 8 is doomed to failed on the desktop. But, much as I dislike Windows 8 and its Metro interface, I thought it had a chance on the business tablet. Oh, forget about Intel and Microsoft’s dream that the first wave of Windows 8 tablets will push the iPad’s global market share to below 50 percent by mid-2013. That’s not happening. But, Metro’s designed for tablet-sized displays and, I presumed, IT would be able to deploy and manage them with their existing Active Directory (AD) tools. Guess what? Microsoft won’t be supporting AD on Windows 8 on ARM (WOA).

What a disaster in the making but watch the comments. Even some Microsoft “evangelists” (employees who were paid to harass yours truly) are hammering on this author. This is the “cult” mentality we often hear about. It’s like Scientology.

Over at CNET, a Microsoft booster gave Microsoft a chance to respond to this disgruntled employee, but the company declined the opportunity. Distancing and disowning the person only helps validate the very complaints he was voicing:

In a TechCrunch column entitled “Frustration, Disappointment And Apathy: My Years At Microsoft,” Max Zachariades (who blogs under the name Max Zografos) offered his own no-holds-barred opinion of his former employer.

Zachariades’ tale starts off promising enough back in 2007, with him pleased and proud to be working for the software giant, even scoring a Gold Star within the first year. But after suggesting that some of the money devoted toward employee gifts and gadgets be diverted to charities, his Gold Star status apparently began going downhill from there.

His complaints about the company slowly turn his once-happy job into a frustrating chore.

Microsoft declined CNET’s request for comment on Zachariades’ version of events.

Without a rebuttal from Microsoft, it’s possible to just assume that the company repels critics. But the company is broader in the sense that it has many partners which form a large base of blind worship and obedience. One ally, Xamarin, helps Vista 8 right now, even if not directly:

The MonoGame team has been working on a port of its open source version of XNA to the Windows 8 Metro environment. For XNA programmers this is important, and it highlights the fact that Microsoft is making no effort at all in this direction.

Supporting Mono helps support Microsoft and SUSE folks who believe they serve a good cause actually help Microsoft too (the key sponsor of this project although there are others). All they do is package software for a Microsoft-taxed version of GNU/Linux.

04.26.12

Links – ACTA/CISPA Update, Other Crimes, Corruption and Failure.

Posted in Site News at 7:20 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • Seattle Rex vs. Apple: The Verdict Is In

    A few years ago, Apple sold me a $4,000 computer with a defective graphics chip/logic board. The defective part was the Nvidia 8600M GT GPU, and when it was discovered that the machine was defective, Apple refused to take it back and issue me a refund.

  • Seems German parliament (Bundestag) has an email blackout. IIRC they switched from Linux to MSFT Exchange. How ironic.

    That’s not ironic, it’s night follows day predictable.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Equipment Maker Caught Installing Backdoor Account in Control System Code

      The backdoor, which cannot be disabled, is found in all versions of the Rgged Operating System made by RuggedCom … a static username, “factory,” that was assigned by the vendor and can’t be changed by customers, and a dynamically gnerated password that is based on the individual MAC …

    • Moving from Gmail to Hotmail: the disastrous conclusion

      [why?] … to examine Microsoft’s claims that its webmail system has improved. … I’d also set up Hotmail to import all my Gmail and its associated contacts. Not to mention the Facebook and LinkedIn contacts that Hotmail merges into your online address book. It soon became painfully clear that pretty much anyone I’d had personal or professional contact with over the past decade had been sent an email containing a link to a malicious site. From my account. Me – the editor of a PC magazine. … what’s even more worrying is that it’s not only my webmail that’s been compromised, but my Xbox login (which holds my credit card details) and now my PC login too. Because Windows 8 practically forces you to login with your Windows Live/Hotmail details

      He tries to change his passwords but probably did so with another Windows computer.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A Remarkable Week for Corporate Crime

      First Criminal Prosecution in BP Case is an Individual, not a Corporation. Kurt Mix, a former engineer for BP plc, was arrested on charges of intentionally destroying evidence requested by federal criminal authorities investigating the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon disaster. David Uhlmann, the former head of the Environmental Crimes Section at he Justice Department is puzzled why the government has yet to bring criminal charges against BP and the other companies involved. “The government has a slam dunk criminal case against BP, TransOcean and Halliburton for the negligence that caused the Gulf oil spill,” Uhlmann told Marketplace Radio yesterday “They should bring those criminal charges.”

      Article has 9 other cases of corporate crime that includes bribery, padded billing and poorly labled medicine.

  • Finance

  • Anti-Trust

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • PR agency is hiring students for a Pro-ACTA demonstration. 100 € for 2 hours. Disgusting, much?
    • Serf and Turf: Crowdturfing for Fun and Profit

      “Crowdturfing” is a term that combines crowdsourcing and astroturfing to describe the use of crowdsurfing sites to create artificial campaigns on microblog sites, forums, instant message groups and blogs. … ing systems. More specifically, we define crowdturfing systems as systems where customers initiate “campaigns,” and a significant number of users obtain financial compensation in exchange for per-forming simple “tasks” that go against accepted user policies.

