Summary: Microsoft interference with Britain’s preference for ODF is now confirmed, thanks to a valuable news report from Computer Weekly; OOXML lock-in is being unleashed by Microsoft on Android users
NUMEROUS articles in the British press have been pointing out too slow an adoption of ODF in the UK, despite policies that demand it. Now we have a better understanding of potential causes.
As a quick recap, here is a partial chronology of this year’s developments:
- UK Government Seems to Be Serious About Moving to Free Software and OpenDocument Format This Time Around
- In Another Attempt to Derail British ODF Policy Microsoft Calls Its Systematic Bribery “Internationally Recognised”
- Response to ODF as Government Standard Proposal
- Amended Comment Regarding ODF as Document Standard in the UK
- UK Government Adopts OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Already Attacks the Government Over It, Showing Absolutely No Commitment to Open Standards
- Groklaw Back in the Wake of ODF in the UK?
So ODF adoption in the UK is only a matter of time. But we have already known based on limited evidence (or a conspiracy of silence) that Microsoft worked silently to crush this policy. Yes, Microsoft claims that it “loves” FOSS and Linux or “supports” ODF while secretly attacking them all by corrupting the political system in the UK, striving to suppress them and ultimately kill them.
Now comes new evidence that shows how people at the highest levels at Microsoft are getting involved to block ODF, i.e. anything which merely permits Free software to compete on fair grounds. Computer Weekly has a couple of good articles, the first of which states that “Departments lack common targets for implementing open-document standards” and the second one telling us “the curious case of Microsoft and the minister”. As it turns out, the software monopolist clearly strikes back behind people’s backs. To quote the article: “Microsoft consistently opposed the policy, which the software giant saw as its last chance to overturn the UK government’s broader plans for open standards. As emails seen by Computer Weekly reveal, the decision became an issue in the supplier’s Seattle boardroom, and brought the lobbying powers of the software giant into full force in Whitehall.
“There has been speculation about the role played by senior government minister David Willetts, then minister of state for universities and science in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), but who later left the post in David Cameron’s 2014 summer reshuffle.
“An investigation by Computer Weekly has revealed that – according to well-placed sources – Microsoft turned to Willetts to help win its case, with the supplier’s global chief operating officer (COO) Kevin Turner getting involved. But neither BIS nor David Willetts himself is willing to discuss the role the minister played in Microsoft’s attempts to influence this obscure but vitally important part of government IT policy.
“Willetts was the government’s liaison point for Microsoft, as a major employer and investor in the UK economy. He also served as co-chair of the Information Economy Council, a body set up to enable dialogue between Whitehall and the IT industry over future policy.”
One should bear in mind that Britain is perhaps at the forefront of ODF adoption. There is an imminent London-based ODF event, just like those Plugfests from back in the days, and departments of government are expected to move to ODF. However, based on recent reports they are slow to conform or obey these requirements.
Last week we wrote to Linda from the Cabinet Office, hoping to get her and her colleagues’ attention amid dirty tricks from Microsoft. In a personal E-mail I stated:
Several months ago we had an amicable exchange in which I alerted Cabinet Office, through the comments, that Microsoft would likely oppose its policies in subversive and underhanded/secretive ways.
Two new articles from Computer Weekly serve to prove my point now and I hope that you and your colleagues will spare some times to read them, especially the following article:
The more transparent the Cabinet Office makes this process, the more the British public will be able to protect the Cabinet Office from such self-serving foreign influence that strives to expand the reach of back doors, surveillance, predatory pricing, and format lock-in.
To quote the aforementioned (first) article from Computer Weekly:”Whitehall departments have begun to publish their plans on how to implement the government’s open-document standards policy – but so far, each appears to be working to very different timescales. One department – the Treasury – has stated it won’t see full implementation until as late as 2018.
“The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the Treasury have published their plans so far. The Treasury said it will not be fully implementing the mandated open-document standard until February 2018, three years after other departments.”
The ODF-friendly UK policy might not survive if the British public does not get involved and helps the politicians or public servants resist brutal lobbying from Microsoft, which knows no boundaries. Here is another new article of interest:
From this week, it has promised to publish PDFs and Word documents in PDF/A and ODS formats respectively.
