12.21.20

It Was a Mistake to Assume Corporations Would Usher in Software Freedom

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Ubuntu at 8:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Openwashing is the most they can offer (an “open” spin on proprietary offerings) and smaller companies, such as Red Hat, can be taken over by vastly bigger ones (IBM) with another agenda/vision

Tiny Core, eh? Community distro; not up for sale/auction

Summary: When GNU/Linux becomes more corporate it can also become more detached from users’ needs

THE Free software movement is about as old as I am and it sought to preserve the “hacker culture” (which was prevalent in academia at the time; Microsoft had only been established several years earlier). Scholars would exercise the freedom to share code; such sharing accelerated research.

“IBM has come up with some new excuses for cutting CentOS support (support window shortened almost tenfold, followed by a complete redefinition of what CentOS actually is).”The GNU Project was a great success because many hackers were persuaded to join the new movement and create a free UNIX-like system (the UNIXes were very expensive at the time). In the early days many of them were labeled “hobbyists” because they did not do this for a salary. A decade later the media collectively called their work “Linux”, Red Hat hired many key hackers, and one decade later Canonical hired many key development folks from Debian.

As we noted earlier today, neither Red Hat nor Canonical would criticise Microsoft because Microsoft pays them to play along. It is a truly sad situation which occurs when corporations strive for nothing other than increasing revenue; they’re easily compromised and they can be made to cooperate with their competitors. Competition between GNU/Linux and Microsoft/Windows isn’t a brand war; it’s about licensing and inherent philosophy. Even if GNU/Linux was technically behind Windows in some area, it would still be favourable to users. The realm of ideology goes all the way back to the 80s — back when the antiwar movement was also very powerful and people wanted to take back control from corporations (rather than strive to buy the latest “smart” phone).

IBM has come up with some new excuses for cutting CentOS support (support window shortened almost tenfold, followed by a complete redefinition of what CentOS actually is).

Nobody is naive enough to believe that IBM chose this direction because of the users. It is all about money.

Well, money is not inherently evil (it’s a straw man argument to suggest those who oppose IBM are generally against capitalism). However, if profit alone is the guiding hand, we’ll see more corporate domination over GNU/Linux (systemd, Wayland and so on). Selling support is a lot easier when the pertinent bits are developed ‘in house’.

Red Hat’s founder honestly believes he did more for Free software than Richard Stallman ever did. But the movement (of Stallman et al) did not necessarily strive for anything other than freedom for users.

It’s important to shelter and nurture distros developed by passionate volunteers rather than employees. We may otherwise end up with another UNIX (opaque and bloated). We don’t need another Apple, do we?

10.30.20

With Microsoft in Charge, OpenSSF Seems More Like It’s About Back Doors — Not Real Security — Inside the Linux Foundation

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Ubuntu at 3:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: Techrights Urges Readers to Ask the Linux Foundation’s Let’s Encrypt (Backed by Companies That Give the NSA Back Doors) Some Hard But Legitimate Questions

OpenSSF
If you cared about real security, would you put in charge Microsoft, which puts back doors in everything as that’s just exactly the goal?

Summary: Another Linux Foundation (LF) group seems to have been taken over by the company that’s attacking Linux and attacking real security (as opposed to fake security or back doors in the name of “national security” — the Trojan horse for imperialistic coercion, worldwide)

THE Linux Foundation-linked boosters are at it again. They’ve been doing puff pieces this Thursday night (in CBS/ZDNet/TechRepublic and the LF’s spam site). Well, between the lines we find that OpenSSF was already infiltrated — and is now headed — by Microsoft (the NSA’s back doors giant, not to mention the PRISM pioneer), so the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation is a total farce again, serving imperialism and monopolistic agenda rather than true security that laughs off/rejects this agenda (disguised as “national security”).

“These people are indebted to and are thus obliged by their employer to put back doors in things.”Even Huawei has joined in (then SUSE wrote about it). Is that supposed to inspire confidence? The opposite might be true. Either way, this is another example of ‘Linux’ Foundation stuff getting taken over by Microsoft staff (taking salaries — and loyalty/obligations — from Microsoft, not the LF). These people are indebted to and are thus obliged by their employer to put back doors in things.

