Summary: Promoting a future of subservience to Microsoft even when it comes to GNU/Linux, Android, and Chromebooks
“Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” (EEE) is alive and well at Microsoft. The word subsume is defined as “to include or place within something larger or more comprehensive,” so it’s a good word by which to describe Microsoft’s treatment of GNU/Linux and Free/libre software, be it in Azure or Cyanogen etc.
Microsoft hired Mr. Srinivasan (above) from Novell to help subsume Linux, the kernel. We are concerned about this latest personality grooming from the Linux Foundation, having noted Srinivasan’s role before [1, 2, 3]. Grooming the Microsoft developers who help Microsoft subsume Linux is not wise. The Linux Foundation presents Srinivasan as “an architect in the Windows Server Division at Microsoft where he focuses on making Linux run well on the Hyper-V hypervisor and Azure cloud environment.” In other words, this man puts GNU/Linux in Microsoft’s hands, managed by proprietary software with back doors. Great, eh? As we wrote last week, it’s an entrapment. Microsoft is trying to do the same thing to Android, putting software that captures users’ voice in it (transmitting it to Microsoft, a notorious privacy violator). Microsoft-friendly authors are right now celebrating the extension of Microsoft’s spying network Skype (with NSA access) to GNU/Linux and Chromebooks. What a terrible thing to be doing.
The stupidest suggestion one can come up with right now is Microsoft buying a GNU/Linux vendor or anything along these lines, but corporate media (Fortune) has Barb Darrow say that it “makes sense for Microsoft to buy hot cloud startup Docker” despite Docker being quite closely tied to GNU/Linux (or UNIX). “Other emerging startups like CoreOS and Mesosphere are also working on capabilities that compete with what Docker’s cooking,” Darrow wrote. “And then there’s the aforementioned Google Kubernetes, which is also open source and free, and also promises similar capabilities. Some analysts have said that the product works better than Docker’s nascent orchestration features.”
Docker already responded to this nonsense, saying that it’s not for sale, but the Microsoft-friendly, Bill Bates-bribed media (yes, he subsidises them) released this puff piece which sells the ‘new Microsoft’ illusion. Microsoft's booster Tim Anderson, in the mean while, contributes to the openwashing of Microsoft using abandoned software.
Microsoft has not changed and it is definitely no friend of GNU/Linux and Free software. The Fortune article (finance-leaning) shows what non-technical writers can do when they don’t actually understand what containers are and how they work (unless it was intentional propaganda). Microsoft buying Docker makes as much sense as Coca Cola buying Nokia or something bizarre like that. Do editors even check what they print? Is this just agenda disguised as an article? █
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Summary: The story of Nokia’s Moonraker, the baby which got knifed before birth, reportedly because of Microsoft’s pressure
WHEN Nokia was killed by Microsoft it wasn’t a slow death. A lot of Nokia’s products got killed almost immediately, especially anything which involved Linux. Yes, because “Microsoft loves Linux,” according to Microsoft’s CEO. Whenever Nokia tried new initiatives involving Linux at their core (there were several such initiatives) these quickly got shot at the back of the neck. Some staff left or was pushed out (see Jolla for example), leaving in Nokia only those loyal enough to Microsoft. According to a couple of new reports, one of which from a Microsoft booster and another from a Microsoft-sympathetic site, Microsoft killed a non-Windows smartwatch from Nokia. To quote the Microsoft booster:
The Verge reports that, according to its sources, Microsoft killed off the Moonraker watch when it bought Nokia, as Band had more sensors. While Moonraker could do things such as turn on the screen when you raise your arm and turn it off when you lower it, this apparently didn’t compare with the breadth of sensors found in the Band.
While Google and Apple smartwatches both run operating systems that are closely related to their phone platforms, Band is believed to run software that’s substantially lighter weight. While this allows Band to be smaller than full smartwatches, it also limits its utility as an app platform. Similar to the Apple Watch’s WatchKit (but unlike the forthcoming native SDK), Band apps run on the paired phone, using the Band itself only as a display device.
