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09.03.14

New Lies About Microsoft ‘Privacy’ and New FUD Against the GPL Comes From ‘Former’ Microsoft Staff at Black Duck

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 9:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More AstroTurfing by sites that are run by Microsoft MVPs and firms which were created by people from Microsoft

Microsoft is a propaganda and lobbying company. It is highly reliant on AstroTurfing through numerous proxies and this week is no exception.

A few days ago we saw Microsoft propaganda seeking to portray Microsoft as a privacy proponent; a lot of this came from familiar people. We studied where it came from and we were not alone. A lot of this recent propaganda about Microsoft privacy comes from ‘former’ Microsoft staff (now working as ‘journalists’) and ‘news’ sites run by Microsoft MVPs. They were manipulating the media into lying for Microsoft and acting like a PR machine, inadvertently or not. Everyone should know by now that the simple truth is that Microsoft is in bed with the NSA (too much evidence for one to dismiss this) but as TechDirt pointed out: “A site called WindowsITPro wrote up that Microsoft was now “defying” a court order and this somehow proved it was a heroic company, fighting for its customers…”

The title of TechDirt‘s post is “No, Microsoft Is Not Suddenly ‘Defying’ A Court Order To Turn Over Emails”. If only it pointed out that WindowsITPro is not a news site but a Microsoft propaganda site…

WindowsITPro is not the only site which is run by Microsoft MVPs and other allies of Microsoft; we exposed other such sites over the years and many were also involved in spreading the familiar Munich FUD. Microsoft does this every year and it did it again last month.

Our second example of Microsoft-linked propaganda comes from Phil Johnson at IDG. He cites ‘former’ Microsoft staff (Ohloh) and their latest boss which was created by Microsoft marketing man and continues to smear GPL (and by association GNU). Usually they try to claim that the GPL is dying (self-fulfilling prophecy) using their dubious proprietary/secret data but now they try another approach by alleging that GPL is killing participation and impedes success of FOSS projects. To understand why this is likely wrong one need to remember what Ohloh is; it came from Microsoft (like Black Duck) and it has an incomplete database stuffed with Microsoft data (since 2009 when Black Duck made a pact/partnership with Microsoft).

Black Duck claims to have just netted more funds. Not bad for a proprietary software-wielding, software patent-hoarding propaganda apparatus, eh? The sad thing is that Microsoft has successfully infiltrated the media and all sorts of “think tanks” that Black Duck and others organise. It is a form of AstroTurfing. This is chronic and systemic.

“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]

08.28.14

Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Mono, VMware at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software

Why do so many FOSS sites cover VMware and VMWorld when all it’s about is proprietary software and EEE (embrace and extend) against FOSS? Remember that it was Paul Maritz, Vice President at Microsoft who later became the CEO of VMware, saying that he wanted to “cut off Netscape’s air supply.” VMware is not a friend of FOSS and it is also a GPL violator, based on strong evidence that was never quite revisited in recent years. VMware is about exploiting FOSS while giving nothing in return.

Maritz and his influence linger on because, as even a Microsoft-friendly site put it, this is “embrace and extend” all over again. It looks like VMware is ‘embracing’ FOSS, but it’s embracing it like a python embraces a lamb. From the summary:

VMware’s VMworld announcements are a case study in the “embrace and extend” approach used so well by Microsoft. The big difference is VMware doesn’t want to and couldn’t add the “extinguish” to the cloud (hybrid or otherwise).

Larry Dignan is wrong in that last part. Having been an involuntary user of VMware in some places at work, it seems clear that VMware and their effect on VMs is similar to that of Oracle in databases. Many who insist on FOSS compromise for proprietary software and if the openwashing PR works (many thing of Oracle and VMware as ‘Linux-friendly’ due to marketing), then better options like PostgreSQL or MySQL (and KVM) get ignored or only scarcely explored.

VMware should generally be considered a proprietary software snake crawling inside the FOSS yard, offering nothing more than back doors at hypervisor level (remember that VMware and RSA, the NSA’s back door ally, are owned by the same company). Watch this new article titled “VMware CEO details offensive strategy for containers, open source”.

