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Microsoft-Connected FOSS FUD Firm Black Duck Says It Can Cost $25,000 to Fix a Bug in FOSS

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) sure is a powerful seller

Big wheel

Summary: The latest FUD campaign and the latest channel/distribution deal from Black Duck, a fake ‘friend’ of Free/Open Source software (FOSS)

THE Microsoft-connected (in many ways) firm Black Duck continues trying to monetise fear of FOSS — a fear that it is itself inflaming if not creating in the first place.

Based on this new article, Black Duck’s Kevin Bland, sporting a fancy job title for what is essentially a non-technical marketing role, makes some tall tales. He really wants companies to buy Black Duck’s proprietary software (with software patents on it).

“Kevin Bland,” says the article, “director of channels and alliances at Black Duck, said that developers often used existing code to speed up the process of bringing an app to fruition and there could be vulnerabilities incorporated into the fresh application.”

Right, and that never happens when people reuse proprietary software… never. Never ever! Bland’s bland spiel continues: “If you wait until launch then it can cost $25,000 per problem to remedy it but if you identify vulnerabilities during the development stage it is about $25 per vulnerability” (wow, no data to back this up, just a magical factor of 1000:1).

Making up the facts as they go along, eh? Here is the marketing announcement about it and something related to that. To quote: “Kilpatrick was speaking as it was announced that Wick Hill has been appointed value added distributor for Black Duck Software in the UK and the DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) region. Black Duck is a US-based worldwide vendor, whose industry-leading products secure and manage Open Source Software, eliminating the pain related to security vulnerabilities, compliance, and operational risk. The company is partnering with Wick Hill as part of its drive to grow sales and expand its reach in the EMEA region.”

“f Wick Hill wants to expand, it probably ought to stay out of the snake oil business.”So that’s what it’s all about, sales of proprietary software. Wick Hill is desperate to expand to EMEA based on the latest news and press releases [1, 2, 3, 4], with mergers and acquisitions reportedly likely.

If Wick Hill wants to expand, it probably ought to stay out of the snake oil business. Even companies that are close to Microsoft (Xamarin for sure) have publicly dismissed Black Duck’s products as useless. What might Wick Hill attempt to distribute next? Polygraphs, which are based on pseudo-science and are a fraud which only misleading marketing can sell?


EPO Management Lobbies for the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Uses This to Advance Software Patents in Europe

Posted in Asia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More profit for the Office, so what’s not to like?

Looking for tumour

Summary: A short notice regarding the EPO’s verboten involvement in European politics and European policy-making; comparing the situation in Europe (with the EPO) to that of India, where highly discreet and notoriously intensive lobbying by foreign corporations led to the apparently-irrevocable phasing in of software patents, to the detriment of locals

THERE is a very clear and widely-recognised reason why the EPO must stay out of patentability criteria debates, especially now that the EPO operates like a business whose sole (or at least primary) goal seems to be maximising profit, not encouraging/fostering innovation. The fox must not be left to guard the hen house. Nevertheless, as we showed just one day ago, the EPO is intervening politically in UPC-related debates. This is just wrong. It should not ever be done, but then again, for the EPO to step out of line with the law would not be unprecedented. The EPO enjoys impunity (no clear jurisdiction due to ambiguity) and immunity from European laws. It’s like a cancer at the very heart of Europe (hence the photo signifying a potential tumour above), always seeking to expand its sphere of influence and power, even if by expanding patent scope beyond what’s necessary and tactful (not a facts-based analysis), lowering the patent bar (e.g. by rushing examiners whose goal is to identify duplicates), and raising fees by asserting that applicability — border-wide — is further broadened for injunctions/embargoes/sanctions, higher damages, and so on. One can easily see how this relates to TPP, especially if one is already familiar with TPP (and/or the likes of it).

“It should not ever be done, but then again, for the EPO to step out of line with the law would not be unprecedented.”The “EPO admits,” said the FFII’s President this morning that “[t]he Unitary Patent is about software patents after all” (as he warned all along). IP Magazine is quoted by him as saying that the EPO’s “G[rant] Philpott [said] UPC to provide strong harmonisation in ICT applications that will play a dominant role in patent world” (remember what ICT means). Guess whose system they hope to integrate with, eventually? Also recall that TPP pushes for software patents, requiring signatories to phase them in, in due course. It means software patents in Europe. According to this page about CeBIT 2016, Grant Philpott (shown to the right) is “Principal Director of the main ICT area at the European Patent Office, managing the EPO’s operational areas of Computers and Telecommunications and responsible for nearly 700 examiners in The Hague and Munich.”

