Bonum Certa Men Certa

GNU/Linux is Already Mainstream, But Microsoft is Still Trying to Sabotage That With Illegal Activities and Malicious Campaigns of Lies

posted by Roy Schestowitz on May 19, 2024

Birds like it, it is special, it is beautiful, it is big

To help GNU/Linux grow we'll need to tackle tough issues and recognise Microsoft is a vicious obstacle

IN more and more nations the adoption of GNU/Linux has become a lot more visible (even 10% or more). Not so surprisingly we see more traffic in our GNU/Linux news site and we've gotten into the habit of finishing Daily Links early. We try to focus on original articles because we have lots to cover. Now that we have a venue we also plan a party and nothing can stop us. Nothing can stop users either, but Microsoft keeps trying, typically under the guise of "security". We'll write more about this in months to come because those who hate our posts keep issuing threats instead of refuting what we say.

As an associate has put it: "There's 1) movement for GNU/Linux and 2) Microsoft drops below the level they can command monopoly rents. Therefore, without the rents, they have to have some other source of income other than government handouts and stock market speculation or they are gone. Even if it is ChromeOS + Android, it is still Microsoft losing enough of the market as to lose their monopoly rents."

Even Microsoft already admits that revenue associated with Windows is collapsing very fast.

So what can Microsoft try to do? It's trying to make it hard if not impossible to purchase a PC with GNU/Linux or to convert a PC that comes with Windows into GNU/Linux.

Microsofters are of course working behind the scenes to advance this agenda. What's needed right now is a legal challenge. As someone put it yesterday:

Il 15/05/24 04:49, Marc Sunet ha scritto:
Which reminds me, how is it still legal for an OEM to ship a "default" OS in a computer without giving the customer any choice [...]? Has this been an avenue of research for the FSF or some other organization lately?
It's already illegal in the EU, according to multiple court rulings applying the EU treaties.

https://fsfe.org/news/2014/news-20140912-01.en.html
https://fsfe.org/news/2021/news-20210302-01.en.html
https://wiki.fsfe.org/Activities/WindowsTaxRefund

It's no mystery that Microsoft engages in industrial-scale illegality nevertheless. Nowadays many orgs focus their antitrust enforcement activity on the newest tool in the block, the DMA: «Device Neutrality is the policy concept to regulate monopoly over devices and re-establish end-user control over their digital equipment. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) regulates the economic activity of large digital platforms and introduces Device Neutrality into EU legislation, fostering access to Free Software in devices».

https://fsfe.org/activities/dma/dma.html

Federico

Also see this message that says: "Or it could be taken up in the EU. However, either way it would be important to study the earlier attempts including relevant court cases, and be able to pick the 'right' judge or court or jurisdiction so as to find one that does not have family ties to m$ investments or to the m$ ecosystem or is not an bill/m$ fan like has happened before. As far a class action lawsuit or similar, as far as I know it has not been tried beyond the occasional individual approaching the OEM for a refund, once or twice a court, and even that was now long ago. Perhaps such legal action could be crowdsourced. Or, maybe there is overlap between the FSF and the EFF if they are still pursuing their charters."

It's good to see these topics discussed as it helps bring UEFI 'secure' boot back to public debate. We've long needed this focus. "The lock-in problem would be feasible to address in courts at this point," an associate says. "But everything takes money and time."

There's also this message from yesterday regarding Microsoft's lack of income in a key area:

      On 5/16/24 03:27, Akira Urushibata wrote:

For many years the Microsoft's core product were operating systems: MS/DOS and Windows. It is remarkable that revenue from operation systems has dropped to a mere 10%
That OS income was back in the 1990s. Even then it was built on monopoly rents and not the actual sales themselves which was tiny income compared to the rents. Prior to the 1990s the OS income was built on the illegal, per-processor OEM fees.
Anyway, the very idea of selling software is a relic of the 1980s and needs to be put down for good. The late Steve Jobs had it right with his identification of the software as a tool to amplify human ability. See his "Bicycle for the mind" pitch. Sadly there is a cult or cult-like movement to distort software into chains to burden and control individuals and groups, primarily by the software becoming an end in itself rather than a tool to get work done. See the late David Graeber's 2018 book, "Bullshit Jobs: A Theory" for part of that and Jacob Ward's, "The Loop" for the rest. For a specific example, see the "Reportronic" or "Peoplesoft" scandals which abound.
( Both points, software as a tool and software as a commodity, have to do with societal freedom through software freedom. Societal freedom has been under severe pressure in recent decades, and thus promoting freedom in any form has become even more of an uphill fight than before. )
What might work is to revisit the 'security' situation yet again. But that is also a difficult fight since what's left of the trade press cannot be used. It only ever casts aspersions at FOSS in order to protect Microsoft even in light of the off-the-charts ransomware epidemic which is growing by the day.
A detail regarding 'security' which has gone mostly unnoticed would be the gag clauses likely embedded in Microsoft support contracts. Specifically they might be preventing businesses, agencies, and institutions from any public statements regarding breaches and limit their action to buying a full round of 'upgrades'.
Microsoft treats its contracts as trade secrets and public institutions around the world seem to illegally waiving their obligations of transparency in that regard. So one approach might be to work with public institutions or public interest organizations in select countries to get daylight on those contract details. Getting at the contents of those (probable) gag clauses in Microsoft contracts would solve several problems at once and enhance FOSS uptake. The first step would be to confirm the existence of such gag clauses and, ideally, their scope.

The above serves as a rough overview of things we shall tackle in years to come. It is a lot of work, but without activism and encouragement at the political level, progress will be slower. We already know that the Linux Foundation works for the likes of Microsoft, so all it can do is fire every person in Linux.com, rendering the site dead and even spreading anti-Linux FUD.

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