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08.11.19

Linux is Not Winning, It’s Changing (or Being Changed)

Posted in DRM, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 12:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation logo
Credit: Will Hill, 2 days ago

Summary: Linux development is guided by the wrong interests — general interests which are themselves motivated by domination over the users rather than empowerment and emancipation of computer users

MANY things are crumbling around us: the Web, digital freedom, and more pertinent issues like privacy and control over one’s computing (these issues are closely related and inherently connected).

To say that Linux “won” is easy; but did GNU? Or the vision put forth by its manifesto? The only thing being manifested these days, both on the Web and in Linux, is DRM (and similar). Restrictions grow in number and complexity. Microsoft, together with Intel, push UEFI ‘secure boot’, which is all about corporations controlling users’ choice of what to boot on a machine they supposedly own. These are the sorts of interests that dominate and always steer Linux Foundation decisions (look where their technical chiefs come from!).

Techrights does not expect that this will be easy to change; Techrights barely believes it can be changed, but one has to try, one has to start somewhere. If people give up without even trying (not fighting back), then defeat is assured. As we noted yesterday, there’s an effort here to make the Web more accessible or rather to make information from the Web more accessible, using Fair Use doctrine and some clever hacking (coding). At the same time we work to eliminate software patents and constantly strive to expose those who perturb the direction of GNU/Linux. A decade ago we battled against Trojan horses such as Mono, but nowadays we need to challenge much more widespread things such as listening devices (so-called ‘smart’ ‘assistants’). Don’t give up. Never let go. Once you do it’s all over. It’s not hard to see who would gain from defeatism. It’s also not hard to envision society that surrenders to such 24/7 surveillance (video/audio), universal back doors, and everything as “rental” with the concept of real ownership (control) altogether eliminated.

07.13.19

Linux is Doing ‘Well’ Only for Those Who Dislike Software Freedom and Love Control Over Users

Posted in Deception, DRM, GNU/Linux, IBM, Kernel, Microsoft, Red Hat at 9:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Azure Running GNU/Linux Isn’t About ‘Love’ But About Control

Microsoft loves control

Summary: Linux, the kernel, has become a corporate playground or a sandbox that’s used to upsell proprietary software, including surveillance; freedom in Linux is gradually being diminished if not completely obliterated and it does not worry the foundations entrusted to guard against it

THE urgent need to return to old topics (hence this reader consultation) was realised some time last year, especially after we had seen various groups — OIN included — becoming mouthpieces of Microsoft and its PR/reputation laundering campaigns (e.g. "Microsoft loves Linux" at OIN). Months ago we also saw Microsoft staff (on Microsoft’s payroll) entering the Board of OSI, then speaking for the OSI in the OSI’s official blog. We responded similarly to the Microsoft/Novell deal, which yielded various other lies. Now there’s the IBM/Red Hat problem. As we noted last night, Alexandre Oliva, who refused to pursue (software) patents at Red Hat, very recently left the company. It’s pretty significant because he was one of the few in that company who truly valued Software Freedom (as in Free/libre software in its purest form). He told me he had declined this push for patents and days ago he told me that he no longer works for Red Hat. These companies no longer attract these high-calibre developers. These companies become incompatible with them. It’s not the developers who change; it’s those companies that change (Oliva cited problems associated with the company’s move to “the cloud” and some likely proprietary, privacy-hostile tools).

All of these things very much matter to Software Freedom (perhaps we should start capitalising that). “It is relevant to the OSI because the LF [Linux Foundation] is using its position to weaken and undermine the GPL rather than advance its for its advantages,” one reader told us. “However … As mentioned, I think the fundamental premise of the LF is wrong: it’s currently about representing the members’ interests inside Linux rather than advancing Linux itself and representing it to the world. That would be a very hard situation to turn around now that it has been allowed to develop for so long.”

