As promised Microsoft has now filed its renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law [PDF; Text] in the Novell case. Nothing terribly surprising here, and we don’t know what arguments Microsoft will set forth to support this motion, although Microsoft renews its arguments set forth in its original motion from November 17.
Given that the only thing the jury was undecided about was the degree of damage to Novell, are we to conclude that the jury was, in fact, unreasonable in all of its other findings? That seems a bit rich. On the other hand, judges have been known to override juries before, and what a reasonable jury would have done is the basis for a judgment as a matter of law. In this case, however, it would seem that, if the Judge Motz thought Novell had failed to prove its case as Microsoft suggests, he would have never allowed the matter to go to the jury in the first place.
This action by Microsoft is likely simply a matter of protecting its right of appeal and attempting to strengthen its hand in any settlement discussions with Novell. We will await Microsoft’s brief, which is due February 3.
WP is virtually dead and also its employees die if this news is something to judge by (WP/Corel is an old company). Novell too is pretty much dead and to quote:
Fluent in several languages, he used this aptitude working for the LDS Church, WordPerfect, and Novell and pursuing his passion for genealogy.
I got to know Judith Burton when she was still Judith Clarke and Senior VP Corporate Marketing for Novell, in 1987. Novell had just bought a company called CXI, which had been a client of Hodskins Simone & Searls, the Palo Alto advertising agency in which I was a partner. By that time HS&S had come to specialize in communications technology clients, and the chance to do something with Novell as well seemed moe than opportune, especially since it was clear that Novell was smarter about comms than just about anybody at that time.
Novell was outsmarted by a company that broke the law in order to get its way and later sneak its way out of justice. Microsoft’s attempt to just assassinate competitors in illegal way continues to this date and we should learn from the past. One day there might be nobody left to tell these stories first-hand; instead, Gates’ PR/reputation laundering operations will continue to rewrite history (including the case against Microsoft, as covered so poorly in the press last month). █
Institutions which value their customer’s privacy should only use free software for their day to day business and record keeping. The rapacious behavior of banks, insurance companies and marketing firms has received a great deal of attention, and sane countries are making data privacy laws but the issue of non free software is seldom raised. Medical records are a particularly sensitive area where morals and ethics should trump profit. Ethical medical practitioners know that the records they create belong to the patient and that those records must be guarded and only surrendered to the patient or other health care professionals serving the patient. Bankers, insurance companies and other companies should be forced by law to abide by similar rules but no one can actually comply if they use propitiatory software which hides operations from users.
The US is in the midst of an insurance industry push towards electronic medical records. Tax breaks and other incentives have been offered to doctors who make the move to electronic records keeping. This will be good if adequate protections are in place.
Every business and government office that uses non free software should realize this threat and end it by migrating to free software. Moving to free software won’t protect institutions from malicious clerks and other commonly mentioned problems but it is the only solution to unauthorized access to records by software owners. That access and power is at the heart of the bad deal propitiatory software has always offered but is exposed in an ugly way when all of our records are electronic and computers must be on a network to be considered useful.
Businesses that do not move out of customer and self interest should be forced by law. Customers and citizens concerned about their privacy should be protected. Because no such privacy can be guaranteed by propitiatory software, no propitiatory software should be allowed to operate on customer business records. Only software with the four software freedoms should be allowed.
Summary: Microsoft wanted Web SQL dead “just because they don’t have sql92 level sqllite implementation,” alleges a reader of ours
IN RECENT weeks we’ve written critically about the W3C [1, 2, 3], which does dubious things that help Microsoft (it has a chair there).
According to an update from 2 days ago (18 November 2010), “W3C kills Web SQL Database,” says Reddit. Over a hundred comments were posted about it and one reader of ours, who is very knowledgeable in the area of databases, came to say: “w3c (Microsoft) kills web sql (just because they don’t have sql92 level sqllite implementation)” █
Hmm. Aren’t these both Linux Foundation members and OIN licensees? Fighting over open source technology in a Linux distro? Presumably this also indicates Oracle’s decision on Apache’s request for a TCK for Harmony.
