CBS pleases Microsoft
Summary: CBS’ ZDNet spreads the GNU-hostile narrative which comes from Redmonk, funded by Microsoft and Black Duck, citing Black Duck, which also comes from Microsoft and is a partner of Microsoft
Redmonk has been the subject of both praises and criticism over the years. We often agree with what Redmonk shows, but sometimes the impact of money, e.g. money from Microsoft, seems to be playing a role in analyses. It is difficult to dismiss the role of financial dependence; casting it irrelevant would be rather naïve. Whenever a company says something positive about a paying customer it’s rarely just a coincidence. The company is aware of its sources of income and develops a sort of “sixth sense” in the same way that politicians learn to love and defend their funders, not speaking out about them or voting against these funders’ interests. The Koch brothers, for example, sure have an impact on climate policies through various groups they pay. That it why money is handed out in the first place. Bill Gates does a lot of this too, e.g. bribing news sites, news channels, analysts, politicians, decision-makers etc. What we have commended Redmonk for in the past is the policy of full disclosure (well, not entirely full as proportionate contributions are never mentioned).
Microsoft pays Black Duck, which pays analysts who repeat its claims at face value on the face of it. Black Duck has in fact been paying lots of sources to help legitimise its talking points. Even the Linux Foundation is paid by Black Duck (hard to say how much, but probably enough to buy silence on criticism and free publicity at times). Redmonk has been paid by Black Duck too.
“Open Hub is just a new name for a company created by people from Microsoft.”There was a long discussion about this in Twitter (here is just a portion) in light of an article from ZDNet that relayed Black Duck’s talking points using two data points both owned by Black Duck, including its hires from Microsoft. It should be noted that Black Duck is not the only Microsoft-connected proprietary ‘think tank’ trying to tell us that the GPL is declining (in relative terms, not absolute, wherein lies a bias and spin opportunity). OpenLogic, headed by a man from Microsoft, does it too and we have named other such entities. It’s ugly out there. Analysts sell agenda, not information.
To spare readers the misinformation, the short story is that several days ago Redmonk was spreading Black Duck’s anti-GPL talking points and now it turns out Black Duck had paid Redmonk. As noted in this article, “Black Duck, the parent company of Open Hub, has been a RedMonk customer but is not currently.”
Open Hub is just a new name for a company created by people from Microsoft. Companies tend to change names to evade negative perception/publicity. Some patent trolls and mercenaries do that a lot. Behind closed doors Redmonk is not advising companies that copyleft is dying, not disclosing that its figured are biased by a Microsoft deal from 2009. It also impacts what news sites are reporting, creating a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy/bias against the GPL. Here is what ZDNet wrote the other day, not even spelling Ohloh correctly (so we can assume there’s no understanding that this company came from Microsoft). SJVN wrote: “Berkholz learned, using data from Ohlol, an open-source code research project now known as Open Hub, that “Since 2010, this trend has reached a point where permissive is more likely than copyleft [GPL] for a new open-source project.””
Remember where this entity called Open Hub came from. It’s a bunch of people from Microsoft.
Now see the bottom of ZDNet’s posts, which unlike Redmonk does not disclose the Black Duck and Microsoft connection (financial connection to both). That’s how Microsoft’s propaganda makes it into ZDNet.
ZDNet remains one of the world’s crappiest tech tabloids, especially now that it is owned by CBS. It still employs a lot of Microsoft staff (past and present) to publicly smear, bash, and insult Linux/Android. Here is a new example where a Microsoft employee writes about (bashes and belittles) Android in this very trashy tabloid (that pays him to do this). This is part of a pattern and it’s amazing that ZDNet pretends to be a news site. Under CBS’ wing it just serves sponsors. Watch the disclosure a the bottom: “Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.”
There is a lot more, including links, in the Twitter discussions. Even Redmonk staff weighed in, but has not responded to the rebuttals. Bruce Perens warned that Black Duck's claims about the GPL are "B.S.". There is too much B.S. in today’s news, emanating from people who pretend to be journalists and analysts but are actually agents of propaganda or marketing. Be sceptical and go back to the sources to assess the facts. █
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“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” ~Upton Sinclair
Poster Advertising a Patent Attorney
Record Group 179: Records of the War Production Board, 1918 – 1947
Summary: Patent lawyers continue to distort the reality of software patents’ demise in the United States
The CAFC introduced software patents in the US, but a lot has changed since SCOTUS (the Supreme Court), which is above CAFC, ruled against a software patent and extrapolated from that to potentially invalidate a huge number of software patents. Patent lawyers are furious that even some portion of their business, software patents, is going down in flames and we have already shown them trying to deny it, curse, distort, or resort to blame shifting. Truth be damned! This post presents some more recent responses from them. These saturated the press because opposition to software patents has been inactive as of late.
“Patent lawyers are furious that even some portion of their business, software patents, is going down in flames and we have already shown them trying to deny it, curse, distort, or resort to blame shifting.”A new article titled “Federal Circuit Puts Added Squeeze on Software Patents” shows the far-reaching impact of recent developments as “The courts set a new record for rejecting software patents in 2014″, according to one opponent of software patents. It is not just about SCOTUS anymore because various lower courts, including CAFC, follow the same footsteps of the highest court. They have no choice is they want to obey the law, otherwise appeals will follow suit and be accepted on caselaw grounds.
Over at Managing Intellectual Property, a pro-patents site, is is claimed that “Business method patent issuance has plummeted since Alice”. Another new article from patents-centric media provides a summary of post-Alice rulings on patentability of software. Rosenbaum IP, a law firm, wrote on December 2nd that “drafting narrow claims to ensure software is patent-eligible presents a challenge for patent practitioners. Patent practitioners are trained to draft claims with the broadest possible scope in order to ensnare as many infringers as possible.”
To them, the problem is not software patents but those who are rejecting them. Here is another news article about the post-Alice world, noting: “The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision announcing the framework for determining patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. Section 101 has created a rabbit hole that will require a rethinking of intellectual-property protection strategies.”