However, on Excel, which are most commonly published as “live” data tables, it said: “Content producers should convert to ODS format before submitting to digital content teams.
“However the statisticians have identified problems with certain spreadsheets – where drop-down filters fail to work when converted – more work needs to be done on finding a solution to this problem and DCLG will to commit to the spreadsheets where possible will be published from 1 November 2014 being in an ODS format.”
DCLG said that it is committed to opening up government and providing a level playing field for open source systems, providing the citizen with free access to government information.
I was in Whitehall some days ago, so I passed next to many of these government offices. The place is plagued by greedy businessmen and tourists, so the voice of the British people can hardly be heard. We need to become more loud about it and contact such people without shame or shyness. Microsoft is so desperate to spread OOXML everywhere that it now goes after users of the most widely used operating system (Android/Linux), aided by spin from Microsoft partner and booster Tony Bradley among other spinners who are spreading OOXML lock-in by promoting OOXML for mobile devices (Android does not even handle ODF out of the box, which is a great shame for Google). Microsoft first sought a monopoly on the application (office suite), then it pursued a monopoly on the format (OOXML), and now it is pursuing even a monopoly on the files with its so-called ‘cloud’ (storing all files on Microsoft’s servers). █
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How many clueless or lazy journalists will drink the Kool-Aid?
Summary: The openwashing of .NET continues with yet another publicity stunt that is intended to lock in developers
THERE is some propaganda campaign going on right now. Judging by who’s spreading it with love letters to Microsoft, one cannot miss the source and the method of distribution. We must write quickly to counter the marketing, which is basically a load of selective/subjective misinformation and spin.
The biggest disappointment (but not a surprise) comes from Phoronix, which habitually covers Mono (for over 5 years now). One can see the comments (forum) for corrections. Michael Larabel is relaying Microsoft PR without quite checking the facts and so do a few other writers who jump the gun and are spreading to some Linux sites Microsoft’s misinformation. One can expect this from Microsoft-funded networks like GigaOm (Microsoft used to pay Om Malik for Microsoft advertising disguises as articles), so nonsense like this is not too shocking. We sure are expecting lots of Redmond-based and Microsoft-affiliated Web sites to virtually spam the news until the weekend (and even after the the weekend) with false claims that .NET is “open source” even though it’s not. Watch Microsoft press minions like Mary Jo Foley spreading the PR (at least not with a misleading headline). We also expected the likes of Miguel de Icaza to continue to openwash .NET because Microsoft does an “open core” PR publicity stunt (promoting a trap as though it’s “open”). Don’t be fooled by this widely-cited post with a bad headline that is very misleading. Down at the body is says: “There are three components being open sourced: the .NET Framework Libraries, .NET Core Framework Libraries and the RyuJit VM. More details below.”
“Xamarin’s Nat Friedman and Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman can scream and shout “open source” all they want but merely talking about some components going MIT licence and saying that “Visual Studio Community is now FREE to download” is not the same as .NET becoming “open source”.”So that’s not the whole. The headline is sensationalist garbage. It is very misleading as Microsoft is doing an “open core” PR stunt, it is not open-sourcing .NET. Net Friedman and other Microsoft minions (funded by Microsoft veterans to essentially act as moles inside FOSS) repeat these same claims that may actually bamboozle a lot of journalists. Jo Shields and fellow Xamarin puppets of Microsoft, for example, try to mislead similarly while very openly promoting Microsoft’s marketing (they even relay Microsoft staff’s tweets verbatim, showing who they’re rooting for).
Well, taking the actually news into account, no doubt it’s good for Xamarin, but it’s a proprietary software company whose interests intersect with those of Microsoft, not FOSS.
Xamarin’s Nat Friedman and Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman can scream and shout “open source” all they want but merely talking about some components going MIT licence and saying that “Visual Studio Community is now FREE to download” is not the same as .NET becoming “open source”. It’s just ‘free’ proprietary, it’s gratis. It’s tied to pricey malware with back doors.
