Links 30/03/2009: GNU/Linux in Danish Ministry

Posted in News Roundup at 8:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 39
  • Never fear Linux

    No matter what Linux distro you are using, it’s a matter of you learning it wholeheartedly. You might hit some snags along the way, maybe printer sharing problems or wireless internet issues, but the thing is that you shouldn’t just give it all up. You still have time if you give it a chance. And a new thing learned gives you enough edge over others who probably don’t have the skill. It will probably come in handy not just for your personal needs but probably for work too. It might also give you an unforeseen opportunity in the future, just you wait and see.

  • DK: Telecom Agency offers open source desktop to staff

    The Danish National IT and Telecom Agency (ITST), part of the ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, has started offering its staff the choice between a GNU/Linux based desktop or a proprietary desktop, announced Christian Lanng, head of the agency’s IT and Infrastructure division, at its conference on open source and public administrations, held in Copenhagen on 19 March.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation Welcomes credativ, Strengthens Presence in Europe

      The Linux Foundation welcomed its newest member today, the European-based free and open source standards consulting firm, credativ. This new partnership is a particularly exciting one, thanks to credativ’s presence in the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada, and its focus on creating and implementing standards.

    • What’s new in Linux kernel 2.6.29?

      The second new file system is called SquashFS and has actually been used by many Linux distributions in the past. SquashFS is designed for general read-only filesystem use so it is of limited practical application to the bulk of users. Where it does come in handy is for Live CDs and for embedded systems.

    • ext4 File System: Introduction and Benchmarks

      Destined to become the default file system for the more popular Linux distributions, ext4 is out of experimental mode and gearing up for production environments. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Applications

    • 21 of the Best Free Linux DVD Tools

      The venerable DVD is a removable media format that was conceived over 15 years ago. However, it still remains today the ideal format for many uses, although blu-ray is starting to make significant inroads in the field of multimedia playback.

    • Review: Amarok 2.0.2 – Better Than 1.4?

      Amarok always had the reputation of being the most popular and powerful audio player available on the Linux platform, and it really deserved that position. I myself am a fan of Amarok for over three years now, and there was nothing I could think of which Amarok 1.4 did not have.

    • New releases catch-up

      Here’s some recent updates for those of you too busy to hit F5 on Freshmeat every 10 seconds. Ardour 2.8 is now available featuring track and bus templates, distributable VST support and AudioUnit state saving — stuff which has to be cool if you’re into digital audio. Gnumeric 1.9.5 brings everyone’s favourite non-OOo spreadsheet closer to 2.0 with bugfixes en masse, while HardInfo 0.5 displays a shedload more details about your system, and remains the essential fact-gathering tool when you need to get Linux help.

    • D2 Technologies’ mCUE(TM) Adds Support for IBM(R) Lotus(R) Sametime(R) on Linux Smartphones

      D2 Technologies, the market leader in embedded IP communications software platforms, today announced that its mCUE(TM) converged mobile communications client software is now interoperable with IBM(R) Lotus(R) Sametime(R), today’s most widely deployed unified communications (UC) platform in the enterprise. Through this native support, D2′s mCUE achieves increased versatility and better promotes the use of Linux-based mobile devices in enterprise UC scenarios. In turn, OEMs and ODMs can now use mCUE’s converged presence-based communications user interface (CUI) to more quickly develop and introduce to market new mobile devices that integrate all session types, including cellular voice call, VoIP, IM, SMS and email messaging.

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Five things every Linux distribution should do

      I’ve started using Linux with Redhat 6.2, which was released in 2000. The list of popular distributions available back then was limited to Redhat, Mandriva, SUSE, Debian and Slackware. The search for ‘Active’ distributions on distrowatch listed 296 distributions as of today.

      People choose different distributions based on the popularity, localization, recommendation etc. The explosion in the number of distributions increased the chance of getting a more personalized Linux but this resulted in lack of standards among the distributions as every distribution started using different package management/hardware detection/configuration tools.

    • Review of Tiny Core Linux 1.2 and 1.3 RC2

      I have to admit that I never really saw the point of these mini distributions in the past where you had to use a cut-down set of applications which made life harder. Sure, they were small, but in a time when computers are really fast and powerful, who cares about little tiny systems that can’t do everything out of the box? Well I never liked big bloated systems either and I’m a fan of simplicity. My time using Tiny Core has really opened my eyes to a completely different way of computing, and I love it. It’s not a crippled tiny system with hopeless applications, but rather an excellent framework which you can then build into anything you want. The packages on offer are on the old side, however, and there is a limited range of software available. To me, this seems like the only thing holding Tiny Core back and is something that I’m sure will change over time. After having used Tiny Core for a short time, it does appear to have everything I need to work with out of the box. I can’t wait to see what else I can discover.

    • Why do I like Debian

      Each distro has it’s own appeal to different people. I am not going to make a judgment on any distro in this article. Just saying why I Like Debian so much.

      I like other distros for other reasons and maybe I’ll explain those sometime in the future. Maybe not.

      All I can say is give me a Debian netinstall disk or a base livecd and I’m a happy camper.

      For me, it just doesn’t get better than that.

    • Red Hat

      • Citigroup interested in buying Red Hat?

        And what about the old rumors of Oracle purchasing Red Hat? Even those have surfaced again. And the IBM/Sun take over has found new teeth. The latter purchase of Sun by IBM makes good sense – at least for Red Hat. IBM and Sun both make machines that run Red Hat Linux. If they came together it would mean an even larger company producing Red Hat powered hardware. Of course this would probably only fuel both the rumor mill and the desire of companies to want to swoop down and take away Red Hat.

