Summary: A reminder of Microsoft’s sheer hostility towards GNU/Linux and long-reaching sabotage of GNU/Linux installations
THE OTHER DAY we saw Microsoft’s booster Gavin Clarke speaking about Microsoft’s attempt to enter primarily GNU/Linux-oriented datacentres such as Rackspace’s. To Microsoft, especially these days, the goal is not just to dominate operating systems, APIs and file formats but also to possess all files (in so-called ‘cloud’ storage) and servers (so-called ‘cloud’ hosting). It’s all about control, e.g. surveillance on databases, site visitors, individuals’ files, passwords, E-mails etc.
When speaking about Microsoft “loving” Linux (a lie thatwedebunkedherebefore) we should bear in mind that Microsoft views GNU/Linux in Azure as just another object to spy on, extort, tax, and ultimately control. The strategy is one of devour or command-and-conquer. This Linux.com article from the other day made some noteworthy points: “When a journalist asked about the absence of Red Hat, during the Q&A session of the same event where Nadella declared Microsoft’s love for Linux, Microsoft executives didn’t have any specifics. Nadella stepped in and vaguely said, “We’d welcome Red Hat in our cloud.”
“We don’t know what is stopping Microsoft from offering Red Hat, because both companies are not ready to talk about it. John Terrill of Red Hat sent me the following response by email, “While we can imagine that a partnership, which respects each party’s business model and open source, could be possible for Red Hat technologies on Azure, we are not able to comment publicly on the topic. Red Hat does have a partnering arrangement of substance with Microsoft – certifying and supporting Red Hat Enterprise Linux running on Hyper-V, and Windows Server running on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization.”
“It’s unclear who is unwilling to work with the other, even if it makes no sense for either companies.”
Because this is a UEFI Firmware system, the first step is to wrestle with with BIOS and UEFI configuration. Every OEM is different in this area, and sometimes even different models from the same OEM are different. The critical questions are:
How to UEFI boot from a USB stick
How to (optionally) disable UEFI Secure Boot
How to (optionally) enable Legacy Boot (MBR)
Will changes to the UEFI boot configuration be retained
I know from experience with previous Acer systems that there are two things you have to do in the BIOS to prepare for Linux installation. FIrst, you have to change the “F12 Boot Menu” option to ‘Enable’, so that that you can press F12 during startup and get to the Boot Select menu.
Second, if you want/need to change the UEFI boot settings, you will first have to set a “Supervisor Password” in the BIOS configuration. Once the password is set, you can disable Secure Boot and/or enable Legacy Boot as necessary.
After the installation process completed, and before I rebooted, I checked the UEFI boot configuration (efibootmgr -v). It was correct, with “opensuse-secureboot” defined and first in the boot sequence list. But then I rebooted and… it booted Windows. ARRRRGGGHHHH! NO! Acer doesn’t do this kind of garbage, HP/Compaq does! I have two or three other Acer laptops around here, and the boot configuration is perfectly stable on them!
I rebooted and used F12 to get Boot Select, then selected openSuSE from there, and it came up ok. Then I checked the boot configuration again. Sure enough, the boot order had been changed back to have Windows Boot Manager first. Swine…
I rebooted again, and this time went into BIOS setup (F2). On the ‘Boot’ page, there is a ‘Boot priority order’ list, and “Windows Boot Manager” was right at the top of that list. There was nothing about “openSuSE” in the list, but there was a strange new entry for “HDD: WDE WD5000LPVX-22VOTTO”, which is absolutely as clear as mud… I didn’t recall seeing that entry when I was in the Boot menu the first time. I moved that item to the top of the priority list, crossed my fingers and rebooted.
