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04.06.14

Richard Stallman Explains How He Became Political

Posted in TechBytes Video at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TechBytes with Stallman

Direct download as Ogg

Summary: Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation’s founder, explains what inspired him to get involved in non-software matters


After this interview we looked up some lines from “The Prisoner” (on his laptop).

Made entirely using Free/libre software, heavily compressed for performance on the Web at quality’s expense

News Leftovers:Looting, Environment, Religion, Science, and More

Posted in News Roundup at 9:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Looting

Environment

UK

Religion

Science

Other Curious News

From beginning of of this year

With Incompetence or Back Doors Like These, Who Needs Microsoft/NSA Back Doors?

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 8:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Controller

Summary: It’s not a joke; empty password lets you into a proprietary system designed by Microsoft

I HONESTLY had to check the date of this article [via] from the BBC, ensuring it’s not from April 1st. It says that a five-year-old boy “discovered that if he simply pressed the space bar to fill up the password field, the system would let him in to his dad’s account.”

What system? The system which NSA uses to read people's conversations. It’s a Microsoft system known as Xbox. Yes, you can’t make this stuff up! MinceR called it “Microsoft® Security™” after DaemonFC had posted the link in IRC.

Richard Stallman likes to tell the story of how, way back in the hacker days of MIT, he and others would develop systems to accept blank passwords in order to get around artificial limitations imposed by management on users. Microsoft appears to be taking it further than Stallman did, even decades later.

What’s infuriating about this type of neglect/deliberate back doors is that the more insecure Microsoft systems become, the more money Microsoft makes (read the article “Not dead yet: Dutch, British governments [i.e. taxpayers] pay to keep Windows XP alive”). We wrote about this not too long ago.

Free/Open Source Software News: More Advocacy, Liberation, and Free Software on the Web

Posted in News Roundup at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Advocacy

  • Linux Foundation: Collaborative Open Source Software Development Is Hot
  • Open source software initiatives rewarded

    The APC Chris Nicol FLOSS Prize recognises initiatives that are making it easy for people to start using free/libre and open source software (FLOSS). The prize will be awarded to a person or group doing extraordinary work to make FLOSS accessible to ordinary computer users.

  • Bringing open source into consumer convenience

    Imagine a world with fewer queues in banking and retail, and more self-service options. Imagine no longer relying on one cubical or terminal for service. Sounds unreal? This world is now a possibility in South Africa thanks to the partnership between LSD and Cashware.

  • Why an Open Software and What Are the Benefits

    Essentially, an open-source software or OSS is a kind of computer software which has its source code made available and licensed by virtue of such a license agreement which authorizes the copyright holder to study, modify and distribute the software to anyone, without any further charges and for any purpose whatsoever.

Open-sourcing

Misc.

Events

Apache and Nginx

Mozilla

  • [rust-dev] Rust 0.10 Released

    Mozilla and the Rust community are pleased to announce version 0.10 of the Rust compiler and tools. Rust is a systems programming language with a focus on safety, performance and concurrency.

  • Mozilla’s Webcompat Project Seeks Volunteers to Call Out Bugs

    If you’ve ever done any web development work, you are probably intimately familiar with the fact that what you build on the web may show up fine in one browser, yet be completely broken in another. It used to be that this problem simply meant testing sites and pages across popular desktop browsers, but in the age of mobile technology, you now have to test your creations across mobile devices, too.

  • Chrome Slips By Firefox in the War of the Browsers

    While Mozilla has mostly been in the headlines this week for news related to contributions made by its new CEO Brendan Eich, another piece of meaningful news regarding the company is largely being ignored: Google Chrome has moved past Firefox to take second place in desktop browser market share, according to web traffic stats from Net Applications. In March, Chrome grabbed 17.5 percent of desktop brower traffic, while Firefox sat in third place with 17.2 percent. This is a first for Chrome, according to Net Applications’ data, and is possibly driven by Google’s extensive advertising for Chrome and Mozilla’s new focus on Firefox OS and mobile technology.

  • Firefox Enables Generational GC To Compete With Chrome

    The latest Mozilla Firefox nightly builds have begun enabling the generational garbage collector to better compete with Google’s Chrome on performance grounds.

