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06.03.19

Microsoft’s Handbook: Work With the System, Use OEMs and Your Legal Team

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’m thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux. [...] they should do a delicate dance”

Joachim Kempin, Microsoft OEM Chief

Summary: Microsoft’s tactics against GNU/Linux have not changed much in two decades, they’re just framed differently

A LOT of people have been led to believe the “new Microsoft” mythology. A public relations success story? How about “Microsoft loves Linux”? How much money has Microsoft spent spreading this particular lie? Microsoft knows that this lie offends and aggravates geeks, but the target audience isn’t geeks but managers who might choose Azure for hosting GNU/Linux (for supposed "legal peace of mind"), managers who might also think that Vista 10 is now “also Linux” because of WeaSeL (WSL). Who wants to wrestle with UEFI ‘secure boot’ anyway? With those words, here comes Chapter 2.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cover and quick Introduction [PDF]

Chapter 1: Know your enemies– Act like a friend [PDF]

Chapter 2: Work with the system– Use OEMs and your legal team [PDF]

Chapter 3: Playing the victim– Show the world that too much freedom hurts development

Chapter 4: You get what you pay for– Getting skeptics to work for you

Chapter 5: Open Source Judo– How to bribe the moderates to your side

Chapter 6: Damning with faint praise– Take the right examples of free software and exploit them for everything

Chapter 7: Patent War– Use low-quality patents to prove that all software rips off your company

Chapter 8: A foot in the door– how to train sympathetic developers and infiltrate other projects

Chapter 9: Ownership through Branding– Change the names, and change the world

Chapter 10: Moving forward– Getting the best results from Open source with your monopoly


Chapter 2

Work with the system
Use OEMs and your legal team

The Free Software Movement wants to change all the rules. Don’t forget, it’s companies like yours that made the rules!

By working with hardware manufacturers and lawyers, you can help reinforce and update the rules that keep the world operating in a way that works for you– not a bunch of neck-bearded basement dwellers.

Hardware and firmware keep gaining features. In 2019 we actually need to run firmware updates to keep our CPU chips from being insecure. While monopolies have added unwanted features for their platforms in the past, hardware and firmware make it possible to add unwanted features that the vast majority of free software users won’t be able to simply uninstall and replace.

Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical refers to proprietary firmware such as ACPI as a “Trojan horse” and security risk. The only security risk is to the user– while your company can be the Trojan army.

For more than a decade, Microsoft has enjoyed an extra intimidating step or two– the user having to disable an important-sounding feature called “Secure
Boot” just to install many versions of the free software operating system “Linux.” People are afraid to turn off features that sound as if they add security– won’t that make them less secure? Aha, Gotcha! A gift from the OEMs to the monopolies.

Hardware OEMs are rarely on the side of these software communists. They exist to make money, and assisting the free software crowd with the full specifications needed to write high-quality drivers for every on-board feature would reveal too much about the designs to competing manufacturers. So without “free hardware” (and we know that won’t ever happen) the free software people are stuck reverse-engineering hardware and guessing how to write drivers based on trial-and-error. What the drivers gain in stability and maintenance, they often lose in features and performance.

So for one, you want to always stress that to get the most of your hardware, you need industry software– not cottage or basement software. The free software people have no retort for this, because they know they often can’t get the full specs. Meanwhile, the OEMs just keep making new designs– which often means that free software can’t even support the latest hardware.

When you have a monopoly, you don’t just have to wait and hope that other vendors do your bidding. Not only are you in a position to ask for features that
favor your company and very few others, but you can actually demand them (or work out deals to get your way.)

Most people expect their computer to come with software already installed. One thing Microsoft was able to do for years, was drop their prices for pre-installed copies of their operating system on new desktops and laptops– but only if the manufacturer agreed not to offer any machines with their competitors’ software–such as “Linux.”

In one fell swoop, Microsoft made use of their monopoly power to stop most people from getting a computer with “Linux” pre-installed.

That’s how you stay on top– work with people you know you can rely on to give you an advantage.

It’s worth noting that not all of these manufacturers actually wanted to do business exclusively with Microsoft. Microsoft pushed them to be exclusive, by
forcing them to choose between a higher price and a variety of software options. Because OEMs care about the bottom line (and what good business doesn’t?) They made the smart decision– and simply went along with Microsoft’s wishes.

