02.22.10

Novell’s Mac-only Mono and Some Notes About Ubuntu

Posted in Apple, Audio/Video, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Red Hat, Servers, Ubuntu at 8:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Aluminum Macbook

Summary: Grouping of the latest news about Mono at Novell and developments at Canonical, some of which require more attention

NOVELL continues to pollute GNU/Linux. Sadly enough, it has managed to spread Mono and Moonlight further than it ought to have managed, despite the obvious problems and warning from the FSF. Novell’s interests are Novell’s own interests and the interests of partners like Microsoft. Novell views Red Hat — not Microsoft — as a top competitor. Novell has just bumped up or pushed again into a technology site its whitepapers against Red Hat [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and it is serving Microsoft with Moonlight at the Winter Olympics. Mono is not about GNU/Linux, it’s about .NET. Moonlight is not about GNU/Linux, it’s about Silverlight. Derived from these we have Mac-only software that uses Microsoft’s APIs (and software patents that Novell is happy to acknowledge). From a new interview with Ed Burnette:

Ed: So you still need a Mac to do iPhone development?

Joseph [product manager for Mono at Novell]: MonoTouch does require a Mac. Some of our users prefer to use Visual Studio for editing their code; however, the tools to build with MonoTouch only run on the Mac.

Yes, Novell is now excluding GNU/Linux, but that’s not exactly unusual. The Mono team serves as a complementary software division for Microsoft based on the latest developments that are disappointing. Novell is trying to add .NET support even to MeeGo. What would Nokia say? What would Google say about MonoDroid? Would Windows/Microsoft assimilation be beneficial?

Meanwhile we find that Zonker is still promoting Novell’s Banshee, just as he did last week. The developers from Novell try to get more coders involved in Banshee (developers from the outside). It’s typically just Novell employees (and former Microsoft employees) who seem interested in Mono.

Ubuntu

Moving on to developments around Ubuntu, it is worth noting that Canonical hired from Microsoft and Novell. This has proven to be unhelpful so far and now that OpenOffice.org is put back into Ubuntu Netbook Edition (after backlash from users), Groklaw’s Pamela Jones says “Great. Now can you get rid of that mono stuff and put GIMP back in? Thanks.”

“Now can you get rid of that mono stuff and put GIMP back in? Thanks.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
As we pointed out a few weeks ago, Canonical is removing the GIMP despite the fact that most people who participate in polls are opposing this decision. It’s the same with Mono. In the case of OpenOffice.org, Ubuntu did actually listen to the community, which is an encouraging sign. Pamela Jones also writes: “I see Matt, newly hired by Canonical, is already pushing proprietary software for Linux. The mystery meat fusion at Ubuntu is clearly the direction. Note also the use of the description “savvy”, implying that those who don’t fuse FOSS and proprietary software are not savvy. We’ll see. And not to be unkindly logical, but if it were apples-to-apples equivalent already, why does he think Linux needs proprietary solutions? And speaking for myself, I don’t use Skype, and I never need to.”

The decision to adopt Yahoo! (Microsoft) for search involved no public consultation with the Ubuntu community [1, 2, 3] and now that it's irreversible, complaints do carry on. Here is a nice new way of putting it:

WTF : Ubuntu Linux to use Bing for Search

[...]

Yes, you read that right. Ubuntu selects Yahoo, Yahoo Selects Bing, Google Selects Ubuntu.

Go figure.

This is more confusing than driving in Boston.

Here is a portion from one of Asay’s latest posts, which he titled “Is Microsoft a four-letter word?”

Wall Street, for its part, doesn’t much care for Microsoft, either, judging by the cold shoulder it has given Microsoft’s stock over the past 10 years.

Perhaps getting the hint, a slew of Microsoft executives have jumped ship in the past few years.

Won’t someone give Microsoft a break?

