Microsoft Attacks Software Freedom in India With EDGI/MoU Manoeuvre

Posted in Asia, Microsoft at 9:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apparent EDGI deal in India, signed by LS Changsan

FROM India comes another story which smells like EDGI and a tinge of MoU [1, 2, 3], as we explained using Microsoft’s own internal documents a few years ago (Comes vs. Microsoft). To quote the latest alleged incident:

The government of Assam and Microsoft have signed a memorandum of understanding that is aimed at improving readliness of educators by integrating technology in classroom. The one year alliance will support Assam School Education System to use technology for improving quality of learning in schools. The agreement was signed by LS Changsan, Director of the Assam government’s Asom Sarba Siksha Abhijan Mission, and Ranbir Singh, Country Head (Government Engagements) of Microsoft India on Wednesday in Guwahati.


The move taken by the Assam government is surprising as the India has seen a shift towards open-source technologies in governance and education for the past few years. Technology in Education needs to be vendor independent and accessible freely to all. Arguably this is going to have an impact on students as well as their education.

Here is should be noted that Government of Kerela has taken major steps to use FOSS in education. IT@School project is a Free and Open Source initiative by the department of general education, Government of Kerala. This is a state wide FOSS-based ICT in education project which has been running successfully for the last five years. Since its inception the state has witnessed nearly 2,738 high schools operating on Free and Open Source Software.

This is anti-competitive and regulators should look into it. But thanks to companies like Canonical, it becomes less likely to happen. Congratulations to India for getting a backdoor controlled by foreign countries. Citizens ought to sue, but they probably won’t.

“There’s no incompatibility between free software and capitalism… now Extreme Capitalism, the empire of the corporations… extreme capitalism means that in each area of life, the businesses interested in that area rule society, control the government… control policy” ~Richard Stallman

Techrights and Patents, Antitrust

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Novell at 9:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TechRights logo

Summary: Our goal to be justice and focus to be software patents in months to come, with emphasis on Android and Linux

THE latest of Android is going to be shown soon, so as a developer I am very excited. Having said that, in a world polluted by patents developers are in a trap they often underestimate until they become bigger and get sued. Next month I will try to catch up with two months of news about software patents (there’s considerable backlog in my mail client).

Boycott Novell is no longer a priority, but Groklaw keeps on looking at Novell, the context being Microsoft antitrust:

The jury at this trial eventually deadlocked on damages, although they all agreed Microsoft was guilty of anticompetitive behavior or so the jurors who talked about it indicated, so we are waiting for the judge to decide if there will be a second jury or whether he will hand a win to Microsoft without a second trial. While we wait, we’re putting the transcripts here, as text, so we can learn more about trials and for historians, so that searching by keywords will be easier.

I just posted an exhibit, as text, in our Comes v. Microsoft antitrust trial exhibit collection, #1309 [PDF], that seems pertinent. It’s an executive level email to Frankenberg on what Novell should do going forward in that Microsoft saw them as a real threat and was willing to do anything to destroy them. The email’s subject line is “High-Stakes Strategy Decisions.” The part that I found interesting is that this May 25, 1995 email indicates that Novell thought of itself then as Microsoft’s only real competition, and that as of that point, it felt it was holding its own. Microsoft at the trial portrayed Novell as a bunch of lead-footed bunglers, who destroyed their own chances. But that seems to be a latter-day revisionism. The email says:

Microsoft knows that Novell has the potential to become a long-term major player in general-purpose software, and REGARDLESS of whether we position ourselves in that way, Microsoft knows that we’re in that position, and will stop at nothing to destroy us.

The point of the litigation, from Novell’s viewpoint, is that a few months later, when Windows 95 was released, Novell was stabbed in the back by some Microsoft dirty tricks involving documentation, so Novell couldn’t be ready by launch date with WordPerfect. This email supports Novell’s position, rather than Microsoft’s, given the date.

It is nice to be able to use Comes vs. Microsoft even 5 years or more after it was first released to the public. Microsoft’s crimes and evidence of them are not going away, Time does not heal injustice. Microsoft receives a lot of coverage in Techrights because Microsoft commits many crimes.

Android Beats Oracle and Apple Patent Challenges

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Oracle, Patents at 9:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Android screenshot

Summary: Oracle, whose founder considers Apple’s Steve Jobs to be his “best friend”, is unable to tax Android (even by one cent) and Apple gets beaten in court also

THE Android/Dalvik case continues to be studied whilst Oracle is expected to appeal the ruling. For the time being, Android remains free from Oracle tax. Steve Jobs’ war on Android surely is failing and Apple is falling in the ranks compared to Android. Apple cannot win against its main Android rival, not even in court:

Apple has lost its legal battle against Samsung in the Netherlands. A judge ruled that Apple infringed upon Samsung’s 3G patent associated with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.

Here is another report:

The Korean consumer electronics giant won the ruling in a court in The Hague, according to reports.

