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08.13.12

Mono and Xamarin After Cash Infusion From Former Microsoft Executives

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mono headphones

Summary: A quick news update about Mono, Xamarin, and Microsoft

THE Microsoft-serving Mono project was observed as supported by Asahi the other day. The PR says: “To further help clients know more about Mono, Asahi Technologies provides a free consultation service for firms to have a better idea on their Mono development options” (why not Java?).

“These people sure infiltrate the opposition.”One of the Mono intrusion vectors, Banshee, turns out to be quite inactive. This new interview reveals nothing promising and after Novell’s collapse Banshee was removed from Ubuntu. This did not mean the end of Mono however. The project continues to exist with more Microsoft connections than before and Xamarin is now hiring for the company, either because they got some funding from former Microsoft executives or because they lost yet more employees.

Speaking of Microsoft proxies, we see that there is more FOSS FUD from other former Microsoft staff. These people sure infiltrate the opposition.

“The patent danger to Mono comes from patents we know Microsoft has, on libraries which are outside the C# spec and thus not covered by any promise not to sue. In effect, Microsoft has designed in boobytraps for us.

“Indeed, every large program implements lots of ideas that are patented. Indeed, there’s no way to avoid this danger. But that’s no reason to put our head inside Microsoft’s jaws.”

Richard Stallman

Vista 8 is Trying to Compete With Android

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Vista 8 at 11:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An artificially limited environment such as Android is being imposed on users of the next version of Windows

“Microsoft kills Windows 8,” say the likes of Pogson and ourselves. With more and more antifeatures it becomes abundantly clear that OEMs will look at non-Windows options. Microsoft makes matters worse as the “final build of Windows 8 has already leaked to torrent sites, which is giving the propellerheads a chance to dig through the code. One revelation will probably not sit well with enterprise customers: you can’t bypass the don’t-call-it-Metro UI.

“Normally, you have to boot Windows 8 and when the tiled desktop UI (formerly known as Metro) came up, you had to click on one of the boxes to launch Explorer. Prior builds of Windows 8 allowed the user to create a shortcut so you bypass Metro and go straight to the Explorer desktop.”

“This is why Microsoft is trying so aggressively to tax Android with patents.”Well, Vista 8 repeats the mistakes of Vista and now that Android may come to the desktop Microsoft might get no second chances. “There are millions and millions of people using Android on their smartphones,” writes one blogger, “and even some that are using it on tablets. What would happen if there was a version of Android released for the desktop?”

As one who uses the almost latest Android (4.0, not 4.1) on a tablet every day, I sure see why Microsoft should worry. Android is “better Metro than Metro” — so to speak — and it’s free. This is why Microsoft is trying so aggressively to tax Android with patents.

Microsoft Uses Cameras, Not Just Voice, to Spy on People

Posted in Microsoft at 11:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Camera

Summary: From eavesdropping by silent reports sent by Windows to audio conversations and CCTV

THE spyware which is Skype has been getting a lot of negative publicity in recent weeks. It is now confirmed that Skype helps spying on users on behalf of those in power. To make matters worse for Microsoft, it now turns out that Microsoft also helps surveillance of citizens using cameras. To quote: “The Microsoft-powered police surveillance system being installed in New York City is an impressive bit of innovation: It connects a wide variety of technology already in use by the New York Police Department in a way that gives police a powerful new tool in preventing and solving crime.

“Microsoft hired people for a sort of PR campaign that portrays Microsoft as privacy-respecting, but it’s all just part of a shameful lie.”“The system, dubbed the Domain Awareness System (DAS), sounds like science fiction: Part Minority Report, part 1984. It connects thousands of security cameras in the city owned by the NYPD and private businesses, collecting and archiving up to 30 days worth of their archival footage at a time.

“Meaning: If there’s a crime committed, police can use the system to see the crime but also backtrack, easily following the movement of people involved in an incident before it even occurred. It can do the same for vehicles, which can also be tracked by law enforcement’s smart license plate readers.”

