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08.27.14

FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Security at 4:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft

A Microsoft Windows (exclusively) infection is having a colossal impact on businesses right now, but corporate press coverage fails to name Windows [1, 2, 3], not to mention any possibility of blaming it. The name of an operating system is only mentioned for negative news when it’s not Windows. This is typical and it matches a pattern we have covered her under the “call out Windows” banner. IDG, the liars’ den, put it like this:

The Target data breach was one of the largest in recent memory, resulting in tens of millions of credit and debit cards being compromised. In the last couple of weeks, SuperValu said that at least 180 of its stores had been hit by a data breach and earlier this week UPS said 51 of it UPS Store locations had been hit.

We wrote about this last week because Windows was not being named, despite it being a critical part of this scenario. Instead, there was deflection to FOSS. It helped distract from Windows, which is insecure by design. It is an architectural problem because since 15 years ago, by some estimates, Windows has been a back doors carrier (for the NSA). Here is one British writer complaining about the approach Microsoft takes to composition as well:

In August last year, one-time-sysadmin and now SciFi author Charles Stross declared Microsoft Word ”a tyrant of the imagination” and bemoaned its use in the publishing world.

“Major publishers have been browbeaten into believing that Word is the sine qua non of document production systems,” he wrote. “And they expect me to integrate myself into a Word-centric workflow, even though it’s an inappropriate, damaging, and laborious tool for the job. It is, quite simply, unavoidable.”

To make matters worse, it facilitates surveillance and sabotage, as more stories from last years served to show (Snowden Files at the Guardian for instance). For security reasons Germany and Russia have moved back to typewriters; we can assume they were using Office and Windows beforehand.

Trust the spinners of Microsoft to create and disseminate some “Heartbleed” FUD, an OpenSSL bug that Microsoft likes to hype up and use to generalise so as to create an illusion that FOSS is inherently less secure. This has become Microsoft’s main propaganda against FOSS, based on just one single bug. The FUD started on the day that XP support (patches) came to an end; this timing is unlikely to be a coincidence for reasons we outlined before.

Jason Thompson writes an offensive piece titled “After Heartbleed, Is Open Source More Trouble Than It’s Worth?”

It starts with the following important disclosure:

Jason Thompson, formerly of Q1 Labs, is the vice president of worldwide marketing at SSH Communications Security.

Marketing for proprietary software (for Windows)? This is the type of thing we saw last week when issues in proprietary VPN software were unfairly blamed on OpenSSL. As we pointed out last week, there is also an attack on Android security (usually rogue apps at to blame) and then there is the recent security FUD against Android from former employees of Microsoft. Mind this new article which highlights Microsoft’s hypocrisy:

The Biggest Problem with the Windows Store: Scams Everywhere

Windows 8′s “Windows Store” is a great idea, but unfortunately, it’s a disaster. It’s full of scam apps, designed to trick you into buying an app you don’t need.

Our friends over at the How-To Geek recently wrote a great piece about the biggest problem with the Windows Store, and how Microsoft has apparently done nothing to address it (despite claiming they would over a year ago). For example, here’s what happens if you search for VLC, a popular free video player

Microsoft is creating some new FUD against Google at the moment and Google has responded as follows:

In Worldwide Partner Conference 2014, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) claimed that more than seven hundred and eighty five customers have switched to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Office 365 from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Apps. Microsoft didn’t give any proofs for this claim, but shown a slide having the names of the pronounced customers who made the switch. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) immediately started investigating this claim and has recently come up with a response. According to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), 5,000+ companies sign up for Google Apps on a daily basis and thousands of these companies switch from Microsoft. In a Forbes article, Ben Kepes mentioned Google’s response and said that it was already expected that Google will come up with a befitting response on Microsoft’s claims.

Microsoft is a malicious, criminal company. Its ability to manipulate the press into writing negative stories about the competition is quite flabbergasting. Microsoft’s key strategy right now is badmouthing the competition. AstroTurf and press manipulation is how that's done, as we showed in the previous post.

