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10.21.14

Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

Posted in News Roundup at 5:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Contribute to an Enterprise Open Source Project?

    It would be difficult to find a better example of the former scenario than the OpenDaylight project. With a focus on software-defined networking and network functions virtualization, OpenDaylight launched in April 2013 as a collaborative open source project hosted by The Linux Foundation. Since then, it’s taken off like a rocket.

  • Events

    • Asia’s Largest Convention on Open Source is Back

      The much-awaited convention on open source technology, Open Source India, fondly known as OSI Days, is back and registration for passes has begun. The 11th edition of Open Source India will be held at the NIMHANS Convention Center, Bengaluru from 7th to 8th November, 2014.

    • A Seat at the Big Kids’ Table at Ohio LinuxFest

      Ohio LinuxFest isn’t just another excuse to travel. It’s a means for us to fulfill ourselves, and to get honest, tangible feedback for what we do and for what others are doing. It’s a place where ideas are sounded, bent, crumpled and turned until they either come out of the crucible perfect…or useless.

      That’s what our gatherings are about.

      They are about excitement and promise. They​ are about making sure the next generation has a real chance to put the first human footprint on Mars. They are a chance to insure they have the tools and the curiosity to take something apart and then make it better. This next generation will cure diabetes; they will make cancer an inconvenience and not a death sentence.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Juno is out, Debian (and Ubuntu Trusty ports) packages ready

      This is just a quick announce: Debian packages for Juno are out. In fact, they were ready the day of the release, on the 16th of October. I uploaded it all (to Experimental) the same day, literally a few hours after the final released was git tagged. But I had no time to announce it.

    • How OpenStack powers the research at CERN

      OpenStack has been in a production environment at CERN for more than a year. One of the people that has been key to implementing the OpenStack infrastructure is Tim Bell. He is responsible for the CERN IT Operating Systems and Infrastructure group which provides a set of services to CERN users from email, web, operating systems, and the Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud based on OpenStack.

    • Creating scalable, intelligent storage solutions with OpenStack

      Managing complexity and the sheer volume of storage requirements within the corporate environment today is one of the greatest challenges facing IT departments. The growth of business data and the insatiable demand for storage has been a catalyst for developing a new approach to enterprise storage in the cloud.

  • Funding

    • Mirantis Pulls Down Huge $100 Million Funding for OpenStack Efforts

      Mirantis, which has steadily remained a nimble player in the OpenStack cloud computing arena, has just nailed down a massive $100 million Series B funding round led by Insight Venture Partners. The financing is being billed as the largest Series B open source investment in history.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open source baby robots – a moonshot project

      In his TEDx Talk Fabricating open-source baby robots, Oudeyer explains that scientists also use fabrication to build new knowledge of the world around us. Scientists build large scale aquariums to understand ocean behavior and construct large computer simulations to understand spiral galaxies.

    • Democracy And FLOSS

      How can you have transparency with non-Free software running the system when you can’t see the code? How can there be accountability with non-Free software when you can’t see the code? These things are about more than source code, but to really start being accountable and transparent, the code has to be trusted by everyone. Only opening the code can do that. Free Software is also about the rights of the user of the software. Non-Free software always restricts what a user can do with his own hardware and how a user uses the software on his hardware and the information therein. FLOSS acknowledges the ownership of the hardware and data. For real democracy, governments and citizens should use Free Software, FLOSS, Free/Libre Open Source Software. Nothing else will do.

    • Open Access/Content

      • 5 open access journals for open source enthusiasts

        The ever rising cost of academic journals is a major burden for researchers. Academic libraries cannot always keep up with increases in subscription fees causing libraries to drop journals from their collection. This makes it harder for students and professors to quickly and easily access the information they need. Inter-library loan requests are an option but they do take time. Even if it only takes a few days to fill an inter-library loan request, that is still time wasted for a researcher that has a deadline. While there is no single, quick fix to the problem with the academic journal prices, there is a movement applying the open source way to academic research in an attempt to solve the problem—the open access movement.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Facebook’s Hack Language Making Progress To Advance PHP

      Earlier this year Facebook launched the Hack language powered by their HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM) and being based off PHP. Good progress is being made on enhancing the language with interest in the project continuing to grow inside and outside of Facebook.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Malayalam opentype specification – part 1

      This post is a promised followup from last November documenting intricacies of opentype specification for Indic languages, specifically for Malayalam. There is an initiative to document similar details in the IndicFontbook, this series might make its way into it. You need a Malayalam unicode font supporting traditional orthography to correctly display most of the examples described in this article, some can be obtained from here.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • Mac Mini receives lower repair score than 2012 model after iFixit teardown

      THE IFIXIT TECHNICIANS have torn open the 2012 Apple Mac Mini and given it a lower repairability score than the previous generation of just six out of 10.

