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Business Software Alliance (BSA) Should Snitch on Itself for So-called ‘Piracy’

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 3:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Maze of proprietary licences

License wall

Summary: The BSA helps prove that using proprietary licences is a dumb idea, for even the BSA is not obeying proprietary licences

THE Business Software Alliance (BSA) is a lobbyist against Free software, not just an aggressive enforcer of unethical licences. We wrote quite a lot about the evil actions of the BSA. We have done so for almost a decade (Techrights turns 8 later this year) and focused on its lobbying for software patents, against Free software policies, etc.

“Watch the BSA getting into a mess by illegally (blatant infringement) using a photo and getting caught.”Mr. Pogson explains why he rejected proprietary software when he was a teacher. “I needed to keep track of “stickers” and OS versions when all I wanted to do was use IT in education,” he says. “Is that too much to ask? Then there was the malware. We had to put up with that and pay (blood, sweat, tears, my time) for re-imaging systems every week. The EULA? It wanted to forbid networking of our PCs without a licence for a server…”

Pogson cites this bit of news that says “Microsoft is pledging dramatic improvements to its notoriously complex enterprise licensing, but experts are skeptical about the potential impact of the plan.”

This must be a response to migrations to Free software. It is a lot easier (let alone safer) to procure and manage Free software. The BSA promotes the idea that Free software is somehow “dirty” or “illegal”, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The opposite is true.

Watch the BSA getting into a mess by illegally (blatant infringement) using a photo and getting caught [1,2]. The headlines say it all: “BSA Caught Using Infringing Image For Its ‘Snitch’ On Your Colleagues Anti-Piracy Campaign” and “Busted: BSA Steals Photo For “Snitch On a Pirate” Campaign” (published today).

Next time, perhaps but quite improbably, the BSA should use non-proprietary stocks of images. Nobody should ever accept draconian licences in the first place, The BSA proves this rather well itself.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Busted: BSA Steals Photo For “Snitch On a Pirate” Campaign

    The Business Software Alliance, a trade group representing Adobe, Apple and Microsoft, has been caught using a “stolen” photo in one of their anti-piracy campaigns. The group is running various Facebook ads to convince people to snitch on pirates, but this effort has backfired terribly.

  2. BSA Caught Using Infringing Image For Its ‘Snitch’ On Your Colleagues Anti-Piracy Campaign

    For many years, we’ve written about the Business Software Alliance’s (BSA) ridiculous snitch program. This is where the organization (which represents a bunch of software companies, but more or less takes its orders from Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and Autodesk) promises to give people large cash rewards for snitching on friends and colleagues who happen to be using unlicensed software. The BSA insists that this is one of their best tools — which they then use to raid small companies for questionable “audits” that often completely destroy those businesses. The BSA forces those companies to pay huge sums of money — all of which the BSA keeps. As for the claims of big rewards for snitches, the BSA is incredibly misleading on that front. A few years back, they started promising “up to $1 million” for snitching. In exchange, we promised “up to $1 million” if anyone could show the BSA actually paying out $1 million. Someone looking into the BSA’s payments found that the highest they’d paid out to snitches at the time was around $5,000 with many getting less than that. In other words, the BSA has never had much of a reputation for intellectual honesty.

Thou Shalt Not ‘Disparage’: How Apple and Microsoft Really Work

Posted in Apple, Microsoft at 3:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The pressure against truth-telling, courtesy of proprietary software aggressors such as Apple and Microsoft

LAST week was a fairly slow news week, but Muktware covered an upcoming film where the role of glorified bully Steve Jobs may be assigned to the same guy who portrayed American Psycho. That would be a good fit, wouldn’t it? Jobs’ successor continues to treat Apple like some kind of religion, dismissing any sort of criticism as though it’s blasphemous. As Muktware put it: “It’s not unusual for Apple CEO Tim Cook to blast anything that is not pro Apple. As a result, few were surprised when Tim Cook labeled Yukari Iwatani Kane’s book “Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs” as “nonsense.” Iwatani Kane claims that Apple is no longer the company they were under Jobs, and that we have already seen the best that they have to offer.”

Meanwhile, tells us a reader, Microsoft spinner “Enderle is still around. Who paid him to write that and why?”

