Summary: Microsoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always
Windows, the common carrier of Microsoft, is such a sordid mess that it suffers regular glitches and conducts mass surveillance on users. Microsoft knows that without Windows it cannot survive, so dirty tricks resume in a very big way. This is not a beep on the radar but somewhat of a surge.
Bribing politicians in numerous countries is not enough for Microsoft (it got caught), so moles too seem to be rolled into action. Microsoft Peter says that the chief criminal (behind bribes to officials) is distancing himself from Microsoft, but the corruption itself is not stopping:
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced that he’s stepping down from the company’s board, effective immediately.
Don’t think for a second that it means the crimes will stop. Under his leadership Brazil was attacked by proxy for its ODF policy and many other nations that are cheap to bribe or corrupt suffered from Microsoft intervention. It is digital imperialism. Consider the Philippines, which has been the victim of colonialism for hundreds of years. In 2008 we wrote about what Microsoft had done in the Philippines to derail a Free software policy and bill. Now Microsoft does something similar in Santiago, writing or changing legislation by proxy, if not bribing people as well (the modus operandi of Microsoft against public officials). In 2008 we wrote about what Microsoft had done in Chile and Ernesto Manríquez tells us that it is happening again. “Microsoft bought local politician Daniel Farcas to neutralize a resolution forcing Chilean gov’t to use FLOSS,” he told me, adding that “Farcas was involved in a corruption scandal with his university, UNIACC (controlled by Apollo Group)”.
Finally he shows an article where, according to him and his translation “Vlado Mirosevic reveals sabotage by MS to res promoting FLOSS usage in Chielan gov’t. “MS RAPED us””.
The article from Renato Garín says (in English): “To understand the debate is necessary to observe the sequence of events. The Mirosevic MP, the Liberal Party of Chile, intended to introduce a bill regarding free software and encourage its use by the state. The draft agreement submitted by Deputy Mirosevic was also signed by nine other legislators seeking the State to take into account the alternative of free software versus software license, which is paid over 36 billion a year, according to the detail built by the team of deputy. Aware of the threat to their interests, representatives of Microsoft came to interview Mirosevic to persuade him down this motion. In these efforts, Microsoft was accompanied by a strategic communications company called Factor C, whose website service lobby is not mentioned and whose executive director is Javiera de la Cerda, UDI lady mayor of Las Condes, Francisco de la Maza.”
On it goes: “Having described the case of free software, it seems clear that this conflict between Mirosevic Microsoft has an edge and lobbying that can not be overlooked. The regulation of lobbying, we know, is already stipulated in the Law 20.730 which comes into operation yet, because we are waiting for the issuance of the respective regulations. In the short term does not seem plausible to have the law in place, since then the rules have to mount a digital system which enables meeting of parliamentarians and other authorities involved. However, the team has put into operation Mirosevic equivalent minuta to which shall be constructed under Law 20.730. minuta In this, the role played by the company Factor C is seen as a representative of Microsoft and ACTIS. On the website of Factor C mention the lobby as such does not appear. Factor C ¿Understand that what they do is lobby?
“All this leads to the icing on the cake if exposed by the report of Fluxá. It turns out that, in the negotiations in the Senate, an indication is included for companies producing software that will work in practice as a subsidy. That is, the original draft of Mirosevic candid unleashed lobby eventually pushed the project Farcas and then the indication in the tax reform bill. This shows the effectiveness of carambola lobby, the ability to promote and neutering bills and motions, ending leading to direct benefits to large companies. In parallel, an alliance orchestra with small producers to align interests and negotiate together. The result is obvious: to legislate his pint. The logic and the project know as the Fisheries Act, which was dubbed ” a picnic Lobby “by Senator Carlos Montes.”
Ernesto Manríquez shows us another new article. To quote an English translation of the headline: “Deputy Mirosevic reveals sabotage project that promoted free software: “Microsoft violated us””
Here is some translation of the article’s body:
A multimillion-dollar business, in fact nothing less than 36 billion dollars that the State of Chile paid annually to companies by the concept of “software licenses”, ie, authorization to use such common programs such as the Windows operating system or Office programs, Word and Excel.
