Summary: The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples
SEVERAL days ago several people told us about this article from Matt Asay. Ignoring the issues with proprietary software (EULAs, back doors, etc.) the article makes the bizarre claim that “we’re living in a post-open source world”, as if Free/libre software does not matter anymore. One reader told us that Asay had been “trolling for Black Duck“. Well, looking at the licensing strategy of Asay’s current employer, this position is easy to explain.
Unfortunately, however, the problem is this case is what Red Hat staff called “Asayroll” (troll) and we often call Mac Asay (he does not use FOSS himself). He used to be a fan of the GPL but then turned against it. Black Duck is just one among several data points he uses to bash the GPL now. Other data points (at least two) were partly Microsoft-funded as well; they’re good at hiding it. It’s information war, striving to change perception and kill the GPL with words.
It is not a surprise that Asay attacks the GPL and this is actually IDG’s second article in just about a week which attacks the GPL, citing Microsoft-connected entities. They must be terribly afraid of copyleft, or maybe their clients (like Microsoft) are doing lip service.
In other FUD, Dan Goodin with his provocative images continues to attack FOSS security, focusing all his attention on bugs in FOSS rather than back doors in proprietary software. “Researcher uncovers “catastrophic failure” in random number generation,” he says. Well, actually, in LibreSSL there is much better randomness than in Intel’s hardware-’accelerated’ RNGs (which are likely facilitating back doors by keeping entropy low) and proprietary software, which uses weak (by design) encryption. “Dan is the Security Editor at Ars Technica,” says the site, which really says a lot about where Condé Nasty (owner of Ars Technica) stands on security. It only trash-talks FOSS and GNU/Linux. This is systematic bias, usually by omission.
In more relevant news, watch the article “Embedded Windows XP systems targeted by new Chinese malware”. It says:
“It is exceedingly hard to protect against malware when it ships pre-installed from the factory. The average business, even a large enterprise, simply isn’t set up to perform this kind of due diligence on incoming hardware with embedded systems, whether it’s Windows, Linux or another platform. If an organisation wants to ensure privacy for itself and its customers, it must bear the cost of security somewhere in the supply chain, whether that’s in increased cost of a higher assurance supplier, or in post-purchase testing,” he explained.
Why is Linux dismissed as an option? Windows has back doors, so it can never be suited/deemed suitable for financial transactions. Why insinuate that this kind of issue is inherent (to the task)?
They should call out Windows and Microsoft’s connections with the NSA. which in is in turn connected to US banks. No country other than the US can ever trust Windows for use in ATMs. That’s a fact.
We are disappointed to see incomplete, biased, vengeful ‘reporting’ with agenda tied to companies/friends/employers of the writers/publishers. This is not journalism. It’s trash talk disguised as “news”. █
Send this to a friend
Microsoft’s layoffs are not about Nokia but about Microsoft
Summary: Microsoft’s rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia’s last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)
NOKIA is dead because Microsoft killed it under the guise of “acquisition” (after a so-called “partnership”). Nokia committed the ‘sin’ of exploring about 4 Linux-based platforms over the years. This could not be tolerated by Microsoft, especially considering Nokia’s size (Nokia’s had the lion’s share of the mobile market). Microsoft had to put a stop to it. When Microsoft took over Nokia (with a mole and a bribe) Nokia had just become one of the top contributors to Linux (the kernel) and was actively developing one of the most promising platforms for mobile devices. It is still being adopted by Jolla (former Nokia staff) as Sailfish OS and to a lesser degree explored by Samsung (Tizen). Let this remind us how anticompetitive Microsoft remains. It’s a force of destruction, not creation. Microsoft has done this for decades.
