05.08.09

Microsoft in Trouble with the Law Again

Posted in America, Antitrust, Europe, Finance, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 5:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“My background is finance and accounting. As a socially conscious venture capitalist and philanthropist, I have a very good understanding of wealth management and philanthropy. I started my career in 1967 with the IRS as a specialist in taxation covering many areas of the tax law including the so-called legal loopholes to charitable giving. […] However, the Gates Buffet foundation grant is nothing more than a shell game in which control of assets for both Gates and Buffet remain the same. […] The only difference is that the accumulation of wealth by these two will be much more massive because they will no longer have to pay any taxes.”

The Gates and Buffet Foundation Shell Game

Summary: Tax evading is no longer acceptable and bundling in Vista 7 is under fire by Mozilla

Microsoft’s tax evasion is a subject that was already explained and explored in:

It would probably be wasteful to repeat the explanation of what Microsoft is doing, but the latest news suggests that the days of Microsoft tax evasion may be ending (hat tip: Glyn Moody).

Obama declares war on Ireland over tech tax avoidance

[...]

President Obama has declared war on Ireland, the Netherlands and Bermuda, and is giving Silicon Valley a long hard stare as he overhauls America’s tax system to bankroll his campaign pledges.

The White House has unveiled proposals to clamp down on US firms it reckons are hiding profits overseas to benefit from lower tax rates, while claiming exemptions for overseas investment on their US tax returns. DC is also targeting wealthy US individuals as well as corporations who are evading US taxes by hiding their cash in tax havens, such as the Cayman Islands, effectively avoiding tax in the US or pretty much anywhere else.

Did they really need to wait for a global economic meltdown in order to realise that this appalling misuse of loopholes by large corporations cannot be tolerated?

In other interesting news, Mozilla is turning up the heat on Microsoft because Vista 7 is claimed to be even more anti-competitive, which we knew. The original article from the Financial Times requires subscription, so here is the accompanying coverage from Reuters, which cites the Financial Times:

Microsoft Corp’s next version of Windows is stirring fresh complaints of anticompetitive behavior from rivals who say the new version of the operating system gives unfair advantage to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, the Financial Times reported.

For some valuable background, see this previous post.

MSN Direct, MSDN Magazine and Other Unnamed Microsoft Divisions Hit by Layoffs

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft at 4:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sunken small boat

Summary: More details begin to emerge about the consequence of Microsoft reductions

Microsoft’s latest round of redundancies resulted in Massive layoffs (not as bad as initially reported by VentureBeat) and while the company refuses to say which units are hurt, the evidence surfaces sooner or later. As Todd Bishop puts it:

More details are emerging today about the Microsoft groups affected, and spared, in the company’s latest round of job cuts. The company isn’t going into detail, but blogs and forums are providing plenty of evidence. Layoffs are reported to have taken place in groups including MSN Direct, the Massive in-game advertising unit, and MSDN Magazine, among others.

There are some more details in The Register.

Microsoft is reining in several of its products following the company’s second round of lay-offs that kicked off on Tuesday.

[...]

Similarly, MSN Direct – which provides weather, traffic and other services to devices such as in-car map systems – is also under review.

Mary Jo Foley wrote about one prominent victim whom she knows.

Bill Hill, eBook champion, leaves Microsoft

The more Microsoft shrinks, the better off GNU/Linux will be. We have been hearing that AstroTurfing too is on the decline. Microsoft confirmed cuts in that area (it obviously calls it "PR") just a few weeks ago.

“Microsoft is unique among proprietary software companies: they are the only ones who have actively tried to kill Open Source and Free Software. It’s not often someone wants to be your friend after trying to kill you for ten years, but such change is cause for suspicion.”

Bradley M. Kuhn (SFLC)

Articles About Diseased Candidate of Vista 7

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista, Vista 7 at 4:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Grave stone

Summary: This set of new links says it all

Installing Windows 7 with some Linux help

I’ve been working with Windows 7 for some months now, and while 7′s not for netbooks, I vastly prefer Windows 7 to Vista. So, when it came time to try out the release candidate, I didn’t expect to have any trouble. I was wrong.