In other news, Sonatype, which has a consistent track record of FOSS licensing FUD, uses its spun credentials to make itself seem like FOSS while bashing FOSS in the FOSS-hostile IDG. Sonatype should spend more time explaining to the public the grave dangers posed by proprietary software EULAs and licensing costs, not to mention gangsters/lobbyists such as the BSA.

Lastly, but not leastly (no, it’s not really a word), watch this coverage of a Mono release. This article does not cover the issues around patents, Microsoft and a lot more. Instead it quotes the Microsoft boosters from Xamarin as follows:

The developers are saying that “Mono is an open source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET Framework based on the ECMA standards for C# and the Common Language Runtime. A growing family of solutions and an active and enthusiastic contributing community are helping position Mono to become the leading choice for development of cross platform applications.”

Mono is a great example of a FOSS mole. Mono and the company behind it are basically a Microsoft Trojan horse inside FOSS. The goal of Xamarin and of Mono is to make Microsoft richer, more dominant, more omnipresent, and in great control over all software. Xamarin hardly even cares for free/libre operating systems. It’s all about C# and other proprietary, heavily-patented Microsoft frameworks. Follow the money to better understand what drives Xamarin and what its true goals are. Look at who the company hires and what its staff says.

Writing about Microsoft’s pretense of embracing FOSS (like a wolf guarding the hen house), Jim Lynch cited us calling this whole thing “digital imperialism” the other day. He wrote: “I have seen some articles recently that asked if Microsoft has become a friend to open source over the last few years, and I think the behavior detailed in this article puts the lie to that idea. Microsoft was never a friend to the open source movement and it certainly isn’t now. But such press coverage is probably useful to the company as a cloak to hide behind while it tries to slip a dagger into the back of open source software.

“I also noted in an earlier article this week my skepticism of some of the articles about Munich supposedly dumping open source. If Techrights is correct then it looks like Microsoft may have had a hand in promoting some of the negative press coverage of open source in Munich. Sometimes it’s easy to smell a rat when you see a story like that suddenly cascading through technology media. ”

All that Microsoft can offer Munich is the return to blue screens of death, surveillance (espionage against Germany), a higher overall bill (in the long run), and fewer German jobs. Last week we noted that the one man who caused all the commotion in Munich (a self-professed Windows fan) was potentially a mole. People like John Dvorak are currently trying to exploit this deception to provoke and perhaps even troll GNU/Linux users.

08.27.14

Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 3:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shameless lies spun as “news”

Arguing with IDG

Summary: Media in Microsoft’s pocket is telling Microsoft’s lies and deceives the public for Microsoft’s bottom line

There is Microsoft spin the media which continues to disturb because it is quite shallow and very easy to spot. Just watch Microsoft Peter with his latest shameless vapourware (Microsoft ads disguised as “journalism”). That’s positive advertising as opposed to negative advertising (against the competition), but it is still advertising and it should have no room in journalism.

The Microsoft-funded (through ads) propaganda apparatus CBS says “Gmail” to make a widespread Internet issue sound like Google’s. This, in a sense, is like anti-Google advertising. It is a bit like The Intercept associating Google — with the word “Google-like” — when speaking about NSA search of people’s personal data. It is not just CBS though (notorious for NSA and CIA connections). A writer who was typically writing for the CBS-owned ZDNet UK is now moving on a bit. A few days ago we saw Simon Bisson, a longtime Microsoft booster with conflicting interests that ought to make him unsuitable to cover Microsoft matters, showing up in IDG. It is a new site and the article is unsurprisingly a Microsoft-serving one, following a longtime tradition (his bio at IDG completely omits his connection to Microsoft this time around). It is a puff piece/advertising/spam for a de facto extension/proxy of Microsoft, working with Microsoft and funded by ‘former’ Microsoft executives to promote Mono and .NET.

