Fud Watcher

Location: United Kingdom

Friday, March 24, 2006

Bill Hilf benchmarks Linux

Bill Hilf is in Australia but can't make it to the Linux World conference because of a 'scheduling conflict`. In an interview with Dahna McConnachie on computerworld.com.au he had this to say:

"We analyze, test and benchmark aspects of open source software we want to compare to Microsoft products,"

Why does Microsoft forbid third party benchmarking while at the same time thinking it ok to run such tests on Linux systems.

Elsewhere we have Steve Ballmer stating that:

"I think there are experts who claim Linux violates our intellectual property."

Bill, in all your analyze of Open Source software have you ever come across any such IP violations.

"There has been a lot of talk around Microsoft and Linux, but the discussion has shifted since it began"

Does this mean that the Linux lab is in violation of Microsofts own Intelluctual Property. I know of no other business where the chief innovator has to set up a clone of their competitors. What dollar value is Microsoft spending on this Linux lab.

MS leans on OEMS says Novell

An article in commentwire.com by Matthew Aslett quotes Novell COO Ron Hovsepian as saying that

"Microsoft Corp is using scare tactics to exert pressure on PC vendors not to explore the potential of desktop Linux"

"There's an increasing market pressure that they [Microsoft] are inflicting on our partners' marketing dollars that are perceived to be at risk if they begin to work with other vendors,"

Monday, March 20, 2006

Vista to eradicate spyware

Joris Evers at Silicon.com is predicting that Vista will eradicate spyware and probably drive anti-spyware vendors virtually out of business. According to analyst Rob Enderle Vista has the best protection compared to earlier Windows.

"Vista, because it was pretty much conceived during the toughest times for Microsoft with regards to malicious software, has the most protection in it compared to any of their platforms,"

Vista will use such innovative features as requiring people to log on as "administrator" to install an application and restricting Internet Explorer to a sandbox. Finally Windows Defender will clean up anything that does make it through.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Microsofts' most innovative achievements

Zdnet.com asks Bill Gates what are Microsofts most innovative achievements.

"When Gates was asked to look into the past and identify Microsoft greatest and most innovative achievements, he pointed to the PC model .., the graphical user interface, speech, the NT kernel, and the Tablet PC."

The IBM PC designed by IBM at Boca Raton under a team lead by Don Estridge. The cleanrooming of which led to the cheap mass manufacturing in the far east and the accidental birth of the Microsoft empire.

The GUI invented by Doug Engelbart at Stanford and further developers at Xerox PARC in the 1970s. I believe that both Gates and Steve Jobs attended that famous demonstration by Douglas Englebart. The first Windows GUI being a badly designed knock off of Apple.

Microsoft Speech based on technology acquired from Entropic in 1999. Speech recognition software being around since the early 1970s.

The Tablet PC, a notebook with a touch screen worked by a stylus. The touch screen invented by Dr. Samuel C. Hurst in 1971

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

patenting the patently obvious

The Register is reporting that SUN can patent a reduced set of bytecode. Apparently this is deemed acceptable as long as they don't actually call it a method. The 'invention` reduces the current instruction set from over 220 to a smaller number.

For instance there are currently four instructions for loading an array depending on the element size. The innovative new ALoad instruction reduces this to one as it reads the Array Header to determine its size.

I don't know about you but I do recall something called operator overloading has existed in C++ for quite a while now. And I'm sure there have been code optimizers around for a lot longer. For instance in BASIC the four byte string PRINT can be reduced to a one byte token to save on menory and load time. Talk about patening the blindingly obvious.

"The invention provides a reduced set of Bytecode instructions that can nevertheless effectively represent the complete set of operations performed by the conventional Java Bytecode instruction set"

"It is hereby declared that the following (among other things) are not inventions for the purposes of this Act ..a scheme, rule or method.. or a program for a computer."

"The invention has nothing to do with how that computer program would be structured or how it would be written, but with what the program must do," - Hearing Officer Stephen Probert

What if anything is "what the program must do" but a METHOD.

Software patents – Obstacles to software development - Richard Stallman

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Apple security through obscurity

John Stith writing in Securitypronews says that the reason the Mac was long thought to be immune from viruses was because of its relativly small userbase and quotes some security experts as saying that this may turn out to be the year of the OS X exploit.

"What's perhaps surprising is that there are a hardcore element of 21% who believe that threat attempts against Mac users will not grow." Graham Cluley Sophos.