Microsoft is just so desperate to lock in developers, who are rapidly moving away to FOSS and saying goodbye to Windows because Android/Linux is on the rise. The Linux Foundation’s CEO, Jim Zemlin, has already commented on Microsoft’s openwashing attempt, correctly pointing out that Microsoft is just trying to lure in developers because Windows is no longer dominant.
All in all what we deal with is merely a deceiving charm offense, as Microsoft and its minions already made similar announcements some years ago about some components, never the whole. Anyone who states something like .NET is “going open source” is either a liar or a person with reading comprehension issues. Microsoft sure has antagonism for the truth and its followers can be blinded by greed. Gratis proprietary software or proprietary software which includes components that are not proprietary is of no practical use. This is merely an exercise in marketing and presentation. █
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Summary: Reports about patent trolls and scope of patents serve to show what the foes of Free software are up to right now
WE HAVE spent almost half a year covering analyses of the Alive case because it may signal the demise of software patents in the United States (home of software patents). Lawyers were consistently denying it would have an impact on granting/rulings, but facing the real facts they must now admit that they were wrong. One patent-wielding parasite, a law firm called Barnes & Thornburg LLP, wrote an article in a few sites of lawyers, concluding: “For patent litigation, the data are not as clear as the USPTO data, but data suggest that § 101 challenges to issued patents are becoming more common—as well as more likely to succeed. New patent litigation filed in September 2014 (329 cases) was a 40% reduction compared to September 2013 (549 cases).7 Over the past few years, new patent litigation cases are reduced over the summer but increase again in September. However, a post-summer increase did not happen this year. Although correlation does not equal causation, the Alice decision may make patent holders hesitant to file new litigation due to not wanting to proceed with possible invalid claims under § 101. However, Alice is not the only factor. The America Invents Act provided an alternative pathway to challenge patents–2003 inter partes reviews (IPRs) and 240 covered business method reviews (CBMs) have been requested since September 16, 2012.8 In the first two years, the PTAB has found all challenged claims invalid in 65% of the 126 final decisions. Thereby, there are most likely several contributing factors leading to the decrease in patent litigation, whereby Alice is probably one of several factors.”
What’s nice about this analysis is that it very much contradicts what many law firms foresaw or turned into what was their failed self-fulfilling prophecy. Things are not working out too well for them now. The incentive to patent software is now decreasing and based on this new analysis, even the government is now trying to stop the parasites:
Scanner Patent Troll Slapped On The Wrist By FTC; Told To Stop Misleading Behavior.
For a few years now, the FTC has talked about taking on patent trolls. In 2011, 2012 and 2013, we heard stories about the FTC putting patent trolls “on notice” and getting ready to crack down on them for deceptive practices. Last year, it finally “launched an investigation” into certain patent trolls, starting with notoriously crazy patent troll MPHJ, famous for its rather aggressive form of trolling, using a questionable patent on “scan-to-email” technology, sending out thousands of demand letters from a range of shell companies, telling lots of small businesses that they had to pay between $900 to $1200 per employee if they had a scanner with the “scan-to-email” function (most modern scanners).
Another troll and parasite, the Microsoft-connected MOSAID, is now mentioned in the site of one of the few patent lawyers who early on warned — correctly to his credit — that Alice would do a lot to harm software patents. Check out this part:
John Lindgren, President and CEO of Conversant (formerly MOSAID Technologies), was also on the first panel. He concurred that “the calculus has changed.” He and others on the panel recognized what everyone in the industry has been speaking about, namely that the market for acquiring patents is dead, at least from the point of view of the patentees. The agreement on the panel was that well run non-practicing entities are in a particularly good position to start accumulating patents at a steep discount. Lindgren also predicted that we will see consolidation of the industry both with respect to private and public companies in the NPE or patent monetization space. I concur completely. Recently I wrote about the inevitable rise of super trolls, or super patent trolls. The market is not going away and the actions of Congress and the Supreme Court, which have made individual patents worth far less, and portfolios likewise worth far less, will ultimately work to create the monster that all of this anti-patent activity was intended to prevent. But that is always what happens when politicians attempt to regulate an industry that they don’t understand and Judges are more interested in playing the part of super legislators.
Notice that they have renamed. Conversant is probably an attempt to dodge the bad publicity.
