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09.22.19

Summits of Open Bear Traps: The Open Core Summit and Other ‘Open’ Events That Actually Attack Software Freedom

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, IBM, Microsoft at 1:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Openwashing Report part II

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: Conferences that call themselves “open” something are sometimes nothing but an attack on openness (not to mention freedom) and promotion of FUD about Free/Open Source software (FOSS); there’s an ample set of examples to that effect

THIS weekend, just like this past week, there’s much attention being paid to the same old scam which is “Open Core”, fetishised by people who care about money a lot more than they care about freedom. Simon Phipps (OSI) commented about it some days ago; he’s against it. It’s because of some stupid summit set up by foes of Software Freedom.

“Who else was there? Microsoft and several of its proxies, companies that profit from attacking and slandering Open Source, e.g. Snyk and WhiteSource.”One can typically tell the motivation of an event based on who chooses to sponsor (i.e. bankroll) it. The Open Core Summit is no exception; Remember Microsoft with its “Open Cloud” charade. Who was actually there? The chief of the Linux Foundation, who told the crowd that “Open Source loves Microsoft…”

Who else was there? Microsoft and several of its proxies, companies that profit from attacking and slandering Open Source, e.g. Snyk and WhiteSource. One can rest assured that FUD about “Open Source” will carry on as long as companies look to destroy (or hijack) it.

Days ago we caught this report. It exposes GitHub as a threat because it attracts dumb employees who use it to upload sensitive data. Did the media blame Microsoft? No, it never does. Notice how corporate media loves playing along with the Microsoft lie — the intentional lie that GitHub is somehow separate from Microsoft. This is designed to entrap people and harm them. Same for Facebook with WhatsApp and Instagram. Or Google with YouTube…

“Notice how corporate media loves playing along with the Microsoft lie — the intentional lie that GitHub is somehow separate from Microsoft.”Citing BNNBloomberg, one reader told us about it yesterday. “Here’s a fun one,” the reader said, citing this report from David George-Cosh. “The Bank of Nova Scotia “inadvertently” uploaded sensitive login credentials to an open source repository…”

As the article put it: “The Bank of Nova Scotia is working to remove internal computer code reportedly containing sensitive login credentials for some online services that was inadvertently uploaded to an open-source repository.” (of Microsoft)

Remember that Microsoft is currently being sued by Capital One over a similar incident. GitHub is reckless about what’s hosted and served through it. Disclaiming liability is a classic pattern of Microsoft behaviour across a broad spectrum of its activities. Later on Microsoft says Open Source is a risk and a danger; whose fault is it though?

“That’s just classic FUD; this is the sort of thing that fills up Microsoft-run ‘open’ events. It’s all about attacking FOSS and making it look bad.”Analytics India Magazine, a Microsoft-friendly site, has just published this piece of FUD. Citing an-anti FOSS firm which is Microsoft connected they try create the stigma that so-called ‘technical debt’ is a uniquely FOSS issue (like they do “security” and “licensing”).

That’s just classic FUD; this is the sort of thing that fills up Microsoft-run ‘open’ events. It’s all about attacking FOSS and making it look bad.

There’s another new corporate ‘summit’ with lots of openwashing; it’s led by Alluxio.

Going back to the BNNBloomberg article, here’s what it says: “The Register, a U.K.-based technology website, reported on Wednesday that a Canadian IT worker discovered the uploaded source code on Github, a website that hosts programming code that is freely available for other programmers to access.

“The code contained information related to the bank’s backend systems as well as code related to Scotiabank’s mobile apps for its Central American and South American customers, the website said.”

“Open Core is just proprietary software with openwashing-themed marketing.”Whose fault is it? Or rather, if Microsoft serves this data, is it exempted from accountability?

Speaking of The Register, that same reader noted: “Now some crap about open core…”

We mentioned this in Daily Links. To quote: “Analysis On Thursday, at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, companies building open-source code gathered to figure out how to survive having Amazon, Google, and Microsoft sell their software as a service without paying for the privilege.

“The confab has a name, the Open Core Summit, where “Open Core” refers to the marketing strategy of offering a core service for free and charging for complementary capabilities. Presumably, “Freemium Summit” didn’t pass muster.

“The inaugural conference is focused on helping commercial open-source organizations develop viable business models. It’s organized by OSS Capital, a venture-capital firm founded by entrepreneur Joseph Jacks and given street cred through the presence of board partner Bruce Perens, one of the pioneering figures in the open-source movement.”

“So they sponsor turning FOSS into proprietary software. In ‘the cloud’…”Open Core is just proprietary software with openwashing-themed marketing.

And “note the next paragraph links to the final Stallman interview,” our reader said, quoting “whatever those [sic] may be…”

Here’s the part in question, using words like “partisans”: “Free Software partisans describe open source as a development methodology without the Free Software movement’s moral and philosophical aspirations, whatever those may be. Distinctions aside, a common thread in the two intermingled communities continues to be figuring out how to get paid for code offered under a permissive license.”

