11.16.21

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EdgeDeflectorGate is Turning Into a Major Scandal for Microsoft

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:29 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

Although Microsoft is now directly responding to this, as are their paid mouthpieces, it is clear now the scope of the EdgeDeflector PR disaster.

Here’s two such paid trolls defending Edge while at the same time claiming they’re not happy.

Microsoft Calls Firefox’s Browser Workaround “Improper,” Will Block It

I like Edge — too bad Microsoft is being a jerk about it

I don’t know what’s to like. Edge is basically just Chrome with Google’s spyware scooped out and Microsoft’s spyware put in.

On GNU/Linux it is even more absurd. We didn’t stop using Windows so we could start using the browser that Windows users don’t open unless it’s with one of these damned accidental clicks that’s all over Windows “11”.

Windows “11” is the most malicious OS Microsoft has ever released, just like every new version is.

Their official statement on breaking EdgeDeflector is basically that it’s their operating system, and if you don’t like it, up yours.

With Windows “11” barely a month old and not even registering in stat counters yet, over 500,000 people had already downloaded EdgeDeflector, according to Daniel Aleksandersen, the author of the program.

Given numbers like these, it’s obvious why Microsoft is being a bag of dicks and heading it off at the pass. This would have been where Edge stalled out and bled to death. Millions would have used EdgeDeflector because it’s easier to stuff a cork in it if Microsoft leaves this “issue” unaddressed than it is to make Windows take its medicine and put a real OS on the PC, like GNU/Linux. Edge only has 4% of users now, even with all of these ports.

EdgeDeflector users are a lot of people compared to the paltry number of Windows “11” victims so far. Some get conned into ‘free bait’ downgrade offers, some wake up and it found its way onto their computer, and OEMs will ship computers with it and not offer a choice at some point…..this is the only way new Windows versions gain any serious traction…Everyone knows they’re worse than the thing they already have and puts them off as long as possible.

In fact, there’s a perverse incentive to stay on an unsupported release of Windows. Microsoft will stop bricking it every month with crap updates they test on you.

Microsoft is minimizing (the number of users who think Edge is a dodgy spying piece of junk), denying, and blaming others. Which are the hallmarks of an abuser, as any victim of domestic violence will know if they’ve gone to a therapist about it.

“Microsoft isn’t a good steward of the Windows operating system. They’re prioritizing ads, bundleware, and service subscriptions over their users’ productivity,” developer Daniel Aleksandersen added in his blog.

For what it’s worth, the Free Software Foundation sent Microsoft a hard drive asking them to open source Windows 7 so that the community could correct it and maintain it. No reply. 😉 It read like a WTF moment, but they were being flippant, pointing out that Microsoft will never share Windows as open source, so the only wise move is to leave it.

Alexsanderson continue to pontificate, as if this were news to anyone who had driven a PC lately…..

“Microsoft still charges 200 USD for a Windows license while simultaneously filling the operating system with ads and crapware. Weeks before launch, Windows 11 wouldn’t even show the taskbar when it failed to display an advertisement dialog. Just last week, first-party apps and features of Windows 11 stopped working due to an expired encryption certificate.

For users, the best action is to complain to their local antitrust regulator or switch to Linux. Your Web browser is probably the most important — if not the only — app you regularly use. Microsoft has made it clear that its priorities for Windows don’t align with its users’.”

In the US, the antitrust regulators are going after Google, and to some extent Apple, and inexplicably (at least on the surface) leaving Microsoft alone.

While these other companies certainly have issues, neither of them are as nasty as Windows. Microsoft managed to water down the aftermath of US v. Microsoft so much that the consent decree eventually expired, and they said they’d behave.

This is much like the southern US states suing to overturn the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The law required them to get “pre-clearance” from the Department of Justice before enacting new election restrictions.

They went to the courts and said things had changed since 1965 and they would behave now, and then as soon as the law got struck down, they enacted hundreds of new voting restrictions, aimed largely at minorities and the poor, and criminalized black churches gathering votes from their congregants.

It’s simply revolting that all a bad actor has to do is promise to behave and then whether they’re a convicted criminal monopolist or want to bring back the Jim Crow south, they’re off the hook.

The court systems at the federal level are completely broken, obviously, and with so many Trump holdovers that he packed them with, I really doubt anything will happen to Microsoft there, so States need to take the initiative in enforcing their own laws, and citizens of the several States need to petition their State government to do so.

In 2016, I filed an antitrust and consumer fraud complaint against Lenovo in the State of Illinois, and if anyone wants the emails, I’ll release the damned emails. Nothing else I did got their attention. I posted about them locking GNU/Linux out of the Yoga 900-ISK2 series on Reddit /r/linux (full of Microsoft shills) and was banned and called deceptive, I went to the “tech news” naively, and was dismissed by Microsoft propagandists at ZDNet and elsewhere, which are even more a shitposting outfit now than they were then.

