EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. Credit: EU OPEN DAYS 2012
Summary: Reminder to defeatists who believe that we should all ride Microsoft’s coattails rather than challenge unjust behaviour that may also be illegal
THERE are people out there who want us to believe that to play along with Microsoft on schemes like UEFI restricted boot is a necessary evil and maybe just necessary, not even evil. These people are serving Microsoft’s interests because they weaken antitrust complaints which exist rather than bolster these complaints. Here is a recent tale, as covered by Mike Masnick, of how regulatory intervention did help justice.
The United States’ highest court, SCOTUS, recently shocked a few people by ruling against large corporations’ interests (patents on genes). It later said that patents (referring to pharmaceutical patents) can violate antitrust law. Now that very ridiculous patents get granted and sometimes get ISO endorsement, as in the case of MPEG-LA patents, FOSS is facing anticompetitive practices from the likes of Nokia, Microsoft, and Apple. Google, for instance, is being almost prevented from giving codecs for free, even though it has copyrights on all the code, which is Free/open source software. To quote one recent piece about this subject:
A couple of years back, Techdirt wrote about Google’s laudable attempt to open source its VP8 video codec, based around technologies it had acquired with the On2 company in 2009. That was not simply a matter of releasing the code, though, because of claims by some that VP8 infringed on their patents. MPEG-LA, the private company that manages the H.264 patent pool, even went so far as to put out a call for patents that might cover VP8, which in turn led to the US Justice Department investigating whether the move violated anti-trust law.
Remember that Nero had filed an antitrust complaint. That was before other complaints.
This is what led to a deal that makes YouTube videos, for example, mostly accessible (soon entirely accessible) using Free/libre software acquired at zero cost (and GPL-compatible). Nokia, led by Microsoft, is still trying to interfere with this.
When people insist that there is no point to antitrust complaints tell them that many things including sexual and racial (e.g. slavery) discrimination did not end by passive action and hardly even by civil disobedience. People do need to take action. It’s not “whining”, it’s just not complicit with the abuser. █
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Summary: The Supreme Court, unlike CAFC, gives new hope that Microsoft’s racketeering tactics will be dealt with as an antitrust matter
The CAFC may be very misguided on the issue of software patents (for which it is responsible in the first place) and this concurs with the trend we always see, having just seen the CAFC legitimising software patents again (specifically the ultramercial patent [1, 2, 3, 4]), striking a blow to the SCOTUS.
“The SCOTUS will give consideration to the notion of extortion with patents and avoidance of testing a patent’s validity.”Judge Rader, one who often defends software patenting and redefines “patent troll”, is being named in a post which says: “The majority opinion, written by Judge Rader, initially noted that it should be “rare” to dismiss a patent case at the pleading stage based on patent eligibility given the many factual issues that such an invalidity defense entails. The majority then reviewed patent eligibility jurisprudence, concluding that Section 101 defined broad categories of patent subject matter, that the definition of “process” itself was intended to be broad, and that judicially-created exceptions (laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas) must be narrowly applied. The majority further stated that patent ineligibility must be proven under the high clear and convincing evidence standard.”
Another article about it says: “The Electronic Frontier Foundation started fighting against the Ultramercial patent in 2011, filing a brief with the appeals court stating that “[m]erely filing a patent application covering an idea that takes place on the Internet (especially without explaining any of the programming steps) does not somehow make an abstract idea (which is unpatentable) somehow not abstract (so it is patentable).”
“Microsoft, for instance, seemingly bribed B&N to avoid challenging of its patents).”“In its reaction to the ruling Friday, the EFF said, “It’s time for the Supreme Court to step in and tell the Federal Circuit once and for all that abstract ideas—such as a process for viewing ads before accessing copyrighted content—are unpatentable.”"
The SCOTUS will give consideration to the notion of extortion with patents and avoidance of testing a patent’s validity. Microsoft, for instance, seemingly bribed B&N to avoid challenging of its patents). Will Hill shows B&N collapsing as he adds:
B&N is losing hundreds of millions of dollars after making a deal to settle Microsoft’s software patent extortion. So much for Nook, a tablet that showed a lot of promise.
