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02.06.14

Sure, GNU/Linux is Used Extensively by North Korea, But Why the Hate?

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux at 6:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New types of smears against GNU/Linux come from an unexpected angle which needs tackling

HATRED towards North Korea is cleverly being projected onto hatred against GNU/Linux. Nobody has done this as shamefully as the insidious BBC, which uses the news to insinuate that GNU/Linux is crazy, communist [1], or something like that (the BBC rarely covers GNU/Linux at all, perhaps because many managers in there came from Microsoft UK). It often seems like the BBC only ever covers GNU/Linux when it has something negative to say (we gave examples of this pattern before), or only when it’s “rogue” or associated with something rogue like a virus.

Interestingly enough, more hate towards GNU/Linux in North Korea comes from Apple fan sites [2-4] (not necessarily tied to Apple itself). Never mind the fact that North Korea in many ways resembles Apple and Android's founder/former chief seemingly compared Steve Jobs to North Korea's dead leader (Kim Il-sung). If something has got “North Korea” in it, then it’s automatically malicious. Generally speaking, if one wants to make peace with a country, then one should start by showing respect. To ridicule is to breed more tensions. The BBC’s smears are smears of hypocrisy. For instance, saying that North Korea counts years since the death of a leader neglects the fact that we in the West count the years since the death of Christ. Here is some North Korean coverage [5] and articles from IDG [6,7], the latter of which asking: “Should Linux look like Windows?”

It should probably look like neither Windows nor OS X for reasons we mentioned before. Users’ familiarity is probably outweighed by the need for unique and distinct identity. There are also associated risks, reinforced by Apple’s litigation over GUIs. Having seen North Korea’s operating system, I can’t say that it really resembles Apple’s. Apple did not invent the dock (it copied it), it was not the first with Brushed Metal and Aqua (I had those in GNU/Linux before OS X even existed), and North Korea’s operating system hardly even imitates those. When Apple accuses Android or Samsung (South Korean) of copying iOS it often turns out (in the courtroom) that it was actually Apple doing the imitation (of predecessors in Asia, for example LG in South Korea).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Apple’s Mac OSX imitated in latest North Korea system

    North Korea has upgraded the operating system used in the country – and it bears a striking resemblance to Apple’s Mac OSX platform.

    [...]

    The Red Star OS is peppered with North Korean propaganda, and its calendar tells users it is not 2014, but 103 – the number of years since the birth of former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung.

    An earlier version of Red Star OS was made available worldwide in 2010 after a Russian student posted it online.

  2. North Korea’s Official ‘Red Star’ Operating System Borrows Heavily From OS X
  3. North Korea’s Home-Grown Operating System Mimics OS X
  4. North Korea Laughably Copies Apple With New Linux Distro

    Red Star Linux, a Linux distribution used in North Korea, has been upgraded to version 3.0. With it comes an entire UI revamp, one that looks extremely similar to that of OS X. The menu buttons are placed on the lefthand corner of each window and many UI buttons have an “aqua” effect as seen in previous versions of OS X. Most notably however, is the addition of a dock on the bottom of the desktop that is almost identical to the dock seen in OS X.

  5. North Korea’s Red Star OS goes Mac
  6. North Korea’s home-grown OS looks a lot like Apple’s OS X
  7. Should Linux look like Windows?

    The real question here though is: Should Linux look more like Windows? My initial thought is no, it certainly should not look like Windows. After all, one of the big attractions of using Linux is to get away from Windows. Who wants to be reminded of an operating system that they just dumped because they didn’t want to use it any more?

