Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Journal Journal: Digitimes: Windows 7 Won't Drive PC Sales. 1

Digitimes has another reason for Windows 7 sales to be low.

PC replacement demand is not driven significantly by the consumer market, but rather enterprise and government purchases ... most enterprises in Europe and North America are expected to start planning annual purchasing budgets for the year in March and April of 2010, actual replacement demand is not expected to spur until the second half of the year.

Companies and government might buy computers next year, but they should already be buying orders placed in March and April of this year. There are already accounts of corporate rejection of Windows 7, so that OS is not likely to have anything to do with corporate buying and government won't be a big market because UAC still does not meet government security standards . Back in January, retailers at CES remembered being "burnt by Vista" and saw nothing to change their minds about the contracting PC market. Perhaps OEMs and retailers could deliver the gnu/linux netbooks and desktops that people actually want to buy.


Journal Journal: email not shown publicly

Who decided that all story submissions would be tagged with user email addresses? You might as well demand and publish people's real names.

This is a breach of trust that will drive away long standing users such as myself. Email addresses were collected under the promise of never being published. Now I have the choice of submitting things as AC, publishing my email address or just giving up. I'm leaning towards giving up. Boycott Novell has been more fun anyway.


Journal Journal: Vista 7 Fail Videos 1

Despite all the hype, it is easy to predict that Windows 7 will go the same way Vista did. Vista was a failure in every way, so a pretty new face was made to sell the same buggy and customer hostile core and the Microsoft hype machine was turned on full blast. Now that Vista 7 is RTM, we no longer have to make predictions, we can simply watch the results. Here is a collection of Vista 7 failures found on YouTube. Enjoy what I found in a few minutes:

Update 1/2/2011 Real users have been forced to buy Vista 7 with their new computers for more than a year and it's Vista all over again. They tell the story better than I can.

Here are videos that have collected at YouTube over the last year. Windows 7 is no less a pig and no more secure than Vista was, everything the Microsoft boosters say is a lie. All of these videos were made after the RTM date and most after the October 22nd, 2009 shelf date. The best have bold dates.




The Media

Journal Journal: Amazingly Bad Defense of M$ Monopoly Practices. 1

From the dept of brain dead or bribed journalists.

This ZDNet opinion piece has got to be the worst defense of unethical business practices I've see to date. Basically, the author admits M$ bribes and punishes OEMs and that's AOK with him. Let's preserve this gem:

a company gets twice as much from a PC with their brand on it as one they make for someone else. MSI needs this money to survive in a world where its Chinese partners can undercut them. The margin justifies MSIs existence.

It is also true that Linux cannot afford a presence in the channel. Its not how we roll. You cant invest in retailing if your product costs nothing. There is nothing to invest. Thats why Linux and open source depend on the Internet.

A monopolistic practice occurs when two sides are offering the same deal and one side gets all the business. But in this case both sides were not offering the same deal. Microsoft offered channel support, Linux a hearty handshake and rhetoric about freedom.

... What Linux needs to succeed is a way to offer more than was offered MSI. The question is, how would you structure a deal?

Well, that's a good question. What besides an OS that works and costs zero dollars does free software offer? OK, it can cost up to half what Windows costs if you get it customized and maintained by a company like Xandros. "Channel Support" is just a code word for exclusion of competition by bribes and threats, the very definition of anti-trust conspiracy. Lately, "Channel Support" has come at a terrible cost to companies like Asus. Retail partners like CompUSA, Circuit City and others who got themselves channel stuffed with Vista. This is what Li Chang, vice president of the Taipei Computer Association, was complaining about and it's worth a DOJ investigation. People don't want Windows, they want computers that work. Retailers and OEMs that don't deliver are going the way of other M$ partners and M$ themselves.

Ordinarily, I don't pick on language and style but the phrase, "how we roll," references to his parents' national origin bring special disgrace on ZDNet and the Wintel press. It's hard to tell if he's being cynical or if M$'s culture has really degenerated so far. This single article earns Dana a place in my Poison Pen Collection.


Journal Journal: M$ Employee Admits M$'s Poor Security Reputation. 3

Roger Grimes makes this startling admission of public perception:

Youll often read similar recommendations to dump Microsofts Internet Explorer (I work full-time for Microsoft) and use any other browser instead. To completely protect yourself, theyll advise moving off of Microsoft Windows all together.

He goes on to make some long winded excuses and insult users in a way that's completely torn apart in the comments. His readers sanely point out that Window's endless problems have been well demonstrated. What's interesting about this article is not the same old blame the user and "popularity" excuses, it's that M$ is no longer able to pretend to the general public that "computer experts" still trust Windows. They don't and neither does anyone else any more.


Journal Journal: Mini Microsoft Bemones a Moribund M$

I enjoy gloating, so a pair of articles, 1 and 2, from the M$ employee known as Mini Microsoft were quite enjoyable. It sucks to work for a big dumb company that's being raped by greedy and stupid people at the top of the org chart. It must suck even more at a company like M$, which long ago became a parasitic cult, loathed when people have the inclination to care. Mini's observations come through rose colored glasses, but there's no mistaking the lack of motivation and useful leadership.

He's got mood swings the size of Steve Ballmer's ego. He swings from wishing everyone well to wanting people fired, now - damn it! Desperately, he seeks a simple solution for his broken company but realizes none is can be found. This is typical of the emotional rollercoaster employees of a failing company ride.

Do you think that the concept of shared sacrifice would work at Microsoft? If it still felt like a company driven by the employees, probably so. ... if we still felt like the drive and ambition of the front-line employees shaped the company and defined it, then helping one another would make sense. But the huge growth shattered that sense of employee ownership, abetted by the abysmal Microsoft stock performance we've had since, yes, Mr. Ballmer became CEO.

