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CAUTIONARY TALE: Ukraine’s Story Shows Proprietary Software Ought to be Avoided

Posted in DRM, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum deec0aa1969f60b26c30d6f5fe4573e8
Invasion of Ukraine: The Tech Side
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: There’s a lot to be seen and to be said about what goes on in Ukraine from a purely technological perspective; at times of war nations are, in general, vastly better off with Free software, not “licensed” proprietary software from some other nation

THE other day (two days ago) Russia invaded Ukraine and we said we would refrain from making political comments, not because we lack an opinion but because it would distract from our focus. We’re a technology site and we don’t want to be derailed by politics like Mozilla or the EFF.

LinuxSecurityHaving said that, the video above covers apolitical aspects of what we’ve been seeing on the “tech” front. I’ve decided not to link to the FUD articles alluded to, instead just explaining what’s wrong with them. The screenshot on the right is only minutes old (this latest news pick isn’t an isolated incident but part of a longstanding trend, basically amplification of anti-Linux ‘stories’ without even the most fundamental fact-checking or smell test).

Basically, one or two media outlets mentioned “Linux” in relation to the cyberattacks; this is disingenuous because Windows is what cripples Ukraine (sometimes DDOS attacks), as noted deeper inside the text of articles is somewhere between the lines (names of things). We’ve added some links to that effect over the past few weeks (in Daily Links). Secondly, there has been a mention of NSA back doors in relation to “Linux” (and APT), but this is a distortion of the term, unlike what Microsoft does with (and for) the NSA.

“It’s a reminder that paying with cash, anonymously, has some advantages, sometimes unseen or underappreciated until it’s too late.”Next, as noted above, there’s the issue of electronic payments making one subjected to discrimination and sanctions. It’s a reminder that paying with cash, anonymously, has some advantages, sometimes unseen or underappreciated until it’s too late.

At the moment there’s a lobby for sanctions through “app stores”, impacting people whose devices are remotely controlled by some companies, which also control the software one “purchased” or downloaded. DRM “licence servers”, as shown below, have already kicked into gear.

DRM Ukraine
Welcome to DRM-like “licence” servers

Weaponisation of tech monopolies and centralisation in general present a lot of moral and practical dilemmas. At the moment there are many “Stallman Was Right” moments.

An associate has added this morning: “The “phones” [which Stallman dubbed "Stalin's Dream"] are even more dangerous than Windows, for many reasons, including lack of security but also through how the towers track the signals. Probably many troops on both sides have smuggled such tracking devices into the field. Then there is the mysterious baseband processor which only the bad actors and a few manufacturers have access to.”

“Even though both types of “smart” phone have subsumed a lot of FOSS technology they are effectively closed, proprietary systems, especially Apple’s.’

Before readers jump to (wrongly) conclude that we’re making excuses for Putin, may we remind readers that it was Microsoft, Apple, and Gulag jumping to ban Putin’s critics? All for financial reasons…

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