Summary: The Linux Foundation’s AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software
THE improperly-named AllSeen Alliance recently let Microsoft in, immediately discrediting itself. But it’s not just FOSS foes, proprietary software giants, patent trolls and software patent lobbyists that are among the AllSeen Alliance’s members. It’s even a company that sued Chrome using software patents. It seems like growth for the sake of quantity — not quality — is what the AllSeen Alliance is after. Since the AllSeen Alliance is tied to the Linux Foundation, this bodes poorly for Linux as a whole. Here is the AllSeen Alliance’s latest mistake: “Red Bend Software is a community member of the AllSeen Alliance and a leader in mobile software management. More than 2 billion Red Bend-enabled devices use the company’s software and services for firmware over-the-air (FOTA) updating, application management, device management, device analytics and mobile virtualization. Customers include more than 100 leading manufacturers, mobile operators, semiconductor vendors and automotive companies worldwide.”
Did the AllSeen Alliance bother to check Red Bend’s history? Maybe, but probably not. Having said that, since the AllSeen Alliance even opened the door to Microsoft, it does not seem to bother at all with quality control. Its name seems to insinuate in-house (universal) surveillance and judging by its members, that is the route it is quite likely to take. █
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Microsoft’s layoffs are not about Nokia but about Microsoft
Summary: Microsoft’s rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia’s last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)
NOKIA is dead because Microsoft killed it under the guise of “acquisition” (after a so-called “partnership”). Nokia committed the ‘sin’ of exploring about 4 Linux-based platforms over the years. This could not be tolerated by Microsoft, especially considering Nokia’s size (Nokia’s had the lion’s share of the mobile market). Microsoft had to put a stop to it. When Microsoft took over Nokia (with a mole and a bribe) Nokia had just become one of the top contributors to Linux (the kernel) and was actively developing one of the most promising platforms for mobile devices. It is still being adopted by Jolla (former Nokia staff) as Sailfish OS and to a lesser degree explored by Samsung (Tizen). Let this remind us how anticompetitive Microsoft remains. It’s a force of destruction, not creation. Microsoft has done this for decades.
Some days ago we wrote about news that Microsoft would announce massive layoffs. This turns out to have been true, but the earliest coverage was Microsoft ‘damage control’ (or PR). A longtime critic of Microsoft (after the company stabbed him in the back), a man widely known as Jean-Louis Gassée, says that “Satya Nadella’s latest message to the troops – and to the world – is disquieting. It lacks focus, specifics, and, if not soon sharpened, his words will worry employees, developers, customers, and even shareholders.”
The company is in bad shape because the cash cows are in rapid decline and money is derived from aggressively milking those who are still locked in (we covered this before). The company also uses crimes like bribery in an attempt to keep people locked in. Microsoft is not a real company but more of a corrupt political movement, so if you work for a criminal, by choice, then expect to be treated like one. Here is the Microsoft mouthpiece covering (up?) the layoffs and anonymous staff saying: “that concerns me because now you have a level of stress and anxiety at Microsoft. First, the selfish stress about whether my job is affected. Then personal circle stress. Then partner collaboration stress. Then way out there general concerns about the company. And guess what: when folks are stressed and gossiping, they are not effectively – er, excuse me, productively (?) – implementing the latest strategy. Physiologically, they have increased cortisol and this time will turn into a fog.”
Only about 6% of those laid off are based in Finland. Don’t let Microsoft pretend that it is all about Nokia.
One headline says the layoffs will be complete next year and Microsoft has meanwhile axed the Android phones from Nokia. This expected decision seems to have Elop the mole at the centre of it (he works for Microsoft again, not just as a mole). In Microsoft-tied networks we again witness Sam Dean playing soft. “You have to hand it to incoming Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’” he said. “He is not afraid to stir the pot, and seems well aware that it needs stirring. In a company-wide email, Nadella announced that it will cut its employee base by up to 18,000 jobs, or 14 percent in the next year, and one of the big reasons is to accommodate the acquisition of Nokia.”
