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02.14.15

Microsoft Reportedly Uses Patent Blackmail Against Android to Force Samsung to Spread Microsoft Spyware (Incorporated Into Android) (Updated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Samsung at 4:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Samsung at risk of climbing back into Microsoft’s bed

Samsung Mouse

Summary: Microsoft is reportedly pressuring Samsung, by means of expensive patent lawsuits, to turn Android into “Microsoft Android” (Microsoft spyware installed by default)

THE clown called Microsoft, which claims to “love Linux”, is still attacking Linux in a big way. Usually this is done more or less covertly, so enough “useful idiots” won’t see it and even defend Microsoft.

The other day we saw Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols addressing Microsoft's attack on Android through Cyanogen. Microsoft wants the world to believe that it ‘owns’ part of Android as it even claims to be ‘licensing’ Android, despite having nothing to do with Android development. Microsoft actively attacks Android from multiple directions and as Vaughan-Nichols put it:

The only thing that makes me take Cyanogen’s plans seriously is that Amazon and Microsoft appear to be looking into investing in Cyanogen to help create an Android software eco-system that’s not under Google’s control. But, honestly, even if Amazon and Microsoft backed Cyanogen to the hilt, would that really matter?

Both companies have tried, and failed, to produce a popular smartphone. Indeed, Amazon’s Fire smartphone lost approximately $170 million.

As for Cyanogen, its most well-known efforts to contract with phone vendors ended up with Indian phone giant Micromax and Chinese company Shenzhen OnePlus Technology locked in a lawsuit in the Indian courts. McMaster also made no friends for Cyanogen when he declared that “Samsung couldn’t build a good OS if they tried.” Since Samsung is the world’s number one Android phone vendor and Kondik’s former employer, this doesn’t strike me as a way to win sales partners and influence carriers.

[...]

Only Microsoft with Windows Phone has seen even 2 percent of the mobile market. That’s not enough. Even Windows Phone fans, given the lack of support for the platform from carriers like Verizon, have given up on Windows Phone. Major companies, including Chase and Bank of America, are also no longer supporting Windows Phone.

Cyanogen will fail just like similar attempts at disrupting Android at Microsoft’s behalf. But it doesn’t make the above any less harmful.

Samsung, based on some sources, is again leaning to Microsoft, which may blackmailing the Android leader (in terms of market share) into the agenda of “Microsoft Android” (extortion by Microsoft so as to get its way, as usual).

Engadget, for instance, wrote that “[q]uite a few smartphone fans will tell you that a Samsung phone’s Achilles’ heel is its software — you’ll find a ton of (frequently unwanted) apps and features that do little besides chew up space and slow things down. You may get to wave goodbye to that cruft when the Galaxy S6 shows up, however. A SamMobile source claims that Samsung is yanking a lot of its usual pre-installed bloatware, making the GS6 “amazingly fast” compared to a weighed-down phone like the Galaxy Note 4. The titles wouldn’t go away forever, but you’d have to download in-house apps if you did want them. Instead, the focus would be on a host of included Microsoft apps: Office, OneDrive, OneNote and Skype would give you some solid productivity out of the box. It’s not clear if the Microsoft deal has any connection to a recent truce with Samsung over patent royalties, although it wouldn’t be surprising.”

Samsung was the first devices company that publicly subscribed/signed up for Microsoft’s patent attack on Linux in 2007, so we wouldn’t be shocked if Samsung indeed decided to play ball for Microsoft, much as Nokia and Facebook had attempted (both Microsoft-owned, at least in part).

Update: Mary Jo Foley is Distorting or Making Up ‘Facts’ About Microsoft’s Patent Attack on Android/Linux

An article by Paul Hill, linking to this widely-cited article, says that Microsoft is trying to hijack Android. He writes the following: “It looks like the two companies settled under the condition that Samsung will pre-load Microsoft’s apps on their Android devices.

“It’s likely that the next Samsung flagship smartphone will squarely try to appeal to corporate users as Samsung is already extremely popular with casual users. The device is expected to be launched on March 1st at Samsung’s annual ‘Unpacked’ event at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona alongside the Galaxy S Edge, an offering with curved edges that look as though they may give quick access to apps, but for obvious reasons, this isn’t clear.”

