Pointing the finger at the real culprit
Summary: Spin regarding UEFI and complicity among some has been responsible for tarnishing the name of Microsoft’s competition (Linux), not just suppress or altogether block its adoption
Linux developers who are serving Microsoft’s agenda with UEFI restricted boot are typically former Novell staff. These are people who in the past too worked on Microsoft software, interjecting Microsoft agenda into Linux because Microsoft was paying Novell for it.
This damaging work is reinforcing the weird notion of “Windows 8 PCs”, as if hardware should no longer be software-agnostic, even on desktops. A more reasonable response would have been an antitrust complaint, not legitimisation of anti-competitive practices that brick hardware. A FOSS basher and occasional Microsoft booster writes about it as though it’s good news, leading others to parrot the official line that has Microsoft controlling the platform, containing the competition (Linux).
We should really be smarter about it. Once Microsoft controls Linux at boot time it can abuse Linux at will. Here is a memorable lesson from WordPerfect, which had to depend on Windows (needless to say, Windows clearly discriminated against WordPerfect). The trial still goes on and here is the latest:
It’s going to be David Boies himself speaking for Novell in the Novell v. Microsoft WordPerfect antitrust appeal before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
The basis of this antitrust trial is, Microsoft used its API control (similar to restricted boot control) to penalise and suppress WordPerfect. UEFI restricted boot enables similar abuse of power, so pundits who give their opinions about it should take into account Microsoft’s historical behaviour. Dr. Garrett too should be aware that his work is helping Microsoft, more recently generating coverage like this or this, blaming Samsung rather than Microsoft (which masterminded the whole thing) after it helped generate negative publicity for Linux, the kernel (later it turned out that Linux [can be] acquitted in Samsung laptop UEFI deaths). Sure, Samsung is Ballnux (Microsoft-taxed Linux) anyway, so it oughtn’t be endorsed, but with coverage like this we lose sight of the real culprit. Microsoft is guilty for shoving this nonsense down OEMs’ throats and the Linux Foundation’s endorsement for Microsoft’s tactics is in no way helpful. More fiascos are surely on their way and we must remember to blame the company which pushed for it, not those who failed to follow orders from Redmond. █
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Summary: Copyleft licences such as the *GPL family are under attack and perpetrators against copyleft often have strong links to Microsoft
THERE are some companies out there whose main output is articles about how “expensive” it is to comply with copyleft licences. One such company, Protecode (see this latest press release), does not seem like it’s connected to Microsoft, unlike other such firms (headed by or founded by Microsoft veterans). It’s quite a new wave of FUD and it seems to be well coordinated. Bruce Perens calls the FUD "BS" although he appears not to even know about the Microsoft connections (he pointed this out in relation to OpenLogic, but not Black Duck, both of which have very strong Microsoft connections).
Recently, a member of the Asay family disseminated some copyleft FUD, receiving some resultant coverage (i.e. seeding the ideas) from unexpected people, including Glyn Moody. Here are some articles that I humbly do not recommend because they are hinged on the idea that copyleft FUD is in fact true:
FLOSS is about Freedom, allowing the recipient of the software to examine the code, run it, modify it and to distribute it under the same terms. A move to put Free Software in the public domain undermines that. A monopolist can take public domain software, tweak it to be incompatible with Free Software that is in the public domain and use leverage to enslave users. Free Software needs copyright as a lingua franca for licensing so that no monopolist can hide the code and force millions into slavery. Public domain would be great if there were no evil people in the world trying to take advantage of people to complete their power-trip.
Of course, moving to PD wouldn’t mean that today’s free software licences disappear – they will still be there for those who wish to use them. As ever, choice and personal freedom are crucial. But I hope that people will think twice about introducing new licences, or even updating old ones. In particular, I hope that there will never be a GNU GPL version 4. Instead, we need to complete the revolution that Richard Stallman began nearly three decades ago by making free software truly free, placing it in the public domain, and severing the chains that still bind it to that three-hundred-year-old monopoly called copyright.