[...]

This time, when I booted up from the Windows 7 RC DVD, the installation routine immediately found the partition and installed Windows 7 on it. So, thanks to Linux, I’m now running Windows 7 on that system.

Even if you don’t run into this particular problem, you’d be well advised to get a copy of SystemRescueCD. No matter what operating system you run on a daily basis, I’ve found that SystemRescueCD is a great repair-kit for those times when you run into serious PC problems.

Speed Test: Windows 7 May Not Be Much Faster Than Vista

Though Windows 7 edged out Vista in our lab tests, you may not notice much of a difference.

[...]

If these test results remain consistent with those for the final version of Windows 7, the news will likely be disappointing to many Windows users. One of the major complaints about Windows Vista was the fact that it was consistently slower than Windows XP. If Windows 7 doesn’t significantly improve that situation, it may fail to convince people to move away from Windows XP.

Intel playing virtual silly buggers

You’re supposed to be able to run an x86 app on any Intel x86 (or AMD x86) processor. That’s what x86 compatibility means, right? Wrong: Windows 7 XP Mode won’t run on many multi-core Intel processors because Intel is arsing about with its Intel VT feature.

For a PC to run Windows 7′s XP Mode, the system must support either Intel Virtualisation Technology (Intel VT) or AMD Virtualisation (AMD-V) and have such support enabled in the BIOS. Several, in fact many, Intel multi-core CPUs don’t support Intel VT despite other CPUs in the same family supporting it.

XP mode a no-go on some AMD chips too

AMD says all of its CPUs with the exception of its very low-end Sempron and Turion K8 Rev E processors will include AMD-V, the firm’s hardware-based virtualisation technology needed to support XP mode.

While I’m discussing Vista, why do WHQL drivers suffer from an alarming lack of quality?

You would think that Microsoft would at least do enough testing to make sure that the obvious crap in WHQL drivers was ironed out:
But apparently not, because the driver for my Linksys WMP54G v 4.1 wifi card offered to me through Windows Update turned out to be the culprit in some freakish crashing. I ended up tracking it down to certain websites where pressing the “upload” button would simply freeze Vista requiring me to do a hard reset (press the power button for 5 seconds). And I’m pretty sure this was tripping up Azureus and causing the crashes with that. (Though curiously not uTorrent…)

Disable Windows Vista spyware/harassment nag screen.

If you go to use Windows Vista, you may see a window like this pop up…

Windows 7 is ‘insecure’, warns F-Secure

The new operating system’s Windows Explorer file manager still misleads users about the true extension of a file, said Patrik Runald, chief research advisor at Helsinki-based F-Secure.

Experts: Windows 7 at risk from legacy flaw

For example, malicious code writers could name a ‘virus.exe’ file as ‘virus.txt.exe’ or ‘virus.jpg.exe’, he said. Windows Explorer would then hide the .exe part of the filename, meaning that the user would only see ‘virus.txt’ or ‘virus.jpg’. Additionally, virus writers would change the icon displayed with the file in Windows Explorer so it looked like the icon of a text file or an image. Users might then click on the disguised file.

Win7 can still be exploited by hackers

“People typically look at the icon to know what the file is,” Runald told ComputerWorldUK. “If it looks like a Word doc or a PDF file, there’s an implicit trust in it, and users are more likely to click on those files, even if they are actually an executable.”

Hackers hold US medical data hostage

The PMP contains details of medical patient’s drug prescriptions and was intended to be used to stop people abusing their access to medicines.

However, on Thursday the site was taken over by hackers and the following announcement posted on the web page.

Microsoft Moonlight in the News

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, TomTom at 3:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Monopoly

Summary: Another look at coverage of Mono and Moonlight

AS WE POINTED out early in the week, Microsoft Moonlight is mostly promoted by the Microsoft crowd [1, 2]. This is predictable and consistent with the evidence. Novell just needs to disseminate its DNA inside GNU/Linux and then come along with Microsoft to claim special ownership of it. But who again is Novell with? Well, Novell’s Vice President is again hanging out with Microsoft friends. He also invites others to do the same.