It has been clear that Microsoft would try hard to make Android users dependent on OOXML and other Microsoft traps, but ZDNet, which is owned by CBS, continues to distort some facts and we must respond to that. The company’s Microsoft booster (one of many) Mary Jo Foley promotes the infiltration by saying that “SamMobile claims the Galaxy S6 will remove pre-installed Samsung apps like S Voice, S Health, S Note and Scrapbook. These will be replaced by Microsoft apps like OneDrive, OneNote, the new standalone Office mobile apps and Skype.”

Putting aside the crucial observation that this is not yet confirmed (see context above and bear in mind that SamMobile is scarcely known and hasn’t acquired reputation), she adds some nonsense to it all by not introducing the full history of Microsoft and Samsung, including that old patent deal which apparently was more to do with FAT than anything else. ZDNet posts a summary [1] linking to the booster’s [2] biased claims that add to the unsubstantiated smear, repeating the lie that has Microsoft portrayed as making billions out of Android, despite there being no concrete evidence (it’s most likely that scaring OEMs is the goal). Given the patterns of Microsoft propaganda in ZDNet, we are not too shocked to see this. We do need to respond to these perceptions that are propagated to damage Android/Linux. These perceptions are mostly created and spread by sources that are aligned with Microsoft, as we’ve demonstrated in past years.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Top Android news of the week: Shipments drop, Android Wear not big, royalty battle ends

    The suit against Samsung over royalty payments for Microsoft’s patents has been settled. It involved payments to Microsoft that Samsung had stopped paying due to claims that the former’s purchase of Nokia’s handset business was a breach of the royalty agreement.

    Neither company disclosed terms of the settlement.

  2. Microsoft, Samsung settle contract dispute over Android patent payments

    Samsung is one of about two dozen companies selling Android, Chrome OS and/or Linux devices that are paying patent-royalty licensing fees to Microsoft.

02.07.15

The Latest Microsoft Strategy: Embrace, Extend, Deceive, Abuse and Diffuse

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 4:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Analysts sell out – that’s their business model… But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: Microsoft’s final plan/plot against software that everyone can share is infiltration and interference

SOME bribed journalists and so-called ‘analysts’ would try hard to make us believe that Microsoft is now an “Open Source company” (or something along those lines). This helps damage Free/Open Source software (FOSS) because it devalues the OSI-controlled brand and confuses less technical people who often make big decisions regarding procurement. We wrote many articles about it last year, e.g. when the UK decided to adopt FOSS and ODF; Microsoft tries to masquerade as both [1, 2, 3] — a chameleon seeking to warp its perceived identity so as to never lose a contract.

“This helps damage Free/Open Source software (FOSS) because it devalues the OSI-controlled brand and confuses less technical people who often make big decisions regarding procurement.”A couple of months ago Microsoft openwashed .NET, which remains a vector of patent lawsuits and is not even Open Source (only parts of it were to be made available at some later date). Microsoft is really trying hard to squeeze PR out of these lies, including a repetition of the lies as in this new puff piece that revolves around Gianugo Rabellino and uses Microsoft’s “Open Tech” proxy as the mouthpiece. Microsoft apologist Adrian Bridgwater added his contribution to this PR (not news, just rehash) and to clarify, “CoreCLR is the execution engine for .NET apps and performs compilation to machine code, garbage collection, and other core functionality to .NET,” Phoronix wrote, echoing Microsoft’s own words rather than check the facts. The Microsoft-friendly media said that “The vision is for .NET Core to be truly cross-platform, and while it’s not quite there yet, Microsoft intends to add Linux and Mac implementations of components for these platforms in coming months, just like with its .NET open source efforts.”

.NET is neither Open Source nor cross-platform, but these lies continue to be disseminated in the media based on some provisions that are yet to be evaluated. Moreover, .NET is about spreading Microsoft to everything, it’s not about FOSS. Labeling it “FOSS” is intended to help it spread into departments with FOSS-centric policies. It’s an “embrace and extend” strategy, just as we saw recently in Raspberry Pi (see [1] below for a good explanation) and also in Android (through Cyanogen as an external proxy and provocateur). Here is what Microsoft really has in mind. Microsoft is hoping hijack Android in an embrace-and-extend fashion, as Microsoft attempted to do with Java in the 90s. “Do encourage fragmentation of the Java classlib space,” said Ben Slivka from Microsoft. They sought to destroy Java by embracing and fragmenting it, much like the Microsoft-funded Cyanogen does right now. Using another (indirectly) Microsoft-funded proxy, Xamarin, Microsoft hopes to make Android .NET-dependent.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Should Linux users worry about no-cost Windows 10 for Raspberry Pi?

