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02.24.15

Microsoft Wants to Devour the Competition (Linux), Devour People’s Data

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.”

Henry David Thoreau

Summary: Refuting the “new Microsoft” propaganda and some ludicrous concept that Microsoft is now “playing nice”

THE company which kick-started PRISM and works most closely with the NSA pretends to have become “open”. How ridiculous a notion! SoylentNews covered our story [1] and many comments there show that the large majority agrees that Microsoft is just trying to harm openness from the inside. That’s just not what corruptible journalists would have us believe.

“The company which kick-started PRISM and works most closely with the NSA pretends to have become “open”.”Dan Kedmey reminded us the other day that “Microsoft’s New App Will Help You Stalk Your Friends”, right after he had covered this bit of news about Microsoft’s “embrace and extend” at work (recall what Microsoft is doing to infiltrate Android). As Kedmey put it in his own words:

It’s acquiring apps and quickly rebranding them as Microsoft products

[...]

Acompli is the best example of Microsoft’s new playbook: In a matter of weeks, Microsoft took Acompli’s popular email app and rebranded it as Outlook for iOS and Android, to rave reviews from the tech press. Before the Acompli move, Microsoft’s iOS and Android Outlook offering was nothing more than a clunky web portal disguised as an app. It’s a safe bet that Sunrise and similar acquisitions will reappear as Microsoft-branded offerings just as quickly.

For those who deem it “good news” for Android, bear in mind that Microsoft is a surveillance company much worse than Google in many ways, as we have demonstrated over the years. Simon Sharwood said a couple of days ago that “Microsoft [is] to store deleted Exchange Online mails FOREVER”. Is anyone surprised by that? Outlook has already been banned for use by European politicians (the “app” at least is verboten for security reasons), which really says a lot about how Microsoft is viewed by security professionals.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft Loves Linux – or So They Say

    Just when you thought Embrace, Extend, Extinguish was going away, the article explains the multi-prong attack that Microsoft is quietly working in the background. And they are relying heavily on their friends in the press. Microsoft has always had its share of shills in the press, but, with the focus on Google Android and Apple its quietly become less of a Journalist career killer to be openly Pro Microsoft. Schestowitz explains the attack as killing Linux Softly with APIs and the lock-ins they bring as more Microsoft packages and services are ported to Linux, and by getting appointments to key Linux Foundation subcommittees, by slinging dollars and software contributions.

“This anti-trust thing will blow over. We haven’t changed our business practices at all.”

Bill Gates, 1995 (and still managing Microsoft)

02.21.15

Microsoft AstroTurfing War on GNU/Linux is Still Going On, But Hidden Better, Uses API as Instrument of Lock-in

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The strength of this platform [C#] and the innovation around it is the key element in preventing commodization by Linux, our installed base and Network Appliance vendors.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Summary: The corruptible press continues to describe blatant attacks (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) against GNU/Linux and Free software as Microsoft ‘embracing’ Open Source

MICROSOFT has been relying on a great deal of AstroTurfing as an instrument of domination. To quote Microsoft’s internal documents [PDF], “[t]o control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft now directs its instrument of deception towards GNU/Linux users. AstroTurfing of this kind necessitates influence from the inside. It is no longer just Novell’s money that makes the Linux Foundation unable (without risk) to antagonise Microsoft. By becoming financially dependent on Microsoft partners like Nokia and Intel (Wintel) the Linux Foundation lost its ability to antagonise rivals and it might not be long before the Linux Foundation silently tells Torvalds not to denounce Microsoft because of his new senior colleagues from there and because “Microsoft loves Linux”, according to Microsoft. As we have shown before, several Linux Foundation sub-committees are having heads appointed to them from Microsoft (Neela, Ramji and more). It is like a coup in slow motion as we are gradually witnessing more of its impact. It is even endemic in the media.

Microsoft used OOXML to shut out OpenOffice.org and to screw up not just migrations away from Office but also from Windows. This proved to be an effective sabotage-centric strategy in Europe, where some migrations to GNU/Linux were notably impeded because of OOXML. Office suites are not being made compatible, as they can never be made compatible, as per Microsoft’s deliberate design. As Bobby Moss put it to me the other day (about OOXML): “Here’s our ISO-approved standard, but we’re going to use a ‘transitional’ version instead. Good luck suckers ;)”

There is a nasty strategy going on right now and as Microsoft’s own partners now admit, Microsoft is trying to do to GNU/Linux with ‘cloud’ APIs what it did using OOXML. Microsoft loves Linux like Eric Holder loves free speech and like Obama loves peace. It’s nonsense (albeit endlessly repeated) of the highest order, but enough people who are not keeping up with the news might actually fall for this nonsense and even pass it on.

The other day we saw this article about one of the latest attack vectors against Android. This attack is partly Microsoft-funded and there is a good explanation of how Microsoft attacks Android/Linux right now. it’s titled “Microsoft’s Trojan Horse To Undermine Android”. A journalist specialising in Android over at Forbes noted: “Forbes’ Gordon Kelly has provided a high-level review of Nadella’s operation that brings the jigsaw of ‘Cloud first mobile first’ into focus. But I want to take a look at one of the moves that Redmond has made at the very edge of the mobile space… specifically the investment by Microsoft in the alternative mobile operating system company Cyanogen.

“According to reports from the Wall Street Journal (and others), Microsoft is a minority partner in the latest funding round of Cyanogen (the company behind the custom Android ROM that is CyanogenMod). The round is believed to be for $70 million in total, valuing the company in “the high hundreds of millions of dollars”.

“What is Microsoft playing at here?

“I seriously doubt that Microsoft is in it to make a profit. There are far better ways of investing its money if it wants a financial return. So where is the value in Microsoft in becoming involved with Cyanogen?

“Let’s start with the easiest one. While Cyanogen isn’t exactly the enemy of Google (it still relies heavily on the Android Open Source Project as well as the goodwill of Google and the other manufacturers to allow devices to have the ROM installed easily and smoothly), the old adage of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ should apply. Anything Microsoft can do to destabilise Google and force it to expend more effort on areas where Microsoft is fighting Mountain View is a strategic win, no matter how small it is.”

To skip to a point further down in this article, “Microsoft is looking at opportunities beyond the mobile operating system as a platform. Instead it is looking to leveraging any operating system so that it talks to the Microsoft cloud.”

He concludes as follows: “I’m sure Microsoft would be more than happy to load up CyanogenMod with Outlook, Office, and the rest of the app suite. I’m pretty sure it would help out with some engineering time as well if there was a need for such a thing.”

This article is far from perfect. As Will Hill put it: “There’s nothing potent about Microsoft’s “cloud”. Bing, Skype, Outlook are miserable failures like everything else Microsoft touches. Idiot news sources like Forbes said the same kinds of silly things when Microsoft subjugated Yahoo, but it went no where. Microsoft’s corruption of Cyanogenmod is one or two orders of magnitude less important than that.”

Also see the new article titled “Cyanogen versus Google: Biting the Android that feeds”. To quote parts of it: “Considering how much Android has benefited the Cyanogen developers, one might think the company would owe Google a debt of gratitude; without Android, there is no CM. However, not only has Cyanogen publicly railed against the platform’s licensing terms, its CEO, Kirt McMaster, actually began a recent speech (at The Information’s “Next Phase of Android” event) by stating that “we’re attempting to take Android away from Google.””

This Microsoft-funded effort to derail Android is further crticised as follows: “An old aphorism goes something like, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” By maligning Google so vehemently, and seemingly ignoring the larger corporation’s work in building up the popularity of Android — not to mention creating the basis for its ecosystem — Cyanogen is playing a dangerous game that seems born in arrogance: its perceived success, and apparent high valuation, may have given its principals the notion that they can do no wrong.”

Microsoft is now doing to Samsung something similar, based on some reports. It is the latest of many Microsoft-backed attempts to disrupt Android using another party. As a Red Hat-run site serves to remind us, “OnePlus ditches CyanogenMod” around the same time Microsoft funding was revealed and following Microsoft’s hijack of Yahoo the company continues its rapid collapse (it has become a proxy for Microsoft’s search efforts, even in the UK, not just in the US).

What saddens us the most is that Canonical is seemingly fine with Microsoft’s abuses as long as Microsoft pays some money. It’s a bit like Novell, but not quite as insidious.

It is not hard to see what Microsoft is really up to here. Watch an article titled “Microsoft’s Trojan horse strategy to rule the world”, written by Microsoft partner and propagandist Tony Bradley (we wrote about him many times before because of his anti-GNU/Linux articles which exempt disclosures of his ties to Microsoft). The way he put it the other day is quite revealing. He is no ordinary writer, he has been a Microsoft mouthpiece for quite a few years and Microsoft works with him. “Brilliant strategy” he called the Trojan horse strategy (see subheading), noting that “By integrating cloud services and expanding the availability and influence of Office, Microsoft is (not so) secretly extending its dominance to rival platforms.”

The “Trojan horse” part says: “The world where Microsoft has a monopoly or pseudo-monopoly on any platform or technology has all but disappeared. The new reality is a multi-device, multi-platform world. Any attempt to paint customers into a corner and lock them into a specific platform or device is essentially suicidal.

“Microsoft’s new strategy takes a sort of “Trojan horse” approach to ruling the world once again. It can’t make everyone use Windows PCs, and Windows Phone smartphones have claimed only a negligible slice of the mobile device market. By freeing customers to use Microsoft tools on other platforms and devices, though, Microsoft will continue to be a dominant force — even on rival platforms like Android and iOS.”

Fernando Cassia, former journalist with The Inquirer (UK), told us in Twitter (using hastags) that #TheCloudIsTheAPI #FogComputing (our made-up term for “cloud”).

Microsoft does not “love Linux”, Microsoft hopes to “engulf Linux” while a sufficient number of drooling observers believe PR pieces from Microsoft and its friends in the media.

We have been patiently waiting for the whole “Microsoft loves Linux” nonsense (in the Microsoft-leaning media) to end so that we can write a most comprehensive rebuttal to these latest veiled attacks. It is basically an attack on Android disguised as being about search, choice, competition, etc. Watch what ECT (“Linux Insider”) did the other day. Richard Adhikari, who produces many Android-hostile pieces for a number of years now, is still a propagandist without tact. He often quotes anti-Android factions regarding perceived security issues and now he asks Microsoft’s mouthpiece Rob Enderle for ‘analysis’ of Google. He should be slammed for having ECT (which paid Rob Enderle) give Enderle a platform again, with which to bash Microsoft’s competition (nothing in the article says that Microsoft paid him). Tabloid ‘journalism’ at its best? Making matters worse, ECT does not disclose that Rob Enderle used to work for them, regularly bashing Linux/FOSS for a salary!

This is basically just another noteworthy pattern of the attack on Linux and its backers, pushing the pro-Microsoft line and pushing the anti-Google angle. But there’s another angle to it — an angle which flooded the media this past week. There are many puff pieces (similar to press releases) like this one about Azure. Slashdot plays a role in it, propping up the narrative of “Microsoft loves Linux” and IDG, in the mean time, characterises PRISM surveillance and lock-in as ‘free’.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols once again gives Microsoft a soft treatment because Canonical is helping the Trojan horse in exchange for money. This has been covered by some GNU/Linux proponents, who wrote: “Canonical, through John Zannos, VP Cloud Alliances, has proudly announced today, February 19, that the first ever Microsoft Azure hosted service will be powered by Linux, Ubuntu more specifically” (all about self interest, as in Novell’s case, to the exclusion of externalities).

“Is Microsoft now providing journalists handouts to spread the lie that Microsoft loves Linux, FOSS, etc.?”The British and American media were quick to help Microsoft spread this misleading narrative, which made us wonder; Is Microsoft now providing journalists handouts to spread the lie that Microsoft loves Linux, FOSS, etc.? It smacks of that.

Here is one quote from the articles named here: “Bill Gates once chose the word “cancer” to describe the operating system, which competes with Windows.) But in the past year, especially since Satya Nadella became Microsoft’s chief executive, the company has taken several steps demonstrating a commitment to the open-source development model or its own tools and open-source tools assembled outside of Microsoft.”

No, hardly so. It has been a strategy of embrace and extend, before extinguish comes. Watch what things were selectively made “open source”. Microsoft is constantly attacking FOSS while trying to control it and take control of its direction, tying it to Microsoft’s proprietary software maze (Windows, Office, and so on).

GigaOm, which was paid by Microsoft for secret (undisclosed, embedded in article content) ads, continues to openwash the company with this widely-cited article. We asked Om Malik, “how much does Nadella bribe you now?” He did not respond (it has been days since we asked).

“Microsoft says 20 percent of all VMs running on Azure run Linux,” according to the article, but is that actually good news? No, it’s not. Remember that Microsoft treats GNU/Linux as patent infringement. Here is another article about it. Microsoft is now controlling, putting under surveillance and already taxing GNU/Linux. Microsoft propagandists and “MVPs” like Rod Trent won’t bother pointing that out and neither will Microsoft propaganda sites with strong connections to Microsoft, e.g. [1, 2]. They are openwashing this nasty thing called Azure as though they’re under orders to coordinate a PR campaign in the media. See Mary Jo Foley doing her thing along with Microsoft networks [1, 2], Microsoft-funded sites, Microsoft boosters like Adrian Bridgwater, and Microsoft-funded networks such as UBM and IDG [1, 2]. This misinformation war managed to even ‘leak’ out of Microsoft’s controlled press, e.g. this one from Forbes and some lesser Microsoft-friendly sites such as AOL, etc. etc. etc.

The latest openwashing of Microsoft often cites acquisition of two proprietary software companies that will be used versus FOSS — companies such as Revolution Analytics and Cyanogen (partial ownership). This openwashing of Microsoft requires a high degree of gullibility or intentional (malicious) desire to mislead.

The other day we spotted Microsoft booster Darryl K. Taft propping up the Microsoft-connected Black Duck. He wrote this:

The Black Duck Open Source Rookies of the Year are selected irrespective of commercial motivations.

No, Black Duck is selecting partners that paid money, Microsoft for example.

Weeks ago we wrote that the openwashing of Microsoft is now threatening to eliminate the identity of Free software. Never mind the high cost of proprietary lock-in and back doors (see the new reports titled “Microsoft to double price of XP’s post-retirement support” and “Microsoft prepares for summer price hike”). Never mind the high costs passed to the taxpayers, as the story of the BBC serves to show (Microsoft infiltrated it). The BBC is still leeching off taxpayers to pay Microsoft, so it’s quite a relief to learn from the BBC that “Windows Media [is] becoming too expensive to operate, Mr Scott said.”

If Microsoft is now an “Open Source company” and a company that “loves Linux” as some of the press wishes us to believe, then how come none of the company’s big products became Open Source? How come the only things that are being openwashed are mechanisms for selling proprietary software?

02.20.15

Lenovo’s Superfish Scandal is Spyware on Top of Spyware (Microsoft Windows), the Problem is Inherently Proprietary Software

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 8:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Shifting focus to the root problem, which is neither Lenovo nor its laptops but the non-free programs installed on hardware

WHEN it was revealed that governments had constructed Stuxnet to sabotage computers almost all reporters refused to call out Windows, despite Stuxnet being exclusive to Windows. The same is happening right now in relation to Superfish. We posted links to a lot of articles about it (see our daily links for about a dozen) and none of them bothered reporting the fact that only clients of Microsoft (the NSA’s ally) were affected. Having watched dozens of articles about it we can say that almost not a single article emphasised that it only affects Windows. Lenovo says it didn’t know about it and given the shadowy background of Superfish (its CEO came from the surveillance complex) it’s possible that Lenovo was tricked or bribed into installing this back door.

“Lenovo’s ThinkPads, which originally came from IBM, are famously GNU/Linux-friendly.”The CBS-owned ZDNet has Microsoft booster Mary Branscombe spinning that Superfish scandal to even imply that people should “love Windows”. Well, at least she points out that it’s a Windows issue, albeit that’s not her intention (she is just a Microsoft mouthpiece seeking to divert blame).

Robert Pogson responded to Branscombe by stating:

I recommend everyone switch to GNU/Linux. It’s easy. Demand your local retailers sell them. Shop online for a GNU/Linux PC. Heck, install it yourself. Heck, you can even get that other OS to start the process. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux, software that works for you, not some corporation with the morality of a snake. The beauty of it is that the licence you get with the downloads includes the right to examine, modify and distribute the software, so you can cut out all that third-party crapware, if there were any. Debian doesn’t bother attaching crapware to PCs it doesn’t sell…

It’s not just that. Windows, with or without crapware, has back doors. GNU/Linux hasn’t. Free software is essential for those who pursue real computer security, as opposed to so-called ‘national security’.

Here is the statement that the FSF has just made about it (hours ago):

Security experts have discovered a highly threatening vulnerability in software preinstalled on some Windows computers manufactured by Lenovo through January 2015. Extreme negligence on the part of Lenovo and unscrupulous programming by its adware partner Superfish seem to have caused the vulnerability.

The FSF does point out that it’s a “Windows computers” issue. Well, there is no such thing as “Windows computers”, as such computers can have Windows wiped and GNU/Linux installed instead. Lenovo’s ThinkPads, which originally came from IBM, are famously GNU/Linux-friendly.

02.17.15

Microsoft Already Killed Nokia, Don’t Let It Kill Android Players Too

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft at 6:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft’s strategy against Android mirrors the company’s evil strategy that derailed MeeGo and Nokia

THERE remains a small crowd in the Free software world that is easily fooled by Microsoft’s claims that it’s warming up to Free software (though Microsoft won’t use the “F” word, it just wants to kill Freedom). It’s a harmful façade which facilitates infiltration and today we are going to remind readers of what Microsoft is really up to. It’s a moles strategy.

“Patent extortion is not “pro-competitive”, it is anti-competitive, but that’s just what happens when Microsoft lobbyists speak out.”Microsoft's attack on Android through Cyanogen is easy for all to see. Cyanogen hates freedom; it hardly makes any pretenses about it. It’s not about choice, it’s not about privacy, and it is definitely not about freedom. It’s likely to become all about Microsoft. But not only Cyanogen is part of this subversive strategy. Samsung too seems to have been pressured into it. Florian Müller, who was paid by Microsoft (specifically the patent exotortion part of the company), wrote this ludicrous thing the other day: “Congratulations to @MicrosoftIP and @Samsung on settling their Android patent royalty dispute. This is good news bc it’s pro-competitive.”

Patent extortion is not “pro-competitive”, it is anti-competitive, but that’s just what happens when Microsoft lobbyists speak out. Well, perhaps that’s Microsoft’s money talking. Müller openly admitted to me last month that Microsoft had paid him more than once.

Well, the upcoming S series (Galaxy) is not infested with Microsoft apps based on reports we have posted in recent days in our daily links. Perhaps this is only the “embrace” stage, not yet the “extend”. Microsoft’s criminal track record and series of dead products (including Windows Mobile) ought to serve as a warning here. Nokia is pretty much dead to the bone and almost exactly one year ago Motley Fool (Microsoft-affiliated) published some ugly revisionism about it, flattering Microsoft and hailing it as some kind of rescuer rather than a killer/assassin of Nokia, which had only begun seriously adopting Linux, quickly becoming one of the top contributors to Linux.

What Microsoft did to Nokia was an utter failure, but not according to a Microsoft spinner who wrote:

Nokia’s 2011 decision to collaborate with Microsoft by swapping out Symbian with Windows Phone was a good one, but by the time it was made, the sun was already setting.

This is completely untrue as a lot of evidence suggests. Nokia had released devices with MeeGo and they did quite well despite the fact that Microsoft quickly buried them. Windows was always a dud and people did not want another Windows/Office on their phone. This whole idea was rejected by the market, whereas Android as an option for Nokia would have worked quite well (many apps, virtually no security issues, low cost). Motley Fool, which is associated with MSN (Microsoft), did at least conclude correctly:

So no, these latest results aren’t quite the final chapter for Microsoft/Nokia phones…but that unit’s best days are clearly far behind it, and it doesn’t look like it has much of a future to speak of.

