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08.18.19

Toxic Culture at Microsoft

Posted in Google, Microsoft at 10:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Fuck! It took you a year to figure that out!”

Sociopath Bill Gates

Going to America

Summary: Racism, intolerance, sexism and bullying are rampant at Microsoft; but Microsoft would rather deflect/divert/sidetrack to Google and so-called ‘GAFA’

One reader wrote to us about the “Conspiracy Theory” that “Microsoft is just as guilty as Google with regard to employee intimidation/retaliation and toxic cultures” and is therefore behind the latest media wave that defects all attention to Google. Months ago Google was blasted for pursuing business in China — the same thing Microsoft had done for like… forever?

“I wonder if they’re sponsoring the presses vendetta against Google at the moment,” this reader added, “because their names aren’t being mentioned in any of these articles.”

“They did this before,” I told this reader. “Their PR lobby was called “Scroogled”.”

Did they ever completely stop all of these smear campaigns? Seems unlikely.

Since the media likes to talk about toxic culture at Google let’s revisit some old examples from Microsoft.

There are lots more. There are dozens of examples in Techrights, but the above ought to suffice for now. Microsoft lacks moral high ground in just about every area.

Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Introduction

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 9:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A publication from the Free Media Alliance

Overview

  • You are here ☞ Part 1: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Introduction
  • Part 2: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Free as in Speech
  • Part 3: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Free Software in Education
  • Part 4: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Narcissism in The Community
  • Part 5: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: The Simplest Ways that AI will Change Computing
  • Part 6: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: There is More Than One Iceberg Ahead
  • Part 7: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Distro-libre and feature-schema
  • Part 7: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: A Free (as in Freedom) Library, and Federation of Advocates

Rock with ring

Summary: “The FSF isn’t just threatened, it will hit a large iceberg in the future that changes it permanently.”

Originally this was written to assist FSF members in bolstering the success of the Free Software Foundation. Now it is written to assist other free software advocates in continuing the success of the FSF instead.

Fewer assumptions were made in the previous approach to this writing — now we assume some things:

1. The FSF isn’t just threatened, it will hit a large iceberg in the future that changes it permanently.

“Now it is written to assist other free software advocates in continuing the success of the FSF instead.”2. It will not change course on its own, nor will it carry enough lifeboats for such a tragedy.

3. It likely will continue in its mission, in an increasingly diminished capacity.

Of the greatest concern is not what capacity the FSF will have in terms of money and numbers. Whatever happens in the future, the FSF will likely manage to pull through in terms of funding and having some purpose. The most important things the FSF still does and will likely focus on in the future, include:

1. The RYF campaign will continue to promote hardware that meets the requirements of the FSF.

2. The FSF will continue to collect funds to help pay for various programmes, organisations, and software development.

“Of the greatest concern is not what capacity the FSF will have in terms of money and numbers.”3. They will continue to host the FSF website, maintain licences and the Free Software Definition.

Presumably they will continue to lobby against any legal challenges to these activities, which is also valuable.

Other key accomplishments of the FSF include establishing the free software movement, creating the GNU operating system and creating free software licences such as the GPL.

These include some of the most important contributions to free software of all time, and no effort is being made to make small of these things.
So what could go wrong? Some things have actually been going wrong for several years.

One of the worst things that will happen to the FSF will be the eventual loss of its founder. Stallman is not going to be with the FSF forever, and has said before that he has no replacement.

For those who feel the FSF has already spent years ignoring some important new threats to software freedom, and given that he has already said he has no replacement — it is reasonable to speculate what sorts of problems the FSF will experience without Stallman as its President or on its Board of Directors.

“Stallman is not going to be with the FSF forever, and has said before that he has no replacement.”The greatest failure of the FSF already, is its failure to produce more Richard Stallmans. Not that you have to be Richard Stallman to run the FSF or promote free software, but it would certainly help. We have few complaints about him that wouldn’t apply just as readily to anybody else in the FSF.

And let’s be realistic — even if it were part of the mission of the FSF to replicate its founder, that’s a taller order than the one the FSF actually exists to serve; nobody but nobody is RMS.

