“Well the initial impression is how much it [Windows 7] looks like Vista. Which I think is…uh…the thing I’m not supposed to say.”
Summary: Jack Schofield, writing for a Bill Gates-funded paper despite claiming to have retired, promotes Microsoft Office and insults all those readers who do not agree with him
Jack Schofield is no stranger to us. He rewrites the past in favour of Microsoft (facts disregarded) and has been accused of "lack of professionalism". His Microsoft boosting has become so epic that many people all around the Web refer to him as “Microsoft Jack” (we cannot claim credit for this label). He now writes in The Guardian again. He never quite retired as he had claimed ages ago. Well, unfortunately he still smokes his pipe and curses at his screen after he writes Microsoft screed.
The Guardian is a suitable (if not ideal) home for Microsoft Jack. It is paid by Bill Gates and renowned for Microsoft propaganda since these considerable (but undisclosed) payments. It’s a sham publication which refuses to even acknowledge financial dependence on ‘Sugar Daddies’ like Bill Gates, with clear impact on editorial control (so gross that ads are disguised as articles or parts of articles).
Microsoft Jack claimed to be retiring several years ago, but it was purely nonsense. He later wrote in another Microsoft propaganda rag (ZDNet) and he even continues writing for The Guardian, where bashing Microsoft’s competitors is OK (even for the same behaviour as Microsoft’s) and criticising Microsoft or Bill Gates is very rare (they are literally funding the paper).
“Microsoft Jack claimed to be retiring several years ago, but it was purely nonsense.”Some might deem it AstroTurfing, but “reading Microsoft Jack’s responses to the commenters who dare suggest Openoffice or Libreoffice is revealing,” Alex Barker wrote to me. Looking at the article in full, it reads like a Microsoft advertisement where nothing but Microsoft is even an option. The only provided option or question is, which version/edition? It’s a pretty clever way for Microsoft to disseminate propaganda (making the competition disappear, an exclusion by design), which is does a lot of at the moment, as we pointed out some days ago (the timing is strategic), alluding to some British Web sites. Some of these sites Microsoft literally subsidised in exchange for Microsoft propaganda and advertisements (e.g. Ars Technica UK).
Looking at the comments, it is clear that many readers are not interested in Microsoft Office. Readers of the papers are using and are happy to recommend Free software, but here is how Microsoft Jack responds:
I think they’re brainless trolls.
I find idiocy gets a bit wearing after the first 15 years or so
Otherwise, I wonder if there’s anything you can take for verbal diarrhea?
Stop kidding yourself. It’s because you didn’t bother to read the answer and/or some of the many comments above, which show that LibreOffice (a) is not a practical alternative and (b) it’s not cheaper
Most trolls are by now smart enough to have figured out that Microsoft Office is already free for the vast majority of UK students. And, by the way, it also works on Macs.
Otherwise, I’m not quite sure how saving £0 on Office 365 — or, at the very worst, £15 a year on Office 365 University — fits with expecting students to shell out £1,000 or so to get totally unnecessary proprietary software on an Apple-shaped dongle. I guess logic is not one of your stronger points…..
Free as in ‘free sample’, right? Microsoft Jack can only pretend that he doesn’t know how lock-in works. What happens when one is no longer a student? Well, Microsoft Jack is smart enough to know what he’s doing here. He cannot use ignorance as an excuse.
Microsoft Jack then calls Google “biggest proprietary spyware and surveillance company”. Yeah, because Chromium, ChromeOS, Android etc. are all proprietary, right? Unlike the platforms from the NSA’s #1 (first) PRISM partner, Microsoft. It is clear, based on numerous yardsticks, that Microsoft is far worse than Google, but Microsoft started high-budget PR campaigns (e.g. “Scroogled”) to convince the public otherwise and lobby politicians to cripple Google over it. Microsoft is one of the worst. The company’s managers even have security clearances with the spies. But why not blame it all on Google? This is acceptable propaganda for the Bill Gates-funded paper, which likes to accuse Google of tax evasion but not Microsoft (especially so after Gates gave a lot of money for the newspaper to look the other way while regularly planting Gates Foundation PR and endorsements across letterheads of entire sections).