The timing could not be much worse. Wikileaks has just shown leaked proof of CIA-connected surveillance state companies; this is a private/privatised industry. Microsoft’s new mate, Amdocs, is part of this industry (intercepting phone calls and storing some]).

Microsoft hired people for a sort of PR campaign that portrays Microsoft as privacy-respecting, but it’s all just part of a shameful lie. Techrights has many examples where Microsoft was caught violating people’s privacy in very gross ways. The same thing happens in Russia or India and often it’s done in collaboration with inane, scared (one might say “paranoid”) governments.

Bill Gates is Openly Promoting Patent Trolls Which Attack Linux

Posted in Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Patents at 5:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Microsoft cabal is attacking science and technology behind the scenes

Fancy building

Summary: Convicted monopoly abuser Bill Gates is seen as publicly collaborating with the world’s biggest patent troll, which uses 1276 shell companies to sue by proxy

THE INSIDIOUS acts of Bill Gates, hiding behind his tax-exempt shell known as the Gates Foundation, have been covered here for years. The same goes for the world’s biggest patent troll, which is run by Gates’ good (and probably most major) friend. The strong connection between those two was shown here many times before; they have financial and strategic collaborations and they are even lobbying together (e.g. to keep patent trolling legal). It’s a massive parasitical cabal with a huge budget (advertising budgets pooled together). It is now painting trolling as “saving lives”. Gates sure knows how to openwash activity that kills people as “saving people”. Mr. Gates is using AIDS and malaria to fight Linux, labelling that fight or at least painting it as a “good cause”.

“Mr. Gates is using AIDS and malaria to fight Linux, labelling that fight or at least painting it as a “good cause”.”Well, the Microsoft booster, who has been whitewashing Gates and Myhrvold for several years by now, helps shows how he works for the Gates agenda by continuing to do some PR while the cabal does the crime. To quote: “Scientists and researchers working with Intellectual Ventures have come up with lots of wild ideas over the years. Some of them have the potential to help the world, ranging from a laser to zap mosquitoes to a container for preserving vaccines for long periods of time.

“And now Nathan Myhrvold, the former Microsoft chief technology officer who founded “Intellectual Ventures, wants to see those ideas rolled out and made available to the developing world.

“That’s the story behind Intellectual Ventures’ decision to seek a new vice president to lead its “Global Good” initiative. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Asset Trust, the project’s goal is to “solve challenging problems facing the developing world by using first world invention, product development, and business development techniques,” according to the job posting.”

“We must not lose sight of this because Microsoft does, provably, works a lot by proxy.”What a lousy ‘report’. If it were not for PR, people like Nathan and Bill would be in jail by now. They did in fact commit crimes, shows court evidence. They paid to settle cases where evidence had been produced. Here is a better report (titled “Malaria is no excuse for patent trolling, Mr. Myhrvold”). The FSFE’s head cites this new article about Intellectual Ventures and writes: “Intellectual Ventures runs 1276 shell companies, loans patents to tough guys for attacks – racket, or what?” Another somewhat better report was cited by Slashdot, but Slashdot also mistakenly cited the Microsoft booster. Microsoft is openwashing itself with bogus articles/placements while attacking open source with lawyers, extortion, etc. The ‘Microsoft press’ is openwashing proprietary software such as Hyper-V, aided by boosters from Microsoft-funded publications (Oracle does that too to a degree). This is similar to the ‘healthwashing’ that we see used as a justification for suing FOSS and becoming patent trolls. It’s like “spread democracy” for brutal wars. Last year Microsoft booster Matt Rosoff tried to turn “Bill Gates” into a compliment or use reflection to compare Google’s business to Microsoft’s abuses. Whatever it is, there is clearly a battle here between the racket of Microsoft and its founders (including Paul Allen) and what we have come to know as computing freedom. Politicians are being bought by Microsoft tycoons, so a solution won’t be easy to attain.

Gates and his friends have been openly hostile towards Linux and given a chance they may be trying to sue Linux some more; they already do so by proxy (e.g. Gates funding IV, which passes patents to a smaller troll that sues over Android code). We must not lose sight of this because Microsoft does, provably, works a lot by proxy.

