“A man never lies as much as after a hunt, during a war, and before an election.”
–Otto von Bismarck
Summary: Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is under attack again, and it’s the proprietary software lobby that’s responsible for that
EVERY now and then we see claims that Free software is very dangerous because of licensing obligations, as if proprietary software comes with no licensing obligations and potentially severe fines (if not a jail term!). We also occasionally hear about Free software being dangerous on the security side, despite proprietary software being far worse, merely hiding flaws and rarely patching them (or patching them when it’s too late). Several Web sites published this biased ‘analysis’ composed by two proprietary software ‘sales’ people (HeBS Digital’s Max Starkov and Jaan Paljasma) only a few days ago. They rely on non-technical people actually believing that there are no downsides to proprietary software. It should also be noted that, while several sites distribute this ‘article’ as though it’s an original report, it is actually more like a press release commissioned by a stakeholder. It’s not journalism and some sites fail to flag it accordingly.
In my professional capacity I have built sites using FOSS content management systems (e.g. Drupal, WordPress) for commerce, education, and more. These frameworks are so flexible and so full of modules/plug-ins that virtually everything is possible. Not even once have such sites been compromised due to security bugs (even when some existed and remained unpatched for a while).
“It should also be noted that, while several sites distribute this ‘article’ as though it’s an original report, it is actually more like a press release commissioned by a stakeholder.”Speaking of proprietary software salespeople, the Microsoft-connected Black Duck is at it again. “The study’s findings also highlighted a number of other specific ways the adoption of appropriate internal controls has not kept pace with the increasing use of open source software, leaving many organizations exposed to significant potential risks,” wrote a lawyers’ site, based on this self-promotional press release from Black Duck.
“As highlighted in the Information Week blog DARKReading,” the lawyers’ site said, actually referring to a press release, not a blog. We shall guess that it takes more than average levels of intelligence to distinguish blog posts from press releases. We can also safely assume that Black Duck hasn’t changed its ways. It’s a de facto FUD firm which uses scare tactics for sales of its proprietary software (with software patents on it).
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Summary: Adam Saunders of Linux Voice authored a detailed report about prominent software patents-centric cases and how they impact the viability of Free/Open Source software (FOSS)
A new article from Adam Saunders, who writes “Free Software” rather than “Open Source”, has just been published online by Linux Voice, which is a magazine that we support because its writers are trustworthy and there is no pressure from any dubious sponsors (many magazines have this problem which results in self-censorship). We’ve been raving fans right from the very start. The article is a long overview of the patent situation (and to a lesser degree copyright situation) when it comes to Free/Open Source software (FOSS). It begins by stating that “[t]he United States is a popular region for patent litigation for a few reasons. There are some courts, such as the Eastern District of Texas, that have earned a reputation for being “plaintiff-friendly” when it comes to patent cases. That is, if someone brings a patent infringement lawsuit there, they’re more likely than not to win it. The payouts are also pretty high in the United States for a victorious plaintiff; awards can be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, with the highest award given weighing in at over $1.6 billion (US).”
The article is detailed and insightful. It later explains why software patents are now being chased out of the United States (Linux Voice is British by the way, not American). It explains it as follows: “Alice Corporation, a non-practice patent-holding entity, held patents on a method, system, and process for a particular type of financial risk hedging: namely, that one party to a set of financial transactions won’t pay at one or more stages in the set. This risk is known as “settlement risk”. Alice’s patents describe using a computer to keep track of the transactions between the parties. If the computer determines that a party does not have sufficient funds to pay their obligations to the other side, then the transaction is blocked. Litigation against CLS Bank International for alleged infringement of these patented ideas started in 2007, eventually winding its way up to the Supreme Court of the United States.
“Writing for a unanimous court, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas begins with a brief description of what the patents claimed. There are effectively three different types of claims made: “(1) the foregoing method for exchanging obligations (the method claims), (2) a computer system configured to carry out the method for exchanging obligations (the system claims), and (3) a computer-readable medium containing program code for performing the method of exchanging obligations (the media claims)” (page 3 of the ruling).
