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04.16.14

Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of ‘Pro-FOSS’

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Mono at 2:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS

THE word is out that Mono booster Seif Lotfy has just joined the Microsoft Trojan horse best known as Ximian/Novell/Xamarin — the company where Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza uses financial support from Microsoft to infect everything (not just FOSS) with .NET. This is yet another recruitment which helps reinforce our suspicions about the goals of Xamarin.

Meanwhile, suggests this post from a UEFI ‘secure’ boot apologist, “a significant proportion of existing systems can probably have their Secure Boot implementation circumvented.”

So why support them in the first place? We have already shown several ways of breaking ‘secure’ boot and even remotely vendalising entire motherboards using ‘secure’ boot. Both Mono and ‘secure’ boot deserve to be dropped into the digital wastebasket. Their outcome is harm to FOSS and to computing in general.

04.15.14

After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 3:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brendan Eich
Photo by Darcy Padilla

Summary: Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO

WE wrote a critical post immediately upon Eich's appointment, but it dealt with purely technical matters. Ever since then there has been no real discussion of Eich’s technical abilities and achievements (he is [cref very pro-Free software]. It has been just muck-raking, which was amplified by Microsoft's friends.

We have gathered some articles that help explain how the ousting was done [1], essentially trying to work around laws [2] by inducing resignation. Friends of mine have explained where bigotry really was [3] and it is clear that by stepping down Eich only let the bigots win [4], leaving the role to Chris Beard for now [5] (he might as well stay in this position because he is also good). Boycott are still being used [5], showing that this whole episode [6] is achieving nothing good (if lessons are to be learned [7]). Those from within Mozilla who started it all have essentially done huge damage to Mozilla, which is trying to move on [8,9] or have people speak about something technical and newsworthy.

As a vocal person (my Diaspora feed is a lot more vocal than Techrights), I was deeply disgusted to see how a personal opinion got used, opportunistically perhaps, to harm Eich’s career. I may not agree with his position, but I would go very far to defend the right to free speech. People inside Mozilla have just done a lot to harm free speech by promoting self-censorship. That’s basically making Mozilla look less like a freedom proponent. Perhaps those who are jealous of Chris Beard (inside Mozilla) can start going through the past decade’s activities and try hard to find something in his personal life with which to blackmail the organisation until he resigns. One reputable source said that opposition to Eich’s appointment was more to do with the company not hiring from the outside for CEO. Well, Beard — like Eich — is coming from inside Mozilla.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Brendan Eich’s ouster shows lynch mob at work

    Two of the communities that lay claim to being among the most tolerant and inclusive have shown intolerance of a very high order, acting like a lynch mob to ensure that a top technologist was forced to leave his job as chief executive of a well-known software group.

  2. Termination of Mozilla CEO Likely Violated California Law

    What these commentators seem to have overlooked, however, is that the California Labor Code has already resolved this debate. Under California law it is blatantly illegal to fire an employee because he has donated money to a political campaign.

  3. Brendan Eich, the bigots, and Software Freedom

    By now you may be wondering where I’m going with this. The point I feel very few people made in the controversy surrouding Brendan Eich is that Free Software does not care who you are voting for as an individual or even as an organization. What matters is respecting the license the software you are studying, using, modifyng and distributing is complied with, and to a broader extent, that the development community you are contributing to -if that is the case- is not deprived from its freedom. Now let’s take a few real, yet general cases of Free Software usage around the globe.

  4. Mozilla only made things worse by letting CEO Brandon Eich go
  5. Mozilla Names Former CMO Beard as Interim CEO

    After the short-lived tenure of Brendan Eich, a new interim CEO takes the helm at the open-source browser vendor—Greylock Partners’ Chris Beard.

  6. Caution Warranted on a Mozilla Boycott

    Regardless of how you feel about Eich’s departure and the reasons thereof, there is also a battle going on against unwanted online government, corporate, and other surveillance activities (much of which Edward Snowden brought to light). Mozilla is helping in this fight. Note that some calling for a Mozilla boycott are also the same ones who view Snowden as a traitor.

  7. Lessons Learned from Mozilla’s Edgy Eich Episode
  8. Brendan Eich’s Departure Will Mar Mozilla but Not Stop Its Innovation

    Brendan Eich’s resignation soon after being named Mozilla CEO will scar the company, but it won’t likely halt its major tech initiatives.

  9. North America Mozilla Reps Meetup

    This weekend, North America Mozilla Reps gathered in the not-so-sunny Portland, Oregon. We worked from the Portland Office during the weekend, where we collaborated on plans for North America for the next six month period. We also tackled a number of topics from websites and refined our priority cities which will help us be more successful in moving forward in our mission to grow contributors in North America.

04.09.14

Season of Disinformation About FOSS, Courtesy of ‘Compliance’ Firms

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD at 5:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Proprietary but pretending to be pro-FOSS

Ceramic

Summary: Tech City News, Black Duck, and Protecode (in SD Times) show their hostility towards the principles of code-sharing

EVERY ONCE in a while we see articles which are exceptionally hostile towards Free software in the sense that they compare it to a disease. They use words like “contaminate” and “infect”. Here is a new article of this kind. This is the type of FUD that companies like Black Duck, whose latest voice hijack we mentioned twice this month alone, habitually spread. They monetise it. There is more of them in the press and pundits like Mac Asay [1] help them get their message out. Well, they are trying to change perceptions and set trends. Asay is close to them because they helped sponsor events that he was organising. But they are not to be viewed as FOSS proponents. They are a proprietary software company with software patents; they only pretend to care about FOSS and they pretend to be spokespeople for FOSS. Their founder is a marketing man from Microsoft.

Similarly, some proprietary software company called Protecode (with a similar business model) pushes similar messages, having been given a platform at SD Times which is sometimes composed by patent lawyers (and is funded in part by Microsoft). The article then led to more from Adrian Bridgwater.

What we generally have here is a bunch of proprietary players (some with clear connections to Microsoft) talking about how complying with FOSS is risky. They never mention the risk of proprietary software licences that ‘expire’ and can lead to expensive litigation if not obeyed. The only surprising thing is that they continue to receive press space.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The Reasons Businesses Use Open Source Are Changing Faster Than You Realize

04.07.14

Microsoft’s Manipulation of the Media Demonstrated

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amplifying the lies

A loudspeaker

“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]

Summary: Seeding a lie in the press, or confusing readers by means of semantics, still a top skill championed by Microsoft and its PR agencies

MICROSOFT places more emphasis on PR and AstroTurfing than it does on technical work. One former Microsoft marketer created a firm that manages Microsoft-friendly think tanks (Black Duck, his proprietary software firm, is speaking ‘for’ FOSS this month [1]). Microsoft has been very effective when it comes to perception distortion (they call it “perception management”), so we need to counter this.

Just as Microsoft was openwashing Azure and is still openwashing it in the Microsoft media (trying to make it synonymous with openness although it is proprietary with surveillance), the company is now openwashing .NET. We decided to research this and find out how and why the press played along with this charade of PR, so we ended up with a sort of ‘post mortem’ of how it all came about. Simon Phipps, the President of the OSI (and hence an authority when it comes to classifying real Open Source), has already chastised Microsoft numerous times in recent weeks. Not only did he rebut claims that Microsoft DOS and other abandoned Microsoft products were open-sourced (they were not) but he also wrote about Microsoft's serious abuses of privacy in Hotmail, connecting that to the latest deceiving charade from Microsoft. Phipps writes: “it emerged that Microsoft, in pursuit of a copyright misuse mediated by an employee, discovered some of the evidence was to be obtained in someone else’s Hotmail account. Since the terms of use allow the company to read whatever mail it wishes, it went in to the mailbox and took a look. But many people felt “legal” was not equivalent to “ethical,” especially from a company trying to frame a competitor for the same attitude with its “Scroogled” campaign.”

So it’s clear that the OSI (or at least its President) was not particularly impressed by any of Microsoft’s latest PR stunts. Microsoft’s software is not just proprietary software but also spyware by design (in collusion with the NSA). We can assume that .NET inherits those same issues.

Phipps, who used to work at Sun (and hence promoted Java) writes: “Open-sourcing Java gave it a new lease on life. Why, then, did Microsoft insist on keeping .Net closed? My guess is it was a matter of leadership philosophy. Plenty of staff in Microsoft understood the power of open source to harness developer passion. It had to be a senior hand holding them back.”

The more important question is, why did a lot of the press call this move open-sourcing? We did a thorough search, going back in time, attempting to pinpoint where it all started; we have reviewed dozens of reports and sorting the reports chronologically (e.g. [2-12]), it’s easier to see how it’s basically seeded by Microsoft-friendly sites with deceiving headlines. It was more like a PR campaign where gratis gets equated with libre, components and the whole get blurred (there is no clarification to that effect), and platform dependence (Windows only) is not even discussed. As Phipps put it in his personal blog: “The caution relates to the news that Windows for mobile will be free of charge. Whilst unarguably a big move, it’s not open source — the license terms still restrict how you can use the software. This is important, as whilst a “first hit is free” approach to getting people using mobile Windows might bring some results, the key to sustained innovation and therefore sustained increase in the user base comes from removing the need to ask for permission before you can innovate.”

Therein lies another source of confusion. Some exploited the simultaneous announcement of gratis and libre to bamboozle readers — a tactic championed by Microsoft boosters posing as reporters, .NET-oriented news sites (there is not even an illusion of objectivity in Gates-funded papers and sites edited/managed by longtime friends of Microsoft), and dubious people like Brian Fagioli (writing for an historically Microsoft-friendly site), who appears not to know that Android has Linux in it but has started covering FOSS some months ago (and not done so well). This is the same guy who, based on our analysis at the early stages of the controversy, started pushing the “Mozilla CEO is anti-gay” line (we had seen no such coverage before he did that, just positive coverage about Eich becoming the CEO). Later we saw Microsoft-friendly news sites amplifying the same message, discrediting the Mozilla Foundation and also rewriting history of Netscape, not just Mozilla (we omit all the links which relate to this as we don’t wish to feed them). Never mind if those who were most vocal against Eich were themselves notably (if not extremely) anti-gay rights [13]. Microsoft itself is notoriously homophobic (against lesbians and gay males, not just marriages of them) — to the point of being sued by its own staff.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Eighth Annual Future of Open Source Survey Finds OSS Powering New Technologies, Reaching New People, and Creating New Economics
  2. Build 2014: Microsoft makes .NET Compiler Platform Roslyn open source
  3. Microsoft open sources .NET compiler platform “Roslyn” and announces open source .NET Foundation initiative
  4. Microsoft Makes ‘Roslyn’ Compiler Open Source
  5. Microsoft releases Windows Library for JavaScript as open source
  6. C# Compiler Released As Open Source
  7. Windows Library for JavaScript (WinJS) now open source, released under Apache 2.0 license
  8. Microsoft releases new developer tools, makes open source .NET commitment during the second day at Build Conference
  9. Microsoft releases new developer tools, makes open source .NET commitment at Build Conference
  10. Microsoft Build 2014: Microsoft open sources a slew of software with .NET Foundation
  11. Microsoft announces open source compiler platform ‘Roslyn’ and .NET Foundation initiative
  12. Microsoft offers .NET libraries to open source
  13. The Hypocrisy Of Sam Yagan & OkCupid

    OkCupid received a clear benefit, media attention, for trashing Eich. But their co-founder and ultimate CEO has shown strong anti-gay tendencies in the past. That’s hypocrisy, and worse.