08.23.14

Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenDocument at 4:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft’s attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)

Microsoft’s attempts to corrupt Chile seem to have brought nothing but blowback. Microsoft and its minion got shamed and the FOSS policy will soon get even stronger. Moreover, Microsoft is making Chile’s anti-lobbying laws stronger by basically trying to lobby and to write legislation by proxy. It shows that this wholly malicious strategy from Microsoft is finally not paying off, thanks in part to reporters who exposed what had happened. Well done, Chile!

We can safely assume that what Microsoft is doing in Chile right now it also tried to do in the UK e.g. pressuring the Cabinet Office regarding its pro-ODF policy. Microsoft, by all indications, is not a scapegoat; it’s not hated because of “jealousy” or because of its size. It is not hated for being incompetent or for being shoddy (which its software is). The company is corrupt. It’s a criminal enterprise with a long track record to show it. Thankfully, however, we keep seeing new stories that show us just how corrupt Microsoft really is. People who deny this are simply ignoring reality.

Today we have several updates from Chile and from Munich, Germany. Citing this article from Miguel Parada, Softpedia writes:

Fresh on the heels of the entire Munich and Linux debacle, another story involving Microsoft and free software has popped up across the world, in Chile. A prolific magazine from the South American country says that the powerful Microsoft lobby managed to turn around a law that would allow the authorities to use free software.

Towards the end it is also connected to what’s happening in Munich. To quote: “Microsoft has been in the news in the last few days because the German city of Munich that adopted Linux and dropped Windows system from its administration was considering, supposedly, returning to proprietary software.

“This new situation in Chile give us a sample of the kind of pull a company like Microsoft has and it shows us just how fragile laws really are. This is not the first time a company tries to bend the laws in a country to maximize the profits, but the advent of free software and the clear financial advantages that it offers are really making a dent.

“Five years ago, few people or governments would have considered adopting free software, but the quality of that software has risen dramatically and it has become a real competition for the likes of Microsoft.”

Richard Stallman is visiting Chile right now (coinciding with a Microsoft scandal over there). Here is a new article about Stallman’s reaction to what Microsoft is doing in Chile. He was there at the right time and he will hopefully raise issues like privacy, digital autonomy, and economic benefits of using FOSS (local engineers being in charge), and so on. Ernesto Manríquez told us that “MS lobby [is] in a 65 million dollar market, and how Vlado Mirosevic lost his innocence,” based on this new article in Spanish (we won’t provide automated translations as anyone is able to do so upon desire). Manríquez also told us that “Chilean Chamber of Deputies to harden anti-lobby law after Microsoft scandal,” based on this article in Spanish.

This is very relevant to the Microsoft propaganda against Munich for its successful migration to GNU/Linux. In the wake of revelations about NSA surveillance in Latin America and Germany (for espionage, not antiterrorism) this should matter a lot. Microsoft and the NSA are in bed together and this means that Chile would be worse than foolish to embrace anything at all from Microsoft (even some random application). This is why Munich did the right thing. It went to FOSS all the way. It’s not difficult for the NSA to crack.

Simon Sharwood has not yet caught up with the latest news from Chile, but he did cover (in English) what Microsoft had done there:

Microsoft successfully lobbied against a law that would have seen Chile’s government adopt open-source software, says Elmostrador, a newspaper in the South American nation.

The publication’s report tells the tale of Vlado Mirosevic, a left-leaning politician who is the leader of the Chilean Liberal Party and its only representative in the national parliament.

In April this year, Mirosevic proposed a bill that would have compelled Chile’s government agencies to at least consider open-source software. Buying proprietary software would still be possible, once an agency justified the decision.

Manríquez is meanwhile showing us articles like this one (in Spanish) about what he calls “The long arm of Microsoft lobby and political connections” (familiar issue).

Microsoft is not a company but more like a political movement or a secret society/sect that infiltrates governments. We have already given many examples of Microsoft’s use of connections in government for corruption, including massive tax evasion (worth billions of dollars). See examples from Europe, from the US, and from India. The relationships often work like bribery in terms of money rolling back to politicians’ pockets when they give public money to Microsoft through contracts. Sometimes Microsoft veterans move to politics (where they use their newly-acquired power to help Microsoft) — or conversely — politicians being promised a salary from Microsoft in the future. This is the “Revolving doors” type of bribery. Classic! We already saw how one Microsoft veteran facilitated Microsoft’s massive tax evasion in the United States after he had infiltrated government.