If you are in the Boston area, come join us for these open source festivities at Microsoft NERD center in Cambridge

Microsoft Moonlight continues to receive coverage from Novell sites and also from the rather SUSE-oriented Heise, which did this a couple of times this week. Ryan Paul always covers Moonlight/Mono stuff, so this this time was no exception. But that’s all we could find.

Here is a comment that may have come from a reader of ours, regarding Microsoft Moonlight:

Im sorry but I find you software purity comment to totally miss a point. A huge point that bothers many, many developers but has never been properly addressed by the Novell/Gnome/Mono crew which surprise, surprise is the same people.

This isnt about whether something is free software or not, it is about the fact that Microsoft cannot be trusted as was shown in the Tom Tom case. Having codecs, standards, formats, platforms, languages and so on controlled by one company has lead….well, Im not gonna give you a history lesson, you know the stories.
There is nothing in the Microsoft promise that cant be rescinded and/or sue people later on. And then what?

You have to remember that Novell signed a deal with Microsoft and that THEIR developers/users are covered by the extortion deal. You remember it right? Its the one where Redmond claims that Linux steals from Microsoft but if you sign here, they will let you slide.
This deal doesnt cover other distros (which is very dangerous since distros really use the same software) and Microsoft is very clear about the legal dangers facing those who dont pay the extortion.

Listen to Ballmer’s words about how Red Hat users (that’s me!) owe Microsoft money because, you know, Linux has stolen from them. Notice that he mentions that Novell is ‘the legit’ ones since they have paid the extortion deal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5B0GTYfPoMo

Having worked about a bit on different projects that use Samba, I know fully well the steps Allison, Tridge and the rest of the people on taht project have to go through to be able to see Microsoft (court ordered) specs and not taint the project later on. Novell employees dont do that because THEY are protected. ( and dont bring up the joke that is the �Non-Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developer� clause of that deal or the fact that the MS-PL license cant be used in our GPLed projects)
As a Red Hat user and developer, which protection do I have and what dangers to GPLed projects do I bring by using a technology that it tainted (mediocre at best. C##? Really?)?

Microsoft’s word?
Novell’s word?

This isnt an idealogical problem many developers are having but a practical one. By pushing those questions as a problem of ‘purity’, you are missing the big picture trying to ghettoize it as simple ‘zealots’.

And yes, you are right. Microsoft Moonlight (as they call it Ive seen) will always be one step behind.
But its not about the user, it never has been.
Its about Microsoft getting free software developers coming over and working on a platform they control.
Microsoft doenst mind if every open source project would work on their platform because they will have all the power then. Just like they used to before that finnish guy mucked it all up (and let’s not forget that bearded hippie and his ‘cancerous’ license).

We think we know who is bringing Mono into Ubuntu due to pressure from the usual suspects (Banshee is part of a disturbing trend). It’s time to get rid of Mono. As Richard Stallman told me an hour ago, “the TomTom case is likely to hasten the abandonment of FAT format, which is a good thing.” Mono is hardly any different. Microsoft may be giving it time to get absorbed.

Microsoft + “Open” Attack GNU/Linux and “Free” (as in Free Speech)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Virtualisation, Xen at 3:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Summary: Citrix-controlled Xen keeps bending towards Microsoft, which misuses “open source”

THAT Microsoft manipulates the virtualisation market is something that we last summarised a couple of months ago and now there is more supportive evidence.

Citrix dazzles market — and Microsoft — with new Xen products

[...]

But the lack of Linux desktop support is disappointing from the pen source virtualization vendor.

This is part of the trend we’ve been seeing ever since Citrix, one of the closest allies of Microsoft, bought (and overpaid for) XenSource. It was partly about causing harm to GNU/Linux.

