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European Unitary Patent and Court System in Trouble

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 5:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EU flag

Summary: New resistance to the Unitary Patent amid allegations of misconduct in the European patent authorities

OUR recent coverage of EPO abuses plays a role in derailing the Unitary Patent and 'harminised' court system (bypassing national laws in many nations), which is basically an open door to a lot of software patents and patent trolls. Our sources occasionally remind us that they can feel the impact and see the effect of reporting on the subject. Over at IPCopy we learn about the Unitary Patent’s latest and also take note of Spain’s challenge, which we first covered several years ago, back in 2011 and in 2010. “The Advocate General,” explains IPCopy, “released his opinions on the two Spanish challenges to the unitary patent system in November last year and in December there was much discussion online about the independence of the Boards of Appeal at the EPO.

“Anyone curious about whether the developments at the EPO might be relevant to the Spanish challenges to the unitary patent are encouraged to head over to Dr Ingve Stjerna’s website (link below) and read his latest paper ” Unitary patent and court system – Advocate General’s Statements of Position: Superseded by reality”.”

We are glad to see nations standing up to the EPO, which has corruption at the top. It goes well beyond authorisation of software patenting, which includes FRAND in Europe. OSI President Simon Phipps, writing that “FRAND Is Always Discriminatory”, says that he “participated in a study asking about the fairness, reasonableness and non-discriminatory nature of FRAND licensing in the context of licensing of patents in standards. I was surprised to find people there asserting there was no conflict between FRAND licensing and open source software. Here’s a simple explanation why that’s wrong.”

“Why patent licensing as a precondition of implementation of a standard cannot be non-discriminatory, on any terms,” he wrote in Twitter about his article, which also made it into corporate media.

It sure looks like the insidious side of the EPO, mostly attributed to managers in suits at the top floors (not scientists such as patent examiners), is being exposed for all to see. There is still chance for European democracy to be saved and sovereign laws (intended to preserve some level of justice) to be taken into account, not foolishly (and arrogantly) overridden.


The Openwashing of Microsoft is Now Threatening to Eliminate the Identity of Free Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” ~Joseph Goebbels

Joseph Goebbels

Summary: More openwashing of Microsoft, including in the corporate media, shows just to what great an extent and how quickly the old “Microsoft Open Source” Big Lie grows feet

SEVERAL days ago we wrote about Condé Nast‘s attempt to paint as "open source" a Microsoft takeover which had nothing to do with FOSS (Free/Open Source software). Yesterday we saw Microsoft apologist Adrian Bridgwater doing the same thing. He has lots of conflicts from him are being disclosed this year, the latest being this article about Pentaho where he admits he “has worked on eBook materials for Pentaho.”

We are generally disturbed to see how Microsoft perturbs media coverage to lie so much on its behalf. Consider this latest nonsense article titled “Microsoft Slowly Easing Into Open-source” and the “Microsoft loves Linux” nonsense. This is a shotgun wedding from people whose attempt to paint Microsoft as an “Open Source company” has gone too far. It’s completely detached from facts as the company’s cash cows and crown jewels are all as proprietary as can be. The Microsoft propaganda sites that play along with the Microsoft-Linux angle would go quite far to convince us that Microsoft and GNU/Linux are now in more or less the same camp. It’s designed to confuse outsiders and it is proving quite effective so far. It’s often repeated without any fact-checking.

Black Duck, a Microsoft-connected firm that has worked hard to facilitate Microsoft’s infiltration into FOSS and dubbed Microsoft "Open Source Rookie of the Year" is now coming out with another such list. One article about it says that “Black Duck Open Source Rookies of the Year are selected irrespective of commercial motivations, according to Black Duck officials. Rather, they reflect projects that have demonstrated significant traction through developer contributions and involvement over the past year.”

Complete nonsense. They are saving face. IDG completely gives the company the platform as though it turned author (see author’s name). It says that “Each year sees the start of thousands of new open source projects. Only a handful gets real traction.”

Like Microsoft? Black Duck would have us believe that it is an authority in FOSS in its press release that it paid to spread and Microsoft-friendly (and funded by Microsoft) media rewriting is now the press release to make puff pieces. Black Duck, like Microsoft, is a proprietary software company.

The bottom line is, Microsoft and its allies spent a considerable amount of money and effort trying to push this illusion that Microsoft is now an “Open Source company” or something along those lines. If we don’t refute these lies, then perception may change and legislators for example, may find themselves unable to discern/tell apart Microsoft lock-in (e.g. OOXML) from Free software. That is perhaps the conflation that Microsoft strives to achieve.