We often feel guilty for, having covered European matters so closely for a number of years, dropping the ball on the LF situation. We barely wrote about it until earlier this year, whereupon sources came forth and gave us a lot of additional, invaluable information. Days ago Benjamin Henrion quoted his deceased friend, who suggested starting new initiatives rather than trying to repair broken ones. “I was thinking of that as an option as one way of ‘turning around’ the situation,” one reader then told us, urging us to cover these things at Techrights rather than pressuring the likes of OSI or LF to do the same. “For a new [Linux] foundation to have any relevance,” he added, “it falls nearly 100% on Linus being willing to pull up stakes and move to it. He still owns the trademark but is probably still uninterested in the bureaucracy. And all of that will involve a lot of money. I presume the current group has him tightly by the mortgage and college bills.”

Speaking personally, I’ve become more sympathetic towards Torvalds after what they did to him last year, indirectly removing (or shaming) him from his own project, even if just temporarily. It reminded me of what happened in Docker after Microsoft had gotten involved (Docker is nowadays in Microsoft’s pockets and the founder, who originally came from Red Hat, was pretty much ousted).

Looking at the latest from the Linux Foundation and Linux.com, I am rather frustrated. It has a very long history (OSDN, OSTG, then the golden days with Tina Gasperson and others under SourceForge). Over the past few days I kept asking my wife whether to cover this or how to even approach the issue without offending anyone*. It seems as though some generally good people have been ‘co-opted’ by the Foundation (and its corporate overlords), so I don’t think they deserve blasting, let alone naming. Attached to the pockets of millionaires like Jim Zemlin, these people are just desperate for a job or a gig (they’re vulnerable, poorly-paid writers swimming around ‘big sharks’ like Zemlin, funded by proprietary giants). Linux.com essentially shut down back in April, leaving some people unemployed or partly employed. Days ago we noticed that Linux.com sort of came back to life at a very limited capacity of just a couple of paragraphs a day, authored by “swapnilbhartiya” (the RSS feeds give that identity away; he’s sometimes linking to his own blog, where Foundation puff pieces get posted).

“Looking at the latest from the Linux Foundation and Linux.com, I am rather frustrated.”Well, if the Foundation is trying to revive Linux.com with just one writer doing about 2 paragraphs a day, including Microsoft promotion, then it’s using a site called “LINUX” (.com) to promote “Microsoft” and other Linux-hostile interests. Just before the weekend they advertised Microsoft, rendering it not too hard to see what these sellouts really are…

Some time on Friday they published: “Get a digest of original Linux and open source news and tutorials from Linux.com delivered to your inbox weekly.”

So there is at least some intent or a plan to make something of the site. On Friday morning Google News search results for “Linux” included several items from Linux.com, but 50% of the results were actually about Microsoft (promotion of Microsoft and Azure) and a quarter came from the Linux Foundation, so who’s this good for? You search for Linux, you get Microsoft (articles like this one or this one.) This is what Microsoft wants us to see in search results for “Linux”: Azure, WSL and so on.

“Linux.com essentially shut down back in April, leaving some people unemployed or partly employed.”Eric Brown, who used to write for Linux.com, has just done this Azure piece; there are also AWS pieces in similar sites about devices. What we see here has been brewing for a while and it’s getting worse all the time. My wife too complains about it. She wants to post news stories about Linux in Tux Machines, but RSS feeds are stuffed with Microsoft instead. Whose kernel is it now? IBM’s? Microsoft’s? Intel’s? Can we support Linux if it’s led and controlled by companies that use it to spread DRM? And Microsoft patent traps? Remember that Microsoft is still suing over it.

“Can we support Linux if it’s led and controlled by companies that use it to spread DRM?”We recently began wondering if Linux still holds the same promises of freedom the GNU project initially put forth. “I’d say yes for now,” one reader argued. “And especially support Linus himself. If he moves, follow.”

