Microsoft is like a political party
Photo from NASSCOM’s Web site
Summary: Some of the latest arguments against Free/libre software turn out to be arriving from couriers of Microsoft and its agenda
LAST NIGHT’S article about Microsoft's lobbying in India sure made a lot of a splash. It had impact. It has been widely circulated by now, even by former Microsoft managers who had grown tired of the company’s abuses. Upon further research we found out the role of NASSCOM.
For those who cannot recall the historic role of NASSCOM, here is a quick summary of posts of ours, covering NASSCOM:
NASSCOM is now pushing against the Indian government’s Free software-friendly policy. Techrights is unusually popular in India (based on various Web metrics like Alexa) and our Indian readers have often been cynical about the integrity of their officials/politicians. They probably recognise Microsoft’s influence in the Indian government and right now Microsoft appears to be doing its lobbying (against FOSS) in India using a group that is tied to Bill Gates (not just Microsoft) and masquerades as non-commercial. This is gross distortion of justice, even corruption.
“NASSCOM is now pushing against the Indian government’s Free software-friendly policy.”Another Bill Gates-backed (and Bill Gates-funded) group, the Gartner Group, recently spread a lot of FUD against FOSS and advertised Windows using lies (some Gartner staff came from Microsoft). One very recent piece of FUD against FOSS (there is some against containers, using ‘security’) says that there is a lack of skills. Gartner recently injected these claims into a lot of Web sites, assisted by gullible writers. Mike Olson, speaking to the media, shoots down Gartner’s latest FUD, noting that Gartner cites a non-existent dilemma. And to use his own words: “The reason I think Gartner’s report is off base, enterprises don’t need to build deep data science skills if they can buy solutions and applications that run on top of the platform that allows them to solve business problems.”
The problem with Microsoft is that it is well connected and a lot of the talking points against Free software come from buddies, partners, former staff and mouthpieces of Microsoft. This cannot be conveniently ignored and refuting the lies isn’t a case of shooting the messenger, just showing who the messenger works for/with. █
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Gimmicks and marketing won’t save Windows
Summary: Ongoing propaganda about Vista 10, ‘cloud’, and other buzzwords or brands are put in perspective
“Vista 10″ (or Windows 10, as Microsoft prefers to call it) is marketing propaganda and very little beyond that. Microsoft can afford to bribe a lot of news sites (‘incentivising’ as they might put it), offering favours in exchange for PR. We see a LOT of PR right now. Microsoft’s “PR guys and gals [are] working overtime writing press releases, which Internet news sites are posting,” wrote Christine Hall. We recently wrote about the Microsoft copywriters (writing propaganda pieces for Microsoft, to be carefully spread through the media) and the famous lie of 'free' Vista 10. Hall writes that facts notwithstanding, it “hasn’t stopped the PR guys and gals from working overtime writing press releases, which Internet news sites are posting while wondering aloud if Windows 10 will be enough to “save” the PC, and coming to the conclusion that if Windows can’t do it, then it can’t be done. They reach this conclusion with nary a whisper about ChromeOS, which is cleaning Redmond’s clock on the laptop — and with even less being said about traditional Linux.”
“Prepare for an increasingly GNU/Linux-dominated world, not just in mobile, embedded systems, and servers.”GNU/Linux can do just fine on the desktop, but Web sites and services are becoming more mobile-friendly over time. In turn, more people choose to access data/services/programs through portable devices with relatively small (touch)screens.
Overwhelming press-aided propaganda (at critical times) has had people talk about Vista 10 delusions rather than pay attention to sinking Windows profits. Windows was never sold, but it was certainly stolen. Proprietary software is rented, not sold; Bill Gates pinched early operating system (OS) code from the garbage can. “In my case,” Bill Gates once explained, “I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and I fished out listings of their operating systems.”
In a later article Christine Hall wrote: “If you believe what you read, which isn’t always a good idea, Nadella & Company is good with the fact that Windows’ market share is shrinking and the company is more than willing to share market space with others, like OS X, Chrome OS, and presumably Linux. The common knowledge is that the folks in Redmond have come to accept the future and understand that Windows will no longer continue being the cash cow on which an empire was built. Microsoft, going forward, will be more humble than it was in the past and will be leaving it’s plans for world domination behind.”
Prepare for an increasingly GNU/Linux-dominated world, not just in mobile, embedded systems, and servers. █
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Public display of hatred
Summary: Microsoft decides to attack Free/Open Source software (FOSS) in India, where the corporate media is very much complicit in misleading the public
ARLIER this year we repeatedly wrote that upon India's adoption of a Free/Open Source software-leaning policy Microsoft would attempt to paint itself "Open Source", or misleadingly associate Windows with "Open Source" (Microsoft is now openwashing Windows by throwing some Windows Communication Foundation code out there). We were only partly right because Microsoft is now making the decision to actually attack the judgment of India’s government.
