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07.11.13

Free Software a Primary Litigation Target

Posted in Patents at 9:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Sometimes attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi

Summary: Bits from the news about Android, GNU, and Linux, which are under attack from proprietary software giants that use copyright, patent, and antitrust lawsuits

Patent and copyright fights are the last resort against Linux, which is now the most dominant platform (kernel) in the world, often accompanied by GNU. SCOracle tries to claim copyrights over Android, but it has not worked out so far, even after 3 years of litigation.

The SCO case is not totally over (after over a decade in court) and SCO is not dead yet. Mysterious funds keep reviving litigation. IBM is still wrestling with SCO and “IBM is right,” says Pamela Jones, “that almost all of the claims in SCO’s complaint are dead as a door nail now, because of Novell’s victory over SCO regarding the ownership of copyrights, SCO concedes.” Novell is pretty much a dead company now; its patents got passed to Oracle, Microsoft, and Apple (CPTN).

“The IBM-backed OIN has not helped fight Apple, e.g. in the Samsung case, showing its futility in a way.”In the mean time we learn that software patents are brought forth as defence of Linux, expanding a shield as follows: “Open Invention Network (OIN) has furthered its mission to enable and protect Linux by expanding the Linux System technologies covered by its protective network of royalty-free cross-licenses and by its defensive patent portfolio to include nearly three hundred new Linux software packages. These additions contain a number of packages from notable technologies and projects such as Python (e.g., Django, PyPy, and Twisted), MongoDB, OpenStack, Ruby, and webOS. This new coverage builds upon the two…” (full press release)

The IBM-backed OIN has not helped fight Apple, e.g. in the Samsung case, showing its futility in a way. Samsung was left to fight Apple on its own, challenging the legitimacy of some patents:

Samsung has just filed a motion for a new trial on liability in Apple v. Samsung with respect to Apple’s ’381 patent. That’s the bounce back patent, which was used by Apple in the first trial in California, and the jury ruled that Samsung infringed that patent with 18 products. As you know, the two companies are currently in the pre-retrial motion stage leading up to a retrial on the question of damages only, scheduled to begin in November.

“As the South Korean electronics manufacturer continues to grow, it’s expanding operations in the U.S. This means a 1.1 million-square-foot modern campus with space for 2,000 employees,” says CNET as Samsung outpaces Apple. “Samsung Electronics is the world’s 14th-largest company in terms of revenue, beating out Apple,” according to Fortune Global 500. Watch the spin from the Microsoft booster who uses the US-centric worldview to make Android look small.

The matter of fact is, very much as everyone expected, Linux is becoming a worldwide sensation, but this means it also becomes the target of copyright, patent, and antitrust lawsuits (working against Android, the antitrust victim). These lawsuits need to be countered and they are a sign of growth. The more nervous proprietary giants become, the more lawsuits and dirty tricks they will summon, sometimes by proxy.

Longtime Microsoft Booster Becomes Senior Editor at Slashdot

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 8:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Slashdot

Summary: Nicholas Kolakowski (also known as Microsoft Nick) has entered Slashdot with the role of senior editor

WE have begun assembling resources about Slashdot, which markets itself as “news for geeks” (the parent company was named similarly) while actually providing distractions for geeks. AstroTurfing in Slashdot is a subject we’re covered for over half a decade and Slashdot was recently grooming patent trolls, not just harbouring Internet trolls.

“…Slashdot was recently grooming patent trolls, not just harbouring Internet trolls.”Microsoft Nick, also known as Nick Kolakowski, is described as “a senior editor at Slashdot.” His previous employer says: “Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space” (Microsoft was his sole focus and he was never criticising Microsoft for its illegal activities, just reciting its PR, from which he made a career).

We recently predicted that there would be a lot of propaganda (PR) to disguise a major collapse within Microsoft [1, 2, 3] and the latest announcement seems to suggest redundancies are afoot. But will Slashdot cover the truth rather than play Microsoft’s tune? Of course not. “Here is the slashvertisement announcing the Microsoft reorg,” wrote a reader to us, pointing to this whitewash. It’s not even a post, but an article from Microsoft Nick, Nick Kolakowski. What is Slashdot becoming? “It seems like nothing more than a doubling down on the “One Microsoft Way,” the reader told us. “I suppose the shills and astroturfers will be back from their briefings soon and back online.”

“So basically,” he says, “the softers have a forum dedicated for their use but which channels FOSS when otherwise idle.”

Privacy Crimes of Microsoft Confirmed: Microsoft Colluded With the NSA in Criminal Surveillance (Illegal, Unconstitutional Program)

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 7:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft gave the NSA direct access and repeatedly lied about it

Skype homepage
The latest promotion put in the Skype homepage, with NSA emblems suitably overlaid by Techrights

Summary: Skype video calls downloaded/recorded by the NSA, other Microsoft services give the NSA direct access, and Microsoft lied about it to the public

WHAT the CIA’s data-storing, data-mining sister has been doing is illegal. Some high-tier professionals called it in the New York Times “criminal”. Coming from an agency that works alongside above-the-law secret agencies with unaccountable assassins, this oughtn’t be shocking. But who aids them?