Microsoft gorged itself at the buffet bar of mediocre hires. And now we're bursting at the seams and deadlocked. We are stagnant right when we have two major product releases coming in for landing ... Zero attrition. Stagnation. Organizational constipation. Nothing good comes out of that but corporate sepsis.

He proposes a crazy plan where people can move freely in the company but crashes hard the very same day. He celebrates the fifth birthday of his blog by basically saying, "I was right, M$ is stupid and hopeless. All of my efforts have been wasted."

Soon to be five years ago, I started this blog up because I felt Microsoft was a train not only off-track but also heading straight for a cliff. We were massively expanding and incapable of dealing with the exponential complexity that a fast growing Microsoft required of us. It appeared as though we were growing for growth's sake and without a particular elegant plan in mind. [twitter note: most people think they were just buying revenue to keep their stock price from collapsing.] ...

... Early 2009, we publically reached that cliff and went flying off. ... all the publicity this blog has garnered and the awkward questions it forced to be asked, none of it helped to avoid that cliff we've been steaming towards the last five years. My reality check has been cashed.

Yes Mini, you were right. Non free software quit making sense about a decade ago. Everything M$ has done since then has been to perpetuate a lie to enrich top leadership at M$, broadcast media and other fraudulent companies. Vista is non free software's crowning achievement in treacherous and disfunctional computing. Re arranging the org chart won't make Windows 7 any better. The non free software development model will never be able to provide enough resources to code production to make it competitive. This is true even if M$ were to quit wasting billions on Zune, Xbox, advertising and executive toys like the world's larges private yacht and failed private resort towns. But they won't do that any more than they will divest NBC, CNBC or any of the rest of the news organizations bought by M$, the Gates Foundation or funded by M$'s massive budget. The lies will go on till the company falls over like Enron did. M$ has entered the same death spiral it created for so many more worthy companies over the years. M$'s demise alone won't bring the owners of those other companies justice. That will take many protracted lawsuits to strip the ill gotten wealth from those who think they have gotten away with it. A country of ruined worker bees will be more than happy to see it happen.


Journal Journal: Ever Wondered What M$ did about Linux at Walmart?

From http://iowa.gotthefacts.org/011607/9000/PX09617.pdf:

Confidential Memo

To: Microsoft Internal
From: Walmart/Linux Taskforce: Robin Bradshaw, Christine Briggs, Mark Croft David Hoffman & Tom Perrier
CC: Rogers Weed
Date: May 16, 2006


Microtel PCs without an operating system ("naked") first started appearing on Walmart.com in CY 01. We responded by workding with Walmart.com on the language that was used to market those PCs. The focus was on "anti-piracy" messages.

The first Microtel Lindows PCs appeared on Walmart.com in June 2002. We are responding with a taskforce and coordinated efforts to understand the situation and intentions of all parties involved.

To date, there has been a lot of press about the Linux PCs selling on Walmart.com (See attached list of articles.) The media has been mixed, some telling a positive story about the Linux efforts and some pointing out the flaws in the offerings. One consisten message is that these are "substandard" PCs based on todays technology advances.

There is one critical data point we are missing: volume. Walmart will not disclose the volume of Microtel PCs they are selling, and Microtell has told us they are under a "non-disclosure agreement with Walmart." We have been working on some tactics so attempt to obtain volume estimates, but at this time, we can't confirm any numbers.

- We understand that Microtel is shipping approximately 100 units per week on Walmart.com orders.
- We understand that most of the volume is at the $199 price point.
- We understand that most of those systems are shipping with NO OS. (Naked Systems)
- We understand that there has not been a customer satisfaction issue. Walmart sets fairly strict standards for customer return rates and service calls.

The PR activity and focus from Walmart has definitely increased out efforts to understand the Linux threat on the desktop. Several Linux PCs were purchased and evaluated. See the summary of those findings below.

Linux on the Desktop



Microtel is a small system builder in the City of Industry California. A couple of principles in the company came from a previous OEM Mitsuba. Microsoft filed suit against them in _____ for piracy and they went out of business. They haven't been proponents of Microsoft, their volumes haven't warrented direct account management, and we just began to engage and build a relationship with them in 2002.

We started to engage with Microtel in the beginning of FY02, but the AM was met with a closed door and had little if no success. When the Lindows issue broke, Tom Perrier (tperrier), Microsoft System Builder RSM, discovered that Rich Hindman was their VP of Sales/Marketing (from Mitsuba). Tom had worked with Rich prior at AST Computer. Tat got us in the door and Rich is open to work on the relationship with Microsoft and Tom, but isn't sharing any information regarding their plans of volume. This is a summary of his progress with Rich:

1.) Continue the engagement with Rich Hindman to focus on strategies to differentiate the offerings as Microtel introduces a new wave of SKU's. This will seperate the offerngs and focus on the added value of the Windows based systems. (Avoid the current situtation where the $299 Windows Home SKU is the same config as Lindows model but $100 more for the same model with XP Home, with no other differentiation). This can be accomplished with scenarios like the Office XP 20-Day trial (in place today).

2.) They are still very "non-disclosure" oriented. I tried and tried, but could not get Rich to divulge any shipment data. I continue to think that the shipments out of their facility in City of Industry are small. In addition, Rich would not give me any real data for the current PRM Account Profilling that we are doing.

3.) All of the conversations with Microtel are centered on growing their Microsoft business, and improving the relationship between Microtel and Microsoft. We avoid any direct conversations on Linsows.

4.) Rich realizes and states that Microtel is getting increased focus and attention based upon their offerings on the Wal-Mart.com site. He will continue to take advantage of these opportunities as they arise.