Phipps was Sun’s key “Open Source” guy, so his opinion matters a great deal. He is calling for everyone to abolish software patents (again). “If you still think software patents are a spur to innovation, you’re not paying attention,” he wrote. More importantly, he goes on to show that Oracle is not serious about Free software, except as a control freak or a ‘consumer’ (exploiting without contributing much, pretty much like Apple). Oracle has grabbed MySQL and other such projects which relate to databases. In a 2006 interview Ellison made a revealing statement:
FT [Financial Times]: Is open source going to be disruptive to Oracle?
LE [Larry Ellison]: No. If an open source product gets good enough, we’ll simply take it. Take [the web server software] Apache: once Apache got better than our own web server, we threw it away and took Apache. So the great thing about open source is nobody owns it – a company like Oracle is free to take it for nothing, include it in our products and charge for support, and that’s what we’ll do. So it is not disruptive at all – you have to find places to add value. Once open source gets good enough, competing with it would be insane. Keep in mind it’s not that good in most places yet. We’re a big supporter of Linux. At some point we may embed Linux in all of our products and provide support.
I believe that the first one is the most probable one; Larry Ellison should know that cornering Google would not be sufficient to make them capitulate – they have too much to lose. But this will not be sufficient to create an opportunity for Oracle; I believe that the lawsuit will actually bring nothing to Oracle, and lots of advantages to Google. But only time will tell; the only thing that I can predict for sure right now is that Solaris will quickly fade from sight (as it will be unable to grow at the same rate of Linux) exactly like AIX and HP-UX: a mature and backroom tech, but nothing that you can base a growth strategy upon.
Summary: How the emergence of SkySQL weakens Monty’s case against the company which bought (and continues to maintain) MySQL
“SugarCRM jumps the Open Source shark claiming closed is open and it’s the rest of us who are mistaken,” wrote Simon Phipps in Twitter. Phipps used to be the Open Source symbol of Sun Microsystems (now he is in OSI), whose employees that moved to Oracle might as well attempt to pass ‘open’ core as “Open Source” (hot subject at the moment [1, 2, 3]). Roberto Galoppini has published an opinion on ‘open’ core from Giuseppe Maxia (Oracle/MySQL), who calls it the “pragmatic freedom”. As Pamela Jones (Groklaw) put it earlier this month, “I don’t share his views, but I thought you’d like to hear from an open core defender, who also happens to work at Oracle on MySQL, as he presents what’s been jokingly called the Yuppie Nuremberg Defense (“I had to pay my mortgage, etc.”).”
“SugarCRM jumps the Open Source shark claiming closed is open and it’s the rest of us who are mistaken” –Simon PhippsJones also points out that Michael “Monty” Widenius from MySQL (and from Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation) had personal financial interests while lobbying against Oracle’s takeover of MySQL (he helped create SkySQL). “Another happy coincidence?”
That is what she asks anyway. “Consider the timing of the appeal of the Oracle-Sun deal by Monty before you answer,” she adds. This is an especially hard subject for us to address because Techrights uses a MySQL database. So does Groklaw for that matter. As for Phipps, his Web site uses MySQL and he refuses to talk about MySQL under Oracle (at least in FLOSS Weekly). We are grateful to Widenius for MySQL, but this project is no longer his. He sold it and made millions. █
Summary: Timely reminder of the fact that software patents opposition is not the same of Free software advocacy
THE MOST effective lobbyists are sometimes those who pretend to be the very opposite of what they are. There are many example of that, extending well beyond the realms of IT. We wrote about “controlled opposition” in April [1, 2] and in June when we gave Association of Competitive Technologies (ACT) as an example.
Yesterday we wrote about OIN — the body which endorses Linux and software patents at the same time. It’s bizarre, no doubt about it, but that’s how companies like IBM seem to perceive Linux (more on that in the next post). Others join this same bandwagon for practical reasons [1, 2] that are simple to explain.