Some days ago we wrote about news that Microsoft would announce massive layoffs. This turns out to have been true, but the earliest coverage was Microsoft ‘damage control’ (or PR). A longtime critic of Microsoft (after the company stabbed him in the back), a man widely known as Jean-Louis Gassée, says that “Satya Nadella’s latest message to the troops – and to the world – is disquieting. It lacks focus, specifics, and, if not soon sharpened, his words will worry employees, developers, customers, and even shareholders.”
The company is in bad shape because the cash cows are in rapid decline and money is derived from aggressively milking those who are still locked in (we covered this before). The company also uses crimes like bribery in an attempt to keep people locked in. Microsoft is not a real company but more of a corrupt political movement, so if you work for a criminal, by choice, then expect to be treated like one. Here is the Microsoft mouthpiece covering (up?) the layoffs and anonymous staff saying: “that concerns me because now you have a level of stress and anxiety at Microsoft. First, the selfish stress about whether my job is affected. Then personal circle stress. Then partner collaboration stress. Then way out there general concerns about the company. And guess what: when folks are stressed and gossiping, they are not effectively – er, excuse me, productively (?) – implementing the latest strategy. Physiologically, they have increased cortisol and this time will turn into a fog.”
Only about 6% of those laid off are based in Finland. Don’t let Microsoft pretend that it is all about Nokia.
One headline says the layoffs will be complete next year and Microsoft has meanwhile axed the Android phones from Nokia. This expected decision seems to have Elop the mole at the centre of it (he works for Microsoft again, not just as a mole). In Microsoft-tied networks we again witness Sam Dean playing soft. “You have to hand it to incoming Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’” he said. “He is not afraid to stir the pot, and seems well aware that it needs stirring. In a company-wide email, Nadella announced that it will cut its employee base by up to 18,000 jobs, or 14 percent in the next year, and one of the big reasons is to accommodate the acquisition of Nokia.”
No, it is not about Nokia, that is part of the coverup. Dean is still sucking up to Nadella and helping Microsoft’s PR campaign. Here is a better article about how Microsoft killed everything in Nokia which deals with Linux, but there is a lot more to it. “Only 1100 culled from Finland,” tells me a reader, so the lie that Microsoft merely cuts down Nokia is just diversion and deception. About 17,000 are fired outside of Finland and claims that Microsoft goes back to Windows wrongly assume that Windows (mobile) has something going for it. It has been a massive failure. Perhaps it is all about pulling the plug on people who have no blind faith in the Windows ‘religion’:
MICROSOFT HAS ANNOUNCED that Nokia’s Android-powered X handset lineup is no more, with the firm instead planning to deliver the devices with its own Windows Phone mobile operating system.
The layoffs are not effective immediately, so any staff that challenges the status quo should beware.
A reader wrote to us: “What to you want to bet that the severance packages contain non-disparagement/non-compete clauses of some kind? They will spread like a cloud of toxins to new employers. And how many temps/permatemps are going, too?”
The reader showed us this new article which he labeled “voice of a ‘softer” (Microsoft staff). The headline is “Sipilä: Government should hire ex-Microsoft staff to build IT systems” and it suggests that the Finnish government should put an army of Microsoft moles in charge of government IT. What a horrible idea.
These layoffs are not what the early puff pieces claimed them to be. These puff pieces came also from CNET, which has helped openwash Microsoft (the chief editor systematically does this) and is now deleting articles that Microsoft does not like. Yes, CNET has removed (censored we assume) a classic article about a company that ditched Microsoft. Follow the links here (last year) or here. “CNET has taken down the article,” our reader told us, “Link was active in 2013 as it was used then by Pogson” as he indeed demonstrated. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: The rogue media (misinformation) campaign of Microsoft benefits from networks which have been paid by Microsoft over the years
TECHRIGHTS has been disturbed to find some of the corporate media actively participating in Microsoft PR campaigns such as 'Scroogled', paralleling a campaign to portray Microsoft as a privacy and Open Source champion. We have already named some of the networks which routinely do this, such as CNET (part of CBS), whose chief editor Charles Cooper seems to have become a Microsoft mouthpiece by proxy (see another recently-covered example from him).
