Summary: Vista 10, the latest incarnation of Windows, takes its anticompetitive aspects to a whole new level, betraying even so-called ‘partners’ in the process
THERE are many negative things to be said about Vista 10, but what about criminal things? What happens when Microsoft breaks competition laws?
Earlier this year we wrote about how Microsoft’s UEFI ‘secure boot’ attack on GNU/Linux had escalated (see 2014-2015 articles on how Microsoft’s terms got even worse, i.e. more discriminatory) and based on this site which regularly studies Windows’ effects on BSD and Linux installations, Vista 10 can mess GRUB up, i.e. sabotage dual-boot setups. To quote:
Where you might run into some problem is if the dual-boot setup is on a computer still using Legacy BIOS, with GRUB installed in the Master Boot Record, or MBR. On such a system, be sure to back up your file before attempting the upgrade.
In response to this, one anonymous user in Diaspora wrote:
I’ve got W7 dual-booting alongside Slackware (+ test distros) on my not-often-used netbook. It’s never finished its updates because it fails to update the MBR – which, for some reason it wants to. I multiboot with LILO which seems to cause W7 problems – I’m glad to say, because nothing should be updaing the MBR except LILO – when I run it. So…
That’s decided it. I won’t be updating to W10.
Which means W7 goes the way of W95 all those years ago when MS forced me to be 100pc Linux ‘cos XP would only run on new machines.
MS – I love you – you always force me to do the right thing – like deleting your software
– don’t mess around with any part of the disk except the partition I give you.
don’t tell me I need a new machine
– Good riddance to bad rubbish – I never used w7.
But it’s not just GNU/Linux partitioning that Microsoft loves to overcomplicate and often wipe/mess up with, the nuisance of UEFI ‘secure boot’ aside. Microsoft apparently learned nothing about fair competition, even when it comes to Web browsers on top of Windows itself (not GNU/Linux). Two decades of disputes and court battles have changed nothing at Microsoft and “Firefox’s CEO is furious”, according to this news headline:
Upgrading to Windows 10 switches your web browser to Edge – and Firefox’s CEO is furious
Mozilla chief exec Chris Beard has penned a tetchy open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, criticizing the Redmond giant for changing customers’ default browser choice when they upgrade to Windows 10.
Internet Explorer users were warned that Edge, Microsoft’s Chrome-chasing new browser, would be the default in Windows 10. But as it turns out, users of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and other browsers, have found their default web clients switched to Edge following the Windows 10 upgrade, too.
In his letter, Beard accused Microsoft of using this part of the upgrade process to “throw away the choice your customers have made about the Internet experience they want, and replace it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have.”
Chris Beard has already written about this not once but twice [1, 2], so he is very passionate about it. Most Firefox users are still stuck in Windows.
Should Mozilla be surprised at all? Microsoft sent Mozilla birthday cakes (publicity stunts), but then again it’s also said that “Microsoft loves Linux” (according to Nadella the liar). Like his boss, Bill Gates, it often seems as though Nadella feels like he’s above the law and any government intervention against gross violations will be too little, too late. Microsoft loves Firefox and Mozilla like it loves Linux and like American Psycho loves women.
Mozilla already helps Microsoft by sending it lots of user activity (even keystrokes) via Yahoo in the Firefox address bar. What has Microsoft done for Mozilla in return? Nothing. That’s just how Microsoft behaves. Some people refuse to learn from a long history of crimes, lies, deceit, and betrayals.
Mozilla should make a stronger alliance with GNU/Linux and other Free software (maybe join the FSF) as opposed to alliances with Google, Microsoft, and others to whom Firefox, the Web browser, is competition.
The European Commission proved to be so toothless and slow (while US authorities unwilling to tackle Microsoft’s recent browser crimes altogether), so no wonder Vista 10 goes further with anticompetitive behaviour. Microsoft knows it can get away with it and make gains by the time technical changes — if any — are made. The European Commission probably won’t take action against Vista 10 any time soon. Entryism is partly to blame (lobbying followed by a coup).