“In a 5-3 Decision authored by Justice Breyer, the US Supreme Court has held that a rule-of-reason analysis applies to determine whether a reverse-payment patent settlement violates federal antitrust laws,” says the aforementioned article. “The FTC had asked the court to go further and rule that reverse payments are presumptively unlawful. A major factual question going forward in patent-settlement antitrust cases will be whether the patentee settled its lawsuit in order to avoid testing a patent’s weakness. Without additional pro-competitive benefits, such a settlement can be deemed anticompetitive under a rule-of-reason.”
This is good. We shall be haring more about it for sure. █
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“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
Summary: The abusive behaviour of Microsoft continues unabated long after Judge Jackson warned about the sociopathic management and its dangers
ICROSOFT is best known to many as the champion of antitrust abuses. The judge who knows this best has just died (see biography or some corporate press coverage [1, 2, 3]). He left behind him is a lot of paper trail showing how Bill Gates and his goons repeatedly broke the law while trying to marginalise, demonise and incite judges like himself. To quote the book authored by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR leader, Microsoft said “Judge Penfield Jackson’s decision to appoint a “special master” was not appropriate and that the company would challenge it. On December 23 Microsoft did just that and filed a motion to remove Lawrence Lessig from the case. [...] In trying to get rid of Lessig, Microsoft argued the law, but they also argued bias.”
“He left behind him is a lot of paper trail showing how Bill Gates and his goons repeatedly broke the law while trying to marginalise, demonise and incite judges like himself.”See our symbolic list of personal retributions by Microsoft, which at times behaves like a dangerous cult. Microsoft’s antitrust abuses are far from over. Someone from Finland tells us about “The last of that OSS OS” which Microsoft destroyed using its mole in Nokia. In Europe, specifically in Germany, the Microsoft-run Nokia has been suing Android using patents. There is a motion for outright ban of such patents, led by Jimmy Schulz and Matthias Kirschner, the FSFE’s coordinator for Germany. Mr. Pogson and many others write about it because the key to many of Microsoft’s latest competition abuses is software patents.
The Microsoft-Apple duopoly [1, 2] is getting closely tied (search engines too) now that the mission is to destroy Google/Android. Microsoft needs a proxy to make antitrust claims against Google, for it would seem hypocritical otherwise.
Nokia to Microsoft’s rescue! Here is the article “EU to probe Google’s below cost licensing of Android: Courtesy Microsoft Nokia,” stating:
Microsoft, the company which created abusive monopoly in the PC desktop space and did not leave any room for a single player to breath and survive for almost three decades is now crying wolf when competitors are doing better.
Microsoft and it’s pizza delivery boy Nokia filed complaints with the EU, via is proxy body FairSearch, against Google’s free and open source Android OS. According to reports EU is going ahead with the probe.
FairSearch is no ‘independent body. Nicolas Petit, a professor of competition law at the University of Liege in Belgium was quoted by Computer World stating, “FairSearch.org is seen by many observers here as a Microsoft Trojan Horse Everyone understands here in Brussels that it’s Microsoft versus Google.”
As put by Pamela Jones: “This is beyond silly. Microsoft and Nokia a sore losers, and they should put more effort into their products instead of attacking Google via regulators. It’s unseemly. Of course the wrongly named “Fair Search” is involved. It’s here if you want. I hate to give them clicks: http://www.fairsearch.org/mobile/fairsearch-announces-complaint-in-eu-on-googles-anti-competitive-mobile-strategy/ but here’s the thing: every time these guys complain to the EU regulators, they have to look into it, even if it is absurd on its face. It’s how it works, and the article is clear it’s still an “informal” investigation, meaning nothing has happened except Microsoft and its little sidekick Nokia are complaining again.”
Many articles about this subject cite this original report and a FOSS-oriented site says this:
The Financial Times reports that it has access to documents indicating that the EU Commission is investigating the licensing practices for the Android mobile operating system. According to the documents, Google is offering Android below the usual market prices. The report also says that the company has been signing exclusive contracts with smartphone manufacturers related to the factory installation of Google’s mobile services. Reportedly, competitors have accused Google of exploiting its dominant market position to achieve this.