Other Microsoft-paid networks whitewash Microsoft and play along with the perception management which comes with the alleged change of leadership (Microsoft’s real leaders are behind the scenes and they have hardly changed; neither has the strategy). These “useful idiots” of Microsoft — people who are willingly being bamboozled by the PR campaign — continue to cause great damage that pundits can only try to counter. The Nadella PR is just about as lame as the NSA’s PR, e.g. dressing up the new NSA chief in whites (white knight?) — not blacks — as some kind of a branding strategy which dissociates him from Keith Alexander et al. (men in dark suits),
“…some of the Microsoft-linked media is trying to indoctrinate the public and make as many people as possible love or respect Microsoft.”The PR offensive sometimes makes in into decent sites like Phoronix, which gets it wrong on occasions (see the comments on , an article which was published only days ago). Last week an article titled “Open-Source Software: Bad For Non-Profit Organizations?” [article now removed for being an entrapment/marketing] got published by Michael Larabel, only to be slammed in the site forums, where subscribers expressed disappointment. Larabel got bamboozled by a proprietary software pusher who argued that FOSS is bad for charities. As Larabel put it: “For non-profit organizations, open-source/free software might not actually be the best solution according to a director at a non-profit software solution provider.”
This is the type of lie we hear from Microsoft when it imposes proprietary spyware on all sorts of NGOs, which it would later extort for licensing fees, limiting their capacity for activism and spying on them (we covered this in past years and gave numerous examples).
In summary, some of the Microsoft-linked media is trying to indoctrinate the public and make as many people as possible love or respect Microsoft. It’s a shame that some of the spin leaks into Linux-friendly sites (Google hostility, software licence FUD, ‘death’ of GNU/Linux), so we probably need to highlight the existence of the misinformation campaigns. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
It seems all of the Manjaro Linux developers might have parted way with the distribution’s development except for the project leader.
Send this to a friend
Summary: A set of very recent examples where the corporate press produces FOSS-hostile articles (or pro-Microsoft articles) by citing biased sources of convenience
Nowadays, and especially in the past few months, those of us who exhaustively scan news feeds (as Techrights has done for nearly a decade) would be seeing a relatively new angle for attacking FOSS. After Microsoft had tried using copyrights with SCO as well as patents through all sorts of proxies (and directly) Microsoft-linked groups, including Black Duck, generated more licensing FUD while monetising it (two birds, one stone). Here is the latest example from the news. It is a classic ‘script’ and it is hosted by IDG, which also offered some Black Duck staff (the one cited here) permanent blog space (a very FOSS-hostile blog). The angle, in short, is inherently anti-GPL, claiming that enterprises are afraid of it. Another Microsoft-linked firm, OpenLogic, used and disseminated the same talking point. These are FUD agencies and this is their purpose — to help marginalise FOSS and produce FUD, creating a warped debate in all kinds of events, surveys etc. that they organise. Very nasty. They actually make money from this.
“These are FUD agencies and this is their purpose — to help marginalise FOSS and produce FUD…”Here is another new example. Acting as if one bug in the code of OpenSSL is somehow so Earth-changing for FOSS as a whole, the corporate press is trying to keep the word “Heartbleed” in the headlines [1, 2]. We wrote about this some days ago and highlighted the insidious connection to Microsoft. This is just another angle of FUD: the security angle. Now that Windows XP is not supported (or not being patched) Microsoft needs to create the illusion that FOSS is “equally insecure”, or something along those lines. And this FUD works. We have seen the effect. I see the effect all the time.