Fun quote from the article: “Open-source licenses like Apache 2.0 have no requirement to compensate those actually crafting such software.”

Compensate? Seriously?

Here’s the full context: “Several of the companies attending, such as Elastic, have become poster children for the peril of cloud-provider parasitism. Open-source licenses like Apache 2.0 have no requirement to compensate those actually crafting such software. So, mostly, the cloud giants that deploy services based on open-source projects don’t bother to pay outsiders who improve and maintain the code.”

“Those are not FOSS companies; they’re proprietary software.”And here’s more: “If you ask nicely, these companies may sponsor your conference, as AWS has done for the Open Core Summit. At the same time, it’s tempting to see a certain zero-sum symbolism in the conference’s morning donut service, “brought to you by AWS,” not to mention interstitial music cues like Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer and Imagine Dragons’ Whatever It Takes.”

So they sponsor turning FOSS into proprietary software. In ‘the cloud’…

As the article notes, “in March, Amazon Web Services debuted its fork of the Elastic project, all the while insisting it’s not a fork.

“During the lunch break, a co-founder of a prominent open-source project pointed to AWS’s banner for its Open Distro for Elasticsearch as “a giant f– you” to the open-source companies in attendance.”

The “article includes this note,” the reader noted: “Editor’s note: we are happy to clarify that Ben Golub described open-source software as a loss leader, and not Upbound CEO Bassam Tabbara as first reported.”

“Proprietary software giants sponsoring “open” things is matter of tossing ‘slush funds’ to improve perceptions.”Lightbend participates in this nasty conference that promotes proprietary software under the guise of ‘open’. It even issued this press release to brag about it; these openwashing attacks on Free software’s legitimacy (showing how the licence is ‘worked around’ in ‘the cloud’) is nothing to brag about. It should be a source of shame. But Lightbend keeps paying to spread this. Larry Augustin also sold us all out by joining Amazon AWS (his former employer SugarCRM has betrayed all customers by becoming proprietary software as well… whereupon the fork SuiteCRM came to their rescue). From the press release: “Brewer joins panelists Larry Augustin, VP Amazon Web Services (formerly CEO of SugarCRM) and Scott Collison, CEO Anaconda…”

Those are not FOSS companies; they’re proprietary software.

Proprietary software giants sponsoring “open” things is matter of tossing ‘slush funds’ to improve perceptions. Mac Asay does this all the time at such companies (now Amazon/AWS).

“IBM wants to stay proprietary; it can leverage Red Hat to pretend otherwise. Microsoft does more or less the same thing.”There’s also this new press release [1, 2] entitled “Top five open source-powered solutions to mitigate the impact of natural disasters announced as finalists in Call for Code global coding challenge” (“Call for Code” is not the same as “Call for Open Source Code”).

Just like AWS, “open source-powered” means “exploits FOSS but remains proprietary software itself” because it’s not about freedom but leveraging freedom to deprive others.

The “Call for Code 2019 is focused on creating solutions to help mitigate the effects of natural disasters and help communities better prepare and respond to the needs of survivors…”

IBM is OK with it being proprietary; it is, after all, just a PR stunt for them. IBM wants to stay proprietary; it can leverage Red Hat to pretend otherwise. Microsoft does more or less the same thing.

09.11.19

Web Site Called Linux.com Still Exists Only or Mostly to Promote Anti-Linux Firms and Openwashing

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Snyk is an anti-FOSS company (or snake), but the Web site called Linux.com is promoting it

Snyk, Microsoft and Swapnil

Summary: As the Linux Foundation transitions into the Public Relations (PR) industry/domain we should accept if not expect Linux.com to become an extension of PR business models; the old Linux.com is long gone (all staff fired)

THE silence surrounding the layoffs in Linux.com (all staff writers and all editors fired) is rather mysterious, especially when one compares that to outpouring eulogies for Linux Journal (for the second time in about two years because it got ‘bailed out’ the first time). Do people not care about Linux.com? It has been around for over 2 decades, as a news source for nearly 2 decades (compared to 25 years of Linux Journal). Why was Techrights the only site/blog that mentioned these layoffs (which were totally not necessary)? That very much resembles what happened to European Patent Office (EPO) coverage. What compels people to not take note of totally noteworthy and newsworthy events?

Linux.com passed through some hands over the years. We chronicled that in some screenshots extracted from the Wayback Machine. It was around the time we published The 'New' Linux.com Sometimes Feels Like a Microsoft Promotion Site.

The shift in focus is hardly surprising. Might even say it was “well overdue” or “just a matter of time…” (like removal of any remnants of “community” from the Linux Foundation).