Black Duck, unlike Protecode, is connected to Microsoft, but that is not the main point. The main point is that selection bias in reporting and also in data gathering has helped manufacture that FUD which Microsoft so badly craved. We showed this about 4 years ago when Microsoft signed some deals that feed data bias. Moreover, it has served as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy since 2009, deterring developers from picking copyleft licences. The FSFE’s founder has already responded to Glyn Moody, saying to him the following things:
“Since all the “evidence” for that comes from neo-proprietary proponents, I remain sceptical. My experience tells me the opposite.” [Source]
“..the are the main beneficiaries of the “let’s not use Copyleft anymore” approach. No more CAs required.” [Source]
“but then: Apple also did not fare so badly with its “only take what’s not Copyleft” approach. And Google also is not a fan.” [Source]
“So I see a pattern here, and a marketing/image campaign by the primary beneficiaries of a move away from Copyleft.” [Source]
“”oddly”, I would say. I think I saw this particular wave of spindoctoring peak after GPLv3 came out. What a coincidence.” [Source]
Some former Microsoft staff trying to exaggerate costs of “compliance” is not news. We wrote about OpenLogic almost half a decade ago. There is an agenda there. We need to expose those who are serving this agenda. More importantly, we need to spread awareness that this is happening. In some cases we see Microsoft funding academic staff to manufacture copyleft FUD, corrupting public trust in government-run institutions (Microsoft was also Obama’s #2 funder in the 2012 elections). █
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Summary: Microsoft proxies openwash Microsoft and help suppress adoption of copyleft licences such as the GPL
The creation of Mr. Levin is appalling and it is becoming more blatant about it all. Black Duck, a PR front for many purposes and somewhat of a Microsoft proxy, is openwashing Microsoft and attacking the GPL, especially after entering an agreement with Microsoft (in public) around 2009. Watch this latest nonsense that Levin’s company paid to flood news wires with. Perhaps it pushed journalists too, generating puff pieces like “Microsoft, Yahoo Among Open Source ‘Rookies of the Year’”. It says:
Each year, Black Duck unveils what it calls the Rookie Open Source Projects of the Year. The Massachusetts company sells software for managing open source projects, and its annual list is a way of promoting both itself and the wider open source software community. But the list is also good reading.
This year, Microsoft made a surprise appearance, as did Yahoo, which fell down a bit in terms of developer relations last year, thanks to heavy layoffs and its widely panned patents policy.
Mac Asay wrote this:
It’s déjà vu all over again for Microsoft, as Black Duck Software has named Redmond’s TypeScript project among its 2012 Open Source Rookies of the Year – despite Microsoft spending nearly a decade trying to figure out this crazy communist software manifesto.
Back in 2001, Microsoft labeled open source a “cancer,” “un-American,” and a threat to rich software capitalists everywhere. By 2003, however, it was limping along the right track with the introduction of its Shared Source Initiative, and not long after started releasing open-source code of its own and creating its own open-source software lab.
So why is Microsoft still considered an open-source rookie in 2013, 10 years later?
Asay has had some connections and interactions with Levin et al. so it’s sensible to suspect they pushed him to it (e.g. by E-mail, just like Microsoft Florian). Using prophecies Black Duck has been trying to take companies off the GPL, just like other Microsoft moles (e.g. Walli). Asay helps those people, having himself publicly chastised the GPL (after he had promoted it but then got lobbied). Here we see another Microsoft proxy, OpenLogic, promoting a move out of GPL. And guess who Microsoft hired after many payouts? Apache leadership, which we wrote about before. Microsoft uses Apache againzt GNU GPL. Those who are familiar with history or chronology here will know that it’s evident, and Microsoft hopes to consume FOSS so that it doesn’t use GNU licenses and instead runs on Microsoft stacks, such as Office, SharePoint, SQL Server, etc. █
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Summary: Microsoft proxies interfere with government migrations to FOSS and we gather some new examples
Matt Asay, who almost worked for Microsoft, has a relative play ball for Microsoft.
“Clark Asay (yes relation),” writes Richard Fontana (Red Hat), “calls FSF “the most active of FOSS copyright holders on the litigation front”" (smells like propaganda because it is).
Guess the source…
Microsoft proxy Outercurve [1, 2], which gave him a platform in which to say:
Free and open source software (FOSS) has always presented a bit of a conundrum for companies wishing to use it. On the one hand, significant numbers of useful FOSS projects are freely available under license terms that grant users broad rights in the FOSS. On the other, FOSS is still subject to intellectual property (IP) rights, and FOSS generally doesn’t come with any sort of backing from a third party. In fact, FOSS licenses almost universally disclaim any sort of IP warranty or indemnity.
