07.13.21

The Largest Distros of GNU/Linux Fight for Microsoft Hegemony (Instead of Freedom)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 691de53cdee744adb0447b3d0f8f83bc

Summary: GNU/Linux ought not be reduced to merely another brand; if the goal is software freedom, then we won’t get there by relying on bigger corporations that make alliances with Microsoft and strive to ‘monetise’ everything

The Free software community is in a tough spot at the moment. Even though GNU/Linux is used more than ever before, rarely does freedom follow this trend. There’s actually entrenchment of ‘Linux-powered’ (e.g. Android) surveillance and GNU/Linux-based (e.g. Facebook, Google disservices) espionage.

The video deals with this new (this morning’s) example of Red Hat pushing (promoting but with drug-dealing slant) Microsoft’s proprietary software (check the licence, as it’s legally and technically proprietary software). It’s malicious software, a potential keylogger, which is also monopolistic and a piece of spyware in the “telemetry” sense. The sad thing is, Red Hat under IBM’s leadership is becoming barely better than SUSE. Meanwhile, Canonical too bends and jumps all over itself to appease Microsoft.

We need to change the flag bearer of GNU/Linux to something else if we want to promote (or preserve) software freedom.

07.12.21

If Capitalism Stands for Free Market Competition, Then Proprietary Software is Like Communism

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Ubuntu at 2:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘Microsoft bloc’

Gate on Capital Hill (Budapest, Hungary)
Budapest, Hungary

Summary: Canonical stopped competing with Microsoft; in fact, today’s Canonical actively helps Microsoft, in effect breaking its promise to the Ubuntu community

THE company known as Canonical works for Microsoft; a direct contradiction when one considers the #1 bug in Ubuntu (replacing Windows and Microsoft). How did this happen? How was Microsoft allowed (from the perspective of competition authorities) or ever permitted to take over a competitor? Days ago we published a couple of things about the latest disgusting gesture [1, 2], earlier today we saw more of the same (Canonical pushing WSL, i.e. Windows, at the expense of GNU/Linux), and this certainly won’t be the last of that.

We’re meant to believe that this whole ‘free market’ thing works (or will work out at the end), but since the Novell-Microsoft deal (2006) we’ve been seeing a systematic abduction of Microsoft’s rivals, ranging from Yahoo! (Web) to Nokia (mobile) and even Canonical. Red Hat/IBM is a separate case. Another article…

I don’t want to get into all those labels and political smears/analogies, but to me it seems like Microsoft doesn’t accept the basic concept of competition. It is just trying to take over the competition, in effect cheating in an effort to ‘win’ a match. After bribing the Linux Foundation Microsoft managed to put its staff in charge of Linux (Microsoft’s Levin announced all the stable releases a couple of weeks ago) and it took over millions of Free software projects by just buying their platform. Why wasn’t this prevented by authorities?

“Canonical has become supine and useless. Ubuntu’s days may be numbered, but at least we have projects like Gentoo, Arch, Devuan and so on as ‘lifeboats’ of sorts.”This is not competition; it reminds me of what the Soviet Union did in eastern Europe and we could come up with all sorts of vivid memes, even tough memes like the one below. Nobody ever survives a partnership with Microsoft in the long run. And Microsoft laughs at its very own ‘partners’, show internal documents.

Canonical has become supine and useless. Ubuntu’s days may be numbered, but at least we have projects like Gentoo, Arch, Devuan and so on as ‘lifeboats’ of sorts.

Nicolae Ceaușescu: Microsoft is a great partner
Nicolae Ceaușescu nearly outlived his usefulness to the Soviets

07.09.21

Canonical Dooms the Ubuntu Brand to Appease Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu at 10:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: A video follow-up for this morning's article about Canonical climbing up Microsoft’s bed again; this is the sort of thing that repels users of GNU/Linux and quite likely the reason the Ubuntu community is unofficially dead

THE links from the video and bits of context can be found in the article that was published earlier today. The purpose of the video is to show the sorts of thing people are presented with in the Ubuntu blog (we’re including a screenshot below).

