Proprietary is not “Open Source”, it’s the very opposite of it
Summary: Apple and Microsoft are trying to change their colours (public perception), but underneath this thin cover the same old spots remain
NON-TECHNICAL FOLKS may easily be led into the illusion of ‘open’ Microsoft and ‘open’ Apple (openwashing), much like that of ‘green’ (and yellow) BP or ‘green’ Shell (greenwashing). There is also whitewashing, e.g. of Bill Gates, but these two examples are different matters. They all involve mass deception with a huge budget. it’s quite a theatre!
We have patiently watched hundreds of headlines about Apple. Some talking points were mentioned even in Linux sites/blogs of Swapnil Bhartiya [1, 2], not just a lot of general news sites [1, 2, 3]. Bloomberg went as far as saying that Apple has gone “open source” (that was the headline!), so we decided a rebuttal was needed. It reminded us of what Microsoft had done with .NET last year, re-announcing the news almost every week, even this week (using the term “Open Source .NET”, despite the fine prints that refute it; we wrote numerous articles to rebut that).
“Bloomberg went as far as saying that Apple has gone “open source” (that was the headline!), so we decided a rebuttal was needed.”Here is ECT’s coverage of the Apple PR (there are literally hundreds more like it), complemented even by this tacit endorsement from Jim Zemlin [1, 2]. He claims “Developer Applause”. “It’s inspiring to see companies like Apple and Microsoft validate the work we’ve been doing for more than two decades,” Zemlin writes. “Applause” is the bizarre word here; it was also used by Sam Dean, speaking ‘on behalf’ of what he calls “Open Source” (some recent Web-centric poll, involving only about 100 subjects, also tried to paint Apple users/developers “Open Source” developers because they work on Web sites using Macs). We reject these claims based on observations and we are going to show some real responses from the real “Open Source” community, not some Apple fans who label themselves “Open Source” and label Apple likewise (often citing Apple marketing material/sites).
Digital Trends asked, “what’s in it for Apple?”
That’s a good question and it’s not hard to answer. In the “Open Source” community not everyone is enthusiastic at all, except perhaps Apple fans and people who buy stuff from Apple (including software) while wishing to label themselves “open”. It’s a branding exercise, putting aside API lock-in.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols asked (in his headline), “Just how open will Apple allow Swift to be?”
“Some people love that Apple is open sourcing its Swift programming languages,” he wrote. “Others are taking a wait-and-see attitude about just how ‘open’ Apple will make Swift.”
Simon Phipps, the outgoing OSI President (i.e. top authority for the “Open Source” brand), wrote that “questions loom over ‘open source’ Swift”. “Programming languages alone don’t make programs,” he wrote, but “the SDKs they leverage are the key. When Apple speaks of the SDKs that work well with Swift, it is highly unlikely it is talking about anything that works seamlessly on Android or indeed within any other Linux-based open source platform (not to mention Windows).
“Swift may be offering lip service to open source to pay table stakes with modern developers, but I’m not holding my breath when it comes to extending software freedom to anyone beyond Apple’s walled garden.”
Larry Cafiero, an “Open Source” proponent for many years, wrote: “While there have been no injury reports yet from the multitudes simultaneously jumping on the Swift-as-open-source bandwagon — and no shortage of “Apple to tailor Swift to open source” headlines (can someone hand me an air-sickness bag?) — you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t share the rampant enthusiasm for a couple of reasons.
“To be clear, like Microsoft’s foray into FOSS, Apple’s entry is a small step for FOSS, to paraphrase Neil Armstrong. It is hardly a giant leap for FOSSkind.”
Many others are refuting Apple’s and Microsoft’s recent claims of “embracing” FOSS (for languages or SDKs). These are self-serving moves, intended to make people blobs-dependent (whose blobs? their own!).
Microsoft openwasher Cade Metz weighed in too. Referring to his article, our reader iophk wrote: “One of thousands of articles, but doesn’t this noise obscure the fact that it is still locked in to iOS and OS X? I thought Objective C at least was cross-platform, except for a few libraries.”