“Microsoft secretly gave the NSA, CIA, FBI access to Skype, Outlook, Skydrive”
      –Kim Dotcom
Microsoft is listed first in PRISM documents, suggesting that a lot of it started with Microsoft, lacking any legal challenge. If Microsoft indeed kick-started this control of the population by robbing the population’s rights, dignity, and any form of privacy, then it’s pretty much compliant with Gates' evil investments in G4S. For one criminal entity to collude with another is only natural and NSA back doors for Windows are now confirmed. These have been around for ages, some say since the 90s.

Kim Dotcom, a famous victim of illegal surveillance (followed by illegal raid), wrote about the latest revelation that “Microsoft secretly gave the NSA, CIA, FBI access to Skype, Outlook, Skydrive” (the cited confirmatory article is from The Guardian, edited by Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras, Spencer Ackerman and Dominic Rushe).

Skype is part of this collusion as “Skype worked to enable Prism collection of video calls,” according to the summary of the report. Little can violate people’s privacy more than eavesdropping and retaining of video calls. Over a year ago we said that a Skype acquisition by a US-based corporation would be used by the NSA to violate people's privacy. “Microsoft hands the #NSA access to *encrypted* emails in addition to Skype video, SkyDrive, more,” Joshua Levy wrote and Dan Gilmore asked: “How can any business even begin to trust Microsoft now?”

“How can any business even begin to trust Microsoft now?”
      –Dan Gillmor
That’s correct. And how can citizens ever permit their government/military to sign deals with Microsoft? They should be up in arms over it.

Trevor Paglen says that “Microsoft & NSA collaborate to spy on you” and Jacob Appelbaum, a Tor developer who has been corresponding with Snowden lately, thanks Snowden. Their government is seemingly trying to tie them together (e.g. in the Washington Post and its bottom feeders) so as to harass or prosecute Appelbaum, leading Appelbaum. who is still based in the US, to consideration of asylum requests himself. The US government has tried to do the same thing to interject Appelbaum into the Cablegate investigation which nails Manning (Appelbaum revealed this in his very recent talk in Germany).

Appelbaum writes: “Thanks to Snowden we now have proof that Microsoft is directly complicit in NSA spying and have lied to us all” (Techrights has made these claims for years and Appelbaum occasionally cited Techrights). Skype shows not only that people cannot trust Microsoft but also that they cannot trust proprietary software. The encryption in Skype is a sham. It protects some companies and plutocrats, not users. The illusion of encryption is worse than no encryption at all because it provides a false sense of security/privacy.

The article from Greenwald et al. ends with a lot of “damage control” from Microsoft. A reader of ours wrote by E-mail to say: “About that article, Microsoft will probably try to counter with the “Microsoft Effect”: get users to believe that ‘all’ service providers allow eavesdropping so therefore it is not worth the trouble to switch. It’s sort of a version of sour grapes. They’ve used it before with bugginess and insecurity of their software to use it to convince people not to even try other systems.”

That would be predictable.

Microsoft Tries in Phones the Same Bribery Strategy It Allegedly Tried for Elimination of GNU/Linux in Sub-notebook

Posted in Africa, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is trying to kill GNU/Linux in Kenya

Nairobi
Nairobi

Summary: Microsoft, which repeatedly tried paying those who embraced GNU/Linux to change course, is reportedly expanding this expensive strategy and may soon implement staff cuts to subsidise this misguided last resort

Microsoft and Apple are not doing as well as their investors are led to believe. The costs of computers are declining owing to GNU/Linux with affordable and energy-efficient ARM/Tegra chips. People realise that such systems better guard their freedom, too. More and more nations are now turning to FOSS for ideological reasons, not just purely technical or economic reasons. Microsoft and Apple try litigation as a business plan, but they are mostly failing. In the mean time, Apple’s value nosedives and Microsoft is scrambling to restore its illegal monopoly.

“More and more nations are now turning to FOSS for ideological reasons, not just purely technical or economic reasons.”Over in Kenya, where Microsoft has used very dirty tactics [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], it is reported that Microsoft is still trying to crush GNU/Linux using a familiar strategy. “The Linux Professional Institute has opposed a move by Microsoft to partner with the Kenyan government in an ambitious US$2 billion laptop project,” says an new report. It adds that: “During a visit last month, Microsoft International President Jean Philippe Courtois met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and announced a training partnership, a move that has received mixed reactions. The plan calls for the government to issue a laptop to every child enrolling in primary school next year.”

The man behind this push from Microsoft is a really malicious and dangerous sociopath, Mr. Courtois [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. They should seriously watch out. Rebecca Wanjiku of IDG covered this and she cites IDC, part of IDG (not stating the conflict). What we see here is a repetition of the war on OLPC. Microsoft used the same tactics to destroy that project and LPI seems to have learned a lesson, not just given lessons. “The Linux Professional Institute in Kenya has issued a position paper on the partnership, saying that it is a move to lock children to one operating system,” says the report. That is correct and we know this based on a long, agonising experience. It is not unusual for Microsoft to even bribe Africans to abandon GNU/Linux, as we showed in prior years.