“The shift in focus is hardly surprising.”Remember that it was only in ~2000 (i.e. 9 years after Linux became known or came out to the public), based on publicly-accessible interviews, that Jim Zemlin ‘discovered’ this thing called “Linux” (never mind GNU; it had already been ‘erased’ from history after years of revisionism).

No, he didn’t actually use it.

He’s a marketing person.

He discovered “Linux” was hot and as a marketing person (people who look for ‘buzz’) he decided to exploit the brand.

Zemlin isn’t technical, by his very own admission (made upfront in an interview with Swapnil; he doesn’t want to be asked technical questions); he has been quiet and has been keeping a low profile lately; not hard to guess why…

Zemlin just leveraged the “Linux” trademark to create his “marketing firm”; the site of Zemlin’s firm now makes it very clear that this thing called “Linux” Foundation isn’t about Linux anymore. He also consults non-Linux companies ‘on the side’.

“Zemlin just leveraged the “Linux” trademark to create his “marketing firm”; the site of Zemlin’s firm now makes it very clear that this thing called “Linux” Foundation isn’t about Linux anymore. He also consults non-Linux companies ‘on the side’.”“Seems Black Duck FUD against copyleft has found a new home at Linux Foundation,” Simon Phipps wrote two and a half years ago (it was already getting that bad), referring to a Microsoft-connected firm similar to Snyk. Snyk and Black Duck are both connected to Microsoft. They’re also connected to the Linux Foundation and the sole editor of Linux.com (see screenshot at the top). This sort of selection of editor is a perfect fit for Linux Foundation sponsors such as VMware and Microsoft, which he's openwashing and whitewashing (reputation laundering). Hardly surprising that after firing all the site’s staff — people who actually promote and use GNU/Linux — they’d put such a person in charge to dish links (sometimes to his own Web site or Microsoft’s sites).

Look at Linux.com right now. Top of page? There’s a special feature… linking to a Microsoft PR agent in ZDNet, connecting Stallman to Microsoft. Why was this put at the very top? My wife and I remember when the site used to be about Linux (like the name of the site and the domain name); we fondly followed this site as a source of news for many years. The wife says it would be better to just suspend or shut down Linux.com than to run it like that. The site actually used to be about GNU/Linux. It’s sad to say this, but Linux.com does more against Linux than for it (archives of the site, i.e. old articles, notwithstanding or not accounted for).

“It’s sad to say this, but Linux.com does more against Linux than for it (archives of the site, i.e. old articles, notwithstanding or not accounted for).”We’re meanwhile concerned about the openwashing site of Swapnil. That site is copy-pasting-editing press releases to manufacture fake ‘articles’ (example from last night; compare text to this press release; another article from last night was entitled “Red Hat Quay 3.1 Features Repository Mirroring”; it’s just ‘copypasta’ of a press release, mildly edited to make this fake ‘article’ seem original).

This amounts to integrity zero. Just what’s expected from a courier of Jim Zemlin and his openwashing PAC (essentially a tax-exempt PR firm). If they had lost their tax status (having become something else over the past decade), Big Sponsors like Microsoft and VMware would have to increase their ‘contributions’ (lobbying, buying seats etc.), right?

Linux.com after all staff got fired is not a news site. They link to openwashing press release (example from last night) and won’t produce original articles…

A salad of ‘marketeering’ nonsense. How shallow. This is what’s killing genuine journalism.

“A salad of ‘marketeering’ nonsense.”Swapnil’s site is a PR and ‘copypasta’ mill… which sometimes receives links (by Swapnil himself) in Linux.com. Last night Swapnil promoted a Microsoft proxy that attacks Linux. In Linux.com as if the site is an enemy of Linux and ally of Linux enemies. It linked to a puff piece from Globes (financial press in the firm’s country). His site then prepared some ‘PR’ for them in his Web site; so did some other media sites, e.g. [1, 2] (readers alerted us about these promotions of a FUD firm, with “open source” in the headline).

GNU/Linux advocates, users and developers ought to feel very much entitled to be furious at the “Linux” Foundation, which is misrepresentation of their interests… for a profit. This same so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation works against the licence of Linux and outsources lots of stuff to Microsoft (GitHub). One day GitHub will shut down (it’s inevitable) and many developers will lose ‘their’ platform against their will.

09.10.19

Microsoft Uses the Word “Linux” to Promote Privacy-Infringing Proprietary Software and Spread FUD

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Marketing, Microsoft at 12:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Promises to give malicious software to GNU/Linux are just a PR stunt and opportunism

Linux malware: is it so hard to get it right?
Reference: “Linux malware: is it so hard to get it right?” (article by Sam Varghese about typical and routine misinformation from Catalin Cimpanu, whom ZDNet hired to attack Linux in intellectually-dishonest ways)

Summary: The discussion about “Linux” is being saturated if not replaced by misinformation and marketing of Linux’s competition — owing largely to googlebombing tactics that the Linux Foundation participates in rather than tackle

THE word or the name “Linux” is losing its value; it gets associated with the very competition of Linux (what’s inherently antithetical to it) and with lots of negative things, such as “ransom”. This is all very much deliberate; internal Microsoft documents reveal this to be part of the company’s strategy — a fact that does not seem to bother the Linux Foundation, guardian of the trademark “Linux” (nowadays the brand is already being hijacked by a drag queen singer, but that’s another issue and we don’t want to add links*).