In other news, the Linux defence pool has just added the graphics powerhouse of Linux. To quote: “Open Invention Network is the well known organization that acquires patents and bands companies together where they agree to not assert their own patents against Linux and other Linux/open-source projects. OIN is backed by companies like Red Hat, IBM, Sony, Novell, etc. Open Invention Network seeks to protect projects like the Linux kernel, Firefox, GIMP, MySQL, GIMP, Apache, and many others. X.Org Foundation has now joined the OIN ranks.”

Judge Koh Bamboozled by Apple to Block Computing Freedom, Should Penalise Apple for Contempt of the Court

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 4:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Courthouse

Summary: Apple benefits from ignorance of judges, to whom Apple’s fabricated evidence seems compelling

JUDGE Koh is the latest thing for Apple to latch onto. As Pamela Jones put it, politely, “I think the judge may have been mistaken about what has to be on that phone’s home page, or she just has negative ideas about Samsung. Or maybe everyone is feeling too much stress. I have three photographs to show you from doing a simple search on the Web, three of that very phone with no Google Search box and one with it. Apparently it varies. Nobody is doctoring anything. It’s just a lack of tech fu in this picture.”

What Apple is trying to do is essentially embargo Android/Linux, whereas Microsoft signs extortion deals like this latest one by threatening litigation.

The Microsoft booster, just like sneaky lobbyist, bolsters Apple’s case against Android because they both just cannot stand Linux/Android (Apple loses its grip). Apple and Microsoft are in the same camp when it comes to patents as this new article about Kodak shows. To quote: “In the auction, Apple has teamed up with Microsoft Corp. and patent aggregation firm Intellectual Ventures Management LLC” (“‘patent aggregation’ is a new euphemism for trolling,” iophk notes). We’ll write about Intellectual Ventures in the next post. Bill Gates is involved in this too.

“Apple and Microsoft are in the same camp when it comes to patents…”Speaking of the lobbyist, here is what Google’s Bray had to say about him: “There’s this blog called FOSS PATENTS written by a Florian Mueller, and when a software-patent-related issue heats up, reporters often seek out his comments for their stories. I’m not sure this is a good idea, and I’d like to offer some evidence; articles he wrote on a currently-hot story back in October 2010 and November 2010. This is a small but representative sample of his (many) offerings on the subject.

“I’m not mad at Florian, who has every right to publish his opinions. I am a little irritated with the media for passing on those opinions so uncritically, and think the time for that has passed.”

Apple presents fake evidence, whereas Microsoft presents none. As this report helps remind us, Apple is still manipulating and tampering with evidence. To quote: “Is Apple too fond of Photoshop? The company was accused of manipulating Galaxy Tab images in its German trial, and now once again the same issue has popped up in its legal battle with Samsung in the US.

“”Samsung accused Apple of tampering with the icon layout of one of its phones to look more like the iPhone,” reports The Verge. Apple presented an image of Epic Touch 4G which shows the icon layout to be similar to that of the iPhone. Samsung objected that the image doesn’t represent the ‘out-of-the-box’ state of the phone. The company presented it’s own photo of the phone which clearly demonstrated a completely different layout.

“The Judge Koh did not like that objection and instead asked the legitimation of Samsung’s image. She raised questions like: “Why does your homescreen not show the Google search box when you’re telling me the phone has the Google search box.” She also pointed that while Samsung said the image was taken yesterday the screenshot shows a different date. She then overruled Samsung’s objection.”

