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03.27.15

Microsoft Keeps Pretending to be ‘Open Source’, Despite Relentless Assaults on Open Source

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Security at 8:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is ‘open’ like BP is ‘green’ (openwashing follows greenwashing tactics)

BP old logo

Summary: Microsoft’s charm offensives against Free/libre software are proving to be rather effective, despite them involving a gross distortion of facts and exploitation of corruptible elements in the corporate media

SIX days ago we published a series of six articles which are listed in order below:

The issue discussed in part 1 receives a lot of media attention, even from corporate media (in this case, GOP-leaning media). To quote one such report: “The feature we’re concerned with is called Secure Boot, and it’s designed to protect you: The installed OS becomes locked to the hardware itself, and if any other OS attempts to interfere (like a low-level malware app for example) then the system simply won’t start up. OEMs were ordered to make Secure Boot optional with Windows 8 but it looks like they are going to be given the opportunity to make it mandatory in Windows 10.”

“Microsoft is pretending to be Open Source because of new policies that require procuring Open Source software, e.g. in India.”What the corporate media gets wrong is the part about security. It’s not “designed to protect you”. In fact, much of the recent press coverage serves to show that UEFI reduces security in many cases. Some media sites/conglomerates such as IDG already explained (last year) how it can be used for remotely bricking PCs (pretty much at hardware level). We have covered several examples over the past 3 years, so evidence continues to mount. IDG’s Microsoft booster Andy Patrizio wrote: “I suspect if you are smart enough to use Linux, you are smart enough to shut off Secure Boot in the UEFI.”

That’s not an excuse. It also perpetuate myths about GNU/Linux being “hard to use”. “Still,” he continues, “it’s a PR hit for Microsoft, a company that has been earning a lot of goodwill lately.”

That’s utter nonsense as well. As pointed out in part 6 above, Microsoft just manipulates the media (or relies on boosters like Patrizio) to make it seem as though it changed its attitude. As we’ve pointed out in 3 recent articles, there are changes in tendering processes worldwide. Microsoft is pretending to be Open Source because of new policies that require procuring Open Source software, e.g. in India. Yesterday KV Kurmanath planted a Microsoft puff piece in The Hindu Business Line, relaying the bogus narrative of Microsoft as “Open Source”. People must react and counter these lies or else Microsoft will become indistinguishable from Free/libre software, based on a reality-distorting campaign. Microsoft already pretends that Windows, its common carrier, is 'Open Source' or something along these lines.

03.24.15

The Latest Microsoft Attacks on GNU/Linux and Free/Libre Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

BreakingSummary: Microsoft is still hiding behind the façade of ‘love’ whilst actively attacking GNU/Linux and Free software from many directions

THE Times of India has this borrowed article which says “Windows and Office are about to get much, much more complex, confusing, and expensive” (anyone with enough experience ought to have foreseen or known this).

Windows becoming ‘free’ is a lie (we have covered lies about the cost of Vista 10 in [1, 2, 3]) and it’s easy to see why people were led to believe this. Microsoft is trying to slow down or halt migrations to GNU/Linux, which are already happening even in large numbers (in my daytime job, for example, we’ve migrated entire companies to GNU/Linux). Confusing people about cost would be quite effective a method, even if an extremely dirty method (it’s all vapourware/promises because Vista 10 has not been released yet, hence no risk of lawsuits for false advertising).

Maria Deutscher, a relatively new Microsoft propagandist (recall the time she published "Microsoft continues open source love affair") is openwashing Microsoft again with lots of nonsense and PR wrapped up in the form of an ‘article’ (more of an advertisement), adding to the nonsense from Microsoft marketing sites masquerading as “news”. They are trying to paint purely proprietary software as “open”. This is another kind of lie. It helps stall migrations to Free software such as Apache, Java, Drupal, GNU/Linux, etc.

Speaking of Drupal, which I deploy and support in my daytime job, watch Microsoft's partner Trustwave openly badmouthing it (yesterday’s ‘news’ resurrecting news from several months ago). The ‘newsflash’ from this Microsoft mouthpiece is that some people don’t patch Drupal, hence Drupal is supposedly at risk from a flaw patched nearly six months ago (the simple patch was made available as soon as the flaw was announced!). This is beyond FUD; it’s a lie and it is very shameless. Then again, Trustwave is a FUD firm, so why not target some gullible people who don’t comprehend security issues at a technical level? Why not borrow news from half a year ago, posting it afresh?

We recently covered a series of Microsoft lies in the “Microsoft hates GNU/Linux” marathon (on Saturday), wherein, in part 6 to be specific, we spoke about the media propaganda (Microsoft pretending to embrace FOSS and love Linux) and in part 1 we spoke about Microsoft’s blocking of FOSS operating systems, including GNU/Linux (a complete contradiction of Microsoft’s claims).

Well, the word is spreading regarding the lock-out of GNU/Linux as IDG says that “PC vendors may not have to include a Secure Boot toggle with Windows 10, making it harder for users to install alternative operating systems.”

Harder? How about impossible?

