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10.15.19

…So This GNU/Linux User Goes to a Pub With Swapnil and Jim

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Humour at 11:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux.com Editor and Linux Foundation Chief

So... I run this thing called Linux Foundation and my friend runs Linux.com. So you use Linux Fuck no!! We're Mac users!

Summary: It’s hard to promote GNU/Linux when you don’t even use it

09.29.19

Large Corporations Can Definitely Work With Free/Libre Software But Total Domination Over Free/Libre Software is the Problem

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, GPL, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 7:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If they cannot control it, they will try to destroy it (and the people who made it)

Stallman needs new home

Summary: Typical and lousy corporate screed, along with corporate media, incites the public against Stallman (based on deliberate misrepresentation), potentially forcing him into temporary ‘homelessness’ (the above is a new Web page from Stallman) while corporations that incorporate GNU into their products rake in billions of dollars each month

HALF A DOZEN of us are still trying to figure out, mostly in IRC, who’s responsible for defacing Stallman’s site (it’s definitely a defacement based on a video link, as we noted in our previous post). It’s definitely not a joke and the goal is to make Stallman look bad. The goal is to embarrass him and cause maximal damage to his image.

We’ve seen a bunch of names mentioned. Generally speaking, it’s just the latest of a long series of events, which already caused Stallman to be removed from MIT (his ‘home’), then removed from FSF. He’s now looking for a place to live and it’s starting to resemble that long voyage of Julian Assange, who was demonised and defamed in the media for nearly a decade. He lived a frugal, repressed life in an embassy’s room.

“Generally speaking, it’s just the latest of a long series of events, which already caused Stallman to be removed from MIT (his ‘home’), then removed from FSF.”There seem to be powerful forces looking to ruin Stallman’s life, not just his work and his reputation. Some people blame Microsoft, others blame Red Hat/IBM (typically citing its short and controversial press release about diversity in the wake of Stallman’s resignation). It’s not pretty and many accusations are largely hypothetical and based on conjectures.

An associate of ours has meanwhile relayed this seemingly new (albeit undated) post from Steve Litt, who recently wrote some long rants about systemd (because it’s expanding to yet more corners if not centres of Linux). “Write a Letter to Redhat About systemd” is the title and it says this:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) incorporated systemd as their default and only init system in 2014. Soon after, perhaps with some persuasion from Red Hat and its allies, Debian adopted systemd as its default init system, and many Debian Derived distros, including all the Ubuntus, followed suit. Starting in 2014, this caused extensive protest from many in the Linux community, for reasons such as: [...]

I’ll be glad to serve as a central information point for this letter writing campaign. If you find other contacts, please feel free to write to them and please email me with those contacts and contact information.

For a number of years I personally chose not to comment/say much about systemd because I don’t understand it as well as some core developers. But seeing how large it has gotten, the fact it’s Microsoft-hosted and the fact it’s IBM-owned (proprietary software company that adores lock-in), I am increasingly worried about it. Corporations do not have feelings or ideology. They don’t care about UNIX principles, either. Corporations are run by very few people seeking to maximise short-term profits and Red Hat is no exception to the rule (only slightly different because of public image), more so under IBM. Frequent releases of systemd help leave rivals of Red Hat perpetually behind, always chasing Red Hat for bug fixes and never capable of offering the same levels of support and customisation. systemd is gradually devouring much of the system or codebase that’s not stale. I am also growingly suspicious of Red Hat because of the IBM agenda that’s inherited by ownership (I’ve been critical of IBM for about 5-7 years); it’s like they have an alliance of convenience with Microsoft and there's ample evidence. I’ve been watching these things closely for a very long time. Red Hat even considered/entertained Microsoft as a buyer. IBM betrayed “Linux” about a decade ago after it had done some good work, including ODF advocacy. Many of us will always remember their back room agreement with Microsoft around 2008 (it was about OOXML). We were all furious. They sold us out. Soon enough they also stopped contributing to OpenOffice and related projects.