A follower from Argentina told us last night we would be interested in this new report about Microsoft admitting that it avoids $29 billion in US taxes (just US). If that’s not enough to show just how corrupt Microsoft is, what will be?

Going back to Munich, the Microsoft boosters who distorted the story didn’t actually stick to facts. Munich complains about misreporting. As Jim Lynch put it the other day:

I saw that story floating around many sites yesterday and decided to hold off commenting about it. There was just something about it that rubbed me the wrong way, and I’m glad I waited before including it in a roundup.

Frankly though, it doesn’t surprise me that some sites would jump the gun and use it as an opportunity to belittle or bash Linux. We’ve seen this kind of thing before where a tempest in a teacup gets blown all out of proportion and suddenly Linux is doomed or whatever.

Unfortunately, even after the current wave of stories about Munich fades away, we’ll see the same sort of journalistic shenanigans about Linux happen again at some point. It’s just too easy and too tempting for some sites to gain traffic and ad revenue by jumping on the anti-Linux bandwagon.

After systematic lying about Munich how many people out there are still misled by Microsoft MVPs and partners pretending to be journalists? This is a war on perceptions after all.

As Susan Linton put it, “Monday we reported that Munich was throwing in the Linux towel, but today we find that may not be exactly the case.”

This other report makes it clear that Microsoft OOXML — not FOSS or GNU/Linux — is the problem. To quote: “Hauf also confirms that council staff have, and do, complain about LiMux, but that the majority of issues stem from compatibility issues in OpenOffice, something a potential switch to LibreOffice could solve.”

This is a Microsoft issue, not a FOSS issue, and this is why the UK is now moving to ODF (OOXML not allowed) in the public sector. Remember what Microsoft did in Chile for OOXML.

Microsoft is a criminal company. Even after Ballmer’s departure nothing has changed. As Microsoft is inherently and deeply connected with governments (moles and former staff), don’t expect Microsoft executives to be sent to prison, not even when it’s caught bribing officials around the world (which happens).

OOXML is fraud

08.20.14

Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile’s Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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).

08.19.14

After Microsoft’s Soft Bribe Some Non-Technical Deputy Does Not Like Free Software, Microsoft-Linked Media Responds to This Non-News by Making Bogus Claims of Munich Leaving GNU/Linux (Updated)

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The subversive forces that have secretly been attacking Munich over its migration to GNU/Linux (Microsoft press, Gartner, and even HP) are back to doing it while China and Russia follow Munich’s lead

IT has been quite a while since we last saw such an ugly propaganda effort by Microsoft. Looking carefully at where the propaganda started or came from, we can be pretty sure that Microsoft’s disgraceful and unethical PR agencies are not passive. They are exploiting non-news and something of little significance to make it sound as though something pretty big is happening. They want the public to believe, yet again, that Munich’s migration (which saved a lot of money and was defended by officials repeatedly) is a failure. Microsoft did this many times before and even tried using bribes, bogus ‘reports’, proxy attacks etc. We covered dozens of examples over the years. Munich is dangerous to Microsoft because it sets an example; it shows how a whole city can completely abandon Microsoft and do a lot better thereafter, not just for privacy/autonomy/security reasons but also for technical reasons, not to mention all the local jobs this creates (economic gain).

Microsoft Peter played a role in the propaganda, as one ought to expect. He did, however, reveal that Microsoft bribery against Munich (just like in Norway) seems likely. Microsoft likes to offer facilities in exchange for political favours. We showed how it was done before in numerous countries which were planning too abandon Microsoft. To quote Microsoft Peter: “Microsoft announced last year that it was moving its German headquarters to Munich. This move is planned to take place in 2016. While Reiter was involved in the deal that precipitated the move and describes himself as a “Microsoft fan,” he says the criticism of LiMux is unrelated.”

Everything is related. People don’t compartmentalise their minds like this.