Here is another take on it which says: “The Secure Boot feature in Microsoft Windows 10 could make life difficult for users of Linux and other open source operating systems.”

No, it can make it impossible on particular machines. This is an antitrust matter and it should be raised as such as soon as possible.

This subject was already floated in Techrights’ IRC channel several times, with additional links on the subject. Addressing an optimistic response from Phoronix (quoted here the other day), Mark said that “this is a “boil the frog” thing… Microsoft is turning up the heat… they don’t have to make it impossible to boot Linux, that would attract attention from the DOJ… they’ll just keep making it more and more difficult.”

Balrog responded by saying, “expect low end stuff to be locked out, like the 7″ Zcer tablets…it’s stuff for which they don’t even bother to make a stable UEFI firmware.”

Mark then responded by quoting Michael Larabel as saying that “it’s not a nightmare scenario quite yet”, then adding, “that’s not very reassuring” (it’s actually a very bad scenario).

Responding to Larabel’s assumption that Microsoft might not revoke the Linux key he wrote: “Wow, that’s not something I can really count on” (not based on history anyway).

XFaCE told me some hours ago: “your recent Microsoft articles are excellent. I didn’t know Win 10 had no off secure boot requirement for OEMs, but we knew that would eventually happen. Even Nathan Lineback knew. Doesn’t take a genius.”

Jamie Watson, who recently complained about UEFI and Microsoft’s sabotage of multi/dual-boot setups (we covered it earlier this week), is right now complaining about it yet again and he provides details of what Microsoft is doing to his computer. To quote his summary: “As if wiping one of my disks weren’t enough, Windows Update has decided to go into a ‘reboot loop’ on my desktop Windows 7 system.” To quote him from the body of the article: “I know that I just posted a fairly long rant about Windows Update last week, and I don’t want this to turn into a blog called “Jamie’s Mostly ‘I Hate Windows’ Stuff”, so I am going to make this quite short and to the point. But I think it is important to post it, because it looks like I have experienced a problem that might specifically target people who are likely to read a blog such as mine.

“First, this problem affects my Lenovo T400 laptop, which I use with a docking station on my desk at home, and which is loaded with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and a variety of Linux distributions. It is not Windows 8, it is not UEFI boot, and it is not a GPT partitioned disk – it is a ‘plain vanilla’ (bog standard? could be appropriate for Windows…) Windows 7 MBR system.”

So Microsoft continues not only to hate GNU/Linux but also to sabotage it, leaving Mr. Watson having to do very complicated things merely to run GNU/Linux on hardware he bought. The vast majority of people can never do this, not even with detailed instructions.

If Microsoft really loves Linux, then it must be next Tuesday already (April 1st).

03.21.15

Microsoft Hates Linux – Part VI – Propaganda Wars Against Free Software Facilitated While Media Control is Secured and Abused

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 2:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: How Microsoft systematically lies to the public, including decision-makers and officials who can be tricked into choosing proprietary software, thinking it is in fact “open”

TODAY’S series of articles presents a reminder of where Microsoft really stands when it comes to GNU/Linux. One of Microsoft’s favourite (and paid by Microsoft for almost a decade) propaganda networks, GigaOM, is down due to lack of funds. This is one of those places where the “Microsoft loves Linux” nonsense was often shored up, but Microsoft cannot keep it up. They’re running out of channels and out of influence too. Moreover, given some very recent Linux-hostile moves, Microsoft will struggle to convince people that it loves Linux.

Owing to pointers and tips from readers, we now see IDG turning into a 24/7 Microsoft propaganda network as well. When IDG hired J. Peter Bruzzese for InfoWorld it helped show what a joke of a ‘news’ site it is (Microsoft ads almost every day [1, 2], including openwashing of Microsoft, republished in sister sites of IDG). Microsoft’s great strength is media control and it’s no secret. These IDG advertisement for Microsoft, more or less disguised as ‘news’, are a frequent occurrence now (almost as bad as CBS) and notice the blog’s name too. They encourage people to upload their personal data to Microsoft, the NSA’s top partner.

Meanwhile, as revealed to us by a tip, Microsoft’s booster Julie Bort writes “LEAKED” to mean “press release” or “public relations”. It is yet another puff piece/ad framed as “leak” for some extra attention or allure. Again, this is typical for Microsoft. Watch this other article titled “Microsoft leak shows plans for cloud-first Nano Server”.

It is a “”leak” as in press release,” tells us a reader, which is “also vaporware version n+1″. The reader alludes to Microsoft’s internal document [PDF] that states: “In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”

Microsoft already hypes up Vista 10 as well.

In other news, there has been plenty of openwashing in Microsoft sites. They try desperately to paint Microsoft as an open source company [1, 2] (truth be damned, they have an agenda). Referring to this publicity stunt from Microsoft, Martin in our IRC channels says that the “word “open” is just raped enough”.

No company has damaged the term “Open Source” like Microsoft has. The proprietary Visual Studio continues to be openwashed [1, 2] as the Microsoft-friendly writers keep saying the same thing over and over again (even if the news is from last year). Microsoft wants us to believe — wrongly — that almost everything from Microsoft is now ‘free’ and ‘open’ (OOXML, Windows, Visual Studio), but this could not be further from the truth. The spread of these Microsoft lies, even if with help from its boosters, is truly damaging to the Open Source brand. It devalues Open Source and confuses people who are not so technical but make big decisions.