No, it is not about Nokia, that is part of the coverup. Dean is still sucking up to Nadella and helping Microsoft’s PR campaign. Here is a better article about how Microsoft killed everything in Nokia which deals with Linux, but there is a lot more to it. “Only 1100 culled from Finland,” tells me a reader, so the lie that Microsoft merely cuts down Nokia is just diversion and deception. About 17,000 are fired outside of Finland and claims that Microsoft goes back to Windows wrongly assume that Windows (mobile) has something going for it. It has been a massive failure. Perhaps it is all about pulling the plug on people who have no blind faith in the Windows ‘religion’:
MICROSOFT HAS ANNOUNCED that Nokia’s Android-powered X handset lineup is no more, with the firm instead planning to deliver the devices with its own Windows Phone mobile operating system.
The layoffs are not effective immediately, so any staff that challenges the status quo should beware.
A reader wrote to us: “What to you want to bet that the severance packages contain non-disparagement/non-compete clauses of some kind? They will spread like a cloud of toxins to new employers. And how many temps/permatemps are going, too?”
The reader showed us this new article which he labeled “voice of a ‘softer” (Microsoft staff). The headline is “Sipilä: Government should hire ex-Microsoft staff to build IT systems” and it suggests that the Finnish government should put an army of Microsoft moles in charge of government IT. What a horrible idea.
These layoffs are not what the early puff pieces claimed them to be. These puff pieces came also from CNET, which has helped openwash Microsoft (the chief editor systematically does this) and is now deleting articles that Microsoft does not like. Yes, CNET has removed (censored we assume) a classic article about a company that ditched Microsoft. Follow the links here (last year) or here. “CNET has taken down the article,” our reader told us, “Link was active in 2013 as it was used then by Pogson” as he indeed demonstrated. █
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Summary: Microsoft boosters are preparing ‘damage control’ pieces ahead of massive layoffs at Microsoft
Murdoch’s press took note of Microsoft’s shrinkage amid death of products. There are more layoffs coming which mostly affect Nokia staff. CNET/CBS, which has been openwashing Microsoft (at the very highest level), spreads misinformation about it. As a reads of ours explained: “It was not $7.2 billion USD as mentioned in this article. That sum is misleading as it includes patent licensing and not just the sale.”
Here is the misinformation which says:
Microsoft is planning its largest round of layoffs in five years as the software giant looks to integrate Nokia Oyj’s handset unit, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing people with knowledge of the company’s plans.
The job cuts, expected to be announced as soon as this week, will likely affect positions in the Nokia unit that serve the same function in other parts of Microsoft, as well as in marketing and engineering, Bloomberg reported. Microsoft added roughly 25,000 employees when it completed its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services division in April.
Sources told the news agency that the round of job cuts could be the largest in Microsoft’s history, exceeding the 5,800 positions it eliminated in 2009.
The original was a puff piece from Bloomberg, written by Microsoft's friend Dina Bass to cushion the blow ahead the announcement. She is Nadella-washing the company (the ‘new’ Microsoft) and trying to make it sound like everything is just fine. It is PR and damage control, as one can see here. To quote:
The reductions — which may be unveiled as soon as this week — will probably be in areas such as Nokia and divisions of Microsoft that overlap with that business, as well as marketing and engineering, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. The restructuring may end up being the biggest in Microsoft history, topping the 5,800 jobs cut in 2009, two of the people said. Some details are still being worked out, two of the people said.
The company had 127,104 employees as of June 5, after adding about 30,000 in its acquisition of Nokia’s handset unit.
Nothing is said about Microsoft’s thuggish entyryism and Elop the mole, as well as prior layoffs at Nokia (by now, one oughtn’t expect yet more layoffs, alas Microsoft totally destroyed the company). There is an attempt to shift blame here.
The bottom line is, Microsoft continues to fail very badly in mobile and not even subversive tactics are helping. Microsoft destroyed Nokia, passed its patents to patent trolls, and took its extensive user data trove to the US, where this data can be more easily mined by the Five Eyes. █
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Summary: Dependence on malicious software from NSA ally Microsoft is highly dependent, at least in Britain, on government secrecy and vain refusal to comply with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests
Several nations have already moved away from Microsoft or expressed intent to do so within months if not years. It is not just China anymore but also Russia and amid a spying scandal in Germany it makes sense for Germany to do the same along with much of Europe, for reasons we explained some days ago. Nobody can trust a backstabbing ‘ally’ and companies which facilitate surveillance at its behalf (Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Oracle and so on).
