Bonum Certa Men Certa

Google as Flag Bearer of GNU/Linux

Google inLondon Photo by Derzsi Elekes Andor

Summary: In this age of Android smartphones, tablets, and even Chromebooks, Google's role as a key player in the GNU/Linux world is debatable

Google is probably Microsoft's #1 nightmare. It puts in jeopardy the future of both Windows and Office, Microsoft's few cash cows and monopolies (the latter depends on the former, so when the first is dead, the latter too will die). Google has been receiving a lot of abuse from Microsoft; some examples will be given in the next post. But it is worth thinking what promoting Google would do to GNU/Linux as a free (freedom-respecting) operating system.

"It is very hard to leave anonymous comments on Google-run services and sites."The other day there was an article titled "Google’s Motorola wants to tattoo a microphone on your neck" [1] and it was based on a patent. Polygraphs are 'snake oil', but this is pretty much how this thing gets advertised. It is very Big Brother-like. This is similar to a satirical new article [2] titled "Multiple Wyoming School Districts Implant RFID Chip Technology In Students Without Parental Consent" (untrue) and the true story [3] about Google's efforts to require real ID on the Web (as demonstrated by Google Plus, in addition to a lot of tracking and a never-dying cookie). One serious problem with Google is its assault on anonymity, which should be considered a crucial tenet. It is very hard to leave anonymous comments on Google-run services and sites.

Richard Stallman, who is far from a Google sceptic, is not too happy with Google's treatment of anonymity. He writes in his personal Web site: "I reject Facebook and Google+ on principle because they require people to give their "real names". I am proud to identify myself when stating my views; I can afford to do that because I am in a fairly safe position. There are people who rationally fear reprisals (from employers, gangsters, bullies, or the state) if they state their views. For their sake, let's reject any social networking site which insists on being told a user's real name.

"Google+ offers to hide the user's real name, but demands people prove an "established identity" or provide ID. I am suspicious of this requirement, since it can't hide the user's real name from the US government, which has a policy of prosecuting journalists as "spies"."

“I am suspicious of this requirement, since it can't hide the user's real name from the US government, which has a policy of prosecuting journalists as "spies".”
      --Richard Stallman
Google has done too little to defend Wikileaks and other such efforts; in fact, based on Schmidt's meeting with Assange, Google is in many ways part of the problem, denying us access to what those in power are trying to hide (e.g. Cablegate). Google says it wants to improve access to information, but Google limits the scope of this information (selectivity) and is increasingly engaging in censorship, too. This is not reassuring. It's not just something which Google does in China, not anymore anyway.

There are of course other problems with Google, which does too little to oppose NSA snooping. Thankfully, Google hardly makes an effort to pull the files of GNU/Linux users [4], unless of course they use Android, in which case there's promotion of a so-called 'feature' known as remote backup (sending all your personal data -- including passwords -- to Google's NSA-accessible datacentres). The situation is similar when it comes to ChromeOS, which GNU/Linux bashers like David Gewirtz seem to have no problem with [5] and colleagues at ZDNet claim to be on the rise [6]. As some GNU/Linux users start to explore ChromeOS [7] as an option (locked down, more surveillance than a typical GNU/Linux distribution), there's reason for concern and caution; it's not that ChromeOS (or its "open" equivalent) is malicious, it's just that it's a step away from where we wish to be with freedom- and privacy-respecting GNU/Linux.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Google’s Motorola wants to tattoo a microphone on your neck
    How to start on this one? Well, Google’s Motorola subsidiary has filed a slightly strange patent with the idea that you should have a smartphone microphone tattooed onto your throat. According to the patent, the tattoo would be placed onto a person’s neck to pick vibrations directly from their larynx.

