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A Marketing Idea
Friday, March 12 2004 @ 09:27 AM EST

Groklaw reader cheros noticed the article about Microsoft mailing free copies of Office software to the DoD and the Interior Department and getting a "No, thank you" letter back from the Army, telling them to cease and desist. It seems there are rules about not taking gifts over a certain value. This gave him an idea, which, after quoting a snip from the article, he presents as a "marketing" idea.


"Microsoft has been mailing free copies of its pricey Office productivity software to government employees, but CNET has learned that at least two federal agencies are warning recipients to return the gifts or risk violating federal ethics policies.

"Since the launch of Office 2003 last year, Microsoft has given out tens of thousands of free copies of its flagship software, which retails for about $500, to workers at its biggest customers. The giveaway was expanded to government workers this year, but ethics offices at the Department of the Interior and Department of Defense have said the offers constitute unauthorized gifts and must be returned.

The Department of the Army went a step further, calling on Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates to stop sending the software to Army personnel.

"'We ask that you cease immediately the mailing of free software, and other types of gifts, to the Department of the Army personnel,' Deputy General Counsel Matt Reres said in a Feb. 19 letter seen by CNET 'Your offer of free software places our employees and soldiers in jeopardy of unknowingly committing a violation of the ethics rules and regulations to which they have taken an oath to uphold.'"

cheros writes:

"Don't you think that there is, ironically, a vast potential irony in this? Such a program would perfectly be possible with Open Source software as it can already be obtained for free and thus has no intrinsic own value.

"So, actually, Microsoft has given Open Source advocates a new marketing strategy. A donation, if you like.

"For reader reference, live CDs (i.e. non-install) are at (Knoppix) or other sites like (Linux) or (BSD). And that's not mentioning the full distros like Debian which can be had for free (but not on one CD, though ;-)."


Actually, I already give Knoppix CDs to everyone I like. I do ask them first, though, if they'd like to have it. There is a list of vendors who will sell you Knoppix for about $4 plus shipping and handling, and mirrors for those who prefer to download for free, burn their own and then give them away. It's an entire operating system plus all the applications you need for normal desktop use on one CD, and you run it from the CD, pop it out, and your Windows box is untouched. Here's a description:

"KNOPPIX is a bootable CD with a collection of GNU/Linux software, automatic hardware detection, and support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals. KNOPPIX can be used as a Linux demo, educational CD, rescue system, or adapted and used as a platform for commercial software product demos. It is not necessary to install anything on a hard disk. Due to on-the-fly decompression, the CD can have up to 2 GB of executable software installed on it."

In all you get "more than 900 software packages with over 2000 executable user programs, utilities, and games". Questions and tips in English are available, as well as in German and many other languages. The FAQ is helpful, and there is a list of things you can type for various purposes when Knoppix is booting up here. For example, if you want to copy the CD to your hard drive and run it from there instead of RAM, type:

knoppix tohd=/dev/hda1

If you have a problem and can't find an answer, you can contact the author of the Knoppix CD and ask him. Maybe you'd like some free software for school use? Here you are.

Note: "Adaptations or modifications by KNOPPER.NET of the software packaging / base distribution / system layout for companies (for example) who would like to create a product evaluation or installation CD are not free, of course. Instead, these are priced according to a negotiated contract (see the price list)."

This wonderful CD is available under the GPL, by the way, and it's my Exhibit A of what creative things can happen if you don't fence the brain in with "IP" do's and don'ts. Knoppix CDs are handy for rescuing your limping Windows boxes too, like after some malware strikes. There is even a special "Security Rescue Toolkit" version just for those moments. Or perhaps you'd like one "tailored to numerical and quantitative analysis." It's all experimental software, so try it at your own risk, but I've never had one problem with it. I wouldn't dream of going to my mom's without it, because I am her XP tech support and she's forever getting into messes. Microsoft today is warning about yet another XP security issue after their patch of the one yesterday, so I'll be making another housecall soon:

" One day after releasing a fix for an Office XP flaw, Microsoft upgraded the severity of the vulnerability to critical and re-issued a new patch to address a new attack scenario discovered in the last 24 hours. . . .

"One ISV in the desktop migration and patch-management arena said customers look forward to more secure versions of Windows and Office that are in the works. In the meantime, they are adapting to a new world in which downloading patches and fixes are part of daily corporate life.

"'One of the hottest drivers of our products is their ability to address patching,' said Robert Naegle, director of corporate marketing for LANDesk, South Jordan, Utah, which makes desktop migration software business. 'People have resigned themselves to this being a fact of life.'"

That last should be rewritten: *Windows* users have resigned themselves to it. GNU/Linux users don't have to.