Big mistake. It’s offensive and potentially offending.
Microsoft pretends to be “Open Source”-friendly but at the same time it lobbies India government’s against rational, pro-India policy — a policy that would create many jobs in India and improve national security. India, being a software-producing giant, needs Microsoft as much as Norway needs lumber imports from the Sahara. It is worth reminding readers that several months ago Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to the US and met Microsoft’s CEO in person. See our past articles about Microsoft’s influence in the Indian government, where officials are notoriously corruptible.
Corporate Media to Microsoft’s Rescue
Here is the Business Standard (corporate press of India) helping Microsoft to get its message (lobbying) out. To quote: “The technology-savvy Narendra Modi government may have upset large software firms, especially Microsoft, in its bid to be more efficient and transparent. In March, the government announced an open-source policy that makes it mandatory for all future applications and services to be designed using the open-source software (OSS). In case of an exception, where proprietary or closed-source software (CSS) is deployed, officials have to justify their decision.
“Microsoft pretends to be a victim merely because governments want Free/libre software code and open standards.”“Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik told Business Standard the government’s preference for open source is not an issue. However, putting a clause where use of anything other than open source has to be justified is an area of concern.”
This is a reminder of Microsoft’s unique stance (no other company is named here) and feeling/sense of entitlement. When the British government chose to go with open standards for document formats (ODF) Microsoft attacked the government’s decision rather than comply by properly supporting the standard. Microsoft is upset not about the policy but about rivals of Microsoft getting more of an opportunity. Microsoft pretends to be a victim merely because governments want Free/libre software code and open standards. What’s good for taxpayers is very seldom good for Microsoft.
Calling Proprietary “Open Source”
Speaking of India and its submissive corporate media, the Indian press is wrong yet again (just earlier today). Cyanogen, a proxy of Microsoft (classic embrace extend and extinguish manoeuvre by Microsoft), is not “open source” as this headline from the Economic Times (corporate media) foolishly claims. “US-based Cyanogen,” says the article, “the developer of an open-source mobile operating system, will open an office in India within the next three months, and plans to acquire startups, according to a senior company executive.”
“Microsoft is unable to bring Android apps to Windows, so it is trying to steal Android itself.”It is not an “open-source mobile operating system” because the company, Cyanogen (not to be confused with CyanogenMod), plans to put Microsoft proprietary software in the operating system of another company (Google), exploiting Google’s FOSS-friendly nature. Here is a new reminder (from yesterday) regarding what Microsoft wants/hopes to turn Android into: “Today, they’ve added phone support for beta testers – those who’ve joined the Microsoft Office Preview community on Google+ and sign up for the apps you want to try. You’ll then be able to find them on the Google Play Store, where the apps have dropped “for tablet” from their name.”
So Microsoft is now using Google+ to screw Google and take away Android from Google, turning the platform into just a carrier of Microsoft’s proprietary software, with extra spying of course. Based on  (below), there is a grand plan. Microsoft is unable to bring Android apps to Windows, so it is trying to steal Android itself. It takes something which is Free software and turns it into proprietary software that spies on users (turning them into products to be sold to spies, advertisers, and so on).
Microsoft Wants Everyone’s Data
Based on this new article, StackStorm is now playing along with this kind of agenda, giving Microsoft data to spy on. To quote: “StackStorm CEO Evan Powell says StackStorm can be used to not only automate that management of application workloads on the Microsoft Azure cloud, but also other cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services or an OpenStack-compatible cloud.”
“Indian officials would have to be out of their minds (or corrupt) to continue procurement of Microsoft software after the NSA leaks, among other revelations about Microsoft’s crude business practices.”How foolish. Microsoft is increasingly trying to exploit users for their data and based on this new article from PopSci, Microsoft is now trying to lure children into proprietary software that spies on children. As the article puts it: “This grim declaration is a part of [Microsoft's] De Cicco Remu’s push for pencil-less classrooms. She believes pencils, paper, and chalkboards are all outdated methods of teaching. If De Cicco Remu has her way, “inking”, or using a stylus and a tablet, will be the new handwriting. Also, kids need to have the appropriate products–all Microsoft, of course. (She plugs Office 365 and OneNote as being helpful for classroom settings.)”
These are surveillance products and it is worth recalling Microsoft’s special relationship with the NSA. Indian officials would have to be out of their minds (or corrupt) to continue procurement of Microsoft software after the NSA leaks, among other revelations about Microsoft’s crude business practices.