Let’s press on with more insults from Microsoft Jack (accusing others of “verbal diarrhea” while it’s mostly him who has it). Let’s start with some revisionism, as Jack surely knows better than judges that dealt with Microsoft in court for many years. Here is what he wrote:
An area I followed closely, and there was no “dirty dealing,” as far as I know. Microsoft simply produced much better products
OK, so either he has bad memory or he has gone senile. It is well-documented and it is common knowledge that Microsoft resorted to “dirty dealing”. We have plenty of original documents to prove it right here in this site.
Here is some more ‘wisdom’ of Microsoft Jack:
Using the 1997-2003 file formats is mostly stupid as the newer formats are more robust, take up less space with large files (they’re zipped), and are ratified open standards.
Bribing officials makes “open standard”, according to Microsoft Jack’s lies-by-omission world. Or blackmailing British politicians perhaps [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft Office still cannot deal properly with ODF, only proprietary OOXML (its secret, ad hoc, undocumented format). Microsoft does not adhere to its own documentation. It’s all a big lie and many people foresaw that all along.
Here are some decent comments from one who refutes Microsoft Jack’s promotional article in a very polite way:
“Pity we don’t have an award for the most (clueless) trollING of the week.”
MS does NOT have the answer for everything.
MS is marketing smart. They provide ‘access’ so they can inculcate new users to their line of software. They hope that new entries will to the work place will provide an internal dynamic for future sales.
‘Popular’ software is usually the lead software that gets ‘hacked’.
Some MS stuff is good (especially with languages) and other stuff is pure doggerel. Many survive but equally many pieces of software end up in the Bit Bucket of history. MS does NOT have the answer for everything.
Much university work (thesis, research) is archived for posterity and Apps/online software gets ‘modded’ and features removed. Copy, on your own PC, is advisable.
For example, I just watched Samsung download an ‘upgrade’ that changes many OS menus to a white on blue background – a combination that is near fatal for colour-blind users.
An associate company of my employer handles orphaned archive material. They have a couple of CP/M operating system – Digital Research – computers with 8 and 5.25 inch drives. They can also read/convert WANG format disks!
And if you need some work done, their systems are booked solid for the next 5 weeks. They operate on a 24/5 basis – they need the weekends for maintenance.
Remember, university students have especial needs and ‘cloud’ is not always the best solution. This also applies to businesses.
Saving documents is plain TEXT is often the best answer almost anything can read TEXT! Even from years ago.
Skype is popular feature with GCHQ and NSA.
‘Free’ doesn’t exist. MS rarely does anything ‘free’ without an ulterior motive.
And what happens when you leave your ‘free’ domain at the conclusion of your courses?
Buy a software package that resides ON YOUR HARD DRIVE – not ‘somewhere ‘.
The problem with Office is that every Version has numerous features that few use, unless you are a type setter.
My employer has licences for 2003, 2007 and, I think 2010. Employees are free to use whatever they like.
Hands down winner is 2007 with most people using Win2003/97 as the format to save in.
As for PowerPoint, it’s clunky, inhibited and a waste of disk space. There are better, free, compatible options. But essential if interacting with the US military!
Remember, using cloud based software is fine, until you are out of InterNet range. Can’t beat software mounted on your hard drive!
Those who don’t agree with Jack, according to Jack, just “post obviously pointless trolls in a topic about Microsoft Office.”
Here are insults and generalisations: “Of course, some of that hostility could be prompted by the long-winded, self-interested piffle posted by here OO fans, who are — to put it kindly — little more than trolls in a topic devoted to Microsoft Office.
“Isn’t it odd how open source supporters are generally so lacking in social skills?”
