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Campaign of Intimidation Against GNU/Linux, Courtesy of US Patent Law

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows, Wine at 3:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Long-sighted FUD strategy

Summary: Commentary about Microsoft’s attempts to make GNU/Linux look like it’s its own property, thanks in part to broken patent law in the United States

YEARS AGO, shortly after Novell and Microsoft revealed that they had signed a patent deal that involved Wine, we hypothetised that Microsoft was perhaps trying to keep Wine under patent threats. Amusingly enough, “Chinese People Try To Patent Wine On ARM,” according to Phoronix. One must wonder how Microsoft feels about it.

For those who think that Microsoft has finished extorting companies, look no further than this Dell deal where “[t]he companies did not provide specific information on which products the agreement will apply to” (or how much — if anything at all — gets paid).

We long ago called for a boycott of Dell, immediately after Microsoft pretty much took this dying company under its wing. Appropriately enough, Muktware is now contradicting its own report (which we criticised) in the comments, insisting that maybe a few pennies are paid to Microsoft by Dell (or nothing at all) and that this is more of a publicity stunt, trying to make Chrome OS and Android seem expensive and dangerous. At the time we also wrote about Verizon joining OIN and other factions of the Linux world, demonstrating that unlike Dell, many companies are now taking a stand for GNU/Linux, not against it (as Dell did).


Microsoft Tax on Everything

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu, Wine at 6:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A matter of protectionism

Money protected

Summary: The company which hardly pays any tax is busy trying to tax GNU/Linux, Android, and all hardware in the OEM channel

THE OTHER day somebody told us that Wine had been put in bed with Mono — a move which can raise all sorts of flags. Following the "sabotage" of Android as a Java-like or Java-oriented platform we are seeing development — not runtime — being tilted in Microsoft’s favour (with Microsoft patents as opposed to Oracle’s). Phoronix noticed the Wine move as well as the Android move from Xamarin. It also made apparent that Ubuntu developers started talking about Mono after they had dumped Mono from the default installation:

Ubuntu developers are currently exploring the possibility of using Mono AOT to reduce start-up time, allow for better memory sharing, and for greater performance optimizations.

It is worth noting, however, that this need not affect the installed-by-default software, so the risk of patent tax on Ubuntu is not quite there. The cause for alarm comes from elsewhere. Compare that to Dell's odd situation (deal with Microsoft/Novell and odd “Ubuntu tax” [1, 2]). Also reconsider Wyse’s relationship with SUSE [1, 2, 3] and notice the fact that Dell recently bought Wyse (and some patents too along with the bundle). What this can lead to is Dell paying more money to Microsoft for the use of GNU/Linux. In Indonesia, Ballnux entered education, meaning that there too the problem exists:

This program was initiated by the Government of Indonesia with the objective to introduce the open source and e-learning method to student and teacher. So three years ago I was contacted to help them to realize their dream, and here I’m now reporting that there are around 7300 openSUSE installation in 350 elementary and junior-high schools. We also use SLES in servers to provide repositories and e-learning materials in SCORM using Moodle. This is work in progress. We educate teachers to use openSUSE and also creating learning material so it is always in beta stage I think :D

We recently explained why this helps SUSE, which pays Microsoft for GNU/Linux. Some distributors of Android do the same thing, which is why Motorola tablets are the only ones I consider buying right now. It’s part of the need to reward those who stand up for what’s right. It’s worth noting that some people care about what’s just, not what’s “legal” (e.g. software patents in the US), whereas others care about what’s in law and not about what’s just, ethical, and reasonable. In later posts today I shall deal with the Motorola case in isolation and say more about the changes of laws by corporations, not people (democracy derailed).

As Adrian Kingsley-Hughes shows, Microsoft is also trying to tax OEMs right now:

So, the OEMs make money from installing crapware onto PCs, and now Microsoft is making money removing it. Makes you realize why more and more people are buying Apple hardware.

Microsoft cannot really sell physical products (it tried Zune, phones, etc, but failed), so it focuses on trying to tax everything. People need to take a stance and actively work to save IT from Microsoft. Scapegoat is not what Microsoft is, scapegoat is the Free software community which gets damonised for merely standing up for justice, just like Wikileaks and others.


