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12.19.14

Redmonk is Spreading Black Duck’s Anti-GPL Talking Points After Payments From Black Duck, Microsoft

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL, Microsoft at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CBS pleases Microsoft

Forex

Summary: CBS’ ZDNet spreads the GNU-hostile narrative which comes from Redmonk, funded by Microsoft and Black Duck, citing Black Duck, which also comes from Microsoft and is a partner of Microsoft

Redmonk has been the subject of both praises and criticism over the years. We often agree with what Redmonk shows, but sometimes the impact of money, e.g. money from Microsoft, seems to be playing a role in analyses. It is difficult to dismiss the role of financial dependence; casting it irrelevant would be rather naïve. Whenever a company says something positive about a paying customer it’s rarely just a coincidence. The company is aware of its sources of income and develops a sort of “sixth sense” in the same way that politicians learn to love and defend their funders, not speaking out about them or voting against these funders’ interests. The Koch brothers, for example, sure have an impact on climate policies through various groups they pay. That it why money is handed out in the first place. Bill Gates does a lot of this too, e.g. bribing news sites, news channels, analysts, politicians, decision-makers etc. What we have commended Redmonk for in the past is the policy of full disclosure (well, not entirely full as proportionate contributions are never mentioned).

Microsoft pays Black Duck, which pays analysts who repeat its claims at face value on the face of it. Black Duck has in fact been paying lots of sources to help legitimise its talking points. Even the Linux Foundation is paid by Black Duck (hard to say how much, but probably enough to buy silence on criticism and free publicity at times). Redmonk has been paid by Black Duck too.

“Open Hub is just a new name for a company created by people from Microsoft.”There was a long discussion about this in Twitter (here is just a portion) in light of an article from ZDNet that relayed Black Duck’s talking points using two data points both owned by Black Duck, including its hires from Microsoft. It should be noted that Black Duck is not the only Microsoft-connected proprietary ‘think tank’ trying to tell us that the GPL is declining (in relative terms, not absolute, wherein lies a bias and spin opportunity). OpenLogic, headed by a man from Microsoft, does it too and we have named other such entities. It’s ugly out there. Analysts sell agenda, not information.

To spare readers the misinformation, the short story is that several days ago Redmonk was spreading Black Duck’s anti-GPL talking points and now it turns out Black Duck had paid Redmonk. As noted in this article, “Black Duck, the parent company of Open Hub, has been a RedMonk customer but is not currently.”

Open Hub is just a new name for a company created by people from Microsoft. Companies tend to change names to evade negative perception/publicity. Some patent trolls and mercenaries do that a lot. Behind closed doors Redmonk is not advising companies that copyleft is dying, not disclosing that its figured are biased by a Microsoft deal from 2009. It also impacts what news sites are reporting, creating a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy/bias against the GPL. Here is what ZDNet wrote the other day, not even spelling Ohloh correctly (so we can assume there’s no understanding that this company came from Microsoft). SJVN wrote: “Berkholz learned, using data from Ohlol, an open-source code research project now known as Open Hub, that “Since 2010, this trend has reached a point where permissive is more likely than copyleft [GPL] for a new open-source project.””

Remember where this entity called Open Hub came from. It’s a bunch of people from Microsoft.

Now see the bottom of ZDNet’s posts, which unlike Redmonk does not disclose the Black Duck and Microsoft connection (financial connection to both). That’s how Microsoft’s propaganda makes it into ZDNet.

ZDNet remains one of the world’s crappiest tech tabloids, especially now that it is owned by CBS. It still employs a lot of Microsoft staff (past and present) to publicly smear, bash, and insult Linux/Android. Here is a new example where a Microsoft employee writes about (bashes and belittles) Android in this very trashy tabloid (that pays him to do this). This is part of a pattern and it’s amazing that ZDNet pretends to be a news site. Under CBS’ wing it just serves sponsors. Watch the disclosure a the bottom: “Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.”

Yeah, right!

