05.14.21

Nathan Proctor: Right to Repair and the DMCA

Posted in DRM, Hardware at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

LibrePlanet 2019 video. Original here. Slides here.

01.23.21

Chromium and Chrome Are Not Free Software But an Example of Microsoft-Fashioned Openwashing Tactics

Posted in Deception, DRM, Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 12:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: It’s time to reject Google’s Web monopoly (shared with other companies but still an oligopoly); removing its Web browser would be a good start

SOME people seem a little shocked that not only Chrome but also Chromium is a listening device (or “app”). Google didn’t create such a browser out of altruism or goodwill. It’s just an instrument of control — a piece of software that merely leverages Free software to develop something proprietary cheaply and quickly (while doing the minimum towards licence compliance), i.e. another Android or Chrome OS. Google has been trying to replace the underlying toolchain with something that’s not GPL (copyleft), but without success, at least not so far. The compiler, the kernel and so on are still Free-as-in-freedom software. The thing that sit on top is not. Mr. Torvalds and the Linux Foundation are fine with it. Serves them well enough (attracting many paying members that don’t necessarily contribute to software freedom in any way) because it fattens the budget irrespective of agenda/objective..

Bird on RopesThe above video deals with the patent trap that Chrome fast becomes whilst limiting people’s ability to remove antifeatures (there will be consequences or retaliation). As a prominent Slackware developer, who compiles (or packages) the Web browser himself, put it [1, 2]: “Google muzzles all Chromium browsers on 15 March 2021″ and “Chromium 88 removes Flash support,” (as mentioned in the media) albeit it leaves us all with EME/DRM instead.

It’s probably perfectly fair to say that Chrome (and Chromium) is about monopoly and monoculture, not freedom. The Web is becoming increasingly bloated, not for the sake of users but for the benefit of surveillance, which begets social control (class war). We really need to convince GNU/Linux users to gradually get away from Chrome and Chromium (the “lesser evil”).

12.19.20

If Azure is Collapsing and Clown Computing a Passing Fad, Why Can’t DRM Go Away as Well?

Posted in DRM, Hardware, Videos at 1:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Many people wrongly assume DRM is here to stay; we don’t.

Summary: A quick discussion about the sorts of findings we’ve made regarding DRM in Linux (especially the kernel, but sometimes Web browsers too) and why it’s misguided to treat it as inevitable or even celebrate it

DRM is a mechanism by which to impose remote power/authority (akin to back doors) — a technical ‘hack’ that twists encryption against its intended purposes so as to make computers not obey or even betray their users, in effect superficially limiting control by the user over the files/devices on his or her machine. There are moral issues at play; ethics and human rights factor in.

“…some clown from Microsoft has just come to #techrights (IRC) to confirm to us Azure layoffs (this year).”Myself, personally, I’ve not encountered DRM or used anything with it. It’s a choice. But many other people get sucked in or suckered into ‘buying’ things which they later discover they only temporarily rented (on ‘loan’ as long as some licensing servers remained online). If we care about more than Linux (or GNU/Linux) and if software freedom matters to us, DRM as a concept or a modality needs to go away. It’s alluring to just say “that’s the way things are”, but it’s possible to fight back and maybe eradicate DRM in all its forms.

Locks

Wrongly believing that we can never defeat DRM is exactly the kind of thing that will encourage defeatism, thus discouraging us from fighting back. But DRM — like all that “smart” hype and Adobe Flash (the old DRM container) — can certainly go away in the long run. The same is true for “Clown Computing” — the hype wave that asks us to go back to mainframes mentality (buying computer time from few large companies instead of getting our own servers/machines). Speaking of “Clown”, some clown from Microsoft has just come to #techrights (IRC) to confirm to us Azure layoffs (this year). The person says those employees were “largely concentrated under Eric Boyd”…

Let’s push back against DRM. Don’t give up. We can do this, but it’ll be a long war, not an overnight triumph. The articles in the video above are included as links below.

12.05.20

Bringing DRM to GNU/Linux to Attract the Stereotypical ‘Gamers’

Posted in DRM, GNU/Linux, Wine at 11:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

DRM at the application level as opposed to operating system level

Mythical 'Gamer'; Stereotypical 'Gamer'

Summary: With streaming disservices such as Google’s Stadia (GNU/Linux-powered, albeit proprietary and spying) and rental-like disservices such as Steam the situation is further complicated for Software Freedom; what can be done? Gamers aren’t ‘lamers’ and attracting them too would be better than leaving them stranded in Windows.

THE “Linux Gamer” (Gardiner Bryant) cited our articles about DRM in Linux about a year ago, bemoaning what was happening to Linux (the kernel). But he himself is promoting lots of DRM (like Steam) and to many GNU/Linux users Valve is like an “ally” of GNU/Linux because SteamOS is Debian-based and there are WINE-centric efforts, which at times contribute to graphics drivers (upstream patches, so to speak).