If you try Knoppix, I think you'll like it.


A Marketing Idea | 294 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 09:56 AM EST
So, now we only need to write a screen saver that shows a happy face when SCO
stock is going down and a sad face when it is going up.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: resst on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:00 AM EST
Excellent! I have given away Knoppix as well and people are amazed at the
quality and versitility after having used only windows.

Keep the ideas coming.

Mandrake Move is another live CD that has gathered good reviews but Knoppix
remains my favourite even though I'm running Mandrake 9.2 on the desktop. :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: N. on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:02 AM EST
Tried Knoppix today for the very first time and showed it to a colleague. I was
just blown away by it. Very few things in the IT industry makes me go
"wow", but Knoppix did that and more.


(Recent convert to Linux)

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: new SCO movie
Authored by: Wim on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:06 AM EST
Dr. McBride or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love SCO - sorry for the kinda offtopic post, thought you people might enjoy it :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea: OOo
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:10 AM EST
In the context, fits very nicelyi. It's sub-$20 and can be mailed to anyone anywhere without violating the codes of conduct. It's there for the picking.

Am also a MandrakeMove fan, BTW :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Yes, this works perfectly
Authored by: markus on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:11 AM EST

I gave a copy of Knoppix to on of my customers last Summer. He quickly grasped its usefulness as 'swiss army knife' for his daily system management tasks on his windows servers.

Today, 6 months later he could not imaine to be without it. Just two days ago he was agonizing about a small server where the hardware support of the vendor replaced almost everything besides the case. At my suggestion he booted a Linux CD and ran the memory test on the initial boot screen and voila, he knew that the problem was not the motherboard or the disk drive, but a memory chip.


Markus Baertschi, Switzerland

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: phrostie on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:15 AM EST
i've been burning and distributing Knoppix and TheOpenCD for a while. although
i prefer to bet people hook on Linux, i've had better luck with TheOpenCD
( to me it's atleast a start in the right

Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of DOS
and danced the skies on Linux silvered wings.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • A Marketing Idea - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 04:23 PM EST
A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:18 AM EST
Um. When did Linux users get some mystical form of freedom from patching? I run
MandrakeUpdate to apply security updates on an almost daily basis, and there's
frequently something that needs updating.

If Linux users think they're free from patching, then they don't have a secure

[ Reply to This | # ]

Free Tech Seminars
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:24 AM EST
I hold free 2hr tech seminars for the general public in partnership with
community colleges and universities through schools and use Knoppix to show what
people can do with Open Source in a way that is "risk-free" so far as
their current [Windows] install. OOo is one of the 2hr segments.

The *best* place I've found in the U.S. to buy Linux and other distros is the
$0.99 site

enjoy! and btw, hi PJ

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:27 AM EST
Another similar idea has been mentioned before:

Why don't we donate a collection of CDs to local libraries that they can lend
out, which includes live CDs such as Knoppix and MandrakeMove, installable
distributions such as Mandrake Download edition and Fedora Core, plus
collections of general software such as, Mozilla, Evolution, KDE,
Gnome etc.. That way they can be accessible to everyone, regardless of whether
they have an internet connection (or whether it's dialup or broadband).

If these are packaged together with suitable instructions, this could be an
invaluable resource for raising awareness of Open Source software, aimed
specifically at those who aren't hardcore users or are just curious. For example
those without a broadband connection can't realistically download any of these
(the majority in UK still) so having them freely available would be extremely

There should be a big label on the packaging which says "Please copy me,
and pass on copies to all your friends" with a suitable explanation that
this is totally legal to do.

[ Reply to This | # ]

List of Linux Live CDs
Authored by: Nivuahc on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:31 AM EST
Wanna see a list of Live CD's that are available with download links for all of them?

Frozentech's List of Linux Live CD's is awesome. You can even sort the list by primary function (i.e. rescue/desktop/home entertainment).

SCO-Logic: If you lie about something long enough, people will eventually believe it. And if they don't believe it, you aren't yelling loud enough.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Back to M$ giving out "Freebies"
Authored by: s21mag on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:33 AM EST
When I first heard this story the first question that jumpped into my head was
"Does M$ have a new proprietory file format they're trying to get
government agencies locked into?" This would be a pretty good was to do it.
As I recall, the reason they were going to Open Source in Germany was to AVOID
having their data tied up to a proprietory format.

Anybody have an answer?