Mozilla is Preparing More Privacy-respecting (Than Android) Linux-powered Devices

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Phones and tablets with Firefox OS are said to be on their way and Firefox 27 is out

Mozilla has just released Firefox 27 [1,2], which is quickly improving owing to expansion features [3,4] (I find it a little buggy under Android, still). Firefox OS, which is based on Linux, has been making headlines and it is still coming along nicely [5] while Mozilla asks for help in delivering a tablet with Firefox OS [6]. To Mozilla’s credit, as we noted before, the company throws the P word around quite a lot (privacy is the P word), even in NPR [7]. Some readers noted that Mozilla is actually just pretending to care about privacy, but compared to Google, Apple, and especially Microsoft, Mozilla has shown a good track record on privacy. Sure, it relies to some degree on advertisers and Google, but Mozilla itself is not doing the spying. Moreover, it provides tools for blocking surveillance, even as part of the browser’s core.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Mozilla releases Firefox 27 for Android, Linux, Mac and Windows
  2. Mozilla Firefox 27 Delivers Better Security, Performance

    There are 13 security advisories attached to the Firefox 27 release, four of them ranked as being critical. As is common in nearly all Firefox release updates, one of the critical updates is for a group of vulnerabilities that Mozilla labels “Miscellaneous memory safety hazards.”

  3. Firefox Set to Get a New Look, Better Sync
  4. Best Firefox Add-ons for Social Media Junkies
  5. The state of Firefox OS – a report from FOSDEM

    The smartphone is currently dominated by two big systems; Android and iOS. But there are others in the run. With Microsoft struggling to get anyone to voluntarily use Windows Phone, maybe Sailfish OS, Ubuntu Touch and/or Firefox OS will make a difference. It’s this last one I attended a talk about at FOSDEM. So here it goes; The current state of Firefox OS, and what we can expect for the future.

  6. Mozilla Calls for Help in Delivering Firefox OS Tablets

    The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place recently in Las Vegas, and Mozilla officials made headlines there as they revealed plans to take the Firefox OS mobile platform to devices other than smartphones, and a new deal between Panasonic and Mozilla to drive smart, HTML 5-fluent televisions. It’s all part of Mozilla’s ongoing effort to focus on mobile technology and new platforms.

  7. Mozilla’s Privacy Chief Sounds Off on the “Balkanized” Internet

    The scandal over NSA snooping has caused many adverse reactions, but one of the more notable ones has just come from Mozilla’s chief privacy officer Alex Fowler. Speaking with NPR, with the interview coming just after President Obama’s public comments about government surveillance reform, Fowler said that the threat of a balkanized Internet is real. And indeed, some countries are proposing limitations on Internet use that would effectively keep users dealing with information produced within their own countries’ borders.

Poll: Only 39% Trust Red Hat Over Back Doors

Posted in Red Hat, Security at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat poll

Summary: News about Red Hat, including renewed suspicions that the company is too close to the NSA, not merely a business partner

wE BEGAN writing about Red Hat and NSA as its major client only a few months ago [1,2], mainly because we had found a claim by Red Hat staff that patches from the NSA were being passed to Torvalds via Red Hat. We later had that confirmed by Red Hat staff. This definitely does not inspire confidence because we already know that the NSA wanted to put back doors in Linux.

The latest such post about Red Hat and the NSA comes from FOSS Force, where Christine concludes: “If Red Hat isn’t working hand-in-hand with the NSA in its efforts to spy on us, then this poll obviously represents a public relations problem for the Raleigh, North Carolina based company. Although it’s doubtful that many, if any, of those taking this poll are Red Hat customers, we can only assume that results such as we’re seeing here indicate a potential problem of perception even outside the free software community. It wouldn’t bode well for Red Hat if these sentiments were to spread to include it’s user base.”

Christine is being very kind to Red Hat. She may be right, but many of her readers seem to agree that Red Hat could have been used by the NSA for back doors. Less than 40% trust Red Hat.

In other news about Red Hat (more positive news), here are the latest press releases, which barely received any press coverage:

News about Red Hat also still revolves around CentOS (the CentOS news is old, but it’s still abound [1]), OpenStack [2,3,4], or ‘cloud’, which usually means surveillance-friendly setups, sometimes with CIA in the loop [5]. Virtualisation too is in Red Hat’s pitch [6,7,8], not to mention Red Hat staff [9]. There seems to be a recruitment drive in Red Hat’s OpenSource.com, with emphasis on women this month [10-17]. Only one other site [18] seems to have dedicated an article to women in FOSS/software in the same period of time. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s just an observation.

