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Is Microsoft ‘Hijacking’ NComputing in Order to Tap Children?

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OLPC, Ubuntu, Windows at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

WHAT IS happening with NComputing, particularly in India?

Days ago it was reported that they were looking into the use of Ubuntu or another variant of GNU/Linux (NComputing offers several options). From IDG: “NComputing is working with the state governments of Assam and Tamil Nadu on pilots for the deployment of its virtual desktop technology on Linux PCs, according to Dukker.

Then, a day or so later, it was announced that Windows somehow made it in, despite this national interest in GNU/Linux. What happened? Well, fortunately we have been tracking some rather mysterious moves in NComputing as of late, namely an appointment of a former Windows manager [1, 2] (one of the highest ranked ones, alongside Jim Allchin and Brian Valentine, both of whom left as well).

It would not take a genius to merely speculate that Microsoft may be getting its grubby hands on more and more companies that ‘dare’ to distribute GNU/Linux in large numbers. As we pointed out before (see links), schools in entire countries offered GNU/Linux to their students because of NComputing.

Another thing that we pointed out before is that “Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential” is code word for “anti-GNU/Linux budget.” We provided examples that show how reactionary Unlimited Potential really is [1, 2, 3]. It’s chasing GNU/Linux wherever there is ‘danger’ of it being deployed.

In the following new press release, the involvement by Unlimited Potential is made very clear. The press release states: “The computing labs will be used to teach computer skills and office productivity (spreadsheets, word processing) as well as subjects like reading and math. The entire system will run on the Microsoft Windows Server operating system and use Microsoft Office Suite. “India holds a strong position in the knowledge economy today due to the country’s consistent investment in education over the years,” said Javier Arrupea Gitlin, director, Microsoft Unlimited Potential Group. “In India and around the globe, Microsoft is committed to enabling affordable access to computing for education. Through Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential commitment, we are continually looking for innovative and affordable technology solutions that can sustain social and economic progress. Initiatives such as this announced today that leverage the value to educational computing provided by the Windows Server platform represent yet another solution that can help move us towards this goal.”

William Poole used to head Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential program briefly before he left and then joined NComputing. Is Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential sneaking people into actual companies where they can blindly sign deals with Microsoft? Are they doing deal with themselves? Shades of Paul Maritz inside VMware, that’s for sure!

Anyway, the possibility of an ‘inside job’ is fairly reasonable given what was seen before. Over in Portugal, disappointed peoples still wonder about those Magalhães laptops, whose parent company is in court for fraud allegations at the moment.

After the sickening OLPC incidents, it would be naïve to assume that Microsoft plays this one fairly.

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

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  1. AlexH said,

    October 16, 2008 at 8:07 am


    I thought this site was against CSS vendor extensions?

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 16, 2008 at 8:11 am


    I was hoping readers would stick to the topic. :-)

  3. AlexH said,

    October 16, 2008 at 8:16 am


    You would rather I dig out the old article and comment there?

  4. Jose_X said,

    October 16, 2008 at 8:33 am


    Some very interesting stories here (most old news in part). In some cases, deep Microsoft discounts were rejected, but, for example, is Russia really likely to go through with full Linux?

    These all could set/extend horrible precedents from Microsoft pov.

    Watch the videos.

    >> Also, Extremadura is one of the poorest regions in the EU, and the cost of proprietary software needed to run the network was just too much to bear. So the government decided to use free software; in the beginning due to its low cost, but soon they realized that free software is a powerful tool to provide “technological independence” and avoid reliance on global conglomerates and monopolies.

    >> Russia plans to migrate ALL migrate all their schools to Linux!

    >> The education minister of the state MA Baby was quoted saying “Free software guru Richard Stallman’s visit last week had nudged the schools to discard the proprietary software altogether, Stallman has inspired Kerala’s transition to free software on the lines of an exciting model of a Spanish province, which did the same.”

    [Philippines] >> The project dragged on for four to five months to a point where Microsoft matched the price by offering Windows XP for $US20 a copy and throwing in Office for $US30, but we still came out cheaper. Microsoft was also providing free training to high school teachers

  5. Jose_X said,

    October 16, 2008 at 8:38 am


    [offtopic] Are we talking about Mozilla CSS extensions? Is this the same Mozilla that is an open source organization and not a monopolist? I’m sure this has some bearing here.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 16, 2008 at 8:44 am


    Yes, but let’s discuss the content, not the layout.

    Indeed, as cited at the top, Microsoft is working with Intel to harm adoption of GNU/Linux in Russian schools. That’s just the tip of the iceberg we explore here.

  7. Jose_X said,

    October 16, 2008 at 9:18 am


    I followed the link at the top on OLPC and even a comment link at that page about dumping but did not see any story about the Nigeria Mandriva incident (a decision to install XP over Mandriva on a Classmate PC deployment in Nigeria got reversed for the time being).


    I thought I had read somewhere that explicit or implicit pressure from the EU may have caused Microsoft to “back down”. [The first story in the google search credits an unnamed source from Nigeria's gov for upsetting the XP installation.]

    Perhaps in this NComputing case (as well?) antitrust pressure can lead to a reversal.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 16, 2008 at 9:25 am


    You can find some ‘peripheral’ stories by searching the archives and following external links. We really need to find better ways to organise all that stuff.

  9. DOUGman said,

    October 16, 2008 at 5:28 pm


    I could never get Linux to work properly with the Ncomputing products, with XP yes, all does is offer terminal services from one machine to others to use. Kinda flaky, but it does work.

    I have done the same thing using XP, Server 2003, Citrix and NoMachine NX.


  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 16, 2008 at 5:31 pm



    Dukker says about 40 per cent of NComputing’s customers have chosen Linux (the company uses Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora or SuSE)

  11. Jose_X said,

    October 18, 2008 at 9:32 pm


    More details on Russia’s move to go only Linux in its schools.


    The current president of Russia made this decision when was Deputy Prime Minister not long ago.

    Pilots are under way and goal is to have made full transition for whole country by sometime in 2010.

    The spark that set this off was when just last year a school headmaster was arrested for using unlicensed MSware (Putin interfered on his behalf to avoid years in jail). The decision to go Linux in all Russian schools was to fulfill legal commitments but avoid giving Microsoft zillions of dollars.

    ALT Linux seems to be playing a central role in this effort, and its roots are with Russian FOSS projects (so ALT Linux wasn’t an accident or luck).

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