Despite the fact that the Microsoft-paid (for propaganda) site GigaOM is down, its sibling site continues to be Microsoft’s megaphone, joining Microsoft boosters like Tim Anderson (bribed by Microsoft) and Microsoft boosting sites (sadly, Phoronix too did lip service to Microsoft, citing Microsoft PR and amplifying Microsoft PR sites like this one).

Microsoft embrace, extend, extinguish (EEE) strategy has expanded to more GNU/Linux-oriented projects (promoted, as usual, by Microsoft’s Mouth) and another puff piece from Sam Dean celebrates this while propping up the ‘new Microsoft’ myth/PR stunt. It’s all proprietary. To quote: “Microsoft has extended its cloud-focused support for Docker, adding Docker Machine to Azure and Hyper-V, and supporting Docker Swarm.” So Microsoft is basically trying to make something FOSS and GNU/Linux-oriented increasinglu dependent on proprietary software from Microsoft. Some great achievement, eh? Sam Dean has been doing other favours to Microsoft’s moles in FOSS as of late, which shows that the GigaOM network is down but not out (Ostatic is part of GigaOM).

Microsoft, which is still suing Free software using software patents, needs to pretend to be a FOSS company even if by lying. In India, for example, the government increasingly excludes proprietary software and this reportedly worries Microsoft a great deal. To quote some of the numerous articles about this, “most of them have been making an advance towards adopting open source technology. While Microsoft recently moved parts of its dot Net platform in open source, Oracle has also purchased open source databases like MySQL, and IBM has a huge line of business in their open source Eclipse platform product. “They are buying their insurance,” added Prof De.”

It’s only for show. They are all proprietary software companies, but they are openwashing themselves so as to not be left out of lucrative contracts. They want the government of India (and by extension this very large population) to remain dependent on proprietary software such as Windows. It’s a disturbing trend. EdX, which promotes itself on being an open source of knowledge is now Microsoft’s butler for lockin and indoctrination, serving a criminal company under the guise of ‘education’.

“RIP EdX” was the quick remark of a reader of ours, who gave this pointer to us last week.

In summary, Microsoft has nothing at all to do with Open Source, but thanks to some press presence which it is bribing for or is closely connected to, Microsoft has been able to push out some headlines that portray Microsoft as open and allow Microsoft to intrude nations which procure “open” (or Free/libre) technology.

Microsoft “loves” Linux only for the cameras (it helps keep regulators away). Microsoft is “open” only when it talks to those who favour Free/Open Source software. These are big lies, albeit promotional and often quite effective.

Microsoft Hates Linux – Part V – Dumping and Surveillance to Counter GNU/Linux Insurgence

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft loves [to destroy] Linux

World Financial Centre in Shanghai

A view of the World Financial Centre in Shanghai

Summary: Microsoft makes false claims about future versions of Windows (with more surveillance) becoming ‘free’ in order to stop migrations to GNU/Linux

THE world’s most connected nation (the nation with the most Internet users) and also the world’s richest nation (depending on the criteria assessed, irrespective of population size) is China. China makes the lion’s share of the world’s PCs, phones, etc. It’s a huge powerhouse. It’s impossible to boycott China.

“Not only is Microsoft working for the NSA, which cracks Chinese giants (like Huawei), but it also fires Nokia staff that was based in China.”Well, now that China is adopting GNU/Linux and its government bans more and more Microsoft software (we covered numerous examples before) what can Microsoft possibly do? It decides to ‘forgive’ China, then dump more back doors onto its population. How ludicrous a move. No wonder Bill Gates, disguising himself as a ‘charity’ person while serving Microsoft’s management, went lobbying technical ministers in China last month, including the very top (chief) technical minister. It’s a form of corruption.

What does Microsoft mean to China? Nothing good, that’s for sure. Not only is Microsoft working for the NSA, which cracks Chinese giants (like Huawei), but it also fires Nokia staff that was based in China. Microsoft fired almost 10,000 such staff on new year’s day (more of less). It did this “during their New Year vacation to add insult to injury,” said one of our reader, citing Ahonen (Nokia expert) who said: “this is like firing someone for Christmas. How cruel are they at Microsoft. Sadists!!!”

The part of Nokia which was left outside Microsoft’s reach is meanwhile turning to Android. As AOL put it, “Nokia is showing off the Android tablet that’s part of its post-mobile phones strategy here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It’s only available in China right now but the company tells TechCrunch it’s “looking at European markets” to consider whether to bring the N1 here too.”

Another report said that “Nokia fan blog NPU has uncovered benchmark test results on the Geekbench website. The tests reveal a, entry-level or mid-range Nokia smartphone running Lollipop powered by a quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek MT-6582 processor. Little else is known at this point, but the MT-6582 supports 720p displays, an 8-megapixel camera and 1080p video recording, so this certainly won’t be the flagship Android phone from Nokia that we’ve been waiting for.”