No, not really. Developers already have copyrights and that is more and enough (sometimes too much, e.g. copyrights on APIs in the US, which CAFC accepts, the EU rejects, and SCOTUS will hopefully bury soon). Here is a report about a recent case which shows that not all software patents are categorically dead, at least not yet. To quote the report: “For those following the law of patent eligibility in the United States, a December 5, 2014 precedential decision by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that a patent on webpage-display technology is patent eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. A slew of recent court decisions have gone the other way, leaving arguably similar patents invalid.”
Over at patent lawyers’ sites, especially in blogs that do not pretend to be journalism, a different picture is presented to readers. Within the echo chamber of patent lawyers truth is warped. Here is WatchTroll, whom we criticised before for extreme bias, glorifying software patents and those acquiring them with help from patent lawyers. He also calls patent trolling “Patent Monetization” and does some revisionism under the banner of
“The History of Software Patents in the United States”. He mocks opposition to software patents and says: “The first software patent was granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on April 23, 1968 on an application filed on April 9, 1965, Martin A. Goetz, a pioneer in the development of the commercial software industry, was the inventor of the first software patent ever granted, U.S. Patent No. 3,380,029. Several years ago PBS Digital Studios profiled Goetz and his pursuit of the first software patent.”
Martin Goetz is extremely biased in favour of software patents, so he is convenient for what is basically a defence of such patents. It is agenda disguised as ‘history’ (not just ‘news’) and it clearly became a series whose claims we reject. It’s a selective account of history.
There are other pro-software patents ‘news’ sites and there is utterly, overly selective coverage there (any losses for software patents are ignored). We reviewed dozens of these over the past fortnight and it’s very easy to spot to one who knows the facts and keeps abreast of many cases. WatchTroll’s site acknowledges that the “Federal Circuit Finds Software Patent Claim Patent Eligible”, but most of the time he just tries to paint everyone as a supporter of software patents (the opposite is true), thereby trying to pressure judges and mislead colleagues. Totally irresponsible!
In other lawyers’ Web sites there is another type of bias that looks more professional. An article by Adam M. Breier from Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP shows us one a such example where patent lawyers are trying hard to promote software patents, sometimes by only covering what suits their agenda. They usually ignore the bad news (to them) and mislead readers by providing only coverage one half of the half-filled glass. At National Law Review there is an article titled “Section 101 and Software Patents: Abstract or Not?” (published here as well). Therein, an overview is presented by a biased author.
The Alice case is still in the headlines of legal sites (a month later) and words cannot express how disgusting the so-called “legal” press is. Patent lawyers are very much desperate to discredit court decisions which are hostile towards software patents these days. Articles continues to come which paint a deceiving picture, seeking to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Such sites are trying to shoot down the messenger and ignore the facts. Such is the case with coverage in patent lawyers’ sites of Ultramercial, LLC v. Hulu, LLC (software patents lost). Here is Lowell D. Yoder from McDermott Will & Emery saying that Post-Alice Federal Circuit Finds Internet Advertising Method Not Patent Eligible” (true, but see the self-serving analysis) and others say in patent lawyers’ sites that “Patent Eligibility [is] Becoming Threshold Question for Litigation”. Not litigation is at stake, but the actual eligibility (including during assessment by patent examiners after issuance of new guidelines). A widely published article phrased is as a question, “Another software patent is ruled patent-ineligible – are business method and software patents at risk?” (also published here and here).
This is a rhetorical question. It hardly needs to be asked at all, except perhaps in patent lawyers’ media. Also see “California district court helps clarify when software claims are patent eligible under Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank” and “Claims that CAFC’s Ultramercial decision could prove a catastrophe for companies that license software patents” (or patent extortion like Microsoft’s). Notice how it’s framed. They make it sound like horrible news despite the fact that the vast majority of software professionals loathes software patents.
IAM, a crude patent propaganda site, is once again relaying Microsoft’s talking points, which promote software patents (see “Software patent owners have nothing to fear from the CAFC’s Ultramercial decision, says Microsoft’s former chief patent counsel”).
Also see the article “Protecting Intellectual Property Rights In Software After Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank” from the lawyers’ press. It is not unusual for a legal firm to characterise monopoly on algorithm as “protecting”. It is just the lingo of patent lawyers with euphemisms and double standards. Above is a loaded headline whose purpose it to appeal to emotion and make rulings against software patents seem like “catastrophe”.
The Ultramercial case shows that beyond copyrights there is no reason to have a government-sanctioned monopoly. That is not so hard to understand, is it?
The proponents of software patents and spinners against Ultramercial of course include WatchTroll, who wrote: “Ultramercial’s Federal Circuit luck has now run out. Gone from the original panel was Chief Judge Rader who retired and was replaced by Judge Mayer, which does not bode well for any patent owner.”
This is the corrupt software patents extremist, Mr. Rader, whom we wrote about in [1, 2, 3]. How convenient a source to lean on!
Legal-centric sites go further by also promoting software patents in Australia (see the article “Australian full court sets new test for software patents – it’s all about the substance”) and in India, which still fights lobbyists who try to legalise software patents in this software giant nation (see “Disclosure Requirements For Software Patents”).
Dr. Glyn Moody has an interesting new article about FRAND (usually about software patents, albeit not always) in hardware superpower China, citing a dispute with ZTE. To quote Moody:
How Should Standard-Essential Patents Be Licensed?
Patents are intellectual monopolies, designed to give the patent-holder control over an invention by excluding others from using it without permission. That’s a problem when standards include patented elements. Anyone who wants to implement that standard must use the invention, which gives the patent-holder the ability, in theory, to demand and obtain any licensing deal it might propose. To limit that power, holders of these standard-essential patents are often required to agree to offer licensing terms on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.
However, when another Chinese company, ZTE, sought a license from Huawei, they were unable to agree on the terms, so Huawei brought an action for infringement against ZTE. According to ZTE, Huawei’s attempt to obtain an injunction against it constituted an abuse of its dominant position, since ZTE was willing to negotiate a license. Here’s the key part of the Advocate General’s opinion.
