Things must be grim when China is upholding the law whereas the West refuses to
Summary: China is reportedly taking action against Microsoft’s notorious habit of tax evasion and fining the company well over $100 million
NOW THAT Microsoft has been found to be evading tax (a crime, but not one that executives of large corporations often go to jail for) and fined for it in a nation as large as China (just like in India half a decade ago, as well as in other places) is the US going to follow suit? Last week we showed that the IRS was on this case, so Microsoft began bullying the IRS (the vanity of corporations that control their government).
“”Remember when Microsoft China offices were raided (just earlier this year on numerous occasions and its patent extortion plot was targeted by the Chinese authorities? Well, it sure seems like China enforcing the law against massive criminals like Microsoft, setting a good precedent that US and Europe should follow. To quote the new report: “Microsoft has reportedly been issued with a charge for £87 million in back-taxes following an investigation into alleged tax evasion by the Chinese authorities.”
For those who still associate Microsoft with something other than crime and corruption, the news report above can serve as a valuable wake-up call. █
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Summary: It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States’ USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?
YESTERDAY we wrote about the measurably huge decline in the number of patent lawsuits in the US. There is some more good news in the form of figures.
Andrea Peterson, writing for the Bezos-owned Washington Post, says that “Software patent approval rates sink in months following Supreme Court case”. The patent lawyers, understandably, are stressed about this. They spent so much time attacking the decision or trying to characterise it as anything but a game changer. We gave dozens of examples at the middle of this year. Here again are a couple of patent lawyers using a straw man: “it is doubtful that all software, computer-implemented and business method inventions will be affected by Alice. For example, software inventions that improve the functioning of a computer, or improve other technical fields, may still be eligible for patent protection. Still, while the full effect of Alice is yet to be determined, entities seeking to patent inventions directed to software, computer implementations, and business methods, need to ensure that inventions are sufficiently innovative and directed to concrete ideas.”
“The patent lawyers, understandably, are stressed about this.”Mike Masnick already caught the news from the morning and wrote: “The impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank continues to reverberate around the industry. We’ve already noted that courts have been rapidly invalidating a bunch of patents, and that related lawsuits appear to be dropping rapidly as well. And, now, a new analysis from a (pro-patent) law firm suggests that the US Patent Office is rejecting a lot more software patents as well.”
Software superpower India does not have software patents, but after meeting executives from Microsoft (which has enormous influence over the Indian government), Amazon, Facebook and other patent aggressors it looks like things may change. According to this article about Modi’s trip to the US:
The US-India Joint Statement signed during Modi’s visit to the US has opened the doors for two Indian laws that have been passed by the Indian Parliament. One is on patents – the Indian Patents Act – that contain some measures to keep drug prices low for the people, which the US and its pharmaceutical industries have been trying to change for the last decade. The second is on nuclear liability, again anathema to the US nuclear industry.
Here is a little something about privacy too: “The Modi visit is also important for what he did not raise with the US government. There was no mention of the NSA spying in India, which included the BJP as well. There were six political entities in the world that the NSA spied upon officially, and one of them was the BJP. India is also one of the 33 countries that have signed a 3rd Party agreement with NSA giving it access to our telecommunications and Internet infrastructure. That means India not only allowed NSA to spy on any entity or any person in India but also provided them the physical access required for such spying. Modi not only did not utter one word of protest against such spying against his own party, but also made clear his intention to continue such relationship under Defence and Homeland Security clauses of the Joint Statement.”
It is sad to say this, but India seems to be assimilating to the US system when it comes to patents and also when it comes to militarisation and surveillance.
As we showed before, the corrupt EPO is bringing Europe closer into alignment with the corporations-run USPTO while the USPTO itself is moving away from software patents these days. We covered this aspect of the situation several weeks ago.