Modi is renowned as somewhat of a nationalist (as in, looking after his nation’s interests) and he holds a Master of Arts degree in political science. He should be wise enough to know that Microsoft is no friend of India. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Developers are said to be reluctant to modify iPhone and Android apps for Windows Phone over doubts over app quality and how easy the process will be
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So Windows is “free”? People will believe it’s true if it’s repeated often enough.
“Just because something isn’t a lie does not mean that it isn’t deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction.”
― Criss Jami
“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain
“A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.”
― William Blake
Summary: In a desperate effort to beat operating systems that are Free (libre) and free (gratis), such as GNU/Linux or Android, Microsoft shores up the illusion of ‘free’ (gratis) Windows
SINCE the very beginning of this year Microsoft has been lying about the cost of Vista 10, usually by proxy, by deceiving the press or working with the press to mislead the public.
The terms “free” and “Windows” (sometimes in conjunction) are still being floated in news headlines so as to mislead. Vista 10 is not free, it’s just “marketing”, as Microsoft itself says. Here is a new example which contradicts prior statements. The title says “Pirates will be able to upgrade to a pirated copy of Windows 10 for free,” despite prior refutations.
“Anything to keep them from upgrading to GNU/Linux,” wrote iophk, who alludes to old reports such as “If You’re Going To Steal Software, Steal From Us: Microsoft Exec” or even Bill Gates’ own statement which went like this: “And as long as they’re going to steal it, we want them to steal ours.”
Well, surely because GNU/Linux is more evil than “theft” [sic], at least to Microsoft.
Microsoft calling Vista 10 “10″ (there’s no number 9) makes as much sense as Canonical calling the next Ubuntu “17.10″ in order to make it seem or sound more futuristic (a year ahead of the rest). Vista 10 is not a new operating system, it is new branding with a new marketing strategy that includes false claims that it is “free” (because Vista 8 did so badly and people actively avoided it).
The Microsoft-occupied tabloid ZDNet pays lip service to Vista 10 in this new article about Vista 10. It quotes so-called ‘analysts’ from firms that Microsoft paid to advertise Vista (IDC for instance), including the Gartner Group, which said that Windows Vista would be great and is already lying about the cost Vista 10 (some Gartner staff comes from Microsoft.
Watch out and be careful of articles that claim Vista 10 to be “free”. It’s a misleading case of “marketing”, as Microsoft itself explained to its own shareholders/investors in its latest SEC filings. When Microsoft bribed authorities in Nigeria (to drop a GNU/Linux deal with Mandriva) its spokespeople called it “marketing help”, so we know what Microsoft means by “marketing”. █
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Summary: A Microsoft intern, who has moved on to journalism, is still showing his affinity for Microsoft with apologetics and spin
Zack Whittaker, formerly Microsoft staff in the UK who is now writing for ZDNet (a CBS-owned technology tabloid), keeps attacking Microsoft's rivals. It’s an habitual thing.
The other day he tossed some FUD at Android (yet again) and repeated Microsoft’s classic talking points (which its boosters had all uniformly spread several months ago). “This year alone,” he wrote, “Google disclosed two security flaws in Microsoft’s software, leaving the software giant fuming. The security team gave Microsoft three months to fix the flaw, or face public shaming.” The article is titled “Google has an Android security problem” and it’s trying to portray Google — not Microsoft — as the problem.
Microsoft was trying to blame Google, so here again we have Whittaker defending Microsoft (his former employer) and shaming Google for revealing how Microsoft exposed users. It’s not hard to find Microsoft bias in sites like ZDNet. All one has to check is where CBS is hiring from. This is a widespread problem as many people from Microsoft (some still working for Microsoft) are writers at ZDNet. █
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Summary: Vista 10 is still being marketed using lies and Microsoft may be going down the same route as Nokia
Microsoft’s Vista 10 is a PR/branding sham (even the number “10″ is a dead give-away) that will fail just like its predecessors, warn several investment sites these days. Microsoft said to its investors that claims about Vista 10 being 'free' were just "marketing" after it had repeatedly lied about it. The ‘free’ Windows lie is making a comeback in recent days. “More hype” is what a reader of ours called it, perhaps aiming to push the perception of Windows being free (feeling rather than fact). “Windows 10 could drag the company right back into the dark ages,” wrote one investment site, adding: “If Citigroup’s Walter Pritchard and Steven Rogers are right, in order to grow Microsoft needs to be careful with Windows 10, and investors need to observe closely to ensure that the company isn’t going to fire another Nokia-fueled volley at consumers.”
