07.26.09

Linux Demonstrates the Upper Hand of the GPL and Microsoft’s Inability to Defeat It

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, IBM, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer scared of GPLv3

Summary: More analysis of Microsoft’s approach to competitors’ territory

WITH Microsoft’s poor financial results [1, 2], it ought to find itself glued to the corner. Carla from Linux Today explains why Richard Stallman’s GPL is probably the biggest winner in the news about Microsoft’s loadable module for Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Put simply, the GPL prevented exclusion and discrimination

This has been an amusing story for this week. In a nutshell, Microsoft got busted for a GPL violation. The developer who discovered this, Stephen Hemminger of Vyatta, chose to handle it thusly:

“Rather than creating noise, my goal was to resolve the problem, so I turned to Greg Kroah-Hartman. Since Novell has a (too) close association with Microsoft, my expectation was that Greg could prod the right people to get the issue resolved.”

It took over two years, but finally MS came into compliance and then released the source code with much fanfare and self-congratulations. It is a driver to enhance Linux guest performance on their Hyper-V virtualizer. There is a lot of good news in this story, but not of the kind that Microsoft wants us to believe.

[...]

They can’t even limit this to Novell SUSE Linux because it is GPL, and so any Linux distributor can tweak it to suit.

While Microsoft is not abusing with exclusion (as was intended, but simply was not allowed), the monopolist is still abusing with software patents. The other day we wrote about its renewed FUD against Red Hat, which still gets it scrutinised in public.

Software giant criticised for enforcing patent rights on open-source-related technology.

Microsoft is not only abusing with patents; it can still abuse with exclusion in some other areas. For instance, the other day Con said: “It’s nice of Bill to make these available in a Microsoft-only video format.” Not so long ago, Gates did the same thing with Feynman's lectures, preventing GNU/Linux users from accessing them.

According to Dana Blankenhorn, Microsoft’s module for Linux was partly motivated by its own fear that it was growing irrelevant.

The monopoly days are dead. But better days may yet come, if Microsoft can learn to monetize like its new competitors have.

Microsoft is now busy trying to monopolise “open source”. As Steve Ballmer put it, “I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Some days ago we wrote about the real purpose of Microsoft's plug-in for Moodle. Sadly, however, bigger publications fail or refuse to see it. Even educators are misunderstanding the plot, which is well captured by the following sentence

First: Microsoft is doing this for itself, and that’s no big deal.

What many people forget is that Microsoft directly competes against the LAMP stack, which makes its contributions to parts of this stack highly suspect. Any comparison between IBM’s contributions to LAMP and Microsoft’s contributions to LAMP is inherently flawed, naturally.

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

Another Tale of Apples

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nature textures

Summary: Apple’s actions as of late lead to backlash and work in the favour of GNU/Linux

AFTER heaps of public scrutiny, Apple bothered to allow some competitors to merely inter-operate. It did so not by helping but by withdrawing a legal threat.

After threatening to sue the operator of a public wiki site over an anonymous discussion about syncing iPods using software other than iTunes, Apple has changed its tune.

One Apple customer who is unimpressed by Apple’s attitude is saying “Goodbye Apple”. He explains why.

I’ve owned a lot of iPods. My wife has owned a lot of iPods.

Not anymore.

For the longest time, I could use gtkpod to seamlessly access my iPods from my Ubuntu desktop. It initially took some reverse-engineering effort to understand the iPod’s data format to be able to access it from non-iTunes software, but it was possible. All of a sudden, Apple is trying everything they can to prohibit interopability.

First, they encrypted the firmware, blocking the use of third-party firmware like Rockbox and iPod Linux. This doesn’t bother me much, as I always prefered the original Apple firmware anyway.

This is good news for GNU/Linux, which does not require marketing, unlike Apple and Microsoft — two companies that fight over brainwash-propaganda campaigns and finally reach an agreement.

Bowing to pressure from Apple’s legal department – and that pesky imperative known as “the truth” – Microsoft has edited one of its Laptop Hunter ads to reflect Apple’s new MacBook pricing.

Let’s remember ways in which Apple helps Microsoft. In fact, Microsoft has just hired an Apple executive whilst losing a major person to Adobe.

A high-powered programmer who’d left Adobe Systems to lead a Microsoft Windows interface design team is heading back after just over a year.

A lot of people leave Microsoft these days. Maybe the financial issues play a considerable role in their foresight and eventual decision.

“Microsoft does not hesitate to use its operating system monopoly power and application program dominance to try to eliminate competition.”

Apple Computer Senior VP Avadis Tevanian Jr.

Eye on Microsoft: Emergency, Botnets, and No Remedy

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites, Security, Windows at 3:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Emergency

Summary: Self-explanatory news about Microsoft and security

Microsoft to issue emergency patches next week

Microsoft plans to issue two emergency patches next week that fix vulnerabilities in the Internet Explorer browser and Visual Studio developer suite that allow attackers to remotely execute malware.

Software Crackdown

Cyber attacks seem to be getting more sophisticated by the hour. A few weeks ago malware known as Zero Day was found to have exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft’s Windows operating system that could allow online criminals to take control of a computer from anywhere in the world without being detected. The operation involved what is known as “drive by” attacks, in which visitors to legitimate Web sites are redirected to a page that secretly downloads the malicious software.

Microsoft admits it can’t stop Office file format hacks

Microsoft’s plan to “sandbox” Office documents in the next version of its application suite is an admission that the company can’t keep hackers from exploiting file format bugs, a security analyst said today.

