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09.01.14

Moving Away From Windows to GNU/Linux and the Abandonment of Windows as the Modest Proposal These Days

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 2:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Good news for “Free software” team

Soccer players

Summary: Morale of GNU/Linux and an embrace of GNU/Linux is very high, despite recent propaganda from Microsoft MVPs and boosters (primarily security-themed and Munich-themed FUD)

Any nation that still uses the back doors which are Microsoft software ought to wake up and make immediate changes. Russia and China are already making rapid changes. Korea (South Korea to be precise) is following suit. But that’s old news.

Microsoft is abandoning operating systems in a way that compromises security in very mission-critical operations. Clients get abandoned and they are helpless. They cannot even access source code, so messy patches at binary level is all they have left.
“Microsoft replaces a broken update with one that’s even more broken than the first one,” says Ryan in our IRC channels, citing Woody Leonhard’s report [via] about increasing fragility of Windows:

Microsoft re-releases botched MS14-045/KB 2982791 ‘Blue Screen 0×50′ patch, buries tip to manually uninstall first patch, and introduces more problems

Windows is a total mess. A lot of those involved in developing it have left and it truly shows. Just look what a mess recent releases of Windows have been, both when released and when patched (bricked).

Some rumours suggest that Microsoft may be gradually abandoning Windows altogether. “According to unconfirmed media reports,” says The Mukt, “IT giants like Amazon, Samsung, Yahoo! and Microsoft are in talks to either acquire or partner with Cyanogen, a company which forked the Android Open Source Project and has become quite popular lately.”

Over at IDG, Microsoft’s booster Preston Gralla thinks that Windows for mobile should be completely abandoned. This is quoting a Microsoft advocate who makes money from Windows: “It’s been nearly four years since Microsoft first released Windows Phone, and what it has gotten after many millions of dollars in development and marketing costs, plus its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia, is this: a worldwide smartphone market share of less than 3 percent. And that number has been going down, not up.

“Ask any smart businessperson whether that investment is a good one, and you’ll get a straightforward answer: no. Over at Microsoft, though, they think differently. Rather than abandoning Windows Phone, they’re doubling down and making an even bigger bet on the struggling smartphone operating system. A company with Bill Gates’ DNA will never willingly admit defeat, but in this case it may be time to do just that and instead hitch its mobile wagon to Android.”

Sarcastically, my co-host Tim writes:

Microsoft has deleted 1500 apps which presumably are spam/fakes/malicious from its store. Surely this must only leave about 2 left?

Over in China people are now being moved to COS, especially for mobile devices on the face of it (although COS is said to be based on Ubuntu). There is an antitrust case there against Microsoft because China may have gotten its documents stuck in Office, which is not running natively on GNU and Linux. The Register is spinning lock-in complaints as “compatibility”, saying that “China’s antitrust regulator has given Microsoft 20 days to hand over a written explanation of how the Windows OS works together with the bundled Office software suite as part of its probe into the firm’s alleged monopoly activities.”

It sure looks like China is very serious about getting rid of Microsoft this time around. The Web version of Office has already been banned and the same goes for the latest versions of Windows.

07.07.14

The NSA’s Top (and First) PRISM Partner, Microsoft, Lies to Governments and Businesses as Office Gets Banned in China

Posted in Asia, Deception, Microsoft, Office Suites, Security at 6:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No Microsoft Office in China

Office

Summary: Developments in China reveal that security and privacy threats posed by reliance on Microsoft are so great that a ban becomes inevitable and continues to expand (Microsoft put on more and more block lists and blacklists)

Let’s face it. Microsoft is in very serious trouble. Citing security, China already bans Windows (latest version), a top cash cow of Microsoft Corporation, which has only a few profitable products. Microsoft is now trying to warp the debate and deny back doors, even though Snowden provided evidence that speaks for itself. Windows has back doors that the NSA is exploiting. The other cash cow, Office (latest version), is also being banned in China, again for security reasons. Microsoft as a whole is being banned and censored, little by little (even its surveillance proxy, Yahoo, is being censored). This will be a big gain for free/libre office suites, including some Chinese versions (IBM employed people in China to work on OpenOffice with ODF). We will write more about the FOSS angle some time tomorrow as it’s a broad (and rapidly-broadening) subject.

