Summary: .NET is not “Open Source”, it cannot be forked (there remains patent threat), Visual Studio is still completely proprietary and it is expected to come to other platforms only because Windows has lost its dominance and Microsoft wants to perpetually control APIs (with software patents) and hence reign over developers
We correctly foresaw a barrage of misinformation about Microsoft and .NET and now it’s time to tackle it all. Very few journalists have been getting the .NET story right. Although they do exist, they have been massively outweighed and outnumbered by sheer misinformation. This post will hopefully be comprehensive enough to name those who got the story right and those who got it wrong. We will end with some truths and clarifications.
The signal (as in signal-to-noise ratio) was lost in a vortex of many Microsoft lies that got posted and reposted in the news this week (since Wednesday night); some were utter lies, but there were semi-truths in some cases. We probably ought to clean up the mess/web of lies after Microsoft spilled out PR and its minions happily relayed it to bamboozle journalists into calling .NET "open source" (many did exactly that). To be fair, there are definitely exceptions and there are some who got the story right, so we will give them credit and tell them apart rather than collectively refer to them all as though they serve the same establishment.
Let’s start with the simple facts. Microsoft has not had a change of heart; it uses publicity stunts. There are better yardsticks by which we can assess Microsoft’s intentions. Let’s see, for example, if Microsoft joins OIN (non-aggressive patent pact/collective) and stops assaulting Free software directly and by proxy. It just won’t happen any time soon and it is a point that Simon Phipps made in his somewhat belated article which states: “How does this affect Microsoft’s status in the open source community? The OSI Board (of which I am a member) welcomed Microsoft’s news as as “continued progress toward full embrace of open source” and there’s no doubt this, like the news about Linux support in Azure, signals great progress. We welcome each new initiative, but the rehabilitation process is not completed by any individual act or even by a sequence of them.
“To move beyond stage five of the journey to open source, Microsoft needs to take a holistic view and ensure every business unit of its famously divided company treats open source with respect. While Microsoft continues to tolerate sociopathy in the business units not yet embracing open source – such as the patent attacks on Linux community members by its patent portfolio group or the covert politics to undermine Open Document Format – it’s hard to treat the company with the full respect it believes it deserves.
“As the inevitability of open source gradually pervades Microsoft like Aslan’s breath, hope increases that the company will choose to act as a full member of the Linux community – for example, by joining OIN as a way to forswear patent attacks on open source community members. I sincerely hope Microsoft completes this journey.”
Phipps is being too optimistic and overly kind (perhaps he must because of his diplomatic role at OSI and because of his publisher), whereas Larry Cafiero uses a Nazi-era analogy (FOSS as Chamberlain) to negatively characterise this kind of optimism. He insinuates that unless Microsoft turns everything into GPL then it can “get the fuck out”. His post is relatively polite (unlike the headline) and it says: “One of the issues this week that has had the FOSS press all atwitter — literally and figuratively — and has had a lot of smart FOSS people uncharacteristically swooning is the fact that Microsoft is “open sourcing” .NET and other software (For example, .NET is released under the MIT license, whatever that may be).
“One subtext here, of course, regarding the misplaced euphoria by some begs the question, “Is Microsoft trustworthy?” The answer is clearly, “No. Absolutely not.” Despite the fact that Redmond has been playing nice with FOSS lately, we should not trust Microsoft any farther than former CEO and Stasi agent look-alike Steve Ballmer can throw a chair.”
He continues: “Let’s not forget — let’s never forget — Microsoft has reveled in their role as digital brownshirts since one of their many ill-conceived, all-conquering goals was to strangle FOSS and Linux in its proverbial cradle. It continues to this day, and for the foreseeable future, in patent shakedowns and insistence on locked-in interfaces no one else can use, among other digital inconsistencies aimed at providing only one option: theirs.
“So we’re just supposed to forget the fact that we were once considered a “cancer” by this company — letting bygones be bygones — solely because they say they “love Linux” and because they open-sourced some of their software under some obscure license?
One part-time booster of Microsoft says that Microsoft is now neglecting Windows, which lost its dominance in many areas. To quote his analysis: “Windows Phone users are used to waiting for Microsoft to deliver on its promises, but the company has been testing their patience recently. Microsoft has abandoned its “first and best on Windows” strategy in favor of cross-platform apps that are nearly always better on Android and iOS than their Windows tablet and phone counterparts. Office is the latest proof of a continuous trend that’s leaving Microsoft’s most-loyal Windows customers out in the cold.
“After shipping Office for iPad earlier this year, way ahead of a touch-optimized Windows release, Microsoft followed up with an even better version for the iPhone last week. While the initial Office for iPhone app, released last year, offered basic editing like its Windows Phone counterpart, the new app goes way above and beyond the functionality Microsoft ships on Windows Phone. Comparing the two almost feels unfair at this stage. Microsoft is working on new touch-optimized versions of Office for Windows tablets and phones, but the company won’t deliver them until Windows 10 is ready next year. It’s another period of waiting for Windows fans.”