IP is a meaningless term. Stallman explains why it's meaningless and he does it well. Picking on the FSF is easy and convenient as it does not have PR staff with which to defend itself. Meanwhile, more pseudo-Open Source lobbies emerge (a lot of PR put in news and blogs), with this latest example being OSSI, a SUSE-led (i.e. Microsoft-funded) group and some proprietary software companies, Microsoft proxies, and Red Hat/LPI as the only exception to the rule. It seems like a Trojan horse, openwashing proprietary options. Even Black Duck is in there.
Remember how Microsoft repeatedly tried to infiltrate government and sabotage migrations to FOSS. It did this by proxy with HP recently. The latest example is Munich, which ECT says Microsoft wants to believe was a failure. To quote, “Munich’s multiyear migration to Linux has been nothing if not an ongoing saga over the past decade or so, beset as it has been by stops, starts, and various twists and turns.”
Microsoft repeatedly tried to derail this migration, as we covered here many times before. Microsoft used hired guns and proxies, too. The latest so-called ‘study’ in Munich [1, 2] comes from HP for some secret lobbying. Here is what it says after spilling out:
Questioning the City of Munich’s figures by quoting a non-public study that could not be verified has sparked considerable criticism. Most likely it is in response to this that Microsoft has now released a summary of the study. Two tables in the document are designed to clarify why HP arrives at significantly higher costs for Munich’s Linux/OpenOffice environment than for a solution involving Windows and Microsoft Office. HP estimates that migrating from Windows NT 4 and Microsoft Office to Linux and OpenOffice cost €60.6 million (£51 million):
A rebuttal was written by Pogson, who concludes: “Don’t hire either HP or M$ to do your analysis for your next project. You will be wasting your money and get the wrong answer. They might even include fiction.”
The same goes for Gartner, which played a similar role. █
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Summary: Blowback for Microsoft and HP as claims fail to withstand scrutiny
Yesterday we published a summary of material about Microsoft FUD that it had hidden from the public. Well, rebuttals continue to come from Mr. Wildeboer, who points out flaws in the ‘study’, leading to yet more backlash from Munich. Microsoft’s goes a long way back and Germany should know the dangers of propaganda. Here is a new article with refutations:
The German city of Munich refutes the claims over high costs of the city’s switch to an IT system mostly based on open source. The IT department takes apart the numbers published by Focus earlier this week. The German weekly questions the city’s move to open source, citing the author of an unpublished report commissioned by the maker of the ubiquitous proprietary office software and operating system.
The response from the IT department was published in the city’s newsletter on Tuesday. Karl-Heinz Schneider, head of the municipal IT service, starts by saying that the licensing costs that would be incurred for using their products had not been taken into account. Schneider: “By doing so, they fail to consider the lion’s share of savings, of nearly seven million euro.”
The IT department also rejects the purported claim that it would not have needed to upgrade to newer versions of the proprietary operating system. Schneider: “A big trigger for our decision to put the operating system to the test, was the announcement by the vendor to drop support for the operating system in use at the time. Migrating to a new operating system was inevitable.”
What’s curious is HP’s involvement in the propaganda. █
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Summary: Microsoft caught paying to manufacture FUD against a Free software success story
Microsoft is losing business. Nobody loses one’s job for dumping Microsoft anymore. Even Microsoft’s CEO is getting out of Microsoft, or as some put it in Google Plus, in light of good performance from Google, “game over, Ballmer loses”:
Microsoft CEO Ballmer to sell off 75 million shares | Microsoft – CNET News http://goo.gl/E6yyf #crashandburn … the rats are leaving!
–looks like forbes deleted the article https://plus.google.com/104707914502304652469/posts/RzB77KLTsk4?hl=en …but here it is The Phoenix Principle: Sell Microsoft NOW – Game over, Ballmer loses http://goo.gl/nM2Vp
Based on this report, it is the TCO nonsense all over again. Years ago we saw Microsoft trying hard to derail Munich’s case study and now we see more new evidence of this, as covered by IDG: (via)
Microsoft and Hewlett Packard won’t share a study claiming that the German city of Munich had its numbers wrong when it calculated switching from Windows to Linux saved the city millions — although an HP employee did provide the data to a German publication that reported on the results.
