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03.21.14

Symantec and (In)’Security’ Firms Still Kings of GNU/Linux FUD

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Security at 12:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Articles about GNU/Linux and “malware” are more like misinformation that the press is awash with this week

AFTER some exaggerated panic over GnuTLS we hear a lot of noise about some Windows malware that’s claimed to be coming from UNIX and GNU/Linux servers. One ‘minor’ fact that the likes of Symantec (Symantec and others) always fail to point out is that lazy/negligent people (worse than human error) are to blame, not GNU/Linux.

SJVN wrote this good response (“Linux and botnets: It’s not Linux’s fault!”) which points out: “With Darlloz, which tends to attack devices such as small office/home office (SOHO) Internet routers, it’s one way of infection is to try 13 combinations of the default user names and passwords on a device. If the gadget’s owner has done the bare minimal of security: Change the blasted default user ID and/or password, they can’t be infected. That’s it!”

Don’t relay baseless reports which leave out the real security problem, which is Windows, the operating system with back doors (by design).

03.19.14

When Microsoft is Using (and Paying) Celebrities to Ridicule GNU/Linux

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 2:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Linux, Google and GNU the target of some new type of FUD, where people whom Microsoft is promoting shamelessly target particular GNU/Linux-based products

Microsoft is losing its identity very fast. There is poor coordination in general and strategy in areas like servers and mobile is very much deficient or defunct. Top-level staff is leaving (Muktware covered that also) and the new CEO is joined by an AstroTurfing guy. Muktware has been good at covering these sorts of things (AstroTurfing and trolling as a priority) and its founder now remarks on Microsoft’s anti-GNU/Linux ads (Chromebook is GNU/Linux by another brand). To quote his new post about one of the most infamous “ads” (using entertainment media to implant FUD): “I have never been into the ‘idiot box’; I mostly watch documentaries. However we were on vacation at Myrtle Beach last month and it was snowing so we were stuck in the hotel room, that’s when I got hooked to DirectTV’s shows. I have become addicted to the Pawn Stars and do enjoy it a lot. I admire the owner of the shop Rick Harrison who has immense knowledge and great skills to spot fake. Unfortunately, for him, I was surfing the net I came across Microsoft’s propaganda website (something similar to Vladimir Putin’s Russia Today) Scroogled News and there was an ad by Microsoft featuring the Pawn Stars team.

“I learned that’s the much criticized ad. Companies run such ads all the time, but Microsoft goes to that extra mile of pissing off their competitor without showing any sign of ethics or morality. I knew that was a propaganda ad, as Microsoft now has someone on team who has helped US/UK politicians so we can expect more below-the-belt ‘religious’ kind of attacks from this 30-year-old dinosaur.”

FUD against GNU/Linux can take all sorts of angles, targets, etc. But it remains what it is. On the Web, and even in niche forums [1], there seems to be a phenomenon that’s manufactured. Almost nobody would normally have an incentive to smear Free software 24/7, or to launch ad hominem attacks against people like Richard Stallman. In politics it’s common for such attacks to be funded directly or indirectly by those who stand to gain.

A lot of GNU/Linux is build by volunteers with a passion. Even Fedora’s packagers, despite the project being Red Hat’s, are often volunteers [2]. There is no lack of people who are willing, sometimes for a fee, to slam volunteers, journalists, activists. Corporations hire them through proxies every now and then. We exposed a few of them (e.g. people whom Microsoft bribed to smear Microsoft’s competition) and we saw many talking points repeated as though they were sourced from Microsoft (the lobbyists of Microsoft habitually repeat the same ‘manuals’).

FUD sometimes comes also from within.

One of our readers goes further by alleging that [3] is just some “spin used to slam perl.”

“The real problem,” he explains, “which should have been in the closing, is not to mix installation methods. Stick purely with one method or the other.”

The article, “Package Management and Perl”, is unlikely to be anything that’s paid for by Perl foes/, but this same reader of ours showed us many provocatives articles about Perl spreading myths that by extension make Free software look “difficult”.