And when asked “what about other OSes?” (as in supporting Hurd, Guix etc.) this reader said: “Yes, though with caution. The FreeBSD Foundation has a very different structure and goal than the LF but is no less out of the sights of Microsoft. OpenBSD is quite insular but maybe a higher priority for Microsoft to crush. There are also trivial side projects like Haiku OS and ReactOS. I’m not in favor of the latter though it still deserves some respect as an Open Source project. There are also major disruptors flying for now under the radar. Fuchsia is the main one there and it carries a lot of danger along with its positive potential.”

This reader went on to expressing his concerns about IBM. “I really don’t know what to do about the IBM/RHT thing,” I confessed. “Or rather, not sure… that too needs to be clearly defined and time will tell (depending on what IBM does)…”

“Proprietary stuff gets built around “Linux” and then sold/rented. That’s not freedom; that’s arguably a ‘lesser’ form of digital slavery.”“I’m neutral on that,” the reader replied. “Close to 20 years ago, IBM invested $1 billion in the kernel and got that money back with profit within the year. So this purchase might turn out to be quite beneficial for RH. However, there is also a different generation involved at IBM now. Some of these have grown up on anti-GPL rhetoric and some have intentionally funded Poettering to name one of their money attacks. The risk I see from IBM is that they might be following the decommoditization strategy outlined in The Halloween Documents. They are in a position to do so, far more than Microsoft is. However, Microsoft is really trying that with Azure and, I suspect, moving more and more departments’ budgets under Azure to give the illusion of growth. Fake-it-till-you-make-it is admired in the business community and those chumps are Microsoft target still.”

IBM won’t profit from “Linux”; it will profit from stuff like RHEL subscription (supporting systemd and Wayland or other Red Hat-centric things when they break); Microsoft profits from Azure and WSL helps Microsoft push Vista 10 at the expense of GNU/Linux. Surely the likes of Torvalds understand that. How they feel about it and what they do (if anything) about it is another question altogether. Proprietary stuff gets built around “Linux” and then sold/rented. That’s not freedom; that’s arguably a ‘lesser’ form of digital slavery.

“Torvalds is wealthy enough to run the kernel on his own, even without a salary.”The Linux Foundation was supposed to prevent one single company from controlling Torvalds (and by extension the kernel) through salaries; at the end, however, it controls him collectively on behalf of companies that are largely hostile towards freedom. So what is really achieved by that? Torvalds is wealthy enough to run the kernel on his own, even without a salary.
_____
* I’ve said dozens more things in microblogs over the past week or two, but they were not too significant and might cause offense (although likely to those who deserve it… for helping foes of Linux).

04.26.19

Research Into Who’s Putting DRM Inside Linux

Posted in DRM, GNU/Linux at 1:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Along with other malicious ‘features’, such as UEFI ‘secure boot’

HDCP

Summary: Back doors may be hard to detect (requires understanding a lot of underlying code), but how about malicious ‘features’ or antifeatures that are put in the kernel to serve Hollywood at the expense of the kernel’s users?

OVER the past week or so Techrights has been ‘data-mining’ Linux. Many of the details about it will become public (in the form of IRC logs), but the gist of this exploratory effort will occasionally be published with key findings. Several software tools for exploring the kernel’s source and patchset were considered and tested, in conjunction with some GNU tools that help gather statistics. There are also known caveats and these can be tackled over time.

“I would look for sudden changes in what’s worked on or who is working on it,” our member explained, “or maybe even changes in the rates of changes. It will require a lot of manual tweaking to get the author affiliations accurate.”

This member prefers to remain anonymous.

“Gource was interesting in other ways though. You could see clearly when interest in ARM increased, same for documentation, and some other components. But by the turn of the century already it was too big to get anything useful out of it.”

“Gource also has a custom format which might be of use.”