Here is what someone wrote to Bradley Kuhn (FSF/SFLC) a short while ago: “Wouldn’t OIN being proactive against [software patents] nullify some of their own member’s patent claims? That would explain their approach.”
The CEO of OIN (Bergelt, the successor of Rosenthal from IBM) says that he is in favour of “good” software patents — whatever that actually means.
“My guess is that he [Florian Müller] is being paid handsomely to act the way he does.” –Stefan GustavsonGroklaw wrote about OIN the other day (not explicitly referring to IBM’s role), defending it unquestionably, as usual. The president of the FFII quoted Groklaw as saying that “Bergelt is highly respected in the FOSS community, as is OIN”; What did he label it? “When Groklaw get it wrong” — that’s right, the FFII was never a big fan of the OIN, either. Certain things which the OIN does are commendable [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], but there might be better ways to defend the freedom of GNU/Linux. On the other hand, there are those who consider OIN’s foes to be foes of GNU/Linux.
Over at Groklaw, Stefan Gustavson writes: “You may be confusing the Florian Müller from 2005 with the person we see blogging now in 2010. He might have been honest then. At least he did some good when the EU patent “reform” was shot down. He certainly isn’t honest any longer. He spreads lies about free software and its proponents, and throws mud in any general direction where Linux is being discussed in public, with a clear intent of spreading FUD. He is not stupid, so he can’t be excused for not knowing better. My guess is that he is being paid handsomely to act the way he does.”
Müller does not seem to have responded to that yet. When we had our suspicions about him and people started to turn up the heat he ended closing comments on his blog. It makes a more controlled platform for him, but he can’t control Groklaw, which continues to accuse him sometimes. Other former colleagues of Müller are equally suspicious.
One thing is for sure; Müller is nothing like the lobbyists from ACT and especially Jonathan Zuck (see video below) who denied wrongdoing in his E-mail to me.
It is astonishing that the European authorities even give this man a seat after he produced fake letters 'on behalf' of dead people, as always in support of Microsoft which funds him. It’s people like these who tear down Europe’s software sovereignty, just as Hollywood’s lobbyists are subverting copyright law in Europe and in Canada (the latter is hot in the news at the moment).
Going back to Müller, he seems to have a fixation targeted at IBM (a bit like Jeff Gould with his anti-IBM rants that he pushed into GNU/Linux Web sites in the form of submissions from “AlexGr”). Müller may be against software patents, but he is not a proponent of GNU/Linux or software freedom. We also know that Müller is close to Monty, who is in Microsoft’s CodePlex. Glyn Moody has just written this detailed article which explains why CodePlex is still an embodiment of Microsoft, even the CTO. [via]
Not surprisingly, CodePlex has been subject to much suspicion – and derision. It was a pretty blatant attempt to jump on the open source bandwagon, in a form that was strictly controlled by Microsoft, which allowed it to place its own interpretation on what open source meant (by including licences that weren’t on the OSI list, for example). And so no surprise, either, that the open source world has pretty much ignored CodePlex as a result. I must confess that I am guilty of this sin too, and that is unfortunate, because something is happening there that is potentially very interesting.
Title in english: “Final ok for patenting software in europe?”
He even goes to say that decision to allow/approve software patents in Europe would be JURIDICALLY correct. What a nice bat called FUD that is.
And “oikeusvarmuus” is translatable to “assurance of juridical rights”, the same once again.. pay us or be sued.
In conclusion, some who protest against software patents are not in favour of Free software, some who develop for Linux are in favour of software patents, and in the next post we’ll put our sceptical eye on IBM (yet again). █
The EU Digital Agenda (I gave it an 85/100 score), while laudable, stops short of using the term. The speech is a nice interpretation of her own document. I am told all other relevant Commissioners saw and accepted the speech in a brief interservice consultation. What that means is another thing. Are they blind? Have they changed their mind? Or, do they simply let her have her own opinions, but were not prepared to go as far as this in the Digital Agenda? Whatever lies behind what happened and what was said today, it is progress.
