Tilting at windmills

Duncan Mac-Vicar P.'s blog


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Empresas Públicas y Empresas Privadas

La situación de la Empresa de Ferrocarriles del Estado parece crítica.

[GMO][9] lo dice en [un post en Atina Chile][8]:

>Los aportes fiscales de los últimos 7 años se han triplicado. En el mismo período, las pérdidas operacionales de la empresa se han multiplicado por 7 y las pérdidas totales han aumentado 2,5 veces, llegando a $ 72 Mil Millones.

El Instituto Libertad y Desarrollo tiene dos estudios, [uno mostrando las pérdidas][1], y otro [proponiendo soluciones][2].

¿Es la razón de este fracaso, el hecho de que la empresa sea pública?

[Deustche Bahn][3] tuvo ganancias por 1.35 billones de euros el 2006. Es una empresa cuyas acciones perteneces en forma total al estado alemán, aunque se dice que viene una privatización.

Veamos ahora, correos.

[En el análisis hecho por LyD en el 2003][10]:

>Este aumento de la competencia ha significado que en los últimos años ha disminuido el tráfico de correspondencia de las personas, en Correos de Chile, registrándose una disminución de 7% entre 1998 y el 2000 y un 5% adicional en el 2001.
No obstante lo anterior, Correos de Chile mantiene un 80% de participación en el mercado de correspondencia y un 8% en el mercado nacional de paquetería y de los expresos.

Este análisis deja fuera un importante factor: [El e-commerce ha beneficiado a las empresas de correos más de lo que las perjudicó el e-mail.][14], tema que toqué en mi blog el año pasado.

[Correos y Telégrafos de España][7]. Sociedad Anónima española de capital cien por cien público, [tuvo el 2005 204,4 millones de euros como Resultado de explotación][11].

Correos de Chile tiene un [resultado de explotación cercano a los 4 mil millones de pesos][12]. Sin embargo esto no fue de la noche a la mañana. [Éste paper muesta en detalle el proceso de transformación][13]. Podemos citar del mismo paper:

>El balance al 31 de diciembre de 2000 mostró una pérdida por $890 millones

Lo que muestra que los resultados de correos son frutos de una transformación mas que nada.

[Deutsche Post][4], la empresa de correos alemana, también [tiene un saldo neto positivo de 537 millones de euros en el tercer periodo del 2006][5]. Ahora, Deutsche Post fue privatizada completamente.

¿És el hecho que sea pública o privada un factor tan importante? ¿O lo es la forma en que se administre la empresa?

A mi no me convence el primer punto. Aunque si lo veo como un facilitador. Por el otro lado, a la burocracia socialista le gusta mezclar el tema de beneficio público con la contabilidad de una empresa, e inventan mitos como que una empresa pública no puede ser rentable. El beneficio público lo debe pagar el Estado como un subsidio, y no debe mezclarse con la eficiencia de una empresa sólo para justificar su mediocridad, y una vez que el costo social se transforma en un subsidio, el hecho que una empresa sea pública o privada pasa a ser otro tema.

Debo reconocer que aún espero que a un amigo le llegue un libro que envié a Chile en Diciembre del 2006 a través de Correos de Chile. Y también aprovecho de reclamar que la página del Insituto Libertad y Desarrollo se ve horrible en Firefox.

[1]: http://164.77.202.58/LYD/Controls/Neochannels/Neo_CH3819/deploy/TP-797-Ferroc…
[2]: http://164.77.202.58/LYD/Controls/Neochannels/Neo_CH3819/deploy/TP-800-Ferroc…
[3]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsche_Bahn
[4]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsche_Post
[5]: http://stocks.us.reuters.com/stocks/overview.asp?symbol=DPWGn.DE
[6]: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/08/14/bloomberg/bxmove.php
[7]: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociedad_Estatal_Correos_y_Tel%C3%A9grafos_(Espa…
[8]: http://www.atinachile.cl/node/22378
[9]: http://www.atinachile.cl/user/40492
[10]: http://www.lyd.org/noticias/privatizacion.html
[11]: http://www.correos.es/comun/informacionCorporativa/1004_g-Resultados.asp
[12]: http://www.correos.cl/empresa/estados.php
[13]: http://cmd.princeton.edu/papers/wp0608b.pdf
[14]: http://duncan.mac-vicar.com/blog/archives/83


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Apple’s Jobs calls for end of DRM

>Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs [has a message][1] for consumers and anti-trust regulators claiming the company has locked people into its iTunes music store: Don’t blame us, blame the music companies.

Article in [securityfocus.com][2].

[1]: http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/
[2]: http://www.securityfocus.com/brief/428


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Bastards

It seems Microsoft has not only been patenting obvious stuff lately but now they are trying to patent innovation done by other people.

* [They are trying to patent RSS readers][2]
* They copied all features of BlueJ into Visual Studio, admitted it, and then applied for a patent. [Read about it here][1].

[1]: http://www.bluej.org/mrt/?p=21
[2]: http://mashable.com/2006/12/21/microsoft-tries-to-patent-rss-readers/


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Irresponsible freedom

19 days after the [Novell-Microsoft agreement was announced][4] and the media is still very active.

It is interesting to see, that most of the noise comes from outside the openSUSE community. There were some noise and activity in the mailing lists for a while, but most of it it still cames from outside communities, zealot clubs, or people with just too much time. Most of the people [haven't][1] [yet read][2] [all the information] available. It is easy to tell, as you still find wrong facts like Microsoft not being able to sue Novell, and Novell being able to use Microsoft patents (or even code!) in its products.