But did you know that this -upper the amount required to build a hospital of high complexity-pocket is mostly unnecessary? This is because in recent years, countries such as Germany, France, Spain, Russia, China and Brazil have joined the trend of free software, a mode in which programs developed jointly used by hundreds of people, who then distributed for use at no charge.
Following this policy, the deputy Vlado Mirosevic introduced in May this year a bill ordering the Chilean State to prefer free software over proprietary software. The legislation specified that only when a department submit a written justification, may purchase a license.
“We are not against the state hires Microsoft license or other services, but we are breaking this trend in the culture of the state to hire proprietary software because it is the one most on hand. The idea is that the state is obliged to seek alternative services that are free, that will mean significant savings, “he said at that time the deputy Arica daily La Tercera .
Soon, Mirosevic realized that large software companies had accused the coup. As explained by a news magazine Friday picked up by The Desk , Alex Pessó, manager of legal and corporate affairs at Microsoft, traveled to Congress to join him, to expose studies and arguments rebutted the project that had submitted .
However no parliamentary traded. Quite the contrary, received immediate support from other former student leaders as Giorgio Jackson and Gabriel Boric, who were more akin to the ideology of community development. In the case of the other congressmen, he realized that most of them did not understand the topic.
“Half the people had no idea what we were talking. I’m not saying the free software concept, rather the software, but as we had calculated, the rest followed those that had understood, “said Mirosevic publication.
This is becoming a hot article in Chile at the moment. Further down it says:
“Microsoft violated us. And worse, it was a rape that ended in pregnancy, “he snapped.
This is because under the new draft Farcas, not only no longer promotes free software in the state, but a tax break for companies that hire or subscribe technology services through the Internet is established. “It’s a tax benefit to companies to use proprietary software. It encourages buying and state, instead of saving, subsidizing ends, “he added.
Chile would be foolish to stay with Microsoft, especially given public knowledge about espionage by NSA, Microsoft’s “special” partner. It is a matter of national security. Likewise in Germany. Right now Microsoft (through its partners and embedded pseudo-journalists) is libeling Munich's migration to GNU/Linux (see our update with refutation) and one Romanian journalist says that it is “Proof That Microsoft Is Still an Evil Company”. Microsoft has tried so many dirty tricks against Munich and the latest is perhaps a mole of Microsoft. To quote the journalist: “Reports about the city of Munich authorities that are considering the replacement of Linux with Microsoft products mostly comes from one man, the Deputy Mayor of Munich, who is also a long-term self-declared Windows fan.
“Munich is the poster child for the adoption of a Linux distribution and the replacement of the old Windows OS. It provided a powerful incentive for other cities to do the same, and it’s been a thorn in Microsoft’s side for a very long time.
“The adoption of open source software in Munich started back in 2004 and it took the local authorities over 10 years to finish the process. It’s a big infrastructure, but in the end they managed to do it. As you can imagine, Microsoft was not happy about it. Even the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, tried to stop the switch to Linux, but he was too late to the party.”
Even after refutation some Microsoft boosters continue to repeat the propaganda and the lies (no need for links to examples here, as that would feed them). They will probably continue to do this for a while, totally ignoring refutations that are not convenient to this Microsoft brainwash attempt (trying to scare those who wish to mimic Munich and follow its example). Bribes go a long way and Microsoft has clever ways of distributing them. We gave numerous examples from Munich (‘soft’ bribes).
Microsoft is a highly corrupt company, but it is unlikely that its staff will be sent to jail. Microsoft exploits this perceived immunity (laws do not apply) to act recklessly. As Pogson puts it
Of course, the mayor might get a different result if he accepts voluntary labour from M$ or hires his nephew to do the research, but the council is wide awake and understands the issues, so I doubt there will be some coup in IT.
