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05.13.14

Dan Goodin’s FUD Campaign Against GNU/Linux Security Just Never Ends

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security at 10:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Don’t trust Ars Technica on software issues

Hannity banner

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)?

05.11.14

Non-technical Men in Suits Fight Against ODF and Free Software in the Wake of New British Government Policy

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 4:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

David Cameron

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.

04.11.14

Microsoft: Let’s Talk About Heartbleed® (Reported by Our ‘Former’ Security Chief) While the World Migrates From XP to GNU/Linux

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 8:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Looking through the tube

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 [4], widely-distributed publications like The Economist [5] (typically GNU/Linux-hostile or just ignoring GNU/Linux), GNU/Linux-oriented sites [6,7], and the Linux Foundation [8]. 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 [13]. 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 [14], but it sure helps them a lot [15], undermining activism [16] and Free software [17], 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 [18] 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 [19]). The main source of danger right now is government spies [20,21] (or government crackers). Those who understand the technical details [20] even guess that government actors may have played a role in putting the bug there [22]. The FSF responded by highlighting the fact that proprietary system have back doors by design [23] (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 [30].

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:

  1. Good News And Bad News Depending On Whether Or Not You Enslave People To Wintel
  2. OEMs Aren’t Going To Replace XP With GNU/Linux. Real People Have To Do That
  3. What To Do With XP PCs

    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.

  4. Windows XP’s Demise Will Help Linux Leapfrog Mac OS X 10.9

    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.

  5. End of the road for Windows XP

    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.

  6. A Beginners Guide for XP Users to Switch to Linux

    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.

  7. Windows XP and the Changing Calculus of Technology Choice

    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.

  8. Replace the Retiring Windows XP with Linux
  9. Windows XP orphaned: 1/3 of computer users vulnerable

    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.

  10. Forget About Windows XP, Tranform Your Linux Mint in Windows 7

    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.

  11. Open Source Alternatives For Windows XP

    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.

  12. Windows XP Alternatives: Six Linux Distros to Replace Microsoft’s Ageing OS

    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.

  13. Why I don’t care about the end of Windows XP

    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.

  14. Heartbleed coder: bug in OpenSSL was an honest mistake

    The Heartbleed bug in OpenSSL wasn’t placed there deliberately, according to the coder responsible for the mistake.

  15. The Real Threat From The Heartbleed Security Flaw Is The NSA

    “The best guess is that the only ones exploiting this bug are spy agencies, if anyone at all.”

  16. Why the Web Needs Perfect Forward Secrecy More Than Ever
  17. LibreOffice 4.2.3 arrives with Heartbleed fix
  18. Is open source to blame for the Heartbleed bug?
  19. Test Sites for Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability
  20. Wild at Heart: Were Intelligence Agencies Using Heartbleed in November 2013?
  21. heartbleed vs malloc.conf
  22. Heartbleed

    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.

  23. Free Software Foundation statement on Heartbleed vulnerability
  24. FOSS Community Hustles to Fix Gaping Heartbleed Flaw
  25. Fedora status on “Heartbleed”
  26. Fedora releases openssl security updates
  27. The Internet Goes Nuts with OpenSSL Bug Today, Linux Systems Were Fixed Yesterday
  28. How to find out if your server is affected from Openssl Heartbleed vulnerability (CVE-2014-0160) and how to fix that
  29. Heartbeat SSL Flaw Puts Linux Distros at Risk
  30. Heartbleed: Hundreds of thousands of servers at risk from catastrophic bug
  31. Google jumps on Windows XP’s demise with Chromebook for business offer

    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.

Miguel ‘Advocates’ GNU/Linux by Bashing it Again

Posted in FUD, Microsoft, Mono at 6:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Miguel de Icaza tweet

Summary: Days after signing yet another alliance/partnership with Microsoft Miguel de Icaza shows the world just how much he ‘loves’ Free software

THERE IS already some (foreseen) Microsoft propaganda over an OpenSSL flaw. And as someone in the above thread points out: “Funny since openssl was patched in Linux in less than an hour and it affects Microsoft too, which doesn’t have a patch yet… Where is everyone screaming at Microsoft? Propaganda, propaganda everywhere!”

