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02.03.13

While Laptops Bricked Due to Microsoft’s Anti-Linux Tactics, Media Spin About Microsoft Liking Linux

Posted in Deals, Dell, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 8:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dell the next Citrix/Apple/Novell

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Summary: The UEFI damage is done and spinners try to sell the idea that Microsoft loves GNU/Linux

Dr. Garrett, a leading UEFI apologist, responds to some of the latest UEFI outrage and his opponents do so too. To quote one such opponent;

A number of Samsung laptops are dying after they are booted with a live-usb image of Ubuntu 12.04 using UEFI, according to information at the Ubuntu bug reporting site.

There are many articles about it, some from Microsoft apologists and many from the original source of this whole story, The H, which is based down in London.

Those rushing to fix it were former Novell developers (who had been paid by Microsoft through Novell to help promote Microsoft agenda in Linux) such as these two. Here is a new article on the subject:

Matthew Garrett has published some patches today out of which few break hibernate and kexec support on Linux when secure boot is running.

Released through a patch series titled Secure Boot: More controversial changes, the patches are known to break hibernate and kexec functionality “without providing any functional equivalent”. Garrett notes further “…, so I’m not suggesting that they be merged as-is.”

Here is another article:

Samsung laptops will no longer be irreparably destroyed when their users try to boot Linux on them, kernel chieftain Linus Torvalds made certain today.

Coincidentally, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols complains about UEFI more than he did before.

Some Samsung laptops with UEFI will brick when you try to install Linux on them, others have problems, and the Linux Foundation is continuing to try to bring its fix for Windows 8 UEFI Secure Boot out.

Sam Varghese says that UEFI causes civil wars, which of course help Microsoft. He writes:

Could Microsoft’s implementation of secure boot be, one day, the reason why Linux vendors get into strife with each other? Could Oracle one day go to Microsoft in order to get a key issued to Red Hat by Microsoft revoked?

Kernel developer Matthew Garrett raised this possibility last year, within the context of a discussion that focused on the additional measures that have to be implemented for Linux systems to satisfy all the requirements of secure boot, so that there is no door left open for Microsoft to revoke the key issued to any Linux distribution.

Lance Whitney, a Microsoft booster, floats rumours that Microsoft might ‘pull an Apple’ (Microsoft added Apple to the cartel in the 90s) on another OEM. First it was Apple and now it’s Dell, which preinstalls GNU/Linux on some machines. Here is a response to some media spin:

Now we hear that Microsoft wants to lend a hand, as in “several billion dollars”. The forums buzz again: It’s just like when Bill Gates came to Jobs’ rescue and invested $150M in the Cupertino company, thus avoiding a liquidity crisis.

The analogy is amusing but facile. Dell 2013 isn’t Apple 1997. A look at Dell’s latest financials shows that the company still enjoys a solid cash position ($14B) and a profitable business (3.5% net profit margin). It’s profits may not be growing (-11% year to year), but the company is cash-flow positive nonetheless ($1.3B from the latest quarter). There’s no reason to fold up the tents.

As for Microsoft’s involvement: The Redmond company’s “investment” in Apple was part of a settlement of an on-going IP dispute. Microsoft avoided accusations of monopoly by keeping alive a highly visible but not overly dangerous adversary.

So what is Dell trying to accomplish by going private? To answer the question, let’s step back a bit and explore the whys and hows of such a move.

Novell was a similar story. Microsoft and Apple got Novell’s patents when it went private or sold. Don’t expect Dell to support GNU/Linux any more than Facebook does whilst partly owned by Microsoft.

What’s really disturbing is that amidst all these anti-Linux moves there is spin from Microsoft boosters like this one about Microsoft using Git. At IDG there is this report and a response from Simon Phipps, the OSI President, who writes:

By implementing Git in its developer tools, Microsoft is using GPL-licensed software — and perhaps ending its war on open source

This is not true, Just like Xamarin with Mono, Moonlight, and MonoDevelop, all we see here is the openwashing of Visual Studio. Don’t try to associate this with Linux because the program does not even run on Linux and don’t call it Linux-style because it’s all about Windows.

Microsoft continues to hate Linux, and by extension FOSS too. The actions speak for themselves.

“We should whack them [Dell over GNU/Linux dealings], we should make sure they understand our value.”

Paul Flessner, Microsoft

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