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05.22.14

World’s Largest Population Heading Towards GNU/Linux Because Windows is Not Secure (NSA Trojan Horse)

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security at 11:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stallman in China
Stallman’s trip to China; image from stallman.org

Summary: Following espionage and other incidents of cracking against China the government decides to ban the latest Windows while encouraging the population to abandon Windows

An interesting but unsurprising report from Reuters revealed some fairly important news from China, whose government is saying no to Windows (latest version). This is even characterised as a ban. To quote one report: “The Chinese government has announced that its agencies will be forbidden from upgrading their ageing and end-of-life Windows XP systems to Windows 8.1, banning Microsoft’s latest operating system in the name of security.”

Vista 8 is banned not just because it is terrible but because it is a threat to national security [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. This is a significant turning point which may lead other governments to pretty much the same policy.

This exodus oughtn’t be too shocking given some recent news from China about GNU/Linux. Richard Stallman visits the country these days (delivering talks and other such activities) while Chinese people are urged by their government to embrace GNU/Linux (there are calls for migration on national television). There is state support for these efforts. NSA-Microsoft ties, in addition to cracking against Huawei, may further contribute to this. Don’t be shocked if Bill Gates already books some plane tickets or prepares his private jet for a trip to China.

Vista 7 is a horrible mess too, no matter the hype Microsoft spent billions to produce. Watch what happened at Emory this past week. This was summarised by a pro-Windows sites that said “Whoops! Emory University server sent reformat request to all of its Windows 7 PCs” (link).

There was a fair deal of coverage about it. Neowin wrote:

Sometimes, there are incidents that take place that remind people who use PCs to back up their files on a regular basis. Such an event happened earlier this week at Emory University in Atlanta, where an “accident” resulted in a server sending out a reformat request to all of the Windows 7 PCs at the school, including the server that sent out the request itself.

How highly insecure. Remember that the NSA built back doors into Windows, so imagine what it can do with ‘features’ like the above, e.g. at times of war.

What such idiocy may cause for national security should teach everyone to abandon Windows immediately, especially in the public sector.

Germany is now introducing new procurement rules that take into account NSA espionage. It also forbade UEFI (on government computers), perhaps foreseeing the bricking of hardware remotely (yes, it enables rendering PCs “bricks” [1, 2]). Disregard the new spin and the hogwash from Linux Journal; it is written by Doran from Intel; it’s basically advertising of restricted boot, portraying it as benign while masquerading as an informative article. Intel and Microsoft must be desperate for some kind of new lock-in.

It is worth adding that Microsoft is far worse than Google when it comes to NSA connections, no matter what it’s extremely misleading attack ads say/insinuate. Here is a decent new blog post that says:

In the battle between office productivity vendors, Microsoft has long distanced itself from Google GOOGL +1.72% claiming that the fact that Google scans emails in order to deliver contextual advertising to customers is a data security breach. Never mind that the scanning was completely anonymized and digital – Microsoft leveraged the conspiracy theory that it was somehow a case of Google employees reading all of our email.

China already develops mobile operating systems that are based on Android/Linux (COS for example). These can help assure China’s national sovereignty. They deserve it.

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3 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    May 22, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Gravatar

    Desktop Linux *will* reach 2% usage by the end of the decade! The movement is unstoppable!

    slave5tom Reply:

    As someone who has used both GNU/Linux and Windows (2000, XP, Vista, 7 and 8), Linux systems are better in terms of functionality and user interface. Microsoft has clung to it’s shrinking user-base using unethical tactics (paid evangelists), obfuscation (misleading standards) and vendor lock-in (including occasional illegal activities). When its customers are given a true choice, Microsoft is having real difficulties competing as its customers choose a variation of Linux (inexpensive Chromebooks) in droves.

    Michael Reply:

    I have used OS X, Windows, and Linux as well. I have also documented where things such as KDE are horribly buggy. I am happy to provide links if you want but will not unless you ask so I am not engaging in self-serving links.

    But naming tasks which are done better under the competition is trivial.
    * Working with images in a word processing document. In LibreOffice you cannot rotate images and even moving them, resizing them, adding alpha-channels, and the like is harder or not possible.
    * Screencasting: there are many screen recorders on Linux but no real screencasting solution. You cannot, in post production, highlight windows, show and hide and replace the mouse cursor, hide or show key strokes or mouse clicks, etc. Even zooming is more of a challenge.
    * Image editing: GIMP finally has one level of layer sets, but only one and that is quite limiting, it has no smart objects, no ability to have multiple layer masks or different types of layer masks, no nondestructive filtering, and weaker selection tool… not to mention no 3D tools and many more areas of weakness.

    Those are things that just come to mind. But it is more than that. Look at KDE and the poor way it handles full screen and application tabs. Look at the system services which are “missing” compared to, say, OS X.

    If you have specifics where you think Linux offers benefits in terms of productivity and efficiency I would love to see them. The only examples I can think of off hand deal with some task and window management features – many of which can be added to the competition (though some cannot, at least not easily or integrated well). But desktop Linux tends to have a lot of poorly thought out features which integrate poorly.

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