Public services should use Free/libre software
Summary: Some of the latest attacks on FOSS and how these relate to the uprise of the affluent (seeking to privatise everything which is public and profit by domination over the state)
WE NOW KNOW and have evidence to prove that proprietary software is used for spying. The NHS should be especially moved by this as privacy in the health sector (patients’ data) is a sensitive matter. Some nations shrewdly move their health sector over to Free software, assuring security, privacy, and domestic control over function, not only data. It ought to have become abundantly clear that the NHS cannot secure patients’ data with Microsoft because both GCHQ (domestic) and NSA (foreign) use Windows back doors and can dig ‘dirt’ on people, even medical ‘dirt’ (with which to punish or marginalise people). New evidence [1-5] teaches us that even GNU/Linux users are specifically targeted (all they have to do is just casually step on a Linux-centric domain name), so this has nothing to do with national security (or even espionage) and everything to do with domination over society.
There is this report right now about Microsoft struggling to get money out of the NHS, which is incidentally adopting more and more FOSS (I know this because of my job). To quote The Register:
Microsoft is finding out that it doesn’t always pay to play nasty with large government customers: NHS procurement bosses are telling authorities and bodies to hold firm against a wave of licensing compliance threats.
As exclusively revealed by The Channel last week, Microsoft wrote to all 160 healthcare bodies across England in early June to warn them they had until the end of the month to cough up for extra licences, via the discounted PSA12 framework, or be charged private sector prices to settle their bills.
Someone new at TechDirt had the following take on it:
As is the case almost every time you let a subscription lapse, the entity on the other hand will cut you a deal just to get you back on the ledger. And like everyone else everywhere, the government — even with all its [well, not really its] money and power — is no different. Microsoft delivers bold pronouncements and dire warnings and the NHS hits the “remind me later” button and goes back to what it was doing.
For [corrupt 78278 agencies like the IRS faulty proprietary software may have worked well] (hiding evidence of misconduct), but the NHS cannot afford this. Sometimes loss of data causes loss of many lives. And speaking of the IRS, it should really tax the rich more, not run after the poor. The rich should contribute more towards services such as the NHS (the US does not have an equivalent yet).
The IRS seems to have gone totally rogue and its attack on FOSS could open the floodgate to trouble. The IRS recently signed a Microsoft deal/contract (we covered it at the time) and now it is making FOSS-hostile decisions which were not made before. This is reminiscent of the FOSS-hostile BBC (also taxpayers-funded), which was made this hostile after many executives from Microsoft UK had taken positions of power over there and Bill Gates paid the BBC numerous times.
“The public sector, and especially the NHS (for high impact on lives), must gradually move to Free/libre software.”Mr. Robert Pogson says that “IRS Attacks FLOSS” and asks: “When will the beast of bureaucracy figure out what it’s left and right hands are doing? I think this is a case where Obama should immediately sign an executive order declaring FLOSS organizations are charitable, educational, and scientific organizations contributing to the public good, rich or poor, a huge net benefit to society. Read the GPL! Is there anything not charitable about it?”
The rich are waging war on the poor, war on public healthcare (welfare of the poor), and war on citizens-funded media (sources of information for the masses), not just Free software that’s often developed by and for the less privileged (financially). While most of these are beyond the scope of this site, it is worth noting the role of FOSS and the impact on it.
The public sector, and especially the NHS (for high impact on lives), must gradually move to Free/libre software. It is imperative because of obligation to taxpayers and also autonomy/security. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
In tonight’s news, the Linux Journal publishes more on the NSA surveillance of Linux users and the Electronic Frontier Foundation throws in their thoughts too. Wired.com has a look back at Linux including a funny video. And finally, Gary Newell asks if you want to help fund the ultimate operating system.
If you ever visited websites such as the Tor Project’s home page and even Linux Journal, there is a good chance that the National Security Agency (NSA) added you to its surveillance list. Well, this is according to top-secret source code for the NSA surveillance program called X-Keyscore.
The NSA is targeting the Linux Journal as an “extremist forum” and flagging its readers as ‘extremists’, according to source code leaked to German public broadcaster, ARD.
Since the news broke yesterday that we are an extremist publication according to the NSA, we at Linux Journal have thought a lot about what that might mean to our readers.
I am one of our readers, and I know many of our readers personally. That said, I can certainly describe many of us as “extreme” in a variety of ways. We’re extremely passionate about our hobbies and professions, extremely excited by innovative technology, and extremely supportive of the open source software community. So maybe we are extremists.