So people who care about software freedom, open standards, or like OpenOffice are “fans…so lacking in social skills” (according to Jack). He later uses the term “OpenOffice fanboy.” So they’re all just “trolls and “fanboys”. He refers to every pro-LibreOffice comment collectively as “mostly-mindless LibreOffice comments”.
Here is another response to a commenter: “Pity we don’t have an award for the most clueless troll of the week ;-)”
Just because someone adds a recommendation of freedom-respecting alternatives doesn’t make one a “troll”. Jack gamed the debate by limiting it only to Microsoft Office (or versions of it) and then he frames anyone who goes outside the boundry of his silly game a “troll”.
He later repeats the nonsense that “Microsoft’s office formats are ratified open standards.” By bribing and bullying? Like Jack himself? He too is a bully when one confronts him. We gave examples before.
What Microsoft Jack does is unethical because he helps Microsoft get young people addicted to (locked in to) Office. It’s like the drug dealer’s mentality. “They’ll get sort of addicted,” Bill Gates explained, “and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”
In the comments we can see Microsoft Jack relaying Microsoft’s FUD about Munich. He writes: “Good luck to the Germans. I hope they do better than Munich, which spent a decade trying to get rid of Office and Windows (and didn’t make it), saved no money, and probably lost a huge amount of productivity. And now it’s considering switching back….”
Not true, but Jack doesn’t care about what’s true. He calls LibreOffice a “pile of crap” (how professional a language from the man who accuses others of having “verbal diarrhea”). He says it is “slow, bug-ridden, and very imperfectly compatible with Microsoft Office” (as if being compatible with Microsoft Office with its proprietary formats is the goal). There is actually a large number of comments that recommend LibreOffice and OpenOffice. No wonder Jack feels a little marginalised and threatened/intimidated. His article is revealed as biased and unpopular among readers. Now he need to cope with it.
Jack spreads a common lie, along the lines of needing Microsoft to get a job. He writes: “There are, after all, many reasons why it makes much more sense to become proficient in Microsoft Office, such as your future employability.”
Complete nonsense. The world has moved on, so the myths like “nobody gets fired for buying Microsoft” needs a boost from the likes of Jack (for Microsoft’s sake). He also wrote: “Unless you don’t have a job and really can’t afford Office, life’s too short.”
So free software is just for the unemployed, according to Jack. Nice stigma he spreads there.
Jack also finds the time to trash-talk LATEX. He says: “They should be learning their course topics rather than, say, LaTeX…. ;-)” (actually, LATEX has several very good front ends that are easier to use than Microsoft Office). One can also hand-pick XML files to manipulate Word files, but in reality one uses front ends, right? So it’s another straw man argument from Jack. Nothing but Microsoft, not even Google’s offerings, is allowed any acceptance. Even the mention of alternatives is verboten.
Notice the update on Microsoft Jack’s ‘article’ (puff piece/ad). It’s like he’s working in coordination with Microsoft UK. He speaks to them and adds: “Microsoft UK says that students can get the full Office 365 free if their school or university has a site-licensing agreement, and that “most universities in the UK are part of the scheme”. Students can find out if they qualify by going to Office 365 and clicking the green “Find out if you’re eligible” button.”
Nice ad you got there, Microsoft Jack. Does the paymaster of the employer, The Guardian, endorse this kind of behaviour towards readers who comment? Since Bill Gates is one of the paymasters, surely the answer can be “yes”. To close off with Jack’s own words, “I handle a lot of documents from large professional companies, fancy PR agencies, pseufo-academic [sic] white papers etc.” Yes, Jack, we can tell… █
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“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”
–Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive
Summary: Remarks on the recent revelations about code and communication interceptions targeting insecurity firms and Microsoft’s claim that ‘transparency’ alone would be enough to assure security
RECENT reports about state surveillance on anti-malware/virus software (which could not detect Stuxnet, for example, making this more like snake oil) have led to the claim that Microsoft Windows cannot be made secure, not even with additional ‘security’ software. “Security by obscurity” does not work when the state can see everything and also sponsors the world’s biggest (and best funded) cybercrime operations. Windows is simply not designed to be secure and security is not the goal as the underlying design serves to prove. As Pogson put it this week:
Given That Other OS is just about everywhere and is helpless without anti-malware software, the NSA and others have studied the anti-malware software to exploit it as a back door to TOOS… Ironic, isn’t it?