Microsoft killed Nokia by saddling its products with Windows and there are more job cuts reported at Nokia right now. To quote some Microsoft-friendly Finnish press, with former Microsoft staff (often overlooking the role of Microsoft in Nokia’s demise): “Nokia is launching redundancy talks in its Nokia Technologies business group. The Espoo-based company has not specified how many jobs may be lost. Some 650 people work at Nokia’s research and development unit, most of them in Finland.”
Any company still considering a Windows strategy rather than an Android or GNU/Linux strategy should take a good look at Nokia. █
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Summary: The ‘cloud’ mindset, which is promoted by surveillance fanatics, increasingly used to pretend that Microsoft has a bright future, despite declining sales
When Microsoft can no longer sell Windows and Office (its cash cows) all it will have left to sell is people’s private data, even Skype audio/chats/video. That’s what the vision of ‘cloud’ seems to be about: subscription (infinitely-recurring payments) and data (with no true promise of privacy).
Yesterday we noted that some IDG journalists are actually Microsoft staff and some are Microsoft MVPs, like this so-called ‘journalist’ who keeps promoting (advertising) Microsoft ‘cloud’ (Matt Weinberger does the same thing in other sites). One ‘analyst’ (like Gartner or IDC, but financial) went as far as hyping up Azure to upgrade Microsoft, using the ludicrous claim (among others) that “Microsoft embraces linux”, despite Microsoft obviously hating Linux. Recall the series below:
Anyone choosing to run GNU/Linux on the NSA-friendly platform called Azure is asking or begging to be snooped on. What would customers say? Microsoft’s love of surveillance is well documented. The whole ‘cloud’ nonsense works well for Microsoft and those claiming that Microsoft will do well “because cloud” are either ignorant or bribed.
Yesterday we found Vista 10 ads (in article form) in the Microsoft-friendly media because they must pretend that Microsoft matters in mobile and that Windows is free or something along those lines. Microsoft’s mouthpiece can’t help spreading the lie that Vista 10 will be 'free' (Microsoft admits it’s “marketing”, i.e. lie). Gartner has been among those promoting the 'free' Vista 10 lie.
Microsoft is simply unable to compete with free (freedom and gratis), so now it pretends that it can devour all of GNU/Linux (in Azure) or that somehow reducing the cost of Windows and moving to a subscription model will magically work out. This is utter nonsense. Only a drunk analyst, an incompetent analyst, or a bribed analyst can claim such a thing. █
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Source: Conference by Richard Stallman, “Free Software: Human Rights in Your Computer” (2014)
Summary: Media mistreatment of the very roots of Free/Open Source software (FOSS), which is now approaching 35 years in age and increasingly thriving
IN recent weeks we have found several ‘news’ articles that gave us cause for concern. Some were shared with Richard Stallman, a regular reader of Techrights, for his views to be expressed and portions of the correspondence can be found here (cautiously redacted to reduce potential animosity/tensions).
It is not unusual, especially these days (age of openwashing), to see the label “Open Source” misused. Not too long ago we identified some very gross distortion of the term “open source” to essentially openwash Facebook’s surveillance ambitions, focusing on poor people. Facebook traffic has sunk pretty badly over the past year (based on Alexa it’s a massive drop), so Facebook is trying really hard to frame/paint itself as “ethical”, even when it tries to expand its surveillance to people too poor to get connected to the Internet. This isn’t altruism, it’s opportunism and malice. It’s definitely not “open source” and the dot org suffix (Internet.org) is clearly inappropriate, not just misleading. “Facebook mistreats its users,” Stallman explained. “Facebook is not your friend, it is a surveillance engine.”
There was also an effort to delete GNU from history — an effort that has gone rather aggressive. Stallman was in the process of speaking to editors who jad allowed this to happen (dumb lawyers called GNU and Stallman’s text “Open source Manifesto” in the article “Open source Manifesto turns 30″). Stallman asked me to show him the original publication site and tell him how to write to them. It wasn’t too clear whether to write to the editor/site or the author/law firm. The former can issue some fixes/corrections, we tend to think, superseding what was contributed by lawyers. The article comes from a formal publication which often publishes patent lawyers’ pro-software patents columns (we have seen over 100 of them over the years). The target audience is lawyers. The latest is no exception to the rule. It is an article by Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl LLC and the Web site is London-based, with Andrew Teague as the Associate Publisher, Mark Lamb as the Publishing Director, and Chris Riley handling subscriptions. When it was first published Stallman was eager to contact “Either one, or both! [editor and writer] But the sooner the better.” No correction has yet been published. It’s nowhere to be found.
