Microsoft Windows is a weapon of (cyber) war
Summary: Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web
So Microsoft spreads its lies in the media again and one of the lies we hear too often is that Microsoft obeys the law and Free software is “hacking” (they mean cracking) and a tool of “pirates” or whatever the bogeyman du jour may be. Well, actually, the very opposite is true. Criminals use Microsoft Windows to bombard sites (as they have been doing against several of my Web sites — including Techrights — for well over a month now) and if justice was to be upheld, Microsoft Windows would be banned by ISPs. Microsoft is claiming that it is upholding the law but actually, in reality, it breaks the law; it is not even a veiled action. It’s very blatant and a serious violation of several laws. This is a valid claim at many levels and today we’ll assemble some relevant new evidence and patiently connect it. This post is relatively long, but it covers a lot of ground, so please bear with us and keep reading.
“With its bogus takedown requests, Microsoft has turned DMCA into more of a joke. It also shows how hostile Microsoft has become towards FOSS.”Chris Pirillo, a longtime proponent of Microsoft with deep links to the company (not just his MVP title), has just had a video censored by Microsoft. Yes, Microsoft has once again issued a bogus takedown request against Google, as it did before (repeatedly). Microsoft is a criminal company because here too there is illegal action being taken by Microsoft. These bogus takedown requests, as per DMCA, are clearly a violation of the law. Microsoft does not want to obey the law (it sees itself as above the law or exempt from the law), so law itself probably isn’t much of a deterrent. Here is a new report from Wired. It is titled “Microsoft Serves Takedown Notices to Videos Not Infringing on Anything” and it says:
Microsoft’s never-ending war on software piracy caused some collateral damage this week. The victims? A handful of prominent YouTube video bloggers.
The bloggers—including LockerGnome founder Chris Pirillo and FrugalTech host Bruce Naylor—took to Twitter on Tuesday, with the hashtag #Microstopped, to complain that they had received erroneous copyright infringement notices for videos that were often several years old. The notices were filed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the U.S. law that seeks to control access to copyrighted material on the net.
The funny thing here here is that Pirillo is the target. How many people without the ability to protest publicly and loudly had the same thing done to them by Microsoft? We may never know. Censorship of evidence of censorship (e.g. channel bans) and other circular scenarios often kick in and become cynically applicable.
Pirillo would not sue Microsoft for breaking the law in this case because he is in Microsoft’s pocket, but will Google finally use the law against Microsoft? Enough is enough. Microsoft has done this to Google for years!
Microsoft’s censorship does not quite stop here. There is another new story which speaks about how Github will deal with takedown requests from now on. Remember that Microsoft censors GitHub this way, essentially damaging FOSS projects by altogether purging them.
GitHub explains its policy change as follows: “The first change is that from now on we will give you an opportunity, whenever possible, to modify your code before we take it down. Previously, when we blocked access to a Git repository, we had to disable the entire repository. This doesn’t make sense when the complaint is only directed at one file (or a few lines of code) in the repository, and the repository owner is perfectly happy to fix the problem.”
Mike Masnick said, “kudos to Github and its lawyers for recognizing that sometimes you have to let in a little legal risk for the good of the overall community.”
With its bogus takedown requests, Microsoft has turned DMCA into more of a joke. It also shows how hostile Microsoft has become towards FOSS.
Another new report from Wired says that “Conficker remains, six years later, the most widespread infection on the internet.” This report is titled “How Microsoft Appointed Itself Sheriff of the Internet” and it explains how in the midst of Internet chaos, caused by Microsoft Windows having back doors, Microsoft just decided to hijack a huge portion of the Internet, breaking it altogether (a lot of UNIX/Linux-based systems affected, including millions of services being down for days). This was an unbelievable and probably unprecedented abuse by Microsoft. A judge got bamboozled and Microsoft fooled the press into distracting from its serious abuses against No-IP. There ought to have been a massive lawsuit. As the author Robert McMillan explains: “For the past 15 years, Durrer has worked as the CEO of a small internet service provider called No-IP. Based on Reno, Nevada, the 16-person company offers a special kind of Domain Name System service, or DNS, for consumers and small businesses, letting them reliably connect to computers whose IP addresses happen to change from time to time. It’s used by geeks obsessed with online security, fretful parents monitoring nanny cams in their toddler’s bedrooms, and retailers who want remote access to their cash registers. But it’s also used by criminals as a way of maintaining malicious networks of hacked computers across the internet, even if the cops try to bring them down.”
It was actually Microsoft that took them down. Microsoft is a criminal company and it used its own abuses as an excuse to break other people’s network. Here we are talking about the company that cannot even patch its systems to stop zombie PCs (with back doors that enabled them becoming zombies). Here again we have Microsoft failing to patch Windows and instead breaking it:
Microsoft has withdrawn an update released this past Tuesday due to user reports of system reboots after installation.
The update released as described in Microsoft Security Advisory 2949927 added SHA-2 hash algorithm signing and verification for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. It was one of three proactive security feature updates released on Tuesday in addition to the eight patches of Windows and Office.
Microsoft makes it impossible to close the latest back door which it already told the NSA about, so people with Windows on their PC will be unable to boot or simply stay ‘infected’ with the latest back door. It’s all binary, so there is nothing they can do; they can’t even apply their own patch. As another source put it: “Microsoft has pulled one of the updates from its most recent Patch Tuesday release and recommends anyone who downloaded the fix should uninstall it.
“The update added support for the SHA-2 signing and verification functionality to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 machines with the intent of improving security over the more vulnerable SHA-1 hashing algorithm.”
Microsoft Windows is simply unfit for use. Techrights, for example, has been under DDOS attack for over a month now. We know the offending machines. They all are Microsoft Windows PCs that got hijacked (from many different countries). The total number of IP addresses banned in the latest DDOS purge (so far today) is nearly 2,000. That’s a lot of Microsoft Windows zombies (with over 1200 IPs banned in just half a day). When will this operating system be banned by ISPs for facilitating DDOS attacks? How many Web sites can withstand attacks from so many zombies PCs and for how long? This is indirectly Microsoft’s fault, not just the attacker’s (the botmaster’s) fault because Windows does what it was designed to do; it has back doors. It can be commandeered remotely. This is clearly incompatible with the Internet.