“IBM betrayed “Linux” about a decade ago after it had done some good work, including ODF advocacy. Many of us will always remember their back room agreement with Microsoft around 2008 (it was about OOXML).”That’s not to say IBM is evil; we never said such a thing. Our main issue with IBM is its patent policy, which includes lobbying aggressively for software patents.

IBM is somehow left out from GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft). The same goes for Intel, Oracle and several other companies. Are they all foes of GNU/Linux? No. In our view, for reasons we explained before, Microsoft is the only company that stands to gain a lot from the destruction/failure of GNU/Linux, both in servers and desktops/appliances (the same cannot be said about Apple as its range of products/services is a lot more limited).

Amazon, for instance, isn’t a big concern to us, albeit it’s dangerous to Software Freedom, mostly because of ‘cloud’ loopholes, centralisation, surveillance and licensing matters that impact FOSS economics. Be wary of Mac Asay. “Asay [is] back,” one reader said this morning about this article. “However based on past posts, I haven’t read his full post this time.”

“…Microsoft is the only company that stands to gain a lot from the destruction/failure of GNU/Linux, both in servers and desktops/appliances (the same cannot be said about Apple as its range of products/services is a lot more limited).”Mac Asay has been against copyleft for quite some time now (he’s an Amazon AWS employee now, serving Bezos and by extension the CIA/US Army); opposition to ethics is very much expected from him. He has worked for a number of proprietary software companies in recent years and he had also applied for a job at Microsoft. He’s one of those people who attack Software Freedom while pretending to care about it. Writing about “open source” while promoting pure exploitation/abuse of it…

Going back to Red Hat, it habitually promotes .NET, sometimes Azure too. It took former Microsoft employees even into management ranks and OpenSource.com often posts pro-Microsoft nonsense. How about this latest post, “Microsoft open sourcing its C++ library, Cloudera’s open source data platform, new tools to remove leaked passwords on GitHub and combat ransomware, and more open source news”?

As we put it in our last Daily Links bundle, “”Microsoft open sourcing its C++ library” means proprietary software MSVS is “open” and “new tools to remove leaked passwords on GitHub and combat ransomware” means NSA PRISM is “security”…”

“Writing about “open source” while promoting pure exploitation/abuse of it…”We also included this new article, calling it “more Microsoft openwashing whose net goal is to sell Microsoft proprietary software for developers to become ‘serfs’ of Windows, Azure etc.”

This morning we saw “Chromium-based Microsoft Edge could hit Linux” and days ago we explained that nobody wants it or asked for it.

GNU/Linux is being changed. It’s being made more proprietary. One might say it’s being hijacked with help from the likes of the Linux Foundation.

09.15.19

‘Open Source’ You Cannot Run Without Renting or ‘Licensing’ Windows From Microsoft

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Security, Vista 10, Windows at 8:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

“[Windows Vista DRM] seems a bit like breaking the legs of Olympic athletes and then rating them based on how fast they can hobble on crutches.“

Peter Gutmann

Summary: When so-called ‘open source’ programs strictly require Vista 10 (or similar) to run, how open are they really and does that not redefine the nature of Open Source while betraying everything Free/libre software stands for?

What good is “open source” that needs a back-doored, proprietary software (i.e. back doors cannot be removed) operating system with spying and DRM just to run it? We recently wrote about this kind of situation, offering examples from both Apple and Microsoft.

“And they say “soon open source” without specifying a licence or anything.”Here comes another new example from GHacks (lots of those lately; mostly from this site). “Sandboxie, a sandbox program for Microsoft’s Windows operating system, has been turned into a free application.” Freeware. And they say “soon open source” without specifying a licence or anything. Might as well turn out to be vapourware at the end…

Tabloid troll Catalin Cimpanu is already openwashing this proprietary software based on a promise from Sophos alone. Let’s rejoice “open source” that runs only on Windows. CBS and its tabloid ZDNet are once again proving to be Microsoft propaganda and this article comes from the person who constantly slanders Linux. Help Net Security said: “Sophos plans to open-source Sandboxie, a Windows utility that allows users to run apps in a sandbox. Until that happens, they’ve made the utility free.”