The only thing worse than that was this piece from IDG trying to portray Microsoft as “open source” (openwashing). Microsoft is trying to crush all FOSS projects from within, so IDG helps with puff pieces like this one titled “Does Microsoft Really Love Open Source?” It is just an assortment of quotes from Microsoft and Microsoft propaganda entities like Directions on Microsoft. Here is an example:

“Compared to 10 years ago, it’s mind-blowing that Microsoft is doing what [it's] doing now,” says Wes Miller, a research vice president at Directions on Microsoft. “If you look at open source projects like Hadoop or Docker (both of which Microsoft is involved in), in the past Microsoft would have tried to crush them with its own closed source product.”

Microsoft-linked and Microsoft-friendly sources to piece together quite a propaganda piece which omits the fact that the above is intended to promote proprietary Windows. If anything, it show Microsoft subverting FOSS to tie it to proprietary. Here is one comment I received about this article:

Rabellino points to how Microsoft has helped bring Linux support to Azure in what he deems the right way. “We could have made proprietary drivers, but no, we’ve open sourced them,” he says. The same is true of the way Microsoft has helped bring Hadoop support to Windows and Node.js support to Azure.
Seriously, WTF?! What about the UEFI? this is made to help GNU/Linux too, isn’t it? c’mon…

About Microsoft becoming friendly to FOSS one person told me: “Of course it does!! don’t you see how open is the Windows source? oh, wait…”

In less disturbing news, here is an example of potential Microsoft spin, portraying Microsoft as a gainer by comparing it only to the biggest loser, the patent troll BlackBerry.

As a reader is ours put it: “LosePhone is not rising, BB is just falling that much.”

Very clever way to create Microsoft spin; find a contender that falls even quicker. This is essentially what we often find in the media, namely pro-Microsoft deception which if remains unchallenged might recur until it is widely accepted.

According to this article and this other new article, BlackBerry has 44,000 patents that it can use against Android/Linux one day. Just watch the latest on what Apple does to Samsung’s software side. It is a direct attack on Android itself:

Supreme Court ruling won’t kill Apple’s ‘slide to unlock’

In June, the US Supreme Court decided the Alice v. CLS Bank case, tweaking patent law in a way that suggests a lot more patents should be thrown out as overly abstract.

Samsung hoped that case would allow it to knock out two patents that Apple had successfully used against it in the long-running patent war between the two smartphone leaders. Last month, Samsung lawyers filed papers arguing that Apple’s patents on universal search and “swipe-to-unlock” are exactly the type of basic ideas that the US Supreme Court wants to see rejected.

Of course one could relate this whole patent strategy to Microsoft’s hatred of FOSS and also note that Microsoft, under Nadella, recently sued Samsung like Apple had done. It is an attack on Free software using software patents. To call Microsoft friendly towards Open Source requires either a propagandist or a liar. Sounds like a job for IDG!

08.14.14

Shameless Microsoft Spin is Blaming China for Microsoft’s Misconduct and Back Doors While Justifying Massive Losses in Hardware (Made in China)

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

Bill Gates speaking about China

Summary: A new look at how Microsoft-friendly media takes negative Microsoft news and turns that news into some kind of scandals where Microsoft is the victim

Following the well-overdue Microsoft raid which targeted Microsoft for its abuses (allegedly back doors, but perhaps also racketeering, tax evasion, conspiracy against users and bribes to officials) there was yet another raid. Microsoft is laying off many people in China (they are protesting as some used to work for Nokia) and as Pedro Hernandez put it:

With a new round of raids that have ensnared Microsoft partner Accenture, the Chinese government takes a closer look into the software giant’s dealings in the country.

Chinese government officials returned to Microsoft this week in an antitrust probe that has spread to the company’s partner Accenture, a technology services and consulting firm.

On July 28, China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) announced that the agency’s anti-monopoly investigators had seized computers, documents, emails and files from Microsoft’s offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. The SAIC is looking into allegations of anti-competitive behavior by Microsoft.

Accenture is a disgusting company that we wrote about before. It acts as somewhat of a Microsoft proxy and it is a patent shark.