Microsoft dips its fingers in many wells which are “open source”, but in the case of Xen there was the GPL, so Microsoft could not acquire it directly (antitrust was another important issue). And speaking of which, Microsoft’s sponsorship of SourceForge.net 2008 Community Choice Awards turned it rather hostile towards open source [1, 2, 3], but there are no anti-FOSS prizes from this year’s contest, unlike last year’s. Microsoft does, however, still misuse the word “open” and thus dilutes it:

It’s Open, Gov, Honest

Interesting to see Microsoft jumping on the openness bandwagon again – specifically, on the open government bandwagon…..

If only more people knew what Microsoft means by “open”.

“More Open Than Open [...] I am constantly amazed at the flexibility of this single word.”

Microsoft’s Jason Matusow, integral part of the ‘Open’ XML corruptions (further background in [1, 2, 3])

Microsoft Fragments ODF While Trying to Paint it as “IBM Thing”

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 3:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Nightmare

“Don’t encourage new, cross-platform Java classes, especially don’t help get great Win 32 implementations written/deployed. [...] Do encourage fragmentation of the Java classlib space.”

Ben Slivka, Microsoft

Summary: Microsoft derails ODF from the inside and recasts the standard as though it’s a property of IBM

LIKE they tried to fragment Java by 'embracing' it (see court exhibits), Microsoft managers appear to be trying to ‘embrace’ (pollute) ODF, quite maliciously and coyly. The very same people, Doug for example, also ‘embraced’ panels in order to corrupt their integrity. This was done in Malaysia in many other places, ISO included.

As we’ve shown before, Microsoft does not support ODF; it merely fragments it, just as it tried to do with Java (see the quote at the top). Then, having intruded ODF, Microsoft tries to seize more control of it.

As Groklaw reminds readers right now, Microsoft has attacked ODF right from the start and here are some details.

The best antidote against FUD is facts. FUD only works when people don’t know any better. So, given some recent anti-ODF FUD in the air, I thought it would be useful to provide some facts.

First, I’d like to show you who voted Yes to approve OpenDocument v1.1 as an OASIS Standard in January of 2007. ODF v1.2 is already being adopted by some now, of course, as development has continued, but Microsoft chose to stick with v1.1, so let’s do the same. I think you’ll find the list dispositive as to who is sincere in this picture. Next time you read some criticism of ODF, then, you can just take a look at the list and ask yourself what it tells you. And if you are a technical person, here’s ODF v1.1, so you can compare any claims of deficiencies. Here’s Groklaw’s chronicle of the OOXML/ODF saga, where you can find many resources, including a chronology of events from 2005 to the present.

There were some more recent attempts to hijack ODF [1, 2] and one of the representatives from Brazil now claims that “Microsoft attempts to fragment ODF.”

One of the first articles published about SP2 and for which I call the attention of everyone is from Rob Weir, chair of the OASIS ODF TC (group that develops the ODF, to which I belong). It is simply scary to see what Office 2007 does with existing ODF spreadsheets.

The technical details are all on Rob’s blog, but in summary, when opening an ODF spreadsheet (.ods file) using Office 2007, it simply removes all existing formulas without telling anything to the user, leaving only the values in cells (results of formulas evaluation, previously stored in the document). If a user wants to test the ODF support in Office, and without giving due attention, save an existing spreadsheet, will overwrite the document removing all the formulas (as if you were writing a table). I saw absurdities in life, but nothing compared to this.

Harish Pillay calls this “Engage, embrace, extinguish.”

Today we have OpenOffice.org 3.1 gets released. In the meantime, the proprietary product from Redmond claims to be able to wirte ODF format, but fails. Pity. Money corrupts, but MS Tax Dollars corrupts absolutely.

The press which is biased in Microsoft's favour hastily describes this as an “IBM vs Microsoft” battle, once again recasting ODF as “IBM” to make it seem like a dispute between greedy and hostile vendors. It’s part of an ongoing strategy wherein Microsoft deceives the press. IBM is merely one among many advocates and users of ODF, which is about making many office suites interoperate. OOXML can never achieve this because it was not designed for the purpose; it’s the same old proprietary format restructured. Everyone knows that.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: May 7th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

Special thanks to Victor for suggesting improvements.

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