    • Ubuntu

      • How Do I Create a Bootable Flash Drive?

        You’ll need to get an operating system onto the flash drive. You’ve got a number of options, and I’ll discuss two. But first, a couple of rules that apply to any bootable flash drive:

        1) Make sure your PC can boot from a flash drive. You can do this in the hardware settings (also called the CMOS or BIOS settings), but I can’t tell you exactly how. Boot your computer and look for a message like “Press KEY for Setup.” It will be one of the first things to appear on your screen as you power up. Press that key immediately. Hunt the resulting menu for something like Boot Options or Boot Order. You want to make sure that USB devices are listed

      • Jackalope sighting: first look at Ubuntu 9.04 beta

        Ubuntu 9.04, codenamed Jaunty Jackalope, has reached the beta stage. Ars hops onto the new beta release to see how it performs.

      • Ubuntu 9.0.4 ScreenShots Beta

        Here is my 3rd installment of the 9.0.4 Beta ScreenShots. My first ScreenShot was Kubuntu and then my 2nd one was Xubuntu. Finally I get to

      • Ubuntu Podcast Episode #23 – Leslie Hawthorn
      • Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope Beta on the Mini 9
      • Xubuntu 9.0.4 ScreenShots Beta

        My 2nd set of ScreenShots, this time it is Xubuntu 9.0.4 Beta based on the New Jaunty Jackalope Beta Release of Ubuntu 9.0.4. I absolutely love Xubuntu since it uses the very light and efficient Xfce 4.6. Granted usually I am praising the fancier Ubuntu based distros, but I do love the simpleness and the fast loading of Applications in Xubuntu. Xubuntu also comes with Abiword and Gnumeric, which is the equivalent of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.The other Ubuntu based distro’s have been coming with Open Office 2.4 or Open Office 3.0

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Lantronix Introduces New Linux Capability With Embedded Device Server MatchPort AR

      2009 Embedded Systems Conference — Lantronix, Inc. (NASDAQ: LTRX), a leading provider of secure, remote device networking and data center management technologies, today announced support for Linux on their wired embedded device server product, MatchPort AR. The new offering caters to the growing Linux development community, expanding the market opportunity for the product.

    • Phones

      • Palm Pré to arrive next month?

        The much-hyped Palm Pré could be launched next month, according to Tweets posted by the head of one firm thought to be testing the would-be iPhone killer.

        Jim Van, CEO of Logicom, reportedly updated his Twitter feed last week to say that the phone’s release date will be 30 April.

      • Smartphone Sales Predicted to Stay Strong, to Become Led By Open Source

        The LiMo Linux-based phones are not having a huge impact on the market, and there still is only one Android-based handset in the United States: the T-Mobile G1. The G2 successor is initially only to be sold outside the U.S. It’s a shame that more Android handsets weren’t shown at the recent Mobile World Congress conference–now the biggest global event showcasing new smartphones.

      • Open Source Set to Thump Apple (in the Long Run)

        The number of mobile application users is set to quadruple in five years, according to new research from In-Stat. And while Apple’s iPhone is leading the charge, In-Stat says worldwide sales of open source-based smartphones are expected to be double that of devices based on Apple’s software over the same time period.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Moblin V2 vs. Ubuntu Netbook Remix vs. Ubuntu MID

        Last week Intel had pushed out a second alpha release of Moblin V2 and now it boots even faster, which means they are down to the point of being able to boot in just a few seconds. Beyond a very quick boot process, they have already incorporated kernel mode-setting and other newer Linux/X.Org technologies while also working to build a desktop environment around the Clutter OpenGL tool-kit. Moblin is certainly turning into an interesting Intel creation, but how does its performance compare to other mobile-focused Linux distributions? We have benchmarked Moblin V2 Alpha 2 and compared it against what is likely their biggest competitor in the mobile space, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, and the LPIA-based Ubuntu MID edition. Which of these mobile operating systems is the fastest? We hope to find out today.

      • What next for the netbook?

        Price-wise I’d say that high-end netbooks are perhaps getting too far away from the initial premise of a small, cheap companion. These days the high-end models cost at least $900. Kogan Technologies is set to shake things up with its $499 10-inch netbook running gOS – a flavour of Linux designed to play nicely with Google services. I’m wondering if this will put pressure on other netbook makers to get back to basics and release a stripped-down 10 inch netbook to compete at around the $500 mark. Such a price war would certainly see netbooks take off again.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 open source books worth downloading

    Free and open source software is all about sharing so, prompted by a reader who emailed me last week to ask about books on Linux, I spent some time over the weekend doing research. The result is a short list of books that users – from newbies to gurus – can download and read at their leisure. There are many more books than just these available online but I chose to limit the list to books that could be downloaded in full. I also chose a wide range of books, from introductions to Linux, books on implementing open source in schools and in Africa, to books that defined the evolution of free software.

  • State of the Project Report: Joomla! Web CMS

    The original intent was to use the GNU Public License (GPL) for Joomla! However, there was an entire ecosystem of proprietary extensions around the open source CMS, with many people making their entire living from these extensions.

    In 2005, the core team had a member of the OSM board write up a rider, granting an exception for these extension developers to use any license they wanted.

    This rider was added in May 2006, but that wasn’t the end of the issue. Over the next year, the core team began to worry that exceptions were not in fact legal within some interpretations of the GPL and may put the project in jeopardy. On June 14, 2007, the official announcement “Open Source Does Matter” appeared, re-committing Joomla! to full GPL compliance and promising that the road would not be littered with lawsuits or snap decisions.