      The 2012 Mac Mini was awarded eight out of 10 by the iFixit handymen, but the updated model received two fewer points because the machine cannot have its RAM upgraded as the unit is soldered fast to the logic board inside.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • When ‘Washington Is Broken’ Isn’t the Story

      There’s no real reason to think that the US Surgeon General could do much to calm people’s irrational fears about Ebola. Nonetheless, the wall-to-wall coverage of Ebola on TV news has served as a reminder that the country does not currently have one, thanks to so-far successful efforts to block the nomination of Vivek Murthy. But explaining his nomination as a problem of “Washington dysfunction” misses the point.

  • Security

  • Finance

    • Athens v Munich: why homelessness hits rich cities as hard as poor ones

      In Athens, it’s caused by an economy in crisis; in Munich, by an economy that’s booming. The result, though, is the same – a worsening homeless problem that doesn’t reflect a city’s wealth

      [...]

      Through seven years of deep recession, Greece’s GDP has sunk by a quarter. The official unemployment rate here is 27%, including 52% of under-25s. That means some 180,000 (probably many more) of Athens’ 670,000 residents – and maybe more than 1 million of the 4 million-odd people who live in the greater Athens urban area – are now without work.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Spending for ALEC Member Tillis Breaks All Records in NC Senate Race

      The Koch brothers’ new Super PAC, Freedom Partners Action Fund (FPAF) — launched this summer — has announced a huge new seven-figure ad buy attacking Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC). The ad buy makes the North Carolina Senate race between Hagan and Republican state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis all-time number one in outside spending, at $55.7 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).

      Spending is on track to surpass $100 million, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Nearly $8 million was spent there (in party and non-party independent spending) just in the last week, according to the Campaign Finance Institute.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • How Edward Snowden Changed Journalism

      “Citizenfour,” the new documentary about Edward Snowden, by Laura Poitras, is, among other things, a work of journalism about journalism. It opens with quotations from correspondence between Poitras and a new source who identifies himself only as Citizenfour. This source turns out to be Snowden. Soon, Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, at the time a columnist for the Guardian, travel to Hong Kong to meet Snowden in a hotel room.

    • Apple May Want To Protect Your Phone Data From Snooping, But It’s Snarfing Up Your Local Desktop Searches

      So, Apple got plenty of kudos from security and privacy folks in deciding to encrypt mobile phone data, but over on the desktop side, apparently the message hasn’t quite gotten through. Instead, it appears that the latest Mac operation system has the company automatically sending all of your desktop searches back to Apple. These aren’t internet searches, but just what you’re searching for locally.

    • Apple’s Mac computers can automatically collect your location information

      Apple has begun automatically collecting the locations of users and the queries they type when searching for files with the newest Mac operating system, a function that has provoked backlash for a company that portrays itself as a leader on privacy.

    • Australian spookhaus busted for warrantless tap of own phones

      Australia’s Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (AIGIS) has found that the nation’s Australian Security and Intelligence Agency (ASIO) spied on itself in contravention of local laws.

    • FBI Wants To Know If Applicants Have Been Downloading Unauthorized Content

      Earlier this year, FBI Director James Comey suggested that the FBI might consider backing off its policy of refusing to hire anyone who has used marijuana in order to find competent computer folks who can deal with online crimes. After some backlash (and some support) for those statements, Comey quickly backed down, claiming it was all just a joke.

    • Everybody Knows FBI Director James Comey Is Wrong About Encryption, Even The FBI

      FBI Director James Comey is apparently a likable guy, but if he’s going to attack encryption, it might help if he actually understood it better than, say, the editorial board of the Washington Post, who recently argued against “backdoors” in technology, and for a magical “golden key” — as if the two were somehow different. We wrote a quick take on Comey’s Brooking’s talk last week, but the deeper you dive into his talk the more and more evident it is that he not only doesn’t quite understand the issues he’s talking about, but that he doesn’t even seem to understand when his own statements conflict with each other.

    • FBI Director Continues His Attack On Technology, Privacy And Encryption
    • New Zealand Police Raid Home Of Reporter Who Embarrassed Gov’t Officials & Was Working On Snowden Documents

      Over at The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher note that Hager was also working with them on some Snowden documents as they concerned what was happening in New Zealand. As you may recall, right before the election, Greenwald had used some Snowden documents to show that Prime Minister Key had lied about mass surveillance — leading Key to petulantly lash out with ad hominems at Greenwald, referring to him as a “loser.” Greenwald made it clear that they would likely be revealing more about New Zealand’s activities — and now wonders if that might be another reason why Hager was raided, once the government figured out who Greenwald was working with.