Incidentally, right about now Canonical associates with OpenSSF and uses its official Ubuntu blog to promote Windows and Microsoft agenda:

Ubuntu for Windows

Phoronix and Liliputing are boosting this agenda again. Never mind if hardly anyone uses this EEE-type assault on GNU/Linux (we’ve seen similar tactics in the Bill Gates deposition). This is a natural extension of the anti-Linux agenda of Microsoft and it doesn’t bother these people/sites that WSL2 is a tiny niche of fools. As one comment put it: “I still don’t get that name. Shouldn’t it be the Linux subsystem for Windows?” (It’s Windows, not “Linux”, and it’s all about Microsoft being on top)

We suppose that in the coming days Microsoft will googlebomb the word “Linux” some more (to promote Vista 10). Forget about any notion of privacy and security in WSL/2, defeating the very purpose of this platform.

10.22.20

TechRadar is an Irresponsible Clickbait and Misinformation Site Disguised as ‘News’

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 7:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Real damage is being done by such sites, which distort journalism in the name of selling ads and rogue agenda

Summary: TechRadar is no tech and no radar, either. It’s just an opportunistic click-harvesting machine, disguised as a source of “news”; today we deal with the latest example (among many).

PUTTING ASIDE the anti-GNU/Linux bias of TechRadar, there’s a bigger issue. The site has almost always had an anti-journalism aspect as well. They’re not into accuracy, only whatever gets people to click, watch ads, and be spied on (for personal data to be sold). It’s well overdue for us to discuss this. We’ve long complained about IDG, ZDNet and various other networks of misinformation, funded by the companies they cover (their products and the rivals of those companies). There isn’t even a disclosure. They don’t bother because it would do more damage than good (honesty would be outweighed by the financial harm and damage to their credibility).

“We’ve long complained about IDG, ZDNet and various other networks of misinformation, funded by the companies they cover (their products and the rivals of those companies).”Our objective here isn’t to give an extensive list of FUD examples. In the past month alone TechRadar published several highly misleading FUD pieces about GNU/Linux and we’ve mostly ignored these (trying not to send provocateurs who lie any traffic at all). We’ll focus only on the example above, for this example is hours old and it’s timed (not dated) several hours before the actual release.

So what’s the big deal?

It actually is a big deal.

No, you don't! That's why you ask for consent to violate privacyBecause today we once again see people who announce a Ubuntu release prematurely, probably just for traffic through clickbait (the author knew it hadn’t been released yet). It really ought to stop. TechRadar is a clickbait site disguised as “news” and there are actual victims. The fact that it was today’s main/sole culprit isn’t particularly surprising. Unlike sites which said things like “Ubuntu to be released late today” (that’s an accurate thing to say), TechRadar was ‘announcing’ a Ubuntu release before it actually happened. Which is opportunistic fake news.

“Each and every 6 months period someone jumps the gun and ‘announces’ a Ubuntu release before it’s even released.”How many people relayed the headline, in effect misinforming other people (for instance, in social control media)?

I was hawking to see which site would be first among the offenders, knowing there was always certainly going to be at least once offender.

I’ve used or experimented with Ubuntu since its very first release in 2004. They typically make their release announcements later in the day (end of business days), quite often on Thursdays (not before weekends, just in case of show-stopping incidents that necessitate intervention). Each and every 6 months period someone jumps the gun and ‘announces’ a Ubuntu release before it’s even released. Some even link directly to mirrors that are still work in progress (with possibly mislabeled or partial ISOs, services still going up and down, limited workload/bandwidth capacity, undergoing preparation and configuration etc.).

TechRadar is not (and likely was never) a news site but a streaming pile of crap looking to misinform and spy on readers.”People who prematurely ‘announce’ such GNU/Linux releases don’t just piss off the distro makers. Which they do by the way (this is no secret). They do a lot of technical and practical damage (which has many angles and aspects).