Vista 8 is a banned by the Chinese government and this new article reminds us that “The German government has always been militant in matters of data protection. In 2013, it warned consumers against using Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system due to perceived security risks, suggesting that it provided a back door for the US National Security Agency (NSA).”
Microsoft’s very special relationship with the NSA has cost a lot and layoff are coming to Microsoft (more on that in our next post). Now that the British government tries to get away from Microsoft there is lobbying going on and the government tries to hide it. “in March,” wrote Glyn Moody, “I asked about industry lobbying against ODF in UK. I’ve heard nothing, now asked for formal review FOI”.
Moody’s request to Cabinet Office was covered here before (Moody must have learned from experience) and the latest can be found here:
Dear Cabinet Office,
Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
I am writing to request formally an internal review of Cabinet
Office’s handling of my FOI request ‘Open document formats’.
The response to my request is long overdue; by law, under all
circumstances, the authority should have responded by now. No
official explanation has been offered for this delay.
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:
Thank you for your help.
Why do UK authorities cover up Microsoft lobbying against standards? I warned their staff about such lobbying months ago.
As Moody later pointed out, “my FOI request is nearly 4 months old now…”
How obscene is that? He even wrote a whole new article about it, stating:
So GCHQ is able to to search through the UK’s entire Internet stream to find all the vaguely bad things there, but the Cabinet Office is unable to locate a few specific emails on its own servers.
Moody also says “they send PDFs that are *scans* of documents – I had to re-type the excerpts in my post…”
The CIA famously uses this tactic to discourage publication and other forms of dissemination. They’re embarrassed, they have something to hide. █
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Summary: Good news on the software patents front as the USPTO starts rejecting software patent applications, based on patent lawyers’ words
There is a curious new piece from zealous patent lawyers who promote software patents and equate sales with need for patents, adding foolish statements like the conclusion below (from WatchTroll’s co-writer): “The Alice decision will no doubt take some time to shake out in the lower courts and perhaps some certainty (i.e., one or more tests for each step in the Mayo framework) will develop. In the meantime, I note that according to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, the U.S. software and IT services industry had revenue totaling US$606B in 2011, with overall research and development spending of US$126.3B, and a U.S. workforce of nearly two million people. Further, a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report pegs the cumulative value of technology-related M&A activity for 2013 at US$99.8B, with software representing 25% of this total value and 35% of the total deal volume. This is a substantial amount of U.S. commerce that deserves stable and predictable patent law protection! Until then, code (and patent) on!”
This is a completely bogus argument, whose premise can be used to say the very opposite about software patents. Just because he ends with an exclamation point doesn’t mean he is right. Quite the contrary. These patent lawyers only care about themselves. The status quo of software patents is mostly beneficial to patent trolls, as pointed out by this new article that says: “Surveys dating back to 1996 and statements by leading visionaries in the area of software programming such as Richard Stallman show that most people in the industry are not in support of software patents. These show that reform is required in this area and most are of the belief that software development is impeded by the fact there may be patents and/or copyrights. These patents and/or copyrights may prevent them from releasing their product on to the market and may also cause monetary damage to them in terms of legal fees and lost sales arising out of potential litigation.”
Meanwhile, looking at the latest from Microsoft’s propaganda and FOSS mole blog, the company makes money out of taxing GNU/Linux, due to SUSE’s appalling complicity. This is what patents on software lead to.
While SUSE does continue to exist (although with diminished presence) people around the world should just boycott it. Microsoft wants software patents not to encourage innovation but to assure extortion; likewise, patent lawyers fight hard to re-frame the SCOTUS ruling because it limits their parasitic overreach which taxes software everywhere.