5.) In developing the relationship with the local VIA Sales Rep, Roger Goh (rogergoh), System Builder AM was able to determine that the systems built for Walmart.com are build somewhere on the east coast, and the volume is approx 1000 a week. He was not able to get the mix.

Tom has been working closely with the taskforce team and David Hoffman on driving a longer term strategy with Walmart.com. Microtel seems willing to do the implementation.


Retail relationship efforts have been historically focused on Walmart corporate and not walmart.com. There is a high level of autonomy at walmart.com. They are not managed under the same guidelines and processes as Walmart corporate. They are making their own decisions about product offerings. Luke Ellison is the Technology Manager at Walmart.com. David Hofman, Microsoft HRD Account Manager, has developed a relationship with Luke. He is eager to work on some additional Microsoft programs with David, but isn't sharing too much regarding their Linux plans. This a summary of his meetings with Luke:

1.) Luke is concerned that Microsoft is mad at them for selling Linux PCs.
a. He wanted to make sure that we knew that www.wal-mart.com is very "pro-Microsoft"
b. They feel that customers that purchase Linux PCs were never a "Microsoft" customer anyway, and that by offering Linux PCs, they were broadening their customer base
c. Their goal with Lindows was to hit a very low price point - if it sold, they would keep it, if it didn't they would dump it after 90-120 days. It's selling.

2.) "Naked PCs" (no O/S) are still outselling Linux PCs (but not by much)
a. They plan to start selling Windows XP OEM (bundled with mouse) as a standalone product (technically this is legit)

3.) All the machines are build-to-order and that www.wal-mart.com carries no inventory.

4.) They are currently working on a way to offer additional software bundles with all of their PCs (like Office, Anti-Virus, etc.)

5.) He mentioned that Microtel was upset about the E-machines deal with Wal-Mart retail, but that Wal-Mart didn't think Microtel could handle being a retail partner - it was just too big of a job for them.

David is working with Walmart.com to help them promote the Windows XP PCs that are listed on walmart.com today. In an effort to differentiate the Windows XP PC from the Linux PC, we are working on a consumer software title bundle to promote as part of the purchase of the Windows XP machine.

Next Steps

1.) Continue the relationship efforts with Microtel and Walmart.com. (Tom Perrier & David Hoffman)

2.) Develop a deeper understanding of the Linux efforts at other System Builders and OEMs in the US. (Datel, ZT Group, MEI etc) (Tom Perrier & Ken Goetsch)

3.) Work with Windows Team to understand options for a Windows XP eval solution. (Mark Croft)

4.) Stay close to HP and eMachines (tow OEMs selling PCs at Walmart) to understnd their efforts and position in the account.









http://biz.yahoo.com/fo/020821/doesn t do windows 3.html

Wal-Mart Sells Windows-Less Computers
Associated Press
Silicon Valley.com

USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/review/2002-07-17-walmart-computers x.htm

Linux finds fans at Wal-Mart

Sun, Lindows.com Strike Deal
Internet.com: http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news/article.php/1404731

Mandrake on Lindows




http://www.pcmag.com/print article/0,3048,a-30914,00.asp


Journal Journal: TechCrunch and Wired Lead Anti-PR Revolt 3

Ever wondered how the tech press all ends up talking about the same stuff at the same time and why so many stories look like dupes that make Slashdot look original? There was an editorial revolt against PR practices by TechCrunch and Wired spills all the beans. TechCrunch is tired of "Embargos", a practice where talking points are issued to everyone who's willing to wait till a specified date to publish. Both TechCrunch and Wired are fed up with spams by people too lazy to build propper relationships. Both report ugly details of abusive manipulation by the PR firms and their masters. Though TechCrunch apparently fears Waggener Edstrom, they were happy to show off an ugly letter from someone from a weaker firm. The arrogance displayed is breathtaking.

Lois is one of the most obnoxious PR people you'll ever meet, and the poster child for everything that is wrong with the industry. ... Lois takes pleasure in making people miserable, and her specialty is spamming. ... [here's what she wrote someone who asked to be removed from a list] "CES publishes a list of press. You are one of a few thousand. ... I have seen nasty people like you melt away faster than a snowball going up hill in the rain. I am waiting for an apology. Maybe we can meet at CES for a hug or a slug. P.S. I just visited your web site. I would hardly call your blog a publication, However, you do have very interesting content ...."

Translation: eat my spam or die. TechCrunch thinks the PR firm's days are over,

As the economy turns south, PR firms are under increasing pressure to perform and justify their monthly retainers which range from $10,000 to $30,000 or more. In short, they have to spam the tech world to get coverage, or lose their jobs.

It's good to revolt against these practices but they only scrape the surface of what's wrong with tech writing. Neither deals with OEM manipulation that always backs up the worst of hack writing. PR firms are also engaged in a whole other world of abuse, astroturf and heckling designed to stifle academic and professional conversations which fall outside of market force control. The sooner these games end, the better informed all of us will be. Traditional news has long failed to inform, now much of it also fails to make money.

Story also submitted to firehose.



Journal Journal: Vista Still Not Out of the Box Ready, Breaks DHCP.

Yet another reviewer is tempted to Vista's annoyances and finds it still lacking.

Yes, I finally slowed down enough to let the Microsoft Vista steamroller catch me. ...

Although this PC is aimed at home and small business users, the Out Of Box Experience would make many of the people I know in those categories uncomfortable. First, the network connection didn't work. ... Second, the HP TotalCare and other setup crap gets really annoying. I'm almost certain I will delete most of these helper programs, but I'm going through all the standard steps just so I can feel the pain of all the users getting new Vista PCs this holiday. ... I had to download four big update files. I don't think these were for Microsoft, but for HP's software. Even more aggravating, while the main download popup windows sat in the middle of the screen, the task bar popups alerted me to start the exact updates that were already in progress. Speaking of progress, there doesn't seem to be much in this installation sequence over XP, at least not so far. ... Remember when nag screens were what you got from trial software, not purchased products? ... No sound from the speakers during installation, even though HP put a volume setting on the display like there should be sound. [he had to download drivers to make it work]

Elswhere, he describes his frustration with Vista networking.