    • Police in Washington, DC Are Using the Secretive ‘Stingray’ Cell Phone Tracking Tool

      Back in 2003, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Washington, DC was awarded a $260,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to purchase surveillance technology called Stingray — a contraption the size of a suitcase that simulates a cell phone tower and intercepts mobile phone calls and text messages.

    • Chinese government launches man-in-middle attack against iCloud

      GreatFire.org, a group that monitors censorship by the Chinese government’s national firewall system (often referred to as the “Great Firewall”), reports that China is using the system as part of a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack on users of Apple’s iCloud service within the country. The attacks come as Apple begins the official rollout of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on the Chinese mainland.

    • Who’s Lying About Whisper?

      The denials are strong, but 1 & 2 above can’t both be true. That means someone is lying, and based on what I’ve seen so far, and looking at who has what incentives, that someone is Whisper.

      The additional information about Whisper working with the Department of Defense, and likely the Chinese government, are also huge stories on their own.

    • RT interview about GCHQ

      Here is my recent inter­view on RT dis­cuss­ing the UK listen­ing post, GCHQ, its pros­ti­tu­tion to America’s NSA, and the fail­ure of oversight…

  • Civil Rights

    • FF Launches Updated Know Your Rights Guide

      If the police come knocking at your door, the constitution offers you some protection. But the constitution is just a piece of paper—if you don’t know how to assert your rights. And even if you do assert your rights…what happens next? That answer may seem complicated, but protecting yourself is simple if you know your rights.

    • Know Your Rights
    • Police Officer Blames Everyone Else But Police Officers For The Public’s General Distrust Of Law Enforcement

      The cop who always laid a few extra licks on an “uncooperative” arrestee still does so… only there’s a good chance the punches/baton swings/taser bursts have been captured on “tape.” The cop who always performed a little extracurricular searching during routine traffic stops continues to do so… only now he’s being served with civil rights lawsuits and the dashcam recording of his illegal efforts is splashed all over the news thanks to the plaintiff’s lawyer.

      If the public no longer implicitly trusts the police to be the “good guys,” the problem isn’t the public. It’s the cops who take money from citizens just because local laws say they can. It’s the multiple agencies who feel the only way to handle the drug problem is as violently as possible. It’s cops who shoot people’s pets, rather than allow the animals’ owners to restrain them. It’s officers who constantly “fear for their lives” endangering the lives of citizens around them with careless use of deadly force. This is what’s changed the public’s perception of law enforcement. Sure, some of it may be based on bad info and careless hyperbole, but a majority of the damage done to the reputation of law enforcement has been inflicted by the officers themselves.

    • Parents May Be Liable for What Their Kids Post on Facebook, Court Rules

      Parents can be held liable for what their kids post on Facebook , a Georgia appellate court ruled in a decision that lawyers said marked a legal precedent on the issue of parental responsibility over their children’s online activity.

      The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that the parents of a seventh-grade student may be negligent for failing to get their son to delete a fake Facebook profile that allegedly defamed a female classmate.

    • Dangerous Rulings: Georgia Court Says Parents May Be Liable For What Their Kids Post On Facebook
    • Cops Won’t Help You: 7 Things I Saw as a Real Slasher Victim

      Maksim Gelman, noted crack addict and man-about-town, flipped out in February of 2011 and stabbed his stepfather to death over an argument about a Lexus. During the next 28 hours he would fatally stab two more people (a woman he had a crush on and her mom), kill a fourth by running him down with a car, and wound several more innocent New Yorkers via random stabbings.

      [...]

      We still weren’t moving. The cops told me it was because there were other officers on the tracks so they’d had to cut the power. But, again, none of them came near me to render first aid. The only guy who did was a passenger named Alfred Douglas. He stuck his bare hand on the biggest wound, on my head, and staunched the bleeding. Eventually, somebody gave him napkins. I’m not sure how much those helped, but I am sure Alfred saved my life.

    • How to Drive a Colleague to His Grave and Sleep Easy at Night

      Walter Pincus, the Washington Post’s long-time CIA correspondent–he makes it clear to Grim that he doesn’t appreciate it when people refer to him as a “CIA stooge”–knows quite a bit more about drug-trafficking and Latin America, enough that he knows how to greet charges that CIA assets were running drugs–not with denial, but with a blithe shrug…

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Google Continues To Try To Appease Hollywood, Though It Is Unlikely To Ever Be Enough

        But, here’s the thing: as we said when Google first came out with this report, it will never be enough for the legacy guys in Hollywood. That’s because they incorrectly blame Google for their own inability to adapt to the changing market. They blame their diminishing revenue on Google, and even as Google makes it harder and harder to find unauthorized content, that revenue isn’t going to come back… so they’ll still blame Google. But Google was never the problem. The legacy entertainment industry and its political supporters will continue to point to search results that don’t exist and search terms that are never used as some sort of “proof” because that’s what they do. Rather than adapt, they really just want Google to do things for them. And for whatever reason, Google is doing more and more… and it’s unlikely to ever please the likes of James Murdoch, because Google “not doing things” was never the real problem.

Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Security at 1:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft Windows is a weapon of (cyber) war

Land mine

Summary: Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web

So Microsoft spreads its lies in the media again and one of the lies we hear too often is that Microsoft obeys the law and Free software is “hacking” (they mean cracking) and a tool of “pirates” or whatever the bogeyman du jour may be. Well, actually, the very opposite is true. Criminals use Microsoft Windows to bombard sites (as they have been doing against several of my Web sites — including Techrights — for well over a month now) and if justice was to be upheld, Microsoft Windows would be banned by ISPs. Microsoft is claiming that it is upholding the law but actually, in reality, it breaks the law; it is not even a veiled action. It’s very blatant and a serious violation of several laws. This is a valid claim at many levels and today we’ll assemble some relevant new evidence and patiently connect it. This post is relatively long, but it covers a lot of ground, so please bear with us and keep reading.

“With its bogus takedown requests, Microsoft has turned DMCA into more of a joke. It also shows how hostile Microsoft has become towards FOSS.”Chris Pirillo, a longtime proponent of Microsoft with deep links to the company (not just his MVP title), has just had a video censored by Microsoft. Yes, Microsoft has once again issued a bogus takedown request against Google, as it did before (repeatedly). Microsoft is a criminal company because here too there is illegal action being taken by Microsoft. These bogus takedown requests, as per DMCA, are clearly a violation of the law. Microsoft does not want to obey the law (it sees itself as above the law or exempt from the law), so law itself probably isn’t much of a deterrent. Here is a new report from Wired. It is titled “Microsoft Serves Takedown Notices to Videos Not Infringing on Anything” and it says:

Microsoft’s never-ending war on software piracy caused some collateral damage this week. The victims? A handful of prominent YouTube video bloggers.

The bloggers—including LockerGnome founder Chris Pirillo and FrugalTech host Bruce Naylor—took to Twitter on Tuesday, with the hashtag #Microstopped, to complain that they had received erroneous copyright infringement notices for videos that were often several years old. The notices were filed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the U.S. law that seeks to control access to copyrighted material on the net.

The funny thing here here is that Pirillo is the target. How many people without the ability to protest publicly and loudly had the same thing done to them by Microsoft? We may never know. Censorship of evidence of censorship (e.g. channel bans) and other circular scenarios often kick in and become cynically applicable.

Pirillo would not sue Microsoft for breaking the law in this case because he is in Microsoft’s pocket, but will Google finally use the law against Microsoft? Enough is enough. Microsoft has done this to Google for years!

Microsoft’s censorship does not quite stop here. There is another new story which speaks about how Github will deal with takedown requests from now on. Remember that Microsoft censors GitHub this way, essentially damaging FOSS projects by altogether purging them.

GitHub explains its policy change as follows: “The first change is that from now on we will give you an opportunity, whenever possible, to modify your code before we take it down. Previously, when we blocked access to a Git repository, we had to disable the entire repository. This doesn’t make sense when the complaint is only directed at one file (or a few lines of code) in the repository, and the repository owner is perfectly happy to fix the problem.”

Mike Masnick said, “kudos to Github and its lawyers for recognizing that sometimes you have to let in a little legal risk for the good of the overall community.”

With its bogus takedown requests, Microsoft has turned DMCA into more of a joke. It also shows how hostile Microsoft has become towards FOSS.

Another new report from Wired says that “Conficker remains, six years later, the most widespread infection on the internet.” This report is titled “How Microsoft Appointed Itself Sheriff of the Internet” and it explains how in the midst of Internet chaos, caused by Microsoft Windows having back doors, Microsoft just decided to hijack a huge portion of the Internet, breaking it altogether (a lot of UNIX/Linux-based systems affected, including millions of services being down for days). This was an unbelievable and probably unprecedented abuse by Microsoft. A judge got bamboozled and Microsoft fooled the press into distracting from its serious abuses against No-IP. There ought to have been a massive lawsuit. As the author Robert McMillan explains: “For the past 15 years, Durrer has worked as the CEO of a small internet service provider called No-IP. Based on Reno, Nevada, the 16-person company offers a special kind of Domain Name System service, or DNS, for consumers and small businesses, letting them reliably connect to computers whose IP addresses happen to change from time to time. It’s used by geeks obsessed with online security, fretful parents monitoring nanny cams in their toddler’s bedrooms, and retailers who want remote access to their cash registers. But it’s also used by criminals as a way of maintaining malicious networks of hacked computers across the internet, even if the cops try to bring them down.”