With these things in mind, we thought perhaps our readers might like to join us in letting our extremist flags fly by “stamping” your online profile pictures with our Linux Journal reader extremist seal of approval.
Learning about Linux is not a crime—but don’t tell the NSA that. A story published in German on Tagesschau, and followed up by an article in English on DasErste.de today, has revealed that the NSA is scrutinizing people who visit websites such as the Tor Project’s home page and even Linux Journal. This is disturbing in a number of ways, but the bottom line is this: the procedures outlined in the articles show the NSA is adding “fingerprints”—like a scarlet letter for the information age—to activities that go hand in hand with First Amendment protected activities and freedom of expression across the globe.
Send this to a friend
“My background is finance and accounting. As a socially conscious venture capitalist and philanthropist, I have a very good understanding of wealth management and philanthropy. I started my career in 1967 with the IRS as a specialist in taxation covering many areas of the tax law including the so-called legal loopholes to charitable giving. […] However, the Gates Buffet foundation grant is nothing more than a shell game in which control of assets for both Gates and Buffet remain the same. […] The only difference is that the accumulation of wealth by these two will be much more massive because they will no longer have to pay any taxes.”
The Gates and Buffet Foundation Shell Game
Summary: The Yorba Foundation is denied tax exemptions while the world’s biggest thief, who increases his wealth by lobbying and investing under the guise of ‘charity’, receives tax exemptions
THIS is a major story that, unlike some stories (e.g. the No-IP takeover scandal which we’ll cover soon), has not received sufficient press coverage. The other day in our daily links we included a link that my wife had found and was made rather furious by. We linked to the original just hours after it was published (in June) and it took days until some sites — small sites — covered it very briefly. Susan Linton said: “The top story in today’s Linux news is the IRS denial of nonprofit status for Open Source projects.”
This was hardly the top story. It didn’t receive much attention and it took days for it to get any press coverage at all. Here is what Boing Boing wrote only yesterday:
In a disturbing precedent, the Yorba Foundation, which makes apps for GNU/Linux, has had its nonprofit status application rejected by the IRS because some of projects may benefit for-profit entities.
Will Hill said that there is “[a]n interesting comment from a lawyer on the pluss“:
If ICANN can be a 501(c)(3), and pull in around $400,000,000 in 2013 while benefiting pretty much every intellectual property protection agent in the world, I don’t see how someone who produces code that they give away for free can be refused similar status.
Thankfully, this issue has been getting some more coverage in some technology news sites very recently [1,2], but nothing else as far as we can tell. Apparently it’s OK for an investment and Microsoft lobbying body to get tax exemptions (that’s Gates Foundation), but it is not okay for a bunch of programmers who work without a salary to receive tax-free donations. This is how US ‘justice’ works, apparently. Rich people pay next to nothing to their government and diligent poor people are portrayed as some kind of “parasites” and forced to pay part of the meager donations they receive to the government. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Last year, as the IRS scandal blossomed over the IRS supposedly targeting “conservative” groups for extra attention concerning their non-profit status, we noted that the IRS had also been told to examine “open source software” projects more closely as well. We found that to be a bit disturbing — and it appears that for all that focus on the scandal, the IRS hasn’t quite given up on unfairly targeting open source projects. The Yorba Foundation, which makes a number of Linux apps for GNOME, has been trying to get declared a 501(c)(3) non-profit for over four years now… and just had that request rejected by the IRS for reasons that don’t make any sense at all. Basically, the IRS appears to argue that because there might be some “non-charitable” uses of the software, the Foundation doesn’t deserve non-profit status, which would make it exempt from certain taxes (and make donations tax deductible).
The IRS denied a proposal to grant 501(c)(3) status to Yorba, a nonprofit organization that develops open source software for the Linux desktop. In a blog post yesterday, Yorba spokesperson Jim Nelson disclosed the full text of the IRS rejection letter. He fears that IRS policy has evolved to broadly preclude nonprofit open source software developers from obtaining 501(c)(3) tax exemptions.
Send this to a friend
Summary: How the increased reliance of proprietary software for E-mails breeds abuse at the higher levels while hurting those who are vulnerable
COMPANIES and individuals who rely on Free software for their E-mail needs rarely lose any mail. The protocols, the software and the failovers are generally robust. They are well tested and widely used. There is usually redundancy built in and the costs of this redundancy is low.
