Summary: The press is awash with Microsoft propaganda that negates truths, such as Microsoft as having “warmth towards open source” (like lawsuits), Microsoft having big share in virtualisation (based on revenue/sales alone), and Microsoft “continu[ing] Android push” (actually, extorting and derailing Android)
EVERY now and then we see some Microsoft openwashing that we are urged to respond to. There are some propaganda agents out there (some working directly for Microsoft) whose aim is to portray Microsoft as privacy-respecting, Open Source-friendly, law-obeying/abiding, and competition-respecting. Earlier today we saw a pro-Microsoft site saying that “Microsoft Refuses To Open Source VB6″, then issuing the following revisionist nonesense: “With Microsoft’s new warmth towards open source it seems a small thing to ask for VB6 to be open sourced.”
There is no “new warmth towards open source”, there is openwashing and propaganda, that’s all. Microsoft pretended to have open-sourced some very old software a few months ago, but that was a sheer lie, promoted for the most part by Microsoft-friendly sites that disregard facts. We need to keep track of such lies, which usually come from sites that have historically been linked to Microsoft (sometimes their writers come from Microsoft).
Here is the MSN-connected (Microsoft, and Microsoft Windows-run) Fool.com belittling Red Hat by warping the way one counts share in virtualisation (they count sales, but Free software is rarely actually sold). It’s the same propaganda line that Gartner and IDC use when it comes to servers share. They give the illusion that proprietary software dominates virtualisation, but that’s nonsense. VMware is linked to the NSA through RSA, and it is run by people from Microsoft (the NSA’s #1 PRISM partner and more). Like Hyper-V, VMware is proprietary and it probably facilitates back door access like Hyper-V does (Hyper-V runs on Windows, which has back doors, hence Hyper-V and every guest VM under it has an NSA back door). We need to find back against disinformation that belittles the share of GNU/Linux and Free software by framing it as a purely financial question.
The third example for today comes from an Android-hostile site. It now gives the illusion (again) that Microsoft supports Android rather than what it actually does. Microsoft extorts Android and derails it by trying to turn a portion of it into a Microsoft surveillance platform.
All the examples above show us not journalism but agenda disguised as reporting. Please report such coverage to us so that we can counter it. █
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Patent lawyers fight to maintain artificial barriers
Summary: Systematic distraction or obfuscation of the SCOTUS ruling, which basically rendered a lot of software patents utterly useless in every court in the United States and abroad/at the border (ITC)
WE SAW THIS after the Bilski case. We saw it many times after that. Lawyers try to shape the truth based on their own preferences. That’s what they do for a living. We must counter them before they successfully change the nature of this whole debate.
Various articles that we see coming from patent lawyers (and patent-centric publications) are an absolute disgrace, but this is precisely what we predicted would happen. Revisionism as such typically becomes necessary when there’s a decision impacting their business. They turn their back on truth and start spinning, or lying by omission.
Remember that lawyers are good liars (or truth twisters), they are not necessarily judges, although judges too have their faults and occasional corruption. Their goal is not justice. They need to just lie on behalf of people (clients), or twist the facts not for the purpose of justice but for winning a case. That’s their occupation by definition and the SCOTUS decision is seen as a threat to some of them.
We have been finding some more articles that we did not see in our fairly large/comprehensive press survey. Here is the EFF speaking about “bad patents” (the EFF prefers not to talk about “software patents” so much anymore, just like the Bezos/Amazon-owned CIAPost which speaks of ‘”bad” patents’). There is also some analysis from eWeek, IP Watch, and pro-Android circles.
The corporate media’s coverage [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] was mostly OK (sticking to the facts rather than twisting them), but there’s already spin from patent lawyers, such as this article by James M. Singer from Fox Rothschild LLP. Its headline states “Supreme Court Delivers Blow To ‘Abstract’ Software Patents, While Stating That Software Still Can Be Patent-Eligible” (the latter part conveys bias).