That is just more vapurware talk, along the lines of another bit of spin (naming Vista 10 years before it even exists). This same vapourware about Vista 10 can be found in the post “With a new platform-neutral Microsoft, why go Windows?” (by Microsoft booster Mary Jo Foley), summarised thusly: “The days of counting on Microsoft to deliver first and best on Windows are gone. Will Windows 10 bring them back next year?”
Windows is becoming obsolete in the schools market too, so Pablo Valerio at UBM floats similar vapourware from Microsoft. They acknowledge that Windows is quickly going away, but then they start naming Vista 10 as if that vapourware will change everything. What it all shows us is that Microsoft becomes more receptive to the idea of cross-platform not because the company is suddenly nice but because Windows is rapidly losing market share. For Microsoft it’s merely a survival strategy. Microsoft would rather we all view it as goodwill, just as it tried to portray a driver release (under the terms of the GPL) as a deliberate act of goodwill when it fact it was a GPL violation that Microsoft was caught committing (hence it could go to court to compel Microsoft to do the same thing).
As we noted the other day, just after Microsoft deception’s campaign had started, the company opened not .NET but only parts of it. The headlines even in FOSS-leaning sites did not get this right most of the time, e.g. in this one example quoting Microsoft Peter as the source (with another inaccurate and misleading report). We’re mentioned in then 2nd comment there. “Any time there are these sorts of “open source” claims from Microsoft,” said one commenter, “just wander over to TechRights and see what Roy Schestowitz has to say. If there’s any doubt, he’ll set you straight.”
The lies were spread by bamboozled journalists or Microsoft boosters whom these journalists followed as their principal sources. Truth got lost early on and the lies now dominate the wire. It’s hard to challenge the message which was so broadly broadcast.
What we have here is an attack on Eclipse, which unlike Visual Studio is free software and wins in opinion polls over criteria like these of cross-platform and openness (or freedom). Self-serving acts are not goodwill and bringing to more platforms Visual Studio (which remains to be done and we do not know to which level of quality it will be done) is just spreading of malicious, non-free software.
Microsoft is doing a perception distortion campaign in order to reduce openness among developers, but as expected, lots and lots of misleading headlines (Microsoft PR) appeared in the news this week. It’s a shameful charade. It targets both developers and software users.
Consider the misleading claims from Microsoft booster Paul Thurrott that can percolate into less informed sites (less technical), including the British press that tends to be better than most. Many sites portray this as complete opening, whereas few say that it is core only, meaning that .NET is merely a mixture and thus still proprietary or “open core”. The .NET boosters and Bill Gates-funded papers mislead readers as usual, so the lies propagate and make it into decent sites that now make misleading statements in the British press, the Australian press, and plenty of north American sites. One British news site got it right, but many others did not, so it does not matter what is true, what matters is what developers think or feel. With help from poor journalism Microsoft has just fooled a lot of people.
We could go on and on collecting examples of relatively benign and not so inaccurate reports, but they are few and they are outweighed by falsehoods. The freeware nature of the tools makes them not Open Source as some sites online to claim but basically proprietary for other platforms. The South African press got it wrong and it is too late to correct all this. It’s a bit depressing to watch because whenever witnessing a lot of lies and almost nobody to counter them effectively (as in the days of the Microsoft-Novell patent deal) a lot of clean-up work remains to be done.
Some sites correctly paint this .NET nonsense as open core, but Microsoft sites and Microsoft-affiliated sites keep fighting against the truth. Even Microsoft Peter is relaying the lies from the Microsoft press release while pro-Microsoft ‘journalists’, as expected (Microsoft must be pressuring them to repeat the lie in order to change perceptions), put these lies in widely distributed newspapers. Microsoft's tool Dina Bass got it wrong and other writers in corporate media (full of Microsoft spinners with a long track record of it) do a great service to Microsoft. They rewrite the truth. A lot of readers will never know they’re being brainwashed.
There is something curious (but expected) if one looks who claims .NET is “open source”. Most of them are known Microsoft boosters. Microsoft lover Brian Fagioli is repeating the lie and an article by Sam Dean continues his tiring Nadella fawning.
“Facts don’t matter and journalism systematically fails. There is no fact-checking.”One Australian news site was clarifying that it’s more like “open core” and less inaccurate headlines at least say .NET is partly proprietary, hence proprietary, still.
The whole .NET nonsense from Microsoft serves to show the corporate media is as accurate as Microsoft minion de Icaza (one of the most widely cited source of misinformation here). Facts don’t matter and journalism systematically fails. There is no fact-checking.
Here is what a British site, the biggest news sites in the UK (for technology), wrote about this endlessly. Some of these articles are from known Microsoft boosters. They are advertising .NET. There are no disclosures. Here is the misleading headline from Microsoft booster Andrew Binstock. It’s high time for mass deception.