Microsoft and security don’t belong in the same sentence. As FOSS Force reminds us, this NSA ally with worst of spyware uses the “transparency centers”  sham that we wrote about earlier this month. They are replacing software freedom with “transparency” nonsense. They pretend that “transparency” somehow improves security. It doesn’t.
The only way to perpetually and universally verify (by audit) the security of software, or pressure its maker/distributor to pursue genuine security at all times, is to ensure the software is Free software. Microsoft’s longtime employee (on and off for years at a time) and occasional mole inside FOSS [1, 2, 3, 4] says that Free software has not won and even uses a picture of a pig to prove it or at least make his case (crass, but typical of him). Don’t let these people shape the consensus; after the NSA leaks a lot of semi-technical people can easily understand that Free software is the only way to go. Secrecy, like secret (proprietary) code, is as trustworthy as politicians. It’s time for proprietary software to go. Backbone infrastructure sure is heading towards Free software-only (as a matter of policy), as several consortia already serve to demonstrate. It’s going to be a harsh reality for Microsoft. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Poor Microsoft. The beleaguered company just can’t catch a break. We’ve already told you about how Snowden’s revelations have forced the pride of Redmond to spend who knows how many millions opening two “transparency centers” to allow government IT experts to pore through source code to prove there’s no back doors baked into Windows or other Microsoft products. Trouble is, while its engineers have been busy plastering over all traces of old back doors, they’ve left a side door standing wide open, waiting to be exploited.
The spooks have been reverse engineering. They’ve been dismantling Karpersky’s software, searching for weaknesses. They’ve been mining sensitive data by monitoring the email chatter between Kaspersky client and server software. In other words, while IT security folks outside the U.S. have been keeping a wary eye on their Windows servers while trusting their antivirus to be a tool to help them secure the unsecurable…well, their antivirus software has been being a Trojan in the truly Homeric sense of the word.
In the meantime, Windows becomes less safe by the minute for corporations and governments hoping to keep private data private. I’m certain that Red Hat, SUSE, and even Ubuntu are taking advantage.
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Slashdot just a shadow of its former self, and for good reasons
Summary: Slashdot is corrupted to the same degree as SourceForge, not too long after the hiring of Microsoft boosters; the commenters in Slashdot bully Free software proponents — a complete reversal of what the site used to be like
The SourceForge malware scandal as we’d like to call it (turning a GNU program into a Windows blob with malware) was mentioned only in our daily links for it was self-explanatory, it was crystal clear (no room for ‘damage control’), and articles about it didn’t need further comment or significant correction. It is time to highlight a different problem, which is the Slashdot bias (editorial control) and the steering of that site. Some blogs accused Slashdot of not covering the SourceForge scandal because it’s a sister site, also owned by the same company (Dice Holdings).
Dice Holdings is now taking its shameless tactics further. Having turned Free software into malware (by hijacking accounts), it now uses Slashdot to push Microsoft propaganda and promote Mono, calling it “Insight”. It should be noted that the pro-Mono/Microsoft article from Slashdot was pushed by Nerval's Lobster, i.e. Microsoft Nick, who joined two years ago as "Senior Editor". It’s like a coup. Dice is a joke. What it does here is shameless because it reads like an advertisement for Mono and Xamarin, Microsoft’s Trojan horse and close partner (almost subsidiary, funded in part by Microsoft veterans). Here is how Slashdot (apparently Microsoft Nick) put it:
In the eleven years since Mono first appeared, the Linux community has regarded it with suspicion. Because Mono is basically a free, open-source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET framework, some developers feared that Microsoft would eventually launch a patent war that could harm many in the open-source community. But there are some good reasons for using Mono, developer David Bolton argues in a new blog posting (Dice link). Chief among them is MonoDevelop, which he claims is an excellent IDE; it’s cross-platform abilities; and its utility as a game-development platform. That might not ease everybody’s concerns (and some people really don’t like how Xamarin has basically commercialized Mono as an iOS/Android development platform), but it’s maybe enough for some people to take another look at the platform.