The bottom line is this: we need clarifications from Red Hat where it matters. The silence on this matter has been deafening and if Red Hat says nothing to alleviate these worries, then this may actually contribute further to distrust. Red Hat is developing many core components in GNU/Linux systems and when NSA is using Red Hat to submit patches (created by the NSA) we do need some reassurances. It’s not just SELinux. Red Hat should identify very clearly which patches have come from the NSA so that extra scrutiny can be applied. Knowing what the NSA has done to NIST, RSA etc. it would also be wise to ostracise the NSA when it comes to patches.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux Top 3: CentOS Dons a Red Hat, SteamOS Gets Hardware, Kali Linux Nukes Security
  2. Red Hat’s Love-Hate Affair With The Cloud

    Among the several reasons for Red Hat to embrace CentOS, its erstwhile copycatting nemesis, one explanation has largely been overlooked: The cloud made them do it. More specifically, OpenStack made them do it.

    Red Hat had all but sewn up the market for Linux in the data center. But in the cloud, the market for Linux is both wide open—and perhaps nonexistent.

  3. Red Hat Upgrades OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Platform
  4. Red Hat Promotes Open Source Software-Defined Storage

    If the advent of object-based storage à la OpenStack Swift is one sign of the decline of traditional storage technologies, the momentum of software-defined storage is yet more evidence that the future of data storage for the cloud and the enterprise is changing. And open source giant Red Hat (RHT) is the latest vendor to jump on board, with the announcement of new software-defined storage options for Red Hat partners that could have a wide impact across the channel.

  5. Red Hat, Partners Collaborate on AWS New Test Drive Demos
  6. Red Hat ups its virtualization and cloud game
  7. Red Hat shops get KVM updates, scalability in RHEL 6.5
  8. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.3 Gets Real

    The RHEV 3.3 release is built on top of the open-source oVirt project, which is led by Red Hat. The new release adds support for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 platform, improves performance and supports a wider array of systems.

  9. Findings from working on Red Hat’s installer

    I believe that the open source community as a whole would benefit if more open source developers considered the API and associated bindings as primary and the CLI as of secondary importance. Ideally, applications would be designed from the start with a well-defined API, a set of bindings that evolved with the API, and a CLI (if one was necessary) that was defined in a scripting language that made use of the bindings. Not only would this make the application ripe for automation, but it would likely have the added benefit of making the API better defined and more robust.

  10. Engage women, have fun, get more out of your open source project

    There are few women developers and even proportionately less working in open source communities. However, a career in OSS is ideal for women who are seeking balance in their lives whether the balance is starting a family or maintaining balance with friends and a strenuous and engaging hobby. It’s well established that there’s a shortage of women pursuing careers in computer science. UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute found that just 0.3% of students majoring in technology-related fields are female, despite the high demand for those skills. As few as 1.5% of open source contributors are women.

  11. Heard of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women? Learn more today.

    Marie Nordin is one of the OPW interns for the Fedora Project. She is the visual designer currently in charge of badge design for Fedora Badges, an open badges based web application that helps to encourage contributors in the Fedora community by awarding them with badges for their efforts. (For example, Marie is the proud recipient of the “Pixel Ninja” badge for her work on the Fedora Design team.) I interviewed Marie, and she shared how she came to open source, what open source projects she’s currently involved with, and her advice for other young women interested in getting involved.

  12. The Women of OpenStack talk outreach, education, and mentoring

    In the open source world, a women-only event seems counter-intuitive. Yet I am finding reasons for such events the more I attend them.

    At the OpenStack Summit, a twice-a-year event where OpenStack contributors get together to plan the next release, the Women of OpenStack group has set up events where we invite the women first. Men aren’t excluded, but our hope is to get more OpenStack women together. I can hardly capture the value of getting together with other women in OpenStack at the Summit, but here goes.