  • Recession vs. FOSS

    Pundits and business executives alike are predicting gloomy economic times for 2009. But when the talk turns to free and open source software (FOSS), suddenly the mood brightens. Whether their concern is the business opportunities in open source or the promotion of free software idealism, experts see FOSS as starting from a strong base and actually benefiting from the hard times expected next year.

  • New technologies coming to Web start-ups’ rescue

    Investors and entrepreneurs say cloud computing, new — and free — programing languages, open-source software, and use of the Internet to distribute and publicize products have made starting a company relatively inexpensive and will allow startups to ride out the credit crunch and recession.

  • Sabre Holdings Standardizes on FUSE Open Source ESB

    Sabre Holdings, parent of the world-renown Sabre travel reservation system and Travelocity.com, will standardize on Progress Software’s FUSE open source ESB for real-time integration and SOA with its B2B partners.

    The Sabre decision to settle on FUSE as a standard component in its infrastructure reflects how far open source ESBs have matured in their ability to deliver fault-tolerant, mission-critical integration, executives from both companies said.

  • Albatross: open source Air Traffic Control software

    The Swiss company SkySoft has launched an open source community Air Traffic Control (ATC) project named Albatross. The first free application will be Albatross Display, an open source Air Traffic Controller environment. Albatross Display is expected to be released towards the end of June, under the GPL license. An enterprise version based on Albatross Display will also be produced, tested, certified and come with full professional support towards the end of the year, under the name of OpenSky Visual.

  • UP taps open source voting system

    THE University of the Philippines in Diliman held its first campus-wide computerized elections for the student council last month, with more than 10,000 students casting their votes and the results coming only minutes after the precincts were declared closed.

  • Open-source Flash Game Engine Now In Open Beta

    When it comes to gaming, the most popular platform isn’t the Nintendo Wii, but Flash, the interactive browser plugin that now boasts 99 percent market penetration on nearly a billion PCs. (Flash game advertising network Mochi Media currently counts 100 million players across its system alone.) That huge audience has led to a lot of games, but most of them are rudimentary at best, the product of amateur enthusiasts working with limited resources. That’s why I was excited to hear about PushButton, a Flash game engine from a team of seasoned game developers that’s free, open source, and associated with an innovative revenue model that should help spur its adoption.

  • Business

    • Digium® Launches Support Services for Open Source Asterisk®

      Digium®, Inc., the Asterisk® Company, today announced the general availability of support subscriptions for open source Asterisk. The software, which Digium’s Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Mark Spencer, created and released under the open source GNU General Public License (GPL) 10 years ago, is now the world’s most pervasive open source telephony platform. The new Asterisk support services allow organizations of any size to leverage the power of open source Asterisk with the confidence that their system is supported by a world-class support organization. The support subscriptions provide technical support, hardware replacements and substantial discounts on training programs to enable users to take full advantage of the power of the Asterisk platform.

    • Job Trends: Tomcat, Spring, Weblogic, JBoss, EJB

      Forrester recently described a trend that they refer to as “lean software” in their paper entitled Lean Software Is Agile, Fit-To-Purpose, And Efficient. They state that “lean software is emerging as the antidote to bloatware” and that “the trend toward lean software has been building for years, but the worldwide recession is accelerating it”.

    • Red Hat Adds Muscle to Apache CXF

      We’re happy to announce that as of today, Red Hat has become a key contributor to the Apache CXF, which is an open source, fully featured, easy to use Web Services framework. It is the combination of two projects: Celtix developed by IONA and XFire developed at Codehaus working together at the Apache Software Foundation.

    • Bad economy boosts open source

      The latest ‘Future of Open Source’ survey was revealed at the InfoWorld’s Open Source Business Conference last week. The survey was conducted with 435 respondents and focused on topics surrounding open source software such as the impact of the economic recession, key market drivers, and predictions.

    • IT Cost-Cutting: Consider Virtualization, Look to the Cloud, Check Out Open Source

      In this episode, our analyst guests make their top five recommendations for cutting enterprise IT costs amid the economic downturn. How does IT adapt and adjust to the downturn? Is IT to play a defensive role in helping to slash costs and reduce its own financial burden on the enterprise?

    • Is the downturn good for open source?

      More importantly, the areas where open source is most competitive are different nowadays. In 2000-2002, open source fought for dominance over the operating system, database software, and middleware, and winners included Linux, MySQL, and JBoss. Building upon the spoils of that victory, open source has now spread up the software stack into business applications and into mobile and desktop applications that businesses and professionals use every day. The result is that the open source movement has an entirely new group of people to convert.

    • Open-Source Lucene Fits Site Search Alternative

      The free open-source toolkit Apache Lucene has been making its way into more Web content management systems, according to recent research from CMS Watch. Published findings in “The Web CMS Report 2009″ suggest that 40% of manufacturers supporting CMS now bundle the app into their platform.

    • Open Source will thrive in turbulent economy

      A panel of top experts in the commercial open source industry, including executives from Acquia, Novell, Mozilla, Sun Microsystems, and SugarCRM, announced the results of the North Bridge Venture Partners’ annual “Future of Open Source” survey.


    • The GPL – Not fade away

      These days free and open source software (FOSS) is recognised as a significant model for the development and distribution of software, transforming the way that software is written, perceived, packaged and sold. A large part of the success of free and open source software has been due to the revolution in software licensing that was led by the GNU General Public License (GPL).

      So it is surprising to see a re-emergence of the argument that “we don’t need the GPL anymore”, (the “we” refers to “open source” developers, and more specifically, to the Linux kernel developers), and that the argument is underpinned by the hoary suggestion that business is “afraid” of the GPL.

