Summary: The spreading of fear of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is now a growth industry, so proprietary opportunists are eager to capitalise on it, even if by distorting the truth
EARLIER THIS month some Black Duck publicity stunt fooled some journalists into promotion of Black Duck FUD. We saw that persisting until April 20th (one week ago), even in pro-FOSS sites (blogs) that did this days later. IDG made a slideshow out of it. Well, sadly, it cites Black Duck, which tries to sell proprietary software under the guise of Free software promotion.
In reality, Black Duck is not just selling fear of GPL violations — the original 'product' which was 'sold' by this firm. It’s a two-faced firm masquerading as pro-FOSS whilst attacking FOSS. Black Duck and Duck Duck Go both give a bad name to ducks. They pretend to be FOSS or at least openwash themselves (a lie) and they pretend to defend users (also a lie, they merely exploit or monetise users).
In other news, Sonatype reportedly compared FOSS to “Public Health Hazard”. To quote one report: “That’s the assessment of Joshua Corman, CTO at Sonatype, who took to the stage at RSA 2015 to characterize insecure software as a kind of “cyber-asbestos,” widely deployed, inherently dangerous, and eventually carrying an astronomical cost in terms of human suffering and cost to clean up because …we just didn’t know how dangerous it was at the time when we embraced it.”
So Sonatype is again on an anti-Free software binge. It is not the first time (see examples in [1, 2, 3, 4]) and it is easy to see why it is doing this. It’s trying to sell its products, which are nothing to do with Free software. Sonatype’s track record of FOSS FUD is expanding and may one day rival the Microsoft-connected Symantec, which continues its FUD campaign against Android, generating misleading headlines such as “One in Five Android Apps Is Malware” in this case. When people install software from Google Play, then there is virtually no risk, but don’t expect Symantec to properly analyse this. Symantec sells insecurity. To quote the misleading article: “According to Symantec’s latest Internet Security Threat Report, “17 percent of all Android apps (nearly one million total) were actually malware in disguise.” In 2013, Symantec uncovered roughly 700,000 virus-laden apps.”
But where are they found? Are any accessible to most Android users? No, so Symantec is defining it wrongly and framing the issue by saying that many applications’ “primary purpose is to bombard you with ads.” That’s not malware, but they made up a new word.
Google has already responded mostly by removing apps with too many ads (that’s not malware) and saying that Android “antivirus” is snake oil, as Google said before (responding to the likes of Symantec several years ago).
Android now has an industry of snake oil around it because there is a lot of market share there. The same can be said about FOSS, which is why Black Duck and Sonatype are busy badmouthing security aspects of it. They’re all just looking for a quick buck; FUD and reputation damage to FOSS are “collateral damage”. █
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Making distribution of software strictly contingent upon payments
Summary: A look at recent news about software patents and especially Free/libre software, which is inherently incompatible with them
SOME time ago the OIN announced that it was extending its ‘coverage’ of ‘protection’ for Linux-related packages. “For this update,” is said, “115 new packages will be added to the Linux System, out of almost 800 proposed by various parties. Key additions are the reference implementations of the popular Go and Lua programming languages, Nginx, Openshift, and development tools like CMake and Maven. This update will represent an increase of approximately 5% of the total number of packages covered in the Linux System, a reflection of the incremental and disciplined nature of the update process.”
It’s a shame that they don’t mention GNU at all, but let’s not get too pedantic about words and ‘brands’. Simon Phipps from the OSI covered this almost a week later (the technology media largely ignored the OIN’s announcement), writing that “Docker, Puppet, LibreOffice, and the Go language are the latest additions to the Open Invention Network’s extensive patent nonaggression umbrella” (patent pool may be more accurate a term than nonaggression umbrella).
“Out of nowhere,” the inventor and developer of Ogg wrote some weeks ago, “a new patent licensing group just announced it has formed a second, competing patent pool for HEVC that is independent of MPEG LA. And they apparently haven’t decided what their pricing will be… maybe they’ll have a fee structure ready in a few months.”
