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06.25.14

Facebook and Microsoft Openwashing Alert

Posted in Microsoft at 11:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Incredible Hulk and Facebook

Summary: Countering the very disturbing marketing illusion that Facebook and its (in part) owner Microsoft are warming up to FOSS while in reality they hoard patents and use them offensively

Surveillance giant and meta-advertising company Facebook has been running an effective campaign to openwash its data centres, hardware, programming tools, and software, despite the fact that Facebook is proprietary and very malicious. Facebook is also partly owned by Microsoft and passes its data to Microsoft, which uses people's data against them. Facebook, like Microsoft, is close to the NSA and we noted in daily links, there is a high-profile European court case dealing with it.

Facebook not only started with misappropriation of source code (Mark Zuckerberg took over people’s work that they had paid him for) but also with unoriginal ideas. There were sites like Facebook before it (far less privacy-infringing), well before Zuckerberg scraped people’s faces off Web sites to make his first controversial site that got him in a lot of disciplinary trouble.

There is a patent case underway, potentially showing Facebook’s lack of originality. The plaintiff is a Dutch programmer, not a patent troll. It is going to be interesting to see how it ends up, not just because it involves darn patents but because it may teach Facebook, which hoards patents, a lesson about the harms of software patents. While Facebook tries to openwash its operations it is a usually patenting a lot of basic software ideas and also using these to sue companies. How ‘open’ is that? Patent extortion, just like Microsoft.

“Facebook is also partly owned by Microsoft and passes its data to Microsoft, which uses people’s data against them.”The UBM-run Dr. Dobbs continues its campaign of openwashing of Microsoft, especially courtesy of Mono and .NET booster Andrew Binstock (he is the Executive Editor of the site). Here he is paying lip service to Microsoft again, giving it much needed help it by using the “.NET section” of a news site to openwash .NET. “How far the company has come from its early dismissal of open source,” says Binstock, but has he really paid attention? The very fact that Andrew Binstock is the Executive Editor should say a lot about whose agenda is served at Dr. Dobbs these days (after the acquisition).

Microsoft’s Android pretense, as mentioned the other day, is that it is actually a backer while in reality it extorts Android and runs a program for ‘licensing’ Android (which is not a Microsoft product). When Microsoft ‘tips’ an Android phone it should not be shocking because it is part of the plan to legitimise extortion, pretending (e.g. to regulators) that Microsoft is not a hostile actor. At the same time as this article there is an unusually high volume of articles with Microsoft revisionism along those lines.

Overall, these campaigns of openwashing and especially the efforts from Microsoft boosters like Binstock ought to remind us to keep our eyes open and our brains working. There is a deception endeavour going on. In some internal documents that came out through legal action Microsoft speaks very explicitly of the needs for such endeavours.

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