  • Sun

    • Forcing Dutch procurement to be transparent

      You may remember last September I published an interview with crusading Dutch IT journalist Brenno de Winter. During our meeting, we discussed the sorry state of ICT procurement in Europe and the findings from a research group that many tenders illegally specified products rather than technologies.

  • Government

    • CPM, BJP IT-Vision Plan To Help: Expert

      CPM and BJP, in their IT-Vision document have agreed to implement open-standards and use of open-source software. Open-standards benefit organizations ensuring inter-operability, while open-source software significantly reduces perils of vendor-lock

      The IT Vision document of CPM and BJP mentions to implement open-standards. This will bring significant benefits to the IT enabling industries. By adopting open-standards, enterprises can safely install open-source software, said G.Nagarjuna, chairperson of Free Software Foundation of India and a mentor for Ph.D students (Software) at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai.

    • Is BJP’s ‘IT Vision’ a boost for open source?

      As India is going for another general elections, the recently released IT Vision document of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has become a hot subject for debate.

      While the vision document includes promises such as multipurpose national identity card (MNIC) with unique citizen identification number (CIN), 12 million new IT-enabled jobs in rural areas, and laptop computers at Rs 10,000 for students, with facility for interest-free loans, it is the prominence given to open source that has made the party’s IT vision a hot subject for debate among the industry people.

  • Open

    • Social Documentation

      The new MAA Documentation System combines open-source technologies with deep social computing principles to create a truly innovative approach to museum documentation. The new MAA Documentation System shifts the age-old documentation principles of standardized description and information accumulation to multi-vocal and multi-source accounts and distributed documentation.

      For the past few years, the MAA has been developing an open-source Documentation System. With over 20 years experience of developing its own Documentation Systems and Collections Management Systems, the MAA is just about to finish one of the most ambitious upgrades of its history. In fact, this system is the result of a complete re-think of its documentation practices. Thought the new system takes account of documentation standards, such as SPECTRUM, and newer developments such as CollectionSpace, it differs from the traditional approaches is several key respects.

  • Programming

    • Competitors: IBM-Sun Would Be Good for Java

      Red Hat is a member of the JCP Executive Committee which oversees the JCP. Sharples notes that what drives many of Red Hat’s contributions is the desire to make Java simpler to use for more people while retaining the power of the platform. JBoss contributions to the JCP include EJB 3 (nterprise java beans), Web Beans, Seam Framework and Hibernate.

    • EclipseSource Introduces Security for Open Source Downloads

      EclipseSource, the leading provider of Eclipse runtime products and services, today announced Yoxos SecureSource, a subscription-based service that provides secure access to a repository of certified open source plug-ins. The new service provides development teams with secured, reliable access to an uncompromised and consistent code base and is designed to alleviate concerns about source code authenticity and origin.

    • Aptana Unveils Cloud Integration for Java and Eclipse

      Aptana, Inc., today announced the immediate availability of Java support in its application hosting and life-cycle management service, Aptana Cloud Connect(TM). Aptana Cloud Connect is architected to integrate with both leading cloud hosting providers and Aptana Studio, the popular open source web development IDE that also plugs into Eclipse. By integrating directly with Eclipse via Aptana Studio, Aptana Cloud Connect delivers unprecedented efficiency for authoring, deploying and managing Java, Ruby on Rails, PHP, and other types of web applications running in cloud data centers.


  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Save the European Internet – Write to Your MEPs (Again)

      Last week I was urging you to write to a particular set of MEPs about proposed changes to the Telecoms Package, which is wending its slow way through the European Union’s legislative system. Now it’s time to write to *all* you MEPs, since a crucially important vote in a couple of committees is to take place tomorrow. You can read more about what’s been happening and why that’s a problem on the La Quadrature du Net site, which also offers a detailed analysis of the Telecom Package and the proposed amendments.

    • Telecoms Package: the good, the bad and the ugly

      Members of European Parliament’s IMCO and ITRE committees vote on Tuesday on the Telecoms Package amendments. They have had little time to consider them, let alone to analyse and determine their meaning.

  • Copyrights

    • Disney and YouTube Close to Content Deal, Report Says

      Google is reportedly in talks with Disney to stream ESPN and ABC television programming such as “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost,” and “Ugly Betty” to YouTube. In a rumored twist to the negotiations YouTube is pressuring Disney not to cut a deal with rival Hulu to provide Disney-owned content to the site, according to reports from the site PaidContent.org.

    • Torrent Sharing Comes to Facebook: Will the RIAA Step In?

      Soon you may be seeing links to download copies of Star Wars or the newest Britney Spears album pop up your Facebook news feed. This is because The Pirate Bay, one of the world’s most popular websites for file sharing and torrents, now allows you to share links to download these files right from your FacebookFacebook reviewsFacebook reviews profile.

    • Google launches free, legal music downloads in China

      Google Inc on Monday launched free downloads of licensed songs in China, while sharing advertising revenue with major music labels in a market rife with online piracy.

    • The Cyclopedia of New Zealand is now online for sharing

      The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre has just published the final volume of The Cyclopedia of New Zealand, making the full six-volume work available under a BY-SA NZ licence.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Nat Friedman 07

Ogg Theora

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

TomTom Caves; Will Microsoft Start Charging for Mono Next?

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Kernel, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, TomTom at 12:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent protection expires

Summary: Wake up call to Mono fans as TomTom pays Microsoft royalties for FAT

FOR those who have not heard yet, TomTom settled with Microsoft and agreed to pay for a Free software implementation of FAT. What about all those products out there which integrate Mono, a free implementation of Microsoft’s crown jewel and Java wannabe, .NET? Microsoft would insist that it took $3 billion in R&D.