There is a lot more, including links, in the Twitter discussions. Even Redmonk staff weighed in, but has not responded to the rebuttals. Bruce Perens warned that Black Duck's claims about the GPL are "B.S.". There is too much B.S. in today’s news, emanating from people who pretend to be journalists and analysts but are actually agents of propaganda or marketing. Be sceptical and go back to the sources to assess the facts.

Richard Stallman: What Does It Mean for Your Computer to Be Loyal?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 4:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New article from Richard Stallman

We say that running free software on your computer means that its operation is under your control. Implicitly this presupposes that your computer will do what your programs tell it to do, and no more. In other words, that your computer will be loyal to you.

In 1990 we took that for granted; nowadays, many computers are designed to be disloyal to their users. It has become necessary to spell out what it means for your computer to be a loyal platform that obeys your decisions, which you express by telling it to run certain programs.

Our tentative definition consists of these principles.

Neutrality towards software

The computer will run, without prejudice, whatever software you install in it, and let that software do whatever its code says to do.

A feature to check for signatures on the programs that run is compatible with this principle provided the signature checking is fully under the user’s control. When that is so, the feature helps implement the user’s decision about which programs to run, rather than thwarting the user’s decisions. By contrast, signature checking that is not fully under the user’s control violates this principle.

Neutrality towards protocols

The computer will communicate, without prejudice, through whatever protocol your installed software implements, with whatever users and whatever other networked computers you direct it to communicate with.

This means that computer does not impose one particular service rather than another, or one protocol rather than another. It does not require the user to get anyone else’s permission to communicate via a certain protocol.

Neutrality towards implementations

When the computer communicates using any given protocol, it will support doing so, without prejudice, via whatever code you choose (assuming the code implements the intended protocol), and it will do nothing to help any other part of the Internet to distinguish which code you are using or what changes you may have made in it, or to discriminate based on your choice.

This entails that the computer rejects remote attestation, that is, that it does not permit other computers to determine over the network whether your computer is running one particular software load. Remote attestation gives web sites the power to compel you to connect to them only through an application with DRM that you can’t break, denying you effective control over the software you use to communicate with them. Netflix is a notorious example of this.

We can comprehend remote attestation as a general scheme to allow any web site to impose tivoization or “lockdown” on the local software you connect to it with. Simple tivoization of a program bars modified versions from functioning properly; that makes the program nonfree. Remote attestation by web sites bars modified versions from working with those sites that use it, which makes the program effectively nonfree when using those sites. If a computer allows web sites to bar you from using a modified program with them, it is loyal to them, not to you.

Neutrality towards data communicated

When the computer receives data using whatever protocol, it will not limit what the program can do with the data received through that communication.

Any hardware-level DRM violates this principle. For instance, the hardware must not deliver video streams encrypted such that only the monitor can decrypt them.

Debugability

The computer always permits you to analyze the operation of a program that is running.

Documentation

The computer comes with full documentation of all the interfaces intended for software to use to control the computer.

Completeness

The principles above apply to all the computer’s software interfaces and all communication the computer does. The computer must not have any disloyal programmable facility or do any disloyal communication.

For instance, the AMT functionality in recent Intel processors runs nonfree software that can talk to Intel remotely. Unless disabled, this makes the system disloyal.


This page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

12.11.14

Ubuntu Core Announcement is Not About Microsoft and Hosting Ubuntu on Azure is Worse Than Stupid

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Security, Servers, Ubuntu at 12:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring

IN the spirit of tackling FUD we thought it would be worthwhile to tackle spin regarding the news of Ubuntu Core (news that already appears in our daily links).

Microsoft boosters such as Microsoft Gavin try to frame it as Microsoft news, saying: “A smartphone-inspired version of Ubuntu Server for Docker minimalists has been revealed with initial backing from Microsoft.” The headline is even worse. It’s deceiving for the sake of drama.