“Their writer whom they hired from Bleeping Computer (which was already a notorious site at the time because of intentional FUD) calls unrelated-to-Linux issues “Linux” and spreads such FUD regularly.”There might be enforcement, but we’re not seeing evidence of it.

Security FUD Every Day

On the issue of security (negative press) we wrote as recently as yesterday. ZDNet plays a considerable role in this; it’s owned by CBS, which is paid by Microsoft. Their writer whom they hired from Bleeping Computer (which was already a notorious site at the time because of intentional FUD) calls unrelated-to-Linux issues “Linux” and spreads such FUD regularly. Unskilled writers copy that troll from ZDNet (last night we saw “New ransomware strain appears to target Linux web servers” — the fourth such article that parrots ZDNet; here’s another with “Linux” in the headline). There was a similar article about Exim a few days ago. This started at the anti-FOSS propaganda site ZDNet and our latest Daily Links include this. It “repeats the FUD headline from ZDNet’s Bleeping Computer hire,” as we noted last night, but “no server is known to have been compromised by this yet. They dramatise this.”

“…ZDNet constantly bombards “Linux” with all this negative publicity and then spreads that elsewhere; even if Linux itself isn’t at fault (sometimes it’s down to weak passwords or some piece of software that can run on top of GNU/Linux, just like Photoshop can run on Windows).”Does the Foundation have no plan to rebut these things? First of all, Exim doesn’t run on GNU/Linux or “Linux” per se; it runs on lots of environments and it is not part of “Linux” (or even GNU). But ZDNet constantly bombards “Linux” with all this negative publicity and then spreads that elsewhere; even if Linux itself isn’t at fault (sometimes it’s down to weak passwords or some piece of software that can run on top of GNU/Linux, just like Photoshop can run on Windows).

Linux is Microsoft

Yesterday afternoon we saw a Microsoft propaganda (PR) site Windows Central publishing this article: “It’s official: Microsoft Teams is coming to Linux”

“Does the Foundation have no plan to rebut these things?”Well, “is coming to Linux” is not even “has come to Linux” (that will be another googlebombing opportunity, some time in the future).

As a side note, we saw almost identical reports back in summer. So it’s not even news!

This is what currently dominates news feeds about “Linux” — starting with a site called Windows Central about NSA surveillance and proprietary software from Microsoft. It’s about mere intent. That’s all. That’s also just what GNU/Linux users get away from. It’s a deterrent; it’s off-putting.

Calling oneself “open” for porting proprietary software with Microsoft surveillance to another platform is laughable.

That’s merely spreading non-open things, which makes them worse.

Phoronix wrote moments later: “Microsoft Teams Is Coming To Linux”

“Calling oneself “open” for porting proprietary software with Microsoft surveillance to another platform is laughable.”As if this is what GNU/Linux users actually wanted or needed…

Then joined Softpedia News (Marius Nestor) and Microsoft (Mary Jo Foley) at ZDNet, Microsoft’s longtime propaganda mill (there are payments involved) along with other Microsoft-connected sites.

Once again you search for “Linux” news and all you get is proprietary software with Microsoft surveillance in the results.

Linux Foundation Part of the Problem

“With Microsoft spamming about “Linux” maybe there is a matter of trademark dilution or similar risks,” one person told us. Other people do notice.

“What is the Linux Foundation good for if it won’t even bother with the most basic trademark protections?”“You’ve pointed out something similar for Open Source,” the person continued, “even though it is not a trademark. IIRC Bruce Perens tried but was denied, which can work to everyone’s advantage when making bids for government contracts.”

In the case of Open Source we call that “openwashing” and at times we’ve also spoken of “Linuxwashing” (falsely associating oneself with Linux).

“Back to Linux,” the person concluded, “could/would/should Linus drop the LF [Linux Foundation] and take his code and his trademarks elsewhere? He wouldn’t do it himself, but if someone at the top did the leg work, I expect he might consider it.”

What is the Linux Foundation good for if it won’t even bother with the most basic trademark protections? Additionally, look what it did to Linux.com (after firing all the staff back in April). It sometimes feels like it’s more about Microsoft and proprietary software than about Linux.
____
* In recent months and as recently as days ago articles showed up in the news about a singer who goes by the name “Linux” (and promotes self by “Linux”). That has nothing at all to do with Linux, the kernel, and this likely merits trademark enforcement.