We’ll write more about the subject later this week, but as Reuters puts it, “Under the terms of a five-year agreement, Microsoft said TomTom will pay Microsoft for use of the eight car navigation and file management system patents in the case Microsoft brought against TomTom, while Microsoft will be able to use the four patents included in the TomTom countersuit without any payment to TomTom.”

Does a “five-year agreement” sound familiar?

“Those Microsoft technologies just don’t belong in GNU/Linux; they belong in Ballnux.”According to other sources, “TomTom will remove from its products the functionality related to two file management system patents (the “FAT LFN patents”), which enables efficient naming, organizing, storing and accessing of file data, Microsoft said. TomTom will remove this functionality within two years, and the agreement provides for coverage directly to TomTom’s end customers under these patents during that time.” Groklaw says that ‘TomTom & Microsoft Settle “in a way that ensures TomTom’s full compliance with its obligations under the GPLv2″.’

Microsoft probably wins for Linux FUD in this case, so the question about who caved is irrelevant and OIN proved somewhat unhelpful.

All those Microsoft apologists who insist that the company does not use its patent offensively can hush up and Mono enthusiasts who pretend that it’s all right to just mimic Everything™ Microsoft™ can take their output and shove it in a sled (or SLED) where it belongs. Those Microsoft technologies just don’t belong in GNU/Linux; they belong in Ballnux. Speaking of which, here is a new article from Sam Varghese, who explains why SLED is a pointless product. It is — just as Novell aspired for it to be — a “cheap Windows”. Not cheap as in price; cheap as in poor.

SUSE 11 vs Windows 7: no contest


If one had to choose between an Exchange clone and Exchange itself, which one would you pick?

If there was a choice between a word processor that had Office compatibility and the real thing, why would you opt for a pretender?

If one needed to use Silverlight, then why opt for the clone that is always lagging behind in terms of full compliance?

Those who want to defeat Microsoft should stop copycatting Windows and signing patent deals. The first step may be to shun Novell projects like Mono and Moonlight and also alienate this company’s voice as far as Free software is concerned.

GNU/Linux should capitalise on its merits, not on temporary ‘protection’ from Microsoft and a permission to copy some features provided the user is paying royalties for patents that are neither legal in the large majority of the world nor even disclosed.

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

Bill Gates (when Microsoft was smaller)

Eye on Microsoft: Failures Galore This Week

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 9:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Some quick picks from the past week’s news

Workforce Crisis

From the ‘Microsoft press’: Inside Microsoft’s Worst Hard Time

Inside Microsoft’s Worst Hard Time


There were two huge numbers in this quarter. Microsoft suffered a decline in client revenue of 8 percent, which the company attributed to PC market weakness and a continued shift to lower-cost netbooks.

More from the ‘Microsoft press’: Microsoft’s January layoffs took effect today

Microsoft’s January layoffs took effect today


Some individuals have reported being laid off since the initial announcement. It’s not clear whether the company will let people go in dribs and drabs or make another large layoff announcement. Microsoft wouldn’t comment on this today.

And some more from the ‘Microsoft press’: Iowa governor trolling for Microsoft facility

Microsoft announced in August that the $500 million data center was to be built in West Des Moines, Iowa. But a significant economic downturn followed, and in January, Microsoft cut 5,000 jobs and postponed the project.


West Des Moines City Manager Jeff Pomerantz got the news of the postponement from Microsoft in January. He said at the time that the company hadn’t given the city a timeline of when the project will resume.

For context, see:

Microsoft employee assaulted and robbed in West Seattle

A Microsoft employee was Maced and punched until he blacked out Sunday morning in West Seattle, and police are searching for his attackers.

The man told police he was walking home from the 7-Eleven on Delridge Way Southwest and Southwest Henderson Street about 2 a.m. when he noticed three men following him.

Products Setback

Microsoft again delays identity management server (mentioned the other day)

Microsoft is again delaying the release of the anticipated upgrade to its Identity Lifecycle Manager 2.0 software that has been years in development.

The software is now slated to ship between January and March 2010, a slip that has angered some partners and users.


Q&A: Rippy on sparking Bonfire, disbanding Ensemble

In September, Microsoft announced that it would be shutting down its wholly owned development house Ensemble Studios. The move coincided with the software giant’s announcement that it was shedding 5,000 jobs to help cope with the worldwide economic slowdown.

Are Xbox 360′s E74 Failure’s The New RRoD? (more comments in Slashdot)

According to polls conducted by Joystiq and Engagdet, E74 failures on Xbox 360′s is on the rise. Joystiq asked readers to send in emails with reports of the failure, and recieved an overwhelming number of responses to their call. For those that aren’t acquainted with the dreaded E74 failure, it’s a problem that occurs when there is an AV cable error. On the surface anyway, because if the cable is still in working order (which it usually is) then it’s a scaler chip problem, directly involving the ANA/HANA chip which is connected to the AV cable; or in some cases it’s the GPU.

New Xbox 360 Hardware Failures Being Reported in Significant Numbers

Xbox 360 failures are on the rise since the launch of the New Xbox Experience

A known Xbox 360 hardware issue is beginning to surface in significant numbers recently based on research conducted by video game site Joystiq. Tentatively called the Xbox 360 E74 error, one of the lights on the “Ring of Lights” on the front of your Xbox 360 console flashes red and you receive the error code and message: “E74. System Error. Contact Xbox Customer Support”. The symptoms involve the bottom right portion of the indicator ring repeatedly flashing on and off and lines or snow will become visible across the screen.

Microsoft sacked its employee who blew the whistle on such failures (i.e. fired for saying the truth about failures that put people’s lives at risk and may have caused deaths).