Microsoft’s Media Attack on Free Software and GNU/Linux

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 6:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Brainwash war is still being waged by Microsoft and its friends to convince people that Windows is universally dominant and that Microsoft is now part of the Free software world

ALONG with the measurable decline of Windows (GNU/Linux is rapidly gaining) comes the "Vista 10" publicity stunt -- an attempt to bury bad news. Microsoft tries to scare and distract the competition, bamboozling the whole world with what is essentially vapourware. It’s just a PR campaign and Microsoft enlisted many boosters to play along. Microsoft even got them to deceive the public into thinking that Vista 10 is ‘free’, but as this new rebuttal puts it, “I had to laugh aloud at Microsoft’s announcement that Windows 10 would be offered as a free upgrade for users of both Windows 7 and Windows 8.”

Vista 10 is not ‘free’ (we already explained why) and it is moreover proprietary. It seems as though even some FOSS bloggers (including FOSS Force above) fell for the lies. There are things even worse than these lies which were perpetrated by Microsoft and propagated by Microsoft-friendly media. Pogson’s “Some Twits Just Are Too Funny To Ignore” and Lynch’s “Windows 10 doesn’t matter to desktop Linux” are basically feeding the latest troll (with a history doing this type of flamebait against Free software). Elsewhere on the Web, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is playing Chamberlain by going along with the latest openwashing of Microsoft and Sam Dean doing some more Microsoft promotion (of proprietary software) in an Open Source news site.

Whatever is happening right now comes to show that Microsoft’s propaganda is so far-reaching that even FOSS people are confused by it and they are eager to sometimes repeat the lies from Microsoft (nonsense like “Microsoft loves Linux”). If Microsoft is allowed to take over the media like this, then we are in serious trouble and Microsoft will be able to infiltrate the competition with Mono, OOXML, etc.

In recent years we have shown many examples where Microsoft and Gates essentially bribed many news sites in order to achieve mind control, revisionism, and demonisation of competing ideologies or companies. To give one new example of this disturbing trend, The Verge makes Bill Gates its editor next month (direct influence with no need to bribe them like the rest of the news outlets). This helps explain why site has become somewhat of a Microsoft mouthpiece.

If people do not stand up for what’s true, the perceived truth will become a reality in the minds of the prey.

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]


The Latest ‘Microsoft is Open Source’ Propaganda a Parade of Lies

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 10:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A ‘reformed’ Microsoft just a myth perpetrated and propagated by corporate media


Summary: Microsoft myth makers continue their assault on what is objectively true and try to tell the public that Microsoft is a friend of “Open Source”

Calling Microsoft “Open Source” anything is like calling King Abdullah a proponent of women’s rights or pro-women anything (as some elites already shamelessly claim). Microsoft is a strong opponent of “Open Source” and as with Abdullah, those claiming otherwise are either bribed or on the same boat as Abdullah/Microsoft.

We were disgusted to see a very misleading headline from Condé Nast yesterday. The latest propaganda from a Condé Nast publication reads like a puff piece from beginning to end, truly complete and moreover decorated with a highly misleading headline whose aim is openwashing the most anti-FOSS (Open Source) company in the world. Microsoft is doing nothing FOSS here; quite the contrary in fact, as it locks something behind a so-called ‘cloud’. To quote the opening paragraphs of the propaganda piece: “Microsoft has agreed to acquire open-source software company Revolution Analytics, heavily embracing the R programming language, a data analysis tool widely used by both academics and corporate data scientists.”

Revolution Analytics is not an “Open Source” company (the headline misuses this brand). The term “open-source” with a dash serves to highlight that the author is misusing brands (the OSI controls this brand and can potentially take action if it chooses to). Last night we checked all the new articles other than the afore-linked article and all these article did not use the spin. Not even known Microsoft boosters with a long track record did this. To name all which were published around the same time (mostly from Microsoft boosters):

Going through ~30 articles about Revolution Analytics helps reaffirm suspicions that Condé Nast is now in the Microsoft propaganda business. We already highlighted such a trend before.

Now that Microsoft boosting sites are trying hard to paint Microsoft as “Open Source” the last thing we need is a paper like “Wired” (to Microsoft?) pushing this agenda, carrying water for a serial abuser that bribes journalists and misleads the world’s technical community through journalists.