Grant PhilpottIt sounds like he is highly regarded, but remember that his systems are also blocking Techrights. Too gory a Web site? Gross censorship is what this really is. Techrights is safe for work (SFW) and it provides plenty of references to support its allegations. Techrights was never censored before; not until it covered the EPO affairs. This culture of censorship and self-censorship at EPO has truly become a disease, as we last explained about 6 weeks ago. Then there is mass surveillance (the perfect blunt instrument for inducing self-censorship) just as well — a topic we remarked on in posts such as the following:

Philpott’s computer systems should focus on helping to grant well-earned patents, not replicate the Stasi in a ‘public’ building in Munich (further enhanced with keyloggers and remote screen grabbers).

India Too Experiences Assaults on Software Patents Exclusion

Watch out as not only Europe is having software patents injected into it, using all sorts of secret treaties like TPP and the UPC. Recall the recent efforts to officially introduce software patents in India, after giant corporations (like those which Modi recently visited aplenty in the US) lobbied the Indian government, as always beforehand. There has been a very strong push from the likes of Microsoft and even IBM to do so.

There is now a response to all this, composed by Mishi Choudhary, a famous Free software proponent from India and Director of International Programs at the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC). She says that “Section 3(k) of the Patents Act, 1970 excludes mathematical methods, business methods,” but she also reminds readers of what gave Indian startups their edge. It’s the lack of software patents, not saturation of them, contrary to what some lobbyists are misleadingly claiming right now (we named some of them last week and they include IAM 'magazine'). Choudhary says that “[e]very city or town, big or small, is seeing a spurt of startups that do path-breaking work in the areas of software products, mobile apps and embedded products. However, these firms could soon be threatened by the dark clouds looming large over the technology horizon of India in the form of software patents.”

The same goes for European software firms, irrespective of their licensing method/s, be it proprietary-leaning or Free software (copyleft). There is a coordinated attack by software conglomerates against any challenge from small firms anywhere in the world. It’s protectionism for the already-affluent and it shouldn’t be tolerated by the public. People should protest; the more vocal and the louder the public becomes, the harder it will get for politicians to sign such atrocious deals (or new laws) in secret, usually at the behest of their shady corporate masters.


Don’t Look at Linux For Sexism, Look at Microsoft (Although Microsoft Hides the Newest Lawsuits)

Posted in Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 2:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Characterising societal issues as a ‘Linux problem’ because of transparency

Manchester station

Summary: A look at the broader scale of discrimination against women and how widespread a phenomenon it is inside Microsoft, the arch rival of Linux

REMEMBER how Microsoft pushed “boobs” into Linux [1, 2, 3] (much to the detriment of Linux) and later “apologised” because it got caught? Many people don’t remember that (or simply didn’t pay attention at the time). This helped remind us that Microsoft is very hard to beat when it comes to chauvinism. Over the years we have covered many examples of sexism at Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. This kind of sexism goes all the way up to the CEO himself and let’s not even mention Microsoft homophobia [1, 2, 3] because that is a separate (albeit related) topic.

Several weeks ago “Microsoft [got] Hit With Gender Discrimination Lawsuit”. To quote a progressive site: “Microsoft is staring at a potential class-action gender discrimination lawsuit filed by a former technician alleging the company denied her promotions and raises.

“Katherine Moussouris filed a complaint against the Seattle-based company claiming her supervisors didn’t like her “manner of style” and gave the promotions she was up for to her less-qualified male counterparts, Reuters reported. She also reportedly received lower bonuses as retaliation for making sexual harassment complaints. According to the complaint, Microsoft’s female employees in Redmond, Washington frequently received lower performance ratings and were often based on subjective observations.

“Microsoft has been criticized in the past for being cavalier towards gender discrimination in its ranks. Last October, CEO Satya Nadella apologized after telling a roomful of women technicians at the Grace Hopper Conference that they shouldn’t ask for a raise, but instead have “faith that the system will give you the right raise.” Nadella backtracked his comments soon thereafter via a mass email to employees: “If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.”