Free software does not have such issues, but distributions that make their source code freely available to anyone can at least be checked for back doors, perhaps with the exception of binary Red Hat distributions like RHEL, which may have some back doors since around the start of the millennium, i.e. the same time Microsoft Windows got them (reportedly 1999), based on an IDG report and one from Beta News that said at the time: “It appears that Microsoft Windows is not the only operating system on the market that has a backdoor for those users who know the magic words. While Red Hat officials downplayed its seriousness, a team at Internet Security Systems, Inc. reports the security hole allows an intruder to access and modify files on systems running the most recent version of Red Hat Linux.”
Speaking of Red Hat, we are saddened to see it taking a stance of silence on the whole
systemd issue. Red Hat is very much complicit in it, but it refuses to say anything. In fact, criticism of
systemd is now being treated almost as taboo in Debian mailing lists because
systemd‘s creator has shrewdly personified the issue and made it political, eliminating any chance to have truly technical debates about
systemd. Personally, I worry the most about the number of bugs it would introduce, opening the door for exploitation. It replaces too many mature components. Microsoft’s propaganda network 1105 Media keeps spreading negative articles about FOSS because of such feuds (the
systemd fued), so we don’t wish to feed this fire right here. Well, at least not right now.
Incidentally, also on the subject of security, here is a good new article titled “Enough! Stop hyping every new security threat” (especially against FOSS).
The author explains that “now it has reached a fever pitch, with proactive marketing of individual exploits with supercool names — Shellshock, Heartbleed, Sandworm — some of which even have logos.”
“Logos for malware,” he asks, “Really?” Microsoft partners did the logo work to help demonise FOSS and stir up a debate about FOSS security as a whole (because of one single bug!). There have hardly been any stories (i.e. evidence) that the Bash bug and OpenSSL bug resulted in some disaster or meltdown.
The bottom line is, proprietary software such as Windows has back doors and causes stormy weather on the Web (DDOS attacks). It’s Microsoft Windows that should be taken down as part of takedown requests, not innocent videos, whole networks (like No-IP) and FOSS code (GitHub) that Microsoft maliciously and deceivingly (against the law) calls offending and tries to take down. █
Send this to a friend
True quotes from Microsoft below, click to read in full.
Summary: Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also “loves Linux”
THE CORPORATE media is not in the business of informing the public. To the mainstream media the public is not the client; corporate partners are the clients whereas audience (the public) is the product on sale. It was just so easy to be reminded of this trivial observation because Microsoft is a good example. It was so easy to see it since Monday morning when the media decided to herald all sorts of utterly absurd claims. But let’s go a little further back than 2 days and see just how Microsoft games the media and tries to fool the whole world, or merely to aggravate/rile up the opposition, which in itself can work magic, as long as journalists are willing to play along at risk to their reputation.
Earlier this month we wrote about the latest FOSS event that Microsoft had infiltrated, essentially stealing the show. The media only spoke about Microsoft; the event was supposed to be about something else. Days ago we also learned about Microsoft infiltrating All Things Open again, as it had done in previous years (we covered that at the time). Watch an eyewitness account from FOSS Force:
Actually, I enjoyed watching Microsoft’s spokesperson squirm while trying to make the case that “Microsoft is an open source company” before an audience that was politely not buying it. I also found it somewhat enlightening to watch an open core company show its true colors, revealing itself to be a proprietary firm merely riding the open source bandwagon. As for Oracle, developer level technical discussions on Java and MySQL can only be beneficial.
Microsoft will never get tired of lying; it probably aims for/targets low-hanging fruit, i.e. people who “want to believe” or Microsoft partners who really wish to think that Microsoft is now ethical. It’s a PR charade and it is utterly shameless. It’s a disservice to everyone except Microsoft; it’s an insult to truth.
Watch how Information Week, a Microsoft-friendly media site, smears FOSS these days and helps Microsoft’s EEE (Embrace, Extent, Distinguish) of Docker. This is utterly preposterous, but if repeated often enough it may end up fooling the gullible. This is perhaps the ultimate goal.
Around the same time we noticed Maria Deutscher writing this pro-Microsoft puff piece titled “Microsoft continues open source love affair with Apache Storm endorsement”. Here is the opening part:
Colorful Sonoran Desert StormMicrosoft Corp., the poster child of proprietary software, has developed a sudden appetite for open-source technologies. Barely three days after revealing plans to make future versions of Windows Server compatible with the Docker container engine, which currently only runs on Linux, the Redmond giant is rolling out support for Apache Storm for its Azure infrastructure-as-a-service platform.
No, Microsoft is trying to close down (or “contain”, to use the terminology of Docker) what’s open inside a closed/locked-down, proprietary environment with surveillance and back doors. That’s what’s happening. Non-technical journalists are easier to fool and they just blindly print whatever Microsoft says. Deutscher later wrote another pro-Microsoft puff piece. It is titled “Microsoft expands open source reach”, but lest we forget Steve Ballmer stating: “I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”
Windows is proprietary. Microsoft just loves power and money, it does not love FOSS and it never will. It’s an anathema to Microsoft. But one can always count on Microsoft boosters to support the narrative that Microsoft now “loves” FOSS and “loves” GNU/Linux, which Microsoft merely wants contained (to contain Linux, like a farmer contains sheep for the imminent slaughter).
Several shallow reports, including some from Microsoft boosters like Microsoft Peter and Jordan Novet in Redmond, actually stated that Microsoft “loves Linux”, presumably quoting the liar in chief, Mr. Nadella (more of his lies we will cover in a separate post another day). IDG went as far as posting the click bait “Microsoft (hearts) Linux” and “Microsoft now loves Linux.” This is not journalism; it’s entertainment. Some of these entertainment-type headlines came from Microsoft-friendly news sites which were previously paid by Microsoft. The corporate media has seemingly turned to fiction, satire, clickbait etc. and much of it is known to be tied to Microsoft itself.