“Thomas then goes on to cite the court’s recent ruling in Mayo vs Prometheus, which established a test to determine which inventions incorporating abstract ideas are patent-eligible: “First, we determine whether the claims at issue are directed to one of those patent-ineligible concepts” (page 7). If it is so directed, then the court looks at “the elements of each claim both individually and ‘as an ordered combination’ to determine whether the additional elements ‘transform the nature of the claim’ into a patent-eligible application” (page 7). This is what Thomas refers to as “a search for an ‘inventive concept’” (page 7).”
As we have repeatedly stressed here over the past week [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], therein existed an opportunity for Red Hat to smash Microsoft’s patents that it was actively using against Linux (even days ago). Instead Red Hat is filing/applying for software patents of its own (still) and it has just signed a patent agreement with Microsoft. This agreement seemingly leaves exposed all who are not Red Hat or Red Hat customers, so it would take something rather surprising to show Red Hat did not act selfishly and recklessly (a cleverly-crafted short FAQ is not a contractual agreement). A “standstill” serves to insinuate that two sides are in conflict, but the matter of fact is that only Microsoft is attacking and a “standstill” implies only temporary peace. What kind of a ‘bargain’ is that? Red Hat sold out and it hopes that critics will just forget about it and go away.
We are still pursuing answers from Red Hat. It’s work in progress and continued silence will serve the reinforce suspicions of guilt. Red hat would be better off becoming transparent. If it fails to provide answers in the next few weeks we are going to speak to come influential people like Richard Stallman about the problem and look for solution, or even a damning statement on this matter. █
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M.A.D. strategy where one side massively outweighs the other
Source: Chris Beard, CEO of Mozilla (via Wikipedia)
Summary: Despite progress in the US patent system (limiting the patentability of software), the Mozilla Foundation leans towards patents with an acquisition and patent filing program
FOLLOWING a ruling by SCOTUS, the USPTO begrudgingly adopted new examination guidelines and software patents are demolished in retail quantities as a result. One might think that, consequently, FOSS firms would go on the offensive against software patents. Instead, however, some leading FOSS entities now befriend their patent enemies or even assimilate. Red Hat, for instance, has been filing for software patents for a number of years (we wrote a lot about this half a decade ago). Red Hat staff tells me that Red Hat is still applying for more software patents. This is relevant in light of the following recent articles:
Larry Cafiero from FOSS Force just wrote:
While it’s true that we’re past the Ballmer “cancer” era, let’s be clear on this issue: Microsoft only “loves” Linux because it has come to the realization that it needs Linux and FOSS to survive. I’m not willing to accept this “love” as sincere, and until Microsoft decides to “walk the walk” instead of just talking the talk, I am going to just have to consider this claim to be, well, complete nonsense.
Finally, let’s not forget the true nature and history of Microsoft, as outlined centuries ago by that famous Greek programmer Aesop:
“A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, ‘how do I know you won’t sting me?’ The scorpion says, ‘because if I do, I will die too.’
“The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp ‘Why?’
“Replies the scorpion: ‘It’s my nature…’”
Earlier today we showed that Microsoft is still attacking Linux with patents (it’s Microsoft's nature), just days after the deal with Red Hat. But it’s not just Red Hat.
“Mozilla will file software patents,” Benjamin Henrion wrote (citing this article in French), “time to crowdfund PTAB invalidations under Alice” (well, yes, it’s well overdue and vastly better use of funds).
“They are essentially fighting fire with fire.”PTAB (Patent Trial and Appeals), which we last wrote about several months ago, got mentioned by a large corporations’ lobbying site (focusing on patent trolls). “It amazes me,” Matt Levy wrote, “that a procedure like inter partes review has become so controversial, with the Patent Trial and Appeals Board being called a “patent death squad” and people talking about patent “kill rates.” The argument typically goes something like this: a high percentage of patent claims are invalidated in inter partes review (the exact percentage claimed varies), therefore the PTAB is killing patents.”