Don’t let the Android leaders (like Samsung) become another Nokia. There is already a lot of distortion of history, exploiting people’s short memory span. We are being assaulted by media ownership and control, as exercised by Bill Gates under disguise of ‘charity’ in order for him to hoard more money while the media keeps people dumb about it (thinking he is giving money). Vis-a-vis Gates, Microsoft executives are lobbying China to adopt Microsoft’s back doors that the NSA uses for espionage purposes (with Microsoft’s help). As China bans Microsoft software (rightly so for security reasons) Bill Gates reportedly goes lobbying China’s technology minister. China has by far the biggest mobile market. How insidious an opportunist Gates has become. How many companies does he need to kill before the world wakes up and takes defensive/reactionary steps?

02.14.15

Microsoft’s Latest Lock-in Strategy in Detail, Now Exploiting the Public Sector and Free Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 5:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft’s ‘free lunch’

Green chillies

Summary: Parasitical plot and subversive acts that strive to make people inadvertently dependent on proprietary software/spyware from Microsoft are now piggybacking taxpayers-funded institutions and Free software

SEVERAL YEARS ago many in the UK were up in arms over the BBC’s exclusion of GNU/Linux and promotion of Microsoft lock-in. It happened after many employees from Microsoft UK had occupied key positions in the BBC.

According to this new report from the British media: “The BBC’s Audio Factory goes live today, bringing with it the end of streaming audio over Windows Media.

“The broadcaster flagged the demise of Windows Media last year, when it also announced Audio Factory, a streaming tool delivering audio in the AAC codec over http. Audio Factory aims to standardise Auntie’s audio delivery practices and infrastructure.

“As of today, the Beeb says Audio Factory will carry “11 national services, six Nations services and 40 local radio stations”.”

Citing our analysis of Microsoft entryism in the BBC, Soylent News wrote: “As Roy Schestowitz has pointed out repeatedly at TechRights, there has been an incestuous revolving door thing going on between the Beeb and Microsoft, so this is a noteworthy step.”

But there is also some bad news. It turns out that in the mean time Microsoft lock-in infects national records in the US. As Mr. Updegrove put it, “Library of Congress “Opens Up” with (wait for it…) OOXML”. Talk about making data obsolete!

Last week, the Library of Congress announced that it will “open up with OOXML.” Nine new OOXML format descriptions will be added to the LoC Format Sustainability Website.

Last July, the U.K. Cabinet Office formally adopted ODF, the OpenDocument Format developed by OASIS and adopted by ISO/IEC, as an approved open format for editable public documents. It did not give the same approval to OOXML, another XML-based document format that was based on a contribution from Microsoft to ECMA, another standards organization. OOXML was also in due course adopted by ISO/IEC. The Cabinet Office decision came ten years after the largest standards war of the decade was launched by a similar, but later reversed, decision by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

As that war heated up, both sides (ODF was supported by IBM, Oracle, Motorola, Google and others) recruited as many allies as they could. One of those recruited by Microsoft was the U.S. Library of Congress.

Not too long ago Microsoft was trying to get people ‘hooked’ on Microsoft surveillance search, but this surely failed. As a new report puts it, “Microsoft is effectively killing off the Windows with Bing notebook market less than a year after it was created.”

It sure looks like Microsoft is now relying on sticking its lock-in right inside Android, but it’s likely to be done via Samsung, Cyanogen, Nokia, Facebook, or even Amazon (where many Microsoft executives moved to). Microsoft also tries to make Free software dependent or tied to OOXML.

Microsoft has not changed. If may have only morphed into more of a mole, embedded itself more deeply into the fabric of its competition.

More People With Microsoft Roots Enter the Linux Foundation, Occupying Top Positions

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 5:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Entryism (also referred to as entrism, occasionally as enterism) is a political strategy in which an organisation or state encourages its members or supporters to join another, usually larger organisation in an attempt to expand influence and expand their ideas and program. In situations where the organization being “entered” is hostile to entrism, the entrists may engage in a degree of subterfuge to hide the fact that they are an organisation in their own right.” ~Wikipedia

Summary: The most infamous Microsoft mole inside Free/Open Source software (FOSS) lands right inside the Linux Foundation

Microsoft is actively attacking Linux (example from the past hour), but some in the Linux Foundation are willfully blind to it. They also ignore, at their own peril, Microsoft’s track record of entryism.

