"A company cannot survive economically if it places itself against the customers"
Thousands of Internet users in Germany supported a strike on Sunday 1 November against the high rates charged by Deutsche Telekom for local phone calls . German Net users pay phone bills as high as $100 - $200 per month -- that's on top of ISP charges. Hendrik Levsen <hendrik at levsen dot org>, who sent me a note about the strike, says
Whose trick, whose treat?
Someone anonymously sent to Eric Raymond an internal Microsoft memo purporting to detail the company's view of Linux and the Open Source movement. Raymond, a grand old man in the world of Open Source since his article The Cathedral and the Bazaar  influenced Netscape's decision to open up the source code for Communicator, spent the Halloween weekend annotating the memo and has posted it on the Web . Raymond says:
Eric Raymond evidently believes the Halloween Document was sent to him by an Open Source sympathizer inside Microsoft. Another interpretation is possible. The NY Times's coverage  (free registration and cookies required) suggests that the memo could have been leaked as part of Microsoft's trial strategy. It surely bolsters the company's contention that it faces serious threats to its market dominance. Dan Gillmor's analysis  makes the same point more strongly.
Some memorable quotes picked out by Raymond:
Names interim board, schedules public meeting
The organization that is in line to inherit oversight of Internet naming and numbering  on 26 October named an interim CEO and board of directors . Some have criticized the move as inappropriate before the Department of Commerce's criticisms of ICANN are addressed; but the interim chairman, Esther Dyson, argues that a board was necessary to give the organization a concrete face, and the government someone with whom to negotiate. The interim officials are:
CEO: Michael M. Roberts (US) Board: Esther Dyson (US), Chairman Geraldine Capdeboscq (France) George H. Conrades (US) Gregory L. Crew (Australia) Frank Fitzsimmons (US) Hans Kraaijenbrink (The Netherlands) Jun Murai (Japan) Eugenio Triana (Spain) Linda S. Wilson (US) Executive Committee: Esther Dyson Gregory L. Crew Hans Kraaijenbrink Michael M. RobertsSee the bottom of  for capsule biographies.
ICANN has announced an open, public meeting to be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA on Saturday 14 November. Details are at , registration and comment form at . ICANN plans similar meetings in various locations around the world over the coming year.
Are heads rolling in the aisles at Redmond?
Mexico's entire school system has decided to go with Linux . The Scholar Net project will eventually wire 140,000 school labs with Linux systems. The real impact will be felt once the pipeline fills and Mexican schools begin churning out 1 or 2 million Linux experts per year. Thanks to Eric Scheid for the heads-up and to Greg Roelofs for the BOTEC.
Heads should definitely be rolling in the aisles at Redmond
What was your first reaction when you heard that Microsoft had renamed Windows NT 5.0 to "Windows 2000?" Mine, too. It has been surmised  that the entire Windows 2000 push is a hurry-up marketing reaction to Sun's announcement that its 64-bit Solaris operating system will be available a year before the next rev of NT. Lending credence to this theory, it develops that one Robert Kerstein has owned the trademark on the name Windows 2000 for the last 30 months . There's a Web site too , offering "live cam views from around the world." Microsoft apparently didn't even check. Thanks to Jon Callas <jon at callas dot org> for the forward.
The defacing of Rootshell.com leads to a food fight
On 29 October crackers broke into the Rootshell site  and replaced its top page with this one . Rootshell is a source for hackers' tools and exploits, as well as security information and tools. Rumors circulated (and were debated and denied in the absense of any real knowledge) that the crack had been accomplished via a buffer overflow in Secure Shell (ssh) version 1.2.26. The developers of ssh have denied that any such was possible , but said their analysis had turned up a possible problem in either the Linux operating system or the GCC compiler that might be exploitable through sshd. Meanwhile Rootshell's Kit Knox posted a security bulletin  calling into question the Finnish protestations, and quoting in full an unpublished advisory being developed at the IBM Emergency Response Service, who are working with the ssh developers. IBM-ERS protested mightily .
The ITU in record time has agreed to a new proposed standard called G.Lite . The standard may offer ADSL-like speeds, up to 1.5 MBps, by next year over existing copper phone lines. G.Lite is the product of a wide-ranging coalition of technology companies who want to see ADSL succeed (and some who hope to slow the adoption of cable modems). G.Lite devices should be more nearly plug-and-play than current ADSL offerings, which usually require the local phone company to "roll a truck" for installation.
TBTF first fingered ADSL for a significant player in the spread of cheap bandwidth in July 1995 .
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A patent for quantum computer technology
Greg Aharonian's Internet Patent News Service carried word that IBM has recently been granted patent number 5,793,091 , "Parallel architecture for quantum computers using ion trap arrays." It references two prior US patents for technology that could underlie the construction of a practical quantum computer.
2,500 pigeons went missing in two separate races
On 5 October, 90% of the birds in two East Coast pigeon races failed to return to their lofts. 1800 pigeons vanished out of 2000 in a race from Virginia to Allentown, PA; 700 of 900 were lost in a separate race from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. No one knows why. Pigeon racers call such an occurrence a "smash race." It is rare. Anecdotal evidence suggests that smash races sometimes precede large earthquakes, not necessarily in the locale where the birds went missing. The largest smash race in Bay Area history occurred 3 days before a massive earthquake in Alaska, in March 1964. Perhaps a building earthquake perturbs the earth's magnetic field (though it is not known for certain that homing pigeons depend on the magnetic field). Jim Berkland is a geologist with a specialty in earthquake prediction. I do not know in what esteem his views are held among his peers, but a fair guess would be "faint." Berkland is featured in the recent book California Fault: Searching for the Spirit of a State Along the San Andreas , which seems to be as much about eccentrics as it is about earthquakes. Berkland supposedly posted a quake prediction based on the October smash races. I was unable to find it in the less than pellucid organization of his site , but here is a note from him and an AP wire story  on the subject. They're hosted on the site of a UFO investigator who has a radio program, for what that's worth. Thanks to Keith Bostic for word on this still unsolved mystery.
Postscript -- the executive director of the American Racing Pigeon Union told me that some 40% of the birds straggled home over the 10 days following the October smash races.
TBTF home and archive at http://tbtf.com/ . To subscribe send the the message "subscribe" to firstname.lastname@example.org. TBTF is Copy- right 1994-1998 by Keith Dawson, <dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com>. Commercial use prohibited. For non-commercial purposes please forward, post, and link as you see fit. _______________________________________________ Keith Dawson dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com Layer of ash separates morning and evening milk.
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