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'Team Microsoft' Took Control of Softpedia to Control Coverage About GNU/Linux



Typical; they even admitted doing this (based on leaked presentations).

"You want to infiltrate those. Again, there’s two categories. There’s those that are controlled by vendors; like MSJ; we control that. And there’s those that are independent. [...] So that’s how you use journals that we control. The ones that third parties control, like the WinTech Journal, you want to infiltrate."

--Microsoft's chief evangelist



Teacher and Golum: Softpedia's GNU/Linux section 2000-2019; Softpedia's GNU/Linux section after GNU/Linux people removed



Summary: Softpedia's GNU/Linux writers were ousted, only to be replaced by Microsoft boosters who now use the site's most popular GNU/Linux section to spread Microsoft lies and FUD (as happened in other sites before Softpedia)

IT happened to Linux.com less than a year ago. Months ago it happened to Softpedia as well. It has been happening for years all over the Web.



What is this?

Read the quote at the top (source available as original PDF).

"They're loaded with Microsoft 'assets' there, including the chief editor who fired the "Open Source" writers."Someone who "admires" Microsoft (he actually used that word) now controls Linux.com. He's the sole editor of that site and he's using Microsoft Outlook, based on something he tweeted earlier this month. How are "Linux" sites ending up being controlled by foes and sellouts? Well, as usual, one needs to only follow the money. Microsoft pays publishers a lot of money (e.g. for advertising), looking for something in return. Chiefs of publications are typically the sole beneficiaries of this money, just like at the Linux Foundation, where Microsoft employees play a fast-growing role.

We're going to try not to name anybody, only publications (or we'll use first/last names on their own, to avoid confusion and improve clarity). It's almost impersonal. The pattern matters. We're talking about a bunch of news sites that are attracting people to their propaganda pieces using rather innocuous and shallow ones. Just look at the laughing stock that ZDNet became (their "Linux" section is mostly Microsoft and SJVN was reduced to habitual Microsoft propagandist, whose articles that are negative about Microsoft get edited/censored even after he publishes them). They're loaded with Microsoft 'assets' there, including the chief editor who fired the "Open Source" writers.

We've seen it all before. We documented the fine details down to pertinent facts.

"How did we end up at a point where the competition of Microsoft, GNU/Linux, has news about it composed (at least in high-profile sites) by Microsoft people?"The latest casualty seems to be Softpedia. It helps Microsoft. Dominating "Linux" news with their spam about "Azure" or "WSL" or whatever is the goal...

We saw a good example of that all over the so-called 'Linux' news last week (a $100,000 bounty). We wrote about it.

How did we end up at a point where the competition of Microsoft, GNU/Linux, has news about it composed (at least in high-profile sites) by Microsoft people? Consider as another example Ars Technica (owned by the same publisher that 'ousted' Torvalds temporarily in 2018 and defamed RMS several times last year, in several of its sites; it's well documented and we wrote about it last year). As a reminder, before his arrest, Microsoft Peter completely dominated the "Open Source" section (100%) of Ars Technica, filling it with nothing but Microsoft propaganda pieces, seemingly ghostwritten by Microsoft (they had scoops there, like preparatory puff pieces about Git -- composed in preparation to the takeover of GitHub which was envisioned already in 2014).

He was later arrested for having sexually abused children (we'll spare readers the disturbing details about what he had done as we covered these matters before [1, 2]). He spewed out Microsoft propaganda and lies for about a decade [1, 2]. Microsoft uses these people like 'props' and rewards them for the 'service' (we covered examples of the bribes over the years).

"Both were replaced by someone who still goes by the title "Microsoft Editor". He's the sole person who edits the "Linux" section now, writing each and every item in the "Linux" section, often with deliberate anti-Linux lies like the one we covered days ago (he's trying to shame China out of its GNU/Linux migration."We regret to say that today's Softpedia is no exception. The 'handover' happened months ago. The pro-Microsoft people are now doing the same thing to what we considered to be the leading source of GNU/Linux news at the time. There was a writer there who was a GNU/Linux guru. He used to have a colleague until about half a decade ago -- a person who was also a good writer and GNU/Linux proponent.