“Moussouris is encouraging women who worked for Microsoft in the past six years to come forward, which could help the case gain class action certification. Wednesday’s lawsuit is the first gender discrimination allegation against a major tech company in the wake of the conclusion of former Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao’s infamous suit against her former law firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. Pao lost her case, in which her claims were similar in tone to Moussouris, and recently dropped her appeal.”

Will Hill at the Join Diaspora Web site wrote (he personally brought it to my attention while I was away on vacation):

Sexism Lawsuit Against Microsoft

A class action lawsuit has been filed by a former Microsoft employee over rampant sexual discrimination at Microsoft. Katherine Moussouris claims that women are underpaid, passed over for promotions, and face retaliation if they complain. She worked for the company for seven years.

This does not surprise us because we saw and covered similar reports in the past. Microsoft tries to suppress publication of such matters and it is easier because of the culture of secrecy.

By contrast, in Free software communities everything is visible to the public, including to the already-hostile press. One might expect the observer to take this transparency into account and therefore use some judgment. Some people care more about Linux gossip than about Linux news, however, so when something similar happens in the Linux world it can hijack the news feeds for about a week if not longer than that. A lot has been said about Linux in relation to women’s rights, especially this past week (because of Sharp). There are still some new articles about it [1-16], with plenty of discussion in each (it has become quite an Internet storm).

At Microsoft, based on evidence that does not receive much media coverage, females sue the company for millions over discrimination; in Linux one can just make a mess, start flamewars. We can quite safely guess that many Linux developers (especially in top positions) have been wasting time checking what people say about them online rather than write code. A week-long saga, never-ending and self-feeding, is still raging. Even on Friday we still saw at least 3 articles about this drama against Linux culture. Coders are distracted by these flamewars, hence productivity is significantly down.

One of the curious comments I have come across talks about socially-engineering the community. Remember that Intel helped create OSDL and later played a key role in the Linux Foundation, so it cannot be treated as an outsider to Linux development.

To quote one comment, “Conspiracy theory: Would one of those multi-billion-dollar corporations (with NSA connections) spend a few million bucks to social engineer the Linux community?” It’s not as though Intel itself respects women’s rights (not inside the company anyway).

“I’ve asked Sarah Sharp some questions about how she reconciles her attitude towards the free software community and her work with Intel,” Hill wrote. “I have not seen any serious answers to those questions yet.”

Will Hill said, “I have asked Sarah Sharp on Google Plus some questions about working for Intel.” Here is the text of the questions: “Thanks for all the interesting ideas, and prior usb and graphics work, but how do you square these thoughts with working for Intel (1)? Intel is known for nasty things like killing the OLPC project through dumping (2), and partnership with Microsoft, a company that’s everything you complain about and more. Even when Intel is cooperating, the seem to hold back and treat the free software world as second class (2) Intel’s Management Engine and other firmware are direct threats to people’s software freedom, privacy, and ownership of their machines. Is Intel somehow getting internal culture right while doing so many bad things to everyone outside the company? Was your kernel work an official part of your job? How have they responded to your decision to quit that work?”

There are more articles about all this below (we shared almost 20 more in the previous reply), but we don’t really want to feed the cycle of endless discussions.

The lack of women in Computer Science or S.T.E.M. disciplines in general (there are explanations of causes for that, but it’s beyond the scope of this post) is not the fault of FOSS, however it’s fashionable to blame it all on FOSS when one looks for a good, effective smear. This is also done a lot in the political sphere, where it’s fashionable to mistreat or invade one’s neighbours (or very distant nations) using concern for women’s rights.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Matthew Garrett Quits Kernel to Do His Own

    Matthew Garrett, noted developers and self-proclaimed social justice warrior, today announced solidarity with Sarah Sharp’s resignation in protest of rude behavior and the “way [Linus Torvalds] behaves” by providing a Linux kernel with changes rejected by Torvalds. Elsewhere, Jack M. Germain said Slackel offers advantages over Slackware but it’s still not for new users and DarkDuck found most Linux users still use Windows or Mac as well.

  2. Linux Game of Thrones begins

    A Game of Thrones style war has broken out amongst the weirdie beardies of Open Source Land which has now split the Linux kingdom just as “Winter is a Coming.”

