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07.02.15

Microsoft Gradually Embraces, Extends, Extinguishes Linux Foundation as a Foundation of GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Vista 10, Windows at 3:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Linux Foundation now helps Windows, too

Linux Foundation

Summary: By liaising with (or hijacking) existing members of the Linux Foundation, as well as by paying the Linux Foundation, Microsoft turns the Linux Foundation into somewhat of a Windows advocacy group

After the public embarrassment at DockerCon 2015 (causing GNU/Linux software to be tilted in Windows' favour) and more Microsoft payments to the Linux Foundation we can’t help wondering if the Linux Foundation is no longer dedicated to the promotion of GNU/Linux, the operating system. Microsoft is increasingly using its presence and pawns in the Linux Foundation in order to advance Windows at the expense of GNU/Linux. Hyper-V was an early example of that. It’s a Window program and it is proprietary. Why would the Linux Foundation bother supporting that? It was the Microsoft-bribed Novell that did this at the time. Microsoft has moles. In fact, the Linux Foundation now employs some former managers from Microsoft. Can it get much worse than that? One of the worst sites on the Web, a site that mostly rips off other Web sites without any attribution whatsoever, went with the misleading headline “Microsoft joins the Linux Foundation” and some other sites which speak about the Linux Foundation’s R Consortium are emphasising Microsoft [1, 2] as if Microsoft is now the official steward of R. For Microsoft, and by extension for Windows, this is clearly an attempt at buying out a language along with developers. As Linux Veda put it: “The creation of this consortium comes on the heels of Microsoft’s acquisition of Revolution Analytics at the end of January this year. Revolution Analytics are the leading commercial provider of software and services for R. It has been suggested by commentators that Microsoft’s competitors had joined this consortium in an attempt to keep R open.”

“Last month we showed how the Linux Foundation actually promoted Vista 10 because of AllSeen.”Here is the press release from the Linux Foundation and some resultant coverage [1, 2, 3]. Mac Asay, who had tried to work for Microsoft, suggested this “embrace” by Microsoft. In his own words:

Given R’s non-corporate nature, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the community’s response to my recent suggestion that Microsoft owned the R code and should consider contributing it to a foundation.

To paraphrase the response: “There already is a foundation — and the foundation, not some corporation, owns the code!!”

I’ll admit that I was taken aback. After all, my primary contention was that re-implementing R to get around its underlying GPL license would sacrifice R’s great community. I hadn’t bothered to take the time to dig into the provenance of the R code, as it wasn’t material to the bulk of my article. Why wasn’t that community grateful for the compliment, and indifferent to my eensie weensie faux pas?

Because the essence of R is important to its community, and that essence can’t be purchased by any corporation.

A reader who linked to the above article told us that Microsoft is “infecting a GNU project” here. It’s easier to see now why Microsoft bought an R company. It’s all about “developers developers developers developers” (Ballmer’s words) and it’s about them using Windows. Why is the Linux Foundation going along with this? Probably the same reason it goes along with horrible UEFI, Intel being a key financeer of the Foundation, even going back to the OSDL days. It’s all about who is paying. The Linux Foundation, and prior to it OSDL, is supposed to exist so that companies cannot snatch Torvalds with a huge salary but instead they will pool together money to pay Torvalds et al. This pooling mechanism is now being exploited or even compromised by Microsoft, which cleverly knows it can bribe or infiltrate the foundation (Nokia, Novell, and so forth) while the Foundation itself is defenseless as it’s not built to decline funds or repel (even ostracise) members. We wrote about this many years ago because Microsoft destroyed some consortia in this way exactly — by paying off to discredit/dilute/distract/alienate collective efforts, e.g. OSA. Zemlin’s Foundation should learn from other foundations which were cleverly destroyed by Microsoft (Android too is 'work in progress').

Watch this new article promoting proprietary Windows and framing it as “contribution” to “open source”, the context being the eerily-named AllSeen Alliance of the Linux Foundation:

Microsoft has contributed open source code called the AllJoyn Device System Bridge to the AllSeen Alliance in order to help connect legacy and purpose-built devices to the Internet of Things.