One of the best articles came from the Australian journalist Sam Varghese, who actually asked some real questions. Well, those who ask such questions often get the most flack because they’re actually doing their job. He recalled Silverlight and wrote that “some time back, Microsoft announced that Silverlight development would effectively end and De Icaza was left with a lot of code that was of no use. There was no beacon left to follow, no light in the sky to guide his way.” Now Microsoft can now hire/absorb Xamarin or alternatively dismantle it. It remains to be seen what actually happens.
Late on Friday (2 days later) we kept seeing poor reporting in the media, so not even two days of research were apparently enough for journalists to get the facts right. Here is a misleading headline from the rich people’s paper of glory. It is sad to see false claims perpetuated even by Jim Lynch, who is pro-FOSS. Some people do issue corrections in the comments, e.g. this comment at the bottom. The comment says “.NET Microsoft isn’t MIT. .NET is not Open Source” and it cites the article “Microsoft Legally Contradicts Itself”. The article says: “The PATENTS.TXT file contains Microsoft’s legally binding promise not to sue anybody for patent infringement if they use the code. Sort of. The problem is that the wording of the document opens a potential loophole that would allow Microsoft to sue a third party that took parts of the .NET code and built or included it into another application for patent infringement.”
This kind of point was also debated in Twitter, involving Microsoft minions and the head of the OSI. It shows that the patent mess remains and to highlight some key remarks, Carlo Piana (a FOSS lawyer) writes: “What about any patents MS claims (IIRC there are a few). MIT does not pass any through.” Benjamin Henrion (FFII) responds with: “Just as the Java patent story, the Microsoft patent pledge is not enough… the promise should be made to other .net implementations, not just the implementation they control.” Simon Phipps checked the details and confronted de Icaza over his misinformation, saying: “It appears to only protect use of ‘Covered Code’, not third-party .NET implementations… It is a covenant linked to the Git repo, not to the .NET specification… It also does not cover use of the code in anything but “a compliant implementation”… the language excludes subsetting and code repurposing.”
Yes, so much for “Open Source”! You cannot even fork it safely.
Here is what maddog wrote [via]:
Of course some people will point out some of the more recent things that Microsoft has done:
Microsoft has made money off “Open Source”. Taking technologies mostly from MIT or BSD licensed software, they took code written and contributed by other people and worked them into Microsoft products. They are not alone in this, and I do not “blame them” for doing it. They obeyed the letter of the law.
Threatening to sue other companies for patent infringement, but not willing to tell the Android/Linux community what patents they feel were being violated so we could avoid them…or dismiss them.
Contribute patches to the Linux kernel, but usually in the areas of hypervisors, to allow Microsoft’s hypervisors to work well on top of the Linux kernel….the same kernel for which they are blackmailing….er, ah, charging patent royalties.
As usual, people who accept Microsoft’s claims at face value are most likely going to find out that they have been misled. None of the above publications is likely to issue corrections, neither in-place or in a follow-up article. Microsoft has successfully made a falsehood be seen as “truth”. A lot of people will not be made aware of the dangers of .NET. █
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How many clueless or lazy journalists will drink the Kool-Aid?
Summary: The openwashing of .NET continues with yet another publicity stunt that is intended to lock in developers
THERE is some propaganda campaign going on right now. Judging by who’s spreading it with love letters to Microsoft, one cannot miss the source and the method of distribution. We must write quickly to counter the marketing, which is basically a load of selective/subjective misinformation and spin.
The biggest disappointment (but not a surprise) comes from Phoronix, which habitually covers Mono (for over 5 years now). One can see the comments (forum) for corrections. Michael Larabel is relaying Microsoft PR without quite checking the facts and so do a few other writers who jump the gun and are spreading to some Linux sites Microsoft’s misinformation. One can expect this from Microsoft-funded networks like GigaOm (Microsoft used to pay Om Malik for Microsoft advertising disguises as articles), so nonsense like this is not too shocking. We sure are expecting lots of Redmond-based and Microsoft-affiliated Web sites to virtually spam the news until the weekend (and even after the the weekend) with false claims that .NET is “open source” even though it’s not. Watch Microsoft press minions like Mary Jo Foley spreading the PR (at least not with a misleading headline). We also expected the likes of Miguel de Icaza to continue to openwash .NET because Microsoft does an “open core” PR publicity stunt (promoting a trap as though it’s “open”). Don’t be fooled by this widely-cited post with a bad headline that is very misleading. Down at the body is says: “There are three components being open sourced: the .NET Framework Libraries, .NET Core Framework Libraries and the RyuJit VM. More details below.”
“Xamarin’s Nat Friedman and Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman can scream and shout “open source” all they want but merely talking about some components going MIT licence and saying that “Visual Studio Community is now FREE to download” is not the same as .NET becoming “open source”.”So that’s not the whole. The headline is sensationalist garbage. It is very misleading as Microsoft is doing an “open core” PR stunt, it is not open-sourcing .NET. Net Friedman and other Microsoft minions (funded by Microsoft veterans to essentially act as moles inside FOSS) repeat these same claims that may actually bamboozle a lot of journalists. Jo Shields and fellow Xamarin puppets of Microsoft, for example, try to mislead similarly while very openly promoting Microsoft’s marketing (they even relay Microsoft staff’s tweets verbatim, showing who they’re rooting for).