The above is not news; we saw that almost a month ago and reports (English) about it were numerous. “One single *opinion* is causing all the articles,” a reader told us. It was true back then and it is true this week. We must remember that this is not even a new thing, as the German press covered it almost a month ago and the only new thing is Microsoft’s amplification and distortion of the opinion. The Microsoft propaganda machine kicked off; that’s what’s “news”. As we continued to observe the news over the past 24 hours we found that the propaganda pieces came mostly from Microsoft fan sites, all cheering for Microsoft and inciting against Munich’s migration to GNU/Linux. Microsoft must be very afraid after China and Russia announced their plan to abandon Microsoft, so Microsoft ‘fan’ sites (or veiled marketing sites) do their thing, distort the facts, and then post “corrections” (after pressure from readers perhaps). Here is one Microsoft fan site that corrected its propaganda piece by stating: “While the deputy mayor of Munich seems to suggest in the article that the government will strongly consider a return to Windows, it appears a final decision to move from the Linux OS has not yet been officially determined.”

Exactly, there is no news. There’s just some old opinion of one person. But don’t let facts get in Microsoft’s way. Here is the Microsoft-bribed Ed Bott (one of the worst Microsoft boosters, but one who enjoys a platform of CBS and therefore enters “news” aggregation) disseminating the propaganda to a large audience. He has not even corrected his errors yet. The propaganda remains standing the editors let it be.

For now, we are done collecting examples of this Microsoft propaganda output. It’s not news and it’s not about Munich. A deputy mayor is not Munich and his opinion does not have so much weight. He is not a technical person.

It is rather clear that a lot the propaganda about Munich originally came to the English-speaking press from people like Ed Bott (backed by Microsoft) and brought to wider attention in the CBS propaganda network. Prior to that it was possible to find incorrect reports (probably not bad translations) which dared not say that Microsoft is bribing officials again (Microsoft already tried to pay Munich to abandon its Free software project).

The first article we saw about this (in English) came from Geek.com [1] and cited this article in German. An automated translation states: “End of 2013, the Munich City Council had to switch from Windows to Linux declared to be successfully completed and announced the regular operation of Linux systems to nearly 15,000 jobs.”

OK, so what’s the fuss? The migration is complete, people are generally happy (no nightmare stories in the press), and only shoddy marketing groups like Gartner (which recommends Windows on Microsoft's behalf) continue to badmouth the migration behind closed doors, as we covered numerous years ago. Also behind closed doors, HP attacked Munich’s migration with a report (this was uncovered a couple of years ago), reminding us that HP is only pretending to be competing with Microsoft. As this rebuttal to a piece from the chronically Linux-hostile Verge reminds us, HP too is among the factors antagonising GNU/Linux:

First of all dear, The Verge, it is *not* a Chromebook Killer, because you need to understand what a Chromebook is before calling a low-end laptop with an OS no one wants as a killer laptop.

Now coming back to the news: HP is supposedly working on a low-cost Windows 8.1 laptop which will be sold for $199. It seems like ‘netbook v2′ strategy of Microsoft to hurt Linux. This time it’s not going to happen as we have a heavyweight like Google and not smaller Canonical.

I already regret buying an HP mouse yesterday afternoon. Recalling how HP tried to derail Munich’s migration to GNU/Linux (secretly) should be another reminder of the many US-based forces aligned to destroy an escape from Microsoft, the NSA, the back doors, and PRISM. Munich would have to be insane to go back to Microsoft knowing everything it knows about Microsoft and the NSA, as well as the NSA’a attacks on Germany (espionage).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. 10 years later, Munich may dump Linux for Windows

    A few years ago, Linux sites were buzzing that the city of Munich, Germany was going to kick Windows to the curb and roll out a Linux-based OS on all their government desktops. […]

Update: Munich has fired back at what it claims to be false reports:

Munich city council demonstrated to the world that an organisation employing thousands could ditch Windows and move to Linux and free software.

When the project finished late last year about 15,000 staff at the German authority had been migrated to using Limux, a custom-version of Ubuntu, and OpenOffice.

But is the council’s move to open source about to be scrapped in favour or returning to Microsoft?

No says the council, in spite of numerous reports to the contrary. Suggestions the council has decided to back away from Linux are wrong, according to council spokesman Stefan Hauf.