TechRadar is not (and likely was never) a news site but a streaming pile of crap looking to misinform and spy on readers. TechRadar is likely aware of it, but it’s hoping nobody will publicly point this out.

10.03.20

‘Telemetry’ (Surveillance) Ought Not be Tolerated in the Free Software Community

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, KDE, Ubuntu at 6:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Security cams

Summary: If software users learn to tolerate the inclusion of spying code — however that’s being justified — then those users certainly fail to grasp the proposition of software freedom (which is first and foremost about users’ full autonomy)

‘Telemetry’ is a marketing term (euphemism), mostly for marketing types who want to show off the number of users and occasionally what those users are up to. Many are up in arms about Mozilla putting more of this ‘telemetry’ nonsense inside Firefox — a subject we covered here before (Mozilla also puts this code in Microsoft’s proprietary prison, GitHub). They say they want to improve users’ experience, based on their understanding of what users do (remote observation with supposedly ‘anonymous’ statistics, though it’s clear some server gets IP addresses stored).

“If Canonical debunks the argument (or “selling point”) that GNU/Linux won’t betray your very discreet elements of life (like searching locally your photo albums), what will people think and what will freedom-respecting software advocacy look like?”Many years ago Richard Stallman publicly condemned Canonical (or Ubuntu) for allowing Amazon to spy on what GNU/Linux (Unity) users were searching for locally. He issued this condemnation after he and I had debated the subject over E-mail. Many years down the line the problem isn’t resolved. My beloved text editor (yes, plain text) has ‘telemetry’ in it (albeit after controversy we’re reassured that it’s off by default; KDE’s Kate didn’t always have those anti-features and I’ve used it since 2004) though many people still use Visual Studio (‘Code’; openwashing basically), which is proprietary software with ‘telemetry’ in it. Those who use text editors to manage confidential material don’t want some cryptic process to send away data about usage (which can in turn reveal something about the work being done).

SecuriCamIf we keep silent, we may accidentally get across this false impression of indifference or even tolerance of spying. It can embolden companies like Canonical and even some KDE developers to do more of the same. We need more disputes and controversies over the matter; at the very least it serves as a cautionary tale, meaning that developers will think twice or thrice before implementing such malicious ‘features’ which nobody asked for. A few years ago Mozilla used its spying on Firefox users to justify removing RSS support from Firefox (Live Bookmarks), in effect participating in the “War on RSS” or the assault on an open, distributed, decentralised Web. Like Firefox’s abandonment of XUL, there seemed to be no benefit to it… to the users. These increasingly “data-driven” companies hire from Microsoft and from Facebook while posing publicly as champions of privacy. “Free/libre” software and “privacy-respecting” software aren’t the same thing, even if in practice any freedom-respecting software also tends to respect the privacy (an extension of freedom) of users. This was in fact one of the grounds of Stallman’s condemnation. If Canonical debunks the argument (or “selling point”) that GNU/Linux won’t betray your very discreet elements of life (like searching locally your photo albums), what will people think and what will freedom-respecting software advocacy look like?

One core (and seminal) argument for “Free/libre” software was, we ought to put power at the hands of the users. Because if the user does not control the software, it may in fact be the developer (or developer’s employer, government etc.) controlling the user. This argument has been valid since the 1980s. ‘Telemetry’ is an injustice in the sense that it embeds inside the code elements that give the developers unjust spying powers over users. It’s a stepping stone towards non-free and user-disrespecting software.

09.11.20

Calling ‘Snaps’ and ‘Flatpaks’ What They Really Are: Ramps for Proprietary Software Inside GNU/Linux (the ‘App’ Mindset)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 3:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Do we want GNU/Linux distros to become another Android with centralised (monopolised) ‘stores’ as opposed to repositories of Free/libre software everyone can modify and redistribute freely? Do we want “Steam” (DRM) for software?