  3. The Linux Kernel and Politeness
  4. Looking at the facts: Sarah Sharp’s crusade

    Everyone is free to have his own opinion (sorry, his/her), and I am free to form my own opinion on Sarah Sharp by just simply reading the facts. I am more than happy that one more SJW has left Linux development, as the proliferation of cleaning of speech from any personality has taken too far a grip.

  5. It’s Time to End the War On Stupid People

    On the other hand, it’s little mystery at all: Sarah was the first female kernel contributor I’d ever heard of, and the only one I can readily name now. It’s an uncomfortable answer, because when someone breaks into a space that doesn’t often include their gender or background, we feel we avoid culpability by being nonchalant. No exclusion here, nosiree. Didn’t even notice you were a woman. It’s comforting and dishonest; when someone breaks a boundary of cultural exclusion, regardless of how your reaction may later be judged, the fact is you notice.

    Although apparently nobody noticed when Sarah quietly disappeared over the past year, finally coming out to cite now-familiar complaints about the toxic and hostile atmosphere on LKML and in the kernel community in general.

  6. Pining for the good ol’ days

    Once again, he’s complaining about how the fun from Debian has been lost because making sexist jokes, or treating other people like shit is not allowed any more. He seems to think the LKML is the ideal environment and that Debian should be more like it.

  7. Linux kernel development suffering from the “internet of hate”

    Another Linux kernel developer has left, citing a toxic environment. Jack Wallen proposes the type of motivation used by the kernel devs could unmake a very precious commodity.

  8. On Norbert Preining, Sarah Sharp, and Debian
  9. Linux: Sarah Sharp defines what makes a good community
  10. Is Microsoft Wooing Canonical & Important Departures…

    Well, here’s the third, though it’s completely unrelated to Sharp and Garrett: The call went out in September for nominations for the Ubuntu Community Council elections, and they were returned with a glaring omission: Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph, who will not be running for re-election. She explains in her blog her motivations for moving on, and it’s well worth a read. Perhaps this is understatement, but her absence leaves a notable void in the “adult-in-the-room” department, since Elizabeth was often the voice of reason and sanity — and of course a voice for doing the right thing even when it was unpleasant or difficult for Canonical/Ubuntu — in a UCC group too full of yes-boys and Ubuntu Apocalypse zombies. Her leadership will definitely be missed.

  11. James Bottomley: The Linux Kernel Mailing List Behavior Isn’t All That Bad

    Bottomley, maintainer of the kernel’s SCSI subsystem and other code, argues that things on the Linux kernel mailing list aren’t all that it’s talked up to be.

  12. ​Matthew Garrett is not forking Linux

    When Matthew Garrett, well-known Linux kernel developer and ‎CoreOS principal security engineer, announced he was releasing a [Linux] kernel tree with patches that implement a BSD-style securelevel interface, I predicted people would say Garrett was forking Linux. I was right. They have. But, that’s not what Garrett is doing.

  13. Thick Skin (within Free/Open Source communities)

    The definition of “thick-skinned” in different dictionaries ranges from “not easily offended” to “largely unaffected by the needs and feelings of other people; insensitive”, going through “able to ignore personal criticism”, “ability to withstand criticism and show no signs of any criticism you may receive getting to you”, “an insensitive nature” or “impervious to criticism”. It essentially describes an emotionally detached attitude regarding one’s social environment, the capacity or ignoring or minimizing the effects of others’ criticism and the priorization of the protection of one’s current state over the capacity of empathizing and taking into account what others may say that don’t conform to one’s current way of thinking. It is essentially setting up barriers against whatever others may do that might provoke any kind of crisis or change in you.

  14. Linux Discussion Continues, Fedora Welcomes Chromium

    Folks are still discussing the resignation of Sarah Sharp and Matthew Garrett from Linux kernel development. Jack Wallen said Sharp (and Garrett) are cases of more developers being “turned away, simply because developers had no patience for personal respect.” He said Linux rules with a “sharp and iron tongue” with “foul and abusive language.” He agreed with Dr. Roy Schestowitz in that all this is a “PR nightmare” threatening the “flagship of the open-source movement.” He placed part of the blame on what he calls the “Internet of hate” and said if Linux is to compete with Microsoft and Apple its developers need to “start treating the legions of programmers, who are working tirelessly to deliver, as well as they treat the code itself. Open source is about community. A community with a toxic foundation will eventually crumble.”