Well, the Microsoft media is trying to distract from it either by smearing China or changing the subject. This is typical and we have noted this before.

Microsoft is undeniably facing some serious problems and this includes losses in many areas, not just bans of Windows and Office (the online version) in the biggest market. According to this analysis, Microsoft is losing billions in tablets:

Even the most diehard of Microsoft fans will admit its old Surface RT tablet was an unmitigated disaster. From lackluster sales to massive inventory write-offs, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s efforts to make a splash in mobile devices and services didn’t exactly start off with a bang. And catching tablet sales leader Apple with the Surface RT? Not even close.

Apple is not the leader, Android (collectively) is. Watch the Microsoft booster Lance Whitney trying to incite against Android by citing the frivolous complaint from Microsoft and its proxies (like Nokia). The Microsoft booster writes:

Still finishing up its antitrust probe of Google’s search practices, the EU is now looking into allegations regarding the company’s control over Android apps, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The author is poor on disclosures. He is still reliant on Microsoft as by his own admission (must click to view) he wrote for “Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, “Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time,” was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.”

Being CBS (parent of ZDNet), this bias is typical. It is very pro-NSA, pro-CIA, and pro-Microsoft (top NSA partner). Many writers there came from Microsoft and continue to serve Microsoft, often by smearing Microsoft’s rivals. Vista 8 boosting is quite common from the man above and his colleagues who came from Microsoft do this too.

Here in Reuters is some “naked PC” propaganda (“naked PC” is a propaganda term from Microsoft and its allies) trying to shift public opinion against China, pretending it is indebted to Microsoft. Towards the end it dares to admit that alternatives to Microsoft do exist in China: [via]

The result is that up to 60 percent of PCs shipped in the emerging markets of Asia, says IDC research manager Handoko Andi, have no Windows operating system pre-installed – so-called ‘naked PCs’, which usually instead carry some free, open source operating system like Linux. That compares with about 25 percent in the region’s developed markets like Japan and Australia.

Reuters is at least writing “so-called ‘naked PCs’”, implying that the term itself is dubious. It’s intended to make PCs without Microsoft software tightly bundled onto them seem socially inadequate, inherently incomplete, and gross/rude. It is actually very trivial to install one’s GNU/Linux distribution of choice. It’s a lot easier than doing that with Windows these days.

“Reuters is at least writing “so-called ‘naked PCs’”, implying that the term itself is dubious.”Microsoft fails not only when it comes to software sales but also hardware (made in China, which Microsoft is heavily reliant on). Based on some new Xbox numbers, “Microsoft’s Xbox One Is Failing” with hundreds of millions in losses incurred by lacklustre sales. As one author put it: “Microsoft has reported that its next-gen console, the Xbox One, has lost the company over $400 / €298 million, since it was released in November last year.”

This will only lead to yet more layoffs (maybe Xbox manufacturers in China), but cover-up from Microsoft- and Gates-leaning media calls it “Perfectly Fine”.

That’s yielded a collection of startled headlines about how Microsoft has dropped the ball with their new console by losing $400M already.

Then comes the usual spin. This is a pattern we see a lot of; Microsoft-friendly media would bend backwards to put a positives spin on something which is inarguably bad.

Microsoft had lost billions on Xbox 360 before it chose to make yet another Xbox incarnation. The money continues to go down the drain; Windows and Office (the main cash cows) won’t be able to make up for it for much longer.

Microsoft depends on China in many ways. China does not depend on Microsoft unless China continues to fall into Bill Gates’ trap by using Windows.

Microsoft Spin in the Media Evokes ‘New Microsoft’ and New Back Doors

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 5:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft embedded in the press

Tony Bradley

Summary: Some new examples of Microsoft boosters rewriting history, characterising Microsoft as a FOSS champion, and generally weak/shallow reporting on Microsoft’s audio/video surveillance software

Microsoft is in serious trouble and it is aware of this (just ask Microsoft employees). It is seeking an identity change and a longtime Microsoft booster, Todd Bishop, releases his latest spamvertisement with which to openwash Microsoft. He is not alone though. Microsoft’s booster and business partner Tony Bradley (pictured above) runs a similar spamvertisement with the goal of openwashing Microsoft. Watch the propaganda banner at the top. Bradley must be afraid that Microsoft’s death would doom his personal business. That’s why he keeps attacking real FOSS and trying to portray Microsoft as a FOSS company.

