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08.11.13

Leading OEMs Keep Dumping Microsoft Windows Like a Boiling Hot Plate, ASUS Joins the Pack

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 2:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Companies in Asia take control over the source code in their hardware products

Android System Architecture
Android System Architecture, image by Smieh

Summary: Companies that actually make computers (not US entities such as Apple, Microsoft and the corporate press which they subsidise) are moving away from dependence on US-made proprietary software with NSA back doors

THE Obama administration, which helps US-based companies embargo Asian imports while vetoing reactive action (more on that tomorrow), must not be satisfied to see systems without back doors (exclusive for the CIA/NSA) gaining traction. If proprietary software/malware like Mac OS X and Windows (developed with involvement from the NSA) is not being force-fed down the throats of OEMs, then China and its neighbours will extend their lead over the existing global empire, which relies on surveillance for political and commercial espionage (Der Spiegel reveals that not so-called ‘terrorists’ are the top priority of the NSA, based on the latest exclusive leak coverage).

“To depend on some binary-only product from another nation is a threat to national security, and not because of terrorism but because of covert intervention (recall Stuxnet).”Software freedom or even just autonomy is increasingly being valued by those who did not understand its value. The migration to GNU and Linux is motivated not only by technical reasons but also strategic ones, akin to the ones that helped groom Symbian a decade and a half ago. To depend on some binary-only product from another nation is a threat to national security, and not because of terrorism but because of covert intervention (recall Stuxnet).

The other day we saw Acer giving up on Windows RT and Windows (to a lesser degree). This is happening because they now have the options which are based on GNU and Linux. As one article put it: “Historically, most of Acer’s device lineup has been focused on Windows products — it’s the fourth-largest PC maker, after all — but a less-than-pleasant second quarter seems to have given the company reason to switch its strategy up a bit.”

But it’s not just Acer and some other companies before it (mostly Asian OEMs).

ASUS, another Taiwan-based giant, is reportedly abandoning Windows tablets, focusing instead on Linux. As CNET (a Microsoft- and Apple-paid site) put it, ASUS production of tablets with Windows will stop. As this article explains, “CEO Jerry Shen told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Friday that Asus is getting out of the Windows RT market. In the interview, Shen said that “the industry sentiment is also that Windows RT has not been successful.””

CBS and Murdoch’s WSJ spent a lot of time attacking Linux while promoting Apple and Microsoft. But they cannot distort the words that come from producing companies in Asia. OEMs just don’t vote for Windows. They don’t need Windows anymore.

UEFI Sucks, Suggests a Growing Consensus

Posted in Antitrust, Hardware, Microsoft at 2:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EFI

Summary: Resistance to bogus (to most users) novelty which gives corporations rather than users power over computers all around the world

Some prominent operating system developers already complain about what they perceive to be an anticompetitive measure. Intel, which spearheads UEFI advocacy, needs Windows right now, especially because the best-selling devices, which run Linux, are based on non-x86 chipsets. We oughtn’t let Intel, a criminal company with a long track record at that, get its way.

Richard WM Jones mentioned UEFI/EFI the other day, alluding to problems it was causing him. He wants to bring back the BIOS and concludes as follows:

Anyhow, this explains how I’ve gone from 3 working Fedora ARM systems to 0 in the space of two days. This is also the reason I think EFI is a terrible mistake.

Now that we know of back doors for the NSA we know that with UEFI some motherboards can be bricked remotely (the US was concerned that the Chinese would do such things). UEFI is also a patent trap and a facilitator of antitrust abuses that merit it a boycott, Why again does an ordinary user need UEFI? Benefits do not outweigh the dangers, so we need to shun UEFI for now.

Microsoft Windows is Defacing the World Wide Web and Raising Costs

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 1:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

PRISM Edition
Found circulating in JoinDiaspora

Summary: Everyone is paying the high price of a honeypot OS (with back doors for the NSA) being widely used

There appears to have been a sharp rise in SPAM recently (on numerous accounts, it’s not a coincidence). The vast amounts of it get spewed from Windows — the world’s leader in NSA back doors.