Not to single out the FSF on this matter — Microsoft continues to be run by Gates with a lapdog at the helm, as it did with Ballmer at the wheel. Apple is just not the same at all without Steve Jobs. These corporations may outlast their founders, but few will survive intact. The future of the FSF is most likely not the FSF — or it is, we suspect, the FSF with other organisations to pick up the slack.

We keep a list of people most likely to fill Stallman’s shoes — hopefully it will not be John Sullivan, as he already fills the role he is best suited to. Sullivan would be, at best, the Tim Cook to Stallman’s Jobs. Compared to RMS, he is uncharismatic, unimaginative and businesslike. That doesn’t mean he isn’t useful to the FSF, but without RMS it’s hard to imagine the FSF becoming anything under Sullivan except increasingly boring and middle-of-the-road. In fact it may have already become that, not to pin it unfairly on a single person.

“Not to single out the FSF on this matter — Microsoft continues to be run by Gates with a lapdog at the helm, as it did with Ballmer at the wheel. Apple is just not the same at all without Steve Jobs.”Better candidates would include, as always — Ben Mako Hill, who is shy compared to Stallman though not too shy to do a good job, Alexandre Oliva who is probably more like RMS than any other person alive — too bad (in a way) that he’s already an asset to FSF-LA or perhaps he could naturalise and work for the FSF in Boston.

Denis Roio works for Dyne.org and lives in Europe, or he would otherwise make an interesting replacement. And Kat Walsh could make a good President, if she cares enough about free software (she probably does) and her ties to “Open source” aren’t strong enough to conflict. (Ben Mako Hill has them too, but has spoken openly against the threat they present.)

Eminem, if he cared about free software issues, would make a great stand-in for Richard Stallman. He is great at arguing his points, he knows the people he criticises intimately, and he never backs down from an argument regardless of how powerful his opponent is. Stallman is a little more honest, and finding someone as honest as RMS is unlikely but preferable.

Now this looks like a job for me
So everyone, press lots of keys
Cause we need to liber — ate our PCs
They would be so non-free without me

Open source has made great effort in twisting every reasonable critique Free software has made of monopolies, into something deeply controversial or overzealous. They have simply rolled over for a corporation that not only refers to their actions against all competitors (including Free software and Open Source) as war — but one that was founded on referring to hobbyists as thieves for sharing software, at a time when the industry was just transitioning away from software that was (by default and common practice) in the public domain.

Let’s be really clear about this — around the time Microsoft was founded, most computer enthusiasts already shared software, which was generally legal to share. Copyright and industry practice then changed dramatically, Bill Gates started calling people thieves for sharing, and Stallman started working to preserve a non-corporate (non-monopolistic) way of developing and distributing software.

“Let’s be really clear about this — around the time Microsoft was founded, most computer enthusiasts already shared software, which was generally legal to share.”Ever since, Free software was painted (by corporations and by Open source) as overzealous and unreasonable — simply for not wanting monopolies to take over what was once the right of every computer enthusiast on Earth.
When companies who literally own the media corporations want to destroy your occupation, your hobby and your rights, and paint you as a zealot for simply arguing for those rights — it does you no good to be an overly agreeable person.

Apart from being good at arguing for liberty, you also need to be able to bring people together. Stallman has proven himself to be wildly successful in this regard, without the false compromises and weakened goals (artificial victory) of Open Source.

In addition, some of the things that needed to be solved — like the creation of a free operating system and large-scale software support — are already solved, and only need to be defended. The FSF’s defense of this resource is both minimal and insufficient, there are several other threats to the FSF that could do harm to all they’ve done so far, and they need someone running the ship that is going to be able to protect its existence and advance its mission in the 21st century.

“While we are at it, we should be talking about other ways in which the FSF has failed and what we can do about those problems as well.”They aren’t ever going to find someone as qualified as Stallman, so we really should be talking about what’s needed and how we can find (or produce) enough people that can do those things.