When one relies on Microsoft for E-mails one can end up in prison and deported, as this recent case taught us. Microsoft’s E-mail infrastructure is ripe for surveillance abuses even by Microsoft itself. Blunders relating to lost mail often trace back to Microsoft and it’s too easy to see why. Any business that uses Microsoft for storing and relaying E-mail is settling for an office is almost as bad as Microsoft Office. It boggles the mind; why do people put such trash in offices? It’s a Trojan horse to communications. Most mail filtering and antivirus products are used specifically to tackle Microsoft issues (zombie PCs and Windows malware). Free software overcomes many of these complications and it is more efficient, economic, and robust.
“Free software overcomes many of these complications and it is more efficient, economic, and robust.”The other day offices that rely on Microsoft for mail came to a standstill. Any office that “relies heavily on Microsoft Outlook,” as the article put it, was unable to get anything done. “LOL,” wrote a reader of ours, “rely and Microsoft in the same sentence”.
This reader previously drew our attention to the way Microsoft’s broken mail software saved the Bush family from embarrassment (deleting evidence). Spot the pattern here. Here is another new report about Microsoft mail going down pretty badly and staying down for a whole business day. “In outages this week,” says the Microsoft-friendly site, “Microsoft’s online Exchange service was down for nine hours, crippling Office 365 and hosted Outlook accounts across North America and Mexico, just after its unified communications service also crashed.”
Microsoft’s hosted services can only be as reliable as the underlying software, which is simply not reliable. Why would anyone at all want to use hosted Microsoft services? Downtimes are just too frequent and we used to cover them regularly. Watch a Microsoft-affiliated site (Fool.com) thinking that Ubuntu users will give Microsoft their files for hosting. Only a fool would do that, or one whose goal is to have the files spied if not altogether lost.
Then subject of lost E-mail is very hot at the moment because of stories relating to the IRS and NSA, Microsoft’s special ally for well over a decade. Here is some of the latest:
During a hearing held yesterday by the House Oversight Committee, Committee Chairman Darrel Issa said that it was “unbelievable” that the IRS had lost the e-mails of former IRS official Lois Lerner. While Congressman Issa is not generally ignorant on tech issues, he’s clearly not familiar with just how believable such a screw-up is.
“A retention policy designed to ensure that mail is lost” is what our reader called it. Maybe they too used Microsoft, but it is hard to tell for sure. IRS recently signed a big Microsoft deal, so it is a Windows shop (we covered this at the time, only months ago).
The bottom line is, Microsoft’s E-mail infrastructure breeds abuse. It is easy to claim that some “computer crash” (read: Windows issues) made evidence of crime disappear and when one who is vulnerable uses Microsoft for mail it is clear that those in power will be able to retrieve a lot to be used against the individual. Proprietary software tends to work against its users and in favour of the software ‘masters’. E-mail is a great example of this. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: The press is awash with Microsoft propaganda that negates truths, such as Microsoft as having “warmth towards open source” (like lawsuits), Microsoft having big share in virtualisation (based on revenue/sales alone), and Microsoft “continu[ing] Android push” (actually, extorting and derailing Android)
EVERY now and then we see some Microsoft openwashing that we are urged to respond to. There are some propaganda agents out there (some working directly for Microsoft) whose aim is to portray Microsoft as privacy-respecting, Open Source-friendly, law-obeying/abiding, and competition-respecting. Earlier today we saw a pro-Microsoft site saying that “Microsoft Refuses To Open Source VB6″, then issuing the following revisionist nonesense: “With Microsoft’s new warmth towards open source it seems a small thing to ask for VB6 to be open sourced.”
There is no “new warmth towards open source”, there is openwashing and propaganda, that’s all. Microsoft pretended to have open-sourced some very old software a few months ago, but that was a sheer lie, promoted for the most part by Microsoft-friendly sites that disregard facts. We need to keep track of such lies, which usually come from sites that have historically been linked to Microsoft (sometimes their writers come from Microsoft).
Here is the MSN-connected (Microsoft, and Microsoft Windows-run) Fool.com belittling Red Hat by warping the way one counts share in virtualisation (they count sales, but Free software is rarely actually sold). It’s the same propaganda line that Gartner and IDC use when it comes to servers share. They give the illusion that proprietary software dominates virtualisation, but that’s nonsense. VMware is linked to the NSA through RSA, and it is run by people from Microsoft (the NSA’s #1 PRISM partner and more). Like Hyper-V, VMware is proprietary and it probably facilitates back door access like Hyper-V does (Hyper-V runs on Windows, which has back doors, hence Hyper-V and every guest VM under it has an NSA back door). We need to find back against disinformation that belittles the share of GNU/Linux and Free software by framing it as a purely financial question.