Incidentally, there is a new report showing just illegitimate the USPTO is becoming. Now it treats patents, which are supposed to be all about publication, as secrets. To quote TechDirt: “The USPTO drops the dreaded b(5) exemption all over its internal emails, withholding stuff seemingly just to be withholding stuff, which is what the b(5) exemption does best. Supposedly this exemption is limited to memos or letters that would not be available to anyone but a “party in litigation with the [responding] agency,” but in this case, seems to cover information otherwise in the public domain.
“Here’s another redacted set of search results, covering variations like MARKY or MARKEY appearing on clothing. Hopefully, the two pages of black ink are covering up images rather than words. Otherwise, it would appear that the MARKY/MARKEY market is incredibly overcrowded.”
How ridiculous is that? The US patent system sure seems like it’s facing a crisis (of patent quality or scope) and it is going to have to cut down on software patents, business method patents, etc. in order to save its credibility. Without credibility it will cease to attract clients, some of whom sooner or later realise that acquiring a patent is not enough to successfully sue a rival in court. █
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Summary: The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring
IN the spirit of tackling FUD we thought it would be worthwhile to tackle spin regarding the news of Ubuntu Core (news that already appears in our daily links).
Microsoft boosters such as Microsoft Gavin try to frame it as Microsoft news, saying: “A smartphone-inspired version of Ubuntu Server for Docker minimalists has been revealed with initial backing from Microsoft.” The headline is even worse. It’s deceiving for the sake of drama.
The news is not about Microsoft. This is what is called bias by omission or selection — similar to this lousy piece from Lance Whitney, former staff of Microsoft media whose latest propaganda is now omitting an old disclosure saying that he is Microsoft’s ‘former’ staff and uses US-only spin to make Android look bad (the US is not the whole world and economic advantage favours overpriced phones).
Several readers have told us that the article “Canonical restructures Ubuntu in mobile mode; Microsoft is first partner” had been removed (we searched the site to verify this) before it was reinstated. How odd. No explanation was given and while it was gone we made a copy from the Google cache of the article, very shortly after it had been deleted, then created permanent archive of the removed version. We wrote publicly at around noon yesterday about how this article vanished after it had been posted (just shortly before we made copies from Google cache and also used archive.is). We later compared the version we had archived with what was reinstated and found no obvious differences in the text. Well, maybe the problem was purely technical, but the content of the article from Paul Gillin was curious, not just the angle. A reader of ours explained: “Below is the text of an article which just disappeared. It was online for only a few hours but contains some very incriminating statements. More might show up later, but for now this is all I have. It sure explains why the Ubuntu forums moderators/staff have been slamming RMS and censoring critique of Microsoft and His Billness – in any context.”
“The situation is bad,” explained our reader. “The previous article was not a mistake” because there is other coverage although it does not provide the Microsoft spin, including phrases such as those highlighted in Diaspora. The factual part is this:
Ubuntu Core is now available on Microsoft’s Azure cloud.
This, however, is not the main news. A lot of effort was put into injecting some pro-Microsoft angle. Here is where promotional spin got injected (apart from the headline):
“Ubuntu Core is the smallest, leanest Ubuntu ever, perfect for ultra-dense computing in cloud container farms,” the company said in a press release. In a twist that’s sure to prompt a double-take from many industry veterans, Canonical chose the Azure cloud from longtime Linux foe Microsoft as its first deployment platform. “Microsoft loves Linux,” said Bob Kelly, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, in a prepared statement.
“Microsoft has been a terrific steward of Ubuntu,” said Dustin Kirkland, product manager for Ubuntu Core, in an interview. “We have a very tight relationship.” The deal with Microsoft is exclusive for ”a couple of weeks,” after which Ubuntu Core is expected to be available on all public clouds that currently support the operating system.
So ‘“Microsoft loves Linux,” said Bob Kelly, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, in a prepared statement.’
This is part of the new lie which we wrote about in articles such as:
The problem with articles like the above is the pursuit for talking points to lull the victim into passivity, pretending that Microsoft is now like a “best friend” of GNU/Linux. All that Microsoft does with Ubuntu Core is put it under surveillance and back door control. That’s what Azure is about, as NSA leaks serve to demonstrate.
We could of course tackle some other propaganda if we had more time for writing (I am working full time myself). Consider this new UBM spin which pretends TrueCrypt is FOSS (it’s definitely not) and cites one bug (in OpenSSL) to pretend FOSS as a whole is less secure than proprietary software blobs. There is another ugly story making the rounds about a so-called attack on GNU/Linux machines (attributing it to a government, possibly Russia’s); all the stories we have found (over a dozen so far) neglect to say that the victim must install the rogue code himself or herself, it cannot really propagate except by the user’s stupidity or recklessness. Finally, there is another batch of stories about DCOS, which is backed by a Microsoft thug who boasted about “tilting into a death spiral” competitors of Microsoft and bankrolled Microsoft proxies. DCOS — like Azure — is attempting to control GNU/Linux guests at a higher level. IDG called it a “data center OS” that “allows single-source command for Linux servers”, potentially providing a back door. I have personally seen companies that manage hundreds of GNU/Linux servers from VSphere (proprietary from EMC, which is connected to RSA and hence NSA back doors) on top of Microsoft Windows (also back doors). Can EMC be trusted to not allow intrusion? Can Microsoft? These are rhetorical questions.
Anyone who is reckless enough to put a Ubuntu machine under Microsoft hosting sure has not been keeping up with news. Canonical too would be reckless to recommend such a thing, but perhaps it has short-term thinking, pursuing Microsoft dollars at the expense of customers’ security. █
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Summary: Putting in context some of the poor reporting (or whitewash) regarding Microsoft’s bribe (disguised as “partnership”) to Barnes & Noble
TECHRIGHTS sincerely regrets to report that the media is letting down the historical record, letting down facts, and ultimately letting down Free software, which has been under a massive patent attack from Microsoft since the Microsoft-Novell deal (November of 2006). While the corporate press would have us believe that Microsoft now “loves” GNU/Linux and is embracing FOSS (like a python embraces sheep maybe), the truth could not be further from that. Day after day this form of propaganda or conditioning would have us believe that white is black and black is white. It’s the same in technology as it is in politics.