A roundup from Jim Lynch has responded to another recent propaganda piece from Condé Nast (by Microsoft Peter), citing in response to it this call to destroy Internet Explorer (which Condé Nast is openwashing). To quote Slate: “Internet Explorer has become a liability, and I’m happy to report that Microsoft seems to know that.”

Another article worth highlighting is this piece from Andy Patrizio, who has a long history of shilling for Microsoft although we have not seen much of him in recent years. He now works for Microsoft’s propaganda section of the Microsoft-friendly NetworkWorld, carrying water for the Moodle "embrace extend and extinguish" move by Microsoft.

While we expect this kind of openwashing from allies of Microsoft, bribed authors (publications that are run on Microsoft money), etc. we don’t typically expect it from “Wired” because historically, before Condé Nast acquired “Wired”, the paper had covered Microsoft properly, especially in the antitrust days. Condé Nast basically shattered any illusion of neutrality. “Wired” is now reduced to the churnalism business, as a recent statement from its head of operations served to confirm (this quickly reached the media and went viral).

Microsoft does not “love Linux” and it does not “March Toward Open Source” as “Wired” wants us to believe. Microsoft embraces patent abuse and aggression against Open Source because it’s the company’s last resort. Microsoft also tries to infiltrate (to destroy) Open Source and it’s easy to see why, especially now that Microsoft suffers more layoffs (see context). A report from this week “noted that both HP and Microsoft announced plans to cut payrolls by 59,523, a combined 69 percent increase from the 35,136 job cuts by these companies in 2013.”

Microsoft is going down. Don’t let Microsoft drag FOSS down with it.


Microsoft is Dying Due to Free Software, Tries to Infect GNU/Linux With .NET and to Infect Moodle in Schools With Microsoft Office and OOXML Lock-in

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Open XML at 12:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates


Summary: ‘Free’ drugs (a proprietary software analogy) the new strategy of Microsoft in its latest battle against Free software, especially in schools where choice is a rarity (if not an impossibility), with the premeditated intention of forming dependency/addiction among young people

The Microsoft marketer from the CBS-run ZDNet says that GNU/Linux has now successfully pushed the price of Windows down to $0. No wonder the company is laying off many employees and fighting with the IRS over its tax violations. Microsoft is a company in rapid decline and there are many ways to show this. Just because Microsoft pressures and even bribes people to pay lip service to Vista 10 doesn’t mean it’s real news or that FOSS sites should cover it too (but some do). It’s more of a distraction or a decoy amid a lot of negative publicity for Microsoft. Vista 10 is not ‘free’, neither gratis nor libre. That’s a lie perpetrated by Microsoft and propagated by Microsoft-friendly media. As Pogson put it in his rebuttal: “Freedom isn’t just about the price. An operating system isn’t a service. One needs software on a device to make it seem intelligent, nothing more. Bundling that other OS with every kind of device on the planet doesn’t make any sense at all.”

Microsoft has been trying to infiltrate the FOSS community and even infiltrate GNU/Linux (the winners at Microsoft’s expense). Here we have Microsoft’s proxy Xamarin producing yet another Microsoft entrapment for GNU/Linux users (Mono) and here we have Microsoft trying to repurpose Free software as Microsoft lock-in. When Microsoft says “open source” it means proprietary plus some exploitation of FOSS in the Trojan sense, based on its silly press releases that it pushed even into CNN, (i.e. paid for by Microsoft handsomely). For those who missed it, Microsoft is now trying to push proprietary software with OOXML lock-in, which Microsoft committed crimes for, into Moodle. Microsoft’s ally in schools, Blackboard (proprietary), also tried to accomplish that when it acquired the competition (Moodlerooms). It is capture by proxy (Microsoft uses its own proxy) and it serves to highlight an inherent vulnerability in the ‘openness’ of Free software (it leaves itself open to Trojan horses unless it is willing to put up some resistance). Microsoft did the same thing to Linux (proprietary Hyper-V through Novell as the bribed proxy) and it is becoming a serious issue. The media too plays a role in it (see the paid press releases above) and Bill Gates’ bribes to The Guardian are clearly paying off because this wicked paper is now portraying Gates as a champion of education with another mindless advertisement/puff piece. This is often about imposing Microsoft software on schools. Gates has already made it explicitly clear that he views children the same way drug dealers view them. It’s market share. It’s money. “In other news,” wrote a reader to us, “he is attacking Moodle quite heavily. I guess the goal is to make it 100% tied to MS Office, Sharepoint, Exchange and all the other crap.”