Together with Intel, Toshiba, HP, Phoenix and even recent black sheep Huawei, Microsoft participated in the establishment of the ACPI power management system. We just explained that with enough features that aren’t fully or properly documented, free software struggles to keep up with hardware specs. By participating in and extending hardware specifications, Microsoft and other vendors have an opportunity to maintain their influence over not only software
development, but also the machines that people will try to put free software on later.

Of course, this won’t stop the free software authors from trying. Like the Whos in Whoville, if you co-opt all their whatsits, the free software crowd will just keep coding. But new standards that take 10 years to properly implement (or even poorly and inconsistently, but gradually implement) will often take years for the free software community to support. This is not good business between the manufacturers and the free software community– but they know which side butters their bread, and not to forget it.

So long as you have relationships with OEMs you can exploit, you have the upper hand any time the free software devs want to run their software on popular consumer hardware. That translates to their reduced marketshare, wasted time for free software developers, and ultimately– a well-guarded software monopoly. The point isn’t to keep them out entirely. It’s to be sure it takes them so long to get in, that by the time they’ve supported the hardware it is already obsolete.

Free software may demand a ride in your car these days, but remember that you’re in the driver’s seat!

OEMs aren’t your sole ally in the fight against free software; you also have lawyers. Lawyers should always come to mind when you’re figuring out how to get away with murder, whether they’re your defensive strategy or your offensive line.

The best-trained lawyers will help you navigate the thin margins between a strategic lawsuit that will come back to bite you, and one that accomplishes your goal: making it too much trouble for a smaller company or developer to continue their efforts to compete with your monopoly.

Unless you are a service-oriented company like Red Hat, leasing the use of your company’s intellectual property is the core of your software business– you need to protect that property to maintain control of your customer base. If some upstart comes along and offers a Solitaire game that works like your own, it doesn’t necessarily matter that the game isn’t part of your core portfolio– the best thing to do (as long as it’s in your legal budget) is blow the competition out of the water.

In the past, companies like Microsoft and Apple have had mixed results using patents to achieve this goal. While pro-piracy efforts such as PTAB (the Patent Trial and Appeal Board) in the United States have closed off this avenue for the most part, and software patents are gradually becoming a losing option for pursing directly (via the courts) in Europe, there are two options still worth exploring and exploiting:

First, we have the patent agreements. Legal action from a large corporation isn’t about legal justice or fairness– it’s about maintaining ground and instilling fear in smaller companies. If you are a smaller company, you can still have the upper hand in these actions if you place yourself under the “protection” of a very large company.

Earlier in the chapter it was mentioned that OEMs don’t always want to do business exclusively with a software company– but they can be pushed into deals they don’t always want to be part of. The intellectual property landscape adds an entire playing field for such deals, because no matter what the arena looks like today, nobody knows for certain what tomorrow holds.

Fear of the future is your best ally in this landscape, because you have (or your enterprise partners have) the best lawyers, and they could sue the competition for just about anything.

So don’t worry too much if the patent landscape is evolving– if one door closes, another will soon open. Since nobody can be sure what the future holds, there is success to be had in patent agreements. Here is how that works:

First, a large group of people create a work that violates your software patents. It doesn’t always matter if your patents would be thrown out as bogus in court, the purpose of them is to get people to settle so they don’t have to fight.

Originally, the way to do that was to threaten to sue over an enormous patent portfolio. But in the first chapter, we said to act like a friend first. By all means sue when appropriate– but when possible, be a friend!

Patent agreements are an olive branch we extend to companies, who simply agree that what they are using is our intellectual property. We don’t threaten to
sue when that’s unlikely to bear fruit– instead we say “Hi, we don’t want to sue you– we just want credit for your use of our property. If you will simply admit that what you’re using is ours, we agree not to fight it.”

What’s great about this is that there’s no fight– these companies (who often didn’t even write the software– it was often written by others, such as the Linux kernel) simply roll over and hand us the verdict we couldn’t get in a courtroom.

They admit that what they wrote is really our property!

And while we can’t achieve this in court or with a C&D, we can achieve this as friends. We can’t stop them from using our IP– because the patent offices that would let us do that are too weak. So what they can’t accomplish, we have to do ourselves, with strategy and diplomacy.