Going back to the previous article, let us remember who else benefits from software patents. This is a correlation that we noted numerous times before, especially when arguing that patent scope — not trolls — is the core issue and the way to tackle this issue. To quote just the conclusion: “The fourth chart depicts that unto 93% of patent litigations in the software area are being initiated by NPEs (Non-practicing entities) aka patent trolls; whereas for other technology areas, the percentage of patent litigations being initiated by NPEs are in a minority. The fifth chart depicts the percentage of patents with at least one invalid claim (as decided by the courts during the course of litigation), wherein the invalidity may be based on novelty and/or non-obviousness. 38% and 53% of the patents in the software and business method area respectively have at least one invalid claim; whereas only 27% of patents in the other technological areas have at least one invalid claim. Further, this chart also shows that 59% of patents assigned to trolls have at least one invalid claim. The sixth chart depicts the rising number of patent litigations in the courts, with chart #7 depicting that the ratio of litigations related to patents from the software/business method have been rising at an average of 2000 per annum. The ninth chart depicts the costs of patent litigation and the ever increasing trend of the costs.”
Gene Quinn, the WatchTroll himself, is a patent lawyer who is actively lobbying for software patents. Based on this important article from him (important for what he reports, not his commetary), things rapidly improve in the US as software becomes hard too patent and hence also hard to enforce through the courts. To quote the software patents booster himself: “A friend who handles large numbers of software patent applications for some of the most elite technology companies sent me an e-mail late last week about what he has already started seeing coming from patent examiners. He says he has seen the below form paragraph twice within a week. Most alarming, in one case the form paragraph came in the form of a supplemental office action, but the outstanding original office action didn’t have any patent eligibility rejections under 35 U.S.C. 101.”
Well, he is very much upset by this. He accuses the messenger. He says: “The claims are abstract because the claims do not recite limitations significantly more than an abstract idea. Truthfully, this rather ridiculous logical construct can’t be blamed on patent examiners when the Supreme Court refuses to provide a definition for what is an abstract idea.”
All software patents are abstract (not code), so they should all be seen as invalid. We explained this several times in the past month. This is something that lawyers struggle to grasp, either because they don’t want to grasp it (cognitive dissonance) or because they cannot. █
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Summary: M-Cam’s assessment of Microsoft’s bundle of extortion (using software patents) shows toothlessness, irrespective of the SCOTUS decision to effectively annul “abstract” software patents
China, reacting rationally to the threat of proprietary software from another sovereign nation, has done much to punish and marginalise Microsoft (e.g. banning Windows and Office in the public sector) due to Microsoft’s strong ties with the NSA. When it comes to patents, China also did what it could to stop Microsoft's extortion racket, causing real damage to Microsoft's "divide-and-conquer" approach. This is working out quite well because M-Cam, which we mentioned here before (it analyses patents) says that many of these patents are quite likely invalid, with or without the latest ruling from SCOTUS (prior art — not just triviality — can invalidate them). As SJVN put it: “China revealed exactly what patents Microsoft has in its Android patent portfolio. After examining these patents, M-Cam doubts the validity of many of Microsoft’s Android claims.”
Meanwhile, however, Microsoft’s proxies are trying to put more patents inside Android and other Linux-based platforms. It’s not just Xamarin which is doing this anymore. Remember that Mono has Microsoft copyrights in it, not just Microsoft software licences and patents. Now that there is something called MonoTizen (mentioned here back in May) we should really watch out. Based on this new post, a company called Kitsilano Software is behind it, run by Bob Summerwill who has been working with Unity3D (a poster child for Xamarin/Mono). Something happened some days ago:
Kitsilano Software released MonoTizen-1.0.0 today, 10th July 2014, to coincide with Tizen Developer Summit Russia 2014
Anything that brings these Microsoft patents close to Linux should be treated as a threat, especially now that Microsoft is struggling to make patent claims and derive fees from Linux. Microsoft does not always attack directly; as Nokia and others have taught us, Microsoft likes to shift patents to trolls, such as MOSAID. “70% of troll suits use patents from real companies,” says this new article, “Will “license-on-transfer” fix things?””
