‘Microsoft’ University: Open Source Too Expensive

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 9:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

For a little bit of background, see our previous posts about this ongoing mess at the ‘Open’ University (OU) [1, 2]. It was, on the face of it, sort of infiltrated by Microsoft. Here is the latest development, courtesy of Mark Ballard:

But the OU has refused to precipitate the wholesale switch of students from bought Microsoft software to (where appropriate) free open source alternatives because it would require too much effort and the costs would be too high at a time when the governments is squeezing student funding.

How does it cost more to move to Free software? The lamest excuse is to say, “let’s save money by staying with Microsoft and refusing to change.” Is denying Free software now an issue of cost, as opposed to those legends of “readiness”, “reliability”, and “dependability”? Since the OU is located in the UK, someone ought to urge them to ask London hospitals about the cost of viruses (cost of lives too). What about the LSE, which was suspended at a critical time due to a major .NET crash?

Look — but dare not touch — the abacus

Gentle Warning About OSBC 2009 and OSCON 2009

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Novell, SUN at 9:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“May contain Microsoft agenda”

IN my correspondence with Richard Stallman, it came up that if Microsoft steals the show at Free/open source events, as it did in OSBC 2008 for example [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], then we must respond.

It is therefore important to point out that OSBC 2009 has just been formally announced and Microsoft will be there. Actually, it’s more than just Microsoft because IDG, which has relationships with Microsoft, is organising this event.

“…IDG, which has relationships with Microsoft, is organising this event.”Another potential issue is OSCON 2009, which was announced earlier today in the form of a call for contributions/participation. OSCON’s long-maintained ties with Microsoft were noted here before, using lots and lots of evidence [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Another O’Reilly-Microsoft connection (not just the funding) actually shows up in this very new blog post from Brady Forrest, who says that he used to work for Microsoft.

Last but not least, FOSDEM has got among its “Cornerstone Sponsors” Sun, Novell, and O’Reilly. We wrote about FOSDEM earlier this month. Voice-jacking can be very dangerous and we saw Novell doing this very recently in India [1, 2].

Name tag

Why the OpenSUSE FAQ Misses the Point

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, Patents at 5:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

THOSE WHO can spare 5 minutes should probably read the whole thing. It’s a very good and detailed analysis that echoes a lot of what we’ve been showing. Here are some bits of interest:

I consider enthusiatically supporting a company that calls your underlying community a “cancer” to be a “sell out”. I consider promoting Microsoft technologies to the direct detriment of competing Free and Open Source technologies to be a “sell out”. The “clear conditions” and “few specific areas” are irrelevant. The question of “selling out” is very much a subjective one, because it requires one to make a value judgment based on actions. And that’s about as far as you can go with the arguement on whether Novell “sold out” or not – do you think they did? (Hint: the answer is yes.)

And “fierce competitors”? Please. Microsoft has two major development platforms it wants deployed right now: .NET and Silverlight. Novell is doing everything it can to spread both of them wherever it can.


Well, I don’t know what you mean by “pushing”. I do know that:

* Miguel de Icaza thinks OOXML is “superb”, superior to ODF, called criticism of it “FUD”, considers ISO approval was a good thing, and so on [1] [2] [3].
* Novell announced that the “Novell edition of the OpenOffice.org office productivity suite” would support OOXML very early in the game [1]

These could be construed as “pushing” OOXML. Be careful now: the argument that OOXML support – now, after approval – is needed is not relevant. The problem is that when the discussion was started, and OOXML was proposed specificially to counter ODF, Novell stood firmly behing Microsoft.

The reason people think Novell is “pushing” OOXML, even if technically Novell recomments ODF, is because most people judge by actions, not words. Novell has taken a lot of action to support (”push”) OOXML. ODF? Not so much.

It also provides me an opening to touch on my favorite pet peeve: just because someone disagrees with you, does not mean the message is “FUD“. If someone is laying out a reasoned argument – it is not “FUD”, no matter how much you might disagree with the premise or conclusion. It doesn’t mean you agree with someone’s argument, but you don’t just get to dismiss legitimite criticism by calling it “FUD”. Let me help you out:

This is FUD: “Linux infringes on 235 Microsoft patents.” “Linux is a cancer.“
This is not


Here we have the FAQ that caused me to write this entry; I won’t use openSUSE precisely because it is “sponsored” by Novell – and so, according to the FAQ – I am being clearly ignorant and being absurd.

First, the easy pickings: Tomboy/F-Spot/Banshee/Beagle, etc. – no I don’t use any of those because I won’t have mono on any of my machines. I dare say most people that disagree with the Novell/Microsoft deal don’t use mono. (And here’s the thing: I don’t care if someone wants to use them – I just don’t think they should be included by default in some many distros. But the key to gaining mindshare is to have your products on the desktop, and that’s why Novell pushes so hard to get these things included in the default GNOME and so on.)


As I mentioned in another blog post Novell’s relationship with openSUSE is not one of “mere sponsorship”:

* openSUSE is a trademark of Novell
* openSUSE EULA is was a “Novell Software License Agreement” [I see this has changed for the new release.]
* openSUSE is promoted as “openSUSE from Novell” on Novell’s own website
* The openSUSE site is copyrighted by Novell.
* The openSUSE “Community Board” is lead by a Novell-appointed chairman, and must contain a majority of Novell employees.


In a way, this speaks to the heart of the matter: Microsoft has been hell-bent on destroying Open Source for a long, long time – and still Novell gets into bed with them. Limiting the discussion to patent issues attempts to obscure the fact that Novell is enthusiastically pushing Microsoft technology into the Open Source ecosystem as hard as it can. Patents may be one part of the issue, and an important one – but the larger issue to me is embracing an anti-Free Software company like Microsoft.

The comment from Ted Haeger is worth reading too.

