Nicholas Petreley's blog

Did Microsoft Buy Netcraft?

Okay, I'm not seriously suggesting Microsoft is paying off Netcraft to produce positive survey results (although this is certainly a standard operating procedure for Microsoft). But something is odd, if not rotten, in the state of Netcraft. I have often cited Netcraft web server surveys as evidence that open source beats closed source. The Netcraft surveys almost always showed Apache leading Microsoft IIS by a wide margin, and showed Apache growing as Microsoft IIS market share was shrinking. Lately, however, Netcraft began to claim that Apache market share has been shrinking rapidly while Microsoft IIS has been gaining the market share lost by Apache. Netcraft even proposed that, "Microsoft's recent gains raise the prospect that Windows may soon challenge Apache's leadership position." Microsoft IIS may displace Apache as the most-used web server? Could this really be true, or is this reporting from the Bizarro world? And does anyone else find the wording rather odd? "Windows" may challenge Apache? Huh? more>>

Hey Microsoft, Sue Me First

I bought the domain name HeyMicrosoftSueMe.org at the suggestion of Marcel Gagné after posting a blog entry on the topic. The idea was to ask Linux users to join me in calling Microsoft's bluff. Let's get the patent infringement claims tried in court and get this over with. Several people talked me out of it. Fortunately, a lawyer named Christian Einfeldt had the same idea and followed through. Here's a copy of Marcel's entry on the topic from his own blog, with a link to the "Sue me first Microsoft list" in case you want to add your own name. Christof, if you're reading this, you're welcome to the domain name HeyMicrosoftSueMe.org. more>>

The Microsoft FUD Campaign vs. the Customer

Almost everything that can be said has been said about the latest moves by Microsoft to create Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) about Linux. Countless pundits and analysts have pointed out that Microsoft threats are toothless. Some have noted that Microsoft has singled out Linux and OpenOffice, the biggest threats to its monopoly on operating systems and office suites. Surely Microsoft could claim that the *BSDs infringe on similar patents if not the same ones. But the *BSDs do not pose as great a threat to the company. Others have pointed out that Microsoft would be insane to pull an SCO and sue its own customers. Still others have noted that IBM and/or OIN could respond to a patent war with a massive retaliation in patent infringement claims. I have no doubt that Microsoft has lifted a lot of GPL code (more likely algorithms) for Windows, which would prevent Microsoft from following through with its threats. To do so would require that Microsoft open its own code to scrutiny. The list goes on, and others have covered the angles very well. There is one perspective I haven't yet seen, at least not the way I propose to deal with it. This perspective follows below. more>>

Dear Microsoft, Sue This, Please

November of last year, you announced a covenant with Novell not to sue its customers for patent violations. Shortly thereafter you tried to strike a similar deal with Red Hat. Red Hat turned you down. Somewhere early in the public discussion you claimed that all users of Linux owe Microsoft money for using Microsoft intellectual property (read: infringing upon Microsoft patents). Please tell us when you plan to collect said monies. When are you going to sue Red Hat Linux customers? When do you plan to sue the users of other countless non-Novell distributions? Surely Novell customers will feel their protection money was ill-spent unless you follow through with such lawsuits. So please fill us in on your plans to sue. The suspense is excruciating. more>>

Is there a secret story behind the Novell/Microsoft deal?

Was the Novell/Microsoft deal a worthwhile well-meaning effort between renegade open-source geeks at Microsoft and geeks at Novell that got derailed by salespeople and management, after which it was turned into a nightmare deal with the devil? I raise this question because I know someone with ties to people at both Microsoft and Novell. He has a credible story to tell about what really happened, and how much it differs from what we now know about the Novell/Microsoft deal. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get him to write up the history - yet. While I continue to pester him, here's the short version, third hand. more>>

Microsoft Tries to Patent a Crippled Baseline OS

Microsoft is applying for a patent for an operating system that starts out crippled. You must pay to do things like take the throttle off network speed, disk access, install drivers, install software, and more. Trust me, I rarely even visit Groklaw, even if this is my second consecutive blog entry with a link to a Groklaw article. My VarLinux.org readers posted the article, A Brave New Modular World, and I had to share it. more>>

What happened to the guts?

What happened to the guts in mainstream publications? I recall back in the 80s InfoWorld pressured Lotus into ditching its copy protection scheme by docking Lotus 1-2-3 several points in reviews because of the inconvenience. I believe Lotus was the first to buckle, but other vendors jumped on the bandwagon and abandoned copy protection. Fast forward to today. Not only has copy protection come back from the grave, it has risen like a juggernaut zombie bent on eating everyone's brains. Worse, many consumers and writers alike seem to be unscrewing their scalps and willingly offering up the meal. "I want the latest iThing, it's so cool!" Sure, you'll find appropriate outrage in Linux Journal and a handful of renegade publications like the Register. But what happened to the mainstream journals with the guts of yesteryear? more>>

Contradictions in Microsoft's OOXML openness

There is a fascinating article on Groklaw called Searching for Openness in Microsoft's OOXML and Finding Contradictions. One of the most relevant comments in the article is "So, they plan to be the only one in the Linux world that can actually interoperate with Microsoft. How do you think they will achieve that? By sharing? On the contrary, they already market themselves as uniquely interoperable, which means they get to interoperate and you don't, unless you are their paying customer." There is also the Novell comment, "Only Novell has Microsoft’s endorsement as its partner to drive Linux-Windows interoperability." more>>

Microsoft Office lock-in and the deal with Novell

I can't urge you strongly enough to read the article entitled How Vista Lets Microsoft Lock Users In. It details how Microsoft has built into Vista the "trusted computing" ability to lock down Office files via DRM such that no unauthorized document reader will be able to decrypt and read them. This is perhaps one of the biggest hidden weapons Microsoft has in its arsenal that could sabotage Linux and OpenOffice.org if Microsoft succeeds in its attempt to plug SUSE and all Novell's "interoperability" bonuses.

Think of this, if you will, as the Tivoization of Office files, only with malicious intent. Microsoft could, indeed, open up the document format completely and swear before God that it will never sue anyone for patent infringement. However, this does not prevent Microsoft from locking Office files in such a way that only Vista users can read them. No one else will be able to do so without the proper authorization, thus rendering the open format and Microsoft compatibility entirely meaningless -- unless, of course, someone agrees to pay Microsoft for the keys to unlock those files. more>>

Miguel de Icaza plays fast and loose with the facts and history

Miguel de Icaza, in this weblog entry says, "Facts barely matter when they get in the way of a good smear. The comments over at Groklaw are interesting, in that they explore new levels of ignorance." This comment rings especially true of his weblog entry. For example, Miguel states...

We have been working on OpenOffice.Org for longer than anyone else has. We were some of the earliest contributors to OpenOffice, and we are the largest external contributor to actual code to OpenOffice than anyone else.

Say what? Who created OpenOffice? Who bought it? Who opened it? Anyone ever hear of Star Division gmbh or Sun? Since when did Novell become the earliest contributor to OpenOffice.org? The earliest and largest external corporate contributor, maybe. I'd like to see some hard facts to back up an assertion like that (not that facts matter, as Miguel admitted), but his hyperbolic boasting of Novell's contribution is obviously overblown. And is a contribution that doesn't make it into the main code base really a contribution? After all, in the same blog entry, Miguel himself makes much of the fact that Novell's OpenOffice.org really isn't THE OpenOffice.org. It's Novell's unique version, patched and modified. more>>

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