Summary: Canonical’s gravitation towards the whole ‘store’ mindset (and Red Hat’s equivalent of that) seems to have raised concerns among and amidst developers of the Linux Mint project; they try hard to prevent users from adopting Canonical’s ‘store’ and there’s an explanation (above) of why that’s the case

THE RPM/DEB ‘wars’ can be found way back… going back to the 1990s. Debian-Private, which we started publishing a fortnight ago, is full of that. Many threads contain arguments over Red Hat’s ambition versus Debian’s. Now we have new kinds of packaging wars, with the Debian-based Ubuntu pushing ‘Snap’ (snapd) and Red Hat/Fedora pushing ‘Flatpak’ (used to require systemd). They’re hostile towards one another — since launch in fact! — and there are reasons to be suspicious of both.

“…the problem that Canonical is trying to solve is perhaps a business model problem rather than a technical problem.”The above interview (like the video) was published earlier this week and the latter speaks of ‘Snaps’ being snubbed by Linux Mint. There are reasons for that shunning. Alluding to Flatpak at one point, there’s that similar discussion about new ‘standards’ for packaging. Flatpak’s back end isn’t as proprietary… but now it’s IBM-led and there’s a close connection to Microsoft through GitHub. Probably not something worth running as root…

SolitudeThe more interesting part of this interview deals with why Mint developers went as far as making it very difficult to adopt ‘Snaps’. It also explains the purpose of Mint’s Debian-based fallback, which obviously uses apt/apt-get/aptitude/dpkg/deb etc. and does not depend on companies like Canonical.

The last minute of this video is perhaps the most interesting. It’s about Mint developers going out of their way to prevent or at least make it rather hard to install ‘Snaps’, many of which are proprietary software. It’s rightly noted that no distribution stands in the way of installing proprietary software to the extent Mint developers stand in the way of ‘Snaps’, but perhaps they correctly view this as Canonical’s power grab, emulating Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

Over the years I’ve experimented (a number of times on a number of machines) with ‘Snaps’ and I never found it particularly reliable; it wasn’t clear to me what the selling point was (other than, perhaps on the misguided side, domination of the server-side stack/software by one company).

‘Snaps’ are managed by proprietary software at the server (not client) side and they sometimes are, themselves, proprietary software as well. That in its own right ought to be a little alarming; the problem that Canonical is trying to solve is perhaps a business model problem rather than a technical problem. Even more than a decade ago Canonical came under fire for selling proprietary software as a business model (or reselling it on behalf of other companies). If those companies insist that this is necessary for “world domination” or whatever, then it means they disregard software freedom (in the same way Google does) and actually mean something like “financial sustainability” (for themselves). Attaining that so-called “world domination” (lots of proprietary ‘apps’ and whatnot) wouldn’t be unprecedented. Google has already done that with Android, whose overall market share exceeds Windows’. If we lose sight of software freedom and instead focus only on “market share”, then all we do is add another brand (like “Apple” or “Mac”) to the mix while failing to address paradigm changes or real threats. Almost nobody out there can argue that Android being widespread has been good for software freedom; sure, many people not have Linux on their small computers, but those computers mostly spy on them and let them access proprietary stuff managed closely (and often censored) by one company. Success should be measured in terms of principles (like software freedom) rather than “market share”, which can be seductive/alluring when one is accustomed to being a niche player for years if not decades. This whole immorality has already infected a number of key organisations, including the Linux Foundation, which is nowadays openly shilling for and outsourcing to Microsoft (GitHub and IIS) because its sole goal is to maximise revenue, not to help Linux.