Nothing is going to change in Munich, but Microsoft is trying to maintain an international/universal perception that the migration to GNU/Linux was a disaster. Numerous anonymous blogs were created to attack Munich over this and provocateurs of Microsoft loved citing them, only to be repeatedly proven wrong. Microsoft is trying to make an example out of Munich in all sorts of nefarious ways. We need to defend Munich from this malicious assault by the convicted monopolist and corrupt enterprise that’s acting as though it fights for its very survival (while indeed laying off tens of thousands of employees). █
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Embracing and extending, but not yet extinguishing
Summary: Codenomicon and Bluebox, two companies with strong Microsoft links, fill the media with negative articles about Android
icrosoft marketing again” is what our reader labeled it. Brett Winterford, who played ball for OOXML after Microsoft had given him gifts, smears Android using a Microsoft buddy, Codenomicon, the company that hyped up an OpenSSL bug, or as this new article puts it:
Codenomicon, which coined the term “Heartbleed” upon discovering the OpenSSL flaw, will name and shame app developers later this month when it publishes its findings on those that neglected robust security practices.
Codenomicon did not discover the bug (a man from Google did, but some give both credit); Codenomicon did the marketing, registered a domain, and spread the “Heartbleed” brand.
The “Heartbleed” marketing is still floating in the media, this time because of Venafi, keeping it in the media nearly 4 months later. What we basically have here is Codenomicon making a comeback, this time making derogatory claims about Android.
A reader of ours says that “it makes sense. I have trouble tracking all the names though. If one is cynical, pretty much 100% of the pro-Microsoft or anti-Linux (especially anti-FOSS) writings can be tracked to direct Microsoft influence. One wonders society can do with all the “former” employees, especially the managers.”
Codenomicon’s board is managed by a man from Microsoft, one of Microsoft’s chief executives, for those who have not been keeping up.
Another company like this is Bluebox, whose Microsoft connection we covered here before. It is a Microsoft partner created and managed by a Microsoft guy. Now it has some dirt to throw on Android, too.
We first saw that covered by the FOSS-hostile Dan Goodin (he still only covers FOSS/Linux security issues, ignoring any proprietary software issues) and then we saw this in the Bill Gates-funded “The Guardian” and BBC, which like to chastise only Google over things that Microsoft does (and worse). This is definitely some of the earliest coverage, maybe coordinated ahead of distribution, leading other sites to covering it, only later on, even though the issue was already fixed. Later on we saw a report saying that it “Could Put Millions in Jeopardy” (key word is “could”) and Microsoft-friendly sites joined in, making a huge fuss about a bug that was patched very quickly.
“One need to keep track of who’s who and where the money travels.”While it is hard to show a conspiracy to smear Android, like Microsoft asking its former employees and affiliates who run Codenomicon and Bluebox to fill the media with negative coverage about Android bugs, we do need to consider such possibilities based on evidence that exists. It is clear who these companies are loyal to; it’s no secret, just follow the money. Why don’t they cover the loads of bugs in Windows or even the back doors, which are there by design?
The media too should be held accountable here, as we know that Microsoft bribes publishers like O’Reilly (we gave examples for years) and based on fresh complaints from the President of OSI , it is true that OSCON (O’Reilly’s so-called ‘open source’ conference) has become more of a Microsoft-subsidised breeding ground for moles and misdirection (sponsored by Microsoft in exchange for stage time/room).
When living in a spin zone (not spin-free zone), where many of the messengers are funded by Microsoft, it would be unwise to take and accept everything at face value. One need to keep track of who’s who and where the money travels. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
At the annual OSCON (Open Source Convention) last week, those stuck in a worldview of open source from the previous decade would have suffered serious cognitive dissonance.
First, Microsoft was an anchor of the conference, with a full-scale display from Jean Paoli’s subsidiary Microsoft Open Technologies. As I walked past I repeatedly heard people expressing shock that Microsoft was there at such scale. Wholehearted support for open source still largely stops at the boundaries of Microsoft’s Azure cloud offering, but plenty of staff people with genuine open source credentials were showing their wares. Microsoft’s journey is definitely progressing.