They get to continue development, but something important has changed in the landscape– instead of fighting to prove that something is ours, we have it in
writing– so when we stop bothering with their licenses and terms and co-opt the software in whatever way we choose, how are they going to stop us? We have an agreement! Even the largest Linux-based companies said this is ours! Who’s going to argue then– the little student coders that work for them?

Second, every big software company is getting into hardware. While software patents are dwindling, hardware gives us a new opportunity to exploit the patent landscape as a means of seeking royalties.

In the meantime, we can enjoy the royalties coming in from every USB stick and Android device.

And patents aren’t the only IP we can throw at them, either. A move towards our own Open Source licenses could let us use license terms to go after companies we want to force into other agreements.

No matter what though, the purpose of your legal team isn’t to ensure that other companies are doing the right thing– the purpose of your legal team is to ensure that other companies are doing what you want them to do. They who have the best lawyers, win!

And if somehow the lawyers have nothing else to do– you can always lobby to make new laws, for your legal team to exploit. The future is nothing to fear– but your legal team certainly is.

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“The effect of patents and copyright in combatting Linux remains to be investigated.”

“This memorandum also suggests that Linux could be attacked through patent lawsuits.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween2.html

“It plants the idea that any MIS manager so foolish as to use Linux will find his operating system yanked out from under him by a future patent lawsuit — perhaps one initiated by (whisper it) Microsoft itself.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween3.html

“The risk that Microsoft will go on a patent-lawsuit rampage, designed more to scare potential open-source users than to actually shut down developers, is substantial.”

“Seventy-four percent (74%) of Americans and 82% of Swedes stated that the risk of being sued over Linux patent violations made them feel less favorable towards Linux.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween7.html

“SCO holds no Unix patents; the state and disposition of the Unix copyrights is unclear and presently disputed between SCO and Novell”

“Novell retained the Unix patents, and gave the Unix trademark to somebody else.”

“These sorts of factors complicate the release of every piece of Open Source software I’ve consulted on at HP so far, no matter what division it comes from.”

“if OpenMail is released as Open Source, we will have to first sanitise it: remove software that is connected with non-disclosure agreements that we entered, patents that we licensed, proprietary code that we bought but can’t relicense, and so on… We don’t know how big this sanitisation project is yet, if it’s bad, it could cost Millions.”

“Even relatively small proprietary projects, like the open-source release of Borland’s Inprise database require the codebase to be extensively scrutinized to remove licensed third party intellectual property.”

“We don’t know if there are any patent infringements [in this code] with somebody we don’t know. We don’t want to take the risk of being sued for a patent infringement.”

“Patent infringement is much more difficult to detect than other kinds of intellectual property infringement, because it’s possible to infringe a patent you’ve never heard of: you can never be sure there isn’t some patent somewhere that you’re infringing among the millions of patents granted annually.”

“large software corporations patent everything they can and then cross-license their entire patent portfolio with other companies.”

“SCO has no patents, they don’t own the trademark, copyright won’t serve them and the only contract they have with the Linux community is the General Public License, which SCO is the one violating. So they fall back on trade secrets, which aren’t secret anymore”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween9.html

Microsoft’s Handbook: Know Your Enemies, Act Like a Friend

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger….If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft’s Platform Group Vice President

Summary: Microsoft’s tactics against Free/Libre/Open Source software and other competitors explained, based on its own documents and track record

A reader calling himself Ted MacReilly (we suspect this is a pseudonym) has sent us a preview of his “Handbook” titled, A Handbook for Destroying the Free Software Movement.

Citing modern events and the Halloween documents as inspiration, this quick guide explains how you as a proprietary developer or corporation can systematically reduce the growing Free Software movement to a shadow of its former self.

Techrights will publish this work in serial form, under what appears to be an MIT-like licence.