Looking at the automated translation of the article Henrion linked to, it says that, “Mozilla on Friday announced an acquisition and patent filing program, with the intention to place them immediately under viral free licenses, that would encourage proprietary software vendors to join the movement free.”
No, that’s just a waste of time. It’s like OIN and it’s not going to protect from trolls such as MPEG-LA, which Mozilla is already paying.
It is rather disappointing to see some of the most powerful companies that are (almost) purely focused on FOSS choosing to adopt patents rather than properly fight against them. They are essentially fighting fire with fire. This isn’t what we need in order to defend the freedom of software. Are these firms being advised or even steered by lawyers, who make a living from perpetuating this kind of mess? █
“Small Software companies cannot afford to go to court or pay damages. Who is this software patent system for?” —Marco Schulze, Nightlabs Gmbh
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Proprietary software companies like Microsoft, Apple, Oracle etc. want lawyers to run their business
Summary: A decade after Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) surpassed its proprietary counterparts on technical terms/merit it is facing an increasing number of patent challenges, as well as disruptive takeover attempts
TECHRIGHTS was born out of the need to tackle Microsoft’s patent war on GNU/Linux. Back in 2006 Microsoft saw innovations such as Compiz whilst it had a lousy operating system called Vista (which even Microsoft executives were internally ranting about). It knew it was only a matter of time until Windows loses dominance outside the server room. Fast forward to 2016 and Android is expected to have nearly 90% of the market. Windows is in a state of disarray and Microsoft now tries to force people to use it, even if they don’t pay for it and don’t want it at all.
“Microsoft promotes lawyers to high management and tries to make patent extortion its new cash cow.”Microsoft tried to evolve, but it was all in vain. Remember the Microsoft Stores? Remember Surface (both the old and the new)? Microsoft is losing a lot of money in the hardware business (faulty by design ) and the online business (promises are being broken now in an effort to raise money ). Microsoft is now borrowing money — a lot of money in fact — to pay debts , confirming what we knew all along about Microsoft’s real financial situation.
As a result of Microsoft’s panic (losing billions of dollars) the company launched patent assaults on various companies (OEMs) that distribute Linux/Android. Microsoft promotes lawyers to high management and tries to make patent extortion its new cash cow. It is also disrupting Android from the inside, in an effort to better control it. Last month we wrote about Xamarin‘s (Microsoft proxy) takeover of RoboVM [1, 2, 3, 4] (still a subject of critical debate). Paul Krill wrote that “Hammond sees the bigger issue as Xamarin’s acquisition of RoboVM and its desire to support RoboVM iOS apps in the Apple App Store, which has taken a dim view of GPL licenses to date.”
Apple — like Microsoft — is also attacking Android backers like Samsung, using software patents that are inherently incompatible with the GPL. Apple is still bickering over patents in an effort to derail the dominant Linux-based platform, Android, according to this new report.
We expect the last remaining barrier for the triumph of Free software everywhere to be patents, and especially software patents. We are changing our site’s focus accordingly. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
IFIXIT HAS taken Microsoft’s first laptop apart and found that it’s probably not a good idea to try to fix it yourself.
Microsoft’s latest device went on sale last week in the US and has yet to see a UK release, but the people at iFixit have cracked it open and explained exactly what’s going on inside. And it’s not good.
There’s already a backlash against Microsoft’s surprise announcement, and it’s not a good look for the company given its impressive focus on mobile and the cloud. Microsoft is fighting a war against Amazon, Google, Salesforce, and many others for the business side of the cloud, but its consumer efforts are starting to look a lot more like Apple’s iCloud offering. Apple offers the bare minimum of free storage and entices consumers to pay more for iCloud by making its apps and operating system make the most of the cloud. Microsoft is now bullying OneDrive users into paying for the free storage it is now taking away.