Today, Novell had to react, because, as expected by some people, Steve Ballmer started to confuse the people. First he invited other Linux vendors to do similar deals and focusing the agreement only in the patent covenants, when Novell’s contract has exclusivity for some years, and the agreement is not only about customer protection but lot about interoperability cooperation. The problem is, Ballmer is not afraid of contradictions and he does strange things ([already used to][8]) like inviting Linux vendors when he actually can’t, but his objective is not to inform but to create a sensation of insecurity. But those are the rules of playing with Microsoft: here is [Novell answer][3].

Some quotes:

>Since our announcement, some parties have spoken about this patent agreement in a damaging way, and with a perspective that we do not share. We strongly challenge those statements here.
>
>We disagree with the recent statements made by Microsoft on the topic of Linux and patents. Importantly, our agreement with Microsoft is in no way an acknowledgment that Linux infringes upon any Microsoft intellectual property. When we entered the patent cooperation agreement with Microsoft, Novell did not agree or admit that Linux or any other Novell offering violates Microsoft patents.
>
>Our stance on software patents is unchanged by the agreement with Microsoft. We want to remind the community of Novell’s commitment to, and prior actions in support of, furthering the interests of Linux and open source, and creating an environment of free and open innovation. We have a strong patent portfolio and we have leveraged that portfolio for the benefit of the open source community. Specifically, we have taken the following actions:
>
> * We have stated our commitment to use our own software patents to protect open source technologies. [more +][9]
> * We have spoken out against EU legislation that would liberalize the standards for granting software patents. [more +][10]
> * We offer indemnification to our Linux customers accused of intellectual property infringement. [more +][11]
> * We have teamed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and other industry leaders to reduce the issuance of “bad patents” in the software area. [more +][12]
> * In 2005, we co-founded Open Invention Network (“OIN”), “an intellectual property company that was formed to promote Linux by using patents to create a collaborative environment.” Novell’s substantial contributions to OIN were made to benefit not only ourselves, but also other Linux vendors, distributors and developers, and anyone else willing to commit not to assert their patents against Linux. [more +][13]

I hope the valuable people stays next to Novell helping it to satisfy customers needs while still having the community support. Don’t forget Novell is a GPL software author, contributor, distributor and packager, so the strategy always be to work upstream with the community. [Boycott anonymous cowards][15] and [people lying][14] [without references][5] or [spreading false information][16], they aren’t doing any different than Mr. Ballmer. You are welcome to disagree with Novell actions, even fight them. There is research being done in respect with GPLv2 and GPLv3 compliance, based on discussions and interaction. But please don’t join the zealot clubs which just move information from blogs to media and start all kind of rumors.

Free speech also means responsibility.

[1]: http://www.novell.com/products/desktop/fileformats.html
[2]: http://www.novell.com/linux/microsoft/faq_opensource.html
[3]: http://www.novell.com/podcast/Detailpage.jsp?id=107
[4]: http://www.novell.com/news/press/item.jsp?id=1196
[5]: http://boycott-suse.blogspot.com/2006/11/novell-will-fork-any-open-source-app…
[6]: http://boycottnovell.com
[7]: http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS7543606709.html
[8]: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/09/05/chair_chucking/
[9]: http://www.novell.com/company/policies/patent/
[10]: http://www.novell.com/company/policies/patent/european.html
[11]: http://www.novell.com/licensing/indemnity/
[12]: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1911979,00.asp
[13]: http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/
[14]: http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2005-11-04-018-26-OP-SS-NV
[15]: http://boycott-suse.blogspot.com
[16]: http://linux.slashdot.org/linux/06/11/18/1838229.shtml


4 Comments

irc log comments, chile, zypp applet, podcasting german, internet fud

The irc log I posted last week was my most commented post ever!. Credits go to Will to save that log for so many years.

[Corruption Perceptions Index 2006][1] shows Chile in number 20 in world’s most transparent countries. In 2005 the country was 21th. Far ahead of its neighbours. This year we are again ahead of countries like spain, and this year we surpassed USA in the ranking.

This weekend I got another visit from Chile, the third actually (not counting my family). Pablo was here the while weekend and he liked Nürnberg a lot.

Media_httpstaticflick_chqtj

My brother back from hiking in Kalymnos, [nice pictures][2].

[Best podcast ever][3]. My hopes to learn german are back!.

10.2 is near. zypp look much much better. YaST faster. User gets feedback. KDE got a updater applet (Google SOC project, now enhanced). I am still wrestling with KIO http-over-unix sockets, to make auth-less communication with ZENWorks daemon to work. The direct system backend works fine.

You can see the lot of press and blogging the deal with Microsoft generated. Just more of the same. This time the FUD is less original.

I don’t like the childish attitude of the community when such announcements happen. It is ok to dislike business moves, and say it, but the speculation goes to a zealot point where news start to be invented and spreaded in a totally irresponsible way. You see a blog “probably the deals is not compatible with the GPL”, and then you see a blog citing that blog saying “Novell violates the GPL so boycott”, each link to one blog to another gets worse.

I am not sure if I like the deal or not. It is to early to see what will it bring. But I do think people has to be careful when spreading fud. Living in countries with free speech sadly you often see people not being responsible from what they say. Last year, when Novell did lot of coporate changes, I was shocked to read in the news “Novell discontinue their entire SUSE Linux branded desktop and workstation product line”. (complete false information). Ok, if now, one year later, you see OpenSUSE, and NLD announced as SLED, still there, more popular, better, and SLED even got the SUSE brand. Will you see a post back from those people. No, you won’t. You will find them trolling with new material and FUD.

[1]: http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2006
[2]: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mmacvicar/sets/72157594361576442/
[3]: http://rss.dw-world.de/xml/podcast_langsam_gesprochene_nachrichten

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