    Gone are the days when Linux users tried to run their free and open source operating system on Microsoft-controlled hardware: PCs. As Microsoft’s OS and Office market share is declining, and with an (almost) failed mobile platform, the company is now looking at open source for its survival.

02.02.15

CyanogenMod Dumped by Major Partner Shortly After Funding From Microsoft Revealed

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 6:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MS-CM
Image credit: Linux Veda

Summary: Now that Cyanogen acts more like a Microsoft attack dog than a real independent entity there is backlash from many and OnePlus dumps CyanogenMod

Cyanogen is not about privacy, not about software freedom, not even about choice. It’s about “anti-Google”. It has been like this for a while and it got a lot worse once Microsoft paid Cyanogen, almost as though Microsoft rewards Cyanogen for the "Scroogled"-type rhetoric and seeks to use Cyanogen as a Trojan horse or carrier of Microsoft's proprietary and privacy-hostile 'apps' for Android.

MS-CM, or the Microsoft-backed fork and FUD source against Android, is having issues. Partners leave. Maybe that alone is a reason for leaning on Microsoft. Maybe the “anti-Google” angle is becoming the business model. Days ago Linux Veda wrote: “Today’s announcement may now mean that OnePlus devices will now longer ship with Cyanogen OS at all, if it turns out that they have made their own ROM.”

Only two days later a followup said that “OnePlus kicks Cyanogenmod out, announces two new ROMs”. As the article puts it: “After a disappointing spat with Cyanogen, OnePlus have decided to ditch the once community driven, now Microsoft-back custom ROM – CyanogenMOD – and bring their own ROMs to the market.”

So at this stage it was known that Microsoft had become a backer of CyanogenMod and prior to it there was a decent response from Swapnil Bhartiya. The way Bhartiya put it, “I find Google Android to be the most open platforms out there; if it was not ‘open’, Cyanogen wouldn’t even exist in the first place. Try building an iOS or Windows clone.”

As Bhartiya put it: “This is the same CEO who broke a contract with OnePlus, over an email sent from his iPad (and not an Android device) in India just because they got a bigger player Micromax.

“The community was deeply disappointed with what CM did to OnePlus. Now the move to shake hands with Microsoft may further rip the community.

“So how is this going to work for Microsoft? A hypothesis. Enemy of an enemy is a friend. Microsoft will invest in Cyanogen to ensure they have regular stream of revenue and can continue to become a Google rival. The more market Google loses, the more Microsoft gains. Then Microsoft may push their services to be integrated with Cyanogen.

“Are we going to see the triple ‘e’ again: Embrace, extend and extinguish?”

There are quite a few Linux-based mobile OSes that are proprietary, either entirely or partly (e.g. Sailfish OS). Thankfully, Android has been largely FOSS (AOSP), except many of the apps (especially not those that Google makes), and it’s this platform that really took off, not webOS for example (although webOS too is being further liberated over time). In automotive telematics and other areas it’s common to see platforms that are proprietary and built on top of Linux.

A lot of the “Google controls Android with an iron fist” type of characterisations came from Microsoft-friendly sites like The Verge (I first spotted this and wrote about it in 2013). It’s not that it’s 100% untrue, but they have accentuated this to incite against Google and then tried to use it to poison the minds of OEMs while Microsoft (and proxies like Nokia) attempted an antitrust angle, not only in the US but in Europe too.

Microsoft is, as usual, playing dirty. This is the latest example of it and those who give CM the benefit of the doubt do so at their own peril. MS-CM (maybe CMS, as in Cyanogen MicroSoft) is definitely trying to just commit suicide by aligning itself with Microsoft, like many other dead ‘partners’ (or convenience).

02.01.15

Boycott Cyanogen/CyanogenMod If Its Anti-Google Rhetoric and Microsoft Funding Continue

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 8:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CyanogenMod Microsoft

Summary: Cyanogen, which makes CyanogenMod, has become more of a Microsoft proxy than a real company, just like Nokia after Elop took over

BACK in 2013 we wrote that those seeking liberation from Google in Android should turn to Replicant, not CyanogenMod. CyanogenMod never really cared about software freedom and it is likely to make Android/AOSP more proprietary, not more free. Don’t expect freedom. It’s just not what the company is about. CyanogenMod is an alternative, but not the right alternative. In recent weeks CyanogenMod got even more provocative and we then found out that it had been paid by Microsoft, a company that is desperate to derail Android by any means possible. We covered it here some days ago, noting that Microsoft is now shoving Office/Outlook into Android and using CyanogenMod as a proxy against Android, just like Facebook and Nokia (never mind Amazon, which also hired many top-level executives from Microsoft several years ago, shortly before ‘bastardising’ Android).