“Microsoft has been steadily making adjustments to its processes and preferences to become more open,” wrote one person from Redmond, “and to move more quickly to support technologies that could be of interest to its many customers, even when they’re not Microsoft-built.”
That’s done in order to bring them to Microsoft and make them locked in and spied on, by Microsoft and its special partner the NSA. Here we have the corporate media distorting reality, portraying the company that is threatening, blackmailing, suing and slinging mud at Linux as “loving” Linux. There is not even much of a potent attempt to challenge these claims. It’s like an abusive husband explaining to a court that he beats up his wife because he loves her. Any decent person would interrupt such nonsense and wouldn’t just let it go unchallenged.
Speaking of massive failure by the corporate press, see this new garbage from Kate Bevan at the British bankers’ media (Financial Times), suggesting that Microsoft should hijack Android:
Here’s a blue-sky suggestion for Mr Nadella: sit down with Jeff Bezos at Amazon to develop a good fork of Android. Microsoft has a compelling services offering but an almost non-existent platform for these services, despite the quality of the Lumia handsets. Amazon has compelling content with its Prime video but seems unable to get consumers to buy its Fire devices.
For smaller providers, a Microsoft-Amazon-style joint venture would be a great way to become part of an ecosystem out of Google’s reach. I suspect consumers would find that attractive. How about it, Satya and Jeff?
How low can the Financial Times stoop? This is not journalism, it’s Microsoft jingoism disguised as analysis. Sadly, today’s corporate media is full of such nonsense and in the next post we will show how the press likes to demonise FOSS over security matters while totally ignoring the issues with proprietary software having back doors ‘baked in’. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from
THE corporate press (or mass media) continues to disappoint in a very major way. It looks like the more one reads it, the less well-informed one becomes. Why? Because the corporate press has clients. These clients are not readers; they are companies to which the readers’ brains are being sold. The business model is selling of agenda. Although counterintuitive at first sight, this observation is not novel; many people have pointed out the same thing in areas other than technology. Today we’ll present some examples from this week alone.
Florian Müller an Expert… Lobbyist
Slashdot was once a grassroots-type Web site. It promoted FOSS. But it grew into something else. Now it’s the very opposite. It seems to be more interested in repeatedly quoting a mass-mailing Microsoft lobbyist (Florian Müller) and even Slashdot‘s front page (plus original content), which is now owned and run by the Microsoft-friendly Dice, gives him a platform. This seems like a joke, but it’s not. Slashdot now offers the platform for people whose role is spreading Microsoft propaganda and bashing FOSS. The only amazing thing is that some people still trust Slashdot just because back in the days it had some credibility (before hiring prolific Microsoft boosters).
Free Software is Pedophilia?
“Slashdot now offers the platform for people whose role is spreading Microsoft propaganda.”Speaking of propaganda, Matt Lee, Free software ideals, and even the FSF were the other day slandered by the Telegraph, which engaged in defamation by associating Free software with pedophilia (the article was corrected only after numerous complaints that I had initiated in social media after a headsup from our reader). The Telegraph was perhaps worrying that Free software people can sue for libel. What the heck is wrong with the press? How low can one stoop?
Microsoft is an Open Source ‘Cloud’ Company?
Then there is the tabloid called ZDNet (owned by CBS, known in part for the Gamergate scandal as of late). It is now offering Microsoft a marketing service, helping an Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish move against Docker (other corporate media did the same thing). Microsoft-friendly sites like these generally try to help Microsoft (the author, Matt Asay, once tried working for Microsoft) and this is clearly part of a scheme to control servers. According to this article by an Australian Microsoft booster, Salesforce, an opponent of Microsoft, has just liaised with this special NSA partner, ensuring that Salesforce offers no security or privacy at all.
Microsoft is Dominant in Servers, According to Microsoft-funded Firms
Watch the latest Forrester propaganda, trying to cast Microsoft as having “three-quarters of the mass-market servers”; complete nonsense. Here is a quote from the aforementioned article from News Corp. (aiding Microsoft’s plot): “Linux is the dominant tech underpinning at giant Web companies, but the server version of Microsoft’s Windows runs about three-quarters of the mass-market servers in use at big companies in the U.S. and Western Europe, according to Forrester Research.”
Complete nonsense. Selective reporting reveals not only bias but also a desire to lie. GNU/Linux has the lion’s share of this market. It is the job of Microsoft-bribed firms like Forrester to distort reality and the Gartner Group, according to Robert Pogson, is also doing that right now by casting GNU/Linux as “others”.
As Pogson puts it: ““Others” is a convenient category to put things in when stuff you don’t care about happens. GNU/Linux is something I care about but not Gartner. They lump GNU/Linux in with all that other stuff that’s not from M$, Apple, or Google but, hey, I can subtract.”
Nokia Dead Not Because of Microsoft or Its Mole Elop?
Finally, revisionism too can be found in the media. Here is AOL rewriting the history of Nokia. As our reader put it: “He’s got to distract from Jolla and from the Nokia board’s involvement in covering up Elop’s contract where Elop was granted tens of millions as a condition for selling Nokia to Microsoft. The paper industry is in decline due to a combination of union busting and actively closing *profitable* paper mills, in addition to competition from questionable logging in Brazil.”
Not the Exception
The above are the types of examples that we see every week, but it’s only now that we decided to gather and give to our readers some examples of these, collected in just the past few days. The problem is systemic.
The corporate press is just too damn hard to trust when it comes to technology because it operates on bribes these days; advertising deals, talking points from firms that are paid by companies, agenda for sale (press releases), and media ownership that comes with all kinds of strings attached. All in all — and not to sound too cynical — this means that one should be cautious, never blindly trusting the corporate media on such matters. Informing readers is not the goal; it may sometimes be a side effect, but only if it aligns with the goal (which is increasing revenue).