Last year we analyzed the Microsoft/Novell FAQ.

No Value

Quote of the Day: Speaking of Ponzi/Pyramid Schemes

Posted in Finance, Fraud, Microsoft, Quote at 11:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Many believe that the stock market crash of 1929 caused the Great Depression yet history clearly shows that it was instead simply bad government policy that was manipulated by leaders such as Insull. Today many now fear a similar stock market crash but in reality the economy is very strong and, if we can reform this pyramid at Microsoft, the overall market should not need to correct more than 20 percent.


“Microsoft’s perspective is best reflected by Bob Herbold, Chief Operating Officer, to whom the CFO reports. Bob very sincerely replied, “Bill, everyone is doing it.” My response was that Microsoft is a leader and that others are now seeking to emulate these fraudulent practices they have legitimized. Naturally Bob was not pleased by this perspective and that was our final conversation. A second informal response came when Microsoft asked PR Newswire to stop issuing my press releases.

“Microsoft is PR Newswire’s largest client.”

Bill Parish

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 15th, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

Links 16/12/2008: 2,500 Schools Move to GNU/Linux, USB 3.0 on Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 5:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • The LTSP adds thin-client support to a Linux server

    Originally begun to investigate the possibility of extending the useful life of legacy IT equipment, the Linux Terminal Server Project is now a comprehensive collection of tools for running driveless thin clients with a Linux server. Certainly in its current version 5, if not before, it has blossomed into an useful – and free – terminal/server solution.

  • IT@School – Kerala’s successfull mission!

    We met Anvar Sadith Sir ,he cleary explained us about the project IT@School .More than 2500 schools were using only GNU/Linux.

  • Red Hat gives away JBoss to APAC

    Red Hat on Monday is giving away 5,000 JBoss Developer Studio subscriptions to Java developers in six territories in the Asia-Pacific region.

    The program will run in China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and Hong Kong, targeted at independent Java developers and those from small and midsize businesses (SMBs), said the open source vendor, in an e-mailed response to ZDNet Asia.

  • Linux & Zeno’s Paradox
  • USB 3.0 and Linux
  • Teaching Teachers About Linux.

    The price of the system with all this software ballooned to about $2500.00. The young woman was a bit shocked by this, but said she needed to have all this on her system. After she was given this final price, she thanked the salesman and told him she would think it over.

  • A Quantum of FOSS

    Therefore, I believe it is important for every parent and taxpayer to contact their school district’s superintendent and/or IT department and voice their frustration over the money spent on a fairly useless education tool like MS Office when entirely sufficient free replacements exist. Parents and taxpayers need to make it known that wasting public funds in this way is not appropriate and may very well impact their votes on future funding efforts like bonds and mill levies. The problem is that most people do not know there are free alternatives nor do they understand the relative uselessness of office productivity software in education. Those of us who do need to take the lead in our communities and get this conversation started. I recently did this and I encourage others to do this as well. The more a superintendent hears this, the more likely they will be to put pressure on IT departments to justify their spending and hopefully bring about a move to more Free Software and important savings as well.

  • Software as a Subversive Activity, Part 5: Indoctrinating the Next Generation of Linux Geeks

    The boys are still in Windows most of the time. But they think Tux the penguin is cute, and that’s a start. They still ask: “can I play Linux?” and want their own Linux machine. (The plan, for now, is to get them set with bootable CDs or flash drives.) Convert them now and you’ve taken over the next generation! Mwah hah hah hah!

  • A Response to “What Are The Issues With Open Source Linux?”
  • Can Open Source Help the Economy?

    Red Hat began to see the fruits of their labor in late 2002; the company grew revenue 14 percent for the year and that growth improved to 38 percent and 58 percent in 2003 and 2004 respectively. Given the timing of subscription revenues and long sales cycles, it is not hard to conclude that during the 2001-2002 economic downturn, large corporations made the decision to switch to open-source technologies. It also explains why Novell paid $200 million for Suse Linux in late 2003, which at the time, was roughly 20 times its revenues.

  • Update: The Freedom Key
  • New Users

  • KDE

  • Distributions

  • Sub-notebooks

    • Netbooks Primed To Push Linux Into Mainstream

      Microsoft was late to realize the impact of Linux on netbooks. In Microsoft’s first quarter earnings call in October, executives chalked up a four-point shortfall in Windows client revenue to netbooks, many of which ship with XP Home. Earlier this year, Microsoft extended the OEM deadline for selling XP Home on netbooks to June 30, 2010.

      In response to the netbook threat, Microsoft has drastically slashed the price of XP, according to solution providers.

      “Microsoft was terrified, because for the first time, Linux on the desktop was actually starting to get some traction in their sweet spot,” said one solution provider, who requested anonymity.

    • Tiny PCs, tiny prices, big headaches
  • Phones

  • Devices

    • No operating system is an island

      The Traffic Management Operating System (TMOS) is the operating system we built for BIG-IP. It’s an embedded device platform that is highly optimized for delivering applications over the Internet and other IP networks, and gives the device a performance edge. BIG-IP’s popularity has drawn attention to TMOS, and while nearly all the notice has been positive, our operating system has sometimes been mischaracterized as a Linux variant. In fact, BIG-IP does include a copy of Linux, which runs alongside TMOS and provides certain management tasks, such as the command line and Web graphical user interface.

      However, the packets flowing through BIG-IP are not “touched” by Linux in any way. Every important system aspect is contained within TMOS and optimized for high-speed, high-volume traffic-management applications. TMOS has its own microkernel, the Traffic Management Microkernel (TMM).

    • TI adds ARM9, Linux to sound chip
    • Watch Out WiFi, Here Comes MiFi



Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Dolby Linux wizard John Gilbert gives us a look inside the movie industry 08 (2004)

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