  15. Linus Torvalds needs to fix the communication bug that is hurting his project
  16. Respect and the Linux Kernel Mailing Lists


Black Duck Continues to Pile FUD on Free/Libre Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD at 4:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A FUD mill, just like many national newspapers

Daily Express building

Summary: Having spent nearly a decade promoting the fear of Free software licensing, Black Duck now does the same regarding Free software security

Black Duck, the company that virtually came from Microsoft (or a Microsoft veteran), is badmouthing security of Free/libre software again, obviously in order to sell its proprietary software but perhaps to also help proprietary software companies (like Microsoft).

“Black Duck is not part of the Free/Open Source software community but a parasite within it.”Black Duck’s CEO, according to CRN, “spoke on a panel at the MassTLC Security Conference this week, said open-source components are frequently and easily breached.

““If you want to know how to exploit open-source [projects], just go to YouTube and you’ll see how to do it. It’s that easy,” he said.”

Unlike proprietary software? Are there no YouTube videos about how to exploit or take advantage of holes in proprietary software? Nonsense. Over the years I came across quite a few, including nearly a dozen about Novell’s proprietary software (while researching Novell back in the days). The same can be said about the licensing FUD that comes out of Black Duck. Why won’t they ever speak of the BSA with its devastating effects that can sometimes bankrupt a business? Black Duck is not part of the Free/Open Source software community but a parasite within it.


The Shameless Openwashing of Rebranded Internet Explorer, ‘Edge’

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft at 7:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What’s closed is “open”, but only if you’re a good liar

University of Manchester

Summary: Response to the disturbing rise in openwashing of Internet Explorer/’Edge’, with many headlines that combine the term Open Source with these malicious proprietary programs that also spy on the users and manipulate these users

EARLIER this week we bemoaned the continued openwashing of 'Edge', which is little more than a Vista 10 publicity stunt and an excuse for shutting out rival Web browsers. Despite all the openwashing, ‘Edge’ is proprietary and standards-hostile. It is “cancer on the Web,” to use a popular characterisation of Internet Explorer, whose extremely bad reputation ‘Edge’ is merely trying to erase/dodge.

Calling ‘Edge’ or Internet Explorer “open” is extremely dishonest. At Techrights we have repeatedly tackled this kind of spin, specifically showing how the browser was being openwashed earlier this year [1, 2, 3]. We covered prior attempts to distort facts and frame ‘Edge’ as “open”, putting any sense of reality or facts down the wastebasket. It is usually Microsoft that starts this PR; others merely follow this lead with misleading articles. Above all, they spread misleading headlines (many people only read headlines). Even SJVN has just helped Microsoft openwashing of Edge (despite it being proprietary and standards-hostile) with his title — or perhaps the ZDNet editor’s title (it’s widely known that it’s usually editors who write all the headlines) — “​Microsoft supports VP9 in Edge as it continues its open-source move”. Here is another new example of this gross spin, where Microsoft piggybacks other projects from other companies in an effort to portray ‘Edge’ as “open”. Unlike most Web browsers, Microsoft’s browser remains proprietary, DRM-leaning, anti-competitive, and Microsoft lock-in-pushing. Watch how Microsoft broke the media with this spin [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11], not just in Microsoft propaganda sites. The only somewhat meaningful headlines that we could find was “Microsoft: Thanks, Google, we’ll have your media codec for Edge”.

Yes, and since Google’s codec is genuinely Open Source, Microsoft is hoping to covertly/cleverly paint ‘Edge’ as “open”, despite it being purely proprietary. This is quite a wonderful example of how Microsoft spin typically works.

Speaking of spin, watch how Microsoft's openwashing spinner (Metz) writes “Nokia, a Finnish company famous for recent failure.” (also “Nokia’s [sic] failure” despite it being due to Microsoft entryism).

A reader of ours pointed out this spin to us. “Squeezing in some revisionism there” is what he called it.

There are actually some people out there (including SJVN, based on a chat which I had with him yesterday) who believe that Microsoft is becoming “open”. It’s not, it has just become ever more manipulative in the media and it perpetually distorts what “open” actually means.