Now that my sound function works, and I vented about the User Access Control, let's get to a serious problem: networking. ... Microsoft's bizarre configuration change turned DHPC into a source of incredible frustration. I've been fighting networks for over two decades and never, ever had to worry about DHCP before, but that was before Microsoft's incompetence with Vista.

Too bad he did not buy an HP system with GNU/Linux instead.


Journal Journal: Stephen Fry's Vista Melt Down.

This one is worth preserving.

I hate Vista so much I want to cry. Bought a Vaio. The most useless $4k ever spent. It just will not join a sec-enabled network. ... I have nine macs!!!!!! I don't need another fucking mac. I just want ONE ARSING PC that isn't complete SHIT. ... Too late. It's going out the window. I can't put up with this sort of arse. Listemn I have parallels, I have fusion, I have 2 distros of Linux. I need jsut one, just 1 of cunting Vista so that I can review things. Forgive intemperate language, but every time I buy a PC they're worse, not better than they were before and it make me so angry I could kill. ... I've calmed down now. Vista and PCs are so crap it's funny

Nothing is so sad as the tears of a clown. Give up Steve, Vista's not worth your efforts.

The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: Michael Lewis Bloggs the Financial Crisis.

If you want an inside understanding of the current financial bust, you could ask the man who wrote Liar's Poker. Or you could read his great essay on it.

Update March 23, 2009

Despite the extended looting and accompanying sucker's rally on Wall Street today, the current predatory lending and investment fraud crisis is showing it's true magnitude. Small wars have cost less than what this crisis has already cost and we are looking at the start of losses, not their end. Other interesting summaries come from Rolling Stone and alternet [2]. The people who described 12 deregulatory steps bought with $5 billion in lobby money can rightly say, "we told you so," have some interesting regulatory remedies. Here are a few interesting links that chronicle the details of the mess:


  • March 14 - Greg Pallast says the removal of Elliot Spitzer on private prostitution charges was done to make "bailouts," bank mergers and nationalization possible. He also gives a nice summary of the working of the predatory lending and "sub prime" mortgage scams. Stats: $250 Billion to bankers, 2 million homeowners on brink of forclosure.
  • October 13 - Naomi Klein notices the "bailout" is little more than public looting. There has been no "nationalization" of banks because they are under no obligations. She further predicts that bankers will be back for more. Stats: $700 Billion spent.
  • October 23 - U.S. Security and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox repudiates deregulation policies, "The last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work." He's talking about the "Enron loophole" where energy futures were and still are traded on the unregulated Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) where rampant speculation blew the price of oil and fattened oil company proffits. The price of oil doubled normally between 1988 to 2000 but the the market was deregulated in 1998 and 2002, shooting the price from $36 in 2000 to $60 in 2005 then a staggering $110 per barrel in 2008. This resulted in high gasoline prices that precipitated the housing collapse.
  • November 27 - Alan Greenspan admits he was wrong about deregulating derivatives markets.


  • January 19 - Truthout jeers the second round of public looting that does little for homeowners and proposes two reasonable alternatives. The second alternative to TARP 2 is to give homeowners the difference between bubble price and current fair value instead of the banks. That would give people the ability to make their payments and rescue the banks. As things are proposed, homeowners end up with a lower priced mortgage but no equity or way to make payments and banks will end up blighted property owners anyway.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Evidence of Firehose Gaming. 6

The Twitter Firehose Gaming Index

The ratio of twitter items to items by others in a given user's personal firehose.

My submissions are buried almost immediately but a good 14% of them are published anyway, so I'm sure that the system is being gamed and the firehose supports this. My submissions get more than their fair share of attention from usual suspects. No experiment is complete without verification, so I have to admit I've done some of this myself but efforts were quickly overwhelmed by the pros who use botnets. Slashdot editors are in a better position to spot this kind of activity and should take action to protect the site.

So, what should normal firehose numbers look like? Slashdot runs about 25 stories a day. That stacks up to about 750 a month and 9,000 each year. For each story there are hundreds of submissions. I average about 10 front page stories per year, around 0.1% of Slashdot. My submissions make an even smaller proportion of the overall firehose because I'm nowhere near a hall of famer and of the constant bombardment by ACs and troll accounts. Different people have different interests, so I'd expect those who's interest match mine to represent me a little better but order of magnitude differences are suspicious. That sets a rather low barrier of 1%. While that's not hard to find in the small samples easily available, hit ratios of 2, 5 or 20% are obvious gaming.

Different people also have different ways of using the firehose. Some ignore it and their personal firehose contains nothing but their own comments. Others only have front page stories in their personal firehose. Because I was only interested in submission gaming, I ignored comment posts and concentrated on submissions, journals and mainpage stories.

Here's what I found:

  • Keith Russell 84 checked 12/09/2008 to 12/2005, 36 his own posts (mostly sports), 40 others (mostly M$ stuff), 8 twitter 8/48= 17%
  • JWilcox154 has 6 twitter and 125 others. in 2008, 8 and 192 total to 7/21/2007. almost all others nod/nixed are front page stories. 6/131 = 5%
  • Macthrope has 2 of 48 back to 3/12/2007 almost all are his own comments. 2/50 = 4%
  • Dedazo 134 total, almost all of his own stuff. 5 twitter and 19 others, 5/24 = 21%
  • Renegadesx 49 total, 1 twitter, 19 others. 1/20=5%

The sum of these accounts is more damning than each individual because the statistics add up. It is good evidence of general gaming.