When selecting articles for circulation in sites like tuxmachines.org we give equal weighting to blogs and mailing lists because these tend to be more reliable and accurate than some printed papers, authored by people who are clueless on the subjects they cover for a publication whose goal is to serve some hidden interests. █
Send this to a friend
“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”
–Microsoft, internal document
Summary: The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software
After the vapourware tactics of Vista (for 5 years!) as well as the terrible (worse than Vista) Vista 8 and Vista 7 we already know Microsoft’s dirty tactics too well. Microsoft admitted to using these tactics when it falls behind the competition. Now that Microsoft faces embarrassment from the majority of the population, which is women, it sure needs a good distraction from negative publicity that started with infiltration.
Vista 9, vapourware for a year and a half now, already looks like garbage and at this stage it remains vapourware. Microsoft already jumps ahead to the next imaginary generation of vapourware, which will go further in providing the NSA with back doors and remote surveillance features. China was right to ban present generations of Microsoft Windows because it becomes more spyware-filled all the time and it is also known that the NSA engages in espionage against China. Here is a new article about how Windows servers and other Windows devices got hijacked in Hong Kong. It is suicidal to use Windows unless one is a partner of Microsoft and South Korea too has just suffered severely for depending on Windows. Pogson says: “I expect Korea will have to redo everything and get it right this time. Let’s hope they demand GNU/Linux be used for on-line/financial transactions and to protect data but failing that let’s hope they make GNU/Linux optional and the people can decide. There’s something refreshing about a whole country aroused about insecurity with that other OS on the check-list of things to fix.”
Korea and China are both planning to move away from Microsoft. This is well overdue.
According to several new reports, despite the NSA leaks that embarrassed Microsoft (and caused some nations to abandon Microsoft), Microsoft will increase spying in future versions of Windows and even previews spy on the users. As one author put it: “Back in 2012 with the release of Ubuntu 12.10 the EFF, Richard Stallman and countless other privacy advocates led vocal campaigns against Canonical for including Amazon results in the dash, the issue was that Amazon would know everything you were typing into the dash. Now however Microsoft are targeting early users of their Windows 10 Operating System in a much more egregious way.”
Here is more about Windows: “For the more liberal minded regarding privacy who are reading, thinking this is just for the purposes of improving the product then you should also know that Microsoft state they will share this data with third parties and also that they will use your data to send your advertisements about their new products and updates. The third parties that Microsoft mention also include law enforcement. They say “we may access, disclose and preserve information about you when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to: 1. comply with applicable law or respond to a valid legal process from competent authorities, including from law enforcement or other government agencies; 2. protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud Microsoft’s customers, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone; 3. operate and maintain the security of out products and services, including to prevent or stop and attack on our computer systems or networks; or 4. protect the rights or property of Microsoft, including enforcing the terms governing the use of the services – however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our products or services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves, but we may refer the matter to law enforcement…”
Windows is a massive security risk and one that no nation should take. Not even the US; all back doors are bound to be used by cyber criminals who are not associated with any government (or with a friendly government) at one point or another.
We are still seeing Microsoft-affiliated media calling for more severe criticism of GNU Bash, but how about Windows shell vulnerabilities like this new one?
A class of coding vulnerabilities could allow attackers to fool Windows system administrators into running malicious code because of a simple omission: quotation marks.
The attack relies on scripts or batch files that use the command-line interface, or “shell,” on a Windows system but contain a simple coding error—allowing untrusted input to be run as a command. In the current incarnation of the exploit, an attacker appends a valid command onto the end of the name of a directory using the ampersand character. A script with the coding error then reads the input and executes the command with administrator rights.
Microsoft booster Andrew Binstock continues to trash-talk FOSS security ,but why is he not commenting on back doors in Microsoft software? Lies by omission. Bloomberg also publishes poorly-researched articles while it misuses the word “hacker” to confuse readers. How about back doors in proprietary software? Will Coverity ever cover this, or will it keep its focus on flaws in FOSS for writers like Richard Adhikari to single out FOSS as the problem? To quote Adhikari’s new article:
Open source developers apparently don’t adhere to best practices such as using static analysis and conducting regular security audits, found Coverity’s Spotlight report, released Wednesday.
The Coverity Scan service, which is available at no charge to open source projects, helped devs find and fix about 50,000 quality and security defects in code last year.
Microsoft’s circle of partners would rather debate and hype up FOSS bugs using codenames/brands that are all of a sudden being assigned for bugs (for increased press coverage), but discussions about back doors are out of scope.
Here we have Europol advocating back doors. The Europol boss says: “I hate to talk about backdoors but there has to be a possibility for law enforcement” (i.e. back doors).
Once upon a time (even 1.5 years ago) people who spoke about back doors were called paranoid and nutty. It is Free software advocates who have the last laugh now because they were right all along.
It should be known by now that back doors are being used for ransom and blackmail, even murder. Even Europol recognises this.
Windows should generally be avoided by everyone. No server should ever run Windows because it’s dangerous for everyone. Only fools would host a site using a back-doored operating system, which in turn puts its visitors at risk.
“Only fools would host a site using a back-doored operating system, which in turn puts its visitors at risk.”It is now being reported that NATO was silly enough to use Windows and it paid the price, potentially resulting in loss of life. The article “Microsoft Windows Zero-Day Vulnerability “CVE-2014-4114″ Used to Hack NATO” should note that NSA is told about this before Microsoft even issues a patch.
In summary, do not use Windows. It is not secure and this is part of the design. Microsoft has no intention of correcting this. In terms of security and privacy, Windows continues to get only worse over time. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: More criminal activity from Microsoft in Romania and a new TV programme that sheds light on Microsoft’s dirty assault on Free software in France
Bribes can be passed in all sorts of ways (e.g. promise of a job for a spouse, revolving doors, nepotism with verbal contracts). We have given many examples of Microsoft bribes over the years and last year it was reported that Microsoft had bribed officials in some of the largest countries in Asia and there was an investigation into it; maybe Microsoft bribed or somehow silenced the investigators too has we have not heard anything about it since then (some of these countries, however, have in the mean time shunned Microsoft). Some of the bribes we covered involved OOXML, a deeply monopolistic ’cause’ which had bribes given to officials in many countries including Romania, where Microsoft routinely uses infiltration as a strategy. For Microsoft to impose NSA back doors on the whole world takes some audacity and it shows that no strategy is beyond the acceptable; just watch how the NSA took a whole country (Syria) offline, cracked the network of a national technology giant (Huawei), and actively supported assassinations, even of US informants. No nation should ever even consider using Microsoft anywhere in its infrastructure, but what happens when bribed are introduced? Now we have yet another example of Microsoft corruption in Romania:
‘Microsoftgate’ scandal rocks Romania
The Romanian National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) is currently seeking approval to begin criminal investigations for office misconduct and corruption in an unfolding scandal the press has dubbed ‘MicrosoftGate’. EurActiv Romania reports.