GNU and Free software are 30+ years old. A lot of people contribute to the misconception that it all started when Torvalds released Linux or when the term “Open Source” (not open source intelligence) was coined by the likes of O’Reilly. Watch the “Open Source” O’Reilly nonsense starting the clock more than 10 years later than GNU: “Twenty years ago, open source was a cause. Ten years ago, it was the underdog. Today, it sits upon the Iron Throne ruling all it surveys. Software engineers now use open source frameworks, languages, and tools in almost all projects.”
Rachel Roumeliotis is advertising OSCON 2015 (OS stands for “Open Source”), but she should know about GNU and its age. These people conveniently start the clock when O’Reilly and his henchmen got involved. They want all the credit and they want people not to speak about freedom. Eben Moglen already ranted about this, right on stage in an OSCON event nearly a decade ago.
“This shows how “open source” misses the point,” Stallman wrote to us. “If the frameworks, languages and tools they use are free software, that is good for their freedom. But if what they develop with those is nonfree software, it doesn’t respect our freedom.
“So open source “won” by ducking the important battle.”
Well, the “we already won” attitude (or notion) helps a defeatist’s approach; why fight for more freedom if “we won”? That’s what those people (even developers) who open a MacBook or some ‘i’ device want to happen; some would further insist that Apple and Microsoft are now “open source” players, so “game over”…
We have noticed that Microsoft is now googlebombing with “Windows open source”, promoting the ludicrous notion that it’s now “open” (or gratis), or that it will be so one day. It started about a month ago, maybe two; dozens of articles have served this PR strategy. we wrote some rebuttals and will write another one this weekend. There is a gross distortion of what actually happened and what is happening.
“Stallman was unhappy about the increasing prevalence of proprietary software,” said the aforementioned article From Lexology, “software protected by copyright law and usually licensed on a commercial basis by its owners.”
Yes, but Free software too is protected by copyright law, it’s just twisted into copyleft. “Source code is sometimes licensed under GNU GPL terms,” says the article, “a form of
“copyleft” rather than copyright.”
OK, so surely they know what Free software is and where it comes from. Why proceed with statements like: “The “open source” movement emerged in GNU’s wake. As with GNU, users of
open source code can look at the source code and modify it. However, unlike with GNU, they are not required to share their developments with the world at large.”
“We have noticed many articles throughout this past year or so — including some from Linux Foundation staff — that basically start history in 1991 as if GNU/Linux came out of a vacuum or from Torvalds’ bedroom.”Actually, unless they are using something like the BSD licence, they usually must. Then there are issues like SaaS, which are addressed by the AGPLv3, among other licences. But either way, Free software remains Free software, there is no justification for renaming it “Open Source” and calling the GNU Manifesto “Open source Manifesto”. It’s insulting to those who started the whole thing and wish to receive fair coverage or attribution, at the very least.
The Lexology sites presents some other issues, mostly to do with access, not just paywalls. Stallman asked: “Can you email me the full text of that article? I tried to fetch the page and what I got did not include the text.”
Stallman said he “wrote to them”, but more than a month later the article remains uncorrected, not updated, etc.
Another big load of revisionism (changing history) uses the “Open Source” label to delete GNU from history. Published last month, the article titled “At Birth, Open Source Was About Saving Money, Not Sharing Code” focuses on Torvalds (see feature image) and frames the movement as one that is centered around money. Stallman asked: “Is that someone opinionated who won’t listen to me?”
It is of course worthless asking for a correction when you know in advance none would be made. It later turned out to be part of a broader series of articles, some of which did cover GNU. I personally read several hundreds of items from the author and he’s more into ‘practical’ benefits, so I don’t think it would be worth arguing over. Some people just aren’t fond of freedom in the context of computing.
We have noticed many articles throughout this past year or so — including some from Linux Foundation staff — that basically start history in 1991 as if GNU/Linux came out of a vacuum or from Torvalds’ bedroom. Quite frankly, we think it’s an insult to history. We deem it negligent at best. Of course it leads people to deducing that the success of the system in its entirety is owing to the great “Linux values”, not GNU philosophy.
In summary, in our threads of communication with Stallman we were able to reaffirm that there were factual issues in the “Open Source Manifesto” article (it speaks about the GNU Manifesto) and despite Stallman’s request for correction, nothing has been done by the publishers. It’s like people just don’t wish to speak favourably about freedom in computing. Mac Asay, a Mormon (i.e. more superstition a religion than most other religions), compares Free software people to dangerous religions — a typical smear directed at a largely secular Free software community. Perhaps there are just those who are impossible to please because they are inherently opposed to control over one’s machine and would rather buy digital prisons from Apple than work a little harder to gain control or acquire freedom-respecting tools. █
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