He has a history of Apple bashing and his latest column says that “Apple’s Problem [is] It Can’t Handle the Truth” (don’t feed Enderle by clicking). What Enderle conveniently ignores is that his darling Microsoft is not much better. We’ll provide examples in a moment.

Apple, like Microsoft, hardly ever ported any applications to GNU/Linux, but Muktware says that iTunes might be coming to Android (hence Linux). This is significant because Apple hardly ever ported anything to GNU/Linux and “Apple broke the monopoly of record labels, which forced users to buy entire album even if a user wanted just one song. It made music affordable, which brought down ‘piracy’. Apple actually shook the entire music industry with its iTunes, the way it changed the mobile industry with iPhone.”

Here is another report about “Apple considering releasing an iTunes app for Android” (it’s not final yet).

Apple and Microsoft both thrive in marketing and commercial propaganda, as well as revisionism (fairly new example in [1]). Just watch this disgraceful deceit (placement) which speaks of “redemption” but is actually about subjugation. “Neocolonialism, keeping a foot on Africa’s neck” is what iopkh calls it. It’s gross beyond words. Africa has long been exploited not just by Microsoft but also by Bill Gates. To say this is sometimes a taboo (especially for the latter).

In addition, iophk asks: “Do Microsoft EULAs still forbid product evaluation, benchmarking and comparison to competing products? Almost none of the XP or MSO articles mention better options.” He refers to old articles [1, 2] which say people “may not without Microsoft’s prior written approval disclose to any third party the results of any benchmark test.”

We covered that several years ago.

The bottom line is, proprietary software not only forbids access to information (such as source code); it often also forbids expression of certain ideas. It is a form of tyranny.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Stephen Fry rewrites computer history again: This time it’s serious

    Stephen is plainly unaware, to begin with, that CP/M was not a piece of IBM software. It was actually created by Digital Research founder Dr Gary Kildall. With CP/M Dr Kildall (not Bill Gates) had truly pioneered the portable operating system for microcomputers – an operating system capable of running on different kinds of hardware that created a common platform for application developers and users – and the low-cost licensing model that went with it.

    Worse, it seems clear that Mr Fry is also unaware that the QDOS which Gates so hastily bought up to offer to IBM under the name MS-DOS was a poor-quality effort (QDOS actually stands for Quick and Dirty Operating System) which had been created by simply copying code straight out of CP/M.

Links 24/3/2014: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 24/3/2014: Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 12:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 24/3/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft Says It Will Reward ‘Open Source’ Code That Helps Microsoft Sell Proprietary Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 3:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft behind the mask

Gas mask

Summary: Microsoft’s disdain and intolerance of software freedom continues to be shown, but one must look behind the mask of spin and rhetoric

THE SHAM which is Microsoft “open source”, notably projects that help proprietary software but are described as “open source” (Microsoft’s code hosting sites are notorious for that), continues to exist but not to thrive. We hardly hear about those things anymore (they don’t make the press as much as they used to). We are talking about projects that are portrayed as “open” but actually require .NET, Microsoft SQL Server, or something along those lines. iophk calls it “poisoning the wells,” alluding to the fact that such projects really help dilute the term “Open Source”.

According to this new article, Microsoft takes its deceptive strategy further. The author asks: “Is Microsoft really just still saying that the only valuable open source is that which extends Microsoft products in its own view?”

Yes, indeed.

Adrian Bridgwater writes something to that effect as well. The headline is “Microsoft: open source developers not yet fully recognised by Microsoft MVP Programme,” but this is not true.

Consider Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza, who created Mono for Microsoft API infection in FOSS. His company is rumoured to be in the process of becoming part of Microsoft and he was a Microsoft MVP.

“The Microsoft spinner wants to pretend that Microsoft is a friend of Free/Open Source software even though Microsoft is still actively attacking Free/Open Source software.”Looking at where this spin originally came from, it it that annoying Microsoft revisionist Scott Hanselman. The Microsoft spinner wants to pretend that Microsoft is a friend of Free/Open Source software even though Microsoft is still actively attacking Free/Open Source software.