The news is not about Microsoft. This is what is called bias by omission or selection — similar to this lousy piece from Lance Whitney, former staff of Microsoft media whose latest propaganda is now omitting an old disclosure saying that he is Microsoft’s ‘former’ staff and uses US-only spin to make Android look bad (the US is not the whole world and economic advantage favours overpriced phones).

Several readers have told us that the article “Canonical restructures Ubuntu in mobile mode; Microsoft is first partner” had been removed (we searched the site to verify this) before it was reinstated. How odd. No explanation was given and while it was gone we made a copy from the Google cache of the article, very shortly after it had been deleted, then created permanent archive of the removed version. We wrote publicly at around noon yesterday about how this article vanished after it had been posted (just shortly before we made copies from Google cache and also used archive.is). We later compared the version we had archived with what was reinstated and found no obvious differences in the text. Well, maybe the problem was purely technical, but the content of the article from Paul Gillin was curious, not just the angle. A reader of ours explained: “Below is the text of an article which just disappeared. It was online for only a few hours but contains some very incriminating statements. More might show up later, but for now this is all I have. It sure explains why the Ubuntu forums moderators/staff have been slamming RMS and censoring critique of Microsoft and His Billness – in any context.”

“The situation is bad,” explained our reader. “The previous article was not a mistake” because there is other coverage although it does not provide the Microsoft spin, including phrases such as those highlighted in Diaspora. The factual part is this:

Ubuntu Core is now available on Microsoft’s Azure cloud.

This, however, is not the main news. A lot of effort was put into injecting some pro-Microsoft angle. Here is where promotional spin got injected (apart from the headline):

“Ubuntu Core is the smallest, leanest Ubuntu ever, perfect for ultra-dense computing in cloud container farms,” the company said in a press release. In a twist that’s sure to prompt a double-take from many industry veterans, Canonical chose the Azure cloud from longtime Linux foe Microsoft as its first deployment platform. “Microsoft loves Linux,” said Bob Kelly, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, in a prepared statement.

“Microsoft has been a terrific steward of Ubuntu,” said Dustin Kirkland, product manager for Ubuntu Core, in an interview. “We have a very tight relationship.” The deal with Microsoft is exclusive for ”a couple of weeks,” after which Ubuntu Core is expected to be available on all public clouds that currently support the operating system.

So ‘“Microsoft loves Linux,” said Bob Kelly, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, in a prepared statement.’

This is part of the new lie which we wrote about in articles such as:

The problem with articles like the above is the pursuit for talking points to lull the victim into passivity, pretending that Microsoft is now like a “best friend” of GNU/Linux. All that Microsoft does with Ubuntu Core is put it under surveillance and back door control. That’s what Azure is about, as NSA leaks serve to demonstrate.

We could of course tackle some other propaganda if we had more time for writing (I am working full time myself). Consider this new UBM spin which pretends TrueCrypt is FOSS (it’s definitely not) and cites one bug (in OpenSSL) to pretend FOSS as a whole is less secure than proprietary software blobs. There is another ugly story making the rounds about a so-called attack on GNU/Linux machines (attributing it to a government, possibly Russia’s); all the stories we have found (over a dozen so far) neglect to say that the victim must install the rogue code himself or herself, it cannot really propagate except by the user’s stupidity or recklessness. Finally, there is another batch of stories about DCOS, which is backed by a Microsoft thug who boasted about “tilting into a death spiral” competitors of Microsoft and bankrolled Microsoft proxies. DCOS — like Azure — is attempting to control GNU/Linux guests at a higher level. IDG called it a “data center OS” that “allows single-source command for Linux servers”, potentially providing a back door. I have personally seen companies that manage hundreds of GNU/Linux servers from VSphere (proprietary from EMC, which is connected to RSA and hence NSA back doors) on top of Microsoft Windows (also back doors). Can EMC be trusted to not allow intrusion? Can Microsoft? These are rhetorical questions.

Anyone who is reckless enough to put a Ubuntu machine under Microsoft hosting sure has not been keeping up with news. Canonical too would be reckless to recommend such a thing, but perhaps it has short-term thinking, pursuing Microsoft dollars at the expense of customers’ security.