Link Found Between Potential SCO Rescuers and Microsoft

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, SCO at 3:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[Microsoft's] Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Summary: Microsoft hooks up with LNS, which is related to York Capital

GROKLAW has a fascinating new post which nicely relates to last night's roundup. York Capital, one of the possible saviours of SCO, is not so distant from Microsoft after all.

Anyway, right after Groklaw pointed out two days ago that Microsoft Licensing was transferring its claim against SCO in the bankruptcy to an entity called LNS, and that LNS seems to point to HaleGlobal/York Capital, the phone number on one of the links we provided has been changed.

Silly wabbits. You can’t cleanse the Internet. This jig is up, m’hearties. Naturally, we took the precaution of saving snapshots, which I will now show you, along with some more interesting tidbits, like the same building address for LNS and Charles Hale, Managing Director at York Capital.

Great work.

Microsoft XBox360 and Windows Mobile Are Still Losing It

Posted in Finance, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 3:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Xbox 360 eye

Summary: New numbers suggest that the decline of crucial Microsoft products sharpens

MICROSOFT’S XBOX — including 360 — has not only cost the company billions in losses. Several months ago the unit was still operating at a loss and now that Microsoft releases bad figures that are partly influenced by GNU/Linux it turns out that XBox losses deepen. According to one source, “Microsoft Q4 games revenue falls 25%.”

Microsoft’s fiscal fourth-quarter sales from Xbox 360 consoles and videogames fell from a year earlier as gamers bought less hardware and software and spent more time playing free games online.

Here are some concrete numbers:

The company’s Entertainment and Devices Division, which contains its games business, as well as the Zune and other miscellaneous items, saw a 25 percent year-over-year fourth quarter revenue decrease to $1.19 billion.

[...]

The EDD division’s quarterly loss overall was $130 million, slightly decreased compared to a $171 million loss in the same quarter, a year prior.

The phones/smartphones market is pretty much the same for Microsoft. For a long time it has operated at a loss and things are getting worse.

Microsoft losing mobile OS ground

It’s been able to spruce up its image a bit with targeted ads, but Microsoft has kept mobile operating systems out of its sights and is losing market share. Analysts predict that trend is likely to continue.

If the future is mobile, then Microsoft is in serious trouble here. It remains to be seen what comes out of the Danger acquisition. As we have been showing in daily links in recent days, HTC, Garmin-Asus and Sony-Ericsson increasingly abandon Windows mobile in favour of Android (Linux).

Linux is growing rapidly. Just because it’s not in the news doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

“Gates is trying to make sure that he has a proprietary position in controlling the tools that allow you and me to access information. And that’s profitable by definition. How would you like to own the printing press?”

PaineWebber Media Analyst Christopher Dixon

Signs That Vista 7 — Like Vista — Will Pose Compatibility Issues

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7 at 3:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More signs that Vista 7 suffers from the same problems as its chubby sibling, Vista

IN addition to all that we know about Vista 7, last night we found more evidence that Vista 7 is doomed to be a compatibility failure. Under the hood, Vista 7 is just Vista, but there is a lot of marketing and "evangelism" to hide even the fact that reception ahead of Vista’s RTM (2006) was a lot higher than it is now.

Anyway, from IDG:

Microsoft Admits API Error On Security Center Warnings

Last week we reported that Windows was reporting, a couple months early, that some security software was using an expired API to report its status to the Windows Security Center. One reader of the ISC story we linked to stated that he was experiencing it with Panda 2009 and the Windows 7 release candidate.

Ignore the “evangelism” and brace yourselves for another Vista.

Vista 7 starts now

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: July 25th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:50 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.

The European Commission’s Battle Against Monopoly Abuse Takes Next Step, But What About Web Standards?

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft at 2:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Statues

Summary: The European Commission makes progress, but it neglects to stop Microsoft’s abandonment of Web standards

ABOUT a fortnight ago we wrote about how Microsoft had attempted to escape punishment in the EU by choosing its own ‘punishment’, only to upset Opera, Mozilla, and the European Commission.

There is a new development in this case. As Reuters puts it:

Microsoft (MSFT.O) has offered to let users choose their own browser and provide more interoperability information to third parties in a bid to resolve two antitrust cases, EU regulators said on Friday.

The European Commission charged the U.S. software company on January 15 with seeking to thwart rivals by bundling the company’s Web browser with its Windows PC operating system, thus harming innovation and reducing consumer choice.

From BizJournals:

European Union regulators said on Friday that Microsoft Corp. will offer users of its new Windows 7 operating system a choice of browsers.

People must remember that this is done because Microsoft broke the law in order to gain market share. According to a Microsoft-funded blog, Microsoft has seemingly made the change due to pressure and IDG says that it’s about appeasing the Commission.

Microsoft says it’s willing to put a “ballot screen” into Windows 7 to let European consumers choose from among several competing web browsers as the default in the operating system. The concession is aimed at resolving an antitrust complaint filed against the company in Europe by Opera Software over the bundling of Internet Explorer in Windows.

One reader of ours opines that “Microsoft is Silverlighting the EU.”

“This recent offer by Microsoft to allow end users to choose browser at first boot, is largely becoming academic,” he states. “As since they are moving most content to Silverlight, and you need Windows to use Silverlight, well… I bet Bill and Steve are laughing up their sleeve…”

The European Commission has actually dealt with Silverlight as an antitrust issue. However, there is no report of progress on the subject.

“Silverlight is much, much more than delivering video,” the reader insists. “So they are using Silverlight to do an end run around the browser wars. I bet there’s a memo in Redmond about Silverlighting Mozilla and Google.” The Netscape case has lessons to teach us.

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