Links 07/06/2008: More of Linux Everywhere; Intel Antitrust is Go; Windows Live Expo is Kaput

Posted in News Roundup at 3:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: June 6th, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Microsoft Shows Bad Sportsmanship with Deliberate GNU/Linux Exclusion

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, KDE, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat at 3:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Linux? What’s that?”

Microsoft not only snubs what Ozzie and Ballmer openly say is Microsoft’s #1 competitor. Microsoft also ensures that those who love sports will suffer, unless they pay Microsoft. Remember the Olympic games? It’s happening again. Enter Silverlight.

Silverlight toilet

Here is the scoop, which someone has just brought to our attention in the IRC channel.

Using the European championship to spread malware

Microsoft is pushing their evil SilverLight platform very hard. They want to make sure that providers of cross-platform software for delivering rich applications via the web browser are thwarted. This is normal behavior for a monopolistic company and certainly for Microsoft. To accomplish this goal they are throwing around bucketloads of money and FUD to get content providers to use the Microsoft malware Silverlight exclusively.

Remember that even Fedora won't accept Moonlight. Microsoft is meanwhile boasting its approach towards Silverlight 2.0 final, which will leave Novell’s customers (licensed for use of Moonlight) even further behind. Surely enough, Microsoft will carry on lying to broadcasters, falsely claiming that Silverlight is "cross-platform" (i.e. only Mac and Windows, according to Microsoft’s definition of the term, which excludes its #1 competitor).

“[If I ask you who is Microsoft's biggest competitor now, who would it be?] Open…Linux. I don’t want to say open source. Linux, certainly have to go with that.”

Steve Ballmer (Microsoft’s CEO), February 28th, 2008

MS Buys Codecs from MS

Posted in Audio/Video, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 2:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[M]ark [S]huttleworth buys [M]icro[S]oft codecs for Ubuntu

The following observation came up in our IRC channel just a short while ago. It indicates that Ubuntu engaged in licensing of codecs from Microsoft.

<microsoft-spy> schestowitz: you are allowed, Ubuntu licensed Windows Media from Microsoft for Netbooks
<jbh> I don’t know anyone in CA
<moparx> I’ll never understand why a distro (or any foss developer for that matter) would purposefully taint themselves for some of microsoft’s proprietary scraps.
<schestowitz> Gah. Maybe that’s why they don’t allow downloads of it.
<schestowitz> Software patents aren’t even valid where Canonical is.
<schestowitz> ms-spy, got a URL, please?
<jbh> never even heard of netbooks before
<microsoft-spy> schestowitz, how about http://www.canonical.com/netbooks ?
<schestowitz> I believe this is important because given what I know I worry that MS (Mark S.) would do the same with MS for business ‘enterprise’ boxes.
<microsoft-spy> schestowitz, MS does whatever benefits him, proprietary kernel parts etc
<schestowitz> Which MS?
<schestowitz> :-)
<microsoft-spy> Shuttleworth
<schestowitz> Well, that’s very problematic because he enables Microsoft to control the price of Free software.
<schestowitz> They already cross-licence with Apple, but they play by their own rules.
<microsoft-spy> he just says “All the *applications* in Ubuntu are free software only.”
<schestowitz> Cross-licensing (pardon the typo above) is incompatible with the GPL.
<schestowitz> Yes, but..
<microsoft-spy> so does not include drivers, firmware, codecs, …
<schestowitz> Just to be clear, the issue is not binary/FOSS, but gratis/taxed
<schestowitz> This forbids redistribution, which is also why they don’t permit downloads. It’s like another Moonlight.

If you fail to see why this is bad, then consider looking back at the Red Hat 'extortion' story (more in this recent article about the ‘codec incident’). Also recall what Novell did.

In order to defend such plots, Microsoft has been fighting for DMCA around the world — essentially extending beyond the boundaries of the United States. Recently it was Canada that got targeted and in the news you find Red Hat’s founder, Bob Young, entering the ring.

Lulu Inc. CEO Bob Young is a major voice in the open source software industry, but according to him the entire community has been unjustifiably ignored throughout the Canadian government’s copyright reform initiatives.

Last year, the Conservative government vowed to adopt copyright laws which would make it illegal to modify or remove any device or software fitted with a technical protection measures (TPMs). After months of hearsay and numerous delays, the buzz on Parliament Hill now suggests a proposed copyright bill from Industry Minister Jim Prentice is imminent.

In the wake of these rumors — which many industry activists have begun referring to as the Canadian version of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) — a new open source software alliance has added their name to the lengthy list of opposition to the Industry Minister’s soon-to-be-unveiled legislation.

It’s worth adding that Bob Young is pro-GPLv3 (video).

We wrote about this Microsoft lobby before. As some further relevant readings (external links), consider:

This is a dangerous precedence that Microsoft is setting and It’s sad to see Canonical and Intel playing along. Nevertheless, it’s not surprising given the nearness of Intel and Microsoft. In private, sources told us a few months ago that Mark Shuttleworth negotiated codecs with Microsoft.

Ubuntu modified logo

Who’s that fourth chap we don’t know?

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part IV: Award, Anniversary and Other Positives

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, IBM, Novell, Red Hat, Security at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There has been very little non-Linux news from Novell. Here is the little that was found and gathered over the past week.

Award and Anniversary

Novell was among those who received a CODiE Award.

The Novell portfolio ofidentity and security management solutions has won the Best Security Solution category for the 2008 CODiE Awards, an annual program of the Software Industry and Information Association (SIIA) that recognizes achievement and vision in the software industry. This award reinforces the breadth and depth of Novell’s identity and security management solutions, which are being deployed by nearly 6000 customers worldwide.