The third example for today comes from an Android-hostile site. It now gives the illusion (again) that Microsoft supports Android rather than what it actually does. Microsoft extorts Android and derails it by trying to turn a portion of it into a Microsoft surveillance platform.
All the examples above show us not journalism but agenda disguised as reporting. Please report such coverage to us so that we can counter it. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: Amid tightening relationships and collaborations between China and Russia, two common targets of espionage attacks by the West, more moves are seen which rid themselves of Microsoft
WE HAVE been patiently watching and accumulating reports about China’s hostile treatment of Microsoft, including — quite notably — the ban on Windows, which is a serious security risk that should be avoided not only for security reasons (back doors and much more). China is boldly moving to domestically-developed operating systems, based on GNU and Linux (so that China can properly study the source code). Over the past few days there were many articles about China’s attempt to de-fang Microsoft’s blackmail monster, essentially by making a ‘namedrop’ of all the patents involved. This will prove exceptionally helpful to the FOSS community, for reasons we shall explain later.
In our daily links (posted just an hour ago) we included an important link from Phoronix. It indicates that Russia is now dodging x86, probably ensuring that no system will be able to run Microsoft Windows or even proprietary programs for Microsoft Windows. This is potentially huge and perhaps there will be a lot of media coverage on Monday.
Both China and Russia have solid, defensible reasons for abandoning Microsoft Windows. This operating system has been used for political and economic espionage that requires illegal (hence secret, even at the court level) surveillance. Microsoft is the NSA’s software-centric best friend (in telecommunications the NSA has many more good friends) and in another post (tomorrow) we shall say more about it.
So, what exactly has China just done?
Years ago we wrote about what Microsoft had done in China. It’s a sort of political corruption, boosted in part by Bill Gates’ lobbying.
Well, China seems to have had enough of that nonsense and it won’t tolerate Microsoft’s blackmail, either. As The Mukt put it, the “Chinese government exposes Microsoft’s secret patents used against Android” as “Microsoft is one such company which has been trying to abuse the flawed US patent system to extort money from those companies with use GNU/Linux based systems including Android and Chrome OS.”
Here is a report from an Android-hostile site which uses the term “Android patents” (similar to FOSSPatents, which is an absurd FUD term) rather than “patents used against Android” (as put in other sites).
We wish to remind readers that Huawei, now known as a target of the NSA (the NSA attacked Huawei’s network and infiltrated it), was reportedly (since 2012 or thereabouts) pursued by Microsoft for an Android patent extortion deal — one that Microsoft never got. Given the close relationship between Huawei and the Chinese government (in the West too the government is closely tied with telecommunications companies) one has to wonder if Huawei was the source of this new disclosure. Unlike ZTE, Huawei never surrendered to Microsoft’s extortion and blackmail (most likely violations of the RICO Act in the United States). With evidence out there, might there finally be federal action against Microsoft? It might help China’s Huawei and the other giant, ZTE, so it’s easy to see China’s interests here. But it’s not just about China. Many companies in east Asia, west Europe, and even the United States are also victims of Microsoft’s bullying. Many articles correctly pointed out the similarity here to the Barnes and Noble saga, where Microsoft ended up bribing Barnes and Noble to drop the case and almost drop Android/Linux, as well [1, 2, 3, 4].
Days ago we wrote about Microsoft squeezing their own users for money (especially businesses) and now Microsoft is trying to squeeze also those who leave Microsoft (to GNU/Linux). In reference to Microsoft-friendly circles covering the latest incident, one person quoted this bit: “Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and licensing chief Horacio Gutierrez sat down with Fortune recently to map out their strategy for getting FOSS users to pay royalties” (because FOSS too is property of Microsoft, apparently).
Now that China fights/ousts world’s largest patent troll (which also spawned Intellectual Ventures) Dr. Glyn Moody writes this insightful piece:
Well, they prove that the Microsoft method of bullying and insinuation works. But despite that, they didn’t prove that Android infringed on Microsoft’s patents because – as usual – the latter refused to reveal what exactly they were. That’s because their power really lay in their vagueness. While companies were unsure which patents Microsoft was talking about, it was more or less impossible for them to check whether they were affected. That meant they would probably be open to an easy deal with Microsoft – better to pay up than have a patent sword of Damocles hanging over you.