As a first run, how about who puts Intel’s HDCP (DRM) in Linux? We already know Google’s role and we’ve seen Google promoting DRM on the World Wide Web (EME). Here’s an example query:

git log --name-status -i --grep='hdcp' | \

grep -iE 'commit |Date:|Author:|Signed-Off-By:|Reviewed-By:'| \

sed -r 's/^[[:space:]]+//; s/^commit/\n&/;'

Then map those committing as well as those reviewing and signing off on the code.

“Taking into account all HDCP commits,” our member explains, “there were 132 by my count. Of those, Intel and Chromium seem the big committers. I think any serious investigation would need to standardize the names first, since many use more than one e-mail address, and I have looked only for Intel.com and chromium.org domains.” This yields the following:

54      Ramalingam C <ramalingam.c@intel.com>
39      Sean Paul <seanpaul@chromium.org>
17      Uma Shankar <uma.shankar@intel.com>
8       Rodrigo Vivi <rodrigo.vivi@intel.com>
3       Ville Syrjälä <ville.syrjala@linux.intel.com>
3       Tomas Winkler <tomas.winkler@intel.com>
3       Jani Nikula <jani.nikula@intel.com>
2       Imre Deak <imre.deak@intel.com>
2       Ramalingam C <ramalingm.c@intel.com>
2       Cooper Chiou <cooper.chiou@intel.com>
2       Joonas Lahtinen <joonas.lahtinen@linux.intel.com>
2       Gary Wang <gary.c.wang@intel.com>
1       Radhakrishna Sripada <radhakrishna.sripada@intel.com>
1       Daniel Kurtz <djkurtz@chromium.org>
1       Sonika Jindal <sonika.jindal@intel.com>
1       Daniel Vetter <daniel.vetter@intel.com>
1       Guenter Roeck <groeck@chromium.org>
1       Rafael J. Wysocki <rafael.j.wysocki@intel.com>
1       Anusha Srivatsa <anusha.srivatsa@intel.com>
1       Shashank Sharma <shashank.sharma@intel.com>

“Just to be clear,” the member said, “the above includes reviewers and signers too.”

We are going to use the tools (not just Gource but others under consideration and use) to further analyse this. We don’t want to jump to any conclusions just yet, but it is widely known that Intel employees are sanitising Linux source code (with “hugs”), citing the new CoC, and there are attacks on prominent Linux developers who reject their patches. Readers probably know which Intel employees did this. We don’t want to amplify their smears. We mentioned that in passing four years ago.

We have more analysis on the way; “that will do as a start,” as one might put it. As our member put it, “some of the one-time commits might be more dangerous. What does this one unlock, beyond what is shown at the surface?”

commit f699f9f9ac87f0c774cbf3b9d4b8f336221f3a88
Author: Greg Kroah-Hartman <gregkh@linuxfoundation.org>
Date:   Thu Feb 28 12:55:40 2019 +0100

The Linux Foundation does not oppose DRM; look at the Board members and who funds this foundation. It does not oppose software patents either. Does it oppose anything at all? Apparently only people who are critical of it (or its collective agenda).

09.01.15

Calling Proprietary Software, Software Patents, Lock-in (Like OOXML) and DRM ‘Open’

Posted in Deception, DRM, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML at 6:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“DRM is the future.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

“We’ve had DRM in Windows for years. The most common format of music on an iPod is “stolen”.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

“We’ve been very focused on producing a DRM system. [...] We think DRM is important”

Robbie Bach, Microsoft President

“DRM is nearly always the result of a conspiracy of companies to restrict the technology available to the public. Such conspiracy should be a crime, and the executives responsible for it should be sentenced to prison.”