MOSAID is of interest to us because Microsoft has been trying to use it as a proxy, a bit like SCO. Microsoft arranged for MOSAID to receive many of Nokia’s patents, whose optimal and expected target would of course be Android/Linux. Our goal should be to eliminate such patents, not only such nasty trolls, as we are already seeing, as pointed out in the previous post, how protectionism is pursued in the courts, especially corrupt ones like CAFC. █
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“Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. “Independent” analyst’s report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent” consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). “Independent” courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.”
–Microsoft, internal document
Summary: Microsoft staff installed as head of the Apache Software Foundation just half a decade after the Apache Software Foundation sold out
ABOUT six years ago, Apache (or ASF) made itself vulnerable to a Microsoft coup d’état by becoming financially dependent on Microsoft. Apache has, in some sense, sold out. Our previous posts about this include (to list just a subset):
- Embrace, Extend, and Apache
- Yesterday’s Microsoft Slashvertisement and Apache’s Trip to Redmond
- Microsoft Starts the Media Charade Ahead of Apache Conference
- Microsoft Pays for a More Microsoft-Obedient Apache
- Microsoft Now Tries to Invade Eclipse, Apache (Updated)
- Glyn Moody, Pam Jones: Apache Sponsorship Likely an Anti-GNU/Linux Move
- Does Apache Show That Money Talks?
- Haters of Software Freedom Inside Planet Apache
- Microsoft’s Path of LAMP Destruction: From Novell to Apache (the L to the A)
- Microsoft Hates Apache, Wanted to Sue It, Now Wants to Ruin It
Apache has since then been trying to pretend it Microsoft would not corrupt the foundation, but readers have sent us links to this new press release asking for money (making the foundation inherently vulnerable), signed by Microsoft’s Ross Gardler, acting as “President”. The word “President” in the press release could just as well be substituted with the word “Microsoft”, as if the press release actually comes from Microsoft. To put it in Gardler’s own words, “I work at Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.”
He also represents Microsoft at events and “Microsoft Open Technologies” is basically a Trojan horse inside FOSS, dedicated to derailing Free software and injecting Microsoft influence. It’s a shrewd proxy strategy.
This appointment is apparently not quite so new, it’s just that the media didn’t cover it. Based on Wikipedia:
Shortly after joining Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. the Apache Software Foundation board elected Gardler to act as President…
Wow, what a timing! Reverse Elop?
It apparently dates back to last year. We have heard from some prominent FOSS luminaries that Microsoft tried to buy them off (bribe) too, either with bizarre job offers or some funding (which some may often accept wi,th or without disclosure). Sadly, not all of them are principled and disciplined enough to decline. Microsoft uses its money to crush its competition from the inside (divide and rule) and it’s proving rather effective so far. █
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Summary: Cryptome has an article, comprised/composed of hard evidence, revealing ways in which Microsoft enables aggressive spies to break encryption
The FBI does not even pretend not to be pursuing back doors; quite the contrary! It demands them and now insists on legislation that would make them mandatory. The same goes for the NSA, Microsoft’s very special partner. Anyone who still thinks that back doors in encryption are within the realm of “conspiracy theory” must not have paid attention. We wrote about such issues more than half a decade ago. At this stage, judging by thousands of articles on the topic, these factual observations are very commonplace in the press, even in the corporate media.
“Anyone who still thinks that back doors in encryption are within the realm of “conspiracy theory” must not have paid attention.”“Microsoft backdoor bitlocker key escrow for the FBI & NSA,” writes to us David Sugar from GNU Telephony. “From the OS that loves to spy on you,” he added.
Some months ago we showed that a former Microsoft engineer working on Windows BitLocker confirmed that the US government asks Microsoft for back doors and now we have more details on how this is done, courtesy of cryptology enthusiasts in Cryptome:
Microsoft OneDrive in NSA PRISM
1) Bitlocker keys are uploaded to OneDrive by ‘device encryption’.
“Unlike a standard BitLocker implementation, device encryption is enabled automatically so that the device is always protected.
If the device is not domain-joined a Microsoft Account that has been granted administrative privileges on the device is required. When the administrator uses a Microsoft account to sign in, the clear key is removed, a recovery key is uploaded to online Microsoft account and TPM protector is created.”