Microsoft Wants You to Pay for E74 Repairs on Xbox 360s over a year old

I had a misunderstanding in my pervious article on the Xbox 360 E74 error. It ends up that Microsoft is saying that it will repair an E74 error stricken Xbox 360 for free only in the first year since purchase since it is still covered under the basic one year warranty so the E74 is ONLY covered by the normal warranty. After that you have to pay to get it fixed. They will pay for shipping but E74 error victims will have to pay to get it fixed if their Xbox 360 is over a year old.


I am sure that the Xbox Red Ring of Death debacle has devalued the perception of Microsoft as a brand outside of videogames. The RROD and E74 runs the risk of turning an entire generation of future consumers away from seeing Microsoft favorably.

I am not even going to mention how much the Jerry Seinfeld Windows Vista ads sucked.

Xbox Live Cancels Year-Long Prepaid Account, Demands Another Year’s Subscription To Reactivate

Xbox Live has struck again, this time by screwing up the auto-renewal on a customer’s account and ruining the prepaid annual membership he activated just three months ago.

Xbox designer accuses Microsoft of homophobia

Jamie Durrant, 38, who is homosexual, is suing Microsoft for £45,000 for “hurt feelings” because he says he was called by nicknames including ‘Fag Boy Jim’.

Xbox designer sues Microsoft for harassment

The plaintiff has also said that the firm didn’t have policies for dealing with such complaints about homophobic harassment. He’d been employed by Lionhead Studios for 11 years, and the company was bought out by Microsoft two years ago. Durrant states the harassment began last January.

Lionhead Employee Sues Microsoft Over ‘Homophobic Abuse’

Microsoft also angered the lesbian population for banning a player last month.

Latest Signs That Microsoft Loses the Fight for the Web

Posted in Google, Microsoft at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) fails to catch on and Yahoo! flees Microsoft

IN OUR last post about the demise of Microsoft on the Web, we commented on the release of IE8 and negotiations with Yahoo! In both cases, things do not work out particularly well, so this is just a quick update to say that, first of all, IE8 is not well received.

Aodhan Cullen, StatCounter founder and CEO, described the users’ reaction to the launch of IE8 as “underwhelming,” according to Channel Web.

In addition — and perhaps more encouragingly — Yahoo seems to be slipping through Microsoft’s fingers.

Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz is more focused on revving up the company’s products than on cutting a search outsourcing deal with Microsoft (MSFT), according to Thomas Weisel analyst Christa Quarles.

This is also covered here and here, with other reports suggesting that Yahoo is moving on for the time being. Microsoft can’t be particularly excited about this because it still wants a deal that enables it to suck Yahoo’s remaining blood supply (and market share).

Microsoft’s real target is known to everyone.

“Every time you use Google, you’re using a machine running the Linux kernel.”

Chris DiBona, Google

“I’ve got my kids brainwashed: You don’t use Google, and you don’t use an iPod.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO (on CNN)

“I’m going to f—ing kill Google.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO (quote from Sydney Morning Herald)

“Google’s not a real company. It’s a house of cards.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO (as quoted by court transcripts)

Microsoft Pays Professor to Write a Paper Against IBM’s GNU/Linux-Powered Mainframes

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gavel in silk

Summary: Microsoft’s probable lawsuit by proxy against IBM revisited; Is Apple too a victim?

MICROSOFT’S “academic kickbacks” are no news to us. Microsoft pays hundreds of dollars to professors who secretly promote its products (and bullies those who don't). Microsoft was doing almost exactly the same thing to throw fire at the GNU GPL version 3. The company from Redmond routinely pays academia to promote its agenda and here is the very latest example which comes from the New York Times.

In a paper commissioned by Microsoft examining the alternative mainframe technologies, Walter F. Tichy, a professor of computer science at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany, concluded that, as a result of I.B.M.’s actions, “customers have been denied the benefits of technological innovation and must instead pay above-market prices for I.B.M. mainframe solutions and premium wages for a dwindling mainframe workforce.”

There is some more information in the writer’s blog.

Microsoft’s name popped up on a few occasions in my article published Monday about I.B.M.’s moves over the last couple of years to keep tight control over the mainframe computer market. As it turns out, Microsoft paid for a study about servers that can emulate mainframes, financed two mainframe emulation companies suing I.B.M on antitrust grounds and sponsored a trade group critical of I.B.M.’s decision to buy its most significant competitor in the mainframe market.

In the past, Microsoft has also enjoyed a cozy relationship with the SCO Group, which has sued I.B.M.

The legal action from T3 seemed like it had been initiated by Microsoft, too. Several publications, including the Financial Times, subscribed to this analysis as a reasonable possibility.

Vis-à-vis lawsuits by proxy, Apple has come under a barrage of lawsuits recently. Regarding this article from Ars Technica, said Pamela Jones from Groklaw: “Is there anybody out there who might want Apple’s bottom line negatively affected?” She is of course insinuating that these attacks on Apple’s successful products seem to suggest that Microsoft might be pulling strings and this would be far from the first time.

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Microsoft ‘Inherits’ VMware, Republican National Committee, Democrat Influence Also

Posted in America, Microsoft, Virtualisation, VMware at 8:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft has its people installed at VMware and RNC; Microsoft lobbying and Obama pressure seen

VMware’s latest recruitment of Microsoft folks is something that we've already covered some days ago.

In order to reinforce our analysis, we hereby present more analysis which concurs. InfoWorld’s (IDG) virtualisation expert has posted an essay that he titles “Ex-Microsoft execs continue filling the VMware lineup” and he writes:

VMware’s executive roster is beginning to look very familiar to the old Microsoft regime. Since Diane Greene’s departure, it seems as though a few key executive positions have fallen into the hands of former Microsoft employees.