Now, watch another such piece of news-flavoured FUD. Python is now the most popular introductory teaching language at top U.S. universities, according to ACM, but the Microsoft-friendly media emits licensing FUD from a familiar source of FOSS FUD, WhiteSource. Adrian Bridgwater, with his mixed history on FOSS (often FOSS-hostile), wrote in Microsoft-friendly media the headline “43% Python Open Source Libraries ‘Potentially Risky’”. This sounds like security FUD, but it’s actually licensing FUD. To quote:
The study suggested that a large percentage of the libraries are under restrictive licenses. The repercussion here may be that while many Python programmers report substantial productivity gains, the use of open source Python components introduces new challenges.
The so-called ‘study’ comes from WhiteSource, which has a consistent track record of attacking FOSS.
This is the type of trash that dominates the press these days. Who is funding those ‘studies’ and why is it so fashionable to attack FOSS using made up (or merely perceived) risks? These questions are largely rhetorical.
Condé Nasty’s Wired has meanwhile produced yet another openwashing Microsoft piece, nicely disguised with a teasing headline (“Watch Steve Ballmer Mock Linux While Dressed as The Matrix’s Neo”). It would have readers believe that Microsoft is now a friend of FOSS. This site has been doing this for a number of years now, as we repeatedly pointed out before. The new owner seems to have an agenda very different from the original owners’. Wired turned into something suspiciously weird under Condé Nasty’s management.
“Wired turned into something suspiciously weird under Condé Nasty’s management.”As we showed before, there are gullible CIOs like Jos Creese who seem like the target audience for this. IDG even has a site called CIO. Facebook too has an openwashing campaign going on (we recently showed more examples of that) and openwashing has been effective at stopping government migrations to FOSS. The British press offers some responses to this trend, include this new article which says:
And Creese isn’t alone in his attachment to Microsoft. Alan Shields, architect team manager at Cambridgeshire County Council, says: “It is incredibly difficult to get away from the stranglehold of Microsoft products, and we are planning to reinforce this by entering into an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft later this year.”
Other British press goes further with another FOSS-hostile piece from Adrian Bridgwater. To quote parts of it:
Mike James on i-programmer isn’t happy either.
James bemoans the reticence, caginess and ok then downright old stubbornness Microsoft has exhibited over its refusal to open source VB6.
VB6 (or Visual Basic 7) is programming language and IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that dates back to the heady CD-ROM centric days of 1991.
Today the Visual Basic 6.0 Resource Center is mainly focused on selling your migration and “upgrades from” than championing that which was once much loved.
James bemoans the fact that Microsoft “killed” VB6 but now refuses to open source the language despite the firm’s “warmth” for open source.
This rather bizarre piece from Adrian Bridgwater, who has a history of being soft on Microsoft, does not quote any Microsoft critics but only Microsoft boosters who want a little bit more from Microsoft. It is overall a very one-sided article, where the opposition (‘balance’) is basically also in favour of Microsoft (both the pros and cons are Microsoft-friendly). It is a Fox ‘news’-style debate, biasing the hypothesis and pushing for a particular, preconceived outcome, openwashing Microsoft with a list of talking points and then citing a Microsoft booster, Dr. Dobbs' Andrew Binstock (i-programmer is also pro-Microsoft and .NET/Mono, as we last noted very recently). Binstock is the Microsoft-boosting editor of Dr. Dobbs (with history of whitewashing Microsoft crimes), who is now ‘pulling a Scroogle’ as well. It is essential to remember that Dr. Dobbs too changed management not too long ago. It’s not at all what it used to be.