So here we have a situation where Microsoft’s part of Nokia (acquired) is being destroyed, whereas the other part moves back to Linux, as Nokia had done before Microsoft attacked it with a bribed mole. How does China feel about it? This is a serious attack not only on Chinese workers but also on Chinese sovereignty since many Chinese companies rely on Android and/or Linux for their operating systems development (e.g. COS). Nokia was widely used (not just manufactured) in China, so it hits China where it hurts.

There was a lot of artificial hype (PR) about Vista 10 supposedly being ‘free’ (complete nonsense if not an utter lie that we refuted earlier this year, back in late January), especially in China. As IGN put it: “The process of acquiring customers is where the “free” part plays a major role: offering a free mobile version of Microsoft Office, or giving away Windows 10 as a free upgrade to certain users for a year after launch, for example.”

This is of course not free at all, not even gratis. It’s just a trap, or bait. A Techrights reader called it “fear o’linux” and he is of course right. It’s all just intended to stop GNU/Linux.

Here is a person from the Microsoft-linked IDC being dubbed “Microsoft Expert” while making the ludicrous claim that “Windows Will Become Free for All Sooner or Later” (this is the headline). Even if what he meant by free was gratis, we are far from it. Microsoft is just trying to eliminate all competition, whereupon it can raise the price of Windows. It’s a common trick; it’s Microsoft’s modus operandi. And in any case, Windows is not free; it’s not gratis, either.

The article “Chinese Pirates to Get Free Windows 10 Upgrade” is rather misleading. “Fear of Gnu/Linux gaining market share” is what it’s all about, a reader told us. Watch Microsoft-friendly sites coming up with even more misleading headlines, such as “Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for all users worldwide”. Again, this is complete nonsense. Don’t fall for it. Microsoft is just trying to stall migrations to GNU/Linux, that’s what it’s all about.

To say that Microsoft loves Linux is ludicrous at best. People who say such stuff deserve much ridicule.

Microsoft Hates Linux – Part III – Abducting the Competition (Android)

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 6:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Android under numerous attacks (from Microsoft), which are conveniently but erroneously disguised as niceties

MS-CM
Image credit: Linux Veda

Summary: How Microsoft tried to destroy Android using a coup d’état approach, just shortly before getting caught, then retreating and rewriting the public record

FOR a company whose CEO publicly claims to have “love” for Linux, this has got to be stand-up comedy. Microsoft hates GNU/Linux like no other company, yet we are supposed to believe that the very opposite is true. Perhaps Microsoft really does think that the world is chronically stupid — in fact stupid enough to pay for rented operating systems that spy on everything and put law-abiding people in prison.

Microsoft is working hard to promote proprietary spyware with OOXML lock-in even on Android. This too Microsoft does poorly. x86 is not supported amid the death of Wintel (x86 is on the demise and Intel is losing big). Microsoft targets Android only because Windows is dying as a common carrier and for Office/OOXML (office suite lock-in/monopoly) to survive it must continue to spread. My in-laws, who recently moved to Android/Linux, had already used LibreOffice, Firefox and Chrome (by personal choice/preference); they did this migration before I even introduced them to GNU/Linux, demonstrating that these things are quietly spreading and are now widely used. Hearsay and friendly neighbours disseminate Free software. Microsoft spies on Windows users and collects data on what applications are installed, so no doubt Microsoft realises the severity of this ‘issue’ (called fair competition). Spreading Office to Android is far from goodwill; it’s more like an intrusion, even in the formats sense (Android is poised to promote ODF, not OOXML).

There is an article this month which is titled “Microsoft’s quiet Android coup”. Well, Microsoft’s Android coup was covered here many times before and it often uses or relies on blackmail, extortion, bribes, etc. It’s an aggressive coup. It’s also covert. There are even attempts at identity change, with the Microsoft-backed Cyanogen changing its logo and now trying to distance itself (in the public eye) from Microsoft. It’s ‘damage control’ as some choose to call that.

From what we can gather regarding Cyanogen, based on numerous news articles, Cyanogen sought Microsoft money, Microsoft agreed, but then the press revealed it, so Microsoft retreated. It was a failed coup attempt. Here is how Microsoft-connected sites put it: “The idea of Redmond investing in Android mod-maker Cyanogen may be too good to be true. Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reports that Microsoft is not, in fact, a part of Cyanogen’s upcoming funding round, which is now said to be in the ballpark of $110 million. Nonetheless, Microsoft may ultimately end up partnering with Cyanogen in the form of a deal that gets Microsoft’s apps into future Cyanogen software builds, Bloomberg says.”

Actually, the original report from the Wall Street Journal was most likely correct. It’s just that things have changed since then, possible because of the Wall Street Journal report. Here is some more Microsoft-friendly media helping rewrite history: “Although Microsoft has reportedly been in talks with the firmware startup about a possible investment, however, Bloomberg’s sources say Redmond won’t be participating in this funding round.”