We cannot understand why Mozilla’s CEO is still acting surprised to have found out that Microsoft is a criminal enterprise that won’t obey the law and won’t respect competition, not even on Windows. In a way, Mozilla’s CEO is being punished for being naive, perhaps believing that Microsoft was a partner. As this Firefox advocate points out, all this happens after the Beard-led Mozilla had Firefox divert user keystrokes (like a keylogger) to Microsoft (via Yahoo) without even asking users for their input, opinion, consent, preference, etc. He now gets stabbed in back.
At some later stage we are going to show how Microsoft also suppresses the use of non-Microsoft online services. It’s all “me me me!” █
“I think he [Bill Gates] has a Napoleonic concept of himself and his company, an arrogance that derives from power and unalloyed success, with no leavening hard experience, no reverses [...] They don’t act like grown-ups!”
–Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson
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Summary: A lot of sites portray Android/Google as anti-competitive, but none seems to notice where this hypocritical accusation originally came from
A LOT OF disappointing ‘news’ coverage (gossip) promotes the notion that Google’s business, and Android in particular, is some kind of illegal activity. It is the tiresome old strategy of casting “free” (even when it means freedom-respecting) as anti-competitive. That’s the very opposite of what should be considered “true”.
A lot of the so-called ‘news’ (not really news) omits important details, just as the media did when it came to an OpenSSL bug, dubbed “Heartbleed” by the firm of a ‘former’ Microsoft chief for increased fear (we covered this before and there is this new response from the OSI’s President).
So let’s start with the alleged ‘news’. Who’s behind it? The man who “was lead counsel for Microsoft during part of its defense against antitrust claims,” based on Wikipedia. It’s an opportunist and an antitrust actions maximalist.
It wasn’t long ago that we saw other antitrust motions against Android and they have been always tied to Microsoft or Microsoft proxies such as Nokia (there is a collusion there).
Sadly, every journalist whom we have seen covering the “antitrust trolling” missed this important connection between Microsoft and Berman. One example from the British press said: “Google is facing a new antitrust class action lawsuit in the US over its “illegal monopoly” on internet and mobile search.”
It also said: “These deals are hampering the market and keeping the price of devices from manufacturers like Samsung and HTC artificially high, the firm said.”
This is nonsense. It doesn’t even pass the “bullshit test” because the very opposite is true. A high price, if ever, is caused by patents, which are not in Google’s interest. Price is not the issue with Google, so the allegations are bogus. Privacy would be a more legitimite concern, but given how Nokia is trying to shove Microsoft spyware into the OS, there’s room for hypocrisy. Consider this new analysis:
When Nokia delivered its Android-based phones at Mobile World Congress, the big news was that with Microsoft acquiring the company, Microsoft would suddenly be in the Android business. But there was another storyline that accompanied the delivery of the Nokia Android phones, which was that they are based on a forked version of Android. Among other issues that creates, the phones don’t support the Google Play app store and the apps there, all of which ring the cash register for Google.
What we may be dealing with here is more of the "Scroogled" attack ads, this time in litigious form. We have already exposed and chastised other anti-Google lawyers who had shrewdly hidden their Microsoft payments by editing their CV prior to their assaults on Android, which basically used all sorts of distortion and libel.
Looking back at the responses to the article in the British press, there are many good comments, preceded by this: “Instead of having me read through all the stupid why not say “greedy lawyers with no grasp over what they are talking about drool over the potential payments from Google but most likely from people that will pay to be represented in the trial””
Another commenter responds: “Hopefully the courts will see through this ruse and slap down these lawyers. Their only purpose is to collect $Millions at the expense of Google and the people they claim to represent.”
Well, the author, Brid-Aine Parnell, gave coverage to this non-news, using the editor’s trollish headline and the following attempt at balance: “A Google spokesperson told The Reg in an emailed statement that Android had brought more competition into the market.”
Well, unlike Apple. So what’s the basis for singling out Google? It’s nonsense. No matter how the case ends up, it make Google look bad and this was probably the intention of this whole PR blitz.
