12.22.19

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Openwashing Report: HomeKit and Zigbee Aren’t Open Source as Corporate Media States; It’s Just That Old GitHub Openwashing Routine

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 10:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: Prominent examples of openwashing continue to creep in; over the past week, in news sites that habitually promote surveillance agenda, we saw lots of examples regarding Zigbee and then HomeKit

AN ASSOCIATE of ours sent a bunch of links this morning [1-3] (related to lots of media coverage about Zigbee and HomeKit), pointing out that, “if I recall correctly Zigbee has software patents, 6lowpan does not…”

Over the past few days, in Daily Links, we’ve been posting a number of news clippings regarding Zigbee. We put that under “Openwashing” for reasons explained succinctly in editorial comments (“Ed”).

“Open-Source”, note the hyphen, now means “published on Microsoft GitHub”
      –Anonymous
“Open-Source”, note the hyphen, now means “published on Microsoft GitHub”. So said this associate. Quoting the “Project Connected Home over IP” page: “The reference implementation of the new standard, and its supporting tooling, will be developed and maintained on the GitHub open source platform for all aspects of the specification. Please stay tuned for more information.”

This is yet another reminder of the harms caused by GitHub — a reminder of who’s served by GitHub.

“Openwashing and GitHub (two related things) remain massive problems and threats to Software Freedom, even if we lack time to cover both as much as we used to.”Now that Microsoft pays OSI from several directions (not just directly but also through GitHub) we don’t expect the OSI to properly enforce the “Open Source” brand when Microsoft abuses it, which it so often does. GitHub itself is proprietary software, so one wonders why OSI flaunts so proudly that logo (even several times) in its sponsorship page.

Openwashing and GitHub (two related things) remain massive problems and threats to Software Freedom, even if we lack time to cover both as much as we used to.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Apple open-sources HomeKit tools to speed up smart home push

    Crucially, the move doesn’t mean that HomeKit is going completely open-source, and nor does it mean that just anyone will be able to use the software to design and release their own Apple-compatible smart home accessory. Manufacturers will still need to enroll in Apple’s HomeKit MFi Program to get access to the commercial version of the Accessory Protocol Specification and to sell their devices. But open-sourcing elements of HomeKit will make it easier for manufacturers to prototype devices before spending the money to become an MFi partner.

  2. Apple open-sources HomeKit Accessory Development Kit to spur adoption, grow new standard

    On Wednesday, Apple announced the formation of Project Connected Home Over IP, a consortium of companies that hope to develop an open standard that allows manufacturers to more easily build devices that work on multiple smart home platforms and assistants. That could include platforms such as Amazon’s Alexa as well as Apple’s HomeKit.

  3. Apple joins Amazon, Google, Zigbee Alliance and board members, to form working group to develop an open standard for smart home devices.

    To accelerate the development of the new universal standard, Apple is open-sourcing portions of its HomeKit Accessory Development Kit (ADK). HomeKit has grown to become the most extensive, powerful and secure smart home platform available on more than a billion iOS and iPadOS devices. Built from the ground up to protect customer data, HomeKit and the Home app use innovative privacy technologies and techniques to help minimize the amount of data anyone — including Apple — can access as well as powerful security features that protect personal information. By open-sourcing its HomeKit technology, Apple will be helping to jump-start the initiative and ultimately deliver an even better experience to customers.

    Starting today, developers can use the HomeKit Open Source ADK to prototype non-commercial smart home accessories. Apple will also contribute its HomeKit Accessory Protocol to the working group.

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