Microsoft’s hatred of GNU/Linux and FOSS is best understood, objectively, by looking at Microsoft’s actions, especially backroom deals that it hides from journalists or prevents (through abuse and trolling) journalists from revealing to the public. One cannot judge an action by assessing only what the subject of scrutiny presents. Microsoft is great at media manipulation and today’s example is an excellent one. History is being rewritten before our eyes.
“Several years down the line the press suffers amnesia and something that resembles Nokia revisionism (blaming Nokia rather than Microsoft for Nokia’s demise).”Several years ago we explained why Microsoft’s ‘partnership’ with Barnes & Noble was essentially a bribe against Linux. Groklaw covered this repeatedly in about half a dozen long articles. Several years down the line the press suffers amnesia and something that resembles Nokia revisionism (blaming Nokia rather than Microsoft for Nokia’s demise).
Truthfully, we have already said almost everything that there is to be said about the latest news, but the CBS-owned CNET has just published a peculiar piece with Microsoft’s statement embedded. It’s revisionism from Don Reisinger, who relays the most omissions-filled story we have found so far (no need for an extensive articles roundup here). Absolutely nothing is said about the patent battle that Microsoft tried to end as it put in jeopardy the whole racket operation that Microsoft had been running against many companies. Nothing! It makes it sound like an innocent ‘deal’ where Barnes & Noble is the loser and Microsoft is the supposed ‘rescuer’.
In our assessment, which may seem blunt, Barnes & Noble should take Microsoft to court again, both for extortion and for bribery (intended to hide the extortion and keep it going). Here is Reisinger’s ‘article’ acting as a Microsoft platform with Microsoft taking points:
“As the respective business strategies of each company evolved, we mutually agreed that it made sense to terminate the agreement,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement, providing little insignt into the decision to nix the marriage with Barnes & Noble.
Translation: we no longer needed to suppress our victim, which we had been blackmailing, so we swiftly went away, having left in tatters yet another so-called ‘partner’. We successfully completed a “divide and rule” Mafia routine, accomplishing sustainable of our profitable, fear-inducing racket.
This it was not a “partnership” as Microsoft boosters try to label it; it’s a disguise for a bribe to be passed over and stay in tact while the company dies and is no longer willing to battle Microsoft in court over the blackmail from Microsoft’s Mafia thugs.
Will Hill wrote about that report (and ones like it) as well, noting that it’s a form of bribe. He pieced together older bits of coverage about that.
Microsoft Damage to Barnes and Noble
News about the end of Microsoft’s software patent extortion schemes is being used to broadcast old talking points. OEMs big and small are ending their “deals” with Microsoft in the wake of recent US court decisions and the complete failure of Apple’s “thermonuclear” patent assault on Android. Now that we start to hear about Barnes and Noble, the Microsoft press is cranking up and people might be tempted to wade through endless chains of Microsoft nonsense. Go straight to your favorite search engine and read through Groklaw or Techrights instead.
Microsoft booster, Peter Bright, reports the end of the Barnes and Noble software patent extortion. The article is relatively fact and history free but the news has stirred up all sorts of misinformation, as is always the case when Microsoft destroys things. That’s a shame because the B&N case taught us a great deal about Microsoft’s extortion tactics and how they ruin companies.
Barnes and Noble was unusual because the company initially refused Microsoft and refused to sign a non disclosure agreement. When they fought Microsoft’s advances, they were free to tell the world what was happening. Groklaw and Techrights followed the case closely. It only ended when Microsoft paid B&N a $300 million dollar bribe to settle.
Two damaging pieces of misinformation showing up are that Microsoft made a billion dollars a year from Samsung over software patents and that Nook was always a loser. This was an estimate irresponsibly presented as fact by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols,
What we didn’t know was just how much Microsoft profits from its patent deals from any single vendor. Now we do. In 2013 alone, Microsoft made a billion dollars from its Samsung Android patent licensing deal alone.
If you click through the author’s self cite, you see the same number presented as an estimate, along with quotes from the paid Microsoft shill, Florian Mueller. Behind that is six levels of Microsoft press obfuscation and self referencing nonsense. There’s a a Yahoo reprint of a BGR article which itself references a Digital Trends article from August 2013, rife with wild guesses and misinformation from Garner, $1 per device, and crazier estimates from Goldman Sachs (2011) and Trefis (2012). That’s the way the Microsoft pres works to establish complete bullshit as common knowledge and smear competitors with wild talking points like, “Google’s message to device makers has been Android is free and open, but you’re on your own if someone sues,” while Google was working with Motorola to fight the same lawsuits.
The bit about Nook being a loser is presented as a fact without citations but is easily disproved. Techrights documented the precipitous decline that followed the Microsoft deal. Microsoft boosters say the same things about Nokia before Elop and every other company Microsoft destroys.
What B&N really showed us is conveniently hidden behind a cloud of Microsoft press bullshit. They proved it was better to fight Microsoft’s flimsy patents and that licensing deal speculation is pure hogwash. How could anyone believe Microsoft is paid some money per device when it’s obvious that B&N was paid to shut up and no one else is talking? That’s the magic of Microsoft press perception management.
I have a feeling that the only thing keeping Microsoft out of bankruptcy is US government money. Besides the usual flow of government and big dumb company spending, we know that Microsoft got their share of “bail out” in the 2008 mortgage fraud meltdown and wealth transfer. We also know that Microsoft has been getting their share of NSA money which, of course, was carefully obfuscated in annual reports.
Thanks, Dr. Roy Schestowitz (罗伊) for following B&N so well over the years.
To summarise, Barnes & Noble is not just a victim of a Microsoft ‘partnership’. It was first the victim of Microsoft racketeering, whereupon it challenged Microsoft in court and then received a large bribe from Microsoft to allow Microsoft to carry on the racket (against companies other than Barnes & Noble).