Watch the Microsoft propaganda and vengeance in Microsoft media. For instance, says a Microsoft MVP and longtime booster (without mentioning Microsoft’s strong connection with the NSA), there is “malicious intent” here. It is actually a matter of national security because the NSA breaks into networks of companies like Huawei. Who is really malicious then? Here is a better and newer article about the ban of Microsoft Office 360 (5 days downtime). “Microsoft is working very hard to change the way that people see them,” says one article (part of this latest propaganda campaign [1, 2, 3, 4]) and the key word is “see”. No changed behaviour is part of the plan, especially when it comes to security and privacy. It is about perception. Some influential publishers who were paid by Microsoft are helping this perception management campaign right now, which proves that to Microsoft it’s all about marketing, not policy. The article “Microsoft Office Banned by China” generalises to make it seem like Office on the desktop too is banned and since it is written by a Microsoft MVP in a Microsoft sites we can expect the usual ridicule of China. Here is part of the full article from the Microsoft booster:

In April of this year, Microsoft made Office 365 available in China through a partnership with 21Vianet. Office 365, of course, is Microsoft’s online, Cloud edition of the industry leading office productivity software.

China represents a huge potential market for Microsoft. In addition to the launch of Office 365 in the country, Microsoft cut the ribbon on a new Azure datacenter in March.

But, Microsoft’s march to China dominance has been severely hampered as of late, and it seems with malicious intent by the country’s leadership.

This is great news, but a lot of the Western media has not picked this up. Interesting. Maybe there’s fear that this might inspire other governments.

06.14.14

Not Even Dumping Will Save Microsoft’s Business in China Amid Diversification With GNU/Linux

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: China’s move to GNU/Linux is now being extended to the private sector (not just public sector) and there is nothing Microsoft can do to stop it this time

CHINA is abandoning Microsoft not for financial reasons but for security-related reasons. Bill Gates already tried dumping ‘free’ (gratis) software on China whilst arrogantly accusing the Chinese of ‘piracy’. Gates and his fellow criminals also bribed Chinese officials. Well, these days of Microsoft crimes may be over. It won’t work.

Aspirations for Chinese independence and growth seem to make the Windows ban irreversible. It’s not just in government anymore; state TV encourages the public to follow suit and in corporate press like CNN it is now common to see the Chinese smeared over the decision to ban spyware with back doors. See this article in ECT, showing that the anti-China rhetoric (insulting their intelligence) reached even FOSS sites, quite oddly in fact.

From a purely economic perspective, never mind security and technical advantages of GNU/Linux over Windows, Microsoft is unable to compete. As Pogson pointed out the other day: “M$ charges as little as $15 in the low-end notebook space. This is only the second or third time in PC-history that M$ has had to compete on price with */Linux (and their own installed base).”

Still, Microsoft can no longer compete so well with Android and Chrome OS. All it is trying to do right now is extort companies that distribute devices with Linux on them, establishing a new form of control or Microsoft tax (through patent racketeering).

The press in Korea shows what it labels “A tablet running the China Operating System, based on Linux.” The press in China continues to explain how a Windows ban “encourages domestic developers” (which is true actually). To quote the article:

Instead, the Chinese government is calling for the increased purchase and development of domestically developed operating systems, specifically those created on Linux. Although the ban of Windows 8 does not directly affect the general public, Sina News reports that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is pushing for domestic users to gravitate from Windows XP to domestic operating systems too. It’s not too far fetched an idea, either–China has a long history of successfully developing domestic software. The messaging software QQ, for example, is more popular than the foreign-developed MSN, since it was specifically developed to cater to Chinese people’s sensibilities.

Here is another such article that says: “Windows 8 Business use has been banned from Chinese government computers. This leaves an open door policy for OS makers to come into a huge personal computing market. Since China has the world’s largest population, it is safe to assume it may have the biggest logistics, Government records and computers to keep track of this information.”

China has not one Linux-based operating system. It has several. It would be funny if China was to actively encourage diversity in operation systems, more so than in the West (where Windows dominates desktops) because we are commonly taught that ‘true’ capitalism encourages many players (competition) rather than monopoly and even state-imposed monopoly (which is exactly what China is moving away from). Perhaps Free software is going to bring China a lot of healthy competition among domestic players, instead of a monopoly maintained by a foreign player that facilitates espionage against companies like Huawei.