  13. Make money and have fun in open source

    We’re familiar with the statistics, and we’ve seen the photos from the tech conferences. Seas full of men. It requires patience to scan for the odd female in those auditoriums. It’s a popular topic, this scarcity of women in technology, one of the hip things to whine about these days. It’s politically correct to blame the male “priesthood” in Silicon Valley. Ask Paul Graham. He took it in the ribs after a few reckless comments about the funding practices of his startup seed accelerator, Y Combinator. He was quoted as saying, “God knows what you would do to get 13 year old girls interested in computers. I would have to stop and think about that,” in a recent article. Ouch. But, really, is he so wrong?

  14. Advice from 5 Joomla! project leaders: Part 1

    The Joomla! community, inside and outside the company, is diverse and multi-cultural. It is made up of all sorts of people with two things in common: a love for Joomla! and a willingness to reach out and help others on the other side of the keyboard.

  15. Advice from 5 Joomla! project leaders: Part 2
  16. The participatory nature of the Internet strengthens fan communities

    Whether the big media producers like it or not, digital technologies have made it easier than ever for popular culture fans to create remixes or derivative works from their favorite movies, TV shows, books, and other media. And the participatory nature of the Internet has arguably helped broaden the popular definition of a “fan community” from something exclusive to comic and sci-fi fans to being inclusive of many genres and people. This includes giving wider exposure to a vast and yet often overlooked demographic in pop fandom—women—and their influence on mainstream media stories.

  17. Golden opportunity for public libraries to meet digital needs of women

    Women use the Internet 17% more than their male counterparts yet are underrepresented in programming and open source. Public libraries (and public schools) have a critical role to play with improving the dearth of diversity in coding and open source.

  18. Girls and Software

    December 2013′s EOF, titled “Mars Needs Women”, visited an interesting fact: that the male/female ratio among Linux Journal readers, and Linux kernel developers, is so lopsided (male high, female low) that graphing it would produce a near-vertical line. I was hoping the piece would invite a Linux hacker on the female side of that graph to step up and move the conversation forward. And sure enough, here we have Susan Sons aka @HedgeMage.

Privacy Watch: GCHQ Resorts to DDOS Attacks, New Smears Against Snowden, Greenwald to Get Journalism Award

Posted in Law at 5:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Today’s and yesterday’s news items about mass surveillance and abuse

  • Snowden leak: GCHQ DDoSed chatrooms of Anonymous, LulzSec

    British intelligence ran denial-of-service attacks against chatrooms used by Anonymous and LulzSec, according to an investigation by NBC News involving Snowden confidante Glenn Greenwald.

  • Snowden Leak: GCHQ Targeted Anonymous With DoS Attacks
  • Jake Davis: Following Latest GCHQ Revelations, Who are the Real Criminals?

    In recent years we’ve learned that the FBI has no problem with using informants to organise, encourage, and assist computer hacking at a global level, and now it seems GCHQ has been in on the double-standards game too: launching Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against chat servers hosted by Anonymous in 2010/2011 in order to scare off supporters of the movement.

  • Victims Of GCHQ’s Denial Of Service Attacks Start Asking Who Are The Real Criminals?

    Earlier today, we wrote about the latest Snowden docs, in which it was revealed that the UK spy agency, GCHQ, was engaged in DDoS attacks on people participating in Anonymous chats and other events, while also helping to identify certain participants, leading to their eventual arrests and convictions. Basically, it looks like GCHQ was engaged in widespread DDoSing, while at the same time helping to convict some kids for doing their own DDoSing. We’ve already questioned whether or not GCHQ is even supposed to be doing that to UK citizens (they’re supposed to be focused on foreign targets), but some of those convicted are already questioning how it’s right that they were convicted of the same thing that the GCHQ itself was doing to them.

  • New surveillance technology can track everyone in an area for several hours at a time

    As Americans have grown increasingly comfortable with traditional surveillance cameras, a new, far more powerful generation is being quietly deployed that can track every vehicle and person across an area the size of a small city, for several hours at a time. Although these cameras can’t read license plates or see faces, they provide such a wealth of data that police, businesses and even private individuals can use them to help identify people and track their movements.