Over at CNET, the battle is said to be fought by “a group of companies that includes Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle” (Apple friend and CPTN member). Jones writes: “Do you remember Daniel Wallace, who sued the Free Software Foundation, as well as Novell and Red Hat over the GPL, claiming it was an antitrust violation to offer it for free, because then other software couldn’t fairly compete? The judge specifically ruled that the GPL encouraged competition and innovation and was advantageous for consumers in that prices to go down instead of up, writing: “[T]he GPL encourages, rather than discourages, free competition and the distribution of computer operating systems, the benefits of which directly pass to consumers. These benefits include lower prices, better access and more innovation.
“And what, pray tell, would the remedy be, if Microsoft and its sidekick Nokia were to prevail? Force Google to charge for Android? Ban it from the market? I mean, what? This accusation, aside from being untrue, reveals that what Microsoft really wants is one of the following: 1) that Android cost more, either through patent royalties paid for Microsoft’s aged and unnecessary, maybe invalid, patents; or 2) Android’s total destruction. That’s not competition in any normal sense.”
Here is how Pogson puts it:
The idea that an owner of copyright cannot give away it’s product is plainly silly. Copyright law says the owner can make copies any way they want, charging money or not.
This just shows that Microsoft continues to abuse and misuse the system while at the same time, as Tim put it, Microsoft wants to be seen as a victim that plays “nice”. The headline says “The writing is on the wall? Microsoft wants to play nicely now?”
The picture is not too great for Microsoft and its future. I’ve said recently that I believe the reason Microsoft plugs away with its phone efforts is so that it can’t be accused of patent trolling when it rakes in the profit from it’s Android licenses and as some people will probably agree, if Microsoft does have a long term future, it will be in the area’s of patents.
The worrying thing about this is (and the Microsoft Advocates are keen to point this out) is that Microsoft is not going anywhere – this is very true. It has a massive warchest of cash, a library of patents and in my view a opinion of “do it our way or not at all”. I think on the way down, Microsoft will bring many others down with it.
Microsoft play nicely with others? In my opinion, there’s more chance of Steve Ballmer spontaneously growing a full head of hair than Microsoft playing nicely with anyone.
Racketeering with patent threats and misuse of regulatory agencies through proxies is not playing “nice”, it’s acting criminal.
Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson said “Microsoft expends a significant portion of its monopoly power [...] on imposing burdensome restrictions on its customers and inducing them to behave in ways that augment and prolong that monopoly power.” He also said that it “is Microsoft’s corporate practice to pressure other firms to halt software development that either shows the potential to weaken the applications barrier to entry or competes directly with Microsoft’s most cherished software products.” This is still true. On another occasion he said that “[t]he period since 1996 has witnessed a large increase in the usage of Microsoft’s browsing technologies and a concomitant decline in Navigator’s share. … The relative shares would not have changed nearly as much as they did, however, had Microsoft not devoted its monopoly profits to precisely that end.”
To summarise in the words of Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, “Microsoft has demonstrated that it will use its prodigious market power and immense profits to harm any firm that insists on pursuing initiatives that could intensify competition against one of Microsoft’s core products. [...] The ultimate result is that some innovations that would truly benefit consumers never occur for the sole reason that they do not coincide with Microsoft’s self-interest.” █
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Image from the 10 Downing Street Web site
Summary: The insane spendings that accompany Microsoft in computing, based on new revelations from the UK
There are some outrageous reports about our government spending about 10,000 US dollars for each Windows-running machine in government, essentially flushing taxpayers’ money down the loo. One article put it like this:
The government has always faced criticism that its IT is slow, unwieldy, inflexible, unnecessarily complex and overpriced. It’s one thing when you face this criticism from your rivals, the press or members of the public – but you know you’ve reached a dire point when it’s your own chief operating officer (COO) twisting the knife.
At a government spending review attended earlier this week by V3, the government’s new COO Stephen Kelly shed some light into the world of technology at Whitehall and across the public sector.
Munich could do far better than that!
Over the years we covered many examples where the British public sector favours Microsoft for no good reason.This is used to funnel public money into private hands. The NHS and BECTA are just two examples of this.
Here is my co-host’s take on this latest outrage. He points the finger at Microsoft:
People still running a Windows system in the home will probably be able to appreciate the almost full time job of securing it against the latest malware, fixing nonsensical bugs which suddenly appear for no reasons and creating their own imaginative workarounds just to get the desktop functioning. For the home user this may be seen as run-of-the-mill home computing, but put the same issues into government systems where your tax money goes and the problem becomes less of an annoyance and more a costly exercise – at your expense.