05.28.14

Bill Gates’ Plot to Enslave China With ‘Free’ Back Doors is Failing, But Microsoft Strikes Back With Openwashing

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 8:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates about the Chinese (1998)

National Security Agency

Summary: Microsoft is trying to portray itself and Windows as “open” because China is dumping the NSA Trojan horse that Bill Gates put there a couple of decades ago

BILL GATES is quite openly an NSA proponent and one thing that Gates and the NSA have in common is that they both use the Chinese as whipping boys. Gates likes to urge Chinese billionaires to give away (despite the fact that he himself is hoarding, not giving away) and the NSA pressures China to not do what the US has been doing for decades. Remember that Windows is an NSA Trojan horse, based on Edward Snowden’s invaluable leaks.

Bill Gates’ Microsoft has collaborated with the NSA like no other technology company (Microsoft is the #1 company in PRISM) and we recently wrote about China's ban on the latest Windows. This is a massive turning point — one that even Gates lobbying trips to China might not be able to tackle.

Glyn Moody, writing about China’s relationship with Linux, has just made some important points alluding to China’s relation to Android, some forks of mobile operating systems (e.g. COS), and various GNU/Linux distributions, managed and developed by the world’s largest population. Here is his opening paragraph (the article as a whole is worth a read):

The history of Linux in China is chequered. Android is doing extremely well there, even if it tends to be varieties that are more or less independent from Google (no bad thing.) But on the desktop, GNU/Linux has had a pretty disastrous showing. That’s strange, because you would think that the Chinese authorities would jump at the chance to adopt a free operating system that was independent of the US, and which could be inspected for NSA backdoors even before the current Snowden leaks showed why that would be a good idea.

Moody quotes Gates on China, hopefully reminding the Chinese how Gates is really viewing them. He uses an old trick for disguising colonialism/imperialism as “charity” — a trick that the CIA, USAID and various other covert operations have used for decades. Gates does this not only in China but especially in Africa and there are new articles about it [1] in the mass media [2] (finally it’s acceptable to say the truth about Gates in some circles of corporate press). Don’t forget how Bill Gates advances GMO in Africa through proxies like AGRA (new article about it in [3]) and has lobbied for it in India, apparently with success (new depressing article confirms some successes [4]). In the US, Gates is now seeking to monopolise and profit from schools, prisons, and police (people are complaining these days [5,6]). The ‘gift’ of private US monopolies is all that Gates seems to be offering, especially because he is a principal shareholder of these monopolies. Some call it profiteering. It’s all just a ploy.

Speaking of ploys, watch the Microsoft-funded IDG pushing some Microsoft propaganda in China. Someone called Sheila Lam is apparently trying to respond to China’s escape from Windows by openwashing Windows. She writes that “Microsoft is embracing open source in China.”

Utter nonsense. Marketing disguised as journalism.

Lam is referring to the malicious proxy known as "Microsoft Open Technologies" (we also wrote about it in [1, 2]). “Earlier this year,” writes Lam, “the software giant launched China Microsoft Open Technologies Shanghai to extend its existing open source development to the Middle Kingdom.”

This is nonsense marketing and everyone in the Free/Open Source world knows that “Microsoft Open Technologies” exists to whitewash and openwash proprietary software from Microsoft. But don’t let facts get in the way of so-called ‘journalists’ with agenda and bosses who receive payments from Microsoft.

“In 2012,” adds Lam, “Microsoft set up a subsidiary–Microsoft Open Technologies–to help bridge the gap between Redmond’s proprietary products and non-Microsoft technologies.”

Notice that term “non-Microsoft technologies”; it’s almost offensive. This is how Microsoft views competition. Microsoft uses the same tactics in the British government right now, as we shall show in the next post. Microsoft just keeps pretending to be the opposite of what it is in order to fit procurement criteria, not only in the UK but also in China.

“Gates has created a huge blood-buying operation that only cares about money, not about people.”