  • Bringing SIMD to JavaScript

    In an exciting collaboration with Mozilla and Google, Intel is bringing SIMD to JavaScript. This makes it possible to develop new classes of compute-intensive applications such as games and media processing—all in JavaScript—without the need to rely on any native plugins or non-portable native code. SIMD.JS can run anywhere JavaScript runs. It will, however, run a lot faster and more power efficiently on the platforms that support SIMD. This includes both the client platforms (browsers and hybrid mobile HTML5 apps) as well as servers that run JavaScript, for example through the Node.js V8 engine.

  • Firefox Enables Generational GC To Compete With Chrome
  • Mozilla Thunderbird 24.4.2 Official Lands in Ubuntu
  • Mozilla’s Thimble and Webmaker Get Nods for Teaching Web Development Skills

    Thimble is actually a subset of Mozilla’s Webmaker project, which is aimed at teaching all kinds of web literacy and development skills.

  • Introducing rr

    Many, many people have noticed that if we had a way to reliably record program execution and replay it later, with the ability to debug the replay, we could largely tame the nondeterminism problem. This would also allow us to deliberately introduce nondeterminism so tests can explore more of the possible execution space, without impacting debuggability. Many record and replay systems have been built in pursuit of this vision. (I built one myself.) For various reasons these systems have not seen wide adoption. So, a few years ago we at Mozilla started a project to create a new record-and-replay tool that would overcome the obstacles blocking adoption. We call this tool rr.

  • EFF Statement on Mozilla and the Importance of the Open Internet

    We support the Mozilla community and the vital work they’ve done—and must keep doing—for the open Internet. EFF has been following the discussions around the choice of Brendan Eich as Mozilla’s CEO, including the announcement that he is stepping down.

    As partners to Mozilla in campaigns that have included the fight against SOPA/PIPA, the StopWatching.US Coalition against mass surveillance, the effort to Encrypt the Web, the battle to prevent non-consensual online tracking, and ongoing work to make Firefox a more secure browser, we appreciate the frank and honest discussion that the community has undergone over this issue and respect the openness of the process. In that respect, as in many others, the difference between a closed and an open community is profound.

  • Three Mozilla board members—including former CEOs—step down
  • This Is Intolerance

    McAvoy clearly appreciates his ability to speak his mind without fear of retribution. But he also demands the termination of employment of a person that he disagrees with.

    That sounds like hypocrisy, and intolerance, to me.

  • Division And Fear In Silicon Valley

    The worst of what I’m seeing is this – people who have steadfastly supported gay rights (and minority rights in general) but don’t like seeing how Eich is being treated are being called bigots and worse by their colleagues.

  • Gun-Toting Mozilla Employees Demand CEO “Step Down” [Updated: Satire]

Chrome(ium)

  • Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop beta released

    Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop app beta is released for invite-only. Chrome Remote Desktop allows you to set up your computer for secure remote access. This includes setting up your computer so that you can access it later from another machine; or you can also use the app to let a friend remotely access your computer temporarily, perfect for times when you need help solving a computer problem.

  • Google is rolling out Google Now Cards for the desktop version of Chrome
  • Blink’s First Birthday

    Last April we introduced Blink as the new rendering engine for Chromium. Since then, the project has grown to include over 200 active contributors, and code complexity has been reduced significantly. We’ve also made encouraging progress on our top priority for 2014: mobile web performance.

Links: News About Surveillance, Covert Intervention, Drones…

Posted in News Roundup at 8:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Domestic

Snowden

Privacy

NSA

  • Watching the watchmen
  • Commmentary: Putting limits on the NSA reach
  • Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern says Edward Snowden is no traitor
  • Privacy? Surely you jest!

    “Identity theft is a growing problem, Tom. The personal information you willingly gave about yourself exists forever in the digital ecosystem. That gives savvy technical people lots of opportunities to steal your identity and destroy your finances.”

    “I didn’t realize it was that easy.”

    “Identity theft is less worrisome than what government entities could do to you. Look how the IRS has been used to attack political enemies. Now imagine what government entities can do when they know EVERYTHING about you! That’s why I called you today, Tom. I called to help you.”

  • How U.S. won deal with internet giants shows spy-law struggle

    The night before President Barack Obama’s Jan. 17 speech, O’Neil, a Justice Department lawyer, and his boss, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, got on the phone with attorneys for five major technology companies. All five were suing the U.S. government for permission to disclose the extent of those same classified government orders, which require them to hand over records of customers’ emails and Internet use.