It was actually Microsoft that took them down. Microsoft is a criminal company and it used its own abuses as an excuse to break other people’s network. Here we are talking about the company that cannot even patch its systems to stop zombie PCs (with back doors that enabled them becoming zombies). Here again we have Microsoft failing to patch Windows and instead breaking it:

Microsoft has withdrawn an update released this past Tuesday due to user reports of system reboots after installation.

The update released as described in Microsoft Security Advisory 2949927 added SHA-2 hash algorithm signing and verification for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. It was one of three proactive security feature updates released on Tuesday in addition to the eight patches of Windows and Office.

Microsoft makes it impossible to close the latest back door which it already told the NSA about, so people with Windows on their PC will be unable to boot or simply stay ‘infected’ with the latest back door. It’s all binary, so there is nothing they can do; they can’t even apply their own patch. As another source put it: “Microsoft has pulled one of the updates from its most recent Patch Tuesday release and recommends anyone who downloaded the fix should uninstall it.

“The update added support for the SHA-2 signing and verification functionality to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 machines with the intent of improving security over the more vulnerable SHA-1 hashing algorithm.”

Microsoft Windows is simply unfit for use. Techrights, for example, has been under DDOS attack for over a month now. We know the offending machines. They all are Microsoft Windows PCs that got hijacked (from many different countries). The total number of IP addresses banned in the latest DDOS purge (so far today) is nearly 2,000. That’s a lot of Microsoft Windows zombies (with over 1200 IPs banned in just half a day). When will this operating system be banned by ISPs for facilitating DDOS attacks? How many Web sites can withstand attacks from so many zombies PCs and for how long? This is indirectly Microsoft’s fault, not just the attacker’s (the botmaster’s) fault because Windows does what it was designed to do; it has back doors. It can be commandeered remotely. This is clearly incompatible with the Internet.

Free software does not have such issues, but distributions that make their source code freely available to anyone can at least be checked for back doors, perhaps with the exception of binary Red Hat distributions like RHEL, which may have some back doors since around the start of the millennium, i.e. the same time Microsoft Windows got them (reportedly 1999), based on an IDG report and one from Beta News that said at the time: “It appears that Microsoft Windows is not the only operating system on the market that has a backdoor for those users who know the magic words. While Red Hat officials downplayed its seriousness, a team at Internet Security Systems, Inc. reports the security hole allows an intruder to access and modify files on systems running the most recent version of Red Hat Linux.”

Speaking of Red Hat, we are saddened to see it taking a stance of silence on the whole systemd issue. Red Hat is very much complicit in it, but it refuses to say anything. In fact, criticism of systemd is now being treated almost as taboo in Debian mailing lists because systemd‘s creator has shrewdly personified the issue and made it political, eliminating any chance to have truly technical debates about systemd. Personally, I worry the most about the number of bugs it would introduce, opening the door for exploitation. It replaces too many mature components. Microsoft’s propaganda network 1105 Media keeps spreading negative articles about FOSS because of such feuds (the systemd fued), so we don’t wish to feed this fire right here. Well, at least not right now.

Incidentally, also on the subject of security, here is a good new article titled “Enough! Stop hyping every new security threat” (especially against FOSS).

The author explains that “now it has reached a fever pitch, with proactive marketing of individual exploits with supercool names — Shellshock, Heartbleed, Sandworm — some of which even have logos.”

“Logos for malware,” he asks, “Really?” Microsoft partners did the logo work to help demonise FOSS and stir up a debate about FOSS security as a whole (because of one single bug!). There have hardly been any stories (i.e. evidence) that the Bash bug and OpenSSL bug resulted in some disaster or meltdown.

The bottom line is, proprietary software such as Windows has back doors and causes stormy weather on the Web (DDOS attacks). It’s Microsoft Windows that should be taken down as part of takedown requests, not innocent videos, whole networks (like No-IP) and FOSS code (GitHub) that Microsoft maliciously and deceivingly (against the law) calls offending and tries to take down.

Microsoft ‘Loving’ GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

True quotes from Microsoft below, click to read in full.

Microsoft dirty tactics

Summary: Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also “loves Linux”

THE CORPORATE media is not in the business of informing the public. To the mainstream media the public is not the client; corporate partners are the clients whereas audience (the public) is the product on sale. It was just so easy to be reminded of this trivial observation because Microsoft is a good example. It was so easy to see it since Monday morning when the media decided to herald all sorts of utterly absurd claims. But let’s go a little further back than 2 days and see just how Microsoft games the media and tries to fool the whole world, or merely to aggravate/rile up the opposition, which in itself can work magic, as long as journalists are willing to play along at risk to their reputation.