“Apple presents fake evidence, whereas Microsoft presents none.”So Koh should really just penalise Apple for contempt of the courtroom. Apple likes to pretend to be the victim, but Apple is simply the aggressor. Based on some reports, with more ridiculous patents (and perhaps Kodak’s in the pipeline), Apple also wants an Android tax. As Jan Wildeboer explains, Apple wants to use the courts to tax and profit from Android. To quote: “So we know that Microsoft wants a $12-15 patent tax on Android devices and now we learn that Apple would like to have $30 per phone and $40 per tablet for some of its patents. Thus even the cheapest smartphone must make enough revenue to pay the $45 for the MSFT and Apple patents. This is ridiculous. And at the same time Apple and Microsoft do the sweet talk on FRAND licensing? Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory? Do they ever look in the mirror? Must stay calm. Want to smash some stuff. Very angry I am. ;-)”

SUSE to Help Microsoft With UEFI Agenda

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE at 3:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Agenda

Summary: The Microsoft-funded SUSE will reportedly work with Microsoft to restrict the number of operating systems (or distributions) which can run on future hardware

BASED on some reports like this one, “Olaf Kirch of SUSE writes on the blog, “At the implementation layer, we intend to use the shim loader originally developed by Fedora – it’s a smart solution which avoids several nasty legal issues, and simplifies the certification/signing step considerably. This shim loader’s job is to load grub2 and verify it; this version of grub2 in turn will load kernels signed by a SUSE key only. We are currently considering to provide this functionality with SLE11 SP3 on fresh installations with UEFI Secure Boot present.””

“We are currently considering to provide this functionality with SLE11 SP3 on fresh installations with UEFI Secure Boot present.”
      –Olaf Kirch
We criticised Red Hat for what it did [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] about UEFI and now we shall criticise the Microsoft-funded SUSE as well. They just never learn, do they? Pamela Jones helps remind us of what Microsoft does to so-called ‘partners’. To quote: “Novell has followed through, as it said it would, and has filed a notice of appeal in its litigation against Microsoft over antitrust issues from WordPerfect.”

Why does Novell run back into the same cave that had it devoured in the past? And why did SUSE not stand up to Microsoft? Or even opted for the Canonical approach (which is the lesser of the two evils)? SUSE does not even like Unity all that much. It seems not to follow Canonical’s footsteps. SUSE’s business model is to use Microsoft to take away from Red Hat while passing Microsoft a share of its gains.

As reports flood the Web with support from SUSE folks Red Hat will surely use SUSE’s choice to defend its own bad policy. Matthew Garrett, for example, writes: “There’s a post here describing SUSE’s approach to implementing Secure Boot support. In summary, it’s pretty similar to the approach we’re taking in Fedora – a first stage shim loader is signed with a key in db, it loads a second stage bootloader (grub 2) that’s signed with a key that’s in shim, the second stage bootloader loads a signed kernel. The main difference between the approaches is the use of a separate key database in shim, whereas we are currently planning on using a built-in key and the contents of the firmware key database.”

“In summary, it’s pretty similar to the approach we’re taking in Fedora…”
      –Matthew Garrett
OpenSUSE has an anniversary, but coverage about the project is scarce. SUSE is planting some PR in Indian Web sites; that won’t change a thing. When you serve your competitor you lose credibility, especially when that competitor is a convicted monopolist. Debian has been on the good side in all this (supporting the FSF’s petition), but some minutes ago we learned that “GNU/Linux” is being removed from release names (scroll down to the list).

“What we [Novell and Microsoft] agreed, which is true, is we’ll continue to try to grow Windows share at the expense of Linux. That’s kind of our job. But to the degree that people are going to deploy Linux, we want Suse Linux to have the highest percent share of that, because only a customer who has Suse Linux actually has paid properly for the use of intellectual property from Microsoft. And we took a quota, you could say, to help them sell so much Suse Linux. That’s part of the deal. We are willing to do the same deal with Red Hat and other Linux distributors, it’s not an exclusive thing. But after a few years of working on this problem, Novell actually saw the business opportunity, because there’s so many customers who say, ‘Hey look, we don’t want problems. We don’t want any intellectual property problem or anything else. There’s just a variety of workloads where we, today, feel like we want to run Linux. Please help us Microsoft and please work with the distributors to solve this problem, don’t come try to license this individually.’ So customer push drove us to where we got.”

Steve Ballmer

SCO Said to be Dead (Liquidation Bankruptcy)

Posted in SCO at 2:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zombie

Summary: Reports on the end of SCO

THE history of SCO has been that of a dying company since Techrights started coverage on the subject. SCO taught us about Microsoft’s fights against Linux by proxy, among other things (more on that later today).