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Summary: Symantec enters the AllSeen Alliance and Sonatype is once again trying to claim great insecurity in FOSS due to software licensing
THE surveillance-oriented AllSeen Alliance has welcomed Microsoft and other patent aggressors (such as Red Bend Software) into its ranks. Now we discover that Symantec, which has been disseminating FUD about GNU/Linux, joins this Alliance, as revealed by the Linux Foundation a couple of days ago. To quote: “Symantec is an AllSeen Alliance Community Member, one of the world’s largest software companies and a leader in security, backup and availability solutions. Roxane Divol, SVP Product and Services Acceleration Group for Symantec, shares why the company decided to join the AllSeen Alliance and how they plan to contribute to AllJoyn for a connected experience that will change the Internet of Things.”
Well, Symantec, like some other companies, has been making money from creation of fear, putting aside its Microsoft connections and history of hostility towards Linux and FOSS. Symantec is one of several.
There are those who cover a “legal” security angle (they call their licensing FUD ‘security’, as per a deceiving headline from some weeks ago). Some of those are well linked to Microsoft (e.g. OpenLogic and Black Duck) and another such player is Sonatype (it targets Microsoft’s proprietary software and .NET developers). We covered its FUD quite recently, after we had observed Sonatype’s FUD reports from last year. Watch the gross misuse of the word “suspected” to insinuate that many organisations don’t comply with FOSS licences. As if proprietary software licences are always obeyed, without leading to assaults from the BSA et al. It is not so hard — let alone expensive — to comply with FOSS licences. █
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Attempts to belittle the “eyeballs on the code” motto
Summary: Another week brings another set of bugfixes, which some choose to characterise as a very big deal despite evidence to the contrary
WHEN one has an agenda one can accentuate a particular side by covering it excessively. To be frank, not only FOSS-hostile circles are to be blamed for security hype; even some FOSS-friendly sites are releasing articles like “Linux Malware And Antivirus” or cover every security fix as though it’s major news. Consider just the past few days in Softpedia: A Steam OS bugfix is news and the same goes for Ubuntu because these projects make attractive headlines, especially after the whole “Heartbleed” hype [1, 2, 3]. Guess who was behind it: the firm of Microsoft’s ‘Former’ Security Chief. GnuTLS was subjected to the same treatment by the same Microsoft-connected firm because like any project it has bugfixes [1, 2], never mind the real security issues (back doors in proprietary software like Windows).
Amid some of the latest reports from Microsoft-friendly sources and FOSS-friendly sources like SJVN (we cited two of these articles before) we should keep in mind that not all bugs are created equal and if we let every bugfix in a project like Linux or OpenSSL become major news, then we will lose sight of the real issue, which is proprietary software having bugs by design, to facilitate intrusion.
Kevin Poulsen, who did some Wikileaks-hostile coverage back in the days, correctly points out that “After Heartbleed, We’re Overreacting to Bugs That Aren’t a Big Deal”. Here is how his article begins:
Here’s something else to blame on last April’s Heartbleed security bug: It smeared the line between security holes that users can do something about, and those we can’t. Getting that distinction right is going to be crucial as we weather a storm of vulnerabilities and hacks that shows no sign of abating.
Last week the OpenSSL Foundation announced it was patching six newly discovered vulnerabilities in the same software that Heartbleed lived in. The first reaction from many of us was a groan–here we go again. Heartbleed triggered what was probably the single largest mass-password change in history: In response to the bug, some 86 million internet users in the U.S. alone changed at least one password or deleted an internet account. The thought of a repeat was (and is) shudder-inducing.
Be aware that there’s a disturbing trend right now, where so-called ‘security’ firms (opportunists/attention whores) or media companies try to exploit general security paranoia (or privacy concerns) to ‘sell’ us stories about ‘gaping holes’; the reality is usually just some routine bugfixes, wrapped up by those who have agenda. Dan Goodin and the Microsoft-connected firm (which even branded a bug) are some of the worst in this regard. █
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Summary: Behind the negative marketing of WhiteSource, which seeks to portray FOSS as a risk and WhiteSource as the solution
Last year we wrote about FUD from WhiteSource, which sounds like something 'open source' but is actually against it. An article by Microsoft proponent (for decades) Scott M. Fulton helps amplify the signal of WhiteSource, stating: “Software development teams continue to implement open source components as boilerplate, cut-and-paste code. Now, one repository service may have a way of estimating the costs.”
