11.09.09

Winter Olympics Incompatible with GNU/Linux, Thanks to Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Silverlight puke, barf

Summary: The Winter Olympics too will be delivered in Microsoft’s proprietary XAML that it will stream via GNU/Linux servers

AS we showed a month ago, Microsoft may already have influence inside the Olympic Committee [1, 2], leading back to memories of Olympic blue screens of death. But to make matters worse, personal and professional relationships seem to be taking their toll on GNU/Linux users.

NBC (and Microsoft) appear to have gotten special/exclusive rights over the Winter Olympics. Being NBC (Microsoft and MSNBC come to mind [1, 2]), it decided to shill Silverlight again, knowingly discriminating against GNU/Linux, just as it did last year [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft Nick does not mention this problem; instead he uses this as an opportunity to give exposure to Silverlight (so does Microsoft booster Tim Anderson).

NBC’s Winter Olympics Web site went live Wednesday. While the site’s main navigation module is powered by Adobe Flash, NBC’s video player is all Microsoft Silverlight. This time around, a year-and-a-half after the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, there are some cool new features.

Interestingly enough, Microsoft and NBC will be using GNU/Linux to deliver this content that GNU/Linux desktops cannot access. Microsoft is totally dependent on GNU/Linux for CDNs, but it is using these against GNU/Linux users.

Too Arrogant to Fail

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Office Suites at 6:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fantail - dove

Summary: Microsoft leaves users of Office Accounting pretty much abandoned, Microsoft Encarta shuts down, and Microsoft is said to have just cancelled its Kameo sequel

When Microsoft decided to axe Office Accounting it became ever more evident that Microsoft was not “too big to fail”. The latest round of layoffs is further indication of this.

In the news we can now see the fallout of Office Accounting’s fatality; not only does Microsoft pull out but it does not provide appropriate help migrating to an alternative, either.

Microsoft angers SMEs by dumping Office Accounting

[...]

Microsoft has decided to discontinue all its Microsoft Office Accounting software products, including its Small Business Accounting package. Bad news for existing users. Especially when Microsoft has only given SMEs six weeks’ notice to transer their accounting and payroll to another provider.

There are suggestions that the product might be sold, but either way, Office Accounting seems to be joining a growing list of Microsoft failures. The list of Microsoft’s dead products grew a lot in the past year and Microsoft Encarta is now officially over.

IN the end of a Microsoft Legacy, Microsoft Encarta has been has shut down officially today. A message on the main page of the Microsoft owned site has the following:

On October 31, 2009, this Web site, and all other MSN® Encarta® Web sites worldwide will be discontinued, with the exception of Encarta Japan, which will be discontinued on December 31, 2009. Additionally, Microsoft will cease to sell Microsoft Student and Encarta Premium software products worldwide by June 2009.

There is another rumour now saying that “Microsoft Cancels Planned Kameo Sequel”. Another casualty?

A source close to Rare informed CVG the studio’s recent restructuring last February saw the cancellation of several “traditional” franchise sequels, including a follow up to Xbox 360′s prettiest launch title, Kameo.

Remember the Halo film? Microsoft cancels a lot of plans these days and Halo is among the victims.

Microsoft Keeps Shutting Dubai, MoU Roadshow Reaches Taiwan

Posted in Asia, Deals, Microsoft at 5:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dubai beach

Summary: Microsoft signs more deals that help exclude rivals, starting with Dubai and moving further east to Taiwan

LAST week we saw Microsoft making moves to control Dubai’s ICT — moves that we now see continuing. They got themselves a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) over there and this week it’s Taiwan which signs an MoU with Microsoft, despite accusing Microsoft of antitrust violations last year. MoU-type deals are explained in this presentation from Microsoft and we also gave recent examples in:

Here is the latest, via the Wall Street Journal:

Microsoft, Taiwan Sign MOU On Cloud Computing Research Hub

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and the Taiwan government signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday to jointly set up a research center for cloud computing in Taiwan, the U.S.-based software giant said in a statement.