Germany

Europe

UK

Ukraine

Backstabbing

  • Why allies can’t trust Uncle Sam

    US allies should wake up and realize that the FIVE EYES GROUP remains the real allies and in the Asian continent to balance issues Australia, India and Japan are used. However given that Australia belongs to the Five Eyes Group, India and Japan must seriously wonder what they are getting out of betraying their own continent just to rub shoulders with the white man?

Deception

Drones

Egypt, Syria, and Libya

  • Egypt court sentences police captain to death
  • Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels

    In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.​* Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

    Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

  • Khadafy kept enemies on ice, ran university rape dungeon

USAID/Betrayal

  • Cuban Government Reacts to USAID’s “Cuban Twitter” Project
  • US secretly built ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest

    The U.S. government masterminded the creation of a “Cuban Twitter” — a communications network designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba, built with secret shell companies and financed through foreign banks, The Associated Press has learned.

    The Obama administration project, which lasted more than two years and drew tens of thousands of subscribers, sought to evade Cuba’s stranglehold on the Internet with a primitive social media platform. First, the network would build a Cuban audience, mostly young people; then, the plan was to push them toward dissent.

  • Top 5 Things Wrong With USAID Social Media Plot Against Cuba

    The US Agency for International Development established a microblogging platform similar to Twitter for Cubans. It used it to promote critical discussion of the government but also to gather private information of users. Covert operations are supposed to be approved by the White House but it is not clear this one was. The whole thing may have been illegal. Sen. Patrick Leahy said he knew nothing of the project and criticized the use of US AID as the agency to pursue it. He is right. Here’s what’s wrong with this picture:

Censorship

Attack on Journalism

Barrett Brown

Foreign Affairs

  • Not Saving the Children

    Such suspicion of NGOs is not a Pakistani phenomenon alone. Globally speaking, NGO-government relations are not only tenuous but also generally straitened. Civil society organizations have quadrupled in number across the developing world over the last 20 years. This in turn has generated a sense of mistrust between the state and NGOs.

  • US-compliant regime assured

    The candidates include US groomed politicians, and drug-dealing warlords from the Tajik and Uzbek north. Chief among them, Rashid Dostam, a major war criminal and principal CIA ally who ordered the massacre of over 2,000 Taliban prisoners.

  • Not all veterans want to remember war
  • DC Has Two Team Names to Change

    The Nationals, on the other hand, are part of the promotion of the worst crimes our society is currently engaged in. A National’s game is packed, inning after inning, with songs and cheers and announcements promoting war. Fans are told that the U.S. Navy is “keeping the world’s oceans safe and free” — and they stand and cheer for that, even as the U.S. Navy and Army and Air Force and Marines and assorted special forces and mercenaries and CIA kill, and kill, and kill, building hostility around the world.

Torture

04.05.14

News Links: Human Rights, Surveillance, International Law…

Posted in News Roundup at 12:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Drones

  • Court: Improper for Judiciary to Decide Whether Killing US Citizens with Drones Violates Due Process Rights

    A federal judge was unable to find no remedy in United States law for a claim that United States citizen’s due process rights were violated when they were targeted and killed by a drone. The case was dismissed because the judge determined the citizen had been properly designated a terrorist, posed a threat to US interests, and the judiciary should not interfere in the areas of “warmaking, national security and foreign relations.”

  • Drone killings case thrown out in US

    A US federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against the government by the families of three American citizens killed by drones in Yemen, saying senior officials cannot be held personally responsible for money damages for the act of conducting war.

  • Constitutional collateral damage: Lawsuit over American drone deaths tossed out by US judge
  • Lawsuit Over American Drone Strikes Dismissed
  • UN Wants Answers on Drones; Why Not The American People?
  • New bill would force President Obama to publish drone strike casualties

    A bipartisan Bill that would force President Obama to reveal casualties from covert US drone strikes has been put before the US Congress.

    If successful, the bill would require the White House to publish an annual report of casualties from covert US drone strikes.

    The reports would include the total number of combatants killed or injured, the total number of civilians killed or injured, and the total number of people killed or injured by drones who are not counted as combatants or civilians.

