Microsoft UK people, now working for the BBC, suspended after serious issues
Summary: What became of the chief ‘technical’ officer at the BBC (prioritising his previous employer over taxpayers’ needs) and what can be deduced from it
“Another example of suicide by Microsoft” is what the reader who showed us this news called it. With taxpayers’ money and a lot of senior staff from Microsoft UK the BBC has recently been taking a massive hit to its reputation. “Two ex-Mcrosofties join the BBC and both manage to run the DMI project into the ground and spend £98.4m in the process, with nothing to show for it,” says one report. Who didn’t see that coming?
“TO John Linwood, who was the project sponsor and was formerly of Microsoft and Yahoo, has been suspended…”
–IBTImesOne report says that “CTO John Linwood, who was the project sponsor and was formerly of Microsoft and Yahoo, has been suspended from his £280,000-a-year job on full pay and temporarily replaced by technology controler Peter Coles.”
Ashley Highfield is quoted in relation to this news as saying on the 11th of February, 2008, the following nonsense. We have already warned readers that Highfield [1, 2, 3, 4] and Huggers [1, 2] (both from Microsoft UK) went on to infect another company Microsoft would be eager to infect. █
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In Microsoft’s lobbying blog, Microsoft’s patent terrorist, Horacio Gutierrez, pretends that revealing identities sometimes makes extortion and racketeering any more acceptable. It is not hilarious because criminal activities are nothing to joke about.
“If it’s a patent, call it that. If it’s copyright, call it that.”
–iophkMicrosoft has attacked many Linux distributors, if not using litigation then using threats of costly litigation. This was always done behind closed doors, like most criminal activities, impeding investigation and subsequent arrests. What Google got when it bought a part of Motorola was deterrence from Motorola/Google against Microsoft racketeering — an extortion tactic which used the loophole of secrecy and bribes [1, 2, 3]. This has not been successful so far.
It is funny that amid these Microsoft crimes (RICO Act violations, going by the definition of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) the media is trying to paint Google as the bad player because it obeys and upholds copyright law or sticks to its terms of service.
Here is one report which makes Google sound like a bully. “Like Microsoft doesn’t know this isn’t conformant with what Google told them,” Pamela Jones remarked. The truth is, this is a collaborative effort to obey copyright law. Watch this ugly piece which iophk says is “spinning license violations as a pissing contest”
“When I read “IPR”, I still think “bullshitter”. If it’s a patent, call it that. If it’s copyright, call it that. Don’t bullshit.” █
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“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.”
Summary: SCO’s proxy battle is not over and more stories emerge which serve as reminders of proxy wars
According to SCO specialist/expert Groklaw, IBM has responded to this continued effort by SCO to revive litigation more than ten years after it started. It is being summarised as follows:”IBM has filed its response [PDF] to SCO’s motion asking for reconsideration of the Court’s order denying SCO’s motion to reopen the SCO v. IBM case. I have it as text for you.
“Is SCO selling a lie again?”“IBM tells Judge David Nuffer that it doesn’t oppose reopening the case at all — in fact it says it should happen. IBM has an proposed outline on how to proceed thereafter. Its plan differs from SCO’s.”
The Microsoft booster, in the mean time, took McBride’s claims at face value and wrote: “Darl McBride, the former chief executive officer of SCO, says he was offered $2 million by the Utah attorney general in May 2009 in exchange for taking down a website criticizing an area business person. Still pursuing the years-long legal battle against Novell and IBM over Unix and Linux intellectual property, SCO needed money at the time.”
“Microsoft mostly had the press on its side when it engaged in rackteering, spinning that as ‘licensing’, so the press was complicit.”Pamela Jones wrote in her site that “So many people sent me this url, I am posting the story. Otherwise I wasn’t going to. I don’t personally believe for a moment that this is the entire story. Darl has always been good at getting the media to print what *he* says is the story, invariably that he’s been wronged, but in time we get the rest of the story. For example, while he claimed for years that SCO owned the copyrights to Unix, it turned out to be untrue. So all the “wrongs” done were done to the media and court victims of SCO. So the real question is, why is he wanting the media to tell his side of the story now, after all this time? I note the article links to the Salt Lake Tribune, which says the FBI is investigating. That’s why I was going to wait until we have more information about all sides of the story before reaching any conclusions or even linking to the Darl McBride PR.”
And later, in the middle of the weekend, she added: “Here’s a question: on what basis would Darl McBride ask for $2 million to shut down a web site that the target alleged was defamatory? Or any web site? Allegedly the target owed $200,000 or so, although he denied it, so where does the $2 million figure come in? Why would he even agree to such a deal, if he did?”
“How likely is it that trolls like these wage war at the behest of someone else.”Is SCO selling a lie again? And if so, how about fact-checking? Are mere allegations guarantee of news coverage? Maybe it depends on who’s doing it. Microsoft mostly had the press on its side when it engaged in rackteering, spinning that as ‘licensing’, so the press was complicit.
It is worth mentioning that the company dismantled by Singer’s Mafia (Elliott Associates, the vulture fund) shows its effect in weaponising patents, having just seen patents (and copyright also) on load balancers being used for extortion. One report says: “Of 33 prospective jurors that were considered, five of them had patents of their own. (This trial was in the same court where a patent-owning jury foreman was likely instrumental to Apple’s blockbuster patent win over Samsung last summer.) No word yet on whether any terms of the settlement will be made public.”