It is stunning that people doing this kind of thing would leave such obvious traces. They should know that Slashdot's editors could check for this kind of activity even if ordinary users could not and could have easily hidden the activity with their multiple accounts. For instance, a person with 100 accounts can separate the few accounts used to heckle from those used to bury. Bury activity can be partially disguised with rotations and time shifting. Other M$ promotion can be distributed through all of the accounts to statistically disguise specific activity like this. That kind of thoroughness must be too much work for the hacks sent to ruin Slashdot.


I see that three trolls have come to comment. I've exposed these people's behavior before, Keith Russel, Macthorpe and dedazo [2], [3, self exposure]. These three accounts are probably the work of a single person, they all have the same things to say in the same way and the same place.


Journal Journal: Rob Enderle's Bitter Vista Experience. 1

Letters from the Vista Capable lawsuit show just how out of touch with reality M$ was about Vista. Ron Enderle confronted them about the problem of versioning and was abused and punished for his efforts. Enderle is a long time M$ booster and the emails show that he's willing to turn away news business and lie for M$'s sake. In hindsight, we know that Vista was a dissaster that tainted everyone who tried to push it and did indeed freeze the entire market. The released email tells this small part of the story best. Here are a few excepts Todd Bishop thought captured the moment.

"Anyway, you'll do what you do," [Enderle] wrote to Microsoft's Barry Goffe. "Dell will go along; they are just trying to miss a bullet that they, and I, know you can't even see. Let's hope we can mitigate the damage otherwise the industry is really screwed."

"Honestly, in all my years of dealing with analysts, I have never been quite so flummoxed. He is just dug in and is not willing to acknowledge reality." [Microsoft's Barry Goffe wrote to others at M$].

[the next day Enderle wrote Steve Ballmer], "We had an advisory meeting with Dell where they (made) a huge stink about your plan for Vista SKUs and asked the analysts and reporters to intervene (we were under NDA so the information was contained). So I attempted to do so and spoke with Barry Goffe who was very nice but seemed surprised that Dell had a problem (I've since spoken with the CEO of another OEM who concurred with Dell) and so went back to Dell and got the attached response. Sitting on the OEM typically is not effective at making a problem like this go away. Dell was never going to publicly roll against you they were just trying to prevent a mistake ... "

At some point I'd love to learn how to help you folks without either getting shot myself or getting someone who also depends on me shot. I figure that would be a great survival skill.

Dell left him hanging and threatened him, saying "Any assessments you make are best supported/couched in terms of your own analysis and opinion rather than communicated on Dell's behalf," and threatened, "Any conversation outside the spirit of this forum [Dell GAC discussions] are in violation of the NDA. (page 29)"

Looking again at the email, you can see why people at M$ would be angry, especially now that it's leaked out to the public. It starts on page 17 and is worth quoting because he correctly predicted the whole Vista Capable fiasco. Parts where he promises to sell out his readers are emphasized.

From: Barry Goffe
Sent: August 29, 2005 11:14 PM
To: Neil hamey; Shanen Boettcher; Brad Goldberg; Debbie Anderson
CC: Lisa Worthington (Waggener Edstrom)
Subject: FW: glass vr. non-glass

I really need your help. Lisa and I did a call this morning with Rob Enderle to go through the SKU plan. Apparently Dell leaked our SKU plan (while under NDA of course) to Rob and a bunch of other analysts and press - under the guise of an 'Advisory Council' In the process Dell did its damndest to poison Rob's thinking - and they were rather successful.

Rob's Logic is:

a.) we have been showing off this great thing called Vista
b.) it has all kind of great stuff in it, like Glass.
c.) since we have not yet talked about SKUs, all customers are expecting that all the features that we have discussed will be in the mainstream SKUs - the equivalent of XP Home today on the consumer side
d.) We are going to ship this thing called Home Basic which we are going to price the same as XP Home
e.) some of the features that we have been showing, namely glass (because I can't get Rob to come up with any other feature) will not be in the Home Basic SKU
f.) customers will perceive that we are taking stuff away from Home Basic andthat it will be looked upon as a price increase
g.) this perceived price increase will freeze the entire market.

.... Rob is quite passionate as you can see from the string below. Honestly, in all my years of dealing with analysts, I have never been quite so flummoxed. He is dug in and not willing to acknowledge reality.

From: Rob Enderle
Sent: Monday August 29, 2005 11:06 PM
To: Barry Goffe
CC: Lisa Worthington (Waggener Edstrom)
Subject: RE: glass vs. non-glass

Well this is what happens when you set expectation high then pull features out. .... Microsoft is already being lambasted for crippled Vista. If you don't know what a glass looks like full anything in it looks good, but if you know what you are missing you tent to focus on what is missing, unfortunately that is where we are now. I get to do a lot of columns these days, could guarantee each of these titles [that Vista is a rip off] not only would get published they would make the front page or pull amazing numbers. ... you are convinced the customer is getting a great deal, you are the vendor, vendors always think that ... the customer often votes their feelings with their pocketbook. One thing has changed since '85 we have blogs now. .... The press was taken through the product and every time a feature is dropped the calls come in with the take that Vista is just smoke and mirrors now, I can turn some of these but there are limitations to what I can do. ...

Anyway, you'll do what you'll do. Dell will go along, they are just trying to miss a bullet that they, and I, know you can't even see. Let's hope we can mitigate the damage otherwise the industry is really screwed.

From: Barry Goffe
Sent Monday August 29, 2005 8:29 PM
To: Rob Enderle
CC: Lisa Worthington (Waggener Edstrom)
Subject RE: glass vs. non-glass


Thanks for taking the time to think this through some more. I really appreciate your feedback.