Now user’s of Windows can appreciate that boot up (and shut down) can take a long time. Here’s your Government (in the UK)
“I came into the office and I pressed my PC and it took me seven minutes to boot up,” he told attendees. “That’s government in the old world, that’s three days of the year I waste of my time booting up.”
Computers are needed in government, but why do they run Windows? Mr. Pogson says bundling is still the issue. To quote:
Ask yourself, why did M$ insist it’s customers not ship bare metal? Did M$ want to ensure end-users had less choice of OS? Did M$ want to ensure it had a larger market-share than it was otherwise earning on price/performance? Were they afraid people would realize the price they paid for that OS?
A market that does not offer choice of OS is broken and governments should have smacked M$, OEMs and retailers long ago over the practice of bundling the OS. It’s clearly an anti-competitive act. Where I live one can buy a bare-metal PC but only as a “bare bones” system to which you must add components or as parts. That worked for ATX PCs but it does not for notebooks and tablets which so far don’t have many user-changeable parts. Freedom in ATX is fading with the decline in “desktop” PCs. They’ll likely be available for years longer but unless we demand notebooks and other PCs offer a choice of OS, bundling will be coming back in a big way. M$ may yet try to get OEMs to ship nothing but M$’s OS.
Why is there no government action against it? Microsoft is too big to jail; for other illegal practices too there has been no punishment, AstroTurfing and racketeering included. What about UEFI, the latest scheme to keep GNU/Linux out of desktops? UEFI is again being covered in ZDNet, owing to J.A. Watson, a Brit who was approached by UEFI Forum after he had criticised UEFI. Here is his latest problem:
I have written a number of times recently about UEFI Boot, and how much trouble I have had getting it set up and getting it to stay the way I want it.
It is important to remember that system manufacturers sometimes make BIOS firmware updates available, and installing such updates can sometimes be of significant help with existing problems.
An example is my Acer Aspire One 725. I have installed several different Linux distributions on it (openSuSE, Fedora, Ubuntu and Debian), and I had run into two related problems.
First, when the Linux installation was finished the system still only booted Windows, and second, even when I changed the UEFI Boot parameters in NVRAM (using efibootmgr), the changes would be lost on the next reboot (which was actually the root cause of the first problem).
All this complication sure is enough to discourage most people from installing GNU/Linux, There is an antitrust complaint in Europe. █
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National press in Australia (corporate news) complicit in Gates’ agenda
Summary: How a “successful” (as in profitable) criminal bought the press, rebuilt his public image, and is now on a crusade to make a lot more money while the press misinforms the public, saying he distributes (gives away) his ill-gotten money
THE Gates Foundation has been discussed in our IRC channels quite a lot as of late. Australian members of this site are unhappy to see their so-called elected leaders hanging out with a famous criminal like it’s some kind of a badge of honour. Gates is buying the press (literally) in Australia and it is a recipe for disaster. It is not about helping journalists but about enlisting them for PR. Journalists these days are not talking about the business crimes of billionaires like the Rockefellers* and they are only ever mentioning Gates in a positive connotation because their editors or publishers know the implicit rule that money comes from PR, not criticism. Watch Associated Press whitewashing Rockefeller while lumping in Gates and the Bill Gates-funded [1, 2] BBC doing the same. Some criminals go to jail; but if they are big enough they get a bailout (taxpayers’ money) and get characterised as heroes and business champions.
“Some criminals go to jail; but if they are big enough they get a bailout (taxpayers’ money) and get characterised as heroes and business champions.”The Gates-funded BBC uses promotional language like “Rockefeller (and most other private foundations) is dwarfed in size by the Gates Foundation, which has assets of more than $36bn.”
It almost correctly notes that “The Gates Foundation is also Rockefeller’s partner in the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and Ms Rodin says it is a “terrific” partner.”
It’s not a a green revolution, it’s “Green Revolution” (capitalised). It is exactly the opposite of green. It’s greenwashing of seed monopoly by Monsanto et al. Gates is an investor; he’s in it for money. It’s about gaining wealth through monopoly on the food supply — a subject we covered here dozens of times before.