Probably not, and, ironically, this industry indifference may be just what Microsoft needs, as it offers the company freedom to take bigger risks and shields nascent product efforts from criticism.

“Giv[ing] Microsoft a break” would be a very bad idea because Microsoft is constantly attacking GNU/Linux (as we show here every day) and that includes Ubuntu. There is another new request from the Ubuntu community and we would like to ask readers to take part in it. “As you may know,” told us one person, “Ubuntu is integrating the 7Digital Music service into Rhythmbox in their upcoming Lucid Lynx release. Currently, this music service offers some tracks in FLAC, all tracks in MP3, and none in OGG. I started a petition to make them possibly consider using OGG on all their tracks.” Give it a look and sign if you agree. The petition says:

To: 7Digital Inc.

One of the main concerns of the inclusion of the 7Digital music store into Canonical Ltd’s offerings is the fact that it offers only two formats: MP3 and FLAC. FLAC is an incredibly large format and is not heavily supported across music players. Ogg, conversely, is supported on numerous mobile media players and devices and is comparable in size to MP3′s. The Undersigned request that 7Digital offer their entire music collection in a second Free Software format, the abovementioned Ogg Vorbis. Is has no patents attached to it, and requires no proprietary codecs for playback. This would help spread acceptance of the Ogg Vorbis format, and would be heavily beneficial to Ubuntu users.

In short, we the Undersigned request that 7Digial Inc include all of their music in the Ogg Vorbis format alongside the other two formats.

Go sign it please.

Microsoft Resorts to Blame Games (Against Exploiters of Microsoft’s Own Flaws and Against Google)

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chinese girl in beijing

Summary: Microsoft is transforming the debate from one which is centered on Microsoft’s inability to secure Windows to one that focuses on external factors (the press is blaming Chinese schoolchildren)

“Blame someone else” is the Microsoft mantra/motto [1, 2]. As we found out yesterday, Microsoft's legal team plays the same type of game. Microsoft is already downplaying the TPM crack and it goes further than this by blaming crackers for blue screens of death. In a world where almost half the machines that run Windows (that's 1 in 2) are confirmed/estimated to be infected, Microsoft can blame the crackers all it wants, but how and why do they manage to intrude other people’s PCs in the first place? According to this message (relating to Microsoft's proposal of Internet driver's licences):

We are sitting on an Internet with *at least* a hundred million fully-compromised, fully-owned systems. Personally, I suspect that the number is closer to double that. Others have postulated still higher values. Whatever that number is, though, it’s (a) big and (b) getting bigger. And there’s no reason, at present, to suspect that the trend will reverse, because nobody’s doing anything that appears to — in any significant way — to be an effective countermeasure.

The new owners of those systems have unfettered access to ANY credentials present on or used on those systems. The overwhelming majority of them are end-user systems, of course, but how many login or email or other access credentials does the average user have? A work email account? One for home? A freemail account? Some number of social networking accounts? How about banks? Utilities? Shopping sites? VPN for a client?

So, according to the above, it’s safe to expect any second Windows PC to be a zombie (the statistics still vary depending on the source). It’s not even improving. Here are some news articles from the weekend:

Cybercriminals Exploit Haiti Tragedy with Malware

There was no let up in spamming and phishing activities last month even as the entire world watched with sympathy the tragedy in Haiti. To add to the sorrow behind the devastating earthquake on January 12, cybercriminals took advantage of the tragedy to launch spamming and phishing attacks.

Chuck Norris Botnet Karate-chops Routers Hard

If you haven’t changed the default password on your home router, you may be in for an unwanted visit from Chuck Norris — the Chuck Norris botnet, that is.

Discovered by Czech researchers, the botnet has been spreading by taking advantage of poorly configured routers and DSL modems, according to Jan Vykopal, the head of the network security department with Masaryk University’s Institute of Computer Science in Brno, Czech Republic.