And some say (and even insist) that Microsoft has changed…
Microsoft and the Mafia share a lot more than the first letter. █
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Like Microsoft’s OOXML (“open” only by name), .NET remains a patent liability and an attempt to ‘standardise’ lock-in
From the Campaign for Document Freedom
Summary: Microsoft’s openwashing of proprietary lock-in serves to bamboozle much of the technical media, including some who support Free/libre software
A few weeks ago we wrote about what was essentially the openwashing of .NET lock-in with remaining patent threats (if one forks/deviates). It is the same thing with Mono; when the Mono boosters claimed that Microsoft had promised them patent peace they neglected to say that it assumed no deviation from Microsoft’s “true” .NET. It’s “look but don’t touch”, or “touch and get sued”. Always remember Java’s situation and Oracle attacking Dalvik through Google. There was a patent lawsuit despite Java being FOSS and Oracle being a member of OIN. Promises are not necessarily legally-binding. Few people bothered to read the fine prints. It is the same with .NET (both then and now) and no matter what the press says (we lost count of how many deceiving articles were published), .NET is still private and closed; Microsoft totally controls it.
A fortnight ago Microsoft showed us that it tries to control GNU/Linux through Windows, Hyper-V, and Azure. Even Docker is now being EEE’d. There should be no confusion about Microsoft’s interests here. There is no ambiguity. It is about imposing Microsoft’s agenda on everyone, including the competition.
That said, even some FOSS people helped Microsoft’s openwashing of .NET last month. The Linux Foundation helped openwashing of Microsoft by promoting Microsoft’s message (giving it a platform). How gullible can one get?
Along the way we also found nonsense headlines that misinform the public and some came from FOSS sites and blogs (not just Microsoft apologists). “Missing facts,” a reader of ours labelled it. “The closing sentence is spot on though,” he added.
Links like the above are easy to debunk. Microsoft is now trying to impose patent lockin on the world. There are lapses in the so-called “promise”, so it is not good, except for Microsoft.
IDG and other Microsoft-grooming media following the usual routine for the sponsor, Microsoft. Here is a disgusting puff piece from IDG in NZ about Microsoft blessing itself. There was a similar piece elsewhere in the country. Here is more from ZDNet (CBS), which played a significant role in the openwashing of .NET. Suffice to see, it was easy to find also in Microsoft boosting sites masquerading as “development” sites (we named them before), the ECT network, and Microsoft-affiliated sites (we gave some examples last month).
What we have here is Microsoft’s attempt to make .NET the ‘standard’. As we were reminded the other day, standards can be used as a weapon and we already saw Microsoft doing that to ODF by trying to pretend OOXML was on equal footing. “My humble experience in the field of digital standards,” explains a key person from the Document Foundation, “makes me think that no standard is ever innocent, not in itself but by the intent of its authors or implementors. Even a nice and deeply useful standard such as ODF is a big stone thrown in the backyard of Microsoft.”
For Microsoft, the goal is to hurt Java and Eclipse, not to promote .NET based on any real merit. .NET is not Free software and Microsoft reserves the right to sue using patents. Yes, there is still a very obvious patent threat if one does not use the implementation of Microsoft. We found this out thanks to some legal analysis that received little or no media coverage, after we had discovered the same thing in relation to the useless promise for Mono some years back. As some people pointed out in Ubuntu Forums, Microsoft made similar promises with regards to FAT but later sued or extorted many companies, starting with TomTom 5.5 years ago. Here is a useful reminder:
Microsoft decided a long time ago that its battle for world domination would be fought with patents. They published the specs for FAT, remember. Then years later they began suing everyone who used it. Open sourcing .net is just inviting people to paint a target on their backs.
The analogy is useful. To embrace .NET as though it’s “open” and “safe” is about as clueless as adopting exFAT and other such patent traps. As long as the US has patents on software, genetics, etc. (these patents are spreading to other nations) .NET is definitely dangerous. Ignore the openwashing.
The reality of the matter is, as even a Microsoft booster (Tim Anderson) put it, development on Windows remains a fragmented experience [via] and to quote Anderson himself, “recent post by Microsoft’s WPF team, and the comments it provoked, has revealed the unhappy state of Windows desktop development. Presented as a roadmap, the post promises investment in WPF to improve performance, DirectX interoperability, tooling, and support for touch input and high density displays.”
Do not rely on Microsoft for development tools. There is no compelling reason to believe that .NET (just like WPF or DirectX) is cross-platform and the development tools are as proprietary as they can get.
.NET is the proprietary software choice, nothing whatsoever to do with openness. █
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Summary: Brainwash in the corporate media, including media that the Gates Foundation bribes in exchange for sheer bias, paints the super-rich as the solution rather than the problem
OVER THE PAST few months there has been something rather appalling going on (other than Ebola itself). Partisan politics and self-serving authoritarian Turf Wars exploited Ebola, racists used it to prop up antiquated shades of xenophobia, and class war made use of it as well. Much of the Western media reports (if not misreports) about Ebola in Africa without speaking to a single African (or a black person for that matter) and much of the gratitude goes out to foreign plutocrats who own the media rather than medics on the ground who risk their lives t save others’. The number of examples that spin Ebola in favour of Bill Gates is jaw-dropping. Some go as far as quoting this college drop-out with no qualifications in medicine (except monetising it through patent monopolies) as though he needs to be lecturing all of us on the topic, even our elected officials. This top-down approach is gross and insulting. The main thing Gates has done about Ebola is that he posed for photos with African children (for the media) — the same children whom he monetises with clinical trials for companies he invests in.
Realising that Microsoft is on its way down, Gates continues to exit the company, but he is rapidly increasing his wealth (not giving it away as his media would have us believe) and expanding to other monopolies, as we showed here many times before. Does Pfizer think it will garner much positive publicity (except from the corporate media) for openly promoting eugenics with Bill Gates? Recent articles about contraceptives and birth reduction by the Gates Foundation sure have drawn a lot of criticism. Earlier this month we saw Pfizer boasting about ‘free’ prevention of reproduction in Africa, “thanks to the efforts of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” (to quote one article). They are killing the poor rather than work to end poverty, e.g. by working to distribute wealth more fairly. They perpetuate dependency and then glorify themselves when the dependants beg for help.