Despite these obvious facts, the Linux.com “administrator” (perhaps meaning editor) went with flattery for Apple just earlier today. It also flattered Microsoft for trying to trap GNU/Linux (two bird with one stone), having recently openwashed Vista 10 using the modified (by him/her) headline “Microsoft’s Big Secret Windows 10 Feature is Open Source” (because of the Linux Foundation-connected AllSeen Alliance).
We are rather disturbed to see Apple and Microsoft openwashing even in the Linux Foundation’s sites, this latest example referencing a Microsoft puff pieces for Vista 10. They are now attempting to openwash it because of one paragraph that says: “Microsoft announced last November Windows 10 would pack a technology called AllJoyn. An open source framework that encourages devices to be interoperable, AllJoyn was developed by the AllSeen Alliance, a group of more than 150 companies including the likes of Electrolux, Honeywell, LG, and Qualcomm that have banded together to make an open standard for Internet of Things (IoT) devices to speak to each other.”
That’s about as bad as calling Microsoft “open source” because it continues to compile proprietary spyware Skype for GNU/Linux, except GNU/Linux that threatens Microsoft’s desktop monopoly (Chromebooks). As the British media put it the other day, “MICROSOFT is continuing to shun Google’s Chrome OS, opening up its browser-based Skype for Web service to all except those using a Google Chromebook.”
To summarise, don’t fall for the illusion that Microsoft and Apple are somehow ‘embracing’ FOSS; they are trying to exploit the “Open Source” brand to attract people to their proprietary crown jewels. That’s an entirely different thing. █
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“The continuous and broad peer-review enabled by publicly available source code supports software reliability and security efforts through the identification and elimination of defects that might otherwise go unrecognized by a more limited core development team.”
–CIO David Wennergren, Department of Defense (October 2009)
Summary: Microsoft has a new charade, centered around lobbying hubs such as Brussels, to give non-technical people the false impression of Windows ‘security’
GIVEN the special relationship between Microsoft and the NSA (proven by NSA leaks), one might expect no sane government (or even company) to do business with Microsoft ever again. But after some show trials (e.g. in Ireland), public lobbying, and the many lies spread through corporate media (puff pieces) some actually do view Microsoft as antagonising the NSA — a nice and convenient myth if you can get yourself to believe it.
Dr. Glyn Moody wrote a response to Microsoft’s publicity stunt which tries to sell the impression that Windows and other Microsoft software do not have back doors, despite admissions to the contrary. Microsoft is pretending that Windows is secure using the 'Transparency Centre' farce. Here is some of Moody’s response to it:
The issue of back doors and the possibility that software companies have been cooperating with the NSA to undermine the security of their products has become particularly sensitive in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the surveillance activities of the NSA and GCHQ. One of the earliest leaked documents concerned the Prism programme, which apparently showed that the NSA had direct access to the systems of all the top US software and Internet companies.
On a presentation slide indicating the dates when Prism began for each “provider,” Microsoft is listed as the very first, starting in 2007. In response, Brad Smith, General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft, denied that the NSA had “direct and unfettered access to our customer’s data.” He insisted: “Microsoft only pulls and then provides the specific data mandated by the relevant legal demand.”
Soon after the Prism story appeared, a report from Bloomberg claimed that Microsoft “provides intelligence agencies with information about bugs in its popular software before it publicly releases a fix.” In an article published this week by The Intercept discussing criticisms of Microsoft’s BitLocker disk encryption program, the company was asked to respond to Bloomberg’s allegations from 2013. A Microsoft spokesperson said that sharing bugs was simply part of the GSP, and that “its intention is to be transparent, not to aid spy agencies in making malicious software.”
According to the original Bloomberg article, however, that’s exactly what the NSA used them for: specifically, they “allowed the U.S. to exploit vulnerabilities in software sold to foreign governments.” Asked about “instances in which Microsoft built methods to bypass its security and about backdoors generally”, the spokesperson also told The Intercept that Microsoft “doesn’t consider complying with legitimate legal requests backdoors.”