And that, until recently, was pretty much the state of play. Many Android manufacturers decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and signed licensing agreements with Microsoft – all secret, and therefore all maintaining the vagueness and the power to threaten. But something dramatic has just happened: in order for Microsoft to gain approval from the Chinese Ministry of Communications (MOFCOM) for the company’s purchase of Nokia, Microsoft was obliged to provide lists of the patents it claims are infringed upon by Android. That’s presumably because so many smartphones made in China use Android or a variant of it, that the authorities there were concerned Microsoft might be able to threaten its local companies.
Here is some more coverage that says:
A Chinese government website has published lists of the patents that Microsoft claims are necessary to the functioning of Android smartphones, the first time such lists have been made public.
The patents were analysed by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) as part of its review of Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s handset business, which China approved in April.
Pogson correctly points out: “Thanks to inquiries in China, a list is now public. This will permit M$’s competitors to organize a cooperative response rather than suffering under “divide and conquer” conditions.”
China is moving away from Windows rather than pay Microsoft to be spied on by espionage champions like the NSA. Will Hill says: “I’m not sure if Ars is recycling really old fud against gnu/linux or if people in China are going to cut all the FAT out of Android to avoid Microsoft bullshit.”
What Barnes and Noble tried to do before selling out might actually resume with China’s strong lead. This may include resistance to Nokia (e.g. opposition to takeover), which Microsoft plans to use as a patent proxy and a source of patent-stacking (through trolls like MOSAID).
Special credit must go to Joe Mullin. The earliest report we found about this latest development came from him and stated: “For more than three years now, Microsoft has held to the line that it has loads of patents that are infringed by Google’s Android operating system. “Licensing is the solution,” wrote the company’s head IP honcho in 2011, explaining Microsoft’s decision to sue Barnes & Noble’s Android-powered Nook reader.
“Microsoft has revealed a few of those patents since as it has unleashed litigation against Android device makers. But for the most part, they’ve remained secret. That’s led to a kind of parlor game where industry observers have speculated about what patents Microsoft might be holding over Android.
“That long guessing game is now over. A list of hundreds of patents that Microsoft believes entitle it to royalties over Android phones, and perhaps smartphones in general, has been published on a Chinese language website.
“The patents Microsoft plans to wield against Android describe a range of technologies. They include lots of technologies developed at Microsoft, as well as patents that Microsoft acquired by participating in the Rockstar Consortium, which spent $4.5 billion on patents that were auctioned off after the Nortel bankruptcy.
“The list of patents was apparently produced as part of a Chinese government antitrust review relating to Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia. Microsoft described the results of that review in an April 8 blog post, writing that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) “concluded after its investigation that Microsoft holds approximately 200 patent families that are necessary to build an Android smartphone.”
FOSS guru Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols correctly points out that “[n]ow that the Chinese government has revealed the patents within Microsoft’s Android patent portfolio, Microsoft may soon be facing challenges from vendors over its Android patent licensing agreements.”
China may have derailed Microsoft’s extortion by removing the NDA barrier (the same trick Microsoft used when dividing OEMs to conquer the industry). Android will definitely benefit from it and so will derivatives of Android, including China’s. Vaughan-Nichols has an explanation worth reading.
We should probably stress that not all derivatives of Android are safe to use. Nokia turns Android into a Microsoft surveillance platform and the CIA’s top partner, Amazon, has reportedly taken surveillance in Fire (Android-based but altered) to new and rather scary levels [1,2]. We don’t know yet if China will do the same, but reports from years ago said that China had put back doors in its own official distribution of GNU/Linux. This was quite likely correct. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Amazon is a fascinating company, and the Amazon Fire Phone is a fascinating machine for connecting you with stuff to buy. It’s probably also the biggest single invasion of your privacy for commercial purposes ever.
And no one seems to have noticed.