The final message we wish to get across is that the media is full of FUD and filled with FOSS-hostile articles. Many of them are easy to explain when knowing the background of the authors, the firms that they cite (often Microsoft-linked), and the agenda of the publisher, which is often designed to favour proprietary software (the advertisers). If these pieces of FUD are not being highlighted and challenged, then there’s risk that there will be perception of no opposition to them, hence they must be “true”. █
Send this to a friend
No Microsoft Office in China
Summary: Developments in China reveal that security and privacy threats posed by reliance on Microsoft are so great that a ban becomes inevitable and continues to expand (Microsoft put on more and more block lists and blacklists)
Let’s face it. Microsoft is in very serious trouble. Citing security, China already bans Windows (latest version), a top cash cow of Microsoft Corporation, which has only a few profitable products. Microsoft is now trying to warp the debate and deny back doors, even though Snowden provided evidence that speaks for itself. Windows has back doors that the NSA is exploiting. The other cash cow, Office (latest version), is also being banned in China, again for security reasons. Microsoft as a whole is being banned and censored, little by little (even its surveillance proxy, Yahoo, is being censored). This will be a big gain for free/libre office suites, including some Chinese versions (IBM employed people in China to work on OpenOffice with ODF). We will write more about the FOSS angle some time tomorrow as it’s a broad (and rapidly-broadening) subject.
Watch the Microsoft propaganda and vengeance in Microsoft media. For instance, says a Microsoft MVP and longtime booster (without mentioning Microsoft’s strong connection with the NSA), there is “malicious intent” here. It is actually a matter of national security because the NSA breaks into networks of companies like Huawei. Who is really malicious then? Here is a better and newer article about the ban of Microsoft Office 360 (5 days downtime). “Microsoft is working very hard to change the way that people see them,” says one article (part of this latest propaganda campaign [1, 2, 3, 4]) and the key word is “see”. No changed behaviour is part of the plan, especially when it comes to security and privacy. It is about perception. Some influential publishers who were paid by Microsoft are helping this perception management campaign right now, which proves that to Microsoft it’s all about marketing, not policy. The article “Microsoft Office Banned by China” generalises to make it seem like Office on the desktop too is banned and since it is written by a Microsoft MVP in a Microsoft sites we can expect the usual ridicule of China. Here is part of the full article from the Microsoft booster:
In April of this year, Microsoft made Office 365 available in China through a partnership with 21Vianet. Office 365, of course, is Microsoft’s online, Cloud edition of the industry leading office productivity software.
China represents a huge potential market for Microsoft. In addition to the launch of Office 365 in the country, Microsoft cut the ribbon on a new Azure datacenter in March.
But, Microsoft’s march to China dominance has been severely hampered as of late, and it seems with malicious intent by the country’s leadership.
This is great news, but a lot of the Western media has not picked this up. Interesting. Maybe there’s fear that this might inspire other governments. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: Observations and analysis of some recent deception in corporate news sites (like Condé Nasty), trying to pretend that Microsoft is secure, that Microsoft is pursuing security, and that FOSS and Android security or privacy are inherently poor
THE KARMA (or blowback) that Microsoft is meeting right now is a result of it sucking up (for government subsidies) to the NSA et al. for a decade and a half. Putting back doors in one’s software is not a safe bet for a business.
As longtime Internet saboteur (most recently Microsoft broke No-IP and offered no real apology, knowing perhaps it would fuel lawsuits by admission) Microsoft should never be trusted for anything Web-based. This is perhaps why China has put Microsoft’s latest Office push on the blacklist. “Yesterday,” said one article “Microsoft convinced a judge to let it take over No-IP’s DNS service, shutting down name service for many websites, in order to stop a malware attack. Today, the company fake-pologized.”
Never mind the fact that, as we explained before, the malware was partly Microsoft’s fault, for making a piece of software that’s insecure by design (and with back doors). “Microsoft’s PR mailout says that “some customers” experienced “temporary” loss of service but that everything was fine now; shortly after, the company’s PR emailed journalists again to say that things were still massively screwed up. It blamed the whole mess on a “technical error,” but when you look at what the judge believed about No-IP when the order came down, it’s clear that the “technical error” was a gross overstatement of both No-IP’s involvement in Microsoft’s woes, and the best way to sort them out.”
Notice how Microsoft is rallying so-called journalists. It is a company of liars and cover-ups. Why would anyone believe a single word?