Over at the Bill Gates-bribed Guardian there was a Bill Gates advertisement at the beginning of this month. In it, Bill Gates has managed to promote himself (and GMO) as saviour of Africa (no disclosure in this article about the Gates bribes). This propaganda is getting quite crude and it is easy to see why Gates deems it necessary. The 85 richest people now have as much money as the poorest 3.5 billion, which means that to them it’s just very easy to buy the media and brainwash the masses, preventing the vast majority from rebelling against the real looters (the poorer the person, the more likely s/he is to rebel as there is less to lose and more to be angry about). The corporate media is full of this systematic bias and the above, for example, is more of an ad for Bill Gates by USA Today (plutocrats-owned for decades now). Here is another example of Gates spin from NewsWeek, trying to portray the looters as poor, troubled people worthy of sympathy. Here are the opening paragraphs:
Once the concern of idealistic do-gooders and obscure academics penning scary equations with squiggly symbols, the growing difference between the super-rich and what the World Bank estimates is 2 billion people living on less than $2 a day is increasingly grabbing the attention of those once likely to ignore it.
Wall Street banks, at least one financial-ratings agency, the Federal Reserve and American and European economic policymakers aren’t interested in the wealth gap for moral or ethical reasons: amid a tepid economic comeback from the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, the hotly disputed question is whether income and wealth inequality exacerbate financial crashes and impede economic recovery.
Whenever one reads these propaganda pieces one should recall a famous saying. “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing,” said Malcolm X, a community leader of many African-Americans. █
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Summary: .NET is not “Open Source”, it cannot be forked (there remains patent threat), Visual Studio is still completely proprietary and it is expected to come to other platforms only because Windows has lost its dominance and Microsoft wants to perpetually control APIs (with software patents) and hence reign over developers
We correctly foresaw a barrage of misinformation about Microsoft and .NET and now it’s time to tackle it all. Very few journalists have been getting the .NET story right. Although they do exist, they have been massively outweighed and outnumbered by sheer misinformation. This post will hopefully be comprehensive enough to name those who got the story right and those who got it wrong. We will end with some truths and clarifications.
The signal (as in signal-to-noise ratio) was lost in a vortex of many Microsoft lies that got posted and reposted in the news this week (since Wednesday night); some were utter lies, but there were semi-truths in some cases. We probably ought to clean up the mess/web of lies after Microsoft spilled out PR and its minions happily relayed it to bamboozle journalists into calling .NET "open source" (many did exactly that). To be fair, there are definitely exceptions and there are some who got the story right, so we will give them credit and tell them apart rather than collectively refer to them all as though they serve the same establishment.
Let’s start with the simple facts. Microsoft has not had a change of heart; it uses publicity stunts. There are better yardsticks by which we can assess Microsoft’s intentions. Let’s see, for example, if Microsoft joins OIN (non-aggressive patent pact/collective) and stops assaulting Free software directly and by proxy. It just won’t happen any time soon and it is a point that Simon Phipps made in his somewhat belated article which states: “How does this affect Microsoft’s status in the open source community? The OSI Board (of which I am a member) welcomed Microsoft’s news as as “continued progress toward full embrace of open source” and there’s no doubt this, like the news about Linux support in Azure, signals great progress. We welcome each new initiative, but the rehabilitation process is not completed by any individual act or even by a sequence of them.
“To move beyond stage five of the journey to open source, Microsoft needs to take a holistic view and ensure every business unit of its famously divided company treats open source with respect. While Microsoft continues to tolerate sociopathy in the business units not yet embracing open source – such as the patent attacks on Linux community members by its patent portfolio group or the covert politics to undermine Open Document Format – it’s hard to treat the company with the full respect it believes it deserves.
“As the inevitability of open source gradually pervades Microsoft like Aslan’s breath, hope increases that the company will choose to act as a full member of the Linux community – for example, by joining OIN as a way to forswear patent attacks on open source community members. I sincerely hope Microsoft completes this journey.”
Phipps is being too optimistic and overly kind (perhaps he must because of his diplomatic role at OSI and because of his publisher), whereas Larry Cafiero uses a Nazi-era analogy (FOSS as Chamberlain) to negatively characterise this kind of optimism. He insinuates that unless Microsoft turns everything into GPL then it can “get the fuck out”. His post is relatively polite (unlike the headline) and it says: “One of the issues this week that has had the FOSS press all atwitter — literally and figuratively — and has had a lot of smart FOSS people uncharacteristically swooning is the fact that Microsoft is “open sourcing” .NET and other software (For example, .NET is released under the MIT license, whatever that may be).
“One subtext here, of course, regarding the misplaced euphoria by some begs the question, “Is Microsoft trustworthy?” The answer is clearly, “No. Absolutely not.” Despite the fact that Redmond has been playing nice with FOSS lately, we should not trust Microsoft any farther than former CEO and Stasi agent look-alike Steve Ballmer can throw a chair.”
He continues: “Let’s not forget — let’s never forget — Microsoft has reveled in their role as digital brownshirts since one of their many ill-conceived, all-conquering goals was to strangle FOSS and Linux in its proverbial cradle. It continues to this day, and for the foreseeable future, in patent shakedowns and insistence on locked-in interfaces no one else can use, among other digital inconsistencies aimed at providing only one option: theirs.
“So we’re just supposed to forget the fact that we were once considered a “cancer” by this company — letting bygones be bygones — solely because they say they “love Linux” and because they open-sourced some of their software under some obscure license?
One part-time booster of Microsoft says that Microsoft is now neglecting Windows, which lost its dominance in many areas. To quote his analysis: “Windows Phone users are used to waiting for Microsoft to deliver on its promises, but the company has been testing their patience recently. Microsoft has abandoned its “first and best on Windows” strategy in favor of cross-platform apps that are nearly always better on Android and iOS than their Windows tablet and phone counterparts. Office is the latest proof of a continuous trend that’s leaving Microsoft’s most-loyal Windows customers out in the cold.