VMB_ware — Now Headed by Former Microsoft Executives — is Claimed to be Promoting Microsoft DirectX Inside Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Mono, Patents, VMware, Wine at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Paul Maritz
Photo by Robert Scoble

Summary: Non-standard and Microsoft-controlled APIs are said to be pushed into Microsoft’s #1 competition (Linux) via the VM company people should beware as it also strives to buy Mono

MICROSOFT is not the only company which attacks GNU/Linux using software patents, not anymore anyway (thus the need to diversify). But some of the companies which are attacking GNU/Linux using software patents are either Microsoft partners or entities which are accommodated by former Microsoft staff and today we’ll show some examples from the news. This post concentrates on VMware, which would be better off known as VMB_ware.

As we’ve been stressing and documenting for a couple of years, VMB_ware is the home of several ex-Microsoft executives. Even Microsoft bloggers are saying it. This does not take some crazy theory to show, one just needs to read the CVs of the top management there.

We have written several lengthy posts which explain how VMB_ware suffocates Zimbra [1, 2, 3], which poses a risk to Microsoft’s Exchange (VMB_ware’s parent company, EMC, appears to be promoting Exchange). Why can’t more people foresee the negative effects of SUSE being offered to VMB_ware?

One of our readers who goes by the name of gnufreex raised a curious point a short while ago. By the way, his opinions are his own are there are attempts by mobbyists to smear Techrights over mere informal words (IRC) of people who participate, so be sure to check context. To quote just a portion of a much longer discussion:

-TRIdentica/#techrights-[phoronix/@phoronix] Wine 1.2.1 Brings A Bunch Of Fixes: While a lot of new code has already been introduced into the Wine 1.3 developm… http://bit.ly/cwdVRe Oct 08 17:49
TechrightsBot-tr Title: [Phoronix] Wine 1.2.1 Brings A Bunch Of Fixes .::. Size~: 15.41 KB Oct 08 17:49
gnufreex Wine guys shitcaned Direct3D Oct 08 17:50
gnufreex No can do says them Oct 08 17:50
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[mairin/@mairin] @bkuhn can i see the logo? i haven’t seen any links to it! Oct 08 17:51
Tekk_ O.o Oct 08 17:51
Tekk_ isn’t direct3d needed for like……..everything now? Oct 08 17:51
gnufreex No.. Not that way. Oct 08 17:51
Tekk_ hmm? Oct 08 17:51
gnufreex I meant Linux native Direct3D Oct 08 17:51
Tekk_ ah Oct 08 17:51
Tekk_ as opposed to through wine Oct 08 17:52
gnufreex VMware is creating Linux native Direc3D Oct 08 17:52
gnufreex They bought Tungsten Graphics Oct 08 17:52
gnufreex They work on Gallium3D Oct 08 17:52
Tekk_ oh dear god Oct 08 17:52
gnufreex And they now pluged Direct3D in Galallium Oct 08 17:52
Tekk_ that’s the biggest patent trap I could ever imagine Oct 08 17:52
gnufreex Yes Oct 08 17:52
Tekk_ go for it vmware! but take novell with you first! Oct 08 17:53
gnufreex I am sure VMware wil crosslicense. Oct 08 17:56
gnufreex We can hate them next. Oct 08 17:56
Tekk_ yayyyy Oct 08 17:56
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[bkuhn/@bkuhn] @mairin, which logo? Conservancy logo @fabsh designed is on sfconservancy.org . First candidate !FaiFCast logo from @vinzv is: ur1.ca/204bi Oct 08 17:57
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[mairin/@mairin] @bkuhn oh wow i really love the logo @fabsh did, kick ass! Oct 08 17:57
DiabloD3 [12:52:41] <Tekk_> that’s the biggest patent trap I could ever imagine\ Oct 08 17:58
DiabloD3 how so? Oct 08 17:58
DiabloD3 and by the way Oct 08 17:58
DiabloD3 its for d3d10/11 only Oct 08 17:58
DiabloD3 the API is pretty different from 9 and earlier Oct 08 17:58
gnufreex Really, VMware is deader as KVM is better and better. Oct 08 17:58