The very fact that Microsoft was able to shut down millions of legitimate services shows just how much Microsoft corrupted its government. It used the Court for powers like hijacking a whole network. The No-IP story turned out to be far more outrageous than most people realised, as the press had been deceiving them at Microsoft’s behest. People should be fuming and Microsoft sued out of existence, but we just don’t know if this is actually going to happen. If Tux Machines was still on No-IP (as it had been for year, until recently), then it would have been one among millions of victims, potentially down for days.
Now, watch the audacity of Microsoft. With help from Gates’ fan press it pretends to be “against the NSA” and “transparent”. A lie bigger than that is hard to imagine, but this is marketing. This is part of a propaganda campaign which is going on at the moment (in many countries) and would have the gullible believe that Microsoft ‘fights back’ against the NSA, or something along those lines. One piece of propaganda was titled “Microsoft mocks NSA” and another doubts that it is “NSA-proof” (it is not, as with PRISM Microsoft can provide direct access, never mind NSLs).
Corporate media is meanwhile trying hard to push FOSS as “insecure” back into the debate. Gates’ fan press recently did this (citing familiar FOSS-hostile firms) and ‘Information’ Age conflates “proprietary” with “enterprise”, insinuating that FOSS is inherently not for enterprises (this is another type of FUD). Apparently, in addition to all that, a few lines of code (one bug) are the beginning of a new world. It’s that “Heartbleed” nonsense — a word coined by a Microsoft-linked firm for greater impact in an already-FOSS-hostile media (here is Adrian Bridgwater’s cheeky attacks on FOSS, using/exploiting news from 3 months ago, and here is another example). What corporate press rarely tells reader about “Heartbleed” is the insidious connection to Microsoft. There are those who look for bugs in old versions of Android which can leak location data because of the Wi-Fi stack, but these are not critical. “Android phones running 3.1 and newer versions of Google’s mobile operating system are leaking Wi-Fi connection histories, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has discovered,” says one source. Furthermore, says The Mukt, “Android seems to be the center of attention when it comes to mobile security concerns. In the latest, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has made claims that if you are an Android smartphones user, there is a high risk that your location history is being broadcasted to those within your Wi-Fi range.”
So basically, when it comes to FOSS there is nothing to really complain about except privacy bugs and some security bug from three months ago. As Ryan pointed out some days ago in IRC (citing IDG): “UPDATE: IBM on Monday corrected its report to say that the problem is not as widespread as originally thought. “The vulnerability affects Android 4.3 only. Thanks for the Android Security Team for correcting our advisory,” IBM said. About 10.3 percent of Android devices run Android 4.3.”
“That’s some sloppy reporting,” Ryan wrote. “First they reported that 86% of Android devices were affected by a critical security hole. Then they issued a correction, that it was only one version of Android that represents 10% of devices, and not even the latest version. We also don’t know that all Android 4.3 devices are affected, because OEMs can backport patches to their current firmware even when they don’t want to do a major Android upgrade at the moment. Archos kept backporting patches to Android 4.0 for a long time.
The original report, as far as we can tell, came from Android and Linux basher Dan Goodin. He led the way for writers, including in his former employer, to hide up an Android vulnerability. “It’s hard to exploit,” said his former employer, but in Condé Nasty it is called “serious”. This, in our view, is part of the hype which seeks to paint FOSS as ” insecure”, never mind the many back doors we now know of in proprietary software like Microsoft’s.
Just remember that Condé Nasty, and especially its writer Dan Goodin, has been on some kind of villainous Jihad against GNU/Linux for months now, distorting facts to make it seem as thought FOSS cannot be trusted.
To us it seems clear why all this FUD is being disseminated. Citing security concerns, large governments are moving away from pricey proprietary software with back doors, notably Microsoft’s. Watch Microsoft lying to governments of the world:
No backdoors in our code: Microsoft bid to convince governments
In yet another sign that the revelations about blanket NSA spying are biting into business revenue, Microsoft is offering to open up its source code to governments so they can satisfy themselves that there are no backdoors implanted.