While we are at it, we should be talking about other ways in which the FSF has failed and what we can do about those problems as well.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (Public Domain)

Linux Journal and Linux.com Should Have Been Kept Going

Posted in GNU/Linux at 9:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Journal RIPSummary: There’s apparently no good explanation for the effective shutdown of Linux Journal and Linux.com; London Trust Media Holdings (LTMH), owner of Linux Journal, saw numbers improving and the Linux Foundation, steward of Linux.com, is loaded with money

THE two-week deadline or ‘crossroad’ (we assume hosting bill’s cutoff date) is fast approaching as still don’t know if assurances were given for preservation or longterm hosting of Linux Journal [1, 2]. This worries us as we predicted that something would be known by now. If it’s confirmed that the site will go offline (soon), then we can at least attempt to download an archive. “I’m sorry to see LJ go,” wrote a former LXer editor, “I liked the magazine a lot. Always a good read and I learn something in every issue too. I’m self taught on FOSS and computers in general so any knowledge I gain no matter where I get it is good for me…”

“Staff weren’t forewarned or properly informed. At least one of them framed that as mistreatment.”We worry about IBM's sites that it inherited. They’re no longer with Red Hat’s management, so we view them as possible future casualties, having already lost Linux.com as well (even though the Linux Foundation has big piles of cash). Readers wrote to us about this and they too worry that sites like OpenSource.com may not survive in the long run. One person notes IBM’s pattern of letting newly-acquired things to last 2 years, whereupon changes are implemented (cuts).

One reader said he would like to share the following statement regarding your comments on Linux Journal and its end:

While I do not know the exact details, what I will say is that web traffic doubled this past year. Subscribers were enthusiastic and the base was growing at a healthy rate [and at a higher price point]. Newsletter readership was up. Linux Journal was starting to get advertisers again. Our readers were really responding to our articles and more specifically our new Deep Dives. Things were really looking good until one day and all of a sudden, the staff literally found out that they no longer had a job. And here we are.

It is apparently a bit mysterious; things weren’t bad, but media reports say that things weren’t going too well either. The shutdown certainly wasn’t expected and the same goes for Linux.com’s shutdown (it exists in a vastly reduced if not negligible capacity). Staff weren’t forewarned or properly informed. At least one of them framed that as mistreatment.

2019 Microsoft Glossary

Posted in Microsoft at 10:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Part 1: 2019 Tech Glossary
Part 2: 2019 Surveillance Glossary

Steve BallmerSummary: How Microsoft internally interprets words that it is saying to the public and to the press

Marketing help: bribe (common practice when the competition has more to offer)
Apology: acceptance that denial or blame-passing is no longer feasible
Open Source: some code in proprietary GitHub
Privacy: a GUI slider that gives user an illusion of discreetness
Telemetry: surveillance
Cortana: listening device
Skype: warrantless surveillance on calls (NSA PRISM)
LinkedIn: surveillance on one’s personal and career history
Windows: malware with a bootloader
Bill Gates: purveyor of the myth of Microsoft as a charitable organisation
Satya Nadella: purveyor of the myth of Microsoft as a tolerant company, bossed by Bill Gates (Board)
Edge: rebranded MSIE, software for extracting the list of pages Web users access
OEM: middleman that forces all computer buyers to also pay for Windows
Patent: purveyor of the myth of Microsoft as innovator and ammunition for lawsuits against rivals
Feature: something new that helps Microsoft
Bug: see “feature” above
Back door: see “Windows” above
Bug door: back door with excuses for it premeditated
Sale: rental
Free: temporarily gratis subscription
Upgrade: price hike
Developer: one-night stand

2019 Surveillance Glossary

Posted in Deception at 10:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Part 1: 2019 Tech Glossary

A dictionary

Summary: Distortion of technical and nontechnical terms in this day and age of ’1984′