From the outside looking in, there has never been much of a positive relationship between VMware and Microsoft. So it will be interesting to see how much the growing Microsoft executive presence within VMware will define and shape the company’s vision as well as how it will effect the competition between the two companies moving forward.

VMware was actually prepared to sue Microsoft or at least issue an antitrust complaint about a year before Tucci kicked Diane Greene out of her throne (she left along with her colleagues). It’s like she was overthrown by a Microsoft coup, headed by Microsoft’s partner of the year. Microsoft’s 'planter' Maureen O'Gara proudly proclaims that this ‘regime change’ is indeed happening. A few days ago she published the article “VMware Continues To Reek of Microsoft.” In InternetNews.com, we found the article “Microsoft, VMware Talk Up Lower Power Bills.” That too was published a few days ago.

Keep it where it’s warm, eh?

Another entity to keep an eye on is the Republican National Committee (RNC). According to this new press release, a Microsoft executive has just been made a director there.

Until September 2007, Todd was a Microsoft executive where he held a number of senior leadership positions, most recently General Manager, Media Strategy and Monetization for MSN. Todd was the Streaming Media Evangelist at MSNBC.com where he wrote the initial strategy and business plan for MSN Video Product Unit. Under his leadership, MSN Video inaugurated over 100 traditional TV brands into broadband video and its revenues grew fourfold over four consecutive years. Prior to joining Microsoft, Todd was Co-Founder and CEO of theDial, a venture-capital backed Internet radio network. theDial’s syndication network was the first to welcome Fortune 500 companies and national consumer brands to Internet radio advertising. His most recent company is SpinSpotter, a venture-capital backed, semantic web business and winner of a 2008 DEMOgod Award.

This was also covered in TechCrunch (or via The Washington Post) and some other sites that offer additional details following the announcement from RNC.

The RNC just sent out a press release announcing the appointment of former Microsoft executive Todd Herman as the RNC’s new media director. This is a key part of Steele’s efforts to get the Republican Party tuned in to digital media and its place in modern politics.


The Republican National Committee tapped a former Microsoft executive to spearhead the party’s efforts to vastly improve its use of technology, RNC chairman Michael Steele announced Monday.

For those who think that Microsoft influence in the Republican camp is rather futile right now, well… we have some more news. Several days ago we found reports about Microsoft taking its lobbying of the Senate/Democrats up a notch. Watch this: Microsoft Taps Pryor To Lobby Senate

Microsoft has hired David Pryor Jr. as director of government affairs, where he will lobby the Senate.

The company’s newest lobbyist has family ties to the Senate. His father, is former Sen. David Pryor, D-Ark. and his younger brother is Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. who was elected in 2002.

And this:

FedEx lobbyist David Pryor Jr. is joining Microsoft as director of government affairs for the Senate.

He’ll lead the software giant’s efforts in lobbying the Senate, handling pressing economic, education and health issues and promoting online security polices.

Pryor’s younger brother is Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.); their father is former Sen. David Pryor (D-Ark.).

“David’s extensive work with Congress and with various federal agencies and his strong relationships give him the ability to advance Microsoft’s goals on Capitol Hill,” said Microsoft’s managing director for U.S. government affairs, Fred Humphries.

For older information about Microsoft’s affairs with the Democrats, see:

This morning we found that Microsoft is even giving instructions to Obama now.

Microsoft tells Obama to spend cash on broadband

THE SOFTWARE giant Vole has told the US government to spend its stimulus money providing broadband fibre networks to critical public institutions.
d with various federal agencies and his strong relationships give him the ability to advance Microsoft’s goals on Capitol Hill,” said Microsoft’s managing director for U.S. government affairs, Fred Humphries.

Was that 'Microsoft bridge' which taxpayers fund not enough for Microsoft?

Hands grab money

Microsoft Takes Dumping Tactics up a Notch

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML at 6:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Let them eat Vista

Summary: Microsoft’s nervousness is showing as more and more freebies get spread to young people around the world

IT IS trivial to tell when Microsoft is losing market share. It starts giving products for free and sometimes even pays (bribes) for people to have them gratis. We covered some examples before, but we wish to draw readers’ attention to new evidence of these tactics, which are indicative of misery.

In response to the threat of Free software, not so long ago Microsoft introduced two programmes that it dubbed DreamSpark and BizSpark. The language used here, as in Silverlight, is deceiving, because it characterises lock-in using light (spark), which tickles and messes about with people’s inherent connotations. This is intentional, it’s not a coincidence. Silverlight used to be called Sparkle when it was first conceived or developed.

Previously, we wrote about DreamSpark’s connection to GNU/Linux and Free software in [1, 2, 3, 4] and here is what we find in the past week’s news:

We recently wrote about the impact of this in India. They are spreading Silverlight binaries around the Web, then lock innocent people in while they are young. They use those very same people to also fight the openness and interoperability (in the cross-platform/browser/device sense) of the Web we all share.

It ought to be added that it’s not just the *Spark family. In order to impose and proliferate the OOXML trap, Microsoft is pushing Office 2007 to students. It’s given for a symbolic price provided that they are young (sometimes naïve) and thus won’t consider long-term costs. From the press:

This simply means that Office rivals are doing exceptionally well, so just as EDGI documents suggest, Microsoft is willing to make no profit provided that competition gets blocked. All the above articles totally miss this important point and just parrot Microsoft’s press release.

We also found out last night that Microsoft is exploiting financial crisis to capture a poor African population and turn it into a Microsoft booster. The same thing is being done in America.

