IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 23rd, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 23rd, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 10:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

Links 23/02/2009: SimplyMEPIS 8.0 and Kubuntu 8.04.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 10:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • NASA’s MMO Video Game To Have A Linux Port?

    This game is still a ways from being released, but at the heart of this game is the Unreal Engine 3 — the same engine that powers Unreal Tournament 3, America’s Army 3, and dozens of other titles. Unreal Engine 3 is a multi-platform engine that has an OpenGL renderer and is compatible with Mac OS X and Linux even though we haven’t seen any titles be released yet for Linux.

  • BCDs, MBRs, and grub

    It turns out that having a trashed Linux boot menu after a Windows installation is a very common problem. I was able to solve it nicely with a combination of two free tools suggested by two readers: Super Grub Disk and EasyBCD.

  • How you can help Windows users quit

    What’s wrong with using Windows? As with other addictions, informed recreational use has few drawbacks, but continual dependence on particular software is a different matter. If you simply can’t boot a computer without using Windows or can’t get anything meaningful done without it, then you’re an addict who needs to be weaned off this habit.

    Most addicts will tell you that kicking a habit needs to be done in stages and that the support of friends and relatives is vital. This feature will look at a step-by-step process for giving up Windows and moving to an alternative that doesn’t involve being locked into using one vendor.

  • Power Tools: Piles of Files

    Linux runs on text. Configuration files are often human-readable text. Many other files contain text, too, and text often flows through Standard I/O connections. Linux has powerful utilities to handle text; you can also use a scripting language.

  • Vaio P Is Classic Sony: Excellent but Pricey

    The keyboard is also small, another common netbook characteristic. On the other hand, Sony manages to stamp a mark of innovation on the product as it weighs half as much as a typical netbook and packs in features like fast wireless, a pre-boot Linux environment and a screen capable of displaying a 1,600×768 resolution, while most netbooks only have a 1,024×600 resolution capacity.

  • Virtualization Takes Off on Entry Power Systems

    It looks like server virtualization really is heading to the mainstream on Power Systems machines, if some figures provided by the top brass at IBM are any indication. While logical partitioning has been available on OS/400-based servers since V4R4 was launched with the Northstar PowerPC servers back in 1999, it has been embraced mostly by big shops with big iron even as Linux and AIX partitions were added to the logical partitioning mix.

  • Audio

    • Linux Outlaws 78 – GNUgle

      This week, Dan and Fab talk about the Red Hat/Microsoft deal, the Cuban Linux distro, the Linux version of World of Goo and Dan reviews Sabayon 4 plus a lot more.

    • The Podcast 1 – Under the Patio

      The Podcast – Free/Open Source in the Midlands

      This new podcast is about Free Open source, especially what is going on in the English Midlands, but hopefully it will be interesting to you wherever you live.

  • Kernel Space

    • Will Tux3 Soon Enter The Mainline Kernel?

      As of late, file-systems have been a popular topic among Linux developers and users. The EXT4 file-system was recently stabilized and it brings some modest performance improvements and is finding its way into modern distributions. While not yet stabilized, the Btrfs file-system was merged into the Linux 2.6.29 kernel and is poised as the Linux competitor to Sun’s famed ZFS file-system. There is also open-source work underway in supporting Microsoft’s exFAT file-system on Linux. On top of all of that, there is also the Tux3 file-system.


      The Tux3 project has been making great progress and following its review period, soon perhaps we will see it enter the mainline kernel (of course, as an experimental option). Kernel patches for the Tux3 file-system are supposed to be in a Git tree within the next few days.

    • MIPS Technologies Joins the Linux Foundation; Embedded Linux Device Market Heating Up

      The present economy has the technology industry in an interesting position. Computer manufacturers and system builders (such as Dell, ASUS, and MSI) have focused on using “full desktop” chips (Intel and VIA) and components, and shrinking them down into small, inexpensive devices that are capable of performing basic computing tasks. It’s been difficult, however, to fully break from the “full desktop” school of thought — and these small machines, for many, are a little too expensive for what they deliver.