  • Who Are We Killing? It Seems a Good Question
  • Viewpoint: All Americans should oppose further use of drone technology

    Americans of conscience, of all political persuasions, are concerned over our use of unmanned armed drone aircraft as an instrument of foreign policy. Kalamazoo Nonviolent Opponents of War (KNOW) urges our fellow citizens to seriously consider the issues raised by this remote-controlled death from the skies.

  • Berlin powerless to challenge US drone operations at Ramstein air base

    Statements made by Brandon Bryant, a former drone pilot for the US Air Force, reveal that Germany plays a greater role in the US drone war than previously thought.

    “The entire drone war of the US military wouldn’t be possible without Germany,” Bryant told German media. During his time in the US Air Force, Bryant flew more than 1,000 operations from the US.

  • Organization formed in Yemen to stop drone attacks

    The National Organization for Drone Victims has been established by families of drone victims along with human rights activists in Yemen. The group is seeking to end the US drone program in Yemen.

  • UN Human Rights Committee Finds US in Violation on 25 Counts

    While President Obama told the country to “look forward, not backward” when it came to Bush’s torture program, the United Nations has taken a different route. Recently, the UN Human Rights Committee issued a report excoriating the United States for its human rights violations. It focuses on violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the country is party. The report mentions 25 human rights issues where the United States is failing. This piece will focus on a few of those issues – Guantanamo, NSA surveillance, accountability for Bush-era human rights violations, drone strikes, racism in the prison system, racial profiling, police violence, and criminalization of the homeless.

Torture

  • CIA torture tactics to get public airing

    Thursday’s vote marked the end of a four-year Senate probe of the CIA’s past use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ a euphemism used to sugarcoat a number of brutal torture techniques, including hypothermia, stress positions and waterboarding against detainees following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

  • CIA torture didn’t work

    The CIA is a rogue operation run by people who think they’re entitled to do whatever they want. For years they’ve gotten away with it. But if President Obama agrees to release a summary of a declassified report on the agency’s torture program, they won’t be able to cloak their abuses in secrecy any longer.

  • The CIA’s dark secrets

    The CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques,” introduced after 9/11, were not just cruel, but rarely led to valuable intelligence, a report by the US Senate is likely to say. A summary is expected to be declassified.

  • Take CIA out of loop on torture report

    By law, the president has authority to declassify information, and he surely has the authority to decide the process for declassifying this landmark report.

    The CIA should never have had a torture program, never should have lied about what it was doing and never should have been given broad authority to review the Senate oversight report.

    Obama cannot now hand the agency a black-out pen to continue to hide the horrors it inflicted around the globe and the harm it caused to our American values. It’s time for someone other than the CIA to decide what all Americans can know about its wrongs.

    Fooled twice, yes. Let’s not be fooled again.

  • CIA Put In Charge Of Declassifying Senate’s Report That Condemns The CIA’s Torture Program

    In our post about the Senate Intelligence Committee agreeing to declassify the executive summary and major findings of the $40 million, 6,300 page “devastating” report on how the CIA tortured people for no good reason and then lied about it, we noted that there was still a battle over who would handle the declassification process. Senator Mark Udall directly noted that the White House had a choice

  • Leak the CIA report: it’s the only way to know the whole truth about torture

    Unless, of course, you think spies redacting 6,300 pages of their own sins is transparency. Look how much leaks told us this week

  • CIA official dies in apparent suicide

    CIA employees are known to work under stressful conditions and high stress is considered part of the job, the website adds. Employees are usually intelligence analysts and support personnel, technical services operators, or members of the clandestine services.

  • CIA Official Dies in Apparent Suicide
  • Crowdsourced Guesses Predict World Events Better Than The CIA
  • Senate decision welcomed by alleged CIA torture victim

    ITV News has obtained a statement from former Libyan opposition politician Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who claims he was tortured by the CIA and says British authorities were aware of it.

  • CIA torture victim calls for declassification of Senate report
  • Secret State Department Letter Warned: Don’t Release CIA Torture Report

    While Joe Biden publicly called for releasing the Senate report on CIA interrogation, the State Department warned that revealing foreign “black sites” could risk American lives.