Speaking of the spin, watch how ex-Microsoft manager Neela Jacques frames Open Source as “Collaborative Development”. This is familiar spin that we saw coming from Microsoft itself, reducing Freedom and even Openness to just “Collaboration” or “Choice”. Neela Jacques also frames this as “Freedom from Vendors”, which is a little similar to the “Choice” line. Those who are accustomed to hearing Stallman’s views on Freedom (here is how he put them last month on television) will pick this up easily. Neela Jacques writes: “Do you want free software or do you want supported, enterprise grade software? Many people think that’s the question. It’s not.”

He does not mean Free/libre software, he means gratis software. Sadly, the Linux Foundation put this man in charge. He does not grasp freedom.

“Microsoft hates freedom. It’s not in its business model and not in its ‘DNA’.”Now, let’s look at another new example from Nokia and Microsoft, which are pretending to be embracing Free software through Android but are actually turning it into proprietary surveillance that people can foolishly install to replace Free software with lesser privacy violations. Nokia and Microsoft are trying to make this the norm now [1] and yesterday we saw Microsoft unleashing yet more FUD about Android (the ‘security’ FUD flavour) along with Indiana University, showing of course that Microsoft does not care about Android, except the turning of Android into proprietary Microsoft system (with Microsoft blobs) and patent shakedown against Android vendors.

Do not believe for even one second that Microsoft likes or is willing to change for Free software. Microsoft hates freedom. It’s not in its business model and not in its ‘DNA’. Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates makes it clear repeatedly and consistently when he misrepresents and demonises Free software, as he first did back in the 70s, moving us from a world of Free software into a world dominated by proprietary (especially in the 90s).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Nokia tries to lure Android porters with free Nokia X mobes

    Nokia has started encouraging Android developers to support its Nokia X platform. The phones, primarily aimed at developing markets, run a highly customised version of Android and to ensure compatibility Nokia has wound up its developer outreach programme.

Oracle Releases Java 8 and VirtualBox 4.3.8

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Office Suites, Oracle at 2:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The few Sun projects that Oracle did not burn in a fire

3 matches

Summary: New releases of Free software from Oracle help show that the company did not totally neglect Free software

ORACLE really dropped the ball when it comes to Free software. It not only neglected great projects like OpenOffice.org but it also sued Google, liaised with Microsoft on numerous occasions, and generally became the bad guy on the block. Some former Sun staff took advantage of this [1], but it seems as though Oracle did not totally neglect every single Free software project that it had inherited from Sun. Java 8, for example, has just been officially released [2,3] and VirtualBox, one of people’s favourite desktop virtualisation systems (especially on GNU/Linux), continues to be maintained by Oracle [4]. Imagine what the world would be like if Oracle promoted ODF, maintained all of Sun’s Free software projects and perhaps liberated some of its own proprietary software products.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Open source venture that’s profited from Oracle’s actions

    Among the latter group is ForgeRock, an open-source identity and access management company, which was founded in 2010 with very little seed capital. The founders were all part of Sun’s extended community and they decided to focus on Sun’s identity and access management products. One of the four co-founders of Sun, Scott McNealy, is also involved in ForgeRock.

  2. Java 8 Officially Released, Modularity Still a Concern

    Oracle today officially released Java 8, ushering in a new era of development capabilities for the standard-bearer of enterprise IT software platforms. The path to Java 8 has been a long one for Oracle, dating back to at least 2010, when the Java Community Process (JCP) voted in favor of JSR-337, the specification for Java 8.

  3. Reality check: Java 8 finally catches a multi-core break

    Java 8 is important because it’s the base spec for Java Enterprise Edition, as well as feeding the free and open-source implementation of OpenJDK loved by open-sourcers like Red Hat.

  4. VirtualBox 4.3.8 Officially Released with Support for X.Org Server 1.15

    After a couple of development versions, the brand new VirtualBox 4.3.8 release reached the stable channel, replacing the old 4.3.6 version, for which it fixes numerous bugs reported by the community. In addition, it adds many new features and improvements that should have been implemented a long time ago.