Shane O’Neill Meets Steve Ballmer, Constantly Attacks GNU/Linux from IDG

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, Vista 7, Windows at 6:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Advisory notice

Summary: Studying the motives of an IDG pundit who attacks GNU/Linux quite frequently these days

THIS POST IS WELL OVERDUE as it addresses an issue that we’ve been seeing for a long while and also discussed in the IRC channel. IDG/IDC, which has financial ties with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], has not just been ignoring GNU/Linux; lately it has been publicly defaming it and the people responsible for it are usually the same.

While IDG writers like Preston Gralla openly seem like some sort of Rob Enderle wannabes, there is another such person called Shane O’Neill, who typically writes in CIO (although it spreads to other IDG Web sites). To give just a sample of his very latest output, there is this. Another brand-new example is this one, which bears the message of a defeat for GNU/Linux. These are just part of an ongoing pattern and some further work can piece together older evidence too. It’s easy to find and there is hardly any contrary evidence.

About the Claims

To falsify O’Neill’s claims directly, the Microsoft talking points [1, 2] are are relying on NPD data (see Microsoft bias) which corresponds to US-only figures (but conveniently enough they don’t state this). It therefore refers only to part of the whole picture and they use the same technique to deceive about Zune, XBox, and Vista. GNU/Linux sub-notebooks are big in other parts of the world, despite the fact that there is pressure/collusion with OEMs.

As always, this brigade against GNU/Linux is trying to declare a defeat for GNU/Linux by playing the black art of statistics whilst Microsoft is dumping software almost free of charge. This was mentioned in a comment last night. Also, over the weekend SJVN explained what was happening here from a business perspective.

Microsoft is now hanging on to their desktop market-share and gained netbook market-share because they re-released XP Home, but it’s a Pyrrhic victory. The reason XP Home is so popular on netbooks isn’t that it’s better than Linux, it’s because Microsoft is essentially giving XP Home away to netbook vendors. Microsoft can’t afford to keep giving away its products, so XP needs to die as fast as possible so they can start selling users on Windows 7.

For reasons that we wrote about before, Vista 7 is bound to change nothing for the better and here is another short post about the subject.

So, your Win7 netbook will have to be fat enough to carry the full bloat of Windows 7, but Microsoft will simply block most of it from working. And limit you to three applications. If you’re like me, you keep your web browser and email open constantly, so that really means you can run only one application at a time. Did they learn nothing from the “Vista Capable” fiasco?

Of course, Microsoft wants your netbook experience to be miserable, so they can stick you for upgrade fees. It’s classic “bait and switch” marketing. You buy the netbook in the store because it looks cool and has a low price, get it home, and find out it’s nearly useless. What are you going to do? Throw it away, or shell out another few hundred so that your purchase doesn’t become an embarassing doorstop?

So that’s just addressing the message. But the messenger is no angel, either.

About the Bias

Shane O’Neill is no ordinary writer. It’s almost like a PR agent for Microsoft, but he is placed inside IDG. He wrote dozens of articles so far this year, systematically belittling GNU/Linux and glorifying Microsoft like a marketing machine. The convictions have been consistent.

One thing most readers will not know is this: He met Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer around the time of the company’s latest deal with EMC [1, 2, 3], which means that he is among those who are privileged enough to have ‘access’ to the company. It is an indication of intimacy.

“He met Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer around the time of the company’s latest deal with EMC…”Mary Jo Foley told me last year about Microsoft’s system of keeping ‘score’ with journalists using rewards and punishments; this impacts one’s ability to have Microsoft deny or provide access to people like Gates and Ballmer. This is why CNET’s Ina Fried, for example, gets access to Ballmer every year. S/he’s sucking up to Microsoft all the time, unlike some peers. The assignment of ‘buddies’ to journalists is another fascinating inside story and it seems likely to involve outsourced marketers (proxies) like Waggener Edstrom [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] which Microsoft hires for the job of ‘escorting’ journalists and ‘helping’ them (not necessarily ghostwriting, but pushing input habitually). By ‘helping’ we refer not to something necessarily positive based on what we learned.

To put it briefly, what we find in Shane O’Neill is that he is close to Steve Ballmer and he is attacking GNU/Linux in IDG, even though it’s highly likely that he never even used the operating system. To him, it is a matter of faith and the writing reflects on this faith. IDG has many sites like NetworkWorld, PCWorld and CIO, so it’s a shame that they blindly publish incorrect assertions. These are nothing but the infamous Microsoft talking points, which are not correct, unless one accepts the skewed/incomplete statistics.

There is another way of looking at it. Since Shane O’Neill does almost nothing these days but boost Microsoft and attack GNU/Linux, then it means GNU/Linux is indeed the #1 threat Ballmer claims it to be. If GNU/Linux is not a threat, then why does he keep attacking it? And having met Ballmer last month, it is curious to see how he attacks GNU/Linux like a motor, basing hypothesis on desire and then finding sources that concur and align with it.

New York Microsoft Times

Speaking of poor journalism, IDG is not alone. Some time ago we accused The New York Times of pushing Microsoft revisionism, which is not particularly shocking given the Microsoft connection. There is a new article in Reuters right now, whose headline is “Ballmer: Definitely ‘No’ on buying The New York Times.” Well, what? Was it ever considered?

On Thursday morning in Manhattan, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spelled out his complete disinterest in acquiring the debt-saddled New York Times Company. “No,” Ballmer replied to a reporter’s question about the Times outside the McGraw-Hill building, where he was a featured speaker at the 2009 BusinessWeek Media Summit.

The New York Times serves Microsoft better when it appears independent. Needless the say, the same goes for analysts and we gave an example last week. Here are Microsoft's very own notes on how to exploit journalists.

Microsoft dirty tactics

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