05.27.15

Microsoft’s Patent Allies LG and Sony Agree to Put Microsoft Inside Android

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Using blackmail and extortion to ‘bastardise’ Android

Rockstar Consortium

Summary: LG and Sony (of Rockstar Consortium) follow Samsung and Dell in Microsoft’s campaign to turn Android into ‘Microsoft Android’ using patents-induced pressure/leverage

THERE is an effort by Microsoft to hijack Android and turn it into a Microsoft platform. Cyanogen is a key Trojan horse in this effort (an embrace extend and extinguish manoeuvre by a Microsoft proxy), but then there are Microsoft-occupied companies like Dell and patent partners like Samsung (patent extortion and lawsuits played a role in this too) which agree to replace Android software with Microsoft spyware. Samsung is now thinking about a Windows-Android mix [1], having learned nothing from Nokia’s Microsoft-inflicted demise.

Venture Beat has this disturbing news. Having spent several years bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘patent deals’, Microsoft now starts bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘Microsoft deals’ (which relates to the former because the Taiwanese press says Microsoft offers patent concessions in exchange for installation/bundling of Microsoft spyware). This is extortion, plain and simple. It’s based on patent litigation threats and bribes. As Venture Beat puts it: “The news follows Microsoft’s announcement in March that it had gotten Samsung, Dell, and several regional hardware makers to sell Android devices packed with those same Microsoft apps.”

It’s just Microsoft’s patent ally LG and also Sony, which works together with Microsoft when it comes to patents (recall Rockstar). The rest are mostly obscure ‘partners’. “In total,” says the article, “Microsoft has now partnered with 31 global and local OEMs (11 in March and 20 today) to preinstall its apps onto Android devices throughout this year. Only time will tell if Microsoft’s apps end up actually being used more because of these deals.”

The number, 31, sure sounds high, but in reality, only a handful of these have got significant market share. Microsoft is exaggerating here. It’s marketing or even shameless propaganda. A small payment to some of these small companies (a bribe) would be sufficient towards artificial inflation of the number.

Microsoft, an NSA partner, hopes to turn Android into more of a spying platform than it already was, harvesting audio using Cortana, which Microsoft re-announces this week.

“Having spent several years bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘patent deals’, Microsoft now starts bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘Microsoft deals’ (which relates to the former because the Taiwanese press says Microsoft offers patent concessions in exchange for installation/bundling of Microsoft spyware).”Incidentally, Richard Stallman very recently warned about Android as well as Windows. They are both “malware” according to him. Well, one learns something new every day. This news site says Stallman created Linux, despite him making it quite clear that it all started with GNU [2] almost a decade earlier. Most sites got it right [3-8], responding to his original article (published in The Guardian a couple of days ago).

The article which dubs Stallman “Linux creator” says “Richard Stallman, known for his instrumental role in the creation of Linux, has written an opinion piece arguing that nearly any operating system you might use today can be considered malware, and that goes for popular mobile platforms as well as desktop operating systems.”

Later on it states: “The solution, he said, is to reject software and web services that snoop or track, to support the development of free software that doesn’t track the user, and to design legislation that would criminalize all of these new forms of “malware.””

Microsoft boosting sites don’t agree with Stallman but at least they give his views a mention [1, 2]. It is getting hard to ignore Google’s own privacy violations and even its patents on privacy-infringing things, such as this latest example from the news [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] (widely referred to as “creepy”). Nevertheless, giving Microsoft control of Android, especially using an obscene bunch of moves and criminal extortion, is not OK.

Microsoft is attacking Android from other angles too, including the FUD angle. A Microsoft-bribed firm, , which said Windows will have become dominant in mobile by 2015, bashes Android again. It also praises Windows. To quote IDG (parent company of IDC reporting on IDC without disclosure): “Windows Phone will remain at about 3.2% market share in 2015, shipping nearly 47 million phones, IDC said. Those numbers will increase to 5.4% in 2019, when Windows Phone will surpass 103 million smartphones shipped, IDC predicted.”

Well, there is a lie there about Windows Phone because it’s actually at around 2%, based on some respectable sources. Any predications of huge Windows growth from IDC were previously laughable and utterly wrong now that we look back. Perhaps it’s not surprising that IDC needs IDG (its parent company) to spread out such nonsensical propaganda.