This comes amid intervention by the same thugs who gave Novell’s patents to Apple and Microsoft (CPTN). Motorola came under fire from another vulture fund, Mr. Icahn, before it nearly gave its patents to Microsoft and Apple (Google needed to grossly overpay to outbid this duopoly of patent aggressors).
“Remember which company is scanning a lot of literature (it’s not Microsoft, which dropped these endeavours).”Here is an update from a case of patent trolls fighting Google/Motorola and another naming of patent trolls by the FRAND Blog that showed Apple and Microsoft ganging up against Android using FRAND/patent pools, whose purpose is to raise the cost of Android. The blog says: “Today brought the publication of what looks like is the first lawsuit of its kind — a complaint brought by a state attorney general (here, Vermont’s) against a non-practicing entity, alleging that the NPE’s patent assertion activities constitute unfair and deceptive trade practices under Vermont state law. (The suit was actually filed May 8, but it became publicly available today when the defendant was served.) The complaint was filed against MPHJ Technology Investments LLC, a company that has been characterized by some as the “scanner troll” — because it has sent demand letters to thousands of businesses that use scan-to-email technology.”
How likely is it that trolls like these wage war at the behest of someone else. Remember which company is scanning a lot of literature (it’s not Microsoft, which dropped these endeavours). █
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Summary: Short synopsis of a long discussion with the UEFI Forum regarding ‘secure’ boot
We don’t always speak to figures of authority in pursuit of reform, but when we do, it is rather productive (pardon the meme). OIN is a good example of this. Last year, UEFI criticism began as a ‘feature’ of UEFI, namely ‘secure’ boot, was put to use by Microsoft, which basically misused it for anticompetitive reasons, making it hard to boot GNU/Linux.
“Security was not the main outcome of UEFI ‘secure’ boot being put in place.”The UEFI Forum got in touch with yours truly, setting up an interview for exchange of thoughts and ideas. It was productive because a consensus we reached was that ‘secure’ or Restricted Boot in UEFI has no purpose (or little purpose) other than to serve or facilitate business models of corporations, at the expense of customers. It is akin to DRM and TiVoization and it is hard to defend the inclusion of this antifeature, for reasons we covered here before . It was a one-hour conversation mostly with the president of the UEFI Forum, who is a technical and humble man. I politely made suggestions for UEFI, focusing on freedom aspects, and there was no lack of subjects to discuss (including patents). After an hour had lapsed we decided to call it a day (it was Friday night and I was already late to meet some friends at a local pub), but the mutual sentiment can be described as amicable. I accepted the invitation hoping it would lead to progress, not friction. The phone conference focused on questions pertaining to UEFI, with clear focus on the negative aspects, i.e. areas of improvement. In it were UEFI spokespersons Mark Doran, UEFI President, and Michael Krau, UEFI Forum’s Industry Communications Working Group (ICWG) Chair. A lady called Christine was there also, but she did not participate in the technical discussion; she had helped set it all up.
To summarise some of the key points, it was agreed that ‘secure’ boot only gives UEFI Forum a lot of negative publicity. Other issued were raised, but none else got the same amount of coverage, I had not prepared notes, mostly because the goal was to focus on freedom and not to deviate from that. UEFI Forum’s President was understanding. He said I was asking the right questions and did acknowledge that some of my concerns were legitimate (the conversation was recorded with consent from them, but it is not for publication).
Security was not the main outcome of UEFI ‘secure’ boot being put in place. They agreed to some degree. That’s why it was productive as a lengthy debate.
Towards the end, emanating from the conversation were the following tips and links, prepared and sent by Christine, who had also been on the conference call. She wrote:
> Thank you for taking the time to speak with us to address your questions
> regarding the UEFI Forum. If you have any additional questions or need
> information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
> For your reference, I’m including a link to an abstract of the
> referenced today by Mark Doran, President of the UEFI Forum, and
> delivered by Matthew Garrett at the Linux Tag conference in Berlin. The
> title of Garrett’s presentation is “Making UEFI Secure Boot Work for Linux.”
> During the call, Mark also suggested that you might want to view the
> repository of information pertaining to UEFI at Tianocore.org
> a community site surrounding the open source components of Intel’s
> implementation of UEFI.
> And following are links to the three Intel YouTube videos Mark
> referenced about UEFI Secure Boot configuration:
> · Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAnlhkbMang – Enabling
> & Disabling UEFI Secure Boot. Instructions for setting up a system with
> UEFI Secure Boot to dual-boot between Microsoft* Windows* 8 & Ubuntu*
> · Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwlbf1VRJ60 -UEFI
> dual-boot setup with Microsoft* Windows* 8. Instructions for setting up
> a system with UEFI Secure Boot to dual-boot between Microsoft Windows 8
> & Ubuntu 12.10.
> · Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAnlhkbMang – UEFI
> dual-boot setup with Linux* (Ubuntu* 12.10). Instructions for setting up
> a system with UEFI Secure Boot to dual-boot between Microsoft* Windows*
> 8 & Ubuntu* 12.10.
> Again, thank you for your time, and please let me know if I can provide
> you with additional information.
To go along with ‘secure’ boot is to help endorse what sure has become a threat to booting freedom, not just to choice. The conference did not alter my mind in any way on this topic. The key point, as was made abundantly clear to them, is that ‘secure’ boot does a major disservice to UEFI by giving it bad reputation — an inevitability when a convicted monopolist like Microsoft perturbs UEFI for non-technical reasons. █
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IRC Proceedings: May 19th, 2013
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