“Microsoft has been been trying to infiltrate the FOSS community and even infiltrate GNU/Linux (the winners at Microsoft’s expense).”“Wired still sucks up to Bill,” he added, linking to this latest puff piece. Gates has spent over a billion dollars so far bribing news sites, blogs, etc. so we have grounds for suspicion that Wired too (Condé Nast) has an unstated conflict of interest. Another news site of Condé Nast has employed full-time Microsoft boosters and one of them, Peter Bright (Microsoft Peter), is now openwashing Internet Explorer despite admitting that “Internet Explorer is closed from end to end.”

Watch out as Microsoft and Bill Gates try to hijack school curriculum to impose Microsoft as part of what’s obligatory (imposed from above). The attempt to make Moodle connected to the NSA PRISM-complying (Microsoft was first in PRISM) OOXML-spreading Microsoft Office is just the first step.


The Threat of Mono is Not Entirely Over Yet

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNOME, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 11:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The risk of Microsoft’s interjection into Free/Open Source software (FOSS) persists

A syringe

Summary: Attempts to put Mono in GNOME still exist (Xamarin behind it) and the openwashing of .NET continues months after the Big Lie

MONO has been a thorn in the side of Free software for nearly a decade, shortly after it had been conceived by a Microsoft fan who used it to promote Microsoft APIs with associated patent risk and lock-in. It wasn’t too shocking to see the Microsoft-tied Novell joining in the ‘fun’. We have spent many years fighting back against Mono, which was an embodiment of Microsoft’s interests and an attempt to assimilate FOSS to Microsoft. The Microsoft proxy now known as Xamarin is still threatening to bring Microsoft APIs to GNOME. We thought GNOME had already salvaged itself from this risk, but the risk persists and it needs to be stopped. It was already defeated before (GNOME was close to becoming Mono-dependent whereupon we wrote many articles to create protests).

The unfortunate thing is that Microsoft bamboozled many journalists into stating that .NET is "open source" (it is not) and a Dice site is trolling again using that same old .NET spin. Do not let the lie be spread so easily. Microsoft’s .NET is proprietary and it still is a patent threat that favours Windows and Microsoft, i.e. proprietary software with back doors.

“It is a propaganda campaign just like “Scroogled” and the goal is to crush software freedom, not just companies like Google.”IDG recently hired a longtime Microsoft booster, Mary Branscombe, letting her spread these lies every week or so. She was openwashing Microsoft the other day as well as several times last month. She used to write in the CBS-owned ZDNet (very poor-quality Microsoft ads disguised as ‘articles’), but now she escapes the boundaries of tabloids and is really doing a lot of damage not only to Free software but to truth itself.

This whole ‘movement’ which tries to ‘sell’ Mono to GNU/Linux, promote the notion that .NET is ‘open’ and Microsoft is wonderfully ethical needs to be crushed. It is a propaganda campaign just like “Scroogled” and the goal is to crush software freedom, not just companies like Google.


Binary ‘Security’ Vastly Inferior to Free Software Patching

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Security at 12:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The PHP-based WordPress is reported as the cause for ISC’s woes, but it was not kept up to date (a very simple and risk-free task) and the victims are actually Microsoft Windows PCs

I could personally relate to this report about a high-profile WordPress site getting cracked as it very closely relates to my job. What’s interesting about it is that the victim (or the target) is really Windows, not GNU/Linux.

“So, it looks like the chances are that ISC’s problem is limited to Windows PC malware and it hasn’t effected BIND or ISC’s DNS site,” wrote Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. Microsoft Windows is targeted via the browser. It’s just so easy.

“Bind is outdated anyway,” told us a reader. “Better replacements have been available for a long time.”

According to the first report, “ISC was hacked by way of a WordPress flaw, but there is now an automatic way to secure WordPress sites and (eventually) eliminate the risk of nonpatched systems.” This might not help protect from out-of-date or vulnerable extensions to WordPress. It’s not an easy task. I have worked with WordPress for over 10 years and with Drupal for close to 5 years (including involvement in the development community), so I can confess that some flaws are inevitable. When it comes to Free software, however, the patching process is vastly superior to that of proprietary software, where many of the flaws are never patched or are silently patched without even informing users.