It should be noted that Bloomberg itself is a longtime booster of Microsoft, not just those citing it. Public pressure on Cyanogen apparently drove Microsoft away from plans to use this particular proxy, or maybe Cyanogen just freaked out because of publicly-accessible backlash. Articles like this one rewrite history. It’s as though the coup never happened because decisions were consequently changed. How else can a 2-week delay between original report and so-called ‘refutation’ (however poor) be explained? The original ‘refutation’ also fails to deny that Microsoft and Cyanogen got in touch regarding financial transactions. Here is a Microsoft-linked site rewriting history in a very blatant way, stating: “Last month, Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft was planning to take part in this round as a minority investor, but Bloomberg noted today that the Redmond giant ultimately decided to not invest.”

Well, no wonder, given the resultant negative publicity.

In other news, many sites (not just Microsoft-linked sites) said that Microsoft brings software to iOS and Android, namely Cortana, which is a surveillance app (recording the user and transmitting the audio to Microsoft) [1, 2, 3]. As with Office, anyone who characterises this as Microsoft being nice to Android has got to be a fool. Microsoft Peter comments on Microsoft’s motivation, another writer says that Google should worry, and according to this article, [Cortana] “serves as ‘connective tissue’ that ties and binds Redmond’s services, says analyst” (it’s about surveillance and lock-in, it is not added value to Android users).

There are similarly poor PR pieces, such as this one from CBS (ZDNet), titled “Microsoft’s iPhone and Android-friendly Band arrives in the UK”.

Microsoft seeks not to help Android but to destroy or abduct Android (so as to ultimately destroy it, as will be described in the next post, Part IV). Anyone failing to see it needs a closer look at Microsoft’s track record against Android. Do not become Microsoft’s Useful Idiot.

02.24.15

Microsoft Wants to Devour the Competition (Linux), Devour People’s Data

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.”

Henry David Thoreau

Summary: Refuting the “new Microsoft” propaganda and some ludicrous concept that Microsoft is now “playing nice”

THE company which kick-started PRISM and works most closely with the NSA pretends to have become “open”. How ridiculous a notion! SoylentNews covered our story [1] and many comments there show that the large majority agrees that Microsoft is just trying to harm openness from the inside. That’s just not what corruptible journalists would have us believe.

“The company which kick-started PRISM and works most closely with the NSA pretends to have become “open”.”Dan Kedmey reminded us the other day that “Microsoft’s New App Will Help You Stalk Your Friends”, right after he had covered this bit of news about Microsoft’s “embrace and extend” at work (recall what Microsoft is doing to infiltrate Android). As Kedmey put it in his own words:

It’s acquiring apps and quickly rebranding them as Microsoft products

[...]

Acompli is the best example of Microsoft’s new playbook: In a matter of weeks, Microsoft took Acompli’s popular email app and rebranded it as Outlook for iOS and Android, to rave reviews from the tech press. Before the Acompli move, Microsoft’s iOS and Android Outlook offering was nothing more than a clunky web portal disguised as an app. It’s a safe bet that Sunrise and similar acquisitions will reappear as Microsoft-branded offerings just as quickly.

For those who deem it “good news” for Android, bear in mind that Microsoft is a surveillance company much worse than Google in many ways, as we have demonstrated over the years. Simon Sharwood said a couple of days ago that “Microsoft [is] to store deleted Exchange Online mails FOREVER”. Is anyone surprised by that? Outlook has already been banned for use by European politicians (the “app” at least is verboten for security reasons), which really says a lot about how Microsoft is viewed by security professionals.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft Loves Linux – or So They Say

    Just when you thought Embrace, Extend, Extinguish was going away, the article explains the multi-prong attack that Microsoft is quietly working in the background. And they are relying heavily on their friends in the press. Microsoft has always had its share of shills in the press, but, with the focus on Google Android and Apple its quietly become less of a Journalist career killer to be openly Pro Microsoft. Schestowitz explains the attack as killing Linux Softly with APIs and the lock-ins they bring as more Microsoft packages and services are ported to Linux, and by getting appointments to key Linux Foundation subcommittees, by slinging dollars and software contributions.

“This anti-trust thing will blow over. We haven’t changed our business practices at all.”

Bill Gates, 1995 (and still managing Microsoft)

02.21.15

Microsoft AstroTurfing War on GNU/Linux is Still Going On, But Hidden Better, Uses API as Instrument of Lock-in

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The strength of this platform [C#] and the innovation around it is the key element in preventing commodization by Linux, our installed base and Network Appliance vendors.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Summary: The corruptible press continues to describe blatant attacks (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) against GNU/Linux and Free software as Microsoft ‘embracing’ Open Source

MICROSOFT has been relying on a great deal of AstroTurfing as an instrument of domination. To quote Microsoft’s internal documents [PDF], “[t]o control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft now directs its instrument of deception towards GNU/Linux users. AstroTurfing of this kind necessitates influence from the inside. It is no longer just Novell’s money that makes the Linux Foundation unable (without risk) to antagonise Microsoft. By becoming financially dependent on Microsoft partners like Nokia and Intel (Wintel) the Linux Foundation lost its ability to antagonise rivals and it might not be long before the Linux Foundation silently tells Torvalds not to denounce Microsoft because of his new senior colleagues from there and because “Microsoft loves Linux”, according to Microsoft. As we have shown before, several Linux Foundation sub-committees are having heads appointed to them from Microsoft (Neela, Ramji and more). It is like a coup in slow motion as we are gradually witnessing more of its impact. It is even endemic in the media.