When they did post anything at all before I went to the Attorney General, it was some sort of PR blurb about how Lenovo designed the “360 degree hinge” for Windows 10 and “Linux couldn’t possibly work” with, you know, a hinge. Only, it did. As soon as you flipped it over into tablet mode, GNOME activated the virtual keyboard, screen orientation worked, the touchscreen worked, the physical keyboard was disabled until you put it in laptop mode again.

Actually, Windows 10’s on screen keyboard was a complete nightmare. If I tried using it in Firefox, nothing happened at all. It only worked in Edge (Legacy). Dirty tricks even then!

Nothing worked, until I complained in 16 pages of detail, to Lisa Madigan, the Illinois Attorney General, and THEN Lenovo quickly offered a BIOS repair for the affected models and not to do that again.

That laptop is blacklisted from running Windows “11”. It runs Kubuntu 20.10 fine.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to take action against a company for things like this. There was also GPL compliance problems at Samsung. I sent them a letter and they refused to comply, and I got the SFLC after them regarding their infringements against BusyBox, and a source code tarball for my Blu Ray player appeared very soon after that.

Back to Edge…. We need a “Don’t use Edge!” campaign. We really do. If people refuse it and boycott it and even change operating systems over it, it will die.

If people really want a Chromium browser, recommend Brave to them instead.

On a strictly technical level, it’s hard to be much more terrible than Microsoft Internet Exploder. The reason “Edge” seems to crash less and get better security fixes is that Microsoft just brings all of those in from Chromium without doing much of anything. To the extent it’s better, it’s because they’ve gotten out of their own way there.

But with all of that spyware in there, and this “shove it in your face” attitude, it’s like, why do it?

Brave has all of the same important rendering engine features, it’s more secure, it’s the most private major browser out there. The same 2020 study found that Microsoft Edge and Yandex (a Russian search engine) were tied for the worst browsers.

We need to gravitate towards Free and Open Source Software, which doesn’t need your private information and doesn’t want it. We need to encourage these programs for others too.

Right now, the only browsers I’m recommending by name to people who ask are Brave, GNOME Web, and LibreWolf. The rest of them deserve each other.

Mozilla in 2021 is so pathetic that they removed support for setting your Windows “11” default browser in one click from the installer you could download from their Web site, and then said it’s because they wanted it to be just as crippled as the Windows Store version. (Mozilla’s blog has also gone straight to hell. They keep talking about things like magic fairy dust called “AI”, which doesn’t exist. They also clearly won’t be around when it does. It’s buzzword bullshit bingo at this point.)

Windows Store is a joke. Most of the apps are fake or are hobbled in some way. Everyone should avoid it.

With GNU/Linux we have real applications, secure applications, from sources like Debian’s Apt repositories, and FlatHub. No fakes in here.

I developed a hobby of collecting Web browsers when I was a child, and switching back and forth, and I still do that quite a bit, on Debian GNU/Linux now.

People would ask me why I tore apart Windows 98 (with a program called “Revenge of Mozilla” by Bruce Jensen, based on a demonstration tool written by Professor Ed Felten to demonstrate Microsoft’s lying to the court) and gutted it of Internet Exploder, the Trident engine, Outlook, and dozens of other things, and put in the FAT32-aware Windows 95 OSR 2.1 shell.

“I like browsers. I just don’t like theirs. Plus, my operating system doesn’t crash anymore now that it’s not causing the shell to leak out until there’s a Blue Screen of Death.”.

-Me (circa 1998)

Bill Gates testified in court that my operating system was broken.

I found that it ran what I wanted it to just fine.

Far from going deep, deep into the plumbing of the OS, an INF file could run through things in 2-3 minutes, unregistering COM objects, deleting files, cleaning registry keys, asking for the Windows 95 Shell, and you reboot and you’re running this greatly improved OS that’s much faster in less memory.

Microsoft added gratuitous dependencies on IE into programs that never needed it before, and created bloat and security hazards in things like Office 97, just to push Windows 95 users into giving up and embracing the horrors, so I switched to Star Office. I bought it at Staples the same day I bought MandrakeLinux.

What does go deep deep into the bowels of Microsoft is the sleazy, disreputable, lying scumbags.

“Creepy Uncle Bill” handpicked his successors and many of them are still there. Who do you think a guy who cheated on his wife every day with a different woman and flew around with Jeff Epstein trying to buy a Nobel Prize is going to pick to replace him?

How much could they have changed? Obviously not much.

Bonus: Here’s a tour of Windows 98 without Internet Explorer and with a Windows 95 shell patched to say Windows 98. Nathan Lineback at ToastyTech used a similar program called 98Lite, which was not freeware. I used RoM because it was freeware and I was a broke kid.

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