He said the council’s recently elected mayor Dieter Reiter has instead simply commissioned a report into the future IT system for the council.

“The new mayor has asked the administration to gather the facts so we can decide and make a proposal for the city council how to proceed in future,” he said.

“Not only for Limux but for all of IT. It’s about the organisation, the costs, performance and the useability and satisfaction of the users.”

The study, being conducted by internal IT staff at the council, will consider which operating systems and software packages – both proprietary and open source – would best satisfy this criteria. The study is not, as has been reported, solely focused around the question of whether to drop Limux and move back to Windows, he said.

08.17.14

The Microsoft Patent Trolls: Android Extortion, Vringo Versus Google, and Intellectual Ventures

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 5:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Roundup of news about patent aggression by Microsoft and some of its proxies

A NEW article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols talks about patents. “Patent trolls under attack, but not dead yet” is the article’s headline. It does not necessarily speak about small trolls but also a corporation, Microsoft, which created several patent trolls, armed several patent trolls (to harass Microsoft’s competition), and is engaging in racketeering against successful producing companies, just like all patent trolls do. One glaring error in the article from Vaughan-Nichols is this bunch of numbers which are not substantiated (no link, citation, or even a source). He says: “It’s not just the trolls seeking to make a fast buck from honest companies that are abusing the broken American patent system. Microsoft has used its “Android” patents to profit from Android OEMs since 2010. Indeed, Microsoft’s most profitable mobile operating system, to the tune of approximately $3.4 billion, was Android, not Windows Phone 8.”

Where does this number come from? This may be completely bogus.

“Now,” he adds, “thanks to China, we finally know what’s in Microsoft’s Android patent portfolio. And it appears that Samsung, at least, is saying, “Wait a minute!” about paying Microsoft for these patents.

“Slowly, way too slowly, the Supreme Court is starting to rein in patent abuse. In Nautilus v. Biosig, the Court ruled that for a patent to be valid, its creators had to describe its essential elements of their invention clearly enough that an expert in in the field could understand it with “reasonable certainty.”

“Yes, that’s right, before this decision, even if an expert couldn’t figure out how the heck a patent was supposed to work, you could still patent an idea.”

Vaughan-Nichols then mentions other landmark cases and the apparent gradual-but-undeniable demise of software patents.

But where does that leave us? Even if Microsoft did not engage in all this FUD and extortion, it would still be able to do it by proxy. Vaughan-Nichols mentions SCO at the start of the article; Microsoft still uses such a strategy. In order to eliminate the threat as a whole we need to eliminate the patents.

Well, in prior years we showed how Microsoft had armed Vringo with patents which it then used against Google. According to this news, after wasting much time and money, Google is found innocent of infringement: “Google Inc. (GOOG:US) won its bid to overturn a $30.5 million patent-infringement verdict, a reversal that sent shares of Vringo Inc. (VRNG:US) down 72 percent.

“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington determined that the Vringo patents in the case were invalid, according to an opinion on the court’s website toda”

Here is how a patent trolls expert put it:

Vringo’s win over Google was one of the biggest and most public jury wins for a “patent troll” in recent years. It won $30 million from a jury verdict in 2012, far less than the half-billion-dollar verdict it was seeking.

But last year, the judge overseeing the case revived Vringo’s hopes, ordering Google to pay a running royalty amounting to 1.36 percent of US AdWords sales. Those additional payments could have been more than $200 million annually, pushing Vringo investors toward the billion-dollar payday they were pining for.

These articles should outline more clearly Microsoft’s role in the lawsuit. This was, as alleged by numerous sources (not just us), somewhat of a proxy war by Microsoft. It’s reminiscent of the SCO case, which Microsoft helped fund.

Then there are the trolls who funded and armed by Bill Gates. One of these, Monsanto, is mentioned in this article about counter-action:

Today, just three companies – Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta – account for about half of all commercial seed sales. More and more, agricultural patents are used to increase the control these and similar companies wield over access to the seeds with which farmers feed the world and – especially in the Global South – themselves and their families.