It’s not just this one angle that seems to be pointing a gun at Google. Watch the latest relentless attacks from the Murdoch press against net neutrality and against Google (there is always anti-Google bias in there and more recently a lot of net neutrality disinformation).
Over at IDG, Jim Lynch responds to this original IDG report that almost everyone is citing. The Microsoft connection not even named, so no wonder nobody mentions where a lot of it may be coming from. IDG should be shamed of itself for publishing many lobbying/PR paragraphs without mentioning even once the Microsoft ties. It’s not responsible journalism, as it distorts by omission.
Microsoft says “don’t be Scroogled.” We say, don’t be bamboozled by “Scroogled”; it’s a nasty PR campaign (attacks ads) and the people behind it recently got promoted, █
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Summary: A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that’s wrong with today’s model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes
THE MENTALITY OF greedy investors, and more so investors who put their money in a criminal enterprise, is worth noting. Microsoft has a long history of crime and the investors occasionally sue not because the act of committing crime is bad but because Microsoft fails to dodge the fines (i.e. there is conviction for the crimes).
Here we have a new example of an investor in a criminal company complaining about the wrong thing. To quote the Indian press: “The lawsuit, brought by shareholder Kim Barovic in federal court in Seattle on Friday, charges that directors and executives, including founder Bill Gates and former chief executive officer Steve Ballmer, failed to manage the company properly and that the board’s investigation was insufficient into how the miscue occurred.”
The problem is not that they “failed to manage the company properly”; as we saw in court documents, the crimes go all the way to the top and include instructions from Bill Gates, who chose to break competition laws. This “Supreme Villain” is now spending his wealth on PR (distracting from his crimes), in order to gain yet more wealth while paying virtually nothing in tax.
Here is a new article about protests against Bill Gates profiteering from private prisons.
Criminals rarely change their spots, they just change how the public perceives them. Gates was personally responsible for many of Microsoft’s crimes (and we have the documents to prove it), but nowadays he is busy bribing much of the press and even blogs in order to paint a different picture while he keeps hoarding a lot more money (at everyone else’s expense). Historically there were people like Gates who used the same tactics to alter public opinion. What’s truly shameful is that the biggest (more expensive) crimes still lead to no jail sentence, especially when the government is funded and run by corporations. █
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Summary: Reports of “loss of Linux dual-booting” due to Windows Update are investigated further; FSF award to Garrett faces opposition
IT WAS recently reported in Reddit that UEFI was used by Microsoft Windows to wipe out GNU/Linux. Windows Update rendered GNU/Linux unbootable and allegedly turned ‘secure’ boot on to achieve this.
According to this new analysis from Jamie the UEFI explorer, it’s not an isolated incident. He starts by stating: “I can finally report that yes, there is a problem — but it’s generally not as serious as has been reported.” He also writes: “While I found that I was able to ‘fix’ the loss of Linux dual-booting on both of my systems, I am NOT trying to say that everyone who has posted claims about dual-boot being ‘destroyed’ by Windows Update is wrong. I certainly have enough experience with UEFI boot configuration to know that all sorts of strange things are possible, and it may well be that some systems, with some configurations, really do get more seriously damaged by Windows Update than mine have. One very obvious example might be that the Linux items could get deleted from the boot object list. If that happened you would have to use efibootmgr to put them back again.”
But who would know how to do this and how many people would just turn away from GNU/Linux at this stage? This is why UEFI should face a boycott and antitrust complaints against Microsoft get bolstered. I wholeheartedly disgree with FSF for giving Garrett an award. This can be a PR disaster waiting to happen, a bit like Miguel de Icaza and Theo de Raadt and getting such an award before their FSF bashing. Apparently I am not alone in disagreeing with the FSF; Sam Varghese expressed similar concerns, having opposed ‘secure’ boot for quite some time along with many others. He writes: “The Free Software Foundation has given an annual award this year for work that enslaves people to the demands of Microsoft – something that flies in the face of all that the organisation has stood for since its founding.”
