05.11.15

Microsoft Windows and Desktops Are Not Dominant Anymore, GNU/Linux is Growing

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Vista 7, Vista 8, Windows at 4:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft cannot compete with zero-cost Free/libre software anymore

Free

Summary: Microsoft is failing to convince people to ‘upgrade’ Windows, whereupon business models are being altered and migration to Linux-based platforms (like Android) continues uninterrupted

WHILE Microsoft-connected media like the BBC persists with Microsoft propaganda like this nonsense or this one puff piece (a couple among several articles we found, all singing along the lines of Vista 10 being the last version of Windows), it is becoming abundantly clear that the era of Windows is ending. People refuse to adopt the latest versions of Windows, so now comes spin like this: “Reiterating the company’s “Windows as a service” philosophy, Nixon said the firm is planning no new OS version launches in the future. “Right now we’re releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we’re all still working on Windows 10,” he added.”

The name Nixon is just so perfect here. Trust Nixon.

Vista 8 was so bad (worse than ME and Vista in terms of adoption) that only a fool would think Vista 10 can change that. Remember that hype/PR ahead of Vista 8; it’s all promises and bribed-for reviews. Several years after Vista 8 came out there is still a rush towards an operating system more than half a decade old (Vista 7) or some variants of GNU/Linux. The largest branches of the British government are still struggling with a 14-year-old version of Windows and refuse to move on with the upgrade treadmill. See this new report which says: “UK government departments still running Windows XP are now doing so entirely on their own. A framework support agreement between the Crown and Microsoft guaranteeing the release of special security patches for PCs still on Windows XP has ended after one year. That deal – revealed here – expired on April 14 and it’s been decided it will not be rolled into a second year, Microsoft has told The Reg.”

For Microsoft it has become impossible to charge for Windows and expect to gain at the expense of GNU/Linux, Android, etc. Now, as Pogson put it, they need to compete on price. “No longer will the price be hidden,” he wrote. “Consumers who can do the maths will seek alternatives if for no other reason than comparison shopping. GNU/Linux will prevail because there’s no OS out there that gives as great a service for $0 as GNU/Linux. Amen.”

The “PC” is dying based on figures that are derived from sales and Google, whose flagship platform (Android) now commands the lion’s share of the mobile market, says that mobile search tops desktop “Google says that more people now use Google Search on mobile devices than they do on desktops,” to quote just one report. The delusion that Windows will always be around and be used by a majority is a sort of paid propaganda Microsoft still relies on.

Biased Media (and Microsoft-Connected Media) Makes GNU/Linux Security Advantages Unknown

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security at 3:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Summary: How the corporate media, especially that which is connected to Microsoft, fallaciously frames Windows issues as universal issues and lays blame on GNU/Linux where Windows is affected

Our previous post, which talks about OOXML being insecure [via], was a reminder that Microsoft is inherently insecure, usually by design (for surveillance/espionage purposes, among other reasons). Today we would like to show some gross media bias which deliberately fails to highlight Microsoft’s uniqueness when it comes to poor security.

First of all, the Microsoft-occupied BBC is a disgrace. The BBC got very badly stuffed/filled (at management level) with Microsoft UK staff. It happened several years ago. Examples were covered here before. In an article titled “Self-destructing virus kills off PCs” they completely fail to mention that it’s just Windows. Microsoft and Windows are mentioned only in context that promotes them, but not otherwise. “Restoring a PC with its MBR deleted involves reinstalling Windows,” says one paragraph in the middle, “which could mean important data is lost.” Would the article bear the same headline if the virus targeted Android? It’s just so vague. “PC” just means “Windows” now. The BBC seems to serve as a Microsoft advertising platform, there is no pretence of objectivity at all. If the BBC’s language was reversed, it would announce “new version of PC” and “Windows malware destruction of Microsoft Windows” (to amend the aforementioned headline). The BBC has a newspeak name for Microsoft Windows when there’s bad news: “PC”. But it’s called “Windows” (or Vista 10/Windows 10) when there’s good news. How convenient.

Zack Whittaker from Microsoft (formerly working for Microsoft UK) writes about the latest Lenovo back door, neglecting to say that it affects only those who use Microsoft Windows (like previous Lenovo back doors). How convenient an omission.

Last but not least, take a look at this rebuttal to articles from IDG and the highly biased Dan Goodin (among few others whom we cited here the other day). Anti-Linux circles framed general-purpose threat to computers as a “Linux” thing. What a bogus claim that was! “Stealthy Linux GPU malware can also hide in Windows PCs, maybe Macs,” says the latest headline. The author says quite correctly: “Most news stories last week about Jellyfish focused on the Linux aspect, leading some to believe that Windows or Mac PCs can’t be affected by such threats. It now seems that Team Jellyfish is bent on disproving that.”