If Microsoft loves GNU/Linux as much as it claims, why does it continue trying to complicate installations of GNU/Linux? People must ask such questions. The sad thing is that some in the Free software community are right now being bamboozled by facts-free charm offensives. █
Summary: Microsoft collusion with patent extortion (as in the early days of the Microsoft-Novell deal) continues to this date, reveals Samsung
MICROSOFT must be in a state of panic. It does irrational things, like a stranded criminal. Microsoft's lieabout 'loving' Linux was facing sheer resistance from FOSS luminaries because the lie is just outrageous beyond words]. It is the very inversion of the truth and it is as ridiculous as saying that BP loves Shell and Shell loves BP, to give just one hypothetical example. It makes no sense at all, so why does Microsoft bother trying?
This new article titled “Samsung says Microsoft deal invites ‘charges of collusion’: filing” has been rather fascinating. Microsoft is apparently ‘loving’ Linux so much that it colludes against it. Well, will Nadella go to prison? Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer perhaps? What silly questions! Rich people don’t get sent to prison for rich people’s (white-collar) crimes. Microsoft pretends to “love” Linux while quite clearly attacking it, still. Android uses the Linux kernel, just as a reminder.
“This is beyond extortion. It’s an antitrust violation and even collusion/corruption.”To quote the article: “Samsung said its collaboration with Microsoft on Windows phones raised antitrust problems once Microsoft completed its acquisition of Nokia’s handset business, according to a court filing.”
So here we have a criminal company using collusion and abuses under the guise and cover of NDAs. As SJVN put it in his blog: “Samsung fires another shot at Microsoft in Android patent battle”
SJVN’s argument is that “[t]his move came as no surprise to lawyers who’ve been following the case. One intellectual property (IP) attorney whose firm is covering the case closely said that Samsung is simply adding another argument to their contention that their existing Microsoft Android patent deal is invalid on business contract grounds.
“According to Reuters, Samsung said it agreed to pay Microsoft Android patent license royalties in 2011, but the deal also stated that Samsung would develop Windows phones and share confidential business information with Microsoft. If Samsung were to sell a certain number of Windows phones, then Microsoft would reduce the Android royalty payments.”
This is beyond extortion. It’s an antitrust violation and even collusion/corruption. Will criminal charges be brought against anyone? Will anyone in government bother trying to press charges? Not likely.
As Mr. Pogson put it the other day, Windows is in very serious trouble and therefore Microsoft is too. GNU/Linux, on the other hand, keeps growing, especially in smaller devices such as phones and tablet, notably owing to Android. To quote Pogson’s conclusion:
So, XP is dead, “7” is dying, “8” is a zombie, and “10” is vapourware with nowhere to call home. M$ continues layoffs. POOF! It all falls down. In the meantime Google and the OEMs will crank out many millions of ChromeBooks. Canonical, Linpus, RedHat, Suse… and the OEMs will crank out many millions of GNU/Linux PCs. Several OEMs will crank out many millions of GNU/Linux thin clients. Android/Linux will reverberate with another billion or so units of small cheap computers(tablets, smartphones). This looks like good news to me.
Yes, well, Microsoft too realises that Linux is winning, so it is left with either the option to demonise it or to monetise it, e.g. through hosting or patent extortion. In a sense, Microsoft needs Linux more than Linux needs Microsoft. Linux needs none of Microsoft. All that Microsoft does is commit crimes against Linux, so Linux proponents can only hope for total elimination of Microsoft.
There are layoffs at Microsoft, as Pogson pointed out, and this includes salespeople. To quote Value Walk: “According to knowledgeable sources who spoke to Business Insider on Friday, October 31st, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is laying off its entire global advertising sales team. The reduction in force comes as the ad sales positions have become largely redundant as individual divisions are handling their own ad sales today.”
Here again we see that these layoffs were not about Nokia. Microsoft tried hard to paint that sort of picture to save face.
When it comes to Microsoft, the more layoffs, the merrier. This company destoryed many jobs using its crimes and these sorts of crimes clearly continue to this date. In a sense, GNU and Linux won’t be safe until Microsoft is totally gone. █
Summary: The sheer absurdity of claims that Microsoft — which not only attacks those who distribute Linux and GNU but also blackmails them, takes them to court, or bricks their products without any liability — ‘loves’ Linux
“Nobody was going to court; people can apparently just brick hardware deliberately, without due process and without facing consequences for such destructive actions.”The curious thing here is the leeway it gives for Microsoft to brick installations of GNU and Linux, even if the ‘alien’ system is in its own partition. While some journalists are repeating Microsoft's lies about Microsoft 'loving' Linux we already know damn well that Microsoft hates GNU and Linux to the point of preventing sales of PCs with anything other than Windows, except perhaps in Italy owing to a top court’s latest ruling.