As long as there are back doors, this whole menace will persist and botnets made of Windows zombies [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] will bombard the Web, causing damage to everyone’s life. Based on this article from the other day, there is a new Windows botnet and it is being used to damage Web sites:

There’s a new Windows-powered botnet, Fort Disco, slowly building up strength and cracking into PHP-based blog and content management system Web sites.

To quote one key part, “Matthew Bing, an Arbor Security Engineering & Response Team (ASERT) research analyst, wrote, “Arbor ASERT has been tracking a campaign we are calling Fort Disco which began in late May 2013 and is continuing. We’ve identified six related command-and-control (C&C) sites that control a botnet of over 25,000 infected Windows machines. To date, over 6,000 Joomla, WordPress, and Datalife Engine installations have been the victims of password guessing.””

Putting the vast amounts of SPAM I have been getting in my 22 accounts aside (this year it is far worse than ever before), I have been observing attempts to crack my CMS-powered pages and it is costing a lot in bandwidth (an additional twelve pounds or so per month in schestowitz.com alone, as it gets over a million hit per month, most of which seem to originate in botnets as they target login/posting pages). In order words, those botnets cost a lot of money and make it less financially/technically viable to run some Web sites. Thank you, Microsoft!

People who don’t like Windows may actually be paying the price for its existence even if they never use it. Sadly, it is going to take a while before Windows is completely extinct and, in the age of fibre, crackers needn’t access more than a few millions of boxes to totally pollute the Web. Here is one new bit of commentary which has gloomy predictions:

What do you do when your business relies on your charging a hefty premium for something that no one is willing to pay for? That’s the essential problem facing Microsoft with Windows.

It is actually not the important point. Those who choose Windows deserve the suffering, but those who suffer from other people’s choice of Windows deserve a voice too.

Links 11/8/2013: Fedora Flock, Qualcomm Changes Course on Blobs

Posted in News Roundup at 7:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.1.1 RC1 Arrives with New Features

      The Document Foundation has announced that the first Release Candidate version for LibreOffice 4.1.1 is now available for the Linux platform, bringing a lot of bug fixes and improvements.

  • BSD

    • FreeNAS 9.1 Screenshots, and Some Suggestions

      freenas-ixsystems-new-logoFreeNAS 9.1 has been released. We have read the blog posts, the press releases, and we probably all agree that this FreeBSD based NAS is becoming better and better with each release. FreeNAS is still ‘growing up’ and new features are added to each new version.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • gNewSense 3.0 released

      Most notably, gNewSense 3.0, codenamed “Parkes,” is now based on Debian rather than Ubuntu. gNewSense is a fully free GNU/Linux distro and one of the growing number of GNU/Linux distributions that are endorsed by the FSF for providing and recommending only free software. gNewSense now runs on three architectures: i386, amd64 and MIPS.

    • Video: You broke the Internet. We’re making ourselves a GNU one.

      This is the video from the talks given by Christian Grothoff, Carlo von Lynx, Jacob Appelbaum and Richard Stallman in Berlin on August 1st. The talks are in English, even though the welcoming words are in German.

  • Programming

    • Open Line on GitHub

      Felix Geisendörfer recently wrote Vim Trick: Open current line on GitHub. The idea is to open a repository with GitHub in a browser for the current file and line number in Vim.

Leftovers

  • YouTube founders take on Vine and Instagram with MixBit video app
  • Hot Startups Tap Google’s Legal Talent

    The attorneys atop six hot tech ventures have at least one thing in common: They’ve Googled it.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Finance

    • The legal jujitsu of Goldman Sachs

      Vanity Fair has timed the publication of its latest 11,000-word Michael Lewis opus perfectly to coincide with Fabrice Tourre being found liable on six counts of misleading investors while he worked at Goldman Sachs. Lewis also profiles a former Goldman employee charged with serious misdeeds; in his case, it’s Sergei Aleynikov. And in both cases — Aleynikov and Tourre — the government ended up in a position of overstretch.