What needs to be done is simple. Rebuttals are needed. We should aspire to correct false or inaccurate messages, or point out where these are coming from.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux Distro’s, FOSS and the advocates behind them – Some food for thought?

    This article has been inspired somewhat by a group of people who for many years (for reasons unknown) have targeted Linux newsgroups and forums with the sole purpose of disrupting the advocacy that occurs. These “people” will use any means necessary in order to do that and looking at the amount of posts they make all day every day, one has to conclude that either they have a financial interest in free software being hobbled in the eyes of the mainstream, or worse, they merely have nothing else to do but post all day. One chap in particular who I believe falls into the later category has recently (on top of thousands of words in posts daily) taken to making videos to highlight these “major issues” with Linux. Now just what an allegedly married man with kids and a computer business is thinking of spending so much time in this way is anyone’s guess but it did help to inspire this article.

  2. Who helps your Linux distribution run smoothly? Thank a packager today

    The people behind the scenes who work tirelessly to make your Linux distribution run smoothly are the packagers. The vast majority of Linux packagers are volunteers who dedicate their evenings and weekends to create and maintain the gears of the Linux distributions they love.

  3. Package Management and Perl

    Anyone who lived through the bad old days of compiling software from source on Linux remembers well the frustration of upgrading one package only to find that it breaks another. I like to think that those days are behind us; and, for the most part, they are. Unfortunately, I found myself in an eerily similar situation after patching a CentOS 6 server, and then trying to run a scheduled Perl job.

03.16.14

Is Microsoft Paying Few Companies to Move Parked Domains to Windows, Thereby Gaming Netcraft Numbers?

Posted in Deception, FUD, Microsoft at 4:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gaming, not gaining

Netcraft

Summary: Media ignores the fact that Nobis and GoDaddy (many millions of parked domains) is why Netcraft shows gains for Microsoft

TECHRIGHTS spent a considerable amount of time explaining why Netcraft statistics are not accurate (e.g. site ranks, which can be rigged by even a single person). It’s not purely Netcraft’s fault and it’s not an isolated case. They’re a small entity which is easy to game and Microsoft sure likes gaming statistics. It sometimes makes it look like Netcraft promotes Microsoft, but the reality is quite different. To repeat what we quoted half a decade ago:

“It’s part of a continuing behavior pattern by Microsoft that I think it’s fair to call “dirty fighting.” GoDaddy was using Apache (I assume on Linux) because it was a great technical solution. They didn’t switch to IIS on Windows Server 2003 for any technical reason. The switch was accompanied by a press release by GoDaddy, containing Microsoft promotional language. Now, I’ve changed many servers from one thing to another, but I’ve never made a press release about it. GoDaddy wouldn’t be doing that unless Microsoft had offered them something valuable in return. There has been talk in the domain business that Microsoft has been offering the large domain registries a wad of cash to switch their parked sites. There is no other reason to do this than to influence the Netcraft figures.”

Bruce Perens

For those who have now seen the disinformation yet (same as above, but this time involving Nobis, not just the horrible, Internet-hostile giant GoDaddy), there exist Microsoft-friendly sites with deceiving headlines that hardly tell the story as it is, citing this automatically-produced summary from Netcraft. Bending the rules of exploiting a weakness in them, Microsoft seems to be doing it again. To quote Muktware: “If we look at Microsoft’s recent gain which gives them 32.8% of the market, comes solely from one player Nobis. Since it’s not a gradual market shift from Apache to IIS, we can’t see it as a trend. Last year Microsoft made similar gain when GoDaddy moved around 9 million sites to Microsoft server.

“So what it looks like is the ‘created’ gain is coming from Microsoft’s deal with big players instead of a trend in the market where clients are deliberately switching from Apache to Microsoft severs.”

People in comments and forums seem unprepared to point this out, so even on a Sunday night we wanted to get the word out. The real competition to Apache right now is Google’s hosting (Apache-based) and nginx, which gains in the BSD camp [1,2] and even attracts some interest from the GPL community [3]. Microsoft’s market share has been consistently declining for years, so it seems probable that Microsoft pays Nobis in some way or another in order to change perceptions. Don’t let them get away with it.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. OpenBSD replacing Apache web server with nginx

    In a move that surprises no one at this point,
    OpenBSD is in the process of pulling the Apache 1.3.x web server it has been maintaining on its own for what seems like forever and replacing it with the hot web server of the 2010s — nginx.