Olympic skier Begg-Smith known as ‘spam king’

Kneber Botnet: What You Need to Know Right Now

Everything you ever wanted to know about Xbox hacking

Malware – usually in the form of fake point generators – often comes into play. “Fake points generators that run on your PC promise free Microsoft points in return for your login details,” Boyd explained. “Of course, what happens is your data is sent back to base via email should you enter it into the program. Typically, the phishers will also hijack YouTube accounts and place fake ‘it works’ messages on the videos promoting them [phishing tricks],” he added.

BSODs are not the major problem, but their relevance to the cracking cannot be ignored.

The point the author makes about the problem would have been fixed long ago in Linux, or any other FOSS software, is the most important part of the article, in my opinion. The way the situation is today, you have a few people at Microsoft trying to keep up with security issues.

Obviously, people talk about the BSOD issue as one involving Microsoft’s attempt to secure machines, but those machines are already compromised. It means that the discussion has been completely warped [1, 2] and Microsoft’s blame-shifting game has worked effectively (with help from Amarillo). SJVN correctly points out that Microsoft is not off the hook because those BSODs were caused by Microsoft’s inability to secure Windows in the first place.

More than a week after Microsoft released an XP patch that seemed to cause BSODs (Blue Screen of Death), Microsoft announced that the immediate cause was the Alureon rootkit. Fair enough, but what about the 17-year old Windows security hole that the rootkit was exploiting?

I mean, come on. This bug dates back to 1993 when Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and Windows NT 3.1 instead of Windows 7 were the hot new versions of Windows. Many of you have never even seen those operating systems much less used them. Since Microsoft has left this security hole open almost long enough for it to be old enough to vote, shouldn’t they get some of the blame?

After all, the hackers behind Alureon, aka TDSS, Tidserv and TDL3, botnet were able to fix their malware to work around the Windows’ fix before Microsoft finally figured it out. Maybe Microsoft should hire them to work on Windows security instead of relying on their own in-house software engineers. Nah. They’re probably making more money from their botnets than Microsoft is willing to pay them.

Specifically, the problem was caused when Microsoft finally fixed a Windows memory call that no longer could be used to call a specific address.

[...]

Unsupported? After 17-years, I’d say, for better of worse, it was part and parcel of Windows. Of course, if Windows were an open operating system like Linux there wouldn’t be any ‘unsupported’ ways of addressing memory. Heck, maybe someone besides a malicious hacker would have found the bug back before the turn of the century and fixed it.

[...]

The only real fix to this problem is to dump Windows. This is just another of the endless examples of how easy Windows is to attack. Even as Microsoft took care of this problem, it was revealed that the Windows-based Kneber botnet has attacked more than 374 U.S. firms and government agencies. Proper patching might have slowed it down — most of the systems getting hit by it seem to be running Windows XP SP2.

Still, the bottom line is that Windows is being exploited every day and as the Alureon/XP patch mess showed, Microsoft isn’t capable of keeping up with the hackers or their threats.

In another example of blame-shifting, the attacks on Google which were caused by Internet Explorer [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] and Microsoft’s own negligence [1, 2, 3] are now being attributed to only those who exploited the flaws, allegedly two schools in China [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. We say “allegedly” because the schools are denying it. From yesterday’s news: “Two schools in China where computers were reportedly linked to cyberattacks on Google and other companies have denied involvement in the hack, Chinese state media said Sunday.” Here again is misplaced focus on people who exploited Microsoft’s defective software which Microsoft refused to patch for almost half a year despite knowing about it. The Washington Post says: “Some of the computer codes used in the recent attacks on the networks of Google and dozens of other major U.S. companies were developed by a diverse group of Chinese hackers, including security professionals, consultants and temporary contractors, according to an industry source.”

But does it really matter? Once again the focus is being shifted to crackers rather than the company which facilitated those attack. Microsoft relied on the same spin when Conficker inflicted huge damage. It’s the blame game being played with PR and once again Microsoft is left off the hook.