Phone: a small computer that can also make phonecalls (but rarely does)
ISP: surveillance company that give bandwidth in exchange for your personal data (deeply-inspected packets)
Car: surveillance on four wheels
ATM: location-tracking checkpoint, converting or exchanging financial data in return for notes
Smartwatch: surveillance attached to one’s wrist
Fitness tracker: surveillance optimised for insurance companies’ needs
Sleep tracker: same as above (“fitness tracker”) but for nighttime
Data mining: interpretation of personal secrets and mental thoughts/beliefs based on publicly-stated information
Photograph: object/file with location/temporal data and typically faces to decipher who was where (and when, who with, mood)
Streaming: modality for tracking one’s choice of acoustic input and sometimes mood
Account: facility for identification (to combat anonymity)
2FA: enhanced means of enforcing identification to stifle anonymity
Phone number: enumeration of subjects (see above), akin to RFID and serialisation
Data portability: facility for passing (copying) data from one surveillance datacentre to another, or from one spying company to another
Printer: device for printing pale yellow dots with some other, user-required rendering on paper
Webcam: low-cost user-facing CCTV that cannot be removed but can typically be covered by tape
Operating system: a back-doored, remotely-accessible piece of software on which to run other software
X86: a high-performance albeit defective (by design) chipset as failsafe for the above
Journalist: a glorified writer who calls privacy-conscious people paranoid
Data broker: surveillance monetiser
President/Prime Minister: elevated politician who signs papers to authorise all the above

Openwashing Report: It’s Getting Worse, Fast. Everything is Apparently ‘Open’ Now Even Though It’s Actually Proprietary.

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: The latest examples (this past week’s) of openwashing in the media, ranging from 5G to surveillance

THE “Openwashing Reports” started last weekend. It was conceived after a reader had sent us feedback (thanks, Christine!) and we hope we can keep it up for years to come. These reports address the growing problem which is the ‘cheapening’ of the term “Open Source” or even the framing of proprietary software as “Open”. OSI isn’t doing anything about it and if nothing gets done (e.g. public shaming at the very least), things will only get worse.

“OSI isn’t doing anything about it and if nothing gets done (e.g. public shaming at the very least), things will only get worse.”We start this report with Datical and Liquibase. We mentioned this last week in passing and days ago Datical was said to be “Furthering Ongoing Commitment to Open Source Community for Database Change” (headline).

What the heck does that even mean? It’s a cheap openwashing stunt. They speak of “community” or “commitment” and “Open Source”. Whose? Not theirs.

More troubling a case of openwashing was this bunch of “Open 5G” “Ecosystems” nonsense from Forbes (a propaganda rag of oligarchs). The press has been openwashing 5G for about a year and it’s doing it again, never mind if 5G is strictly proprietary with additional patent traps (evergreening). Even the so-called ‘standards’ aren’t open. There’s nothing “open” about it and words like “Ecosystems” (in the headline above) are a bit like greenwashing. We expect to see a lot more openwashing such as this; we’ve seen it for months already and pointed this out in our daily links.

“Are they trying to pass off 5G as “Open Source”? Great openwashing right there by surveillance companies.”Telecom openwashing doesn’t quite stop at 5G hype — a curious wave of hype that has already earned notoriety (it’s basically marketing disguised as reporting). Days ago we saw AT&T openwashing and this is noteworthy because of the company’s notorious secrecy (this company is the foremost partner of the NSA in the telecom space, based on several whistleblowers). Dallas Business Journal published this puff piece, reducible to megaphone/loudspeaker of AT&T staff. There was also RCR Wireless News with another puff piece (“Open-source ’5G software infrastructure’ focus of Dell, AT&T partnership”). What on Earth? Are they trying to pass off 5G as “Open Source”? Great openwashing right there by surveillance companies. Truly gross to think it was published to say: “AT&T continues to expand its parnterships with cloud specialists, now working with Dell Technologies to explore open source opportunities for 5G.”

They don’t mean Open Source. Here’s the original press release that it’s apparently based on. The openwashing stunt has a misleading headline which refers to “Open Source Edge Computing”; based on the body it is just “open infrastructure technology,” which is more or less meaningless. “Dell Technologies and AT&T* are jointly exploring the development of key open infrastructure technology areas for the next-generation network edge that will be required by service providers to support new use cases and service opportunities in a cloud-oriented 5G world,” it says.

Whatever “open infrastructure” means…

FierceTelecom joined in, triumphing or championing what it called “open source project” (in the headline even!) and to quote: “Dell Technologies is joining the Airship open infrastructure project, which has been spearheaded by AT&T…”

How did they move from “open infrastructure project” to “open source project” in the headline? It’s either dishonest or grossly negligible. It means that people who look for actual “Open Source” will be bombarded with ‘fakes’ like the above. We’re sadly seeing such stuff every week.