Like Black Duck‘s ‘software’, this effort continues to create fear and not too surprisingly some companies blacklist sites where FOSS code is available. A lot of new sites that target IT managers help spread the message from the likes of Black Duck. It’s all business.
You know who rips off stuff? Black Duck. Just ask Palamida. It’s not developers who rip off others. It’s the one hypocritical exploiter of the fear created by oneself. Black Duck is not alone in this meta ‘industry’; there are other such firms, led by ‘former’ Microsoft managers. Their business model is beneficial not only to themselves but also to Microsoft.
Some companies try to make money out of fear, specifically the phobia against FOSS. We need to learn to reject such companies. They are not trying to help. The more afraid people are of FOSS, the more money they make. █
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Don’t trust Ars Technica on software issues
Summary: Dubious reporting and abject bias in a Web site that’s known for good reporting on matters of Internet law
THIS MAY not have been pointed out before, but Ars Technica, and especially its writer Dan Goodin, has spent the past year throwing FUD at GNU/Linux on a very regular basis. It’s all about security. That’s their angle. Ars Technica, which offers very poor journalism in some areas, deserves to know where it is going wrong so that it can improve.
Some of Ars Technica‘s staff has got to be very dishonest and biased to do what it sometimes does (not to generalise to all the staff). It doesn’t seem to be the fault of editors, perhaps the selecting (hiring) of writers. Here they have Microsoft Windows, which one of their writers advertises on an almost daily basis with no shame (Microsoft Peter) after another one did this (Microsoft Emil) and that’s not even taking into account the load of paid Microsoft advertising in the site. Ars Technica should know that Windows is a Swiss cheese of an operating system, with massive issues like Conficker and the NSA-developed Stuxnet (Microsoft helps the NSA get back doors in Windows). According to new reports like this one, “PCs running Windows 7 or Windows Vista have a higher chance of being infected with malware than Windows XP computers, according to Microsoft’s latest Security Intelligence Report.”
Vista 7 was advertised as being secure, but it has been a total sham when it comes to security, as we showed in dozens of posts. Vista 7 has NSA back doors, so it’s not surprising that it is not secure. It’s insecure by design. Don’t expect the Microsoft section of Ars Technica to say this. It’s just propagandistic.
Does Ars Technica criticise Microsoft Windows over security? Hardly. One of their writers, Dan Goodin, has seeded a lot of the past year’s hype about GNU/Linux ‘insecurity’, ranging from alarmist reports about GnuTLS [1, 2] to OpenSSL [1, 2, 3. Watch Mr. Goodin making another menacing headline out of a bugfix for code-execution flaw in Linux.
Only Mr. Goodin knows why he’s always picking on GNU/Linux, hardly ever discussing the elephant/s in the room. Our guess is, based on a long pattern of FUD, is that he’s on some kind of Jihad against GNU/Linux and Ars Technica happily facilitates it, just as Ars Technica facilitates utters lies by Microsoft propagandists whom it employed (never mind the paid advertising from Microsoft). It should be noted that even the person who covers FOSS most often at Ars Technica is a ‘former’ Microsoft booster, replacing one who was actually very good (Ryan Paul). Is Ars Technica hiring writers to match the sponsors (advertisers)? █
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Image from the 10 Downing Street Web site
Summary: A roundup of resistance to OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Free/Open Source software (FOSS) in the British public sector
AS ONE ought to expect, especially based on past experiences, a migration to FOSS won’t happen without resistance from an old generation of Microsoft proponents. Just watch how Microsoft rallied its partners to object to a pro-ODF consultation (we explained Microsoft's very dirty tactics to the Cabinet Office). It didn’t quite end there.