12.04.14

Microsoft .NET Still a Patent Trap, Many Bamboozled by Media-Coordinating Announcement

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like Microsoft’s OOXML (“open” only by name), .NET remains a patent liability and an attempt to ‘standardise’ lock-in

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

Summary: Microsoft’s openwashing of proprietary lock-in serves to bamboozle much of the technical media, including some who support Free/libre software

A few weeks ago we wrote about what was essentially the openwashing of .NET lock-in with remaining patent threats (if one forks/deviates). It is the same thing with Mono; when the Mono boosters claimed that Microsoft had promised them patent peace they neglected to say that it assumed no deviation from Microsoft’s “true” .NET. It’s “look but don’t touch”, or “touch and get sued”. Always remember Java’s situation and Oracle attacking Dalvik through Google. There was a patent lawsuit despite Java being FOSS and Oracle being a member of OIN. Promises are not necessarily legally-binding. Few people bothered to read the fine prints. It is the same with .NET (both then and now) and no matter what the press says (we lost count of how many deceiving articles were published), .NET is still private and closed; Microsoft totally controls it.

A fortnight ago Microsoft showed us that it tries to control GNU/Linux through Windows, Hyper-V, and Azure. Even Docker is now being EEE’d. There should be no confusion about Microsoft’s interests here. There is no ambiguity. It is about imposing Microsoft’s agenda on everyone, including the competition.

That said, even some FOSS people helped Microsoft’s openwashing of .NET last month. The Linux Foundation helped openwashing of Microsoft by promoting Microsoft’s message (giving it a platform). How gullible can one get?

Along the way we also found nonsense headlines that misinform the public and some came from FOSS sites and blogs (not just Microsoft apologists). “Missing facts,” a reader of ours labelled it. “The closing sentence is spot on though,” he added.

Links like the above are easy to debunk. Microsoft is now trying to impose patent lockin on the world. There are lapses in the so-called “promise”, so it is not good, except for Microsoft.

IDG and other Microsoft-grooming media following the usual routine for the sponsor, Microsoft. Here is a disgusting puff piece from IDG in NZ about Microsoft blessing itself. There was a similar piece elsewhere in the country. Here is more from ZDNet (CBS), which played a significant role in the openwashing of .NET. Suffice to see, it was easy to find also in Microsoft boosting sites masquerading as “development” sites (we named them before), the ECT network, and Microsoft-affiliated sites (we gave some examples last month).

What we have here is Microsoft’s attempt to make .NET the ‘standard’. As we were reminded the other day, standards can be used as a weapon and we already saw Microsoft doing that to ODF by trying to pretend OOXML was on equal footing. “My humble experience in the field of digital standards,” explains a key person from the Document Foundation, “makes me think that no standard is ever innocent, not in itself but by the intent of its authors or implementors. Even a nice and deeply useful standard such as ODF is a big stone thrown in the backyard of Microsoft.”

For Microsoft, the goal is to hurt Java and Eclipse, not to promote .NET based on any real merit. .NET is not Free software and Microsoft reserves the right to sue using patents. Yes, there is still a very obvious patent threat if one does not use the implementation of Microsoft. We found this out thanks to some legal analysis that received little or no media coverage, after we had discovered the same thing in relation to the useless promise for Mono some years back. As some people pointed out in Ubuntu Forums, Microsoft made similar promises with regards to FAT but later sued or extorted many companies, starting with TomTom 5.5 years ago. Here is a useful reminder:

Microsoft decided a long time ago that its battle for world domination would be fought with patents. They published the specs for FAT, remember. Then years later they began suing everyone who used it. Open sourcing .net is just inviting people to paint a target on their backs.

The analogy is useful. To embrace .NET as though it’s “open” and “safe” is about as clueless as adopting exFAT and other such patent traps. As long as the US has patents on software, genetics, etc. (these patents are spreading to other nations) .NET is definitely dangerous. Ignore the openwashing.