Previous: Cover and quick Introduction [PDF]

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Know your enemies– Act like a friend [PDF]

Chapter 2: Work with the system– Use OEMs and your legal team

Chapter 3: Playing the victim– Show the world that too much freedom hurts development

Chapter 4: You get what you pay for– Getting skeptics to work for you

Chapter 5: Open Source Judo– How to bribe the moderates to your side

Chapter 6: Damning with faint praise– Take the right examples of free software and exploit them for everything

Chapter 7: Patent War– Use low-quality patents to prove that all software rips off your company

Chapter 8: A foot in the door– how to train sympathetic developers and infiltrate other projects

Chapter 9: Ownership through Branding– Change the names, and change the world

Chapter 10: Moving forward– Getting the best results from Open source with your monopoly


Chapter 1

Know your enemies
Act like a friend

Great marketing is the difference between a billion-dollar company and a million-dollar company. Even if you have a great product, if people don’t know they want to buy it they might take their money elsewhere.

Like so many things, with marketing you get what you pay for. From hiring the best minds in advertising to saturating the media, a bigger budget means a bigger market for your software.

Marketing isn’t just about highlighting the good points of what you sell– it’s about inventing reasons that people want and need your product, and then convincing people of those reasons.

Of course if those reasons refer to things that are true– such as new features that actually exist, or testimonials from a few satisfied customers– those truths make it that much easier to get people to swallow whatever you made up or “exaggerated” (let’s say “dressed up”) about the product.

It’s just as important to go on the offensive about your competitors, and we will talk about that in other chapters. But a company’s image is an important part of its brand, and you want an overall positive image no matter what. No matter how much you talk about piracy, inferior products from competitors, or how unfair the antitrust laws are, you still want to appear as a confident, competent– strong vendor with a plainly superior product.

Before you go on the offensive and defend your product, you have to really sell it and make it look like a good thing.

And no matter how much you violate customer privacy, forge partnerships to shut out other competitors (especially upstarts) in the market, or do things solely for the benefit of your company at the expense of users– it is absolutely necessary to look like you care about their wants and needs.

Your brand won’t survive if you keep telling people “we spy on you, we remove features you rely on to force you to update the software you’ve grown accustomed to, we work hard and do dirty things to keep the playing field from ever becoming even or allowing a competitor the opportunity to sell you a better product.” You must look like you care. And nobody knows more about fooling people into thinking you care, than your marketing team.

As important as marketing is to keep your customers like a flock of sheep, good public relations are vital to dealing with competitors and the press.

When you fleece them, you want to always have a smile on your face– so they know you are well-intentioned and friendly.

For example, suppose you want to add a feature that tracks users across every computer they use with your software– even if they haven’t created a user account.

This feature will provide you with more data about every customer than ever before. You can then hand that data to your marketing team or even sell it to third parties, who then sell it to advertisers for companies you aren’t competing with. It also provides insight into what features of your products are most valuable to your brand.

Those are three good-business-sense reasons to include this feature (which thanks to good marketing, actually exists in a growing amount of proprietary software) but it does have its downsides– it might violate European privacy laws, or be used by oppressive governments to find and torture dissidents.

People will say these things sooner or later, but the important thing is that your brand and marketing outweigh anything said by critics.

Later we will talk about how to dismiss critics and win the press to your side. But for this chapter, the key lesson is:

Accentuate the Positive!

“Our software has new features which ensure a better experience and help us understand the changing needs of users.”

Even if several people are sharing a laptop, third parties want accurate data on each individual user. This can be spun into the usual lines about how the invasive technology is “new, innovative, unique, helpful, useful”– any good adjective you can think of– find a way to focus on how the probably-unwanted or unneeded features are something the user gains rather than loses by choosing (or remaining stuck with) your product.

Focus on your fans and sycophants in the press first– you can deal with critics later.

Demonstrating this attitude is just as important with other vendors and corporate partners, as well as customers and the press. Always put your best face forward, so this is your brand and image when it’s time to show your “good offense.”

Dealing with everyone this way first leads to trust, and trust leads to opportunities. People like to know they have a good thing, and many of them will stick with you through the hard times, once you’ve lead them through a superficially positive experience.

This is even more likely, if they have made a profit along the way. Many vendors like you, care only about the bottom line. Of course it’s a billion-dollar industry to make it look like something more than that– but that’s the point of this chapter:

If you want to have a billion-dollar company, you have to bullshit like a billion-dollar company.

We are all friends here.

And people who feel like they’re your friends will share more with you than people you treat like a competitor. It is a natural human response to let the guard down and trust people eventually. So come on, everybody– can’t we be friends?

