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Interesting Audio on Antitrust Law and History

Here is a link to the origin.

Media Companies Go Chasing Google

Have a look at this little gem.

The Alternet magazine claims that there is a conspiracy between the big media outfits to kill off or at least damage Google.

It thinks that Viacom’s $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube and the recent deal between NBC Universal and News Corp to establish a rival online video site is all part of a cunning plan.

TV X-FilesThis can’t be confirmed, but it’s probable given Viacom’s recent strike. It seems like Google has become the scapegoat of declining media companies, which increasingly suffer in an age of sharing. They just fear the idea of people generating and viewing their own content. People can legally collaborate on and extend music, video, literature and more. When will companies realise that rivers just run dry owing to disruptive technologies. They should seek alternative revenue streams instead of fighting reality.

Digg Acquisition Coming Up?

The Digg front page

ACCORDING to various sources (including a seminal report from TechCrunch), Digg seeks to be acquired. The reactions are, as expected, largely rants that express dissatisfaction, particularly within the Digg community. I spotted this one comment the other day.

“If News Corp buys it, you can find me a Netscape.com or some other similar site.”

It is just one among many which speak of Slashdot, Netscape, or mention News Corp./Fox as the evil creature that could take over Digg. All in all, this is probably good news to all sites which compete with Digg. I don’t think that any company with the needed resources (and interests) is truly benevolent.

  • Google – would pull “democracy” out of Digg, especially if you IP address is Chinese…
  • Yahoo – would sell your Digg details…
  • Microsoft – would eliminate the Apple and UNIX/Linux sections…

Monopolies Go Global

Out from afar I continue to observe an American domination that expands through integration, acquisitions, and a worrisome process of ‘innovation’ takeover. Here is an example from yesterday’s technology section.

Yahoo!’s shopping spree is showing no signs of letup. During the past 18 months, the online media and search giant has acquired photo sharing startup Flickr, social bookmarking site Del.icio.us, and Upcoming, a user-generated social events calendar. It has also tried to acquire social networking site Facebook for upwards of $1 billion.

Map of EuropeMicrosoft, Oracle, and Google (among a few others) are no exception. Microsoft in particular has been buying plenty of startups in order to penetrate the Web. Larry Ellison eliminated Open Source threats by buying them off (this includes an attempt to snatch MySQL, having led PeopleSoft to their demise). And while Oracle uses Linux very heavily and has seen a sharp rise in profits, it all makes you wonder where the global industry is headed. Technology is not the only sector affected. Giants such as MacDonald’s or Wal-Mart are there to remind us that they can go global and eliminate mom-and-pop stores in the process. Ultimately we may all find ourselves enslaved to few powerful players whose leaders accumulate billions.

This is made worse when large players liaise in order to squash any emerging threats (disruptive technologies such as Open Source software). Essentially, they promote their own agendas using seemingly-infinite powers and resources. As an example:

Why the world needs openness, not interoperability

This NAC/NAP lovefest would be laughable if it weren’t such a kick-in-the-teeth to the rest of the industry, enterprise IT, and all Internet users. A Cisco/Microsoft oligopoly stalls implementation, stifles innovation, and makes the network less secure. In this way, Cisco and Microsoft are standing in the way of progress.

Unless legistlation changes, only the universe is the limit. Corruption, lobbying, and shilling do not help either.

Viral Marketing Accusations

IT is pretty much evident by now that I have joined the Netscape team. I never denied it, nor did I say a word until it was official (and publicly stated).

Plastic troopsI am very much pleased to have gotten an opportunity to work with a group of talented people. Up, close and person, figures whom you were taught to dislike (principally Calacanis) are quite friendly and kind. They are not the devils that you were led to believe they are. What bothers me most are some recent accusations that come from conspiracy theorists. Some would argue that Netscape is trying to ‘poison’ Digg’s index, which is of course preposterous. Netscape would never use destructive measures or viral marketing techniques. To quote what fits the latter catergory (from Wikipedia).

Viral marketing is sometimes used to describe some sorts of Internet-based stealth marketing campaigns, including the use of blogs, seemingly amateur web sites, and other forms of astroturfing to create word of mouth for a new product or service. Often the ultimate goal of viral marketing campaigns is to generate media coverage via “offbeat” stories worth many times more than the campaigning company’s advertising budget.

Windows Might Become a ‘US Government Thingy’

Vista error message
Made with the GNU
Image Manipulation Program (GIMP)

RARELY should politicians get involved in the software industry. Ever. As a matter of fact, they generally fear that unknown as seldom will they be familiar with the latest technology. Everyone steers away from anything which can expose ignorance and lead to an embarrassment, at peer or public level.