Here is another example of distortion, with the headline “Supreme Court blow to software ‘patent trolls’”. It’s a weird type of spin, similar to “US Supreme Court squares up to software patent trolls with stricter rules” (from Microsoft-friendly site). Well, the ruling does not say anything about trolls, it speaks about scope. Here is a headline that says “US Supreme Court deals major blow against software patents and patent trolls”, again introducing a discussion about “trolls” where none really existed. SCOTUS dealt with patent scope, so to twist/shape this into something else is simply inadequate.
Watch how Microsoft booster Richard Waters twists the facts, by going with the deceiving headline “Software patents survive US Supreme Court test”. This lousy journalist is a longtime Microsoft spinner (who told lies) and he has just told readers the very opposite of what happened. Richard Waters makes the Financial Times look no better than Fox ‘news’ (AP and CNN did get it right this time).
Now, watch how a typical lawyers’ firm approaches the subject of software patents or business method patents. A patent lawyer from Stuart Meyer, Partner, IP Group, Fenwick & West LLP pretends there is a lot of uncertainty after the decision, which is a common technique for preserving the status quo (pretending that a ruling changed nothing at all due to lack of clarity). It is very clear what SCOTUS has just done, but prepare for patent lawyers all around the world to storm and press and do some revisionism.
The SCOTUS decision would do more to help than all those so-called ‘reforms’ that achieve nothing serious, except perhaps the claim that something has been done (a distraction).
Another lawyer, Matt Levy , continues to divert attention to patent trolls. To quote his latest analysis: “Yesterday, the Supreme Court released its final patent opinion of the term, Alice v. CLS Bank. This case should help clarify the patent eligibility of software, and improve patent quality, but we’re still going to need patent reform legislation to really fix the problems in the patent system that are exploited by patent trolls.”
Nonsense. As many trolls use software patents, it is scope we should be striving to change. Some very large trolls like Microsoft would not be impeded by a reform that deals with small “trolls”. Patent Progress, the site of Levy, always focuses only on trolls; perhaps his goal is not to get rid of software patents but to merely change the landscape of litigation. Here he is speaking about trolls, including Intellectual Ventures, conveniently failing to mention the company behind it or that company’s record of racketeering with patents. “And earlier this week,” said this one post. “Matt Levy explained why the demand letter bills are insufficient to fix the patent troll problem.”
Matt Levy should be doing more to tackle software patents. The same goes for Steph from this trolls-focused site which asks: “You know what the biggest problem with patent trolls is? Oh sure, it’s that they cost companies buckets of money and stifle innovation by shutting down start ups. Those are bad, of course, but the real tragedy here is that they make people like Chris Hulls call someone a “piece of shit” and then look stupid in the process.”
The focus on trolls is the reason we stopped covering patent issues for nearly a year. Here we have an important decision regarding software patents, but people who claim to be pursuing “patent progress” carry on talking about trolls, as if they simply fail to see the broader issue and the ultimate solution to spurious litigation. █
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Summary: A look at some of the latest privacy-washing of Microsoft (the worst privacy offender in the software world) and the parallel actions of Bill Gates and fellow plutocrats
Surveillance is a hot subject these days. People finally oppose mass surveillance because they know a lot better just how bad it is, owing for the most part to leaks.
Virtually no software company has been worse than Microsoft when it comes to surveillance, not even Google or Facebook, which is a monstrous surveillance machine that’s partly owned by Microsoft. We were rather disgusted to see the role that GigaOM, the network of Om Malik, played in providing Microsoft with a “propaganda platform” (to use a now-comical term from the US State Department). How much did Microsoft pay Malik in 2006 (or thereabouts) when he embedded Microsoft propaganda inside his articles (Microsoft still does such things)? Nobody knows how much, but there were payments involved. This criminal company, Microsoft, paid for AstroTurfing of this kind and now it pushes the preposterous idea of opening ‘transparency centres’, owing to Malik’s hosting. Microsoft admits it is hurt by the public’s understanding that it’s in bed with the NSA , so it lies to the public using Malik’s platform. Here is more of that, also from HP.