  2. Heads Up: Apache Removed from Base
  3. Build Faster WordPress Sites with Nginx – In 3 Lines!

03.06.14

Bitcoin Increasingly Adopted, Increasingly Smeared

Posted in Finance, FUD at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look at one of the latest smears against Bitcoin, courtesy of Britain’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)

WE DON’T OFTEN write about Bitcoin, but sometimes we do. Bitcoin is becoming a huge phenomenon and with its growth it gathers enemies. “Someone is really threatened by bitcoin that they have to disparage it so much and so often,” writes iophk. “Use in nefarious activities could easily be said of other currencies I expect, yet bitcoin is consistently singled out in the media. And, unlike cash, bitcoin is not anonymous,” he says in reference to this new smear. This strategy is not unusual; just ask Torrent sites, Craigslist, etc. how they suffered demonisation by association (copyright infringement, prostitution, drugs, etc.) just so that people can shut down down or at least marginalise them. Bitcoin has some other bad press [1], usually revolving around Mt Gox although it is only one of many players in the area of Bitcoin.

Most people, even in the Western world, are ‘poor’ in the sense that they have negative balance [2]. Young people are the most common victims [3,4]. The older generation often evades tax [5] and gets away with it. No wonder the young (future) generation is gradually turning to alternative currencies whose value cannot be rigged to the same degree commonly used currency is. A lot of people tend to forget that money derives its value from the belief/assumption that it will be honoured by merchants and be possible to swap for real goods; when hyperinflation kicks in, then money can become just paper, unlike Bitcoin, which some say it more resilient and resistant to abuse. Mt Gox may be having a crisis, but let’s not forget how many of the banks out there (all around the world) reached virtual bankruptcy (like my bank at the time — a bank that’s heading there again) and then looted taxpayers for bailouts that devalue money, increase national debt, and generally show that the ‘mainstream’ currencies are no safe haven.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Mt Gox confirms 750,000 Bitcoin theft, opens call centre for concerned miners

    BITCOIN EXCHANGE Mt Gox has confirmed the loss of 750,000 Bitcoins, and opened a call centre for people who want to know more about that.

  2. Three Of Every Four Americans Are Living Paycheck-To-Paycheck

    According to a new survey, more than three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck in order to make ends meet.

    The study, conducted by Bankrate.com, found that 76 percent of citizens had less than six months’ worth of savings to their name. Half of Americans had less than three months emergency savings and more than a quarter had no savings at all.

  3. Student Loans Are Ruining Your Life. Now They’re Ruining the Economy, Too

    American students are well over $1 trillion in debt, and it’s starting to hurt everyone, economists say

  4. Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under ‘draconian’ new sanctions regime

    A sanction can mean having welfare payments cut off entirely for a minimum of a month and as much as three years for “repeat offenders”. The hardline system, which means people can end up cast adrift for accidentally missing an appointment, is thought to be one of the reasons behind the vast numbers turning to food banks.

    Experts say young people are being unfairly singled out by the strict new system of penalties. Despite making up only 27 per cent of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants, 18- to 24-year-olds have accounted for 42 per cent of all sanctions handed out.

  5. Credit Suisse ‘cloak-and-dagger’ tactics cost US taxpayers billions – senators

    John McCain and Carl Levin say offshore schemes operated by Swiss firm helped 22,000 Americans hide billions from taxman

02.19.14

The Age of Microsoft-Funded Misinformation About Android/Google/Chrome OS/Linux

Posted in Bill Gates, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 7:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft payments behind proxies that spread FUD about Google, Android, Chrome OS, etc.

THERE IS an extensive, well-coordinated attempt to discredit Google and its Linux-centric projects/efforts. A lot of it is a marketing campaign from Microsoft (sometimes known as “Scroogled”) and some of it comes from Microsoft-bribed academics or lobbyists, as we last demonstrated some days ago (the liar does not mention by name his relationship (payments) with Microsoft).