09.09.19

Security Boulevard is a Microsoft-Connected Attack Site Created by a Free Software-Hostile Person

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Security at 1:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Anti-FOSS is to be expected. It’s the business model.

Alan Shimel
This is the founder of Security Boulevard attacking Stallman simply because he occasionally speaks of Palestinians’ human rights (article bumped up by the publisher earlier this summer)

Summary: Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is being discredited using an aggregator of Microsoft-connected FUD firms, concurring with or confirming the Halloween Documents that suggested attacking FOSS by proxy

OUR daily links can be tricky to prepare because we’re reluctant to link to FUD and misinformation. So years ago we added the “Openwashing” section to it and under “Security” we often add editorial comments (corrections and clarification attempts). The FUD typically comes from the same domains. For instance, sites called “Windows” something or “Microsoft” something are likely to be Linux-hostile sources (sometimes they push Vista 10 under the guise of “Linux”, e.g. WSL).

“The FUD typically comes from the same domains. For instance, sites called “Windows” something or “Microsoft” something are likely to be Linux-hostile sources (sometimes they push Vista 10 under the guise of “Linux”, e.g. WSL).”A lot of FOSS FUD is also sourced back to ZDNet, which became an anti-FOSS propaganda machine, funded in part by Microsoft (Microsoft buys ads and bias from CBS, the parent company). Last night we saw “Lilu/Lilocked ransomware has now infected thousands of Linux servers” (this is the third such ‘report’ we see; it started with ZDNet where this got disseminated and spun as a major “Linux” issue).

Then there’s Security Boulevard, where the ‘content’ is rarely original. They mostly attack licensing and security aspects of Free software. It’s endemic. This gateway-as-a-’news’-site acts as an amplifier/loudspeaker/megaphone of anti-FOSS firms, usually Microsoft-connected ones. WhiteSource is to Microsoft the ‘new’ Black Duck and it’s a regular feature there, along with Black Duck’s parent company, Snyk, and other parasites looking to sell themselves by bashing FOSS.

Security Boulevard and WhiteSource are now working together on a “webinar” (published days ago); WhiteSource also works closely with Microsoft (co-authoring anti-FOSS papers and they are formally partners). This means that Shimel at Security Boulevard is indirectly in bed with Microsoft and is likely ‘in it’ to attack FOSS. It’s not hard to see whose voice he’s looking to facilitate. His track record was mentioned here last month and many times a decade ago when he published FOSS-hostile pieces in IDG’s “Open Source” section [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] (also see the screenshot at the top). That section of IDG (the “Open Source Subnet”) was, at least at the time, infested with people who neither understood nor liked FOSS. In fact the “Open Source Subnet” was like an extension of their “Microsoft Subnet”; only the titles varied.

As recently as days ago we saw Microsoft-connected firms (anti-FOSS FUD firms, including WhiteSource, as we noted half a decade back) again being boosted with their anti-FOSS venom by this anti-FOSS, anti-RMS, pro-Microsoft Shimel-founded Security Boulevard. It’s like its sole role is to propel these firms into Google News, ‘dressing up’ corporate lies as ‘news’.

Be careful, people; the site is pure poison which amplifies more poison. It amplifies Microsoft partners, whose principal role is delegitimising FOSS.

08.27.19

Technology is Political

Posted in FUD at 3:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Free as in speech

Voting boxSummary: Why excluding politics from discussions about technology boils down to a set of lies, whose net effect is oppressive

THE longstanding denial that politics may belong in technology is the fault of people intolerant of opposing views. The risk of having to defend one’s views or the heartache associated with a — gasp! — open debate is what deters political discussions in technical contexts. However:

  • Digital surveillance is political. It’s enabled by political parties.
  • Back doors are political. Spies and militaries demand these and when things go awry politicians never hold them accountable.
  • Censorship in platforms is political. Technology companies block particular people and organisations (sometimes whole countries) based on politicians’ ‘taste’.
  • Embargoes and bans on ‘export’ of particular software is political. Foreign policies, not technical considerations, are responsible for it.
  • Political figures enter technology companies and organisations like the Linux Foundation. They use these to advance their political goals
  • There are more examples along similar lines, but the above might suffice towards making a point. Wikipedia (which is also political) defines politics as “a set of activities associated with the governance of a country or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to members of a group.” It’s a management thing. So to say “politics” is almost like management. “No politics” means “no talk about the management” (or governance).

The bottom line is, when people herald that some mailing list or forum should be a politics-free zone they basically seek to muzzle people whom they potentially don’t agree with. They don’t want to be in a position to confront issues that are potentially, inherently even, political in nature. It limits the breadth of expression or speech, for instance pointing out one’s conflicts of interest.