Nokia could have beat the rest of the market to it, but since Windows is laughably bloated and unsuitable for any watch-sized device, Microsoft could just not let it be. █
“A lot of people make that analogy that competing with Bill Gates is like playing hardball. I’d say it’s more like a knife fight.”
–Gary Clow, famous Microsoft victim
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Windows too old and long in the tooth
Summary: The ongoing migration of various governments to Free/libre software contributes to the demise of Microsoft’s monopoly and common carrier
“REPORTS suggest Windows phone users are jumping ship with sales in rapid decline,” said the British media earlier this week (title is “Microsoft has a very big problem”). Linux and Android are certainly still gaining. When one switches completely to GNU/Linux, embrace of OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Free/libre software is often implied. It’s virtually imperative. It’s like the ultimate and most complete switch, whereas embrace of open standards or Free software alone tends to be ‘softer’ or rather restrained, staged, and at times hesitant. There is lobbying against each at varying (depending on perceived risk or severity) levels of granularity.
“Someone inside GE recently told me that GE was quietly dumping Windows for Linux in its lucrative CT scanners business.”Microsoft is in trouble and there is no denying that.
According to British media, Vista 8 continues to be a disaster technically and in some nations, unsurprisingly, GNU/Linux has greater market share than the latest Vista (Windows 8.1). The desktop monopoly too is in jeopardy, especially where governments made it their policy to embrace Free/libre software (Uruguay and Venezuela in this case).
Here in the UK the National Health Service (NHS), longtime prisoner of Microsoft, is putting up resistance and considering Free software in a growing number of operations. Making the huge mistake of putting Microsoft Windows in medical devices or facilities is not forgivable. Someone inside GE recently told me that GE was quietly dumping Windows for Linux in its lucrative CT scanners business. According to this new report, X-ray scanners (causing cancer) are behaving badly because of Windows. To quote: “the device proved an easy target. TrapX’s team was able to use an exploit for a known weakness in the Windows 2000 operating system to establish what TrapX refers to as a “pivot” – or point of control- on their test network from which they could attack other systems. After creating a backdoor into the device, TrapX researchers added a new user to the system and decrypted the local user password. The company was then able to extract the database files that would contain medical information.”
“In due course, having removed the Office barrier/hurdle, HMRC can move to GNU/Linux because Google is purely Web-based.”This can become ground for many lawsuits from patients or families of dead patients. This is the sort of scandal that ought to push all British government departments which still use Windows XP immediately to GNU/Linux. No version of Windows is secure; the underlying encryption (proprietary) tends to have back doors. Every piece of proprietary software must be assumed insecure until proven otherwise (by becoming Free software and standards-compliant). There are moves in this direction, namely of standards, in Sweden  and in Holland [2,3], with calls growing for the NHS to embrace openness . There is an increasing push towards Free/libre software, not just open standards (which relate to one another). The governments in Europe should move to Free software like LibreOffice, where interoperability becomes trivial, to borrow Andy Updegrove’s latest arguments , but alas, as we noted the other day (alluding to the UK, Sweden, and India), HMRC is moving from one proprietary office suite to another. Here is the ‘damage control’ from Microsoft, which is trying to avoid the impression of being dumped. To quote the British press, “MICROSOFT HAS HIT BACK at claims that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has dumped the firm in favour of Google’s cloud apps.
“The move, first reported at The Register, will see 70,000 HMRC employees switching from Microsoft’s productivity offering to Google’s cloud-based apps services.”
Google will emphasise ODF support (open standards), but it is not Free/libre software. In due course, having removed the Office barrier/hurdle, HMRC can move to GNU/Linux because Google is purely Web-based. HMRC’s footsteps are likely to be followed by other British government departments (owing to ODF as a national requirement for editable document), taking away some of Microsoft’s most lucrative contracts (British government) and showing other governments across the world that they too can dump Microsoft and proprietary software, not just Windows. Office is the cash cow, Windows is the common carrier. The demise of one leads to the demise of the other. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Sweden’s governmental procurement specialists at Statens inköpscentral are fine-tuning the list of ICT standards that public authorities may use as mandatory requirements when procuring software and ICT services. The procurement agency is working with standardisation specialists at the University of Skövde, to check which ICT standards are truly open.