It’s kind of embarassing to have to borrow money to pay debts… but that’s what M$ continues to do. It has $100 billion in liquid assets but it can’t repatriate them to USA without forking out a ton of money to Uncle Sam for taxes, so it borrows money at this end to pay for what it does day to day. The problem is chickens come home to roost. When the day inevitably comes that the world sees M$ has no clothes and that M$ is not the one true source of IT, the gravy train ends but the debts will have to be paid. At the last 10-Q quarterly report, M$ reported $36billion in short+long term debt. Now about half it’s liquid assets will be needed just to repay that debt.
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Another Black Duck in the making? Security FUD from a firm established by champions of back doors.
Summary: Another company whose business model is monetising (and thus often enhancing) fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) over Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and this one too comes from Microsoft
THIS trend has grown rather tiresome. Every now and then we see Microsoft’s tentacles reaching out for areas in FOSS where there is an opportunity to badmouth FOSS. They turn Microsoft’s anti-FOSS rhetoric into their business model. They institutionalise it.
“Another Microsoft guy creates a company that says Free software is not secure and needs some proprietary software ‘medicine’.”Based on a new press release in its various forms/variations [1, 2, 3], we may have yet another OpenLogic or Black Duck in our hands. Another Microsoft guy creates a company that says Free software is not secure and needs some proprietary software ‘medicine’.
SourceClear is not even known (we never heard of it, it seemingly came out of nowhere), it’s a very young firm, and immediately it receives a lot of money and even promotional coverage from the News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal, which is a Microsoft-friendly publication. The first sentence provides the background one needs to be aware of:
Mark Curphey worked to stamp out software bugs for about a decade as head of the security tools team at Microsoft Corp. and in several other jobs before he realized that the problem was getting worse instead of better.
To quote Gordon B-P: ‘”Worked at MS bugs for a decade” – didn’t do a very good job there then. What makes him think he’ll be able to “secure” OSS?’
Jordan Novet, who is a promoter of Microsoft as we noted the other day, covered this as well, using bug branding such as "Heartbleed", coined by a company which is strongly connected to Microsoft. “It turns out that lots of other [FOSS] libraries have exactly the same issues but have not been reported,” Novet quotes Curphey, whom he describes as “previously a former principal group program manager inside Microsoft’s developer division. [...] SourceClear started in Seattle in 2013…”
“SourceClear started in Seattle in 2013…”
–Jordan NovetWith OpenLogic, Black Duck, Codenomicon and various other Microsoft-connected (often created by Microsoft people and/or managed by Microsoft people) firms that badmouth FOSS we sure expect SourceClear to be no exception. They serve to distract from the built-in and intentional insecurities of proprietary software such as Windows, including quite famously Vista 10 where back doors are an understatement because everything is recorded and broadcast (total remote surveillance), even without a breach or an access through the back doors.
Microsoft cannot produce secure code because ‘national security’, i.e. many back doors, are a design goal. It helps Microsoft establish a ‘special relationship’ with the state and in fact it just got a contract from a highly notorious company, Taser .
Here we are in 2013 onwards — a time when simple bugs in FOSS (a defect affecting one line or two) get all the limelight and receive names, logos etc. whereas Microsoft’s critical zero-day flaws hardly make the headlines. There are many high-impact headlines that make a huge deal of fuss every time a security bug is found in Android (again, just in recent years). We suppose it’s part of a PR campaign in which Microsoft and its partners evidently participate. They are often the ones who come up with the names, logos, and much of the accompanying negative publicity. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Microsoft has joined forces with Taser to combine the Azure cloud platform with law enforcement management tools.
In order to ensure Taser maintains a monopoly on police body cameras, the corporation acquired contracts with police departments all across the nation for the purchase of body cameras through dubious ties to certain chiefs of police.
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Remember these words from Microsoft itself (click for source PDF):
Summary: Analysis of Microsoft’s abysmal state and what it has been trying to do as a result of its inability to compete fairly with Free (as in freedom) software such as GNU/Linux, Android, Java, Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL etc.