Last month we showed how the Linux Foundation actually promoted Vista 10 because of AllSeen. This is the same operating system which, according to the news a couple of days ago [1], “will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends’ friends”. Yes, AllSeen indeed.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. UH OH: Windows 10 will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends’ friends

    Those contacts include their Outlook.com (nee Hotmail) contacts, Skype contacts and, with an opt-in, their Facebook friends. There is method in the Microsoft madness – it saves having to shout across the office or house “what’s the Wi-Fi password?” – but ease of use has to be teamed with security. If you wander close to a wireless network, and your friend knows the password, and you both have Wi-Fi Sense, you can now log into that network.

Microsoft India Still Lobbies and Lies About Free Software in Order to Knock Down Policy That Favours Free Software

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 2:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Indian CEO, but still bullying India, just like Steve Ballmer

Satya Ballmer
Superimposing Nadella and Ballmer

Summary: Microsoft continues to bully Indian politicians who merely ‘dare’ to prefer software that India can modify, maintain, extend, audit, etc.

Back in May we wrote about Microsoft's lobbying India (both directly and by proxy) because it ended up weakening a Free software policy. Microsoft is single-handedly attacking India’s independence, albeit it is sometimes assisted/accompanied by IBM, Oracle, Cisco, etc. Microsoft is by far most prominent in this line-up because it is even eager to go public in the press, trash-talking Free software in cheeky/sleazy ways (accusing/ridiculing messengers), whereas IBM is more careful not to be seen doing that. All of these companies are hoping to water down India’s Free software-favouring policy to just about nothing, but Microsoft now has the nerve to talk trash [1, 2, 3], including a quote that led to the headline “I am a firm believer of open source, says Microsoft’s Bhaskar Pramanik” (don’t laugh yet!).

This is the most misleading headline (click-bait) we have found, possible chosen by the editor for an interview that has nothing at all to do with “open source” and was already refuted by other sources in India anyway. Here is the key part:

Q. Your comment the government almost mandating open source technologies for projects? Any response from the government to your communications?

A. I am a firm believer of open source. I feel it creates innovation and leads to lots of opportunities for new startups. But it’s not the only solution and to believe that it is the only solution for India is, which the current policy seems to imply, I think is incorrect. My position is very clear – you go anywhere in the world the policy is all about technology neutrality. I think the challenge is to make it mandatory for somebody to used open source. While the government is saying we have not made it mandatory under the optional, they have said very clearly that if you don’t use open source, you have to justify. As far as the government is concerned, in this in this day and age, which government offices is going to say otherwise. There has been no formal response from the government so far.

Basically the quote in the headline is just a preparatory lie. The truth starts after the word “but”. He basically says that “the only solution” is to maintain the status quo of being prisoner of Microsoft (India as a client state, effectively colonised in the digital sense as if it lacks engineering talent). He would have us believe that allowing proprietary lock-in with no qualms would level the competition by continuing to assure Microsoft monopoly and Free software a few scraps (if anything). Microsoft keeps painting itself as the victim here, as if Microsoft has a God-given right to anti-competitively dominate the market and anything which challenges this is inherently anti-competitive.

“Microsoft keeps painting itself as the victim here, as if Microsoft has a God-given right to anti-competitively dominate the market and anything which challenges this is inherently anti-competitive.”Expect Microsoft to continue to bully the government of India, directly and by proxy (as it has already done so). Given how Microsoft was caught blackmailing British politicians only months ago (while Microsoft claims to have changed), expect much of the same to be at least attempted in India. Putting in virtual charge an Indian liar in chief without tact won’t be enough for Microsoft to win back India, perhaps the world’s biggest hub of software developers. Microsoft’s influence in the Indian government is quickly eroding because truly talented developers want code, not binary blobs with BRIC-hostile back doors.

07.01.15

National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

Posted in America, Europe, Microsoft at 5:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Big Ben Brother

Big Ben

Summary: British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy’s systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal

ONLY months after Microsoft blackmailed British MPs [1, 2, 3] we learn that “Microsoft disrupted British MPs’ parliamentary email system”. According to Linux Veda, “a third of MPs in the UK lost access to their email, hosted by Microsoft. The downtime occurred between Monday and Wednesday last week.” Why on Earth has our government put sensitive mails about the public and from the public in Microsoft’s hands? Are we giving up our digital sovereignty altogether? This is an espionage heaven as Microsoft works very closely with espionage agencies that even blackmail politicians (just like Microsoft does). Some folks have pointed this out to us as there is more coverage of this right now in the British press. Will they finally dump Microsoft and securely self-host their E-mail using Free/libre software, as any technically-proficient person would? Who decides on IT for Parliament anyway? Microsoft lobbyists? Moles? Bribed staff? We previously named such people who were deep in Microsoft’s pocket. These decisions are usually political rather than technical.