Coverage about this important news from the Google-hostile and News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal has since then spread to many news sites. One said that Cyanogen’s “stated goal is to develop a version of Android that’s independent of Google’s control, at a time when the Chocolate Factory is putting increased pressure on smartphone vendors to ship their devices with an OS that’s more uniform and includes fewer customizations.” (this is a myth mostly promoted by Microsoft’s talking heads and Microsoft-friendly publications)

See articles like “Microsoft ‘showers gold’ on anti-Google Cyanogen and its Android alternative” or this analysis that says: “The potential investment hints at a larger battle to grab real estate on your phone’s homescreen” (not a very profound analysis, but it correctly serves to show that the goal might be to put Microsoft software on Android, out of the box even).

Microsoft targets Apple’s iOS in a similar way and some now warn that it attacks the underlying security of the operating system. As The Inquirer put it, “Outlook for iOS MICROSOFT’S NEW VERSION of Outlook for iOS and Android was released to rave reviews yesterday, but it now looks like it’s on a one-way ticket to Borksville, calling at Securitygeddon and Hackesberg.”

It is “no different than elsewhere,” a reader of ours has remarked on it, quoting the part that says: “The only advice I can give you at this stage is block the app from accessing your company’s mail servers and inform your users that they shouldn’t use the app.”

The original warning stated that “Microsoft’s Outlook app for iOS breaks your company security” (that’s the headline) and not just because Microsoft works closely with the NSA.

What we generally have here is a reminder that Microsoft bankrolls proxies, such as Novell, in order to facilitate infiltration into the competition (Novell did this in OpenOffice, Linux, and more). CyanogenMod is no exception to that and another recent example is Tuxera. It’s an extension of the “embrace, extend, and extinguish” (EEE) strategy which Microsoft champions.

Earlier this year we urged readers to boycott Tuxera file systems because Tuxera helps Microsoft inject its patent traps and fees into GNU/Linux and Android. We have just found this new article about Tuxera’s latest attempt to spread its proprietary file systems:

Tuxera released Tuxera Flash File System for Linux and Android, which is optimized to run on flash storages such as eMMC and SD.

There are already fine (and free) implementations of file systems for flash storages, so the last thing we need is dependence on a Microsoft partner that seemingly does not even obey the GPL (some say it is a GPL violator, but the company denies it).

01.30.15

Apple- and Microsoft-Friendly Media Continues Attacking Android/Linux

Posted in Apple, Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 6:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Je Suis Wintel

Owl speaks

Summary: Some of the latest examples where corporate media (funded and run by large corporations) distorts facts, selectively covers facts, and generally serves to protect the Apple-Microsoft duopolist world view

TECHRIGHTS is troubled to see a lot of anti-Android rhetoric in the press as of late. Putting aside the smearing of Lollipop (we have upgraded to it and it works well), there is a lot of rhetoric that comes from Android foes. Some of the rhetoric relies on Apple results which mostly embody business other than mobile devices (Apple operates in many areas) and other kinds of rhetoric rely on a gross distortion of statistics, along with misleading headlines.

HTC (Taiwan), Sony (Japan), Huawei, ZTE (China), LG, and Samsung (Korea) make Android phones that are popular among the people of the world, including big markets like China, but Apple, the sole US company in this market (Nokia is the sole big player — albeit shrinking — in Europe) only counts on the US market to give the illusion of might. Here is the latest example of the US-only FUD (counting only US sales). “In the U.S. market,” says one parts of the article, but the headline is misleading and does nothing to clarify the scope. There are many headlines just like that and after reading English-speaking media one might be left with the impression that Android is losing even though it’s gaining. It is always gaining; rapidly too.

Apple Insider, a pro-Apple propaganda site, published an article titled “Apple Inc’s thermonuclear assault on Samsung vaporizes Android…” (article later deleted on the face of it, or renamed)

Microsoft, in the mean time, is still trying to hijack Android and make a “Microsoft Android” as they have failed to do (despite trying) using Nokia as the hijacked proxy (Yahoo was also hijacked by Microsoft and Facebook was hijacked by investment). Ahonen, a Nokia guru, has just noted that “Microsoft-Nokia is such an irrelevant spec in the market now as they’ve fallen out of the Top 10 smartphone manufacturers, its not worth its own entry.”