    • UK: Open Standards consultation – important update

      One of our first discussion roundtables held on the 4th of April (Competition and European Interaction) was facilitated by Dr Andrew Hopkirk who blogged about the event for Computer Weekly and who was engaged by Cabinet Office as an independent facilitator on a pro-bono basis. … he did not declare the fact that he was advising Microsoft directly on the Open Standards consultation. … For this reason any outcomes from the original roundtable discussion will be discounted in the consultation responses and we will rerun that session and give time for people to prepare for it.

      Seel also this CW article setting the stage. The most important thing to remember about the Microsoft game is that they are trying to corrupt your channels of communication too.

    • Lost in translation: Anti-TPP campaign befuddles Washington

      Japan’s agricultural lobby has taken its campaign against a global free trade agreement to the U.S., buying a full-page advertisement in Tuesday’s Washington Post opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

      TPP is a terrible, anti-democratic treaty.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Whistleblower: The NSA is Lying–U.S. Government Has Copies of Most of Your Emails
    • Exclusive: National Security Agency Whistleblower William Binney on Growing State Surveillance

      At that point, I knew I could not stay, because it was a direct violation of the constitutional rights of everybody in the country. Plus it violated the pen register law and Stored Communications Act, the Electronic Privacy Act, the intelligence acts of 1947 and 1978. I mean, it was just this whole series of—plus all the laws covering federal communications governing telecoms.

      Love the $4 billion dollar boon doggle by big Microsoft partner SAIC. ATT also earns special shame and should be boycotted.

    • If You Have a Smart Phone, Anyone Can Now Track Your Every Move

      The rollout of this technology means there are now at least three ways that users can track their locations indoors, where GPS is generally useless — bluetooth beacon, Spotrank (and proprietary vendor) databases of Wi-Fi hotspots, and Navizon’s I.T.S. nodes. It also marks the second way (that I know of) for you to be tracked via the location of your phone, whether you want to be or not. (The first requires access to your cell phone carrier, and is used for example to locate your position when you make a 911 call.)

      Inadequate privacy laws in the US allow companies to aggregate this data to know exactly what device belongs to who. That means your location can easily be tracked in real time. Non free phones may give you away in other ways as well, regardless of laws. Any laws that block sharing of information like this would be undone by CISPA.

    • Drone Use Takes Off on the Home Front

      Occupy AA stations! Three people with surgical tubing, a funnel and some gravel should be able to bring the smaller spies down.

  • Civil Rights

    • TSA’s PreCheck express airport screening hinges on fragile trust

      The agent explained that her record is clean but that “someone I know has gotten into trouble or is under investigation and that it affects me,” she said. … A TSA spokesman confirmed that loss of any other E-ZPass-like government program for travelers, such as Sentri, Global Entry or Nexus, will have similar repercussions for their PreCheck membership. “If your card is revoked by CBP, you’re no longer eligible for PreCheck,” says Greg Soule, a TSA spokesman.

      Guilt by association is a typical police state tactic used to keep people helpless and divided. So are restrictions on travel for people who have not been accused or convicted of any crimes.

    • The TSA’s mission creep is making the US a police state

      In November 2010, with the groping policy only a few weeks old, Napolitano dismissed complaints by saying “people [who] want to travel by some other means” have that right. (In other words: if you don’t like it, don’t fly.) But now TSA is invading travel by other means, too. No surprise, really: as soon as she established groping in airports, Napolitano expressed her desire to expand TSA jurisdiction over all forms of mass transit. … “Don’t like the new rules for mass transit? Then drive.” Except even that doesn’t work anymore. Earlier this month, the VIPRs came out again in Virginia and infested the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, also known as the stretch of Interstate 64 connecting the cities of Hampton and Norfolk. … Local commenters at the Travel Underground forums reported delays of 90 minutes. … If you don’t like it, walk. And remember to be respectfully submissive to any TSA agents or police you encounter in your travels, especially now that the US supreme court has ruled mass strip-searches are acceptable …

    • May Day Directory: Occupy General Strike In Over 115 Cities

      Need a break from work? Take a long weekend for May Day by taking Monday and Tuesday off.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Why Preserving an Open Internet is Now the Most Important Thing in the World

      An Open Internet is increasingly absolutely essential to freedom of communications, freedom to search, freedom to learn, and just about every other freedom you or I could list. Communications. Information. It is through these concepts, these realities, that innovations are created, problems are solved, dictators are vanquished, and the world advances. And similarly, it is through control of these constructs, restrictions on information and communications, that ideas are crushed, lives are enslaved, and dictators flourish.

  • Education Watch

    • Free Open Source Software in Oregon Government

      instead of adopting Open Source governments in Oregon continue to mostly shun it or use it as little as possible. A good example is non-profit FreeGeek has a contract with the City of Portland in which they get used City computers and hardware and refurbish them and install Ubuntu but must distribute those refurbished machines to local schools however the Portland Public School system has not yet requested any of these computers for their classrooms and students. How can local schools do teacher layoffs and cut programs yet turn down free computers and technology that would save the millions from their budget over time.

  • ACTA

    • EDRI: ACTA – If You Think We’ve Won, We’ve Lost

      Following the announcement of David Martin, the Member of the European Parliament (MEP) in charge of the ACTA dossier in the European Parliament, that he will advise his colleagues to vote against the proposal, a widespread assumption appears to have developed that ACTA is now dead. This is not just wrong. It is dangerous and wrong. … [we can assume it's over and relax or] we do our duty for European democracy and maintain our pressure right up until the vote. And then we win. And Europe wins.

