via Wikipedia but with the GIMP treatment
Summary: The de facto Microsoft satellite known as Xamarin reveals that it is still little more than a Microsoft mobile division
LAST MONTH we wrote about Xamarin‘s absorption of a FOSS Android tool, which quickly turned proprietary (almost instantaneously while takeover negotiations took place). Xamarin Studio, like a lot of Xamarin’s proprietary software, does nor even run on GNU/Linux. There is hardly any pretence anymore that Miguel de Icaza and his Microsoft-connected ilk even care about FOSS. These traitors show their true colours and disdain for anything FOSS.
“There is hardly any pretence anymore that Miguel de Icaza and his Microsoft-connected ilk even care about FOSS.”According to Microsoft's booster at El Reg (Anderson), the latest release from Xamarin still has no Java, just Microsoft lock-in like .NET, XAML, etc. To quote his piece:
Xamarin releases version 4.0 of its cross-platform mobile developer suite
The company has grown rapidly, since it solves a problem for Microsoft-platform developers who now need to target mobile, especially following the failure of Windows Phone to achieve significant market share. “We have over 10,000 customers, 350 consulting partners and 2,000 integration partners,” Friedman told the Reg.
When will everyone recognise that the real motivation at Xamarin is serving as some kind of Microsoft satellite or proxy? Nothing good has come of Xamarin since Novell dumped (laid off all the employees of) Mono and a firm/VC connected to Microsoft became its sugar daddy. █
Send this to a friend
Still in pursuit of answers from the “Open Organization” [sic]
Summary: Quick progress report about the effort to convince Red Hat to explain its patent standstill — whatever that practically means — with Microsoft
IN THE political spheres or most political media it is widely recognised that in order to discourage certain policies and certain types of behaviour one might need to shame those who propose or exercise any such policy or action, respectively. This, for example, is why we criticise proponents of software patents and even Red Hat’s patent agreement with Microsoft. The example they give to others is dangerous and without public challenge it can carry on and even expand.
“The example they give to others is dangerous and without public challenge it can carry on and even expand.”Red Hat should be based in Raleigh, not Red Mond [sic], where Red Hat now sends its engineers to work under Microsoft leadership while receiving salaries from Red Hat. We had a long chat about this with someone from Red Hat last night. We still hope that Red Hat will decide to do the right thing. Like Novell’s Cambridge lab, which it used along with Microsoft to promote Microsoft’s agenda, now we have Red Hat staff sharing space with Microsoft staff. Microsoft is a proponent of software patents and still insists that Linux players should pay Microsoft for patents. So how can one reconcile or compromise? In our Open Letter to Red Hat’s new CEO (Jim Whitehurst) 8 years ago we told him that it is “hard to name companies that have benefited from a Microsoft pact” (this is still true).
We will continue to wait and give Red Hat an opportunity to explain what was done with Microsoft regarding patents. We encourage others to ask Red Hat those questions as well. If public pressure is sufficient to influence Red Hat’s PR/marketing experts, Red Hat will decide to open up. For a company steered by shareholders it all boils down to money and reputation. █
“What we [Novell and Microsoft] agreed, which is true, is we’ll continue to try to grow Windows share at the expense of Linux. That’s kind of our job. But to the degree that people are going to deploy Linux, we want Suse Linux to have the highest percent share of that, because only a customer who has Suse Linux actually has paid properly for the use of intellectual property from Microsoft. And we took a quota, you could say, to help them sell so much Suse Linux. That’s part of the deal. We are willing to do the same deal with Red Hat and other Linux distributors, it’s not an exclusive thing. But after a few years of working on this problem, Novell actually saw the business opportunity, because there’s so many customers who say, ‘Hey look, we don’t want problems. We don’t want any intellectual property problem or anything else. There’s just a variety of workloads where we, today, feel like we want to run Linux. Please help us Microsoft and please work with the distributors to solve this
problem, don’t come try to license this individually.’ So customer push drove us to where we got.”