“After shipping Office for iPad earlier this year, way ahead of a touch-optimized Windows release, Microsoft followed up with an even better version for the iPhone last week. While the initial Office for iPhone app, released last year, offered basic editing like its Windows Phone counterpart, the new app goes way above and beyond the functionality Microsoft ships on Windows Phone. Comparing the two almost feels unfair at this stage. Microsoft is working on new touch-optimized versions of Office for Windows tablets and phones, but the company won’t deliver them until Windows 10 is ready next year. It’s another period of waiting for Windows fans.”
That is just more vapurware talk, along the lines of another bit of spin (naming Vista 10 years before it even exists). This same vapourware about Vista 10 can be found in the post “With a new platform-neutral Microsoft, why go Windows?” (by Microsoft booster Mary Jo Foley), summarised thusly: “The days of counting on Microsoft to deliver first and best on Windows are gone. Will Windows 10 bring them back next year?”
Windows is becoming obsolete in the schools market too, so Pablo Valerio at UBM floats similar vapourware from Microsoft. They acknowledge that Windows is quickly going away, but then they start naming Vista 10 as if that vapourware will change everything. What it all shows us is that Microsoft becomes more receptive to the idea of cross-platform not because the company is suddenly nice but because Windows is rapidly losing market share. For Microsoft it’s merely a survival strategy. Microsoft would rather we all view it as goodwill, just as it tried to portray a driver release (under the terms of the GPL) as a deliberate act of goodwill when it fact it was a GPL violation that Microsoft was caught committing (hence it could go to court to compel Microsoft to do the same thing).
As we noted the other day, just after Microsoft deception’s campaign had started, the company opened not .NET but only parts of it. The headlines even in FOSS-leaning sites did not get this right most of the time, e.g. in this one example quoting Microsoft Peter as the source (with another inaccurate and misleading report). We’re mentioned in then 2nd comment there. “Any time there are these sorts of “open source” claims from Microsoft,” said one commenter, “just wander over to TechRights and see what Roy Schestowitz has to say. If there’s any doubt, he’ll set you straight.”
The lies were spread by bamboozled journalists or Microsoft boosters whom these journalists followed as their principal sources. Truth got lost early on and the lies now dominate the wire. It’s hard to challenge the message which was so broadly broadcast.
What we have here is an attack on Eclipse, which unlike Visual Studio is free software and wins in opinion polls over criteria like these of cross-platform and openness (or freedom). Self-serving acts are not goodwill and bringing to more platforms Visual Studio (which remains to be done and we do not know to which level of quality it will be done) is just spreading of malicious, non-free software.
Microsoft is doing a perception distortion campaign in order to reduce openness among developers, but as expected, lots and lots of misleading headlines (Microsoft PR) appeared in the news this week. It’s a shameful charade. It targets both developers and software users.
Consider the misleading claims from Microsoft booster Paul Thurrott that can percolate into less informed sites (less technical), including the British press that tends to be better than most. Many sites portray this as complete opening, whereas few say that it is core only, meaning that .NET is merely a mixture and thus still proprietary or “open core”. The .NET boosters and Bill Gates-funded papers mislead readers as usual, so the lies propagate and make it into decent sites that now make misleading statements in the British press, the Australian press, and plenty of north American sites. One British news site got it right, but many others did not, so it does not matter what is true, what matters is what developers think or feel. With help from poor journalism Microsoft has just fooled a lot of people.
We could go on and on collecting examples of relatively benign and not so inaccurate reports, but they are few and they are outweighed by falsehoods. The freeware nature of the tools makes them not Open Source as some sites online to claim but basically proprietary for other platforms. The South African press got it wrong and it is too late to correct all this. It’s a bit depressing to watch because whenever witnessing a lot of lies and almost nobody to counter them effectively (as in the days of the Microsoft-Novell patent deal) a lot of clean-up work remains to be done.
Some sites correctly paint this .NET nonsense as open core, but Microsoft sites and Microsoft-affiliated sites keep fighting against the truth. Even Microsoft Peter is relaying the lies from the Microsoft press release while pro-Microsoft ‘journalists’, as expected (Microsoft must be pressuring them to repeat the lie in order to change perceptions), put these lies in widely distributed newspapers. Microsoft's tool Dina Bass got it wrong and other writers in corporate media (full of Microsoft spinners with a long track record of it) do a great service to Microsoft. They rewrite the truth. A lot of readers will never know they’re being brainwashed.
There is something curious (but expected) if one looks who claims .NET is “open source”. Most of them are known Microsoft boosters. Microsoft lover Brian Fagioli is repeating the lie and an article by Sam Dean continues his tiring Nadella fawning.
“Facts don’t matter and journalism systematically fails. There is no fact-checking.”One Australian news site was clarifying that it’s more like “open core” and less inaccurate headlines at least say .NET is partly proprietary, hence proprietary, still.
The whole .NET nonsense from Microsoft serves to show the corporate media is as accurate as Microsoft minion de Icaza (one of the most widely cited source of misinformation here). Facts don’t matter and journalism systematically fails. There is no fact-checking.
Here is what a British site, the biggest news sites in the UK (for technology), wrote about this endlessly. Some of these articles are from known Microsoft boosters. They are advertising .NET. There are no disclosures. Here is the misleading headline from Microsoft booster Andrew Binstock. It’s high time for mass deception.
One of the best articles came from the Australian journalist Sam Varghese, who actually asked some real questions. Well, those who ask such questions often get the most flack because they’re actually doing their job. He recalled Silverlight and wrote that “some time back, Microsoft announced that Silverlight development would effectively end and De Icaza was left with a lot of code that was of no use. There was no beacon left to follow, no light in the sky to guide his way.” Now Microsoft can now hire/absorb Xamarin or alternatively dismantle it. It remains to be seen what actually happens.