“These decisions are usually political rather than technical.”In the US, the nuclear arsenal and those who can physically access it are still using Microsoft's Swiss cheese OS, Windows XP. This shocked a lot of people and hacked.com wrote: “Windows XP was notoriously insecure even when it was in normal usage, but now that it’s ancient, the details on how to hack into an XP network are easy to get. Worse, the Navy insists on keeping this system even as this is public knowledge. It would take time and money, but an upgrade to either a newer version of Windows or to some Linux or other open-source option would make things vastly more secure for the sections of the Navy that are subjected to this policy.

“Now, there will always be those who argue that it’s mostly the behavior of users that influences the security of a given network. This could be true, but there are exploits on XP systems which just aren’t possible on newer systems, or on Linux.”

Anything other than Free/libre software should be assumed not secure. It cannot be proven otherwise.

Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

Posted in Microsoft at 4:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

But the corporate media won’t tell you that

Water bottles

Summary: As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a ‘cloud’ company with online operations has been miserable at best

Microsoft “slims down money-losing online operations,” says a Bill Gates-funded paper. That is a gross understatement. There are massive layoffs inside the company and people whom I know from the inside are being shuffled around this summer. Microsoft is not doing so well, so it uses corporate media to plant talking points and pretend that business operating at a loss are “self-sustaining”. Don’t believe any of that nonsense. Based on what I’ve heard from insiders, Microsoft is in a chaotic state. It merely distorts the media to pretend otherwise. Nadella may be more successful a mole than Ballmer (whom outsiders don’t trust) and being a mole, i.e. infiltrating those who are winning (e.g. Red Hat, Android), is Microsoft’s last chance. Look what it does to the Linux Foundation. How long before it can be labelled the Windows-Linux Foundation?

They ‘R’ Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chamberlain

Summary: The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium

THE corrupting influence of money must never be downplayed. Over the past couple of years we have written about many examples where Microsoft injected its influence into the Linux Foundation, both in terms of staff and in terms of money. It had done so for much longer than a couple of years, sometimes through Novell, Nokia, and others. There are famous historical lessons about liaising with ruthless aggressors that want you killed, but the Linux Foundation is willing to ignore these lessons.

Another reason why the Linux Foundation cannot criticise Microsoft is money flow associated with this latest transaction (article promoted by the Linux Foundation’s own Web site). To quote: “The nonprofit Linux Foundation today announced a new initiative called the R Consortium, a new group to unite the users of the open-source R programming language, which is widely used among data scientists and statisticians.

“Microsoft, Oracle, HP, Tibco, Rstudio, and Alteryx, among others, are all sponsoring the new industry consortium. The R Foundation, a separate nonprofit dedicated to maintaining R, is a founding organization for the new consortium, which will in turn provide support to the R Foundation.”

IDG has this new R primer, composed a short while ago by a Microsoft booster. Microsoft sought to openwash itself last year by essentially buying an R company. It is beginning to look more like “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” — a tactic which Microsoft is still very much into.

06.29.15

Google’s Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let’s Hope Google Continues Fighting

Posted in Apple, Google, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 2:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SCOTUS says no entry!

No entry sign

Summary: SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-’protected’, despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software

FOR anyone who has been paying attention, Oracle‘s hostility towards Android is not hard to understand. It is a CPTN member along with Microsoft and Apple and it has shown on numerous occasions over the years that it is eager to antagonise and badmouth Free software. Oracle killed many of the projects that it bought from Sun. Google, on the other hand, is at least trying to appease the Free software community and it has made Android (AOSP) an ‘open’ platform, even if most developers contribute just proprietary software to run on it.

Many of our readers have probably heard the big news by now. SCOTUS has aligned itself with foes of software development [1, 2, 3] (not just Free software development), reaffirming the ridiculous judgement from CAFC. Now that SCOTUS reaffirms the status of APIs as copyrightable, adding to mass surveillance with NDAs and software patents in the United States, why would software companies still choose to be there?