“So they published some code developed ‘in-house’ and now they proudly herald/advertise themselves as “good open source citizens” for ‘good measure’…”Here’s a new example of gross, crude and ridiculous openwashing of eBay, whose entire business is proprietary software with malicious elements like surveillance and blacklisting. The stack they use (not their work) may contain software such as Linux, but just about everything they do and make is proprietary. But “eBay has open sourced software designed to solve the problem of getting multiple servers to agree on a shared state even in the face of failures,” says the openwashing piece. So they published some code developed ‘in-house’ and now they proudly herald/advertise themselves as “good open source citizens” for ‘good measure’…

Maybe less than 1% of their codebase is “open”!

By criteria such as these, almost every company is now “Open” (even when it’s not and even when it actively attacks “Open”; proprietary software fiends pretend to be what they attack).

Now check out the latest propaganda of Salesforce. Its openwashing spam is a “contributed” PR piece about “open platforms” (whatever that means). GovTech, an influential site, published it to say:

Open platforms can provide states and localities with several advantages. They are typically cloud-based, with the underlying infrastructure and source code managed by the platform provider. This lowers the cost and maintenance burdens on IT shops who can reduce the number of patching and upgrade cycles, and scale up or down as needed without the worry of managing capital IT infrastructure.

Open platforms can also enable IT teams with limited expertise to develop and deploy advanced applications through simple, no-code/low-code capabilities. This provides IT staff with the software “building blocks” to create applications with minimal coding, and help those agencies facing shortages in personnel who are adept at application development. That said, open platforms frequently offer toolkits with more advanced capabilities, so more tech-savvy users can benefit as well.

[...]

Tommie Fern is vice president of sales for State and Local Government Public Sector Business Unit at Salesforce.

This guy pushes surveillance and proprietary software into the public sector. It’s proprietary, but they call it “open platforms”. How much more distortion can the word “open” endure?

“So one who looks for “Open Source” news gets loads of search results about companies that aren’t.”And speaking of supposedly “open platforms” with surveillance, how about Facebook? It’s pushing React Native, its own controversial ‘standard’, so ComputerWeekly decided to chip in with some PR. The so-called “Open Source Insider” (he no longer publishes his name) helps Facebook with this openwashing stunt. It’s that same old openwashing of surveillance operations. “Now open sourced by Facebook under an MIT licence, Hermes is supposed to supercharge startup times, drain less memory and result in a smaller overall application code footprint,” it says. Another new openwashing puff piece of Facebook came from Wired a few days ago.

Just amazing. So one who looks for “Open Source” news gets loads of search results about companies that aren’t. Openwashing plus googlebombing equals cheap whitewashing (reputation laundering/marketing).

How about the openwashing of RideOS (a surveillance network for passengers)? Linux.com participated in this openwashing about a week ago. Is there source code? Well, there’s an API:

Ridehail API and open source mobile apps are designed to empower companies to build and manage their own ride-hailing network.

“OS” in RideOS stands not for Open Source, but nowadays everything gets called “open-source” or “open” or “Open Source”…

“”OS” in RideOS stands not for Open Source, but nowadays everything gets called “open-source” or “open” or “Open Source”…”The propaganda of proprietary software giants would have us believe malicious secret code is “open”.

Here’s another new example, one where “OpenChain” actually refers to specs (an “OpenChain Specification.”). Well, an ‘open spec’ is not Open Source. It’s just misleading.

How about this new one from Container Journal? We have cloudwashing and openwashing here (“Open Server” and “Cloud Service” and “Ecosystem”, so arguably greenwashing too). It’s about CNCF, part of the Linux Foundation. To quote:

The Open Service Broker API specification is the product of a collaboration by Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Pivotal, Red Hat and SAP. The goal of the project is to develop a standardized approach for connecting services to container orchestration platforms and cloud-native applications. At the same time, open service brokers are rapidly becoming a critical capability that cloud service providers are now all but assumed to possess.

The word “open” is used spuriously here; but it’s not about code. It takes some research, it takes a lot of time (checking whether something is really Open Source or just openwashing as a marketing opportunity), but once you manage to decipher a project’s or a company’s status it rarely changes thereafter. If they’re faking it, they’ll likely fake it for years to come (if they survive that long).