It seems clear that Apple overestimated its odds in court. With those lawsuits, Apple is attacking innovation. Cory Doctorow quotes Hugh as saying about the EFF’s latest campaign:

Today, EFF launched a new campaign against software patents. In this campaign, we outline seven proposals that we think will address some of the greatest abuses of the current software patent system, including making sure that folks who independently arrived at an invention can’t be held liable for infringing on a software patent. But our campaign isn’t just about our proposals — we also want to hear, and amplify, the views of the technical community. Many engineers, researchers, and entrepreneurs have suggested that reform is not enough and that software should not be patentable, period. We want to record these views, which is why our Defend Innovation campaign is designed to solicit comments from all of the stakeholders. We’ll incorporate what we learn into a formal publication that we can take to Congress that reflects the views of innovators, academics, lawyers, CEOs, VCs, and everyone else who is concerned about the software patent system.

Suffice to say, software patents are currently one of the main barriers to Android “world domination” as some call it. We intend to refocus accordingly (more on that in the next post).

SUSE Community Acknowledges Stagnation

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenSUSE at 9:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Confederate ship CSS Alabama

Summary: Concerns and advice from SUSE/OpenSUSE supporters highlight the present difficulties

THOSE who used to post OpenSUSE news no longer do so; there’s still some activity, but it’s minor. Muktware wonders what the future of OpenSUSE might hold. To quote:

openSUSE has been going through troubled waters. Being an openSUSE user myself, I have often been affected by the inconsistent infrastructure. In the past two-three months openSUSE servers have been facing one or the other problem. The last thing I would want is to not able to update, install of maintain my production machine. So, this inconsistency was bothering me. The good thing is openSUSE teams are not only aware of this problem, but also have started to find a permanent fix for it.

Unlike derivatives which don’t have to develop anything from scratch as they get all of their code ready-made from projects like Debian, distros like Fedora, which are ‘creating’ the technologies used by the rest of the GNU/Linux world, have to build everything from scratch. openSUSE also falls in the same category. So, they don’t get their stuff ready-made by someone else. This fact makes it hard for openSUSE to push two releases a year. So, one possibility to deal with the problem is longer release cycles so there is more time for developers to fix things.

We recently wrote about the meltdown, which caused delays despite a belated milestone.

One must remember that SUSE is advancing Microsoft tax, e.g. on SAP applications. Microsoft’s investment in SUSE was money well spent as it pays Microsoft in return. We call SUSE “Microsoft Linux” not purely as a joke. The project/product generally lacks identity and some in the community discuss the matter:

These changes raise a question from our own group of contributors. Is openSUSE at the height of this weave of stylistic changes? This question is not about code or software integration, but exclusively about the end user experience. Reasoning carefully, the answer would be “partially.” openSUSE has not taken full advantage of the branding capabilities provided by both KDE 4 and Gnome 3. This trend is more so surprising considering that openSUSE is the first to integrate and use many new Linux technologies through its unique OBS service, yet brand-wise we remain stagnant. Early adoption and fast integration in our distribution makes it harder to work on and maintain distribution specific styling.

The brand is stagnant in part because people recognise what SUSE means to GNU/Linux. It’s what Xandros and Linspire used to mean to it, but it’s actually worse.

FSF Says Microsoft’s Flagging of Its Site as ‘Gambling’ is Wrong; FSF’s Anti-UEFI Petition Grows Popular, Debian Joins

Posted in FSF, Microsoft at 9:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stallman at protest
Hartmut Pilch (FFII founder) and Richard Stallman (FSF founder)

Summary: The Free Software Foundation stands up against Microsoft’s abuses

SEVERAL days ago we wrote about Microsoft's mistreatment — whether deliberate or not — of the FSF. The FSF’s current chief has responded and reminded free software supporters that Microsoft has quite a history when it comes to starving the FSF:

If Microsoft’s “reputation” database can’t tell the difference between a gambling site and an independently audited registered nonprofit public-interest charity founded almost 30 years ago, it is certainly doing you and your business more harm than good.

Last week, it was brought to our attention that our primary online donation form at donate.fsf.org was being blocked by corporate systems that use a Microsoft “network security” program. It seems Microsoft has labeled us as a “gambling site.” As a result, many people were unable to make donations.

I have submitted a correction, asking that they remove the “Gambling” label and instead list us in their “Non-Profit/Advocacy/NGO” category.

We will avoid attributing this error to malice just yet, and wait for their correction. I will update this post if and when they respond to us.

This reminds me of another situation several years ago, when BadVista campaign pages were conspicuously absent from Microsoft’s live.com search results, even though the same pages had been appearing on the first page of “windows vista” Google results for some time. Many people contacted Microsoft about this, and eventually the pages began appearing as one would expect.

On Saturday, the FSF said that its petition against Microsoft’s UEFI scheme had gotten over 30,000 signatures and Debian too is on this petition now, unlike Canonical and Red Hat [1, 2, 3, 4]. Only a week ago I argued that Debian and FSF are among the very few whom we can trust for defence of computing freedom. They’re not businesses.

Silently, and often behind the scenes or via proxies like CompTIA, Microsoft fights hard to daemonise and gag the FSF. We covered some examples before. It is very clear why Microsoft is afraid of the FSF’s message.

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