Dice Holdings has zero credibility not just when it comes to SourceForge; people oughtn’t trust Slashdot either. One reader told us that there is now an anti-Free software mob there (in the comments) and showed us extensive evidence. We swapped dozens of E-mails about it and observed threads that we would rather not share as that might feed (and help) the trolls. So, Slashdot has become somewhat of a cesspool both in the content/story section and the comments.
Congratulations, Dice Holdings, for destroying valuable Free software resources that you’ve viewed as assets to be milked to the point of implosion. █
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Summary: Many Free/libre software-hostile articles from IDG (worsened this past week) exploit public miscomprehension or misunderstandings about computer security
TECHRIGHTS readers are advised to treat with great caution the output of IDG, perhaps the biggest network writing in a variety of languages about technology on the Internet (the paper publications of IDG are mostly defunct by now).
Readers may still recall the regular FUD from Sonatype [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], a firm which is not itself anything like a Free software firm but sure likes to talk about Free software (negatively). Sonatype’s shameless and self-promotional talking points are now being masqueraded as media articles (in the IDG network) and for extra FUD they are reposted it in many sites of IDG, even rarely-accessed ones. It smacks of misuse of media resources. They are also modifying the headline for extra reach (SEO in the news aggregators) with this same FUD that is based on/derived from a self-promotional Sonatype press release.
“If Edward Snowden’s NSA and GCHQ leaks taught us anything, it’s that proprietary software is not secure and Free software should not tolerate proprietary blobs or hardware (e.g. in hard drives).”Sonatype should issue/produce a study on how many proprietary systems are not being patched. Or worse: say how many don’t get fixed by the vendor; how many bits of proprietary software have severe flaws with never even fix issued? How many flaws are not being revealed to the public? See how Microsoft admits hiding flaws. What about back doors (intentional flaws)? Abandoned software with secret code is almost guaranteed to be Swiss cheese. These debates are mostly missing from corporate media. Only yesterday security guru Bruce Schneier wrote: “One of the biggest conceptual problems we have is that something is believed secure until demonstrated otherwise. We need to reverse that: everything should be believed insecure until demonstrated otherwise.”
Glancing at another IDG piece from the past few days, it looks like there is agenda, maybe the editor’s or publisher’s (Microsoft and Apple are big clients, e.g. with advertising and IDC contracts). The piece is a one-sided attack on Free software security; flaws in Free software aren’t any worse (or more in quantity) than in proprietary software, developers are just not hiding them. That’s not hard to understand, is it? IDG likes to promote this ‘New Illusion’ of Free software being not secure (part of the latest FUD wave/strategy), using bugs with “branding” [1, 2, 3], irrespective or real severity.