How is bricking people’s devices that are powered by Linux somehow acceptable or even legal now? It is done via Windows Update, which means that Microsoft now bricks Linux installations, whether unintentionally or intentionally (or somewhere in between). Will Microsoft also screw with the MBR/bootloader claiming that Free software infringes on its ‘IP’?
I responded by saying that Microsoft loves Linux like BP likes “green”, mostly for marketing around perceptions that help sell more petrol
There was a a discussion in Twitter among some FOSS journalists, who do not necessarily agree. The OSI’s President, for instance, tends to agree with me on that.
One of our readers wrote to say: “Unintentional disinformation regarding “contributions” to the Linux kernel. The large number of commits was simply unfucking the code. A question is does Microsoft maintain that code now that Greg fixed it, or did they just lay that egg in someone else’s nest?”
When Greg worked for Novell, which had been paid money for Microsoft to help it infiltrate several FOSS communities, Microsoft committed GPL violations (not a sole incident) and now it hopes to spin that as “contribution”. When will this revisionism end?
As a side note, layoffs at Microsoftcontinue to expand. The Microsoft booster wrote: “The cuts of approximately 3,000 employees today are believed to be largely support staff in human resources, finance, sales and marketing and IT. They are part of the 18,000 employees Microsoft officials said back in July that they’d be laying off over the course of a year.”
Android and other Linux-based platforms hurt Microsoft. It leads to layoffs, so Microsoft cannot claim to love Linux. Although it may take some time, Microsoft may end up a bit like Novell and Nokia, potentially absorbed by some bigger business (Microsoft is shrinking in terms of scale of influence or clout). █
Today we have another story about ways in which Microsoft bricks Linux devices (by ‘accident’) and to quote a Microsoft booster, the ‘updates’ impacted victims and “bricked some of their hardware”. Define “some”. Microsoft Peter, who wrote about it early on (like ‘damage control’), belittles the seriousness of this:
Hardware hackers building interactive gadgets based on the Arduino microcontrollers are finding that a recent driver update that Microsoft deployed over Windows Update has bricked some of their hardware, leaving it inaccessible to most software both on Windows and Linux. This came to us via hardware hacking site Hack A Day.
It makes one wonder why Arduino developers use a desktop platform that has back doors and a disastrous track record.
The FTDI FT232 chip is found in thousands of electronic baubles, from Arduinos to test equipment, and more than a few bits of consumer electronics. It’s a simple chip, converting USB to a serial port, but very useful and probably one of the most cloned pieces of silicon on Earth. Thanks to a recent Windows update, all those fake FTDI chips are at risk of being bricked. This isn’t a case where fake FTDI chips won’t work if plugged into a machine running the newest FTDI driver; the latest driver bricks the fake chips, rendering them inoperable with any computer.
So Microsoft is bricking Arduino devices now. Great! Mission accomplished.
Microsoft Peter is already seeing backlash to his Microsoft propaganda (‘damage control’) and not for the first time, either.
“The Microsoft press tries to justify this as an attack on “fake” chips,” wrote Will Hill. “Bricking is malicious and intentional. People who reverse engineered the drive claim that the bricking is malicious and intentional.”
“Microsoft Peter is already seeing backlash to his Microsoft propaganda (‘damage control’) and not for the first time, either.”TechDirt said that “IP Is No Excuse: Even If Someone Is Using Fake Chips, It’s Not Okay To Kill Their Devices”. It said that “It’s not entirely clear if this is something FTDI did on purpose or not (though, their comments below suggest they did), but it is worrisome, and it’s simply not okay — whether it was on purpose (in which case it’s potentially illegal) or not (in which case it’s just bad).”
