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English Digest
About us: Webplanet.ru is the leading Russian online daily on Internet business, life and development. You can use our RSS-feed. For contact: info [doggie] webplanet.ru
translator | 12.02.2008 19:59

The visit of the Free Software Foundation leader Richard Stallman to Russia in March 2008 could be canceled because of the problems with too-late visa application. A part of the trouble appeared to be Stallman's rejection to get help from Victor Alksnis, the State Duma member and the only Russian politician who helps Free Software and Open Source movements in Russia.

Alksnis promoted Stallman's upcoming visit thru his blog posts, and said he could help with "administrative issues" as well. However, the moderator of linux.org.ru Sergey Udaltsov (who lives in Ireland not Russia) wrote a letter to Stallman saying Alksnis is a bad guy for Free Software, because of "his fight against the independence of the Baltic countries" in late 80s. Udaltsov also says Alksnis wants to use GNU/Linux for his own political goals including the creation of Russian "National OS" (independent from Microsoft). After this letter, Richard Stallman said he didn't want Alksnis to organize his visit to Russia. Perhaps, Stallman won't come at all.

We at Webplanet.ru think the rout of this problem in not politics but the "language barrier" we already described. Western folks don't know much about Russian IT situation 'cos they don't read Russian. The only information channel for them is "former Russians" who live abroad and speak English - like Irelander Sergey Udaltsov who controls linux.org.ru. But these "foreign Russians" usually get pretty paranoid about their "former motherland" calling it a dictatorship daily (perhaps as an excuse for their departure). So we hope Russian linuxoids find some sane local leaders. No need to marry free software and politicians, it's true. Yet we don't see why Free Software activity in Russia should be killed by some old-fashioned Cold War rhetorics from Ireland.

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translator | 07.02.2008 19:56

Intel announced today it is giving 2500 Classmate PC to schools in Russia in terms of Intel World Ahead program. Another 500 arriving at Ukrainian schools and 300 at schools in Kazakhstan.
Last year Intel was seeking Russian government's support for another part of its global initiative, targeting school teachers. Its educational program on how to use technology in study process was presented in June 2006 at the economy forum in St.-Petersbourg. At the same time Intel's ground in Russia was attacked by AMD, which claimed its competitor doubled governmental expends on hardware ever purchased for federal needs.
With 1 mln Asus Eee PC bought for Russian schools last year by Deripaska's charity fund, Intel's Classmate PC action might be either a miserable PR effort or a give-2500-get-a-federal-order demo.

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translator | 30.01.2008 19:33

Poor imagination of Russian people often helps them to fight craziness of western civilization. When the plan to open cyrillic domain names was announced last year, it didn't make much noise in Russia. The idea is simple: people want to use Russian web-adresses, but they don't want to mix cyrillic and latin letters in it, because such a mixture would help criminals to make fake web-cites. The solution: domain names in .RU zone will be in latin only, as it was before, because RU suffix is already in Latin. And new cyrillic names will be registered with new domain suffix .RF (spelled in cyrillic only!), so the whole domain name will be in cyrillic letters. Russian critics of this plan say this is nothing but another money-making scheme for the domain registrators.

But West go nuts about it. The Guardian's article "Kremlin eyes internet control" is the wildest non-science fiction we've seen so far. First, it says "Russian Cyrillic keyboards make it difficult for Russian users to search for domain names using the roman letters" - false, all our keyboards get latin letters (though some get no cyrillics yet). Second, it says "Russian international domain names would use their own root servers" - false again. The root has not been split, said Vint Cerf; what is more important, there is no need to split roots to control the traffic, and China proved this already.

Third, cyrillic domains somehow "will put a wall between cybercriminals and their victims... makes it very difficult to track Russian cybercrime", said Guardian's no-one-knows-who experts. Sure they don't see (or don't want to tell?) the whole picture. Look: criminal RBN network moved from Russia to China, music pirate MP3Sparks.com moved to Turkey, same businesses Allofmp3.com and MuzF.ru shut down by Russian authorities. Even Google, the worldwide spy #1 and the worldwide security breach #1, is scared to open its new spy services in our country. Doesn't Russia fight cybercriminals, huh?

So the only clear message we got from The Guardian: western security experts and government agencies want more money. For this purpose, they use media to create Big Enemy Image and start Cold War 2.0. And the worst thing is: the provocation started to work on Russian side. The fake story of "isolated Internet plan" made up by one British newspaper is already picked up by Russian bloggers and press. Some Russian politicians already use it saying the idea is good, and discuss who is to be in charge for this project. Our only hope is that poorness of Russian imagination will save us again, and this crazy British dream won't come true.

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translator | 30.01.2008 19:31

Alex Patsay, one of Mac devotees in Russia, has posted an open letter to Apple in his blog. He's reasoning of Apple's 'PR fiasco' in Russia and criticizing its overpricing policy. "When the price for the gadgets is 75% higher than it’s in the US, it just looks extremely strange for the locals. Even though Russia has oil and other natural resources, the average salary here is still mere $300 per month", he writes.

