Summary: Shifting focus to the root problem, which is neither Lenovo nor its laptops but the non-free programs installed on hardware
WHEN it was revealed that governments had constructed Stuxnet to sabotage computers almost all reporters refused to call out Windows, despite Stuxnet being exclusive to Windows. The same is happening right now in relation to Superfish. We posted links to a lot of articles about it (see our daily links for about a dozen) and none of them bothered reporting the fact that only clients of Microsoft (the NSA’s ally) were affected. Having watched dozens of articles about it we can say that almost not a single article emphasised that it only affects Windows. Lenovo says it didn’t know about it and given the shadowy background of Superfish (its CEO came from the surveillance complex) it’s possible that Lenovo was tricked or bribed into installing this back door.
“Lenovo’s ThinkPads, which originally came from IBM, are famously GNU/Linux-friendly.”The CBS-owned ZDNet has Microsoft booster Mary Branscombe spinning that Superfish scandal to even imply that people should “love Windows”. Well, at least she points out that it’s a Windows issue, albeit that’s not her intention (she is just a Microsoft mouthpiece seeking to divert blame).
Robert Pogson responded to Branscombe by stating:
I recommend everyone switch to GNU/Linux. It’s easy. Demand your local retailers sell them. Shop online for a GNU/Linux PC. Heck, install it yourself. Heck, you can even get that other OS to start the process. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux, software that works for you, not some corporation with the morality of a snake. The beauty of it is that the licence you get with the downloads includes the right to examine, modify and distribute the software, so you can cut out all that third-party crapware, if there were any. Debian doesn’t bother attaching crapware to PCs it doesn’t sell…
It’s not just that. Windows, with or without crapware, has back doors. GNU/Linux hasn’t. Free software is essential for those who pursue real computer security, as opposed to so-called ‘national security’.
Here is the statement that the FSF has just made about it (hours ago):
Security experts have discovered a highly threatening vulnerability in software preinstalled on some Windows computers manufactured by Lenovo through January 2015. Extreme negligence on the part of Lenovo and unscrupulous programming by its adware partner Superfish seem to have caused the vulnerability.
The FSF does point out that it’s a “Windows computers” issue. Well, there is no such thing as “Windows computers”, as such computers can have Windows wiped and GNU/Linux installed instead. Lenovo’s ThinkPads, which originally came from IBM, are famously GNU/Linux-friendly. █
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Terrorising his own staff
Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) President, Benoît Battistelli, reportedly started threatening — as before — staff that decides to exercise the right to assemble and protest against abuses, including the abuses of President Battistelli himself
AS just about everyone in the EPO ought know by now, the British Consulate is about to find itself besieged by EPO staff (potentially thousands of staff) who will be there to protest an attack by non-scientists on the great scientists who work as examiners for the most part [1, 2]. These people are highly skilled (many have doctorate degrees and a long track record in their field), so they shouldn’t be taken for fools or radicals. Au contraire — these people can very easily recognise tyranny and injustice. They are eager to react to that even at personal cost or high risk. Greed does not motivate them to the degree that it motivates empty suits like Battistelli, who now surrounds himself in a crowd of bodyguards and other 'protection'/thugs (this so-called ‘security’ is costing taxpayers a lot of money and speaks volumes about paranoia or megalomania). Battistelli acts like a politician, not a manager. He leads by wielding fear and censorship, not charisma. It’s no wonder given his right-hand man. No wonder top staff is leaving over time. It is a long charade of embarrassments that only gets worse as time goes by, whilst managers get labeled “Putin” because they show arrogance and run a witch-hunt against staff, not vice versa.
“It is a long charade of embarrassments that only gets worse as time goes by, whilst managers get labeled “Putin” because they show arrogance and run a witch-hunt against staff, not vice versa.”According to some of these latest comments, Battistelli “had just issued a letter/threat to staff, directed at SUEPO Munich committee, that if there is a march to the British consulate next week, the organisers will be disciplined. So much for free speech. Is this his response to the Dutch court?”
This is a reference to the Dutch court's decision that we covered a couple of days ago. Quote from the message: “Those who take an active role in its organisation must know they ate infringing the standards of conduct expected from international civil servants. Should the planned demo actually take place, this would constitute a breach of the applicable legal framework and those concerned will be held liable for the beach of their obligations under the EPC and the Service Regulations.”
Actually, the rights of workers include the right to protest. In the face of tyranny, as in this case, protest is very much necessary. The rules imposed by Battistelli are seen as illegitimate at this stage. They’re designed to sustain his power, nothing else. It’s essential to demonstrate for justice and democracy — of which Battistelli is a sworn opponents, based on both actions and vain words.
“Well,” said one anonymous person, “I had been pondering whether or not to participate in the demonstration on 25 February, midday. BB [Benoît Battistelli] has just made up my mind for me: I’ll definitely be there to exercise my democratic rights (even in the unlikely event that I should be the only one there!)”
Another quote-worthy comment: “BB announces that any employee involved in organising a demonstration outside the UK Consulate in Munich will be “disciplined”. Do I see it right, that it is the act of organising that requires discipline (rather than the act of demonstrating)?
“I recall another regime that began its reign of discipline by going after union organisers. I wonder, how long is the AC going to continue to sit on its hands.”
Benoît Battistelli is digging himself deeper in the thin ice, to reuse a metaphor which was used the other day.
Battistelli has become a horrible pretender because only days ago, following the protest against an outpost of Denmark in Munich (targeting the AC, headed by Battistelli's mate) [1, 2, 3, 4], Battistelli published this in the EPO Web site:
Last week-end was marked by yet another tragic event in Europe as Denmark has been the victim of terrorist attacks in the centre of Copenhagen.
I am joined by the staff of the European Patent Office in expressing full solidarity with the Danish people. Europe is based on values among which freedom of expression and liberty are the most essential.
We must not be afraid, assume our responsibilities and stay united to reject these attempts against the basis of our plural society.
Well, what an unbelievable hypocrite, attacking free speech while claiming to defend it and squeezing terror attacks for his own spin.
“If 1000 staff members show up for that demonstration,” writes one person, “it will be very difficult to apply diciplinary [sic] actions. This situation is not sustainable, Examiners get on the baricades [sic] and walk for a more democratic organisation.”
Another person writes: “There must be a huge turnout at the GB consulate. As many staff, and Munich based attorneys, as possible. Strength in numbers. Enough with this authoritarian rubbish.”
Finally, said another person several hours ago: “I don’t live in Munich but this attempt to stop a fully democratic demonstration is so mind-bogglingly unacceptable that I think I shall take the day off and travel to Munich to be at the demo. Time for a strong signal, methinks.”
The more people attend to protest, the more trouble the tyrant will be in, not the staff. It’s collective strength. █
“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.
“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”
–Richard Stallman amid 2008 EPO protests
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