Mike Masnick responded to the Microsoft booster/PR by saying that Microsoft can’t just brick people’s devices. He seems unaware of the background of the author and the gymnastics in logic (not knowledge) that he would stoop to in order to defend Microsoft in every possible situation, especially the most difficult and controversial situations that put Microsoft under a lot of public pressure and backlash, possibly lawsuits too (class action).
Public Knowledgeweighed in, explaining that “being where they are, no one installing the update would ever see them (not even in a blink-and-you-miss-it clickthrough agreement). In other words, it’s a “warning” that’s less than useless.
“Less than useless because not only does it fail to warn, but its inclusion seems pretty clearly an attempt to avoid liability for destroying someone else’s device, without them actually seeing the warning. To extend the earlier metaphor a bit, this would be like a disclaimer posted in the back room of a Nike store that said that, by entering the store, I had agreed to have the shoes I’m wearing inspected and shredded if they turn out to be fake Nikes. In other words, a completely unenforceable term.
“We’ve spent a lot of time talking about how fine print can be used to fool consumers and deprive them of rights over what should be their own property before; this seems to be an extraordinary extreme of that. Maybe this should mark a turning point in the law’s willingness to support this kind of chicanery.”
We found more or less the same party line in The Register, which wrote: “Responding to the growing furor, FTDI now says it has yanked the offending driver from Windows Update so that Windows users will no longer receive it automatically. But it says it has no intention of giving up the fight against (presumably) Chinese chip knockoff artists.”
They are not knockoff artists, there was no legal case, and even if there’s suspicion that something illegal was happening, it does not by any means justify bricking of hardware. Then again, Microsoft is a criminal company (reminder in the videos below), so we have come to expect such behaviour. When it can be conveniently painted as an ‘accident’, then it is usually defensibly. █
Summary: The nastiness of Microsoft knows no bounds as even its assault on GNU/Linux and dirty tricks against Free software adoption are characterised as the fault of ‘pirates’
Last week we wrote about Microsoft boosters and Microsoft-friendly sites saying that Microsoft is loving Linux simply because Nadella says so. It is a lie, but if repeated often enough some people might believe it. Nadella is now saying that stuff acquired for free (like Windows) was “forced upon it [Microsoft] by pirates” although it could not be further from the truth.
Nadella got caught lying again or maybe he just doesn’t know Microsoft’s lies and therefore he repeats these lies. Either way, these are lies. Bill Gates once said (in public): “They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”
“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not” Microsoft was quoted as saying on another occasion.
As a reader of ours put it the other day: “Microsoft does not make its money off the software, it makes its money off the rents on the software. There’s a big difference. Rents depend on market share, not sales alone.”
As I learned only a couple of days ago at Currys/PC World (apparently to other people’s interest too), Microsoft is essentially forcing all PC buyers to get Windows; there’s hardly any other option and there is punishment for people who remove Windows from their new PC. These “rents”, as our reader called it, are now ending in parts of Europe, but not in the UK. As the FSF stated last night: “The Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) issued a judgment1 that bans the “Microsoft tax,” a commercial practice that discourages users from converting their PCs to GNU/Linux or other free operating systems by forcing them to pay for a Windows license with their PCs. PC producers in Italy now cannot refuse to refund the price of the license to purchasers that will not run Windows.”
I may soon register a complaint with the British authorities.
New comments from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella suggest that luring people in with zero-cost products is of great interest to the company. However, while services such as OneDrive are free with premium options by design, Nadella says Microsoft has long had a freemium business model, but one that was forced upon it by pirates.
Over at The Register, which receives money from Microsoft through some deals, the Microsoft booster Gavin Clarke now portrays Steve Ballmer and Microsoft as friendly to competition. This propaganda or revisionism, casting Microsoft as a role model for playing nice with competition, is worse than insulting. It’s a disgrace and a shame to British journalism. █
True quotes from Microsoft below, click to read in full.