There appears to be a fear among technology companies that if Microsoft is forced to do the government’s bidding, then American cloud businesses which operate in other countries could stand to lose a lot of business.
Snowden’s revelations have led to a drop in overseas business for at least two technology firms – Cisco and IBM. Additionally, the Boeing company lost an order from Brazil, which opted to go with Sweden’s Saab for $US4.5 billion worth of aircraft.
These are lies and Snowden’s revelations provided enough hard evidence to prove this. Expect many more attacks on FOSS from a security angle. Microsoft will try to save its cash cows, using a new ‘flavour’ of disinformation, as usual. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: Bursting the bubble or shattering the illusion that Gates is merely a misguided well-meaning person when it comes to education ‘reform’
THE Gates Foundation continues to swindle the world.
GMO (e.g. Monsanto) monopoly is still on the agenda based on reports from CNET (part of CBS) and other CBS sites that highlight more patents on bananas, with investments from Bill Gates. They are of course pretending it’s about feeding hungry Africans, which is a common PR strategy, but it is really about profit. A lot of Gates-bribed media companies and blogs (bribed for silencing Gates criticism, plus the occasional grooming) might be able to keep the lies going some of the time (watch the Gates-funded Guardian publishing a disgraceful puff piece and other whitewash from the plutocrats’ fan press, Forbes), but they can’t keep the world from knowing that’s rather obvious to more and more people over time.
Well, “for a modest profit,” note reports, Bill Gates has just sold shares in private thugs. So only after public pressure and some profit Bill Gates distances self from G4S [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s a shame that this did not receive even more media attention. It highlights the way Gates continues to rapidly increase his wealth while pretending to be giving it all away. It should be easy to see that he does this everywhere, essentially bribing to profit where it’s more challenging a task. He would bribe officials who stand in the way of his corporate ambitions. A common mistake to be made is assuming that Bill Gates ‘screwed up’ only with education when the reality of the matter is that he’s hardly any different from the Koch brothers, he just has better PR.
Here is some recent coverage about Gates’ “Common Core” crusade (privatising what’s public, for a profit). This coverage comes from a paper (Washington Post) whose board used to include Bill's wife Melinda and his close friend Warren Buffett. It says:
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes.
The Gates Foundation spread money across the political spectrum, to entities including the big teachers unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, and business organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — groups that have clashed in the past but became vocal backers of the standards.
Money flowed to policy groups on the right and left, funding research by scholars of varying political persuasions who promoted the idea of common standards. Liberals at the Center for American Progress and conservatives affiliated with the American Legislative Exchange Council who routinely disagree on nearly every issue accepted Gates money and found common ground on the Common Core.
One 2009 study, conducted by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute with a $959,116 Gates grant, described the proposed standards as being “very, very strong” and “clearly superior” to many existing state standards.
Gates money went to state and local groups, as well, to help influence policymakers and civic leaders. And the idea found a major booster in President Obama, whose new administration was populated by former Gates Foundation staffers and associates. The administration designed a special contest using economic stimulus funds to reward states that accepted the standards.
The result was astounding: Within just two years of the 2008 Seattle meeting, 45 states and the District of Columbia had fully adopted the Common Core State Standards.
We recently covered Ravitch's views, which the same paper gave a platform to, despite the infamous Gates ties.
Here we have a Gates-funded newspaper covering a “Rush-hour protest by teachers to target the Gates Foundation” and another Microsoft-linked (and at times — in a previous incarnation — Gates-funded) folks covering this protest against Bill Gates (some GeekWire staff came from Microsoft-funded circles). To quote:
Bill Gates has poured millions of dollars into public education reform in the U.S., and some teachers aren’t too thrilled about that.
About 150 instructors from the Badass Teacher Association marched through downtown Seattle toward the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday evening to demonstrate their disdain for the Common Core standards that have been implemented in 45 states, thanks largely to support from the Gates Foundation.