To give Google some credit, it did fight over this matter for nearly half a decade. After pressure from the clueless White House (exactly one month ago), however, reuse of APIs may be impossible and collaborative development with forking may soon be toxic. Today is a horrible day for software development in general and it’s not too clear to us what Google can do next. Some certain types of lawyers probably know Google’s next steps or options and knowing that this ‘legal’ system favours the deeper pockets, there is usually something someone can do given the correct fees (just see how long the SCO case goes on for).

“Google will hopefully continue to fight that case, whatever its options may be.”One reader of ours was disappointed with this article that FOSS Force published today, comparing Google to Microsoft. “Revisionism,” he said, “especially that closing sentence. People hate Microsoft not for the sake of hating Microsoft but because of how it (and its people) behaves and has behaved. It has held computing back at least 20 years and the damage spreads into all domains where desktop computers are used.

“It’s just that Microsoft pays for constant whine against Google. While Google has many shortcomings, it is not a problem like Microsoft has been and continues to be.”

“But on the topic of Google,” he continued, “here’s something fairly current with yet another ****up by SCOTUS” (he linked to the above news).

Google will hopefully continue to fight that case, whatever its options may be. As for Microsoft and Apple, they surely will keep trying to harm the market. They often work together these days (mostly true when it comes to patents, OOXML, DRM, and so on) and as this article by Galen Gruman reminds us:

If you thought Microsoft was finally treating the Mac as an equal citizen, you’ll be disappointed in the reality

Remember that Microsoft and Apple are both on Oracle’s anti-Android side (even publicly, on numerous occasions). These are all proprietary software giants, aspiring to control the entire market by patents, copyrights, litigation, and intimidation. Google simply does not fall under the same category. It deserves the public’s support in this particular case.

06.27.15

The Latest Lies From Microsoft’s PR Apparatus/Public Face, Mr. Nadella

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rule of thumb: The more outrageous the lie, the more provocative it becomes (divisive and offensive)

Microsoft loves Linux
Photo credit: Neil McAllister

Summary: Having spread the outrageous lie that “Microsoft loves Linux” (whilst obviously attacking it in many ways), Microsoft’s CEO (essentially Bill Gates’ right-hand man) says Microsoft is “one of the biggest contributors to Linux kernel” (because of proprietary software it tries to contaminate it with while violating the terms of the GPL)

Microsoft has a new courier. who is passing memos around — memos that appear to have been (ghost)written by PR professionals who prepared ‘damage control’. Nadella’s role is rather simple and the real bosses are above him (people like Gates, who is officially back at the company).

Nadella is a liar and a lousy one, too. Nadella tries to paint himself a peacemaker, after Bill and Steve (Gates and Ballmer) spent decades viciously attacking GNU/Linux and Free software.

Here is the latest lie from Nadella. The quote is unsourced, but this article (if not some kind of a scam because we cannot find any corroborating article) says that Nadella uttered these words: “[T]his should not come as a surprise. Microsoft has always been one of the biggest contributors to Linux kernel.”

“Nadella tries to paint himself a peacemaker, after Bill and Steve (Gates and Ballmer) spent decades viciously attacking GNU/Linux and Free software.”Tying Hyper-V to Linux, to make it a guest of a Windows host (with back doors), is not a contribution. Microsoft was even violating the GPL’s terms when it gave Novell’s henchmen some code to drop into the kernel (later Microsoft decided to comply with the teems because it got caught red-handed). How is that a contribution? Microsoft was later accused by Novell’s own henchmen of neglecting the code and not maintaining it to work with future releases of Linux, leaving Novell to deal with the mess it that had left to promote Hyper-V.

The author of the above article, Alap Naik Desai, repeats this lie: “Interestingly, Microsoft is an avid contributor to the Linux development.”

No, it is not, and to refute another lie from this article, Microsoft hates GNU/Linux, as its own actions clearly show. In one single day 3 months ago we gave the following 6 examples:

In DockerCon, Microsoft was spreading the lie using “Microsoft ♥ Linux” pins, much to the chagrin of Microsoft propaganda sites.

According to Alap Naik Desai, Microsoft might release its own distro. Microsoft is just further increasing control of what’s in Azure, which is already under surveillance by Microsoft and the NSA .