Always remember, when you start to take advantage of your friendships and corporate partners– to do it with a smile, a friendly word, and a focus on the positive. Your smile is contagious, it’s your best asset– your sheep’s clothing. Wear it well.

You look great!

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“Sleazy behavior, covered by utterly brilliant marketing, has been a pattern in Microsoft’s business practices since they were a garage outfit running on subsidies from Bill Gates’s wealthy parents.”

“Bill Gates pretends to defend “innovation”, and if he did I’d love him for it. But there’s very little evidence that Microsoft even knows what the word means.”

“he’s conditioned computer users to expect and even love derivative, shoddily-implemented crap. Millions of people think that it’s right, it’s normal to have an operating system so fragile that it hangs crashes three or four times a week and has to be rebooted every time you change anything deeper than the wallpaper.”

From http://www.catb.org/~esr/not-the-osi/halloween-rant.html

“for Microsoft to win, the customer must lose.

“The great fear at Microsoft is that somebody will come behind them and make products that not only are more reliable, faster, and more secure, but are also easy to use, fun, and make people more productive.”

“Programs built this way look user-friendly at first sight, but turn out to be huge time and energy sinks in the longer term. They can only be sustained by carpet-bomb marketing, the main purpose of which is to delude users into believing that (a) bugs are features, or that (b) all bugs are really the stupid user’s fault, or that (c) all bugs will be abolished if the user bends over for the next upgrade.”

“Perhaps we’re fortunate that `organizational credibility’ looms so large in the Microsoft world-view.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween1.html

“Rule One of public relations: when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween3.html

“when Microsoft brings you flowers, they’re likely to end up decorating your
grave one way or another.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween6.html

“Microsoft should avoid criticizing OSS and Linux directly, continue to develop and aim to eventually win the TCO argument, and focus on delivering positive Shared Source messages…”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween7.html

“Microsoft marketing is thorough and ruthlessly opportunistic. You can bet money that the reason they’re not making these arguments is because they tried them on smaller focus groups, or individually with key customers, and they didn’t fly.”

“Do I even need to point out that most of the factual claims are blatant lies brought to you by the same people who got caught faking video evidence in their Federal antitrust trial?”

“Semantic warfare — struggles over the meanings of words as proxies for political or market positions — is just like other kinds of warfare; you want to fight it on the other guy’s turf, not yours.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween11.html

06.02.19

A Handbook for Destroying the Free Software Movement

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 11:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Oradour sur Glane site

Summary: Introduction of a new satirical ‘handbook’ published exclusively here (by a pseudonymous reader)

Developers are the source and the lifeblood of any software project. But today, when more computers are in use than ever, developers have less control and less reward for their invaluable contributions than any other point in software history. Competition is great–it’s the thing that puts your company on top! But free software has turned competition into something anybody can win– and that’s not good for business or your bottom line.

To put computing and profits back into their rightful hands, this handbook will assist developers and employers alike in taking back computing from the so-called “Free Software” movement–because as we all know, the best software is NEVER free!

Don’t be worried about Microsoft or their new Open Source initiatives–this book will tell you how to make the most of these forays into enemy territory and even use their own politics to bring users and platforms back under your influence. Instead of mourning these losses, you can turn them into real gains for you and your company.

You may have heard of the Halloween documents–a series of leaked internal memos from Microsoft on how to deal with problems just like these. This book will outline some of those ideas for you, and even show you how to take these solutions to the next step and infiltrate both the communities and their projects, to the point where their development is stalled for months or even years at a time.

Above all, the key strategy is not to destroy free software completely, but to break it in enough important places so that it poses less and less of a threat to your near-monopoly.

Too many people are discovering free software as a way to avoid doing business with your company. Your mission, if you choose to accept it: is to show the world that free software isn’t worth the trouble nor does it live up to the hype–so they can give up and go back to using YOUR software (maybe you can even poach a few of their developers for your own company.)

Because profit is nothing without the control of your customers!

Copyright (c) 2019 Ted MacReilly

All rights reserved. Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this work for any purpose with or without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies.

05.31.19

GNU/Linux in 2019 and GNU/Linux in 2009 Face Entirely Different Worlds (and Challenges)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘proprietary-but-source-available’ syndrome makes a comeback (openwashing)

Come closer

Microsoft: Come closer. So I can stab you in the back.