DiabloD3 Tekk_: yes, but they cant patent anything here that GL isnt already in violation of Oct 08 17:59
Tekk_ oh, so there’s hope Oct 08 17:59
DiabloD3 its just an API Oct 08 17:59
DiabloD3 it works the same way GL3 in future mode does. Oct 08 17:59
Tekk_ so they could basically just make it a wrapper? Oct 08 18:00
Tekk_ cool Oct 08 18:00
DiabloD3 well, wine is “just a wrapper” Oct 08 18:00
DiabloD3 they’re making a native state tracker just to make it faster Oct 08 18:00
gnufreex But there is again problem. Oct 08 18:00
DiabloD3 theres no “problem” Oct 08 18:00
gnufreex Games will port to Linux and it will be DirectX Oct 08 18:01
gnufreex That is bad., Oct 08 18:01
DiabloD3 you can write D3D10/11 native code on linux… but you cant run that code on windows Oct 08 18:01
gnufreex They should be OpenGL Oct 08 18:01
DiabloD3 and you cant take your windows code and compile it on linux Oct 08 18:01
DiabloD3 so you still need wine Oct 08 18:01
DiabloD3 gnufreex: and no Oct 08 18:02
DiabloD3 go look at d3d10/11 Oct 08 18:02
DiabloD3 its almost an entirely different API Oct 08 18:02
gnufreex OpenGL is better. I looked. Oct 08 18:02
DiabloD3 opengl3 in future mode, and d3d10/11 do shit how the card wants it Oct 08 18:02
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[mairin/@mairin] @fabsh i could tell from the smaller version – it’s brilliant. the circuit board roots too :) Oct 08 18:02
DiabloD3 they both act and work the same Oct 08 18:02
DiabloD3 microsoft basically admitted d3d was trash, and cloned opengl with a d3d naming style Oct 08 18:02
DiabloD3 its sorta like what c# is to java Oct 08 18:03
gnufreex So they will later do extend and extinguish Oct 08 18:03
DiabloD3 get what Im saying? Oct 08 18:03
DiabloD3 well, they cant extend and extinguish Oct 08 18:03
DiabloD3 opengl keeps pushing features first Oct 08 18:03
DiabloD3 microsoft has to somehow get AMD and Nvidia both to support d3d features before opengl has them Oct 08 18:03
DiabloD3 which is impossible Oct 08 18:04
DiabloD3 microsoft refuses to let vendors be part of the design process Oct 08 18:04
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[fabsh/@fabsh] @mairin Hehehe…. Thanks. @bkuhn had the original idea and we refined it together. I really like doing logos! :) Oct 08 18:04
DiabloD3 which is extremely hilarious about d3d10 Oct 08 18:04
DiabloD3 they copied an API that has 100% vendor input AND is older than d3d Oct 08 18:04
gnufreex Stupid people think DirectX is better than OpenGL. And most people are stupid. So it doesn’t matter. Oct 08 18:04
DiabloD3 gnufreex: well now it no longer matters Oct 08 18:05
DiabloD3 d3d IS opengl. Oct 08 18:05
DiabloD3 well, d3d10/11 is Oct 08 18:05
DiabloD3 its the same fucking api, just with incompatible syntax. Oct 08 18:05
gnufreex I have tough time beleiving that. Oct 08 18:05
DiabloD3 microsoft has basically killed d3d10/11 adoption because of it Oct 08 18:05
DiabloD3 all the hardcore opengl haters wont go to 10/11 from 9 Oct 08 18:05
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[bkuhn/@bkuhn] @fabsh sounds like you and @vinzv should fight over who gets the !FaiFCast logo,then. :) competing logo proposals could be fun for me & @kaz Oct 08 18:06
DiabloD3 (which 10/11 is vista7′s big selling point for gamers) Oct 08 18:06