    • Liberals and Democrats Announce Rejection of ACTA

      Everyone should do this.

04.25.12

Links 25/4/2012: FOSS Spendings Grows in France, Linux Australia Ponders Name Change

Posted in News Roundup at 9:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Calling out to the Linux Community to help new users

    There have several calls for help to the readers, but this post being one of them is targeting the entire Linux community. Every user who wants to install Linux on his computer starts at the scenario where he needs to boot from the CD or USB. This is something that has become natural to us, the Linux users. But it has the potential to make/break the experience for new users who want to try Linux. This is because an ordinary Windows or Mac user has never had the need to access the BIOS to set CD or USB as the boot device. Most likely Windows or Mac came pre-installed on his system.

  • LinuxDevices Killed in Ziff Davis Enterprise Acquisition?

    One of the oldest and best sources for news regarding Linux powered devices, LinuxDevices, is worryingly silent today. Attempts to reach both the main page and the forums return database errors. This comes a few months after its publisher, Ziff Davis Enterprise, was acquired by QuinStreet.

  • Linux Australia ponders name change

    Linux Australia president John Ferlito has asked the community of Australia’s peak Linux body whether it’s time to change its name, eliciting a strong response.

    “We think it is time for us to change the name of our organisation to have it more accurately represent the focus of our community,” Ferlito wrote in a message to members last night.

    Ferlito added that the organisation is now over a decade old, and its day-to-day operations are no longer accurately defined by the name Linux Australia.

  • Linux Australia: a new name is the least of the problems

    There is no move to get rid of the Linux Australia brand (15-odd years old right now) and the linux.org.au domain. These are deemed to be far too valuable.

    Then why change? The organisation has now expanded its activities – it sponsors conferences on other open source topic – Python, Drupal and WordPress as of this year.

  • Linux is Precise, Quantal and Longterm
  • Desktop

    • Artyom Zorin on Zorin OS, the gateway to Linux for Windows users

      Most often than not, the brand has an abstract name. General Electric, FIAT, Airbus, Pepsico, RedHat – all these companies have names which have nothing to do with names of their founders. Although, there are still some cases when person’s name becomes a name of the brand. Let me introduce a person who’s name became a brand. At least, in the Linux world. Please meet: Artyom Zorin.

    • Shifting Tide of Battle

      Despite all the good work in */Linux and efforts by government to restrain the largest excesses of M$, it is still a growing cancer in IT. The growth in the client division is radically curtailed but there’s still some. Until it quits growing, there is no hope of salvation from the cost and complexity in IT that M$ causes. I hope M$’s recent numbers are just some accountants’ tricks, but I will not declare the battle over until retail shelves are jammed with GNU/Linux everywhere.

  • Server

    • IBM fires Power-powered Penguins at x86′s weak spots

      Big Blue has not made any huge proclamations to date, but it is not exactly a secret that the people in charge of IBM’s Systems and Software Group want the Power7 processor and its follow-ons to grab a larger share of the systems racket.

      To that end, Big Blue is reviving a Linux-only variant of its Power Systems lineup with cheaper hardware and software pricing that it says gives better value on Linux workloads than an x86 setup.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Akademy Keynote: Dr. Mathias Klang – Freedom of Expression

        Dr. Mathias Klang is a researcher and senior lecturer at the University of Göteborg in Sweden. His research revolves within the field of legal informatics with particular interest in copyright, democracy, human rights, free expression, censorship, open access and ethics. He holds Master of Laws and Ph.D. degrees.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 15th April 2012
      • LaKademy — First KDE Event for All of Latin America

        Latin America is a big place with many opportunities for KDE; major deployments of KDE software are proof. Over the years, groups of KDE developers have emerged in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and probably other places. These groups work together to make a better KDE. As we know, meeting and talking in person is important to strengthen the bonds in a community. So we decided to organize a Latin American meeting of KDE contributors following the lead of the first Akademy-br in 2009. Like Akademy-br, the first LaKademy will be similar to a sprint for developers and one for people interested in promoting KDE in this part of the world.

      • A look at the new Plasma Active File Browser

        Plasma Active is coming together nicely and quickly. When I watched the first videos published just a few months ago, I thought a lot of hard work was needed, but I was not the only one. Those videos were simply proving that Plasma Active was running successfully, but not even close to displaying the finished product. Today we are very close to seeing Vivaldi become available, and with it, the first official version of Plasma Active preinstalled on a device. It’s a serious thing, and Plasma Active developers are hard at work improving things like maniacs. A testament of that is the following video, which captures the Plasma Active file browser in action.

      • Calligra: The Other Office Suite Narrows the Gap

        On April 11, Calligra Suite announced its first release, version 2.4. This release takes Calligra several steps closer to being an alternative to LibreOffice, especially in its graphical applications.

      • Google Summer of Code & Season of KDE 2012 – there is place for everyone!