2) Device encryption is supported by Bitlocker for all SKUs that support connected standby. This would include Windows phones.
“BitLocker provides support for device encryption on x86 and x64-based computers with a TPM that supports connected stand-by. Previously this form of encryption was only available on Windows RT devices.”
3) The tech media and feature articles recognise this.
“… because the recovery key is automatically stored in SkyDrive for you.”
4) Here’s how to recover your key from Sky/OneDrive.
“Your Microsoft account online. This option is only available on non-domain-joined PCs. To get your recovery key, go to …onedrive.com…”
5) SkyDrive (now named OneDrive) is onboarded to PRISM. (pg 26/27)
When Microsoft speaks about security it usually means “national security”, i.e. the ability of the state to break security of software. It’s about interception, not security. When Microsoft speaks about ‘secure boot’ it speaks about an antifeature in UEFI that enables the state to remotely brick computers, too.
The sad thing is that amid many BSD milestones as of recently (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, PC-BSD and others) there are those who fall for the false promise of UEFI, which does more harm than good to security. OpenBSD, which takes security very seriously, has already blasted UEFI 'secure boot' and blasted those who support it (including Red Hat), whereas FreeBSD got bamboozled into UEFI 'secure boot' and with it, the FreeBSD-derived PC-BSD gets bamboozled too:
Marking the twenty-first birthday of FreeBSD was the release of FreeBSD 10.1-RC4 and separately was the FreeBSD-derived PC-BSD 10.1 RC2 release.
FreeBSD 10.1-RC4 is expected to be the final RC build of FreeBSD 10.1 and brought fixes for ATA CF ERASE breakage and a race fix that could cause an EPT misconfiguration VM-exit.
More details on FreeBSD 10.1-RC4 can be found via its Sunday release announcement. The official release of FreeBSD 10.1 is now hopefully a few days out with its many new features and changes.
This is not a good idea at all. PC-BSD needs to follow the example set by OpenBSD, not FreeBSD (with its codebase). It sure starts looking like not only Microsoft but Red Hat too is bending over to its lucrative clients and contracts with the Deep State. Based on established observations from one decade ago, including more recent developments that Red Hat refuses to comment on, it seems possible that back doors in encryption (by default) is the de facto standard among large corporations. When they speak about “security” there must be fine prints and they’re omitted from the advertising. At risk of breaking the silence about
systemd (because we don’t want to inflame ‘civil wars’),
systemd replaces/obviates so much highly mature software that it certainly increases the likelihood of bug doors being introduced in RHEL/Red Hat (
systemd‘s patron) and by extension/inheritance many other distributions of GNU/Linux. █
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Image from Wikimedia
Summary: Microsoft collusion with patent extortion (as in the early days of the Microsoft-Novell deal) continues to this date, reveals Samsung
MICROSOFT must be in a state of panic. It does irrational things, like a stranded criminal. Microsoft's lie about 'loving' Linux was facing sheer resistance from FOSS luminaries because the lie is just outrageous beyond words]. It is the very inversion of the truth and it is as ridiculous as saying that BP loves Shell and Shell loves BP, to give just one hypothetical example. It makes no sense at all, so why does Microsoft bother trying?
This new article titled “Samsung says Microsoft deal invites ‘charges of collusion’: filing” has been rather fascinating. Microsoft is apparently ‘loving’ Linux so much that it colludes against it. Well, will Nadella go to prison? Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer perhaps? What silly questions! Rich people don’t get sent to prison for rich people’s (white-collar) crimes. Microsoft pretends to “love” Linux while quite clearly attacking it, still. Android uses the Linux kernel, just as a reminder.
“This is beyond extortion. It’s an antitrust violation and even collusion/corruption.”To quote the article: “Samsung said its collaboration with Microsoft on Windows phones raised antitrust problems once Microsoft completed its acquisition of Nokia’s handset business, according to a court filing.”