Elsewhere in the news we find that Microsoft blames Google for the broken business model of newspapers. “Microsoft Man To Publishers: Google Punches Holes In Your Paywall, But Bing Won’t,” says the headline. We saw this before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. That’s Microsoft playing the blame game in order to get its rivals sued/banned/excluded.

Microsoft plays this game not only in print media but also in books. Here is Google with some publishers and authors defending Google’s side.

Google Inc. and a group of publishers and authors urged a federal judge to accept a $125 million settlement that would create the world’s biggest digital book library.

Among the companies opposing the Google book settlement there is now Amazon, which joins Microsoft just like Yahoo! did.

Microsoft Inc. (MSFT), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and others urged a federal judge Thursday to reject a revised settlement among Google Inc. (GOOG) and publisher and author groups over digital copies of books.

It’s the DRM-loving Amazon, which has been filled with several Microsoft executives as we showed many times before (there is also the geographical factor when it comes to Amazon). It’s funny how allies of Microsoft are typically among those opposing the settlement and blaming Google for the failure of the once-scarce-and-now-abundant information industry.

Microsoft Crawls Into Bed With Washington, Seattle Times Still in Denial

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 6:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Accounting calculator tax return - taxes

Summary: How Microsoft abstains from paying tax like the rest of the nation’s citizens while press that’s complicit with Microsoft sweeps the problem under the rug

THE PREVIOUS POST discussed Microsoft’s control of the press, especially in Washington (the state). But there are also some interesting news from Washington DC. We’ll touch on both subjects.

Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates visit the White House quite frequently (they have enormous influence over there) and Ballmer is pressuring Obama to allow Microsoft’s tax dodge [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Microsoft is doing it again in an organised fashion (along with business partners):

i. Microsoft and HP among firms to take on Obama over $15bn offshore loophole

Some of the biggest multinationals operating here, such as Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, are gearing up to fight an Obama administration plan to curb offshore tax avoidance.

The $15.5bn (€11.3bn) proposal in US President Barack Obama’s 2011 budget targets what the IRS calls the growing problem of so-called transfer pricing. The technique allows companies to reduce their tax bills by transferring intangible property such as patents, trademarks and licenses to offshore subsidiaries.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), a Washington-based trade group that represents technology companies, said it would “educate policymakers” on how the proposal would hurt US companies, jobs and the economy.

ii. Microsoft, Dell Prepare to Fight Tax in Obama Budget

Software and computer companies such as Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. are gearing up to fight an Obama administration plan to curb offshore tax avoidance.

The $15.5 billion proposal in President Barack Obama’s 2011 budget targets what the Internal Revenue Service calls the growing problem of so-called transfer pricing. The technique allows companies to reduce their tax bills by transferring intangible property such as patents, trademarks and licenses to offshore subsidiaries.

“Microsoft ramps up its lobbying team,” according to another report (among others):

Microsoft is fortifying its congressional lobbying team as major issues that could affect them begin to work their way through Capitol Hill this year. The software firm has hired Christina Pearson to join its Washington office as senior director for public relations.

And also:

WASHINGTON: Microsoft named Christina Pearson the senior director of PR in the company’s Washington office, effective February 15.

Pearson, most recently an SVP at Fleishman-Hillard, is a former assistant secretary for public affairs at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She replaces Ginny Terzano, who was hired to lead the communications practice at Dewey Square Group. Pearson reports to Lori Harnick, senior director of PR, who continues to oversee public affairs.

That’s just more lobbying. It’s interesting to see a move into the Dewey Square Group, which relates to illegal Microsoft AstroTurfing [1, 2, 3, 4].

A reader from The Seattle Weekly says that “Microsoft Is Entitled to Keep as Much Money as It Wants” and former Microsoft managers who are inside the Washington government feel similarly. Also from The Seattle Weekly:

Washington may soon be broke. So perhaps now is not the best time for Rep. Ross Hunter to suggest one of the state’s richest companies get a tax break.