This has indeed been a bizarre move and it can help weaken existing complaints (in Europe) over Microsoft’s UEFI tricks. █
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Summary: Chih-Wei Huang, widely known for his role in the Chinese Linux Documentation Project and Chinese Linux Extensions, wants the Justice Department to investigate Google because Asus, his employer, does not ship Android on Intel hardware
ECT, going by the name Linux Insider, has just published this article about Android-x86 — a project that mostly helps a convicted monopoly abuser (Intel) interject itself into Linux/Android.
The article is very negative about Google and it speaks of complaints for abuse in a Free software project. We have seen such stuff before and it usually turns out to be provocation. It has been very typical for Microsoft people to do so, or even Microsoft proxies such as Nokia. It’s often provocation against Google using forks that don’t obey simple rules, or simply lead to FUD, patent taxation, and even severe privacy issues like NSA/Microsoft Skype.
“Sadly enough, ECT only quotes people who are against Google. No balance is offered, not even an attempt at balance.”Dealing with the core of the article from ECT, it says that the “maintainer of the Android-x86 Project has suggested that the Justice Department should investigate whether Google has been interfering with adoption of the open source code his community is developing.”
This is attributed to Chih-Wei Huang, which is a common name in places like Taiwan. There is Dr. Chih-Wei Huang, who worked 5+ years in Washington/Redmond (with Microsoft payroll), but he is not to be confused with this guy (same full name and even the same username in the same country) that has a good track record when it comes to Free software in China and Taiwan. We already know of former Microsoft staff like Xuxian Jiang, who pretend to be researching Android but are actually FUD mills against Android. But this one guy has nothing to do with Microsoft, unlike Dr. Chih-Wei Huang (see his revealing CV).
According to ECT, Huang said (to ECT): “Asus announced the dual OS laptop TD300LA in the CES and got very positive feedback. However, Google asked to stop the product so Asus are unable to ship it, sadly.”
This doesn’t sound right. Days ago we covered this and it was actually Microsoft that put the kibosh on the project (see the links here), not just Google as previously (and perhaps even falsely) reported. Neither party wanted to support this product. Several publications reported on that. So why is Huang picking only on Google?
Sadly enough, ECT only quotes people who are against Google. No balance is offered, not even an attempt at balance. There is no approach for comment from Google. It only says: “Asus executives did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Huang’s assessment of the alleged thwarted hardware release. Google officials several times declined requests for interviews to discuss the Android-x86 Project.”
What about Asus then? Maybe he should ask Asus (according to Wikipedia his current employer) for more information before accusing Google. What does Google have to lose here? Motivation is too weak for this theory to make sense. If anyone has reasons to interfere here, it would be ARM (UK-based) or Nvidia (also external to Asus).
Asus already ships a lot of Android (e.g. the Nexus 7), so only hardware limitation is the mystery here. Intel’s x86 is notoriously unsuitable for mobile devices, especially due to heat, size, and energy consumption. Intel’s “Atom” was a massive failure; heads were rolling. In fact, Google would generally be wise to avoid or to dodge those chipsets that put Windows to shame (heavy, clumsy, not running for long). But it doesn’t mean that Google intervened; in fact, maybe Asus reached those same conclusions on its own.
Five years ago when Asus announced a Linux-booting device (Android Eee PC, running Linux/Android) is was most seemingly killed because pressure from Microsoft, not Google (just read what the head of Asus said at the time).
It seems likely that Huang is barking up the wrong tree. We are eager to give Google the benefit of the doubt here because looking at the track record of Android, there tend to be provocations every now and then, trying to portray Android as “not open” (common line from Apple and Microsoft), abusive, monopolistic, etc. Almost every time this type of claims floods the media it eventually turns out to be bogus and often it ends up revealing an embarrassing link to Microsoft (which shamelessly runs anti-Google smear campaigns). █
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So boycott UEFI
Summary: The latest experiences with UEFI (reported by one who is experienced with UEFI) suggest that a boycott of UEFI is still justified
AS we pointed out before, UEFI ‘secure’ boot is actually a mechanism for reducing security, enabling remote entities to take control of one’s hardware or destroy it ‘IBM style’ (IBM works with the NSA on self-destroying hardware). Even the NSA recognises this ability. In addition, UEFI makes it harder for people to explore operating systems other than those which have NSA back doors.
