Why discriminate spamming is better

Many people do not respond to spam. Ever. They will recognise it straight away, and report it. They never click a link in any spam email. So when you send these people spam, you’re effectively sending it straight to the index. These are the people that you as a spammer do not want to be dealing with. You want to deal with people who will indiscriminately open email, click links; who are gullible but trustworthy.

So it benefits you to find out who these people are, and send spam only to them. If you have done your job properly, and you can match up each site access with an email address that you sent your spam to, then you can figure out which email addresses aren’t resulting in clicks, and dispose of these. That way, the filters will evolve less quickly against the patterns of your emails, and you have to change your strategy less often to escape the filters. You get an easier life. Good luck!

Pay more tax for better free software?

I posted over on my other blog site because the embedded poll wouldn’t work with WordPress (it only barely worked with blogger/blogspot). But since you came here, I’ll give you a bit more background on my thinking.

I think open source software has been done wrong. Whether or not the initial idea to make open source a grassroots movement was a sound one, opportunities for getting extra funding have definitely been missed. So why aren’t open source developers permanently busy writing grant applications? And why have governments not taken the initiative on a larger scale to fund specific open source projects that they saw utility in? Granted, you wouldn’t want to fund projects that are still tied to the commercial interests of private individuals, such as OpenOffice or Mozilla. I personally don’t believe that this argument stretches to companies whose main business is in providing support, such as Canonical and Red Hat. A state-funded Linux distribution may even help eliminate some of the lesser contenders in that space. And having a state-funded Linux distribution would give a clear ideological incentive for schools and universities, who are at least partly state-funded, to also use that software.

So to my mind, the way forward for open source development is through getting governments involved, and using tax money to fund specific projects, or specific objectives within those projects. The economies of developed nations are incurring huge losses every year through lack of common and open software standards. This is a problem that the state should address, in my opinion.

Standard answers for friends and family: management consultancy

“You’re evil: you cut 5,000 jobs at the last company you advised.”

I was part of a team that made a recommendation. If the business was  doing well, why call on us to improve it? If it was doing badly, it  will be gone sooner or later anyway. If that happens, you’ll lose  more than 5,000 jobs.

“You just tell people what they know already.”

If they knew it already, why didn’t they act on it?

“…and all that happens at the end is that the executives award  themselves big bonuses.”

That was not part of the recommendation we made.

CEOs this week: who can lie the best?

This week saw a cornucopia of disinformation from the big software companies. We started out with Steve Ballmer of Microsoft claiming that Linux violated 235 patents held by Microsoft. People soon pointed out that the same argument had been used in 2004, and that the original author of the study originating the claim had concluded that it did not pose any great threat of litigation. Finally, one commenter surmised that the reason Microsoft had revived the abandoned initiative now was because it wished to disrupt the Red Hat Summit and the Open Source Business Conference, and force Red Hat to sign an agreement similar to Novell’s. However, it all came to nothing when Eben Moglen pointed out that the GPLv3 contained terms (“the patent license you grant is automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works based on it”) that could be used to indemnify all Linux users when the GPLv3 comes into force. Since the vouchers that Novell is now handing out to its Linux customers, intended to indemnify them against patent litigation and covered by an appropriate agreement with Microsoft, have no expiration date, Linux is likely to soon be free of all patent violation problems. The vouchers can be handed in after GPLv3 is used across large parts of Novell’s Linux distro, and so can entirely absolve Linux of any existing violations of patents – although new code could bring new vulnerability! Nonetheless I heartily congratulate the people who are queueing up to get that little bit of fame, and be the first to get sued by Microsoft. Thanks for bringing the humour back, guys!

Soon after the news broke of Microsoft’s patent litigation threat, Jonathan Schwartz of Sun wrote a blog entry that outlined his company’s strategy, including a bit of history about how one company had approached them to see if they were interested in suing their users for patent violations. Some thought the unnamed company was likely to have been Microsoft. However, in the same blog entry, Schwartz also claimed Sun had written more than 25% of code in a typical Linux distribution – a false claim, as is clear from his source (see Figure 28 on page 50).

So here we go, another week of CEOs lying through their teeth, and the consumers keeping their head above the FUD. Is Steve Jobs really the only genuine guy out there?