Document Freedom Day 2014 Imminent and ODF is Doing Very Well

Posted in Office Suites, OpenDocument at 2:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: It is becoming hard to deny that ODF is the one and only standard for exchange of editable documents

OpenDocument Format, or ODF, has been enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Registration has been open for Document Freedom Day 2014 [1] (in recent years this annual event was largely neglected), European politicians are now entertaining ODF [2-4], and here in the UK ODF is becoming a standard, perhaps the de facto standard in government (more on Microsoft’s response to it will be covered later this week). New software is now supporting ODF [5,6] and LibreOffice, which makes the press still [7,8], is replacing Microsoft Office in more and more places [9]. I happen to know about places that are quietly migrating to LibreOffice, without ever announcing it. Even Apple, which had helped Microsoft with OOXML (Apple is in Microsoft’s camp for a lot things), was pressured last week to move to ODF [10]. Wait and see how ODF changes the world and takes us into an era of sharing, collaboration, exchanges etc. that are truly independent from Microsoft’s monopoly. Prepare for a world where there are no “DOC” (or “DOCX”) files exchanged inside E-mails.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Registration opens for Document Freedom Day 2014

    Today registration opens for Document Freedom Day 2014 events. This year the campaign day is March 26th, when people who believe in fair access to communications technology and Open Standards will again present, perform, and demonstrate. Event organisers can now register on the re-launched documentfreedom.org website.

  2. Advocacy: “Governments should choose ODF”

    Governments should choose the Open Document Format (ODF) as the default option for all editable government documents, says OpenForum Europe, an organisation advocating the use of open standards in ICT. “ODF has clear superiority in terms of independence from proprietary influence or dependency on proprietary technology.”


    Writing on his weblog, the FSFE President called on the EC to “run open, competitive calls for tender based on functional specifications rather than brand names — something it has refused to do for two decades.”

  3. MEP Tarand: “EU should switch to ODF standard”

    The European institutions should switch to using the Open Document Format ODF as their internal default document format, says Member of the European Parliament Indrek Tarand. Speaking at a meeting of the European Parliament’s Free Software User Group (Epfsug), last week Wednesday, MEP Tarand said: “Moving to ODF would allow real innovation, and real procurement.”

  4. European Union in talks to move to the Open Document Format

    A member of the European parliament, Indrek Tarand, openly favoured ODF at the European Parliament’s Free Software User Group (Epsfug) meeting. He is also the founder of the Free Software User Group. He said, “Our work is done the day the EU authorities switch to using the ODF standard. The European Parliament should also be able to use its own free software distribution.” It’s noteworthy to add that the adoption of ODF is normally followed by the adoption of the open source software.

  5. HoudiniEsq Adds Open Document Format Support

    Innovator and leader in Legal Practice Management Software-as-a-Service for enterprise, LogicBit Software Corp. announced today that it has added support for the Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF), also known as OpenDocument to its core product HoudiniEsq.

  6. WebODF Making Good Progress, Aims For More

    WebODF is an AGPL-licensed JavaScript library that provides Open Document Format support on the web with collaborative editing capabilities. In the four years the project has been around, it’s been making great success but they have even more plans going forward.

  7. Freshly Stable

    With the release of our new LibreOffice 4.2 version and the new website, people have noticed a small yet quite visual change in the way we label the versions of LibreOffice. You now have the choice between downloading LibreOffice “Fresh” or “Stable”.

  8. Zorin OS Cubed, “Fresh” LibreOffice, and Year of Linux

    In today’s search was two Zorin OS reviews and a recommendation. The Document Foundation released the second update to the 4.2 branch of their popular office suite. Jamie Watson got a new Acer laptop and test drove several popular distributions on it. Computer Weekly online has published an article on Unix to Linux migrations and Simon Phipps put out a new post titled 2014 is the year of the Linux desktop.

  9. Breaking Microsoft’s Chains by Moving to LibreOffice

    Vignoli is one of the founders and a member of the Board of Directors of The Document Foundation, the organization behind LibreOffice, where his duties include marketing and communications as well as being an international spokesperson for the project. Before helping start The Document Project, he spent over six years on the marketing team for OpenOffice.org, which was the original code base for LibreOffice. In other words, this is a guy who knows his stuff and who has “been there/done that” when it comes to large enterprise level migrations from MS Office to LibreOffice or OpenOffice.

  10. Open document standards will cure Apple’s bit rot

    Reports emerged this week of a problem for Apple users opening presentation files created in Keynote. The latest update of Keynote — in fact, all of iWork ’13 — won’t open files created with versions before iWork ’09, instead prompting users to find a copy of iWork ’09 and open the file with that.

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