  2. [FUD/Satire] Multiple Wyoming School Districts Implant RFID Chip Technology In Students Without Parental Consent

    Overall public opinion of the RFID seems to be positive among Hanna’s townsfolk. I spoke with Earl Gentry, a retired miner, longtime resident of Hanna, Wyoming and one of the first recipients of the RFID Chip in his community. He told me the following:

    “Heck, I don’t know how I lived without one. I use the RFID Chip at the doctor’s office; I’m able to purchase food and clothing from all my favorite stores. I definitely believe our country would benefit from a federally mandated RFID law.”

  3. Google+ Authentication [Rolled back!]
    When we created feedly a few years ago, we made the decision to use Google OAuth as our authentication service. The goal was to let users safely login with their existing Google identity instead of having to create and manage yet another identify.

    Google has been slowly transitioning from Google OAuth to Google+ as their unifying identity system. This transition opens the door to interesting opportunities like simpler login across devices – and a lot more.

    We are following on Google’s lead and transitioning feedly from Google OAuth to Google+ login.

  4. Google Drive for Linux?
    For some reason, Google seems to dislike Google Drive users who prefer Linux. I find this particularly strange, since Google's Chrome OS is based on Linux.

  5. Why there are at least two great reasons to buy a Chromebook

  6. Low-end laptops:The rise of the Chromebook
    Some people are still in denial about the rise of the Linux operating system with the Chrome Web browser interface, Chrome OS, and its hardware: the Chromebooks. The experts say, however, it's the one segment of the PC market that's growing while everything else shrinks.