Send this to a friend
“If you (Senator Wellstone) vote against the war in Iraq, the Bush administration will do whatever is necessary to get you. There will be severe ramifications for you and the state of Minnesota.” –Vice President Dick Cheney to Senator Paul Wellstone (D), October, 2002, just days before Wellstone’s death in an airplane accident
Summary: The involvement of Microsoft Windows in mission-critical systems (where many lives are on the line) shows extreme negligence and lack of foresight
FRANCE appears to have had problems other than terrorism. Headlines today serve to confirm, with Russia’s acceptance too, that its plane was recently taken down by terrorists, killing about twice as many people as died in Paris on Friday. Days ago the British media ran some scare stories about a French person in a British airport (a lot of misreporting about that, see our daily links for more), but how about basic technological errors? Remember what happened to a Spanair flight and also the poor judgment of British aviation. More planes crash due to technical malfunction than due to terrorism.
“Microsoft seems to be good at nothing these days, perhaps other than back doors and back room deals.”Based on a new report, France is still running mission-critical systems with Windows, even really ancient versions of it, as ancient as 3.1 (see “Windows 3.1 Is Still Alive, And It Just Killed a French Airport” in  below). What are they thinking? This is just nuts! It’s not from The Onion and it’s definitely no satire.
Microsoft seems to be good at nothing these days, perhaps other than back doors and back room deals. Recall Microsoft’s new body cameras partnership with TASER, which we mentioned a few times, then see [2,3] below. Conficker, a Windows virus, is now being preinstalled on body cameras. How many lives will likely be sacrificed as a result of this? Police brutality too needlessly kills a lot of people.
“Haven’t Snowden’s leaks shown enough to convince everyone that genuine security is not the goal at Microsoft but actually somewhat of a foe?”Windows is not suitable for anything that requires security because Windows is simply not designed to be secure. It’s designed for “national security” (meaning back doors and bogus encryption that the state can crack). Proprietary software in general is bad, including firmware , based on new reports. Microsoft is now silently modifying its patches after it bricked Outlook, which has back doors. To quote the British media: “Many IT managers and normal folks held off on last week’s patching cycle after one Microsoft fix – KB 3097877 – broke several versions of Outlook. The error came in how the software handled fonts, and resulted in the email client crashing as soon as some emails were scrolled through.”
We have already covered this here the other day, in relation to back doors in Microsoft data encryption. It is unthikable and rather unbelievable that some people still get away with putting Windows in mission-critical systems, even in governments and businesses. Haven’t Snowden’s leaks shown enough to convince everyone that genuine security is not the goal at Microsoft but actually somewhat of a foe? █
Related/contextual items from the news:
A computer glitch that brought the Paris airport of Orly to a standstill Saturday has been traced back to the airport’s “prehistoric” operating system. In an article published Wednesday, French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné (which often writes serious stories, such as this one) said the computer failure had affected a system known as DECOR, which is used by air traffic controllers to communicate weather information to pilots. Pilots rely on the system when weather conditions are poor.
DECOR, which is used in takeoff and landings, runs on Windows 3.1, an operating system that came onto the market in 1992. Hardly state-of-the-art technology. One of the highlights of Windows 3.1 when it came out was the inclusion of Minesweeper — a single-player video game that was responsible for wasting hours of PC owners’ time in the early ’90s.
US-based iPower Technologies has discovered that body cameras sold by Martel Electronics come pre-infected with the Conficker worm (Win32/Conficker.B!inf).
At the end of October this year, 14,000 police officials from around the world gathered in a Chicago conference center for the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference. It was equal parts political convention and trade show, with panels on crisis response splitting time with hundreds of small companies selling bomb-disposal robots and guns.
There were more than a dozen body camera companies on the show floor, but Taser made the biggest splash, constructing a Disney-style amphitheater called the USS Axon Enterprise. The show began with a white-jacketed captain, who announced he had traveled back in time from the year 2055, where lethal force has been eliminated and police are respected and loved by their communities. To explain how to get there, he ran through a history of policing tech. Approaching the present moment, he fell into a kind of disappointed sadness.