Summary: Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also “loves Linux”
THE CORPORATE media is not in the business of informing the public. To the mainstream media the public is not the client; corporate partners are the clients whereas audience (the public) is the product on sale. It was just so easy to be reminded of this trivial observation because Microsoft is a good example. It was so easy to see it since Monday morning when the media decided to herald all sorts of utterly absurd claims. But let’s go a little further back than 2 days and see just how Microsoft games the media and tries to fool the whole world, or merely to aggravate/rile up the opposition, which in itself can work magic, as long as journalists are willing to play along at risk to their reputation.
Actually, I enjoyed watching Microsoft’s spokesperson squirm while trying to make the case that “Microsoft is an open source company” before an audience that was politely not buying it. I also found it somewhat enlightening to watch an open core company show its true colors, revealing itself to be a proprietary firm merely riding the open source bandwagon. As for Oracle, developer level technical discussions on Java and MySQL can only be beneficial.
Microsoft will never get tired of lying; it probably aims for/targets low-hanging fruit, i.e. people who “want to believe” or Microsoft partners who really wish to think that Microsoft is now ethical. It’s a PR charade and it is utterly shameless. It’s a disservice to everyone except Microsoft; it’s an insult to truth.
Around the same time we noticed Maria Deutscher writing this pro-Microsoft puff piece titled “Microsoft continues open source love affair with Apache Storm endorsement”. Here is the opening part:
Colorful Sonoran Desert StormMicrosoft Corp., the poster child of proprietary software, has developed a sudden appetite for open-source technologies. Barely three days after revealing plans to make future versions of Windows Server compatible with the Docker container engine, which currently only runs on Linux, the Redmond giant is rolling out support for Apache Storm for its Azure infrastructure-as-a-service platform.
No, Microsoft is trying to close down (or “contain”, to use the terminology of Docker) what’s open inside a closed/locked-down, proprietary environment with surveillance and back doors. That’s what’s happening. Non-technical journalists are easier to fool and they just blindly print whatever Microsoft says. Deutscher later wrote another pro-Microsoft puff piece. It is titled “Microsoft expands open source reach”, but lest we forget Steve Ballmer stating: “I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”
Windows is proprietary. Microsoft just loves power and money, it does not love FOSS and it never will. It’s an anathema to Microsoft. But one can always count on Microsoft boosters to support the narrative that Microsoft now “loves” FOSS and “loves” GNU/Linux, which Microsoft merely wants contained (to contain Linux, like a farmer contains sheep for the imminent slaughter).
“Microsoft has been steadily making adjustments to its processes and preferences to become more open,” wrote one person from Redmond, “and to move more quickly to support technologies that could be of interest to its many customers, even when they’re not Microsoft-built.”
That’s done in order to bring them to Microsoft and make them locked in and spied on, by Microsoft and its special partner the NSA. Here we have the corporate media distorting reality, portraying the company that is threatening, blackmailing, suing and slinging mud at Linux as “loving” Linux. There is not even much of a potent attempt to challenge these claims. It’s like an abusive husband explaining to a court that he beats up his wife because he loves her. Any decent person would interrupt such nonsense and wouldn’t just let it go unchallenged.
Speaking of massive failure by the corporate press, see this new garbage from Kate Bevan at the British bankers’ media (Financial Times), suggesting that Microsoft should hijack Android:
Here’s a blue-sky suggestion for Mr Nadella: sit down with Jeff Bezos at Amazon to develop a good fork of Android. Microsoft has a compelling services offering but an almost non-existent platform for these services, despite the quality of the Lumia handsets. Amazon has compelling content with its Prime video but seems unable to get consumers to buy its Fire devices.
For smaller providers, a Microsoft-Amazon-style joint venture would be a great way to become part of an ecosystem out of Google’s reach. I suspect consumers would find that attractive. How about it, Satya and Jeff?