So once again GNU/Linux is receiving bad press (perception of insecurity) despite it being just a scapegoat in an attack that is hardware-based. We covered very similar examples in recent months.

The media is just so biased against Free software. Bias by omission and scapegoating is a longstanding issue that led to the “call out Windows” campaign. It’s not acceptable that Microsoft receives special treatment.

Europe is Saying Goodbye to Microsoft, Moves to ODF

Posted in Europe, Office Suites at 3:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: OpenDocument Format, or ODF as it’s commonly referred to, is spreading quickly throughout Europe after Microsoft failed to kill in in Britain last year

France, like the UK and parts of Germany, is joining the ODF revolution, making the European Union a lot more standards- and Free software-oriented. Germany, in the mean time, attacks OOXML on the basis of poor security. As a European Commission site put it the other day: “Using the proprietary OOXML document format, i.e. docx, pptx and xlsx, makes you more vulnerable to phishing and other attacks. Earlier this month, the Japanese anti-virus company Trend Micro published a blog post describing how the attack group “Operation Pawn Storm” uses spear-phishing mail messages with malicious Office documents to target the military, governments, defense industries and the media.

“Four years ago, Thomas Caspers and Oliver Zendel from the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) already presented research results stating that most spear-phishing attacks targeting specific persons or a small group of victims are using “launch actions” in Office and PDF documents to have their malicious code executed.”

We have written nearly a thousand articles about document formats and security aspects too have been covered. Now that France is moving to ODF, joining the UK and some parts of Germany, it it definitely worth revisiting this debate (more on security in our next post). Microsoft attacked ODF in Europe as recently as last year because the EU is gradually removing format lock-in (gateway to Free software), essentially saying bye-bye to Microsoft dependency. Without restrictions on choice — or contrariwise — if people are left to make rational choices, Microsoft will soon be history.

In the words of Gregg Keizer, “Office 365 customers pay Microsoft up to 80% more over long haul”, so the ‘cloud’ nonsense too (giving Microsoft one’s files, not just using Microsoft’s proprietary formats) is a big and expensive mistake, especially where taxpayers foot the bill. Microsoft is making money from corruptible officials or fools who deem Microsoft essential “and lose custody of their own data,” as iophk put it in an E-mail to us.

Prepare Microsoft to increasingly openwash itself, pretending that OOXML is “open”, Office is “open”, Windows is “open”, and so on.

Links 11/5/2015: Linux 4.1 RC3, OpenELEC 6.0 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 2:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom firms join MIPS open-source push

    Qualcomm Atheros, Lantiq (part of Intel) and Broadcom have appointed representatives to the board of the Prpl (‘purple’) Foundation, organisation set-up by Imagination Technologies to support open-source software on the MIPS architecture.

  • Events

    • OSCAL Open Source Conference Albania – DAY 1

      Held in Tirana and with attention on gathering free libre open source technology users, developers, academics, governmental agencies and people who share the same idea. Oscal aimed to inform and promote that software should be free and open for the local community and governments to develop and customize to its needs; that knowledge is a communal property and free and open to everyone. The conference is supported and organized by Open Labs, the community that promotes free libre open source culture in Albania since 2012.

    • User stories at Summit and more OpenStack news
  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Big data challenges? Look at your people, not your technology

      As anyone pursuing a big data initiative knows, every big data strategy really has two components: the technology and the people. The technology part is actually very simple to solve, relative to the people. As long as you’re not trying to crack big data problems with relational database technology from 2004, this piece of the equation shouldn’t be a big scary beast.

    • Pivotal rolls out Hadoop distro update, new query optimizer

      Just a few months ago, Pivotal announced that it would open source its entire big data stack: the Pivotal HD distribution, Pivotal Greenplum Database, Pivotal GemFire real-time distributed data store, Pivotal SQLFire (a SQL layer for the real-time distributed data store), Pivotal GemFire XD (in-memory SQL over HDFS) and the Pivotal HAWQ parallel query engine over HDFS. These updates, says Michael Cucchi, senior director of Outbound Product at Pivotal, underscore Pivotal’s continued commitment to supporting that open source strategy.

  • CMS

  • Education

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open source, beyond technology

      Here at Opensource.com, the staff, community moderators, and contributors strive to show how the ideas underpinning open source go beyond technology and apply to all aspects of life and society. Imagine organizing a conference around that idea.

    • Open Hardware

      • What if a robot can sense what you think

        Surrounded by small yet sturdy pieces of 3D-printed plastic, a Macintosh and a couple of 3D-printers, sits 22-year-old Diwakar Vaish at New Delhi-based A-SET Training & Research Institute’s robotics lab watching a robot move its mechanical joints to groovy songs from old Bollywood movies. Vaish, who has a faint smile playing along his lips while watching the show, has jolted the robotics sector with his new first ever 3D-printed humanoid robot.