L. W. Yost

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Knoppix not so hot
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:34 AM EST
It's great if you have a fast CD-ROM drive and your keyboard and mouse aren't

On my Dad's two year old Compaq, Knoppix couldn't find the keyboard or mouse.
Kinda useless without that. Counterintuitively, typing "knoppix
nousb" at the boot prompt, forcing no USB hardware detection, fixed the
problem :-/

Then there's application speed. My Dad doesn't have MS Office, so I thought
he'd be impressed with Open Office. Clicked the icon. Nothing happened. went
downstairs and grabbed a snack, came back. Still nothing. Finally, five
minutes later, up comes Open Office. He wasn't impressed at all.

I ran Stinger on his system and did't find anything (I have him behind a
hardware firewall and he's suspicious of attachments), so I think he'll be
sticking with Windows ME for a little while longer.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT I need help finding a link
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:36 AM EST
to a post that quoted some law passage about how you are not allowed to fund a
lawsuit against a competitor...I seem to recall seeing it within the last week
or so...

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: VivianC on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:38 AM EST
Along similar lines, the company I work for (a large insurance company) has just
started to offer all of the Microsoft Office software to employees for $20 a
pop. This is due to our site license for the products. I've seen this other
places, but not recently. They offer the current version and one version back.
Guess this will keep people from buying StarOffice for $50.


[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 10:42 AM EST
One ISV in the desktop migration and patch-management arena said customers look forward to more secure versions of Windows and Office that are in the works.

As they have been for the last ten years. The next version of Windows will always be 100% bug free and ultra secure.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Be Warned..... This can backfire
Authored by: eamacnaghten on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 11:00 AM EST
Marketing ideas like this can backfire.

I have known people to be put off Linux by trying a Knoppix CD because it was
"slow" - when it was explained to them that it was a CD distribution
and it was slow because it needed to load from the CD rather than the disk, and
it would be faster if properly installed they just nodded dumbly, continued to
use Windows and forgot about Linux.

If you pre-emptively send a company software written on a CD-R or CD-RW they
will probably throw it in the bin - (how do they know there are no viruses on
it?) and your credibility (and that of the software) will suffer accordingly.

When demoing or marketing software - be there, or at the other end of the phone.
That way you can prevent mis-understandings taking over.

Just my 5bn worth.....


[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: ErichTheWebGuy on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 11:03 AM EST
I posted something similar to this on slashdot the other day, and it was well received there too. In fact, I have been sending Open Office CDs to anyone who will have them.

When I talk to em, I ask, "Hey, how would you like to have some software that is better than Microsoft Office, but is free?" The answer is almost always yes.

Knoppix CDs are a good idea too. I think another fantastic idea is one that I tried yesterday, we'll see how it plays out: Go to your favorite local computer store (a small one, CompUSA and the lot will say no) and ask if you can give away F/OSS by sticking an attractive display on their counter (preferably in the spot previously occupied by AOL CDs) and se what they say. I asked 3, and 2 said yes.

Striving daily to be RFC-2550 compliant

[ Reply to This | # ]

Public Libraries in Scotland: HOWTO guide
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 11:24 AM EST
Needs cut&paste, libraries are already distributing software in Scotland.
There's a link to a HOWTO as

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Stefan on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 11:26 AM EST
MEPIS Linux is also a very good live-cd distribution. It's on two cd's but you
only need the first one to run it, the second cd only contains some additional
programs. MEPIS got me to finally get rid of Mandrake. It's Debian-based like
Knoppix so it's very easy to keep the system up to date. I have made two hard
drive installs of it at home so far and I'm going to keep it.

Thanks for the daily update newsletter! It will make it possible for me to keep
up with the news when I go back to work again. We have no internet there and the
e-mail is limited to max 10 kB since it's a satellite connection. I work ten
weeks on, ten weeks off so you can imagine how frustrating it is to be without
internet when so much is happening with sco/IBM.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Family Values
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 11:45 AM EST
From this example we can conclude that people who desire strong family ties with
their children will choose Microsoft. The weekly family patch fest brings
everyone together for a fun evening of system repairs. Just imagine the
excitement as everyone pitches in to root out the latest computer virus. We all
owe a huge debt of gratitude to Bill Gates for these frequent software security


[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 11:47 AM EST
Dammit! If I only thought about Knoppix 3 months ago, when I accidently broke my
friends Windows operating system while trying to remove spyware from his lap
top. After spending 6 hours trying to rescue the data, I gave up and reformatted
the damn thing.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea:
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 11:54 AM EST
I give away CD's with (both windows and Linux versions) on it -
You'd be amazed at how many people install and use it, then come back for more
for their friends/colleagues.

