09.15.19

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All About Control: Microsoft is Not Open Source But an Open Source Censor/Spy and GitHub/LinkedIn/Skype Are Its Proprietary Censorship/Surveillance Tools

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 7:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Silence of the Lambs
Credit: The Silence of the Lambs (film)

Summary: All the big companies which Microsoft bought in recent years are proprietary software and all of the company’s big products remain proprietary software; all that “Open Source” is to Microsoft is “something to control and censor

THE MISGUIDED idea or the concept of Microsoft as “Open” has long been laughable. Just look at all their major products. Not even one is Free/Open Source software. Nothing. None.

When one can spend billions of dollars on PR, however, it is possible to interject all sorts of lies into the media, even ridiculous statements such as "Microsoft loves Linux"

“As far as Linux development goes, Microsoft is already pretty deep inside; it even has access to highly confidential mailing lists.”Persistence has paid off. Lies can eventually triumph. Patience…

Microsoft would love to control Linux. It’s already getting there, little by little (the latest step is imposing Microsoft’s proprietary file systems on Linux [1, 2]).

As far as Linux development goes, Microsoft is already pretty deep inside; it even has access to highly confidential mailing lists.

Next step? Buy all the seats or most of them. Take control. Make Linux all about Microsoft. Control Linux. Censor or remove code/people who aren’t liked by Microsoft (for purely commercial reasons).

The other day we covered another step in this gradual ‘coup’. This Apple PR(opaganda) site gets it wrong; Microsoft just basically bought a seat. Some high-profile media wrote shallow articles about it (like the press releases of the Linux Foundation) and a reader sent us what we initially cited, if only just to highlight this bit:

Microsoft and Apple have both joined the Academy Software Foundation, a group designed to promote the use of open source in Hollywood. Both companies joined the foundation at the premier membership level, which helps it to surpass $1 million in annual funding.

Slush funds. When Microsoft takes (or buys) the key seats in committees/panels the projects are compromised and end up outsourced to proprietary software such as GitHub and Slack (security suicide). Another new example, reposted days ago as a press release: “Haivision and Microsoft Host SRT Sunday Featuring Panel Discussions and SRT Open Source Showcase [...] Haivision freely engages the community on Github and a dedicated Slack channel that is open to all SRT Alliance members.”

“Microsoft is nowadays in the censorship and surveillance business. It tries to monopolise this.”So it is controlled by the host. They should delete GitHub and Slack if they’re serious about Open Source. Meanwhile, as another new example, Stripe outsources the company’s operations to Microsoft and its censorship platform, which is proprietary software. To quote: “The product in question is called Stripe Connect Express, and it helps platforms like Spotify and Medium sign up new sellers to their platforms. To use those examples: Connect Express has helped Spotify quickly sign up new independent artists to get paid per play of their music, and Medium uses it to pay out writers for their slice of paywall revenue.”

Microsoft does not help developers be paid; it’s defunding them based on broad, racist generalisations. When you put your code in Microsoft’s GitHub you facilitate systematic racism by the most aggressive regimes and help imperialism. That’s antithetical to Software Freedom; it’s in violation of the first essential freedom.

Microsoft is a censorship enforcer now. It censors Open Source and it fights Free software that the US government does not like. Even the Microsoft-friendly ZDNet has just admitted it:

Duncan Worrell, a GitHub user from the UK, this month had his financial services company’s private repository blocked because GitHub determined that it was subject to US trade controls.

GitHub didn’t explain how it determined that the UK company should be restricted. However, Worrell suspected it was because “a sub-contractor of a sub-contractor currently resident in Ukraine, accessed our GitHub repo while visiting family in Crimea”.

The only communication he received from GitHub was that: “Due to US trade controls law restrictions, paid GitHub organization services have been restricted.”

Also see the article that a reader sent us, below [1] (we’re already posted a bunch of reports about this in our Daily Links, but not this report). Microsoft is nowadays in the censorship and surveillance business. It tries to monopolise this.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Ninth Circuit Says LinkedIn Wrongly Blocked HiQ’s Scraping Efforts

    Fans of scraping cases may rejoice. The Ninth Circuit issued its long-awaited opinion in the hiQ v. LinkedIn case (it was argued in March 2018, so the opinion took about 18 months). It rules in favor of hiQ.

    hiQ was a company that, apparently with LinkedIn’s authorization, accessed data from public LinkedIn profiles and built products on this data. After years of this practice, LinkedIn sent hiQ a cease and desist letter that hiQ was no longer authorized to access LinkedIn user data, so any ongoing access would violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and other laws. hiQ preemptively sought a preliminary injunction. The district court granted the injunction and ordered LinkedIn to allow hiQ to access the data in question during the pendency of the lawsuit. It was a sweeping ruling that many thought would be unlikely to survive challenge on appeal. The Ninth Circuit upheld the ruling.

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