“When “open source” runs only on a proprietary platform with NSA back doors what is it really worth?”BetaNews — just like the above — put “open source” in the headline even though it’s only freeware. Great! And even though it’s Windows only; just like Steve Ballmer wanted…

When “open source” runs only on a proprietary platform with NSA back doors what is it really worth? Is it good for anything? Also, it’s not security; just illusion of it…

They claim that these applications improve security, but these applications only run on a platform with NSA back doors. Here’s another new example, this one of an “app” that only runs on iOS. “If you’re looking for an alternative for Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, LastPass Authenticator, or Authy, you may want to give Authenticator a chance,” it says. How does that improve security? The underlying operating system has well known back doors. The company that monopolised maintainer-ship works with the NSA and is in the PRISM spy programme. Ed Snowden’s leaks provided actual evidence and 2 years ago Wikileaks added more with Vault 7.

“Notice that all the above are security-oriented programs but not a single platform without NSA back doors is supported.”A similar example was covered 3 days ago by GHacks: “WinOTP Authenticator is an open-source alternative for WinAuth”

The “Win” means Windows; it means you lose security. You lose privacy. When “open source” runs only under proprietary software stacks with NSA back doors, such as Vista 10 (strictly in this case), a vendor can only pretend it offers security…

One of the virtues extolled by Free software proponents is superior security; well, how much do such claims hold when one must rent (license, temporarily) a bunch of dodgy binaries from NSA partners to run the said program/s? Notice that all the above are security-oriented programs but not a single platform without NSA back doors is supported.

All About Control: Microsoft is Not Open Source But an Open Source Censor/Spy and GitHub/LinkedIn/Skype Are Its Proprietary Censorship/Surveillance Tools

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 7:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Silence of the Lambs
Credit: The Silence of the Lambs (film)

Summary: All the big companies which Microsoft bought in recent years are proprietary software and all of the company’s big products remain proprietary software; all that “Open Source” is to Microsoft is “something to control and censor

THE MISGUIDED idea or the concept of Microsoft as “Open” has long been laughable. Just look at all their major products. Not even one is Free/Open Source software. Nothing. None.

When one can spend billions of dollars on PR, however, it is possible to interject all sorts of lies into the media, even ridiculous statements such as "Microsoft loves Linux"

“As far as Linux development goes, Microsoft is already pretty deep inside; it even has access to highly confidential mailing lists.”Persistence has paid off. Lies can eventually triumph. Patience…

Microsoft would love to control Linux. It’s already getting there, little by little (the latest step is imposing Microsoft’s proprietary file systems on Linux [1, 2]).

As far as Linux development goes, Microsoft is already pretty deep inside; it even has access to highly confidential mailing lists.

Next step? Buy all the seats or most of them. Take control. Make Linux all about Microsoft. Control Linux. Censor or remove code/people who aren’t liked by Microsoft (for purely commercial reasons).

The other day we covered another step in this gradual ‘coup’. This Apple PR(opaganda) site gets it wrong; Microsoft just basically bought a seat. Some high-profile media wrote shallow articles about it (like the press releases of the Linux Foundation) and a reader sent us what we initially cited, if only just to highlight this bit:

Microsoft and Apple have both joined the Academy Software Foundation, a group designed to promote the use of open source in Hollywood. Both companies joined the foundation at the premier membership level, which helps it to surpass $1 million in annual funding.

Slush funds. When Microsoft takes (or buys) the key seats in committees/panels the projects are compromised and end up outsourced to proprietary software such as GitHub and Slack (security suicide). Another new example, reposted days ago as a press release: “Haivision and Microsoft Host SRT Sunday Featuring Panel Discussions and SRT Open Source Showcase [...] Haivision freely engages the community on Github and a dedicated Slack channel that is open to all SRT Alliance members.”

“Microsoft is nowadays in the censorship and surveillance business. It tries to monopolise this.”So it is controlled by the host. They should delete GitHub and Slack if they’re serious about Open Source. Meanwhile, as another new example, Stripe outsources the company’s operations to Microsoft and its censorship platform, which is proprietary software. To quote: “The product in question is called Stripe Connect Express, and it helps platforms like Spotify and Medium sign up new sellers to their platforms. To use those examples: Connect Express has helped Spotify quickly sign up new independent artists to get paid per play of their music, and Medium uses it to pay out writers for their slice of paywall revenue.”