Richard Stallman

Alliance for Open Media

Summary: What Microsoft et al. call ‘Next-Generation Open Media Formats’ are basically neither open nor acceptable (it’s DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub ‘Open Source Tools’ are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse

“Alliance for Open Media” is the latest Orwellian name/title for that which casts DRM collusion as “open”. Typical DRM proponents are part of it (Microsoft included) and so is Mozilla, which joined the DRM cartel about a year ago, causing much anger among many of its strongest supporters. DRM is not “open”. It’s not even compatible with the notion of “open” as this strictly requires proprietary software. Mozilla gave up on “openness” when it entered the DRM conspiracy and now we have the press littered by lots of puff pieces that frame DRM as “open” (however they define open, maybe alluding to patents). These are manufactured false perceptions and spin, calling a DRM conspiracy “Next-Gen Video Format” [1, 2, 3]. Here is the press release. It’s hogwash.

It is sad to see the Open Web falling over like this, after the MPAA essentially bribed the World Wide Web Consortium, which had hired a fool from Novell (we wrote a lot about this in prior years). These people are trying to set up ‘standards’ with patents on them and DRM as part of the (secret) ‘standard’. When it comes to what they define to be “open”, it’s just about patents. When a bunch of companies agree not to sue each other (like OIN, which has just added WSO2, but proved rather fruitless when one member, Oracle, sued another, Google). “In joining OIN, an organization dedicated to defending the Linux ecosystem, WSO2 extends its commitment to fostering innovation through open source software,” says the summary from the new press release. That’s nothing to do with innovation. It’s nothing to do with FOSS, either. Many members are proprietary software companies just agreeing on patents being pooled together. Many of these patents pertain to sofwtare and are therefore inherently incompatible with FOSS. Therein lies the core of the latest spin, misleadingly named “Alliance for Open Media”. It’s not a standard but a collusion. That’s what it is. It is, at best, a patent pool.

In other news, we have just come across some truly bizarre openwashing of Microsoft Office. Sam Dean is once again doing a service to his apparent new hero, Satya Nadella. Under a rather misleading headline Dean describes something which facilitates proprietary software as “Open Source”. But it’s not open source, it’s bait for OOXML and proprietary software. Watch the article starting with nonsensical claims:

Has Microsoft finally, truly warmed up to open source? New CEO Satya Nadella (shown) is definitely pushing that notion. Several media outlets previously reported on his comments on how he “loves Linux” and he has claimed that approximately 30 percent of Microsoft’s Azure cloud is already Linux-based.

Any GNU/Linux instance running under Microsoft’s control is already compromised, with back doors included. It’s basically dependent on proprietary software from a company which notoriously colludes with the NSA.

Talk about distorting the notion of “openness”…

Those who can successfully ‘sell’ the corruptible media OOXML, Office and DRM as “open” can probably also ‘sell’ it genocidal carpet-bombing as “spreading freedom and democracy”, or disabled people as “special people”.

“[Vista DRM] seems a bit like breaking the legs of Olympic athletes and then rating them based on how fast they can hobble on crutches.“

Peter Gutmann

05.18.15

Microsoft Remotely Bricks — Intentionally — Xbox One

Posted in DRM, Microsoft at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft is showing off its kill switches, kills consoles of people whom it doesn’t like

SEVERAL days ago interesting reports surfaced about Microsoft remotely bricking people’s consoles, not just Microsoft having the capability to do so. “It turns out,” says one article, “that Microsoft not only has the power to ban you from Xbox Live permanently, but it can also turn your Xbox One console in to a useless brick, as the beta testers behind the Gears of War Remastered leak have found out.”

The lesson is clear; Microsoft claims ownership of what people buy (consoles), sabotages their consoles. Xbox One is not only an Orwellian surveillance device as we have explained before; it also has the capability to self-destruct at Microsoft’s orders. This isn’t going to be good for business. Microsoft has already lost a lot in this business.