The opening of the Transparency Centre in Brussels is evidence that Microsoft is worried that some in Europe still have their doubts about whether its software can be trusted. Microsoft’s Thomlinson described the move as “the latest step … to enhance the transparency of our software code and continue building trust with governments around the world.” He also said that there needs to be “a high level of openness and cooperation between public and private sectors.”
Microsoft’s back doors in its software do not need to be built into the binaries. Microsoft can add them when it’s time to update, it can use security holes (which it tells the NSA about before they are fixed), and it uses bogus encryption — as it does — to completely beat the purpose of secure messaging or massage-passing. Moreover, nobody supervises the build process of Windows, except the NSA. There is no telling what is being compiled and how. There is no telling what happens before binaries are installed on computers (en route), where hard drives and various other hardware have back doors (as revealed by NSA leaks) that ‘hook’ onto Windows like a hand inside a glove. Proprietary software cannot be trusted, not in this ‘transparency’ sense. It might, however, be just enough to fool some non-technical people. █
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Summary: Ford is once again misleading regarding Open Source, mischievously associating a patent pledge with Open Source
Ford’s distortion of the term Open Source has gone on for years. The company is exceptionally close to Microsoft, but it is seemingly moving away from Microsoft after that very long cuddle. Ford is now openwashing itself in the same way that Tesla did (and to a lesser degree Panasonic too).
“This has got nothing to do with “Open Source” or even “open-source”, whatever that may mean.”When patents are defanged it is not “open source”, it’s just de-weaponisation of patent weapons that one applies for — weapons which oughtn’t have been pursued in the first place. Yesterday we saw over 50 articles with headlines along those lines (calling a patent promise “open source”), e.g. [1, 2]. One article said:
Ford Motors (F) became a bit more like Tesla Motors (TSLA) this week with the announcement by Ford that the company’s electric car patents will become open-source. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla’s patents would be open-source last year in an effort to bolster the electric car market, and that is apparently the same idea behind the decision at Ford.
This has got nothing to do with “Open Source” or even “open-source”, whatever that may mean. It’s all marketing. Ford is perhaps hoping that if many people see the name Ford with “open source” all over the place, then they will perceive Ford as “ethical”. Ford tried to paint proprietary software from Microsoft “open”. We repeatedly complained about that. █
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Censoring evidence of the censorship, too
“Bill Gates cites copyright enforcement to justify Chinese censorship. Microsoft executives used to call us communists, but they are now clearly revealed as the ones who support communist-style dictatorship.”
Summary: Condé Nast has turned Reddit into a platform of censorship after the acquisition
A FEW years ago we published a reader’s complaint about Facebook censorship. It is widely known that Facebook engages in heavy censorship (usually silently, e.g. by omission), not just in heavy surveillance. Today we have confirmatory evidence that Reddit is also overzealously censoring (deleting), blocking, etc. entire accounts. We have heard about this before, we have actually seen this before, but not much has been said or written about this as far as we can tell. Reddit is trying to hide what it does under Condé Nast’s wing. Aaron Swartz, a Reddit pioneer, never liked Condé Nast when it became his employer (not by choice). It didn’t take him to leave Condé Nast, which generally depressed him and gave him no room for creativity. Being a large corporation headquartered near Wall Street, nobody should expect Condé Nast to have turned Reddit into anything other than adjunct of corporate media, only a shadow of its rebellious (former) self.
Reddit’s policy is somewhat sickening. A lot of people don’t quite realise how many trolls and spam come from Reddit. Censorship there is directed against anyone who is not good to Condé Nast’s business model (they own Reddit), not trolls or spam. Reddit even takes Microsoft money to advertise Microsoft under the guise of Q&A or whatever. The same previously was done with (or for) Bill Gates and pro-Microsoft agenda had run rampant for many years now (including negative comments about sites like Techrights). Condé Nast loves Microsoft and Bill Gates to the point of habitually grooming them, under the guise of ‘journalism’. Last year it was revealed (by a whistleblower’s account) that Microsoft employs AstroTurfers to leave posts favourable to Microsoft products in Reddit. It speaks volumes, does it not?