Microsoft does not help developers be paid; it’s defunding them based on broad, racist generalisations. When you put your code in Microsoft’s GitHub you facilitate systematic racism by the most aggressive regimes and help imperialism. That’s antithetical to Software Freedom; it’s in violation of the first essential freedom.

Microsoft is a censorship enforcer now. It censors Open Source and it fights Free software that the US government does not like. Even the Microsoft-friendly ZDNet has just admitted it:

Duncan Worrell, a GitHub user from the UK, this month had his financial services company’s private repository blocked because GitHub determined that it was subject to US trade controls.

GitHub didn’t explain how it determined that the UK company should be restricted. However, Worrell suspected it was because “a sub-contractor of a sub-contractor currently resident in Ukraine, accessed our GitHub repo while visiting family in Crimea”.

The only communication he received from GitHub was that: “Due to US trade controls law restrictions, paid GitHub organization services have been restricted.”

Also see the article that a reader sent us, below [1] (we’re already posted a bunch of reports about this in our Daily Links, but not this report). Microsoft is nowadays in the censorship and surveillance business. It tries to monopolise this.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Ninth Circuit Says LinkedIn Wrongly Blocked HiQ’s Scraping Efforts

    Fans of scraping cases may rejoice. The Ninth Circuit issued its long-awaited opinion in the hiQ v. LinkedIn case (it was argued in March 2018, so the opinion took about 18 months). It rules in favor of hiQ.

    hiQ was a company that, apparently with LinkedIn’s authorization, accessed data from public LinkedIn profiles and built products on this data. After years of this practice, LinkedIn sent hiQ a cease and desist letter that hiQ was no longer authorized to access LinkedIn user data, so any ongoing access would violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and other laws. hiQ preemptively sought a preliminary injunction. The district court granted the injunction and ordered LinkedIn to allow hiQ to access the data in question during the pendency of the lawsuit. It was a sweeping ruling that many thought would be unlikely to survive challenge on appeal. The Ninth Circuit upheld the ruling.

09.14.19

Microsoft Pays the Linux Foundation for Academy Software Foundation, Which the Linux Foundation is Outsourcing to Microsoft

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s all about domination and about money

Zemlin and Microsoft

Summary: Microsoft has just bought some more seats and more control over Free/Open Source software; all it had to do was shell out some ‘slush funds’

“HAPPY TIMES” for Jim Zemlin at the Linux Foundation. Two companies he adores, Apple and Microsoft, are on board (or Board) with him. More press releases this past week from the ‘Linux’ Foundation about Microsoft and Apple (than about anything else combined). Whose foundation is it? The proprietary software giants’.

Here’s the Microsoft puff piece and a separate one for Apple. “The Academy Software Foundation,” it says, “a collaborative effort to advance open source software development in the motion picture and media industries, today announced that Apple has joined the Foundation as a Premier member.”

“It’s about helping to run the “Open Source” on proprietary operating systems with DRM and back doors.”That just means payment. That’s all. Nothing else is necessary! Cheap PR stunt (by their financial standards this is ‘slush funds’).

Apple-centric sites take note (for openwashing of Apple of course!) and so do Microsoft apologists, in all their colours of the rainbow. Openwashing is a powerful PR tactic after all — one we shall deal with separately (later this weekend).

So what’s it all about?

Not much.

Do Apple and Microsoft give some code?

No.

“Well, the Linux Foundation says it’s an “open source” and “collaboration” platform. So why is it outsourcing all that collaboration to a proprietary software platform (GitHub) owned and controlled (even censored) by the biggest opponent of Open Source?”Microsoft pays some more money to Zemlin; for the ‘Linux’ Foundation to keep outsourcing virtually all of these projects to Microsoft (GitHub). It’s like a recruitment drive. Microsoft pays ‘Linux’ Foundation to outsource everything in this foundation to Microsoft, as we explained earlier (check where the Academy Software Foundation shelves its code).