      Embedded chip manufacturers feel they have something to offer, and that using their processors in these settings will be both cost-effective and a better computing experience. The embedded chips are quite powerful, and a few embedded chip companies are firm in the belief that open source operating systems are the best way to bring out the best in their processors, and the devices they power.

    • Kernel Log: Stable series development is speeding up, X Server 1.6 available soon

      The development speed of the Linux stable series and the number of integrated changes, has been rising in the past few weeks. In February alone, the maintainers of the stable kernel series have released four new 2.6.28.x versions and five new 2.6.27.x kernels, to correct numerous flaws in the respective predecessors and add many minor improvements.

    • Should Filesystems Be Optimized for SSD’s?

      As long as SSD manufacturers force us treat these devices as black boxes, there may be a certain amount of cargo cult science which may be forced upon us file system designers — or I guess I should say, in order to be more academically respectable, “we will be forced to rely more on empirical measurements leading to educated engineering estimations about what the SSD is doing inside the black box”. Heh.

  • KDE

    • KDE Commit Digest: Issue 148: 1st February 2009

      Initial support for adding video and audio previewing (similar to the file dialog) to Dolphin’s metadata panel. A new “highlight window” effect for KWin-Composite. Filtering support in the “FileWatcher” Plasmoid, work on the “Welcome” Plasmoid, and initial import of “OpenBrain” and “Translatoid” Plasma widgets. Experiments to make a screensaver using KGLEngine. First approach on integrating an “interactive graphs concept” in KAlgebra. Initial code for an object-oriented KTurtle. Initial work on a 3D view completed in Kolf NG (a rewrite effort).

    • Post 4.2 features – part 2 [update]

      In previous versions of Lancelot, when using the no-click activation, there was some space between the lists while browsing the applications. The space was needed because of extenders and scroll-bars. Scroll-bars, obviously, still need the space like before, but the extenders don’t.

  • Distributions

    • Lenny lights up an old laptop

      With the Debian Linux project officially designating “Lenny” as its new “stable” distribution, I decided to install it on an old Thinkpad to see how well it performs on a low-end machine. Without doubt, the results surpassed my wildest expectations!

    • The coolest distro ever!

      I can’t say enough about this project. If you doubt just how amazing Elive Compiz is, I suggest you grab a download and run it. You’ll find a machine to install it on and you’ll play with until you can’t pull yourself away. It’s that cool.

    • Mandriva Linux KDE Desktop a cut above

      Two cool shots of my desktop one in 3D running Mandriva KDE,,running desktop theme, slim glow, icon theme KDE Crystal.

    • New Releases

      • Kongoni: A new Linux distro from Africa

        We’ve had Ubuntu and Impi, now there is a new African-named Linux distribution. South African developers today announced the first cut of a new Linux distro which they are calling Kongoni. Named after the Shona word for the GNU, Kongoni has a strong BSD-Unix influence and includes a ports-like package management system. The underlying code is, however, based on Slackware and the makers are promising to keep the distribution free of proprietary software.

      • Weekly Distribution Release Roundup for Feb 15-21

        Another week has passed and it’s time again for the weekly Distro Roundup. Thanks again to DistroWatch for posting this information.

      • Foresight Linux 2.1.0

        Foresight GNOME Edition features the GNOME desktop environment, created and maintained by The GNOME Project, as the interface for Foresight Linux. Thanks to dedicated teams within The GNOME Project, GNOME provides usability, accessibility, and freedom focused on creating software that is easy and enjoyable for everyone to use. Taking advantage of its rolling releases, Foresight can promptly release an updated GNOME edition each time GNOME has a new release, making Foresight the top choice when demonstrating the latest GNOME.

      • Foresight Linux 2.1.0 GNOME Edition Is Here

        The Foresight Linux Project team announced yesterday the immediate availability of Foresight Linux 2.1.0 GNOME Edition, a Linux distribution based on rPath. This new version brings the latest stable GNOME desktop environment and many updates.

      • Kubuntu 8.04.2 Released

        The Kubuntu team is proud to announce the release of Kubuntu 8.04.2, the second and final maintenance update to Kubuntu’s 8.04 release. This release includes updated desktop, and alternate installation CDs for the i386 and amd64 architectures. This update is provided in recognition that the current Kubuntu release (8.10) with its cutting edge KDE 4 desktop is not yet appropriate for all users.