Yes, look how much of a ‘success’ this has been. Nokia used to be hugely dominant in this market. Microsoft reduced it to a laughing stock and borderline patent troll. The News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal suggests that Microsoft might be trying to use CyanogenMod as the next anti-Android proxy, following rumours of a buyout last year. The partly Microsoft-owned Facebook already tried that and failed. So has Nokia. They could not hijack Android from Google. Thom Holwerda has a good article that explains why CyanogenMod cannot be trusted and the Wall Street Journal says that “Microsoft is investing in a hot startup that’s trying to weaken Google ’s hold over Android.

“People familiar with the matter say Microsoft is putting money into Cyanogen, which is building a version of the Android mobile-operating system outside of Google’s auspices.

“Microsoft would be a minority investor in a roughly $70 million round of equity financing that values Cyanogen in the high hundreds of millions, one of the people said. The person said the financing round could grow with other strategic investors that have expressed interest in Cyanogen because they’re also eager to diminish Google’s control over Android. The identity of the other potential investors couldn’t be learned.”

So Microsoft is still playing a dirty game while reportedly pushing Outlook and Office (i.e. Microsoft lock-in) into the platform, helped by a mindless media propaganda blitz [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] where OOXML lock-in is disguised as “open” even though it’s purely proprietary and preys on the platform which Microsoft is actively suing using software patents.

Wintel media outlets hardly covered it when Android was getting LibreOffice but enthusiastically market OOXML/Exchange traps for it. Journalists are shamelessly distracting from much more important news like the new LibreOffice release (4.4) and Free software LibreOffice coming to Android while Google is making its game-changing move to embrace ODF. Therein lies the ‘magic’ of Microsoft PR agencies, which basically drive the media and bamboozle the world. Will Hill told us yesterday that:

SVJN’s conversation on G+ is a hoot. Bruce Byfield adds insult to injury by saying,

You know, of course, that some people will never believe Microsoft can change, even if it releases the source code for Windows and MS Office. To them, such actions would be proof of a clever plot.

Simon Phips, shamefully, perpetuates the lie with a backhanded compliment,

The work these parts of their company is doing seem genuine. My objection remains that they are still sociopathic in the legacy parts of their business. When they stop shaking down embedded Linux companies they deserve the name; until then, they are just aspiring to good marketing karma that they don’t deserve.

SVJN is also promoting the latest FUD, Ghost, which is mostly nonsense, and Windows 10.

The thing about Microsoft’s criminal behaviour (such as racketeering), it goes well beyond patent abuse. It also goes well beyond faking “Open Source”. We spent many years coverage examples to show this. Don’t believe for a second that Microsoft has changed. The news about CyanogenMod merely serves to reinforce our suspicion that Microsoft is still attempting an “embrace, extend and extinguish” (destroy/fragment) strategy against Android. Look what Microsoft puppets like Facebook and Nokia tried beforehand (without success) against Android.

01.28.15

Qualys Starts Self-Promotional FUD Campaign, Naming a Bug That Was Already Fixed 2 Years Ago and Distros Have Covered With Patches

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Red Hat, Security, Ubuntu at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ghostwriting a Qualys horror story for maximal FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt)

Spooky

Summary: Responding to the media blitz which paints GNU/Linux as insecure despite the fact that bugs were evidently found and fixed

THERE IS something to be said about the “top” news regarding GNU/Linux. It’s not really news. The so-called “GHOST” publicity stunt needn’t be repeated by FOSS sites. It is about a bug which was patched two years ago, but some sites overlook this important fact and stick lots of spooky logos, playing right into the hands of Qualys, an insecurity firm (making money from lack of security or perception of insecurity).

We have watches the ‘news’ unfolding over the past day and a half and now is a good time to explain what we deal with. The so-called “GHOST” (all capital letters!) bug is old. Qualys is going two years ago into bugfixes, giving a name to the bugfixes, then making plenty of noise (all over the news right now). Qualys does not look like a proxy of Microsoft or other GNU/Linux foes, but it is self-serving. Insecurity firms like Qualys probably learned that giving a name to a bug in GNU (SJVN mistakenly calls it “Linux”, but so do many others) would give more publicity and people will pay attention to brands and logos rather than to substance. Just before Christmas an insecurity firm tried to do that with "Grinch" and it turned out to be a farce. SJVN says that this old “vulnerability enables hackers to remotely take control of systems without even knowing any system IDs or passwords.”