The Gates-funded BBC doesn’t say that this is a for-profit GMO alliance. The BBC has been publishing many pro-GMO/Monsanto pieces (or ignoring criticism) since Gates bribed it (to a certain degree the same has been true about The Guardian since Gates bribed it). We gave several examples of this. Appalling? Yes, but nonetheless very true. We are not unique in the making of this observation. This is actually a growing trend in alternative media and to a growing extent in some mainstream media too (they have to keep up with common knowledge and neglect PR).
“It’s not a a green revolution, it’s “Green Revolution” (capitalised). It is exactly the opposite of green.”To quote a noteworthy old article which has Gates and Rockefeller mentioned in tandem in relation to their pro-Monsanto agenda in Africa and the rest of world (monopoly on food), they sure have a “doomsday seed vault”. They seem to realise the problem with GMO, but GMO is about profit. Bill Gates just getting richer, he is not losing wealth. He is disseminating lies in the media to make it seem as though he is a giver, not a taker. Radio Australia says in this summary that “Bill Gates announced he would donate almost all of his fortune to charitable causes” (he is only getting richer a decade after saying this, so it’s more like expanding his fortune to widen the lead as the world’s richest man while also trying to portray himself as world’s most generous man).
We found this very gross article, too. The old headline was “Bill Gates: Richest Man and Also one of the Most Generous – ABC News” (this headline is not visible anymore, but we grabbed it from cache).
“It’s not hard to grasp the facts, it’s just hard to get the truth/facts past conservative editors and publishers of corporate media (where profit, i.e. advertising, comes before accuracy).”it is troubling enough seeing one engaging in crime; what’s even more blood pressure-raising is seeing criminals who do this injustice (with direct harm to those around them) literally buying themselves hero status, getting all the credit for the work of volunteers whom they looted, destroyed, demonised, and so forth.
Well, the editor changed the headline, so it is hard to show the nerve of this branch of corporate media. ABS is corporate press, very extremely so. The Australian press has been doing PR for Gates amidst a visit. Never mind if Gates and Microsoft are both tax evaders (too rich to pay tax), the Australian press will reverse the facts. Yes, tax evader Bill Gates keeps saying the rich should pay more tax and the Australian media prints that, completely without challenge (just like in the US press of Gates' Australian friend and partner Rupert Murdoch last month [1, 2]), not noting that this foundation is an apparatus of tax exemptions, like many other such foundations.
For those with a strong stomach, here is some more gross PR from the corporate news sites. Well, it’s merely a lobbying trip to Gates in Australia and it’s paying off. The agenda and business model is usually relaying tax money (by lobbying politicians) to Gates’ private investments — companies whose manufacturing costs less than one percent of the retail price, so publicly-stated ‘donation’ numbers are grossly overstated and someone — some shareholders (wink-wink) — pockets the massive margins. Here is a lobbying pitch from the man who got his wealth using illegal business tactics like sabotage designed to derail law-abiding competitors. Go figure why nobody in the corporate press dares to point this out. It’s not hard to grasp the facts, it’s just hard to get the truth/facts past conservative editors and publishers of corporate media (where profit, i.e. advertising, comes before accuracy). █
* There are many books and documentaries about it, spanning approximately one century, but it is definitely not worth delving into at Techrights as it’s not technology related.
“Don’t encourage new, cross-platform Java classes, especially don’t help get great Win 32 implementations written/deployed. [...] Do encourage fragmentation of the Java classlib space.”
–Ben Slivka, Microsoft
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Legal loopholes exploited
Summary: Lawsuits by proxy still a preferable strategy at Microsoft, the company which made racketeering a key business model
According to this article from Groklaw, “Microsoft Assigns Six Patents to Patent Troll Vringo — Is This an Antitrust Issue?”
Yes, well, it is not the first time, either. The article says: “A couple of things about this Vringo affair. First, Mark Cuban — who set up the chair at EFF to fight against stupid patents — also bought a 7% interest in Vringo, back when they were dreaming their Big Dreams. Blech. Gambling on litigation. That’s what patents are being used for, and that’s only part of what’s wrong with the US patent system.”