“Software is political. Hardware is increasingly political too (there are built-in restrictions and sometimes back doors). Technical stuff as a whole is very political.”Techrights never shied away from politics; our daily links are full of it, our IRC channels don’t restrict that (this is abundant, but we get along at the end). We realise this may mean that we can alienate some readers. Earlier this month we wrote about people who mistake links for endorsements.

This is loosely related to what we wrote two days ago about diversity politics; they’re often likely to be leveraged by those in positions of power to silence those who are not.

Software is political. Hardware is increasingly political too (there are built-in restrictions and sometimes back doors). Technical stuff as a whole is very political. Be very suspicious of projects or groups that ban rather than transcend politics. We’re not talking about death threats; those aren't politics and hardly protected speech either (there are clear laws against these).

Image credit: Angelus, CC BY-SA 3.0

08.09.19

August as Clickbait Month and Microsoft Googlebombing

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 2:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s the usual August ‘shitshow’

August

Summary: Companies are expectedly (as scheduled) understaffed and there are those looking to take advantage of the calm, in effect provoking and misleading to divert traffic to unwanted and irrelevant things

August is a notoriously “slow news” or “low traffic” month because few companies actually announce anything. People are on extended leave. Some companies throw bad news under the bus (e.g. Slack getting cracked and breaking the law), whereas bloggers resort to provocation rather than facts (e.g. BetaNews calling GNU/Linux users bad names as recently as yesterday and Phoronix promoting an old stigma about desktop GNU/Linux).

The state of journalism, not just when it comes to GNU/Linux, is depressing. About half a dozen people who did a decent job at it got laid off by the Linux Foundation about 4 months ago. Somehow Jim Zemlin can find a million bucks to pay himself in annual salaries, but he cannot pay small salaries to a handful of low-paid technical writers. He also received a million bucks from Microsoft at a time his wife worked for a Gold Microsoft Partner, but that’s another matter. The media is all rigged and media owners seem eager to bury media that’s not favourable to them. It’s a dirty, dirty business.

Welcome to August! Microsoft Tim was badmouthing LibreOffice (just a week before a major release) while many others badmouthed VLC and KDE based on lies or exaggerations. They also googlebomb "Linux" quite a lot to push WSL (Windows Vista 10, promoted using a misnomer, “Linux”). With Linux.com and Linux Journal officially defunct, it’s even easier for Microsoft boosters to googlebomb “Ubuntu, “Linux” and so on (altering the narrative in Microsoft’s favour and offering proprietary software).

Techrights will try to cover GNU/Linux matters more than in prior years. Our capacity is very limited, so guest posts would be appreciated.

07.14.19

GitHub is Microsoft’s Proprietary Software and Centralised (Monopoly) Platform, But When Canonical’s Account There Gets Compromised Suddenly It’s Ubuntu’s Fault?

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Security, Ubuntu at 12:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One year ago: GitHub as the Latest Example of Microsoft Entryism in Free/Libre Software

Internet

Summary: Typical media distortions and signs that Microsoft already uses GitHub for censorship of Free/Open Source software that does not fit Microsoft’s interests

CORPORATE media is toxic rubbish and its business model typically involves serving the companies covered. This is why the media keeps framing the latest GitHub censorship as a GitHub issue (it’s actually Microsoft using its control over GitHub to delete particular ‘naughty’ FOSS [1,2]) and earlier this month Ubuntu received a lot of negative press after its steward’s GitHub account had been compromised. Microsoft was not even mentioned. This is all very typical and we responded to that briefly in our daily links. This is the kind of thing one can expect when Microsoft pays so much money to the media, e.g. in the form of advertising.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. GitHub Removed Open Source Versions of DeepNude [Ed: The new company is a Microsoft censorship tool. Every image editor can be used to make fake nudes of people. Even image sequences. Will Microsoft ban image editors too? Don't even think about criticising Microsoft for its crimes in some comments, commits or code at GitHub as they might suspend the account.]
  2. Deepfake DeepNude app’s open source versions removed from GitHub [Ed: Microsoft is doing censorship of FOSS and playing/acting as morality police. Maybe banning encryption software (with no back doors) is next on the agenda because of the terror scare.]

06.06.19

Chapter 6: Damning With Faint Praise — Take the Right Examples of Free Software and Exploit Them for Everything

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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 [PDF]

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

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

You are here ☞ Chapter 6: Damning with faint praise– Take the right examples of free software and exploit them for everything [PDF]

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


You might not believe me if I tell you that we decide what “cool” means, unless you look at the results in real life. We have the press working for us, we have open source doing what we need even as they believe they are fighting us. We can keep the press obedient in exchange for access, we can enjoy allegiance from open source from other deals that we make.

If our research shows that something is cool, we buy it or we produce it. One thing you can’t do is make the same thing look cool forever. No matter how happy some customers are, or how much they rely on our software, we are still going to lead them away from one thing and towards another– it isn’t just because it’s better; it’s because if we let them rely on what they already have, we won’t get to sell them anything new.