Well, it was patched back in 2013. Use of names for marketing is what makes it “news”; the opportunists even prepared a PRESS RELEASE and pushed it into ‘big’ sites like CNN. It has marketing written all over it, just like “Heartbleed” that had strong Microsoft connections behind the disclosure. It is sad that Linux sites fall for this. Phoronix copies the press release as though it’s reliable rather than self-promotional. Michael Larabel writes: “The latest high-profile security vulnerability affecting Linux systems us within Glibc, the GNU C Library.”

It is not “latest”, it is 2 years old. Larabel says that “Qualys found that the bug had actually been patched with a minor bug fix released on May 21, 2013 between the releases of glibc-2.17 and glibc-2.18.”

OK, so it’s not news. FOSS Force cites SJVN to amplify the scare and other FOSS sites are playing along as though this is top news. It oughtn’t be. It is already widely patched (maybe requiring a reboot), so let’s patch and move on (unless it was already patched upstream/downstream years ago). IDG has already published at least three articles about it [1, 2], including one from Swapnil Bhartiya, who is not too alarmist to his credit. He noted that “there was a patch released back on May 21, 2013, between the releases of glibc-2.17 and glibc-2.18. However it was not considered to be a security risk and thus major Linux distributions that offer long term support and get security updates remained vulnerable, including Debian 7 (wheezy), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 & 7, CentOS 6 & 7 and Ubuntu 12.04.”

It affects very specific versions, mostly long-term support releases that already have reliable patches available. It should be clear that some headlines such as this or that clarify the limited scope of impact (not bad reporting) unlike the alarmist trolls.

What Techrights generally found was that early coverage came from so-called ‘security’ sites or blogs of insecurity firms that try to sell their services (e.g. [1, 2, 3]). These set the tone for many.

The response to this bug is proportional to the perceived danger (e.g. due to media hype), not the severity of the bug. Some security news sites [1, 2] focus on names and logos while facts remain only a side issue. This so-called “ghost” nonsense (some lines of code basically) was fixed 2 years ago and as the blog post “long term support considered harmful” explains it: “In theory, somebody at glibc should have noticed that fixing a buffer flow in a function that parses network data has security implications. That doesn’t always happen, however, for many reasons. Sometimes the assessment isn’t made; sometimes the assessment fails to consider all possible exploit strategies. Security bugs are “silently” fixed frequently enough (without evil intentions) that we should consider them a fact of life and deal with them accordingly.”

Some of the worst kind of coverage we found came from The Register with its flamebait headlines (scary headlines for maximum effect) and the troll Brian Fagioli. They are only some among many who are using the name to come up with puns and FUD. Jim Finkle is back to his GNU/Linux-hostile ‘reporting’, bringing this to the corporate media (there is some in the UK also) and LWN quickly cited the GNU/Linux-hostile Dan Goodin. He called “Highly critical” a bug that was patched two years ago.

Debunking some of the latest security FUD we had Fedora Magazine which stated “don’t be [worried], on supported Fedora versions.”

For unsupported version there is a lot more than this one bug that one needs to worry about.

Apple fans were quick to take advantage of the news, despite the fact that Apple is leaving systems vulnerable for many months, knowingly (like Microsoft does, until Google steps in).

See, with proprietary systems one knows for a fact that there is no security. With GNU/Linux is an open question and it depends on what measures one takes to keep it secure. For Apple and Microsoft security is not at all the goal; back doors and unpatched flaws are not really as “interesting” and important for them to patch as helping spying agencies. Google is not at fault here, Google just saw that Apple and Microsoft had no plans to plug serious holes — a patch evidently wasn’t going to be made ready before the public finds out about it, owing to Google. Apple chooses to blame Google; same as Microsoft. They should only blame themselves both for the bugs and for negligence after the bugs were highlighted to them. There is no room here for properly comparing GNU/Linux (Free/libre) to OS X or Windows (proprietary) because evidence clearly shows that the latter are not interested in security and not pursuing security when it is trivially possible.

What we find curious amid the latest FUD campaign is that Apple back/bug doors are not as widely publicised as a GNU bug that was patched 2 years ago and mostly affects LTS systems (which already have patches available). “Nothing I can think of,” said a reader of ours about this media hype, “but the LTS model followed by RHEL and Ubuntu have different goals and purposes than the short, fast development cycle like OpenBSD.”

Nobody is forced to use an LTS release and those who choose it must be aware of the potential risk.