SJVN claims that SCO is really dead now. As he puts it in his blog: “SCO has ceased to be. It has expired and gone to meet its maker. It’s joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-company. With apologies to Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch, SCO, the company behind a series of foolish anti-Linux lawsuits, is finally really and truly dead.

“SCO, which has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy since the fall of 2007, has now gone into Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The difference is that in chapter 11 there is some plan, albeit not very rational in SCO’s case, that the company can eventually return to normal business. In Chapter 7, all that’s left is to close and padlock the doors and then sell the furniture.”

Sean also suspects that this is the very end of SCO. He writes: “Two years ago, I wrote that SCO was (mostly) dead. Back in 2010, Novell won the critical ruling against SCO (once famously referred to as the ‘Smoking Crack Organization’ by Linus Torvalds), asserting the Novell and not SCO own the trademarks to Unix.

“At the time Groklaw declared: Stewart Rules: Novell Wins! CASE CLOSED!

“Fast forward two years, SCO is still kinda/sorta around, but not for much longer. Groklaw (love PJ!) has reported that SCO has now filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is essentially a liquidation bankruptcy as opposed to Chapter 11 which is a reorganization effort.”

Brian Proffitt speaks as though SCO is already just history and recalls what it all meant for the present. “Looking back,” he writes, “it was one hell of a gamble by SCO. As a strategy, it was admittedly not a bad idea (in a soulless corporate sort of way): claim copyright infringement of their Unix code within Linux and start setting up licensing agreements with anyone and everyone running Linux on their servers.”

Wired says that SCO “filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a step beyond the more common Chapter 11 bankruptcy status. It’s not the end of the road for the much-hated company, but it’s close.

Christine Hall says that “SCO Never Can Say Goodbye” and to quote part of her analysis: “I’d almost forgotten that SCO was still around until PJ at Groklaw reported the company was in the process of switching from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7. In bankruptcy talk that means the company’s stance has changed from we’re-going-to-come-out-of-this-alive to it’s-call-the-priest-for-last-rites-time. The trouble is, this is SCO, so you know it’s not going to be that simple. They’ll come up with some stupid request for the court that confounds logic, which they’ve done.”

Groklaw remains the source by which most bloggers seem to be evaluating SCO’s case. Hopefully, just hopefully, SCO can be left behind already. Attacks on Linux now take a different form that mostly relies on patents.

“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens

TechBytes Episode 75: On TechBytes, Techrights, and Site News

Posted in TechBytes at 1:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Techbytes 2012

Direct download as Ogg (00:26:03, 10.5 MB)

Summary: The 75th episode of this nearly two year old show

This short episode speaks about the “Ogg only” policy we’ve adopted after suggestions from Richard Stallman (MP3 is a patent problem). I explain that Techrights came into existence/need because of the first software patents deal against GNU/Linux, namely the Microsoft-Novell deal of 2006 (5 years later Microsoft reaffirmed this relationship with SUSE) Ever since, Techrights has been collecting daily links and it regularly remarks on some. Any links needing extensive commentary on them (usually countering disinformation or responding to baseless attacks on Free software) turn into articles which are then researched on. As I explain in this recording, several blogs and even some domain names (with active sites) have been dedicated to just attacking Techrights, the messengers in particular. The reality is, behind the scenes there are transparent discussions with various well-regarded individuals, who, although they may not be publicly associating with the site and stand behind all of its messages, have been actively reading it and sharing links to it for years. Some translated articles and corresponding (manually produced) hard copies that were handed out to readers helped raise the issues and some made banners with the graphics for public protest, at times leaflets too, to raise awareness with.

When it comes to TechBytes, Tim is expected to be back soon. We were surprised by the quickly-gained popularity of thus audio show, which some people say they listen to in the car, at work, etc. We always recorded without scripting and always in one single take, essentially unedited. This one recording is no exception. At the end I added the track “You Do Run” by Cocktail Slippers.

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

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