The accusations are related to public procurement procedures for Microsoft licenses intended for schools. Ministers are suspected of having taken bribes for facilitating the conclusion and ensuring the continuation of an illegal contract with Fujitsu Siemens Computers for leasing Microsoft licenses at over-inflated prices.
The case started last summer after the Control Body of the Prime Minister was notified about the existence of a series of irregularities at the Ministry of Information Society and the Ministry of Education concerning the leasing of IT educational licenses.
Several former ministers, heads of the Secretariat-General of the government, as well as Microsoft officials, have been questioned by Romanian prosecutors. More recently, the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA requested that the general prosecutor of the office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice seek approval from the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, the Romanian president and the European Parliament to start criminal investigations against nine former Romanian ministers.
Microsoft is not quite a “company” per se; it is almost like a crime syndicate that uses rogue (tainted) contracts for revenue and bribes officials for them. A government delegate once compared Microsoft's methods to “Scientology cult” and this new TV programming from France shows just how far Microsoft “lobbying” goes.
Thanks to the working group transcripts of April we managed to get an automated translation too English. Transcript below:
Journalist : France today begins its digital. So we have to buy hardware: tablets, computers, interactive whiteboards, but also virtually non-existent in the hexagon educational software. The British market, however, is overflowing already. We are in London, BETT, the show for educational technology. Everyone from digital to school has given them appointment.
English students in uniform, singing around shelves.
Journalist : We find Mrs. Becchetti-Bizot, the new head of digital in Education.
Speaker : I present the company Education City.
Journalist : It came out what could soon equip our schools.
Jamie Southerington, commercial Education City : Let me show you what we can offer in French. We have activities for students of three years. If you have an interactive whiteboard in your classroom, it was the software that allows children to learn the alphabet by singing. Well, just press here.
Catherine Becchetti-Bizot, responsible for the direction for the educational digital : I am very surprised by the richness and diversity of what is proposed by the vitality of small businesses that are there and really trying to adapt to the needs of the teaching community.
Reporter : Today the Department of Education is ready to provide all children in tablets?
Mrs. Becchetti-Bizot : The Department is not ready to buy for all, it would be impossible, can you imagine the price that would be! However it is ready to partner, to imagine consortia with communities and businesses, perhaps, perhaps! I do not know if we’ll do it, but we will try to do that, to effectively we can encourage, facilitate equipment.
Journalist : Partnerships who dream because the industrial market to win is huge. Globally, it is estimated at 100 billion euros and growth forecasts give the spin: more than 1500% in the next decade.
Today, the market leader in educational tablet is Apple. Yet the brand has no official stand on the show, preferring to highlight its suppliers of content, the famous educational software.
Why is Apple company absent the show?
Mark Herman, Albion : Because we no longer need to explain what an iPad. Everyone knows what it is. However one has to take people by the hand and let them demonstrations to show them the educational potential of our software. Then they can decide if they are interested or want to buy from our competitors and that is where we are useful. We are here to advise schools not to force their hand. But you know, we have equipped schools, there has been incredible changes and it’s a real motivation for us.
Reporter : For industry, this software is the best way to attract customers in their nets. Once purchased, you become dependent on their computer system. In most cases, your Mac software is usable by a computer or a Mac tablet. Ditto for the PC. We went to the other giant digital, Microsoft. To discover their marketing strategy, they invite us into a showroom software and educational materials to Paris. This place was named immersive class.
Teacher : That’s it. You sit in the pit there.
Journalist : Set up two years ago at the company’s headquarters here the teachers and students are invited to discover tomorrow’s school according to Microsoft.
Nao Robot : Hello. I’m Nao, a humanoid robot. I come from the planet Saturn.
Journalist : That day, a retired teacher, hired by the multinational, we made a small demonstration in front of some guinea pigs.
Prof : What is it?
Kids : It’s the land.
Prof : We’ll have to write the names of the planets. You take this pen, here you choose a color.
Journalist : The goal: to seduce the students and their teachers to schools to sell a classroom of the future, turnkey.
Prof : Let’s go get a picture of a book.
Children : Oh! Lava and smoke!
Prof : Well, that comes out. After it comes out of where?
Journalist : The man who had the idea of this showroom is Thierry de Vulpillières, education manager at Microsoft France.
“…the law forbids to advertise in schools. So to get around the problem, Microsoft has found another strategy. We’ll show you how, for years, the American company infiltrates National Education to sell its products.”Thierry de Vulpillières, head of Microsoft France Education : We at Microsoft. Our subject is to help the passion for the education of teachers and students. 55% of French children are bored in school. It’s a shame. Well it’s because we will move the way we teach and we will involve more students these tools come naturally fit into this new way of learning. What we want is that indeed all students can benefit from digital. I would love there to be 11 million tablets in the hands of every student.
Journalist : The difficulty of Thierry Vulpillières: the law forbids to advertise in schools. So to get around the problem, Microsoft has found another strategy. We’ll show you how, for years, the American company infiltrates National Education to sell its products. The man who found out about roses is Alexis Kauffmann, a math teacher. In 2008 he went to the site Innovative Education Forum, a forum sponsored by the National Education, where teachers have educational projects. Alexis discovers a photo that plot, that of this little Asian girl sitting in a classroom.
Alexis Kauffmann, math teacher : I was able to show that the site of the first forum of innovative teachers using the images we found on the official websites of Microsoft. You could tell they were a little sloppy, they have not even taken the trouble to make up the task of changing images.