While Microsoft is trying hard to portray itself as "in peace" with FOSS (this is fiction, but one that Microsoft fights hard to push into the media), the truth of the matter is that it feeds patent trolls who attack FOSS. Giving them ammunition by putting Microsoft code (with patents on it) inside Linux is a dire error. Stuff like MonoTizen enables Microsoft to expand the bundle of extortion which is sends over to companies under NDA. █
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Summary: The rogue media (misinformation) campaign of Microsoft benefits from networks which have been paid by Microsoft over the years
TECHRIGHTS has been disturbed to find some of the corporate media actively participating in Microsoft PR campaigns such as 'Scroogled', paralleling a campaign to portray Microsoft as a privacy and Open Source champion. We have already named some of the networks which routinely do this, such as CNET (part of CBS), whose chief editor Charles Cooper seems to have become a Microsoft mouthpiece by proxy (see another recently-covered example from him).
Other Microsoft-paid networks whitewash Microsoft and play along with the perception management which comes with the alleged change of leadership (Microsoft’s real leaders are behind the scenes and they have hardly changed; neither has the strategy). These “useful idiots” of Microsoft — people who are willingly being bamboozled by the PR campaign — continue to cause great damage that pundits can only try to counter. The Nadella PR is just about as lame as the NSA’s PR, e.g. dressing up the new NSA chief in whites (white knight?) — not blacks — as some kind of a branding strategy which dissociates him from Keith Alexander et al. (men in dark suits),
“…some of the Microsoft-linked media is trying to indoctrinate the public and make as many people as possible love or respect Microsoft.”The PR offensive sometimes makes in into decent sites like Phoronix, which gets it wrong on occasions (see the comments on , an article which was published only days ago). Last week an article titled “Open-Source Software: Bad For Non-Profit Organizations?” [article now removed for being an entrapment/marketing] got published by Michael Larabel, only to be slammed in the site forums, where subscribers expressed disappointment. Larabel got bamboozled by a proprietary software pusher who argued that FOSS is bad for charities. As Larabel put it: “For non-profit organizations, open-source/free software might not actually be the best solution according to a director at a non-profit software solution provider.”
This is the type of lie we hear from Microsoft when it imposes proprietary spyware on all sorts of NGOs, which it would later extort for licensing fees, limiting their capacity for activism and spying on them (we covered this in past years and gave numerous examples).
In summary, some of the Microsoft-linked media is trying to indoctrinate the public and make as many people as possible love or respect Microsoft. It’s a shame that some of the spin leaks into Linux-friendly sites (Google hostility, software licence FUD, ‘death’ of GNU/Linux), so we probably need to highlight the existence of the misinformation campaigns. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
It seems all of the Manjaro Linux developers might have parted way with the distribution’s development except for the project leader.
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Summary: A set of very recent examples where the corporate press produces FOSS-hostile articles (or pro-Microsoft articles) by citing biased sources of convenience
Nowadays, and especially in the past few months, those of us who exhaustively scan news feeds (as Techrights has done for nearly a decade) would be seeing a relatively new angle for attacking FOSS. After Microsoft had tried using copyrights with SCO as well as patents through all sorts of proxies (and directly) Microsoft-linked groups, including Black Duck, generated more licensing FUD while monetising it (two birds, one stone). Here is the latest example from the news. It is a classic ‘script’ and it is hosted by IDG, which also offered some Black Duck staff (the one cited here) permanent blog space (a very FOSS-hostile blog). The angle, in short, is inherently anti-GPL, claiming that enterprises are afraid of it. Another Microsoft-linked firm, OpenLogic, used and disseminated the same talking point. These are FUD agencies and this is their purpose — to help marginalise FOSS and produce FUD, creating a warped debate in all kinds of events, surveys etc. that they organise. Very nasty. They actually make money from this.
“These are FUD agencies and this is their purpose — to help marginalise FOSS and produce FUD…”Here is another new example. Acting as if one bug in the code of OpenSSL is somehow so Earth-changing for FOSS as a whole, the corporate press is trying to keep the word “Heartbleed” in the headlines [1, 2]. We wrote about this some days ago and highlighted the insidious connection to Microsoft. This is just another angle of FUD: the security angle. Now that Windows XP is not supported (or not being patched) Microsoft needs to create the illusion that FOSS is “equally insecure”, or something along those lines. And this FUD works. We have seen the effect. I see the effect all the time.
Now, watch another such piece of news-flavoured FUD. Python is now the most popular introductory teaching language at top U.S. universities, according to ACM, but the Microsoft-friendly media emits licensing FUD from a familiar source of FOSS FUD, WhiteSource. Adrian Bridgwater, with his mixed history on FOSS (often FOSS-hostile), wrote in Microsoft-friendly media the headline “43% Python Open Source Libraries ‘Potentially Risky’”. This sounds like security FUD, but it’s actually licensing FUD. To quote:
The study suggested that a large percentage of the libraries are under restrictive licenses. The repercussion here may be that while many Python programmers report substantial productivity gains, the use of open source Python components introduces new challenges.
The so-called ‘study’ comes from WhiteSource, which has a consistent track record of attacking FOSS.
This is the type of trash that dominates the press these days. Who is funding those ‘studies’ and why is it so fashionable to attack FOSS using made up (or merely perceived) risks? These questions are largely rhetorical.
Condé Nasty’s Wired has meanwhile produced yet another openwashing Microsoft piece, nicely disguised with a teasing headline (“Watch Steve Ballmer Mock Linux While Dressed as The Matrix’s Neo”). It would have readers believe that Microsoft is now a friend of FOSS. This site has been doing this for a number of years now, as we repeatedly pointed out before. The new owner seems to have an agenda very different from the original owners’. Wired turned into something suspiciously weird under Condé Nasty’s management.
“Wired turned into something suspiciously weird under Condé Nasty’s management.”As we showed before, there are gullible CIOs like Jos Creese who seem like the target audience for this. IDG even has a site called CIO. Facebook too has an openwashing campaign going on (we recently showed more examples of that) and openwashing has been effective at stopping government migrations to FOSS. The British press offers some responses to this trend, include this new article which says:
And Creese isn’t alone in his attachment to Microsoft. Alan Shields, architect team manager at Cambridgeshire County Council, says: “It is incredibly difficult to get away from the stranglehold of Microsoft products, and we are planning to reinforce this by entering into an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft later this year.”
Other British press goes further with another FOSS-hostile piece from Adrian Bridgwater. To quote parts of it:
Mike James on i-programmer isn’t happy either.
James bemoans the reticence, caginess and ok then downright old stubbornness Microsoft has exhibited over its refusal to open source VB6.
VB6 (or Visual Basic 7) is programming language and IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that dates back to the heady CD-ROM centric days of 1991.
Today the Visual Basic 6.0 Resource Center is mainly focused on selling your migration and “upgrades from” than championing that which was once much loved.
James bemoans the fact that Microsoft “killed” VB6 but now refuses to open source the language despite the firm’s “warmth” for open source.
This rather bizarre piece from Adrian Bridgwater, who has a history of being soft on Microsoft, does not quote any Microsoft critics but only Microsoft boosters who want a little bit more from Microsoft. It is overall a very one-sided article, where the opposition (‘balance’) is basically also in favour of Microsoft (both the pros and cons are Microsoft-friendly). It is a Fox ‘news’-style debate, biasing the hypothesis and pushing for a particular, preconceived outcome, openwashing Microsoft with a list of talking points and then citing a Microsoft booster, Dr. Dobbs' Andrew Binstock (i-programmer is also pro-Microsoft and .NET/Mono, as we last noted very recently). Binstock is the Microsoft-boosting editor of Dr. Dobbs (with history of whitewashing Microsoft crimes), who is now ‘pulling a Scroogle’ as well. It is essential to remember that Dr. Dobbs too changed management not too long ago. It’s not at all what it used to be.
The final message we wish to get across is that the media is full of FUD and filled with FOSS-hostile articles. Many of them are easy to explain when knowing the background of the authors, the firms that they cite (often Microsoft-linked), and the agenda of the publisher, which is often designed to favour proprietary software (the advertisers). If these pieces of FUD are not being highlighted and challenged, then there’s risk that there will be perception of no opposition to them, hence they must be “true”. █
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