By switching from Windows to its own Linux distribution, LiMux, Munich has saved over ¬11 million (US$14.3 million) so far, the city announced in November. But a Microsoft-commissioned Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) study conducted by HP suggests that the city’s numbers are wrong, and claims that Munich would have saved ¬43.7 million if it had stuck with Microsoft, German weekly Focus reported earlier this week.
Ballmer tried bribing them out of it and used all sorts of dirty tactics which we covered before. Gartner played along.
Jan Wildeboer, a Red Hat employee from Munich, Germany (cited above) writes:
#Limuxgate HP guy claims his study shows that the Linux Migration in Munich is far more expensive compared to using Windows in an interview with a German newsmagazine, FOCUS. Turns out Microsoft paid for that study. And while the numbers of the city of Munich are publicly available, this study is now claimed to be “internal only” by Microsoft and thus not available to all of us. Classy. Public accusations but refusal to publish the numbers. Political campaign? You bet.
Well, later he translated the original article from German to English, with help from Google. Here it is:
(01/22/2013) Under the intriguing title “[Mayor of Munich] Ude has wasted millions on Linux machine?” Focus Money Online reported on a study that HP made on behalf of Microsoft. The study allegedly proves that the city didn’t save in the tens of millions Euro by switching to OpenOffice and LiMux, but actually paid far more.
Karl-Heinz Schneider, head of the municipal IT service IT@M:”Of course we want to deal with this criticism. I have asked Microsoft to share the study with us. What I could gather so far from press articles however raises a considerable amount of doubt on the validity of the study and its findings.” The study does not take into account the licensing costs that would be incurred for using Microsoft products. Schneider: “This simply drops seven million into the void – which is quite the biggest saving we had.”
The claim that no new versions of Windows and its application would have been needed is simply not true. Schneider: “A major trigger for the decision to put our operating system architecture to the test was precisely the announcement by Microsoft to drop support for Windows NT – the operating system that was used as a standard at the city of Munich at that time. A migration to a new operating system was therefore inevitable. ”
The claim that the city would have compared the cost of a current Windows 7 with a ten year old version of Linux is also simply wrong. Schneider: “Of course we have been gradually optimizing LiMux over time. The current version is far away from the original version and can stand a comparison with Windows 7.”
The study also falsely claims that one in four city computers still run on Windows as none of the specialized procedures can be migrated to Linux. Schneider: “It is true that not all business applications can be migrated to Linux. But that is ‘not all’ and not ‘none’. All web-based business applications can be used without any migration costs under LiMux and most of the procedures that are tightly integrated with Microsoft can be accessed with standard technologies that are also used by the Linux client.
Finally the number of remaining Windows machines in Munich that the study claims is too high. Instead of the claimed 75 percent, we have already moved 13,000 of the planned 15,000 machines to LiMux – that’s almost 87 percent. ”
Original german version published in the 2013-01-22 edition of Rathaus Umschau – Page 8 and 9
Here is Muktware‘s take on the news:
Bush Found WMD In Iraq, Microsoft Found Linux Migration More Expensive Than Windows
Microsoft is not new to propaganda and spreading FUD around Linux and open source. They have been doing it for ever. They are the master of the game and they have brothers in arm who assist them in achieving this.
HP recently conducted a story which claimed that the famous LiMux migration cost around €60.7 million over a period of 10 years to the city. The study said that the cost would have remained as low as €17 million if they stayed with Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003.
What is the life span of Windows XP? When will it reach ‘end of support’ or in Microsoft’s words, the date when Microsoft no longer provides automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance? The date is April 8, 2014. Microsoft recommends, “This is the time to make sure you have the latest available service pack installed.”
Since it’s proprietary and vendor locked (in Microsoft’s own wordings), “Without Microsoft support, you will no longer receive security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal your personal information. For more information go to Microsoft Support Lifecycle.”
So where is the cost of upgrade to Windows 8 as XP will be on ventilator next year?
The headline is political in nature. But then again, Microsoft is like a political movement. It is good that more people recognise this. █
“There’s free software [gratis, dumpware] and then there’s open source… there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.”
–Bill Gates, April 2008
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Summary: A former Microsoft Research Intern is spreading some more “malware”-themed FUD about Android
ABOUT a year ago we wrote about lawyer who was spreading Android FUD after he had removed evidence (from his CV) of former Microsoft employment. He just sort of airbrushed it out of his career history, and just in time for an attack on Android. He then collaborated with a Microsoft lobbyist (who routinely pushes journalists to publish Android/Linux horror stories) in spreading his FUD. This is not a coincidence. It’s a pattern we learned to recognise.