Bill Gates has profited by monopolising seeds. He lobbied for the seeds monopolies while investing in them (for profit). His good friend Nathan, the world’s biggest patent trolls (who was bankrolled by Gates), has also done this for profit along with Gates, especially when it comes to the energy sector. They are profiting by lobbying politicians to adopt energy methodologies from which they would profit. There is new right now about Intellectual Ventures (Gates-backed) hoarding patents on wind power:

Analysis: Patent trolls target wind power

One of the biggest “patent trolls” is moving into American wind technology for the first time. Intellectual Ventures (IV) of Bellevue, Washington has quietly applied for at least five high-quality and widely applicable patents for reducing noise and birds strikes at utility-scale wind projects.

A response has been posted about this in TechDirt:

Wind Power Monthly (I had no idea such a thing existed) has an article about how Intellectual Ventures is apparently targeting its patent trollery towards wind power, having filed a bunch of patents on very broad and basic concepts related to wind power. Of course, IV is trying to hide its involvement here by using one of its many shell companies. For reasons that are beyond me, Wind Power Monthly declines to name the shell companies. It’s not clear why it does this — even withholding the name after it got IV to confirm that it’s an IV shell. There seems to be no journalistic reason for withholding the name, but Wind Power Monthly still does it.

The Microsoft-funded CCIA is meanwhile focusing a lot of its efforts going after trolls, urging the government to launch subpoenas. The CCIA’s Levy writes: “We’re also looking forward to seeing what the FTC learns about patent privateering. The study could be our first real chance to expose the tactics of companies who have been quietly using patent trolls to do their dirty work.

“There’s no time to waste. Patent trolls won’t stop on their own, and we need all the ammunition we can get.

“Launch subpoenas!”

Several years ago there was pressure on the FTC. It seemed too reluctant to do anything about patent trolls such as Intellectual Ventures, which had heavily lobbied the government along with Bill Gates. Hopefully things are about to change.

The bottom line is, the resolution lies within patent scope. But it’s also important to comprehend how Microsoft attacks Linux by proxy, not just in secrecy by means of extortion.

08.03.14

Windows Will Go Extinct in the Back End and the Desktop

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 7:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The world is leaving Windows behind (at all levels) and Microsoft is now joining companies that are using GNU/Linux, perhaps acknowledging that the demise of Windows is inevitable

MICROSOFT has suffered a huge decline in sales of Windows. It was very clear. Microsoft wasn’t able to hide it anymore. Not even increased pressure on companies to pay up could make up for the alarming numbers which preceded massive layoffs (almost 20,000 staff). As large nations gradually move away from Windows (not ‘upgrading’ Windows) the company is likely to resort to lawsuits (when extortion tactics fail). Without Windows, the common carrier, Microsoft is reduced to almost nothing. This milking cow is the only reason many people still use Office and other offerings from Microsoft.

Gregg Keizer from IDG says that “Windows 8′s uptake was stuck in reverse for the second straight quarter as the reputation-challenged operating system fell behind the pace set by Windows Vista six years ago, according to data released Friday.

“Web metrics firm Net Applications’ figures for July put the combined user share of Windows 8 and 8.1 at 12.5% of the world’s desktop and notebook systems, a small drop of six-hundredths of a percentage point from June. That decline was atop a one-tenth-point fall the month before, the first time the OS had lost user share since its October 2012 debut.”

Regarding the source of the data, Net Applications, it is Microsoft-affiliated, too.

It sure looks like the Windows franchise is becoming a thing of the past; sales of Android devices outpace sales of computers with Windows and as older PCs (running Windows XP) age too much users may move to GNU/Linux or buy new devices with Linux/Android on them. Microsoft (Nokia) tried to make its own version of Android but failed. Nobody wanted Microsoft.

On the server side too this is happening. Microsoft's share in Web servers has been reduced to just spam and inactive domains. GNU/Linux is highly mature a platform and many hosting platforms now use GNU/Linux by default. I see this in my daytime job. There’s an influx/inertia leading to FOSS, albeit quite silently. This means that a lot of companies will make the migration sooner or later, especially now that Windows Server 2003 becomes orphaned [via]:

The end of extended support for Windows Server 2003 is just under a year away. One manager says the average migration will take 200 days, so start thinking about migrating if you haven’t already.