TECHRIGHTS has been a critic of Microsoft for a very long time; never before have we seen Microsoft in such poor form. The attempts to derail GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source software from the inside are part of a fight for the company’s very survival. Its cash cows are losing their luster and the only way to keep their momentum/inertia is to force companies to bundle them; Microsoft now does this forcing (or blackmail) using software patents (Samsung, Kyocera, ASUS and Dell are the main examples of this strategy, so far).
Microsoft’s history of cooking the books and avoiding taxes has led to the perception that Microsoft is very rich, but after the losses announced in the last quarter (in the billions of dollars) comes another poor quarter and the signs are on the wall. As Robert Pogson put it:
The monopoly is not dead yet, unfortunately, but it is on its death-bed.
Parts of the monopoly are already dead and formats lock-in too is being loosened, in spite of Microsoft’s OOXML crimes. Several countries recognised what Microsoft had done and moved to ODF, sometimes to Free/libre software as well. See last week’s example from the British government.
“Parts of the monopoly are already dead and formats lock-in too is being loosened, in spite of Microsoft’s OOXML crimes.”Microsoft cannot sell hardware (potentially a profitable business) and finds ‘creative’ accounting tricks to hide it . This huge failure, which has become a massive embarrassment for the abusive monopolist, shows no signs of reversal because products keep dying and are not at all recognised by the public [2,3]. Putting speech recognition, which does not even work properly [4,5], on devices such as phones won’t work, primarily because Microsoft has no presence in mobile and not even in cars, despite tall ambitions  (where poor speech recognition can result in fatalities).
With internal cultural problems and costs associated with litigation (e.g. sexism lawsuits ) Microsoft falls back on an evil business model similar to that of Facebook (as Vista 10 serves to show), namely turning users into “products”, then selling their private data to many companies or malicious entities such as GCHQ, NSA etc. Microsoft continues to be a leading proponent of the NSA while working for the military and war complex  (they call it “information-sharing partnership”, but what it means is mass surveillance plus data-passing). █
Related/contextual items from the news:
The inclusion of the typically very profitable Windows in the MPC division offsets and hides the profitability, or lack thereof, of Microsoft’s hardware endeavors, Dawson added.
In one of the most highly anticipated games of the season, quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday to kick off the National Football League (NFL) season. The first game of the season is always popular, though this particular match-up drew interest from fans wondering how Brady would fare after being dogged in the media for the past seven months over something known as Deflategate. With all that attention, Microsoft can’t be pleased that on-air commentators are still referring to its sponsored Surface tablet as an iPad.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has possibly the most outstanding reputation for its products and services. The company is synonymous with quality, and it is hard to think about the technology sector without Microsoft. However, Zune is another story altogether. The music service, which was started to counter the growing popularity of online music streaming services, has always played second fiddle to the more established players in the market.
Satya Nadella was delivering a keynote address at Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference. The Microsoft CEO was in the midst of demoing some productivity tools and also also occasionally showing off Windows 10 capabilities when he attempted to showcase Microsoft virtual assistant Cortana’s ability to understand voice commands and to deliver relevant results.
Nadella could immediately see that Cortana was not getting it. “Come on,” he implored, the annoyance showing in his voice.
Finally he gave up and said, “No, this is not going to work.”
A Microsoft-connected car, reportedly in trial mode, would let you issue commands using the Cortana voice assistant.
Microsoft has been hit by a gender discrimination lawsuit by one of its ex-technician
Microsoft and NATO have agreed to renew a longstanding partnership that will see the tech giant provide the intergovernmental treaty group’s Communications and Information Agency with details of Microsoft products and services, as well as new information about cybersecurity threats.
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“What we are trying to do is use our server control to do new protocols and lock out Sun and Oracle specifically”
Summary: Microsoft’s war against POSIX/UNIX/Linux APIs culminates with the .NET push and the ‘bastardisation’ of OpenSSH, a Swiss army knife in BSD/UNIX and GNU/Linux secure channels
MICROSOFT will not rest until it regains its once dominant position in computing. It’s not just because of pressure from shareholders but also because of clevery-marketed sociopaths, such as Bill Gates, who are back at the helm and are very thirsty for power.