The situation has gotten so serious that even British banks are now worried about Fog Computing , especially if it involves NSA/PRISM companies like Microsoft (the #1 company in PRISM).
Speaking of surveillance, Bill Gates, who is a famous proponent of the NSA, uses taxpayers-funded Establishments, such as schools and public media (e.g. PBS and NPR), for surveillance. These are common targets for Bill Gates bribes. It’s a perception game. You bribe the right people to get the agenda rectified. He also invests in surveillance companies such as G4S and InBloom (along with Rupert Murdoch). The other day we found this good article on this topic, titled “PARCC Security Breaches Revealed; Microsoft, InBloom, News Corp. Implicated”.
The article says: “When LouisianaVoice broke the story about the stealth agreement between the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE) and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. whereby DOE would provide News Corp. with personal information on Louisiana’s public school students for use by a company affiliated with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the resulting firestorm resulted in cancellation of the agreement.
“Or did it?
“Remember, too, that it was Murdoch who, in 2010, speaking of the enormous business opportunity in public education awaiting corporate America, said, “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S.”
“In June of 2012, Erin Bendily, assistant deputy superintendent for departmental support and former education policy adviser to Gov. Bobby Jindal emailed Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White:
““I think we need to start with a very strong introduction and embed more CCSS (Common Core State Standards) alignment/integration throughout. This sounds harsh, but we should show that our current/old educator evaluation system is crap and the new system is stellar.””
We covered Common Core before. It’s all about turning schools into indoctrination centres (of the rich) and Professor Diane Ravitch, a vocal opponent of Gates (who calls for Federal action against him), has this new article about “Making Schools Poor” (so that they can be bought out). To quote: “It pretends that great teachers will magically appear after principals gain the power to fire teachers without the necessity of hearings. But inner-city schools already have high teacher turnover and difficulty attracting well-qualified teachers. What’s needed most in schools that serve the poorest children is adequate resources, a full curriculum, and a stable, experienced staff. The Vergara decision will do nothing to improve working conditions, to attract better qualified teachers, or to increase the resources available to the neediest children.”
Related/contextual items from the news:
Microsoft admitted that, since the scandal broke, it has seen concrete evidence that trust in its services is plummeting.
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“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
Summary: Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is expected to do nothing, as usual, even through there is overwhelming evidence that Microsoft breaks the law by bribing journalists and bloggers, not just government officials
THE FTC promised to fight bribery of bloggers, but it never really did anything (not a single action that we are aware of). A cynic may simply conclude that there are face-saving laws and rules, but they are not being enforced against criminal enterprises like Microsoft, which habitually engages in AstroTurfing, even in Wikipedia [1, 2, 3] which now bans it and demands disclosure of payments. Microsoft’s PR agencies do this too (they are void of ethics just like Microsoft and some literally emanate from inside Microsoft), not just moles whom Microsoft pays secretly. Microsoft has been bribing bloggers and journalists (with laptops) in exchange for positive reviews of operating systems and nothing is improving these days because Microsoft is paying people to comment in Reddit (now owned by the Microsoft-friendly Condé Nasty), maybe even to misuse moderation to ban opposing views or to submit stories. Microsoft got caught doing this just months ago and there was a similar abuse involving bribed-for YouTube placements (bribing vloggers).
Microsoft is a criminal company and criminals don’t obey laws. After Condé Nasty took over Reddit the site began advertising (in the content section) the most NSA-friendly Web browser (many back doors with new ones every month, enabling whole OS capture due to illegal integration/bundling), probably in exchange for a lot of money. It is a form of AstroTurfing, distorting and ultimately derailing the editorial process.
Well, Microsoft has just been caught bribing bloggers to covertly advertise the most NSA-friendly Web browser (Internet Explorer of course). The pushback actually came from Michael Arrington almost a decade after Arrington had played along with Microsoft and got caught (and shamed for it, losing a lot of credibility). Arrington blew the whistle, but Microsoft lies to him (and his readers) by claiming it had nothing to do with it (see the update). is Microsoft trying to distance itself from it all, but now we finally know Arrington was right all along:
Why in the world is Microsoft (through an agency) trying pay bloggers to write about Internet Explorer? Do people still do this? And given my position on paid posts, why would they think I’d be willing to participate?