Regarding the other FUD that flooded the press in recent weeks, targeting for the most part Google and Android, our reader XFaCE wrote the following:

I assume you want to write about that new Android vulnerability. Basically I can see the narrative being pushed through three points

- Microsoft supported Windows XP/7/etc. for years, why doesn’t Google support old Android versions

- Google told Microsoft about a very old bug in their software, so they are hypocritical

- Heartbleed bug was fixed way back for 4.1.1

For the last point, it’s a bullshit comparison because

a) 4.1.1 was one point release where upgrading to 4.1.2 fixed the issue (it was already fixed back when 4.1.2 was released)

b) The fix was one file, as evident by XDA members patched it themselves on phones manufacturers refused to upgrade to 4.1.2 SOURCE: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2712916

c) As shown by the link, a lot of manufacturers DIDN’T update certain 4.1.1 devices to 4.1.2, hence proving Google’s point. The fix there was SIMPLE, but the OEMs didn’t bother to do it

With Webview, not only is webview involved, but so is the webkit rendering engine, so the fix for all those previously releases is much more complicated

As for the second point, Google did catch it, with KitKat, and furthermore made KitKat supported on more low-end devices so theoretically older 512mb or less devices could be updated

For example, HTC said (when Jelly Bean 4.1 came out) that they would not update any device with 512 mb of RAM (SOURCE: http://www.cnet.com/news/htc-one-v-and-desire-c-will-never-get-jelly-bean/ ), so naturally when KitKat came out, they updated those devices because the OS officially was designed for such low ram devices

oh wait

http://www.androidpit.com/android-4-4-kitkat-update-plans

“Later this year, the entry-level smartphone the HTC Desire 500, should also be seeing the KitKat update. However, the One X, One X+, One S, and One V will be left in the dust and will be receiving no more official updates from HTC.”

So the OEMs are at fault for not upgrading the devices, not Google, which leads to point 1 – Google doesn’t control the Android OEMs like Microsoft does OEM pay Microsoft for the support whereby Microsoft controls all updates, Google doesn’t get paid or have the agreemeent in that way

OEMs like HTC could easily fix this by porting Kitkat to those devices, but they won’t cause they want you to buy a new HTC phone or whatever phone brand

Techrights did not cover that (except in daily links) because it should be self-evident that free-of-charge Android upgrades make it inhernetly different from proprietary software and keeping up to data typically ensures security. A lot of the analogies (Android and Windows) were inherently flawed and the FUD rather shallow.

01.24.15

Apple — Like Microsoft — Not Interested in the Security of Its Operating Systems

Posted in Apple, Google, Microsoft, Security at 9:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A big hole in Apple, but Apple doesn’t mind as long as the public doesn’t know

Foul apple

Summary: Apple neglected to patch known security flaws in Mac OS X for no less than three months and only did something about that vector of intrusion when the public found out about it

LAST year Apple admitted having back doors in iOS, conveniently dubbing them “diagnostics” (Orwellian newspeak). Apple did this only after a security researcher had found and publicised severe flaws that enabled remote intrusion into any device running iOS (there are unfortunately many such devices out there). This led us to alleging that not only Microsoft and the NSA worked to enable back doors for secret access into Windows. Both Apple and Microsoft are in PRISM and both produce proprietary software onto which it’s trivial to dump back doors, both undetectable and immutable.

Weeks ago we showed that Microsoft does not strive to make Windows secure, based on its very own actions whenever the public is unaware of the insecurities (only the NSA/GCHQ and the reporter/s are 'in the know'). Now we come to realise that Apple too — like Microsoft — did not close back/bug doors in Mac OS X for 90 days despite knowing about them. This isn’t a 0-day, it is a 90-day. It’s incompetence, negligence and might one even say deliberate sabotage by Apple. Apple just chose to leave the serious flaws in tact until it was too late because the public found out about it, owing to Google.

Do not let the Wintel-centric media blame Google for merely informing the public that proprietary operating systems like Windows and Mac OS X have holes in them that Microsoft and Apple refuse to patch. We should generally be thankful for this information. It says quite a lot about Microsoft’s and Apple’s priorities. It helps prove China right for banning Windows and Apple operating systems in government.

There is increasing consensus that Apple is going down the bin when it comes to users’ trust and browsing the Net these days I often read or hear from people who abandon Apple for GNU/Linux. Suffice to say, based on public appearances, the NSA is intimately involved in the build process of OS X (for a number of years now), which does make one wonder.