Public administrations that continue to ignore the policy to implement open standards in their ICT solutions should be fined, says Dutch MP Astrid Oosenbrug. “Public administrations should come to grips with open data, open standards and open source. With all their talk about regaining the trust of their citizens and creating a participatory society, public administrations should take a cue from open source communities.”
Public administrations that switch to open source regain financial scalability, says Jan-Taeke Schuilenga, IT architect at DUO, the Dutch government agency managing the financing of the country’s educational institutions. “We had reached the limit of proprietary licence possibilities. Switching to open source gave us freedom of choice.”
The UK government must open up and highlight the power of more basic data sets to improve patient care in the NHS and save hundreds of millions of pounds a year, Nigel Shadbolt, chairman of the Open Data Institute (ODI) has urged.
Once upon a time, standards were standards and open source software was open source software (OSS), and the only thing people worried about was whether the copyright and patent rules relating to the standards would prevent them from being implemented in OSS. Actually, that was complicated enough, but it seems simple in comparison now that OSS is being included in the standards themselves. Now what?
If this sounds unusual and exotic, it isn’t. In fact, code has been creeping into standards for years, often without the keepers of the intellectual property rights (IPR) Policies governing the standards even being aware of it.
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Summary: Countering the ludicrous suggestion that running GNU/Linux under proprietary environments is a worthwhile compromise
ONE of the clear advantages of GNU/Linux is that it improves security through transparency and empowers the user (or administrator, not the same as host) by giving full control to the user. A lot of this control, security and more broadly freedom get lost when people host in so-called ‘clouds’ which are proprietary and remotely managed, even spied on. Examples include Amazon (quite famously), but Microsoft too wants a piece of the pie. A lot of media deception, echoing lies from Microsoft representatives, lulls various people and lures them into a dangerous trap.
“A lot of media deception, echoing lies from Microsoft representatives, lulls various people and lures them into a dangerous trap.”This rather bizarre new piece which compares ancient Rome to software ends with troubling words. “The moral of the story,” it says, is that ganging up against common enemies is a possibility. “In today’s tech world,” the author says, “Athens is Open Source; Sparta is traditional commercial vendors; and Rome is… well, it depends on where you stand. When I first wrote this piece, I had Microsoft in mind. Today, perhaps Amazon is a better fit. Will the outcome be the same? Or will Athens and Sparta realize they have a common enemy?”
By “commercial” the author means proprietary. Some want us to believe that a liaison between Free/libre software and proprietary is a necessary thing.
The proprietary Hyper-V, which is NSA-friendly by definition (it runs on Windows), is advertised for hosting of GNU/Linux virtual instances (VMs) over at IDG, which does a lot to promote Microsoft’s agenda these days, including dissemination of lies about the cost of Vista 10 [1, 2, 3].
Microsoft already monitors (PRISM style) VMs that run GNU/Linux if administrators are dumb enough to choose Microsoft as a host, but Simon Sharwood and others [1, 2] insist that Microsoft wants to ‘help’ GNU/Linux by providing monitoring tools:
Microsoft is finally noticing that most for the workloads on Virtual Machines on Azure are actually Linux-powered, and they are finally releasing the necessary tools to monitor those workloads.
Microsoft openwasher Maria Deutscher [1, 2, 3] went as far calling it an “open-source push”. Well, it is proprietary, not “open source”, but let’s imagine otherwise, at least for Microsoft’s PR department (Deutscher has been doing a lot to help it this year).