If Edward Snowden’s NSA and GCHQ leaks taught us anything, it’s that proprietary software is not secure and Free software should not tolerate proprietary blobs or hardware (e.g. in hard drives). Don’t let IDG change the consensus. Surely IDG has the budget to hire some technical journalists who can challenge myth makers, but would that ultimately suit the agenda and appease existing customers? █
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Summary: A quick roundup of news of interest about patent abusers, especially those who jeopardise the freedom of software
“Ray Niro, one of the lawyers who pioneered the wave of contingent-fee patent litigation, says he’s ready to exit the business,” according to an article cited by a patent trolls expert. Given all the things we have seen coming from Niro, this sure seems like a relief. As Mike Masnick put it: “Anyone remember Ray Niro? He’s the lawyer who so perfected patent trolling that the term “patent trolling” was first used (by future patent troll Peter Detkin) back in the 1990s to describe… Ray Niro for his lawsuits. Niro was the original uber patent troll, demanding settlements and suing all sorts of people. Perhaps his most famous move was that he had control over a patent that he argued covered any use of a JPEG image — and would use it to go after basically anyone who displeased him (if they had any JPEGs on their websites). This included the Green Bay Packers and a resort in Florida. When noted patent system critic Greg Aharonian described that patent as “crap,” Niro sued him for infringing on it as well. Niro also put a bounty on the identify of an (at the time) anonymous blogger who called himself the “Patent Troll Tracker.””
Meanwhile, the world’s largest patent troll IV (which now targets companies that distribute Android) fights more companies in court (not through shell entities/proxies but directly) and another infamous troll, Vringo, targets ZTE (which also distributes Android). Vringo has been behind plenty of anti-Android and anti-Google actions. There are Microsoft connections as we pointed out before (Microsoft gave Vringo patents with which to attack Microsoft’s competition), just like in IV’s case.
Microsoft itself is now being accused of infringing on ‘out-of-band’ patents. As the Washington Examiner put it: “A New Jersey-based software company has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft Corp., alleging the computer giant is infringing on three of its patents.
“StrikeForce Technologies Inc., headquartered in Edison, N.J., filed its lawsuit against Microsoft in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware June 5.”
Apple, being Apple, is hoarding more patents and its promotion sites celebrate this [1, 2, 3], even if Apple is a patent aggressor with a notorious track record (especially against Samsung). Samsung too is making headlines for some of its latest patents (Samsung is one of the top companies when it comes to patent numbers in recent years, but it’s hardly an aggressor).
Ericsson, acting similarly to patent trolls in Europe (yes, even in Europe!), is still chasing Apple with patents. Sometimes Ericsson feeds trolls with patents, hurting not only Apple but also Android (which Ericsson itself uses).
Apple’s patents are especially annoying because some of them limit the freedom to develop in my field, computer vision. Here is a new article which alludes to “Apple’s camera software patents.” It says that “June’s co-founders seem like the right kind of people to bring this product to reality. CEO Matt Van Horn helped found Zimride, which spun off the popular ride-sharing service Lyft. Nikhil Bhogal, who serves as CTO, designed the camera software used on the first five generations of the iPhone, and is listed as an inventor on many of Apple’s camera software patents.”
Software patents are still the leading issue, especially if one minds the freedom of software (without it, there is no secure software, among other things). The media does not entertain this debate anymore, or hardly ever does. It’s all about “trolls” now. █
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Summary: Promoting a future of subservience to Microsoft even when it comes to GNU/Linux, Android, and Chromebooks
“Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” (EEE) is alive and well at Microsoft. The word subsume is defined as “to include or place within something larger or more comprehensive,” so it’s a good word by which to describe Microsoft’s treatment of GNU/Linux and Free/libre software, be it in Azure or Cyanogen etc.
Microsoft hired Mr. Srinivasan (above) from Novell to help subsume Linux, the kernel. We are concerned about this latest personality grooming from the Linux Foundation, having noted Srinivasan’s role before [1, 2, 3]. Grooming the Microsoft developers who help Microsoft subsume Linux is not wise. The Linux Foundation presents Srinivasan as “an architect in the Windows Server Division at Microsoft where he focuses on making Linux run well on the Hyper-V hypervisor and Azure cloud environment.” In other words, this man puts GNU/Linux in Microsoft’s hands, managed by proprietary software with back doors. Great, eh? As we wrote last week, it’s an entrapment. Microsoft is trying to do the same thing to Android, putting software that captures users’ voice in it (transmitting it to Microsoft, a notorious privacy violator). Microsoft-friendly authors are right now celebrating the extension of Microsoft’s spying network Skype (with NSA access) to GNU/Linux and Chromebooks. What a terrible thing to be doing.