This is really no surprise: embedded system vendors aren’t good at carrying out quality assurance on their firmware images, and their embedded Web server software is what you’d expect from something written in the last 20 minutes of Friday afternoon.
Send this to a friend
Systemd to be used for technical and support leverage in the same way Mono was?
Credit: unknown (Twitter)
Summary: Red Hat’s current management, which technically liaises (more deeply over time) with Microsoft, agrees on patents, works with the NSA, and increasingly deviates from the UNIX way (while becoming more secretive, except the openwashing), inevitably reminds us of Novell
Microsoft and the board- or shareholders-driven Red Hat now seem more and more like Microsoft and Novell, based on some of the latest reports and even press releases like this one
“The Microsoft/Red Hat partnership calls for a Red Hat engineering team to actually move to Redmond,” to quote a new report. 
“And don’t forget the patent agreement that they still refuse to tell us more about.”Mirroring the Microsoft-Novell ‘special relationship’, there is a lot of technical integration too. The men in suit “said that in the coming months Red Hat Enterprise Linux images will be enabled for on-demand billing directly in its marketplace.” Billing by who? Microsoft? Red Hat? It’s complicated. And don’t forget the patent agreement that they still refuse to tell us more about [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10].
Jono Bacon, from GitHub and Red Hat’s “Open Organization” [sic] marketing campaign, defends the companies’ new relationship (as he would defend his former employer, Canonical, as well). Citing a sort of Microsoft proxy and a new Red Hat partner (Black Duck), he frames this relationship as necessary and recalls that “Microsoft went a step further with then-CEO Steve Ballmer describing the poster-child of the open source revolution, Linux, as “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”
“Red Hat is living in a dream if it genuinely believes that a deal with Microsoft will leave them better off than Linspire or Novell.”Well, based on Nadella’s actions against Samsung, Kyocera, and Dell (there are more examples), he too views Linux as “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.” Nadella insists on still using patents against Linux, and against Android in particular (using patents pertaining to the kernel, Linux).
Under Nadella’s management, Microsoft is even trying to delete Android from phones (we first took note of this at the beginning of this year and later on) or even absorb its software into Windows — a strategy which Microsoft reportedly did in fact consider . It’s like a derivative of the famous “embrace, extend, extinguish” strategy. Under Nadella there was also further lockdown of UEFI, impeding or making impossible installation of GNU/Linux on PCs that come with Microsoft’s unpopular spyware.
Red Hat is living in a dream if it genuinely believes that a deal with Microsoft will leave them better off than Linspire or Novell. Or maybe it can leave Red Hat just better off than everyone else in the GNU/Linux world. Red Hat’s patent agreement with Microsoft, concurrent with Microsoft attacking Android (with software patents), is truly problematic and we will escalate if Red Hat does not respond to us or becomes transparent by the end of this month. A lot of people want answers. The “Open Organization” [sic] ignores these people. It’s inherently antithetical to players in a community of developers. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
The Microsoft/Red Hat partnership calls for a Red Hat engineering team to actually move to Redmond to provide joint technical support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux workloads running in the Microsoft Azure public cloud and on its hybrid cloud offerings. That ensures that the companies will have closely tied cloud computing goals.
Microsoft has sidelined its plan to allow Windows 10 devices to run Android apps before it could do any serious damage, according to a report.
Daniel Rubino at the Windows Central blog gathered some convincing evidence that Microsoft’s Project Astoria has been wound down, while the runtime allowing the Android-on-Win10 magic to work has disappeared.
Send this to a friend
On carving out parts of the market using patent monopolies…
“Inventive people [at Novell] write more software patents per capita than anywhere else.”
–Jeff Jaffe, Novell’s CTO before these patents got passed to CPTN (Linux foes)
Summary: The use of a patent portfolio in the Free software world for divisive and discriminatory purposes, as demonstrated by Red Hat in servers and BlackBerry in phones
IN OUR previous articles which mentioned Microsoft’s patent agreement with Red Hat [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] we noted that:
- The patent “standstill” (implies temporary and falsely insinuates there was a two-way war) applies only to Red Hat and its customers, unless Red Hat can prove otherwise;
- The deal does not shield Red Hat and and its customers from satellites of Microsoft.