There is no wisdom in joining hands with Microsoft and no point to it in general. People who somehow were led to believe that “Microsoft loves Linux” (inside Azure only) surely delude themselves, as Microsoft would always hope. True quotes from Microsoft are laid out below; click to read the revealing document in full. Microsoft is no ally of GNU/Linux. It’s dangerous to even think that it is. █
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“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”
–Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive
Summary: Another warning about the grave consequences of putting SSH endpoints on an operating system which is compromised by design
QUITE a few readers (and also pro-Microsoft bullies) have written to us regarding yesterday's article about OpenSSH and Microsoft, the first PRISM company which also uses broken (by design) ciphers to act as passive back doors. Microsoft is losing and is getting left behind, hence it tries to ‘embrace’ the competition. It’s not a good gesture but an effort to entice people into Windows prison, i.e. inherent insecurity. OpenSSH is supposed to be all about security, which Windows is inherently (by design) not compatible with. Does anyone really want to put public and private keys on a machine that is remotely accessible by spies? That’s suicidal for a government, corporation, legal firm, journalist, etc.
“We already know, thanks to leaks from Edward Snowden, that spies in the West are systematically harvesting passwords of systems administrators and then use these to hijack/infiltrate entire networks.”Microsoft promotion sites continue to praise Microsoft, whereas other sites cautiously welcome the move [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. This has been mentioned in various news sites since we first covered it, some Linux-centric ones ones too [1, 2]. In Linux Questions, for example, comments included “welcome microsoft to the year 2000.” Or even: “It was nice having known about you, PuTTY.”
To set the record straight, if we correctly understand Microsoft’s plans (all they are at this stage is just speculative, as there is not even a timetable, let alone any code), there will be increased access by espionage-seeking, power-motivated spies to people’s SSH keys. This will decrease overall security. Windows will be the weakest link. We already know, thanks to leaks from Edward Snowden, that spies in the West are systematically harvesting passwords of systems administrators and then use these to hijack/infiltrate entire networks all around the world. All that Microsoft’s involvement can achieve in this case is an increase in compromised computer networks. Putting SSH keys on Windows is the technical equivalent of putting tanks on rhapsodies (rendering the tanks sinkable). █
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The Scorpion and the Tortoise
Summary: Microsoft pretends that it is ‘embracing Android’ whilst actively trying to delete Android from Android devices
IT was only months ago that media sources said that Microsoft would work on ways to delete Android from Android devices. The sources were not wrong. They were at least partly right because Microsoft now “takes a free ride of Android hardware,” to quote the headline from Linux Veda. “Tables have turned,” it says, “gone are the days when Linux users used to buy Windows hardware to run their OS. Now Microsoft is doing the same. Since no one is interested in Windows phones Microsoft is trying to put Windows on Android hardware.” Microsoft is only dominant if ones ignores devices, telephones, tablets, servers, supercomputers, various gadgets, televisions, home utilities, and so on. Android and Linux are now more dominant than Windows.
SJVN covered this latest news without chastising Microsoft, instead quoting Microsoft. Windows is for “power users”, according to Terry Myerson from Microsoft, who wasn’t even joking. As if Android is easier to use and only “power users” can handle Windows. Nice shot in the foot there.
“Windows is for “power users”, according to Terry Myerson from Microsoft, who wasn’t even joking.”Windows on phones (or tablets for that matter) is rubbish. I saw it for myself. I saw it running on the most expensive hardware. It requires rebooting, it is buggy, and it has almost no apps, except malware (which unlike with Android, the user does not need to willingly download and install).
Microsoft loves Linux for the same reasons a deer hunter loves deer. It is now trying to delete Linux while telling us that everything has changed and that it finally “loves Linux”. It is telling us that it is adopting “Open Source” while a Free/Open Source-leaning software policy in India comes under attacks from Microsoft, still. India’s watered-down policy is a result of lobbying primarily from Microsoft, but corporate media now tells us that Cisco, IBM and Oracle also play a role:
Industry bodies US-India Business Council and the Confederation of Indian Industry have urged the government to reconsider its push for open source software that will cut the cost of licensing from big companies such as Cisco, IBM and Oracle.
In submissions to the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), which were seen by ET, the two bodies suggested the government replace the clause on mandatory use of open software with “best-fit and best-value technologies that support interoperability through open standards”.