Well, taking the actually news into account, no doubt it’s good for Xamarin, but it’s a proprietary software company whose interests intersect with those of Microsoft, not FOSS.
Xamarin’s Nat Friedman and Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman can scream and shout “open source” all they want but merely talking about some components going MIT licence and saying that “Visual Studio Community is now FREE to download” is not the same as .NET becoming “open source”. It’s just ‘free’ proprietary, it’s gratis. It’s tied to pricey malware with back doors.
Microsoft is just so desperate to lock in developers, who are rapidly moving away to FOSS and saying goodbye to Windows because Android/Linux is on the rise. The Linux Foundation’s CEO, Jim Zemlin, has already commented on Microsoft’s openwashing attempt, correctly pointing out that Microsoft is just trying to lure in developers because Windows is no longer dominant.
All in all what we deal with is merely a deceiving charm offense, as Microsoft and its minions already made similar announcements some years ago about some components, never the whole. Anyone who states something like .NET is “going open source” is either a liar or a person with reading comprehension issues. Microsoft sure has antagonism for the truth and its followers can be blinded by greed. Gratis proprietary software or proprietary software which includes components that are not proprietary is of no practical use. This is merely an exercise in marketing and presentation. █
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“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”
–Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive
Summary: Following the familiar pattern of FOSS FUD, wherein we see Microsoft partners badmouthing FOSS over “security” (ignoring much worse problems in proprietary software), FOSS gets widely bashed in the British media
MICROSOFT has made many back doors available for the FBI and for the NSA. We have covered this for over half a decade and given concrete examples. Our next post will give yet another new example.
So, how does Microsoft have the audacity to tell us — usually by proxy — that Free software is not secure? Yes, Free software has some bugs (not many are critical), but Microsoft software is insecure by design. There are lots of back doors in Windows XP, for example, but the British NHS, which holds medical records (highly sensitive) of tens of millions of people (including my family), continues using it based on this new report:
Many UK NHS Trusts are at risk of missing the extended cut-off deadline for Windows XP support in April 2015, according to the results of several Freedom of Information requests by software firm Citrix.
Although the government acquired a support extension, the FOI request found that the trusts have been slow to make the transition, or are simply unsure when their transition would be complete.
Why on Earth are they not migrating to GNU/Linux yet? I have been part of British migrations to GNU/Linux, both in the private sector and government, and all I can say is that it always works. Not only does it save money but it also produces more secure and more stable systems.
“Entertaining more of that nonsense about FOSS being less secure than platforms with back doors or about Microsoft loving the competition that hurts it the most is probably a waste of time.”Trend Micro littering the British press at the moment with anti-FOSS messages that promote Microsoft, not mentioning back doors. We need not link to any examples because there are many of them this afternoon, but we have confronted Trend Micro UK and publications that gave it a platform today. So has the President of the OSI. Trend Micro has a FOSS-hostile track record, so it hasn’t been too surprising.
Speaking of poor journalism that’s actually PR in disguise, watch what IDG is doing right now. A new article by Eric Knorr of InfoWorld (editor), perhaps infatuated/in love with his sponsor (ads), repeats Microsoft's lie that it loves Linux
Entertaining more of that nonsense about FOSS being less secure than platforms with back doors or about Microsoft loving the competition that hurts it the most is probably a waste of time. The next post will show another back door that Microsoft deliberately put it its common carrier. █
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Summary: Unified Patents — not just Lex Machina — claims a sharp drop in patent lawsuits and patent boosters try to characterise this as a trend pertaining to patent trolls even though it is about software patents, irrespective of the nature of their ‘holder’
CONTRARY to claims that come from lawyers (patent profiteers), the SCOTUS determination not only affects patent trolls; it truly affects software patents, which many trolls just happen to use the most.
“Claims of decrease in litigation now come not just from one source.”Claims of decrease in litigation now come not just from one source. It was Lex Machina (headed by Mark Lemley, the famed Professor of Law) that initially claimed a sharp drop in patent lawsuits following the SCOTUS ruling that achieved so much more than the previous software patents decision (the Bilski case).
Patent maximalists portray this only as a loss for patent trolls: [via]
Further evidence of a dramatic slowdown in patent litigation activity in the United States is provided today in data published by Unified Patents, the entity whose business is based on helping SMEs fight frivolous patent suits. According to the research, which covers the third quarter of this year (June to September), there was a 23% drop in the number of suits filed compared to the second quarter, and a 27% year-on-year reduction.
Unified Patents is another, separate source of data and its findings are similar to those of Lex Machina. Still, the problem is that the patent maximalists paint is as a matter regarding patent trolls, even though it is about litigation in general (including from giant troll-like entities, e.g. Microsoft).