As we’ll show later today, a lot of anti-FOSS propaganda of this kind has come out and it typically comes from people who are professionally tied to Microsoft, such as Miguel de Icaza. Heck, even the firm that reported the bug is intrinsically tied to Microsoft.

Miguel de Icaza is promoting Microsoft again this week. He does not even hide it. He writes: “We are very excited about the release of [Microsoft] Roslyn, it is an amazing piece of technology and one of the most sophisticated compiler designs available. A great place to learn great C# idioms and best practices [5], and a great foundation for great tooling for C# and VB.”

Next time you hear of Miguel de Icaza remember that he is working with Microsoft, based on some of the latest news. Xamarin should be treated as nothing more than a department of Microsoft.

04.09.14

Season of Disinformation About FOSS, Courtesy of ‘Compliance’ Firms

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD at 5:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Proprietary but pretending to be pro-FOSS

Ceramic

Summary: Tech City News, Black Duck, and Protecode (in SD Times) show their hostility towards the principles of code-sharing

EVERY ONCE in a while we see articles which are exceptionally hostile towards Free software in the sense that they compare it to a disease. They use words like “contaminate” and “infect”. Here is a new article of this kind. This is the type of FUD that companies like Black Duck, whose latest voice hijack we mentioned twice this month alone, habitually spread. They monetise it. There is more of them in the press and pundits like Mac Asay [1] help them get their message out. Well, they are trying to change perceptions and set trends. Asay is close to them because they helped sponsor events that he was organising. But they are not to be viewed as FOSS proponents. They are a proprietary software company with software patents; they only pretend to care about FOSS and they pretend to be spokespeople for FOSS. Their founder is a marketing man from Microsoft.

Similarly, some proprietary software company called Protecode (with a similar business model) pushes similar messages, having been given a platform at SD Times which is sometimes composed by patent lawyers (and is funded in part by Microsoft). The article then led to more from Adrian Bridgwater.

What we generally have here is a bunch of proprietary players (some with clear connections to Microsoft) talking about how complying with FOSS is risky. They never mention the risk of proprietary software licences that ‘expire’ and can lead to expensive litigation if not obeyed. The only surprising thing is that they continue to receive press space.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The Reasons Businesses Use Open Source Are Changing Faster Than You Realize

04.08.14

Former Chief Security Officer for Microsoft the Chairman of the Board of Firm Behind Heartbleed®

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Security at 9:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dagger in the heart of OpenSSL

Heart Bleed

Summary: A serious conflict of interests that nobody in the media is talking about; Codenomicon is headed by Microsoft’s Howard A. Schmidt

SOMETHING fishy was in the news today (since early this morning), including articles from GNU/Linux-oriented journalists [1] and blogs [2], some of which pointed out that a vulnerability discovered and published irresponsibly by the firm headed by Microsoft’s former Chief Security Officer (we wrote about his actions before) are already “patched by all Linux distros”.

Now, looking at the site set up by his firm, you might not know this. It lists the names of many GNU/Linux distributions along with a nasty picture (the one above). This coordinated release (disclosure) of a vulnerability on the last day of Windows XP security patches (they are through unless one pays Microsoft a lot of money) is rather suspicious to us. It came with a trademark-like name, a dot-com Web site (yes .com), and soon we are guaranteed to see lots of FUD saying that GNU/Linux is not secure. We already know that the vulnerabilities industry is well inside Microsoft’s board and at highest level (look at John Thompson from Symantec; he is now Microsoft’s new chairman).

We don’t need to wait for the Microsoft press or a whisper campaign to use Heartbleed® to tell people (again) that Free software, Linux and GNU are very “bad” and are a danger for the Web (some suspect that this bug is the result of NSA intervention in code development — a subject we’ll tackle another day for sure).