In 1997, Microsoft opened a small office in Reno, Nevada. Why? So they could avoid paying $100 million a year in software royalty taxes.

The Seattle Times, as usual, acts as Microsoft’s cheer-leading club in the face of harsh criticism from a former vice president of Microsoft. Joining the Seattle Times and the likes of it are Microsoft’s boosters from IDG, namely Gralla and O'Neill (there other Microsoft boosters such as Gavin Clarke and Mary Jo Foley who captured this embarrassing situation just to spin it, so we’ll omit links). Anyway, the Seattle Weekly went further by slamming its competitor, The Seattle Times, for almost refusing to cover Microsoft scandals:

Seattle Times Microsoft Tax Dodge Coverage Only Found in Comments

Microsoft’s alleged dodging of over $1 billion in Washington state Royalty taxes may or may not be illegal. It may or may not be unethical. But it’s certainly news.

The P-I, Crosscut, KUOW, HorsesAss, TechFlash, BoingBoing, the U.K.’s Guardian, Huffington Post and Seattle Weekly all think so. The Seattle Times does not.

We’ve mentioned this before. At The Seattle Times they also glorify and whitewash Gates’ character, whereas The Seattle Weekly was also willing to help expose and cover Microsoft fraud [1, 2]. Another bad publication is the Seattle P-I, which is like a 24/7 advertisement for Microsoft, but the staff there declined from about 150 to just 8 or so.

Microsoft Media Seemingly Masquerades as Government Media

Posted in Deception, Europe, Microsoft at 6:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The danger is that Microsoft is using strategic monopolistic pricing in the education market, with the government’s assistance, to turn our state university systems into private workforce training programs for Microsoft.”

Nathan Newman

Summary: A glimpse at an unacceptable overlap in coverage from 1105 Media

LAST year we mentioned that Web sites like “Federal Computer Weekly” and GCN — sites that pretend to have some authority above business (GCN is calling itself “The online authority for government IT professionals”) — are seemingly just serving Microsoft’s agenda. Even the OSI complained about them. These sites are very hostile towards Microsoft competitors and they even make factual errors that seem deliberate (serving a bias). As other people have complained about it we decided to check who is behind this network of Web sites that include:

* Contingency Planning
* Defense Systems
* Environmental Protection
* FCW
* Federal Employee News Digest
* FederalSoup
* FOSE
* GCN
* Gov Sec US Law Ready
* Network-Centric Security
* Occupational Health & Safety
* Security Products
* Washington Technology
* Water & Wastewater News

It turns out that some company called 1105 Media is running those sites, so they have nothing to do with the government (as these names may often suggest). They offer promotion of particular products and giving endorsement to Microsoft software/formats (like OOXML). But it gets even more interesting. Guess which other network of sites 1105 Media is running? The ‘Microsoft press’ from Redmond, namely:

* ENTmag.com
* MCPmag.com
* Redmond
* Redmond Channel Partner
* Redmond Developer News
* Redmond Events
* Redmond Media Group
* Redmond Report
* TCPmag.com
* Virtualization Review
* Visual Studio Magazine

Here is one of the latest examples of Microsoft vapourware, which was posted in the Microsoft magazines and then also in the so-called ‘government’ site:

Microsoft plans to talk about Internet Explorer 9 at its MIX 10 event for Web developers next month.

Yes, there is now an overlap between online Microsoft magazines and Web sites that supposedly inform people in government. The same articles are sometimes appearing in both networks of sites, which obviously enhances Microsoft’s mindshare in the United States government (and influence in Europe too). According to this new press release, “Microsoft to Host More Than 300 Government, Education Leaders at 8th Annual U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit”

The Microsoft U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit on Feb. 24–25 will bring together more than 300 government and education leaders from around the country, as well as Microsoft Corp. executives, product managers and partner organizations. Throughout the event, Microsoft and its partners will discuss and demonstrate the latest technologies and preview emerging government and education solutions. Members of the press will have an opportunity to attend general sessions, ask questions during special one-on-one sessions and converse with customers between sessions.