One might make a guess here and assert that patent lawyers are very, very worried that they might be losing business. █
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Summary: Microsoft’s outrageous claim that it really “loves” that which it is constantly attacking gets rejected by Free/Open Source software (FOSS) luminaries; the Microsoft-friendly media continues the charm offensive nonetheless
THE CONTAGIOUS NEWS HEADLINES may still repeat and endlessly tell us all about Microsoft's lies -- something along the lines of Microsoft 'loving' Linux when it is perfectly clear that Microsoft as a whole is not 'loving' Linux but hating is with a great passion.
Here in Techrights we are not gullible enough to repeat these lies, unlike Microsoft propaganda sites, e.g. this nonsense from Microsoft MVP Rob Trent, pretending that Microsoft supports Linux. Simon Phipps, the OSI’s President, is not gullible enough either. After debating with him in Twitter he came up with this article titled “Microsoft ‘loves’ Linux? Then stop attacking open source”. It states:
According to Satya Nadella, Microsoft loves Linux. He said as much, complete with pictures — and his team backs him up. In itself, it’s a remarkable statement.
Nadella’s predecessor, Steve Ballmer, described open source in the darkest terms, characterizing it (with the GNU GPL) as a commercial cancer and never retracting the slur. In many ways, that dark prophecy has come true for Microsoft, which has seen its rent-seeking business model steadily eroded by open source. Though it still has a cash cow to milk, Microsoft’s monopolies no longer frighten anyone.
Microsoft carries a much greater burden of mistrust, arising from two decades of attacks on open source in general and Linux in particular, which makes its challenge even more formidable. Seasonally appropriate, the Halloween Documents show Microsoft’s former internal thinking. It planned both business strategies and tactical dirty tricks to destroy the reputation of open source. While their public statements made no secret of the contempt with which it held open source, the Halloween Documents disclosed a depth of treachery that few suspected prior to their publication.
Today Microsoft has a major business unit asking its new CEO to declare love for Linux. That public stance is extremely welcome. But how can we know the current internal thinking? I asked Microsoft for an interview to discuss its love for Linux, as well as the potential of joining OIN. The response: “Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate your request at this time.”
Phipps uses a similar analogy to the one I used last month (and the one he used in Twitter). He says: “The evidence suggests Microsoft “loves” Linux the same way abusive partners “love” their spouses — a deep need in one area of the relationship that changes nothing elsewhere.”
“OK,” says our reader iophk about the above, “but ESR’s home of the Halloween Documents is better than Wikipedia any day.”
Sam Dean, who typically helps the Nadella-washing and openwashing of Microsoft, correctly asks
http://ostatic.com/blog/does-microsofts-new-love-for-open-source-extend-beyond-the-cloud-team” title=”Does Microsoft’s New Love for Open Source Extend Beyond the Cloud Team?”>”Does Microsoft’s New Love for Open Source Extend Beyond the Cloud Team?” (love of extortion, profit and control over GNU/Linux)
He refers to Phipps article and says: “Simon Phipps, who is one of the world’s leading experts on all things open source, has examined Microsoft’s purported change of heart in a new column for InfoWorld. And, on a timely note, Phipps even reminds us of “The Halloween Documents”–a series of confidential Microsoft memoranda on potential strategies relating to open source and Linux that got leaked in 1998.
“It’s worth remembering The Halloween Documents and the far reaching impact that the leaking of them had. As just one example of their influence, one of the memos was reportedly sent to the attention of senior vice-president Paul Maritz, and the memo characterized Linux as a giant threat to Microsoft’s operating system dominance. Maritz, of course, went on to run VMware for several years, so Microsoft’s historical opposition to open source likely didn’t stay confined to its own walls.”
Finally he ends this post about Microsoft with a sceptical, cautious view: “But the cloud computing division doesn’t define Microsoft. The company needs to change its stance on open source from the top down, and while Satya Nadella appears to have respect for open source, his vision statement never mentions open source or Linux, which Phipps says is “slightly strange considering their centrality to his future, but a good sign in as much as nothing bad is said.”
“In a response to my recent post asking whether Microsoft’s stance has truly changed, one reader sent the following succinct response: “Yeah, no. This is the ‘embrace’ stage of Microsoft’s classic strategy.” That, too, could be true.”
Susan Linton, who works with Sam Dean, asked, “didn’t we hear all this changing of heart stuff before?”
Microsoft clearly does not love GNU/Linux. Anyone who believes it for a second says a lot about oneself. Here, for example, is a new example from a current Microsoft employee, Mr. Perlow. Ridiculously enough, he works for the CBS-owned ZDNet at the same time that he works for Microsoft] (not the only such example that makes ZDNet an utter joke which also takes money from the backdoors provider Cisco to post a pure ad as an ‘article’). As one can see in Perlow’s latest article, there is bashing of WordPress & Drupal, using ‘security’, even though Perlow’s employer, Microsoft, releases widely-used software with perpetual back doors. That’s just one new example of hypocritical FOSS bashing from Microsoft staff, so who can possibly pretend that Microsoft has changed?