Earlier this month we wrote about the latest FOSS event that Microsoft had infiltrated, essentially stealing the show. The media only spoke about Microsoft; the event was supposed to be about something else. Days ago we also learned about Microsoft infiltrating All Things Open again, as it had done in previous years (we covered that at the time). Watch an eyewitness account from FOSS Force:

Actually, I enjoyed watching Microsoft’s spokesperson squirm while trying to make the case that “Microsoft is an open source company” before an audience that was politely not buying it. I also found it somewhat enlightening to watch an open core company show its true colors, revealing itself to be a proprietary firm merely riding the open source bandwagon. As for Oracle, developer level technical discussions on Java and MySQL can only be beneficial.

Microsoft will never get tired of lying; it probably aims for/targets low-hanging fruit, i.e. people who “want to believe” or Microsoft partners who really wish to think that Microsoft is now ethical. It’s a PR charade and it is utterly shameless. It’s a disservice to everyone except Microsoft; it’s an insult to truth.

Watch how Information Week, a Microsoft-friendly media site, smears FOSS these days and helps Microsoft’s EEE (Embrace, Extent, Distinguish) of Docker. This is utterly preposterous, but if repeated often enough it may end up fooling the gullible. This is perhaps the ultimate goal.

Around the same time we noticed Maria Deutscher writing this pro-Microsoft puff piece titled “Microsoft continues open source love affair with Apache Storm endorsement”. Here is the opening part:

Colorful Sonoran Desert StormMicrosoft Corp., the poster child of proprietary software, has developed a sudden appetite for open-source technologies. Barely three days after revealing plans to make future versions of Windows Server compatible with the Docker container engine, which currently only runs on Linux, the Redmond giant is rolling out support for Apache Storm for its Azure infrastructure-as-a-service platform.

No, Microsoft is trying to close down (or “contain”, to use the terminology of Docker) what’s open inside a closed/locked-down, proprietary environment with surveillance and back doors. That’s what’s happening. Non-technical journalists are easier to fool and they just blindly print whatever Microsoft says. Deutscher later wrote another pro-Microsoft puff piece. It is titled “Microsoft expands open source reach”, but lest we forget Steve Ballmer stating: “I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Windows is proprietary. Microsoft just loves power and money, it does not love FOSS and it never will. It’s an anathema to Microsoft. But one can always count on Microsoft boosters to support the narrative that Microsoft now “loves” FOSS and “loves” GNU/Linux, which Microsoft merely wants contained (to contain Linux, like a farmer contains sheep for the imminent slaughter).

Several shallow reports, including some from Microsoft boosters like Microsoft Peter and Jordan Novet in Redmond, actually stated that Microsoft “loves Linux”, presumably quoting the liar in chief, Mr. Nadella (more of his lies we will cover in a separate post another day). IDG went as far as posting the click bait “Microsoft (hearts) Linux” and “Microsoft now loves Linux.” This is not journalism; it’s entertainment. Some of these entertainment-type headlines came from Microsoft-friendly news sites which were previously paid by Microsoft. The corporate media has seemingly turned to fiction, satire, clickbait etc. and much of it is known to be tied to Microsoft itself.

“Microsoft has been steadily making adjustments to its processes and preferences to become more open,” wrote one person from Redmond, “and to move more quickly to support technologies that could be of interest to its many customers, even when they’re not Microsoft-built.”

That’s done in order to bring them to Microsoft and make them locked in and spied on, by Microsoft and its special partner the NSA. Here we have the corporate media distorting reality, portraying the company that is threatening, blackmailing, suing and slinging mud at Linux as “loving” Linux. There is not even much of a potent attempt to challenge these claims. It’s like an abusive husband explaining to a court that he beats up his wife because he loves her. Any decent person would interrupt such nonsense and wouldn’t just let it go unchallenged.

Speaking of massive failure by the corporate press, see this new garbage from Kate Bevan at the British bankers’ media (Financial Times), suggesting that Microsoft should hijack Android:

Here’s a blue-sky suggestion for Mr Nadella: sit down with Jeff Bezos at Amazon to develop a good fork of Android. Microsoft has a compelling services offering but an almost non-existent platform for these services, despite the quality of the Lumia handsets. Amazon has compelling content with its Prime video but seems unable to get consumers to buy its Fire devices.

For smaller providers, a Microsoft-Amazon-style joint venture would be a great way to become part of an ecosystem out of Google’s reach. I suspect consumers would find that attractive. How about it, Satya and Jeff?

How low can the Financial Times stoop? This is not journalism, it’s Microsoft jingoism disguised as analysis. Sadly, today’s corporate media is full of such nonsense and in the next post we will show how the press likes to demonise FOSS over security matters while totally ignoring the issues with proprietary software having back doors ‘baked in’.