  • CIA ‘torture,’ Microsoft’s stolen source code, and a cool espionage exhibit: Spy Games Update

    Sen. Ron Wyden declared that Americans would be dismayed by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s classified 6,200-page report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, which he called “torture.” You can read about it here:

    Sen. Wyden: Americans will be ‘profoundly disturbed’ by report on CIA’s terrorist interrogations

Cuba, Ukraine and Other Destabilisation at the Borders

Award

Snowden

NSA

  • Interactive Graphic: The NSA Spying Machine
  • Americans trust IRS and NSA more than Facebook: Shock poll

    Americans trust the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the National Security Agency with their personal data more than than they do Facebook and Google, reveals a shocking poll findings released Thursday morning.

    The question asked by the Reason-Rupe public opinion poll was “Which of the following (IRS, NSA, Facebook and Google) do you TRUST THE MOST with your personal information?”

  • Over 200 NSA documents collected and made searchable, from Snowden to Prism

    When Edward Snowden made a name for himself last June by leaking classified NSA information, he did so by working with The Guardian and a documentary filmmaker. As such, the public learned of much of the NSA’s surveillance measures through the medium of a single media outlet. In the ensuing months, much more has come to light, and today the American Civil Liberties Union is unveiling “NSA Documents Database,” a searchable, categorized database of just over 200 previously classified NSA documents.

  • How Coverage of the NSA Scandals Ignores the (Obedient) CIA

    Note the reference to 1947. It’s part of the public record that President Truman, who created the CIA when he signed the National Security Act of 1947, publicly regretted that the CIA had become a nexus of covert operations.

  • Half of Americans have changed browsing habits due to NSA spying

    A recent Harris poll asked over 2000 US adults aged 18 years and older whether they had actively changed their attitude towards online security as a consequence of the controversy surrounding the NSA’s actions. 47% of respondents said that they had changed their behaviour and now considered with much more care what they did and said online.

  • Pro-Pot, Pro-Gay, Anti-NSA… and Running for Senate

    Meet Shenna Bellows, Maine’s former ACLU chief who’s looking to unseat Susan Collins with a mix of left and right issues that might appeal to millennials.

  • Hiding in plain sight: evidence that NSA isn’t wrecking internet security

    The allegation that NSA weakened the dual elliptic curve random number generator has been floating around for some time, and it has already had some policy impact. The President’s Review Group was reacting to the story when it declared that the US Government should “fully support and not undermine efforts to create encryption standards [and] not in any way subvert, undermine, weaken, or make vulnerable generally available commercial software.”

    A careful reading of the actual study, though, suggests that there’s been more than a little hype in the claim that NSA has somehow made us all less safe by breaking internet security standards. I recognize that this is a technical paper, and that I’m not a cryptographer. So I welcome technical commentary and corrections.

  • Box CEO Aaron Levie on How the NSA Could Be Bad for Business
  • Box’s Aaron Levie: We haven’t received any NSA requests

    With Box heading toward an IPO, the normally gregarious CEO can’t say much about anything. But when it comes to the topic of government surveillance and what that might mean for the future of the Internet, he offers a few tidbits.

  • Technology that can deliver ‘NSA proof’ smart phones

    As the internet and mobile companies constantly strive for spy-proof, secure technology for customers who use smart phones, laptops or tablets, a team of scientists have shown how a novel quantum cryptography technology can help them achieve an ‘NSA proof’ world.

Europe

‘Reform’ on Privacy

  • An NSA “Reform Bill” of the Intelligence Community, Written by the Intelligence Community, and for the Intelligence Community

    Representatives Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, introduced HR 4291, the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act (.pdf), to end the collection of all Americans’ calling records using Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Both have vehemently defended the program since June, and it’s reassuring to see two of the strongest proponents of NSA’s actions agreeing with privacy advocates’ (and the larger public’s) demands to end the program. The bill only needs 17 lines to stop the calling records program, but it weighs in at more than 40 pages. Why? Because the “reform” bill tries to create an entirely new government “authority” to collect other electronic data.

  • Planned NSA reforms still leave journalists reason to worry

    Last week the Obama administration set forth a proposal to reform one part of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program: the indiscriminate collection of American phone records. Under the president’s proposal, the government would no longer collect call data in bulk but would be allowed to ask for it from phone companies with court approval, and only for numbers linked to terrorism.

  • Obama’s promise to prevent NSA spying rings hollow

    Dream on. The significant thing about Obama’s announcement is the two things it left out: surveillance of the Internet (as distinct from the telephonic activity of American citizens); and of the rest of the world — that’s you and me. So even if Obama succeeds in getting his little policy swerve through Congress, the central capabilities of the national surveillance state will remain in place.