The reality of the matter is, as even a Microsoft booster (Tim Anderson) put it, development on Windows remains a fragmented experience [via] and to quote Anderson himself, “recent post by Microsoft’s WPF team, and the comments it provoked, has revealed the unhappy state of Windows desktop development. Presented as a roadmap, the post promises investment in WPF to improve performance, DirectX interoperability, tooling, and support for touch input and high density displays.”

Do not rely on Microsoft for development tools. There is no compelling reason to believe that .NET (just like WPF or DirectX) is cross-platform and the development tools are as proprietary as they can get.

.NET is the proprietary software choice, nothing whatsoever to do with openness.

11.29.14

The NSA’s Openwashing Efforts Assisted by Apache

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 8:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apache’s liaison with the agency that is cracking Apache leaves much to be concerned about

The ASF – which is now led by a Microsoft employee, has done something a bit dubious. Ignoring some stupid and misleading headlines from The Register [1], the original can be found in NSA.gov. The NSA is now openwashing itself in the very front page of its site. The Apache folks, in the mean time, ‘pull a Microsoft’ and liaise with NSA to do all this. As SJVN put it in one of the earliest reports on this subject, “NSA partners with Apache to release open-source data traffic program”. Later coverage of this [1, 2, 3] played a slightly different tune, but either way, NiFi is now an Apache Incubator Project. Does Apache really want to associate itself with a group of people who are actively cracking Apache all around the world? It discredits Apache. What next? NSA contributing patches to Apache? NSA getting involved in the Apache build process for binaries (this usually means adding some back doors or weakening – not hardening – some parts)?

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online

    The NSA has decided to let the public have a peek at what it’s been up to, for a change, by promising to release some of its data analysis tools under an open-source license.

    On Tuesday, intelligence-gobbling agency said it hopes to make the code to NiFi – a project previously known internally as Niagarafiles – available as an Apache Incubator Project under an Apache License.

11.28.14

Mozilla Will Relay Firefox User Input (Even Keystrokes) to Microsoft and the NSA Through Yahoo in the US

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft, Search at 7:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The fall of the Gecko (Mozilla)

Gecko

Summary: Mozilla is letting Microsoft manage users’ data in Firefox, including keystrokes in the address bar

TECHRIGHTS has published plenty of pro-Mozilla and pro-Firefox articles over the years. Speaking for myself, I have posted literally thousands of pro-Firefox links over the past decade as I viewed Firefox as the software that rescued the Web from Microsoft’s monopoly and iron grip. It was Firefox that had Web developers cease their Internet Explorer-only mentality (or dogma). It is with deep regrets that I have to revoke my support for Firefox, not just because of its treatment of Eich, the company’s pro-DRM apologists, the ads, and now the privacy compromises. This post is an accumulation of a fortnight of sad news about Mozilla. The saddest thing is that Mozilla does not view this as sad news, or at least doesn’t want the public to view it that way.

Let us agree that the relationship between surveillance and ads is a close one, but one must not be treated as interchangeable with the other. This post is not a rant about ads, which to be realistic is truly a growing business model, especially on the Web. That alone is not the problem. This post is also not provocation or trolling but the expression of genuine concern for a project and a company I have loved and wish to still love (if they rectify their act, despite the seemingly irrevocable nature of some recent moves).

The Ads

Ads are not the main problem with Mozilla, even though it sure helps discredit Free software projects like Fedora, so Fedora is planning to dump Firefox (except if one installs it from the repositories). Free software does not go well with ads (Linux Mint received flak for a controversial approach to such a business model), so it is not too shocking that Fedorans are unhappy with the move. This serves to show that Mozilla’s appeal to advertisers is in fact backfiring. They’re losing market share that way. As Internet News put it, “Fedora Linux [is] Set to Abandon Firefox over Advertising Issue”. Not everyone has a problem with ads, especially when these can be blocked. As one pro-GNU/Linux and BSD site put it: “That Sponsored Tiles program from Mozilla, which I first wrote about in Mozilla to sell ads in Firefox browser via the Directory Tiles program, has gone live.”