  7. Chromebooks and Chromium OS Experience
    I am a rather mobile person. Mobile in the sense of technology I can pick up and relocate at a whim. Even though my primary computer is a gaming desktop, a recent hardware failure helped me to realize that I can be just as productive on my trusty MacBook. My laptop can do just about everything my desktop can (other than running high-end games that is) and my iPad is great for browsing the web and interacting with social media on the go. Last year I took it with me when I went to Disney and it performed very well as a dedicated Reddit, Facebook, Twitter and Kindle client.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Why We're Revealing the Ugly Story of What Happened at Libre-SOC
Aside from the fact that some details are public already
[Meme] Microsoft's "Dinobabies" Not Amused
a slur that comes from Microsoft's friends at IBM
Flashback: Microsoft Enslaves Black People (Modern Slavery) for Profit, or Even for Losses (Still Sinking in Debt Due to LLMs' Failure)
"Paid Kenyan Workers Less Than $2 Per Hour"
From Lion to Lamb: Microsoft Fell From 100% to 13% in Somalia (Lowest Since 2017)
If even one media outlet told you in 2010 that Microsoft would fall from 100% (of Web requests) to about 1 in 8 Web requests, you'd probably struggle to believe it
Microsoft Windows Became Rare in Antarctica
Antarctica's Web stats still near 0% for Windows
Links 25/07/2024: YouTube's Financial Problem (Even After Mass Layoffs), Journalists Bemoan Bogus YouTube Takedown Demands
Links for the day
Gemini Now 70 Capsules Short of 4,000 and Let's Encrypt Sinks Below 100 (Capsules) as Self-Signed Leaps to 91%
The "gopher with encryption" protocol is getting more widely used and more independent from GAFAM
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 24, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Techrights Statement on YouTube
YouTube is a dying platform
[Video] Julian Assange on the Right to Know
Publishing facts is spun as "espionage" by the US government and "treason" by the Russian government, to give two notable examples
Links 25/07/2024: Tesla's 45% Profit Drop, Humble Games Employees All Laid Off
Links for the day
Gemini Links 25/07/2024: Losing Grip and collapseOS
Links for the day
LWN (Earlier This Week) is GAFAM Openwashing Amplified
Such propaganda and openwashing make one wonder...
Open Source Initiative (OSI) Blog: Microsoft Operatives Promoting Proprietary Software for Microsoft
This is corruption
Libre-SOC Insiders Explain How Libre-SOC and Funding for Libre-SOC (From NLNet) Got 'Hijacked' or Seized
One worked alongside my colleagues and I in 2011
Removing the Lid Off of 'Cancel Culture' (in Tech) and Shutting It Down by Illuminating the Tactics and Key Perpetrators
Corporate militants disguised as "good manners"
FSF, Which Pioneered GNU/Linux Development, Needs 32 More New Members in 2.5 Days
To meet the goal of a roughly month-long campaign
Lupa Statistics, Based on Crawling Geminispace, Will Soon Exceed Scope of 4,000 Capsules
Capsules or unique capsules or online capsules are in the thousands and growing
Links 24/07/2024: Many New Attacks on Journalists, "Private Companies Own The Law"
Links for the day
Gemini Links 24/07/2024: Face à Gaïa, Emacs Timers for Weekly Event, Chromebook Survives Water Torture
Links for the day
Why Virtually All the Wikileaks Copycats, Forks, and Rivals Basically Perished
Cryptome is like the "grandpa" of them all
A Total Lack of Transparency: Open and Free Technology Community (OFTC) Fails to Explain Why Over 60% of Users Are Gone (Since a Week Ago)
IRC giants have fallen
In the United Kingdom Google Search Rises to All-Time High, Microsoft Fell Nearly 1.5% Since the LLM Hype Began
Microsoft is going to need actual products or it will gradually vanish from the market
Trying to Put Out the Fire at Microsoft
Microsoft is drowning in debt while laying off loads of staff, hoping it can turn things around
GNU/Linux Growing at Vista 11's Expense
it's tempting to deduce many people who got PCs with Vista 11 preinstalled are deleting it, only to replace it with GNU/Linux
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 23, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, July 23, 2024
[Meme] Was He So Productive He Had to be Expelled Somehow? (After He Was Elected and Had Given Many Years of Work to Earn a Board Seat)
Things like these seem to lessen the incentive to devote one's life to Free software projects
GNOME Foundation is Causing Itself More Embarrassment With Secrecy Than With Full Transparency
It also arouses suspicion and hostility towards Codes of Conduct, which gave rise to 'secret courts' governed by large corporations
Links 23/07/2024: NetherRealm Layoffs and Illegitimate Patent 'Courts' (Illegal)
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/07/2024: AM Radio, ngIRCd, and Munin
Links for the day
A Lot of GNU/Linux Growth on the Client Side is Owing to India (Where GNU/Linux Has Reached 16%)
A lot of this happened in recent years
Insulting Free Software Users in Social Control Media (Proprietary, Bloated With Opaque JavaScript) is Like Insulting Amish on TV
Why bother? Don't take the bait.
When Wikileaks Sources Were Actually Murdered and Wikileaks Was Still a Wiki
when Wikileaks was a young site and still an actual wiki
statCounter: Dutch GNU/Linux Usage Surged 1% in Summer
Microsoft is running out of things to actually sell
Microsoft's "Results" Next Week Will be Ugly (But It'll Lie About Them, as Usual)
Where can Microsoft find income rather than losses as its debt continues to grow and layoffs accelerate?
Julian Assange is Still Being Dehumanised in Media Whose Owners Wikileaks Berated (With Underlying Facts or Leaks)
Wikileaks and Free software aren't the same thing. Nevertheless, the tactics used to infiltrate or discredit both ought to be understood.
A Month Later
We're optimistic on many fronts
Links 23/07/2024: Downsizing and Microsoft and Still Damage Control
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/07/2024: Friends and Solitaire
Links for the day
Why the Media is Dying (It Sucks, No Mentally Healthy People Will Tolerate This for Long)
linking to actual news articles helps fuel the spam, too
Censorship in Eklektix's Linux Weekly News (LWN)
Medieval system of speech, where the monarchs (Linux Foundation) dictate what's permissible to say
10 Years of In-Depth EPO Coverage at Techrights (Many Others Have Abandoned the Topic)
Listen to staff
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 22, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, July 22, 2024