        In all, over 200 updates have been integrated, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates, and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Kubuntu 8.04.

      • Kubuntu 8.04.2 Released

        The Kubuntu team announced on Saturday (February 21) the second maintenance release of Kubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron), which is supported with security fixes and maintenance updates until October 2009. Kubuntu 8.04.2 brings to its dedicated users a lot of security updates and corrections (over 200), all with a single goal: to keep Kubuntu 8.04 a stable and reliable Linux distribution!

      • Debian Lenny Based SimplyMEPIS 8.0 is Released

        MEPIS LLC has released SimplyMEPIS 8.0, the community edition of MEPIS 8.0. The ISO files for 32 and 64 bit processors are SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.0.00-rel_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.0.00-rel_64.iso.

        SimplyMEPIS 8.0 utilizes a Debian Lenny stable foundation enhanced with a Long Term Support kernel, key package upgrades, and the MEPIS Assistant applications to create an up-to-date, ready to use desktop computer system.

      • Ubuntu

        • How to Join the Ubuntu Community

          Much of the work of these dedicated individuals is in packaging and maintaining the software on offer in the Ubuntu repositories and managing the nearly 50,000 open bugs. They carry out all of this behind-the-scenes admin work to make Ubuntu better. When you use Synaptic or apt-get to install a piece of software, little thought is given to the process involved in getting that software to you. You click it, it installs, you run it without problem.

        • Looking Past the Jackalope, What We Know About Ubuntu’s Karmic Koala

          Desktop Koalas could have some internal genetic alterations — such as flicker free X initialization (in the spirit of Fedora 10) and boot speeds that suggest “jungle cat” over “arboreal marsupial.” Shuttleworth also hints at how different this desktop will look. Will the Karmic Koala break from the traditional Ubuntu brown?

        • Why Microsoft should fear Ubuntu’s cloud efforts

          As we try to figure out the future of the cloud, one thing is assured: developers will drive both deployment and consumption approaches. As is common to so many other major software shifts, developers lead, regardless of what vendors want the market to look like.

        • Shuttleworth, spiders and starfish

          People are laughing at me. For the past few weeks, they have been whispering as I walk by: “There he goes! That’s him!” as they chuckle to themselves.

          Not because I wear outdated Hawaiian shirts; it’s because I predicted open source software would go mainstream in 2009.

          I wrote that Mark Shuttleworth’s Ubuntu Linux “would shine” even though Microsoft is still throttling a seemingly unperturbed market with its Windows offering.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Dell introduces 10in netbook

        Here in the UK, the Mini 10 will go on sale on Thursday, and while the company did reveal that it will offer a version of the machine with Linux pre-installed – Ubuntu 8.04, to be precise – it won’t appear until “later this year”.

      • Dell To Launch Inspiron Mini 10 Netbook

        Cnet reports that Dell will introduce a 2GB model with 250GB HDD later this year with an integrated TV Tuner, Ubuntu 8.04 and Mobile broadband capabilities; one can also expect AMD to join the foray and Dual Core Atom CPUs to debut.

      • Kogan promises a Linux Netbook by the end of March

        Kogan admits he’s a big fan of Linux, and that the decision to adopt it was driven by feedback on the Kogan blog. “I was happy that people don’t mind having Linux on their laptop. It seems that the wider market is starting to not be as scared of it as it was a couple of years ago.”


        On the overall technology selling market, Kogan also remains optimistic and upbeat. “We’ve gone from being a 4 million dollar company last year to a 20 million dollar company this year. We see brands like Hitachi and Fujitsu dropping out of the (LCD TV) market. It’s not because of lack of demand. They’re dropping out due to archaic business models. People are becoming price educated. The $950 government grant will make the demand for LCD TVs skyrocket. Conventional retail cannot compete.”