Journalist : Oh yes, they reversed.
Alexis Kauffmann : Yes they reversed.
Reporter : Alexis wants to know why a photo is featured on the Microsoft site. He then discovers that the multinational is behind these forums and continues to fund discreetly.
We went to the last forum for innovative teachers. This year it is held at the Regional Council of Aquitaine. In the lobby, teachers present their projects.
Teacher : There is no class, in fact, it is a space that is completely open to life. One lot in life …
Journalist : On the platform of representatives of teachers, the Regional Council and the Ministry of Education
Jean-Yves Capul, Deputy Director of Digital Development, Education : Management of Digital Education was wanted by the Minister as a direction for educational purposes. This is the pedagogy and not technology that is the heart of this direction, even if the aim was to combine the two aspects, education and information systems and technology.
Journalist : In the audience in the front row, sitting behind the plant, Thierry de Vulpillières, Mr. Microsoft. Alexis Kauffmann came asking for more transparency in the financial involvement of the multinational forum.
Alexis Kauffmann : What is the sum allocated by Microsoft for this type of event, for example?
Thierry de Vulpillières : Me I do not give a number. The sum is marginal today on the organization of this forum. Unfortunately. I’m glad you ask me …
Alexis Kauffmann : Since the first time, Serge Pouts-Lajus launched a number, it was almost 50% of the budget.
Thierry de Vulpillières : I think it has never exceeded 50%, but actually it was in the order of 50%.
Alexis Kauffmann : It’s hard, even when enough!
Thierry de Vulpillières : Absolutely! And we are very proud to support that event.
Alexis Kauffmann : Okay.
Reporter : Thierry de Vulpillières will not say more. Sponsorship remains discreet. Some teachers do not even have knowledge.
This is an event that is largely funded by Microsoft. It inspires you what?
Christophe Viscogliosi economics professor : That I did not know already, first. And secondly it would have been better than the national education fully fund this type of forum.
Journalist : Why?
Professor of Economics : There is a potential conflict of interest. I did not necessarily want to be forced to use Microsoft products in progress.
Reporter : Thierry de Vulpillières is the only industrial digital world present here. From stand to stand, it maintains its network with faculty.
Thierry de Vulpillières Laurence June This is not the first forum.
Laurence June, Professor of French : No.
Thierry de Vulpillières And paradoxically it seems that we are in a stand of handicrafts. You see son and wool. This is a teacher who was one of the first teachers to use Twitter.
Professor of French Twitter that allows students to communicate, that is to say we are in a classroom, but it opens. We did projects where communication was contacted politicians, writers and journalists. Short exchanges, which led us to do larger projects, meetings, writings and exchanges.
Journalist : Adept Internet, the teacher becomes a target for Microsoft representative. This morning he offered his ten tablets Professor of French class was fortunate to have five computer stations, this is not the case all the time. Perhaps we will have tablets.
Journalist : Microsoft?
Laurence June, a French teacher : Yes.
Thierry de Vulpillières : Small areas will land home.
Professor of French : The good news. The forums also allow these exchanges there.
Journalist : Ten tablets offered to try to take the market in an establishment of seven hundred students. Microsoft has set up a well-rehearsed with faculty and hierarchy lobby. We were able to get that invitation sent to certain officials of the Ministry of Education. The Academy of Paris invites them to discover digital innovation at Microsoft headquarters. Program immersive class. Remember, the showroom Microsoft invented for the promotion of the classroom of the future. Alexis Kauffmann is the neutrality of the school that is harmed.
Alexis Kauffmann : What is outrageous is that academic information day, training, study, around digital is found in Microsoft. It has absolutely nothing to do with Microsoft, simply. Do we imagine the Ministry of Agriculture organize study days at Monsanto for example? No!
Journalist : We went to present the invitation to the new director of digital education.
On May 28 there was the Academy of Paris organized a day of innovation at Microsoft headquarters.
Catherine Becchetti-Bizot : Yes, the rector of Paris made the event at Microsoft headquarters.
Reporter : You do not see that it’s a bit much, it may be a collusion of interest.
Catherine Becchetti-Bizot : Yes, I found out the same day.
Reporter : Were you there?
Catherine Becchetti-Bizot : Ah, I was not there! I would not go there because I think there is a confusion of genres. I do not disagree with the President, I think there is a kind of naivete that there was no will to promote Microsoft. Reporter: But you are against?
Catherine Becchetti-Bizot : I am neither for nor against. I think it is not a policy of the Ministry of Education to organize that, with Microsoft in particular, things of that guy, and it will actually fit. It’s also one of the immediate projects I have in opening this direction is clearly align our corporate partnerships.
Journalist : Multinationals have powerful lobbies and nothing seems to stop them in their conquest of the school of the future. Recently they attacked an amendment to the law of rebuilding the school. The amendment proposed that our school prioritizes the use of free software. Free software is the bane of high-tech enterprises. They can be created, shared, and modified by anyone and they are almost always free. A system that competes digital giants. It’s Green MP Isabelle Attard offering this amendment to the Assembly in favor of free software.
Isabelle Attard, MP for Calvados : This amendment has been fully validated by the Culture and Education Committee for first reading in the Assembly, the Senate also. And when the text comes in second reading in the Assembly, we see that the union of the digital sector, Syntec, just sent a press release to alert precisely this amendment accepted by the Assembly and the Senate, on the overhaul law school.
Reporter : Here’s the press syndicate of digital companies. A very alarming statement: “These provisions will handicap seriously most firms already in this industry.” He was sent to the press, all members and to the Minister of Education at the time, Vincent Peillon. While Isabelle Attard amendment would have allowed the state to make significant savings, Vincent Peillon back.
How do you explain this?
Isabelle Attard : Because there is a lobby and incredible pressure from the largest proprietary software and, as I said, Microsoft is the biggest.
Journalist : We have tried repeatedly to contact the former minister for him to explain his reverse. He refused.