Summary: We need to resume coverage of Microsoft abuses and attacks on GNU/Linux; their thinly-veiled attacks are intensifying while media that Microsoft is paying relentlessly cheers and ‘perfumes’ these attacks

ABOUT A DECADE ago “cloud computing” (as a term, as that is for the most part what it boils down to) had started securing a foothold. Businesses were ridding themselves of servers that they had long controlled and instead used something akin to a terminal (or browser) to access some servers they neither owned nor controlled. Let’s not even bring “edge” and “smart” and “AI” and other nonsense into it. The world of so-called ‘IT’ (another controversial term) changed; whether it’s due to marketing buzzwords or vice versa (in reverse) isn’t what’s important right now.

“In our view, simply ignoring what Microsoft is up to (in 2019 in particular) is no longer an option.”Some of our readers bemoan the OSI; some even blast the FSF, saying it hasn’t kept up with emerging threats. The emergence of systemd and various forms of Microsoft entryism (e.g. in Python) would sometimes be cited. We don’t bring up these issues often enough. That’s mostly because we focus on software patents, as we have since 2006. Our intention is to gradually change that and return to focusing on Microsoft threats; Novell is long gone, but the same tactics are now resurfacing with Azure‎ (Microsoft tries to sell it using promises of “IP peace of mind”). At the same time Microsoft’s takeover of GitHub can be seen as an abduction of developers and development. Satya Nadella merely continues the strategy laid forth by Bill Hilf‎ and Sam Ramji (under Ballmer) a decade earlier. Months ago Microsoft got itself a seat on the Board of the OSI; these people now promote, from various such seats, alternatives to “Open Source” (various other terms) and are connected to the managers of “Open at Microsoft” — the same managers who phoned my employer to condemn me and caused me trouble. They know what they're trying to achieve and how. It’s the same old Microsoft; there’s no “new Microsoft”, only new PR.

“It’s the same old Microsoft; there’s no “new Microsoft”, only new PR.”In our view, simply ignoring what Microsoft is up to (in 2019 in particular) is no longer an option. That’s why we began writing a lot more about the Linux Foundation and we shall revisit other topics, such as Apache‎ being hijacked. Even the chief of Eclipse has begun complaining about it in public (there were some press reports about it earlier this month). Recently, corporate media spent more time and space covering WSL (WeaSeL) than GNU/Linux itself. Microsoft’s sponsorship of the media pays off. They want developers to use Vista 10 with extensive NSA surveillance and Visual Studio (openwashing through “Code”) while UEFI ‘secure boot’ makes it hard to even boot GNU/Linux on a new laptop/desktop.

05.12.19

The Microsoft Guide to the Open Source Galaxy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 11:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft B0rg

  1. Thou shalt not host a FOSS project outside GitHub (otherwise it won’t ‘count’)
  2. Thou shalt not edit code without Visual Studio (which now has an “open” — albeit spying and malicious — component for openwashing purposes)
  3. Thou shalt not code without .NET (or Mono)
  4. Thou shalt not use a voting machine without Windows (we have just announced some openwashing component to make up for the NSA back doors that compromise elections worldwide)
  5. Thou shalt not boot GNU/Linux as a standalone operating system (UEFI might not permit this anyway, unless we sign for approval)
  6. Thou shalt not get get a GNU/Linux distribution outside our Store
  7. Thou shalt not buy a computer without Windows preinstalled; those are “naked PCs” and everyone who buys such PCs is a “pirate”
  8. Thou shalt not disparage or even publicly criticise our staff (that would be in violation of GitHub rules, a Code of Conduct, T&C and so on)
  9. Thou shalt not report back doors in our software or leak NSA tools that take advantage of these (there’s a prison sentence for doing so)
  10. Thou shalt not write in mass media things that refute our narrative (proving that we are chronic liars); we would bribe the publication using advertising money and have you sacked
  11. Thou shalt not use open formats such as OpenDocument except inside Microsoft Office, which is incompatible with all other software (by design)
  12. Thou shalt not distribute Linux without paying Microsoft for patents; we’re still suing companies (in 2019) for having the audacity to do so
  13. Thou shalt not host a site or a service outside Azure; we'd sic patent trolls at you
  14. Thou shalt not oppose Microsoft’s lock-in and proprietary software shims inside Linux; we’d send our media partners (Condé Nast) to oust you, at least for a month if not permanently
  15. Thou shalt not report our crimes to the authorities; doing so would make you a “toxic”, “intolerant” person
  16. Thou shalt not use the GPL unless all other options have been exhausted
  17. Thou shalt not adopt a Web browser other than MSIE or our rebranded Chrome, also known as Edge; we’d occasionally tinker with your computer’s settings to remind you to quit using other browsers or refuse the download of such “malware”