      • One Third of Dell Inspiron Mini 9s Sold Run Linux

        Dell attributes part of the Linux growth to competitive pricing on the Ubuntu SKUs. “When you look at the sweet spot for this category it is price sensitivity, and Linux enabled us to offer a lower price entry point,” added Dell senior product manager John New.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-source toolkit aimed at telcos

    What’s more, Nolle says that the current edition of ExperiaSphere is only the beginning. In the toolkit’s next phase, CIMI will incorporate a more “socially aware” framework that will blend social networking, calling, collaboration and unified communications. And eventually, Nolle says that CIMI will release the toolkit’s source code to allow for open-source development.

  • A free, open-source Linux multimedia streamer

    GNUMP3d is magic, or at least it felt that way after I installed it. From the site: GNUMP3d is a streaming server for MP3s, OGG vorbis files, movies and other media formats.

  • Cadence adds flexibility to their verification environment

    The verification IP will continue to be open-source, governed by an Apache 2.0 license.

  • Graphics

    • Free PhotoShop OpenSource Alternative: GIMP and its Derivatives

      Web designers, photographers and graphic designers loving the Adobe Photoshop Product family – a collection of graphics editing programs developed by Adobe Systems to create and edit images – should have a look at its open source alternative, GIMP.

      GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program – is the most well-known open source graphics editing application, born in 1995 as reported in the GNU free software directory, is a freely distributed program for tasks like photo retouching, image composition and authoring. Last but not least the so-called batch mode that allows you to do image processing from the command line.

    • 7 Free Resources for Eye-Popping Graphics and Animation

      A picture will always be worth a thousand words. The good news is that in the open source world, there are many excellent, free graphics and animation tools, plus free resources for getting started with them right away. Whether you want to produce a full-length animated movie, desktop publish good-looking graphical booklets, work more efficiently with Flickr, or create eye-catching logos, check out seven free applications and resources here.

  • Web

    • EU to oblige Microsoft to offer competitors’ browsers

      The European Commission will require Microsoft to give users of its ubiquitous Windows operating system the opportunity to choose between different Internet browsers to avoid breaching EU competition rules, the bloc’s antitrust spokesman told EurActiv.

      Although the Commission is still officially waiting for a response from Microsoft to the complaints raised last January, the outcome of this new battle with the IT giant is already taking form.

    • SOA + Cloud + Open Source = Large-Scale Disruption

      The high-margin SOA engagements that we’ve known — involving armies of consultants, integrators and expensive proprietary solutions — keep getting pushed upstream, into a smaller market space.

      What’s happening is low-cost and no-cost solutions are swooping in to serve what has been a largely underserved or unserved market — those companies or business units without the big budgets for SOA.

    • Network Solutions® Launches Expanded Open Source Library for Web Hosting Products

      Open Source applications available with Network Solutions Web hosting services include WordPress®, Joomla!, and Gallery2.

  • Education


      A Consortium formed by three universities and led by the Free Knowledge Institute (FKI) has received the support from the EC’s Lifelong Learning Programme to offer an international educational programme on Free Software. Following the Open Educational Resources movement, all learning materials will be freely available through the Internet. The use of Free Software (also referred to as Open Source software or Libre Software) is expanding rapidly in governmental and private organisations. However, still only a limited number of IT professionals, teachers and decision makers have sufficient knowledge and expertise in these new fields. In order to cover this gap, the Free Knowledge Institute and three European universities have founded the Free Technology Academy. The first course materials will be available after this summer.

    • Microsoft’s “Enervate America” Programme

      Bet there’s not much Firefox, Thunderbird of OpenOffice.org in *there*.

      It’s a clever ploy, because it means that the state and local governments in the US don’t have to pay to re-train workers made redundant. For Microsoft, of course, it’s a brilliant way to turn people desperate to improve their financial situation into vectors of its threatened techno-orthdoxy.

      Sadly, the net result is that people are being trained how to use 20th century technology for that 21st-century economy – more “Enervate America” than “Elevate America”. For a telling contrast, just think of all those millions of young Brazilians who are growing up with a real understanding of what computers are about and for….

  • Business

    • Jobs Trend: Elance Cites Surging Demand for MySQL Experts

      MySQL experts are seeing accelerating demand for their services on Elance, a leading site for online work where businesses hire skilled professionals to get work done. With over 1,300 MySQL jobs posted in the last 30 days, MySQL is now the third most in-demand skill on Elance, moving up three spots since October.