09.08.20

Canonical: Use Windows. Then, Have Ubuntu as a ‘Side Dish’…

Posted in Microsoft, Ubuntu, Vista 10 at 9:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bug #1 stillwontfix

Captain Janeway Facepalm: Welcome to Ubuntu blog

Summary: Welcome to Ubuntu blog. Download Windows Vista 10 and follow these Microsoft instructions

08.20.20

OSI’s Chief Steps Down, Canonical Advertises Windows Again, and Red Hat Gives Award to Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OSI, Red Hat, Ubuntu, Windows at 9:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OSI salaries
The only one in OSI who takes a salary, apparently (latest tax form here [PDF]), has left; as the ‘sellout’ or handover to monopolists accelerates so does the corporate revenue the OSI nowadays depends on (that money grew tenfold in a decade, just like at the Linux Foundation)

Ubuntu on Windows
The Official Ubuntu Blog is again boosting Microsoft’s attack on GNU/Linux, along with ZDNet and Phoronix. Again and again this happens as if Canonical is not pro-Linux and instead pro-dud. Why are they bothering with articles on WSL2 when very few people use it and it is an attack on GNU/Linux?

Red Hat's Microsoft award
This new blog post from Red Hat shows they’ve come to depend on and suck up to Microsoft [1, 2]

Summary: Patrick Masson leaves OSI, Canonical promotes Windows in its Ubuntu blog, and Red Hat continues to act like it refuses to even compete with Microsoft

THINGS deteriorate further. This is entryism.

The OSI GM has resigned (not fired, based on the wordings [1,2]) and one starts wondering whether the whole thing collapsing is a desirable end. There’s nobody even to replace him, except interim (typically suggestive of an unexpected power vacuum with little planning or foresight). Given the funding sources of the OSI, where money buys power, the next GM will likely be a very corporate person like the OSI’s President, Josh Simmons. He comes from the company that so viciously attacked RMS and suggested that the FSF should oust all who support RMS, thereby creating an unprecedented power vacuum and witch-hunt. Remember that both of the OSI’s co-founders are no longer there; one resigned in protest at the start of the year and Simmons et al banned the other. Maybe that partly led to Masson’s exit. It does not say why he left. Monopolists are always happy to exploit power vacuums, created as they intended so they can infiltrate everything. Microsoft initially infiltrated the OSI — with its shoddy licences — because of Mac Asay inside the Board (he’s still a Microsoft apologist and he tried working for Microsoft). Groklaw protested strongly against this.

“Assimilation tactics only need apathy and silence to prove effective. The further they progress, the harder it becomes to undo them.”So what does “Open Source” even stand for now? Monopolies? WSL? Windows? GitHub? Yes, it’s proprietary.

Putting this together with yesterday’s blog posts from the official Red Hat and Ubuntu blogs (screenshots at the top), at least we have a rough idea what we’re dealing with here…

Assimilation tactics only need apathy and silence to prove effective. The further they progress, the harder it becomes to undo them.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Deb Nicholson to Join Open Source Initiative as Interim General Manager

    Deb Nicholson has been serving as our Director of Community Operations for just over two years and is now leaving to Conservancy to take on the role of Interim General Manager at the Open Source Initiative (OSI). Although Deb will no longer be on our staff, she’ll remain part of the Conservancy community, most formally as a volunteer on our Evaluation Committee that reviews applications from potential new member projects.

    In the two years since she became the Director of Community Operations, Deb has helped Conservancy welcome six new member projects, put on two Copyleft Confs, run two fundraising seasons and contributed over 50 posts to our blog.

  2. Announcing OSI’s New Interim General Manager

    The Open Source Initiative is bringing in Deb Nicholson as its new Interim General Manager. Nicholson will be supporting the organization through a period of growth and introspection over the upcoming year as stakeholders continue building on the non-profit’s past successes. She will be overseeing day-to-day operations, including marketing, staffing and infrastructure, as well as supporting board and volunteer activities.

    OSI’s President, Josh Simmons elaborates, “We’re thrilled to welcome Deb as an Interim General Manager at OSI. Her credentials are top notch, and she’s well respected within the free and open source software communities… I couldn’t ask for a better partner as OSI works through its second major transformation! Deb’s roots in the software freedom community and at Conservancy bode well for our movements as we strive to present a more unified front to advance our shared goals.”

    We would also like to take this moment to thank Patrick Masson for seven years of service as OSI’s General Manager and Director. He leaves behind a powerful legacy as OSI’s first full-time employee. Masson will be continuing his work as an outside consultant to support this transition as well as supporting FLOSS Desktops For Kids. We wish him all the best, both inside and outside, the open source community.

08.13.20

Promoting False Perspectives and Narratives About GNU/Linux to Let Microsoft Dominate/Control Everything (Sometimes Quite Cynically in the Name of ‘Security’ or ‘Responsibility’)

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu at 4:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ZDNet on Linux
Hours ago it said “FBI and NSA expose new Linux malware Drovorub, used by Russian state hackers” [sic] and notice the item below that (typical ZDNet). This was also pushed where this dishonest person came from (former colleagues).

Summary: Microsoft’s “perception management” games are progressing and are finding their way into official blogs of supposed ‘competitors’ like Canonical and SUSE

IT DOES not take a cynic to see and to also understand what’s going on. This is information warfare and the method is perception management. We know where the money is seeded or coming from.

“This is information warfare and the method is perception management.”This morning someone sent us a pointer about Sonatype pushing this nonsense about ‘supply chain’ again (in the ‘news’); we’re supposed to focus not on inherent security issues and instead obsess over the ‘supply chain’ nonsense as if letting the NSA through Microsoft control GitHub, NPM etc. is preferable and GitHub will resolve holes rather than add some. A few hours ago in Planet Debian, Sven Hoexte wrote about this issue. Naming GitHub (Microsoft) in a number of places, he said: “Yes some of that is even non-free and might contain spyw^telemetry.” (Microsoft is even liaising with Trump to steal companies for surveillance purposes)

“We know where the money is seeded or coming from.”Those types of shaming tactics and the attempt to push everyone to rely on proprietary GitHub in the name of ‘professionalism’ or whatever is perpetually echoed in ZDNet. See the screenshot above. That malicious site is filing Microsoft lies that have nothing to do with GNU/Linux in the “LINUX” section. It tries to make us think that GitHub is “open source” or whatever (lies like these are why we boycott ZDNet). It’s almost as if to the dishonest people who write for that site (on Microsoft’s payroll) black is white and white is black. It’s as if attacks (like GitHub and WSL) are proof of “love” for the thing that’s attacked. “Linux sucks and Microsoft is king”; that’s the message of the screenshot above; is ZDNet an extension of Microsoft’s marketing department now?

“It’s as if attacks (like GitHub and WSL) are proof of “love” for the thing that’s attacked.”It would be a lot simpler if we could only blame ZDNet, but the reality of the matter is that even so-called ‘Linux’ companies participate in this propaganda.

For the second day in a row, for example, Canonical is boosting Microsoft’s attacks on GNU/Linux. They literally promote Windows. Usually it’s from Sohini Bianka Roy and Mr. ‘UNIX’ Windows (Hayden), who uses pseudonyms when he attempts to silence his critics. If only Canonical promoted Free software with the same eagerness and excitement that it promotes Microsoft Windows and other Microsoft malware…

“If only Canonical promoted Free software with the same eagerness and excitement that it promotes Microsoft Windows and other Microsoft malware…”And no day would be complete without SUSE doing the same. Following part 1 with "Microsoft loves Linux" (a lie used to promote proprietary software) today we have part 2 which says about SQL Server: “The Microsoft packages are well documented, well-structured, avoid side-effects, and really a good testament to what Microsoft is doing in the open source community.”

It is not “open source”, it is proprietary and it does not even properly run on GNU/Linux, it uses DrawBridge.

“There’s a war on truth itself; that’s what PR and marketing people do.”But who cares about facts, right? According to ZDNet, “Microsoft to developers: These are our biggest and best open-source projects” (never mind if all the core products are proprietary) and Linux is just a security headache, unlike that platform (Windows) with NSA back doors everywhere, including the disk encryption.

There’s a war on truth itself; that’s what PR and marketing people do. The fact that this utter rubbish is also uttered by companies like Canonical is problematic as it serves to suggest that Microsoft is, in some sense, taking over the competition and speaking ‘for’ the competition.

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