“We both know we have very different positions on software patents. We weren’t expecting each other to compromise.”
–Paul Cormier, Red HatWell, we are still waiting for Red Hat’s lawyers to speak out (Tiller and Piana were involved in this) or for Red Hat’s management to get back to us (if it decides to). They need to go “open” (like an “Open Organization” [sic]), or at least clarify in some other way what exactly Red Hat did with Microsoft regarding patents. The FAQ is far too vague and it raises more questions than it answers. If we don’t hear some time later this month, we shall assume that Red Hat is hiding something and we’ll rally Free software people (urging them to comment on this subject), set up a public petition, etc. Transparency is extremely important here. This new article quotes Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s president for products and technologies, as saying: “We both know we have very different positions on software patents. We weren’t expecting each other to compromise.”
Well, both are applying for software patents, so it’s not clear what he meant by that. Also, they compromised only among themselves; what about other entities that use the same software as Red Hat does? Are they too enjoying a patent “standstill”? Probably not. Only says ago Microsoft extorted — using patents — yet another company that was using Linux (Android was mentioned in the announcement).
“Nothing prevents Intellectual Ventures from going after Red Hat just like Acacia repeatedly did, so it’s a fool’s settlement.”What has Red Hat really achieved here? It was a selfish deal and the inclusion of patents in it was totally spurious; it does a lot more harm than good. Ian Bruce, Novell’s PR Director, once said that the Novell/Microsoft package “provides IP peace of mind for organizations operating in mixed source environments.”
Meanwhile, the Microsoft-friendly media gives a platform to the world’s biggest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, without even calling it “patent troll”. This troll recently sued a lot of companies that distributed Linux. Nothing prevents Intellectual Ventures from going after Red Hat just like Acacia repeatedly did, so it’s a fool’s settlement.
“Remember that BlackBerry habitually speaks about using patents for revenue and for market advantage.”Speaking of potential patent dangers to Linux, recall that BlackBerry pays Microsoft for patents (including FAT, which relates to TomTom/Linux) and recall our articles about BlackBerry potentially becoming a troll [1, 2, 3, 4]. Some people’s loyalty to this Canadian brand and its newfound support for Android can blind them to the risk which BlackBerry remains, especially because of its patents stockpile.
This new article [1, 2] serves to remind us that BlackBerry still has “Software And Patent Monetization” in mind (we covered this some weeks ago, quoting the CEO). This means that, failing the strategy with Priv and Venice (BlackBerry’s Android devices and Linux-centric strategy), it could end up like Sony-Ericsson, suing Android players whilst also selling their own (unsuccessful) Android handsets.
“BlackBerry is proprietary to the core.”Remember that BlackBerry habitually speaks about using patents for revenue and for market advantage. Also remember that BlackBerry is not — at least not yet — an Android company. BlackBerry is proprietary to the core. “The QNX division could also face higher competition from open source software such as Linux,” wrote a financial site, “which many customers find more flexible and economical, limiting its potential in the burgeoning IoT and connected device market. For instance, Tesla reportedly uses Linux for its Model S sedan.”
Don’t be too shocked if BlackBerry eventually sells its patents to hostile actors, asserts them against competitors that use Android, or uses aggressive lawyers to compel various OEMs to remove features from their Android devices (both hardware and software features). █
“I’ve heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons “royalty payments”…”
–Matt Asay, April 21st, 2008
Send this to a friend
It doesn’t even look tough
Summary: Unlocking the bogus encryption of the proprietary (secret code) BitLocker is surprisingly trivial, as Ian Haken has just revealed and demonstrated at Black Hat Europe
WE previously showed that BitLocker was not designed for security because of government intervention. Microsoft ‘encryption’ and ‘security’ patches are basically intended for an illusion of security — not real security – because Microsoft sits on zero-day flaws with the NSA. In simple terms, Microsoft ensures that the NSA and its affiliates have ways by which to remotely exploit Microsoft-made software and there is nothing that people can do to protect themselves from this, except deletion of Microsoft-made software.