    • Open-Source ERP: Great News For Small Biz

      Are enterprise customers ready to consider open-source ERP tools? Maybe not — but it’s a very different story in the small-business market.

      ERP represents the final frontier for open-source software: Open-source vendors have cracked — and often transformed — almost every other category of business software except for this one. And the notion that open-source ERP can gain traction in the enterprise market is still the subject of a hot debate.

    • Serena’s open source software hits 1M users

      It also works with leading open source office suites including Sun’s StarOffice, IBM Symphony and OpenOffice.org.


    • Addressing software freedom in cloud computing

      Is the freedom torch passing from Richard Stallman to the next generation? Bradley Kuhn of the Software Freedom Conservancy opened the Southern California Linux Expo this year with a keynote about software as a service and user freedoms.

      Richard Stallman, a man who has done much in the way of heavy lifting for software freedom, is taking a pass on the issue of software freedom with software as a service. Calling cloud computing “worse than hype,” Stallman has basically thrown in the towel on SaaS, presumably with the expectation that users will continue to rely primarily on compute power and services that reside on their computer.

  • Government

    • Call For Ban on Federal Money for Proprietary EMR’s.

      The nation is demanding and spending billions to ensure that we have a high-performance Health Information Technology infrastructure. The ARRA of 2009 allows proprietary companies to put up tollbooths and black boxes everywhere at taxpayer expense with little or no guarantees of the ability of the public to audit, innovate, study, fix or extend the software to ensure high performance, privacy, security, fitness, or upgradeablility can occur.

    • Geekfun: Recovery.gov May Be Just The Beginning for Open Source in Federal IT

      Techmeme wasn’t exactly buzzing with the news that the new Recovery.gov website, which provides information on federal recovery programs, was built using the open source Drupal community content management system. It made it on to Techmeme, but just barely; only one of the linked sites noted the Drupal connection, the others, including some prominent tech news sites, were only covering the launch of the site.

    • U.S. government could save billions by going open-source

      Here’s another way our federal government can save some money during these tough economic times. Based on a study conducted by various organizations, the U.S. government could potentially save $23.6 billion by going open-source, using virtualization technologies and cloud computing.

    • Medvedev Confirms Free Software Support

      [via Google Translate: President of the Russian Federation as outlined its position on free software: «Another issue - this is information technology in the social sphere. We actually tried to do so as part of a national project. Probably something that succeeded, but for now this is just the beginning. We must consider that the next move - to the domestic free software. I dealt with this topic, the results we have, we have already prepared their programs, which allow to create, in essence, a product is qualitative, based on free software, but is already tied to our realities ».]


  • Looking for Good Ideas for ODF-Next

    This is a good chance to get your ideas in early and have a real impact on where we go with ODF in the next major release. But please, do not give me ideas via blog comments. We can only accept ideas sent through the above OASIS comment submission procedure, which is necessary to ensure that ODF remains an open standard that anyone can implement.

  • Mobile industry needs open standards

    The industry needs an open mobile ecosystem to better meet the needs of new market entrants, according to top executives.


  • Censorship

    • Britain’s no-photographing-cops law: even the cops hate it

      The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s radio show As it Happens did a great job covering the new British law that makes it a crime to take a picture of a police officer or a building, where that picture might be useful in “planning an act of terrorism.” First, they interviewed Peter Murray, Vice-President of the National Union of Journalists, who, predictably, worries that his members will find themselves with arrest-records as terrorists for violating the law.

    • Secret report reveals how MEPs make millions

      A LEAKED internal report has revealed systematic abuses by Euro MPs of parliamentary allowances that enable them to pocket more than £1m in profits from a single five-year term, writes Jonathan Oliver.