Despite the fact that a foreign government is cracking PCs with Windows on them (and seeking to make this practice legal), some people in suits here in Britain insist that Windows in the public sector is an acceptable risk. It’s not. It should be banned. Well, some government departments quietly move towards FOSS (I work with them) and numerous keep quiet about it for fear of retribution from Microsoft and/or its partners, who view FOSS like it’s some kind of Communism that’s spreading.
Continued resistance from Luddites and “tribe elders” of technology (who grew up in another type of world and dined with executives of proprietary software vendors) was expected all along. The ODF consultation showed just one portion of it (publicly-visible, unlike some stories I know of but cannot share).
One reader asked me yesterday: “what became of that government consultation?”
Well, nothing so far, as far as we know. This new article that this reader sent us states: “if you blithely email someone a .docx file you are effectively condemning them to pay rent to Microsoft for ever.”
Indeed, and this too is a reason to shun Microsoft, not just the back doors. The author continues by stating: “One way to loosen the corporate stranglehold would be for everyone to adopt the set of standards called Open Document Format, designed so the files work the same whatever software or computer type you use.”
Yes, indeed, but there are people who stand in the way of implementing national (top-down) policy.
Earlier this month there were a bunch of Microsoft-friendly British articles (at least 3), the latest of which is this one. They all cite Jos Creese (the original/seminal article was this, but it led to some more, even overseas), relaying claims that “Microsoft is cheaper” (than FOSS).
This is wrong on so many levels. It very much depends on what’s calculated and how. OOXML is massively dangerous lock-in. Microsoft had to corrupt the world’s standards bodies to get it where it is today. The bribery for Windows-only formats was documented here half a decade (or more) ago and it was coupled by patent extortion, bribing of companies, and all sorts of other criminal acts. To say that Microsoft is cheaper is almost like saying that robbing a bank is cheaper than working (labour) for the same money. To use a better analogy, to get oneself locked into one vendor is not “cheap”. It has been reported that the British government pays ~$10,000 per Windows desktop per year. Cheap, eh? It’s more like extortion. There is a monopoly on support.
Concurrently, Adrian Bridgwater offers some convenient hogwash that ‘vanishes’ Microsoft’s criminal activities against GNU/Linux, pretending that there is something inherently wrong with FOSS and/or GNU/Linux and that this is the reason it does not (yet) dominate the desktop. Never mind OOXML abuses, bribes against GNU/Linux (we documented some), and many other forms of manipulation. This is the type of revisionism that Microsoft requires right now, creating the illusion that FOSS is inadequate for desktop use, even though Chromebooks are taking off (they run GNU/Linux), defying Microsoft’s vicious attack ads.
One commentator at IDG alluded to the above people as “clueless CIOs” in his headline, stating that “companies are using open source to bring their legacy apps up to code, but all too many CIOs are still clueless about how often open source is being used in their own organizations.”
It wasn’t just clueless CIOs like Jos Creese who offered Microsoft lip service in the British press earlier this month, proposing lock-in rather than freedom because lock-in is supposedly “cheaper”. Another article, citing another bunch, speaks about LibreOffice/OpenOffice, focusing on Microsoft macros lock-in and OOXML lock-in to make FOSS seem inadequate. Titled “Open source ‘fails to excite councils’”, the article makes arguments like the following:
It added that open source software is seen to be difficult to replicate automated interfaces to Microsoft Office products which connect with council systems.
This is precisely the reason to dump Microsoft, not to avoid dumping Microsoft. This is evidence of lock-in and the better one gets out of the lock-in, the better.
On a brighter note, there is a new article from Ireland titled “open source is where I think the future is headed in local government…”
It is not a formal article, but it shows that people — influential people even — do in fact promote FOSS. To quote:
So, I’m in Dublin tomorrow for the OGP Europe Regional conference in Dublin in advance of next week’s Digital Lunch asking if Northern Ireland is ready for an open government partnership? If you are interesting in the subject, do keep an eye on Twitter throughout the day, and I’ll update with a blog report on Friday morning before I leave again.