Both were replaced by someone who still goes by the title "Microsoft Editor". He's the sole person who edits the "Linux" section now, writing each and every item in the "Linux" section, often with deliberate anti-Linux lies like the one we covered days ago (he's trying to shame China out of its GNU/Linux migration).

Here's his latest output. From today's Daily Links (last link to that site), which we published an hour ago:



The added editorial comment, which was already added to Tux Machines earlier, sums it up, we hope. So here we have someone scanning Reddit for 'dirt' on Ubuntu, pushing into Google and Google News a bunch of fear-mongering. Just like the junk he was publishing against Munich's adoption of GNU/Linux. This is a very typical modus operandi; we saw it in other publications and wrote about it. As the quote at the top makes apparent, this is an official strategy at Microsoft. The company is like a cult which leverages entryism tactics to spread lies like "Microsoft loves Linux" (spread a great deal for a number of years by Ars Technica).

Remember that once upon a time Ars Technica did very fine journalism about GNU/Linux, but that was more than a decade ago (Ryan and others). We still recall all the good work they once did...

"Remember that once upon a time Ars Technica did very fine journalism about GNU/Linux, but that was more than a decade ago (Ryan and others)."Less than a decade ago the editor of Ars Technica UK admitted to me that Microsoft had paid them to start that site. And guess what dominated that site? Yes, Microsoft puff pieces. Corruption of the media has been a longstanding goal at Microsoft and they're not shy about it.

Earlier today I had confirmed to me my worst fear. 9to5Linux's editor (𝓜𝓪𝓻𝓲𝓾𝓼 𝓝𝓮𝓼𝓽𝓸𝓻 in Twitter), who edited the Softpedia section for a very long time, turns out to have been pushed out by Softpedia. To keep track of the good work of Mr. Nestor one still can follow 9to5Linux, but 9to5Linux is not in Google News and doesn't have the same brand power or reach. He started it all from scratch. And we're left with no choice but to outright boycott Softpedia here and in Tux Machines. No more links. Why? Because now we know what they did to him.

We recently learned that this gentleman 'left' Softpedia because they forced him to leave by telling him that they’re not interested in Linux news anymore, despite the fact that Linux news had the most reads in Softpedia. Now look who writes Linux news in his place...

Mr. Popa's official bio at Softpedia (we're omitting the link to avoid sending traffic there) in full:

If you look really deep into my eyes, you may find some sort of Windows imprint hiding in there, as I’m the one who spends most of his time writing about everything that happens inside Microsoft’s Redmond campus.

While I’m probably one of the few Softpedians who truly like Windows 8, I’m also pretty interested in every single little thing that bears a Microsoft logo (I prefer the new one).

When I’m not screaming “developers, developers, developers!” I like watching Formula 1 and soccer, driving and swimming.

Even though that may sound a little bit awkward, I truly respect Steve Ballmer, most likely because he loves Microsoft more than anything else on this planet.



"Maybe if everyone would stop promoting them they will give up," a source told us. The above person dominates 100% of their "Linux" section and uses that control to spread Microsoft FUD. We gave many examples over the past few months, including WSL stuff.

Microsoft is not just another "big company". It is vicious and corrupt. Nothing has changed in that regard. My wife bemoaned them pushing out not one but two GNU/Linux writers to install a Ballmer worshiper to replace both. And that Ballmer worshiper now totally dominates the "Linux" section.

"He spent a lot of his life making that site relevant and visible. They owe him so much and look what they did to him (and to Linux). It's like they handed over Linux to Microsoft."This is insane! Months ago when the change happened that made no sense to me as prior to that departure Mr. Nestor openly advertised that he loved Softpedia. He spent a lot of his life making that site relevant and visible. They owe him so much and look what they did to him (and to Linux). It's like they handed over Linux to Microsoft.

I have never seen any company going as far as to dominate the information channels of its very competition. Over the years we wrote many articles about the European Patent Office's Benoît Battistelli bribing the media, but never did we see him actually installing 'moles' (e.g. paying programming sites to promote software patents in Europe). This is the kind of thing Microsoft does.

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