Our perception of Reddit it far worse than that of Slashdot after Dice took over. Reddit — like Facebook — is where bold ideas come to die rather than be spread. It’s hardly a “social media”, it’s more like corporate media where advertising is embedded.
Today’s story comes from an anonymous reader who has been gagged by Reddit. When he asked about the gagging he was further suppressed by Reddit (hiding evidence of the suppression). He is one of many others who have been treated like this, based on what we have learned over the years, so there needs to be an explanation out there of what Reddit actually does.
“See how Reddit hides messages,” told us the reader, “except to the original poster… very sneaky. As far as I can make out, most of the posts are advertisements disguised as fake personal anecdotes. Adverts for the Credit Card industry under disguise as asking for financial advice, or in this case a free advert for the psycho-pharma industry.”
Now you see the comment:
Now you don’t (logged out):
“Well then,” he pleaded, “do a story on it over on
techrights.org. Have people open an account and see when and if they become invisible. I think it’s very sneaky making the posts only visible to the logged in user.”
Here are 2 image attachment which show how Reddit deals with accounts. First this:
Now it’s gone…
So it’s virtually banned.
“And apparently the user home page doesn’t exist,” our reader said, “except only for the logged in user. Can you see the message posted on this link?”
Of course we can’t, that’s the intention.
This profile page returns a “page not found” error.
That’s a ban. “And apparently the user home page doesn’t exist,” our reader concluded. He is not an agent of some company and he wasn’t rude, either.
Reddit remains one of several nasty sites which pretend to be “activism” and pose as “community” while in practice doing the very opposite. Remember who owns Reddit.
We are proud to say that in nearly a decade of operation we never deleted a single comment here. All comments were approved, over 30,000 of them in total, even very vulgar ones. That’s what free speech means. Reddit lost its way a long time ago, so free-thinking individual ought to stay out of there. █
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“Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry.”
–James Plamondon, Microsoft
Summary: Misleading articles and conjoined media/analyst attacks on Android coincide with Google’s event where major Android announcements are being made
ANDROID, which runs Linux at its core, is now the world’s most widely used operating system, not just the most commonly ‘sold’ (if that word is applicable to Free software) operating systems. Microsoft is very annoyed by that. Apple is jealous.
Android is expanding from phones to tablets, watches, and even cars. Right now there’s a lot of talk about Android Auto (see our upcoming daily links for more information, as well as various links that we posted about Google I/O before) and this means that the reach of Linux is vast beyond imagination. It’s always growing. Devices now outnumber people, especially with all that “IoT” hype. Many of these devices (probably the majority) run Linux.
“Devices now outnumber people, especially with all that “IoT” hype. Many of these devices (probably the majority) run Linux.”Microsoft seems to be trying to crash the event of Google, making it all about Apple and Microsoft in a potentially strategic (and timely) way. Farhad Manjoo, who promoted Microsoft in Slate (we mentioned it here several times before, especially in the IRC channels), is now doing a piece on Android in the New York Times. While acknowledging “Market Dominance” of Android he goes on to say that there is “A Murky Road Ahead for Android”. We’ve heard it all before, usually from Microsoft- and Apple-friendly media. As this article is composed by an old friend of Microsoft, we consider it more of that same. For the second day in a row it’s IDG (parent company of IDC, but without disclosure to that effect) that uses IDC-produced figures to bash Android’s dominance as well. Mikael Ricknäs has spread through a bunch of IDG-owned sites an article titled “Android stutters while iOS shines in Q1″. Two Microsoft-bribed firms, namely the Gartner Group and IDC, are being quoted so as to bash Android. They do this by gaming numbers, making it seem like Apple enjoys huge growth while actually it’s Android that continues to gain (at the expense of mostly proprietary platforms). IDC is grossly overstating Microsoft’s role in mobile, but given the long-term relationship of IDC and Microsoft, this is hardly surprising. IDC previously had us believe (using bogus predictions) that Windows would be dominant in mobile by now. How wrong were they! Android is dying/doomed/terrible, say Microsoft- and Apple-connected firms, so maybe the real observation to be made here is that Microsoft is really afraid of Android. It’s nervousness and response.