So a new patent troll emerges to attack Free software in multimedia, adding its weight (and tax) to that of MPEG-LA, a patent troll that’s already viciously criticised by Simon Phipps. It’s not getting much better, is it? The OIN has no way to protect against such patent trolls. If they are non-practising, then there is no way to retaliate with a defensive lawsuit, is there? That’s just why we deem OIN not part of the overall solution, just a sort of duct tape. The OIN does not lobby for patent reform that involves elimination of software patents. The OIN was founded and first run by proponents of software patents (it was initially managed by a man from IBM, perhaps the leading or biggest proponent of software patents).
“It is somewhat understandable that Google fears destruction by patents given all the patent attacks against Android, multimedia codes that are FOSS (VP8/9), etc.”Meanwhile we have noticed (last night) that Google goes deeper into the patents mess. “Google is a large company that has plenty of technology and many innovations,” says the report, “and in turn they hold plenty of patents on those technologies, but they still fell behind other big name tech companies last year for the biggest earners of U.S. patents. According to Fortune though, Google did rise up the list to reach being the company with the 8th largest amount of U.S. patents being awarded to them last year, gaining around 38% more patents in 2014 than they had the previous year which totaled a number of 2,566 U.S patents in all. With such a large portfolio it must seem like a daunting task to keep up on all the information related to patents in Google’s portfolio, and that may be true, but Google’s legal team has more than a few tools at their disposal to get the job done and one of those is an analytics software called PatentIQ.”
It is somewhat understandable that Google fears destruction by patents given all the patent attacks against Android, multimedia codes that are FOSS (VP8/9), etc. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and numerous smaller trolls that they are feeding (Rockstar Consortium and MPEG-LA, to name just a couple, let alone Intellectual Ventures, CPTN, MOSAID/Conversant, and Acacia) are usually behind it.
“Kudelski Group and Google Enter Into Patent Cross License Agreement,” said this headline very recently, adding not many details except this: “The Kudelski Group, a leading independent provider of media protection and value-added service technology, and Google, today announced they have entered into a multi-year patent cross licensing agreement.”
There is clearly a systematic issue here and unless we manage to get rid of software patents in the US, this issue won’t just go away.
Simon Phipps wrote another related article recently. Titled “Facebook gives in on patent grant”, the article explains how occasional patent bully Facebook tries to appease its critics:
Late Friday, Facebook announced it’s finally giving in to pressure from the open source community and fixed its open source patent grant. While most people felt the intent was good and welcomed the original version of the grant, it was worded in such a way as to give Facebook a significant legal advantage in any open source community where it was the initiator.
While current versions of modern open source licenses, such as the Apache License, the Mozilla Public License, and the General Public License, all include coverage to patent rights associated with the copyrights the licenses cover, older licenses like BSD and MIT include no explicit patent grants. Facebook was following common practice by giving a full license to any patents necessarily infringed by users of code in Facebook projects that incorporated the grant under those licenses.
For the Free/Open Source software world the patent situation has become very tricky, so in the coming few posts, spread across the coming few days, we are going to explain where we’re at when it comes to patent law. It’s not looking too good because large corporations diverted the entire public debate to “patent trolls”. The corporate media helps them do this. █
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Putting news into reverse
Summary: A massive failure by the press to cover the most basic news, which is Microsoft putting an end to a supposedly ‘Open Source’ effort
Microsoft has turned the media into somewhat of a joke. The technology ‘news’ sites that we can thus far see covering the shutdown of Microsoft’s “Open Tech” proxy (we took a very comprehensive look) are simply misleading their readers on behalf of Microsoft. It’s an insult to journalism. There is no scepticism, no fact-checking. It’s what some people call industrial journalism and it’s clear which industry is being served.
Here are some Microsoft “Open Tech” articles that we wrote here before:
“Open Tech” is not ‘Open Source’ but rather a mole whose goal is to derail ‘Open Source’ as we know it. It’s about making ‘Open Source’ Microsoft-dependent, i.e. dependent on Windows, SQL Server, Office, and so on. “Open Tech” from Microsoft is better at anti-copyleft propaganda (or anti-Free software), as Microsoft’s former manager who founded Black Duck hsd been doing for years (even a decade ago). Here is a reminder from Black Duck, whose anti-Free software press releases are still being republished (we saw this one last night, following last week's media blitz). Black Duck, which came from Microsoft, began as an anti-GPL entity, by its very own admission. Microsoft is just joining it a little later. It’s a ‘divide and rule’ strategy.