Many people are not yet ready to make the full leap to Linux, but
is a most excellent introduction to the freedoms of Free Software.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Send Linux CDs to MS employees
Authored by: Slimbo on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 12:06 PM EST
We should send Linux CD's to MS employees and channel partners to get them familiar with it. Most of these people spout MS propganda without ever experiencing Linux. This way they will at least be able speak from personal experience rather than reading the latest "Get the FUD Facts" posting. Randy

[ Reply to This | # ]

Do NOT give Live Linux CD's!
Authored by: DannyB on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 12:07 PM EST
Do not give Windows users "gifts" of Live Linux CD's.

For various reasons, mentioned in other threads here, a Windows user is likely to try it as a novelty, and then go back to using Windows. A brief amusement looking at something new.

IMHO a Windows user given an CD, or The Open CD, or a simliar CD full of open source for Windows is much more likely to try, at least some, of the software, like it, and then continue using it, than they are to convert over to Knoppix after using a live Linux CD.

Also, IMHO, while Linux represents a (maybe the only?) long term threat to Microsoft, it is all of the cross platform software such as + MySQL, or The GIMP, or Mozilla that quietly represents a real short term danger.

The more cross platform software is used by a Windows user, the more likely and feasible is that user's eventual migration to Linux.

In the short term, giving someone on a CD that is extremely easy to install, compatible with Word, Excel and PowerPoint, is a much more valuable gift than a Knoppix CD. You've given them an extremely useful tool they can use in their environment, rather than trying to "sell" them on the upheaval of changing everything.

The price of freedom is eternal litigation.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 12:23 PM EST
The cheek! That is my idea. I published it on Slashdot a couple of days ago! I hereby claim copyright. I will hire Darl's schysters when they are finished with his case! You must get a licence from me, cost $699, for each and every copy you want to distribute or give away, or you will be sued out of existence!

Seriously though, if anyone can duplicate lots of OOo disks, maybe with Mozilla and other useful things also, especially if they can attract some modest funding to do so, they should go for it, and get as many copies out there as possible. I suspect that a lot of people are thinking along those lines.

It might help to get good uptake if you can put some interesting stuff on the disks also, in formats viewable by OOo. Things like Word Perfect suite used to (and hopefully still do) come with lots of clipart, photos and other things. It is not beyond the capabilities of the FOSS community to generate lots of such material, only under the GPL or another suitable licence. Those of you with decent digital cameras can start right now. Others with artistic skills could draw some clipart.

We, the community, need a coordinated plan to achieve market penetration. Think what would interest your target "market", and devise suitable embellishments.

Also, you should "market" OOo as a tool which may be useful in recovering files which Word or Excel have corrupted, it has done that for me about 15 times with no failures so far.

Maybe those who are not so good at programming, but want to do something useful, could get involved in the marketing aspects.

This posting in its entirety is released under the GPL.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 12:23 PM EST
I see double-standards somewhere. Anyone who turns down a free copy of M$
software on corruption grounds should also turn down other corrupt gifts.

Especially air miles, where the airline bribes the employee at the expense of
the company.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The relevant Ethics bits for government employees
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 12:59 PM EST
OK folks... you may be wondering just what there is that prevents government employees from accepting gifts of ms-office from Microsoft.

and the relevant bit:
Receipt of Gifts from Outside Sources
a. General Rule: DoD employees may not solicit gifts. Nor may they accept gifts from a prohibited source or a gift that is offered because of the recipient's official position. There are four steps to determining whether a gift may be accepted. (5 C.F.R. 2635.204)
(1) First, is it a "gift?" As stated earlier, items with little intrinsic value intended solely for presentation, benefits available to all military personnel in a particular geographic area, and coffee and donuts offered during a meeting are examples of "non-gifts."
(2) Second, if it is a "gift," is it a gift from prohibited source?
(a) A prohibited source is someone who does business with the employee's agency, seeks to do business with the agency, conducts activities regulated by the agency; or is an organization, a majority of whose members are prohibited sources.
(b) A gift given because of the recipient's official position is treated as a prohibited source gift.
(3) Third, if it is a "prohibited source gift," does an exception apply? The exceptions are:
(a) A gift with a market value of $20 or less, not to exceed $50, in a calendar year from any one source.
(b) A gift to a group of Federal employees or class of individuals, but not based on official position or rank.
(c) Awards for meritorious public service or achievement if pursuant to an established program of recognition (might require an Ethics Counselor written determination).
(d) Social invitations from other than prohibited sources, but based on the employee's official position, if no fee is charged to anyone attending.
(e) Gifts based on a personal relationship (must be clearly motivated by family or other personal relationship).
(f) Gifts based on outside business or employment relationships (for example, gifts that arise from the spouse's business activities).
(g) Free attendance at widely attended gatherings, typically conferences or seminars, when the supervisor determines it to be in the agency interest for the employee to attend.
(h) Gifts permitted by other statutes, such as gifts from foreign governments accepted under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 7342 (retail value in United States may not exceed $260).
(4) Fourth, if an exception applies, should it be used?
(a) Exceptions do not authorize bribes! If a gift buys influence, it is a bribe.
(b) A gift may never be solicited or coerced.
(c) If the frequency of gifts would lead a reasonable person to believe that the employee is using public office for private gain, they may not be accepted.
b. Disposal of improper gifts. An Ethics Counselor may authorize any one of the following dispositions (5 C.F.R. 2635.205).
(1) The gift may be converted to a gift to the agency, or to an appropriate morale, welfare and recreation activity.
(2) If perishable, the gift may be consumed in the office where received.
(3) The recipient may keep the gift, and pay the donor its cost.
(4) The gift may be returned to the donor.
c. If the value of gifts from a single source is $250 or more during a calendar year, they must be reported on the employee's public (SF 278) or confidential (OGE Form 450) financial disclosure report.
Microsoft is a "prohibited source", see item 2 para (a). It's as simple as that...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another Idea-Teach
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 01:00 PM EST
There's another way to promote Linux/open source. Many community
centers and community colleges offer inexpensive night classes on
computers. Why not teach one in your area of expertise? If enough
people come, you can make a modest income for one evening a week.