The conflicts of interest at IDG are not news to us. We have written about them for nearly a decade. Here you see Roger Grimes from Microsoft and IDG (yes, at the same time!) giving poor advice about security (he often blames users for security issues that are Microsoft’s). “Better solution,” wrote iophk to us, would be “OpenWRT or DD-WRT” (Linux).
Incidentally, amid all that Android FUD (vastly increased while Google I/O takes place), Tony Bradley, a Microsoft mole and booster (professionally connected to Microsoft but pretending to be journalist in IDG, as well as other Web sites/news networks) says that “Microsoft Has Hijacked Android In A Hostile Takeover” (his headline).
Rogue players, including Microsoft, tried this before, with examples that include Facebook, Nokia, and Amazon. They always failed. It’s just a misguided strategy that weakens Windows in the hope that somehow it’ll pay off or gradually sink the competition.
Watch how IDG covered this latest case of patent extortion/shakedown. Microsoft’s abuse of patents is not mentioned even once! It’s all promotional. The opening sentence says: “Tuesday’s announcement means Microsoft is now working with 31 device manufacturers to pre-load applications on Android tablets.”
Here again we see the artificially- and misleadingly-inflated number which we alluded to the other day.
“Microsoft has made a killer move,” wrote Pavithra Rathinavel about patent racketeering while glorifying it as some kind of ingenious strategy. He also wrote: “Many observers say Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is making the right moves to cater to all the major platforms used by customers across the globe.”
No, Microsoft uses extortion and blackmail using patents in order to force companies to exclude the competition. It’s bundling by force. That is nothing worth commending. █
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Summary: OpenStack, which celebrates rapid growth in this month’s event in Canada, is facing a proprietarisation threat from Microsoft
FOR A NUMBER of years now Microsoft has been trying to subvert OpenStack, making it proprietary and Windows-leaning. It never quite succeeded, but with help from Canonical and Cloudbase Microsoft is getting closer. To quote this report, “Canonical has just announced a new partnership with Cloudbase Solutions, a company that develops Windows components in OpenStack, which will allow customers to run KVM and Hyper-V environments side by side in the same cloud.”
“When Microsoft releases something as “Open Source” it is merely marketing or an intrusion attempt.”OpenStack is Apache-licensed, Python-based, and it generally strives to integrate only free components. Why would it allow Microsoft anywhere near it? Hyper-V is proprietary, it requires Windows (with back doors), and it has no place in an “open” stack like OpenStack.
Microsoft has nothing at all to do with Free/Open Source software (FOSS). Microsoft is attacking FOSS. When Microsoft releases something as “Open Source” it is merely marketing or an intrusion attempt. Earlier this month, as we noted last week, Microsoft released some useless code as “Open Source” (to misleadingly associate Windows with "Open Source") and Microsoft apologists like Paul Krill covered it at the time, noting that “Analysts see Windows Communication Foundation as a last-generation technology, which limits its usefulness” (as usual).
Remember when Microsoft was throwing some DOS code (not as Open Source) out there to create a publicity party/PR stunt? That was one year ago. █
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Microsoft is like a political party
Photo from NASSCOM’s Web site
Summary: Some of the latest arguments against Free/libre software turn out to be arriving from couriers of Microsoft and its agenda
LAST NIGHT’S article about Microsoft's lobbying in India sure made a lot of a splash. It had impact. It has been widely circulated by now, even by former Microsoft managers who had grown tired of the company’s abuses. Upon further research we found out the role of NASSCOM.
