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04.06.15

Microsoft is Still Openwashing Perfect Apparatuses for Back Doors: Common Carrier (Windows), ‘Cloud’, and Compiler

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Windows at 5:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Open gates for Trojan horses

Trojan horse

Summary: Propaganda campaigns from Microsoft deceive news sites into portraying Microsoft’s proprietary (and exceptionally privacy-infringing) software as “open”

MANY people seem to be upset — albeit not terribly surprised or shocked — that Microsoft tries to portray itself as an “Open Source” company while it continues to attack Open Source companies like no other technology company does. It is a provocative charm offensive that is very offensive and is perhaps designed to alienate by annoyance the strongest elements in the Free/Open Source software community, marginalising them by aggravation.

The other day we saw Mono in the news again. As we have shown before, it’s a Microsoft Trojan which is increasingly Microsoft-led (in the staff, investors and code sense) and this article says that it will adopt more Microsoft code and “Mono is no longer a popular project on the open-source community.”

Microsoft is trying to convince us that it is turning Open Source (only where it benefits the lock-in system, e.g. .NET); perhaps it is so ‘open’ that once again it censors (i.e. removes) code of other people from Github. See the new article titled “Microsoft Hits Halo Online Modders With Copyright Complaint”. They killed source code of other people. To quote, “Halo Online is an upcoming free-to-play version of Halo that will launch exclusively for players in Russia. However, following the leak of the game files a modding team developed its own ideas about who can access the game and when. Fighting back, Microsoft has just hit their Github project with a copyright complaint.”

Yes, Microsoft surely is a ‘champion’ of Open Source.

Phoronix, in the mean time, is going disappointingly soft on Microsoft again. Some proprietary software from Microsoft, which is only used to advance .NET, is promoted by Phoronix, amplifying the ‘open source’ lies in the process (Visual Studio is as proprietary as ever, as we last noted the other day). Microsoft is still trying to openwash this nasty piece of software, pretending that if developers carry water for Microsoft, then they are “open source” developers. Martin in our IRC channels called it what it is: “compiler built in backdoor strikes again” (citing Phoronix and taking into account Microsoft’s affinity for mass surveillance). Worth noting, as we only found out last night, is that Microsoft got off the hook in the antitrust days after an apparent bargain that had Judge Jackson replaced by one who would become a FISA judge (the NSA’s rubber-stamping pseudo-court), concurrent with Microsoft’s alleged introduction of back doors in Windows around 1999.

MinceR replies, “I thought that VS article was April Fool’s” (not given Phoronix record of being soft on Microsoft).

XFaCE quotes: “While many Phoronix readers likely want nothing to do with closed-source Microsoft software, there’s many Windows game developers and others out there who prefer the Visual Studio environment to most anything Linux has to offer in terms of a complete integrated development environment. Having VS on Linux would further lower the barrier for developers to port their software/games to Linux.”

“DRINK THE KOOLAID,” added XFaCE. MinceR explained: “I’ve used two versions of Visual Studio [VS] already, I don’t miss either of them and apparently since then they’ve even added ribbon to VS [so] I guess it was too usable. Who needs that vertical screen space? That’s the Microsoft way.”

“When widescreen monitors provide more horizontal space for controls, you naturally consume more vertical space,” XFaCE joked.

So what we have here is Microsoft trying to ‘sell’ to developers the idea of using a proprietary software IDE and proprietary compiler. They try to openwash it, pretending that it’s anything but proprietary.

There is an even more disturbing bit of propaganda in the news right now. By this point, several readers wrote to us about it. It fits a pattern. Maybe if “Windows” and “open source” land in enough headlines, then there will be enough dumb readers to be left with the impression that Windows — like GNU/Linux or BSD — is now “equally open” or something along these lines.

“Here’s [an] article that might interest you,” said one reader, linking to the first puff piece we saw (it started at the end of last week). The myth of “open source Windows” has since been floated by Microsoft-linked sites such as TechFlash and then went mainstream.

There are many provocative headlines like, “Microsoft plans to Open Source Windows Azure?”

Others basically falsely associated Windows as a whole with “Open Source”. We still see some of this brainwash today (in news feeds). When will the utter nonsense headlines about “Windows” and “Open Source” stop? One low-level exec (not C*O) speaks, then Microsoft’s PR machine goes wild and journalists swallow it quite so blindly.

Some people who have passed us links about this Windows “Open Source” bunk and “new Microsoft” are rightly upset. It started with a Condé Nast/Metz PR effort (there’s history there) and articles just keep coming as though there was actually news there. There’s none. It’s gossip, speculation, whitewashing, and lies.

Bobby Moss ‏explained that “it’s a pretty transparent effort by MSFT to ‘de-toxify’ the brand with developers who increasingly prefer cross-platform” and Cade Metz, a Microsoft and Bill Gates fan and booster, already groomed the messenger last year, so it seems more like a staged PR stunt about the person leading the Windows Azure team. This is more openwashing, trying to make something nasty look ‘open’ and the corporate media loves it, especially press that’s aligned with Microsoft (as an advertisers, partner, and so on). The amount of Vista 10 propaganda (PR disguised as news, e.g. ‘free’ Vista 10 00 an often repeated lie) isn’t as crude as these later attempt to openwash Windows as a whole.