    • E P I C A l e r t

      Table of Contents
      [1] Facebook Reverses Terms of Service on Eve of EPIC Complaint
      [2] Federal Court Upholds Opt-In Privacy Rule for Telephone Services
      [3] Trade Commission Issues Guidelines for Behavioral Advertising
      [4] Homeland Security Appoints New Chief Privacy Officer
      [5] Final Medical Privacy Rules Adopted in Congress
      [6] News in Brief
      [7] EPIC Bookstore: “In Confidence”
      [8] Upcoming Conferences and Events
      – Join EPIC on Facebook http://epic.org/facebook

  • Copyrights

    • Because our copyrights are worth more than your human rights

      Monday is the last day of the internet blackout campaign organised and in support of it I have blacked out my avatars on Twitter and Facebook as well as on this page. Why? It’s to appeal a very badly thought-out law that’s been passed in New Zealand, one that the media lobby would love to see introduced in Europe too – it’s already been introduced by threats in Ireland and we had a near-miss in the UK and in Germany. We need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the kiwis. If the media lobby gets away with it over there, the rest of us will be picked off one-by-one via the global reach of the WTO and WIPO.

    • Spot On

      Best summary of the New Zealand Blackout that I’ve seen….


    • New Zealand Temporarily Backs Down From Controversial Copyright Law

      It looks like the widespread protests against New Zealand’s awful copyright law have finally made government officials recognize that something is wrong.

    • ACTA: questions in the European Parliament

      Whether the European Parliament will be able to scrutinise ACTA – Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement – is the topic of an oral question tabled for the March session of the European Parliament. The question, from Swedish MEP Jens Holm , asks whether the final draft of of any forthcoming agreement will be published by the Council before final agreement and whether the European and national Parliaments will be able to scrutinise the text. A third question asks that the Council should not agree and rubber stamp the ACTA during the Parliament’s recess for the elections.

    • Obama Administration Mulls Constitutionality of Copyright Act

      In a few weeks, we’ll likely know the Obama administration’s position on whether it supports hefty monetary awards in file sharing litigation brought by the Recording Industry Association of America.

      The Bush administration’s position was clear. It supported the Copyright Act’s penalties of up to $150,000 per infringed song.

    • Associated Press Considers Locking Up Its Online Content

      You can almost hear Reuters, CNN, UPI and a few others laugh maniacally over the news that the Associated Press is considering locking up its content.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist studying the Free Open Source Software movement 04 (2004)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

Quick Mention: Microsoft Could Grab ITV Like It Grabbed BBC

Posted in Antitrust, DRM, Europe, Microsoft at 8:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IN THE last short report about mischievous BBC-Microsoft overlap, the issue of insiders was discussed and also shown. This latest development is actually covered in a few more places such as this and this, but they totally miss the point about media control and exclusion of GNU/Linux due to Microsoft corruption. It only gets worse over time.

There is another new report suggesting that Microsoft might attempt to do to ITV (another British television entity) what it did to the BBC. To quote:

Microsoft says it has no plans to revive the Kangaroo online video joint venture planned by British broadcasters but blocked for being anticompetitive. It follows a report that Ashley Highfield, the former chief executive of the Kangaroo, now at Microsoft, was talking to broadcasters about possible partnerships. A joint venture between MSN and ITV would be an interesting option.

Italy’s public television too has been ruined by Microsoft. It’s rendered partly obsolete by excluding GNU/Linux users due to the channels’ use of Microsoft technology.

How can this illness be ended? As the financial crisis serves to show, the ‘free’ market does not work because it assumes the honesty and goodwill of participants. In the cases above, what observers tend to find is a group of people serving personal interests or interests of other companies.

There is an interesting new article about a man who wrote a book in support of stronger antitrust action. Portions of it refer specifically to Microsoft.

When the full history of Silicon Valley is written, attorney Gary Reback will occupy a spot halfway between a modern-day Tom Paine and Paul Revere. Nobody was more responsible than the 59-year-old Tennessee native for the legal assault on Microsoft a decade ago.


Reback was there for almost all the key battles — defending Apple in its fight with mail-order merchants; holding Borland’s standard against Lotus before the U.S. Supreme Court; persuading the government to question the Microsoft-Intuit deal, and of course, persuading Justice Department officials to sue Microsoft as a monopolist.

Mote regulation is certainly needed. Without regulation, there is anarchy. Additionally, only transparency keeps people honest and only open standards keep information accessible. Corrupting standards bodies, as as Microsoft so arrogantly did, is grounds for antitrust action too.