Free Software Establishments in India Fight Back as Efforts to Spread Software Patents Are Reported

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 6:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

Summary: India’s move towards software patents already encounters opposition from the Free Software Movement of India (FSMI) and China’s new obsession with software patents is addressed

SOFTWARE patents are truly a menace. Virtually no software developers would ever defend these, except maybe their ‘pioneer’. These are hurting even proprietary software companies, not just Free software developers. As the Microsoft booster Tim Anderson put it yesterday, “[l]egal woes (and cracked licence keys) cause dev favourites to throw in the towel”. He wrote about “Iron Speed, a firm which provided a rapid application development tool for creating .NET apps [which] is shuttering itself thanks to “litigation with a patent troll”, according to a letter sent to customers by co-founder and chairman Alan Fisher.”

The fight against software patents ought to be a common cause among proprietary and Free/Open Source software developers. Conglomerates such as Microsoft and IBM, which are not run by developers, want software patents in order to merely cement their monopolies, which they acquired only because of lack of software patents (back when they were small). Companies that focus on software can only succeed and thrive in the absence of monopolies on algorithms.

“The fight against software patents ought to be a common cause among proprietary and Free/Open Source software developers.”India’s policy on algorithm monopolies has been sound for a number of years, especially given the large number of software developers in India (both proprietary and Free/Open Source software developers). We were therefore rather stunned to learn that India is making a terrible, suicidal move. The Indian Patent Office sells out, causing huge issues for everyone, based on patent-centric sites. There is a panic among everyone except patent lawyers. Some rightly ask: “Will It Stifle Innovation in the IT Industry?”

Of course, it has been repeatedly shown in practice and in theory. India is making even more impact in the media (even international networks like Reuters [1, 2] by giving Pfizer the finger again. As PTI put it, “India rejects Pfizer’s patent application for arthritis drug”. Pfizer just wants another monopoly and India, realising the ethical impact, denies/declines. Why can’t the Indian Patent Office realise that patents on software too are unethical, irrational, and damaging to India? Who is this patent office working for? As one site put it: “The Indian Patent Office (IPO) has addressed limitations on patents for computer-related inventions to clarify the Patents (Amendment) Act 2002.”

It didn’t just address limitations; the word “limitations” has a negative connotation, as if patent maximalism is a good thing.

“Free Software activists against changes to patent norms” is the headline of this new article in English, which shows that the Free software types are already responding to this crisis. To quote the opening paragraph: “The Free Software Movement of India (FSMI) has alleged that the new Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions are illogical. It argues that they violate the spirit and law contained in the amended Patents Act of 1970 and could pose a grave threat to innovation in our country.”

There are meanwhile reports also from China, the other Asian technology giant. “Last year,” said this article, “for the fourth year running, China topped the patent league with 928,000 patent applications compared to 578,800 patents filed in the USA.”

This is not because of increased innovation but due to patent maximalism. As this new article indicates, software patents are becoming widespread in China (we wrote about this trend before). To quote the lawyers’ site:

Patenting computer software inventions makes sense for the Chinese e-commerce industry for three reasons. First, the Chinese government wants more businesses to patent their technological innovations. This policy is supported at the national level and the central government pays for inventors to apply for patents. Second, e-commerce is very important in China. One quarter of all consumer purchases in China are done on-line. And that number is unlikely to get smaller. Third, today’s Chinese consumers have many options and they have grown to expect quality products, quick service and reasonable prices.

For most active businesses, the third reason is the key. Finding an edge in meeting those consumer expectations has made for a fiercely competitive marketplace. Protecting process innovations that involve software improvements is, as it is everywhere, problematic. How are computer software inventions protected in China as a matter of law?

China would not gain any advantage by allowing patents on software. It would just be wasting time and other resources composing documents in Mandarin. A lot of these so-called ‘innovations’ are not innovative at all; they can be found in existing patents (maybe in other languages) and refer to ideas that got implemented a very long time ago. These patents are good for nothing, except maybe serve as trophies (although the higher the number of such ‘trophies’, the less impressive each becomes).