“This is a man whose high-paying job required that he beats GNU/Linux at security.”Jacon Appelbaum (of Tor) says that this release was coordinated (with a date and everything) but not responsible at all because even the OpenSSL site, the FBI’s official site (whom Howard Schmidt worked with) and many more remain vulnerable. It should be noted that the flaw has existed for two years, so the timing of this disclosure is interesting. Not too long ago we showed what seemed like Microsoft's role in a campaign to paint GNU/Linux insecure and dangerous becuase of Windows XP's EOL. It was a baseless campaign of FUD, media manipulation, and distortion of facts, ignoring, as always, the elephant in the room (Windows).

For those who treat it like some innocent development at a random time in the news, remember that Howard A. Schmidt, the Chairman of the Board of Codenomicon, was the Chief Security Officer for Microsoft. He joined Codenomicon a year and a half ago. This is irresponsible disclosure and journalists who ignore the conflict of interests (namely Schmidt being the head after serving Microsoft) are equally irresponsible (for irresponsible journalism). They may unwittingly be playing a role in a “Scroogled”-like campaign.

Just go to Codenomicon’s Web site and find it described in large fonts as “A Member of the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) Pro Network” (in many pages). There are lots of pages like this one about involvement in Microsoft SDL.

So to summarise, what does Microsoft have to do with Heartbleed? We probably need to ask Howard Schmidt. This is a man whose high-paying job required that he beats GNU/Linux at security.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Heartbleed: Serious OpenSSL zero day vulnerability revealed
  2. openssl heartbleed updates for Fedora 19 and 20
  3. Heartbleed, a serious OpenSSL bug; patched by all Linux distros

    A new vulnerability was announced in OpenSSL 1.0.1 that allows an attacker to reveal up to 64kB of memory to a connected client or server (CVE-2014-0160) which may consist of our X.509 certificates, user names and passwords, instant messages, emails and business critical documents and communication. According to OpenSSL Security Advisory report Neel Mehta from Google Security has discovered this bug.

04.03.14

GNU/Linux Advocacy Needs to Become Stronger in the Face of AstroTurfing

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“In the Mopping Up phase, Evangelism’s goal is to put the final nail into the competing technology’s coffin, and bury it in the burning depths of the earth. Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Leaked Microsoft document

Summary: In the age of ‘Scroogled’ and other AstroTurfing campaigns we need to become more vocal, not less vocal, in support of GNU/Linux

“The year of the [GNU/]Linux desktop” is a phrase that we used earlier today. FOSS Force correctly calls the phrase “a comical punching bag for a number of years.”

We need to change that.

Just as the Pirate Bay and Pirate Party helped change the connotation of the word “pirate” (more commonly used these days to refer to copyright infringement) we ought to change the connotation of the phrase “the year of the [GNU/]Linux desktop,” insisting that this year is already behind us. Judging by the number of Android devices, this is undeniably true for “year of Linux”.

FOSS Force explains that the “phrase has been At the turn of every new year the question can be found on hundreds of Linux-centered websites.”

It adds that: “The fact is, we’ll never see “the year of desktop Linux.”” This actually relates to a later post from FOSS Force [2], which Robert Pogson responds to in [3].

Giving up on the phrase or conceding (as suggested above) would actually just serve the FUD, or in other words this would make it seem like the FUD was legitimate and true. We need to battle the FUD, not surrender to it.

Surprisingly enough, the Linux Foundation has just published an article from an FSF basher. The article itself is quite good and it is titled “Why Arguing That Windows is Better Than Linux Makes You Look Silly” (we have already rebutted many such arguments over the years).

Jim L., who have been a good proponent of GNU/Linux in recent years (even in IDG), adds his views to the article [5], but he goes as far as chastising advocates of GNU/Linux, Android, etc. Some strong GNU/Linux advocates like Robert Pogson have already responded in the comments and as my wife put it, “I would usually agree. However, a lot of anti-Linux is not fanboyism but part of ‘Scroogled’-like whisper campaigns. A lot of anti-Windows is reactionary. Some of the comments here already point this out. You cannot always turn the other cheek.”