Microsoft love babyPartnerships with Microsoft never work out well for anyone (other than Microsoft executives). Time after time they totally destroy companies by partnering with them (Palm, Nokia, Novell to name a few) and Mark Shuttleworth may think that he’s somehow “special” or invulnerable to Microsoft’s criminal behaviour. A bit less than a decade ago Ubuntu was still mainstream among GNU/Linux distributions; that was before some of the more controversial moves by Canonical, ranging from the Amazon scandal to the Microsoft flirtations. Those flirtations became worse in subsequent years as Canonical started all sorts of projects that flagrantly helped Windows. It was around that time that Microsoft weaponised the media with the “loves Linux” nonsense and later infiltrated the Linux Foundation.

microsoft-canonical>
This is no way to attract people to Ubuntu

07.08.21

Microsoft is Basically Buying the Competition to Deny GNU/Linux Users a Choice

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu, Windows at 7:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: In order to entrap GNU/Linux users or to send them Microsoft’s way Microsoft has secured some strategic alliances with companies that were all along supposed to compete with Microsoft; antitrust officials seem to be M.I.A.

SABOTAGE by Microsoft has long been the modus operandi, combined with cult tactics like charming and bribing decision-makers and public officials. Microsoft is basically a criminal operation; but it doesn’t want people to see that. It spends a lot of money for people not to notice.

Check out the following from Microsoft (yes, officially):

Microsoft stickiness

“Give this a read then try to find it on Google,” told us the person who had sent it along. “It’s been scrubbed since I’ve started pointing this out with regard to anti-trust and my links to it are broken now. This behavior is anti-trust AF and I’m going to start reaching out about it now that I know they’re concerned. [...] Them scrubbing this post shows that they’re afraid of it being realized.”

But the reason we are writing this post is actually this this new press release from Canonical (“Canonical recognized as a 2021 Microsoft Partner of the Year finalist”), followed very soon afterwards by shallow puff pieces like this one (“Ubuntu Linux-maker Canonical is 2021 Microsoft Partner of the Year finalist”).

Microsoft has been grooming Canonical like this for quite some time instead of buying Canonical, raising antitrust stink. Canonical has been spying on potential clients in cahoots with Microsoft, promoting Windows (WSL), and working for the company that is attacking us in various other ways.

Why are they so openly bragging about being associated with gangsters who use political corruption to incite against rivals even though Microsoft is a lot worse and much more deserving of antitrust scrutiny, including split-up? This ought to make people think twice before installing Ubuntu, choosing it either for a server or a desktop. Has Mark Shuttleworth (MS) become part of the other MS? Has he sold out to the schoolyard bully?

“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.”

Mark Shuttleworth

“Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering.”

Mark Shuttleworth

04.29.21

Stallman Was Right About ‘Secure’ Boot (Matthew Garrett’s Work Now Used to Prevent Users Adopting New Ubuntu Releases/Derivatives)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 7:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Matthew Garrett pushed a malicious ‘feature’ (antifeature) of Microsoft and now we all pay for it; instead of working to remove the restrictions, Garrett is nowadays working hard to remove RMS (the messenger)

MS in 2021:

You cannot upgrade Ubuntu
Sources: It’s FOSS, OMG!Ubuntu and plenty more (if they make it enough of a pain or a risk, they hope people will stay with Windows and maybe use WSL, not real GNU/Linux)

RMS in 2012: Direct download as Ogg (0:13:28, 5.5 MB)

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: I want to know how big a threat you think the so-called “secure” boot is considered to be to the Free software movement.