Microsoft used OOXML to shut out OpenOffice.org and to screw up not just migrations away from Office but also from Windows. This proved to be an effective sabotage-centric strategy in Europe, where some migrations to GNU/Linux were notably impeded because of OOXML. Office suites are not being made compatible, as they can never be made compatible, as per Microsoft’s deliberate design. As Bobby Moss put it to me the other day (about OOXML): “Here’s our ISO-approved standard, but we’re going to use a ‘transitional’ version instead. Good luck suckers ;)”

There is a nasty strategy going on right now and as Microsoft’s own partners now admit, Microsoft is trying to do to GNU/Linux with ‘cloud’ APIs what it did using OOXML. Microsoft loves Linux like Eric Holder loves free speech and like Obama loves peace. It’s nonsense (albeit endlessly repeated) of the highest order, but enough people who are not keeping up with the news might actually fall for this nonsense and even pass it on.

The other day we saw this article about one of the latest attack vectors against Android. This attack is partly Microsoft-funded and there is a good explanation of how Microsoft attacks Android/Linux right now. it’s titled “Microsoft’s Trojan Horse To Undermine Android”. A journalist specialising in Android over at Forbes noted: “Forbes’ Gordon Kelly has provided a high-level review of Nadella’s operation that brings the jigsaw of ‘Cloud first mobile first’ into focus. But I want to take a look at one of the moves that Redmond has made at the very edge of the mobile space… specifically the investment by Microsoft in the alternative mobile operating system company Cyanogen.

“According to reports from the Wall Street Journal (and others), Microsoft is a minority partner in the latest funding round of Cyanogen (the company behind the custom Android ROM that is CyanogenMod). The round is believed to be for $70 million in total, valuing the company in “the high hundreds of millions of dollars”.

“What is Microsoft playing at here?

“I seriously doubt that Microsoft is in it to make a profit. There are far better ways of investing its money if it wants a financial return. So where is the value in Microsoft in becoming involved with Cyanogen?

“Let’s start with the easiest one. While Cyanogen isn’t exactly the enemy of Google (it still relies heavily on the Android Open Source Project as well as the goodwill of Google and the other manufacturers to allow devices to have the ROM installed easily and smoothly), the old adage of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ should apply. Anything Microsoft can do to destabilise Google and force it to expend more effort on areas where Microsoft is fighting Mountain View is a strategic win, no matter how small it is.”

To skip to a point further down in this article, “Microsoft is looking at opportunities beyond the mobile operating system as a platform. Instead it is looking to leveraging any operating system so that it talks to the Microsoft cloud.”

He concludes as follows: “I’m sure Microsoft would be more than happy to load up CyanogenMod with Outlook, Office, and the rest of the app suite. I’m pretty sure it would help out with some engineering time as well if there was a need for such a thing.”

This article is far from perfect. As Will Hill put it: “There’s nothing potent about Microsoft’s “cloud”. Bing, Skype, Outlook are miserable failures like everything else Microsoft touches. Idiot news sources like Forbes said the same kinds of silly things when Microsoft subjugated Yahoo, but it went no where. Microsoft’s corruption of Cyanogenmod is one or two orders of magnitude less important than that.”

Also see the new article titled “Cyanogen versus Google: Biting the Android that feeds”. To quote parts of it: “Considering how much Android has benefited the Cyanogen developers, one might think the company would owe Google a debt of gratitude; without Android, there is no CM. However, not only has Cyanogen publicly railed against the platform’s licensing terms, its CEO, Kirt McMaster, actually began a recent speech (at The Information’s “Next Phase of Android” event) by stating that “we’re attempting to take Android away from Google.””

This Microsoft-funded effort to derail Android is further crticised as follows: “An old aphorism goes something like, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” By maligning Google so vehemently, and seemingly ignoring the larger corporation’s work in building up the popularity of Android — not to mention creating the basis for its ecosystem — Cyanogen is playing a dangerous game that seems born in arrogance: its perceived success, and apparent high valuation, may have given its principals the notion that they can do no wrong.”

Microsoft is now doing to Samsung something similar, based on some reports. It is the latest of many Microsoft-backed attempts to disrupt Android using another party. As a Red Hat-run site serves to remind us, “OnePlus ditches CyanogenMod” around the same time Microsoft funding was revealed and following Microsoft’s hijack of Yahoo the company continues its rapid collapse (it has become a proxy for Microsoft’s search efforts, even in the UK, not just in the US).

What saddens us the most is that Canonical is seemingly fine with Microsoft’s abuses as long as Microsoft pays some money. It’s a bit like Novell, but not quite as insidious.