  • Telecoms could be forced to collect even more metadata under Obama’s NSA overhaul

    An effort from the White House to revamp the rules that govern how the National Security Agency goes about getting telephone data may actually force service providers to start logging more records that they do now, a new report suggests.

  • Barack Obama’s NSA overhaul may require phone carriers to store more data
  • Obama’s NSA overhaul may require phone carriers to store more data

    President Barack Obama’s plan for overhauling the National Security Agency’s phone surveillance program could force carriers to collect and store customer data that they are not now legally obliged to keep, according to U.S. officials.

    One complication arises from the popularity of flat-rate or unlimited calling plans, which are used by the vast majority of Americans.

As the World Moves to GNU/Linux Propaganda From Microsoft-funded Proxies Claims Opposite of What Microsoft Intended

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 9:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU/Linux is rapidly gaining, partly because of Microsoft’s mistakes

Chart

Summary: Reports about new Microsoft-funded propaganda are easily serving as yet more proof that Windows and other Microsoft software ought to be abandoned

EVERY YEAR we are told the same lies. The propaganda is coordinated by Microsoft-funded entities like IDC and the Business Software Alliance (BSA). We tackled this propaganda year after year, also noting that IDG (the parent of IDC) helps disseminate the propaganda in the corporate press. It’s disgusting and it really ought to stop. It’s like the classic routine of rogue think tanks.

Glyn Moody has done a good job tackling the propaganda in two blogs. One of them was his Open Enterprise blog (ironically hosted by IDG), where he wrote: “As those make clear, we are talking here about Windows malware, found on purchased PCs, Web sites, in P2P downloads and CDs bought on the street. Moreover, it’s evident the infected software is proprietary, paid-for software. Why do we know that? Well, for the simple reason that nobody pirates open source software, because it’s always free of charge, by definition. So Microsoft’s report is about closed-source code, running on Windows.

“This means that IDC/Microsoft’s disturbingly high figure of $500 billion for 2014 is not so much the projected worldwide cost for enterprises of using pirated software, as the cost of running non-free programs on Windows. Most of that $500 billion could be saved – pretty much at a stroke – simply by switching to free software. ”

Glyn Moody also wrote about it in TechDirt (very large audience), under the headline “Microsoft-Sponsored Study Says Problems Caused By Using Windows Software Will Cost Businesses $500 Billion In 2014″ (similar to the other headline he chose). To quote his arguments: “Although the report doesn’t say so explicitly, we are clearly dealing with Windows systems here — computers are referred to throughout as “PCs,” never as Macs, and some of the malware is named as “Win32/Enosch.A, Win32/Sality.AT, Win32/Pramro.F,” which attack Windows systems exclusively. We can also be pretty sure that none of the infected programs was open source. Why? Because pirating software that is already freely available makes no sense — and is certainly unlikely to be as profitable as offering black market versions of costly closed-source programs.

“Putting this information together — in order to “Get The Facts” as Microsoft always liked to say — we arrive at the interesting conclusion that the use of commercial closed-source programs running on Microsoft Windows will cost businesses around $500 billion in 2014 alone because of the wasted time, lost data and reputational damage that will result from associated malware infections.”

Moody did a good job breaking down the arguments, so we need not do this again (we do this every year). Instead, let’s look at the situation Microsoft is in.

Yesterday and the day before that we wrote about the rise of Chromebooks, which led to a massive campaign of FUD and AstroTurfing from Microsoft. It’s always the same. Moody links to this article from the British press [via], stating that “London Council Dumping Windows For Chromebooks To Save £400,000″ (this was later covered in [1]). There’s no denying the fact that Vista 8 is driving many enterprises away from Windows and Vista 8.1 won’t change much, based on SJVN’s analysis that says: “By this time next year we’ll know if Microsoft has managed to reclaim its users’ and vendors’ mind-share, or if we really are seeing the end of the PC computing market in favor of a mobile, cloud-based computing paradigm.”