Here’s one press article with “Microsoft”, “Apple” and “Open Source” in the headline:

Microsoft and Apple have both joined the Academy Software Foundation, a group designed to promote the use of open source in Hollywood. Both companies joined the foundation at the premier membership level, which helps it to surpass $1 million in annual funding.

“Filmmakers everywhere use Apple products,” said Academy Software Foundation executive director David Morin in a statement. “We are delighted to welcome Apple as a new member, and we look forward to working with them to ensure that our open source projects run well on Apple software platforms.”

In addition to becoming a premier member, Microsoft is also joining the foundation’s governing board and technical advisory council.

It’s about helping to run the “Open Source” on proprietary operating systems with DRM and back doors. Is that an actual contribution?

Also notice how Microsoft has just, in effect, bought itself a seat on the “governing board and technical advisory council.”

Well, the Linux Foundation says it’s an “open source” and “collaboration” platform. So why is it outsourcing all that collaboration to a proprietary software platform (GitHub) owned and controlled (even censored) by the biggest opponent of Open Source? Because that’s just this foundation’s business model. Nothing out of the ordinary here (from their point of view).

08.09.19

The Zemlins Are Closer to Apple and Microsoft Than to Linux

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They also hate GNU and shoot down — on behalf of infringers who pay them — those who try to enforce Linux copyrights

Closer look at cattle

Summary: Lack of loyalty to GNU/Linux means that the Linux Foundation is run and managed by people who would gleefully sell out for cash

Back in March 2013 Ted Samson of IDG (InfoWorld, bought by China and most staff laid off) wrote about Microsoft’s Miguel de Icaza (he’s officially back at Microsoft now) and his rejection of GNU/Linux. The Linux Foundation was asked to comment as if this longtime Microsoft mole was its responsibility. “Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation,” it said, “took de Icaza’s criticism in stride. “We agree with Miguel that Apple makes great products,” he said in a statement to InfoWorld.”

What kind of a statement is that?

“Need we even mention that Jim Zemlin’s wife worked for a close Microsoft partner for years (Gold Microsoft Partner)?”So a thing called “Linux Foundation” — managed by an Apple fan and user (with hypePad and “Mac”-branded PC) — says “Apple makes great products”; what sort of figurehead is that for Linux? The thing is, this person never really cared about GNU/Linux. When asked by Ken Starks about desktop GNU/Linux about a decade ago his answer was revealing. Nothing has changed except his growing affinity for Microsoft, especially after they started paying him. Globe-trotting on the “Linux” brand, without even using Linux…

Jim Zemlin’s wife wrote publicly in LinkedIn: “Outside of business, I love skiing, running, experiencing a few new countries per year with my husband…”

Need we even mention that Jim Zemlin’s wife worked for a close Microsoft partner for years (Gold Microsoft Partner)? We’re not ‘supposed’ to know this. Based on the type of role, it’s a 6-figure salary, maybe around $200,000/annum (it helps to have connections). The husband pays himself about $800,000/annum, so for a family of three that’s an household income of a million bucks, without even using GNU/Linux or creating anything (riding coattails instead). Not quite like the “basement dweller” stigma they’re willing to spread while firing all writers and editors at Linux.com. Then there’s the question we raised this morning about Linux Journal.

“At some stage we must simply accept that Zemlin works for Linux Foundation but not for Linux.”One reader told us this morning: “The Linux Journal is the kind of publication the Linux Foundation should have been backing, if it had been a trade organization for the promotion of Linux instead of a trade organization representing corporate interests inside Linux.”

It doesn’t seem like today’s Linux Foundation serves or cares about Linux. It’s like it’s infiltrated and compromised.

Microsoft moles inside FOSS are nothing new. Moreover, they should be expected. Microsoft has used this strategy for decades against rivals. See Richard Belluzzo and others like de Icaza and Elop. 8 years ago we named some more examples. At some stage we must simply accept that Zemlin works for Linux Foundation but not for Linux.

03.31.19

Patent Trolls Are Not a Solved Problem

Posted in America, Apple, Patents at 10:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

New York Times on patent trolls. Image snapped by Josh from CCIA.