We were extremely disappointed to learn that the Linux Foundation-linked Cloud Foundry Foundation had put a Microsoft mole in charge, repeating a similar mistake from last year. This one is actually a lot worse because Nicolas (Neela) Jacques did not work as a mole/infiltrator for Microsoft but as actual staff.

“This enables Microsoft to exercise influence in the Linux Foundation and also makes it hard for the Foundation to openly criticise Microsoft.”Several press release copies were thrown at the wires for propaganda’s sake to announce this mole’s appointment and Microsoft fan sites, in addition to Microsoft boosters like Gavin Clarke, took advantage of it to openwash Microsoft and portray Microsoft as a friend of Linux. How sick is that?

Other coverage we have come across was rather shallow as it did nothing to highlight criticism, which was widespread when the mole (Ramji) worked for Microsoft. We wrote several dozens of articles about it.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has disappointedly enough been grooming this Microsoft mole and didn’t know him well enough to spell his name correctly (misspelled in 4 places). If he cannot even spell a 5-letter surname, then we doubt he knows to what extent the mole has been damaging FOSS. Vaughan-Nichols, moreover, still gives too much credit to Microsoft for pretending to be Open Source while it’s actually attacking FOSS. From his article:

The Cloud Foundry Foundation was created a year ago to form an open-source industry consortium to back Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) project written in Ruby and Go. It was then reorganized in December as a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project. It operates under a system of open governance by open-source experts from founding Platinum Members EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, Pivotal, SAP, and VMware.

If the Linux Foundation can trust people from a criminal company (Microsoft) and a weapons company (BEA Systems), then we truly worry about its judgment. This enables Microsoft to exercise influence in the Linux Foundation and also makes it hard for the Foundation to openly criticise Microsoft. Zemlin blesses this choice of Ramji, which makes him not just an observer of this worrisome move.

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.

Obsession With Branded Bugs in Free Software, Not Bugging by Proprietary Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Security at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Discussions revolve around brands, not objectivity

Rebranded

Summary: The bogus ‘debate’ about bugs, where built-in bugs (like wiretapping, bugging, and back doors in proprietary software) are conveniently overlooked

DESPITE acknowledging that Free software is more secure than proprietary software, Veracode recently turned opportunistic. It was using bugs with "branding" to promote itself and it wasn’t alone.

“FOSS has some bugs, whereas proprietary software is a bug.”Several opportunistic firms, including Black Duck, are appearing in the press again, exploiting “branding” of few bugs in FOSS to sell proprietary stuff. Veracode is again doing it and Black Duck’s latest FUD piece is resurfacing yet again, as very recently noted by us after its placement had been pushed by IDG — an extensive network which gives this proprietary firm a platform as author on FOSS matters. “Black Duck Software presents 5 tips for a secure enterprise relationship with open source,” says IDG, but since when is Black Duck an authority in the area? It’s a proprietary software firm.

FOSS has some bugs, whereas proprietary software is a bug. It’s bugging. We recently wrote about Outlook being ousted as a surveillance platform and amid revelations about the NSA’s spying on EU Parliament Outlook (the ‘app’) is reportedly banned. To quote a British report: “The EU Parliament has blocked politicians from using the Microsoft mobile Outlook app in the wake of security and privacy concerns centred on the siphoning of corporate credentials to a third party, according to reports.

“The Parliament’s IT department, DG ITEC, has reportedly told staff to delete the app and reset corporate email passwords if it was used.”

Nevertheless, the jingoistic Microsoft Peter (Peter Bright) tries to paint Microsoft as “cool” while it is “shutting down a[nother] competitor” as a source put it to us, citing this article:

Microsoft on Wednesday confirmed its purchase of mobile calendar app Sunrise.

This will immediately become a PRISM-included surveillance app. Reading reports about it helps show that the security issue is proprietary software, especially Microsoft’s (the NSA’s top ally). It oughtn’t be so shocking that Black Duck, which is strongly connected to Microsoft, would hastily and repeatedly overlook Microsoft’s ill effect on software, turning software into bugs, wiretapping everyone.

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