AIDS organisation manager, December 2009 (New York Times)

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Why Bill Gates gets it wrong

    Worse, Munk’s observations frequently seem to have been, at the very least, greatly exaggerated for narrative effect. Does Bill Gates really believe that I advocated specific crops without worrying about whether there was a market for them, or that I failed to consider national taxation in my ongoing advice to government leaders? Moreover, the agricultural strategies and choices in the MVP have been led by African agronomists, some of the very best in Africa — often working hand in hand with Bill’s own agricultural staff in the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

  2. Bill Gates is wrong on Africa

    These are just two of many current examples. Despite Gates being factually wrong, the worst part is that his message steers people and policy makers away from the most critical problem facing Africa: corruption. Not speaking up where such abuses occur and propagating a false message in his letter is dishonest.

  3. GMO Crops and Labeling: Barack Obama and the Monsanto Betrayal

    Nor is it coincidental that two of the Obama’s biggest supporters, Bill Gates and George Soros, purchased 900,000 and 500,000 shares of Monsanto, respectively, in 2010.

  4. Punjab shortlists Monsanto, two others to provide subsidised HYV maize seeds

    The Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday approved a proposal of the State agriculture department, which shortlisted Monsanto and two other companies to provide high yielding varieties (HYV) of maize seeds to farmers at subsidised rates during the current Kharif season.

  5. It’s Time for Bill Gates to Throw in the Education Towel

    Anthony Cody points out that for the past dozen years or so, Bill Gates has had his fun experimenting with education reform. Obsessed as he is with measurement and data, he imagined that he could impose his narrow ideas on American public schools and bring about a magical transformation.

    Does American education need reform and improvement? Absolutely. Stuck as it is in the paradigm of testing and punishment, it sorely needs a revival of humanism and attention to the needs of children, families, and communities. It needs teachers who are well-prepared. It needs a recommitment o the health and happiness of children and to a deeper love of learning.

    Yet Gates used HS vast wealth to steer national policy to the dry and loveless task of higher scores on tests of dubious value.

    He wanted charter schools, and Arne Duncan, his faithful liege, demanded more charter schools,even if it was central to the Republican agenda.

    He wanted national standards and quite willingly paid out over $2 billion to prove that one man could create the nation’s academic standards by buying off almost every group that mattered.

    He wanted teachers to be evaluated based on test scores, and Ducan gave that to him too.

    But says Cody, everything failed.

  6. Gates Foundation, divest from G4S

    The Stanford Class of 2014 Commencement speakers, Bill and Melinda Gates, are currently facing global scrutiny for their foundation’s $172 million investment in G4S, the world’s largest private military and security company. As graduating seniors, we would like to enumerate these concerns and discuss a new campaign, composed of a broad coalition of students that has formed to call upon the Gates Foundation to divest from G4S and other compromising industries and practices, such as privatized prisons, military contracting and labor exploitation.

    Because the Gates Foundation has been such a strong force in almost every area of philanthropy, it is very disturbing that it invests in a company like G4S, which is responsible for a litany of human rights abuses affecting many of the same communities that the Foundation targets for assistance. G4S operates private juvenile detention facilities in the United States as well as over 100 vehicles that bring captured undocumented immigrants to detention centers on the U.S./Mexico border. The company fails to properly house asylum seekers in UK detention centers, which resulted in the death of Jimmy Mubenga, who was killed while being deported to Angola, as well as the death of 15-year-old Gareth Myatt, who was killed while being restrained at a youth detention center.

05.22.14

World’s Largest Population Heading Towards GNU/Linux Because Windows is Not Secure (NSA Trojan Horse)

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security at 11:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stallman in China
Stallman’s trip to China; image from stallman.org

Summary: Following espionage and other incidents of cracking against China the government decides to ban the latest Windows while encouraging the population to abandon Windows

An interesting but unsurprising report from Reuters revealed some fairly important news from China, whose government is saying no to Windows (latest version). This is even characterised as a ban. To quote one report: “The Chinese government has announced that its agencies will be forbidden from upgrading their ageing and end-of-life Windows XP systems to Windows 8.1, banning Microsoft’s latest operating system in the name of security.”

Vista 8 is banned not just because it is terrible but because it is a threat to national security [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. This is a significant turning point which may lead other governments to pretty much the same policy.

This exodus oughtn’t be too shocking given some recent news from China about GNU/Linux. Richard Stallman visits the country these days (delivering talks and other such activities) while Chinese people are urged by their government to embrace GNU/Linux (there are calls for migration on national television). There is state support for these efforts. NSA-Microsoft ties, in addition to cracking against Huawei, may further contribute to this. Don’t be shocked if Bill Gates already books some plane tickets or prepares his private jet for a trip to China.