The next step for the European Commission is defining the term open standards. If they do that, and do it right, Vice President Kroes will go into history as having made a significant contribution towards global progress in e-government by possibly eradicating lock-in forever. Moreover, she will put Europe’s SMEs in a better position to succeed in a global IT market filled with barriers to entry from players not fully understanding, using, or unpacking standards.
For some background about the lobbying, see the following posts.
The BSA was among the lobbyists for Microsoft. In other news that covers the BSA’s actions regarding software patents and policies, we have this:
The largest growing part of the software sector, and which most threatens the legacy business models of BSA members, is the Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) movement. I joined this multi-sectoral movement, which includes but is not limited to commercial software companies, in the early 1990′s. Most of the policies promoted by the BSA since the mid 1990′s have been aimed at stopping or reducing the growth of this movement. The two most active policies are software patents and legal protection for technical measures.
Independent software authors have obvious allies with other independent software authors. There is the Open Source Initiative, the Free Software Foundation and the Linux Foundation in the US, and various software user/developer groups in Canada such as CLUE: Canada’s Association for Open Source.
If you look at the membership for the Linux Foundation and the BSA, you may notice there are overlapping companies between who I consider to be my most obvious opponents and allies. This is not only true within these associations, but within individual companies. I’ve observed informal policy debates between employees of IBM, with these different employees being as far as two individuals can be from each other on key areas of technology policy.
The BSA members are using the labels as their public face to the political process, just as the labels have always used specific famous musicians as their public face. Michael Geist has suggested that the major labels are behind the latest Astroturf campaign, and from what I have seen I suspect this is true.
Oracle is not listed as a BSA member. It could do a lot more to rectify EIF 2.0 and the Digital Agenda, especially now that it has important Free software projects in its portfolio. █
Summary: Another live example of Microsoft ‘security’ at work; debunking the latest Linux lies from Ed Bott
“SECURITY through obscurity” sounds like a good idea in theory. As we recently found out (and had confirmed by Microsoft), part of this obscurity is lack of disclosure. Microsoft is silently patching flaws that it never discloses, which is dishonest if not fraudulent when Microsoft issues security reports based on such oversight.
According to this new article, “tens of thousands of sites” running Microsoft’s software are paying the price for having ‘secret’ vulnerabilities:
There’s a large-scale attack underway that is targeting Web servers running Microsoft’s IIS software, injecting the sites with a specific malicious script. The attack has compromised tens of thousands of sites already, experts say, and there’s no clear indication of who’s behind the campaign right now.
The attack, which researchers first noticed earlier this week, already has affected a few high-profile sites, including those belonging to The Wall Street Journal and The Jerusalem Post. Some analyses of the IIS attack suggest that it is directed at a third-party ad management script found on these sites.
Here’s what really happened. UnrealIRCd, a rather obscure open-source IRC (Internet Relay Chat) server, wasn’t so much hacked as the program it was letting people download has been replaced by one with a built-in security hole. Or, as they explained on their site,
Microsoft boosters like Bott have been desperate to show that GNU/Linux is not more secure than Windows. As companies like Google dump Windows for security reasons, Microsoft will carry on with this FUD campaign but rely on peripherals/extensions (like Bott) to do the attacks]. That’s just how Microsoft operates when it needs FUD. See the “smoking gun” below. █
“As discussed in our PR meeting this morning. David & I have spoken with Maureen O’Gara (based on go ahead from BrianV) and planted the story. She has agreed to not attribute the story to us….
“[...] Inform Maureen O’ Gara (Senior Editor Client Server News/LinuxGram) or John Markoff (NYT) of announcement on Aug 28, 2000. Owner dougmil (Approval received from BrianV to proceed)
“Contact Eric Raymond, Tim O’Reilly or Bruce Perrins to solicit support for this going against the objectives of the Open Source movement. Owner: dougmil [Doug Miller]. Note that I will not be doing this. Maureen O’Gara said she was going to call them so it looks better coming from her.”