We’ve meanwhile also noticed this new article from App Developer Magazine, a relatively large site with high reach. How did this article turn “leading cloud computing luminary” (i.e. a surveillance computing trap) into “Open Source expert” (in the headline)? Someone has just “joined Armory as vice president of open source and developer relations.”

“Get your optics ready because what’s nowadays being called “Open Source” has neither open nor source.”The person’s background however in no way supports the label “Open Source expert”; it’s someone who worked for CNCF (the above) as a marketer. To quote them: “Kumar was most recently the VP of product marketing and developer relations at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the home of Kubernetes (arguably one of the most impactful open source projects in cloud computing).”

So apparently being in marketing makes one an “Open Source expert”. Whatever… we all know that the Linux Foundation is more or less a marketing front anyway. They do marketing for proprietary software firms for the most part; those are their sponsors and the motto is, “the sponsor is always right!”

Welcome to 2019. 2020 vision coming soon. Get your optics ready because what’s nowadays being called “Open Source” has neither open nor source. It’s just a marketing label like “dolphin-safe”.

GitHub is a Dagger Inside Free/Open Source Software (FOSS); This is Why Microsoft Bought It

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Remember that GitHub is proprietary software, it is centralised, and it gives Microsoft control over its foremost rival, which is a movement rather than a company

Summary: A year later it seems pretty evident that Microsoft doesn’t like FOSS but is merely trying to control it, e.g. by buying millions of FOSS projects/repositories at the platform level (the above is what the Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin said to Microsoft at their event while antitrust regulators were still assessing the proposed takeover)

THE PREVIOUS post ended by saying that we would deal separately with Microsoft’s GitHub and the threat it poses to Software Freedom. This threat is unfortunately growing over time as not enough people shun GitHub. They walk right into the trap.

“In its internal documents Microsoft once explained that it needs to attack Software Freedom while ensuring the attacks don’t look as though they come from Microsoft.”Microsoft is still the biggest foe of Software Freedom, which it combats constantly. No other company stands to benefit from the destruction of Software Freedom as much as Microsoft. The same goes for GNU/Linux. Microsoft hates it and if it could destroy it overnight, it would (it already tried many times and failed every time).

In its internal documents Microsoft once explained that it needs to attack Software Freedom while ensuring the attacks don’t look as though they come from Microsoft. This is what the likes of SCO and Black Duck are for. SCO’s case isn’t 100% over (believe it or not!) and Black Duck is still around and still active under another name because it got bought. It’s being amplified by Microsoft allies, a Microsoft-connected FUD bunch with history and ‘pedigree’. In “The license and security risks of using Node.js,” for instance, Black Duck continues to attack FOSS as usual, amplified by the anti-FOSS site Security Boulevard (propaganda front of an anti-FOSS hack). Days ago it also promoted/copy-pasted Black Duck’s “Review of Apache Struts vulnerabilities yields 24 updated advisories”. Security Boulevard is not a news site (though Google News thinks it is). It’s focused on FOSS…

“…Microsoft continues to attack FOSS. It’s just doing that less directly.”…always negative.

…has never mentioned back doors in proprietary software.

This anti-FOSS site is also constantly advertising WhiteSource (e.g. event placements, with a new example here), the ‘new’ Black Duck. They’re Microsoft partners. They co-author papers with Microsoft and they attack FOSS by proxy for Microsoft. What a truly malicious network of hacks. But the point we wish to make is, Microsoft continues to attack FOSS. It’s just doing that less directly. Security and licensing FUD (especially targeted at copyleft/GPL) is rampant. Now imagine how they can leverage GitHub to further amplify such FUD, as they very publicly do. They barely make that a secret. Their managers speak about that in Twitter. It’s all public. They bash the GPL. Consider who Microsoft put in charge of GitHub; past Techrights articles about him would likely be eye-opening [1, 2, 3, 4].