The stupidest suggestion one can come up with right now is Microsoft buying a GNU/Linux vendor or anything along these lines, but corporate media (Fortune) has Barb Darrow say that it “makes sense for Microsoft to buy hot cloud startup Docker” despite Docker being quite closely tied to GNU/Linux (or UNIX). “Other emerging startups like CoreOS and Mesosphere are also working on capabilities that compete with what Docker’s cooking,” Darrow wrote. “And then there’s the aforementioned Google Kubernetes, which is also open source and free, and also promises similar capabilities. Some analysts have said that the product works better than Docker’s nascent orchestration features.”
Docker already responded to this nonsense, saying that it’s not for sale, but the Microsoft-friendly, Bill Bates-bribed media (yes, he subsidises them) released this puff piece which sells the ‘new Microsoft’ illusion. Microsoft's booster Tim Anderson, in the mean while, contributes to the openwashing of Microsoft using abandoned software.
Microsoft has not changed and it is definitely no friend of GNU/Linux and Free software. The Fortune article (finance-leaning) shows what non-technical writers can do when they don’t actually understand what containers are and how they work (unless it was intentional propaganda). Microsoft buying Docker makes as much sense as Coca Cola buying Nokia or something bizarre like that. Do editors even check what they print? Is this just agenda disguised as an article? █
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Treating ‘Open Source’ like a trash can or a wastebasket
Summary: Microsoft is hoping to achieve/get some positive karma (the openwashing effect) by putting a Windows tool that has essentially been abandoned (or made obsolete) in the ‘Open Source’ domain
Using “Abandoned Software” (AS) to label Microsoft “Open Source” (OS) isn’t a novel concept. It has been done by Microsoft before, even if the “OS” part too was altogether bogus (look but do not touch).
Microsoft appears to be pulling that card again, labelling Windows Live Writer (yes, remember “Live”? And it’s a Windows-only tool!) “Open Source”. As one site put it: “It is not updated regularly; the last update we ever saw for the device was back in 2012. Microsoft has not updated it since. Although there are users you [sic] are loyal and used the app religiously. Last month the live posts to Google’s Blogger platform stopped and it was then that it became vocal.”
Here is how IDG put it:
Microsoft will breathe life into Windows Live Writer by open sourcing the eight-year-old blog-publishing tool, a company manager said earlier this week.
What next? Making “KIN” and/or “Zune” something open-ish? If that’s the best Microsoft can do, then it is clearly too stubborn to ever leave the proprietary addiction. More openwashing of Microsoft this month is part of a familiar PR recipe… █
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Windows too old and long in the tooth
Summary: The ongoing migration of various governments to Free/libre software contributes to the demise of Microsoft’s monopoly and common carrier
“REPORTS suggest Windows phone users are jumping ship with sales in rapid decline,” said the British media earlier this week (title is “Microsoft has a very big problem”). Linux and Android are certainly still gaining. When one switches completely to GNU/Linux, embrace of OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Free/libre software is often implied. It’s virtually imperative. It’s like the ultimate and most complete switch, whereas embrace of open standards or Free software alone tends to be ‘softer’ or rather restrained, staged, and at times hesitant. There is lobbying against each at varying (depending on perceived risk or severity) levels of granularity.
“Someone inside GE recently told me that GE was quietly dumping Windows for Linux in its lucrative CT scanners business.”Microsoft is in trouble and there is no denying that.
According to British media, Vista 8 continues to be a disaster technically and in some nations, unsurprisingly, GNU/Linux has greater market share than the latest Vista (Windows 8.1). The desktop monopoly too is in jeopardy, especially where governments made it their policy to embrace Free/libre software (Uruguay and Venezuela in this case).