Business hawks in the US are not resting [1, 2]. They still lobby against patent reform in the US, pretending it would “hurt innovation”, “weaken patent laws”, and the usual nonsense about hurting businesses, which is exactly what patent law does at the moment (hence the need for reform). To quote the latter example, here is why the hawks have just resumed this lobbying (it’s about timing): “Toward the end of each summer lawmakers travel back to their home states and districts for the August recess. This time away from our nation’s capital allows elected officials to reconnect with constituents and hear which issues matter most to folks back home.”

US officials will hopefully work towards a real reform, not the diluted one which had been tabled before they went on holiday.

It is rather worrisome to see software patents spreading to large parts of the global economy (India, China, and even Europe if the corrupt EPO management gets its way) while the US itself, the original source of these patents, is coming to grips with the harms of these patents and cutting down accordingly.


Calling Proprietary Software, Software Patents, Lock-in (Like OOXML) and DRM ‘Open’

Posted in Deception, DRM, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML at 6:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“DRM is the future.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

“We’ve had DRM in Windows for years. The most common format of music on an iPod is “stolen”.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

“We’ve been very focused on producing a DRM system. [...] We think DRM is important”

Robbie Bach, Microsoft President

“DRM is nearly always the result of a conspiracy of companies to restrict the technology available to the public. Such conspiracy should be a crime, and the executives responsible for it should be sentenced to prison.”

Richard Stallman

Alliance for Open Media

Summary: What Microsoft et al. call ‘Next-Generation Open Media Formats’ are basically neither open nor acceptable (it’s DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub ‘Open Source Tools’ are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse

“Alliance for Open Media” is the latest Orwellian name/title for that which casts DRM collusion as “open”. Typical DRM proponents are part of it (Microsoft included) and so is Mozilla, which joined the DRM cartel about a year ago, causing much anger among many of its strongest supporters. DRM is not “open”. It’s not even compatible with the notion of “open” as this strictly requires proprietary software. Mozilla gave up on “openness” when it entered the DRM conspiracy and now we have the press littered by lots of puff pieces that frame DRM as “open” (however they define open, maybe alluding to patents). These are manufactured false perceptions and spin, calling a DRM conspiracy “Next-Gen Video Format” [1, 2, 3]. Here is the press release. It’s hogwash.

It is sad to see the Open Web falling over like this, after the MPAA essentially bribed the World Wide Web Consortium, which had hired a fool from Novell (we wrote a lot about this in prior years). These people are trying to set up ‘standards’ with patents on them and DRM as part of the (secret) ‘standard’. When it comes to what they define to be “open”, it’s just about patents. When a bunch of companies agree not to sue each other (like OIN, which has just added WSO2, but proved rather fruitless when one member, Oracle, sued another, Google). “In joining OIN, an organization dedicated to defending the Linux ecosystem, WSO2 extends its commitment to fostering innovation through open source software,” says the summary from the new press release. That’s nothing to do with innovation. It’s nothing to do with FOSS, either. Many members are proprietary software companies just agreeing on patents being pooled together. Many of these patents pertain to sofwtare and are therefore inherently incompatible with FOSS. Therein lies the core of the latest spin, misleadingly named “Alliance for Open Media”. It’s not a standard but a collusion. That’s what it is. It is, at best, a patent pool.

In other news, we have just come across some truly bizarre openwashing of Microsoft Office. Sam Dean is once again doing a service to his apparent new hero, Satya Nadella. Under a rather misleading headline Dean describes something which facilitates proprietary software as “Open Source”. But it’s not open source, it’s bait for OOXML and proprietary software. Watch the article starting with nonsensical claims:

Has Microsoft finally, truly warmed up to open source? New CEO Satya Nadella (shown) is definitely pushing that notion. Several media outlets previously reported on his comments on how he “loves Linux” and he has claimed that approximately 30 percent of Microsoft’s Azure cloud is already Linux-based.

Any GNU/Linux instance running under Microsoft’s control is already compromised, with back doors included. It’s basically dependent on proprietary software from a company which notoriously colludes with the NSA.

Talk about distorting the notion of “openness”…

Those who can successfully ‘sell’ the corruptible media OOXML, Office and DRM as “open” can probably also ‘sell’ it genocidal carpet-bombing as “spreading freedom and democracy”, or disabled people as “special people”.