What we need to understand id that much of the anti-GNU/Linux ‘journalism’ from sites like ZDNet (that’s what the original alludes to) can actually be traced down to editorial control. Many writers in ZDNet are connected to Microsoft (some are current or past Microsoft staff) and the parent company, CBS, works with Microsoft. Framing OS wars as two camps of “fanboys” fighting against each other is willingly putting a false image and turning a blind eye to Microsoft PR agencies, which we know are manufacturing GNU/Linux-hostile articles (‘Scroogled’ AstroTurfing is one example).

The bottom line is, GNU/Linux advocacy is often facing opposition from a corporate propaganda effort, not a grassroots effort. We oughtn’t just like the PR agents win. We ideally need to expose them. In recent years Microsoft was exposed rallying propaganda agents in sites like Reddit and YouTube.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Making a Difference the Linux Way

    The year of the Linux desktop.

    The phrase has been a comical punching bag for a number of years. At the turn of every new year the question can be found on hundreds of Linux-centered websites.

    “Will this be the year of the Linux desktop?”

    The fact is, we’ll never see “the year of desktop Linux.” Not the way we imagine it anyway. Many of us long for the time when Linux will become a well known alternative to Microsoft Windows. That just isn’t gonna happen.

  2. Meeting Windows User Expectations With Linux
  3. Making a Difference

    He makes some good points, that don’t actually support his thesis. I can give a single counterexample that shows the error of his ways. There are places on this planet where GNU/Linux is a well known alternative OS on the desktop.

  4. Why Arguing That Windows is Better Than Linux Makes You Look Silly

    It seems as though you can’t throw a rock on the internet without hitting an article which argues for the superiority of Windows over Linux. With titles like “Five reasons I’d rather run Windows 8 than Linux”, these articles are a dime a dozen.

  5. Who cares about Windows versus Linux?

    Platform wars are as old as computing itself, but they never seem to really die off and go away, they just morph into new ones as technology itself changes. Linux.com takes a look at the classic Windows versus Linux battle, and why the Windows advocates make themselves look silly by bashing Linux.

The ‘Powered by Android’ Smear Shows Just How Far Anti-Google Reporting (Perhaps ‘Scroogled’ PR) Goes

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 5:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Flawed reporting by the The Verge, which seems to be relaying some new Google-hostile spin

WITH Chromebooks sales on the rise and all sorts of other commendable moves, Google has become a king of GNU/Linux [1,2], especially when it comes to adoption by the general population. This makes Linux and Java common carriers and it makes Google really, really hated by Microsoft, which now uses attack ads against Google's GNU/Linux products (attack ads are a loser’s game).

I was somewhat shocked to see the headline “Google reportedly now requires ‘powered by Android’ branding on new phones” (deceiving Google-hostile headline) just the other day. Knowing that the publication (The Verge) is run by Patel and is often used to disseminate anti-Google or pro-Microsoft spin, I decided to look for any mention of crucial details. Indeed, as it turned out, the “powered by Android” branding is only required when using proprietary apps from Google. This has nothing to do with AOSP and it is probably fair enough (it does not even say “Powered by Google”).

When Patel was still working for Engadget he would occasionally quote lies and Google-hostile smears from Microsoft lobbyists, giving them a platform. One of Patel’s employees, who interviewed me for about an hour regarding the Gates Foundation and OLPC, told me that Patel does not like me; he does not like me because I criticised him after he had published false claims (made by someone on Microsoft’s payroll). This is not journalism. It is press-titution.

The bottom line is, be careful not to be ‘Scroogled’ by The Verge. There seems to be agenda there. Maybe therein lies the business model.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Google propels Linux to the top

    Google has also, much to the chagrin of many in the open source community, single-handedly helped Linux to become one of the most popular platforms on the planet.

  2. Linux And World-Domination

    Yep. Jack Wallen is right. Canonical did a lot for GNU/Linux on desktop and server but that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of millions Google has introduced to the joys of Free Software, stuff you can run anywhere anyway, examine, modify and distribute. Google did that by shipping hardware running the software and selling/shipping units. OEMs pay attention to that.

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