gnufreex So then, this is the time when OpenGL should be pushed hard. No phuckin DirectX Oct 08 18:06
DiabloD3 gnufreex: not at all. Oct 08 18:06
DiabloD3 the problem is, the state tracker doesnt do anything for me Oct 08 18:06
DiabloD3 portal 2 is a d3d9 game. Oct 08 18:06
gnufreex Why to let MS kill DirectX Oct 08 18:06
gnufreex ? Oct 08 18:06
gnufreex If Linux have DirectX, OpenGL is dead Oct 08 18:06
gnufreex Nobody will use it Oct 08 18:07
DiabloD3 not at all Oct 08 18:07
DiabloD3 the most important game of the year is d3d9. Oct 08 18:07
gnufreex Everybody thinks DirectX is best thing since slice bread. Oct 08 18:07
DiabloD3 and no, NO ONE thinks directx is any good Oct 08 18:07
gnufreex Everybody are idiots. Oct 08 18:07
DiabloD3 it costs sales. Oct 08 18:07
DiabloD3 no android sales, no mac sales, no iphone sales. Oct 08 18:07
DiabloD3 and theres only one game console that uses d3d, and thats xbox, and the xbox doesnt do 10/11, it uses a customized version of 9 Oct 08 18:08
DiabloD3 so if they’re shipping pc AND xbox, its going to be a d3d9 pipeline (or multiple pipelines, and everyone hates that) Oct 08 18:08
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[fabsh/@fabsh] @bkuhn OK. I have an idea for one. Will try to squeeze it into my schedule…. @vinzv Oct 08 18:09
DiabloD3 all the other game consoles either offer some opengl or opengl-like api, or the rendering pipeline is completely different (ps2/psp/ps3, etc) Oct 08 18:09
DiabloD3 gnufreex: dx is rather dead Oct 08 18:10
DiabloD3 most games being sold are either opengl, or are neither gl or d3d. Oct 08 18:10
DiabloD3 why sell a silly PC game, when you can sell 25 times more on the DS? or 15 times more on the wii? Oct 08 18:10
DiabloD3 or if you need those next gen graphics, 10 to 15 times more on a PS3. Oct 08 18:11
DiabloD3 xbox has very few native xbox titles, and they dont sell well Oct 08 18:11
DiabloD3 gnufreex: so d3d10/11 on linux really doesnt mean shit at the end of the day. Oct 08 18:11
DiabloD3 not only that, they’ve cut themselves out of the largest gaming segment: casual gamers Oct 08 18:13
DiabloD3 I already mentioned iphone and android Oct 08 18:13
DiabloD3 but appletv and google tv may end up being casual gamer platforms as well Oct 08 18:13
DiabloD3 and microsoft is totally fucked out of that. Oct 08 18:13
gnufreex Apple has propriatary OpenGL extensions. Stipid Steve Jobs. Oct 08 18:14
DiabloD3 nope. Oct 08 18:15
DiabloD3 Apple is a vendor, they actually CAN name new extensions Oct 08 18:16
DiabloD3 its legit Oct 08 18:16
DiabloD3 and several apple extensions have made it into core. Oct 08 18:16
DiabloD3 apple maintains their own opengl stack for osx, and also a different one for opengl es on iOS hardware Oct 08 18:16
DiabloD3 mesa also has extensions Oct 08 18:16
DiabloD3 gnufreex: you cant just mysteriously have a phantom extension Oct 08 18:17
DiabloD3 you have to register for a number, and you cant register without a completed spec Oct 08 18:17
DiabloD3 gnufreex: I have no problem with Apple proposing new extensions Oct 08 18:19
DiabloD3 even Microsoft had that power at one time, before they quit the opengl board Oct 08 18:20
gnufreex When I last heard about that, Apple was not feeding back into core. Oct 08 18:20
gnufreex You say they are. Oct 08 18:21
gnufreex Then it’s fine. Oct 08 18:21