Here in the UK the National Health Service (NHS), longtime prisoner of Microsoft, is putting up resistance and considering Free software in a growing number of operations. Making the huge mistake of putting Microsoft Windows in medical devices or facilities is not forgivable. Someone inside GE recently told me that GE was quietly dumping Windows for Linux in its lucrative CT scanners business. According to this new report, X-ray scanners (causing cancer) are behaving badly because of Windows. To quote: “the device proved an easy target. TrapX’s team was able to use an exploit for a known weakness in the Windows 2000 operating system to establish what TrapX refers to as a “pivot” – or point of control- on their test network from which they could attack other systems. After creating a backdoor into the device, TrapX researchers added a new user to the system and decrypted the local user password. The company was then able to extract the database files that would contain medical information.”
“In due course, having removed the Office barrier/hurdle, HMRC can move to GNU/Linux because Google is purely Web-based.”This can become ground for many lawsuits from patients or families of dead patients. This is the sort of scandal that ought to push all British government departments which still use Windows XP immediately to GNU/Linux. No version of Windows is secure; the underlying encryption (proprietary) tends to have back doors. Every piece of proprietary software must be assumed insecure until proven otherwise (by becoming Free software and standards-compliant). There are moves in this direction, namely of standards, in Sweden  and in Holland [2,3], with calls growing for the NHS to embrace openness . There is an increasing push towards Free/libre software, not just open standards (which relate to one another). The governments in Europe should move to Free software like LibreOffice, where interoperability becomes trivial, to borrow Andy Updegrove’s latest arguments , but alas, as we noted the other day (alluding to the UK, Sweden, and India), HMRC is moving from one proprietary office suite to another. Here is the ‘damage control’ from Microsoft, which is trying to avoid the impression of being dumped. To quote the British press, “MICROSOFT HAS HIT BACK at claims that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has dumped the firm in favour of Google’s cloud apps.
“The move, first reported at The Register, will see 70,000 HMRC employees switching from Microsoft’s productivity offering to Google’s cloud-based apps services.”
Google will emphasise ODF support (open standards), but it is not Free/libre software. In due course, having removed the Office barrier/hurdle, HMRC can move to GNU/Linux because Google is purely Web-based. HMRC’s footsteps are likely to be followed by other British government departments (owing to ODF as a national requirement for editable document), taking away some of Microsoft’s most lucrative contracts (British government) and showing other governments across the world that they too can dump Microsoft and proprietary software, not just Windows. Office is the cash cow, Windows is the common carrier. The demise of one leads to the demise of the other. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Sweden’s governmental procurement specialists at Statens inköpscentral are fine-tuning the list of ICT standards that public authorities may use as mandatory requirements when procuring software and ICT services. The procurement agency is working with standardisation specialists at the University of Skövde, to check which ICT standards are truly open.
Public administrations that continue to ignore the policy to implement open standards in their ICT solutions should be fined, says Dutch MP Astrid Oosenbrug. “Public administrations should come to grips with open data, open standards and open source. With all their talk about regaining the trust of their citizens and creating a participatory society, public administrations should take a cue from open source communities.”
Public administrations that switch to open source regain financial scalability, says Jan-Taeke Schuilenga, IT architect at DUO, the Dutch government agency managing the financing of the country’s educational institutions. “We had reached the limit of proprietary licence possibilities. Switching to open source gave us freedom of choice.”
The UK government must open up and highlight the power of more basic data sets to improve patient care in the NHS and save hundreds of millions of pounds a year, Nigel Shadbolt, chairman of the Open Data Institute (ODI) has urged.
Once upon a time, standards were standards and open source software was open source software (OSS), and the only thing people worried about was whether the copyright and patent rules relating to the standards would prevent them from being implemented in OSS. Actually, that was complicated enough, but it seems simple in comparison now that OSS is being included in the standards themselves. Now what?
If this sounds unusual and exotic, it isn’t. In fact, code has been creeping into standards for years, often without the keepers of the intellectual property rights (IPR) Policies governing the standards even being aware of it.
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