So technical government officials are almost literally in bed with Microsoft. Can’t anyone see how wrong this is? And Microsoft even enjoys leverage in the press, where advice to governments gets fused together with Microsoft’s.

“Microsoft corrupted many members of ISO in order to win approval for its phony ‘open’ document format, OOXML. This was so governments that keep their documents in a Microsoft-only format can pretend that they are using ‘open standards.’ The government of South Africa has filed an appeal against the decision, citing the irregularities in the process.”

Richard Stallman, June 2008

Bill Gates Invests Heavily in Deception About Global Warming and in Abusive Monopolies

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Microsoft, Patents at 5:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Exxon

Summary: New chart of the “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation” serving as a tax-exempt business venture/operation with some revealing disclosures of investments

AS CREATING more monopolies is what Bill Gates is up to these days with his so-called ‘charitable foundation’, we thought we should take a moment to look at the foundation’s role as an investment vehicle, whose choice of investments we criticised before. The reason that we do this is this new article which gives a list of companies that Gates put his money in:

Looking at the Gates Foundation’s holdings from the end of 2009, one can see that the endowment was trimming to its massive Berkshire Hathaway stake. Elsewhere, Gates was making limited moves, adding shares of Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa (TV) and vehicle dealer AutoNation (AN).

The Gates Foundation also held steady with large stakes in fast food chain McDonald’s (MCD), beverage maker Coca-Cola (KO), heavy equipment maker Caterpillar (CAT), waste services firm Waste Management (WM), energy giants Exxon Mobil (XOM) and BP (BP) and discount retailer Wal-Mart (WMT).

As we showed before, Gates is making more money from world hunger by investing in patents of companies like Monsanto. We wrote about this many times before and provided extensive evidence. The investment in Grupo Televisa, for example, also enables controlling media coverage, e.g. regarding the Gates Foundation. Gates also invests in Wal-Mart, which ended up choosing Novell over Red Hat (there are also personal reason at play) and then there are those investments in alcohol and Big Oil (giants like Exxon Mobil and BP) that AstroTurf against scientists who highlight the issue of global dimming, warming, or whatever the situation may be called. Since Gates is investing in Exxon Mobil, there is a dangerous alignment of interests. We mentioned the other day that Gates was downplaying global warming, as usual (the press does not pay attention to critics of his approach and instead plays along with the celebrity who is against immediate action [1, 2]). How much effect (if any) do these investments have? Why put money in the same companies that have AstroTurf operations (funded with millions of dollars) to knowingly lie about the reality and put civilisation at huge risk, leading to many deaths?

“Over in Africa, Gates and his investments in oil are killing Nigerian children…”There are many real issues that the press in the West is ignoring. Over in Africa, Gates and his investments in oil are killing Nigerian children (while the foundation is pretending to save lives over there). How about the investments in Caterpillar, which has an atrocious record when it comes to human rights and workers’ rights, especially abroad? And McDonald’s? Come on. There are also newer investments in UK retailers which have nothing to do with charity, just profit without obligation to pay tax (that’s what makes the foundation so valuable to Gates and Buffett, who also enjoy the PR aspect).

Those who abuse the system in this way are not without enemies. Here we have someone finding to courage to criticise Gates’ sheer arrogance in the mainstream press:

By what right does Bill Gates arrogate himself above national leaders?

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has been held in awe for many years for his business acumen. But since the world’s richest man embarked upon a career change as a global philanthropist his self-importance has blossomed.