        Google has published the list of 60 student proposals that have been accepted for Google Summer of Code 2012 for KDE. It means that 60 students will be able to work full-time on changing the world this summer! A big thank you to Google for making this possible.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Slackware Website is Up and Running Well
    • Five Best Linux Distributions

      Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been using Linux systems for years, you probably have an opinion on what the best distribution is. “Best,” is obviously a relative term, and we understand that what’s best for beginners may not be best for advanced users, and so on. Still, Linux distributions come in all different shapes, sizes, complexities, styles, and types. We asked you which ones you preferred, and now we’re back to take a look at the top five distros based on your nominations.

    • Chakra Archimedes-2012.04 review

      Chakra Archimedes-2012.04, the second iteration of the latest stable edition of Chakra, a desktop Linux distribution forked from Arch Linux, was released just this week. April 16 to be exact.

    • Reports of Slackware’s death way premature

      Concerns about the apparent health of Slackware Linux were eased after the community Linux distribution’s web site was back up and running, after several days of being dark.

      The site’s unexpected unavailability led to lengthy and at times heated discussions about the overall life expectancy of the project on both LinuxQuestions.org and DistroWatch.

      The focus quickly shifted from the problems with the website to worries that Slackware itself was experiencing financial problems, when top Slackware contributor Eric Hameleers responded early in the LinuxQuestions thread with a brief “Old hardware, lack of funds…” statement.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Open Source: Mageia 2 (Cauldron) Looking Good

        If you have not been following the saga of the Mageia Linux distribution then you are unaware that Mageia 2 is slated to be released on May 15th. At this point the distribution is in Beta 3 testing and then will have a Release Candidate out right around May 2nd.

      • Mageia 2 Beta 3 – A Preview

        Another Linux distribution with an upcoming release I have been looking forward to made a Beta release. Mageia Linux 2 is on a fast track now, with the final Beta released a few days ago, the Release Candidate due in less than two weeks, and the final release due two weeks after that.

      • PCLinuxOS 2012 KDE Review

        Again PCLinuxOS delivers a release of impeccable quality in the face of a community that demands the highest standards. This distribution is becoming increasingly user-friendly, and the features continue to mount up.

    • Red Hat Family

      • What’s the Deal With Red Hat?

        Software giant Red Hat(RHT), a leader in open source technologies as well as cloud computing has now become one of these names that have placed me in the predicament of trying to justify its lofty valuation to potential investors. I’m not going to pretend that this a “rock and hard place” type of situation, but how do you rationalize taking a position in a stock sporting a P/E of 80 after it has already gained 50% on the year? It gets even more remarkable when you consider that a competitor such as VMware(VMW), which by many standards already qualifies as expensive but trades at a multiple that is 14 points less

      • Fedora

        • Stop wasting time and money, make the Fedora 18 release name “Fedora 18″

          Calling all Fedora users and developers. Please visit the official poll to choose the future of Fedora release names.

        • Fedora 17 + Xfce 4.10

          We are restarting the monthly LUG meetings and I planned to deliver a presentation about the imminent GIMP 2.8 release (there is a lot of disinformation about it). But since GIMP 2.8 RC1 cannot be installed on older Fedora releases due to missing dependencies, I had to move with the times and upgrade the OS on the netbook. Following are my candid impressions, as a person who skipped the last two Fedora releases, so part of it may be really old and known.

        • Fedora 18 Might Be A Frankfurter Or Spherical Cow

          After Red Hat Legal caused a delay in the Fedora 18 code-naming process, the list of possible code-names for this “Beefy Miracle” successor have been narrowed down to eight. As expected by now, all of the names are quite peculiar and the Fedora board is trying to decide whether to even continue this code-naming process.

        • Beefy Miracle Beta Review

          Well this Thursday I made my mind to install beta release of f-17. I had to make a boot able usb because my dvd drive gave up long back. So I used livecd-tools to make bootable usb. I started installing, it was going smoothly but suddenly I got notification for access Network for installing repo .. bad ah because you screwed :) . Later found out there was bug in livecd-tools :( , even fedora wiki was not updated about use of livecd-tools that time (Now updated, thanks to FranciscoD). Well I install fedora in my office laptop VM, made again usb bootable with correct steps and finally able to Install.

    • Debian Family

      • People behind Debian: Samuel Thibault, working on accessibility and the Hurd

        Samuel Thibault is a French guy like me, but it took years until we met. He tends to keep a low profile, even though he’s doing lots of good work that deserves to be mentioned.

        He focuses on improving Debian’s accessibility and contributes to the Hurd. Who said he’s a dreamer? :-) Checkout his interview to have some news of Wheezy’s status on those topics.

      • First look at OpenMediaVault 0.2.5

        Next on my list of open source NAS platforms is OpenMediaVault, a Debian-based project.

      • Arduino Uno on Debian 6 Squeeze Stable (2012-2014)

        I recently received an Arduino Uno board as a gift and I needed to run the Arduino software on my Debian 6 + KDE machine in order to interact with this little beast. This should work on other desktops as well, such as Gnome or XFCE.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • History of Ubuntu: Revisited & Updated

            Ubuntu has touched the lives of many among us in different ways. I can’t speak for everyone here and hence I will share a few of my experiences with Ubuntu. For me, Ubuntu was the gateway to Linux and the whole open source way of thinking. Ubuntu taught me that computers are not all about Windows OS and that there are far better alternatives than the “default” Windows desktop which you have been made to see and learn from a younger age. Lets go back in time and see how Ubuntu evolved over the years to become what it is now – a totally awesome, user friendly and fast changing Linux based distro for human beings.