Send this to a friend
Rinsing (and repeating) Microsoft lies in the corporate media
Summary: Further distortion of what FOSS means and stands for, including Microsoft’s rather unique involvement in this distortion
There has been lots of Microsoft openwashing lately, as well as Apache FUD [1, 2, 3] (The Register recently joined this FUD campaign). Some of the openwashing revolved around .NET and an article about Roslyn (which is not “open” [1, 2, 3, 4]) by Microsoft booster Tim Anderson. He did this effective Microsoft AstroTurfing (like any clever PR front) some days ago in The Register, acting like a smear against Open Source and openwashing of Microsoft at the same time. Check out this disgrace of an article:
“Pushing that button was one of the more impactful clicks of my career,” says Microsoft’s C# lead architect Anders Hejlsberg. The click in question was made on stage at Microsoft’s Build conference in April, and its effect was to publish the .NET Compiler platform, codenamed Roslyn, as open source under the Apache 2.0 licence.
Roslyn is both the next generation compiler for C# and Visual Basic, and a set of APIs which enable deep integration with developer tools (like Visual Studio) for more powerful code recognition and refactoring.
This is total nonsense, involving proprietary software which tries to masquerade as ‘open’. The Register has low standards now.
IDG, citing Microsoft buddies like Black Duck and Gartner, continues to further dilute the meaning of Open Source. These are FOSS-hostile Trojan horses, Gartner and Black Duck, are cited in IDG as ‘authorities’ on FOSS and mind the headline which is rather offensive. It’s FUD disguised as fanfare. Gartner cares about FOSS like Bush cares about peace and Black Duck cares about FOSS like a fox cares about sheep. The media sure likes too taunt FOSS, still. Watch how the media continues to proper up Gartner’s TCO FUD by ignoring all but one CIO in the UK — one who fails to admit that proprietary software requires support, just like FOSS. Here is Jos Creese used again to generate negative publicity for FOSS. To quote the article:
Yet most IT departments and data centres in the public and private sectors already deploy more open sourced software than most of us do at home or on personal devices (think Microsoft and Apple for a start). The challenge for open source providers is to be open about total cost of ownership – the idea that open source is ‘free’ in a corporate environment is usually neither helpful nor true. Honesty about the cost economics will also help to promote the real potential of open source in a corporate environment. And whilst open source solutions will become more prevalent, there will remain a role for proprietary solutions to co-exist.
This is the same old TCO FUD.
These people like to pretend that Microsoft is opening up, even in Newham (UK, central). It shows why the openwashing is so dangerous and the deception is effective for those who are gullible by choice.
Why is the British media so FOSS-hostile these days? Is there a trail of money that goes beyond just advertising? █
Send this to a friend
Condé Nasty’s building, located near Wall Street
Summary: Articles about security issues at Condé Nasty (owner of Ars Technica) fail to focus on inherent flaws in software that is secret (and has back doors baked in), instead amplifying alarms over FOSS bugs
We recently saw some reports about Android vulnerabilities which actually count for something, e.g. privilege escalation put in proper context (user needs to actually install the software). But some people, and especially Goodin , would rather hype up non-issues and post them under “Risk Assessment / Security & Hacktivism” (an anti-Linux and now anti-Android section at Condé Nasty). They ignore the real security issues such as back doors, instead focusing on this kind of nonsense, saying that a designed change could heighten security risks for users. This is a continuation of very incomplete, one-side coverage, where only FOSS is ever characterised as insecure. It is propaganda by omission and Goodin is exaggerating the severity of flaws while adding provocative images to further increase the magnitude of fear. There is an agenda there; Irresponsible to say the least, as we recently showed. Maybe Goodin should highlight automatic updates of whole operating systems such as Windows. Why is he only picking on Android/Linux? Based on some reports, the FBI is listening to Android devices remotely. Maybe this is the kind of thing Goodin should cover, but he never does. Spooks may be hijacking automatic updates (such as Windows automatic updates) using back doors and collusion like PRISM, but Goodin is not interested in these matters. He would rather overlook the big issues like proprietary software which declines to obey settings that block automatic updates (Windows does this). Windows is the Swiss army knife of spooks, some of whom went on from agencies like the FBI to top positions inside Microsoft (and later to the firm which created hype/FUD about ‘Heartbleed’ [1, 2, 3]). People who only cover issues in FOSS instead of back doors in Windows cannot be taken seriously. It’s just so Condé Nasty (owner of Ars Technica since a few years ago). When Microsoft employees who reveal secrets of Windows get jailed and deported we should clearly divert scrutiny in that direction, but it is not happening. This site should be capable of better journalism on software issues, such as this very detailed new article about Android. Only balanced journalism will make this site look like real journalism. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: Elon Musk from Tesla Motors claims to be ‘sharing’ inventions, but the true motivations are far less benign than it seems on the surface (if not malicious)
WE HAVE been patiently watching “Linux” and “Open Source” feeds filling up with something that is not related to software but claims to be inspired by “Linux” and “Open Source”. It’s some marketing stunt from Tesla, which got the attention of OS (Open Source) Vehicle (another openwashing attempt).