Please see detailed comments in line below ...

From: Rob Enderle
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2005 3:56 PM
To: Barry Goffe
CC: Lisa Worthington

There will be a lot of attention spent on the UI because that is the visual change and this is often where the Apple vs. Microsoft pieces focus. I expect we'll have a number of Linux vs. Windows pieces as well but still think most of those will focus on what you get and how much you pay ... but UI is possible.

Natuarl Headlines:

Microsoft Charges More for Less: Text focuses on what fell out of Longhorn and the price increases for the premium offering.
Buy Tablet and Media Center or Else: Text focuses on the fact that to get the good stuff you have to take other things.
If You Doubted Microsoft was a Monopoly: Rant on perceived price increases.
Microsoft Raises Tax: Avoidance Advice: Price increases with recommendation you buy either Linux or Apple (or simply not buy)
Windows Consumers get 4 Choices Business gets Screwed: Focus on disparity between consumer and business lines
Windows Vista - 7 Reasons to Switch: Focuses on complexity of offering and perceived price increases.

... What I heard was there was 4 SKUs ....


Journal Journal: Timeline of M$'s GNU/Linux Patent Extortion.

Here's a brief timeline of M$'s GNU/Linux patent extortion, mostly reported in their own words. It should be seen as part of a much larger attack on GNU/Linux that continues to this day. The picture that emerges is a constant drizzle of FUD, behind the scenes strong arming and finally direct and proxy lawsuits. I'll point to major refutations in this list, but the US Supreme Court has declared business method patents invalid and all but invalidated software patents, and victims having their day in court accuse Microsoft of judicial extortion that amounts to anti-trust. Laws have yet to deter Microsoft so their patent, copyright and marketing attacks on software freedom will continue until the company collapses. M$ is forced to this because no one wants their second rate tech[2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and they fail in free markets. Details from the Barns and Noble case prove that the intent was to clearly exclusionary - to saddle free software with higher costs and cripple the feature set relative to Microsoft's own software. Academic studies have shown that software patents are mostly granted to large companies who then extort the majority of people in the industry who neither want nor can afford them.

Microsoft understands that software patents themselves are fraud but has used them against competition since the late 90s and is now an innovator in fraud. Bill Gates ordered the company to start stockpiling patents in 1991 and clearly viewed them as a judicial extortion tool:

If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today. I feel certain that some large company will patent some obvious thing related to interface, object orientation, algorithm, application extension or other crucial technique. If we assume this company has no need of any of our patents then the have a 17-year right to take as much of our profits as they want. The solution to this is patent exchanges with large companies and patenting as much as we can.

M$ considered patents an anti-competitive weapon against Open Office since 1998 and tried to tax Sun. In 2003 Bill Gates planned to lace metadata and device discovery with patents to exclude Apple. Now, M$ has taken patent fraud a step further by never telling people what patents they violate and threatening end users, much like they paid SCO to do with bogus copyrights. Yes, M$ was responsible for the SCO attack too. Microsoft has launched a loud publicity campaign to shake down companies that have nothing to do with anything owned by M$ as if they were able to charge rent on free software.

The Barns and Noble case is delivering details that prove Microsoft's strategy is to exclude free software from the market by judicial extortion. B&N accuses Microsoft of threatening all Android makers with huge costs to defend against bogus patents if they don't pay licensing fees in excess of those paid for Microsoft's software and also reduce Android's feature set to a point where Microsoft's software is competitive. The feature set reduction goes beyond the scope of the patents used to extort payment. The goal is the same as we've seen in Microsoft's OEM and retail strong arming, to make Microsoft the cheapest and best option in all cases by putting costs and restrictions onto competitors.

Here's nine years of them claiming ownership of all free software and demanding protection money to keep unspecified things from breaking.

2002 - high level planning.

  • 9/25 - Jim Alchin at a vendor meeting, "IT WILL be simply, 'Hey, these guys took intellectual property.' And whether the lawsuit comes from Wind River or in X, Y, Z, there's going to be one. Guaranteed"
  • 9/27 - Jim Alchin writes, "We need someone to tear down the indemnification offered from RedHat and IBM to customers. We need to understand exactly the risk a customer is under if a patent lawsuit happens and Linux is challenged. ... There MUST be risks to customers that are being passed on. " This email is probably what lead to the whole scam. See also the pdf from Comes vs Microsoft.

Wind River's CEO stated before the US Congress in January of 1994, "My perspective on software patents is simple: stop issuing software patents. Software patents should not exist."

2003 - M$ bankrolls the SCO copyright attack.

2004 - A fraud from day 1, the patent attack is launched.