Why is the government involved in this? Watch the role of ministries:

Microsoft Corp. and the Taiwanese economics ministry said they are in talks of setting up a cloud computing research centre in Taiwan by next year.

It’s a government partnership:

As for its partnership with Taiwan’s government, Microsoft and Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs will jointly invest to establish a Software and Service Excellence Center in Taipei, with focus on R&D of applications of cloud computing technologies. This reveals Microsoft’s intention of establishing a hardware supporting system to realize cloud computing applications.

What makes no sense here is that they are using taxpayers’ money for this. Another fine example of “constructive capitalism” printing cash for Microsoft at the expense of those who will later pay some more, to the very same company whose operations and establishment they fund too?

What Microsoft is doing with Chinese banks at the moment is also worth paying attention to. Steve Ballmer has just signed a deal in Beijing. We wrote quite a lot about Microsoft in banking recently, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Some New Examples of FUD Against Linux, GNU, and the GPL

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft at 5:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

News truck

Summary: Microsoft tries to abolish the GPL and the Free desktop; FUD against Stallman and distortions about Linux development are combated by Groklaw

DANA Blankenhorn has asked what it would take for people to trust Microsoft. His post is very theoretical and conveniently it seems to be ignoring Microsoft’s constant attacks on GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Microsoft has entire teams dedicated to fighting against GNU/Linux (and the GPL). Some years ago it brought someone called Sam Ramji [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] from SaaS in order to justify the whole practice of giving free code to proprietary vendors and Microsoft products that render it non-free, just like so-called “clouds”. It is worth remembering that Sam Ramji does not come from an area that he pretends to understand (he actually was caught spreading disinformation about the GPL, maybe not deliberately) and having just quit he goes back to the same area he came from and it’s not “open source”. This latest post from him — “Does open source still matter in cloud computing?” — is yet more indication that Microsoft never cared about Freedom, and hardly even openness. The same goes for its buddy the Gartner Group, whose discrimination against Free software is being noticed by more people, some of whom sue the firm [1, 2]. Here is a new Twitter item: ‘A jewel from Gartner: “Definition: open source for IP telephony is the use of public-domain programs to create IP PBX..”. Public domain ????

They cannot tell Free/open source software, even if it hit them in the face. Regarding CodePlex, Groklaw links to an analysis from Andy Updegrove and states:

Andy gushes on, but I note that this is a foundation that intends to outnumber the GPL. I don’t know if it means their only weapon left to kill the GPL is money, or if this is just adding another quiver to their bow. But it’s obvious they don’t mean to include the GPLv2, from this paragraph:

Open Source Licenses. The Foundation will maintain a list of recommended Open Source licenses for projects and maintain information necessary to understand how code can be shared between projects with the purpose of avoiding unexpected restrictions in how the final code can be used or redistributed. This includes maintaining information that makes clear how projects can incorporate external code. It should be possible, for example, for a project to incorporate appropriately licensed code without requiring a formal contribution of that code.

So, the development model that has served the community so well will be avoided by Codeplex in large part, and it looks like a way for corporate sponsors to buy programmers’ time so they can get them to write code that the sponsors would find useful. So you can write for Microsoft and its fellow Corporate Cougars, and in return for their largesse, what do you get in the end? I suspect what Steve Ballmer said was Microsoft’s goal, that all the open source applications you want run on Microsoft’s operating system, not the Linux kernel, which is GPLv2, not v3, and then who needs Linux? They’ve paid you to get out of the bazaar and back into the cathedral, just with a bigger, professionally maintained yard.

Consider the fact that Microsoft apparently violates the GPL and grabs code from CodePlex — code which it then proprietarises.

“…Microsoft apparently violates the GPL and grabs code from CodePlex — code which it then proprietarises.”Some days ago we wrote about Microsoft paying $100,000 to Apache [1, 2], Groklaw’s response to which is: “As long as it gets its money’s worth, I suppose?” To Microsoft, this is a simple case of buying influence [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17].