          • Running The OMAPDRM On Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

            Besides Ubuntu 12.04 on ARMv7 being much faster, thanks to hard-float and other improvements, the Texas Instruments OMAP DRM driver is also available to provide a KMS experience for some hardware.

          • Ubuntu 12.10 Release Schedule Published

            Alpha 1 – 7 June
            Alpha 2 – 28 June
            Alpha 3 – 2 August
            Feature Freeze – 23 August
            UI Freeze – 30 August
            Beta 1 – 6 September
            Beta 2 – 27 September
            Kernel Freeze – 4 October
            Ubuntu 12.10 Release – 18 October

          • Shuttleworth: The Internet Is Changing, Not Dying

            The world is moving increasingly towards environments where consumers and employees download apps from sanitized app stores and use software that is native to the devices on which they run. This is happening as a result of the increasingly important role of mobility in business and consumer life, and the security threats that lurk in the World Wide Web. Not only are app stores becoming more prevalent in both corporate and personal contexts, but companies are using virtualization technology that allows them to serve employees virtual images of software, with the effect that data is isolated from the web, and servers are insulated from unknown intruders. So does the emergence of these closed systems mean the web is losing relevance?

          • If my mother-in-law can use Ubuntu Linux, anyone can

            One of the great Linux desktop myths is that it’s hard to use. People still think that you need to be some kind of mad computer wizard to use Linux. What nonsense. Desktop Linux has been as easy to use as any of the mainstream desktop operating systems for over a decade. How easy is it? My 79-year old mother-in-law, Hulvia, can use it.

            She arrived a few weeks ago with her Windows laptop, but without her power cord. So, she needed a computer of her own. As I went down to garage/server room/spare computer storage locker, “What the heck, if Jason Perlow’s father-in-law could pick up Ubuntu Linux in 2007 at the age of 71, why not my mother-in-law at 79 in 2012!”

          • Ubuntu 12.10 Named ‘Quantal Quetzal’
          • Theming update planned for Ubuntu 12.10, codenamed Quantal Quetzal
          • From Warty WARTHOG To Quantal QUETZAL [Ubuntu Mascots In Pictures]
          • Quality has a new name
          • Ubuntu 12.10 Gets a Release Date
          • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin Latest New Features

            The latest Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is going to be released in (28 April 2012), that is less than a week! The latest features of Precise Pangolin are:

          • Ubuntu 12.04 Review: This is the Distro you’re looking for.

            There is a lot riding on Ubuntu 12.04 (aka “Precise Pangolin”) — this is a make or break moment for Ubuntu as a desktop platform.

          • Unsettings: Ubuntu Unity Desktop Tweaking Tool
          • Ubuntu 12.04 (LTS) Released This Week

            Ubuntu has done great things for the Linux community. Indeed, many of us many not be here if it wasn’t for Ubuntu and it’s newbie-friendly ways. However things have gradually changed over recent years. First the brown colour scheme changed to purple, as it seemed that Ubuntu was adopting a ‘Mac look’ (are the window maximise and minimise controls still in the top left hand corner?). Then last year, the Gnome 2 desktop evironment was dropped and replaced with Unity. Many users struggled with 11.04 as Unity was unstable, and as a result that release was for some (me included) unusable. Hwever it has been reported amongst Hull LUG members that Unity has been improved since its introduction last April, and the stability issues for the most part resolved in the last release in October 2011.

          • Hey Journalists! Know Your Ubuntu Names
          • Oscar-Winning Video Editor Demoed on Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 262
          • Interview with Canonical’s Jono Bacon | Interview

            The Linux world is preparing for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS official release to use and evaluate the next “big” version of the world’s most successful Linux distribution. Much has been said about the last Ubuntu versions and Canonical’s strategies. Many expressed delight with the new technologies introduced lately by Canonical, while others expressed disappointment with some of the changes. This week, we talk to Jono Bacon who is the community manager of Ubuntu, in an attempt to disentangle the thoughts of the linux users community, and understand how a big community is organized and guided the Ubuntu way.

          • Most Popular Linux Distribution: Ubuntu (and Its Variants)

            Most Popular Linux Distribution: Ubuntu (and Its Variants) There are Linux distributions of all shapes and sizes, with varying levels of complexity and difficulty. Some are super-easy to install, and can be installed like any other OS, with minimal knowledge of the command line—you click “OK” a few times and you’re up and running. Others require you get your hands really dirty with the underpinnings of the system you’re building, making sure it’s just right for your specific needs. So which do you prefer? Well, earlier last week we asked you what you thought the best overall Linux distribution was, understanding that “best” is a relative term. Then we took a look at the top five Linux distros, based on your over-400 nominations, and put them to a vote. Now, we’re back to crown the overall winner.

          • Ubuntu 12.04 – Jane Silber talks Unity, community and ‘continuous computing’
          • Getting Help With Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin
          • Next Ubuntu Q to bring font, icon, Quantum Openstack service to Linux

            Ubuntu captain Mark Shuttleworth said the next cycle of Ubuntu releases, code named Quantal Quetzal, will incorporate new font and icon innovations to further dazzle the Linux client as well as the Quantum virtualized networking and possibly a new form factor

          • Ubuntu Linux Seeing HUGE Demand for OpenStack
          • Ubuntu Accomplishments: The Road To 0.1
          • Top things to do after installing Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin

            Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin final is almost out. The final release it scheduled to be out in the 26th of April 2012. After you actually get done with the installation, there would likely exist a heap of things you still need to take care of. This post will share some interesting insight and ideas about what you can and should do after a successful installation.