Microsoft Would Kill the Goose for Money

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 10:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Squeezing the Goose”: New York Times article (from 1972) on how “to squeeze the golden goose without killing it.”

Canada goose

Summary: Microsoft is just ‘monetising’ Open Source by using it as ‘bait’ for Microsoft’s proprietary software; those who we might expect to antagonise this have effectively been bribed by Microsoft

YESTERDAY (about half a day ago to be precise) I saw a dead Canada goose. It’s the species shown above. I was on my way back home.

My wife and I love the geese and occasionally feed them. The goose looked like it may be been hurt by a car or a human. This would not be unprecedented. People are sometimes wrongly led to assume/presume goodwill and innocence; in reality, however, malicious people do exist. They’re a fact of life (and death). Survival instincts and thus needed. Call out the “spades”.

In recent years we’ve seen pundits in Microsoft-funded ‘news’ sites saying all sorts of nonsense, which we chose not to repeat or even rebut as that would merely amplify them. These people would have us believe that “Open Source” is “winning” only if or when Microsoft is the one winning (dominating and controlling everything). WSL (pronounced WeaSeL) is one example of this.

When Microsoft began all this nonsense a week ago we wrote about its true intentions and strategy. Days later we saw James Gatto (Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP) writing something to the same effect in a couple of sites (copy here), reminding us that Microsoft-connected patent trolls are still attacking Free software. To quote “Popular Open Source Software under Patent Attack”:

Sound View Innovations is launching patent attacks against commonly used open source software including jQuery and Apache Hadoop. Sound View is targeting end users of these software components. This is a typical tactic of non-practicing patent assertion entities. Unlike some commercial software, most open source software is licensed with a disclaimer of any warranties regarding patent infringement. This makes it harder for end users to look to software publishers for indemnity. The interplay between patents and open source is often misunderstood. For clarification on some of these issues see our paper on Patent Issues with Open Source Software.

We previously wrote about how Microsoft would exploit patent trolls and “Azure IP Advantage” to convince some people to pay Microsoft “rents” or “protection money” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19]. Is this what we’re seeing right now? The person who used to speak against this, Simon Phipps, has since then declared a “truce” (in Twitter), not too long after Microsoft put a bucket of money on his group's desk (Microsoft has since then entered the Board, too). We saw the same at the Linux Foundation. We don’t view them as allies on these particular issues. They don’t compete against Microsoft; they’re with Microsoft. If they saw a dead goose somewhere (or abused/sabotaged FOSS project), they would blame anything but Microsoft. Money talks.

04.29.19

After Killing the Independence of Apache Software Foundation (ASF) Microsoft Steals Its Soul, Too

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A death

Summary: Apache has become a prisoner of Microsoft, having technically liaised with Microsoft (and by extension NSA PRISM) for all code hosting and management

WE KNEW it would not end well. Half a decade ago we took note of a Microsoft employee (salaried by Microsoft) taking control of ASF — an eventuality that had worried us since (almost) the dawn of this site in 2006. Among the articles we wrote about it, in chronological order: (oldest first)

  1. Yesterday’s Microsoft Slashvertisement and Apache’s Trip to Redmond
  2. Microsoft Now Tries to Invade Eclipse, Apache (Updated)
  3. Microsoft Pays for a More Microsoft-Obedient Apache
  4. Microsoft Hates Apache, Wanted to Sue It, Now Wants to Ruin It
  5. Glyn Moody, Pam Jones: Apache Sponsorship Likely an Anti-GNU/Linux Move
  6. Embrace, Extend, and Apache
  7. Does Apache Show That Money Talks?
  8. Microsoft Starts the Media Charade Ahead of Apache Conference
  9. Microsoft’s Path of LAMP Destruction: From Novell to Apache (the L to the A)
  10. Haters of Software Freedom Inside Planet Apache