Let’s not forget what Microsoft's direct lobbying (and lobbying by proxy) has done. Does anyone really think that Microsoft has changed? To such people we would kindly offer a Darwin Award. █
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“Gates looks at everything as something that should be his. He acts in any way he can to make it his. It can be an idea, market share, or a contract. There is not an ounce of conscientiousness or compassion in him. The notion of fairness means nothing to him. The only thing he understands is leverage.”
–Philippe Kahn, Founder and former CEO of Borland
Photo from a Microsoft marketing site
Summary: Sam Ramji is doing to Linux what Stephen Elop did to Nokia
WE continue to be a wee bit disturbed by just how apathetic the Linux Foundation has become towards the company which constantly attacks Linux (usually behind closed doors). Ramji entered the Linux Foundation and only 3 months later we already saw Microsoft too crashing at the place, serving to make FOSS more Windows-leaning and even proprietary. Stephen Elop also waited several months at Nokia before he signed a Microsoft deal (left Microsoft in late 2010 in order to join Nokia, only to hand Nokia over to Microsoft around 4 or 5 months later, pick up a huge bonus for the move, and then return to Microsoft, in which he had shares, as per our timelines). We are not suggesting that the severity will be equal in both cases (huge difference in magnitude), but the patterns do fit. Ramji is no friend of GNU/Linux and it was Microsoft that paid him handsomely.
“Borland and Sun (if they still existed) could tell what Microsoft’s involvement in imperative and object-oriented programming had done to them.”Sam Dean, who is an apologist that accepts the ‘new Microsoft’ myth and Nadella as its ‘leader’ (the abusive Bill Gates is still the leader of the company, to which he officially returned) welcomed Microsoft and so did Microsoft’s booster Maria Deutscher (always openwashing Microsoft), who says that the Ramji (Microsoft)-led Cloud Foundry coming to NSA PRISM (Azure) is a “win for open-source” (it’s actually proprietary with a lot of surveillance, not even “open-source” with a dash).
Deutscher goes further with the openwashing. She sounds like a Microsoft PR agent when she says: “That strategy has previously seen Redmond contribute the source code for its .NET application framework to the public domain and acquire Revolution Analytics, Inc., a distributor of the world’s most popular open statistical programming language. The addition of support for Cloud Foundry is no less significant.”
Revolution Analytics is definitely not FOSS and .NET is still a patent trap and mostly proprietary [1, 2, 3], so this Silicon Angle piece is a great example of Microsoft puff pieces in action, courtesy of ‘journalists’ who would print every lie from Microsoft in an effort to reshape consensus.
What we see in the Linux Foundation is reminiscent of entryism, much like Jo Shields joining Xamarin (Microsoft proxy) after he spent a lot of time pushing Mono into Debian and Ubuntu (they have since then learned to avoid this plague). He currently delivers the latest Trojan horse, hoping that misinformed GNU/Linux users might install it and developers might foolishly develop with it. It’s all about the API. If the Linux Foundation does not guard its own open standards and APIs, then Microsoft will easily pull its infamous “embrace, extend, extinguish” (EEE) trick on various elements in GNU/Linux, little by little, one step at a time. Borland and Sun (if they still existed) could tell what Microsoft’s involvement in imperative and object-oriented programming had done to them. Thinking that Microsoft has changed has historically been a fatal mistake. █
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A failed or losing strategy after all? Investors sure think so.
The Old Senate Chamber during the US Supreme Court’s residency
Summary: Using patent blackmail (antithetical to the original goal of patents) and other forms of blackmail, Microsoft is desperately trying to crush GNU/Linux and Android, all while Windows ‘sales’ fall and investors lose confidence
“Issued US Patents Down 11% for Microsoft in 2015 Compared to 2014,” wrote Patent Buddy. “705 Patents Down 49% for Microsoft in 2015 Compared to 2014″ (depending on how it’s measured). It is often said that empires collapse and ultimately end sorely defeated when they over-militarise (like with patents) and then implode. Microsoft is apparently imploding right now.