Late on Friday (2 days later) we kept seeing poor reporting in the media, so not even two days of research were apparently enough for journalists to get the facts right. Here is a misleading headline from the rich people’s paper of glory. It is sad to see false claims perpetuated even by Jim Lynch, who is pro-FOSS. Some people do issue corrections in the comments, e.g. this comment at the bottom. The comment says “.NET Microsoft isn’t MIT. .NET is not Open Source” and it cites the article “Microsoft Legally Contradicts Itself”. The article says: “The PATENTS.TXT file contains Microsoft’s legally binding promise not to sue anybody for patent infringement if they use the code. Sort of. The problem is that the wording of the document opens a potential loophole that would allow Microsoft to sue a third party that took parts of the .NET code and built or included it into another application for patent infringement.”
This kind of point was also debated in Twitter, involving Microsoft minions and the head of the OSI. It shows that the patent mess remains and to highlight some key remarks, Carlo Piana (a FOSS lawyer) writes: “What about any patents MS claims (IIRC there are a few). MIT does not pass any through.” Benjamin Henrion (FFII) responds with: “Just as the Java patent story, the Microsoft patent pledge is not enough… the promise should be made to other .net implementations, not just the implementation they control.” Simon Phipps checked the details and confronted de Icaza over his misinformation, saying: “It appears to only protect use of ‘Covered Code’, not third-party .NET implementations… It is a covenant linked to the Git repo, not to the .NET specification… It also does not cover use of the code in anything but “a compliant implementation”… the language excludes subsetting and code repurposing.”
Yes, so much for “Open Source”! You cannot even fork it safely.
Here is what maddog wrote [via]:
Of course some people will point out some of the more recent things that Microsoft has done:
Microsoft has made money off “Open Source”. Taking technologies mostly from MIT or BSD licensed software, they took code written and contributed by other people and worked them into Microsoft products. They are not alone in this, and I do not “blame them” for doing it. They obeyed the letter of the law.
Threatening to sue other companies for patent infringement, but not willing to tell the Android/Linux community what patents they feel were being violated so we could avoid them…or dismiss them.
Contribute patches to the Linux kernel, but usually in the areas of hypervisors, to allow Microsoft’s hypervisors to work well on top of the Linux kernel….the same kernel for which they are blackmailing….er, ah, charging patent royalties.
As usual, people who accept Microsoft’s claims at face value are most likely going to find out that they have been misled. None of the above publications is likely to issue corrections, neither in-place or in a follow-up article. Microsoft has successfully made a falsehood be seen as “truth”. A lot of people will not be made aware of the dangers of .NET. █
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How many clueless or lazy journalists will drink the Kool-Aid?
Summary: The openwashing of .NET continues with yet another publicity stunt that is intended to lock in developers
THERE is some propaganda campaign going on right now. Judging by who’s spreading it with love letters to Microsoft, one cannot miss the source and the method of distribution. We must write quickly to counter the marketing, which is basically a load of selective/subjective misinformation and spin.
The biggest disappointment (but not a surprise) comes from Phoronix, which habitually covers Mono (for over 5 years now). One can see the comments (forum) for corrections. Michael Larabel is relaying Microsoft PR without quite checking the facts and so do a few other writers who jump the gun and are spreading to some Linux sites Microsoft’s misinformation. One can expect this from Microsoft-funded networks like GigaOm (Microsoft used to pay Om Malik for Microsoft advertising disguises as articles), so nonsense like this is not too shocking. We sure are expecting lots of Redmond-based and Microsoft-affiliated Web sites to virtually spam the news until the weekend (and even after the the weekend) with false claims that .NET is “open source” even though it’s not. Watch Microsoft press minions like Mary Jo Foley spreading the PR (at least not with a misleading headline). We also expected the likes of Miguel de Icaza to continue to openwash .NET because Microsoft does an “open core” PR publicity stunt (promoting a trap as though it’s “open”). Don’t be fooled by this widely-cited post with a bad headline that is very misleading. Down at the body is says: “There are three components being open sourced: the .NET Framework Libraries, .NET Core Framework Libraries and the RyuJit VM. More details below.”
“Xamarin’s Nat Friedman and Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman can scream and shout “open source” all they want but merely talking about some components going MIT licence and saying that “Visual Studio Community is now FREE to download” is not the same as .NET becoming “open source”.”So that’s not the whole. The headline is sensationalist garbage. It is very misleading as Microsoft is doing an “open core” PR stunt, it is not open-sourcing .NET. Net Friedman and other Microsoft minions (funded by Microsoft veterans to essentially act as moles inside FOSS) repeat these same claims that may actually bamboozle a lot of journalists. Jo Shields and fellow Xamarin puppets of Microsoft, for example, try to mislead similarly while very openly promoting Microsoft’s marketing (they even relay Microsoft staff’s tweets verbatim, showing who they’re rooting for).
Well, taking the actually news into account, no doubt it’s good for Xamarin, but it’s a proprietary software company whose interests intersect with those of Microsoft, not FOSS.
Xamarin’s Nat Friedman and Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman can scream and shout “open source” all they want but merely talking about some components going MIT licence and saying that “Visual Studio Community is now FREE to download” is not the same as .NET becoming “open source”. It’s just ‘free’ proprietary, it’s gratis. It’s tied to pricey malware with back doors.
Microsoft is just so desperate to lock in developers, who are rapidly moving away to FOSS and saying goodbye to Windows because Android/Linux is on the rise. The Linux Foundation’s CEO, Jim Zemlin, has already commented on Microsoft’s openwashing attempt, correctly pointing out that Microsoft is just trying to lure in developers because Windows is no longer dominant.
All in all what we deal with is merely a deceiving charm offense, as Microsoft and its minions already made similar announcements some years ago about some components, never the whole. Anyone who states something like .NET is “going open source” is either a liar or a person with reading comprehension issues. Microsoft sure has antagonism for the truth and its followers can be blinded by greed. Gratis proprietary software or proprietary software which includes components that are not proprietary is of no practical use. This is merely an exercise in marketing and presentation. █
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