  • 03/12 - Microsoft SCO middleman, Mike Anderer lays out Microsoft's free software patent exclusion strategy, "Microsoft may have 50 or more of these lawsuits in the queue. All of them are not asking for hundreds of millions, but most would be large enough to ruin anything but the largest companies. Red Hat did recently raise several hundred million which certainly gives them more staying power. Ultimately, I do not think any company except a few of the largest companies can offer any reasonable insulation to their customers from these types of judgments. You would need a market cap of more than a couple billion to just survive in the OS space." PJ declares it extortion, using the courts as an aggressive competitive weapon, is a misuse of the legal system. It's a form of blackmail, a leftover artifact from the dot.com bubble days. It can only work for so long before everybody gets sick of it and them and changes the patent laws.
  • 04/10 - Microsoft funded bullshitters, Alexis de Toqueville Institution, forecast a patent attack.
  • 8/2 - The Public Lie is launched by Dan Lyons on the day OSRI publishes Ravicher's study of patent threats to all software. He boosts patent claims and attacks "Linux zealots" along with Ravicher's reputation. "A report to be released today says Linux may violate nearly 300 patents, including 27 held by Microsoft, and warns that companies using Linux could become targets of multi-million-dollar lawsuits. ... the 12-employee OSRM wants to charge companies $150,000 a year for $5 million in legal coverage that kicks in if they get sued for using open-source programs like Linux. ... [this could scare] customers into dumping Linux and going back to Unix or Microsoft's Windows--products that you don't usually get sued for using. ... The OSRM report represents a new chapter in [the SCO story]." Fellow poison pen author Robert Enderle is quoted saying the same things, making OSRM and the whole story look like a M$ set up from the get go. There are so many lies in this article that it's impossible to tell who's innocent, everyone involved is smeared.
  • 11/18 - Threatens government GNU/Linux users, Ballmer told Microsoft's Asian Government Leaders Forum that Linux violates more than 228 patents. ... "Some day," he continued, "for all countries that are entering the WTO [World Trade Organization], somebody will come and look for money owing to the rights for that intellectual property."
  • 11/19 - Author repudiates Ballmer's use of his study, "Microsoft is up to its usual FUD [fear, uncertainty and doubt]," said Dan Ravicher, author of the study Microsoft cites. "Open source faces no more, if not less, legal risk than proprietary software. The market needs to understand that the study Microsoft is citing actually proves the opposite of what they claim it does."
  • unknown - Long after the fact, Microsoft general counsel Smith revealed customer shakedowns. Since the GPL covered only distributors of Linux, nothing stopped Smith from seeking royalties directly from end users - many of which are Fortune 500 companies [and major Microsoft customers]. [he got deals with] "major brand-name companies" in financial services, health care, insurance and information technology. (He says they don't want to be identified, presumably because they fear angering the FOSS community.) [2]

2005 More of the same, tired FUD.

  • 7/10 - Ballmer FUDs Microsoft's Worldwide partners, Ballmer - again inaccurately - cited an Open Source Risk Management (OSRM) survey from last summer that highlighted the existence of 287 patents in the Linux kernel. "Rumor is Linux violates 286 patents." Microsoft sees the wider implementation of corporation-friendly IP law that is part of the entry ticket to the WTO as being a weapon that can be used against software rivals.

2006 Novell sells out for $400 million. FUDsters rejoice.

  • 3/26 - Steve Ballmer threatens all GNU/Linux in Forbes, there are experts who claim Linux violates our intellectual property. I'm not going to comment. But to the degree that that's the case, of course we owe it to our shareholders to have a strategy
  • 11/2 - the M$ Novell Patent deal.
  • 11/3 - Dan Lyons casts Novell deal as free software failure and claims the deal dooms both Novell and competitors like Red Hat. On Thursday night, I asked Jeff Jaffe, Novell's chief technology officer, if he could think of a company that had partnered with Microsoft and done really well as a result. ... His response: "I think this partnership is breaking new ground." ... the new ground they're breaking is probably Novell's gravesite. Red Hat grew, Novell shrank.
  • 11/3 - More FUD from Steve Ballmer, "If a customer says, Look, do we have liability for the use of your patented work? Essentially, If you're using non-SUSE Linux, then I'd say the answer is yes. They'll think twice about [about downloading GNU/Linux]. There are a lot of Linux distributors now [considering a Novell like deal]. All of the sudden you have got Oracle in the game; you've got Red Hat in the game." Red Hat never caved, nothing happened. Both Ballmer and Novell's Ron Hoverspan both stressed OOXML converters for Open Office, but they admit these translators would never work 100%. I don't think they have gotten 10% "interoperability" yet.
  • 11/12 - SAMBA team begs Novell to reconsider their M$ patent deal. Many are upset the FSF was not consulted, "The Samba Team disapproves strongly of the actions taken by Novell on November 2nd. One of the fundamental differences between the proprietary software world and the free software world is that the proprietary software world divides users by forcing them to agree to coercive licensing agreements which restrict their rights to share with each other, whereas the free software world encourages users to unite and share the benefits of the software. The patent agreement struck between Novell and Microsoft is a divisive agreement. ... Using patents as competitive tools in the free software world is not acceptable." - From the Samba team letter. FSF lawyer, , explains, "if [M$] succeeds in getting one distribution to pay royalties for the distribution of free software, other distributions will do so. ... That will then succeed in marching the commercial sector away from the non-commercial sector, and Microsoft then will be able to use its patents to sue to block the development of software in the non-commercial sector without the fear of suing its own customers, which is the force that now constrains them from misbehavior with their patent portfolio." It is a good thing that Red Hat and others did not take the bait and that GPL3 thwarted the deal.
  • 11/16 - Steve Ballmer explains Novell/M$ deal where M$ gave Novell $400 million, Microsoft signed the deal because Linux "uses our intellectual property" and it wanted to "get the appropriate economic return for our shareholders from our innovation. Novell pays us some money for the right to tell customers that anybody who uses SUSE Linux is appropriately covered. This is important to us, because we believe every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance sheet liability. Only customers that use SUSE have paid properly for intellectual property from Microsoft."
  • 11/20 - Roger Levy, vice-president of open platform solutions at Novell, told a Paris press conference, "Customers were afraid they'd get sued if they crossed platforms and this meant that they were hesitating on buying decisions. As part of the deal Microsoft will agree not to sue our customers and we agreed not to sue their customers."
  • 11/27 - Dan Lyons reports the M$/Novell deal as failure of free software that dooms Novell and all other GNU/Linux vendors. the move is also tried-and-true Microsoft strategy: embrace, extend--and exterminate. It works like this: Partner with a weak, desperate player. ... Develop new features that help you but hurt others (in this case, Red Hat). Weaken everyone in the market, then move on. Yes, he said the same thing on 11/3.
  • 12/21 - SAMBA developer, Jeremy Allison,Resigns from Novell over M$ deal.