  • Former NSA chief explains how Snowden gained high-level access
  • Snowden leaks: The man who watches over the NSA

    Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations have revealed that a huge capability resides within America’s National Security Agency to collect and analyse communications.

  • Wheeler: “Clapper Confirms NSA Engages In Domestic Surveillance,” It’s Not Just “Terrorism”

    After closely following the National Security Agency story for two years (16+ months before anyone ever heard the name, Edward Snowden), I can honestly say that blogger and journalist Marcy Wheeler’s real-time coverage of this incredible chapter in the Orwellian history of our nation’s clandestine underbelly blows the doors off of virtually everyone (as she’s again reminding us, in multiple stories over the past day), in terms of her intensive and incisive analysis of the hard information and public statements that are being released by our government in the wake of the Snowden document leaks this past June.

  • John McCain Wants A Special NSA Committee, And Dianne Feinstein Isn’t Too Happy About That

    At least four different Senate committees have jurisdiction over the leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden — and now Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wants to create one committee to rule them all.

    McCain introduced legislation on Tuesday that would create a special new committee to investigate the NSA. He has been calling for the creation of such a committee since October, and the resolution is his first concrete step toward that goal.

  • Glenn Greenwald denies selling NSA documents
  • Snowden ally Greenwald to get top journalism award for reports on NSA spying

    Glenn Greenwald and three other journalists who were the first to report on whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leaked NSA files will receive a George Polk award for their work. That’s according to a source familiar with the plans to award the prestigious prize later this month.

  • A Smoking Gun: Online DEA Manuals Show How Feds Use NSA Spy Data, Train Local Cops to Construct False Chains of Evidence

    Whoever suggests the Snowden revelations mean nothing to the lives of ordinary black people either isn’t paying close attention, or is working for the police and prison state. The federal DEA, the Justice Department’s federal drug police, have passed tons illegal NSA spying data to local police agencies and cynically coached them to lie about the sources of their evidence. It’s not exaggeration or hype. You can view the manuals online for yourself.

  • Wozniak criticizes cloud dependence in light of NSA

    Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says he has sympathy for companies at odds with the NSA and its surveillance tactics, but that their own dependence on server farms is part of the problem.

    “I think most companies, just like Apple, start out young and idealistic,” Wozniak said at the Apps World North America convention here. “But now all these companies are going to the cloud. And with the cloud you don’t have any control.”

  • Swiss govt tightens computer security amid NSA spying concerns

    Citing worries about foreign surveillance efforts, the government of Switzerland has ordered tighter control methods on its own computer and phone technology systems in order to prevent Swiss communications from being monitored.

  • Author of the Patriot Act Says NSA Bulk Collection Is Illegal

    Since the revelations about the NSA from Edward Snowden’s leaks last year, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, who authored the Patriot Act, has come out in opposition to certain NSA surveillance practices, particularly bulk collection of Americans’ telephone metadata.

  • Germany’s Schroeder was number 388 on NSA spying list – report
  • Verizon ‘Dispels NSA Inaccuracies’ With More Inaccuracies

    For a long time Verizon was dead silent regarding their cooperation with the NSA, with the only public comment at one point being to mock Yahoo and Google for demanding greater government transparency. R

  • Internet Firms Release Data on NSA Requests

    A flurry of new reports from major technology companies show that the government collects customer information on tens of thousands of Americans every six months as part of secret national security investigations. And the companies’ top lawyers struck a combative stance, saying the Obama administrative needs to provide more transparency about its data collection.

  • Who Did the NSA’s Illegal Spying Put in Jail?

    Last week, the ACLU joined a constitutional challenge to the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA), the statute that allows the NSA to engage in dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international phone calls and emails. With the Federal Defenders Office, we filed a motion on behalf of Jamshid Muhtorov, the first criminal defendant to receive notice that he had been monitored under this controversial spying law. But Mr. Muhtorov received this notice only after the Department of Justice (DOJ) abandoned its previous policy of concealing FAA surveillance in criminal cases — a policy that violated both the statute itself and defendants’ due process rights.