A state with 70 million people is now moving to GNU/Linux [2], so it’s rather clear where we’re heading. “Microsoft finally admits defeat,” says a Microsoft-friendly site [3] regarding the future Windows 8 update and based on numerous reports, Microsoft now drops the price of Windows to 0 for some device types [4]. “Apple already made the move to free-of-charge operating systems,” explains iophk. “Between that and FOSS, the OS has become a commodity. This is good, without charging, Microsoft cannot give kickbacks or similar financial incentives, at least not for much longer.”

You really know that Microsoft is deep in trouble when even its peripheral PR, such as Microsoft Peter [5], projects worry about the number of XP users (people who still use a version of Windows from 2001). Rupert Murdoch’s WSJ quotes US figures and says [6] that “[a]bout 95% of the 211,000 ATMs owned by financial institutions, run some version of XP. But some of those machines run on a unique version Microsoft will support until 2016, according to a Department of Homeland Security memo sent in March. Independent companies, such as gas stations, own another 210,000.”

Many of them will move to Linux. Even Rupert Murdoch’s company, despite being anti-Google, is dumping Microsoft for Google. Interesting times.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. London borough drops Windows, goes with Chromebooks, saves around £400,000

    Microsoft has more reasons to worry about Linux. After reports that an Indian state switched from Windows XP to Linux, now a UK-based organization is ditching Windows and going for Linux-based Chromebooks. The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham is going the open source way as it shifts away from Windows XP desktops in favor of 2,000 Samsung 303Cs Chromebooks for employees and 300 Chromeboxes for reception desks and shared work areas across the borough.

  2. Tamil Nadu’s XP migration plan: Go Linux like a BOSS

    The Indian State of Tamil Nadu will solve its Windows XP problem by adopting Linux.

    Tamil Nadu is home to over 70 million people and its capital city is Chennai, a hub for India’s business process outsourcing industry second only to Bangalore.

  3. Microsoft finally admits defeat, will bring Start menu back in future Windows 8 update
  4. Will free Windows make Microsoft bleed to death?
  5. One week before its end of life, 28 percent of Web users are still on Windows XP
  6. Windows XP: Old Platforms Die Hard, Security Risks Live On

Society Still Occupied by Bill Gates and Other Plutocrats

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft at 9:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of some recent news about Microsoft’s criminal co-founder and his siege against the poor, the oppressed, or his competition, including free press and the truth

BASED on the headings in The Guardian, Bill Gates continues to funnel money (via proxy) for his publicity charades and for The Guardian to never criticise him or his investments (as The Guardian used to do before it got bribed by Gates). We are currently in contact with a person who is intimately aware of Gates funds being misused in the developing world (more on that soon), basically alleging that through personal involvement he saw how in places like Africa Gates was doing harm, not good. Now, watch how the the Gates-funded The Guardian helps Gates abduct the “Ubuntu” brand/term (with a Gates advertisement at the top). This is a regular thing. It’s lobbying and it is corrupting the press.

There are other areas that Gates is corrupting, including for example US education. The Gates Foundation must have just suffered a major setback as its lobbying for Common Core (using publicly-funded schools to indoctrinate the next generation for plutocrats) got struck out by a governor [1]. “In other good news from that article,” wrote a person in this comment, “my state, Oklahoma, is considering ditching Common Core.”

People who don’t quite grasp how harmful Gates and his ilk have been to this world should recall Microsoft’s relationship with the NSA, which is ideologically tied to Gates' support of the NSA (he has privatised surveillance also and significant investments in G4S).

It has become clear, owing to disclosures from the “Occupy” movement, that the surveillance apparatus protects plutocrats like Gates from the vast majority of the population. Read the new story “David “Debt” Graeber evicted, implicates NYPD intelligence, claims revenge-harassment for OWS participation” (the FBI was shown to have characterised Occupy as “low-level terrorism” and treated it as such). It’s class war. Don’t look for enemies among the lower classes or immigrants (xenophobia). The enemies are well groomed, well known, and we are regularly shown them in corporations-owned media. These are neither scapegoats nor poetic villains; they are people who know very well what they are doing and hence they try to buy our schools, the media, politicians, and everything else which forms our perception of the world.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Gov. Mike Pence signs bill to ditch Common Core

    Less than four years after Indiana became an early adopter of the national Common Core education standards, Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation Monday making Indiana the first state to opt out of the controversial school guidelines.

    But the law does not prohibit parts of Common Core from being written into new standards that are expected to be voted on by the state Board of Education late next month.

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