Anyone who still treats Microsoft like an ordinary company does this at his or her own peril. Microsoft is a criminal organisation and it should be regarded as such. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: The UK has issues of Microsoft dependency and Windows viruses; its migration to Free software and GNU/Linux is not fast enough to guard its autonomy in the age of digital imperialism
TECHRIGHTS has published dozens of articles — including some “exclusives” — about the UK and its dangerous dependence on Microsoft. The UK is a lot more dependent on Microsoft than other nations and it’s a huge problem because such dependencies facilitate spying on lawyers and journalists, not to mention politicians. Being one’s “ally” does not mean exclusion from the “targets” list, as revelations about Germany and Turkey served to show. Microsoft is as bad as one can get when it comes to privacy and it habitually colludes with the state (the United States, not Britain).
The other day a reader sent us this link about Microsoft Office spying. “Delve pulls content from within your organization’s OneDrive, SharePoint, and Yammer accounts,” says the article. The scary thing is, CTOs and CIOs in the UK are sometimes using stuff like this on the government’s Windows-running PCs, which can cost $10,000 per year (per PC) merely to maintain. Have we learned nothing from Stuxnet? Is the UK begging to be a vassal of another nation?
Dependence on Microsoft Windows also leads to virus epidemic in the UK right now. It turns out that British businesses are now struggling with a so-called ‘undetectable’ Windows virus. So much for ‘competitive advantage’, eh? To quote the Torygraph: “A Peter Pan pantomime in Bournemouth is being used as part of a sophisticated hacking attack from Eastern Europe that is targetting thousands of British businesss.
“An email claiming to be a £145 invoice for nine tickets to a performance of Peter Pan at the Bournemouth Pavilion theatre contained an attachment that if opened installs a virus onto the receipent’s computer.
“The malware, which the email claims are the tickets for the pantomime performance, captures highly sensitive personal and commericial information including passwords and is almost “undetectable” by current anti-virus software.”
It is baffling to see the London-based Canonical still feels comfortable putting GNU/Linux under/alongside a surveillance platform. As one Microsoft-friendly article put it: “Ubuntu’s popularity with the OpenStack crowd can’t be lost on Microsoft, and Microsoft has learned that it must play nicely with Linux in its virtualization and cloud product lines. Now, Canonical has reported that it has completed work with Microsoft on tools for Windows Server to run on top of OpenStack and Ubuntu.”
This is unwise because putting Windows in the stack is the same as granting the NSA access to the stack. Microsoft should in principle be purged, along with its software. The company has already proven that it is the best friend of illegal surveillance, espionage, political sabotage and other shenanigans. How much evidence need one see before it becomes crystal clear that Microsoft has no place in the public sector, except perhaps in the United States? █
Send this to a friend
Summary: Some of the latest examples of Microsoft’s predatory acts against Free software and against competition in general, disguised as acts of friendliness
Microsoft has got a well-established track record of suffocating competition by pretending to embrace it. It is not a theory but a simple fact, and many dead companies exist (or existed) to remind us of this.
In recent years FOSS has been a target of Microsoft’s abusive EEE strategy (embrace, extend, extinguish) and today we present some new examples.
Microsoft Mono is a ‘religious’ (metaphorically speaking) software piece developed by both Microsoft and its partners; it helps openwash proprietary .NET and put Microsoft patent risk, dependence on Microsoft APIs etc. deep inside the competition. It is a Trojan horse. It is more like a virus. Well, it is now in repos of many distros or available from Microsoft partners. Jo Shields, who recently joined a Microsoft partner, boasts about this, as he has been doing for years (pushing Mono into Debian and Ubuntu for the most part). Can someone stop this? Microsoft veterans recently subsidised such efforts. This ought to be rather telling. Mono is about openwashing Microsoft lock-in which is already making its way into competing software from Sony. As one site put it: “The editor purports to be compatible with any game engine via its API suite, and offers a WYSIWYG interface and tools written in a mixture of C# and C++. It’s designed to render in 3D using DirectX 11, and supports simultaneous use by multiple developers.”
So, an attack on GNU, Linux, cross-platform languages and OpenGL is now being called “open”.
“So, an attack on GNU, Linux, cross-platform languages and OpenGL is now being called “open”.”Here is Microsoft hoping to embrace and extend Android, based on rumours. Fracturing the competition in an embrace-and-extend fashion would be a familiar strategy; remember the ‘embrace’ of SUSE. Embrace and extend can also be seen involving Ubuntu; tie-up with proprietary and spyware (Windows/Azure) can now be seen here. It’s Ubuntu in bed with Microsoft again — an embrace-and-extend with NSA’s PRISM.
Watch how Microsoft does the same to Google right here. Bringing NSA to Ubuntu and standards? Google should sue Microsoft for extortion, not just for FUD. But it is not likely to happen because Google is not legally aggressive. Here is some of the latest FUD attack that reminds us how desperate (but malicious) Microsoft has become. To quote: “Microsoft is well known for spreading FUD to harm their competition. A business strategy that may work to some extent, but is also a sign that Microsoft lacks confidence in their own products.
“Microsoft recently published a Microsoft Educast on YouTube where they compared Chromebooks to Windows 8 laptops. The video has been set to private in the meantime, I suppose the feedback wasn’t very positive.
“Unsurprisingly, Microsoft can’t see many good things in Chromebooks, admitting they are super low-cost, but of course there are reasons for that. In the 9 minute video they manage to get several things wrong though. Maybe not as embarrassing as other MS FUD campaigns, but still worth a closer look.”
So much for Microsoft ‘embracing’ FOSS…
Earlier this week we wrote about the Microsoft-connected Black Duck with its latest FUD against FOSS. Well, the Wall Street Journal covered the subsidy and another article called this Microsoft partner “open source software provider”. Well, Black Duck is not an “OSS provider”, it’s a proprietary software company exploiting FOSS and disseminating FUD about it. See how FOSS gets diluted and distorted? Maybe this was the intention all along. This openwashing can be traced back to the deceiving, dishonest press release. Black Duck spent a lot of money planting the press release all over the Web [1, 2], falsely claiming that Black Duck “Advance Leadership In Open Source Software Logistics” (they advance leadership in Open Source Software FUD, that’s what they do). It is true that Black Duck has leadership in this area because other Microsoft-connected firms of its kind, such as OpenLogic, are not as big. Here is a new example of a journalist promoting the FOSS-hostile FUD from Protecode with a slideshow in a news site called “CIO Insight” (fear for CIOs). Protecode, unlike many in its area, does not seem to be Microsoft-connected, but its strategy is more or less the same. It only speaks about problems in FOSS, or perceived problems in FOSS, in order to sell proprietary software and services.