  • Privacy

    • NSA revelations remind me of Cold War Romania: Column

      For Marcel Proust, a madeleine cookie triggered a flood of childhood memories. For me, cookies usually signify less about memories of childhood and more about information collection, often surreptitious, through bits of code inserted on unsuspecting users’ computers. Recently, though, revelations about the NSA’s information-collection efforts have brought together thoughts about surveillance and memories of my childhood.

    • ‘Nobody is listening to your calls’: Obama’s evolution on NSA surveillance

      Barack Obama insisted on Friday that the NSA reforms he has proposed would have happened all along and that his views on surveillance programs had “not evolved”. But since the president first responded to Edward Snowden’s revelations in June he has rejected any suggestion that more safeguards were required.

    • Four Ways To Escape The NSA Dragnet

      Start by switching to an alternative search engine, using an alias on Facebook, and supporting allied nonprofits. This article was written by Nick Pearson, the CEO of IVPN. IVPN is a privacy platform, and Electronic Frontier Foundation member, committed to protecting online freedoms and online privacy.

    • EU among priority spy targets for NSA: report

      The European Union is ranked as a key priority in a list of spying targets for the US National Security Agency, German weekly Der Spiegel said Saturday, citing a document leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

      The classified document, dated April 2013, states that the US secret services are especially interested in gathering intelligence concerning the 28-member bloc’s foreign policy, international trade, and economic stability, the magazine reported.

    • What the Chomsky-Žižek debate tells us about Snowden’s NSA revelations

      Rather than backing one or the other thinker, why not embrace both to inform a leftist critique of the surveillance scandal?

      [...]

      In light of the recent NSA surveillance scandal, Chomsky and Žižek offer us very different approaches, both of which are helpful for leftist critique. For Chomsky, the path ahead is clear. Faced with new revelations about the surveillance state, Chomsky might engage in data mining, juxtaposing our politicians’ lofty statements about freedom against their secretive actions, thereby revealing their utter hypocrisy. Indeed, Chomsky is a master at this form of argumentation, and he does it beautifully in Hegemony or Survival when he contrasts the democratic statements of Bush regime officials against their anti-democratic actions. He might also demonstrate how NSA surveillance is not a strange historical aberration but a continuation of past policies, including, most infamously, the FBI’s counter intelligence programme in the 1950s, 60s, and early 70s.

    • NSA FISA Surveillance: Attention Shifts To Email Surveillance
    • LIVE: Lavabit Closing – The Beginning of an NSA Coverup?
    • Two email providers close rather than comply with NSA data requests

      Two encrypted email providers closed down Thursday to avoid being forced to turn over user data to the federal government, The New York Times is reporting.

    • The guys that fight dodgy megacorps and surveillance-happy governments

      Our freedom to share information, speak our minds, come up with new ideas and keep our lives private is being threatened. Governments are continually seeking new ways to monitor what we’re doing, while big businesses are constantly trying to lock us into their products. Bit by bit, our freedoms are being eroded.

    • N.S.A. Said to Search Content of Messages to and From U.S.

      The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans’ e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials.

    • Edward Snowden, the Espionage Act and First Amendment Concerns

      Last month, Edward Snowden, a former government employee and contractor, disclosed to newspaper reporters information about US intelligence activities that he obtained during the course of his work. Specifically, he revealed that the NSA engaged in widespread, warrantless surveillance of domestic and international telephone and Internet communications and also engaged in cyber spying on other governments, including allies. The revelations caused a public stir, especially given the questionable constitutionality of the NSA’s domestic surveillance. But far more press, much of it hyperbolic, has focused on Snowden himself. Many officials and observers have called him a traitor while others labeled him a hero and a whistleblower who exposed massive government wrongdoing. The federal government recently brought criminal charges against him for theft of government property and violations of sections 793(d) and 798(a)(3) of the Espionage Act. These crimes carry possible prison sentences of up to thirty years and signal that the government does not view Snowden as a whistleblower. What are the implications of these particular charges for Snowden, especially in light of the First Amendment, which exists largely to protect public criticism of government and serve as a check against government wrongdoing?