The latest from Cade Metz can be found here for those who wish to see how propaganda starts. As our reader iophk put it: “I’m thinking that may be one of the goals of the propaganda. Microsoft wants the public not to think about other systems at all but if they must think about other systems then they want them to think that they are equivalent. Then they can push (falsely or not) the familiarity argument.”

Large networks — including some as big as CBS — can be seen citing Wired’s Microsoft booster to mislead their audience.

“Better to go with ReactOS, better still GNU/Linux,” iopkh wrote to us

Metz’s colleague (both receive paychecks from Condé Nast), who is another Microsoft booster, amplified the false signal (noise). Peter Bright, Microsoft’s top booster at Condé Nast, would of course be playing along with this openwashing of Windows. He never misses an opportunity. It pollutes the news with endless Microsoft propaganda.

“A good touchstone,” said a reader of sours, is “Microsoft providing a full NTFS driver for Linux.

“Anything less – people are just kidding themselves.”

If we are to believe the hype, “Mark Russinovich tells conference audience that it’s a “new Microsoft.”” Yes, a more vicious Microsoft, the one that wants to block Linux from booting on computers (or make it incredibly difficult). Let’s remind ourselves of UEFI‘s most recent scandals. Jack Wallen writes for Linux.com this month, stating: “This is where it all gets a bit frustrating. Microsoft has announced that, with Windows 10, they will no longer require manufacturers to include the ability to toggle off Secure Boot. This means PC vendors will have the power to further raise the hurdles for alternative operating systems to be installed. The official decision has not been handed down yet. Even if it does take effect, this will not cause problems with older systems. And even if it does become a reality, distributions such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Red Hat, and SUSE won’t have any issues as they are already using official digital keys to meet the UEFI requirements. For smaller distributions (created by developers who cannot afford to purchase the keys), this could be a big issue.”

Wallen concludes by saying that “UEFI proved to not be nearly the impossibility we thought it would present. But with Windows 10, impossibility could become a reality. How will you deal with purchasing new hardware should manufacturers start removing the ability to disable Secure Boot?”

Over at FOSS Force, Larry Cafiero writes: “Most recently, we have a report from PC World saying that as of the latest offering from Microsoft, Windows 10, hardware makers now have the green light to enable UEFI Secure Boot without giving you a manual kill switch, as they are required to do with Windows 8 systems.

“If that happens, forget about booting anything other than Microsoft-approved operating systems on these locked-down PCs. And while it remains to be seen whether hardware manufacturers lock down their hardware, history shows that manufacturers are generally at the beck and call of Redmond when shipping out their products. So with the exception of Canonical and Red Hat — both Ubuntu and Fedora have signed keys from Microsoft for their boot loaders — the rest of you who aren’t Ubunteros or Fedoristas could very well be out in the cold.”

That’s not so surprising when we accept that Microsoft just really hates Linux. See this series of article we published a fortnight ago:

The “open source” Windows nonsense was refuted here many times before . Microsoft wishes to confuse the public, especially decision-makers in suits. They’re usually not technical. As Bobby Moss wrote, “apparently Microsoft doesn’t mind open source, so long as it runs on their largely closed platform” (.NET, Windows, Azure, and so on).

What was disappointing to see is Phoronix (again) playing along with it. It paid lip service to a lot of Microsoft PR as of late and the Linux Foundation’s news site did so too, not just Microsoft-connected sites. Katherine Noyes mentioned it, but said that “Steve Ballmer called Linux “a cancer,” and Bill Gates shared similar views about the open-source philosophy in general.”

This is not really newsworthy, so it’s hard to see why it received so much coverage, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

Some dude from Microsoft said “open source” and “Microsoft” in same sentence after being asked (possibly staged), so the Microsoft media (PR) goes wild, openwashes Windows as a whole. We suspect it may have been a well-coordinated PR stunt, putting Windows and Open Source in the same headlines so as to pretend it’s already happening (as if it ever will). Microsoft has such a massive PR operation that merely having some high-level engineer say “open source” floods news feeds.

See how Microsoft propagandists like Todd Bishop and Mary Jo Foley helped spread more nonsense. Both have been making a career just sucking up to Microsoft. There’s is history there when it comes to Metz and Russinovich, who is being framed as some kind of a hero. Metz groomed him in the media last year.

The PR has gone further than claiming that Windows is “open source” and returned to the lie about gratis (free of charge) Windows. See for example this puff piece from Forbes, oddly titled “Microsoft To Give Away Windows? Madness Actually Makes Sense” [Ed Daniel’s pointer].

They are once trying to make Windows look gratis — an old lie we wrote about before. Here is what it’s based on: ““It’s definitely possible,” he said on a ChefCon panel hosted by Wired business editor Cade Metz. Following huge applause from the crowd Russinovich reiterated: “Like I said, it’s a new Microsoft.””

Cade Metz gave the platform to Microsoft PR, just as he did for Bill Gates in the recent past. The infamous “new Microsoft” myth is floated once again

In conclusion, we suspect what’s happening here is part of a broader campaign from Microsoft’s PR agencies to saturate the press with misleading claims, using so-called ‘journalists’ as tools of propaganda and hoping that some other people, such as bloggers, will be fooled into repeating the PR. It works. It oughtn’t work, but it does. And we need to put an end to it.

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