It is expected that in the coming months or even years some vassals of Microsoft will go public (to the press) bashing FOSS with FUD, misdirection, miscalculations and stereotypes, sometimes criticising FOSS for not being sufficiently Microsofty (e.g. dealing with OOXML). Their arguments often insinuate that abandoning Microsoft would be wise (the opposite of what they mean to say); the British public sector got caught up in expensive and dangerous (back doors for starters) dependence. Free software would give Britain back its sovereignty. Technical autonomy is priceless; it is invaluable. █
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Summary: Government the only likely entity to exploit Heartbleed®, but Microsoft and its peripheral PR apparatus try to scare everyone away from GNU/Linux
A LOT of concerned people, including large businesses, are moving to GNU/Linux for improved security right now (I am aware of some businesses but cannot name them), bearing in mind that Windows XP is no longer secure even in Microsoft’s eyes. Microsoft put back doors in Windows (for governments), so when even Microsoft claims something to be not secure, then it should be ever more alarming.
We are still seeing many articles about migration from Windows XP to GNU/Linux, not just in blogs of GNU/Linux advocates [1,2,3] but also in Microsoft-friendly news sites , widely-distributed publications like The Economist  (typically GNU/Linux-hostile or just ignoring GNU/Linux), GNU/Linux-oriented sites [6,7], and the Linux Foundation . There are other general news sites [9-12] that cover this (suggesting GNU/Linux as a replacement for XP) and on the other hand there are those in the GNU/Linux world who are apathetic about it . The common theme, however, is rather clear. People are being advised to explore GNU/Linux and jump off the treadmill of Windows ‘upgrades’. Microsoft must be worried. There are many confirmatory indicators of this worry — ones that we covered before.
We recently saw a lot of FUD over GNU/Linux security coming from Microsoft-linked sources, basically inciting/creating unnecessary panic by twisting facts and never mentioning Microsoft’s security issues (some are there by design, like NSA back doors or even FBI entry points).
Someone who worked for the FBI (worse than the NSA by some criteria) and then Microsoft (the back doors partner of the NSA) then revealed Heartbleed®, on the very same date that Windows XP is officially dead. What’s the likelihood that this was a coincidence? Microsoft’s ‘former’ security chief sure helped distract from stuff like the articles about moving to GNU/Linux for security. If it was a stunt, then it sure worked like a charm.
Heartbleed® does not seem like the work of secret agencies , but it sure helps them a lot , undermining activism  and Free software , as well as security in Apple and Microsoft products (they use OpenSSL too and they still have no patches, unlike GNU/Linux distributions). Pay attention to how Microsoft boosters like Miguel de Icaza twist this to look like a problem only for GNU/Linux. Microsoft propagandist and partner Tony Bradley (he works with Microsoft) plants some FOSS-hostile articles to that effect  as well. Microsoft must be having a day field with its PR/propaganda agents. As we expected, Microsoft partners now spread articles full of FUD — stuff which was published in a timely fashion by a Microsoft-linked firm, exactly upon Windows XP EOL. Watch some timely new revisionism (PR) from Microsoft Peter, using false claims (changing history) to push people to ‘upgrade’ from XP to Vista 8. This is not journalism; it’s advertising from a Microsoft booster who infiltrated a news site. Many sites are still affected by Heartbleed®, but reports from Microsoft-friendly journalists (who were behind some of the previous security smears against GNU/Linux) exaggerate the numbers. At my job, for example, no Web site was found to be affected by Heartbleed® (one can check this online ). The main source of danger right now is government spies [20,21] (or government crackers). Those who understand the technical details  even guess that government actors may have played a role in putting the bug there . The FSF responded by highlighting the fact that proprietary system have back doors by design  (the FSF says “Microsoft are even sharing bugs with others like the NSA without fixing them”) and other GNU/Linux-oriented sites did cover the incident, but not with an excessive sense of panic [24-29], unlike Gates-funded papers .