It is not hard to see what Microsoft is really up to here. Watch an article titled “Microsoft’s Trojan horse strategy to rule the world”, written by Microsoft partner and propagandist Tony Bradley (we wrote about him many times before because of his anti-GNU/Linux articles which exempt disclosures of his ties to Microsoft). The way he put it the other day is quite revealing. He is no ordinary writer, he has been a Microsoft mouthpiece for quite a few years and Microsoft works with him. “Brilliant strategy” he called the Trojan horse strategy (see subheading), noting that “By integrating cloud services and expanding the availability and influence of Office, Microsoft is (not so) secretly extending its dominance to rival platforms.”

The “Trojan horse” part says: “The world where Microsoft has a monopoly or pseudo-monopoly on any platform or technology has all but disappeared. The new reality is a multi-device, multi-platform world. Any attempt to paint customers into a corner and lock them into a specific platform or device is essentially suicidal.

“Microsoft’s new strategy takes a sort of “Trojan horse” approach to ruling the world once again. It can’t make everyone use Windows PCs, and Windows Phone smartphones have claimed only a negligible slice of the mobile device market. By freeing customers to use Microsoft tools on other platforms and devices, though, Microsoft will continue to be a dominant force — even on rival platforms like Android and iOS.”

Fernando Cassia, former journalist with The Inquirer (UK), told us in Twitter (using hastags) that #TheCloudIsTheAPI #FogComputing (our made-up term for “cloud”).

Microsoft does not “love Linux”, Microsoft hopes to “engulf Linux” while a sufficient number of drooling observers believe PR pieces from Microsoft and its friends in the media.

We have been patiently waiting for the whole “Microsoft loves Linux” nonsense (in the Microsoft-leaning media) to end so that we can write a most comprehensive rebuttal to these latest veiled attacks. It is basically an attack on Android disguised as being about search, choice, competition, etc. Watch what ECT (“Linux Insider”) did the other day. Richard Adhikari, who produces many Android-hostile pieces for a number of years now, is still a propagandist without tact. He often quotes anti-Android factions regarding perceived security issues and now he asks Microsoft’s mouthpiece Rob Enderle for ‘analysis’ of Google. He should be slammed for having ECT (which paid Rob Enderle) give Enderle a platform again, with which to bash Microsoft’s competition (nothing in the article says that Microsoft paid him). Tabloid ‘journalism’ at its best? Making matters worse, ECT does not disclose that Rob Enderle used to work for them, regularly bashing Linux/FOSS for a salary!

This is basically just another noteworthy pattern of the attack on Linux and its backers, pushing the pro-Microsoft line and pushing the anti-Google angle. But there’s another angle to it — an angle which flooded the media this past week. There are many puff pieces (similar to press releases) like this one about Azure. Slashdot plays a role in it, propping up the narrative of “Microsoft loves Linux” and IDG, in the mean time, characterises PRISM surveillance and lock-in as ‘free’.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols once again gives Microsoft a soft treatment because Canonical is helping the Trojan horse in exchange for money. This has been covered by some GNU/Linux proponents, who wrote: “Canonical, through John Zannos, VP Cloud Alliances, has proudly announced today, February 19, that the first ever Microsoft Azure hosted service will be powered by Linux, Ubuntu more specifically” (all about self interest, as in Novell’s case, to the exclusion of externalities).

“Is Microsoft now providing journalists handouts to spread the lie that Microsoft loves Linux, FOSS, etc.?”The British and American media were quick to help Microsoft spread this misleading narrative, which made us wonder; Is Microsoft now providing journalists handouts to spread the lie that Microsoft loves Linux, FOSS, etc.? It smacks of that.

Here is one quote from the articles named here: “Bill Gates once chose the word “cancer” to describe the operating system, which competes with Windows.) But in the past year, especially since Satya Nadella became Microsoft’s chief executive, the company has taken several steps demonstrating a commitment to the open-source development model or its own tools and open-source tools assembled outside of Microsoft.”

No, hardly so. It has been a strategy of embrace and extend, before extinguish comes. Watch what things were selectively made “open source”. Microsoft is constantly attacking FOSS while trying to control it and take control of its direction, tying it to Microsoft’s proprietary software maze (Windows, Office, and so on).

GigaOm, which was paid by Microsoft for secret (undisclosed, embedded in article content) ads, continues to openwash the company with this widely-cited article. We asked Om Malik, “how much does Nadella bribe you now?” He did not respond (it has been days since we asked).

“Microsoft says 20 percent of all VMs running on Azure run Linux,” according to the article, but is that actually good news? No, it’s not. Remember that Microsoft treats GNU/Linux as patent infringement. Here is another article about it. Microsoft is now controlling, putting under surveillance and already taxing GNU/Linux. Microsoft propagandists and “MVPs” like Rod Trent won’t bother pointing that out and neither will Microsoft propaganda sites with strong connections to Microsoft, e.g. [1, 2]. They are openwashing this nasty thing called Azure as though they’re under orders to coordinate a PR campaign in the media. See Mary Jo Foley doing her thing along with Microsoft networks [1, 2], Microsoft-funded sites, Microsoft boosters like Adrian Bridgwater, and Microsoft-funded networks such as UBM and IDG [1, 2]. This misinformation war managed to even ‘leak’ out of Microsoft’s controlled press, e.g. this one from Forbes and some lesser Microsoft-friendly sites such as AOL, etc. etc. etc.