Hopefully he speaks of a migration to GNU/Linux. There is no reason to stay with the Vista equivalent on the server side. There is nothing in it, except newer back doors, increased fees, and more lock-in. Based on the trend in nations such as Russia and China, many systems at the back end will be converted to GNU/Linux, perhaps when support lapses for the current version of Windows (that’s what happened in Munich, Germany).

Microsoft has become so desperate on the server side that it is now liaising with one of the largest users of GNU/Linux, namely Akamai. There is no suggestion that Akamai will be using Windows; in fact, even years in the past (e.g. the Olympic Games in Beijing) Microsoft relied heavily on GNU/Linux (at Akamai) for data delivery. For Microsoft to grow closer to Akamai is rather telling; perhaps Microsoft too is already seeing the writings on the wall. The world is moving beyond Windows, and there’s absolutely nothing Microsoft can do to stop it (except perhaps trying to tax it using software patents).

08.02.14

Google Should Sue Desperate Microsoft Out of Existence for Misuse of Government Regulators and Patent Racket Against Android Backers (as Microsoft Sues Samsung Using Another Nokia Ploy)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 3:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Satya Ballmer
Satya Ballmer continues to sue Linux

Summary: Microsoft’s relentless attacks on Linux intensify from two angles: one is a bogus case against Android ‘abuses’ and another a bogus patent case, which is hinged on extortion in secrecy (divide and conquer with threats and racketeering)

Samsung has historically been an exceptionally close partner of Microsoft, with strategic collaborations ranging from patent payments (for Linux) to Windows pre-loads and from DRM to hardware (Samsung’s core business, where it is an international leader). Samsung and Microsoft have historically been so conjoined a pair that their relationship would be one that even the NSA would envy. It is essential to remember that Samsung was the first electronics company to offer Microsoft payments for Linux-related software it never bothered to even specify (LG, another Korean giant, soon followed suit). Samsung was the first electronics-centric company (Novell being the first on the software side) that we called for a boycott against.

All this may be about to change as Microsoft’s hostility towards Android goes up a notch, despite attempts to paint the company “friend of FOSS” with the new CEO appointment (there has been no change in policy). Samsung is already challenging Apple's legal assaults on Android using the SCOTUS ruling on "abstract" patents. Soon it may have to do the same to Microsoft, which has just declared war on Android from two fronts. As this heads into the courtroom we will need to support Samsung, not chastise it. It’s an alliance of convenience amongst Android supporters. Google should join this lawsuit, offering financial support, evidence, patents, etc. Samsung is a big target when it comes to Android and Google cannot afford to let this case be lost, especially not from a moral point of view. Google previously supported other such companies (besieged by patent lawsuits), including HTC. Better yet, Google should serve the antitrust authorities and the anti-cartel authorities in multiple countries, informing them of the extortion tactics Microsoft has been using (the lawsuit means that Samsung refused to buckle in the face of extortion).

There are two bits of news we wish to present today, sharing them among those who have not seen or heard those. The first is the antitrust lobby, which Microsoft invoked by proxy (Nokia is a European company, which makes it a convenient tool for pursuing antitrust action in Europe). Top European regulators have already warned Nokia regarding patents, so Nokia (acting as a Microsoft satellite) tried a competitive angle instead. Microsoft cannot do this without proxy due to hypocrisy.

So Reuters says that Google may face Android antitrust investigation in Europe and some sites cover this, citing Reuters with its sources. To quote: “According to a report yesterday from Reuters, which cited anonymous sources, European Union officials are now looking into whether the company is abusing its 80 percent market share for the Android mobile operating system by pushing its services on consumers.”

Having high market share is possible owing to technical merit. As the platform is Free software nothing prevents rivals and partners from stripping and adding other software. Just look at what Microsoft/Nokia did with Android. This whole case is bogus, but it was brought forth by Microsoft and its proxies. It’s an attempt to use regulators to tilt the market against Free software, using bizarre logic and a pretense of collective anger.

There is another report circulating right now. The Microsoft booster was quick to report on this, based on Microsoft’s version of the story. Writing in Microsoft-friendly media (where Microsoft agents of disinformation, partners, employees and ex-employees are among writers and commenters), Mary wrote:

Microsoft files Android patent-royalty suit against Samsung

[...]