But as detailed in this Washington Post article from earlier this month, there’s been more and more pushback recently from both teachers and politicians on the standards. Some accuse Gates for supporting Common Core not for the benefit of students, but rather for corporate interest and to help Microsoft’s bottom line because the standards support technology and data.
The most important point we wish to highlight is that not only in education does Gates do this. Perhaps the fact that teachers are smart led to the quick realisation that Gates was selfishly doing harm and there was a triumph over Gates’ well-funded PR operation, which includes bribing politicians and newspapers. We hope that in the coming years it will become a regular thing in the press to cover Gates’ abuses in many other areas, not just obvious ones like investment in oil giants, ALEC, G4S, tobacco, and GMO. Gates is a sociopath just like the Kochs, and one with pockets so deep that he can bribe a lot of people to bamboozle the majority and ridicule (at times even suspend/fire) his opposition. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: Another step in the long struggle to cast proprietary as ‘open’, especially when it comes to Microsoft’s last remaining cash cow and Facebook’s core business of mass surveillance
Openwashing has been a key ingredient of Microsoft’s strategy as of late, pretending that its privacy violations and patent racketeering are somehow outweighted by some kind of goodwill. This is something that not only Microsoft does but also the (partly) Microsoft-owned Facebook is doing quite a lot these days. It is truly disturbing.
Angus Kidman said that “Open [sic] XML is the format which Microsoft Office has used to store Office documents since Office 2007″ even though it is untrue. Almost nobody used it at the time, so Microsoft bribed and corrupted so many people and organisations, hoping to universally impose OOXML on people, pretending it was “open” even though it was all about proprietary Office. Nobody was going to use something so unnecessary, so Microsoft bribed many people for this, including large companies, as compatibility with existing formats had improved and the goalposts needed to be moved. Here is LibreOffice’s Meeks, who was surrendering to Microsoft’s proprietary OOXML rather than adhering to standards like ODF, probably because he was paid by Novell at the time (and Novell was bribed by Microsoft specifically — as per the contractual agreement — to promote and openwash OOXML).
“When the press is trying to insinuate that Microsoft (Office) and Facebook are open there is clearly something wrong with the press.”So once again they are using “Open Source” to promote proprietary lock-in. This is not a novel concept, Microsoft did this with Novell (converter). Phoronix says: “This work may benefit some open-source document editors / office suite software, with more commentary being available from Michael Meeks’ blog.”
How is being reliant on OOXML beneficial to anyone but Microsoft shareholders? This is a trap. We need to reject this format. Google too should stop its unhelpful backing of OOXML, which is getting more detrimental by the day (more of it in the company’s latest event was disclosed, affirming Google’s lack of commitement to document standards).
As noted by some bloggers and writers for the European Commission’s Web site: “To ensure preservation of digital assets, it is essential that specific file formats are implementable in open source software, concludes Björn Lundell, associate professor at the University of Skövde in Sweden. He recommends this should be made a requirement for digital asset strategies of public administrations, thus minimising the risk of losing control over these assets.”
Well, there are patents in OOXML and complexity which shows that it’s really just designed around one implementation in a proprietary form (Office). OOXML should be rejected, especially in the public sector. There is nothing open about it. It’s a massive lie.
Nicholas Miller from VentureBeat and others play a role in a similarly-disturbing campaign that seeks to paint Facebook as “open”. With press release-oriented ‘journalists’ out there it has been quite easy. The Facebook openwashing that we recently wrote about is further promoted by pro-Facebook sites that use semantic jokes to get across this illusion.
When the press is trying to insinuate that Microsoft (Office) and Facebook are open there is clearly something wrong with the press. These are systematic and very persistent (especially this year) openwashing campaigns that everyone should push back against because these deceive and help derail real Free software. █
Send this to a friend
« Previous Page — « Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries » — Next Page »