Microsoft’s booster Peter Bright, linking to Microsoft boosters from GeekWire (another Microsoft mouthpiece, like other Bill Gated-funded media that covered it with a positive spin), explains the situation with Nokia, which Microsoft practically killed (Elop's latest mission is accomplished, so he is free to go now) and turned into an anti-Android patent troll rather than Android/Linux supporter (that’s where Nokia was heading before Elop killed it, back when Nokia was a top Linux contributor — a real contributor).

Microsoft Peter wrote:

There’s a widespread feeling among industry observers that Nadella wants or plans to get rid of the phone division bought from Nokia last year. Ditching the division could well be the kind of “tough choice” that the e-mail alludes to.

Lots of puff pieces like [1, 2, 3] got published (maybe a hundred), but “Citi Still Says Sell Microsoft” amid ongoing layoffs at the company. Microsoft will continue to lose money (perhaps as much as billions lost in the phone business alone) to maintain the illusion that it is a practising company in the mobile sector and not purely a patent troll, filing lawsuits against Android and Linux. Dan Kedmey, who has become somewhat of a Microsoft booster this past year, does a Microsoft advert for Time (large readership, albeit not the only such example) because Microsoft re-announced (yet again) Office for Android in an effort to promote proprietary formats (lock-in), surveillance, and an expensive (in the long term) trap.

Are there people out there who actually fool themselves into thinking that Microsoft changed its attitude?

Microsoft Jack (Schofield) Promotes Microsoft’s Proprietary Lock-in and Calls People Who Recommend Free/Libre Software ‘Trolls’

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Marketing, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenOffice at 3:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Well the initial impression is how much it [Windows 7] looks like Vista. Which I think is…uh…the thing I’m not supposed to say.”

Microsoft Jack

Microsoft Jack

Summary: Jack Schofield, writing for a Bill Gates-funded paper despite claiming to have retired, promotes Microsoft Office and insults all those readers who do not agree with him

Jack Schofield is no stranger to us. He rewrites the past in favour of Microsoft (facts disregarded) and has been accused of "lack of professionalism". His Microsoft boosting has become so epic that many people all around the Web refer to him as “Microsoft Jack” (we cannot claim credit for this label). He now writes in The Guardian again. He never quite retired as he had claimed ages ago. Well, unfortunately he still smokes his pipe and curses at his screen after he writes Microsoft screed.

The Guardian is a suitable (if not ideal) home for Microsoft Jack. It is paid by Bill Gates and renowned for Microsoft propaganda since these considerable (but undisclosed) payments. It’s a sham publication which refuses to even acknowledge financial dependence on ‘Sugar Daddies’ like Bill Gates, with clear impact on editorial control (so gross that ads are disguised as articles or parts of articles).

Microsoft Jack claimed to be retiring several years ago, but it was purely nonsense. He later wrote in another Microsoft propaganda rag (ZDNet) and he even continues writing for The Guardian, where bashing Microsoft’s competitors is OK (even for the same behaviour as Microsoft’s) and criticising Microsoft or Bill Gates is very rare (they are literally funding the paper).

“Microsoft Jack claimed to be retiring several years ago, but it was purely nonsense.”Some might deem it AstroTurfing, but “reading Microsoft Jack’s responses to the commenters who dare suggest Openoffice or Libreoffice is revealing,” Alex Barker wrote to me. Looking at the article in full, it reads like a Microsoft advertisement where nothing but Microsoft is even an option. The only provided option or question is, which version/edition? It’s a pretty clever way for Microsoft to disseminate propaganda (making the competition disappear, an exclusion by design), which is does a lot of at the moment, as we pointed out some days ago (the timing is strategic), alluding to some British Web sites. Some of these sites Microsoft literally subsidised in exchange for Microsoft propaganda and advertisements (e.g. Ars Technica UK).

Looking at the comments, it is clear that many readers are not interested in Microsoft Office. Readers of the papers are using and are happy to recommend Free software, but here is how Microsoft Jack responds:

I think they’re brainless trolls.

[...]

I find idiocy gets a bit wearing after the first 15 years or so ;-)

[...]

Otherwise, I wonder if there’s anything you can take for verbal diarrhea? ;-)

[...]

Stop kidding yourself. It’s because you didn’t bother to read the answer and/or some of the many comments above, which show that LibreOffice (a) is not a practical alternative and (b) it’s not cheaper ;-)

Most trolls are by now smart enough to have figured out that Microsoft Office is already free for the vast majority of UK students. And, by the way, it also works on Macs.