This is just layers of stupid.
Here’s the link in the request below. Here’s the hashtag (#IEbloggers) that they’re requesting people use, so I’m guessing anyone using that is getting paid.
Arrington once agreed to do the “people-ready” Microsoft propaganda, embedded in articles for some Microsoft cash (hence a violation, as per the FTC’s rules). Microsoft could not escape such scandals, later confirming — implicitly — that it was definitely something Microsoft was behind. Even a site that serves Microsoft propaganda very routinely has covered it. Here is a quote: “Microsoft Internet Explorer officials are attempting to distance themselves from a paid social-media effort by an advocate marketing company meant to promote Microsoft’s IE browser.”
Coming from ZDNet this is quite grand because the site was paid by Microsoft to become its propaganda mill (we exposed this numerous times in the past).
What can people do? Well, given that the FTC won’t do anything (highly unlikely), people should boycott Microsoft and urge journalists ban Microsoft from various circles of the media, not just from procurement.
Microsoft is run by the same unethical thugs, even if the public face (CEO) has changed. People who don’t wish to reward criminals should pay not a penny to Microsoft. █
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Rinsing (and repeating) Microsoft lies in the corporate media
Summary: Further distortion of what FOSS means and stands for, including Microsoft’s rather unique involvement in this distortion
There has been lots of Microsoft openwashing lately, as well as Apache FUD [1, 2, 3] (The Register recently joined this FUD campaign). Some of the openwashing revolved around .NET and an article about Roslyn (which is not “open” [1, 2, 3, 4]) by Microsoft booster Tim Anderson. He did this effective Microsoft AstroTurfing (like any clever PR front) some days ago in The Register, acting like a smear against Open Source and openwashing of Microsoft at the same time. Check out this disgrace of an article:
“Pushing that button was one of the more impactful clicks of my career,” says Microsoft’s C# lead architect Anders Hejlsberg. The click in question was made on stage at Microsoft’s Build conference in April, and its effect was to publish the .NET Compiler platform, codenamed Roslyn, as open source under the Apache 2.0 licence.
Roslyn is both the next generation compiler for C# and Visual Basic, and a set of APIs which enable deep integration with developer tools (like Visual Studio) for more powerful code recognition and refactoring.
This is total nonsense, involving proprietary software which tries to masquerade as ‘open’. The Register has low standards now.
IDG, citing Microsoft buddies like Black Duck and Gartner, continues to further dilute the meaning of Open Source. These are FOSS-hostile Trojan horses, Gartner and Black Duck, are cited in IDG as ‘authorities’ on FOSS and mind the headline which is rather offensive. It’s FUD disguised as fanfare. Gartner cares about FOSS like Bush cares about peace and Black Duck cares about FOSS like a fox cares about sheep. The media sure likes too taunt FOSS, still. Watch how the media continues to proper up Gartner’s TCO FUD by ignoring all but one CIO in the UK — one who fails to admit that proprietary software requires support, just like FOSS. Here is Jos Creese used again to generate negative publicity for FOSS. To quote the article:
Yet most IT departments and data centres in the public and private sectors already deploy more open sourced software than most of us do at home or on personal devices (think Microsoft and Apple for a start). The challenge for open source providers is to be open about total cost of ownership – the idea that open source is ‘free’ in a corporate environment is usually neither helpful nor true. Honesty about the cost economics will also help to promote the real potential of open source in a corporate environment. And whilst open source solutions will become more prevalent, there will remain a role for proprietary solutions to co-exist.
This is the same old TCO FUD.
These people like to pretend that Microsoft is opening up, even in Newham (UK, central). It shows why the openwashing is so dangerous and the deception is effective for those who are gullible by choice.