“The American Antitrust Institute is getting involved now, but it should be noted that the above is not unprecedented.”The American Antitrust Institute is getting involved now, but it should be noted that the above is not unprecedented. Nokia gave Vringo some patents before. We wrote about a Nokia boycott exactly when Vringo got fed by Nokia. When another troll, MOSAID, got fed by Nokia, we know for a fact Microsoft was directly involved. It did not even hide it, so this would not be the first time when Microsoft uses one proxy (Nokia) to feed another proxy (patent troll) to harass Google. It would be valuable to have the “smoking gun” showing why Mr. Elop (Microsoft’s mole in Nokia) gave patents to Vringo.
“It would be valuable to have the “smoking gun” showing why Elop (Microsoft’s mole in Nokia) gave patents to Vringo.”Microsoft paid Vringo an additional one million dollars. As Million put it: “The settlement also provides for Microsoft to transfer six patents to I/P engine, the patent-holding subsidiary of Vringo. “The assigned patents relate to telecommunications, data management, and other technology areas,” stated Vringo in its filing.
“Microsoft confirmed that Vringo’s description of the settlement was accurate, but declined further comment when asked about the case by Reuters.”
Here is more coverage for future record [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], inclusive of the Reuters article.
“These are very real conspiracies of common interests. What’s not in their interests? Android.”Microsoft uses some other proxies to harm Google, e.g. this long-going patent troll called MPEG-LA, which based on this analysis is compromising free multimedia codecs. As VAR Guy put it: “From headline-grabbing threats by Microsoft (MSFT) to more subdued court battles involving the cloud, the open-source ecosystem has a pretty good record of winning patent challenges. But a crushing defeat has now tarnished that record with Google’s (GOOG) grudging surrender in a campaign to make the open-source VP8 video codec ubiquitous across the Web. Free-software stalwarts need not panic, though: In this case, they can blame Google, not a systemic failure by the open-source world itself.”
No, to blame here are companies like Nokia, Apple, and Microsoft, which are behind MPEG-LA. We wrote about it in [1, 2, 3]. These are not unsubstantiated rumours or theories. These are very real conspiracies of common interests. What’s not in their interests? Android. █
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Europe stops illegal Microsoft-leaning ‘tenders’, US should follow suit (SCOTUS hallway imaged below)
Summary: Microsoft cannot bypass public tenders, based on a ruling from a court of law in Europe
Microsoft’s many offences are diverse in their nature. Just about any imaginable offence Microsoft has committed or is still committing. Right now Microsoft is offering lock-in in exchange for some gifts/cash, in liaison with Forbes. This, however, does not qualify as a bribe like this one which bypasses the public and uses politicians. As the Gates Foundation certainly knows, the best way to assure annual profit (or bailout) is to lobby politicians to hand over taxpayers’ money to corporations you have investments in (the Gates Foundation is a tax-exempt investment instrument). This has rendered many corporations political in nature and heavily reliant on lobbying. Microsoft is no exception.
“To Microsoft, anything that’s non-Microsoft is unfair.”On the one hand, what Microsoft does when it comes to government contracts is not so unique. On the other hand, notes ESOP, Microsoft has been engaging in several other illegal activities in Portugal. And the latest ESOP press release is titled “Court Annuls Public Tender for MS Software in Municipality of Almada” (there are usually incentives for officials who play along, i.e. bribes). The press release says: “Following a legal action brought by ESOP to the Administrative and Fiscal Court of Almada, public tender no. 31A2012 regarding licensing and maintenance of Microsoft software costing up to 550.000,00 EUR was annulled. The tender, now deemed illegal, was launched by the City of Almada and prevented all the competing solutions from being supplied.
“It is the first court decision of this type in Portugal. The court confirms that, according to the Portuguese Law, public tenders must include functional requirement and must NOT include specific brands.”
Moreover, says the text: “Compliance with public procurement rules will enable the City of Almada to receive more and better proposals for the supply of software, including solutions based on Open Source.”
Fair competition is not a term that Microsoft understand. To Microsoft, anything that's non-Microsoft is unfair.
If only more countries, including the UK, had the guts and the activist spirit to do what ESOP did in Portugal… █
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Image from jriddell.org
Summary: UEFI abuses continue, but Microsoft PR, lies, and attempts to silence the media go a long way, ensuring evidence gets insufficient coverage
A few days ago we wrote about UEFI, stressing that it offers no real security and that Debian should issue a complaint to improve the antitrust complaint already filed in Europe. This has not got sufficient coverage; a lot was done to legitimise UEFI in the press. Power-hungry companies love it because it takes control away from computer users.