Richard StallmanDr. Richard Stallman: It’s a disaster. Well, except that it’s not secure boot that’s a disaster, it’s restricted boot. Those are not the same. When it’s front of the control of the user, secure boot is a security feature. It allows the user to control what programs can run on a machine and thus prevent — you might say — unexpected malware from running. We have to distinguish the unexpected malware such as viruses from the expected malware such as Windows or Mac OS or Flash Player and so on, which are also malware; they have features that hurt the user but users know what they are installing. In any case, what secure boot does is that it causes the machine to only work with (?) programs that are signed with a certain key, your keys. And as long as the user controls which keys they are, then it’s a security feature. However, it can be chained into a set of digital handcuffs when the user doesn’t control the keys. And this [is] happening.

“We have to distinguish the unexpected malware such as viruses from the expected malware such as Windows or Mac OS…”Microsoft demands that ARM computers sold for Windows 8 be set up so that the user cannot change the keys; in other words, turn it into restricted boot. Now, this is not a security feature. This is abuse of the users. I think it ought to be illegal.

It’s a matter of control by the vendor of course, not control by the user himself

Exactly, and that’s why it’s wrong. That’s why non-free software is wrong. The users deserve to have control of their computers/

I think that not only Windows is going to be an issue in fact, if you consider the fact that even a modified kernel is going to be in a position where it’s perhaps not seen as verified for execution. Right, I’m saying, it might not only be a malicious feature in case of something like Windows running on it, it’s also for — let’s say — a user of the offered operating system but it’s free if the user wants to modify the operating system, for example…

The thing is, if the user doesn’t control the keys, then it’s a kind of shackle, and that would be true no matter what system it is. After all, why is GNU/Linux better than Windows? Not just ’cause it has a different name. The reason it’s better is because it’s freedom-respecting Free software that the users control. But if the machine has restricted boot and the users can’t control the system, then it would be just as bad as Windows. So, if the machine will only run a particular version of GNU/Linux, that is a restriction feature. And I haven’t heard anyone doing that yet with GNU/Linux, but that’s what Red Hat and Ubuntu are proposing to do things — somewhat like that — for future PCs that are shipped for Windows. But it’s not exactly that. And my reason is, the users will be able to change the keys. They will be able to boot their own modified version of the system of Fedora or Ubuntu if they want. So, what Fedora and Ubuntu were proposing doesn’t go all the way there. They’re proposing to do things to make it more convenient for users to install the standard version of those systems. But if things go as it has been announced, users will still be able to change the keys and boot their own versions. So, if all the restricted boot — but it will be something that goes sort of half-way there — it’s somewhat distasteful.

“The thing is, if the user doesn’t control the keys, then it’s a kind of shackle, and that would be true no matter what system it is.”On the other hand, with Android, which is another mostly Free operating system which contains Linux but doesn’t contain GNU, it’s quite common for the product to have something equivalent to restricted boot, and people have to struggle to figure out how they can install a modified and more free version of Android. So, the presence of the kernel Linux in a system doesn’t guarantee it’s going to be better. And I’ve heard someone say — oh, it hasn’t been checked — that a particular or kind of Android device is actually using an Intel chip with restricted boot.

One of the concerns that I think is worth raising is the fact that, as far as I know, with many of the embedded devices, especially those based on ARM, I believe it’s not even possible to get into boot menu to disable so-called “secure”…

That’s where Microsoft is really going all out, because Microsoft has ordered essentially — demanded — that those shipping ARM devices for Windows 8 make it restricted boot with no way to get around it.

Yeah, which also means of course waste of… all sorts of impacts on the environment. Any time that hardware become obsolete with the operating system itself is not being used of course…

“So it’s a very damaging thing that Microsoft is doing and so we need to look for every possible way to stop them or tweak what they’re doing.”Well, it’s worse than that. It means basically that those devices, you have to throw them out if you want to escape to the free world. And this — in the past — we were able to install, to liberate a computer by installing Free software on it instead of its user-restricting operation system, and this of course was tremendously helpful to the spread of GNU/Linux because it meant that users could move to freedom. It would be much harder if they had to buy another computer to do so. So it’s a very damaging thing that Microsoft is doing and so we need to look for every possible way to stop them or tweak what they’re doing.