Vista 7 is a horrible mess too, no matter the hype Microsoft spent billions to produce. Watch what happened at Emory this past week. This was summarised by a pro-Windows sites that said “Whoops! Emory University server sent reformat request to all of its Windows 7 PCs” (link).

There was a fair deal of coverage about it. Neowin wrote:

Sometimes, there are incidents that take place that remind people who use PCs to back up their files on a regular basis. Such an event happened earlier this week at Emory University in Atlanta, where an “accident” resulted in a server sending out a reformat request to all of the Windows 7 PCs at the school, including the server that sent out the request itself.

How highly insecure. Remember that the NSA built back doors into Windows, so imagine what it can do with ‘features’ like the above, e.g. at times of war.

What such idiocy may cause for national security should teach everyone to abandon Windows immediately, especially in the public sector.

Germany is now introducing new procurement rules that take into account NSA espionage. It also forbade UEFI (on government computers), perhaps foreseeing the bricking of hardware remotely (yes, it enables rendering PCs “bricks” [1, 2]). Disregard the new spin and the hogwash from Linux Journal; it is written by Doran from Intel; it’s basically advertising of restricted boot, portraying it as benign while masquerading as an informative article. Intel and Microsoft must be desperate for some kind of new lock-in.

It is worth adding that Microsoft is far worse than Google when it comes to NSA connections, no matter what it’s extremely misleading attack ads say/insinuate. Here is a decent new blog post that says:

In the battle between office productivity vendors, Microsoft has long distanced itself from Google GOOGL +1.72% claiming that the fact that Google scans emails in order to deliver contextual advertising to customers is a data security breach. Never mind that the scanning was completely anonymized and digital – Microsoft leveraged the conspiracy theory that it was somehow a case of Google employees reading all of our email.

China already develops mobile operating systems that are based on Android/Linux (COS for example). These can help assure China’s national sovereignty. They deserve it.

03.25.14

Upcoming SCOTUS Case is About Software Patents, Microsoft et al. Prefer to Deny It; Microsoft’s Illegal Tax Evasion Revisited

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, Patents at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

US judges under observation by the patents Mafia, Microsoft

Security camera

Summary: Extortion and racketeering giant Microsoft prefers cognitive dissonance as software patents are at risk in the US; Microsoft’s patent arsenal Nokia is in trouble in India for the same reasons as Microsoft, namely tax evasion

WHILE we no longer focus on patents, we do continue our focus on FUD. Sites that call themselves “Patent Progress” continue to focus only on trolls (small trolls, not big trolls) and citing controversial boosters of software patents as arguing that “the numbers [of troll cases] are in for 2013, and it seems that patent trolling shows no signs of slowing down. According to RPX, trolls sued over 4,800 companies last year, up from the 4,282 they sued in 2012.” This is another distraction from the real issue, which is patent scope (e.g. software patents).

Last night Geza from the FFII’s mailing list said that “Forbes has an article highlighting the upcoming SCOTUS case Alice Corp. vs. CLS Bank” (we have covered this a couple of times before).

“Here we have a dying company which is busy trying to assault the winners (Linux-based) with troll proxies like MOSAID (armed with Nokia patents which Microsoft arranged for MOSAID to receive).”This case, according to Geza, “(at least the EFF thinks) concerns software patents” and he cites this new article which says: “Microsoft and its allies in the tech industry urge the court to avoid any pronouncements on software patents, because that could endanger one of the most vigorous segments of the economy.”

“Big SW-patent shops (like MSFT) instead argue thet the present case is only on business-methods patents,” notes Geza.

Well, isn’t it unsurprising that Microsoft would say that? Here we have a dying company which is busy trying to assault the winners (Linux-based) with troll proxies like MOSAID (armed with Nokia patents which Microsoft arranged for MOSAID to receive). Nokia’s software patents promotion is no secret and it predates Microsoft’s hijacking of Nokia (“Microsoft Nokia Takeover Is Delayed Until April,” according to this new report), which also commits some of the same offences Microsoft is committing (namely tax evasion, with conviction in India). According to ZDNet, “Indian taxes are proving to be a sticky problem for Nokia as it attempts to transfer its devices business to Microsoft.” ZDNet should mention that Microsoft does the same thing and was found guilty in India, too. Microsoft’s influence in the Indian government did not exempt the company and also has not yet assured software patents in India.