The short story is that it’s being suggested that VMB_ware is promoting Microsoft’s DirectX at OpenGL’s expense, even inside Linux. The problems are obvious; just like with Mono, it’s about control and patents. It’s something to keep an eye on, for sure.

Microsoft is already attacking GNU/Linux using patents (even in the courtroom several times) and that’s a subject we’ll cover in the next post.


Wine Project Responds to Microsoft FUD Award

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Wine at 10:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cheers (wine)
Toasting to FUD? Why?

THE financial SourceForge-Microsoft link is a subject that we covered before [1, 2, 3, 4], so the following award, granted to Wine, was in a way sponsored by Microsoft. The Wine project, which has a new site design, has just formally responded:

The Wine project has won an award from the SourceForge 2008 Community Choice Awards.

We won the category:
“Most Likely to Be Ambiguously and Baselessly Accused of Patent Violation”.

Nice. It’s good to have Microsoft inside open source, is it not [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]?

Some upcoming conference ([1, 2, 3] below) show just how hard lobbyists are pushing to introduce software patents outside the United States. Glyn Moody has meanwhile responded to UKIPO research.

UK Businesses Indifferent to Intellectual Monopolies


The results of the research suggests that UK business simply doesn’t think intellectual properties are worth expending time and effort on, because they don’t really matter in this day and age. And, of course, they’re not alone: most young people would tell you exactly the same thing.

It’s important to remember that, to UKIPO at the very least, more Intellectual Monopolies mean more ‘business’ and more revenue.

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

[1] Patents, Copyrights and Knowledge Governance: the next four years

There are high profile right-owner lobbying efforts directed at higher standards and tougher enforcement of intellectual property rights, and growing interest among consumer groups, academics and many innovative businesses to protect the public domain and retain or even expand user rights. There is also much interest in exploring newer approaches to the support of creative and inventive communities, that do not rely on notions of exclusive rights.

[2] The Limits of Abstract Patents in an Intangible Economy

Meanwhile, the issue has been resurrected in Europe. Three years after the European Parliament rejected a proposed directive after extraordinarily contentious debate, the EPO President has asked the Enlarged Board of Appeals to determine where and how the line should be drawn on computer programs. The UK Intellectual Property Office has announced an economic study of software patents to provide input to the EPO. There is also vigorous debate in India, centered around patent office interpretation of recent legislation.

[3] Conference on Computer Implemented Inventions

The one-day conference is dedicated to exploring the treatment of computer-implemented inventions under patent law in Europe, Japan and the U.S. Renowned experts – Judges, academic and practitioners – from all three jurisdictions will present the case law and praxis of the relevant patent offices and courts in the respective jurisdictions, both with regard to the particularities of obtaining and enforcing patents for computer implemented inventions


Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: SLED/SLES Service Pack, More Xandros at Asustek

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, SLES/SLED, Windows, Wine, Xandros at 2:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are various new bits and pieces in SUSE Linux, but the main news item is about the release of the second Service Pack. We start with SLES and SLED.

SLED/SLES Service Pack

Here is the mind-boggling press release.

Novell today announced the availability to customers worldwide of SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise 10 Service Pack 2 (SP2), containing enhancements in virtualization, management, hardware enablement and interoperability. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP2 is the only Xen-based virtualization solution with full support from Microsoft for Windows* Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003 guests and live migration of those guests across physical machines. Several improvements specific to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time 10 are also included in SP2. Novell further unveiled the Subscription Management Tool for SUSE Linux Enterprise, designed to help customers better manage their SUSE Linux Enterprise software updates.

Put simply, it’s a large maintenance release. The Service Pack was mentioned earlier in the week. Important questions were raised.

eWeek welcomed this release with yet another article that merely lumps it in with Red Hat’s new release, which to an extent stole SUSE’s thunder.

Novell and Red Hat announced upgrades of their Linux-based enterprise distros, featuring improved virtualization and hardware support. In addition, Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 10 SP2 adds a new subscription management tool, while Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.2 adds new security, clustering, desktop, and networking features.

Information Week covered this also, as did Heise Open Source (Heise Online). Even Computer World.

Red Hat introduced its latest operating system update, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.2, which includes enhancements in virtualization capabilities, updates for user desktops, encryption and security improvements, while SUSE announced the availability of its Service Pack 2 for SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 operating systems.

SLED in Action

Steven JVN, who has always been fond of SUSE (especially on the desktop), delivered a nice report covering his experiences with SLED 10 (SP1).

That really was it. There were no hoops to jump through. No configuration headaches. No fuss, no muss. The ThinkPad R61 and SLED 10 SP1 just work.

Once it was on, the first thing I did was adjust the GNOME 2.12 desktop to my tastes. Since SLED 10 SP1 is a stable distribution meant for long-term business use it doesn’t have the latest software. Eventually, I’ll switch it out to another Linux, but for this review I wanted to see how the factory-installed Linux worked out.

Vendor Support

EMC seems receptive towards Netware and SUSE (no mention of other Linuxes).