To share with our readers some of the poor journalism, see this article which called shutdown “absorption” and see Microsoft’s booster Jeffrey Schwartz from the Microsoft-connected sites (a Microsoft boosting network) misleading readers [1, 2] in Redmond and elsewhere using appalling spin. “Microsoft believes enough in its open source commitment that it no longer feels it has to have an offshoot to emphasize,” he said. What utter nonsense. It’s followed by some more openwashing, such as: “Mark Russinovich, CTO for Azure, earlier this month raised eyebrows when raising the specter of Microsoft open sourcing Windows, saying “it’s definitely possible.””
So they return to the googlebombing of "Open Source" — a gross googlebombing campaign to which Matt Hartley too (despite being a GNU/Linux advocate) is not so reluctant to help/assist.
Saying that Microsoft’s shutdown of a so-called “Open” entity is proof of Microsoft’s commitment to “Open” is not just counter-intuitive; it’s total nonsense, it is make believe, and some fools are falling for it (or maliciously playing along).
We can understand why Microsoft boosters such as Mary Jo Foley and Darryl K. Taft would spread the lies and deceive for Microsoft’s agenda (they were among the earliest ‘journalists’ to cover this ‘scoop’ with ‘damage control’ embedded in it), later adding a Microsoft propaganda video. What’s harder to justify is reporting from non-Microsoft-affiliated sites doing the same, perhaps refusing to do the most basic research. They are repeating the shameless spin from Microsoft, casting something bad as “good”, so it is not really journalism, it is more like PR in disguise and they are complicit in it.
Witness what Microsoft apologists wrote or what Microsoft propaganda sites wrote. Also see some of the more colourful headlines, such “Microsoft Open Technologies to ooze its open source vibes through Microsoft proper” (what a bizarre way to explain a shutdown).
Brian Fagioli, at times a Microsoft troll and propagandist, did the same thing, but the most misleading headline, “Microsoft’s open source ambitions pick up speed”, came from TechRadar, an occasional Microsoft troll.
How can a shutdown of a unit called “Open Tech” be interpreted as “Microsoft’s open source ambitions pick up speed”? Are these journalists drunk, bribed, or just satirical? A better headline would be “Microsoft closes Open Tech open source subsidiary” (in the British press).
All in all, we hope that our readers do understand that the corporate media, saturated with Microsoft friends (pretending to be objective journalists), is lying through its teeth. The above is a complete summary, based on what we were able to find with search tools. It was extremely hard to find accurate reports on this. History is being warped/shaped/revised by friends of Microsoft and the biggest victim is truth itself. █
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“Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches,” Microsoft’s long-serving CEO Steve Ballmer once said. Not much as changed except pretense (face change).
Summary: Microsoft dumps its proxy (misleadingly named ‘Open Tech’) and other attacks on Free software persist from the inside, often through so-called ‘experts’ whose agenda is to sell proprietary software
MICROSOFT’S long-term assault on GNU/Linux is in some ways worse than ever before. Changing Ballmer’s face with another is about as effective as swapping Bush for Obama. Things are only getting worse, even if it’s branded differently. The attacks on users’ rights (DRM, blobs, spying) have exacerbated. It’s just not as visible as before (like the infamous “Get the Facts” marketing campaign), it’s more subtle or altogether covert.
There are concrete sign of Microsoft’s strategy to destroy FOSS from the inside (entryism) not quite succeeding, which leads to a Plan B, like infecting Android with proprietary spyware, controlling GNU/Linux through Azure, etc.
“For Microsoft, “Open Tech” shutting down is somewhat symbolic, even poetic.”“So,” some people ask, “what’s new at the ‘new’ Microsoft?”
There’s nothing new except worsening levels of aggression.
Microsoft’s ‘Open Tech’ proxy is shutting down, anti-Android lawsuits expand (or threats of lawsuits, based on the latest reports from Taiwan), new bribes are reported (e.g. Cyanogen), antitrust by proxy (against Free software) is succeeding… welcome the ‘new’ Microsoft, the Microsoft that’s more aggressive than the Mafia led by Steve Ballmer.