Red Hat’s Linux won a CODiE award too.

The following bit of news was briefly mentioned last week, but here is an anniversary marked in a more festive way.

Novell’s systems management solution line, ZENworks, is 10 years old this year. Novell ZENworks 1.0 was launched in 1998; since then its functionality has been consistently expanded to create a complete software suite.

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Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part III: Xandros and Laptops

Posted in GNU/Linux, Xandros at 6:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Xandros, a bad boy of Linux, appears to have made some progress over the past week. Just as a quick and gentle reminder, Xandros is a Microsoft-taxed GNU/Linux distribution that exploits Debian. Microsoft is paid money when you buy it, so please don’t.

Over at Practical Tech, there is this rather bizarre piece from SJVN who is advocating — or at least recommending — Xandros. Grains of salt may be needed when it comes to his speculative statistics. The eWeek-Xandros affinity leaves us cautious regarding this assessment. SJVN used to work for Ziff Davis, so there’s room for bias.

Novell’s Zonker rightly rebuts this one. He also adds:

The new wave of UMPC devices and new mobile devices are a strong opportunity to put Linux in the hands of new users. The resource requirements mean that Linux is well-suited for these devices, and the fact that Linux can be heavily customized also means that Linux is a great choice for manufacturers looking to differentiate themselves from the competition in ways other than hardware and pricing.

There was one press release from Xandros, which appears to have gotten a little chummy with Intel’s Moblin and those Netbooks many rave about at the moment.

Xandros, Inc., the leading provider of custom OEM Linux solutions and next-generation Linux desktop and server products, and advanced cross-platform Windows-Linux management tools, today announced that it will deliver Moblin-based products designed to increase the battery life and energy efficiency of a new breed of simple, affordable Internet devices called ‘netbooks’ using Intel® Atom(TM) Processors.

ASUS uses its homebrew derivative of Xandros, which appears to be extending to more of its devices as time goes by. Like Acer, it increasingly strategises on GNU/Linux and builds its own customised solutions to achieve the task.

ASUS plans to launch the system in September and is still anticipated to use its custom version of Xandros Linux to drive down the price; an earlier cost estimate puts the Eee Monitor’s launch price at $500, or well under the $1,200 price of an iMac and less still than the Windows-based, $1,300 Gateway One and the $1,500 Dell XPS One.

We wrote about IIRA once before in the context of Xandros and now it appears as though this India-based company deploys Xandros. It actually buys this whole “interoperatibility” Kool-Aid.

After studying the scenario we deployed Sugar CRM for customer relationship management, Mambo for CMS, and a very advance Helpdesk on very reliable Operating system Xandros. The main strength of teh OS lies in the interoperatibility of Xandros with other properitary software.

It’s always interesting when you find trivial typos like “teh” in a press release (never mind “properitary”). The channel of distribution too indicates that IIRA is still a small company that does not qualify for the more professional and pricey pipes (wires). So, it’s nothing to worry about at the moment.

There is also this press release about Scalix, which is now part of Xandros.

Scalix, the Xandros award-winning Linux e-mail, calendaring and messaging company, today announced the release of Scalix “Software-as-a-Service” (SaaS) solutions for Managed Service Providers (MSPs). The Scalix Hosting Edition enables MSPs and other B2B service providers to offer Scalix e-mail and calendaring solutions to their business customers at half the cost of comparable Microsoft Exchange solutions. In contrast to the subscription model of Microsoft Exchange, Scalix has a perpetual one-time license fee. As a result, Scalix service providers can pass savings on to customers, yet approximately double their return on investment (ROI).

All in all, it seems like Asustek does a lot of the legwork for the “Xandros” brand. Xandros itself just unleashes press releases, but almost no-one in the press seems to notice (or care).

It would be interesting to know if Xandors gets paid by Asustek in some way (other than the ‘brand’ reward, which is intangible). We are not courageous enough to ask Xandros questions. We do, after all, run a formal boycott against them.

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: SUSE (SLED/SLED) News

Posted in GNU/Linux, HP, Novell, SLES/SLED at 6:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are some new products out there which chose SUSE as their GNU/Linux distribution. It’s important to be aware of them (or avoid them). The first is the H-P mini-laptop, which is blogged about here.

SRP for the basic model which comes with 1GB RAM, 120GB HDD and SuSe Linux is P24950. It’s definitely more expensive than the Eee, but it’s more feature-packed as well.

Here are some more bits about the Netbook, including the mentioning of MSI. It uses Novell’s Linux.

Linux fans may feel slighted, however, because while the $499 Windows XP Home version is equipped as mentioned above, the $399 SUSE Linux-based version is comparatively stripped. It pares down RAM to 512MB, omits Bluetooth, and has the three-cell battery as standard.

Further information

According to MSI, the Windows version of the Wind will go on sale Jun. 16th. The Linux version will be available “later this summer.”

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Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part I: OpenSUSE 11 Evaluations, Pre-orders

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 5:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vista-SUSEMost of the past week’s news from Novell is about OpenSUSE, so let us dive in.

OpenSUSE 11

Just under two weeks remain before the final release of version 11.0. Even ZDNet wrote about it.

Novell has released the last public version of OpenSuse 11.0 for testing, before the software’s final release later this month.

OpenSuse 11.0 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) appeared on Thursday, the same day Novell revealed strong growth in its Linux business, strengthening its position against Linux market leader Red Hat.

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