Microsoft is Having Financial Problems

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 8:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Debt and credit

THE TITLE may be a little deceiving because it does not refer directly to Microsoft's financial difficulties*, which are becoming more of a common knowledge. It’s actually about indicators of Microsoft scrambling for cash that it may never receive or recover anyway because other people’s coffers run dry(er).

In the following article from Gamasutra, Steve Ballmer is quoted as saying — although not in these words — that he is concerned about the impact of the meltdown. This follows some of the things he said last year about the company needing the bailout, which he personally lobbied for recently. They are in serious trouble and they are fully aware of it.

The company recently revealed declining profits in the fourth quarter of 2008, and announced a plan to cut 5,000 jobs as a result.

Another money-grabbing reflex from Microsoft is an attack against distributors whom it used to depend on (and maybe still does, especially now). Based on the news, those pursuits generally continue and they involve not only Microsoft software.

A 24-year-old Texas man has been sentenced to 41 months in prison for selling counterfeit software on about 40 Web sites, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Overall, this works in favour of Free software.

Perhaps the best example of Microsoft’s scramble for cash is this bunch of ludicrous moves:

Microsoft is trying to get severance money back from some employees it laid off last month.

In letters written to an unspecified number of laid off Microsoft workers, the company says that due to an administrative error the company paid them too much severance.

“… An inadvertent administrative error occurred that resulted in an overpayment in severance pay by Microsoft,” the letter states. “We ask that you repay the overpayment and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to you.”

What was going through Microsoft’s mind? Is it really expecting to see this cash? CNET calls it a “public relations blunder.”

Microsoft says it made an accounting error when it laid off some employees last month and now feels the best way to correct the error is with what will likely add up to a public relations blunder.

The software giant, which recently laid off 1,400 employees, sent letters (see image below) this week to some of those former workers letting them know that their severance payouts were a bit too “generous” and respectfully requested that the former employees pay back that money, according to a report Saturday on TechCrunch.

This is also covered in:

  1. Microsoft wants severance pay back from some fired staff
  2. Oops: Microsoft Asks Some Laid Off Workers To Send Back Part Of Their Severance
  3. Microsoft Asks For a Refund From Laid-Off Workers

Interestingly, while Microsoft implements layoffs that are not sufficient in terms of their scale, the company continues to pursue cheaper labour.

Locally, Microsoft had more than 1,000 H-1B visas approved for 2008, the fifth-highest for any U.S. employer. Others, like the University of Washington, got approval for 104; Seattle Children’s Home for one.


As unemployment spreads, immigration attorneys believe some big employers may be making fewer H-1B hires this year. Microsoft said last week that, in light of economic conditions, “we are constantly evaluating our appropriate staffing levels.”

Bloomberg has a widely-cited report covering the issue as well.

As many as 5,000 employees are being shown the door at Microsoft, which uses more H1-B guest-worker visas than any other U.S. company. Some employees and politicians say Microsoft should get rid of foreigners first

This is a subject that we previously covered in:

Microsoft’s wealth — or lack thereof* — set aside, people who run (or ran) the company have been stashing cash for quite some time and despite bankruptcies, their problems are few. Owing to the so-called ‘stimulus’, which is a euphemism for “public looting”, people like Paul Allen will gain a lot more personal wealth so that their buying spree (things like huge boats) can carry on.

Billionaire Paul Allen is a Microsoft cofounder, the owner of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and the owner of the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers.


So what will Paul do with that money until 2014? Invest it in technology that reduces our dependence on foreign oil and creates new “green collar” jobs for America, per the goals of Obama’s stimulus plan, of course.

Or Paul maybe can buy a new boat. He already owns two, here is one of them

This article contains a self-explanatory picture. There is a famous battle of egos there between Paul Allen of Larry Ellison (over who has the bigger yacht).

Personal wealth is never to be confused with commercial wealth of the companies owned by those people. A recommended multi-part show which comes to mind is titled “The Century of the Self” (video). It explores some issues that are close to the theme here in Boycott Novell.
* The company may already be in debt if not very near to it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 22nd, 2009 – Part 3

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 22nd, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 22nd, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

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