Microsoft’s attacks on Android are becoming more gross by the day. Defending Android is not a case of defending Google but a matter of defending truth and opposing Microsoft’s criminality.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Samsung proposes an Android phone that transforms into a Windows laptop

    Samsung has been thinking up new ways to transform smartphones into laptops. In a patent application filed last week, first spotted by Patently Mobile, Samsung describes a mobile device that runs Android and is able to switch over to Windows when inserted into a dock. Individually, these ideas aren’t new — dual-OS devices and docking smartphones have been tried a number of times over the past several years — but they haven’t been put together in a particularly straightforward way. Of course, this is only a patent application, so there’s no guarantee that Samsung will actually make it.

  2. Richard Stallman Says He Created GNU, Which Is Called Often Linux

    Richard Stallman is the President of the Free Software Foundation and also the founder of GNU or GNU’s Not Unix! operating system that contains only free software. One of his constant claims is that GNU/Linux is a misnomer and that it shouldn’t be used. In fact, he’s now saying that the GNU operating system is often called Linux.

  3. Windows and OS X are malware, claims Richard Stallman

    ‘Resist gratification’, says super-GNU-man freedom fighter

  4. Linux Creator Says Windows, OS X, iOS and Android Are All Malware
  5. GNU Creator Labels Windows And OS X As Malware, Trashes IoT Movement
  6. Are Windows and OS X malware?
  7. Richard Stallman labels Windows and iOS as malware
  8. Richard Stallman: Windows OS is malware

Yet Another Major Security Deficiency in UEFI

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Another reason to reject UEFI: system compromise before boot sequence starts (e.g. GNU/Linux)

UEFI

Summary: UEFI is inherently insecure, more so than the alternatives which it strives to replace, including Free/libre ones

INTEL’S UEFI has been marketed as ‘security’ because of “Restricted Boot”, which basically gives a bunch of companies like Microsoft control over one’s computer. Microsoft works closely with the NSA and the NSA already spoke about compromise at boot time. UEFI enables remote bricking of PCs — a subject that we covered here before, e.g. in:

There is a post titled “UEFI backdoor allows root exploit in Linux” which UEFI apologist and developer Matthew Garrettresponded to not exactly with refutation, only the insistence that it is not the “backdoor you are looking for”. To quote: “And that’s what Dmytro has done – he’s written code that sits in that hidden area of RAM and can be triggered to modify the state of the running OS. But he’s modified his own firmware in order to do that, which isn’t something that’s possible without finding an existing vulnerability in either the OS or (or more recently, and) the firmware. It’s an excellent demonstration that what we knew to be theoretically possible is practically possible, but it’s not evidence of such a backdoor being widely deployed.”

Maybe not yet. We’re talking about and dealing with imperialistic espionage agencies that go as far as putting back doors in the firmware of just about every hard drive.

We really need to stop referring to UEFI as a security enhancement. This is far from the first time security issues are found in UEFI, which is complicated, proprietary, patents-encumbered and relatively immature.

Computers with UEFI should be appropriately labeled (warning labels), just like foods with genetically-modified ingredients or packets of cigarettes.

Links 27/5/2015: Fedora 22 is Out, Mandriva Liquidated

Posted in News Roundup at 5:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Innovation: What’s In and What’s Out

    Open source innovation has not only revolutionized the software and biotech industries — it’s completely changed the way we think about creativity. To be derivative is now a form of being creative. That is, in order to do something new, we don’t have to build something new — we can use existing and emerging forms, made available through open access, and do something new with them. This promotes a democracy in the innovation game: with open source services, there is no discrimination against persons or groups or against fields or endeavors.

  • 4 steps to creating a thriving open source project

    Andrey Petrov spoke at a Sourcegraph open source meetup about lessons learned from his successes and failures creating open source projects.

  • Google turns its Android font Roboto into an open source project

    Designed by Christian Robinson, the Roboto font files were first released in 2011 under the Apache license. Now, the company is organizing the files and the font production toolchain into a fully realized open source project on Github.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Downgrading to stable

      The system works fine otherwise and can be accessed via ssh, but restarting kdm doesn’t help to fix it, it just changes the pattern. Anyway, as explaining a toddler he cannot watch his favourite youtube cartoons because suddenly the computer screen has become an abstract art work is not easy I quickly decided to downgrade.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman Says He Created GNU, Which Is Called Often Linux

      Richard Stallman is the President of the Free Software Foundation and also the founder of GNU or GNU’s Not Unix! operating system that contains only free software. One of his constant claims is that GNU/Linux is a misnomer and that it shouldn’t be used. In fact, he’s now saying that the GNU operating system is often called Linux.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Researchers to track down obstacles to digital DIY

      An EU-funded research project wants to find regulations and other obstacles that hinder digital Do-It-Yourself companies. A consortium of universities and research institutes in Manchester, Milan, London, Thessaloniki and other cities intends to help small enterprises benefit from digital DIY, help policy makers and prepare teachers and educators.

