Summary: Steve Jobs calls competition (litigation) with Android a “holy war” whereas Bill Gates calls undermining Linux a “Jihad”
TECHRIGHTS is the recipient of various smears that claim the site or its authors to be something that they are not (misrepresentation). We wrote many articles about it about 5 years ago, having seen smears as bad as “Taliban”. A very common pattern of smears is to call your rival/opponent in a debate “religious” about an opinion, as in dogmatic and detached from logic (there are other similar labels like “tinfoil hat” or “conspiracy theory”, as noted years ago). The FSF, despite being mostly atheistic, is a regular recipient of the “religion” smear (Stallman’s parodies of religion may contribute to this). Microsoft sometimes smears Free software by characterising it as a religion and we, as vocal Novell critics, received similar smears from Novell apologists/staff (Microsoft Linux is still alive by the way and it is spreading to Google). Calling/labeling “religious” those who are non-religious makes no sense. It’s a cheap shot and those who use such cheap shots are often the ones who are irrational and detached from an alternative (opposing) point of view. When logic doesn’t work in an argument, then cheap shots get used, or ad hominem attacks.
Now, similar arguments have been made by some Apple “fanboys” (a label in itself) when they were accused of following Apple like it’s a religion (or cult, i.e. small religion). Those jokes about Apple being followed like a religion and Jobs being treated like a Messiah are not so far fetched anymore. And why?
The proponent of "thermonuclear" action turns out to have referred to his war on Android/Linux as a “holy war”.
To quote CNBC: “Steve Jobs warned Apple’s leadership a year before his death that the company he founded faced an “innovator’s dilemma” over the growing threat from Google and promised a “holy war” on smartphones running its Android software, according to evidence shown in court on Tuesday”
This is almost as bad as Bill Gates' allegory/wording when he asked “where are we on this Jihad?” (referring to Microsoft’s war against Linux inside Intel).
Next time you see Free software proponents being referred to as “religious” or something along those lines remember the words of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. They themselves seem to define/characterise their companies as religious movements.
It is clear why Apple is so afraid of Android, as now revealed by documents from inside Apple , noting that people are moving to Android and never coming back to the “holy” Apple (not even if they work for a company that’s a partner of Apple ). The other Steve from Apple (Wozniak) is now an Android user and he likes to brag (publicly) about Android phones, which based on some new study  are technically better and more stable.
People need not have a religious-type faith to choose GNU/Linux or Android; they do, however, need to have a strong belief in Apple in order to choose an overpriced iPhone. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Internal Apple documents show that the company’s sales department is anxious about growing competition from Android-powered devices amidst declining iPhone sales, Re/code said in a report.
I’ve written about and reviewed mobile phones for almost a decade and a half. Everything from flip phones, to BlackBerrys, to today’s hottest Android models, and yes, Apple iPhones, have passed through my hands. That experience is why, more than anything, I’ve ultimately settled on Google Android as my smartphone platform of choice.
For long we have been hearing strories that Android is unsafe, unstable, while iOS is reliable. But new data that has emerged will totally change the picture. A study conducted by Crittercism, a performance monitoring company has revealed that while iOS 7.1 is the most stable version of iOS to date, its Android counterpart is far more stable.
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Summary: Flawed reporting by the The Verge, which seems to be relaying some new Google-hostile spin
WITH Chromebooks sales on the rise and all sorts of other commendable moves, Google has become a king of GNU/Linux [1,2], especially when it comes to adoption by the general population. This makes Linux and Java common carriers and it makes Google really, really hated by Microsoft, which now uses attack ads against Google's GNU/Linux products (attack ads are a loser’s game).
I was somewhat shocked to see the headline “Google reportedly now requires ‘powered by Android’ branding on new phones” (deceiving Google-hostile headline) just the other day. Knowing that the publication (The Verge) is run by Patel and is often used to disseminate anti-Google or pro-Microsoft spin, I decided to look for any mention of crucial details. Indeed, as it turned out, the “powered by Android” branding is only required when using proprietary apps from Google. This has nothing to do with AOSP and it is probably fair enough (it does not even say “Powered by Google”).
When Patel was still working for Engadget he would occasionally quote lies and Google-hostile smears from Microsoft lobbyists, giving them a platform. One of Patel’s employees, who interviewed me for about an hour regarding the Gates Foundation and OLPC, told me that Patel does not like me; he does not like me because I criticised him after he had published false claims (made by someone on Microsoft’s payroll). This is not journalism. It is press-titution.
The bottom line is, be careful not to be ‘Scroogled’ by The Verge. There seems to be agenda there. Maybe therein lies the business model. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Google has also, much to the chagrin of many in the open source community, single-handedly helped Linux to become one of the most popular platforms on the planet.
Yep. Jack Wallen is right. Canonical did a lot for GNU/Linux on desktop and server but that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of millions Google has introduced to the joys of Free Software, stuff you can run anywhere anyway, examine, modify and distribute. Google did that by shipping hardware running the software and selling/shipping units. OEMs pay attention to that.
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Gentlemen’s attack on workers
Summary: Details of correspondence between Jobs and Schmidt reveal how deep the price-fixing over workers (fixing the salaries lower) really goes
WE recently learned how Google and Apple had screwed engineers and drove their wages down by colluding. We posted some news links about it. Well, now there are unsealed documents showing us sociopaths at work.
Apple is an undisputed king of evil, but watch Google’s Schmidt acting not much better than Steve Jobs, who is laughing at the firing of staff (guess who’s fired in Hell right now). To quote some background to this: “In early March, 2007, as Google was expanding fast and furiously, one of its recruiters from the “Google.com Engineering” group made a career-ending mistake: She cold-contacted an Apple engineer by email, violating the secret and illegal non-solicitation compact that her boss, Eric Schmidt, had agreed with Apple’s Steve Jobs.
“What happened next is just one of many specific examples of how people’s lives were impacted by the Techtopus wage-theft cartel that was taken down by the Department of Justice antitrust division, and is currently being litigated in a landmark class action lawsuit.
“The Google recruiter’s email—in which she identified herself as “a Recruiter for the ‘Google.com Engineering’ team formerly known as the ‘Site Reliability Engineering’ team”— was sent out on the morning of March 7, 2007.”
Seeing how those companies have colluded and the executives never sent to prison (let alone put on trial) helps us remember that we live in a society where corporations are above the law and white-collar business crimes are so commonplace that we take them for granted (banks are a good example of it). Watch this other news report where iFixit boss Wiens is quote as saying: “They [Apple] have done everything they can to put these guys [third-party repairers] out of business.”
Also mind this new article which floats Microsoft lobbyist Florian Müller‘s old FUD, saying that “Apple wants Samsung to pony up $40 per smartphone for patents.”
At this stage, to be absolutely frank, defending Google from Apple’s aggressive litigation and Steve Jobs' thermonuclear delusions seems like an exercise in futility. Google is starting to do evil not just in patent practice and law; the company which was once hailed as the best place to work with is not an enemy of IT workers. Just ask Tim Bray (a manager in Android) why he quit Google earlier this year. █
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Don’t do lawyers, Google
Summary: The British press names companies which are promoting software patents in the United States and Google is one of them
WE WARNED ABOUT this years ago. Rather than fight for people’s interests when it comes to patents, Google hired some of the same people who fight for themselves and against people’s interests (making themselves necessary through patent battles).
Now that SCOTUS is looking into software patents (Joe Mullin is distracting from the real issue by focusing on patent trolls, as usual, except when he takes this other angle) we have a real chance to redeem software developers from greedy business monopolists and their guardians, the lawyers. According to this report, however, Google is among those who argue for software patents. Having HP in there is not surprising given the company’s history of patent PR. It is definitely not surprising to see Microsoft and IBM there; they are the leading and biggest proponents of software patents. The report says that SCOTUS “will hear from a consortium of technology companies today that have weighed in over software patents.
“Later today, nine US Supreme Court Justices will sit for one hour of argument by representatives from companies including Google, IBM, Microsoft and HP.
“The software patent standards that the companies are seeking vary, however they are all calling for tightening patent law to protect software implementation in their field.
“Suzanna Michel, senior patent consel for Google said in a statement to Bloomberg, “The fact that we have not policed this patentability requirement and have allowed the issuance of a lot of abstract, overbroad patents for doing business on the Internet — those patents have fueled this litigation.”"
Google has a “senior patent counsel” (turns out it’s a former FTC official which AOL describes as one of “the commission’s top intellectual property officials” and whose education background confirms to be a laywer) and according to this report Google is now part of the problem, making the USPTO even more developers-hostile. Having read the original article, it is a little unclear whether Google actively promotes software patents (Michel speaks about business methods), but given Google’s track record of applying for and buying software patents — a trend we severely suffer from and have criticised — Google can no longer oppose software patents with a straight face. The press now claims that Google is actively harboring such patents. It’s the first time we see this. The author, Chris Merriman, cites this report from Greg Stohr and Susan Decker.
“Well, They can’t hide,” wrote Mr. Bosson from the FFII (Sweden), “Microsoft’s Amicus Brief is quite defensive for sw-patents, using EPO-style arguments to protect them.”
He quotes Microsoft, Adobe and HP as saying: “Software makes computing technology work” (so does silicon!).
“Only by looking at the each claim as a Whole,” is also what they say. “Just like EPO makes software patents OK,” Bosson remarks.
HP and Microsoft both did some nefarious things in Europe, as we have covered here in Techrights, so let’s not be misled by news that some HP laptops may come with GNU/Linux (in the UK) [1,2]. HP is definitely not a friend of Free software based on these policies; as for Google, it seems to be drifting away in its own trajectory. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
While anyone living in China or India can walk into a store and buy an Ubuntu laptop off the shelves, those of us in Europe and the US find hunting down brand-name notebooks loaded with Linux a bit of a hassle.
The HP notebook – priced at £219.99 and available at the end of April – will be the first computer of its kind to come pre-installed with the free operating system from Linux.
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Summary: Chih-Wei Huang, widely known for his role in the Chinese Linux Documentation Project and Chinese Linux Extensions, wants the Justice Department to investigate Google because Asus, his employer, does not ship Android on Intel hardware
ECT, going by the name Linux Insider, has just published this article about Android-x86 — a project that mostly helps a convicted monopoly abuser (Intel) interject itself into Linux/Android.
The article is very negative about Google and it speaks of complaints for abuse in a Free software project. We have seen such stuff before and it usually turns out to be provocation. It has been very typical for Microsoft people to do so, or even Microsoft proxies such as Nokia. It’s often provocation against Google using forks that don’t obey simple rules, or simply lead to FUD, patent taxation, and even severe privacy issues like NSA/Microsoft Skype.
“Sadly enough, ECT only quotes people who are against Google. No balance is offered, not even an attempt at balance.”Dealing with the core of the article from ECT, it says that the “maintainer of the Android-x86 Project has suggested that the Justice Department should investigate whether Google has been interfering with adoption of the open source code his community is developing.”
This is attributed to Chih-Wei Huang, which is a common name in places like Taiwan. There is Dr. Chih-Wei Huang, who worked 5+ years in Washington/Redmond (with Microsoft payroll), but he is not to be confused with this guy (same full name and even the same username in the same country) that has a good track record when it comes to Free software in China and Taiwan. We already know of former Microsoft staff like Xuxian Jiang, who pretend to be researching Android but are actually FUD mills against Android. But this one guy has nothing to do with Microsoft, unlike Dr. Chih-Wei Huang (see his revealing CV).
According to ECT, Huang said (to ECT): “Asus announced the dual OS laptop TD300LA in the CES and got very positive feedback. However, Google asked to stop the product so Asus are unable to ship it, sadly.”
This doesn’t sound right. Days ago we covered this and it was actually Microsoft that put the kibosh on the project (see the links here), not just Google as previously (and perhaps even falsely) reported. Neither party wanted to support this product. Several publications reported on that. So why is Huang picking only on Google?
Sadly enough, ECT only quotes people who are against Google. No balance is offered, not even an attempt at balance. There is no approach for comment from Google. It only says: “Asus executives did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Huang’s assessment of the alleged thwarted hardware release. Google officials several times declined requests for interviews to discuss the Android-x86 Project.”
What about Asus then? Maybe he should ask Asus (according to Wikipedia his current employer) for more information before accusing Google. What does Google have to lose here? Motivation is too weak for this theory to make sense. If anyone has reasons to interfere here, it would be ARM (UK-based) or Nvidia (also external to Asus).
Asus already ships a lot of Android (e.g. the Nexus 7), so only hardware limitation is the mystery here. Intel’s x86 is notoriously unsuitable for mobile devices, especially due to heat, size, and energy consumption. Intel’s “Atom” was a massive failure; heads were rolling. In fact, Google would generally be wise to avoid or to dodge those chipsets that put Windows to shame (heavy, clumsy, not running for long). But it doesn’t mean that Google intervened; in fact, maybe Asus reached those same conclusions on its own.
Five years ago when Asus announced a Linux-booting device (Android Eee PC, running Linux/Android) is was most seemingly killed because pressure from Microsoft, not Google (just read what the head of Asus said at the time).
It seems likely that Huang is barking up the wrong tree. We are eager to give Google the benefit of the doubt here because looking at the track record of Android, there tend to be provocations every now and then, trying to portray Android as “not open” (common line from Apple and Microsoft), abusive, monopolistic, etc. Almost every time this type of claims floods the media it eventually turns out to be bogus and often it ends up revealing an embarrassing link to Microsoft (which shamelessly runs anti-Google smear campaigns). █
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Misinformed by Microsoft in attack ads
Summary: New leaks, and not just leaks from Edward Snowden, show that Microsoft is abusing people’s privacy in E-mail, so the ASA should put an end to Microsoft’s anti-Google ads
IN THE UK we have the ASA, which helps crack down on excessively deceiving advertising (almost all commercials are deceiving by design, but some are very blatantly lying). In the past we wrote about the ASA in relation to Microsoft. Microsoft is lying in a very gross way.
There is one particular type of adverts in the UK these days which can annoy me quite a lot. They are not Microsoft ads, they are anti-Google ads, sponsored by Microsoft (as Microsoft is promoting Penn, this is now their strategy). I heard those ads and complained about them before, citing the ASA as the body that needs to receive formal complaints about this. Well, what I didn’t know is that several Brits had already reported these to the ASA, noting that FUD campaigns as the business model are not acceptable, especially when the smears/FUD are untrue, or even libelous. According to a new report from the British media: “”At issue was a radio advertisement that limped onto the air as part of Microsoft’s hoary Scroogled campaign. In a voice-over, Microsoft used Pig Latin to disguise its criticism of its rival and then dwelled on that to make Outlook look like the better option.
“”A radio ad, for Microsoft Outlook, began with a character who stated, ‘may ivatepray e-mailway isway onway ofway eirthay usinessbay’,” explained the ASA.
“”The voice-over then stated ‘Pig Latin may be hard to understand, but you probably need it if you use Gmail, because Gmail scans every word of your emails to sell ads. But Outlook.com doesn’t. And you can choose to opt out of personalised ads. To stop Gmail from using your e-mails, use Outlook.com. Learn more at KeepYourEmailPrivate.com and keep your e-mails ivatepray’.”
“Catchy, snappy stuff, but it did not sit nicely with a couple of people who complained to the ASA about the ad taking liberties with the truth. It was suggested that while Microsoft did not make this clear, it scans its users’ emails too.”
Now, guess what? The ASA did nothing! Microsoft was allowed to get away with it because “the ad made no claims (whether explicit or implied) that Outlook.com did not use any other form of e-mail scanning.” (source)
This is “bizarre in light of recent revelations about Microsoft mail and chat,” said iophk, alluding to revelations that we covered earlier this month.
Perhaps it’s time to resubmit (or amend) the complaints to the ASA, citing documents leaked after Syrian crackers showed FBI-Microsoft relationships, in addition (consequently) to Microsoft’s admission that it is snooping on people and their E-mails for business reasons, not even national security reasons. This can at least lead Microsoft to dropping these false (or at best hypocritical) ads that pollute the British media and aggravate many Brits (rightly so). █
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Microsoft propaganda agents occupy the press and pressure people to stay with Windows
Summary: Analysis of some of the recent claims that GNU/Linux and Android are not secure, the source of such claims (sometimes Microsoft), and what the timing of these claims may or may not tell us about agenda
WE WOULD like to put forth the possibility that the latest ‘security’-themed negative coverage about GNU/Linux is not a natural outcome of standard/routine research or even amplified naturally because GNU/Linux having flaws is the “man bites dog” equivalent . Microsoft has familiar tactics, partly revealed by leaked documents, of manufacturing negative coverage about competitors like GNU and Linux. We gave many examples in the past (see this page for example). It can take years for relevant documents to be leaked.
It is not at all unthinkable that Microsoft still pays think tanks and partners to flood news site with negative publicity relating to GNU/Linux security. One reader wrote to us the following: “I saw on Diaspora that you were planning to write a story about how Microsoft coordinates PR across what should be an independent press. You might be interested in some old work that I did to highlight a minor revolt against “embargos” by Techchrunch and Wired” (we covered those years ago).
The ‘security’-themed negative coverage goes beyond GnuTLS [1, 2] and the latest from Symantec and others (claiming UNIX/Linux botnets while ignoring the cause and the elephant in the room, which journalists don’t like to name). There were dozens of articles about it, simply relaying the claims without digging any deeper. Earlier this week we saw some headline about Microsoft finding and reporting Android security holes (“paper published by researchers from Indiana University and Microsoft” [1, 2]). Yes, Microsoft sure is “embracing” Android… trying to paint GNU/Linux “equally bad” (another familiar old strategy). Ars Technica, at times the Fox 'news' of tech (depending on the writers), is trying to peddle some other smears against GNU/Linux security. A lot of the latest can be attributed to shoddy ‘reporting’ by Dan Goodin, who started a lot of the other recent panic and continues his long smear attack on GNU/Linux security (this time he blames out-of-date servers that can and should be freely upgraded). This FUD was so bad that entire articles were written to rebut it (after it had spread to other places ). See the comments/updates in Cisco’s Web site; it is very revealing. There is also a long discussion about this in Disapora. It seems like some journalists made it their mission to make GNU/Linux look insecure by whatever means necessary (even misrepresentation). As Susan Linton put it: “A lot of Websites are still covering the last couple of Linux security breaches and today Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols said, “It’s not Linux’s fault!”" (and he’s right).
Will Hill wrote that the mistakes are starting to get unraveled: “Looks like his source, Cisco, was shredded for saying what they did. Check out all the strike outs and retractions.
“…The observation of affected hosts running Linux kernel 2.6 is anecdotal and in no way reflects a universal condition among all of the compromised websites. Accordingly, we have adjusted the title for clarity. We have not identified the initial exploit vector for the stage zero URIs. It was not our intention to conflate our anecdotal observations with the technical facts provided in the listed URIs or other demonstrable data, and the below strike through annotations reflect that. We also want to thank the community for the timely feedback.”
Will Hill connects this to the following bit, saying “it was also used as XP EoL hype.”
To quote the FUD: “In April 2014, Windows XP will become unsupported. Organisations urgently need to review their use of unsupported systems in operation. Such systems need to be upgraded where possible, or regularly monitored to detect compromise. Organisations should consider their exposure to risks from the use of unsupported systems…”
So they hardly even hide some of their motive, perhaps thinking it would be too subtle. ZDNet and other Microsoft-friendly sites also found the above an opportunity convenient enough to FUD both Bitcoin and GNU/Linux at the same time [3,4].
What we basically have here is an explosion of semi-truths, spin, and fabrications — all trying to make a perception of GNU/Linux not being more secure than Windows. Timing matters here. We previously saw 'former' Microsoft people smearing Android security from academic standing (no disclosures given) and here too we see Microsoft appearing in a paper against Android security, seemingly coming from a university. This isn’t uncommon and it’s one of these cases where showing the Microsoft connection is simple, as in the case of other academics whom Microsoft is paying to be spreading law-themed FUD against Android (also without disclosures).
Windows XP support is ending and many look forward to/towards a GNU/Linux migration, at the very least for security. That is true for the Indian government  and some British companies I happen to know about but cannot name (being discreet is important when dealing with a bully like Microsoft). GNU/Linux distributions are typically replacing Windows XP [6,7,8]; Apple is rarely even an option. Indian Banks may switch to Linux  and many other banks may soon move to Linux because of security of course [10-14]. There are several separate reports about potential mass migration of ATMs from Windows (XP) to GNU/Linux and Microsoft is of course paying attention to this (maybe it's reading people's E-mails, too). What is the alternative, the truly horrible Vista 8? Microsoft partners like Tony Bradley (shown above; he is strongly tied to Microsoft professionally and has a long history of attacking and smearing GNU/Linux in IDG) desperately try to whitewash Vista 8. “Microsoft apologist gets column space,” wrote iophk, perhaps not knowing that this “apologist” is actually tied to Microsoft (Forbes lets him run Microsoft’s propaganda campaign right now, without disclosures). One can truly see how miserable Microsoft has become.
Now is a good time for many to move from Windows XP to GNU/Linux, even in businesses. This new article says that “the largest percentage (41 percent) found “simply that Windows applications are not compatible.””
Wine might do better at compatibility than newer versions of Windows, including Vista 8. As iophk put it: “Maybe this will lead the removal of Microsoft from SMB environments and the movement to open standards.” Swapnil Bhartiya explained a few days ago that a migration to GNU/Linux is no longer what it used to be. “Don’t get scared,” he argues, “Linux is not what you might have heard about it way back in 2005. Today Linux is dominating the world – Android is powered by Linux, Chromebooks are powered by Linux, your Chromecast runs on Linux. And these are consumer-grade devices extremely easy to use.”
According to another new report, “Windows XP users are mistaking Microsoft’s nag screens for adware” (Windows XP users are faced with Microsoft ads now).
“Just upgrade to a GNU/Linux distro and be done with it,” concludes iophk.
GNU/Linux is the secure option, no matter how much Microsoft spin is trying to convince people otherwise. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
There have been a lot of media reports about Linux security problems recently. ZDNet has taken a stand and pointed out that the problem isn’t with Linux, the problem is with certain Linux users and administrators. I’d also argue that the problem is also with certain media outlets who jump on the “linux security stinks!” bandwagon at the earliest opportunity.
Microsoft India has decided to discontinue support for its legacy Windows XP platform. This doesn’t affect too many people — since most users of Microsoft’s products have already moved onto the newer Windows systems —Vista, 7 and now 8. It does, however, hit one of the largest employers of the nation — the Indian government.
When the support for XP goes out of order next month, the Indian government might start taking on Linux in a big way — if a recommendation issued by the Tamil Nadu government is any indicator.
Support for Windows XP officially ends on April 8, 2014. After this date Microsoft will no longer issues security updates, patch exploits or provide any other means of official, direct support to its users
Xubuntu is a distribution of Ubuntu, which uses the same architecture and software repositories as the mainstream Ubuntu. The only difference is that in the regular Ubuntu distribution, it uses a GUI called Unity, which is much more Mac OSX like, whereas Ubuntu uses XFCE which resembles a prettier version of XP. Alternatively, you could also check out Linux Mint, which pretty much feels exactly like Vista, but I stick to Xubuntu due to better Cannonical support – the People behind Ubuntu). Xubuntu is incredibly stingy on resources, and can run smoothly on a Pentium 4 or higher with a measly 512MB of RAM. Recommended specs being any Dual Core Intel/AMD CPU with 1GB of RAM.
In today’s open source roundup: Lubuntu could be the best replacement for Windows XP. Plus: A review of Portal 2 for Linux, and an interview with the creator of educational distro Ubermix
As we have reported you earlier that Microsoft is pulling out their Windows XP support after April 8 2014. Since a vast majority of bank ATMs around the world currently runs on Windows XP, but if they’ll continue sticking to it after the deadline, then they’ll be exposed to all kinds of security threats, as Microsoft will no longer provide the security patches thereafter.
Some financial services companies are looking to migrate their ATM fleets from Windows to Linux in a bid to have better control over hardware and software upgrade cycles.
It might sound odd that ATMs are running on aging software better suited to a home PC. In fact, security experts have chastised the financial industry for putting ATMs on a PC operating system in the first place. They argue ATMs should be using software that is scaled down and less buggy, such as Linux.