A year ago, the classes at a community center near me were almost all
on Windows products. Now at least half are on Linux or multi-platform
open source software like GIMP. And this is a 30 minute drive from
Microsoft HQ.

There's a big plus no one teaching commercial products can offer. You
can give away free copies of the software at the first class.

--Mike Perry, Inkling Books, Seattle

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Avenger on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 01:07 PM EST
Actually, I think linux users are just as prone to patches and upgrades. Also,
they may find that their favourite distro is being phased out. Of course, it
still has less impact than on the Windows front, but yet, this problem exists
for Linux too.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 01:12 PM EST
Can MS giving away Office be considered dumping given their monopoly status? I
don't know, I'm just asking.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 01:18 PM EST
I am a great fan of Knoppix too.

I once removed a friends hard drive (he had a tray) and showed him what the
computer could do without a cd but with a knoppix cd. Pretty amazing stuff
especially when you can access the internet or network with little or no

This is the best introduction to linux there is.

[ Reply to This | # ]

We are geting free copies too
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 01:22 PM EST
I am the VP for IT and we switched the entire college I work for to SO6 and
upgraded to SO7 recently. We have received 6 free copies of the full version of
MS Office 2003. My staff has SPECIFIC instructions that they are NOT allowed to
keep or install those software packages in any of our workstations. As amatter
of fact our policy is not to accept any promotions or gifts valued over $25.00.
Vendors are free to make a cash donation to the college endowment fund.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 01:25 PM EST
From the same Salt Lake Tribune article.

"SCO is seeking up to $50 billion in damages from IBM."

I thought it was $5 billion, when did it become $50 billion?

Not that it matters since this number is no more "real" than the money
in a game of Monopoly.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Avenger on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 01:28 PM EST
"Update Pack 2 for SCO OpenServer 5.0.7 Now Available
Available to SCO Update Service subscribers, Update Pack 2 includes PostgreSQL,
H2N Bind8 DNS parser, serial ATA support, IPC parameters and support for USB
2.0, CUPS 1.1.19, GIMP-Print 4.2.5, and ESP Ghostscript 7.07.1."

OK, how much of this software was originally released under GPL? Also, according
to netcraft they are back to Linux.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Anderer speaks
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 01:39 PM EST

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is Office Worth $20 (or less)
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 02:05 PM EST
Of course Microsoft could simply state that the price of Office was $20 and
below the gift tax. Dovetails with all those people who have tried to return
their unused Windows license with their new Computer and collected approximately
that amount from the vendor. I think we'd all have less problems with
Microsoft's Greed if they priced the product there since they paid for the
R&D about 7 years ago. I'm personally hooked on OO and use it on Windows,
Linux and even on my iMac and there aren't many things I can't make it do and
even a few things it does that Office doesn't.

[ Reply to This | # ]

[OT] SCO sues former shareholders... ;)
Authored by: kuwan on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 02:14 PM EST

In a bit of news seemingly related to their recent stock buy-back program SCO CEO Darl McBride announced on Friday the Company's plans to pursue lawsuits against their former shareholders. In a brief interview with WNYX's Bill McNeal, McBride was quoted as saying:

This company's value has declined by over $100 million since September of last year. This is a direct result of shareholders that decided to sell their stock.