Now with cloudware, we control the access to the software. But it is still necessary for people to perceive that we are working to make improvements. The most convincing way to do this is to keep chasing what’s new– and dragging people from one thing to the next.

Once again we do this as friends, with a carrot of features and not just the stick of walled access and fees. We aren’t just forcing people to pay, but leading them to want their subscriptions and feel good about them. We make promises about the new features being useful, but we also need the press and our marketing to make our products cool. No matter how much of a monopoly we work to maintain, there are other companies out there looking to create something before we can. We need to be sure we own and control it– otherwise, it belongs to them.

Another great thing about what’s new is that people don’t know anything about it. We can write our own narrative about new products, and until enough people gain access and knowledge (and preferably first-hand experience) they can’t say very much about the product that we can say twice as much about. New products let us run circles around people who claim to know about them– they give us a unique advantage.

As for lack of familiarity, we can actually use that to increase interest rather than lose business. If the product is attractive enough, we can use the people who are familiar with it against the people who aren’t, and make the latter look like they are ignorant if they are unfamiliar with our product line. So the incentive to do business is to continue to appear knowledgeable. This tactic works notably well among enthusiasts and professionals.

If you ask people to define “cool,” they can’t always come up with something concrete. But you don’t have to be a cool person at all to know what definition of “cool” matters to us– “cool” is what’s new and what people want. That’s as cool as we will ever need to be. That’s what keeps us where we are, and everyone else where they are. And that’s what we have to keep control of, if we want to stay where we are.

On the other side of the coin we have what’s not cool: stuff that’s not new, or stuff that people don’t want. That’s what we have to avoid offering– if that’s all we have, we need to buy or develop new things to offer.

A superior product is like a politician’s speech– the best way to sell a lie is to put a truth in it, so people assume the rest of it is also the truth. And when you want to sell a new product you can do the same thing: start with a feature people are desperate to have, and you can build a lot of garbage around it as long as the important features are satisfying enough.

It should be more than obvious that some of these features– even some of the best features– are going to be proprietary. So it becomes imperative if we are going to compete with and also infiltrate open source that we need to loosen the hold that free software has on the narrative.

A schism can be hashed out and resolved– what we want is to widen it to a chasm and actually hand the reins of free software over to open source, so that all “open source” is forever a way to steer people towards our features.

Everything cool (that we care about) is new and wanted, and everything uncool is old and boring and standard. To keep churning out cooler, newer products (not always cool like Apple, sometimes just cool like an update with a few new features) we need to use our shills to show everyone how uncool the alternatives are. As long as we look cool and friendly, people will be reluctant to care that we need to go after our competition in this way. After all, cool is also about winning, and winning means someone loses somewhere.

By the time people are convinced that our competitors aren’t cool, they won’t want to side with them anymore and won’t defend them from us.

We need to turn rich against poor, as mentioned two chapters ago– and we need to turn inexperienced users against experienced ones, to prevent skeptics from handing down their stories to potential customers. It is essential to paint seasoned experts as gray and irrelevant, as has-beens who don’t understand the genius of our new offerings. And it is essential to paint every tool we used to offer or never offered as outdated and obsolete.

When dealing with open source, the most important person to paint as a has-been is Richard Stallman. He and Gates are decades-long rivals, diametrically opposed to each other in their philosophies. But more relevant is that he leads the movement that opposes us– we need to keep open source on our side, and lead them further away from free software.

Fortunately, Stallman and his followers are tightly-knit in their ideology. Attacking any of them is like attacking all of them– we can play up their hacker style as social ineptitude, their adherence (where it exists) to standards and interoperability as a refusal to evolve, their playful culture as a refusal to grow up and be professional, and their self-reliance and independence as being non-team-players and even toxic masculinity.

Their hacker philosophy is about putting certain values first– just as we use new features to get people to accept new flaws that we can promise to fix later (and then say that we have a greater commitment to security) and use open source to bring people to our exclusive software lines, we can use their values to steer the next generation of customers (and critics) towards a more corporate culture.

Any social values that we are saddled with keeping up appearances about in the workplace, we can instill through open source and then claim the rest are not putting enough emphasis on. Of course, some of these values are good values in and of themselves. But as much as we have “social value theater” in the workplace and have to play along, we can dump the same corporate culture onto anyone who will call it professionalism, and then say everyone else is just unprofessional and toxic.

In the short run we can use this against Stallman and his organization, but in the long run we can even use this to shackle Linus and gradually push him out the door. In our culture, it doesn’t pay to be eccentric except when it makes us billions– get with the program or get out. A leader that isn’t making us money is a leader who has let us down, and we need to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

The values of free software developers and the values of free software itself go hand in hand. We need to denigrate most of their software, along the same lines that we denigrate the people who create it. As said over and over, we need to rely on shills, fans, and “useful third parties” to denigrate these people and their work. We also need a “path forward” to our products. Whenever we outline our strategies to feed to our shills and the tech press, they need to paint free software and its authors as true gems– from a bygone era.