2007 - "Respecting IP" means paying M$ for things they don't own. Proxy attacks launched which prove that selling out to M$ provides no peace of mind at all.

  • 4/14 - Samsung caves to Microsoft extortion and pays for the use of free software. They will later pay fees for Android.
  • 5/7 - Dell Sells Out and promisses to promote SLED. Customers overwhelmingly object to the purchase of M$ SLED coupons. This will cost Dell sales and market share.
  • 5/14 - Another Forbes attack. The quotes are amazing but Forbes manages to outdo all of the M$ critters he interviews. "We live in a world where we honor, and support the honoring of, intellectual property," says Ballmer in an interview. FOSS patrons are going to have to "play by the same rules as the rest of the business," he insists. "What's fair is fair." Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and licensing chief Horacio Gutierrez is quoted. Revealing the precise figure for the first time, they state that FOSS infringes on no fewer than 235 Microsoft patents. [Linux kernel 42, 65 GUI, Open Office 45, E-mail programs 15, 68 unspecified and no patent listed. It turns out these numbers came from a study, which concludes that free software infringes less than non free does and the author repudiates Ballmer's assertions, source.] ... "This is not a case of some accidental, unknowing infringement," Gutierrez asserts. "There is an overwhelming number of patents being infringed." To top things off, all GNU/Linux users are threatened again, would Microsoft sue its customers for royalties, the way the record industry has? "That's not a bridge we've crossed," says CEO Ballmer, "and not a bridge I want to cross today on the phone with you." [2, shilled by Ina Fried before Fortune published it, "Last modified: May 13, 2007"]
  • 5/17 - Bill Hilf, general manager of platform strategy, "So we have no plans to litigate. You can never say we'll never do anything in the future, but that's not our strategy. ... This isn't like a trivial invention. There are a couple hundred significant patents here."
  • 5/24 - M$ refuses to list patents violated for paperwork reasons and threatens Red Hat, Microsoft patents attorney Jim Markwith told OSBC, "The response of that would be administratively impossible to keep up with." ... Microsoft's director of platform strategy Sam Ramji [said], "As a company that puts $7bn a year into R&D, we have a fiduciary responsibility to our shareholders. We have no desire to litigate - we spend $100m a year defending ourselves against patent lawsuits. We continue to offer licensing agreements to distributors of specific pieces of software called out in the [Forbes] article. Red Hat is welcome to come to the table, as is any other distributor."
  • 6/4 - Brian Caulfield of Forbes covers the Xandros deal. Microsoft executives are hinting that trouble could be brewing--claiming last month that open-source products are violating 235 of the company's patents. ... Aside from having to endure getting flamed on a few geek-friendly message boards, however, it's hard to see a downside for the 80-employee Xandros. For one downside, read about the destruction of the Ausus EEPC and ponder what the projected $25 million worth of licensing would have done Xandros ($5 x 25 million units, a lowball price estimate).
  • 10/4 - Steve Ballmer says Red Hat users owe him money, "I think it's great the way Novell stepped up to kinda say intellectual property matters. When people use Red Hat [shrug], at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense, have an obligation to eventually to compensate us."
  • 10/21 - M$ proxy Acacia Research launches a patent lawsuit against Red Hat and Novel over a multi-monitor patent. According to Groklaw, this is the first patent lawsuit filed against gnu/linux. Three years later, Acacia loses. Acacia will file more.
  • 11/15 - Bill Hilf, general manager of platform strategy, "We would like to strike similar patent deals with all the Linux vendors, but we had to start somewhere."

2008 - lawsuits are good for business

2009 Unable to compete in mobile devices and mass storage, M$ launches their own lawsuits and more proxy attacks on free software. Biski ruling has ended the game but M$ and other patent holders pretends otherwise.

2010 Software Patent Armagedon and Meltdown. All sorts of Microsoft trolls launch attacks on Google's Android and everyone sues everyone, proving that arsenals of "defensive" patents were only good for ruining the industry.

2011 - Microsoft Launches More Direct and Proxy Lawsuits Against Free Software. Microsoft becomes more of a patent troll than a software company and other tech "Brands" continue down the path dictated by outsourcing of manufacture and design.

Loose ends and other resources.

After years of warning people, Roy Schestowitz and Boycott Novell can say, "I told you so".

A list of extorted companies.

7/2 - Xandros devoured by M$ [2].

8/9 - Linspire destroyed and sued anyway. more

- Corel destroyed by M$ but their Windows platform use gave M$ a much larger handle than patents.

- The constant litigation that reveals their actual respect for imaginary property and belies public statements about never litigating. They violate other people's patents at will and refuse to pay when they lose in court, but they are quick to make threats against free software, demand money from other companies and to use the courts to get it.

- New patent troll companies, such as Intellectual Ventures, being set up by M$ and M$ employees.

Groklaw's Microsoft Novell deal resource page

Boycott Novell's description of the Microsoft Novell deal

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ed Avis, a Sneaky Troll. 8

Ed is a subtle troll. He often says vague things in support of software freedom but what's below shows that he could care less. Often software freedom arguments are turned against M$ competitors like Google and Apple. This is paradoxical when he's busy supporting things like OOXML, Silverlight and so on. There's no mistaking his smart ass attitude and smug hatred of Slashdot users. With a little bit of digging, the general patern emerges, Love for M$, hate for Slashdot, other M$ enemies and a well hidden hatred of software freedom.

Love for M$

Hate for Slashdot and Other General Hate.

His homepage on 11/23/2008 has has him and other old people beating each other up in cheasy martial arts class. Thanks for sharing, Ed.

Slashdot Top Deals