01.14.15

Google Has Eliminated Microsoft’s Dominance in Operating Systems, Microsoft Resorts to Propaganda, Child Exploitation, and EEE

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 4:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Dutch weed

Summary: As Linux becomes the dominant kernel at Windows’ expense Microsoft pulls old tricks including media manipulation, AstroTurfing, co-opting schools (making Windows obligatory for future generations), and EEE (embrace, extend, and extinguish)

THE so-called ‘PC’ — a term which refers to a long-lived form factor (but only one among many these days) — is not the sole focus of today’s computer industry. Overall, putting together all form factors, Linux is the victor and a lot of the press said this after CES 2015. Our daily links contain examples of articles which speak about this. PCs are not even necessarily where the big money is. Far less so than ever before…

While it may be common to say that GNU/Linux has single-digit (percentage) market share in desktops, the opposite is true in some areas and Microsoft remains in single-digit market share in phones. As Ahonen put it the other day:

So then the Evil Empire. Whats Microsoft up to? Well, they were at one point the biggest player from the computer industry and for much of the past decades have been the most profitable of that industry. They did see mobile coming early on, Bill Gates launched Microsoft into the mobile OS wars and Windows Mobile at its peak was the world’s second most used OS on smartphones with 12% market share (slightly less than the level where iPhone currently is in 2014 – if you want a warning from history haha).

Steve Ballmer then threw all that away with his silliness starting with ‘no migration path’ (why on earth not, after Microsoft – which managed to migrate DOS users to Windows on the PC, how could that same Microsoft make such an elementary blunder). So today Windows Phone OS has under 3% market share of new sales, and all those phones were essentially given away – sold at a loss – and even after that we just heard last year that one in three Windows based smartphones had never been activated (likely most were simply manufactured, shipped to retail and never sold). So the real market share for Windows in smartphones is dismal now, at 2%. It is the most toxic of any ‘ecosystems’ and developers are abandoning the sinking ship. It is now only a question of time when will Nadella shut down (or sell) the Lumia unit.

Microsoft has totally lost it and Android is totally winning, not just in phones but increasingly in tablets, TVs, etc. Microsoft’s attacks on Android failed miserably and according to reports like this, Microsoft is giving up its anti-Google Jihad that makes it so publicly known how much of a loser Microsoft became. As the British press put it: “MICROSOFT HAS APPARENTLY PUT THE HOARY old Scroogled campaign in a sack, filled it with rocks and thrown it off a cliff.

“Scroogle, a riff on Google and Scrooge, a fictitious miser, was a Microsoft marketing whizz that used to shine a negative light on a rival and, by association, a positive light on its own gear.”

It failed.

Microsoft, being a propaganda company, did manage to bamboozle many people into accepting Vista 7, but Vista 7 is now pretty much dead [1, 2] for many people who will refuse to embrace Vista 8 — an operating system which failed in the market more miserably than Vista. How many are going to turn to Chromebooks, Android devices, and so-called ‘PCs’ with GNU/Linux?

Microsoft’s propaganda does not end with the ‘Scroogle’ de-emphasis; Sue Gee in the Microsoft-centric propaganda site “i-programmer” (misleading name) is now preying on children. Microsoft is “infecting teachers,” to use a term that a reader of ours used to describe it and the end goal is to impose Microsoft software on helpless children who cannot resist. This shameless pro-Microsoft site basically publishes what looks more like a Microsoft advertisement than an article, hailing Microsoft slavery as “skill”. It wasn’t alone, either. Hypocritically enough Microsoft uses the term “technology trap” to describe the alternatives and ITWire’s Microsoft booster lays out there yet another Microsoft puff piece, stating: “It’s back-to-school buying season, and both Intel and Microsoft have decided to inject some life back into the Wintel alliance and promote Windows-powered devices as the ideal back-to-school student technologies.”

Preying on children as their last resort? To avoid the “technology trap” as they put it? What a nerve they have…

“Preying on children as their last resort?”Speaking of propaganda pieces, watch ZDNet‘s Microsoft advertiser, Mary Jo Foley, paying lip service to the Microsoft “loves Linux” nonsense, as does the Microsoft-friendly Pedro Hernandez (there is history there), who advertises Microsoft surveillance over GNU/Linux servers.

The company now offers an Azure Data Center Migration Solution and expands support of its Migration Accelerator to include Linux servers and virtual machines.

This has virtually nothing to do with GNU/Linux, except Microsoft’s attempt to embrace, extend and extinguish it. These tactics worked for Microsoft before, but they are not working anymore. Just look what happened to Novell.

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