To summarise, what we are dealing with here is an incident where the firm of Microsoft’s ‘former’ security chief shares bugs with the whole world irresponsibly (many sites had not been secured by that time in which his firm decided to release details, exactly when XP hits EOL). And having checked customers’ systems overnight, I found that nothing was affected by this OpenSSL bug. Irresponsible reporting from Microsoft-friendly journalists (with history) claims — falsely — that 2/3 of the Web is affected. Talk about appalling FUD. Wow!
One sure thing is, Chromebook sales are not going to be stopped by it, not even by Microsoft's attack ads (hypocritical FUD is now central to Microsoft’s official strategy and there is no hiding it). █
Related/contextual items from the news:
If you think you can’t do without XP, think again. I have not touched an XP machine or any other OS from M$ for years now because all my PCs run GNU/Linux. If you think you can’t do without some application that only runs on XP or any other OS from M$, think again. Many millions of users of GNU/Linux don’t have those problems that M$ causes: malware, spyware, re-re-reboots, and lock-in.
Linux is frequently touted as one of the most successful open-source projects ever. Since its release in the 90s, the versatile OS has gradually become more popular with users. With a 1.49% market share, Linux is now rated the third-most popular PC operating system after Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.
But to what? For those determined to stay in the Microsoft camp, forget Windows 8 or 8.1. Not only do they demand too much in the way of hardware, both have been been written off as a debacle as bad as the Windows Vista disaster. With their touch-based design, they require users to do things differently from the way they are familiar with. Microsoft is now hurrying out Windows 9 in a bid to pre-empt a mass migration to Linux or Macintosh.
Microsoft has ended its support for Windows XP and most of you might not even care but for some of you who do care and understand the complications involved in using a discontinued piece of software, you are in for a change. You can either install already outdated Windows 7, no one’s favourite Windows 8 or you can join the elite group of Linux users by installing on of the many available flavours of Linux.
One reason technology choices are so difficult is technology is always a work in progress; your one choice has lasting consequences since the technology rarely ever lives on its own, and most good technology is never done — that is unless you’re Windows XP. As most of us know, Microsoft today is turning off support for Windows XP. That means that roughly 30 percent of all Windows users will cease to get security updates and other ongoing maintenance. Since hackers disproportionately target Windows products, this is a big deal.
RMS is the guru of computing freedom, and a great source. He started the “hack” movement as an outsider inside MIT during the Vietnam protesting era, and founded both the GNU software movement and the Free S/W Foundation. He seems (to me) to be highly-influenced by socialist ideals.
In this case, Linux Mint 16 is the perfect candidate for a Windows 7 look-alike transformation and the Windows7 Pack (Cinnamon+ GTK3/2) theme works like a charm. You will have to move the files manually in the appropriate folders, but the themes should be easy to activate.
To simplify the downloading and installing, collections of these many software components, called “distributions“, are available ready for users to download and start using straight away.
On Tuesday, Microsoft finally end support for one of its most successful operating systems, the 13-year-old Windows XP. Owing to this, there will no longer be any official security updates and bug fixes from the company, meaning those who continue to use the OS will be left vulnerable to security threats.
Frankly, I’ve never liked Windows XP. I found the interface to be an eyesore way back when it was first released and using it never improved the experience. I’m very glad to see that it’s going away finally, it’s demise has been been long overdue. I’m rather surprised that it has hung on this long, given that it was never all that anyway. It’s almost become like some sort of a disease you can’t quite get rid of, it just goes on and on and on.
The Heartbleed bug in OpenSSL wasn’t placed there deliberately, according to the coder responsible for the mistake.
“The best guess is that the only ones exploiting this bug are spy agencies, if anyone at all.”
At this point, the probability is close to one that every target has had its private keys extracted by multiple intelligence agencies. The real question is whether or not someone deliberately inserted this bug into OpenSSL, and has had two years of unfettered access to everything. My guess is accident, but I have no proof.
GOOGLE HAS BEEN QUICK to jump on the demise of Windows XP, and is looking to persuade businesses still running the operating system to buy Google Chromebooks instead.
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