To say more on the GPL, Groklaw complains about this post from Jack Wallen, who Pamela Jones claims to “ha[ve] written a list of the 10 biggest failures in IT history, including two, BeOS and WordPerfect who many of us would say were killed off by Microsoft, and he includes as Number 7 Richard Stallman.”

Jack Wallen is truly an advocate of GNU/Linux, but he does not agree with the FSF. That’s okay, but he has just insulted Richard Stallman and Groklaw replied as follows (in News Picks, to which there is no fixed URL):

Jack, if you are going to write about history, you should read some first. Stallman is associated with Free Software, not Open Source. He has never been a “champion of open source” so you have made a very deep and frankly humorous error. Free Software is also Open Source, but Stallman distinguishes his and the FOSS community’s work from the breakaway group that decided business would never accept the GPL or Stallman, and so they decided to hide those bits, because to them acceptance by business was more important.

Look at the results. Would you say it has been beneficial that corporations discovered Linux? Post-SCO and the Novell-Microsoft peace pact, what arguments would you offer that it has been a good thing? And now Microsoft would like to kill off The Real Thing and substitute its own Brand X “Open Source”, as per the Codeplex Foundation, and smearing Richard Stallman is the latest coin of its realm.

I note that Jeff Gerhardt, presumably the Jeff Gerhardt of the Linux Show, sounds off as well, not to correct the mistake, but to pile on, including the following: “But the problem with Richard and many in the die-hard FOSS community (many who are close friends of mine), is they in their desire to spread the good of FOSS (and there is indeed good) they also close the door on ANY other option.

That is often the problem with radicals. The first thing that happens in a socialist state as an example, is a change in the ability of the media to be critical of government.”

Nice FUD, bringing in “radicals” and “socialist state” words. Vicious FUD, actually. Without Richard Stallman, there’d never have been a Linux Show. Or Red Hat. Or Linux. Or any of this.

Richard Stallman will go down in history for changing the world, because it was all his idea. And when either Jack Wallen or Jeff Gerhardt wins a MacArthur Genius Award, as Richard Stallman did, send me the memo. Before you criticize someone who won an award for being a genius in his field, you might ask if you have the chops to even understand what he is doing. Meanwhile, note carefully who really understands FOSS and who doesn’t grasp even the foundational concepts. It’s important to know who your real friends are and who is just making a living.

In News Picks, Groklaw also claims to be “Answering some OSNews FUD”. Jones says:

The link takes you to the beginning of the thread, where Gordon posts his desire to submit his FatELF code to the Linux kernel guys, who quite correctly point out some important reasons not to do that. Gordon then posts that he ran into a “buzzsaw”, which I consider inaccurate, but you can read it for yourself. And the OSNews publishes it all as if it were a crying shame the Linux kernel meanies didn’t accept the code, without even mentioning the patent issue. What’s with OSNews, anyway?

It’s not OSNews in general, it’s Thom Holwerda.

Holwerda is the reason I chucked out OS News from my reading list, being a semi-official FOSS basher and Windows booster. It is sad to see such a distortion being used to make Linux look bad.

Blackboard and Microsoft Get Even Closer

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Patents, Search at 4:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Back to school

Summary: Blackboard plugs children to Microsoft’s big database, which can also learn about their habits

Blackboard and Microsoft are similar not just with “embrace and extend” of Free software, but also with the monopoly and the abuse of competitors using software patents [1, 2, 3].

In recent days we warned that Blackboard — like Microsoft — was trying to subsume Free software and according to the following new press release, Blackboard and Microsoft also sort of conspire against Google.

Blackboard and Microsoft have joined forces to offer students access to information from their online courses on Web browsers.

Given the financial ties between this pair [1, 2, 3, 4], the alliance should not be surprising. Children and young adults should not be exposed to Microsoft lies.

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