  • Edward Snowden NSA revelations forge pro-privacy bond among liberal and conservative lawmakers in U.S. states

    Revelations of National Security Agency surveillance programs have prompted state lawmakers around the United States to propose bills to curtail the powers of law enforcement to monitor and track citizens.

  • State lawmakers push back against government surveillance

    Angry over revelations of National Security Agency surveillance and frustrated with what they consider outdated digital privacy laws, state lawmakers around the nation are proposing bills to curtail the powers of law enforcement to monitor and track citizens.

  • Civil liberties: We the people must stop NSA infringements

    “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt was upholding the wisdom of our founding fathers. But we have governed our country by the opposite creed since 9/11.

  • NSA surveillance should not be the new normal
  • Curbs on NSA are necessary

    Based upon the disturbing revelations of the NSA power abuse that continue to come into the light of transparency, it is clear that significant changes and controls need to be made in how the NSA is allowed to conduct business.

  • The first congressman to battle the NSA is dead. No-one noticed, no-one cares.

    Last month, former Congressman Otis Pike died, and no one seemed to notice or care. That’s scary, because Pike led the House’s most intensive and threatening hearings into US intelligence community abuses, far more radical and revealing than the better-known Church Committee’s Senate hearings that took place at the same time. That Pike could die today in total obscurity, during the peak of the Snowden NSA scandal, is, as they say, a “teachable moment” —one probably not lost on today’s already spineless political class.

Links 6/2/2014: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 4:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 6/2/2014: Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Setting Performance Expectations For Wine Direct3D
  • First impressions of Antergos installation

    One of the amazing things about Linux is the fact that there is always something new out there to learn. A new package manager, a different desktop environment, a different philosophy, a completely different ethos.

  • 10 VsFTP (Very Secure File Transfer Protocol) Interview Questions and Answers

    FTP stands for ‘File Transfer Protocol‘ is one of the most widely used and standard protocol available over Internet. FTP works in a Server/­Client architecture and is used to transfer file. Initially FTP client were command-­line based. Now most of the platform comes bundled with FTP client and server program and a lot of FTP Client/Server Program is available. Here we are presenting 10 Interview Questions based on Vsftp (Very Secure File Transfer Protocol) on a Linux Server.

  • Developer Prepares uTorrent GTK Client for Linux, Are You Interested?

    At the moment, the uTorrent server for Linux only has a web-based user interface that doesn’t allow users to click magnet links in web pages in order to add them to the download queue. So, if GuTorrent becomes reality, it will be the first ever graphical client for the uTorrent server, a.k.a. the first ever uTorrent client for Linux.

  • First Look at Maxthon Cloud Browser for Linux

    Maxthon Cloud Browser for Linux is not yet an official release, as it’s still in development, and it resides on the official Maxthon forums for the moment, where users can grab the latest Beta versions. It’s easily installable on Debian, Red Hat and other Linux operating systems, especially Arch Linux users, as a package is already available in AUR.

Links 6/2/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 4:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

02.05.14

‘New’ Microsoft Leadership Just Rebranding of Patent Extortion, Bribery, and Illegal Surveillance

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Patents at 7:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A closer look and briefer analysis (than most) of people whom Microsoft is grooming amid perception-altering appointments

Analysis of the press release from Microsoft has been shallow and promotional. Watch out for bogus ‘reporting’ from Microsoft boosters like Peter ‘Bright’, to give just one example among hundreds or thousands jaw-dropping puff pieces. Even some Microsoft-hostile circles have offered too week a scrutiny, if any at all. Let’s sum up what it’s all about (and it’s mostly marketing, not real news).

Microsoft has a new racketeer in chief, overseeing patent extortion along with Horacio while putting a ‘gentle’ face on it. It is all just a rebranding exercise — a familiar old trick that the company behind Kin and Vista is known for. This is a persona routine that marketing companies are renowned for and villains/abusers like BP or Monsanto are (in)famous for.