02.17.14

Linux Deepin/Ubuntu in the Future of China, Showing the Great Power of Debian

Posted in Asia, Debian, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Debian 7
Debian 7 supports numerous Chinese languages

Summary: The Far East is gradually moving to Debian-derived distributions of GNU/Linux, creating its own localised versions

ACCORDING TO numerous reports, China is moving to GNU/Linux and its home-bred GNU/Linux distribution, Linux Deepin (recently reviewed in [1,2]), is sort of replacing an old one which was based on Red Hat. Linux Deepin is based on Ubuntu and it represents Canonical’s special partnership and new major source of income (as Canonical recently reported it). Linux Deepin may one day outpace the growth of Ubuntu because China has a vast population and it is the largest base of Internet surfers.

One report says [3] that “China switches on to Ubuntu in hunt for Windows XP successor”, but a lot of media focuses on the demise of Red Flag Linux [4-7], which is basically a loss to Red Hat. It seems like the Debian camp is starting to gain more ground in China (same in North Korea and South Korea) — a promising trend which will probably be debated in the media for a long time to come. China also has COS in he making (Linux-based but focused on mobile).

Debian 7.4 was recently released [8] and despite some hostilities [9,10] (nothing new to Debian) related to the Systemd debate [11,12] there are signs of strength and leadership in the GNU/Linux world. As for Ubuntu, it is following Debian for the most part [13] (although Debian follows Red Hat in this case) and with reduced interest from developers [14] due to controversies [15] such as Canonical’s demand for licence-signing by derivatives (noted the other day and covered here months ago) it will have to work hard on restoring confidence [16], not just by letting the “community” use an SDK [17] or vote on wallpapers [18] but also by opening up the development process, as Debian does. When Ubuntu turned to mobile it notoriously shunned community participation, not just when it comes to development but also voting/steering.

Ubuntu is gaining elsewhere in east Asia [19], so let’s hope it will improve privacy policies. In some Asian countries surveillance by the government can lead to imprisonment and even death.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux Deepin is a fringe Linux distribution that could steal your heart

    Jack Wallen digs into Linux Deepin and comes out impressed. See what this fringe Linux distribution has to offer, and discover if its your next platform.

  2. Linux Deepin, Ubuntu systemd and Licensing, and Red Flag Scuttled
  3. China switches on to Ubuntu in hunt for Windows XP successor
  4. Chinese software pioneer Red Flag bites the dust
  5. Chinese Linux Distributor Red Flag Software Disappears Overnight
  6. China shutters Windows ‘rival’ Red Flag Linux
  7. Linux distributor Red Flag Software disappears overnight
  8. Debian 7.4 Rounds Up Stable Updates
  9. Debian Tech Committee Falling Further Into Disarray

    While it was clear that systemd overtook Upstart in this weekend’s Debian init system voting by the Debian technical committee, some fits are still being had over the results. Some committee members are now calling for resignations.

  10. Fake Debian Developers Try To Get Free Linux Games
  11. Debian inches towards new init system decision amid fallout
  12. An Exploit In GNOME Shell With Systemd?

    It looks like there might be a big bug in systemd-using GNOME Shell Linux systems.

  13. Shuttleworth says Ubuntu will switch to systemd

    The head of Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution and the creator of the upstart init system, has announced that it will switch its init system to the Red Hat-developed systemd.

  14. Ubuntu Is Short On Developer Membership Board Nominations
  15. Ubuntu and Privacy and how it really works now.

    Firstly the Amazon lens is nothing special, and it is perhaps the internet connected lens I am least worried about. I trust Amazon to do what I expect them to do, I am a customer so they know what I bought, sending them random strings like “calcul” and “gedi” and “eclip” does not give them valuable data. It is junk. I am much more concerned about stuff like the Europeana, jstor, grooveshark lenses which do exactly the same thing but I have no idea who those organisations are or what they do. Even things like openweathermap, sounds good, but are they really a trusted organisation?