When asked for the reason that SCO would target its former shareholders, McBride said that "Contracts are what you use against parties you have relationships with." When told that shareholders generally do not have any contract with the company they invest in, McBride responded:

SCO is now announcing their new Shareholder Guarantee License (SGL). The SGL covers all stocks purchased since December of 2002 and requires all shareholders to guarantee that they won't sell any of their stock until all of the company executives can first sell theirs. We are confident that this move will strengthen the value of the company.

While SCO has not yet announced which of their former shareholders they will sue first, they are confident that they will file the lawsuit within the next 90 days. When Blake Stowell was asked for further comment, his only response was "Look at the Wookie."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Attermpted bribery ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 02:14 PM EST
[writing of the US federal government]

Ethical violations aside, is the act of M$ sending "free" product to a gov't employee, especially if that employee is involved in IT procurements, an attempt to bribe or otherwise influence them? It's easy to look at it that way :-). This is why the US gov. prohibits the acceptance of the "gift". (Go to a trade show catering to US gov't employees and you'll see signs stating the value of the "free gifts", so the employee can pay if they one one.)

Whether this rises to a level worth investigating is left to the department's Inspector Generals.


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A Marketing Idea - part 2
Authored by: cheros on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 02:15 PM EST
Correcting a slight omission on my part: don't try to run
before you can walk. Just a CD with OpenOffice (and the
marketing flyer PDFs) is good enough - once users can see
for themselves that free might mean 'different' but not
'less' you can take the next step and talk about Linux.
Too much change in one go scares people, trust me on that.

OO 1.1 for Win fits quite nicely on a small diameter CD,
with plenty space to spare for some migration HOWTos ;-)

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Anderer shows up with a message
Authored by: tcranbrook on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 02:15 PM EST
The mystery may has showed up with a statment. Of course, he doesn't enlighten us about the questions we have. He is under an NDA, you see. But he does have a vision for us that all of this is a part of.
    In a world where there are $500 million dollar patent infringement lawsuits imposed on OS companies (although this is not completely settled yet), how would somebody like Red Hat compete when 6 months ago they only had $80-$90 million in cash? At that point they could not even afford to settle a fraction of a single judgment without devastating their shareholders. I suspect 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.

A world in which only mega corporations can write software and license the rest of us to use it. But the most ominous part is the hint of what MS has waiting in the wings. Reminds me of the old song, 'There must be 50 ways of leaving your lover'.

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Hearts and Minds
Authored by: Lindy on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 02:20 PM EST
Speaking as a vet., I'd like to say that if you really want to market to the
military, the best thing you could do is to make donations to the various
military charities/relief funds like the navy relief.This would be a better show
of support for our troops than anything else you could giveaway. Believe me your
contributions won't go un-noticed or un-appreciated.

Lindy, fmr.STS2/SS

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More MS giveaways
Authored by: rittenhr on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 02:33 PM EST
Our local AITP (Association of Information Technology Professionals) had a show
and tell by MS that included giving away MS Office 2003. Very well attended

I gave mine to a student :)

Robert Rittenhouse

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A Marketing Idea
Authored by: SteveS on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 02:38 PM EST
For your reviewing pleasure:


Link from the article: Software Freedom Day...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Excellent Site:
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 02:43 PM EST

Literally dozens of "Linuxes" that will run off a CD with most of them
being free to download or available for modest subscription.

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Use Knoppix to Cleanse Windoze?
Authored by: technoCon on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 02:47 PM EST
How's this sound?

Create a distro based upon Knoppix for virus infected Windoze boxes. I have a
friend whose machine was infected last fall. I don't know how long it took to
get her machine cleansed. The best I could say was, "hire a geek." (I
live an hour away and avoid sysadmin work on friends' machines.) It would have
been cool to mail a bootable CD to run and fix the machine(s).

Aunt Tillie's 300mhz Win98 box gets infected? Send the disk I'm proposing. It
boots Knoppix and runs a dirt-simple app that searches the hard disk in question
for malware and report on what it finds. If the computer has web connection of
some sort, the app goes out to get a list of things to look for, then searches
the hard disk. She can then read the report that appears over the phone to her

If you have a technologically aware operator, s/he could then run another app to
clean the infected system. Or install Linux on the hard disk and transition Aunt
Tillie to OpenOffice, Evolution and Mozilla.

There are a ton of Windoze machines out there that are infected, those who use
them have limited needs, and could easily switch over to Linux.

Does an distro like this already exist? If not, should it?