On the occasion of the latest global mega gabfest known as the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Mr Gates granted interviews to two German newspapers to vaunt his foundation’s work, and then to criticize and shame the Prime Minister of another European country – Italy – for not conforming to Gates’ definition of generosity. Such effrontery is almost unheard of. Is Bill Gates so involved in his own version of the finest in philanthropy that he never had time to learn diplomacy, manners or humility?

Mr Berlusconi, who has provided fodder for the prurient international press with his peccadilloes (which occurred on his Sardinian property and not in the government seat of power as with Bill Clinton in the Oval Office), has become the whipping boy of Bill Gates: his is the sole name on Gates’ “List of Shame.” What for? For allegedly reducing foreign aid as part of the Italian government’s budgetary measures to attempt to reduce a government deficit of 5.3 percent of GDP and an official debt of 115 percent of GDP.

Gates’ political agenda should come as no surprise as he was never actually a programmer. Neither were his parents.

“Fine, Gates said. Simple enough. Change the Windows model to be like the Mac.

“But if the Windows team changed the model to pull, the ship date would slip another year. Gates simply didn’t understand the architectural issues because he had not been in on the development process.”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul

We previously showed how Bill Gates was pressuring government officials to whom he gives money to also give money to companies he is investing in (i.e. profits from) under the guise of “charity” (at the expense of taxpayers, meaning the poor). This is scandalous and it might also explain why Gates denounces world leaders who do not swing that way. In a later post we will write about the Gates-backed Intellectual Ventures, which is like a racketeering operation of massive scale and also a pyramid scheme. Yes, Bill Gates and his friend Nathan are destroying the IT industry with something that’s akin to racketeering and derivative scams (investments backed by bubbles). The media largely ignores these issues, maybe conveniently and maybe because Gates is investing in it.

Downtimes and Lack of Liability as Reasons to Avoid Microsoft Online

Posted in Law, Microsoft, Servers at 4:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Keep it clean

Summary: An aggregation of new articles about Microsoft servers being unavailable, with the victim completely on the weaker side

Microsoft is losing over $2,000,000,000 per year in its online business, according to its financial filings at least. Microsoft’s so-called ‘cloud’ occasionally goes down [1, 2, 3] (sometimes for a whole day) and Microsoft Nick passes on Microsoft’s excuses, the latest of which is:

Microsoft suggested that a Windows Live outage on Feb. 16, which prevented unknown users from accessing their Windows Live accounts in addition to Hotmail and Xbox Live, was due to a single server failure. While the root problem was identified quickly, Microsoft apparently needed time to resolve what it called the “logjam” due to increased load on the remaining servers. As it seeks to compete against Google and other cloud-based service providers, Microsoft is porting an increasing number of services, notably stripped-down versions of its Office 2010 applications, onto Windows Live.

Had Microsoft had connectivity issues (like WordPress.com), then it would at least manage to blame someone else. But this one is totally Microsoft’s fault and it is likely to happen again.

John Dvorak reminds his readers that Microsoft is allowed to change the terms and conditions at any time, so he advises people to avoid the services and for Microsoft to “get out of the cloud” and instead attack it like it attacked NetPC.

Why isn’t Microsoft trying to derail cloud computing? That’s what I would be doing it its position. It should think about killing Hotmail on a whim and saying, “there’s your cloud computing. Look what happened!” That, ultimately, is the real issue with the cloud. It’s not like your shrink wrapped software or even a stand alone download software package, which you essentially own and control. What would happen if Microsoft killed Hotmail? What would users do?

[...]

From the beginning Microsoft was a company that enabled the individual PC user. Now it talks about the cloud like everyone else. Microsoft really needs to rethink its approach.

Microsoft has just had some “parliament-sponsored” (meaning taxpayers-sponsored) meeting in London where this infamous UK-Microsoft "special relationship" was used to promote so-called ‘cloud’:

During a parliament-sponsored debate in Westminster this morning, Stephen McGibbon, regional technology officer for Microsoft in Europe, claimed the cloud is now the trend on everyone’s lips because of the wide adoption in the consumer market.