Also joining the leadership is the man best known for his leadership in GNU/Linux foe Symantec and his role in Seagate, a company sometimes known for its NSA connections just like Microsoft (those three are all connected, or even four if Symantec gets counted because Seagate preinstalls Microsoft software on drives and Symantec profits from Windows). As a timely side note, avoid Seagate. They are absolutely horrible, both technically (based on new studies [1, 2]) and ethically. Today I had to print labels at a high price at some shop to send back my faulty drive to Segate (Netherlands); they shipped me a faulty drive to replace another drive that had gone faulty. Seagate is garbage.

Last but not least, Microsoft boasts the involvement of serial felon, tax evader and patent booster, who is making money by charging taxpayers for his patents against their will and through governments (as an investor in Wal-Mart, for example, his quickly-growing money hoard is at least partly funded by taxpayers, as Wal-Mart itself admits [1]).

Based on what seems like a satirical piece about Vista 8, this man who joked about Vista being crappy (video from Homer) is now complaining about Vista. To quote Homer’s analysis of the satirical piece: “Bill Gates’ first day at work in the newly created role of technology adviser got off to a rocky start yesterday as the Microsoft founder struggled for hours to install the Windows 8.1 upgrade.

“The installation hit a snag early on, sources said, when Mr. Gates repeatedly received an error message informing him that his PC ran into a problem that it could not handle and needed to restart.

“After failing to install the upgrade by lunchtime, Mr. Gates summoned the new Microsoft C.E.O. Satya Nadella, who attempted to help him with the installation, but with no success.

As Will Hill points out: “Sadly, satire: PR for Gates and advertisement for Vista 7.”

This is pretty much all over the press these days: whitewash, humour, PR, and viral marketing. There was a similar story about Ballmer trying to get rid of a virus, requiring days of work and the help of several ‘engineers’. That was in Vista days, but in court documents it turned out that Ballmer and others really did struggle with Vista and expressed concerns.

Going back to Gates, it’s all decoy, distraction, and appeal to the press. So all we have here is one fake ‘charitable’ hoarder who increases his wealth by surveillance, private police thugs (G4S), GMO etc. and two people of ethnic minorities with proximity to NSA (Azure and Seagate). This is not change or reform, it’s just like the Obama speech about the NSA.

A week or so ago Microsoft booster Julie Bort was prolonging the myth of Microsoft as “an insanely profitable company” [2] when she said Microsoft should kick Gates out of the board. This reveals that Ballmer too will continue to be involved. So here we see that the architects of illegal activities still run Microsoft. Ballmer and Gates are to Microsoft what Clapper and Alexander have been to the NSA in recent years.

Remember that Gates has had a lot to do with Microsoft’s patent extortion strategy. Now that we learn about more patent deals [3] we should remember that there is nothing “gentle” or “charitable” at Microsoft. It’s the same ruthless people, including the man who was put on trial for business crimes and was arrested when he was young (to be bailed out by his affluent family). It’s all just marketing now.

“The new patent cross-licensing agreement is designed to protect both companies from patent lawsuits,” says the Microsoft booster about Google and Cisco. What a classic mischaracterisation of patents.

Where is the criticism of Gates for rackeetering? Where are the good investigative articles from Wired, which nowadays (on a weekly basis) seems to be acting as Gates’ private perception management journal?

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. In Rare Moment of Honesty, Wal-Mart Admits that Food Stamps Subsidize their Profits

    Walmart has been in the national spotlight for their poverty wages and employees’ reliance on government assistance. In their quarterly report, Walmart is set to announce that their profits have taken a hit. In a moment of rare honesty, they cited the Republican funding cut to the federal food stamp (SNAP) program as a part of the reason for their lower profit margins, admitting that the federal food stamp program amounts to corporate welfare that subsidizes their profits.

  2. Kicking Bill Gates Off The Board Is The Best Thing Microsoft Can Do

    Microsoft is an insanely profitable company standing on the edge of disaster. It desperately needs new thinking.

    With word that 22-year Microsoft veteran Satya Nadella is likely the new CEO, attention turns to the leadership of the company’s board of directors. It will have two former CEOs, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

    So new thinking is unlikely to come from them.

  3. Google, Cisco sign deal to avoid future patent squabbles

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