Why is the British media so FOSS-hostile these days? Is there a trail of money that goes beyond just advertising? █
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Condé Nasty’s building, located near Wall Street
Summary: Articles about security issues at Condé Nasty (owner of Ars Technica) fail to focus on inherent flaws in software that is secret (and has back doors baked in), instead amplifying alarms over FOSS bugs
We recently saw some reports about Android vulnerabilities which actually count for something, e.g. privilege escalation put in proper context (user needs to actually install the software). But some people, and especially Goodin , would rather hype up non-issues and post them under “Risk Assessment / Security & Hacktivism” (an anti-Linux and now anti-Android section at Condé Nasty). They ignore the real security issues such as back doors, instead focusing on this kind of nonsense, saying that a designed change could heighten security risks for users. This is a continuation of very incomplete, one-side coverage, where only FOSS is ever characterised as insecure. It is propaganda by omission and Goodin is exaggerating the severity of flaws while adding provocative images to further increase the magnitude of fear. There is an agenda there; Irresponsible to say the least, as we recently showed. Maybe Goodin should highlight automatic updates of whole operating systems such as Windows. Why is he only picking on Android/Linux? Based on some reports, the FBI is listening to Android devices remotely. Maybe this is the kind of thing Goodin should cover, but he never does. Spooks may be hijacking automatic updates (such as Windows automatic updates) using back doors and collusion like PRISM, but Goodin is not interested in these matters. He would rather overlook the big issues like proprietary software which declines to obey settings that block automatic updates (Windows does this). Windows is the Swiss army knife of spooks, some of whom went on from agencies like the FBI to top positions inside Microsoft (and later to the firm which created hype/FUD about ‘Heartbleed’ [1, 2, 3]). People who only cover issues in FOSS instead of back doors in Windows cannot be taken seriously. It’s just so Condé Nasty (owner of Ars Technica since a few years ago). When Microsoft employees who reveal secrets of Windows get jailed and deported we should clearly divert scrutiny in that direction, but it is not happening. This site should be capable of better journalism on software issues, such as this very detailed new article about Android. Only balanced journalism will make this site look like real journalism. █
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Summary: Elon Musk from Tesla Motors claims to be ‘sharing’ inventions, but the true motivations are far less benign than it seems on the surface (if not malicious)
WE HAVE been patiently watching “Linux” and “Open Source” feeds filling up with something that is not related to software but claims to be inspired by “Linux” and “Open Source”. It’s some marketing stunt from Tesla, which got the attention of OS (Open Source) Vehicle (another openwashing attempt).
The post says: “Is this a marketing stunt?
“I don’t think so. This can be a genuine effort from one of the visionaries of the silicon valley, one of the most advanced companies on earth, taking finally into account that – by having a value proposition targeted at a customer segment that is pretty small, mostly made by wealthy people most of them living in the US. You can’t really change the world for the better in a short enough amount of time (do you remember we have only less than 6000 days? – look at this).
“As you may also know, Tesla is developing a pretty cool new technology for batteries and it’s probably sure that having other big automotive brands producing cars based on their technology, their batteries will be able to target a bigger market and – at the end – achieve a bigger transformation effect on automotive.”
But why were these patented in the first place? And if these were not patented, would Tesla be able to make a fuss about the so-called ‘giveaway’?
The post goes on: “But if Tesla really wants to scale up its contribution, it must work towards the real adoption of the technological solutions that it is making available, it must switch from a product approach to a platform approach and – in a way that is similar to what we are doing – needs to engage with the community, understand how these technologies can be used and are going to be used and make efforts to ensure that every player in the market will have the same access, an access that is clear in terms of rights, obligations and implications.
“Also, an open source (patents) car will work in the future only if it’s accompanied by an open and distributed manufacturing process, that is able to include multiple stakeholders and be based on a more participative value chain, also embedding the principles of Cradle to Cradle production, eliminating waste and obsolescence.”
