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Archive for November, 2007

Linux is Not Cheap and Open Source is Not Free

TALKING about Linux (or more broadly — about Free software) as a cheap alternative to Macintosh and Windows escapes the main point. This point is made more and more apparent as times goes by (and users lose more space). Linux is about freedom, not cost. The cost of an O/S is not as high as the worth of being allowed to control what your PC actually does. Consider DRM, WGA, spying, flexibility, migration, lock-in, bloat, and many other new factors that make alternatives to Linux repellent. Linux helps the user maintains basic rights and be treated decently.

While some people talk about price, it still encourages the misconception that Linux users are cheap or that Linux is good because it’s inexpensive. What if people spoke about the person actually owning his/her PCs, rather than renting a license to borrow some piece of software that takes over the PC, then restricts, punishes, requests money, and phones Mother Ship?

Another distinction needs to be made to separate what people call “open source” and what we know as “Free software”, which includes Linux. Watch the following new video.

The Impact of Trolls

IN recent days, attacks on my character have returned and they are reaching a peak. I mentioned this before on various occasions in this blog, but it is worth repeating. Some of the stuff that you find on the Web with my name attached to it is fake. You cannot assume anything which has my name as the poster (even with a valid E-mail address and homepage URL) is really from myself. Forgeries have gone quite far, even as far as Digg. Check out these fake accounts/images for example:

These are only a few examples among more from Digg and there are similar cases of forgery in several other places.

I digitally sign all my outgoing E-mail messages, but I don’t/cannot do this when posting in Web sites other than my own. Moreover, in USENET, it leads to unnecessary clutter. Digital signatures cannot be verified by people who are not IT-savvy, either. Most people are foreign to the very notion.

I don’t know if people are targeting me specifically and I prefer to think it is not the case. Bear in mind, however, that I insisted that those who attack me cannot be paid (or ‘compensated’ by companies that dislike my postings), but my friends are certain that they are, which has me frustrated. Maybe I’m being naive, but the attackers use open proxies (zombies) for anonymity, which speaks volumes.

Some of the abusive posters have done this for many years and death threats were made too. At the moment, others defend me so sometimes I don’t have to, with the exception of many cases where people pretend to be me and post to many forums lies such as “I cut off my [put whatever you like here]“. They also use e libel to try and portray me as a criminal. Some said I should contact Homeland Security.

The trolling has reached my own sites, but I use IP block lists to stop this. One of the abusers has been trying (compulsively) to enter the site almost every day for about a month (since s/he was blocked for flooding blog posts with very libelous things). In other sites, my comments get attacked, ranked poorly en masse (as a matter of principle for who I am, not the content being posted) with attacks on character in particular.

I know people who never let go their identity on the Web. They did the right thing by staying invisible. Anything you say or write can be used against you. I’ve had someone harass an artist to pressure me to take down an image and then there were hundreds of messages accusing me of being a ‘pirate’. They’ll use anything they can (and make stuff up!) to use against me. They repeat and repeat (Big Lie propaganda technique). Those who know me can ignore, but I don’t know outsiders might think. It’s frustrating, but it won’t stop me.

I was told that would be worthwhile to write about this in public, maybe just for future reference. I know someone who decided never to write or comment on another site, which cannot be controlled. I’m not ready to do this yet.

Disney as a Suppressive Monopoly of Mind Control & Censorship

Forget about the Murdoch monopoly, which is essentially an information wall that keeps everyone narrow-minded and aligned with industrial interests. Welcome…

The Mickey Mouse monopoly

Mickey Mouse. Sounds very friendly, doesn’t it? Behind it, a wholly bogus entity of American Dreams and spendings culture lie. Have a look if you have the time.

Avoid Intel Products. They Are Abusive Monopolists.

This is a statement which I have made many times before, but it is worth repeating in this blog along with some evidence. Here is what AMD’s chief had to say quite recently about his legal battles against Intel.

Appended below (no particular order) are some bit of news I have been collecting. They should hopefully reveal Intel’s malicious and predatory behavior in the market. Some of the hyperlinks have expired, but the fragments of text are equally important.

Intel: South Korean Antitrust Probe Over

South Korean media have reported the inquiry has centered on allegations Intel abused its market dominance by pressuring computer makers to avoid using chips made by Intel’s rivals.

Intel to Reply Soon to Antitrust Queries

It is not common for the Federal Trade Commission, which issued a second request for information to Intel last week, to ask for more information on such mergers.

US antitrust group urges Intel investigation

The American Antitrust Institute (AAI), a Washington DC lobby group, has written an open letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging an investigation of Intel’s allegedly monopolistic business practices.

[...]

AAI say its insistence of an investigation is based on allegations by AMD in a private case and information obtained by the EC’s complaint, which have not been made public

The Fight for Fair and Open Competition

AMD is an undisputed technology and innovation leader.

However, Intel’s abusive, illegal monopolistic behavior is preventing businesses and consumers alike from choosing freely between AMD and Intel products.