EMC builds up disk backup


The new Avamar software supports 64-bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and offers expanded client support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005; Vista; Native Netware client backup and restore (Netware V6.5); and Novell Storage Servers (NSS) volumes on Novell Open Enterprise Server (OES) SLES 10.

SAP, which is still very close to Microsoft (some suggested that Microsoft should acquire it rather than go for Yahoo!), gave Novell one of those symbolic rewards that are tossed around for mutual recognition and marketing purposes. Bear in mind that SAP’s Shai Agassi, who fortunately left the company, was a very vocal (and thus notorious) FOSS basher. The current CEO is not a fan either, unlike former managers who grew fond of it, over time.

Novell today announced it has received an SAP Pinnacle Award in the category “Technology: Co-Innovation for Core Business,” recognizing Novell as an SAP partner who has made significant contributions to SAP’s customer-focused ecosystem. Novell was honored specifically for work with SAP on SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise Server Priority Support for SAP as well as SUSE Linux Enterprise Server high availability and virtualization for SAP.

It shouldn’t be surprising that SAP goes for the ‘Microsoft-approved’ Linux. We wrote about the Microsoft-Intel-SAP-Novell axis before. It’s further augmented by relationships with OEMs, e.g. Dell and H-P. There’s a lot of ‘politics’ there.

SUSE Laptops

We encourage people not to buy laptops that have SUSE preloaded because there is no exemption from ‘Windows tax’. Microsoft collects royalties from Novell. In any event, since it’s Saturday, consider this review of the H-P laptop that comes with SUSE.

If 2007 was the year that Asus chose to introduce the small and affordable sub-notebook, then 2008 is the year that the concept has really begun to take off. Asus, predictably, has lead the way once again, with its updated Eee PC 900 putting right many of the issues raised by the original. Meanwhile, Intel has enthusiastically embraced the idea by launching its Centrino Atom platform for small, low-power, affordable notebooks and MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices). There are a few machines mooted to use Atom, most notably the impressive looking MSI Wind, but it appears it could be a while before we see Atom powered machines hitting retail.

There’s also the MSI laptop that comes with SUSE.

The other version of Wind will use Novell’s SUSE Linux OS and cost $399.

Fortunately, not all laptops come with SUSE or Xandros. Plenty of choice remains. Watch this interesting new article which speaks about “Novell for desktops.”

The big shocker for Raburn? “I was surprised to see Novell for desktops,” he says. “I’m not sure I know anyone who would run it for their desktop. Certainly Windows and Red Hat win the category, but the Mac certainly deserves a solid third place and is increasingly part of corporate networks.”


Some people, such as reviewers from Laptop Magazine, learn the hard way that «Linux is Not Windows». They try to treat Xandros on the Eee PC as though it’ll be DRM-compatible, as well as Windows compatible (Wine serving as a compatibility layer). Watch what happens.

I am a big fan of Xandros on the Eee PC, but I’ve always said it has its limitations, especially when it doesn’t give me access to my favorite Windows programs. But when my editor told me earlier this week about Wine HQ, I nearly freaked. Wine HQ enables a compatibility layer that allows Windows programs to run on a Linux OS.

Asustek’s commitment to GNU/Linux is no surprise. It uses that same Xandros derivative to create a desktop solution called EBox.

The Ebox will certainly run the Eee PC’s Xandros version of Linux, and come bundled with the same line-up of applications.

The look of the Ebox is at odds with the design of a slimline home desktop PC that Asus demo’d at the CeBit show in March this year. That model, the “Digital Home System EP20″, was, however, said to run the Eee PC’s Linux OS.

What you ought to find most ironic is that Microsoft’s «Crippleware Program» [1, 2] (Windows XP for as little as $18 apiece) does not apply to anything other than low-cost and muchly-crippled laptops. How will it respond to this? Taxation of Xandros? This is an important one to watch.


Quick Mention: What on Earth is Microsoft Doing to Fine Wine?

Posted in Microsoft, Windows, Wine at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A colleague of mine at the office has just told me that Microsoft is scanning the Registry files to ensure there’s no Wine in there. Wine has just reached RC of the highly-anticipated version 1.0 [*], but the issue was brought up an hour ago for other reasons. “They check the configuration key for Wine and prevent it from updating,” he says. I believe he’s referring to an installation of Free software on top of something like Cygwin because I found the notion of running Wine under a ‘sub-environment’ in Windows a little unfamiliar. We use different terminology and and he speaks of his brother’s experience, which he was able to verify after some googling. “If you have it installed on your computer, they block the configuration key,” he adds.