The latest openwashing of Microsoft often cites acquisition of two proprietary software companies that will be used versus FOSS — companies such as Revolution Analytics and Cyanogen (partial ownership). This openwashing of Microsoft requires a high degree of gullibility or intentional (malicious) desire to mislead.

The other day we spotted Microsoft booster Darryl K. Taft propping up the Microsoft-connected Black Duck. He wrote this:

The Black Duck Open Source Rookies of the Year are selected irrespective of commercial motivations.

No, Black Duck is selecting partners that paid money, Microsoft for example.

Weeks ago we wrote that the openwashing of Microsoft is now threatening to eliminate the identity of Free software. Never mind the high cost of proprietary lock-in and back doors (see the new reports titled “Microsoft to double price of XP’s post-retirement support” and “Microsoft prepares for summer price hike”). Never mind the high costs passed to the taxpayers, as the story of the BBC serves to show (Microsoft infiltrated it). The BBC is still leeching off taxpayers to pay Microsoft, so it’s quite a relief to learn from the BBC that “Windows Media [is] becoming too expensive to operate, Mr Scott said.”

If Microsoft is now an “Open Source company” and a company that “loves Linux” as some of the press wishes us to believe, then how come none of the company’s big products became Open Source? How come the only things that are being openwashed are mechanisms for selling proprietary software?

02.17.15

Željko Peratović Slammed for Whitewashing Željko Topić After Publishing Important Piece on Behalf of Key Sources

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ivan Kabalin
Photograph of Ivan Kabalin, one of Topić’s alleged victims

Summary: Response from Ivan Kabalin to Zeljko Peratovic’s so-called “apology” which is both mysterious and seemingly inadequate as it does nothing to actually explain what was wrong (if anything)

NOT TOO long ago a man known as Željko Peratović, relying on key sources, published an important exposé about EPO Vice-President Željko Topić. Peratović later removed that piece, letting down not only his sources but also many Croatian people. Techrights has already covered this in length, e.g. here, here, here, and here.

We lay out the following text for readers’ information (see original [PDF]), highlighting once again the suspicious and controversial nature of the so-called “apology”:

Ivan Kabalin, dipl. ing.
Nartska 11
10000 Zagreb
E-mail: kabalin42@gmail.com

FOR THE ATTENTION OF
THE EDITOR 45LINES.COM
ZAGREB

Subject
In response to the published article “Apology to Željko Topić: Review of the deleted text on the EPO” (http://45lines.com/isprika-zeljku-topicu-osvrt-na-obrisani-tekst-o-epo-u/) on the website of the portal 45lines.com on 16 December 2014 by Željko Peratović.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

For the common good, and for the people from the union of employees of the EPO as well as many others, I have been trying to shed some light on “the person and work of Mr. Zeljko Topić, M.Sc”. Unfortunately, in this context a media person also happened to appear on the scene who may well have some serious mental health problems as he seems to be under the delusion that he has attained “enlightenment” and that he is
obliged to publicly say all the best about Željko Topić (without the need to provide any arguments, of course).

I have explained to the local and international public who Željko Topić is and have described his actions in the Croatian Intellectual Property Office over a number of years in the interview available at:

http://tjedno.hr/cijeli-dziv-treba-u-remetinec/

[Headline: “The whole of the DZIV should be sent to Remetinec (i.e. the main state penitentiary in Zagreb)”]

So, the former Director of the State Intellectual Office, Mr. Željko Topić, should not and cannot be protected from criminal prosecution because he inflicted far greater damage on the Republic of Croatia than the corrupt and convicted former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, about which OLAF will soon have the final say under the case number OF/2005/ 0390.

Since the domain of patents and intellectual property is the field where significant values are decided upon, it is very important that the positions of responsibility in the media are occupied by impeccable persons. Therefore, I feel the need to point out that in this case, a so-called investigative journalist Željko Peratović appeared who is now publicly repenting and apologizing for the revelation of some new details about Željko Topić and who is now praising him to the heavens.

In conclusion, a public question need to be asked:
Why and what are the motives for the mocking and attempt silencing of credible sources and
whistleblowers by the journalist Zeljko Peratovic in the “Topić affair”?
In particular, it should be taken into account that the aforementioned person ran for the prestigious position of the President of Croatian Journalists’ Association several years ago.

Zagreb, 15 January 2015.

Ivan Kabalin

Some of our readers went as far as insinuating that the EPO could have gone as far as paying Peratović. The EPO might be good at compensating staff financially, but the same can be said about the NSA, yet this does not excuse the NSA and the likes of it. The EPO used the so-called ‘apology’ from Peratović for PR. It tries to give Topić the ‘von Braun treatment’. This apology is being challenged right now from several directions that suspect collusion, coercion, or even worse things (Topić intimidates critics, costing them a fortune using SLAPP). Peratović ought to speak out and explain his motives.

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