For those who cannot recall the historic role of NASSCOM, here is a quick summary of posts of ours, covering NASSCOM:
NASSCOM is now pushing against the Indian government’s Free software-friendly policy. Techrights is unusually popular in India (based on various Web metrics like Alexa) and our Indian readers have often been cynical about the integrity of their officials/politicians. They probably recognise Microsoft’s influence in the Indian government and right now Microsoft appears to be doing its lobbying (against FOSS) in India using a group that is tied to Bill Gates (not just Microsoft) and masquerades as non-commercial. This is gross distortion of justice, even corruption.
“NASSCOM is now pushing against the Indian government’s Free software-friendly policy.”Another Bill Gates-backed (and Bill Gates-funded) group, the Gartner Group, recently spread a lot of FUD against FOSS and advertised Windows using lies (some Gartner staff came from Microsoft). One very recent piece of FUD against FOSS (there is some against containers, using ‘security’) says that there is a lack of skills. Gartner recently injected these claims into a lot of Web sites, assisted by gullible writers. Mike Olson, speaking to the media, shoots down Gartner’s latest FUD, noting that Gartner cites a non-existent dilemma. And to use his own words: “The reason I think Gartner’s report is off base, enterprises don’t need to build deep data science skills if they can buy solutions and applications that run on top of the platform that allows them to solve business problems.”
The problem with Microsoft is that it is well connected and a lot of the talking points against Free software come from buddies, partners, former staff and mouthpieces of Microsoft. This cannot be conveniently ignored and refuting the lies isn’t a case of shooting the messenger, just showing who the messenger works for/with. █
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Gimmicks and marketing won’t save Windows
Summary: Ongoing propaganda about Vista 10, ‘cloud’, and other buzzwords or brands are put in perspective
“Vista 10″ (or Windows 10, as Microsoft prefers to call it) is marketing propaganda and very little beyond that. Microsoft can afford to bribe a lot of news sites (‘incentivising’ as they might put it), offering favours in exchange for PR. We see a LOT of PR right now. Microsoft’s “PR guys and gals [are] working overtime writing press releases, which Internet news sites are posting,” wrote Christine Hall. We recently wrote about the Microsoft copywriters (writing propaganda pieces for Microsoft, to be carefully spread through the media) and the famous lie of 'free' Vista 10. Hall writes that facts notwithstanding, it “hasn’t stopped the PR guys and gals from working overtime writing press releases, which Internet news sites are posting while wondering aloud if Windows 10 will be enough to “save” the PC, and coming to the conclusion that if Windows can’t do it, then it can’t be done. They reach this conclusion with nary a whisper about ChromeOS, which is cleaning Redmond’s clock on the laptop — and with even less being said about traditional Linux.”
“Prepare for an increasingly GNU/Linux-dominated world, not just in mobile, embedded systems, and servers.”GNU/Linux can do just fine on the desktop, but Web sites and services are becoming more mobile-friendly over time. In turn, more people choose to access data/services/programs through portable devices with relatively small (touch)screens.
Overwhelming press-aided propaganda (at critical times) has had people talk about Vista 10 delusions rather than pay attention to sinking Windows profits. Windows was never sold, but it was certainly stolen. Proprietary software is rented, not sold; Bill Gates pinched early operating system (OS) code from the garbage can. “In my case,” Bill Gates once explained, “I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and I fished out listings of their operating systems.”
In a later article Christine Hall wrote: “If you believe what you read, which isn’t always a good idea, Nadella & Company is good with the fact that Windows’ market share is shrinking and the company is more than willing to share market space with others, like OS X, Chrome OS, and presumably Linux. The common knowledge is that the folks in Redmond have come to accept the future and understand that Windows will no longer continue being the cash cow on which an empire was built. Microsoft, going forward, will be more humble than it was in the past and will be leaving it’s plans for world domination behind.”
Prepare for an increasingly GNU/Linux-dominated world, not just in mobile, embedded systems, and servers. █
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