“There is no patch for this and all BitLocker instances to date are affected.”Microsoft encryption continues to be an utter joke if one takes this article seriously. “A researcher” — one who is not from Microsoft — is said to have “disclosed a trivial Windows authentication bypass that puts data on BitLocker-encrypted laptops at risk.” There is no patch for this and all BitLocker instances to date are affected. Remember COFEE? Microsoft basically assumes that all people are criminals and it shows.
For those who think about relying on patches, caution is advised. Microsoft patches are broken again and users are advised not to apply them. This includes last Tuesday’s security patches, which helped reveal Microsoft’s ‘enterprise’ ‘professional’ ‘quality’:
The El Reg inbox has been flooded with reports of a serious cock-up by Microsoft’s patching squad, with one of Tuesday’s fixes causing killer problems for Outlook.
“We are looking into reports from some customers who are experiencing difficulties with Outlook after installing Windows KB 3097877. An immediate review is under way,” a Microsoft spokesperson told us.
The problem is with software in one of the four critical patches issued in yesterday’s Patch Tuesday bundle – MS15-115. This was supposed to fix a flaw in the way Windows handles fonts, but has had some unexpected side effects for some Outlook users.
“Today I’ve deployed latest Outlook patch to all of my clients, and now Outlook is crashing every 10 minutes and then restarting itself. I tried on fresh Win10, no AV with latest patches applied and here we go, Outlook crashing there too,” complained one TechNet user.
“Come on guys, do you EVER do proper QA before releasing anything Office 2013 related? This is the worst version of Outlook ever. Sorry for negative attitude but this is how things are.”
People should remember that Outlook (Webmail) itself has back doors, so for anything that requires a level of privacy (not just legal work and journalism) Windows must be avoided. Microsoft is a foe of privacy and it’s not an accident. Vista 10 takes privacy violations to a whole new level. █
“Two security researchers have developed a new technique that essentially bypasses all of the memory protection safeguards in the Windows Vista operating system…”
–Dennis Fisher, August 7th, 2008
Send this to a friend
Summary: Trading Technologies, a patents-hoarding firm, is disappointed to see its software patents ebbing away
Trading Technologies is not an ordinary firm. It has a Vice President of “Intellectual Property” [sic] and it is working with Microsoft, a notorious patent aggressor.
Not everyone views Trading Technologies the way we do. For instance, the patent maximalists from IAM try to offer this firm sympathy, with rhetorical softball questions like “you’ve seen a number of CBMs filed against your patents, right?”
Well, we hope they lose all of their software patents. It would be well deserved. “A troll is a troll,” Benjamin Henrion wrote, “whether they are practicing their invention or not.” 500 of those software patents, he argued, should be invalidated (very much possible after Alice). Software patents around the world may suffer a universal/global demise — in Europe included — but only if more corporations come to the realisation that software patents are no longer effective in a court of law (it’s a waste of time and money to apply for such patents, let alone use them litigiously).
“Money, not innovation, gets converted into patents, which are later used as weapons or sold to some entity that weaponises them.”Those 500 patents that Henrion referred to are patents granted by the USPTO with its utterly rubbish patents (almost every application is eventually successful). It’s more like a rubber-stamping operation. Money, not innovation, gets converted into patents, which are later used as weapons or sold to some entity that weaponises them. Every software patent in existence is therefore problematic.
To quote the relevant parts of the IAM interview:
The company has a portfolio of more than 500 US patents and, like many patent owners engaged in protecting their portfolios against alleged infringers…
Nice euphemism for suing competitors based on mere allegations, using patents on abstract concepts, obtained from a rubber-stamping operation…
According to IAM, this firm “has been forced to adapt to major recent changes in US case law and the impact of the new post-issuance proceedings, such as covered business method reviews.”