Otherwise, I’m not quite sure how saving £0 on Office 365 — or, at the very worst, £15 a year on Office 365 University — fits with expecting students to shell out £1,000 or so to get totally unnecessary proprietary software on an Apple-shaped dongle. I guess logic is not one of your stronger points…..

Free as in ‘free sample’, right? Microsoft Jack can only pretend that he doesn’t know how lock-in works. What happens when one is no longer a student? Well, Microsoft Jack is smart enough to know what he’s doing here. He cannot use ignorance as an excuse.

Microsoft Jack then calls Google “biggest proprietary spyware and surveillance company”. Yeah, because Chromium, ChromeOS, Android etc. are all proprietary, right? Unlike the platforms from the NSA’s #1 (first) PRISM partner, Microsoft. It is clear, based on numerous yardsticks, that Microsoft is far worse than Google, but Microsoft started high-budget PR campaigns (e.g. “Scroogled”) to convince the public otherwise and lobby politicians to cripple Google over it. Microsoft is one of the worst. The company’s managers even have security clearances with the spies. But why not blame it all on Google? This is acceptable propaganda for the Bill Gates-funded paper, which likes to accuse Google of tax evasion but not Microsoft (especially so after Gates gave a lot of money for the newspaper to look the other way while regularly planting Gates Foundation PR and endorsements across letterheads of entire sections).

Let’s press on with more insults from Microsoft Jack (accusing others of “verbal diarrhea” while it’s mostly him who has it). Let’s start with some revisionism, as Jack surely knows better than judges that dealt with Microsoft in court for many years. Here is what he wrote:

An area I followed closely, and there was no “dirty dealing,” as far as I know. Microsoft simply produced much better products

OK, so either he has bad memory or he has gone senile. It is well-documented and it is common knowledge that Microsoft resorted to “dirty dealing”. We have plenty of original documents to prove it right here in this site.

Here is some more ‘wisdom’ of Microsoft Jack:

Using the 1997-2003 file formats is mostly stupid as the newer formats are more robust, take up less space with large files (they’re zipped), and are ratified open standards.

Bribing officials makes “open standard”, according to Microsoft Jack’s lies-by-omission world. Or blackmailing British politicians perhaps [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft Office still cannot deal properly with ODF, only proprietary OOXML (its secret, ad hoc, undocumented format). Microsoft does not adhere to its own documentation. It’s all a big lie and many people foresaw that all along.

Here are some decent comments from one who refutes Microsoft Jack’s promotional article in a very polite way:

@ JackSchofield
“Pity we don’t have an award for the most (clueless) trollING of the week.”

MS does NOT have the answer for everything.

MS is marketing smart. They provide ‘access’ so they can inculcate new users to their line of software. They hope that new entries will to the work place will provide an internal dynamic for future sales.

‘Popular’ software is usually the lead software that gets ‘hacked’.

Some MS stuff is good (especially with languages) and other stuff is pure doggerel. Many survive but equally many pieces of software end up in the Bit Bucket of history. MS does NOT have the answer for everything.

Much university work (thesis, research) is archived for posterity and Apps/online software gets ‘modded’ and features removed. Copy, on your own PC, is advisable.

For example, I just watched Samsung download an ‘upgrade’ that changes many OS menus to a white on blue background – a combination that is near fatal for colour-blind users.

An associate company of my employer handles orphaned archive material. They have a couple of CP/M operating system – Digital Research – computers with 8 and 5.25 inch drives. They can also read/convert WANG format disks!

And if you need some work done, their systems are booked solid for the next 5 weeks. They operate on a 24/5 basis – they need the weekends for maintenance.

Remember, university students have especial needs and ‘cloud’ is not always the best solution. This also applies to businesses.

Saving documents is plain TEXT is often the best answer almost anything can read TEXT! Even from years ago.

[...]

Skype is popular feature with GCHQ and NSA.

[...]

‘Free’ doesn’t exist. MS rarely does anything ‘free’ without an ulterior motive.

And what happens when you leave your ‘free’ domain at the conclusion of your courses?

Buy a software package that resides ON YOUR HARD DRIVE – not ‘somewhere ‘.

[...]

The problem with Office is that every Version has numerous features that few use, unless you are a type setter.

My employer has licences for 2003, 2007 and, I think 2010. Employees are free to use whatever they like.