“It’s secret code and much worse things happen behind the scenes (including NSA surveillance; GitHub is in PRISM now).”Any project which takes Software Freedom seriously needs to avoid/reject GitHub and choose something else because GitHub is proprietary software, antithetical not just to FOSS but also to the decentralised nature of Git. It’s secret code and much worse things happen behind the scenes (including NSA surveillance; GitHub is in PRISM now). Days ago we noticed that a decentralised code/content project, Audius, chose GitHub [1, 2]. That’s like a vegetarian choosing to work for a butcher. We also noticed that the New York Times started pushing Microsoft GitHub (which is a proprietary software trap) under the headline “How to Take Your Open Source Project from Good to Great” (as if Microsoft entrapment in a proprietary software platform makes it “Great”!).

“As before, many so-called ‘studies’ or surveys count nothing but data from Microsoft (GitHub). If you’re not on it, you don’t exist or don’t count.”We’ve been observing a disturbing trend lately. As before, many so-called ‘studies’ or surveys count nothing but data from Microsoft (GitHub). If you’re not on it, you don’t exist or don’t count. This way Microsoft can bias statistics about so-called ‘FOSS’ (only what Microsoft controls). This is not a particularly new issue; GitHub has long attracted projects that don’t care so much about freedom. GitHub is strictly centralised and it is proprietary software. GitHub also helps put one heck of a twist on the term “Open Source” (which increasingly means nothing at all, e.g. outsourcing to a proprietary software platform of Microsoft). 2 days ago we saw evidence that Google still makes this mistake by outsourcing its projects to Microsoft. Is Google out of its mind? GitHub is Google’s rival. It’s controlled by company that still blackmails Android using patent lawsuits. Wrong platform for Google’s code, no? Unless they stop outsourcing code (and control) to Microsoft — a company full of criminals (who admit their crimes but never get arrested) — they will simply make Microsoft stronger. Microsoft grossly misuses its control of the platform, based on imperialism and racism. You just know that something has gone very wrong with FOSS (or rather that Microsoft sabotages it for a price) when “going open source” means outsourcing everything to a proprietary software platform of Microsoft, which censors projects, bans developers etc. based on country of birth/origin.

Belatedly, or perhaps too late, countries realise that GitHub is a danger and a risk factor. Days ago JAXenter wrote:

At the end of July, GitHub enforced access blocks for its software repositories in line with United States trade controls, including U.S. Export Administration Regulations, on sanctioned countries. Instantly this made it difficult for developers based in countries such as Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria to access private repository services, private organisational accounts or GitHub Marketplace Services. However, this also limited access to public repository services for personal communications only.

It’s important to stress that the individual developers themselves had no say over this decision. GitHub has to follow the rules around selling software to specific countries, yet the software itself is neither sold or bought. For open source projects, copying and distribution are important for building up community and use of the software. Blocking GitHub access – one of the main distribution methods for these software assets – therefore has an impact on the community building activity and makes it more difficult over time.

GitHub has become a central resource for downloading the latest official release code for projects and developers who use these repositories for building their own applications. Suddenly blocking access to GitHub repositories has meant that developers based in those countries were cut off and unable to work with many components, which highlights a key issue for open source software developers: if you don’t want your software to be restricted by international politics you had better choose self-hosted solutions, such as GitLab.

Business Times (Chinese site) explained that this motivated China to bypass GitHub altogether:

China will officially be forming the country’s first-ever open-source software foundation to bolster its open-source software community. The plan was unveiled by Huawei Technologies, which plans to partner with domestic software firms to achieve the ambitious plan. Huawei also revealed that it plans to establish the infrastructure in as early as one or two months.

The plan to establish the country’s first open-source software hub was put into place following the ban imposed by GitHub, the world’s largest host of open-source software, on sanctioned nations by the United States. The US-based company began blocking access to its services in July, starting with the removal of Iranian accounts.

The incident itself has highlighted the increasing dangers of geopolitical interference on the open-source community. China likely felt that it needed to establish its own community as a precaution if the US government does decide to sanction the nation as trade disputes escalate.

The Phnom Penh Post and other Asian sites said this:

The plan for the software foundation came after GitHub, the world’s largest host of source code, last month prevented users in Iran and other nations sanctioned by the US government from accessing portions of its service.