Several weeks ago, former Microsoft staff crafted another piece of "malware"-themed FUD against Android. They try to play an angle which is clearly neglecting to account for trusted repositories and such. If one really insists on installing malware on one’s system, then harm is self-inflicted.
A couple of days ago, Android-hostile sites flooded the press with the “malware” talking point again, attributing the claims to someone who came from Purdue University. His old homepage is gone from the Web now. It was removed recently, but Google still has a cached copy that says:
Microsoft Research Intern
05/2005 – 08/2005
• Conducted research on the HoneyMonkey project to identify malicious websites exploit-
ing browser vulnerabilities and analyze their detailed infection behavior;
• Developed a page-ranking algorithm to automatically prioritize those malicious websites
and visualize their inter-relationship;
• Contributed to the discovery of two zero-day “in-the-wild” Internet Explorer exploits.
Here are just two examples of the FUD he helped generate:
Jiang, an associate professor at NC State University, took Nexus 10 tablets running Android 4.2 and, using semi-automated installations, loaded 1260 malware samples from the Android Malware Genome Project onto the devices.
Guess who’s the maintainer of the Android Malware Genome Project… Xuxian Jiang. So who’s selecting this data anyway? That’s crucial for the results of these experiments. Bias tends to travel from one employer to another, so we may never know why he’s picking on Android. But we can speculate. █
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Summary: Microsoft jumps head first into the FUD feast, only to find itself becoming the subject of intense criticism — the very opposite of what it intended
The typical old Microsoft is at it again. That which we came to know as one notable company where executives got rich (rather than jail sentences they deserved) is clearly very worried about Android’s domination which accompanies Linux. Microsoft’s disgusting PR is digging for FUD openly and blatantly (not via proxies like Juniper) only to face blowback: “Microsoft might be looking for a new Windows Phone Twitter account manager today after an attempt to crowd-source attacks on Android-based phones backfired and instead prompted a barrage of attack tweets against Windows Phone, Windows security and Microsoft.
“The original tweet from the Windows Phone Twitter account asked users of Android devices to post horror stories about malware on the devices. In return, they would win an unspecified prize.”
Here is more:
Microsoft’s Windows Phone team reignited its #droidrage Twitter stunt this week, a campaign that offers free Windows Phones to Android malware victims. After originally creating it almost a year ago, Microsoft has remained relatively quiet in its anti-Android quest. Earlier this week, the official Windows Phone Twitter account kicked off #droidrage again in a series of Tweets including “wait for your Android phone to get infected with malware” and “buy a Windows Phone and connect with people you care about instead of some hacker plotting in a dank basement.”
The account has been sharing stories from other Twitter users who appear to have encountered Android malware. Google removed 27 malware-infected apps from its Play Store last year, a move that prompted Microsoft to start its campaign, but despite an upward trend in Android malware, there’s no evidence to suggest it’s as bad as Microsoft makes out. Google is also making changes to Android 4.2 to include a malware scanner that analyzes “sideloaded” apps for malware threats. With no recent high profile Android malware stories, Microsoft kicked off #droidrage again, seemingly out of the blue, and it has backfired.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes:
Microsoft’s DroidRage Twitter campaign goes painfully wrong
Someone in Microsoft public relations seem to think that encouraging Android FUD on Twitter would be a great way to win friends and influence others. Wrong!
There has been so much blowback that Microsoft must consider firing someone. As one Microsoft-friendly site put it:
What was Microsoft thinking? The software giant initiated a campaign on Twitter, dubbed #DroidRage, inviting Android users to share their “malware horror stories”, only to have it backfire spectacularly shortly afterwards. A huge number of anti-Microsoft posts with the #WindowsRage hashtag appeared on Twitter and Google+, almost immediately.
Here is the irony of it all:
Microsoft is looking exhausted and desperate with such move, they should better improve their products than attacking the competitors. And, advice about malware from the maker of the world’s most insecure software just doesn’t make any sense.
Microsoft is still a FUD company, much like Protecode, which seems to have found a new host in IBM. Companies which use fear as a business model clearly have nothing to sell. █
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