Well deserved then. Watch them whine:
Last month, I sat down with Steve Borsand the company’s executive vice president of IP, to talk about the patent climate in the US. He had plenty to say about proposed new patent legislation, the impact of recent Supreme Court decisions such as Alice and how the review procedures at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) are changing patent litigation. This is part one of the interview and tomorrow we’ll run part two.
Almost all — like 99% of them [patents] have come from people here at TT. There have been a couple that we’ve purchased but for the most part our innovations have been developed in-house.
Yeah — back in 2014 someone tried to file against five, four of them were instituted and then we ultimately settled with that party and those were all dismissed and now recently there’s been another set. At least another five and then two more so it’s been like 12 — I don’t have the exact number.
So basically, Trading Technologies bemoans legitimate challenges to its lousy patents — patents which probably never ought to have been granted in the first place. We sure how that CBM and PTAB will continue to crush companies that are a patents house of cards. If their software products aren’t good enough to compete on their own, then they deserve to fail. This very much echoes/mirrors Microsoft’s efforts to undermine the growing domination of GNU/Linux using software patents. █
Send this to a friend
Lessons for Red Hat
Summary: Red Hat’s mysterious and seemingly very selfish patent deal with Microsoft continues to float (or reverberate) because of the fate of companies in a similar position
IT has been nearly a week since Red Hat’s poor clarification (FAQ) regarding its patent agreement with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Only a few days later Microsoft extorted yet another company for using Linux and since our detailed media survey there have been yet more articles about it. There are examples from earlier today [1-3], yesterday , two days ago , and prior days (more articles are still surfacing from that time, e.g. [6-9)). As we pointed out earlier today, we are still waiting to hear back from Red Hat (this afternoon we were told it had been escalated to management). We hope that this kind of patent approach won’t spread to entities like Mozilla because Red Hat has pretty much become part of the problem. It is now filing patent applications for software (any claims of opposition to software patents would be hypocritical) and it is signing what seems like exclusionary patent deals with Microsoft (it’s still kept secret, so it’s hard if not impossible for Red Hat to prove otherwise).
“It’s not the same as it was back in the days of the FireStar settlement.”After the patent deal with Microsoft Red Hat is still exposed to patent trolls like the Microsoft-connected Acacia. Red Hat has already been sued by it several times before (Novell too was sued by Acacia after it had signed the Microsoft patent deal). Red Hat also made secret deals (it agreed to pay Acacia), whereupon we lost hope and trust in Red Hat's misguided patent strategy. It’s not the same as it was back in the days of the FireStar settlement [1, 2, 3]. Red Hat is growing up and just like Google (with Android) it is increasingly being run by lawyers, who probably advise it to hoard patents of its own and sign patent deals where it’s financially beneficial to Red Hat’s shareholders (regardless of the impact on the Free software community).
“If Red Hat genuinely believes that Red Hat and its customers now have patent “standstill”, then it obviously didn’t do its homework regarding Microsoft’s satellites.”Now, recall Canon’s recent patent deal with Microsoft. Also remember that both companies pressured the EPO to treat large corporations differently when it comes to patent examination. Did Canon really think that it would have patent peace after signing a deal with Microsoft? Based on this latest docket report, Intellectual Ventures attacked Canon and its “Image Scanning Patent [is] Not Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101″ (Alice). To quote the docket report, Intellectual Ventures I LLC et al v. Canon Inc. et al, 1-13-cv-00473 (DED November 9, 2015, Order) (Robinson, J.): “The court denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment that plaintiffs’ image scanning patent was invalid for lack of patentable subject matter and found that the claims were not directed toward a patent-ineligible concept.”
If Red Hat genuinely believes that Red Hat and its customers now have patent “standstill”, then it obviously didn’t do its homework regarding Microsoft’s satellites. It didn’t even bother thinking about satellites like Acacia, which sued not only Red Hat but also Novell, only months after Novell had boasted patent “peace of mind” with Microsoft. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Send this to a friend
« Previous Page — « Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries » — Next Page »