          • Canonical To Launch Partner Program
          • A Sneak Peek at Ubuntu 12.04 ‘Precise Pangolin’
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Pantheon Notify: New Notification Daemon For elementary OS
            • Kubuntu remains healthy

              While my own interest in KDE is waning presently, that has nothing to do with Kubuntu itself, or what I feel was entirely needless panic by some over its continued status and development. I continue to think Kubuntu will be fine, and I believe being freed of direct Canonical sponsorship may offer tangible benefits for it. With GNOME 2 now essentially gone (there is that Mate fork though), Kubuntu was the only Ubuntu variant remaining that I felt had any serious enterprise desktop potential. In fact, I think it is potentially a more interesting distribution freed of it’s Canonical connection, where it seemed such possibilities were blocked. I also do like that their new sponsor, BlueSystems, which calls NetRunner, itself derived from Kubuntu, a GNU/Linux distribution. Say it loud, say it proud!

              Personally I hope they could eventually merge their work with upstream Debian directly. One advantage Kubuntu offers over Debian KDE presently is that they package and adapt KDE stable releases much quicker. Or maybe thier work could also enable KDE on Trisquel, which I recall converts the Ubuntu foundation into a fully free as in freedom core distribution by removing all non-free parts and offers it with a linux-libre kernel. As a KDE mother distribution, Kubuntu by itself is easy to rebrand to target commercial entities and other kinds of institutions, as well as to provide a base distribution for other projects.

            • Triple review – Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Linux Mint
            • LMDE 201204

              I’d like to thank all the people who tested the RC release and sent us feedback. We identified 68 bugs in this release and we’re currently down to 19 bugs left.

            • Linux Mint Debian 201204 released!
  • Devices/Embedded

    • News: The E-Pebble, gimmick evolved.

      The device sports an E-Ink display with a resolution of 144 x 168 , Bluetooth 2.1, a teeny-tiny vibrating motor for alerts, and app installation via the dedicated Pebble app store which is accessible on both Android and iOS. It also features a three-axis accelerometer which third party apps will be able to make full use of using the Pebble SDK. This is Allerta’s slimmest device to date and reduces some of the uber-geek stigma which came with its predecessors bulk.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Cisco On Board with SDN, OpenFlow

    Networking giant Cisco Systems has remained an industry leader by understanding and leading industry transitions. One such transition occurring is the emergence of software defined networking (SDN) and the OpenFlow protocol and it’s a transition that Cisco doesn’t plan to miss.

  • Graduating Apache Rave project demonstrates open innovation in software
  • Naming names
  • Design in the FOSS world

    As I told in a previous post, I came with the idea of a panel about design in the FOSS world at the upcoming Libre Graphics Meeting but then chickened-out and resumed to photography stuff, still the panel will happen anyway. I think is a good idea to write-down my thoughts on the matter, since the outcome of the panel is going to be a direct opposite of what I envisioned (that’s what I expect, giving the panelists).

    So, what’s the problems? while proper Free and Open Source Software happens in the bazaar, traditionally design is done the opposite way, in the cathedral, an unavoidable conflict. On top of that, there is also the problem of the designers being primadonas, considering their work dark magic, voodoo, incomprehensive by mere mortals. It doesn’t help a lot of volunteer developers participating in communities have big egos too, as they are doing the work for free, so they expect at least that.

  • With leaders like these, Free Software will never win

    Those are the things you should tell people first, if you want to spread Free Software. And you should do it in a balanced way, mentioning software as such just en passant. You should explain that problems like those above are tales of stupidity and incompetence that waste mountains of public and private money, at levels where it almost doesn’t matter what the license of the involved software is. Let’s help people to fight software-related wastes and proprietary standards, without caring at all if they do not give back to the “Free SW community”! This will create an environment much more conducive to Free Software than we could ever obtain by continuing to repeat ad nauseam the GNU Manifesto.

  • The role of critics in FOSS development

    I’ve been thinking a lot over the past couple of years of the role that critics play in the course of free/open source development.

  • Open source companies create shared value

    The free-market capitalistic definition of companies’ goals was, for a long time, very simple: to make as much profit as possible. With that in mind, the only difference between a success and a failure was the investor’s return on investment. Short-term profit became priority number one. However, this classic definition of capitalism hastransformed the way companies are perceived in the population over time.

  • Open source teaches people how to fish
  • Further lessons of closed source software

    Recently I was on the task of getting some scripts together for handling FTP commands to run several time a day to move files around. Unfortunately, the platform that was already in place is a Windows 2008 R2 server. But, being optimistic we moved forward on the project. After digging around we soon found out that the list of options is slim on solutions for doing FTP transfers from scripts on Windows. There are really no known good solutions that are free that offer extensible scripting abilities. We ended up selecting CuteFTP Professional which was purchased by somebody else a few years back so a license was already owned for the software. I’ve used the client for CuteFTP in the past so I felt fairly comfortable with this selection. I also thought about installing Perl for Windows and trying to script something in there, which might still be a viable option.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • TDF Releases Getting Started Guide for LibreOffice 3.4

      Getting Started with OpenOffice.org was a handy user guide chocked full of information on the care and feeding of the Open Source office suite. But like the suite itself, it has been superseded by the efforts of The Document Foundation. With updates, rewrites, and the addition of illustrations and images for 3.4, reading up on the popular application is easier than ever.