Several days ago Jamie Watson reported  that he had purchased a computer saddled with the notoriously unwanted Vista 8. He said he was getting it “ready for Linux” and days later he reported on his findings, having had many issues with UEFI before (the UEFI Forum contacted him as part of well-coordinated attempts to change perceptions). His opinion on UEFI is hardly changed. He calls UEFI “a royal pain” after trying almost a dozen distributions with it (over the course of nearly 2 years). He said: “For those who might not be personally familiar with UEFI boot yet, and especially for those who might be familiar with only one UEFI boot implementation, I’m going to include some more details here to explain and illustrate why it is, for me, such a pain.”
Intel and Microsoft are making it very hard to dodge back doors, surveillance, etc. in pursuit and in favour of freedom. It’s time to dodge Microsoft and Intel and it’s time to seriously just boycott any hardware that comes with UEFI. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
One of the large retail chains here in Switzerland has a low-priced product range that it calls “M-Budget”, which includes everything from groceries to housewares to computers, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
As I was walking past one of its shops on Saturday, I saw that it was offering an HP Compaq laptop for 333 Swiss Francs (about £225/€272/$370), and that is so low for the Swiss market that I couldn’t resist.
But as for UEFI: what a royal pain. For those who might not be personally familiar with UEFI boot yet, and especially for those who might be familiar with only one UEFI boot implementation, I’m going to include some more details here to explain and illustrate why it is, for me, such a pain.
The UEFI BIOS boot configuration is made up of two basic parts — a list of boot objects, and a sequence in which they should be attempted. When you get a new Windows 8 system, there is usually only one “real” item in the list, that being the Windows 8 Bootloader.
There will probably also be some other “pseudo” items or “generic” items in the list which allow for CD/DVD and USB boot, for example. The boot sequence on the a new Windows 8 system will contain the Windows Boot item first, and then perhaps some or all of the pseudo/generic boot items.
This is the first place I saw something unexpected in this UEFI BIOS, because there were items included in the default sequence which don’t even exist in the list of boot objects. Weird.
When you install another bootable operating system, such as Linux, it will add an item to the boot object list for itself, and that item will be placed at the front of the boot sequence list.
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Summary: Calls for boycott against UEFI receive supportive proof from journalists who are unable to install GNU/Linux because of Microsoft/Intel locks
WE HAVE already published many articles about UEFI because it is clearly a Linux-hostile plot to remove users’ control over their PCs. It’s about limiting the ability to boot operating systems, usually by giving authorisation powers to some third party like Microsoft. Novell (ex-)employees in particular — suffice to say because of their Microsoft ties — have been friendly towards this agenda and they laid inside Linux some of the endorsing code which weakens antitrust action.
Based on this new report from one who knows his way around GNU/Linux, UEFI is a pain in the neck. To quote his article’s summary: “Opinions vary on whether the UEFI standards are helping or hurting the migration to Linux. Enterprise users can select a Linux distro certified to work with UEFI standards, but not all Linux distros have keys that allow it to install. Despite the intent of the UEFI standards, the process so far is not universally successful. It should “just work,” said the Linux Foundation’s Greg Kroah-Hartman.”
Well, not quite. Novell’s Kroah-Hartman played a key role in pushing Microsoft-serving code into Linux and this includes UEFI restricted boot. UEFI should never have been embraced by Linux; it should be shunned because it’s a patent trap that serves a rapidly-shrinking criminal entity known as Intel as well as its partner Microsoft (they are jointly known as “Wintel”). Intel cannot keep up with mobile revolution according to the latest news , so it must be fighting to keep the old abusive duopoly/oligopoly going. To quote more from the above article: “I have extensive practice with installing various Linux distros on older and new computers. I am handy at setting up disk partitions and dual booting to maintain a working Microsoft Windows OS alongside numerous Linux distros. I also have routinely installed Linux on older and new computers by removing the Windows OS and replacing the entire drive with one or more Linux distros.