Microsoft’s tentacles reach further than a lot of people care to notice. Here we have AMD embraced and extended by Microsoft:
AMD and Microsoft jointly released C++ AMP version 1.2 compiler that supports Linux alongside Windows. Ubuntu is the officially supported distribution at this time.
Watch how Intel now ignores Linux, having been infiltrated and blackmailed by Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4].
Not just Microsoft is doing an EEE manoeuvre. Former Microsoft executives who now run VMware are also doing it. The following new article is titled “Is VMware OpenStack an embrace of open source — or an attempt to extinguish it?”
We wrote about this embrace and extend move last month and suspicion is now becoming the norm.
Another Microsoft partner, Centrify (spreading Microsoft AD), is now becoming more proprietary and expensive. This should serve to show why Microsoft APIs are harmful for one to depend on, irrespective of the platform.
These are all examples from the past week alone. They ought to show the impact of Microsoft entryism and involvement by proxy. Something that is a lot less problematic — generally speaking — is FOSS adapting to Windows , but whenever Microsoft tries to infiltrate FOSS it is very unlikely to be because Microsoft wants to help. Base it on Microsoft’s bad track record. The company is very much determined to destroy FOSS unless it helps sell proprietary software from Microsoft. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Grid Engine, the popular workload management tool for distributed computing environments, now does Windows. And it is also doing Linux control groups, or cgroups, containers, a technology that was championed by Google many years back as the basis for its internal resource control on its massive clusters.
Send this to a friend
Summary: A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software
Why do so many FOSS sites cover VMware and VMWorld when all it’s about is proprietary software and EEE (embrace and extend) against FOSS? Remember that it was Paul Maritz, Vice President at Microsoft who later became the CEO of VMware, saying that he wanted to “cut off Netscape’s air supply.” VMware is not a friend of FOSS and it is also a GPL violator, based on strong evidence that was never quite revisited in recent years. VMware is about exploiting FOSS while giving nothing in return.
Maritz and his influence linger on because, as even a Microsoft-friendly site put it, this is “embrace and extend” all over again. It looks like VMware is ‘embracing’ FOSS, but it’s embracing it like a python embraces a lamb. From the summary:
VMware’s VMworld announcements are a case study in the “embrace and extend” approach used so well by Microsoft. The big difference is VMware doesn’t want to and couldn’t add the “extinguish” to the cloud (hybrid or otherwise).
Larry Dignan is wrong in that last part. Having been an involuntary user of VMware in some places at work, it seems clear that VMware and their effect on VMs is similar to that of Oracle in databases. Many who insist on FOSS compromise for proprietary software and if the openwashing PR works (many thing of Oracle and VMware as ‘Linux-friendly’ due to marketing), then better options like PostgreSQL or MySQL (and KVM) get ignored or only scarcely explored.
VMware should generally be considered a proprietary software snake crawling inside the FOSS yard, offering nothing more than back doors at hypervisor level (remember that VMware and RSA, the NSA’s back door ally, are owned by the same company). Watch this new article titled “VMware CEO details offensive strategy for containers, open source”.
In other news, Sonatype, which has a consistent track record of FOSS licensing FUD, uses its spun credentials to make itself seem like FOSS while bashing FOSS in the FOSS-hostile IDG. Sonatype should spend more time explaining to the public the grave dangers posed by proprietary software EULAs and licensing costs, not to mention gangsters/lobbyists such as the BSA.
Lastly, but not leastly (no, it’s not really a word), watch this coverage of a Mono release. This article does not cover the issues around patents, Microsoft and a lot more. Instead it quotes the Microsoft boosters from Xamarin as follows:
The developers are saying that “Mono is an open source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET Framework based on the ECMA standards for C# and the Common Language Runtime. A growing family of solutions and an active and enthusiastic contributing community are helping position Mono to become the leading choice for development of cross platform applications.”
Mono is a great example of a FOSS mole. Mono and the company behind it are basically a Microsoft Trojan horse inside FOSS. The goal of Xamarin and of Mono is to make Microsoft richer, more dominant, more omnipresent, and in great control over all software. Xamarin hardly even cares for free/libre operating systems. It’s all about C# and other proprietary, heavily-patented Microsoft frameworks. Follow the money to better understand what drives Xamarin and what its true goals are. Look at who the company hires and what its staff says.
Writing about Microsoft’s pretense of embracing FOSS (like a wolf guarding the hen house), Jim Lynch cited us calling this whole thing “digital imperialism” the other day. He wrote: “I have seen some articles recently that asked if Microsoft has become a friend to open source over the last few years, and I think the behavior detailed in this article puts the lie to that idea. Microsoft was never a friend to the open source movement and it certainly isn’t now. But such press coverage is probably useful to the company as a cloak to hide behind while it tries to slip a dagger into the back of open source software.
“I also noted in an earlier article this week my skepticism of some of the articles about Munich supposedly dumping open source. If Techrights is correct then it looks like Microsoft may have had a hand in promoting some of the negative press coverage of open source in Munich. Sometimes it’s easy to smell a rat when you see a story like that suddenly cascading through technology media. ”
All that Microsoft can offer Munich is the return to blue screens of death, surveillance (espionage against Germany), a higher overall bill (in the long run), and fewer German jobs. Last week we noted that the one man who caused all the commotion in Munich (a self-professed Windows fan) was potentially a mole. People like John Dvorak are currently trying to exploit this deception to provoke and perhaps even troll GNU/Linux users. █
Send this to a friend
« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »