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Microsoft is Adding Surveillance and Tax to Free/Libre Software

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The venus flytrap of software

Venus flytrap

Summary: Reality check for those who try to characterise Microsoft as ‘playing nice’ with GNU/Linux and Java

Java and Linux found ubiquity of unprecedented scale owing to Android. Microsoft knows that it lost the operating systems battle of this decade, so it responds by trying to extort, blackmail, and sue for patent tax. In addition, it is trying to devour the competition.

The other day we wrote about malicious attempts to absorb Free software in the spying platform called Azure. Well, we missed some references from Microsoft boosters and “useful idiots” like Cynthia Harvey (on “Open Java” in proprietary Microsoft) and Adrian Bridgwater, who promoted this dangerous move as well. The Microsoft “Linux”-flavoured marketing from Mary Jo Foley was equally bad and as noted the other day, they say nothing about patent tax, surveillance, and proprietary trap. Anyone stupid enough to choose Microsoft for GNU/Linux or Java hosting deserves a Darwin Award.

The FSF, in the mean time, warns that Vista 8 is a PRISM Edition, noting:

Microsoft is intercepting your stuff and sending it to the NSA (and the CIA and the FBI).

Everything from Microsoft should be assumed to be embedded with NSA surveillance and no OEM should impose Windows on new PCs for this reason. Of course, as usual, Microsoft will try playing dirty with Intel’s UEFI, making it abundantly difficult to install and run GNU/Linux. Watch how hard it has become for some who experiment with GNU/Linux. To quote a new example:

I have decided to run ArchLinux for the upcoming experiment. As of yet, I’m not sure what my contributions to the community will be, however, there will be more on that later.

One of the interesting things I wanted to try this time around was to get Linux to boot from the Windows 7 bootloader. The basic principle here is to take the first 512-bytes of your /boot partition (with GRUB installed), and place it on your C:\ as linux.bin. From there, you use BCDEdit in Windows to add it to your bootloader. When you boot Windows, you will be prompted to either start Windows 7 or Linux. If you choose Linux, GRUB will be launched.

Before I go into my experience, I just wanted to let you know that I was not able to get it working. It’s not that it isn’t possible, but for the sake of being able to boot into ArchLinux at some point during the experiment, I decided to install GRUB to the MBR and chainload the Windows bootloader.

Guess how this ended. Microsoft is trying to portray itself as a ‘friend’ of GNU/Linux now, despite doing more than ever before to impede its use, especially on desktops. No well-informed person can say that Microsoft is no longer a criminal organisation masquerading as a producing business. The marketing changed (PR and euphemisms, even embedded ‘journalism’), but the reality is much worse. Don’t get devoured by Microsoft.


Why People Should Never Rely on Microsoft for GNU/Linux and Java

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft, Servers at 2:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The company which is attacking Linux/Android/Java in court is trying to lure GNU/Linux and Java proponents into its own yard, which is taxing Free software and letting the NSA spy on everyone

Last week we reiterated the warning about Azure surveillance, noting that everything on Azure can be directly accessed by Microsoft’s close partner, the unaccountable NSA (effectively no privacy policy there). Some Microsoft PR campaign seeks to attract Java developers to Azure (Azul), not warning them about the many risks.

“The SCO case helps remind us how Microsoft really feels about GNU/Linux.”Meanwhile, as other reporters reveal, Microsoft’s proxy Silver Lake is still trying to occupy Dell, with limited success. This is a big deal as it would deal a big blow to GNU/Linux servers from Dell.

Microsoft’s booster Kurt Mackie is currently openwashing Windows Server, trying to portray it as “supporting Linux” while a British Microsoft booster does the ‘pledge’ PR. All of these moves should be treated as nothing other than occupation.

As this ongoing case serves to remind us, Microsoft legal assault on GNU/Linux at IBM is not over. Here is the latest:

IBM has now filed its promised Motion and Memorandum for Partial Summary Judgment Based on the Novell Judgment [PDF] in SCO v. IBM.

I started to write IBM v. SCO, because that is what it really is now. For those who keep track, IBM had received an extension of time to file, until the 22nd, giving it an extra few days.

IBM points out that SCO doesn’t own the copyrights it sued over, the pre-1996 UNIX code, Novell does, so SCO is in no position to complain about copyright anything. SCO has already claimed that it’s talking about claims that now, after it lost the pre-1996 copyright claims, really have to do with post-1996 copyrights or contract issues. But you don’t get to rewrite your complaint any time you think it would be handy, and SCO’s complaint was all about pre-1996 code. Until now, the SCO attempt at a workaround.

The SCO case helps remind us how Microsoft really feels about GNU/Linux. When I spoke to the technical manager (director) of UKFast, a large UK host based near my house (and whose founder I have known for a decade), he told me that they were running GNU/Linux instances on top of Hyper-V and at the offices I saw GNU/Linux support staff being forced to work from Windows. This is utter incompetence and it’s a disservice to GNU/Linux.

“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens


Xamarin is Still an Anti-Java Company

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Java, Microsoft at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The Microsoft boosters from Miguel de Icaza’s company find new ways to disrupt Android promotion and promote Microsoft .NET instead

Fernando Cassia reminds us that “de Icaza is hell bent on destroying Java since he started his .Net clone”

He links to this new article which relates to Xamarin‘s attempt to sabotage Android with Microsoft .NET (or Mono):

A company has substantially ported Google’s Java-based Android software to use C# and the .NET framework, a move that could be the first step towards creating an Android-like operating system that avoids legal entanglements with Oracle.

When will the Microsoft fans from Xamarin realise that the Free software community does not care for their work? All they do is damage Free software and a lot of Microsoft promotion.


Patents Versus Android: The Circus Continues

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Java, Oracle, Patents at 10:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Almost two years since the launch of Oracle’s case over Java/Dalvik this whole argument carries on

THE CONFLICT over Dalvik meets conflict within Sun’s former management and one former head makes his views clear; Android is not infringing on patents/copyrights. The local press (California) further adds that this case shows the flaws of the patent system as a whole. To quote:

The big news out of the Oracle versus Google showdown on Monday was that one of Oracle’s patents was brought back from the dead, put back into play after the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office reversed its earlier rejection.

But let’s be clear: One zombie patent isn’t the remarkable thing in this case. The remarkable thing is that, when the dust settles, five of the seven patents Oracle claimed that Google violated will likely be overturned because Google forced the patent office to take a second look.

Developers of Android applications (of whom I will soon be one) suffer a great deal from software patents, but to giant corporations and their lawyers this is not a problem at all. All they want patents for is everything but innovation or competition. Throughout this coming month we’ll re-attempt to catch up with older patent news (personal life got in the way). There’s still a pileup of old news that’s important and relevant to us.


Java Patents Lose Their Teeth

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Java, Oracle, Patents at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dangerous dog

Summary: Recent steps from Oracle and the OIN indicate a weakening of the case against Dalvik

ORACLE has been trying to tax Android using software patents, but Groklaw thinks that “Oracle Must be Nervous” because the case sinks yet lower with the latest events taking place in the courtroom:

Oracle’s Case Against Google Sinks Lower


Ouch! Judge Alsup seems to be on his game. Neither the lawyers nor the judge could get the maths right on the potential damages in the case. Rather than $billions, they seem to be headed towards a few tens of millions, provided no more patents are thrown out and Google is found to violate copyright. Google is arguing that Java APIs are not copyright protectable and Oracle is holding that they are. Damages, if any could be very small in any case compared to the worth of the two companies.

Oracle is now asking for a fast trial (it began in 2010) and the OIN, which Oracle is a member of, is stepping up to defend some Java-like software (this was understated in the news, even our own coverage). If Oracle retreats from the patent case, will we see a lot of it ending like the SCO case, except for the bankruptcy?


OpenSUSE Drops Java But Not Mono

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE at 5:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft SUSE

Summary: Microsoft Linux (sometimes known as SUSE) still plays into the hands of Microsoft Corporation

OpenSUSE (the community/volunteer facet of SUSE) indirectly signed a deal with Microsoft and a sort of pact with Xamarin just over a month ago. Another release of OpenSUSE seems to be on its way (hardly any news from the project except for that) and despite the fact that Mono is a patent liability, OpenSUSE 12.1 removes Sun/Oracle Java but not Mono. This is consistent with everything we expect from a Microsoft-sponsored distribution and all the Novell videos in the world (here are some of the latest one [1, 2, 3] cannot hide the company’s close ties to Microsoft. In anything, those videos only validate Novell’s dependence on Windows and on Microsoft.


Google is Looking to Join the Patents Cartel to Defend Android

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Java, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 4:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Amid growing pressure from Apple, Microsoft, and perhaps its drone Nokia, Google plans to buy companies for their patents, thus becoming part of the problem for the sake of “defending” Android

“Abducted by lawyers” is how we recently described Google, after it had clarified that it would not join the abolitionists*. Dennis Crouch meanwhile covers Apple’s and Microsoft’s latest cartel additions, i.e. patents accrued (Apple reported paid for about half for this assault on Android) and Professor Mark Webbink has this important update on the Oracle vs. Google case, showing of course the opposite of what pro-Microsoft lobbyists want the public to see. Oracle’s case is quickly falling apart. “Sorry for the movie analogies,” notes Webbink, “but these images keep popping to mind. The latest is Larry Ellison as Golum, grasping his “Java” patents and declaring, “My Precious.” This comes to mind because of the revelation yesterday that Jonathan Schwartz, then CEO of Sun Microsystems, praised Google and others for incorporating Java into Android back in 2007.

“But thanks to the Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, Schwartz’ statement survives.”
      –Mark Webbink
“Then the patents fell out of Sun’s hands and into Oracle’s (My Precious), and Schwartz’ statement became an embarrassment. What to do? Why remove it from the internet, of course. But thanks to the Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, Schwartz’ statement survives.

“Now the interesting question about this and other similar comments that were apparently made by Sun executives is whether the statements communicated an understanding to Google and others that they would not be threatened with Sun’s patents; statements upon which they relied. This is the legal doctrine of estoppel.”

Watch the screenshot too.

Some people are piecing together FUD pieces about Google, and not just lobbyists like Florian and those whom he mass-mails for placement in the press. Here is just one example and a reminder that Google’s plan is to buy patents as a response to this. This seems like more than a rumour now.

Search engine giant Google is looking to acquire mobile chip technology maker InterDigital, after failing to purchase Novell’s massive patent portfolio.


InterDigital, which has a market value of about $3.1 billion, saw its shares rise by 29 percent to $68.67 thanks to the takeover rumours.

It has been hinted even by Nokia itself — now that it is a Microsoft drone — that it might be next in its attempts to extort Google and raise the price of Android using patents. Just pay attention to this news report:

Nokia Oyj, the world’s largest phone maker by volume, posted better-than-expected quarterly profit thanks to a major royalty boost from settling a patent dispute with Apple.

Nokia reported a second-quarter underlying operating profit of 391 million euros, above all expectations in a Reuters poll, which ranged from a loss of 35 million to profit of 285 million.

Nokia is part of the same cartel as Microsoft’s, especially after the company got hijacked by Microsoft, with Microsoft’s big private shareholders appointed to become the company’s CEO. Symbian was taken proprietary by him and MeeGo, the Linux effort, virtually abandoned.
* In software patents opposition — like in many other areas of activism — there are many factions and attitudes. Some classify certain software patents as “bad” and others as “good” (usually “theirs” versus “ours”), some want to get rid of patents altogether, some target only software patents, some target patent trolls, etc.


Anti-competitive Apple Removes Java

Posted in Apple, Java at 2:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Siberian tiger

Summary: Apple takes further baby steps towards inappropriate conduct by removing Java runtime

Apple keeps removing software that competes with Apple and can help advance Android at the expense of hypeOS (Objective-C). The Register explains why it’s reasonable to say that Apple removed Java after initial clues and the Java founder’s claims that Steve Jobs is a liar. To quote: “Apple has removed the Java runtime from its upcoming Mac OS X Lion, according to a report based on firsthand experience with a preview release of the OS.

“Appleinsider reports that the latest developer release of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion removes both Java and Rosetta, the package used to run PowerPC code on Intel-based Macs. But according to the fanboi news site, Lion includes a mechanism for automatically downloading the latest version of Java for the Mac.”

“So I no longer hate Apple products,” says this other new article. “In fact I use them every day. But I never feel like I own them. More like I’m renting them from Skynet.”

Apple is not about user choice and user control. It merely turns customers into consumers and repeatedly it bans its competitors using platform control.

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