12.19.14

‘Good’ Software Patents From EA Show Cases Where DRM is a Patent Infringement

Posted in DRM, Patents at 11:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cuffs

Summary: Where two evils collide the public benefits, or how some software patents discourage the use of DRM

SOFTWARE patents are a horrible thing because in a world where almost everything is now controlled by computers with general-purpose or specialised software nearly every action/process can potentially become a monopoly, or a milking cow of someone (usually a large corporation) who had little to do with invention, just opportunism. It puts tremendous pressure on ‘small’ software developers and offers protectionism to software conglomerates such as IBM. Software patents are in injustice for many reasons including their undeniable impediment to innovation, which makes them the antithesis of patents (where publication in exchange for temporary monopoly was supposed to encourage dissemination of knowledge and thus innovation). Abstract ideas rather than utility were never supposed to be patentable. Likewise, copyright law has been extended to cover all sort of ridiculous things (like a story/plot, based on vague similarities, APIs, etc.) even to the point of encouraging no innovation or creativity (e.g. lasting well beyond the death of the original creator). The latter is often enforced upon the public using some ugly software hacks like DRM (turning computers against their users), so the relationship is deep and inherent.

“So here we have two evils fighting against one another. “It is rather ironic when software patents do something good by discouraging the use of DRM as DRM itself becomes a patent monopoly. Such was the case in this legal case. “Between the company’s general disposition and the incredible failure of the SimCity launch,” says an article, “Electronic Arts is becoming a name associated directly with digital rights management. The most infamous DRM platform the company has used is probably SecuROM, which was noteworthy for being equal parts mega-annoying to paying customers, as well as being so massively ineffective that games employing SecuROM later became amongst the most pirated video games of all time. But, results aside, EA would tell you that it needed to use DRM to protect the company from piracy. Even if SecuROM failed, the company had to at least try, or else the freeloaders that live the highlife getting around intellectual property laws would win. Violating IP laws is wrong, damn it, and EA was going to do everything in its power to right that wrong.”

So here we have two evils fighting against one another. It is not easy to pick a side. On the one hand we have monopolies on software and on the other we have monopolies on access to data. Both are detrimental to the common good.

12.06.14

Steve Jobs is Back With Vengeance Into the Courtroom

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, DRM at 5:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple headquarters

Summary: Steve Jobs recalled for his reasonably hostile track record of megalomaniac tendencies

ONE of our readers sent us some interesting reports about Steve Jobs’ rudeness [1], determination to attack Android/Linux with patents [2], and a lawsuit [3] over DRM [4] where Steve Jobs’ ghost is back to haunt digital freedom.

“He also started a wave of patent abuses, ranging from threats (like those veiled threats against Palm) to lawsuits that would last several years and drain budgets, remove features, etc.”Over the years we have criticised Steve Jobs (before and after his death) because his contribution to DRM — contrary to what Apple fans care to admit — has been great. He also started a wave of patent abuses, ranging from threats (like those veiled threats against Palm) to lawsuits that would last several years and drain budgets, remove features, etc. So much for innovation, eh?

We continue to reject the notion that just because someone is dead it should be impossible to criticise him or her, especially if that person is a public figure (like a politician). Sadly, however, some people disagree and want to treat any criticism of Jobs like blasphemy or “speaking ill of the dead” (inducing censorship). As the reports below serve to show, Jobs does not deserve to be treated as though he was a hero, except perhaps by those who cherish corporate control over people, using digital means (that’s why the corporate press loves to idolise Jobs so much).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. 10 best Steve Jobs emails

    Emails sent by Jobs have surfaced once again in a class action lawsuit brought against Apple (AAPL, Tech30) for making iTunes the exclusive store for iPod music. Jobs’ emails are characteristically frank, which could hurt Apple.

    Jobs’ famous candor wasn’t limited to face-to-face encounters. His brusque manner translated to email as well. That’s unusual for modern CEOs, who are trained to exercise restraint in emails. Those words can easily be entered as evidence in a trial.

    Either Jobs didn’t get that message — or he didn’t care. These 10 emails from Apple’s co-founder reveal the stern, outspoken and often witty personality that made him one of the most charismatic CEOs of his era.