To say that Microsoft likes FOSS one would usually have to simply lie. Here is an ugly example of a lie from fedscoop.com. It is appalling openwashing by a site that claims to be ‘news’, trying to pretend that Microsoft proprietary spyware is “open source”. Complete nonsense in this article (part of a Microsoft propaganda campaign) says: “Microsoft is quickly emerging as a major leader for open source.”
Really?! What is this, a joke? The headline says “Microsoft helping government embrace open source programming”. So yes, it’s a joke. fedscoop.com is scooping up Microsoft’s propaganda and some fools may actually swallow it. This is completely disconnected from the truth; it’s when white means black and vice verse. Any complete nonsense that says Microsoft is “a major leader for open source” must be part of a propaganda campaign. Or maybe written by Microsoft partners/proxies.
The Microsoft-funded The Register has another disturbing news piece that goes along the lines of “Open XML”, trying to pretend Office is “open” and that proprietary Office formats are “open”. Richard Chirgwin from The Register is now openwashing Office 365 (surveillance plus proprietary software) using the classic APIs spin that we wrote about in 2009 and again in 2010. O’Reilly used this openwashing strategy, assisting Microsoft’s propaganda after getting paid by Microsoft.
Here is a new example which follows the openwashing strategy of Facebook. A Microsoft-friendly site ended up openwashing a surveillance platform of Microsoft, resorting to gross misuse of the brand “Open Source” as it relates to putting together hardware.
“In the City of Love, Microsoft Courts Open Source,” says one final example, but perhaps by “courts” it means “embraces” to extend and then extinguish. The article contains the famous new lie: “Last week, at a Microsoft event promoting its cloud business and future, Ballmer’s successor, Satya Nadella, came out and said it: “Microsoft loves Linux.” He followed this up with an interview in Wired magazine, where he said now is the time to put old battles behind.”
Yes, that is the same Microsoft which uses racketing, extortion and blackmail against GNU/Linux and FOSS. It is bribing its way into pretence of friendship, e.g. by paying conference organisers and media/sites. While the lies continue to saturate the media those who are not influenced by money or partnerships can fortunately still discern truth from fiction. Some actors out there are in the business of reality distortion. █
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In Microsoft’s own words:
Summary: The sheer absurdity of claims that Microsoft — which not only attacks those who distribute Linux and GNU but also blackmails them, takes them to court, or bricks their products without any liability — ‘loves’ Linux
A followup on the story about Windows Update essentially bricking Linux devices (peripheral to the PC) is proving to be rather spooky. Nobody was going to court; people can apparently just brick hardware deliberately, without due process and without facing consequences for such destructive actions.
“Nobody was going to court; people can apparently just brick hardware deliberately, without due process and without facing consequences for such destructive actions.”The curious thing here is the leeway it gives for Microsoft to brick installations of GNU and Linux, even if the ‘alien’ system is in its own partition. While some journalists are repeating Microsoft's lies about Microsoft 'loving' Linux we already know damn well that Microsoft hates GNU and Linux to the point of preventing sales of PCs with anything other than Windows, except perhaps in Italy owing to a top court’s latest ruling.
How is bricking people’s devices that are powered by Linux somehow acceptable or even legal now? It is done via Windows Update, which means that Microsoft now bricks Linux installations, whether unintentionally or intentionally (or somewhere in between). Will Microsoft also screw with the MBR/bootloader claiming that Free software infringes on its ‘IP’?
The sad thing is that some pro-FOSS people are easily fooled (maybe willfully) into saying that “Microsoft loves Linux” (it can also be found in the Linux Foundation’s Web site). “Read it all the way through,” told me one of them. “They love Linux because of $s not for its own sake.”
I responded by saying that Microsoft loves Linux like BP likes “green”, mostly for marketing around perceptions that help sell more petrol
There was a a discussion in Twitter among some FOSS journalists, who do not necessarily agree. The OSI’s President, for instance, tends to agree with me on that.
One of our readers wrote to say: “Unintentional disinformation regarding “contributions” to the Linux kernel. The large number of commits was simply unfucking the code. A question is does Microsoft maintain that code now that Greg fixed it, or did they just lay that egg in someone else’s nest?”
When Greg worked for Novell, which had been paid money for Microsoft to help it infiltrate several FOSS communities, Microsoft committed GPL violations (not a sole incident) and now it hopes to spin that as “contribution”. When will this revisionism end?
As a side note, layoffs at Microsoft continue to expand. The Microsoft booster wrote: “The cuts of approximately 3,000 employees today are believed to be largely support staff in human resources, finance, sales and marketing and IT. They are part of the 18,000 employees Microsoft officials said back in July that they’d be laying off over the course of a year.”
Android and other Linux-based platforms hurt Microsoft. It leads to layoffs, so Microsoft cannot claim to love Linux. Although it may take some time, Microsoft may end up a bit like Novell and Nokia, potentially absorbed by some bigger business (Microsoft is shrinking in terms of scale of influence or clout). █
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True quotes from Microsoft below, click to read in full.