    • Constitution Check: Is the Chief Justice’s power to pick judges of the secret wiretap court a bad idea?

      Lyle Denniston looks at a growing debate about Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ power to select judges who sit on a top-secret court – a power assigned to him by Congress.

    • If Bruce Schneier ran the NSA, he’d ask a basic question: “Does it do any good?”

      For the last two months, we’ve all watched the news about the National Security Agency and its friends over at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which approves secret orders on behalf of the NSA and other spy agencies. But more often than not, a lot of these articles take the same basic structure: documents provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden show X, and then privacy advocates and civil libertarians decry X for Y reason.

    • NSA Surveillance: Obama is Using Loophole to Conduct Domestic Spying

      Ever since Edward Snowden exposed the NSA’s wiretapping to the world, President Obama have been trying to assuage Americans’ fears and apprehensions over domestic spying — and much to no avail. Obama’s latest effort came on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where Obama made clear that America does not have a domestic spying program. Unfortunately, the facts show otherwise.

    • The president is wrong: The NSA debate wouldn’t have happened without Snowden

      At Friday’s news conference, President Obama was asked by Chuck Todd whether the debate that has arisen in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations made Snowden a patriot. Obama disagreed.

    • Assange blasts Obama for denying Snowden’s role in NSA reforms

      While praising US President Barack Obama’s Friday surveillance reforms as a “victory of sorts for Edward Snowden,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange delivered a written blow to the administration for its “hypocritical” treatment of the subject.

    • Snowden Who? U.S. and Russian Officials Say NSA Leaker Not Part of ‘2+2’ Meetings

      A canceled summit and the rogue NSA contractor’s asylum had some expecting fireworks at the bilateral talks with Kerry and Hagel. Somehow, it was business as usual.

  • Civil Rights

    • Why Your Cell Phone’s Location Isn’t Protected by the Fourth Amendment

      In a major decision last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the location of your cell phone when you place a call is not protected by the Fourth Amendment, which guards against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

    • FLOSS after Prism: Anonymity by default

      In my last blog post I discussed that we have to protect the user’s privacy better by giving the user the choice to decide which data gets submitted to services. In this blog post I want to share some thoughts about the case that the data is submitted and how to protect the user in such a case.

  • DRM

    • Publishers object to Department of Justice’s punishment for Apple in eBooks case

      Five publishers have filed objections with the US Department of Justice regarding the DOJ’s choice of punishment in a recent anti-trust ruling against the Cupertino company. The ruling found Apple guilty of conspiring to fix e-book prices, forcing customers to pay a higher price. The proposed punishment would require them to cut off their current agreements with the five publishers in question and avoid entering new agreements for five years that could prohibit competitiveness in the market.

    • Apple faces major day in court on patents and e-books

      It’s a big day for Apple in court today, as the Cupertino-based company remains entangled in a massive web of litigation that seems to have ensnared the entire tech sector.

      First, the company will be squaring off against the Justice Department in a hearing about possible remedies for the company’s practices in developing its e-book business, which a judge recently ruled were in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Ambry hits back at Myriad’s “bad faith enforcement” of breast cancer gene patents

      For many years, all testing of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in the US was under control of one company: Myriad Genetics of Utah. But many expected that monopoly to be over when the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that Myriad can’t claim patent rights to those genes. In fact, the court ruled, such “isolated” DNA sequences can’t get patents at all—although a lab-made form of the gene called the cDNA version still can.

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