India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called ‘Charity’ to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

Posted in Bill Gates, Courtroom, Microsoft, Patents at 9:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GlaxoSmithKline logo

Summary: Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not “charity”)

THE Gates Foundation is run and controlled by a rude and arrogant sociopath masquerading as a “philanthropist”. Based on the latest news [1, 2, 3], he doesn’t like his next-door neighbours in the US and does not obey the law (he is facing fines for it), so what chance is there that he will like some strangers in a place like Africa or India and and that he will ever obey African or Indian laws? He keeps getting richer every year, but much of the press (part of which he bribes) portrays him as a giver. Bribing politicians and newspapers is not “charity”, but when you pay the newspapers they might as well paint it as anything that suits them. Besides, it’s common to just call the “bribes” something like “campaign contributions” (among other euphemisms) to make it seem lawful, ethical, and acceptable.

Earlier this year a publication that had been bribed by Gates finally dared to criticise him for something. It mostly stopped doing that after he had bribed it, so this was the exception. But it was a flawed critique. It should already be broadly and widely understood that Gates uses ‘charity’ for tax-free investments in dubious work that requires, for example, high-risk clinical trials, casting it “charity”. Making it look like “charity” has the benefit of not having to operate like a standard business and be subjected to the same rules/laws. The Gates-bribed publication correctly pointed out that Gates was “boosting his fortune by another £9.6bn last year,” but it neglected to say he he avoids paying tax. Instead it focused on Microsoft and other companies. Here is a half-truth (or half lie): “Gates says he pays his personal taxes. Great.”

No, he doesn’t.

He puts it in a shell that helps him evade tax. A shame really that writers cannot see something so obvious…

The writer carries on: “But he made all that money from Microsoft which, like other tax-avoiding technology giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Google, uses sophisticated systems to shift paper profits around the planet and evade the designs of governments.”

This is another half-truth (or half lie). Gates actually makes a lot of his money not from Microsoft but from investment in very controversial companies that greatly harm society. We gave dozens of examples over the years.

The author continues: “Indeed, so extreme are its methods the company was used as a case study in a Senate investigation into US corporate tax avoidance, which found one example of offshoring profits through a tiny Puerto Rico office alone saved it $4m a day in taxes.”

What about the (mis)use of charity to evade tax? Well, a Gates-funded paper would not want to mention that. Here comes some shameless fawning: “Gates has every right to do what he wants with his wealth. It is to his credit he is giving away so much, persuading other billionaires to do the same and championing causes close to his heart – although as others have pointed out, even this is not immune to tax advantages. His determination to push vaccinations and prevent malaria is laudable. But if he wants to discuss development, preach about poverty and tell nations how to spend taxpayers’ money, he should put his own house in order first.”

What a complete hogwash. There are so many factual errors in this paragraph. It’s purely marketing garbage and those being lured to read the article are going to end up indoctrinated and brainwashed, as if Gates is some kind of “saint” and the “evils” are just some large corporations that people supposedly envy (and it should be noted that Gates remains deeply involved in the law-breaking Microsoft that’s as criminal an entity as ever before). Not only Microsoft dodges tax, Bill Gates does too. To make matters worse, he exploits poor people to make even more money whilst avoiding tax. Microsoft puts offshore billions of dollars to avoid tax and Gates dodges taxation by pretending that his business is a “charity”.

“The trial is years overdue and possible belated to the point where irreversible damage is done.”Just how much of a “charity” is the Gates Foundation? Well, today we’ll turn our attention to some recent news.

Some years ago we wrote about children dying in India after Gates had experimented on them. GlaxoSmitheKline was involved and remember that GlaxoSmitheKline is very much connected to Gates in numerous ways. Well, back in August in the corporate Indian media there was this article which said: “Earlier this month, taking a serious view of the death of seven tribal girls in the context of the observation studies, the Supreme Court asked the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to explain how permissions were given.

“The SC bench of justices Dipak Misra and V Gopala Gowda asked the Centre to produce relevant files that pertained to the grant of licence for trial of the HPV vaccine in India. The court also asked the Centre to appraise it of steps taken on the report of the parliamentary committee.”

Suffice to say, the Gates apologists are trying to paint this as the anti-vaccine movement with its claims of conspiracies to infect/sell. But the truth may be somewhere in between. What we saw in India was a clinical trial with low risk of litigation (for example in case a subject dies). As Andrew Powell from Wales pointed out in the comments: “‘A wise dog never poops on his own doorstep’. A man, known for his philanthropic and ethical character, finds it essential or preferable for his American company to guinea-pig his new drugs on people living on the other side of the world. What made him rule out testing it on Harvard Sophomores?”

This is like in the movie Constant Gardener, which is a very strong movie with a long-lasting impression to be left (based on my own experience and others’).

The corporate media us usually too shy to touch such a topic because of the anti-vaccine hysteria that’s often so irrational or taken out of context where concerns are more or less valid. Based on the article above, the “committee found that the objective behind the observation studies in India primarily was to collect and record data on the effect of the vaccines on the minor subjects.”