      • Hackaday Prize Entry: Open Source Diesel

        But what about the motors themselves? For his entry to The Hackaday Prize, [Shane] is designing an open source engine. It’s small, it’s a two-stroke, and it’s diesel, but it’s completely open hardware; a great enabling project for all the open source dirt bikes and microcombines.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Khronos Group Releases Final SYCL 1.2 Specification

      The Khronos Group today announced the official release of the SYCL 1.2 specification. SYCL is the Khronos Group’s single-source heterogeneous programming language that serves as an abstraction layer for utilizing OpenCL while writing standard C++ code.

Leftovers

  • Google killing PageSpeed website service
  • Hardware

  • Security

    • Top OpenStack Security Dev from Nebula Didn’t go to Oracle, He Went to Netflix

      Lots of chatter in my news feeds the last few days about Oracle allegedly hiring most of Nebula’s OpenStack devs. Trouble is it’s not entirely accurate.

      [...]

      I can’t speak to the rest of Nebula staff, and no doubt some of them have landed at Oracle – but not all.

    • The Internet of Things to take a beating in DefCon hacking contest

      Hackers will put Internet-connected embedded devices to the test at the DefCon 23 security conference in August. Judging by the results of previous Internet-of-Things security reviews, prepare for flaws galore.

    • The Increasing Problem Of FOSS Mailing List Flooding Attacks

      Recently, I have received a large amount of subscription confirmation emails. These mails are from public mailing lists, especially lists of Free and Open Source Projects, included but not limited to OpenBSD, FreeBSD, GNU Project, Ubuntu, CentOS, and Qt. The “subscribers” are from multiple IP addresses. After I shared my experience to social networks, I have found more than 10 victims of the same attack, included a famous Chinese tech-blog writer. One of us received more than 10k email for 24 hours. Some of our emails have already stopped operating and refusing all new incoming emails.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Killing of Osama bin Laden

      A worrying factor at this early point, according to the retired official, was Saudi Arabia, which had been financing bin Laden’s upkeep since his seizure by the Pakistanis. ‘The Saudis didn’t want bin Laden’s presence revealed to us because he was a Saudi, and so they told the Pakistanis to keep him out of the picture. The Saudis feared if we knew we would pressure the Pakistanis to let bin Laden start talking to us about what the Saudis had been doing with al-Qaida. And they were dropping money – lots of it. The Pakistanis, in turn, were concerned that the Saudis might spill the beans about their control of bin Laden. The fear was that if the US found out about bin Laden from Riyadh, all hell would break out. The Americans learning about bin Laden’s imprisonment from a walk-in was not the worst thing.’

  • Censorship

    • The left has Islam all wrong: Bill Maher, Pamela Geller and the reality progressives must face

      Whatever her views on other matters are, Pamela Geller is right about one thing: last week’s Islamist assault on the “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest she hosted in Texas proves the jihad against freedom of expression has opened a front in the United States. “There is,” she said, “a war on free speech and this violent attack is a harbinger of things to come.” Apparently undaunted, Geller promises to continue with such “freedom of speech” events. ISIS is now threatening to assassinate her. She and her cohorts came close to becoming victims, yet some in the media on the right and the center-right have essentially blamed her for the gunmen’s attack, just as far too many, last January, surreptitiously pardoned the Kouachi brothers and, with consummate perfidy to human decency, inculpated the satirical cartoonists they slaughtered, saying “Charlie Hebdo asked for it.”

  • Privacy

    • Snoopers’ charter set to return to law as Theresa May suggests Conservative majority could lead to huge increase in surveillance powers

      The Conservatives are already planning to introduce the huge surveillance powers known as the Snoopers’ Charter, hoping that the removal from government of the Liberal Democrats that previously blocked the controversial law will allow it to go through.

      The law, officially known as the Draft Communications Data Bill, is already back on the agenda according to Theresa May. It is expected to force British internet service providers to keep huge amounts of data on their customers, and to make that information available to the government and security services.

    • US reviews use of cellphone spying technology

      Faced with criticism from lawmakers and civil rights groups, the U.S. Department of Justice has begun a review of the secretive use of cellphone surveillance technology that mimics cellphone towers, and will get more open on its use, according to a newspaper report.

    • 7 reasons why the feds shouldn’t mess with encryption

      Information security professionals were overwhelmingly opposed to a plea to rethink encryption by the Department of Homeland Security at last week’s RSA conference.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • You Can’t Defend Public Libraries and Oppose File-Sharing

        Public libraries started appearing in the mid-1800s. At the time, publishers went absolutely berserk: they had been lobbying for the lending of books to become illegal, as reading a book without paying anything first was “stealing”, they argued. As a consequence, they considered private libraries at the time to be hotbeds of crime and robbery. (Those libraries were so-called “subscription libraries”, so they were argued to be for-profit, too.)

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