Another leading booster of Microsoft (who receives gifts from Microsoft), Ed Bott, releases some more of his spamvertisements to pretend Nadella will change much. It’s quite common to see Nadella’s image used for openwashing, based on nothing of substance. The management at the back room is still the same; this is just reputation laundering. ZDNet plays a role in it, but given its strong connection to Microsoft people — including Microsoft staff as ‘journalists’ — none of it should be shocking. These are not journalists but marketing people with a platform that calls itself ‘news’. There is another new example that a reader told us about. It was published by AOL some days ago and our reader called it “spam and possible revisionism.”

“It’s quite common to see Nadella’s image used for openwashing, based on nothing of substance.”He explained that “MSIE wasn’t released until later to fight Netscape. NCSA Mosaic what the browser in use in 1994.”

The last example we have does not mention surveillance aspects of Skype (as confirmed by Snowden’s leaks about Microsoft) and does not mention FOSS or surveillance-free alternatives. It is this article about forced Skype ‘upgrades’ with new back doors (or bug doors). The article says: “The downside of this for Microsoft/Skype is that they can’t get people to use all their new services – or see their new ads – if there are so many older versions.

“Similarly, they can’t move to new technical architectures that may provide better service when they have to also support a long history of past releases. (For example, their move away from the peer-to-peer architecture that was their original highlight to more of a centralized “cloud” architecture to provide better support for mobile clients.)”

Interestingly, as pointed out here, Microsoft is essentially deserting Vista Phone 7 useds [sic.], which leads to heckling. To quote: “We are permanently retiring all Skype apps for Windows Phone 7. As a result, within the next few weeks, you’ll no longer be able to sign in and use Skype on any Windows Phone 7 device” (repeating the original source).

You know Microsoft is in serious trouble when it abandons even its own clients. It’s not as though many use Vista Phone 7. It was an utter failure.

08.03.14

SPAM Domains Artificially Inflate Microsoft Figures in Netcraft

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Netcraft

Summary: Netcraft explains why Microsoft’s numbers seem to be increasing and also finally changes the way it presents market share

Microsoft Windows is a malware farm, so it oughtn’t be too shocking that Web spam (“link farms”), according to Netcraft’s latest figures via], is driving up Microsoft’s share (along with what seems like bribed hosts of parked domains). “Microsoft spin” is what our readers called it. Here is what Netcraft says:

Microsoft’s most recent growth in hostnames since mid-2013 has, for the most part, been caused by a large number of Chinese linkfarms (泛站群). The sites in question provide advertising for gambling sites, online product listings, and normally make use of affiliate schemes. Yet they are hosted in the USA, on generic TLDs such as .com and .net to bypass China’s TLD and internet content provider (ICP) license requirements. Unusually, each linkfarm makes use of a reasonably large number of domains and IP addresses, presumably making them harder for search engines to evade. This would normally be cost prohibitive for this kind of activity, however hosting and domain packages can be found advertised on auction sites specifically for this purpose, with packages of (random/unspecified) .com domains available for as little as ¥17 (~ £2 / $3) each, guaranteed to remain yours for at least a month. It is not clear why IIS has been chosen for these sites, however it does have a considerably higher market share (for all of our metrics) in China compared to worldwide – for example 59% of domains hosted in China use IIS compared to just 29% worldwide.

We previously explained the role of parked domains as well. Here are some posts from a few months ago:

Microsoft software is not only behind inactive domains; it is also running behind spam (link farms). What a source of pride, eh? Microsoft’s real market share on the Web is ~10%, depending on how it’s measured. Top sites hardly have anything from Microsoft in them, so the total active site/domain count can be very misleading. Microsoft’ share on the Web (measured in terms of number of requests for a page) may actually be something far lower than 10%, and maybe lower than 5%.