One might have to download a cutting-edge build to see it. Again, it’s not the ads that we’re worried about.

The NSA

Putting aside the fact that spies use ads for surveillance (a good example might be something along the lines of Angry Birds), the NSA sure works very closely with Microsoft. It’s a strong relationship that goes back to the 1990s. A lot of people, perhaps influenced by Microsoft’s massive (multi-million) anti-Google PR campaign, look the other way and accuse only Google of privacy violations in search, E-mail etc. There is news right now that says Google allows privacy for a fee (or at least removal of privacy-infringing ads). It’s a substitute for the ads business model. To quote the Romania-based SoftPedia: “Google is always looking to diversify its online advertising policy and you might think that there is little left to do in this regard. It appears that Google has found yet another way to monetize ads, both for itself and for the website, but this time the power rests in the users’ hands.”

That is actually a good thing, no matter how Microsoft’s anti-Google PR tries to spin it.

Then comes the news about Mozilla breaking up with Google despite the fact that “Mozilla gets more than 90 percent of its revenues from Google” (which was a good thing, as it helped fund Free software).

One longtime Firefox observer wrote that “Firefox maker remains ‘utterly confident’ as revenue growth sputters”. What are they so confident about? Firefox has been Google-reliant for quite some time; it’s no secret. To remove that reliance one needs to find hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue (or otherwise shrink considerably). What other than selling out to the “devil we don’t know” (or the devil we do know in the case of Microsoft) can possibly achieve that? Thunderbird already sold its users out in that horrible way by linking to Microsoft (“Bing”) just before Mozilla abandoned Thunderbird development. Firefox is now going down a similar route, putting aside attempts to raise donations (now in Bitcoin form, too). According to this article, Mozilla was really loaded with money up until now. A reader of ours asked us: “What is the money spent on? Not Thunderbird or Firefox, obviously.”

Marketing, or perhaps even face-saving projects, used up much of the budget, not important projects (with PGP support) such as Thunderbird. As Mozilla had hundreds of millions of dollars coming in, the old excuses about not maintaining Thunderbird because people use GMail (PRISM) are utter nonsense. Yes, when Mozilla stopped Thunderbird development (with easy-to-use PGP support through Enigmail) it said people were moving to to hosted mail (PRISM/NSA), naming GMail by name. Guess who bankrolled Mozilla at the time…

Either way, the problem with the move away from Google is that Mozilla now actively helps a sworn enemy of FOSS and GNU/Linux (ignore the PR nonsense about Microsoft “loving” Linux and other such self-serving lies that we debunked last month and earlier this month). In addition there’s the privacy factor, but it’s not the main point. “Why Mozilla is scared of Google” was one headline of interest and the respective article said: “For the last 10 years, Google has had that business almost entirely to itself. Every time you make a search through that bar, Google makes a little bit of money from ads and passes a piece of that money on to the browser through AdSense’s revenue sharing deal. That adds up to hundreds of millions of dollars for companies like Mozilla, but the money can produce some strange incentives. Google’s making a browser too, and it may not want to support Chrome’s competitors forever. Suddenly, the short-term money starts to look like a long-term liability.”

But Microsoft makes a Web browser too. There’s no point using “Chrome” as a reason for Mozilla to fear Google but not Microsoft, which makes the much worse and standards-hostile Internet Explorer that Windows imposes on PC buyers. Chrome is at least based on Free software (which Chormium is), whereas Internet Explorer is purely proprietary. Firefox can reuse code from Chrome.

According to this article, things are getting worse with the shift to Microsoft because Mozilla now lets Microsoft log keystrokes in the address bar (see the screenshot). How ridiculous is that (even if that behaviour can be disabled)? Very sad.