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN) has published this reply which cites the Gates-funded (bribed) Guardian (very notable for its FUD against Android and Google as of late). SJVN said: “The Guardian published a story, which they have since taken down, spreading FUD about Google, Android, Linux, open source, and licensing. The paper later published another article trying to get the Android facts right, but, well, they still don’t.”

Charles Arthur (from Gates’ ‘Guardian’) occasionally gives a platform to a Microsoft lobbyist, Florian Müller, especially after Bill Gates paid the paper to promote agenda. This makes ‘Guardian’ look more like Bill Gates’ private guardian and the paper now accepts payments from all sorts of corporations whose agenda it will promote in disguise (already a controversial move). For instance, ‘Guardian’ would happily complain about Google not paying much tax, but it would never mention the fact that Microsoft is by far a bigger offender and that Gates (its Sugar Daddy) is the world’s largest private tax evader. The ‘Guardian’ is a joke when it comes to many areas. It also stabs in the back its sources (Manning, Assange, Snowden, and several examples predating them).

These attacks on Google are not just due to its size. With Nokia, for example, Microsoft now uses moles like Elop (and patent troll whom he feeds) to launch frivolous lawsuits and make false accusations too. A lot of this FUD can be traced back to Microsoft funding as we already have examples of recent FUD that was spread to belittle or demonise Android, not just Chrome OS (which Microsoft broadcasts deceptive ads to discredit, pretending that Microsoft is privacy-respecting). Muktware has published an article titled “Chrome OS Myths Debunked”, hopefully helping to end myths such as the myth that it is not GNU/Linux (actually, it is).

Be careful when reading negative coverage about Android, Chrome OS, etc. A lot of it is spread by Microsoft boosters, people who are secretly bribed by Microsoft, media companies that Microsoft is paying, or even Microsoft staff masquerading as “journalists”. Misinformation is something that Microsoft is very good at.

02.17.14

GNU/Linux: It’s Not Just for Desktops

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux at 9:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Desktops and laptops as an area of computing are diminishing with the growth of other areas, which are often dominated by GNU and/or Linux

BASHERS of GNU/Linux like to pretend that only desktops — and nothing else — can ever count. The growth of smartphones and tablets is often overlooked by those bashers, not to mention the role of servers, devices, etc. (more on that in later posts).

While it’s true that GNU/Linux is installed on some “Macs” [1] (this will count as Apple market share even though it’s not) and laptops that were not necessarily designed to be running GNU/Linux [2] (i.e. may count as a Windows “sale”), some insist that in order to track the growth of GNU/Linux we just need to count something like a sale of Chromebook. It’s probably time to stop feeding the bashers and instead talk about the growth of GNU/Linux (preinstalled) in various “unexpected” [3] and “weird” [4] places (see gallery [5]) such as Barbie dolls [6], television sets, etc.

In the coming few posts we are going to cover new examples of Linux expansion in various areas other than desktops (or laptops).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux On Macs

    It is possible that some devices will not work, especially if you have a newer thunderbolt equipped Mac. It is also possible that you may experience a notable decline in battery life when using Linux over OS X. However, most of the responses I’ve seen, as well as my own experiences, have been very positive. If you have experience running Linux on Apple hardware, the Reddit thread would love to hear from you, and I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

  2. Pennsylvania High School Rolls Out 1,700 Linux Laptops to Students

    A few weeks before Penn Manor High School gave Linux laptops to every student, stacks of the unboxed machines filled a cafeteria. There the Lancaster, Pa. district’s IT staff, high school apprentices and volunteers spent winter break configuring and testing all 1,725 laptops in assembly-line fashion, in preparation for the start of the second semester.

  3. 20 ‘Unexpected’ Places Where You Will Find Linux

    As stated on comparebusinessproducts.com, Linux can be found in quite a few places than one can suspect. Let’s take a look at them below:

  4. 16 weirdest places you’ll find Linux

    Linux is everywhere, if you look for it.