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Typical Microsoft Actions
Authored by: mhoyes on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 03:18 PM EST
If you look at it, this is rather typical Microsoft behaviour. If you look at the other actions, Microsoft is doing, CNet story on patents you can see that they are trying to lock down the office product so people have to license the standards from Microsoft before they can even read an office document in a non-Microsoft program. Then, the next step is to give the software away for free to get it accepted as standard in the business/government/educational communities. After it is in place for a while, then they start charging for updates/upgrades and people are stuck, since any information they have entered in the new system is no longer accessable in other programs.

This is very similar to things they did, and do, such as providing tools to developers for free, get them to start using them, then charging for later revisions. The other side of this is that you also have people being a test bed to get the bugs worked out of the software, without having to pay them, and you can stick it to them later.

Yet again, this is the power of a monopoly, that can accept a loss on a product for a long period of time, in order to drive out the competition. The problem is that the consumers are the ones that wind up paying in the end since they have fewer choices, and get locked into a single vendors products.

Of course, Microsoft only has our best interests in mind so what am I worried about? :-P


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We can do much better than this
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 03:56 PM EST
Due to on-the-fly decompression, the CD can have up to 2 GB of executable software installed on it.
Why are people so hung up on last century's technology? You can get 4.7GB on a DVD, that's enough to hold the entire current Debian "stable" distro. On one disk. Without compression.

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Is this all a novel?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 04:11 PM EST
Re: S2 'mystery man' Anderer speaks on
by: rex007can 03/12/04 02:52 pm
Msg: 109146 of 109239

Hell my tinfoil antennaes are starting to overload and melt.

You got
M$ denying everything
Bank admitting most everything
An obvious professional middleman (Anderer) leaking info
A puppet company suing everything that moves with no grounds no matter the
A hint at a SEC investigation
Obvious extortion tactics
Fair trade commissions investigation in foreign contries
Gag orders in Europe.
Billion dollar frivolous lawsuits
Collusion with "analysts" and major investing firms

All we need now is an assassination and we're in the middle of a Robert Ludlum

I gotta get a new roll of foil paper, my helmet just shorted out...

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A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 04:28 PM EST

But, we *do* have an assassination attempt... check out


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A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 04:43 PM EST
Neither do Mac users, of course. I'd personally rather see some form of GNU OS
take over the world, if anything must do that, but at the moment, with a server
running Linux, a desktop/games server running 98SE installed with 98Lite to take
care of the games, and a Mac laptop to do my work on, I'm definately enjoying
the best parts of several worlds. MS won't be competitive in offering me
anything until they start co÷perating with the 98Lite guy, instead of doing
their best to hinder his ever move. I know someone from MS is reading this, at
some point, so listen up - I don't f*&$%ing want your 'integration' and in
fact I won't take it, even if you give it to me for free. Offer me an NT (XP)
based system with all the capabilities of XP, but without the annoyances in
terms of 'integration', and I'd happily pay you ▒$100 for the upgrade, but you
aren't offering that now, and the crap you are offering... I'm not buying and
you would find that bribing me to take it would be a little expensive, in fact.

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  • A Marketing Idea - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 05:02 PM EST
Purpose of site?
Authored by: jelenko on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 04:56 PM EST
Does this fall into the objective/scope of Groklaw?

Just asking. My perception was that the objective/scope was on clarifying legal

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"FUD" Anderer?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 07:48 PM EST
Though a NDA covered the financials, in his NewsForge interview SCO consultant Anderer did reveal quite a bit about himself and perhaps about those he hangs about with. Here we gives his remarks and what they might really mean.
I could easily see IBM, HP, Sun, and many of the other large hardware players solving this problem tomorrow by settling the dispute with SCO and maybe even taking the entire code base and donating it into the public domain. I know this is what I originally thought would happen, at least the settlement part.
TRANSL: "I thought IBM would pay millions to buy out SCO and settle out of court. It did not dawn on me that they would fight it. I've always had a problem with this 'reality thing.'"
In a world where there are $500 million dollar patent infringement lawsuits imposed on OS companies (although this is not completely settled yet), how would somebody like Red Hat compete when 6 months ago they only had $80-$90 million in cash? At that point they could not even afford to settle a fraction of a single judgment without devastating their shareholders. I suspect 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.
TRANSL: "Microsoft is so rich and nasty, they just may be planning to sue the socks off "50 or more" of their competitors. And yeah, I know this sort of stuff would bring the wrath of fed antitrust down on them. But hey, they don't call me 'Fud' Anderer for nothing."
Since the GPL type license agreements push the liability to the users, who do you go after? I think this is a key problem.
TRANSL: "Yeah, I know copyright laws is about copying rather than possession, but hey, I'm in this to scare the socks off everyone I can. FUD is a very lucrative business to be in. The last thing I want to do is actually work for a living."
I think the dispute with SCO would have been settled a long time ago if everybody knew this was the last one. The problem is there will probably be hundreds or even thousands of these disputes in the future and the targets will be the companies with the deepest pockets.
TRANSL. "Yeah, I know SCO's copyright title to Unix is weak and the history of Unix makes it difficult to enforce any sort of Unix copyright. And yes, I know that in 44 years of existance Unix lost badly the only major copyright dispute it got into. But, hey, I'm in this to spread FUD for Microsoft not to make sense. I know whatever happens old Bill will take care of me."
I do appreciate all the effort and help people have provided by digging up old sites and even stuff I had long forgotten about. I am still hoping people dig up some of the more positive projects I have been involved with
TRANSL: "Hey, I'm not always a greedy, amoral SOB, If you look really, really hard, you can find some positive things I have done. Why once, when I was seven, I helped this little old lady...."