One pundit says that “despite losing Google as its cash cow, Mozilla isn’t dead yet”, noting: “Its Google advertising contract was coming to an end. With 90 percent of Mozilla’s income coming from Google, it was far from good news. With the contract ending in November, and no reason for Google to renew the deal with its Chrome Web browser success, things were looking dark as an overcast, moonless night for Mozilla.”

So what? Moving to Microsoft (through Yahoo) is not independence, it’s even worse than before. Mozilla cannot assert independence by becoming dependent on Microsoft and the NSA through Yahoo. Microsoft is not “Choice and Innovation” (as Mozilla tries to frame it), it’s espionage and blackmail (with patents). The company’s head said: “In evaluating our search partnerships, our primary consideration was to ensure our strategy aligned with our values of choice and independence”

Microsoft?

Choice?

Independence?

That’s a joke, right?

Yahoo is now just a front end of “Bing” (in the US, where the Mozilla deal was signed for), so we might as well just speak about Microsoft here, not Yahoo (the covert façade). If Mozilla continues to sell out its users, now by diverting users’ searches to Microsoft (via Yahoo) like Canonical tried several years ago, then we as users need to speak out. The boosters of the monopolist, people like Microsoft Peter, sure love this deal. It is good for Microsoft.

It’s Not About Yahoo, It’s Microsoft

Mozilla has clearly learned nothing about Ubuntu’s mistake with Yahoo — a mistake that was realised later and the plan undone. As Lirodon put it in our IRC channels, “Microsoft’s Yahoo-branded front-end of Bing is going to be Firefox’s new default search engine,” but we do not see enough people willing to chastise Mozilla over this. Microsoft only (by default) is not “multiple-search-partner” as LWN put it, and this should be rather clear. Putting aside the DRM, the ads and other controversies and scandals, this is quite serious and merely the latest step. It is just one among other misguided decisions that turned a once-awesome company into a one that compromises and even abandons principles, hopelessly thinking it would help it gain market share rather than the very opposite.

Sam Dean wrote about this deal and recalled that Mozilla “has historically gotten more than 90 percent of its revenues from Google, to the tune of $300 million recently, in exchange for search placement in the Firefox browser. That has completely changed, and now Mozilla has struck a similar five-year deal with Yahoo.”

5 years being stuck with Microsoft. And they probably cannot even revoke this deal. It’s similar to the 5-year (since 2006) Microsoft-Novell deal (also irrevocable, despite huge amounts of criticism). Some years ago Mozilla put some pressure on Google by flirting with the idea of a Microsoft deal. Can Google perhaps still save Mozilla from this horrible dependency? Press reports make that seem unlikely and few articles even point out that Yahoo is a relay for Microsoft (US searches done purely by Microsoft, meaning that Yahoo search is essentially just “Bing” in the US), after a corruptions parade and a corporate coup. Those who are implying that Google is in Yahoo because of the CEO (see the sneaky remarks about the CEO) must not have followed recent events closely enough. To quote one take on this:

It had been reported that Google and Mozilla were still negotiating on renewing their deal, but apparently that has failed (in the U.S) at least. No word (yet) on how much the Yahoo deal is worth to Mozilla, but it’s likely a good deal for Yahoo.

No, for Microsoft. Yahoo searches in the US are Microsoft’s business.

Christine Hall wrote:

There’s just one teeny-tiny little problem. For the last several years, Yahoo has been obtaining its search results from Bing, owned by Microsoft, with no indication this will change. I’m not exactly sure how the Microsoft/Yahoo deal works, but you can be sure that some money goes to Redmond each and every time a search is done via the web portal, something that many FOSS supporters might find unacceptable.

She is right. If only more people got this story right, perhaps there would be an uproar big enough and Mozilla would cancel the Microsoft (through Yahoo!) deal. Tell Mozilla what you think; get this mess undone before it’s too late and even incorporated into new stable releases.