Microsoft is seeking a ruling as to whether its acquisition of Nokia’s handset and services business negates its intellectual-property licensing agreement with Samsung that dates back to 2011. Microsoft also is seeking unpaid interest from Samsung, resulting from the period of time last year when Samsung withheld patent royalties from Microsoft — royalties which Samsung later paid.

Watch some people repeating the propaganda in the comments. “That’s big news,” said the first comment. “Everyone had assumed that MS was raking in Billions from Samsung because the their contract with MS.”

Who assumed that?

This all can be traced back to one single ‘analyst’ whom the Microsoft lobbyists kept quoting, repeating the claim without any substantial proof and flooding the media with it. We routinely showed that this is all speculation, but a speculation that grew feet very quickly and stuck in people’s minds.

Narg replies with: “Try again, the Contract was only worth a couple hundred thousand last I read.”

Samsung never said how much (if anything) it had paid Microsoft. We only knew that they had some patent agreement, most likely on FAT. Samsung has a vast trove of patents, so it might be more like a cross-licensing agreement. We just don’t know. Microsoft at one stage said that it sought $15 per phone from Samsung, but it never got its way (Apple sought about $50 per phone and ended up getting less than $1 from each).

As ZDNet is somewhat of a zoo of Microsoft ads and Microsoft boosters with direct Microsoft connections, salaries past and present, and even bribes like laptops, we probably should not entertain the commenters too much (some are terrible comments of low quality and poor grammar, but some are better). One comment further down says: “It’s just a veiled threat they’ve been using and getting away with for years.

“Somebody needs to stand up and let the entire world know that the largest patent troll in the world is the one that makes the worst OS in history and is headquartered in Redmond.

“I sincerely hope Samsung follows through, and doesn’t let this bully steal their lunch money!

“I smell desperation on Microsoft’s part… 18-thousand layoffs, geesh.”

These massive layoffs are a symptom of what Microsoft is going through. Well, based on the latest numbers [1], Microsoft’s sales in the mobile domain are negligible and don’t even make the latest count’s threshold.

Microsoft as a whole is collapsing and privacy concerns (e.g. back doors) play a big role in accelerating this collapse, based on Microsoft’s own admission (just look what happens in Russia and China). It’s no coincidence that in ZDNet — and just about nowhere else — former Microsoft employee Zack Whittaker (who likes to disparage Google and GNU/Linux without disclosure) is now releasing multiple puff pieces/placements seeking to paint Microsoft as a privacy champion, based on a court case that’s more like a publicity stunt from Microsoft.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Early view to Q2 smartphone market share numbers as we get data in

    (HTC did not kick Nokia/Microsoft out, they are under this number, and the other up-and-comings from China and India are not yet big enough to challenge for a Top 10 slot. Blackberry is nowhere even in the Top 12, they may fall out of Top 20 haha)

07.20.14

Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 4:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Bend Software

Summary: The Linux Foundation’s AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software

THE improperly-named AllSeen Alliance recently let Microsoft in, immediately discrediting itself. But it’s not just FOSS foes, proprietary software giants, patent trolls and software patent lobbyists that are among the AllSeen Alliance’s members. It’s even a company that sued Chrome using software patents. It seems like growth for the sake of quantity — not quality — is what the AllSeen Alliance is after. Since the AllSeen Alliance is tied to the Linux Foundation, this bodes poorly for Linux as a whole. Here is the AllSeen Alliance’s latest mistake: “Red Bend Software is a community member of the AllSeen Alliance and a leader in mobile software management. More than 2 billion Red Bend-enabled devices use the company’s software and services for firmware over-the-air (FOTA) updating, application management, device management, device analytics and mobile virtualization. Customers include more than 100 leading manufacturers, mobile operators, semiconductor vendors and automotive companies worldwide.”

Did the AllSeen Alliance bother to check Red Bend’s history? Maybe, but probably not. Having said that, since the AllSeen Alliance even opened the door to Microsoft, it does not seem to bother at all with quality control. Its name seems to insinuate in-house (universal) surveillance and judging by its members, that is the route it is quite likely to take.

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