There are 4 new links about the latest development today [1-4], putting aside the old ones above. No doubt there’s a lot more to come. We’re supposed to think it’s all just an act of “love” rather than infiltration or entryism. GitHub has been a perfect facilitator in that regard. Who’s next? Microsoft is at war. It’s turning its competition (to IIS), Apache, into a subservient actor. Where are antitrust authorities? Nowhere to be seen. Keep telling us that “Microsoft loves Linux,” ‘Linux’ Foundation. You’re well paid to spread this lie and keep regulators away.

04.18.19

Freedom is Not a Business and Those Who Make ‘Business’ by Giving it Away Deserve Naming

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 7:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There’s more money to be made by taking people’s freedom away rather than by giving it to them

Glass Conference
Fancy cages are still cages

Summary: Free software is being parceled and sold to private monopolisers; those who facilitate the process enrich themselves and pose a growing threat to freedom in general — a subject we intend to tackle in the near future

WE are closing a little chapter by finishing this series about sponsors-led events (see part 1, part 2, and part 3) that erode software freedom; we shall soon take a closer look at the analogous/accompanying press/media business, namely media coverage in exchange for payments. We already know that the Linux Foundation (LF) has strong ties with particular news sites and LF staff is even in the board of some of these. Puff pieces “as a service”? A disservice to the trade of journalism.

The LF staff/people/associates keep boasting about it in their “events” brochures, which we published in full earlier this month; they say that a bunch of media coverage will follow. They also sell “thank yous”, E-mail “blasts” (their word) and so on. What next? Telemarketing?

We urge readers to help us research that area (it may seem time consuming and difficult, but the truth is out there). The LF won’t be cooperative if we ask it about it directly. PR people are evasive and I know from personal experience that the PR staff of the LF are Windows users who use a lot of Microsoft software at the back end and the front end. They have no connection whatsoever to GNU/Linux.

In our previous post we also mentioned LF training, including “training” for Microsoft (Azure). It would be useful to know how these programmes come about and who pays for them (other than the enrolled). It seems like a big business associated with branding professionals, making them “Azure-certified” or whatever (i.e. people who help spread dependence on Microsoft and the NSA). We would like to explore these areas in greater depth, but we depend on help from members/readers. It takes a long time to prepare (i.e. fact-check) articles about that.

Richard Stallman himself recently asked me: “What does “Zemlin’s PAC” mean?”

“About a year ago,” I told him, “seeing that LF was no ordinary foundation and was hardly about Linux anymore — a sentiment shared among journalists whom I spoke to — I decided to refer to it as “Zemlin PAC”, just like “Vista 10″ or similar wordplays. When I came up with the name I was thinking of substitution for SuperPAC with the person who they portray as superman, and who uses this position — and trademark — to promote his political agenda too (as he does at LF events).”

We’re not done writing about LF or “Zemlin PAC”, but we truly depend on sources at this moment. We need more. In the meantime we shall cover related topics.

“I’ll think about topics,” said the member about the next issues for us to cover. “One is that in most areas there are no longer any IT departments, the staff have been replaced long ago by Microsoft resellers. So businesses and universities and governments are paralyzed and slowly falling down. Entryism is also a huge threat, as we see even in the LF and OSI lately. There are other targets, some already crippled, but no need naming them.

“GNU/Linux and the other Linuxes are exceedingly popular but only in so far as the software has spread. The Microsoft way of thinking about software is still something to contend with and causing planes to drop out of the sky. What needs to happen is that the ideas behind Linux should spread also, and not just the Four Freedoms but also the idea of doing one thing and doing it well. What other ideas?

“I would hope there are new books to look at. There are three old ones that I’m not sure if I have time to skim through them but I would recommend revisiting at least in part:

  • “Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman” (2002) Richard M Stallman.
  • “Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution” (2001) Glyn Moody.
  • “The Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of the Information Age” (2001) Pekka Himanen.

“Things were looking up 20 years ago. Some of that can be carried forward, but for most people who have never even heard of a functional computer, the will be difficult to reach both because of aforementioned resellers, UEFI, and lack of prominent examples.”

“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is in for one hell of a hard time.”

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