11.15.14

Will Write for FUD (Against FOSS)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Black Duck rears its ugly head again, serving to show that it is in the business of changing perceptions and not in the information or analysis business

WHEN we see people so utterly desperate for a job they often hold banners that say something like “will [do something] for food”. That’s how we often feel about FOSS FUD firms, some of which come from Microsoft (created by people from Microsoft). The business model is simple; find people/companies (clients) who want to belittle or smear FOSS and then issue some glorified ‘research’ to ‘prove’ the clients’ allegations.

Sonatype has been using FOSS for a number of years in order to make money. It does not actually produce any FOSS but it sure likes to market itself (new example in IDG right now) by talking about FOSS, usually negatively. We have spent years collecting and giving to readers such examples from Sonatype and a lot more examples from Black Duck, which has strong links to Microsoft and has become a de facto FUD source against FOSS, especially copyleft. Here we have Redmonk propping up the copyleft-hostile agenda again and over at ITWire we found an article which indicates that Weinberg, formerly of LiPS Forum, is now among those who will “write for FUD”. As the author puts it, “Weinberg did not advocate for OSS in any way. But he pointed out that from a pragmatic point of view, one had to get used to seeing its use in the enterprise. It was therefore better to know the nature of the beast, he said. As an example he pointed to a statement made by Carl-Eric Mols, the head of OSS at Sony Mobile Communications, wherein Mols said that more than 80 per cent of the software used in Sony’s handsets was open source.”

This is where Black Duck comes in with its proprietary (and patent-’protected’) software to make scary claims about the risk of FOSS. The problem with this business model is that it is generally detrimental to FOSS and it monetises fear of FOSS — a fear which is being exaggerated by the likes of Black Duck.

11.05.14

Microsoft Coup D’état: After Paying the Apache Software Foundation and Paying Apache Man to Become Microsoft Employee He Immediately Becomes President

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 7:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. “Independent” analyst’s report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent” consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). “Independent” courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: Microsoft staff installed as head of the Apache Software Foundation just half a decade after the Apache Software Foundation sold out

ABOUT six years ago, Apache (or ASF) made itself vulnerable to a Microsoft coup d’état by becoming financially dependent on Microsoft. Apache has, in some sense, sold out. Our previous posts about this include (to list just a subset):

  1. Embrace, Extend, and Apache
  2. Yesterday’s Microsoft Slashvertisement and Apache’s Trip to Redmond
  3. Microsoft Starts the Media Charade Ahead of Apache Conference
  4. Microsoft Pays for a More Microsoft-Obedient Apache
  5. Microsoft Now Tries to Invade Eclipse, Apache (Updated)
  6. Glyn Moody, Pam Jones: Apache Sponsorship Likely an Anti-GNU/Linux Move
  7. Does Apache Show That Money Talks?
  8. Haters of Software Freedom Inside Planet Apache
  9. Microsoft’s Path of LAMP Destruction: From Novell to Apache (the L to the A)
  10. Microsoft Hates Apache, Wanted to Sue It, Now Wants to Ruin It

Apache has since then been trying to pretend it Microsoft would not corrupt the foundation, but readers have sent us links to this new press release asking for money (making the foundation inherently vulnerable), signed by Microsoft’s Ross Gardler, acting as “President”. The word “President” in the press release could just as well be substituted with the word “Microsoft”, as if the press release actually comes from Microsoft. To put it in Gardler’s own words, “I work at Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.”

He also represents Microsoft at events and “Microsoft Open Technologies” is basically a Trojan horse inside FOSS, dedicated to derailing Free software and injecting Microsoft influence. It’s a shrewd proxy strategy.

This appointment is apparently not quite so new, it’s just that the media didn’t cover it. Based on Wikipedia:

Shortly after joining Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. the Apache Software Foundation board elected Gardler to act as President…

Wow, what a timing! Reverse Elop?

It apparently dates back to last year. We have heard from some prominent FOSS luminaries that Microsoft tried to buy them off (bribe) too, either with bizarre job offers or some funding (which some may often accept wi,th or without disclosure). Sadly, not all of them are principled and disciplined enough to decline. Microsoft uses its money to crush its competition from the inside (divide and rule) and it’s proving rather effective so far.

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