This is not surprising to us. Microsoft still attacks Android with patents, but right now it uses them for leverage, by means of extortion or SLAPP (an effort not to actually take the blackmailed party to court, as it makes Microsoft look bad and can invalidate the patents). Will it work out at the end? Well, we doubt it, but Cyanogen, the latest embrace extend and extinguish manoeuvre by Microsoft, does pose a threat. Using Cyanogen as a proxy is not competing, it is disrupting nefariously.
“Using Cyanogen as a proxy is not competing, it is disrupting nefariously.”Investors’ press is not very impressed. One site asked a couple of days ago: “Can Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Truly Take Away “Open Source” Android From The Market?”
Here is a portion of this analysis:
The other question which arises is, will Microsoft be able to drive the open source operating system away from Google’s perceived dominance? The answer is quite simply no, since without Google services, Android will not prove to be an efficient operating system. There will be a whole suite of Microsoft applications which will considerably fill the gap, but will users be content with Microsoft’s app store? The Google Play Store forms the crux of the argument, as it is the main reason why Android is currently thriving. Microsoft will not be able to uphold Android, thereby removing any prevailing beliefs that it will take away the openness of Android.
Currently, Android is by far the most popular operating system. However, there are some who do not like Google and its services. However, this does not take away the fact that the majority trust and support Google’s presence on the Android front.
Moreover, making Android an even more dominant platform is basically digging Windows’ grave (Microsoft does the digging).
Investors’ press insists “Office for Android Won’t Save MSFT” (Microsoft’s biggest cash cow), neglecting to mention that patent pressure is how Microsoft hopes to convince companies to bundle it (possibly free of charge, i.e. no short-term profit, just lock-in). Here is how the press puts it: “In an effort to remain relevant in the mobile space, MSFT announced earlier this week that it has reached an agreement with 31 Android original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners to preinstall Microsoft Office on a host of current and future tablets. The idea is to expose a larger number of mobile users to the apps than what would be possible with sales of MSFT devices alone.”
This number, 31, is actually nonsense for reasons we named here before. Only 4 of these actually count for something and the reason they cooperated with Microsoft is bribes or extortion (if not both). There is evidence to show this in the leading technology press from Taiwan. Microsoft is now using patents or threat of lawsuits, patent tax etc. as an instrument of coercion, just like the Mafia does. As Mark Shuttleworth once put it: “That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.” On another occasion Shuttleworth made a Mafia comparison: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay” (i.e. not sue by Microsoft).
“that’s illegal,” Shuttleworth insisted. “It’s racketeering.” Ironically, Shuttleworth is now helping Microsoft in several areas.
The investors’ press curiously took note of Microsoft’s blackmail tactics (curiously because the investment community is typically apathetic towards such behaviour, except when the public finds out). This is a matter which we covered here a week or more ago. This does not impress investors (or potential investors), who write that “Open source software is a different type of software. The developers of these platforms, for example Linux etc do not charge users when they use the software. The community of developers will update the software with advanced features bi-annually or quarterly. The issue is that these platforms also do the same kind of work that, say, Windows software is able to do. Hence, more and more users are switching to open source platforms. Therefore, the demand for paid software such as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is increasingly on the decline.”
Microsoft cannot compete with Free software. It constantly attacks it, as we saw recently in India (Microsoft lobbying even by proxy). Microsoft cannot and will not become/embrace Free/Open Source software either, unless it is connected to proprietary software from Microsoft. Watch this new example where a Microsoft-connected site is openwashing proprietary software from Microsoft (the bloated and expensive Microsoft Dynamics), essentially googlebombing to achieve the intended effect (googlebombing by Microsoft is now a regular strategy).
A reader alerted us about this Microsoft advertisement in IT Wire (looks like an article), associating Microsoft’s proprietary software with volunteering efforts. Marine Rescue staff are wasting money (giving it to Microsoft) while people who volunteer give their time away and become ‘addicted’ to (or dependent on) Microsoft lock-in. They are broadcasting their own technical incompetence (the ‘cloud’ hype and proprietary software), but hey, it helps make the Australian government more locked in (to Microsoft). Less dependence on blackmailing of politicians, rights? █
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