So here we have a criminal company using collusion and abuses under the guise and cover of NDAs. As SJVN put it in his blog: “Samsung fires another shot at Microsoft in Android patent battle”
SJVN’s argument is that “[t]his move came as no surprise to lawyers who’ve been following the case. One intellectual property (IP) attorney whose firm is covering the case closely said that Samsung is simply adding another argument to their contention that their existing Microsoft Android patent deal is invalid on business contract grounds.
“According to Reuters, Samsung said it agreed to pay Microsoft Android patent license royalties in 2011, but the deal also stated that Samsung would develop Windows phones and share confidential business information with Microsoft. If Samsung were to sell a certain number of Windows phones, then Microsoft would reduce the Android royalty payments.”
This is beyond extortion. It’s an antitrust violation and even collusion/corruption. Will criminal charges be brought against anyone? Will anyone in government bother trying to press charges? Not likely.
As Mr. Pogson put it the other day, Windows is in very serious trouble and therefore Microsoft is too. GNU/Linux, on the other hand, keeps growing, especially in smaller devices such as phones and tablet, notably owing to Android. To quote Pogson’s conclusion:
So, XP is dead, “7” is dying, “8” is a zombie, and “10” is vapourware with nowhere to call home. M$ continues layoffs. POOF! It all falls down. In the meantime Google and the OEMs will crank out many millions of ChromeBooks. Canonical, Linpus, RedHat, Suse… and the OEMs will crank out many millions of GNU/Linux PCs. Several OEMs will crank out many millions of GNU/Linux thin clients. Android/Linux will reverberate with another billion or so units of small cheap computers(tablets, smartphones). This looks like good news to me.
Yes, well, Microsoft too realises that Linux is winning, so it is left with either the option to demonise it or to monetise it, e.g. through hosting or patent extortion. In a sense, Microsoft needs Linux more than Linux needs Microsoft. Linux needs none of Microsoft. All that Microsoft does is commit crimes against Linux, so Linux proponents can only hope for total elimination of Microsoft.
There are layoffs at Microsoft, as Pogson pointed out, and this includes salespeople. To quote Value Walk: “According to knowledgeable sources who spoke to Business Insider on Friday, October 31st, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is laying off its entire global advertising sales team. The reduction in force comes as the ad sales positions have become largely redundant as individual divisions are handling their own ad sales today.”
Here again we see that these layoffs were not about Nokia. Microsoft tried hard to paint that sort of picture to save face.
When it comes to Microsoft, the more layoffs, the merrier. This company destoryed many jobs using its crimes and these sorts of crimes clearly continue to this date. In a sense, GNU and Linux won’t be safe until Microsoft is totally gone. █
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Summary: Microsoft’s outrageous claim that it really “loves” that which it is constantly attacking gets rejected by Free/Open Source software (FOSS) luminaries; the Microsoft-friendly media continues the charm offensive nonetheless
THE CONTAGIOUS NEWS HEADLINES may still repeat and endlessly tell us all about Microsoft's lies -- something along the lines of Microsoft 'loving' Linux when it is perfectly clear that Microsoft as a whole is not 'loving' Linux but hating is with a great passion.
Here in Techrights we are not gullible enough to repeat these lies, unlike Microsoft propaganda sites, e.g. this nonsense from Microsoft MVP Rob Trent, pretending that Microsoft supports Linux. Simon Phipps, the OSI’s President, is not gullible enough either. After debating with him in Twitter he came up with this article titled “Microsoft ‘loves’ Linux? Then stop attacking open source”. It states:
According to Satya Nadella, Microsoft loves Linux. He said as much, complete with pictures — and his team backs him up. In itself, it’s a remarkable statement.
Nadella’s predecessor, Steve Ballmer, described open source in the darkest terms, characterizing it (with the GNU GPL) as a commercial cancer and never retracting the slur. In many ways, that dark prophecy has come true for Microsoft, which has seen its rent-seeking business model steadily eroded by open source. Though it still has a cash cow to milk, Microsoft’s monopolies no longer frighten anyone.
Microsoft carries a much greater burden of mistrust, arising from two decades of attacks on open source in general and Linux in particular, which makes its challenge even more formidable. Seasonally appropriate, the Halloween Documents show Microsoft’s former internal thinking. It planned both business strategies and tactical dirty tricks to destroy the reputation of open source. While their public statements made no secret of the contempt with which it held open source, the Halloween Documents disclosed a depth of treachery that few suspected prior to their publication.