Last Friday, however, marked a turning point — a remarkable exception. The US Government served as the spokesman of Microsoft Corp. Granted, the Department of Homeland Security encouraged people to receive some ‘binary blobs’ from our friends at Redmond. Now, I would not like to baselessly step forward and nag about nepotism and ill conduct over at Microsoft and the US Government. However, knowing the historical background of both Microsoft and — more latterly — the US Government (heavy eavesdropping comes to mind), I would barely hesitate.

Bill Gates is an immoral, irritable person. Steve Ballmer is not any better. He never steered away from or averted any controversy. Both have proven that they have a real spark for incompetence and unethical business practices. More broadly speaking, the Draconian Microsoft was never afraid of altercations or was rarely deterred to embrace questionable behaviour. Over the years they disrupted the equilibrium in industry, shrewdly exploiting loopholes in American capitalism, through apathy amongst the American government, as well as its blind eye (Gates’ grandfather was a State Senator). Fortunately, on the other side of the Atlantic, the European Commission has watched over Microsoft like a hawk. This is well overdue. The EU/EC is also fining that ‘evil empire’ for outmuscling its competition quite aggressively, as well as for hiding key information. It is doing the job that the American government was supposed to do, but chose to turn a blind eye to.

Alas, IANAL (I am not a lawyer). Discussions in some legal forums were never fruitful as they didn’t end up leaning in my favour. I hope people can judge for themselves and realise that Windows is inclined towards a spy-friendly ideaology and, for real privacy, Open Source must be welcomed with open arms. The other gripe I have with Microsoft is its ruining of the World Wide Web as it also heavily affects those who turned their back on Microsoft.

Related items: Vista Encryption and Back Doors

UPDATE: Just noticed a similar blog post somewhere else

Oracle + Linux = No Reciprocity

The powers and savour of GNU/Linux have taken the attention of Oracle’s taste buds. Anything that reduces margins seems to make the founder, Larry Ellison, feel elated. And he’s no exception these days. Some months ago I heard the following joke (paraphrased below):

Q: What is the difference between God and Larry Ellison?

A: God does not think he is Larry Ellison.

Oracle is no longer waiting for a days of free beer (let alone Freedom, as in Free and free UNIX). Oracle reaps the crops which others have previously sown, throughout the early days of Linux. Oracle programmers do not share much of their work, despite their new Open Source strategy. Meanwhile, OSDL is being snubbed too, according to a recent interview. So what gives? Will Sun Microsystems go down a similar route with Java?

I sometimes think that Oracle executive need to sober up their mind (preferably with some rum) and give something in return. Linux could truly benefit from budgets as large as Oracle’s — budgets that expand owing to the competitive advantage one gets with Linux. Seeing the abuse they currently direct at Red Hat leaves nobody with impeccably-neutral thoughts, sentiments and Oracle affinity. The ethical issues that are tied to forking of Red Hat Enterprise Desktop/Server, as well as the inability to snatch JBoss for middleware, has left Oracle bitter. But it’s more akin to snobbery, as well as neglect of the roots that got Oracle where it is today (Oracle was among the earliest large adopters of Linux).

Red hat
RedHat Linux

Will Oracle ever befriend Linux and actually prove that something can be given in return? At present, Oracle competes with and destroys some of the business that MySQL, Firebird, and PostgreSQL have conquered with Linux and pure Open Source software. This lack of moral values makes the mind boggle. Reciprocal benefit is just a belt-and-braces exercise given that Linux is out there begging for mere donations. What about assisting the giant whose shoulders you now stand on? Nobody can issue a cease-and-desist on the use of Linux and, in fact, with contributions to the kernel and even vocal appraisal alone, this can be seen as a form of advertising — a reciprocity.

I continue to perceive Oracle as somewhat of a Linux and Open Source parasite. Sometimes, more damage to reputation is done rather than the very contrary. Every once in a while somebody needs to crack that whip and knock some sense into those who only use Linux, accumulating enormous wealth and refuse to return anything, even when gently asked. Although there is no obligation (this is a clear point that frequently recurs in such discussions), there should be some sense of responsibility. You give and you get. FLOSS is community based, so the development of ‘lamer’ habits is dangerous. Let us all work together for the betterment of Linux.

Related item: Open Source and Paracites

From the press: Oracle #1 on Linux With More Than 80% Market Share

Oracle’s Linux commitment began in 1998 with the first commercial database on Linux. Today, only Oracle provides support for the complete software stack on Linux with applications, middleware, database and the operating system, including Red Hat, Novell/SUSE and Asianux. All Oracle products run on Linux, and Oracle Database on Linux meets the EAL4 Common Criteria…

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