The whole notion of protecting from bugs at a binary level is ludicrous. Someone who is a programmer from Microsoft spoke to me for hours some days ago and told me that Windows system updates can take a vast amount of time because of lack of modularity. Large blobs that have unknown changes in them are not the way to patch flaws, let alone inform those affected of what is being patched and why.

It is with that in mind that we also approach the binary-level checks for ‘security’ by UEFI ‘secure’ boot. It’s complete nonsense. It doesn’t work and it does not improve security, it just restricts the function of general-purpose computing. Bottomley from Novell continues to support this nonsense based on a Phoronix report that says:

James Bottomley has updated the open-source UEFI Secure Boot Tools for Linux distributions to build against the UEFI 2.4 specification.

UEFI 2.4 has been out for the past year and a half while finally now the UEFI Secure Boot Tools have been updated against the latest spec.

UEFI ‘secure’ boot is how Microsoft and Intel (Wintel) have complicated Free software use, as we’re reminded by a new article where Jamie is nagging about UEFI ‘secure’ boot when installing a new good flavour of GNU/Linux:

“Any computer that comes with UEFI should now be avoided.”“[I]f you are installing PCLinuxOS to a UEFI-firmware system,” he writes, “the best thing to do (and the most common and sensible by far, I’m sure) is to simply leave it in Legacy/MBR boot enabled, don’t try to switch back to UEFI boot.”

Any computer that comes with UEFI should now be avoided. It is possible to avoid such computers and voting with one’s wallet can be very effective.

Black Duck Debunked Again, Data Asserted Invalid

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Black Duck’s GPL-hostile numbers are hinged on a biased collection of data, claims controversial columnist Byfield

JUST before Christmas we wrote this critique of Redmonk because it was using data from its former paymasters at Black Duck. The data was used to discredit the GNU GPL, a cornerstone of copyleft (which in inherently one of the biggest threats to the likes of Microsoft, which is in turn closely connected to Black Duck).

“No article is perfect, but the takeaway from Byfield’s article is that Black Duck’s claims deserve no trust.”An article from Bruce Byfield (excerpt in [1]), a person whom we typically disagree with (he tends to aggravate projects or sites and then malign them using their response, i.e. the troll’s modus operandi), finally disputes the Black Duck ‘data’, which is in some case derived directly or funneled through Microsoft (for over 5 years now). Byfield criticises “both the Red Monk studies and their main source, Black Duck Software,” noting quite correctly that the way data is collected is biased by designed (incomplete and tilted in favour of large corporations such as Microsoft).

While we cannot agree with all of Byfield’s assertions, some of his points align with ours and bolster critics of Black Duck, including Debian heavyweight Bruce Perens, who warned people that Black Duck's claims about the GPL are "B.S."

Will Hill, a Debian user, has highlighted numerous flaws in Byfield’s article, including:

Oh no, he’s dredging up all that bullshit again? It was pretty conclusively dealt with at the time by counting packages in Debian, etc. Let me count the howlers,

Because permissive licenses are more flexible and less likely to generate compliance problems, the possibility is strong that these sources could have a conscious or unconscious bias against copyleft licenses.

That’s basically what Black Duck was trying to get people to believe, that software freedom is not “flexible” enough for businesses who prefer “permissive” BSD. This is silly and wrong, but he’s stated as a fact. What a turkey.

Debian, for example, notes that its license “include” a short list but makes no guarantee that the list is complete, and goes no further than to note that a half dozen licenses are “common.”

This undermines people’s ability to see the best rebuttal in a dishonest way. The answer came from counting the total number of packages and the number of GPL packages to see that GPL use had increased.

No article is perfect, but the takeaway from Byfield’s article is that Black Duck’s claims deserve no trust. They are selling agenda and bias.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The problem with license trends

    The conventional wisdom is that free software licenses are rapidly evolving. The copyleft licenses are supposed to be in decline, and the permissive licenses gaining popularity, according to two widely-quoted studies from Red Monk by Stephen O’Grady and Donnie Berkholz, In fact, writing in 2012, Berkholz declares that new project licenses are more likely to use a permissive license than anything else. However, on closer examination, whether these conclusions are accurate is open to question.

    For one thing, both the Red Monk studies and their main source, Black Duck Software and its Open Hub site (formerly Ohloh) are business-oriented. Because permissive licenses are more flexible and less likely to generate compliance problems, the possibility is strong that these sources could have a conscious or unconscious bias against copyleft licenses.

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