Last but not least, ITWeb wrote the following some days ago:

This follows an acknowledgement from GitHub, the world’s largest open source code host, that it has to prevent users in nations sanctioned by the US government – potentially including China as well as Iran and Crimea – from accessing portions of its service.

[...]

While it is not yet clear whether Huawei or any other Chinese organisation has been impacted by GitHub’s actions, Wang lamented that although it had long been the de facto open source position that open source communities were supposed to be fair and equitable for all, the American position, and GitHub’s compliance with its government’s dictates, meant that open source had become a pawn in the power play between countries.

As we explained some days ago in relation to bogus foundations, it’s not clear whether Huawei is serious about FOSS and BGR published “Huawei’s long-awaited mobile OS elicits mixed reactions in China”. It quotes Torvalds as saying: “Talk is cheap. Show me the code.”

On it goes: “That user’s skepticism about the OS would seem to stem from its viability as a replacement for Android, which continues to be talked up given that the ban remains in place that prevents US companies (like Google) from working with Huawei. Accordingly, Huawei’s billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei sent out an internal memo in recent days spelling out his ambition of building an “iron army” over the next three to five years that can withstand the US ban — the “iron army,” being a generalized reference to a Huawei overhaul that puts more of the company’s fate in its own hands.”

The bottom line is, a lot of what’s being characterised as Open Source is nowadays neither “Open Source” (as per OSD) nor Free software. We’ll deal with that in our next post which is dedicated solely to openwashing.

Microsoft Grows Within and Eats You From the Inside

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like a parasite or a cancer infecting the host

“Get me into that and goddam, we’ll make so much money!”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Summary: Microsoft entryism and other subversive tactics continue to threaten and sometimes successfully undermine the competition; Microsoft is nowadays doing that to core projects in the Free/Open Source software world

Microsoft puts one foot in the Web’s dominant browser (Chrome), according to a decades-long Microsoft booster, Paul Thurrott. Now it’s changing it, practically exercising control over the competition, just like it changes the Linux Foundation etc. from the inside.

“Likewise, they call their bribes “contributions” and in this twisted world where “success” means nothing but money they sabotage actual companies for a buck.”Why don’t more people learn from Microsoft’s own history? The company is extremely destructive; this is what made it so notorious and untrustworthy.

Under various misleading headlines, including this from CNBC (it varies), “[a]ctivist [sic] investor [sic] Carl Icahn’s latest target is a struggling company specializing in software for processing big data.”

“This is typical entryism like seen in Yahoo’s case and several companies after it; Icahn is very destructive and he is connected to Microsoft. Wherever he goes he seeds doom.”Always remember what Icahn did to Yahoo on behalf of Microsoft. These people are criminals. Icahn is a white-collar criminal, but in corporate media (owned by such greedy and reckless people) they call the likes of him “activist” or “raider”… it’s like a business compliment. Likewise, they call their bribes “contributions” and in this twisted world where “success” means nothing but money they sabotage actual companies for a buck.

In this particular case Icahn is going after a surveillance company (it brought in NSA projects and former NSA staff through Hortonworks). It’s openwashing itself and labels surveillance “big data” while working for the likes of the NSA, though that’s another matter. See articles such as “Billionaire Carl Icahn Gets 2 Cloudera Board Seats in Settlement” and “Carl Icahn wins two seats on Cloudera’s board in settlement” (among others [1, 2, 3]). This is typical entryism like seen in Yahoo’s case and several companies after it; Icahn is very destructive and he is connected to Microsoft. Wherever he goes he seeds doom.

“GitHub has become Microsoft’s latest infiltration facilitator…”Speaking of doom, this past week there were many examples of openwashing, dooming the term “Open Source”. We shall cover these separately. There were quite a few articles this past week about Apache. Apache’s long history of Microsoft swinging, including entryism that likely led to the outsourcing of all Apache projects to Microsoft, should serve as a warning sign. Half a decade of Microsoft in charge of the ASF (salaried Microsoft employee) did so much damage and only earlier this summer the culprit resigned (but not before sending a huge number of Apache projects to GitHub).

GitHub has become Microsoft’s latest infiltration facilitator; it’s an apparatus of entryism and we’ll deal with it in our next post.

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