As embedded (HTML5):

Keywords: UEFI Coreboot GRUB GNU FSF

Download:

Ogg Theora

02.15.21

Cancel Canonical?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Servers, Ubuntu at 4:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Only days after Ubuntu/Canonical staff defended what the Raspberry Pi Foundation had quietly done with Microsoft (behind users’ or customers’ backs) we see Canonical under fire — yes, once again! — for privacy abuses, facilitated in part by Microsoft

THE latest breach of trust (and breach of privacy) at Canonical isn’t going to help Ubuntu’s image. That’s a fact. The community that once existed in an orbit around Ubuntu is long gone, so what’s left to lose, right? Let’s get closer to Microsoft, through Canonical…

“The video above goes through some other ramifications and mentions some older privacy scandals implicating Ubuntu/Canonical.”The issue isn’t exactly breaking news; we mentioned this in passing in relation to the Raspberry Pi-Microsoft scandal the other day because the ‘news’ site The Register had covered the issue (it had also been mentioned in some podcasts and new videos, social control media aside).

Over at ZDNet, albeit days late (4 days after The Register), SJVN has just mentioned this. “Bongiorni was a little more “frank” about his annoyance and surprise that a Canonical salesperson had tracked him down on an entirely different service and knew that he had just used Ubuntu on Microsoft Azure,” SJVN wrote.

Microsoft is spying and this has long been a reason for concern about the Raspberry Pi-Microsoft blunder. That Microsoft also shares the private data with other companies is certainly noteworthy and it may merit a GDPR complaint. The video above goes through some other ramifications and mentions some older privacy scandals implicating Ubuntu/Canonical.

01.29.21

Canonical, Ubuntu & Debian DebConf19 Diversity Girls E-mail

Posted in Debian, Google, Ubuntu at 11:43 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

On 8 March 2020, International Women’s Day, somebody forged Mark Shuttleworth’s email address to distribute or leak the email below.

Debian, Outreachy, DebConf, student, intern, female, womanThe Debian Project Leader, Sam Hartman, accused another volunteer of distributing it. Eleven months have passed. Nobody ever gave any proof about the source of this message. Sam Hartman lied. He whipped up a mob much like Donald Trump at the US Capitol siege.

There is so much fake news on the Internet today. Why was Sam Hartman, leader of Debian, so enraged when somebody leaked the concerns about unethical romantic relationships in GSoC and Outreachy mentoring? Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. That’s why.

Sam Hartman, DebianRogue elements of Debian take the approach that this is a hobby and they can do what they want. If we care about diversity that is not good enough.

Is the email below sexist itself? Or does this email simply expose the sexism and misogyny that Debian doesn’t want the world to know about?

Subject: Fwd: debconf19 diversity girls

Date: Sun, 08 Mar 2020

From: Mark Shuttleworth <shuttleworthless@protonmail.com>

behave yourselves!

brazilians!

please don’t name the girl

——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject: debconf19 diversity girls

Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2020 08:31:50 +0000 (UTC)

From: Sam Hartman <hartmans@debian.org>

To: debian-private@lists.debian.org <debian-private@lists.debian.org>

Debian is not an employer and when we gather at DebConf

we are not under any centralized control. Some of us are

paid to be there by our employers and some of us choose

to come as volunteers. Nobody works 24 hours per day

for 10 days at DebConf and when people are not working

there is no reason they can’t engage in any romances.

Our diversity programs have become overwhelmingly popular

and at every event now we have young women coming

on diversity bursaries. Some of these women are

participants in the current round of GSoC or Outreachy

and some of these women want to join the next round.

So many of these diversity bursarie girls are having

a connection with internships. Almost all the others

have no jobs, they are looking for jobs and they are

under pressure to please people.

