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06.28.14

Microsoft E-mail Infrastructure a Sure Way to Lose Access to E-mail, Lose Messages, and Get Abused

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Mail, Microsoft at 5:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bush daughters

Summary: How the increased reliance of proprietary software for E-mails breeds abuse at the higher levels while hurting those who are vulnerable

COMPANIES and individuals who rely on Free software for their E-mail needs rarely lose any mail. The protocols, the software and the failovers are generally robust. They are well tested and widely used. There is usually redundancy built in and the costs of this redundancy is low.

When one relies on Microsoft for E-mails one can end up in prison and deported, as this recent case taught us. Microsoft’s E-mail infrastructure is ripe for surveillance abuses even by Microsoft itself. Blunders relating to lost mail often trace back to Microsoft and it’s too easy to see why. Any business that uses Microsoft for storing and relaying E-mail is settling for an office is almost as bad as Microsoft Office. It boggles the mind; why do people put such trash in offices? It’s a Trojan horse to communications. Most mail filtering and antivirus products are used specifically to tackle Microsoft issues (zombie PCs and Windows malware). Free software overcomes many of these complications and it is more efficient, economic, and robust.

“Free software overcomes many of these complications and it is more efficient, economic, and robust.”The other day offices that rely on Microsoft for mail came to a standstill. Any office that “relies heavily on Microsoft Outlook,” as the article put it, was unable to get anything done. “LOL,” wrote a reader of ours, “rely and Microsoft in the same sentence”.

This reader previously drew our attention to the way Microsoft’s broken mail software saved the Bush family from embarrassment (deleting evidence). Spot the pattern here. Here is another new report about Microsoft mail going down pretty badly and staying down for a whole business day. “In outages this week,” says the Microsoft-friendly site, “Microsoft’s online Exchange service was down for nine hours, crippling Office 365 and hosted Outlook accounts across North America and Mexico, just after its unified communications service also crashed.”

Microsoft’s hosted services can only be as reliable as the underlying software, which is simply not reliable. Why would anyone at all want to use hosted Microsoft services? Downtimes are just too frequent and we used to cover them regularly. Watch a Microsoft-affiliated site (Fool.com) thinking that Ubuntu users will give Microsoft their files for hosting. Only a fool would do that, or one whose goal is to have the files spied if not altogether lost.

Then subject of lost E-mail is very hot at the moment because of stories relating to the IRS and NSA, Microsoft’s special ally for well over a decade. Here is some of the latest:

During a hearing held yesterday by the House Oversight Committee, Committee Chairman Darrel Issa said that it was “unbelievable” that the IRS had lost the e-mails of former IRS official Lois Lerner. While Congressman Issa is not generally ignorant on tech issues, he’s clearly not familiar with just how believable such a screw-up is.

“A retention policy designed to ensure that mail is lost” is what our reader called it. Maybe they too used Microsoft, but it is hard to tell for sure. IRS recently signed a big Microsoft deal, so it is a Windows shop (we covered this at the time, only months ago).

The bottom line is, Microsoft’s E-mail infrastructure breeds abuse. It is easy to claim that some “computer crash” (read: Windows issues) made evidence of crime disappear and when one who is vulnerable uses Microsoft for mail it is clear that those in power will be able to retrieve a lot to be used against the individual. Proprietary software tends to work against its users and in favour of the software ‘masters’. E-mail is a great example of this.

‘Open’ Nastiness: Openwashing of OOXML in Order to Make Microsoft the Standard and Bury ODF

Posted in Deception, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 5:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another step in the long struggle to cast proprietary as ‘open’, especially when it comes to Microsoft’s last remaining cash cow and Facebook’s core business of mass surveillance

Openwashing has been a key ingredient of Microsoft’s strategy as of late, pretending that its privacy violations and patent racketeering are somehow outweighted by some kind of goodwill. This is something that not only Microsoft does but also the (partly) Microsoft-owned Facebook is doing quite a lot these days. It is truly disturbing.