    • Open Data

      • Open Government and geo-data infrastructures at AGIT 2015

        One of the themes at the AGIT 2015 conference will be Open Government and geo-data infrastructures. According to the organisers, the availability of standardised open government services has increased the importance of government geo-data infrastructures, taking the opportunities for using geo-information to a new level. Discussions will focus on questions like what value can be created by building a European ‘spatially-enabled society’ as part of the European knowledge society, and what are the challenges and prospects with regard to cloud computing.

      • How open data is transforming the business landscape

        Despite pledges by the G7 and G20 to boost transparency by opening up government data, fewer than 8% of countries publish data sets in open formats and under open licences on public sector budgets, spending and contracts.

    • Open Hardware

      • Hubble delivers a more affordable 3D laser cutter

        Hubble is an open source, mid-level laser cutter designed to be affordable, versatile, and hackable. Hubble was created to fill the current gap between amazing, entry-level projects, like MicroSlice, and the expensive, proprietary laser cutters on the market.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Stop Feeding the Troll: The Case for an ISIS Propaganda Blackout

      Now, there’s no actual evidence that any of this is anything more than deranged ranting, yet here we are: Millions of casual news observers who scrolled through western media this weekend came away thinking ISIS is plotting to acquire a nuclear bomb, kill the president and prostitute his wife.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • EU dropped plans for safer pesticides after pressure from US

      EU plans to regulate hormone-damaging chemicals found in pesticides have been dropped because of threats from the US that this would adversely affect negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), according to a report in The Guardian. Draft EU regulations would have banned 31 pesticides containing endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that have been linked to testicular cancer and male infertility.

      Just after the official launch of the TTIP negotiations on 13 June 2013, a US business delegation visited EU officials to demand that the proposed regulations governing EDCs should be thrown out in favour of a further “impact study.” Minutes of the meeting on June 26 show Commission officials saying that “although they want the TTIP to be successful, they would not like to be seen as lowering the EU standards.” Nonetheless, the European Commission capitulated shortly afterwards.

  • Privacy

    • Glenn Greenwald, I’m sorry: Why I changed my mind on Edward Snowden

      I was wrong. So was most of the media

    • New surveillance laws must have full public debate, say top UK academics

      A group of 35 top academics have published an open letter calling on the UK government to ensure “the Rule of Law and the democratic process is respected as UK surveillance law is revised.” This comes in response to the UK government previously turning to draft “Codes of Practice” and “clarifying amendments” to extend its surveillance powers, rather than using primary legislation that is subject to full parliamentary and public debate. Interestingly, the letter includes signatories both for and against such extensions, working in the fields of law, media, policy, and technology.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Last chance for MEPs to save Net Neutrality?

      The negotiations on Net Neutrality comes to the end in June with next and probably final trialogue expected on 2nd of June. Until now, the different documents received from the negotiations1 have shown a very weak position of the Members of European Parliament (MEPs), abandoning the improvement on Net Neutrality that had been brought by the previous legislature. If the MEPs do not take this last chance to save Net Neutrality, it would have a critical impact on the way Internet is functioning, on the citizens’ fundamental rights and on further regulations adopted within the so-called Digital Single Market.

    • How people power took on big business in the fight for net neutrality in India

      At the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Jan Koum, chief executive of WhatsApp, made an announcement that would cause much unease 4,000 miles away in New Delhi. “We want to make sure people always have the ability to stay in touch with their friends and loved ones really affordably,” he said. “We’re going to introduce voice on WhatsApp in the second quarter of this year.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Court Order Forbids ‘Poor Pirate’ To Use BitTorrent

        A federal court in Oregon has signed off on a highly peculiar judgment against a Dallas Buyers Club pirate. Citing “financial hardship,” the woman doesn’t have to pay the $7,500 in costs and fees as long as she promises not to download any infringing material in the future, and removes any and all BitTorrent clients.

      • Rightscorp Offered Internet Provider a Cut of Piracy Settlements

        Rightscorp, the piracy monetization company that works with Warner Bros. and other prominent copyright holders, goes to great lengths to reach allegedly pirating subscribers. The company offered Cox Communications a cut of the piracy settlements if they agreed to forward their notices, the ISP revealed in court.

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