  2. Why Steve Jobs Went ‘Thermonuclear’ Over Android

    Anyone who follows the smartphone and tablet market knows that Android has become the No. 1 mobile operating system in the world. They also know that, prior to his death in 2011, Steve Jobs was not very happy about Google’s mobile operating system. In fact, he made a rather bold threat when he talked about his dislike of this competing mobile OS.

    “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this,” the late CEO famously said.

  3. Star Witness in Apple Lawsuit Is Still Steve Jobs
  4. Was Apple’s iPod DRM illegal? Starting today, a jury decides

    This morning, Apple will begin a duel over claims that it used copy-protection schemes known as “digital rights management,” or DRM, to illegally manipulate the market for iPods. The lawsuit, filed nearly 10 years ago, puts some legal firepower behind activists’ claims that the copy-protection DRM is “defective by design.”

06.07.14

Don’t Install Pipelight, It Helps Infect the Web With DRM and Microsoft

Posted in DRM, Microsoft, Mono at 7:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nasty DRM pipeline

Rusty pipe

Summary: Putting DRM on GNU/Linux, and especially DRM that Microsoft controls, is a very bad idea

Microsoft tried to break the Web with Silverlight, turning the Web into a bunch of binaries or cryptic blobs that will be run by proprietary software on the user’s computer/client’s end (probably not spiders, except for Microsoft’s). It is worse than Flash and more like DRM, which Silverlight was used to promote. When Silverlight died its key proponent Netflix had to go infect HTML. This is even worse because it means that the Web itself starts requiring proprietary blobs. One site said this is “Good news for folks tired of installing Microsoft Silverlight just so they can stream videos from Netflix: The company now has an HTML5 media player which works without any plugins.

“Here’s the bad news (for now): While Netflix is rolling out its HTML5 player to another platform, you still have to jump through some hoops to install Silverlight if you want to watch Netflix on a computer running GNU/Linux.”

Well, this is about DRM in HTML, which is even worse and has put Mozilla to shame. Mozilla also got a little close to Mono, which does not invite much support.

Now, using the Mono-based Moonlight one could almost get this DRM going, but it helped Microsoft get a foothold on the Web. One project remains which still tries to achieve this. It received coverage in some FOSS sites, which is unfortunate. One site said: “Pipelight is a wrapper for Windows NPAPI plugins such as Silverlight, Widevine or Flash (the Windows version) which allows you to use these plugins in native Linux web browsers and thus, use services that aren’t officially supported on Linux, such as Netflix (Silverlight), HBO Go (Widevine) and so on.”

Another bit of coverage said:

Pipelight is the interesting open-source project to support Windows browser plug-ins within native Linux browsers. Pipelight serves as a wrapper for Windows plug-ins in Linux browsers using Wine and for browsers supporting NPAPI plug-ins. This software, which allows Silverlight and Netflix to work on Linux, is out with a big update.

This is about DRM and it should be rejected or worked around by breaking DRM, not by bringing DRM to GNU and Linux.

The fight here is not just against Microsoft but against DRM. What Pipeline does helps create the perception that GNU/Linux is now compatible with DRM. Some copyright maximalists can use that to impose DRM everywhere. A Slackware-oriented site, writing about a similar issue, noted that support is lacking, so it really is only the illusion of compatibility.

The version 35 of Chromium has a major side effect that many people are not going to like. The support for browser plugins that use Mozilla’s NPAPI protocol to communicate with the browser has been removed and only Google’s own PPAPI protocol is supported as of now (MS Windows users still have a bit of time before the same happens to their Chrome browser – removal of NPAPI support in Windows is scheduled for the end of 2014). This step was of course announced long time ago and many reminders were posted, but if you need Java support in your browser, or want to watch Netflix using pipelight, then you are out of luck. PPAPI versions for these browser plugins do not exist and in the case of pipelight, are very hard to create.

Anything that requires running a blob for access to data/information should be rejected, especially on the Web. We are entering a dangerous era where FOSS become fundamentally incompatible with data. Unless of course we fight back…

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