How low can the Financial Times stoop? This is not journalism, it’s Microsoft jingoism disguised as analysis. Sadly, today’s corporate media is full of such nonsense and in the next post we will show how the press likes to demonise FOSS over security matters while totally ignoring the issues with proprietary software having back doors ‘baked in’. █
Summary: News reports circulate showing that Home Depot was knowingly careless with its Windows dependency while Microsoft lays off staff focused on security
Microsoft is not a company that cares about security. It seems to care about the security state (i.e. surveillance), which is why it makes its products so easy to infiltrate (by the “Good Guys”). As weshowedbefore, Microsoft’s layoffs focus in part on security-related staff, or staff that’s associated with security state type of stuff (restricting operation of computers, back doors, etc.).
In a statement sent to Channelnomics sister-site CRN UK, Microsoft said the staff reductions in the latest round have been “spread across many business units and many different countries”, but did not go into specifics as to where it is swinging the ax.
“Trustworthy Computing group” is one of the affected units, based on Seattle-based press. Reportedly, according to this press (heavily biased in Microsoft’s favour), the group was “folding into other units”. It’s a clever and rather classic way to disguise layoffs (like the term “reorg”). “A spokesman confirmed that an unspecified number of jobs are being eliminated from the Trustworthy Computing group as part of the changes,” said the report that we cited last week. So by “folding into other units” he basically meant “layoffs”.
It is rather amazing that given all that is known, some businesses and even governments continue to procure and/or purchase more stuff from Microsoft. It’s worse than irresponsible, it’s suicidal. Ask Home Depot why it should not be using Windows anymore. According to reports such as , this retailer faces a massive security breach and it’s all the fault of Windows. Staff knew about it and also ignored the issues. It makes it both
irresponsible and suicidal. The company’s name is now tarnished.
Former information technology employees at Home Depot claim that the retailer’s management had been warned for years that its retail systems were vulnerable to attack, according to a report by the New York Times. Resistance to advice on fixing systems reportedly led several members of Home Depot’s computer security team to quit, and one who remained warned friends to use cash when shopping at the retailer’s stores.
Summary: Italy is not only moving to Free/Open Source software but also to GNU/Linux while at the same time barring Microsoft from forcibly tying Windows to new PCs
“Last year,” says Pogson, “I wrote about Udine using FLOSS in their infrastructure. Well, it’s in the news again.”
There were several reports recently about Turin following the footsteps of Munich and the main report surprisingly came from the CBS-owned ZDNet, albeit from a guest writer.
Well, guest writers in ZDNet (people from Italy) now tell the story of Italy moving to GNU/Linux in the public sector. It is not exactly news. Here is another one that says: “The City of Udine is moving from Windows for OpenOffice – and may soon ditch Microsoft at an operating system level too.”
That means GNU/Linux!
And if that’s not enough, Italy is now barring Microsoft from imposing the inclusion of Microsoft Windows (NSA-infested malware) in computer sales. As the FSFE reported some days ago: “Italy’s High Court has struck a blow to the practice of forcing non-free software on buyers of PCs and laptops. According to La Repubblica, the court ruled on Thursday that a laptop buyer was entitled to receive a refund for the price of the Microsoft Windows license on his computer.
“The judges sharply criticised the practice of selling PCs only together with a non-free operating system as “a commercial policy of forced distribution”. The court slammed this practice as “monopolistic in tendency”. It also highlighted that the practice of bundling means that end users are forced into using additional non-free applications due to compatibility and interoperability issues, whether they wanted these programs or not.”
Pogson added that: “When I approached the Canadian Competition Bureau on the matter, they parroted that I had no standing, not being in competition with M$. Shame on them. Who is in competition with M$ when M$ has eliminated the market? They should do their job and protect consumers and businesses from an unfair tax on goods and services in Canada. What’s your government doing to protect your freedom of choice in operating systems?”
That’s a fair point. Notice how Microsoft is using its abuses to eliminate reports about its abuses. We saw that in areas other than operating systems.
It sure looks like Germany and Italy and rapidly moving away from Windows. Perhaps all those explosive revelations about NSA espionage (especially in Germany) will accelerate the migrations. To deny bundling of Microsoft Windows with PCs is to basically protect many citizens from being malicious spied on by foreign governments. █