E-mail was once the pillar of the Internet as a truly distributed, standards-based and non-centralized means to communication with people across the planet. Today, an increasing number of services people rely on are losing federation and interoperability by companies who need to keep people engaged on their for-profit services. Much of the Internet’s communication is moving to these walled gardens, leaving those who want to run their own services in an increasingly hostile communication landscape.

As Green puts it, “Your computer is now only as secure as that database of keys held by Microsoft, which means it may be vulnerable to hackers, foreign governments, and people who can extort Microsoft employees.”

Malware means software designed to function in ways that mistreat or harm the user. (This does not include accidental errors.) This page explains how Microsoft software is malware.

According to leaked internal documents from the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) that Die Zeit obtained, IT experts figured out that Windows 8, the touch-screen enabled, super-duper, but sales-challenged Microsoft operating system is outright dangerous for data security. It allows Microsoft to control the computer remotely through a built-in backdoor. Keys to that backdoor are likely accessible to the NSA – and in an unintended ironic twist, perhaps even to the Chinese.

It's great to see Africa starting to explore the benefits of open source not only as a way of rolling out software more cheaply than would be the case for proprietary programs, whose Western pricing makes them particularly costly for emerging nations, but also as an effective means of building up a vibrant indigenous software industry that is not based simply on shovelling lots of money to the US.

However, it's sad to see that Microsoft seems to have learned nothing from its earlier, unsuccessful attempts to spread FUD about open source, and seems intent on recapitulating that shabby and rather pathetic history in Africa too.

Oh look, Microsoft actually has sensible recommendations on applications using customized windows:

Most Windows applications should use the standard window frames. However, for immersive, full screen, stand-alone applications like games and kiosk applications, it may be appropriate to use custom frames for any windows that aren't shown full screen. The motivation to use custom frames should be to give the overall experience a unique feel, not just for branding.

Of course, these recommendations don't apply to Microsoft themselves, only to everybody else. Microsoft Office, anyone? Outlook? Or the absolute GUI monstrosity that is the Windows Media Player? In Microsoft's own applications, there are gratuitous custom window frames everywhere.

This latest trend to devise and deploy legal strategies against open source seems to me to represent an admission on Microsoft's part that it can no longer compete on technology. Instead, the dinosaurs have decided that it's time to play really dirty – and nothing is dirtier than enforcing bad monopolies using worse laws.

Given our development processes we found the average productivity of a single Django developer to be equivalent to the output generated by two C# ASP.NET developers. Given equal-sized teams, Django allowed our developers to be twice as productive as our ASP.NET team.

I suspect these results may actually reflect a lower bound of the productivity differences. It should be noted that about half of the Team Python developers, while fluent in Python, had not used Django before. They quickly learned Django, but it is possible this fluency disparity may have caused an unintended bias in results–handicapping overall Django velocity.

The reality is that IE9 is 2 years late. Microsoft is glad to come out with the <video> tag, the <canvas> tag, SVG, and some CSS3. Like other vendors did years ago. Firefox 3.5 had the <video> tag, the <canvas> tag, Geolocation, SVG in 2009. Canvas and SVG existed 5 years ago.

Enterprises addicted to Microsoft's nine-year-old Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) browser are having a tough time migrating to Windows 7, an analyst said today.

...

Organizations running IE6 have told Gartner that 40% of their custom-built browser-dependent applications won't run on IE8, the version packaged with Windows 7. Thus many companies face a tough decision: Either spend time and money to upgrade those applications so that they work in newer browsers, or stick with Windows XP.

But Windows XP won't live forever. Microsoft will retire Windows XP from all support in April 2014, forcing businesses to abandon it or risk running an operating system vulnerable to attack.

Yeah yeah, it's a ComputerWorld article on a Gartner report, but it's just too funny not to bookmark. Ah, the joys of proprietary, nonstandard software.

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