Nuff said.....

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OT: SCO Transfer in Pictures - PJ please take note
Authored by: soronlin on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 08:39 PM EST
For those that missed it the first time, this is the SCO/Caldera agrement in storyboard format. It got good reviews yesterday. I have improved it in line with the comments I got and added the Novell AP and Canopy takeover. Please let me know if I got anything wrong.

I have redrawn it in dia, so it's easier to edit and it's clearer. The picture is at transfer.jpg
In the best interests of Open Source, the dia source file is at /scotransfer-src.tgz

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New on Pacer
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, March 12 2004 @ 08:39 PM EST
The Yahoo board says 2 new documents are posted for the ibm case + reference to
a third.

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Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 13 2004 @ 07:00 AM EST
I second Mepis. It's definitely one of the best things out there and if you want
a debian-based freely-downloadable OS with an easy installer, Mepis it is!

Plus the fact that it runs as a LiveCD first to see if your hardware works is a
BIG plus.

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  • Mepis - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 13 2004 @ 07:03 AM EST
A Marketing Idea
Authored by: Bon on Saturday, March 13 2004 @ 10:04 AM EST
I have never doubted we have some brilliant minds all posting to Groklaw, but on
reading all these postings to this story I could not believe everyone missed the
main problem with Linux at the moment.
I'm not out to go trolling, because I totally agree that live-cd distros and
distributing OOo is a good idea, but it's a good idea to get company's and the
'productivity' markets to Linux.
However, I really believe to get people to Linux, we need to encorage a new
generation to *NIX systems.
I grew up with the ZX81, the Com64, the Sam Coupe (remember them?), the Amiga
and I remember what drove me to get those machines. There were some bloody good
games! Yes, they were simple, but they were good.
I started learning about programming on the ZX81, in BASIC, when you loaded a
game (as long as your 16k RAM pack didn't wobble!), then you pressed 'break' and
you could look at the game code. My C64 had a 360k disk drive, and I learned
about Peeking and poking just to get the drive lit up! With my first PC, using
DOS (MS *sic* before u ask) I started to use Borland Pascal to hit memory
vectors and make it do things.

Ok, I digress, but my point is to get Linux mainstream and to build a new
generation of writers, we need a killer app.

We need a decent game.

We need a game in the FOSS that everyone wants, everyone can see how it works,
and learn from it. ID software have been gracious to release their old games to
the community, but for the latest 'killer' games you need Windows.

I really believe that when we get our act together and launch a game based
distro, we will be home and dry.

We need some 'killer' games on the CD.

We need the source for the games on that CD.

We need that CD in places like Electronics Boutique and GAME.

We need kids able to pick up that CD (or DVD, with respect to another learned
friend posting here) and turn their PC into a games console, without ruining
Mum's or Dad's official documents.

As those games are played, kids will be encoraged to learn how they work and
maybe work on their own. AMOS and Blitz basic on the Amiga formed a huge range
of great games, but getting people learning C++ from an early age would lead to
great things for the future, I'm sure.

Linux games sites at the moment are not brilliant, lets be honest. However, to
promote *NIX to a new generation, it's games we need.

I am not a programmer, IANAL, but I would be happy to help a group of volunteers
create a distro based on games, because I believe thats where the next
generation is. NOT in giving away copies Linux or OOo. Thats a short term ideal.
The PS2 and the X-Box(sic) run Linux, so lets create a distro that turns home PC
into a console with development potential. Expand that distro to the consoles.
And lets get some 'killer' games on that disc.

Then, maybe, the future of *NIX, and Linux in particular, is assured.

Just my 2 penneth, mail me directly if u r interested in working on such a
project, Ian.bonham at,


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  • A Marketing Idea - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 13 2004 @ 05:20 PM EST
  • A Marketing Idea - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, March 14 2004 @ 06:00 AM EST
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