Microsoft also conducts self-serving surveys, as usual.

In a new Microsoft survey, SMB organisations are linking rises in revenue to the use of cloud-based managed services. Services such as e-mail and website hosting are proving increasingly popular among small business owners as they look to increase productivity without increasing overheads.

Here is some coverage from the meeting in London. It reminds people that Microsoft cannot be held liable, not even for its obvious negligence [1, 2, 3].

Cloud providers shrug off liability for security

[...]

Businesses signing up for standard cloud services should not expect the provider to accept liability for data breaches and other security incidents, Microsoft and others have said.

At a Cloud Law Summit in London on Wednesday, Microsoft’s head of legal, Dervish Tayyip, said the company would not provide financial guarantees against data-protection issues on cloud contracts.

We wrote about it before. It’s hardly acceptable.

Here is an opinion of someone who understands that Microsoft cannot get the edge online.

Microsoft Azure is available, but does anyone care?

[...]

Moreover, Microsoft has been chasing the infrastructure market for years, yet has had only very limited success.

With such a poor stack to begin with, reliability issues are not exactly surprising. Here is an article about Microsoft “Patch Overload”:

There are Patch Tuesdays, and then there are mega-Patch Tuesdays like this month’s, when Microsoft released a record-tying number of 13 security bulletins fixing 26 vulnerabilities. Handling this heavy load of patches — many of them requiring system shutdowns and reboots — with minimal disruption to business and the rare risk of the patches themselves causing problems is no easy feat.

Linux can do all this without the disruption and sometimes without the rebooting. Azure tops/begins this new list of “Microsoft’s 7 biggest `failures’” and it’s not exactly surprising. Microsoft cannot evolve and it shows [1, 2, 3, 4].

Eye on Apple: Foxconn’s Crimes, iPad Trouble, Flash, Censorship, and Support

Posted in Apple at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple session

Summary: News about Apple from the past days

Perhaps We Should Hold Apple And Other U.S. Companies Responsible For Foxconn’s Crimes

Buried in a Reuters report on Foxconn, a division of Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry, is a description of an attack on a journalist visiting a Foxconn factory in China while chasing down a lead on an Apple product. The journalist was taking pictures of the factory from a public road, he says, when two guards attacked him and tried to drag him into the factory:In China, a Reuters reporter found out the hard way how seriously some Apple suppliers take security.Tipped by a worker outside the Longhua complex that a nearby Foxconn plant was manufacturing parts for Apple too, our correspondent hopped in a taxi for a visit to the facility in Guanlan, which makes products for a range of companies.As he stood on the public road taking photos of the front gate and security checkpoint, a guard shouted.

I Worry About The iPad, Not Apple

FrontPage doesn’t do so well, but that hardly brings Microsoft down. Its other product offerings wipe away any mediocre performance by that one program. So several years later, they can quietly kill the FrontPage.

And the same can happen with the iPad. Even a worst-case scenario isn’t all that bad for Apple, assuming its other products continue on their growth trajectory.

Jobs’ damns Flash

In a meeting Jobs spoke forth and said unto executives at the Wall Street Journal that verily Flash is an abomination in his sight, for is it not a CPU hog, full of security holes, and old technology that crashes Mac OS X? He further said that Flash was like unto the floppy drive that he had banished from his Macs.

Adobe: Flash in the tablet disproves Steve Jobs

Apple squashes wobbly jub app [they could otherwise get sued for it]

Apple has decided to pull the jubtastic Wobble iBoobs from its App Store as part of an alleged puritanical clamp-down on “overtly sexual content”.

Help File: A belated fix for MacBook hard drives; a Windows patch gone bad

Back when I was getting these reports about self-destructing MacBook drives — which, in turn, followed published reports of manufacturing defects in certain models — I asked Apple publicists twice for comment, but the Cupertino, Calif., company stuck to its usual silence.

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