For Microsoft, “Open Tech” shutting down is somewhat symbolic, even poetic. It’s almost as though Microsoft gave up pretending to be “Open”. The Microsoft “Open Tech” proxy (assimilation strategy) is dead, says Microsoft’s Mouth (people have left it for quite some time, even senior people). but Microsoft’s Mouth (the booster Mary Jo Foley) released quite a misleading piece which is essentially hogwash and PR, pretending that shutdown is “rejoining”, like “reorg” meaning layoffs.
Is there no point keeping this Trojan horse in tact? Is Microsoft not interested in “Open”? Or is there no point pretending anymore? Microsoft has been aggressive against Linux as of late, as we wrote in the following series a month ago:
We also wrote about Microsoft ‘Open’ Technologies in the following older articles:
Meanwhile, alas, Microsoft is googlebombing 'Open Source', which helps fool some politicians. As we put it yesterday, Microsoft's plot to associate Windows with 'Open Source' is proving effective, despite being just a Big Lie. Shame on IDG for continuing the googlebombing of “Windows Open Source” in an article by Mac Asay. We are also saddened to see an article from SoftPedia about Black Duck, the Microsoft-linked source of FUD (anti-copyleft). Another publication giving them marketing space is always bad news because it’s anti-FOSS really, disguised as pro-FOSS. It is part of the latest marketing blitz from Black Duck, relying on the so-called “Future of Open Source Survey” [1, 2, 3], which has been annual propaganda for many years. Why do journalists continue to waste time on this? It’s not an analysis, it’s just marketing for Black Duck’s proprietary software.
Speaking of Black Duck, it recently hired a top executive from Veracode and Chris Wysopal, CTO of Veracode, continues the FUD over FOSS security (article from yesteday); he does it after Veracode did the “Heartbleed” recall/birthday in the same site a just over a couple of days beforehand (14th of April), as we noted with concern at the time. IT Pro Portal seems to be thinking that some Microsoft-connected firm giving a name and logo to a FOSS bug is such a major event that we need to celebrate its anniversaries, too. If they wish to see real security problems, then they should speak about Windows in terminals, ATMs, etc. The new report titled “New malware program ‘Punkey’ infecting point-of-sale systems” does not even call out Windows, almost as if this fact is just irrelevant.
These so-called ‘analysts’ are — more often than not, to not risk overgeneralising — little more than frauds, like so-called ‘counter-terrorism experts’ whose goal is to scare people (e.g. through the corporate media or parliamentary avenues) in order for them to sell their ‘services’.
The 451 Research is now using some biased yardstick to help generate favourable press for Microsoft, but that’s another point and another topic, probably worth raising another day. 451 Research staff always refused to tell me whether Microsoft paid them or not (they answered all my other questions) — a denial which in itself spoke volumes. █
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“If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” ~Joseph Goebbels
Summary: A look at the latest headlines which can lead to a false perception that Microsoft is now in bed with ‘Open Source’
A couple of days ago we wrote about Microsoft’s successful attempts to associate Windows with "Open Source" (Free/libre software renamed) so as to get chosen by politicians who pursue “Open Source”. Mono has become a key part in the plot to openwash .NET and Windows development (proprietary), whereas something which we called googlebombing has been used to give the impression that Windows is going “Open Source”. Even more than a week later (it started with Condé Nast’s Cade Metz) there are still headlines along those lines. One GNU/Linux proponent says that “Linux is not going anywhere, no matter how progressive Microsoft thinks it will become.” He (Nestor) said, quite correctly in fact, that the “power of the Linux platform doesn’t reside in the fact that it’s open source, although it does play an important part. It’s all about the community of developers who want to make things better, and most of the time they don’t want anything in return, other than recognition for their work. This is not something that you see in the Windows dev community that aims to make money.” The headline is a bit loaded; it says “Why It Doesn’t Matter for Linux If Windows Becomes Open Source” as if there is actually a chance of it happening; this serves Microsoft’s googlebombing strategy. So does Nestor E. Arellano, who ended up reposting the Microsoft openwashing from J. Peter Bruzzese, the Microsoft MVP who recently became IDG staff too (for Microsoft promotion). IDG is openwashing Windows and so do other circles. Without opening up a single line of code Microsoft has now left many people with the impression that Windows is “Open Source” or is going “Open Source”. How cleverly-implemented a propaganda campaign.