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Summary: Linux, Google and GNU the target of some new type of FUD, where people whom Microsoft is promoting shamelessly target particular GNU/Linux-based products
Microsoft is losing its identity very fast. There is poor coordination in general and strategy in areas like servers and mobile is very much deficient or defunct. Top-level staff is leaving (Muktware covered that also) and the new CEO is joined by an AstroTurfing guy. Muktware has been good at covering these sorts of things (AstroTurfing and trolling as a priority) and its founder now remarks on Microsoft’s anti-GNU/Linux ads (Chromebook is GNU/Linux by another brand). To quote his new post about one of the most infamous “ads” (using entertainment media to implant FUD): “I have never been into the ‘idiot box’; I mostly watch documentaries. However we were on vacation at Myrtle Beach last month and it was snowing so we were stuck in the hotel room, that’s when I got hooked to DirectTV’s shows. I have become addicted to the Pawn Stars and do enjoy it a lot. I admire the owner of the shop Rick Harrison who has immense knowledge and great skills to spot fake. Unfortunately, for him, I was surfing the net I came across Microsoft’s propaganda website (something similar to Vladimir Putin’s Russia Today) Scroogled News and there was an ad by Microsoft featuring the Pawn Stars team.
“I learned that’s the much criticized ad. Companies run such ads all the time, but Microsoft goes to that extra mile of pissing off their competitor without showing any sign of ethics or morality. I knew that was a propaganda ad, as Microsoft now has someone on team who has helped US/UK politicians so we can expect more below-the-belt ‘religious’ kind of attacks from this 30-year-old dinosaur.”
FUD against GNU/Linux can take all sorts of angles, targets, etc. But it remains what it is. On the Web, and even in niche forums , there seems to be a phenomenon that’s manufactured. Almost nobody would normally have an incentive to smear Free software 24/7, or to launch ad hominem attacks against people like Richard Stallman. In politics it’s common for such attacks to be funded directly or indirectly by those who stand to gain.
A lot of GNU/Linux is build by volunteers with a passion. Even Fedora’s packagers, despite the project being Red Hat’s, are often volunteers . There is no lack of people who are willing, sometimes for a fee, to slam volunteers, journalists, activists. Corporations hire them through proxies every now and then. We exposed a few of them (e.g. people whom Microsoft bribed to smear Microsoft’s competition) and we saw many talking points repeated as though they were sourced from Microsoft (the lobbyists of Microsoft habitually repeat the same ‘manuals’).
FUD sometimes comes also from within.
One of our readers goes further by alleging that  is just some “spin used to slam perl.”
“The real problem,” he explains, “which should have been in the closing, is not to mix installation methods. Stick purely with one method or the other.”
The article, “Package Management and Perl”, is unlikely to be anything that’s paid for by Perl foes/, but this same reader of ours showed us many provocatives articles about Perl spreading myths that by extension make Free software look “difficult”.
What needs to be done is simple. Rebuttals are needed. We should aspire to correct false or inaccurate messages, or point out where these are coming from. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
This article has been inspired somewhat by a group of people who for many years (for reasons unknown) have targeted Linux newsgroups and forums with the sole purpose of disrupting the advocacy that occurs. These “people” will use any means necessary in order to do that and looking at the amount of posts they make all day every day, one has to conclude that either they have a financial interest in free software being hobbled in the eyes of the mainstream, or worse, they merely have nothing else to do but post all day. One chap in particular who I believe falls into the later category has recently (on top of thousands of words in posts daily) taken to making videos to highlight these “major issues” with Linux. Now just what an allegedly married man with kids and a computer business is thinking of spending so much time in this way is anyone’s guess but it did help to inspire this article.
The people behind the scenes who work tirelessly to make your Linux distribution run smoothly are the packagers. The vast majority of Linux packagers are volunteers who dedicate their evenings and weekends to create and maintain the gears of the Linux distributions they love.
Anyone who lived through the bad old days of compiling software from source on Linux remembers well the frustration of upgrading one package only to find that it breaks another. I like to think that those days are behind us; and, for the most part, they are. Unfortunately, I found myself in an eerily similar situation after patching a CentOS 6 server, and then trying to run a scheduled Perl job.
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