Our next post will focus on some more scandals from the EPO. █
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Summary: A weekly roundup of news about patents in the United States and elsewhere, with special focus on software patents
Free/libre software has much less to worry about now that software patents are getting weaker if not fewer, too. There are changes that affect not only software patents but patents as a whole. In the US, for example, patents on genes/genetics were ruled illegal not too long ago. Here is an explanation of why Australia might soon follow suit. Titled “Australian Court Disagrees With US: Claim Genes Are Totally Patentable”, the article reminds us that “Last year, the Supreme Court made an important ruling in the Myriad Genetics case, effectively saying that genes aren’t patentable, even if you can separate them out from the rest of a strand of DNA. Myriad Genetics had isolated two key genes related to breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2 and argued that only it could test for those genes, because of its patent. The Supreme Court soundly rejected that, noting that you cannot patent something in nature, and clearly Myriad did not “make” the genes. Unfortunately, as we’d noted just a few months earlier, a court in Australia had come to the opposite conclusion, saying that Myriad Genetics had legitimate patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2. That case was appealed, and there was some hope that after the US’s ruling, higher courts in Australia might see the light. Not yet apparently. An appeals court has agreed that genes are patentable Down Under, which means that such important genetic tests there are likely to be much more expensive and limited.”
Australia, quite infamously as we pointed out before, was one of the countries that succumbed to US lead on software patents, so on genetics too there might be changes afoot. Here is a timely reminder that India still wrestles with software patents, having done so for years. India is famous for its heroic opposition to patents on medicine where life is at stake.
One new article from the Indian press quotes a few people who follow this closely. One of them “said that many of the companies that work on open source software and related segments have raised their opposition while the originator companies are demanding for a patent.”
Actually, many proprietary software patents are also against software patents. It is not a FOSS issue but a CS issue (computer science, not closed source).
“Currently,” continues this article, “software is not patentable under the existing Act and it needs to be registered under copyright. Many experts think that a patent would be stringent than a copyright is and would be advisable for the innovators to protect their software from infringement.
“The draft has been issued in the public domain for comments and the government has to consult every stakeholder on it. The issuance of the guideline is in final stage, he said.
“As per the Intellectual Property Office report, about 80% of patent applications at the Indian Patent Office are filed by foreign global technology companies. In the past decade the number of applications by foreign applicants has risen from about 8,221 to 34,276, said industry leaders.”
So these patents have a strong correlation to and with digital colonialism. Why would Indians ever accept them? The multinational corporations surely want these, but what’s in it for India itself? India has fantastic software engineers of its own. It need never be dependent on multinational entities, especially for software.
Here is a US-based pro-software patents site (run by patent lawyers) saying that “Big Banks Get Software Patents Despite Alice”. It is selective and selection-centric spin. The reality, on the whole, is the very opposite. The pro-business, News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal very recently published “Hard Times for Software Patents” followed by the detailed report titled “Courts Nix More Software Patents” and “Federal Courts Reject More Software Patents”. It says what one ought to expect.
Speaking of large corporations and software patents, watch what BMC is doing. The British press said that “BMC has accused ServiceNow of violating seven of its patents (5,978,594, 6,816,898, 6,895,586, 7,062,683, 7,617,073, 8,646,093 and 8,674,992), spanning incident management, performance analytics, configuration management, discovery, orchestration and change release management.
“The company lodged its suit on Tuesday in the generally litigant-friendly US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.”
BMC is acting like a patent troll and attacks small rivals. Witness the glory of software patents! The weapon of abuses indeed, injustice galore!
Contrariwise, Van Lindberg from Rackpace (very large company) says that they have killed a software patent and potentially a troll. The title says “Another Patent Troll Slain. You Are Now Free To Rotate Your Smartphone.”
Here is more on that: “Over the last few years it’s been great to see companies like Newegg and Rackspace decide that they’re not going to give in to bogus patent troll lawsuits. As we’ve discussed, it’s almost always easier, faster and cheaper to just settle and pay up whatever the troll is asking for. That’s part of why trolling works. Fighting a patent lawsuit — even a totally bogus one (i.e., not infrigning) — on a clearly invalid patent will still cost many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. If the troll is offering to settle for tens of thousands of dollars, many, many companies will do the obvious short-term cost-benefit analysis and settle. It’s hard to directly fault them for this — but it only makes the problem worse for everyone else. Not only does it fund the patent trolls to keep suing others, often they’ll use some of that money to buy more bogus patents and shakedown companies over that new ones as well. On top of that, settling patent threats just puts a big “sucker” sign on your company, meaning that more trolls will start circling. Making a stand and saying that you will not compromise or deal with trolls actually helps in the long run by scaring off some trolls. Both Newegg and Rackspace have been getting a lot of publicity (and goodwill) for their anti-troll efforts.”