New York Times on patent trolls

Summary: New claims that trolls are making a comeback are difficult to verify; these may be as unreliable as claims of a software patents comeback

THE European Patent Office (EPO) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) both support patent trolls. The latter pretends they don’t exist or aren’t a problem and the former keeps legitimising trolls — a subject we’ll deal with later in a separate post.

“Patent Assertion Entities Are on the Comeback Trail,” said patent litigation and software patents booster Scott Graham a few days ago. He calls “patent trolls” just “Patent Assertion Entities” (although he uses the word “trolls” in the body, so maybe the editor is to blame). To quote: “Patent assertion entities seem so 2012. Businesses that acquire patents and then enforce them—sometimes criticized as “patent trolls”—have largely dropped out of the headlines since the America Invents Act (AIA) and the Supreme Court’s Alice decision simplified the process of challenging patent validity in many cases.”

Nothing has changed as far as Alice goes — a subject that we’ll write about later (separately). Since there’s a paywall, it is hard to verify the accuracy of the above claims (that there’s a comeback of trolls).

“Several years after a series of Supreme Court decisions reduced the threat to companies from ‘non-practicing entities,’ patent trolls may be climbing back out,” Crain’s Cleveland Business wrote some days ago in “NEO faces a resurgence of patent trolling” (not accessible in the EU).

These two articles make somewhat surprising claims, but the basis is not accessible to a broad audience, only subscribers and such.

What is known for a fact, however, is that patent trolls are widely reviled (see the above crossword puzzle, which is new) and they damage local economies.

New reports such as “Apple Stores reshuffled in Texas to foil patent trolls” from Apple fan sites (alluding to high-profile cases like VirnetX v Apple) still talk about this problem:

Apple is closing a pair of retail stores in east Texas, and opening a new one nearby to take on their traffic. But this has little to do with customer convenience; it’s likely all about patent lawsuits.

The courts in east Texas, as we’ve noted many times before, wanted to attract patent trolls and this is ruining retail jobs. It also discourages participation over there at a technical capacity (server hosting, development and so on).

01.28.19

Choosing Between Apple and Microsoft in an Age of Mass Surveillance and State-Mandated Back Doors

Posted in Apple, FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple and Microsoft

Summary: Why proprietary operating systems are universally dangerous and what we recommend instead

MARKET “FORCES” — as the mass media likes to call them (this media is among these forces) — tell us that we’re being given a “choice”. This choice, however, often excludes practical alternatives and instead presents a choice of brands, a choice of trade marks.

It is quite frankly worrying to see people choosing to pay for operating systems they very well know to be full of back doors. Some complement these with listening devices inside homes (eavesdropping on all the tenants) and sometimes even de facto CCTV, constantly connected to (and streaming to) surveillance companies in another country.

“There’s a business model there and it’s covertly hostile towards users. Many just aren’t aware of it. It’s a ‘sausage factory’…”In its early days (13 years ago) this site did a lot of GNU/Linux advocacy. Back in 2006 it wasn’t so clear whether GNU/Linux would dominate the market (even in servers GNU/Linux hadn’t yet reached the inflection point or “critical mass”). Nowadays GNU/Linux is a lot more popular everywhere, including the mobile market dominated by Android (Google never put GNU in it and it’s planning to remove Linux as well); GNU/Linux made strides in the laptop/desktop market (desktops, however, gradually become more extinct), e.g. with the Gentoo-derived Chrome OS. But these platforms do not offer freedom; instead, they’re all about surveillance. There’s a business model there and it’s covertly hostile towards users. Many just aren’t aware of it. It’s a ‘sausage factory’

At the moment we’re hosted by Alpine Linux (the hypervisor). It has been running smoothly, without even a single reboot, since we began the site’s migration around October. “A fork of the distribution, postmarketOS, is designed to run on mobile devices,” Wikipedia says, and “it’s heavily used in containers providing quick boot up times.” For desktop we nowadays recommend more or less the same things the FSF recommends and endorses. See “Free GNU/Linux distributions” and “Explaining Why We Don’t Endorse Other Systems”.

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