“This subject is very difficult for a lot of reasons.”Earlier this year Alex Oliva (the ‘young Stallman’) asked me why I kept linking to news about computer games which were clearly proprietary, albeit had been ported to GNU/Linux (usually native, ‘proper’ ports, not WINE or similar). I told him that people would accept or tolerate such DRM regardless of the system, so whether they gamed on GNU/Linux or on Windows would sort of leave us in a situation of flux. The unspoken hope is that by bringing those users over to GNU/Linux we can introduce them to Free software (like browsers) they otherwise would not be exposed to, or even games that are free/libre. Heck, maybe even the game developers themselves would decide to liberate the code, bearing it mind that can help them receive code contributions (improvements to their games, game engines and so on).

This subject is very difficult for a lot of reasons. We’ll deal with only a few of them here. When I started using GNU/Linux more than two decades ago there were barely any games at all for the system (except very simple ones, nothing that could be taken seriously or be the equivalent of “killer app”). So seeing GOG, Humble, Steam, Itch and the rest of them sort of embracing GNU/Linux is perhaps more “gain” than “loss” (the alternative is no support at all). Remember that Linux Game Publishing and Loki Entertainment weren’t exactly a free/libre thing. Neither were some of the earliest GNU/Linux distributions — some of which contained more binary (proprietary) blobs than today’s distributions.

Loki EntertainmentWe may have to disagree with Mr. Oliva on this; Oliva told me he had gotten addicted to some games and I can relate to it because I spent much of my childhood gaming and in my 20s I got hooked on some games again (to the point of playing from dusk till dawn and dreaming about those games at night).

Games are not a good substitute for life, unless life sucks so badly (which is a reality for more and more people as the pandemic takes its toll). If people who love games choose GNU/Linux as their underlying platform (for better security, performance, maybe lower cost), let’s welcome them. Blasting Valve for its DRM schemes can be done politely, in conjunction, bearing in mind that they do in fact hire some Free software developers (last month they decided to pay the developer of Zink to carry on with his fine work).

Life is full of trade-offs and compromises; whether Steam runs on Windows or on GNU/Linux, it’ll still be problematic for many reasons. The question is, does it tempt away existing GNU/Linux users from freedom? Are users of Free software going to suddenly drift away to Google Chrome (proprietary) and Oracle databases because there’s some game they like on Steam? It seems very unlikely. Moreover, with games there’s a lot of emphasis on copyrights of games’ “assets”; surveillance isn’t a main feature because users barely feed any personal data into games. So is there so much to be lost? It is not ideal, sure, but let’s pick our battles for Software Freedom carefully. I, for one, welcome heavy gamers who jump over to our camp. Even if they use Steam a great deal (Debian Developers were given free access to it, so quite a few of them play games in their spare time).

11.24.20

Microsoft ‘Moles’ Inside WINE Project? WINE Should Bring Windows Users to GNU/Linux, Not the Other Way Around.

Posted in Deals, Deception, DRM, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows, Wine at 7:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Published hours ago as a press release paid for by WSL (Windows) boosters

WSL and WINE

Summary: The press release above (link omitted, it was pinned in several sites) is a cause for concern; after Microsoft infiltrated OSI and the Linux Foundation (both are now GitHub boosters, in effect diverting projects to Microsoft’s proprietary monopoly) it’ll be important to watch this space

THE word “mole” may seem rather strong, but it’s in the press release. The same people who have already infiltrated Canonical to a certain degree (to promote Microsoft Windows in the official Ubuntu blog) are now picking another sort of ‘outpost’, not even elaborating on the nature of the said collaboration.

“If Microsoft genuinely loved Linux, it would improve WINE.”Those who are familiar with the antics and tactics of Whitewater Foundry would rightly be concerned. This is a move that’s anything but exciting, except perhaps for Microsoft (if it hopes to more tightly control the WINE project through these people).

WSL/MicrosoftIf Microsoft genuinely loved Linux, it would improve WINE. WSL is the very opposite of that — it’s about keeping people away from GNU/Linux and getting them stuck inside Vista 10 with all the back doors, the extensive surveillance, the DRM and so on. CodeWeavers basically sells proprietary software based on the Free software, which is WINE. Why would it wish to get closer to Whitewater Foundry? Time will tell, but it doesn’t look good. This would not benefit GNU/Linux but Microsoft’s war on GNU/Linux (it's about control, akin to what the deal with Novell sought to achieve)

11.14.20

[Meme] DRM Loves Wintel/Microsoft/Centralisation/Monopoly

Posted in DRM, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 6:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“DRM is the future.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

You can't 'hack' Silicon. But you can boycott Intel.