We were preparing a long article about this whole marketing exercise that’s basically openwashing the company using the disgraced notion of “opened” patents. IBM, HP and other companies have been using this marketing exercise before. It’s utterly pointless and we have countered it repeatedly. Why are so many journalists bamboozled, including FOSS-friendly ones? Here is one key person from Canonical stating: “When I get home, I’m going to take down a plaque that has proudly hung in my own home office for nearly 10 years now. In 2004, I was named an IBM Master Inventor, recognizing sustained contributions to IBM’s patent portfolio.”
Further down he says: “I’ve never been more excited to see someone back up their own rhetoric against software patents, with such a substantial, palpable, tangible assertion. Kudos, Elon.”
But Elon did not revoke the patents, he just claimed to be sharing them (in a pseudo-geeky way with a famous meme). That’s a very different thing. It’s the same thing that IBM claims to be doing with OIN, among other strategic marketing angles.
Shameless here is the type of free marketing newspapers gave Tesla, characterising a patent hoard (followed by openwashing) as some kind of championship of FOSS. The PR nonsense audaciously uses the term sharing, even though it’s all about profit. They are selling patents as a form of marketing, creating dependence on their technology. Elon Musk, the CEO, has been getting far too much credit and publicity here; it’s rather familiar because all sorts of patent ‘pledges’ by HP and IBM are worse than useless and his is no better. Those two companies lobby for software and try to make it look OK. Likewise, Tesla is patenting all sorts of things and now makes the patents looks legitimate by ‘sharing’ them (whatever that means). It’s the Robin Hood mentality or the doctrine of ‘charity’, where rather than establishing social equality one works vertically, by giving from top to bottom, selectively, upon one’s will and supposed ‘generosity’. As long as there are patents on things like these, lawsuits will continue to harm small companies. “Heavy patent litigation scared off about $22 billion in VC funding over 5 years,” said this one new article, and it is one among many.
The press that Tesla received extends to other countries and resorts a to pathetic cocky attitude that uses metaphors (“Handing Over the Keys”) for openwashing or the notion that Telsa is “contrarian” and “open source” (“the open source movement”).
One decent response to the marketing from Tesla came from Jan Wildeboer, who wrote:
Thank you, Tesla Motors For The Patents, but …
Here’s the thing. Elon Musk doesn’t trust the patent system to protect his inventions. So instead of filing for more, he will simply not file at all and keep his inventions secret. The stuff that already got patented thus is already considered lost by him so it is safe to “open source” them all.
When will the press finally ‘get’ Tesla’s real reasons for doing this? It’s about self interest; Tesla would get sued by shareholders otherwise. █
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Summary: The Register misleads readers into thinking that Microsoft is gaining market share on the Web
Simon Sharwood from The Register released a propaganda piece we are unable to ignore. It’s a familiar talking point. We covered this numerous times before. Sharwood’s propaganda is titled “Microsoft poised to take Web server crown from Apache” (implying growth) although the very opposite is true.
Microsoft is actually losing share (as it has been losing for years) and in servers that really count it has less than ten percent market share.
Fortunately, some readers of The Register are not dumb enough. They reply in the comments section. One insightful comment says: “Apparently MS has been throwing money or other arm-twisting tricks to persuade large hosters of parked pages to switch to IIS. AFAICS the only benefit of this is incomplete articles in the press about how IIS is set to become (/will become) the most popular web server, which is a useless metric. As mentioned, the picture for Active sites is very different, and the Top Million even more so .. which somehow does not get mentioned in the news reports.”
Sadly, very few people read comments, so the vast majority will be left with the impression that Microsoft is doing well on the Web. That’s some very powerful propaganda. All Microsoft had to do was bribe some people to game numbers, then find gullible or corruptible journalists (“useful idiots” or liars) to drop out there some misleading claims at Microsoft’s behest.
Ever since Microsoft paid The Register the publication has not been the same. Microsoft likes not only to bribe hosts (selectively) but also governments and media companies. It helps distort public perceptions. The Register is definitely part of the problem now. This example of one of many. █
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