Hands down winner is 2007 with most people using Win2003/97 as the format to save in.

As for PowerPoint, it’s clunky, inhibited and a waste of disk space. There are better, free, compatible options. But essential if interacting with the US military!

Remember, using cloud based software is fine, until you are out of InterNet range. Can’t beat software mounted on your hard drive!

Those who don’t agree with Jack, according to Jack, just “post obviously pointless trolls in a topic about Microsoft Office.”

Here are insults and generalisations: “Of course, some of that hostility could be prompted by the long-winded, self-interested piffle posted by here OO fans, who are — to put it kindly — little more than trolls in a topic devoted to Microsoft Office.

“Isn’t it odd how open source supporters are generally so lacking in social skills?”

So people who care about software freedom, open standards, or like OpenOffice are “fans…so lacking in social skills” (according to Jack). He later uses the term “OpenOffice fanboy.” So they’re all just “trolls and “fanboys”. He refers to every pro-LibreOffice comment collectively as “mostly-mindless LibreOffice comments”.

Here is another response to a commenter: “Pity we don’t have an award for the most clueless troll of the week ;-)”

Just because someone adds a recommendation of freedom-respecting alternatives doesn’t make one a “troll”. Jack gamed the debate by limiting it only to Microsoft Office (or versions of it) and then he frames anyone who goes outside the boundry of his silly game a “troll”.

He later repeats the nonsense that “Microsoft’s office formats are ratified open standards.” By bribing and bullying? Like Jack himself? He too is a bully when one confronts him. We gave examples before.

What Microsoft Jack does is unethical because he helps Microsoft get young people addicted to (locked in to) Office. It’s like the drug dealer’s mentality. “They’ll get sort of addicted,” Bill Gates explained, “and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

In the comments we can see Microsoft Jack relaying Microsoft’s FUD about Munich. He writes: “Good luck to the Germans. I hope they do better than Munich, which spent a decade trying to get rid of Office and Windows (and didn’t make it), saved no money, and probably lost a huge amount of productivity. And now it’s considering switching back….”

Not true, but Jack doesn’t care about what’s true. He calls LibreOffice a “pile of crap” (how professional a language from the man who accuses others of having “verbal diarrhea”). He says it is “slow, bug-ridden, and very imperfectly compatible with Microsoft Office” (as if being compatible with Microsoft Office with its proprietary formats is the goal). There is actually a large number of comments that recommend LibreOffice and OpenOffice. No wonder Jack feels a little marginalised and threatened/intimidated. His article is revealed as biased and unpopular among readers. Now he need to cope with it.

Jack spreads a common lie, along the lines of needing Microsoft to get a job. He writes: “There are, after all, many reasons why it makes much more sense to become proficient in Microsoft Office, such as your future employability.”

Complete nonsense. The world has moved on, so the myths like “nobody gets fired for buying Microsoft” needs a boost from the likes of Jack (for Microsoft’s sake). He also wrote: “Unless you don’t have a job and really can’t afford Office, life’s too short.”

So free software is just for the unemployed, according to Jack. Nice stigma he spreads there.

Jack also finds the time to trash-talk LATEX. He says: “They should be learning their course topics rather than, say, LaTeX…. ;-)” (actually, LATEX has several very good front ends that are easier to use than Microsoft Office). One can also hand-pick XML files to manipulate Word files, but in reality one uses front ends, right? So it’s another straw man argument from Jack. Nothing but Microsoft, not even Google’s offerings, is allowed any acceptance. Even the mention of alternatives is verboten.

Notice the update on Microsoft Jack’s ‘article’ (puff piece/ad). It’s like he’s working in coordination with Microsoft UK. He speaks to them and adds: “Microsoft UK says that students can get the full Office 365 free if their school or university has a site-licensing agreement, and that “most universities in the UK are part of the scheme”. Students can find out if they qualify by going to Office 365 and clicking the green “Find out if you’re eligible” button.”

Nice ad you got there, Microsoft Jack. Does the paymaster of the employer, The Guardian, endorse this kind of behaviour towards readers who comment? Since Bill Gates is one of the paymasters, surely the answer can be “yes”. To close off with Jack’s own words, “I handle a lot of documents from large professional companies, fancy PR agencies, pseufo-academic [sic] white papers etc.” Yes, Jack, we can tell…

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