  5. Network World Linux slideshows

    Network World has published quite a few slideshows about various aspects of Linux; here’s a hand-picked selection

  6. Barbie runs Linux

    The latest iteration of the Barbe doll merchandise range sees everybody’s favourite blonde girl step into a new role as a software application developer.

    Barbie I Can Be Computer Engineer Doll is the latest model available in the Barbie collection.

    The range was first started in 1959 by American businesswoman Ruth Handler.

    Barbie has previously worked as both an astronaut and a racing car driver.

02.15.14

Microsoft-Bribed Ben Edelman Behind Latest Smear Against Android/Linux

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Funded by Microsoft, but the press doesn’t know it

Ben Edelman

Summary: Response to some of the latest claims about AOSP — claims that indirectly come from Microsoft, the biggest foe of Android

Ben Edelman is a sellout masquerading as an academic. He worked for Microsoft by covertly spreading FUD against Android in 2011 and he is doing is again. Microsoft has a tradition of passing ‘dirt’ for people to publish and make its rivals (ODF, IBM, Google, GNU, Linux etc.) look bad. It comes from Microsoft’s PR agencies.

When we saw the latest smear against Android [1,2] (similar to Steve Jobs’ facts-free smear against Android) we thought it was Microsoft Florian behind it. This time, however, it was a different paid lobbying doing the work [3] (there is a group of people Microsoft regularly pays for this FUD service, some of whom are lawyers that try to hide the payments from Microsoft).

The latest smear against Android (it’s untrue by the way, for reasons we covered before) was further promoted and spread by pro-Microsoft circles like tech tabloid ZDNet (CBS). Chase all these reports back to the source (which Android/AOSP does have by the way) and you will find Microsoft. It’s a shame that all these gullible journalists fail to disclose the Microsoft tie to these claims. They just don’t seem to know who Ben Edelman really is. This is why Microsoft keeps shuffling lobbyists; it’s harder to track this way.

There is a new press release titled “Android Open Source Project (AOSP) ROM Builder Now Available on AWS Marketplace,” [4] demonstrating perhaps that the myth of limitation is just a make-belief agenda that Microsoft has been pushing for years.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Android can’t escape the Pandora’s Box of openness
  2. Is Android too open for Google to retain control?
  3. Google’s Dirty Little Android Secrets Leaked

    Google imposes strict restrictions on smartphone manufacturers and app developers in its Android mobile application distribution agreement, or MADA, according to excerpts of documents revealed by Ben Edelman, an associate professor at the Harvard Business School.

  4. Android Open Source Project (AOSP) ROM Builder Now Available on AWS Marketplace

01.28.14

Anti-GNU/Linux Agenda at ZDNet (Part of CBS) Noted Again

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux at 2:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nothing spooky about the CBS logo

CBS logo

Summary: GNU/Linux FUD (with concurrent promotion of spyware like Windows and Apple systems) still being reinforced by technology-focused sites that are owned by CBS

ENOUGH has been said here about ZDNet, where writers (supposed “journalists”) are Microsoft staff like Perlow and full-time Microsoft boosters like Ed Bott and Mary-Jo Foley. Then there are rookies like David Gewirtz, who habitually bash (out of ignorance) GNU/Linux [1, 2] and now receive a rebuttal [1]. In a perfect world all this provocation would not enter news feeds or Web sites that pretend to be news sites, but when you are part of CBS you get access to a bigger audience that’s not deserved.

CBS is not just doing propaganda for the NSA (a close partner of Microsoft) but also for Microsoft, which is paying CBS in all sorts of ways (including advertisements). Be careful of CNET too. It is owned by CBS (with the motto “America’s Most Watched Network”) and it has roots in Microsoft’s co-founder. These are generally poor sources of information because of veiled bias/agenda. Writers are not being selected at random, they are selected to fit the desired agenda. Many more (not named above) have roots in Microsoft (full or partial employment) and a Microsoft whistleblower once revealed how the company was gaming the site.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Why do Windows journalists have to trash Linux?

    Trashing Linux seems to be a very nasty trend though I can’t understand why people bother to keep doing it. It’s as if they can’t think of anything else to write about, so they crank out yet another lame “Linux sucks!” article in a pathetic attempt to generate some page views.

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