Debian has never said anything to ban romances with

these women. We already assumed the mentors would

not get romantic with the interns in the current round.

But it needs to be really clear that no Debian Developer

should become intimate with any woman in the current

round or any woman who is preparing to apply for

subsequent rounds of GSoC and Outreachy.

A problem has been discussed at DebConf19 and it was

seen too at DebConf18. The boy involved is a member

of the Debian mentors team so this is one case where it

is definitely off-limits. The relationship did

not involve a woman he mentors personally but

it was also very clear to the mentor that this

woman had an interest in the program, there is no

way he could have been unaware of that.

He is also a Canonical/Ubuntu employee. We believed he

comes to DebConf as an employee, he is not a Debian

employee of course, so there was discussion with Canonical.

Canonical said they would resolve the issue as an internal

company issue. Some other people became concerned because

Canonical is a DebConf sponsor and maybe I’m being too

lenient on their employee. If other Canonical management

were not at DebConf, how would we handle this issue with

any other volunteer from a different company?

The woman and the other people who share her room don’t

want to comment on the issue. We thought this was a dead end.

There is nothing more going to happen here but please

now remember if you are a Debian Developer, even

if you are not a mentor, if you meet somebody at an

event who indicates any interest in our mentoring

programs within the next year, you need to maintain

a professional relationship with this person.

You can also withdraw from Debian, then you are

free to purse any relationship of course. This is

not only for mentors, it has to be for all of us.

–Sam

Debian Outreachy intern diversity girls unethical

01.26.21

It’s Wrong to Assume Red Hat Competes With Microsoft

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 1:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It competes with Windows Server, but not with Microsoft

Bad Pun Biden: IBM, Red Hat, and Microsoft

Summary: The community ought to stop pretending that one monopoly seeks to replace another despite close partnerships (some would say “collusion”) between the two

THE trio above (IBM, Red Hat, and Microsoft) is closer than ever. Many projects of IBM, Red Hat, and Fedora are still being outsourced to a proprietary monopoly of Microsoft and there’s no true evidence of real competition, except perhaps against Windows Server.

“There are still fine communities around (e.g. Arch, Gentoo) and they’re a lot more worthy of volunteer efforts.”Surely this frustrates some people, including volunteers who gave a lot of their time to the Fedora project. IBM itself is a former monopolist, so it can relate to Microsoft, to which it offloaded some of its business to avert antitrust-induced break-ups (in a sense, giving business to Microsoft was a surrogate of a break-up).

Recently, as the news sites put it, IBM responded to the correct perception that people were getting seriously upset at IBM and at Red Hat, mostly because of what they had done to CentOS. Planet Fedora has been eerily quiet since then, except for employees (IBM) and interns.

Red Hat Microsoft handshake closerA very long time ago Canonical enjoyed the support of many volunteers who donated their time and efforts to the Ubuntu community (gardening bug reports, reporting bugs, contributing artwork and so on). Canonical’s dealings with Microsoft did irreversible harm. Those started well over a decade ago.

The inability to tackle issues like monopolies and various ethical or practical issues (e.g. Ubuntu adding Amazon spyware) led to erosion of trust and devotion. When Canonical marked Ubuntu’s bug #1 (basically the need to replace Windows) as resolved or “wontfix” that said a lot about Canonical’s objectives. Instead of seeking to remove a monopoly Canonical sought to participate in the monopoly and Canonical is nowadays still outsourcing much of its code to Microsoft's monopoly, which thankfully lost inertia.

More than 20 years ago I joined the Free software community, motivated primarily by the need to replace Windows, which had become very abusive (even well before Windows XP and the Windows back doors for the NSA, as exposed by Edward Snowden). If companies like Canonical and Red Hat (now IBM) don’t intend to tackle the Windows monopoly on desktops and laptops, then why should the community support such companies? There are still fine communities around (e.g. Arch, Gentoo) and they’re a lot more worthy of volunteer efforts.

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