07.31.14

Microsoft-Linked Codenomicon and Bluebox in the Business of Smearing FOSS/Linux/Android

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Google, Microsoft at 3:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Name tag
Embracing and extending, but not yet extinguishing

Summary: Codenomicon and Bluebox, two companies with strong Microsoft links, fill the media with negative articles about Android

“M

icrosoft marketing again” is what our reader labeled it. Brett Winterford, who played ball for OOXML after Microsoft had given him gifts, smears Android using a Microsoft buddy, Codenomicon, the company that hyped up an OpenSSL bug, or as this new article puts it:

Codenomicon, which coined the term “Heartbleed” upon discovering the OpenSSL flaw, will name and shame app developers later this month when it publishes its findings on those that neglected robust security practices.

Codenomicon did not discover the bug (a man from Google did, but some give both credit); Codenomicon did the marketing, registered a domain, and spread the “Heartbleed” brand.

The “Heartbleed” marketing is still floating in the media, this time because of Venafi, keeping it in the media nearly 4 months later. What we basically have here is Codenomicon making a comeback, this time making derogatory claims about Android.

A reader of ours says that “it makes sense. I have trouble tracking all the names though. If one is cynical, pretty much 100% of the pro-Microsoft or anti-Linux (especially anti-FOSS) writings can be tracked to direct Microsoft influence. One wonders society can do with all the “former” employees, especially the managers.”

Codenomicon’s board is managed by a man from Microsoft, one of Microsoft’s chief executives, for those who have not been keeping up.

Another company like this is Bluebox, whose Microsoft connection we covered here before. It is a Microsoft partner created and managed by a Microsoft guy. Now it has some dirt to throw on Android, too.

We first saw that covered by the FOSS-hostile Dan Goodin (he still only covers FOSS/Linux security issues, ignoring any proprietary software issues) and then we saw this in the Bill Gates-funded “The Guardian” and BBC, which like to chastise only Google over things that Microsoft does (and worse). This is definitely some of the earliest coverage, maybe coordinated ahead of distribution, leading other sites to covering it, only later on, even though the issue was already fixed. Later on we saw a report saying that it “Could Put Millions in Jeopardy” (key word is “could”) and Microsoft-friendly sites joined in, making a huge fuss about a bug that was patched very quickly.

“One need to keep track of who’s who and where the money travels.”While it is hard to show a conspiracy to smear Android, like Microsoft asking its former employees and affiliates who run Codenomicon and Bluebox to fill the media with negative coverage about Android bugs, we do need to consider such possibilities based on evidence that exists. It is clear who these companies are loyal to; it’s no secret, just follow the money. Why don’t they cover the loads of bugs in Windows or even the back doors, which are there by design?

The media too should be held accountable here, as we know that Microsoft bribes publishers like O’Reilly (we gave examples for years) and based on fresh complaints from the President of OSI [1], it is true that OSCON (O’Reilly’s so-called ‘open source’ conference) has become more of a Microsoft-subsidised breeding ground for moles and misdirection (sponsored by Microsoft in exchange for stage time/room).

When living in a spin zone (not spin-free zone), where many of the messengers are funded by Microsoft, it would be unwise to take and accept everything at face value. One need to keep track of who’s who and where the money travels.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. SAP embraces opens source — sort of

    At the annual OSCON (Open Source Convention) last week, those stuck in a worldview of open source from the previous decade would have suffered serious cognitive dissonance.

    First, Microsoft was an anchor of the conference, with a full-scale display from Jean Paoli’s subsidiary Microsoft Open Technologies. As I walked past I repeatedly heard people expressing shock that Microsoft was there at such scale. Wholehearted support for open source still largely stops at the boundaries of Microsoft’s Azure cloud offering, but plenty of staff people with genuine open source credentials were showing their wares. Microsoft’s journey is definitely progressing.