Today Microsoft has a major business unit asking its new CEO to declare love for Linux. That public stance is extremely welcome. But how can we know the current internal thinking? I asked Microsoft for an interview to discuss its love for Linux, as well as the potential of joining OIN. The response: “Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate your request at this time.”
Phipps uses a similar analogy to the one I used last month (and the one he used in Twitter). He says: “The evidence suggests Microsoft “loves” Linux the same way abusive partners “love” their spouses — a deep need in one area of the relationship that changes nothing elsewhere.”
“OK,” says our reader iophk about the above, “but ESR’s home of the Halloween Documents is better than Wikipedia any day.”
Sam Dean, who typically helps the Nadella-washing and openwashing of Microsoft, correctly asks
http://ostatic.com/blog/does-microsofts-new-love-for-open-source-extend-beyond-the-cloud-team” title=”Does Microsoft’s New Love for Open Source Extend Beyond the Cloud Team?”>”Does Microsoft’s New Love for Open Source Extend Beyond the Cloud Team?” (love of extortion, profit and control over GNU/Linux)
He refers to Phipps article and says: “Simon Phipps, who is one of the world’s leading experts on all things open source, has examined Microsoft’s purported change of heart in a new column for InfoWorld. And, on a timely note, Phipps even reminds us of “The Halloween Documents”–a series of confidential Microsoft memoranda on potential strategies relating to open source and Linux that got leaked in 1998.
“It’s worth remembering The Halloween Documents and the far reaching impact that the leaking of them had. As just one example of their influence, one of the memos was reportedly sent to the attention of senior vice-president Paul Maritz, and the memo characterized Linux as a giant threat to Microsoft’s operating system dominance. Maritz, of course, went on to run VMware for several years, so Microsoft’s historical opposition to open source likely didn’t stay confined to its own walls.”
Finally he ends this post about Microsoft with a sceptical, cautious view: “But the cloud computing division doesn’t define Microsoft. The company needs to change its stance on open source from the top down, and while Satya Nadella appears to have respect for open source, his vision statement never mentions open source or Linux, which Phipps says is “slightly strange considering their centrality to his future, but a good sign in as much as nothing bad is said.”
“In a response to my recent post asking whether Microsoft’s stance has truly changed, one reader sent the following succinct response: “Yeah, no. This is the ‘embrace’ stage of Microsoft’s classic strategy.” That, too, could be true.”
Susan Linton, who works with Sam Dean, asked, “didn’t we hear all this changing of heart stuff before?”
Microsoft clearly does not love GNU/Linux. Anyone who believes it for a second says a lot about oneself. Here, for example, is a new example from a current Microsoft employee, Mr. Perlow. Ridiculously enough, he works for the CBS-owned ZDNet at the same time that he works for Microsoft] (not the only such example that makes ZDNet an utter joke which also takes money from the backdoors provider Cisco to post a pure ad as an ‘article’). As one can see in Perlow’s latest article, there is bashing of WordPress & Drupal, using ‘security’, even though Perlow’s employer, Microsoft, releases widely-used software with perpetual back doors. That’s just one new example of hypocritical FOSS bashing from Microsoft staff, so who can possibly pretend that Microsoft has changed?
To say that Microsoft likes FOSS one would usually have to simply lie. Here is an ugly example of a lie from fedscoop.com. It is appalling openwashing by a site that claims to be ‘news’, trying to pretend that Microsoft proprietary spyware is “open source”. Complete nonsense in this article (part of a Microsoft propaganda campaign) says: “Microsoft is quickly emerging as a major leader for open source.”
Really?! What is this, a joke? The headline says “Microsoft helping government embrace open source programming”. So yes, it’s a joke. fedscoop.com is scooping up Microsoft’s propaganda and some fools may actually swallow it. This is completely disconnected from the truth; it’s when white means black and vice verse. Any complete nonsense that says Microsoft is “a major leader for open source” must be part of a propaganda campaign. Or maybe written by Microsoft partners/proxies.