“Without opening up a single line of code Microsoft has now left many people with the impression that Windows is “Open Source” or is going “Open Source”.”For those who think that Windows is “Open Source”-friendly, read this new rant from ownCloud. Despite SUSE/Novell roots, the project is dumping Windows. In its own words: “The Windows Server platform has caused a lot of headaches and has required many work-arounds. For one, there is only support for 32bit PHP on Windows Server, so it is not able to reliably deal with files larger than 2 Gigabyte – a pretty fundamental limitation. On top of that, the Windows platform suffers from file name encoding problems that can not be dealt with properly, causing file syncing problems especially with the client and occasional file operation fails, broken user avatars and even issues with the handling of encryption keys – all things that have the potential to lose user data.”
Here is an article about it which said: “On April 15, the development team behind the powerful ownCloud self-hosted cloud server, have announced that the upcoming ownCloud Server 8.1 application will no longer support the Microsoft Windows operating system.”
So, not only is Microsoft Windows not “Open Source”; it is also hostile towards or compatible with “Open Source” applications. The world does not need “Open Source” Windows. It doesn’t need Windows at all. █
“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”
–Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO
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Stop treating Black Duck like a Free/Open Source software (FOSS) expert
Summary: Under the traditionally misleading title “Future of Open Source” Black Duck expresses its desire for proprietary software sales, salivating over fearful managers who may get bamboozled into buying the patents-’protected’ Black Duck ‘product’
THE nasty proprietary software firm called Black Duck is doing it again. Not enough journalists have grasped what this firm is all about.
ECT has just given a platform (again) to this FUD firm and so has SJVN in ZDNet. Do journalists not realise that the so-called “Future of Open Source Survey” (we wrote about this misnomer before [1, 2, 3]) is conducted by a proprietary software company (anti-copyleft)? They should stop pretending they’re a FOSS firm, they are a proprietary software company with software patents. It’s a company that essentially came from Microsoft and continues to serve Microsoft’s agenda in many ways. When Black Duck says many companies use FOSS it’s just basically telling its investors, “look, we have lots of market share to which to sell proprietary software blobs to.”
“These firms don’t produce any Free software, they merely exploit it and spread fear of it, in order for them to make money.”When people like Katherine Noyes write about it in IDG they legitimise Black Duck and have us listen to some proprietary softare company with anti-GPL roots as if we are going to learn about FOSS from its foes. There have been some more coverage of this from Microsoft-friendly and Microsoft-hostile sources. Black Duck writes about FOSS being widespread for the same reason anti-swine flu vaccine manufacturer would tell us swine flu spreads and is a huge/growing risk.
Here is the press release [1, 2] that got it started, preceded by this this shameless self promotion. The Linux Foundation gave spotlight to the former OSDL head who now works for Black Duck. The Linux Foundation did this without disclosing Black Duck payments to the Linux Foundation.
Incidentally, Veracode, which recently had its key staff join Black Duck, keeps shoving “Heartbleed” nonsense (branding for FUD) into headlines again, joining the new chorus that keeps "Heartbleed" in the public's mind.
These firms don’t produce any Free software, they merely exploit it and spread fear of it, in order for them to make money.
Just because a firm has access to source code or talks about source code doesn’t mean it’s a FOSS proponent. Today in New Zealand we see the manager of a proprietary software company, Github (just monetising FOSS/Git), defending proprietary software. One needs to be careful in distinguishing Free software proponents from Free software parasites, especially those whose business model depends on creating fear (or increasing fear) of Free software. █
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Pretending to be a journalist, actually a Microsoft ‘asset’
Todd Bishop meets his maker
Summary: Microsoft’s attempt to assimilate (to confuse) bears some fruit and the Microsoft-linked media plays a considerable role in it
SOME READERS of ours, commenting on a recent headline, were not yet familiar with the term Google bomb, which was mentioned here over the weekend. When we say that Microsoft is “Googlebombing” (iophk’s interpretation of it) we mean to say that it is trying to make proprietary software come up (highly ranked) in search results for “open source”. It’s rebranding or reinvention by confusion and ambiguity.