Summary: Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also “loves Linux”
THE CORPORATE media is not in the business of informing the public. To the mainstream media the public is not the client; corporate partners are the clients whereas audience (the public) is the product on sale. It was just so easy to be reminded of this trivial observation because Microsoft is a good example. It was so easy to see it since Monday morning when the media decided to herald all sorts of utterly absurd claims. But let’s go a little further back than 2 days and see just how Microsoft games the media and tries to fool the whole world, or merely to aggravate/rile up the opposition, which in itself can work magic, as long as journalists are willing to play along at risk to their reputation.
Earlier this month we wrote about the latest FOSS event that Microsoft had infiltrated, essentially stealing the show. The media only spoke about Microsoft; the event was supposed to be about something else. Days ago we also learned about Microsoft infiltrating All Things Open again, as it had done in previous years (we covered that at the time). Watch an eyewitness account from FOSS Force:
Actually, I enjoyed watching Microsoft’s spokesperson squirm while trying to make the case that “Microsoft is an open source company” before an audience that was politely not buying it. I also found it somewhat enlightening to watch an open core company show its true colors, revealing itself to be a proprietary firm merely riding the open source bandwagon. As for Oracle, developer level technical discussions on Java and MySQL can only be beneficial.
Microsoft will never get tired of lying; it probably aims for/targets low-hanging fruit, i.e. people who “want to believe” or Microsoft partners who really wish to think that Microsoft is now ethical. It’s a PR charade and it is utterly shameless. It’s a disservice to everyone except Microsoft; it’s an insult to truth.
Watch how Information Week, a Microsoft-friendly media site, smears FOSS these days and helps Microsoft’s EEE (Embrace, Extent, Distinguish) of Docker. This is utterly preposterous, but if repeated often enough it may end up fooling the gullible. This is perhaps the ultimate goal.
Around the same time we noticed Maria Deutscher writing this pro-Microsoft puff piece titled “Microsoft continues open source love affair with Apache Storm endorsement”. Here is the opening part:
Colorful Sonoran Desert StormMicrosoft Corp., the poster child of proprietary software, has developed a sudden appetite for open-source technologies. Barely three days after revealing plans to make future versions of Windows Server compatible with the Docker container engine, which currently only runs on Linux, the Redmond giant is rolling out support for Apache Storm for its Azure infrastructure-as-a-service platform.
No, Microsoft is trying to close down (or “contain”, to use the terminology of Docker) what’s open inside a closed/locked-down, proprietary environment with surveillance and back doors. That’s what’s happening. Non-technical journalists are easier to fool and they just blindly print whatever Microsoft says. Deutscher later wrote another pro-Microsoft puff piece. It is titled “Microsoft expands open source reach”, but lest we forget Steve Ballmer stating: “I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”
Windows is proprietary. Microsoft just loves power and money, it does not love FOSS and it never will. It’s an anathema to Microsoft. But one can always count on Microsoft boosters to support the narrative that Microsoft now “loves” FOSS and “loves” GNU/Linux, which Microsoft merely wants contained (to contain Linux, like a farmer contains sheep for the imminent slaughter).
Several shallow reports, including some from Microsoft boosters like Microsoft Peter and Jordan Novet in Redmond, actually stated that Microsoft “loves Linux”, presumably quoting the liar in chief, Mr. Nadella (more of his lies we will cover in a separate post another day). IDG went as far as posting the click bait “Microsoft (hearts) Linux” and “Microsoft now loves Linux.” This is not journalism; it’s entertainment. Some of these entertainment-type headlines came from Microsoft-friendly news sites which were previously paid by Microsoft. The corporate media has seemingly turned to fiction, satire, clickbait etc. and much of it is known to be tied to Microsoft itself.
“Microsoft has been steadily making adjustments to its processes and preferences to become more open,” wrote one person from Redmond, “and to move more quickly to support technologies that could be of interest to its many customers, even when they’re not Microsoft-built.”
That’s done in order to bring them to Microsoft and make them locked in and spied on, by Microsoft and its special partner the NSA. Here we have the corporate media distorting reality, portraying the company that is threatening, blackmailing, suing and slinging mud at Linux as “loving” Linux. There is not even much of a potent attempt to challenge these claims. It’s like an abusive husband explaining to a court that he beats up his wife because he loves her. Any decent person would interrupt such nonsense and wouldn’t just let it go unchallenged.
Speaking of massive failure by the corporate press, see this new garbage from Kate Bevan at the British bankers’ media (Financial Times), suggesting that Microsoft should hijack Android:
Here’s a blue-sky suggestion for Mr Nadella: sit down with Jeff Bezos at Amazon to develop a good fork of Android. Microsoft has a compelling services offering but an almost non-existent platform for these services, despite the quality of the Lumia handsets. Amazon has compelling content with its Prime video but seems unable to get consumers to buy its Fire devices.
For smaller providers, a Microsoft-Amazon-style joint venture would be a great way to become part of an ecosystem out of Google’s reach. I suspect consumers would find that attractive. How about it, Satya and Jeff?
How low can the Financial Times stoop? This is not journalism, it’s Microsoft jingoism disguised as analysis. Sadly, today’s corporate media is full of such nonsense and in the next post we will show how the press likes to demonise FOSS over security matters while totally ignoring the issues with proprietary software having back doors ‘baked in’. █
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Summary: Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from
THE corporate press (or mass media) continues to disappoint in a very major way. It looks like the more one reads it, the less well-informed one becomes. Why? Because the corporate press has clients. These clients are not readers; they are companies to which the readers’ brains are being sold. The business model is selling of agenda. Although counterintuitive at first sight, this observation is not novel; many people have pointed out the same thing in areas other than technology. Today we’ll present some examples from this week alone.
Florian Müller an Expert… Lobbyist
Slashdot was once a grassroots-type Web site. It promoted FOSS. But it grew into something else. Now it’s the very opposite. It seems to be more interested in repeatedly quoting a mass-mailing Microsoft lobbyist (Florian Müller) and even Slashdot‘s front page (plus original content), which is now owned and run by the Microsoft-friendly Dice, gives him a platform. This seems like a joke, but it’s not. Slashdot now offers the platform for people whose role is spreading Microsoft propaganda and bashing FOSS. The only amazing thing is that some people still trust Slashdot just because back in the days it had some credibility (before hiring prolific Microsoft boosters).
Free Software is Pedophilia?
“Slashdot now offers the platform for people whose role is spreading Microsoft propaganda.”Speaking of propaganda, Matt Lee, Free software ideals, and even the FSF were the other day slandered by the Telegraph, which engaged in defamation by associating Free software with pedophilia (the article was corrected only after numerous complaints that I had initiated in social media after a headsup from our reader). The Telegraph was perhaps worrying that Free software people can sue for libel. What the heck is wrong with the press? How low can one stoop?
Microsoft is an Open Source ‘Cloud’ Company?
Then there is the tabloid called ZDNet (owned by CBS, known in part for the Gamergate scandal as of late). It is now offering Microsoft a marketing service, helping an Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish move against Docker (other corporate media did the same thing). Microsoft-friendly sites like these generally try to help Microsoft (the author, Matt Asay, once tried working for Microsoft) and this is clearly part of a scheme to control servers. According to this article by an Australian Microsoft booster, Salesforce, an opponent of Microsoft, has just liaised with this special NSA partner, ensuring that Salesforce offers no security or privacy at all.
Microsoft is Dominant in Servers, According to Microsoft-funded Firms
Watch the latest Forrester propaganda, trying to cast Microsoft as having “three-quarters of the mass-market servers”; complete nonsense. Here is a quote from the aforementioned article from News Corp. (aiding Microsoft’s plot): “Linux is the dominant tech underpinning at giant Web companies, but the server version of Microsoft’s Windows runs about three-quarters of the mass-market servers in use at big companies in the U.S. and Western Europe, according to Forrester Research.”
Complete nonsense. Selective reporting reveals not only bias but also a desire to lie. GNU/Linux has the lion’s share of this market. It is the job of Microsoft-bribed firms like Forrester to distort reality and the Gartner Group, according to Robert Pogson, is also doing that right now by casting GNU/Linux as “others”.
As Pogson puts it: ““Others” is a convenient category to put things in when stuff you don’t care about happens. GNU/Linux is something I care about but not Gartner. They lump GNU/Linux in with all that other stuff that’s not from M$, Apple, or Google but, hey, I can subtract.”
Nokia Dead Not Because of Microsoft or Its Mole Elop?
Finally, revisionism too can be found in the media. Here is AOL rewriting the history of Nokia. As our reader put it: “He’s got to distract from Jolla and from the Nokia board’s involvement in covering up Elop’s contract where Elop was granted tens of millions as a condition for selling Nokia to Microsoft. The paper industry is in decline due to a combination of union busting and actively closing *profitable* paper mills, in addition to competition from questionable logging in Brazil.”
Not the Exception
The above are the types of examples that we see every week, but it’s only now that we decided to gather and give to our readers some examples of these, collected in just the past few days. The problem is systemic.
The corporate press is just too damn hard to trust when it comes to technology because it operates on bribes these days; advertising deals, talking points from firms that are paid by companies, agenda for sale (press releases), and media ownership that comes with all kinds of strings attached. All in all — and not to sound too cynical — this means that one should be cautious, never blindly trusting the corporate media on such matters. Informing readers is not the goal; it may sometimes be a side effect, but only if it aligns with the goal (which is increasing revenue).
When selecting articles for circulation in sites like tuxmachines.org we give equal weighting to blogs and mailing lists because these tend to be more reliable and accurate than some printed papers, authored by people who are clueless on the subjects they cover for a publication whose goal is to serve some hidden interests. █
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