Microsoft engages in patent racketeering and anticompetitive sabotage, so Microsoft’s arrogant manager should quit telling the press to stop criticising Microsoft. If journalists whom Microsoft has not given gifts and bribes seem unwilling to self-censor, then it’s because Microsoft is worse than a technical failure. It’s an abusive, anti-social, manipulative, corrupt, deceitful and despite all of this highly vain movement. Microsoft treats its domination as a right, not a status quo. And it acts accordingly.
Dr. Garrett, who has since his Microsoft apologism for UEFI left Red Hat (assuming he was not pushed out), tried to make Secure (Restricted) Boot sound benign and now he does the same for Treacherous Computing. His latest long post concludes with: “TPMs are useful for some very domain-specific applications, drive encryption and random number generation. The current state of technology doesn’t make them useful for practical limitations of end-user freedom.”
“Microsoft is probably going to drop the RT version of Surface…”
–Christine HallBut they will almost certainly be used for that, in due course. Every war starts with the claims of ‘national security’ and UEFI restricted boot got marketed similarly before it got sort of cracked. Is Dr. Garrett not reading history books, only biology or technology book? Security has almost a monopoly on being used as pretext and excuse for control over people.
Microsoft would love to see UEFI lock-in creeping into more hardware (one where restricted boot cannot be disabled) and Christine Hall writes: “Our bet is that it’ll be a long, loinng time before we see a 64-bit version of RT made available to consumers. Microsoft is probably going to drop the RT version of Surface, and OEMs aren’t going to want to touch it until there’s a decent list of apps available for it–which will probably be never.
“If you don’t believe us, you might want to read what Toshiba had to say about RT at a product launch in Sydney, Australia this week.”
Thankfully, she is probably right, but Microsoft should never be tying hardware to software like this. It’s what Apple used to do. Well, even Apple suns Windows RT, so we know Microsoft’s copycat will go extinct.
Anyway, this brings us to the core of this post. A prominent KDE developer writes: “We installed Kubuntu but it didn’t set up Grub and we couldn’t do much useful at the Grub command line.”
KDE/Kubuntu is my choice for the main workstation, so Jonathan Riddell’s post is relevant to me. Last month I upgraded to the latest LTS and found myself struggling with the Grub command line. The system would not even start. Fortunately, on my Debian box, I was able to search the Web for a complicated solution that required
chrooting the installation from a live CD. Nobody without a dose of Linux skills would manage to achieve this. It’s demoralising. Even I nearly gave up and resorted to a clean Debian install on my main workstation, abandoning Kubuntu after 4 years (I had used Mandriva before that).
The post from Riddell reveals a Microsoft riddle. The monopolist has made it very difficult to install GNU/Linux, and it is not a coincidence or side effect. “If you go to ubuntu.com,” writes Riddell, “to download it points Windows 8 users to this scary UEFI wiki page with scary headings like “Installing Ubuntu Quickly and Easily via Trial and Error”.
“Kubuntu is slightly more broken then Ubuntu but not much.”
–Jonathan RiddellHere is his conclusion: “UEFI is a giant MS conspiracy to make installing Linux more faffy [implies hassle] than it already is. Kubuntu is slightly more broken then Ubuntu but not much. Only silver lining is that Windows 8 is rubbish and when we tried it there genuinely was a notification saying “Warning: your children might not be protected”. Think of the children and don’t use Windows 8!
“Oh well, here’s some pretty pictures to keep you amused.”
Vista 8 is a pile of garbage, just like its logo, which looks like a rotated garbage can. Microsoft has been releasing lies about “sales” and sending out trolls to deceive the public. These are all lies wrapped in a riddle. And unless we appeal to regulators Microsoft will continue to warp the market, the press, and computer users’ rights.
Microsoft is hardly a victim of negative press. It reserves a lot more negative press. Some turncoats in the FOSS world helped prevent negative coverage regarding anticompetitive aspects of UEFI. And now they suffer the consequences. Remember that Kubuntu is no longer run by Canonical (the project was hardly warped by Canonical/Mark’s ego, so Canonical abandoned it). I strongly endorse Kubuntu. █
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