01.28.19

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Choosing Between Apple and Microsoft in an Age of Mass Surveillance and State-Mandated Back Doors

Posted in Apple, FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple and Microsoft

Summary: Why proprietary operating systems are universally dangerous and what we recommend instead

MARKET “FORCES” — as the mass media likes to call them (this media is among these forces) — tell us that we’re being given a “choice”. This choice, however, often excludes practical alternatives and instead presents a choice of brands, a choice of trade marks.

It is quite frankly worrying to see people choosing to pay for operating systems they very well know to be full of back doors. Some complement these with listening devices inside homes (eavesdropping on all the tenants) and sometimes even de facto CCTV, constantly connected to (and streaming to) surveillance companies in another country.

“There’s a business model there and it’s covertly hostile towards users. Many just aren’t aware of it. It’s a ‘sausage factory’…”In its early days (13 years ago) this site did a lot of GNU/Linux advocacy. Back in 2006 it wasn’t so clear whether GNU/Linux would dominate the market (even in servers GNU/Linux hadn’t yet reached the inflection point or “critical mass”). Nowadays GNU/Linux is a lot more popular everywhere, including the mobile market dominated by Android (Google never put GNU in it and it’s planning to remove Linux as well); GNU/Linux made strides in the laptop/desktop market (desktops, however, gradually become more extinct), e.g. with the Gentoo-derived Chrome OS. But these platforms do not offer freedom; instead, they’re all about surveillance. There’s a business model there and it’s covertly hostile towards users. Many just aren’t aware of it. It’s a ‘sausage factory’

At the moment we’re hosted by Alpine Linux (the hypervisor). It has been running smoothly, without even a single reboot, since we began the site’s migration around October. “A fork of the distribution, postmarketOS, is designed to run on mobile devices,” Wikipedia says, and “it’s heavily used in containers providing quick boot up times.” For desktop we nowadays recommend more or less the same things the FSF recommends and endorses. See “Free GNU/Linux distributions” and “Explaining Why We Don’t Endorse Other Systems”.

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