Starting with opinionated speech on why Apple should be interested in 'gaining some grounds in the emerging markets', he expectedly came to implying that such unproper policy would be of much interest to the proper institutions. In particularly, he reveals, it might be of RosPotrebNadzor competence (organization similar to Attorney General Office in the US), 'the extremely powerful organization that can forbid operating on the market till the certain conditions are met'.

Patsay distributed his statement to popular online news sites and appealed to the members of Mac-users' LiveJournal community to rate his letter on Digg.com.

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translator | 29.01.2008 16:15

Russian web-design studios created less sites in 2007, mostly because of growing prices and demand from serious brands, according to TAGLINE report. It says Art.Lebedev Studio designed 45 sites, half as much as in 2006, Defa Gruppe scored 10 compared to 40, RBC Soft - 35 compared to 55 a year ago. Along with self-made inflation most studios were targeting business diversification, and the niche leaders (like Flash- or 3D-design) showed the best results in 2007.

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translator | 29.01.2008 16:13

Jan,15 Corel Corp. announced it's supplying 1 mln CorelDraw Graphics Suites for all primary and secondary schools desktops in Russia under the terms of the licensing agreement with the Russian Federal Agency of Education (RFAE). Jan,21 Adobe Systems released a press-note in which it says is will suppl the same million licenses both of Suite 3 Production Premium and Creative Suite 2.3 Premium to the same school desktops. The Adobe note emphasized that Corel "rushed to distribute its press-release" creating the "wrong idea" of the contents of software set installed on schools desktops in Russia.

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translator | 21.01.2008 22:08

On Jan, 13 'Black Energy' botnet (reportedly of Russian origin) shut down ultra-online.ru and plati.ru online stores. DDoS-attacks of this kind were actively promoted in Russian part of Internet since November, thru email spam or forums. Later in December 'Black Energy' exploited Utro.ru banner network to infect users' computers.

According to the security blogger urs-molotoff.blogspot.com, the number of such DDoS attacks started to grow on New Year's eve. As he told in interview with Webplanet.ru, attacks of this kind are ordered by competitors among online merchants, and they will continue to spread until the first case of criminal prosecution.

At the same time, Western security experts forecast the general growth of political DDoS-attacks with the spread of botnets in Russia. In fact, the previous series of DDoS-attacks on Russian web were political already, with opposition sites permanently down on the eve of parliament election. But now, after the election, it looks like commercial rivals are to use this weapon more often then politics.

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translator | 21.01.2008 21:52

Management company Finam Management has bought a 99.99% interest in Garant Service. This asset was included in the portfolio formed as part of close-ended mutual fund of risky (venture) investments Finam – Information Technologies (RTS Board: finmit). Thanks to this acquisition the mutual fund gained around 10% of UK-registered Badoo Limited that owns global social networking website Badoo.com. The transaction price equaled RUB 750 mn.

Badoo.com is a multi-lingual global networking website that offers its users the ability to communicate, create photo albums, and search for other people in the system, etc. The project was launched in November 2006 in London and it has already achieved leadership positions in Europe and some Latin American countries. The site already has over 12 mn registered users.

The purchase of a stake in this social networking portal by Finam – Information Technologies was the first step towards promoting this project on the Russian market. The Russian section of Badoo.com will launch operations in the weeks to come. Its objective is to reach leadership positions among Russia-based portals where the social networking segment has achieved the fastest growth. Based on Finam's estimates, registered users within Russian social networking websites soared 5-fold in 2007 and rapid growth is also expected to continue this year.

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translator | 21.01.2008 21:48

One of the Russian "big three" web-businesses - Yandex search company - moves to its new headquarters in the centre of Moscow. That would cost Yandex about $30 mln/year, which makes a half of its 2007 net profit. According to S. A. Ricci/King Sturge partner Vladimir Avdeev, the sum could reach 32 mln euro with 1100/meter rent. Yandex gave no comment on the financial side of the story, saying the move was caused by the growing number of the stuff.

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translator | 21.01.2008 21:45

Microsoft will launch its global retail network this year, in Russia as well, as a part of One Microsoft project. It will sell xBox consoles, web-cameras, mice, keyboards, software suites and other products of Entertainment & Devices segment.

According to Aleksey Badaev, the head of entertainment software & hardware marketing in Microsoft Russia, the company is not to design stand-alone concept stores, but to arrange point of sales in partner stores, such as local MediaMarkt network. It would be either a "shop-in-store" or simply a stand in a sales area, he specified.

The company gave no comment on how many sales-points and retailing partners of the future network are targeted. At the moment Microsoft's stands are working in Mir stores.

Last October we reported that Sistema is to expand and reconsider its TS-retail network for selling 'wide range of products from cellphones to travel tours'. For the relaunch Sistema hired the consulting team which earlier designed the concept for Apple's brand-shops in US and Europe. Sistema was reportedly negotiating with Apple's London office to distribute Apple's devices through the renewed TS-retail network.

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