The post says: “Is this a marketing stunt?
“I don’t think so. This can be a genuine effort from one of the visionaries of the silicon valley, one of the most advanced companies on earth, taking finally into account that – by having a value proposition targeted at a customer segment that is pretty small, mostly made by wealthy people most of them living in the US. You can’t really change the world for the better in a short enough amount of time (do you remember we have only less than 6000 days? – look at this).
“As you may also know, Tesla is developing a pretty cool new technology for batteries and it’s probably sure that having other big automotive brands producing cars based on their technology, their batteries will be able to target a bigger market and – at the end – achieve a bigger transformation effect on automotive.”
But why were these patented in the first place? And if these were not patented, would Tesla be able to make a fuss about the so-called ‘giveaway’?
The post goes on: “But if Tesla really wants to scale up its contribution, it must work towards the real adoption of the technological solutions that it is making available, it must switch from a product approach to a platform approach and – in a way that is similar to what we are doing – needs to engage with the community, understand how these technologies can be used and are going to be used and make efforts to ensure that every player in the market will have the same access, an access that is clear in terms of rights, obligations and implications.
“Also, an open source (patents) car will work in the future only if it’s accompanied by an open and distributed manufacturing process, that is able to include multiple stakeholders and be based on a more participative value chain, also embedding the principles of Cradle to Cradle production, eliminating waste and obsolescence.”
We were preparing a long article about this whole marketing exercise that’s basically openwashing the company using the disgraced notion of “opened” patents. IBM, HP and other companies have been using this marketing exercise before. It’s utterly pointless and we have countered it repeatedly. Why are so many journalists bamboozled, including FOSS-friendly ones? Here is one key person from Canonical stating: “When I get home, I’m going to take down a plaque that has proudly hung in my own home office for nearly 10 years now. In 2004, I was named an IBM Master Inventor, recognizing sustained contributions to IBM’s patent portfolio.”
Further down he says: “I’ve never been more excited to see someone back up their own rhetoric against software patents, with such a substantial, palpable, tangible assertion. Kudos, Elon.”
But Elon did not revoke the patents, he just claimed to be sharing them (in a pseudo-geeky way with a famous meme). That’s a very different thing. It’s the same thing that IBM claims to be doing with OIN, among other strategic marketing angles.
Shameless here is the type of free marketing newspapers gave Tesla, characterising a patent hoard (followed by openwashing) as some kind of championship of FOSS. The PR nonsense audaciously uses the term sharing, even though it’s all about profit. They are selling patents as a form of marketing, creating dependence on their technology. Elon Musk, the CEO, has been getting far too much credit and publicity here; it’s rather familiar because all sorts of patent ‘pledges’ by HP and IBM are worse than useless and his is no better. Those two companies lobby for software and try to make it look OK. Likewise, Tesla is patenting all sorts of things and now makes the patents looks legitimate by ‘sharing’ them (whatever that means). It’s the Robin Hood mentality or the doctrine of ‘charity’, where rather than establishing social equality one works vertically, by giving from top to bottom, selectively, upon one’s will and supposed ‘generosity’. As long as there are patents on things like these, lawsuits will continue to harm small companies. “Heavy patent litigation scared off about $22 billion in VC funding over 5 years,” said this one new article, and it is one among many.
The press that Tesla received extends to other countries and resorts a to pathetic cocky attitude that uses metaphors (“Handing Over the Keys”) for openwashing or the notion that Telsa is “contrarian” and “open source” (“the open source movement”).
One decent response to the marketing from Tesla came from Jan Wildeboer, who wrote:
Thank you, Tesla Motors For The Patents, but …
Here’s the thing. Elon Musk doesn’t trust the patent system to protect his inventions. So instead of filing for more, he will simply not file at all and keep his inventions secret. The stuff that already got patented thus is already considered lost by him so it is safe to “open source” them all.
When will the press finally ‘get’ Tesla’s real reasons for doing this? It’s about self interest; Tesla would get sued by shareholders otherwise. █
Send this to a friend
« Previous Page — « Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries » — Next Page »