07.27.14

Apple and Microsoft Are Proprietary Software Companies and the Media Should Stop Openwashing Them

Posted in Apple, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 6:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hardware

Summary: New examples where proprietary software giants are characterised as FOSS-embracing and FOSS-friendly by gullible or dishonest ‘journalists’

Apple has made many headlines recently because of its back doors and Microsoft has made many headlines recently because of its massive round of layoffs (almost 20% of the staff). Both companies are proprietary software companies and they have a lot in common.

Techrights is disturbed to have found continued distortion of the facts. “Microsoft might finally be committing to open source” is a new article (reprinted here) which says: “Microsoft is known for keeping its programming secrets to itself. But under CEO Satya Nadella, the maker of proprietary behemoths like Windows and Microsoft Office is starting to show up in the world of open-source software, whose code is public for anyone to see, borrow from and tinker with.”

No, this is fiction. This is the fairly recent PR strategy that tries to associate the new CEO with FOSS, even though he continues using patents to attack FOSS and is running blatantly dishonest attack ads against FOSS products, especially Google’s. If Microsoft brings proprietary software to Android, for instance, this has nothing to do with FOSS. Quite the contrary in fact; it is about contaminating FOSS with proprietary spyware. The puff piece continues: “Late last year Microsoft finally made itself an account on Github, now the de-facto platform that software writers use for sharing and working on open-source code. “Microsoft has changed as a company and is becoming more open in the way that we collaborate with others,” the account’s description reads.”

Wow! Microsoft “made itself an account on Github”! Imagine the heroic act! I already have two accounts on Github, one for my job and one for my personal projects. The article goes on and makes all sorts of softball claims, pretending to be giving Microsoft the sceptical treatment.

Here is another silly new article, pretending that a proprietary NSA-accessible platform called Azure has “Open Source Partnerships”. It then cites the Microsoft proxy/mole “Microsoft Open Tech” by saying: “Microsoft Open Tech (MS Open Tech), a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft, has added two new partnerships under its belt. Announced during the ongoing O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) in Oregon, they have teamed up with Packer.io and OpenNebula.”

This proxy has done nothing FOSS-like. It just wants to devour FOSS by putting it under a proprietary platform with surveillance. OSCON and O’Reilly have once again shown themselves to be soft on Microsoft. Based on the amount of press coverage this has received [1, 2], one might say that Tim O’Reilly keeps giving Microsoft an effective propaganda platform. Microsoft has paid him for this, ensuring that a proprietary surveillance platform gets coverage in a supposedly FOSS-centric conference.

But let’s not focus only on Microsoft. Misreporting is often seen when it comes to Apple, the most hyped-up company in the world. It’s all about perception and branding. One author’s bias (he is a “Mac”-branded PC user) can be found in this supposedly FOSS-centric site. He says that “Apple is a beloved company in the open source community,” but based on our experiences, this is patently false. There is other promotional language there, including: “Despite being one of the most well run technology companies ever, Apple has a surprisingly complicated relationship with open source. Ironically, Apple is a beloved company in the open source community, but, now more than ever, it needs to hear the call to become more open. I’ve also always noted here on OStatic that many open source enthusiasts favor the Mac over Windows systems. That’s no surprise. Apple’s culture closely aligns with many open source principles, though its culture certainly isn’t totally open.”

What?!

“Apple’s culture closely aligns with many open source principles”?

In what universe?

There are other large companies that try to openwash themselves these days. We recently covered HP’s publicity stunts and here we have another, pretending that defanging one’s software patents is somehow an act of becoming “Open Source” (Tesla uses this type of propaganda).

A man from HP, speaking about OpenStack, says that “just as we indemnified Linux 15 years ago, we are doing exactly the same thing now.” Well, indemnification does not achieve much. Why acquire software patents in the first place? Why has HP been so hostile towards GNU/Linux, including in Munich? Why is HP hiring so many executives from Microsoft? Why is HP lobbying for software patents?

The bottom line is that many companies (if not all) want to be seen as “open”, but most of them are faking it. For the press to play along with their marketing/PR ambitious is worse than irresponsible; it is reckless.

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