“Yes, that was really great. But now, it’s time to look to the future.”

The future is (always) us, and the products we want people to use. There’s no rise in quarterly revenue for tried-and-trusted, except when it’s merely the glue holding our new products together.

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“OSS poses a direct, short-term revenue and platform threat to Microsoft — particularly in server space. Additionally, the intrinsic parallelism and free idea exchange in OSS has benefits that are not replicable with our current licensing model and therefore present a long term developer mindshare threat.”

“However, other OSS process weaknesses provide an avenue for Microsoft to garner advantage in key feature areas such as architectural improvements (e.g. storage+), integration (e.g. schemas), ease-of-use, and organizational support.”

“OSS process vitality is directly tied to the Internet”

“The OSS process is unique in its participants’ motivations and the resources that can be brought to bare down on problems. OSS, therefore, has some
interesting, non-replicable assets which should be thoroughly understood.”

“Open source software has roots in the hobbyist and the scientific community and was typified by ad hoc exchange of source code by developers/users.”

“Credit for the first instance of modern, organized OSS is generally given to Richard Stallman of MIT. In late 1983, Stallman created the Free Software
Foundation (FSF) — http://www.gnu.ai.mit.edu/fsf/fsf.html — with the goal of creating a free version of the UNIX operating system.”

“Commercial software development processes are hallmarked by organization around economic goals. However, since money is often not the (primary) motivation behind Open Source Software, understanding the nature of the threat posed requires a deep understanding of the process and motivation of Open Source development teams.”

“In other words, to understand how to compete against OSS, we must target a process rather than a company.”

“These individuals are more like hobbyists spending their free time / energy on OSS project development while maintaining other full time jobs. This has begun to change somewhat as commercial versions of the Linux OS have appeared.”

“Coordination of an OSS team is extremely dependent on Internet-native forms of collaboration.”

“OSS projects the size of Linux and Apache are only viable if a large enough community of highly skilled developers can be amassed to attack a problem.”

“Common goals are the equivalent of vision statements which permeate the distributed decision making for the entire development team. A single, clear
directive (e.g. “recreate UNIX”) is far more efficiently communicated and acted upon by a group than multiple, intangible ones”

“Because the entire Linux community has years of shared experience dealing with many other forms of UNIX, they are easily able to discern — in a non-confrontational manner — what worked and what didn’t.”

“Having historical, 20:20 hindsight provides a strong, implicit structure. In more forward looking organizations, this structure is provided by strong, visionary leadership.”

“Raymond posits that developers are more likely to reuse code in a rigorous open source process than in a more traditional development environment because they are always guaranteed access to the entire source all the time.”

“Treating your users as co-developers is your least-hassle route to rapid code improvement and effective debugging.”

“Release early. Release often. And listen to your customers.”

“Because the developers are typically hobbyists, the ability to `fund’ multiple, competing efforts is not an issue and the OSS process benefits from the ability to pick the best potential implementation out of the many produced.”

“Universities are some of the original proponents of OSS as a teaching tool.”

“Linus Torvalds is a celebrity in the Linux world and his decisions are considered final. By contrast, a similar celebrity leader did NOT exist for the BSD-derived efforts.”

“What are the core strengths of OSS products that Microsoft needs to be concerned with?”

“The single biggest constraint faced by any OSS project is finding enough developers interested in contributing their time towards the project. As an
enabler, the Internet was absolutely necessary to bring together enough people for an Operating System scale project.”

“Like commercial software, the most viable single OSS project in many categories will, in the long run, kill competitive OSS projects and `acquire’ their IQ assets. For example, Linux is killing BSD Unix and has absorbed most of its core ideas (as well as ideas in the commercial UNIXes).”

“One of the most interesting implications of viable OSS ecosystems is long-term credibility.”

“Long term credibility exists if there is no way you can be driven out of business in the near term. This forces change in how competitors deal with you.”

“a product/process is long-term credible if FUD tactics can not be used to combat it.”

“OSS systems are considered credible because the source code is available from potentially millions of places and individuals.”

“The likelihood that Apache will cease to exist is orders of magnitudes lower than the likelihood that WordPerfect, for example, will disappear. The
disappearance of Apache is not tied to the disappearance of binaries (which are affected by purchasing shifts, etc.) but rather to the disappearance of source code and the knowledge base.“

“Inversely stated, customers know that Apache will be around 5 years from now — provided there exists some minimal sustained interested from its
user/development community.”

“The GPL and its aversion to code forking reassures customers that they aren’t riding an evolutionary `dead-end’ by subscribing to a particular commercial version of Linux.”

“The “evolutionary dead-end” is the core of the software FUD argument.”

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

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