“[Vista DRM] seems a bit like breaking the legs of Olympic athletes and then rating them based on how fast they can hobble on crutches.“

Peter Gutmann


Microsoft-connected Mesosphere Threatens to Eliminate Free Software in the Datacentre

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 8:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Data Center Operating System (DCOS) is a proprietary trap

“I’d be glad to help tilt lotus into into the death spiral. I could do it Friday afternoon but not Saturday. I could do it pretty much any time the following week.”

Brad Silverberg, Microsoft

Summary: Hiding behind a misleading ‘open’ label while actually backed by Microsoft (and based on new rumours may join Microsoft), Mesosphere wishes to eradicate Free and back doors-free software in large datacentres hosting a lot of physical and virtual servers

WE have patiently been watching with great concern a company called Mesosphere. We have been watching it for quite some time, but have not yet properly covered it in Techrights (except incidentally). I personally complained about it many times in social media sites, not just because it’s backed by Silverberg (some Microsoft-centric publications call him “Mr. Windows” these days) but because it’s basically proprietary yet pretends to be ‘open’. It’s a big deception. Mesosphere is a parasite that has been often (and mostly) promoted by friends of Microsoft over the past year. Mesosphere is one of those companies that only people bribed by Microsoft (like Om Malik and his increasingly-defunct ‘news’ network) would actually openwash, excepting perhaps some gullible journalists who truly believe that there is genuine openness at Mesosphere or merely repeat what others are writing (the corrupting effect of manufactured hype).

Thankfully, Mesosphere is now showing its true colours, so we need not merely speculate or accuse Mesosphere with relatively weak evidence. Mesosphere has nothing to do with FOSS, except the fact that it wants to replace it with its own proprietary operating system. It can be viewed as a Microsoft Trojan horse with Microsoft veterans backing it — the same sorts of people who would distribute “Microsoft loves Linux” buttons (spreading a Big Lie) to help themselves devour the GNU/Linux market.

“Avoid Mesosphere, Mesos, and the Data Center Operating System (DCOS). Treat them as a creation of Microsoft, emanated silently to entrap the competition.”A Microsoft propaganda site (and by extension a network) recently showed Microsoft’s anti-Linux plan of entryism [1, 2], trying to make GNU/Linux just subservient to Windows, essentially demoting it. Other Microsoft propaganda sites did the same thing at the same time. Then we saw rumours that Microsoft was essentially ‘buying’ its own moles, just as it had done with Xamarin (now bankrolled by Microsoft veterans). All one has to do now is watch headlines from the financial press, for instance:

There are many more like the above, but we omit them for the sake of brevity.

I personally feel somewhat vindicated, having repeatedly accused Mesosphere of serving Microsoft’s agenda. I said the same about Mono about a decade ago, well before it officially became a sort of Microsoft adjunct in the form of Xamarin. These are more like moles. They serve as Microsoft’s bridge into the heart of the competition.

Mesosphere ought to be treated as a Trojan horse or a proprietary software company with Microsoft roots (intending to replace GNU/Linux at datacentres). It shows true colours with articles such as “Why Microsoft Could Reportedly Want To Buy Cloud Startup Mesosphere Even At $1 Billion”.

Watch what Microsoft boosters are writing right now [1, 2, 3]. Headlines such as “Windows Server Getting Open Source Mesos Container Technology for Scaled Operations” or “Mesosphere And Microsoft Bring Mesos To Windows Server” speak volumes.

Microsoft’s many attacks on GNU/Linux and Free software can only be as effective as GNU/Linux users can be dumb, gullible, defeatist, or lenient. Scott M. Fulton III, a Microsoft expert, wrote the other day that:

Developers outside of Microsoft will be able to experiment for the first time with new classes of applications that run partly on Windows, partly on Linux.

As one response to this framed the key message: “It’s hard to imagine anyone actually wanting to build an application that is part-Linux, part-Windows. Or, to go one step further, to intentionally engineer a server-based program that straddles two very, very different flavors of operating system.

“Why on Earth would anyone build or use an application that needs two operating systems to function?”

Why would anyone need a platform from Mesosphere to manage GNU/Linux? It’s not even Free software, so back doors are to be expected (voluntary or not), compromising the security of everything down the hierarchy/stack.

Avoid Mesosphere, Mesos, and the Data Center Operating System (DCOS). Treat them as a creation of Microsoft, emanated silently to entrap the competition. Time will tell what Mesosphere really is and where it’s heading.

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