“…don’t expect Microsoft not to try to sabotage such liberation efforts.”The final point made by IDG is, “The Linux Professional Institute in Kenya is hoping to convince the country’s leadership to explore and adopt open source solutions and join other countries that have done so, including Germany, Spain, France, China, Brazil, India, and South Korea.”

That is good stuff, but don’t expect Microsoft not to try to sabotage such liberation efforts. Now that the company is collapsing [1, 2] and more layoffs might be imminent the gloves are off and bribes are abundant. Here is the latest.

Nokia, which is now a pawn of Microsoft, not so long ago tried to help Microsoft gain leverage in sub-notebooks (netbooks), after Microsoft had allegedly bribed netbook makers to have them drop GNU/Linux.

According to this, Microsoft is doing that in phones now. To quote IDG:

Microsoft kicks back $5-$10 to resellers who peddle select Windows 8 hardware

Starting today, Microsoft will give resellers up to $10 for each device they sell from a list of 21 Windows 8 touch-enabled PCs and tablets, company executives said.

The new program is the latest move by Microsoft to kick up sales, which on the PC side have been downright depressing. Research firm IDC, for instance, has forecast a decline of nearly 8% for 2013, and has already hinted that the drop may be even steeper. In tablets, Microsoft has had little luck in making much of an inroad into a market dominated by operating systems built by rivals Apple and Google.

But the selective nature of the incentive program — fewer than two dozen different devices qualify — shows it’s also a continuation of a strategy Microsoft has used since last summer’s launch of the Surface line, when the company said it entered the hardware business to have a platform that really flaunted Windows 8.

Well, if bribing is Microsoft’s expensive strategy, then no wonder there’s such a mess coming later today. Can Microsoft continue its quarterly layoffs while distracting the press?

CEO Steve Ballmer expected to announce dramatic restructuring around services and hardware this week, sources tell AllThingsD.

That’s later today. Pay careful attention to what they are trying to hide. A “reorg” is always bad news, wrapped up in heavy PR (mass-mailing journalists, ghost-writing, comment AstroTurfing, et cetera).

Rethinking the Impact of Patents on Innovation

Posted in Patents at 3:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Innovation

Summary: How patents — and software patents in particular — continue to weigh down companies that innovate

Several years ago we wrote about Finjan [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], noting the Microsoft connection and the effect on software patents policy in Europe. It is now being reported that Finjan is on the offence again. “Complaint alleges infringement of Finjan patents relating to endpoint, Web, and network security technologies,” says the summary. This is of course about software patents and it harms producing companies. Finjan has been a fine example of how patents on software in particular are hurting innovation, not promoting innovation. It may be the case that in some other areas it is different, but experience suggests that where software patents go so do patent trolls.

“It may be the case that in some other areas it is different, but experience suggests that where software patents go so do patent trolls.”According to this new post from TechDirt, “[o]ne of the most frustrating things for us has been how many reports use patents as a proxy for innovation, even as many studies have shown no correlation between patents and actual innovation.”

Contrariwise, an economist “looks at the growth rate in Total Factor Productivity — which is a measure of output that comes from “non-traditional” inputs — i.e., output created directly from land or capital. This is a reasonable way of measuring the impact of technological improvement.”

Based on other interpretations of this, we should start looking at such measures as the real factor affecting innovation and patents, therefore, as a potential impediment to innovation. Technical people innovate naturally, usually with opportunities in mind, not with patents in mind.

Microsoft Windows Has New NSA Back Doors, Copies Spyware From Ubuntu

Posted in Security, Vista 8, Windows at 2:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

National Security Agency

Summary: Many new holes in Windows are being disclosed and spying on local search, just as Canonical implemented it, comes to Windows

The NSA has special access to Microsoft Windows — access that nobody else and can take advantage of with impunity. According to this link to one report among several from a German publisher, “[o]n its July Patch Tuesday, Microsoft released a total of seven patch packages (bulletins). All except one of them close critical vulnerabilities. The company has closed a total of 34 holes in Windows, Internet Explorer, Office and many other products, among them the Windows kernel vulnerability that has affected the Windows privilege system for over a month.”

“It is time for Europe to ban or limit Windows preloading.”The NSA has known about these for quite some time, so its habit of cracking PCs for surveillance and espionage was very well catered if a given target was Windows user. There are even more holes that Microsoft won’t publicly speak about. It is time for Europe to ban or limit Windows preloading.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols alleges based on his experience that the latest rebrand of Vista 8 is no good and other reports reveal that it increase surveillance on the users. A report says that “it looks like Microsoft is planning to do some “Scroogling” of its own. InfoWorld reports that changes Microsoft is implementing with the upcoming Windows 8.1 update are geared toward making it easier to Microsoft to collect users’ local search data and deliver ads through the Windows Search desktop feature.”

Sounds like Ubuntu. Here is the original report.

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