Microsoft’s booster Todd Bishop (we have written a lot about him over the years, including financial support from Microsoft) continues this ugly campaign by openwashing a Windows font (yes, font!). Well, to be accurate, this font isn’t even a part of Windows, but it doesn’t prevent Bishop, who literally meets and chats with the highest-ranked Microsoft officials (like Brad Smith the other day), from spreading these misleading headlines in Microsoft-linked media, only to be repeated by other Microsoft boosting Web sites.
“It’s rebranding or reinvention by confusion and ambiguity.”We have grown rather tired of seeing Microsoft’s reckless and shameless attempts to associate itself with the competition. That’s how Microsoft hopes to devour the competition. We were disappointed to see complicity — not merely a waste of space — in Linux Journal today. It’s about .NET. Linux Journal is labeling it “FOSS” despite the reality which very is different, as explained here repeatedly before. Those who insist that Microsoft .NET is “Open Source” should try to fork it (not possible), then redistribute. Good luck with the patents. Phoronix also helped the openwashing of .NET a day or so ago. Microsoft is using other people’s code to openwash .NET, so Michael Larabel jumped into the trap and made a story out of it. “They also intend to improve LLVM’s support for C#,” he writes. This is more like an “embrace and extend” approach. Microsoft is trying to make Free software merely a client (or tool) of proprietary software. What’s there to celebrate?
Based on what Martin told us yesterday in the IRC channels, Microsoft is now pressuring governments in Europe to adopt proprietary software with data in NSA PRISM (Azure) by pretending it’s Open Source. The “look but don’t touch” interpretation of ‘Open Source’ by Microsoft is, based on sources, now being used to bamboozle governments in Europe. If people who demand Free software (“Open Source” they say) don’t understand what it means — let alone understand technology on general — then they’re easy to fool. The pressure (lobbying) from Microsoft in Europe is capable, combined with enough openwashing and Googlebombing (misleading headlines), surely fools EU politicians. Microsoft is reportedly (the reports are not in English) using back room (closed doors) deals in East Europe to sell back doors (pun intended) to the EU, reminding us that Microsoft is still fighting very hard against Free software and GNU/Linux. Microsoft is also fighting very hard to keep it all secret, bias the media, and so on.
Don’t be Microsoft’s “useful idiot”. Microsoft is not a friend, it’s a predator. █
“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”
–Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO
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Summary: A dissection of media deception (or media being bamboozled) regarding the act of promising not to sue using patents, which in no way relates to Free/Open Source software
EARLIER today we wrote about Microsoft's googlebombing of the term 'Open Source' — a disgrace that one must fight in order to preserve the value and meaning of Open Source.
A few weeks ago we saw Panasonic (and especially the corporate media) using the term “Open Source” to speak about patents. It is grotesque and misleading. See our clarification regarding Tesla, which did something similar and now enjoys this misleading article titled “Why Tesla gave away all its patents” (the latest among hundreds of such articles about Tesla PR).
“Why Tesla gave away all its patents” an inaccurate and loaded headline. It implies that de-fanging something is the same as giving it away and many articles still wrongly equate that with “Open Source”. Now the same thing is happening in relation to Panasonic. It dilutes the Open Source brand and can definitely confuse a lot of people.
Consider headlines like “Panasonic To Open-Source Some IoT Patents” and other headlines that use the word “open”, “share”, “free”, “open” and “free”, “Open-Source”, “royalty-free”, and “intellectual property”. Nowhere is there anything like that. Here is the press release [1, 2] whose title only uses the “intellectual property” nonsense (propaganda term).
The word “free” has been widely (mis)used [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] not by accident but by design. So was the word “open” [1, 2], unlike some article that used none of these inappropriate labels, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].
Rather than name journalists here we should just state that if one chooses to call “Open Source” the act of promising not to sue using patents, then a whole lot of companies out there can be openwashed. Seriously now, does anyone genuinely think that Panasonic did something “Open Source” here? █
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