Microsoft is now pushing .NET into GNU/Linux, having failed to do so with Mono and Xamarin because regular people (end users) and sometimes developers pushed back. How can Microsoft still convince people to embrace the Microsoft APIs (which are heavily patented and not secure)? Openwashing and propaganda.
Jordan Novet, who writes a lot of pro-Microsoft or marketing pieces for Microsoft (for many months now), is formerly a writer of Gigaom, which had received money from Microsoft to embed Microsoft marketing inside articles (without disclosure, i.e. corrupted journalism). Now he acts as a courier of Microsoft marketing, repeating a delusion which we spent a lot of time debunking here (.NET is NOT “Open Source” [1, 2, 3]). To quote Novet:
Microsoft today announced the beginning of a new bug bounty to pay researchers to find security holes in some of the tech giant’s recently open-sourced web development tools.
“How can Microsoft still convince people to embrace the Microsoft APIs (which are heavily patented and not secure)? Openwashing and propaganda.”When Microsoft alludedwto “Open Source” in relation to .NET it sometimes merely piggybacks the reputation of projects it exploits. See the article “Microsoft’s .NET Team Continues Making Progress On An LLVM Compiler” (not GPL). To quote Phoronix: “Earlier this year Microsoft announced an LLVM-based .NET compiler was entering development, LLILC. Six months later, LLILC continues making progress.
“The .NET team has published a six month retrospective of LLILC. It’s a very lengthy read for those interested in low-level compiler details.”
“Microsoft is still working on implementing support for Windows’ crypto APIs rather than OpenSSL/LibreSSL and to address POSIX compatibility concerns along with other issues.”
–Michael Larabel, PhoronixThis is a potential example of the infamous “embrace, extend, extinguish” approach. As we have shown here before, platform discrimination remains and it is even being extended to existing Free software projects, such as OpenSSH, as we explained yesterday (expect Windows-only ‘features’ and antifeatures). Microsoft APIs are already being phased in — the “extend” phase in E.E.E. (embrace, extend, extinguish). We warned about this months ago [1, 2] and we are now proven right. Even Michael Larabel noticed this and wrote: “Microsoft is still working on implementing support for Windows’ crypto APIs rather than OpenSSL/LibreSSL and to address POSIX compatibility concerns along with other issues.”
So now we have Windows- and Microsoft-specific code right there inside OpenSSH, in spite of Microsoft support of back doors for the NSA et al. Does this inspire much confidence? Repelling Microsoft isn’t about intolerance but about self defence. █
“I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense — I deserve it.”
–Be’s CEO Jean-Louis Gassée
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Brushing shoulders with one’s archenemy because it paid the organisers
Summary: This season’s large Free/Open Source software (FOSS) conference, which is hosted near Red Hat’s headquarters, becomes an event that is all about Microsoft, by far the biggest foe of FOSS
MICROSOFT does not love GNU/Linux. Microsoft attacks GNU/Linux, and it is still doing this under Nadella's supposed lead (“it came from above” comes to mind). Microsoft is suing both Android and GNU/Linux using software patents — a fact that even Microsoft's Ross Gardler acknowledged when he spoke for Microsoft at All Things Open (ATO) last year. So why are some people still so gullible? How short-term can one’s memory be? One has got to be seriously misinformed (or dishonest) to genuinely think that Microsoft loves GNU/Linux. Microsoft hates GNU/Linux and it does a lot to show it.
“All in all, Microsoft has once again distracted the attendants (almost 2,000) in a FOSS event from the real goals of the conference.”We regret to say that Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols let us down when he published this article (the headline may be the editor’s), in which the Microsoft mole is said to have “explain[ed] to the Linux faithful how Microsoft is now embracing Linux and open-source software.”
Steven (SJVN for short) seems to genuinely believe that there is change of heart here, based on my conversations with him. I beg to differ.