  • Healthcare

    • The power of the 1 and how open innovation changed global health

      It is sometimes said that computer scientists worry about only three numbers: 0, 1, and N, where N tends to get very large. Sometimes such oversimplifications can lead to astonishing insights, such as the one that I had 25 years ago in June of 1987.

      Do you remember 1987? Greed was good, junk bonds were king, and zero was the biggest and most important number on Wall Street. Zero drove all the arbitrage equations, because both sides of the arbitrage are supposed to sum to zero. Arbitrage is a special case of the zero-sum game, a prominent theory promulgated by all respectable business schools of the day. Zero-sum logic made it a moral imperative to ensure that success was not just about winning, but about making sure that everybody else lost. You were not forced to like the terms of the game, but you were damn sure forced to accept them as they only way to play.

    • Open source medicine puts health above profits

      Open source is powering a revolution in medicine and health care in multiple ways. Open source software and methods make large-scale collaborative research projects feasible, multiplying the brainpower applied to a project, expanding the data pool, and creating transparency and accountability. This is a huge win for the advancement of new treatments and cures, and cutting the costs of research. Open source practice and records software cut the costs of running medical practices, and puts practitioners in charge instead of software vendors.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Another Hatchet Job From Michael Larabel

      Here’s my wishlist. I think there is plenty of good software in FLOSS so it is not a high priority to create more unless someone has the urge. I think the highest priority of the Free Software movement should be to educate people about Free Software.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Sarkozy: Administration open source spending grows 30 percent annually

      French president Nicolas Sarkozy says that 15 percent of the IT budgets of the country’s public administrations is spent on purchasing services on free and open source software and that this amount is growing by 30 percent per year, reports CNLL (Conseil National du Logiciel Libre), a trade group representing IT companies providing free and open source software services. Sarkozy told the group that free software is “strategic for the development of France’s digital sector.”

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Is Sierra Leone, without Internet and Free Software, just a knowledge landfill?

    I asked to see the library and found there mostly old Windows books, clearly “decommissioned”: technologically old, useless books. Can it be that, even when it comes to books (and, by extension, knowledge), underdeveloped African countries are just a landfill for the Global North?

  • Review: Kooky, Humble Bundle’s First Movie
  • Mind-sets in Software

    My latest career was teaching and it was natural to use IT to collect and analyze data on the performance of students but also to use IT for teaching and later to teach students how to do IT for their lives. Before I used GNU/Linux I owned a variety of PCs, some home-built but I used DOS and Lose 3.1 on them. After a few years I was using Lose ’95 in a classroom and the damned machines were frequently crashing, just like Bill Gates’ experience (He laughed. I didn’t.). I switched to Caldera GNU/Linux and was suddenly and dramatically free of crashes.

  • Generation @ – inspired by @smarimc

    I think Smári McCarthy, a fellow transnational citizen, Uberhacker and admired activist, touched a special nerve when he recently twittered:

    Ours is a world where @ is replacing ©. Attribution, not restrictions.

  • Report: The alternative OS, my top 5
  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Emerging Forces in Global Oil Consumption: The Middle East and Africa

      Over the past decade, Asia’s transition to the leadership position in global oil consumption is well known. Starting in 2002, OECD countries slowed their consumption growth for oil and subsequent to 2005 actually saw their consumption decline. This process freed up limited oil supplies to Asia, which now accounts for 31% of total global oil use, as of the latest data. | see: Regional Share of Total Global Oil Consumption (as of Q4 2011).

  • Finance

    • From Financial Crisis to Stagnation: An Interview with Thomas Palley
    • Goldman Sachs under pressure to reveal lobby ties

      The Needmor Fund, a small foundation based in Toledo, Ohio, wants Goldman Sachs to lift the veil on its lobbying activities and the advocacy groups it backs financially.

    • Music Stops for Wall Street Bankers

      Amid new regulation, lower profits and a dreary market for mergers and acquisitions, several banks are planning to trim investment-banking units that were built for an era of deals aplenty.

      Having already slashed bonuses, banks including Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley are preparing to cut dozens of jobs, including some held by senior bankers, according to people familiar with the matter. As they pursue this targeted round of trims as soon as next month, they and rivals are also revisiting profit expectations for their advisory businesses, people familiar with the matter said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Apple doesn’t own iPad trademark, says Chinese official

        A Chinese official said on Tuesday that Apple does not have ownership of the iPad trademark in China, signaling that authorities could be favoring local company Proview in its battle with the U.S. tech giant over rights to the iconic brand name.

        Fu Shuangjian, the vice minister of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), made the comment as Apple faces an ongoing court battle with Proview for ownership of the iPad trademark.