  16. Why do you need license from Canonical to create derivatives?
  17. Ubuntu Planning For HTML5, SDK Improvements

    Jono Bacon of Canonical has shared some new details after a developer sprint was held last week in Florida for the platform, SDK, and security teams along with desktop and design stakeholders. Those developers focusing upon Ubuntu’s next-generation platform can find all of the details in full via Jono’s blog post but some of the key takeaways include:

  18. Everybody Can Submit Wallpapers For The Trusty Tahr Wallpaper Submision Contest

    The wallpaper contest for Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr is taking part right now, everybody being able to submit their photos until the 5th of March 2014.

  19. After Vodafone, Smart Communications Has Also Joined The Ubuntu’s Carrier Advisory Group (CAG)

    Recently, Smart Communications, a mobile carrier from Philippines, has joined Ubuntu’s Carrier Advisory Group (CAG), in order to support Ubuntu Touch, the mobile version and Ubuntu, and sell phones with Ubuntu for phones pre-installed.

02.06.14

Sure, GNU/Linux is Used Extensively by North Korea, But Why the Hate?

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux at 6:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New types of smears against GNU/Linux come from an unexpected angle which needs tackling

HATRED towards North Korea is cleverly being projected onto hatred against GNU/Linux. Nobody has done this as shamefully as the insidious BBC, which uses the news to insinuate that GNU/Linux is crazy, communist [1], or something like that (the BBC rarely covers GNU/Linux at all, perhaps because many managers in there came from Microsoft UK). It often seems like the BBC only ever covers GNU/Linux when it has something negative to say (we gave examples of this pattern before), or only when it’s “rogue” or associated with something rogue like a virus.

Interestingly enough, more hate towards GNU/Linux in North Korea comes from Apple fan sites [2-4] (not necessarily tied to Apple itself). Never mind the fact that North Korea in many ways resembles Apple and Android's founder/former chief seemingly compared Steve Jobs to North Korea's dead leader (Kim Il-sung). If something has got “North Korea” in it, then it’s automatically malicious. Generally speaking, if one wants to make peace with a country, then one should start by showing respect. To ridicule is to breed more tensions. The BBC’s smears are smears of hypocrisy. For instance, saying that North Korea counts years since the death of a leader neglects the fact that we in the West count the years since the death of Christ. Here is some North Korean coverage [5] and articles from IDG [6,7], the latter of which asking: “Should Linux look like Windows?”

It should probably look like neither Windows nor OS X for reasons we mentioned before. Users’ familiarity is probably outweighed by the need for unique and distinct identity. There are also associated risks, reinforced by Apple’s litigation over GUIs. Having seen North Korea’s operating system, I can’t say that it really resembles Apple’s. Apple did not invent the dock (it copied it), it was not the first with Brushed Metal and Aqua (I had those in GNU/Linux before OS X even existed), and North Korea’s operating system hardly even imitates those. When Apple accuses Android or Samsung (South Korean) of copying iOS it often turns out (in the courtroom) that it was actually Apple doing the imitation (of predecessors in Asia, for example LG in South Korea).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Apple’s Mac OSX imitated in latest North Korea system

    North Korea has upgraded the operating system used in the country – and it bears a striking resemblance to Apple’s Mac OSX platform.

    [...]

    The Red Star OS is peppered with North Korean propaganda, and its calendar tells users it is not 2014, but 103 – the number of years since the birth of former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung.

    An earlier version of Red Star OS was made available worldwide in 2010 after a Russian student posted it online.

  2. North Korea’s Official ‘Red Star’ Operating System Borrows Heavily From OS X
  3. North Korea’s Home-Grown Operating System Mimics OS X
  4. North Korea Laughably Copies Apple With New Linux Distro

    Red Star Linux, a Linux distribution used in North Korea, has been upgraded to version 3.0. With it comes an entire UI revamp, one that looks extremely similar to that of OS X. The menu buttons are placed on the lefthand corner of each window and many UI buttons have an “aqua” effect as seen in previous versions of OS X. Most notably however, is the addition of a dock on the bottom of the desktop that is almost identical to the dock seen in OS X.

  5. North Korea’s Red Star OS goes Mac
  6. North Korea’s home-grown OS looks a lot like Apple’s OS X
  7. Should Linux look like Windows?

    The real question here though is: Should Linux look more like Windows? My initial thought is no, it certainly should not look like Windows. After all, one of the big attractions of using Linux is to get away from Windows. Who wants to be reminded of an operating system that they just dumped because they didn’t want to use it any more?

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