What comes after “Embracing”? Extending? Extinguishing? This situation is no exception and the patterns are all too familiar. Microsoft’s booster Julie Bort, citing SJVN, further accentuated the Microsoft propaganda (emphasised perhaps by the editor at CBS) and went along with another misleading headline: “If you know Linux, Microsoft wants you” (Microsoft wants you… to defect).
Taking note of a “1,700-person crowd”, Bort went on to repeat the Microsoft “loves GNU/Linux” kind of lie. This is not good.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols went even further than this and almost all of his coverage from All Things Open (so far) has been about Microsoft. He is turning (or helps turn) an event near Red Hat into a Microsoft marketing/publicity stunt, with headlines such as “Microsoft adopts Google’s Go language into Azure”. Adopting? As in embracing? Extending and extinguishing to come? Just like Java back in the days or even Android with Dalvik?
Bort’s colleague, who is also a Microsoft apologist (Matt Weinberger), has meanwhile published this puff piece titled “Microsoft has been quietly laying the groundwork to build its own version of Android” (that’s putting it hilariously softly).
“In order to have any chance at reviving something from the wreckage,” he and a colleague wrote, “Microsoft is going to have to think creatively, which may mean creating a “forked” version of Google’s Android that comes with the company’s own services in place of Google’s.”
This is part of the "Embrace Extend Extinguish" strategy against Android, which culminated in taking Cyanogen while pushing for antitrust action against Google. This is a gross and blatant attack on the Linux-powered Android as a whole, not just on Google.
All in all, Microsoft has once again distracted the attendants (almost 2,000) in a FOSS event from the real goals of the conference. The majority of these attendees will almost certainly be pissed off, but most of them will keep the resentment inside (suppressed in the interests of politeness). “Pitching Microsoft to a Linux Crowd” is how FOSS Force put it (the first such event coverage from FOSS Force). It’s all about Microsoft. “The recruitment pitch,” explains Christine, “came near the end of his talk, when he jokingly invited the audience of mostly developer types to, “Pass your resumes up.””
And now this alone dominates the headlines. It’s almost as though this whole event has become a Microsoft propaganda platform.
What should event organisers do in this situation? They should simply not invite or allow Microsoft to enter (not even if it offers the ‘sponsorship’ bribe, as it typically does), simply because it is still attacking GNU/Linux in the courtroom and outside the courtroom, behind closed doors, where it engages in racketeering. Microsoft has no place in FOSS events because it maliciously tries to derail them and it helps distract the media, too. How did this happen? Microsoft paid the organisers. At Microsoft it’s All Things Open… except the database, the operating system, the applications, the browser and so on. Oh wait, at Microsoft just about nothing is open. So get off the bloody stage already… █
“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”
–Microsoft's chief evangelist
Update (23/10/2015): We have been watching this closely for the past 24 hours. Microsoft’s ‘embrace’ of this event is not being appreciated by GNU/Linux proponents. Many of them find Microsoft’s actions rather offensive, much as we foresaw, and they also speak out.
“Not as long as the company continues to use software patents as a threat against open source projects,” said one of the comments in FOSS Force. There are many good comments there and after a lot of sceptics commented Dave Lane said, “it does me good to see the comments on this article. So good to see people who aren’t so naive as to think that MS has changed its spots.”
This event is now over and the media seemingly covered nothing except Microsoft at this venue (FOSS Force was no exception in this regard, SJVN too). Mission accomplished? Another event being derailed? Microsoft stealing the thunder? No major articles except about Microsoft?
There is at least one new piece about it (“Azure CTO Says Microsoft Loves Open Source. World Keeps Spinning”). To quote:
He gave examples, including using OpenSSH for remote logins in Microsoft products and Hadoop products for Azure’s big data service, which is also based on Ubuntu Linux.
This is nonsense because, as we wrote yesterday about OpenSSH, it’s more of an example of “embrace, extent, extinguish”, not a genuine contribution. It’s all about proprietary lock-in such as Windows.
Responding to Microsoft’s attempt to recruit GNU/Linux people (or convert them), iophk asked: “Trying to pull another Borland? Hire up developers and then put them on ice?” █
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