      • China backs Proview in Apple iPad trademark war

IRC Proceedings: April 24th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

IRC Proceedings: April 23rd, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

IRC Proceedings: April 22nd, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

04.24.12

The Big Microsoft Lie is Spreading and It Works

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft at 3:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft corrupted many members of ISO in order to win approval for its phony ‘open’ document format, OOXML. This was so governments that keep their documents in a Microsoft-only format can pretend that they are using ‘open standards.’ The government of South Africa has filed an appeal against the decision, citing the irregularities in the process.”

Richard Stallman, June 2008

Summary: Success for Microsoft propaganda amid FOSS spin and well-calculated PR campaigns

THE Microsoft press is not enough for PR campaigns which delude and forever deceive. Recently, Microsoft hired more PR people, whose goal is to sell the lie about Microsoft as a friend of FOSS. This PR agents ‘alliance’ needs some people (including new PR employees) to spread the lie and disseminate lots of spin so as to squash and maginalise truth-tellers [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. If the lie is repeated enough, then enough people still start to believe it’s true. They are manufacturing consent, at least in the corporate press.

As we mentioned some days ago, the spin includes Red Hat-flavoured messages. The reality is that it's worse than nothing at all.

Here is how Simon Phipps put it:

But Microsoft’s overt hostility has given way to a more pragmatic approach, at least on the surface.

Microsoft has come to the realization that open source is an inevitable part of the marketplace and has instead tried to triage it, first at arm’s length, then increasingly through open source projects. Indeed, Microsoft is the 17th largest contributor to Linux, hosts project at its nonprofit foundation, supports the Apache Software Foundation, and regularly shows up as a sponsor of open source events.

Open source contact points are now all over the company, though no core products truly adopt an open source approach. Behind the scenes, however, Microsoft continues to subtly undermine open source, as demonstrated by this week’s FOIA-backed revelations from Glyn Moody about how Microsoft lobbied against open standards in the United Kingdom.

The new subsidiary is another evolutionary step in Microsoft’s open source pragmatism. Since, as Paoli is careful to say, this move changes nothing about existing engagements by Microsoft projects, why is the company doing it? I see little evidence that the hostility to open source has softened at the executive level, though Ballmer no longer derides open source openly. But on the ground, the market is forcing Microsoft’s hand.

Free/Open Source advocates need to spread the truth to counter Microsoft’s PR campaign. This is the company which is still suing Open Source using software patents. Only a few companies are deep-pocketed enough to be able to afford to fight back (in a way which is worth the legal expenses). Motorola/ Google is currently fighting back and here is the latest : “Motorola Mobility has won a patent ruling in its attempt to block Microsoft from importing Xbox game consoles.”

“U.S. International Trade Commission Judge David Shaw found today that Microsoft was infringing on some of Motorola’s patent rights, according to a Bloomberg report.

“The entire six-member trade commission, which has the power to block imports found to infringe on U.S. patents, is expected to review the decision and issue a statement in August.”

Motorola Mobility did not attack Microsoft. It was Microsoft which attacked, seeking to extort or ban Android.

Microsoft Propaganda Pays (Article by Formic)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sign - pay at the pump

Summary: Formic remarks on a “company founded by Microsoft marketing exec Doug Levin.”

It’s quite profitable to be a Microsoft propaganda shill. Black Duck Software reports it’s strongest quarter ever; a company founded by Microsoft marketing exec Doug Levin. What does Black Duck Software do? They publish reports we all know are anti-GPL marketing via proxy on behalf of Microsoft.

“They have also been promoting licenses that are not copyleft protected; as such Microsoft would be able to pull more than just FreeBSD’s network stack.”
      –Formic
When Black Duck Software reports its strongest quarter ever that tells us all one thing. It tells us that we now have proof that Microsoft has spent the most it ever has undermining free software (at least in regards to pseudo third party studies). This also wouldn’t include all the funding spent on bloggers and other types of astroturfing.

Black Duck Software has a history of promoting open source licenses that don’t require Microsoft to give up the right to sue over patents. They have also been promoting licenses that are not copyleft protected; as such Microsoft would be able to pull more than just FreeBSD’s network stack.

It is obvious to us why Microsoft would fund them, and given the fact that they were founded by a Microsoft employee; it doesn’t surprise us that Microsoft’s propaganda arm has had it’s strongest quarter. It also tells us that Microsoft has never given up its fight against free software, it is still funding and fighting it.

Source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/black-duck-software-reports-strongest-first-quarter-in-company-history-2012-04-18

Editor’s note (Roy): The above article was written after IRC discussions, and although I am not aware of any direct payments from Microsoft to Black Duck, those two did announce a professional relationship 3 years ago. One reader showed us the latest propaganda. “Here’s the article that the Microsoft shill is probably responding to (link).”

“Surprise, surprise,” says one commenter, “yet another anti-GPL study from Black Duck software.”

“Of the two choices,” says our reader, “it’s probably PR campaign.” Here is the PR and here is background about Black Duck. FUD is profitable, and it helps Microsoft, the “open” company, based on the numbers which speak of strong FUD, not a strong quarter. “Slashdot got trolled by shill ‘bonch’ who dusted off old garbage from Microsoft mouthpiece Black Duck,” argues the reader. “Further, the noise is a dupe.” Let’s also remember OpenLogic and its latest adventures. Companies like OpenLogic and Protecode have a similar business model (and product) to Black Duck's. OpenLogic is run by a ‘former’ Microsoft exec.

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