EC says Intel influenced bids for computer projects

The third type of allegation, however, was new, and sounded like a variety of predatory pricing. “In the context of bids against AMD-based products for strategic customers in the server segment of the market,” the commission press release said, “Intel has offered CPUs on average below cost.”

Negroponte says Intel should be “ashamed of itself”

He is furious that Intel’s CEO Craig Barrett called the One Laptop a gadget. The Negroponte initiative is caught in the middle of a vicious fight between AMD and Intel, he said.

AMD chief condemns Intel ‘abuses’

In 2005, after the Japan Fair Trade Commission found Intel guilty of offering illegal rebates to Japanese PC makers, AMD filed an anti-trust suit against its competitor in the U.S. District Court in Delaware. The case has not been decided.

AMD: Intel Destroyed Evidence in Antitrust Case

In an unpublished statement to the U.S. District Court of Delaware, AMD alleges Intel allowed the destruction of evidence in pending antitrust litigation.

Investors sue Dell on payments from Intel: WSJ

An investor lawsuit seeking class-action status accuses Dell Inc. of improper accounting in its relationship with chip giant Intel, according to a media report published Thursday evening.

[...]

The suit alleges that Dell received at times as much as $1 billion a year in “secret and likely illegal” kickbacks in the form of “e-Cap” or “exception to corporate average pricing” payments” from Intel to ensure that Dell used no other chip supplier, according to The Journal.

Lenovo got financial help from Intel, claim

Journalists on the title said Lenovo is being paid a “pretty penny” from Intel to use its chips.

Intel’s anti-trust memos started vanishing from the top

Chairman Craig Barrett, CEO Paul Otellini and sales chief Sean Maloney have appeared on a list of Intel employees thought to have deleted e-mails possibly relevant to AMD’s anti-trust lawsuit against its larger rival. The missing e-mails have thrust a livid state of mind onto AMD’s lawyers who have very serious problems with Intel’s rather lax document retention policy.

[...]

CEO Otellini appears to have been one of these troublesome employees.

Watch how Intel messes about with the Government.

FTC won’t step up Intel antitrust probe

Intel, the world’s biggest maker of computer chips, has been cited for anti-competitive behavior for allegedly offering large discounts to computer makers in exchange for their not using products from AMD, the paper said.

Those faulting Intel include regulators with the European Commission and Korea, the Times said. Japanese officials also made similar accusations in 2005, it said. Intel controls some 80 percent to 90 percent of the microchip market, it said.

Business Group Spent $140,000 Lobbying

The group’s members include Intel Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

Intel Hires Lobbying Firm

Computer chip maker Intel Corp. has hired FBA Inc. to lobby the federal government, according to a federal disclosure form.

S. Korea sends Intel antitrust statement-company

South Korea began investigating Intel’s marketing and rebate practices for computer processors two years ago after similar probes by Japan and the European Union.

Korean antitrust probe of Intel ends, penalties to be decided soon

Although neither Intel nor the KFTC provided details on the findings, sources told the Korea Times said that the antitrust regulators did plan to impose penalties on the chipmaker. “The FTC gained some evidence backing up suspicions that Intel has offered discounts to computer makers in exchange for sealing exclusive deals, and coerced dealers not to buy products from rivals such as Advanced Micro Devices (AMD),” said one source.

I vow to keep my eye on Intel’s abuses because they make the world an uglier and imperialistic place. I say this despite the fact that my brother-in-law works for Intel, so there’s no prejudice here.

Google PC – OK, Not It’s Not a Rumour Anymore (Corrected)

Google on a computer screen

I wrote about Google PC about 2 years ago. It was speculative, but based on rumours. As you may have heard by now, Google began selling a software stack based on Linux (Enlightenment and Ubuntu, if I recall correctly).

Several thoughts come to mind. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but let’s think about this for a moment.

Google has recently introduced both gPhone and gPC. These are essentially like Google stacks. Can you see where it’s going? Google is becoming a software developer that integrates things with Web services. It’s contracting OEMs to use its stack, just like Microsoft, which does this with Windows and other applications that it bundles or sells separately.

The reason for concern here is the pushing aside of smaller businesses in the process. Along with Wal-mart, Verizon and HTC, Google will make an alliance of giants. The small players will struggle to compete.

On the very positive side, now we know that unsubstantiated patent FUD will have another willing member fighting it along with Oracle, IBM, Red Hat (not Novell). Google joined OIN a few months ago and it now sells Linux stacks for phones and PCs. Well done, Google. Just keep humble and “do not evil.”

Well, at least it runs Linux…

Correction (03/11/2007): gPC has nothing to do with Google (apart from the toolbar), do it’s not truly a Google PC.

Happy Halloween, Putting My Real Face Back

I no longer find the time or passion to put up holiday avatars/banners in the front page, but here is my Halloween banner. Here is the avatar I have used in Netscape and Digg for over a week. I’m relived to finally take it off my face, so to speak, having participated in a small contest.

Steve Ballmer Halloween

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