Here is a somewhat comical take on a troll that decided to attack the government. The headline says it all: “Patent Troll Told That It Can’t Sue The FTC For Merely Investigating Its Shakedown Scam”
Well, “just when US starts correcting them,” writes Dr. Glyn Moody, Europe, with the corrupt EPO, decides to “Repeat US’s Past Mistakes”:
Back in May, I wrote about a very interesting paper discussing some potential pitfalls of the new Unified Patent Court. Given the magnitude of the change that it and the unitary patent system will bring, it is extraordinary that we still don’t really know how things will work out in practice. That makes another paper called “The Unified Patent Court (UPC) in Action – How Will the Design of the UPC Affect Patent Law? ” particularly welcome, since, as its title suggests, it explores how the new UPC is likely to shape the contours of patent law in Europe.
Since the new paper appeared, there has been a further US Supreme Court ruling, Alice v. CLS Bank, that has already led to no less than 11 software patents being thrown out by lower courts. Indeed, there is every indication that the era of completely insane software patents is drawing to a close in the US. It is therefore deeply ironic – and rather frustrating – that at precisely the moment when sanity starts to break out in the US, the EU incomprehensibly decides to take exactly the same path of madness that produced so many problems across the Atlantic.
Those are all good ideas, but it’s rather depressing that we must already be thinking of ways to minimise the damage the new UPC is likely to cause Europe’s economy in general – and the world of software in particular.
In the coming weeks we will continue to show how the EPO turned rogue and corrupt. It would be foolish to adopt software patents when the US relents.
Here comes another smackdown of a troll. As Mike Masnick put it: “We recently noted that a bunch of courts had been killing off bad software patents thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank. And now, that ruling is even leading the trolls themselves to give up. Notorious patent troll Lumen View recently dropped its appeal in its case against the website FindTheBest, saying that the ruling in Alice made it clear it wouldn’t win…”
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols wrote about this trend as a whole, saying that patent trolls are starting to get trampled. He also quotes OIN:
First, the Open Invention Network (OIN), whose members include Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony, now has more than a thousand licensees in its Linux and open-source, defensive patent pool. In an e-mail , Keith Bergelt, OIN’s CEO said, “The OIN license is becoming part of a broader set of community norms and is increasingly being integrated into the culture of open source/Linux-centric companies. It is for many the foundation around which their IP [intellectual property] strategy is built and a critical enabler of patent non-aggression and freedom to operate.”
We recently wrote about the podcasting troll winning against CBS, but this is definitely not over. As TechDirt put it: “The trial (in East Texas, of course) for CBS came first and the jury sided with Personal Audio, because that’s how East Texas patent juries typically roll. In a moment of semi-kindness, the jury awarded Personal Audio $1.3 million, rather than the nearly $8 million they supposedly requested. This story is really just a stepping stone, however. CBS has made it clear that it will appeal the case to CAFC, and given how software/business method patents are getting tossed out left and right these days, the company has a decent chance of prevailing. Meanwhile, the EFF reminds us that it’s still working hard to invalidate the patent at the Patent Office, which would help accelerate the process of killing off these bogus lawsuits.”
CBS is a bad company, but hopefully it will win on appeal.
Here is Matt Levy quoting the partly pro-software patents Michael Risch while saying: “We cannot continue the excesses of the past. Invalid patents don’t benefit innovation, they block innovation. And we have a patent system where a substantial portion of the issued patents, if not most, are invalid. And the patents in the software area are even worse.”
At the end of the day we will hopefully see patents on software universally invalidated. Until then we will have rumour mills and speculations (e.g. about prices) telling us that Free software is not free, thanks in part to lack of comprehension of what patents really are for and how they affect the industry (it’s a poor article which reveals its author’s ignorance on this subject). We have already covered this issue before (it’s about Samsung and Microsoft). █
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Good news for “Free software” team
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. █
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No Microsoft Office in China
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. █
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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. █
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“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)
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  in the mass media  (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 ) and has lobbied for it in India, apparently with success (new depressing article confirms some successes ). 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:
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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. █
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