The Microsoft-funded The Register has another disturbing news piece that goes along the lines of “Open XML”, trying to pretend Office is “open” and that proprietary Office formats are “open”. Richard Chirgwin from The Register is now openwashing Office 365 (surveillance plus proprietary software) using the classic APIs spin that we wrote about in 2009 and again in 2010. O’Reilly used this openwashing strategy, assisting Microsoft’s propaganda after getting paid by Microsoft.
Here is a new example which follows the openwashing strategy of Facebook. A Microsoft-friendly site ended up openwashing a surveillance platform of Microsoft, resorting to gross misuse of the brand “Open Source” as it relates to putting together hardware.
“In the City of Love, Microsoft Courts Open Source,” says one final example, but perhaps by “courts” it means “embraces” to extend and then extinguish. The article contains the famous new lie: “Last week, at a Microsoft event promoting its cloud business and future, Ballmer’s successor, Satya Nadella, came out and said it: “Microsoft loves Linux.” He followed this up with an interview in Wired magazine, where he said now is the time to put old battles behind.”
Yes, that is the same Microsoft which uses racketing, extortion and blackmail against GNU/Linux and FOSS. It is bribing its way into pretence of friendship, e.g. by paying conference organisers and media/sites. While the lies continue to saturate the media those who are not influenced by money or partnerships can fortunately still discern truth from fiction. Some actors out there are in the business of reality distortion. █
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In Microsoft’s own words:
Summary: The sheer absurdity of claims that Microsoft — which not only attacks those who distribute Linux and GNU but also blackmails them, takes them to court, or bricks their products without any liability — ‘loves’ Linux
A followup on the story about Windows Update essentially bricking Linux devices (peripheral to the PC) is proving to be rather spooky. Nobody was going to court; people can apparently just brick hardware deliberately, without due process and without facing consequences for such destructive actions.
“Nobody was going to court; people can apparently just brick hardware deliberately, without due process and without facing consequences for such destructive actions.”The curious thing here is the leeway it gives for Microsoft to brick installations of GNU and Linux, even if the ‘alien’ system is in its own partition. While some journalists are repeating Microsoft's lies about Microsoft 'loving' Linux we already know damn well that Microsoft hates GNU and Linux to the point of preventing sales of PCs with anything other than Windows, except perhaps in Italy owing to a top court’s latest ruling.
How is bricking people’s devices that are powered by Linux somehow acceptable or even legal now? It is done via Windows Update, which means that Microsoft now bricks Linux installations, whether unintentionally or intentionally (or somewhere in between). Will Microsoft also screw with the MBR/bootloader claiming that Free software infringes on its ‘IP’?
The sad thing is that some pro-FOSS people are easily fooled (maybe willfully) into saying that “Microsoft loves Linux” (it can also be found in the Linux Foundation’s Web site). “Read it all the way through,” told me one of them. “They love Linux because of $s not for its own sake.”
I responded by saying that Microsoft loves Linux like BP likes “green”, mostly for marketing around perceptions that help sell more petrol
There was a a discussion in Twitter among some FOSS journalists, who do not necessarily agree. The OSI’s President, for instance, tends to agree with me on that.
One of our readers wrote to say: “Unintentional disinformation regarding “contributions” to the Linux kernel. The large number of commits was simply unfucking the code. A question is does Microsoft maintain that code now that Greg fixed it, or did they just lay that egg in someone else’s nest?”
When Greg worked for Novell, which had been paid money for Microsoft to help it infiltrate several FOSS communities, Microsoft committed GPL violations (not a sole incident) and now it hopes to spin that as “contribution”. When will this revisionism end?
As a side note, layoffs at Microsoft continue to expand. The Microsoft booster wrote: “The cuts of approximately 3,000 employees today are believed to be largely support staff in human resources, finance, sales and marketing and IT. They are part of the 18,000 employees Microsoft officials said back in July that they’d be laying off over the course of a year.”
Android and other Linux-based platforms hurt Microsoft. It leads to layoffs, so Microsoft cannot claim to love Linux. Although it may take some time, Microsoft may end up a bit like Novell and Nokia, potentially absorbed by some bigger business (Microsoft is shrinking in terms of scale of influence or clout). █
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