Angus Kidman said that “Open [sic] XML is the format which Microsoft Office has used to store Office documents since Office 2007″ even though it is untrue. Almost nobody used it at the time, so Microsoft bribed and corrupted so many people and organisations, hoping to universally impose OOXML on people, pretending it was “open” even though it was all about proprietary Office. Nobody was going to use something so unnecessary, so Microsoft bribed many people for this, including large companies, as compatibility with existing formats had improved and the goalposts needed to be moved. Here is LibreOffice’s Meeks, who was surrendering to Microsoft’s proprietary OOXML rather than adhering to standards like ODF, probably because he was paid by Novell at the time (and Novell was bribed by Microsoft specifically — as per the contractual agreement — to promote and openwash OOXML).

“When the press is trying to insinuate that Microsoft (Office) and Facebook are open there is clearly something wrong with the press.”So once again they are using “Open Source” to promote proprietary lock-in. This is not a novel concept, Microsoft did this with Novell (converter). Phoronix says: “This work may benefit some open-source document editors / office suite software, with more commentary being available from Michael Meeks’ blog.”

How is being reliant on OOXML beneficial to anyone but Microsoft shareholders? This is a trap. We need to reject this format. Google too should stop its unhelpful backing of OOXML, which is getting more detrimental by the day (more of it in the company’s latest event was disclosed, affirming Google’s lack of commitement to document standards).

As noted by some bloggers and writers for the European Commission’s Web site: “To ensure preservation of digital assets, it is essential that specific file formats are implementable in open source software, concludes Björn Lundell, associate professor at the University of Skövde in Sweden. He recommends this should be made a requirement for digital asset strategies of public administrations, thus minimising the risk of losing control over these assets.”

Well, there are patents in OOXML and complexity which shows that it’s really just designed around one implementation in a proprietary form (Office). OOXML should be rejected, especially in the public sector. There is nothing open about it. It’s a massive lie.

Nicholas Miller from VentureBeat and others play a role in a similarly-disturbing campaign that seeks to paint Facebook as “open”. With press release-oriented ‘journalists’ out there it has been quite easy. The Facebook openwashing that we recently wrote about is further promoted by pro-Facebook sites that use semantic jokes to get across this illusion.

When the press is trying to insinuate that Microsoft (Office) and Facebook are open there is clearly something wrong with the press. These are systematic and very persistent (especially this year) openwashing campaigns that everyone should push back against because these deceive and help derail real Free software.

Links 28/6/2014: New Wine, Steam Update

Posted in News Roundup at 4:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Platforms Fuel Startup Ecosystems

    Companies face an inherent tension between being open or proprietary, but we’ve seen, again and again, that open systems can act as catalysts for entirely new businesses built on top of a popular platform.

  • SF Parking App Warned By SF City Attorney Open-Sources Its Code

    Parking app Sweetch has open-sourced its code this morning in an effort to solve the parking crisis in San Francisco. The free, open-source project, called Freetch is open to any developer willing to work on solving parking problems for the city.

    City Attorney Dennis Herrera called out Sweetch and other parking apps earlier this week in a cease-and-desist letter it sent to MonkeyParking. The letter specifically warned Sweetch and ParkModo, both of which the city believes “…similarly violate local and state law with mobile app-enabled schemes intended to illegally monetize public parking spaces.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • How YARN Changed Hadoop Job Scheduling

      Scheduling means different things depending on the audience. To many in the business world, scheduling is synonymous with workflow management. Workflow management is the coordinated execution of a collection of scripts or programs for a business workflow with monitoring, logging and execution guarantees built in to a WYSIWYG editor. Tools like Platform Process Manager come to mind as an example. To others, scheduling is about process or network scheduling. In the distributed computing world, scheduling means job scheduling, or more correctly, workload management.

    • Dataguise Introduces Security, Compliance Suite for Big Data Governance
  • BSD

    • Testing LLVM Clang 3.5′s Code Generation Optimizations

      or those curious about the performance of LLVM Clang in its current development form when testing the common code generation options for optimizing the performance (and in some cases size) of the resulting binaries, here’s some fresh compiler benchmarks.

      Just as some extra benchmarks for the weekend while finishing out the month, I ran some new benchmarks comparing common optimization levels for LLVM/Clang with the latest 3.5 development code as of earlier this month. The configurations tested for this article included.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

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