04.05.14

Don’t Be Fooled by Microsoft: .NET is Proprietary Software, Still

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 8:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The “open” circus returns

Clown

Summary: Publicity stunt from Microsoft strives to bamboozle the gullible, leading to the false perception that .NET is now “open”

Microsoft was caught openwashing DOS and other Microsoft "crown jewels" (that it had bought) some days ago. The OSI’s President was far from impressed, having watched Microsoft pulling these stunts to also openwash Azure and other such NSA-friendly proprietary software traps.

“I wonder why they don’t just skin FreeBSD or GNU/Linux and throw in Wine and Samba…”
      –MinceR
As we have argued over the years, Microsoft used Mono to openwash .NET and having created several openwashing proxies, including CodePlex and Outercurve (there are more), Microsoft goes further in trying to paint .NET “open”, blurring the gap between proprietary and Open Source (basically just creating confusion).

The Microsoft-friendly news sites helped advance Microsoft’s agenda with PR puff pieces like this one or that one. To quote one example: “For years, Microsoft has flirted with the open-source movement, trying to build bridges with developers that favor publicly released code over proprietary software. This week, the software giant finally made the big moves skeptics of its commitment to open source have been looking for.”

Nonsense. Hogwash.

As Lirodon put it in our IRC channels, they have “just released a few components (i.e. the Roslyn C# compiler, WinJS) under Apache license” and “perhaps they feel the end,” MinceR added.

MinceR also joked: “I wonder why they don’t just skin FreeBSD or GNU/Linux and throw in Wine and Samba… and maybe KVM/QEMU with a stripped-down winblows image for “legacy applications”.”

Well, Microsoft cannot afford to really embrace GNU/Linux, only to try to extort it and make it more expensive. It should be emphasised that nothing really changed with the above openwashing move, which is not even the first of its kind.

04.01.14

False Spokespeople for Free Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 5:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Still speaking ‘on behalf’ of Free/Open Source software (FOSS)

Future of Open Source Forum

Summary: Companies with a history of FOSS bashing are presenting themselves as representatives of FOSS

Last year we wrote about some relatively new entity called WhiteSource spreading FUD against FOSS. It is now running something called “Open Source Usage Practices Survey” [1] while presenting itself as “a leading provider of automated tools for open-source license compliance and security risk management” (misleading).

WhiteSource has nothing to do with Open Source, it is just exploiting FOSS and uses fear of FOSS to make money. It is similar to Microsoft-tied entities like Black Duck, which is also claiming to be running a survey under the banner “Future of Open Source” (we showed what it really is about). The only new (ish) thing here is the involvement of another entity, North Bridge. To quote the press release: “North Bridge Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm, together with Black Duck Software, the trusted partner for open source software adoption, management and governance, will unveil the findings of the eighth annual Future of Open Source survey during a webinar, “2014 Future of Open Source Survey Results Revealed,” scheduled for Thursday, April 3rd, at 2 p.m. ET.”

So later this week we will be told what to think about FOSS based on a proprietary software company and a financial firm. How apt. This is becoming a real issue and more journalists should look into it. Since real journalism is dying whereas corporate press is thriving, it is likely that many sites will just parrot whatever Black Duck says.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Open Source Usage Practices Survey: Last Chance to Participate

03.28.14

Microsoft is Still Losing Market Share in Actual Web Servers (Not Dummy Domains)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 6:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apache vs. Microsoft

Credit: Netcraft

Summary: The reality behind Microsoft’s declining presence on the Web and the distortion of statistics which Microsoft is so notorious for

SOME people just don’t investigate before writing. They prematurely mourn a demise of Apache (the Web server) even though there is no demise and nothing to really mourn. Netcraft has finally produced a better graph (as shown above) to show Microsoft exploiting parked domains to make Apache look bad. This is not unprecedented and the peaks in the graph represent similar events that involved GoDaddy, for example.

“…whoever claimed that Apache was having woes or that Free software was losing in servers space should probably post a correction.”Dr. Glyn Moody says he “spoke to Jim Jagielski, who has an impressive entry in Wikipedia that shows him to be well placed to comment on the Apache Web server project” (note that he is a Microosft guy now, having sold out for a high salary).

Moody wrote: “When I asked him whether he was worried that the long and glorious reign of the Apache Web server might be over, he pointed out that the graph where Microsoft had done well was the “Web server developers: Market share of all sites”. In other words, it simply counted every Web site it could find, whether or not that site was important or even active. Netcraft’s analysis confirms that the big jump in Microsoft’s market share was down to almost a single company:

‘Microsoft gained a staggering 48 million sites this month, increasing its total by 19% — most of this growth is attributable to new sites hosted by Nobis Technology Group.’

“As Jagielski notes, the second and third Netcraft graphs, “Web server developers: Market share of active sites” and “Web server developers: Market share of the top million busiest sites”, show a rather different story. In the former, Microsoft made a small gain of 0.18%, while in the latter its growth was negative – -0.10%. In fact, the real star of the latest Netcraft survey is the open source Web server Nginx: it gained an extra 0.60% of the total Web server market, 1.49% of the active sites, and 1.55% of the million busiest sites.”

So whoever claimed that Apache was having woes or that Free software was losing in servers space should probably post a correction. Microsoft is a master of gaming statistics and we showed several times before that Microsoft does this very consciously and deliberately. Right now, for example, Microsoft is lying about so-called ‘sales’ of Vista 8, using bogus numbers, as usual. One response said: “Microsoft will have you believe that the new Windows 8 operating system is doing great in sales and that Linux is not actually gaining any solid ground, but it’s difficult to tell what is happening on the market without any real data. So we turn to the only online shop that has enough sales to provide an accurate picture.”

“I’ve never used Windows XP, because I’ve run Linux on all my PC systems for about 15 years,” wrote this one journalist in a new article. But since many computers come with Windows preinstalled and computers with old versions of Windows still count as “8″, surely Microsoft can lie and try to defend the lie.

03.27.14

OSI Strikes Back Against Microsoft Deception, Which Keeps Distorting the Meaning of Open Source

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 7:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Microsoft Movement is once again polluting the Internet with disinformation, very much as intended

Truth

Summary: The President of the Open Source Initiative chastises Microsoft (and press/media) for promoting the lie that Microsoft products have been made Open Source or anything along those lines

A COUPLE of days ago we quoted some tweets which were posted by Simon Phipps, the head of the Open Source Initiative and a friend of the Free Software Foundation (he has done a fantastic job bridging the gap between those two camps). Phipps quickly rebutted appealing reports that Microsoft had manufactured to make it sound as though Windows was being open-sourced. The average, non-technical person would be susceptible to accepting the lie, especially when Microsoft-friendly magazines amplify it. What Microsoft did should hardly be treated as news at all. It’s a non-event. The code which was proprietary is still proprietary, it’s just being imposed on the public through a public museum.

A short while ago Phipps followed it up, turning the messages from his tweets into an article at IDG. “Look all you want, but don’t think about touching Microsoft’s source code for MS-DOS v1.1/v2.0 and Microsoft Word v1.1″ says the summary of the article “Microsoft didn’t really open-source MS-DOS” (the word “really” is spurious).

We have already identified some silly headlines that falsely argued Microsoft “open-sourced” the software, but we won’t link to them as that would only serve as a megaphone to falsehoods.

Well done, Microsoft. You sure managed to coordinate message injection into the media, with lots of lies posted all over the Internet (to be absorbed by lesser-technical people). This is why Microsoft can never be a friend of Free/Open Source software. All that Microsoft seems to be doing is openwashing proprietary software using plugs and hooks that may or may not be genuinely “open” (unlike the software they are tied to or depend on, e.g. Hyper-V). The confusion created by Microsoft serves Microsoft in numerous ways: 1) it weakens the label “Open Source”; 2) it makes Microsoft products seem indistinguishable from FOSS; 3) it helps careless adoption of patent-encumbered concepts such as .NET (e.g. Mono) and FAT, which in turn facilitates litigation (extortion) against companies that adopt GNU/Linux, passing Microsoft tax to customers who never chose Microsoft.

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