The latest:

Google's DRM in GitHub

Summary: Free software is under attack and Microsoft is a prime facilitator of it (with its GitHub dominance)

Intel Worked to Eradicate Supposedly ‘Offensive’ Words From Linux While Inserting More and More Technically Offensive DRM Into Linux (Back Doors as Well)

Posted in Deception, DRM, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 5:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wait until they find out the meaning of the word “git” (worse than these words)

Christmas horse

Summary: Companies that do technically abhorrent things want us to look away and get angry over the supposedly ‘racist’ connotation of words (which they themselves have long used if not coined)

TODAY in IRC we had a very, very long discussion about DRM and GNU/Linux. The upcoming IRC logs will contain the debate on the matter. We aren’t going to explain why DRM is bad for GNU/Linux. We assume our readers already understand why it’s a negative thing (and not just for GNU/Linux in case that matters).

“…we’re dealing with a growing threat from the likes of Intel and its engineers, who put back doors and DRM in just about everything, not just multimedia stacks.”We already wrote a number of articles about Google’s role in Linux DRM (on the software side) and Intel/AMD likewise (on the hardware side). Microsoft and Google are now liaising to remove/censor projects in GitHub to protect DRM from simple tools, leveraging DMCA as usual. YouTube-DL was just the beginning. See “Google Takes Down Repositories That Circumvent its Widevine DRM” (we’ve talked a lot about Widevine in IRC). If that does not convince developers to abandon GitHub, maybe nothing can/will. Either way, we’re dealing with a growing threat from the likes of Intel and its engineers, who put back doors and DRM in just about everything, not just multimedia stacks. The chipsets thus become rather difficult if not impossible for users to trust. As Michael Larabel has just put it (using Intel’s euphemisms, e.g. “Protected”): “Intel PXP is about providing a hardware-protected session for clients running Intel Xe Graphics. The Intel Protected Xe Path is backed by encrypted video memory and leverages a TEE (Trusted Execution Environment) for protecting PXP sessions from other clients.”

WiseAMD isn’t without its problems, either. As Mr. Larabel noted further down (alluding to AMD’s equivalences, which go beyond ME/PSP): “Given the timing of the PXP patches and the launch this week of the first Intel Server GPU that is focused on Android cloud gaming and other video purposes, PXP is presumably more about security where as AMDGPU TMZ at least to date is focused just on DRM’ed playback and other encrypted content as opposed to possible protected multi-user scenarios.”

“About half a dozen new comments on Phoronix currently point out that it’s ridiculous to expect universities to also rename their degrees. How much confusion would be caused and for little/no benefit.”The worrying thing about it all is that few are speaking out against it. Much of the outrage/attention has been diverted into the “master” conundrum. Just look at all these new comments (pretty much all of them, almost 40 as of this moment). As one person put it: “By your definition then Git is offensive too because it is an insult.”

We wrote several dozens of articles about this attack on words, even where they’re perfectly innocuous (non-racist contexts, not even by remote connotations). More importantly, we wrote several articles about Intel’s unique role in this push. Yes, Intel often sat at the very forefront of these campaigns, even in prior years when the F word became “hugs” and “hugging”. IBM and Microsoft have also played a leading role (and still do), contrary to their own track record on racial matters [1, 2].

Look over there! “Censorship”. But forget about DRM. Nothing to see here, folks, please move along. Just let is be merged into master main branch and move on. Go somewhere else while we add another million lines of obscure code to already-bloated Linux.

Maybe I’m lucky not to have a “Masters” degree (they let me leap past it… right into a Ph.D. just because of my grades). About half a dozen new comments on Phoronix currently point out that it’s ridiculous to expect universities to also rename their degrees. How much confusion would be caused and for little/no benefit.

11.13.20

The Free Software Community Saw It Coming

Posted in DRM, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Videos at 12:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday: Jeffrey Paul: Your Computer Isn’t Yours

Jeffrey Paul: Your Computer Isn't Yours

Summary: 19 years ago Free software advocates foresaw the misuse and obscene misapplication of DMCA to outlaw and censor applications, including Free software that does nothing illegal (but Microsoft censors that software anyway)

Marcia K Wilbur spent a lot of time preparing for publication these old videos she had taken 19 years ago. The timing could not be better.

Further to the prior parts with Richard Stallman, Larry Lessig, protesters against DMCA injustice etc. we’ve decided to post a final pair of videos, which are increasingly relevant because the RIAA attacks Free software based on a lie, helped by its close ally, Microsoft. They claim DRM circumvention, but in reality it’s just a plain text URL lookup, not DRM. Facts don’t seem to matter.

“They claim DRM circumvention, but in reality it’s just a plain text URL lookup, not DRM.”“DRM is the future,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO. They don’t care about users, they just care about the copyright monopolists (same as Biden for that matter). “Get me into that,” Bill Gates once said “and goddam, we’ll make so much money!”

Bigger and longer version of this clip below.

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