"This is almost certainly the year of the OS X exploit .." "On a good day, Apple doesn't even make it to Microsoft's level of security awareness," Jay Beale Intelguardians

"Linux has a better history for security than Microsoft,
and hackers are more focused on Microsoft. So the main demand for Unix antivirus software comes from companies running Windows on a Unix server trying to boost security. The same may be true for Linux."
Graham Cluley - June 2004

"These are not attacking any kind of vulnerability in the computer,"
They are attacking the vulnerability of people's brains."
Graham Cluley - May 2004

a Mac has no more inherent security than a PC
Graham Cluley Aug 2003

EU commision threatens MS says the beeb

The BBC writes that Microsoft accuses the EU of attacking its complience efforts in regard to the March 2004 ruling. MS also accuses the Commission of creating the problem by failing to clearly define its requirments.

"It was given until Wednesday to prove it had provided rivals with computer codes that would let them develop products to work with Windows systems."

Incorrect the ruling required them to provide the protocols unemcumbered with licensing or patent restrictions.

The Commsision Ruling of March 2004 states: "Microsoft to disclose to competitors, within 120 days, the interfaces(3) required for their products to be able to 'talk' with the ubiquitous Windows OS .."

Microsoft's responce was to provide technical documentaion and some source code. According to Groklaw the Commission asks why the source code offer is relevant to compliance as it was never asked for under the March 2004 decision. The Commision also insists that it is they who will decide whether Microsoft is compliant and not Microsoft.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Amazon.com being sued for patent infringment

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Amazon is being sued by Registrar Systems LLC for allegidly infringing on two of its patents.

The alleged inventors say that Amazons e-commerce technology uses methods from their US patents 5,790,785 and 6,823,327.


"the present invention includes a World Wide Web registration web site wherein a user accessing the World Wide Web can utilize this web site as a repository for registration information so that the user can request this registration information to be transmitted substantially automatically to another web site to which the user desires to register"

Apart from the repetition of the word Web in the summary, didn't similar systems exist prior to 1998 for distributed authentication.

What is LDAP? .. possible for almost any application running on virtually any computer platform to obtain directory information, such as email addresses and public keys ..

1993 RFC 1487 - X.500 Lightweight Directory Access Protocol.

Jul 31 1989 Usenet Msg "Retix, based in Santa Monica, California, has had a fully conformant, portable Directory Access Protocol (DAP) (with an example DSA) since 1987.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Lack of security is down to competitors - Bill Gates

The Financial Times interviews Bill Gates at the RSA conference
in San Jose.

"FT: Did anti-trust considerations figure in your decision not to bundle anti-virus software with Windows?"

"BG: Yes. The decision to leave AV outside there's so many factors that weigh into it. But certainly, we looked at that as one factor, how people will respond"

Perhaps the main reason is the first occurrence of a virus on Vista would leave considerable egg on face.

"the whole notion of improving software and making it better for users has been attacked because it makes it tough for competitors"

Lack of security in Windows is caused by [our] competitors? Like how? When has any competitor criticised Microsoft for improving security. The whole notion is nonsensical .

Besides I thought that Vista with its TPM module and least privilege user model would be immune to viruses. According to Marcus J. Ranum the AV model is defective as it relies on Enumerating Badness where a virus signature has to be in the database in order to be recognised instead of Default Deny where everything is denied access except what is explicitly allowed.

"we're kind of saying if we put new things in and don't raise the price, it's there, that's competition"

You mean like bundling Media Player and not charging for it for which they are still in court in the EU. How was RealNetworks supposed to earn a crust from selling its RealPlayer without a desktop monopoly. Was Real also being anti competitive here?

Microsoft has persuaded RealNetworks to withdraw from the case in return for some Vista licenses'.

MS also doesn't seem to concerned by a March 2004 EU decree that it must unbundle its media player and allow other parties information to allow full interoperability with Windows. Not only have they not complied with the ruling but have decided the Commision was in error and decided that releasing technical documentaion and some source code would do instead. The Commision has the temerity to insist that they will decide whether Microsoft is compliant and not Microsoft.

"other people are saying no, let's protect us competitors"

What ?

"That's a tricky framework. Clearly if that was all we thought about we wouldn't have put all this new stuff in, but we have."

What ?

"FT: You have talked about building a trust ecosystem”.. Would this be a closed system, or an open one?"

"BG: It's totally standards-based and totally open."

No ..