We’ve covered before some of the impact of the software patent deals on Wine (last discussed here, with this follow-up confirming some things). it’s something to explore a little later if time permits. The Billwatch Archive has many analogous stories from one decade ago (c/f Java sabotage, Corel, OLE "garbage").

[*] Wine 1.0 Releases Candidate Released

This is release 1.0-rc1 of Wine, a free implementation of Windows on Unix.

This is the first release candidate for Wine 1.0. Please give it a good testing to help us make 1.0 as good as possible.


Speculation: Is Microsoft Causing Epic’s Unreal Tournament 3 GNU/Linux Client Delays and Forums Censorship?

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, SCO, Wine at 4:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A regular reader, SubSonica, has brought to our attention and grouped together a variety of new stories and speculations that are actively being censored. He shares his understanding of the following Phoronix article, which was published only a few days ago, then adding: “this is the expected effect over Linux of every alleged ‘open’ move by Microsoft.”

See for yourself and judge for yourself. There are no accusations being made here, but merely a circulation of information.

Five months ago from today, Unreal Tournament 3 for the PC was released in North America. Linux gamers around the world, however, were let down with the lack of an available Linux client and all UT3 gamers were impacted by the lack of any Linux server for this game. The UT3 Linux server had finally shipped a month later, but now 152 days since the release a Linux client for this first person shooter is still missing with no sign of it even coming.


Ryan Gordon recently talked at UCLUG with topics from education to Loki Games and SDL, but he hadn’t mentioned any new details about Unreal Tournament 3. There is a 24-page thread in the Phoronix Forums with talk and speculations surrounding Unreal Tournament 3 for Linux, with some believing the client will never be released — partially due to speculations that Microsoft may acquire Epic Games.

We haven’t heard any official updates in months and quite frankly the UT3 Linux client may never see the light of day. Forum moderators on the Epic Games’ Forums have reportedly been deleting threads from gamers inquiring about the Linux client’s status.

While there are a few new games coming to Linux, it’s certainly an unfortunate situation right now with Epic Games and it will be a blow to the Linux gaming community if the Unreal Tournament 3 Linux client never makes it out the door.

“Notice the recurrent scheme: They plan to acquire Epic (Unreal, Gears Of War) and licence the Unreal Engine,” says our reader, pointing to the following article.

Could Microsoft Acquire Epic Games? GamePro Editor Thinks So

However, Microsoft would be interested in acquiring more than game development in an Epic buy, according to Moses. Epic also licenses its Unreal game engine to developers around the world who produce titles for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and other platforms as well as PCs.

“Epic Games is one of the few highly regarded indie developers … partly for their games but mostly for their Unreal engine technology,” Moses wrote. “Microsoft has lots of cash on hand, and in buying Epic, could collect royalty rights for Unreal technology across other platforms.

Additionally, he adds this pointer:

Microsoft To Buy “Gears of War” Dev Epic Games


If Microsoft does acquire Epic Games, it would also mean that they would own the rights to the Unreal game engine, which is used on every single platform, including the rival PS3, for developers to use to make next-gen games.

This would basically allow Microsoft to make money off of the Unreal engine rights used to sell games on the PC and PS3.

To put it in the words of SubSonica: “So we see here the future of Microsoft not as software developer but as a IP-rights collecting corporation. I bet they will screw Epic very much as they did with Bungie (Halo), will keep the Unreal engine rights for themselves alone in order to damage Sony (and Linux) if they get to own Epic, there won’t be much longer before they try to sue Sony or any other developer making use of the Unreal engine.”

Regarding Bungie, for those who do not know the story, a few months ago the team left in anger claiming that Microsoft had abused them to just extract big profits.

In general, what you see here might be the typical Microsoft pattern, which sometimes involves the acquire-to-extinguish tactic. It’s a case of buying companies only to harm the competition. Remember XenSource and Yahoo’s role in the fight against Google? There are several more examples just like that. Sometimes it’s just cheaper to behave in this way and vague recollections bring to mind evidence of these tactics in antitrust memos.