So, it was after all a clinical trial. Unbelievable. How can Gates and his corporate partners get away with it? The legal challenge/potential trial is years overdue and possibly belated to the point where irreversible damage is done. Here is what Activist Post wrote about this along with other sites like Natural Society:

Furthermore, though absent from most mainstream U.S. media outlets, the Economic Times of India published their report in August 2014, stating that young tribal girls were tested with HPV vaccines. This involved not a handful of children, but 16,000 individuals in Andhra Pradesh, India, where they were given the Gardasil vaccine.

KP Narayana Kumar reported that within a month of receiving the vaccine, many of the children fell ill, and by 2010, five of them had died. Another two children were reported to have died in Vadodara, Gujarat, where another 14,000 tribal children were vaccinated with another brand of the HPV vaccine, Cervarix, manufactured by GlaxoSmitheKline (GSK), who incidentally, has been accused of dumping polio virus into a Belgium river.

Consent forms to administer the HPV vaccine were ‘illegally’ signed by wardens form youth hostels, showing that the Gates’ prey on the indigent without parents. For those who had parents, most were illiterate, and the true potential dangers of the vaccines were not explained to them.

SAMA, an organization in India which promotes women’s health discovered this insidiousness, and reported it, but only now will Gates and his cronies have to answer for their misdeeds. Approximately 120 girls reported epileptic seizures, severe stomach cramps, headaches, and mood swings, of those who did not die. Other girls receiving the Gardasil vaccine have experienced infertility.

To truly understand what Gates is doing here one can rent the movie The Constant Gardener (2005). It is tough to watch, but there is an educational angle/value to it. This whole thing is despicable and it helps show that Gates is above the law, internationally. He sort of “harvests” the world’s poorest people in his ruthlessly capitalistic aspiration to enhance his political power and increase his wealth. Expect Gates to pull some political strings to pull out of this court ‘nuisance’. The rich are above the law when they can typically just pay their way out. Remember that Gates was arrested as a teenager and freed on bail because his father was very affluent; this was not the last time that Gates got out of trouble with the law just because he was wealthy. It’s a systemic problem and a relatively poor country like India is unlikely to be potent enough to convict Gates. It did, however, find Microsoft guilty for tax evasion. That was over half a decade ago.

The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

Posted in Law, Patents at 7:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: Patent trolls are in the news again and it’s rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past

THE relentless attempts to redefine “patent troll” — attempts which can be largely attributed to patent trolls themselves (and their lobbyists, such as Bill Gates’ and Nathan Myhrvold’s lobbyists) — were covered here in past years and we continue to see much of the same now that politicians are said to be going after “trolls” (an elusive ‘reform’ that will go almost nowhere). The remedy will most likely necessitate some kind of scope limitation; this scope should be a debate around patents, not the aggressor’s scope or scale. The world’s biggest trolls are often not characterised in the corporate press as “trolls” at all. It is a form of propaganda or a game of words that defames small players and glorifies larger players that engage in the very same behaviour.

As the troll-tracking Steph put it the other day, we cannot rely on politicians. “I’m on record many, many times agreeing that legislation is not the way to curb patent trolling,” she explained. “It’s right there in the name of the offender: “troll”. It may slow them down temporarily, but overall, anyone called a “troll” is going to come back swinging a few months or years later with a whole new set of workarounds. It’s impossible to stay fully head of them with laws.” Whereas by going after the patents themselves would help eliminate abuse, no matter if the abuser is as large as Microsoft or as small those many no-name trolls. Nathan Myhrvold (shown above) is already seeing his massive patent troll imploding (lots of layoffs) and litigation rates have gone down considerably just after the Alice ruling. It was about patent scope. According to those who pursue reform only targeting patent trolls, “It’s been reported in a few places that a recent Lex Machina report states that patent litigation is down 40% from last year. Of course, the patent trolls are trying to use these inaccurate reports to argue that the patent troll problem is essentially solved.”

This is untrue. The reality is, the Alice ruling seemingly weakened many of them. They were reliant on software patents, based on statistics acquired some years back. It shows that by pursuing changes around patent scope we can achieve many of the overall goals; it’s a domino effect.

In other interesting news, China is said to be turning into quite the hotbed of patent trolls and Glyn Moody writes: “The Chinese government’s move is part of a larger story that recapitulates America’s own evolution from a “pirate” nation that fuelled its industrial revolution by ignoring the law and appropriating Western Europe’s patented ideas, to one using the same legal instruments against European companies.”

Here we have yet another reason to narrow the scope of patents. Trolls are a symptom of a scope too broad and China can take advantage of it. Not only trolls are impeded by elimination of “abstract” patents (which include software patents); everything in the patent system (universally) is affected by that, irrespective of the size of the plaintiff.

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