“However, it was not until I attempted to do a Linux installation on a new Gateway Series DX desktop with Windows 8 installed that I stared that UEFI monster down. At first I nearly ran back to the big box store to return the shiny new Windows box. I was not able to get the BIOS settings for the UEFI and Secure Boot permissions to even see USB and DVD live sessions for Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Korora 19 or Puppy Linux. That made routine installation of Linux impossible.
“The current use of UEFI and Secure Boot technologies might all too conveniently lock down the hard drive to lock out the installation of other operating systems — like Linux. Successfully installing Linux on UEFI/Secure Boot hardware controls depends on which computer brand or model you buy. Some of the newest BIOS versions effectively lock down any other OS access.”
Advice to the author: join the effort to enforce antitrust action. The European authorities have already received a formal complaint from lawyers. In the mean time, boycott hardware that comes with UEFI. Voting with one’s wallet is casting a strong vote. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Intel’s deal with Chinese manufacturer Lenovo to supply chips for its smartphones has now ended. The processor giant, however, is reportedly working on other partnerships to replace the deal. Asus also released the Intel-powered Asus Zenfone series at CES. The new line of smartphones—featuring 4-inch, 5-inch and 6-inch models—will be released in March, mainly aimed at the China and Southeast Asia markets.
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Summary: Microsoft is reportedly paying billions of dollars (negative pricing) for unfair competition against Free (as in freedom) software that it is extorting using patents to induce fees
II sure seems like Microsoft has done enough, especially with moles in the national healthcare programme, to undermine FOSS and GNU/Linux in key areas of government operations. When people leave Microsoft they often turn into moles. Stephen Elop is one among many examples; in recent years he became the most famous such mole, and people generally know about him because the corporate media covers it. There are many more examples like him. It is now being reported that another entity, a fraud partner of Enron (to which Microsoft is similar because of confirmed financial misconduct), will get involved in the same programme. What an effective way to discredit national healthcare. Fraudsters are being put in charge. It’s corruption, just like repeated financial fraud at Microsoft (maybe it’s collaborations/collusion with the NSA that gave Microsoft immunity from criminal prosecution/legal actions, not to mention funneling of public money from black budget).
Microsoft’s illegal actions are not a thing of the past though.
Now that there is “damage control”, following reports that Microsoft is bribing companies like B&N, not just dumping ‘free’ (gratis) traps, we should keep an eye open for potentially new moles like Blair Westlake. The reports are denied by Shaw, who is a proven liar (it’s formally his job and we proved him to be a liar quite a few times before), but there is most likely substance to this (Microsoft paying billions to OEMs to prevent them from choosing Linux, only the numbers are being challenged). As the author puts it, “Mobile-Review.com’s Eldar Murtazin, who has provided some accurate Windows Phone scoops before, reports Microsoft (MSFT) will be making $2.6B in “support” payments (likely including marketing spend) to OEM partners in 2014 to compel them to make one Windows Phone apiece.
“Samsung (SSNLF, SSNLF) is said to be receiving $1.2B, Sony (SNE) $500M, Huawei $600M, and other firms $300M.”
Windows Mobile was such a failure that Microsoft is now struggling to keep any presence at all in mobile. As iophk puts it, “what are the real numbers then?”
Sosumi said, “windows mobile is so bad that MS has to bribe OEMs” and iophk said, “like with regular windows, too.” (e.g, in netbooks)
MinceR said, “hopefully that android won’t have to be virtualized on top of winblows (building a castle on a swamp…)”
Where are antitrust regulators? Bribes as a business model are not an acceptable strategy. It’s a serious abuse and there are laws against it. Sure, Microsoft’s close partners at the NSA are confirmed to be spying (espionage) on EU regulators under pretexts like “terrorism” (reported months ago), but these people should still be able to do their job. █
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