“Remember that OpenGL got ignored and circumvented by Microsoft in order to give way for proprietary DirectX penetration.”Bear in mind that UT3 for GNU/Linux was going to be a huge thing and a tipping point because not every day can you find high-end state-of-the-art games that are available for Linux and break the myth about the relationship between Linux and gamers. You don’t need every bleeding-edge game to be ported to GNU/Linux, but a few good titles make all the difference in the world (like Halo for Microsoft’s XBox 360).

Remember that OpenGL got ignored and circumvented by Microsoft in order to give way for proprietary DirectX penetration. This was done for reasons similar to that of Microsoft’s snubbing of OpenDocument format (making development Windows-dependent, annulling cross-platform capabilities). We discussed this before [1, 2, 3, 4] and found evidence even in leaked Microsoft E-mails (antitrust exhibits).

It is worth adding that Novell crossed out — and thus implicitly threatened — Wine in its deal with Microsoft [1, 2, 3]. When the redacted disclosure was emitted last Easter Wine developers were not happy. They were also among the first ones to criticise the deal back in 2006, in quite a bad way as a matter of fact (SCO insinuations). To quote an old article:

A LEAD DEVELOPER on the Open Source Wine project, Tom Wickline, has warned that Microsoft’s deal with Novell is a cunning plan by Vole to take control over the commercial customer’s use of Free Software.


Wickline reckons that with the SCO case floundering, this is Vole’s latest attempt to make Novell into the next SCO in a bid to sink Linux.

Remember that post from yesterday, which was last updated a few hours ago. To quote further from Matt Asay:

I’ve heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons “royalty payments,” [...]

Go back to the beginning of this post and reconsider how Microsoft claims to be after intellectual property. Novell is a big part of this problem because it brings this intellectual monopolies mess into the Free software world, uninvited.



The Kernel You Crave, But the Licence Won’t Let You Have

Posted in Apple, BSD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, SLES/SLED, Vista, Windows, Wine at 9:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Speculations again. We have already written about half a dozen posts which explore the possibility that Microsoft uses Novell to create ‘Winux’ (Windows with a Linux kernel). Here is one such post and here is a more recent one. With the increased complexity of Windows codebase, 60% of which requires rewriting, as well as the endless delays (Longhorn, Vista in an acceptable form, Home Server, etc.), one must stop and wonder.

“If it were not SUSE Linux, could it be BSD…?”Do Project Singularity and the recent rumour about a Windows replacement (already in the making) have an element of truth and potential? The former is said to have been a research-only project and the latter — a hoax. But where does that leave Windows? As the citation above proves, Windows code lacks modularity and it is hardly maintainable. Could Microsoft turn to alternative routes? If it were not SUSE Linux, could it be BSD, whose licence would be somewhat of a relief to Microsoft? The kernel aside, many packages move to GPLv3, which, to quote Eben Moglen, has Microsoft lawyer screaming with their hair on fire.

In yesterday’s writeup, Matt Hartley seems to think that Microsoft should embrace BSD and gradually abandon Windows.

It’s Not Just Bill Gates Leaving the Nest. So now that we have established that Vista is costing Microsoft a loyal fan base, despite the firm grip they maintain in the business market, it’s important for Microsoft to take a proactive stance against improving Windows. With their grip on Dell dropping away slowly and the potential for the same thing with other companies like HP, I would not be shocked to see big box stores beginning to post record returns alongside those big Vista sales claims.

When is Microsoft going to understand that there is a reason why Apple is outperforming them with a better, more stable OS? The simple fact is their choice of a BSD core has driven Apple’s continued success.

Another new article had a funny bit of text:

Mac OS X’s FreeBSD roots provide a level of reliability matched by no version of Windows and no previous version of the Mac. In other words, it’s nearly as reliable as Linux.

NindowsThe word “nearly” stands out. Although BSD is very well built, in practice, some say that it’s no GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3]. Whether it’s Linux or BSD, both of which represent freedom, Microsoft must have (at some stage) thought about the possibility of ‘pulling an Apple’. Their execution strategy, particularly with GNU/Linux, would have to be different. Direct contact with the GPL is merely disallowed. Enter the OSI and Novell. Remember Citrix.

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