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Microsoft is Entrapping Android With Infamous (ex)FAT Patents and Turning Android Phones Into Microsoft Listening Devices (Bugs)

Android and Microsoft
Image from Android Beat



Summary: Concerns expressed about adoption of Microsoft's patented file systems and a preinstalled 'app' from Microsoft which turns phones into always-on listening devices

THE Microsoft-TomTom dispute showed us, as much as nearly 7 years ago, that Microsoft is firmly and openly engaged in a patent war against Linux. Microsoft would even take companies to court over it. Microsoft is still attacking Linux (mostly Android) companies using patents (5 such attacks were covered here earlier this year) and we therefore worry a great deal about whatever Microsoft is doing to make the ground more fertile for lawsuits, in the same way that Monsanto (less figuratively) plants the seeds for lawsuits against farmers whose fields have 'patented' seeds (this relates to Benoît Battistelli's EPO these days).



"File system patents, like those which Microsoft used against TomTom, are being imposed on Android."The NSA's PRISM pioneer and audio-visual informant (that's Microsoft) has built a bug, with audio recording always on, into Android, using its Trojan horse, Cyanogen. We saw it coming and now we see it materialising. To quote this new article: "At the official announcement post for Cortana’s availability on iOS and Android, Microsoft also announced that future versions of Cyanogen OS will feature deep integration of Cortana. Along with this, it is now announced that Cortana will come along as part of the Cyanogen OS 12.1.1 OTA update for users of the OnePlus One in the USA, in December."

This, however, does not worry us as much as the patents. Several hours were spent today in our IRC channels discussing these matters. File system patents, like those which Microsoft used against TomTom, are being imposed on Android. It's an alternative 'cash cow' plot. Here are the relevant parts from IRC:

XFaCEschestowitz: also, (haven't looked at TR in awhile) did you cover CyanogenOS's inclusion of CortanaDec 19 14:47
XFaCEschestowitz: also, CM13 nightly recently added an NTFS driverDec 19 14:47
XFaCEhttp://review.cyanogenmod.org/#/c/123061/Dec 19 14:49
-TechrightsBot-tr/#techrights-review.cyanogenmod.org | Gerrit Code Review [ http://ur1.ca/ocp4n ]Dec 19 14:49
XFaCE"sepolicy: Set the context for fsck.exfat/ntfs to fsck_exec"Dec 19 14:49
schestowitzdidn't see itDec 19 14:50
schestowitzis it in C-Mode?Dec 19 14:50
XFaCEhttp://review.cyanogenmod.org/#/c/122995/Dec 19 14:50
-TechrightsBot-tr/#techrights-review.cyanogenmod.org | Gerrit Code Review [ http://ur1.ca/ocp4p ]Dec 19 14:50
schestowitzOr just Cyanogen Inc?Dec 19 14:50
XFaCE"Native NTFS kernel driver support"Dec 19 14:50
XFaCEthis is CM13Dec 19 14:50
schestowitzI mean, upstreamDec 19 14:50
schestowitzis it included in the core of CM?Dec 19 14:50
XFaCEyesDec 19 14:50
schestowitzwowDec 19 14:50
cubexyzschestowitz, I'm asking for permission to use it as it's a private emailDec 19 14:50
schestowitzYou said CyanogenOSDec 19 14:50
XFaCEschestowitz: yeah, in realtion to cortanaDec 19 14:50
XFaCE*relationDec 19 14:51
schestowitzwhat's the link?Dec 19 14:51
schestowitzBecause they claims CM is barebones and then vendors can do to it a bundleDec 19 14:51
XFaCEhttp://www.xda-developers.com/xda-external-link/cortana-now-available-where-and-when-you-need-her-no-matter-what-smartphone-you-choose/Dec 19 14:51
-TechrightsBot-tr/#techrights-www.xda-developers.com | Cortana to Come Preloaded On Cyanogen OS 12.1.1 on OnePlus One [ http://ur1.ca/ocp4r ]Dec 19 14:51
schestowitzalso, are there articles about it?Dec 19 14:51
XFaCEso to summarizeDec 19 14:51
schestowitzone PlusOneDec 19 14:51
schestowitzbut is it also upstream?Dec 19 14:51
XFaCENTFS/exFat is added to CyanogenModDec 19 14:51
XFaCECortana on CyanogenOSDec 19 14:51
XFaCEso CyanogenOS has become a transparent Microsoft marketing bedDec 19 14:52
XFaCEand CM13 is slowly becoming one :PDec 19 14:52
oiaohmXFaCE: sorry you don't understand the problem.Dec 19 14:53
XFaCE"At the official announcement post for Cortana’s availability on iOS and Android, Microsoft also announced that future versions of Cyanogen OS will feature deep integration of Cortana. "Dec 19 14:53
oiaohmNTFS and exFat in fact becomes stupidly forced by storage device makers.Dec 19 14:53
XFaCEI don't even run either on my sdcardDec 19 14:53
XFaCEI just use JFFSDec 19 14:53
oiaohmYou still don't understand the problem.Dec 19 14:53
XFaCEthat was an aside commentDec 19 14:54
oiaohmSome sdcards if you put anything other than exfat or ntfs on them they will destory you data.Dec 19 14:54
oiaohmand I am not kidding.Dec 19 14:54
XFaCEwell that's fucked upDec 19 14:54
XFaCElink?Dec 19 14:54
oiaohmWhy they storage card system for working out what sectors it can recycle for wear leveling is working from the information it extracting from the file system.Dec 19 14:55
oiaohmIt was covered in a 2010 australian Linux conference video.Dec 19 14:55
XFaCE"Nevertheless, in order to be fully compliant with the SDXC card specification, many SDXC-capable host devices are firmware-programmed to expect exFAT on cards larger than 32 GB. Consequently, they may not accept SDXC cards reformatted as FAT32, even if the device supports FAT32 on smaller cards (for SDHC compatibility). Therefore, even if a file system is supported in general, it is not always possible to use alternative file systems on SDXC cards aDec 19 14:56
XFaCEt all depending on how strictly the SDXC card specification has been implemented in the device. This bears a risk of accidental loss of data, as a host device may treat a card with an unrecognized file system as blank or damaged and reformat the card."Dec 19 14:56
XFaCEwowDec 19 14:56
oiaohmXFaCE: Please note SDXC contains exfat as part of the standard.Dec 19 14:56
XFaCEafter how much $$$ from MS?Dec 19 14:57
oiaohmSo format SDXC with NTFS and its exfat only you data is screwed.Dec 19 14:57
oiaohmXFaCE: when you understand the problem what choice do OS vendors have when Hardware makers lock in the format.Dec 19 14:58
XFaCEthanks for this info, I didn't know thatDec 19 14:58
schestowitzthanksDec 19 14:58
schestowitzwill do an article about iDec 19 14:59
schestowitzitDec 19 14:59
XFaCEtwo separate ones?Dec 19 14:59
oiaohmPlease note when buying ssd harddrives this problem can apply as well.Dec 19 14:59
oiaohmYes always look for Linux support on a ssd harddrive because that means generic file system support.Dec 19 14:59
oiaohmWindows or OS X only ssds could be nasty.Dec 19 14:59
XFaCEgod damnDec 19 14:59
XFaCEoiaohm: do you have an example of a Linux-ready SSD?Dec 19 15:03
XFaCEfor future referenceDec 19 15:03
XFaCEschestowitz: looks like what oiaohm has said - the cm13 ntfs thing is an android-wide developementDec 19 15:04
XFaCEcyanogenos however IS going microsoftDec 19 15:04
oiaohmhttps://www.microsoft.com/en-us/legal/intellectualproperty/mtl/technologylicensing.aspx?f0ebc726-7ebd-4545-a353-de9b1edbdbee=True   Yes Microsoft does demard patents over exfat.Dec 19 15:05
-TechrightsBot-tr/#techrights-www.microsoft.com | Intellectual Property Technology Licensing Programs [ http://ur1.ca/ocp5c ]Dec 19 15:05
XFaCEoiaohm: this is the kind of shit that anti-trust agencies should be raving onDec 19 15:06
XFaCEthis is clear monopolistic bullshitDec 19 15:07
cubexyzschestowitz, briefly it's like this... customer says win10 KOed his computer to the point he can't even install a new OSDec 19 15:07
oiaohmXFaCE: ssd even Linux ready ones have major teeth at times.   https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/18363/Intel-Solid-State-Drive-Firmware-Update-ToolDec 19 15:07
-TechrightsBot-tr/#techrights-downloadcenter.intel.com | Download Intel€® Solid-State Drive Firmware Update Tool [ http://ur1.ca/ocp5f ]Dec 19 15:07
cubexyzI've asked him for permision to quote him, as soon as he gives that I'll post the text onlineDec 19 15:08
XFaCEmajor teeth?Dec 19 15:08
oiaohmXFaCE: ssd drives have firmware updates read the notes about it.Dec 19 15:08
XFaCEyikesDec 19 15:09
oiaohmXFaCE:  ---If the Intel SSD firmware update process is interrupted, your Intel SSD may not function properly.---  found this bit.Dec 19 15:09
oiaohmIn otherwords I can eat your data.Dec 19 15:09
oiaohmNow Microsoft is wanting to make firmware updating on stuff automatic.Dec 19 15:09
cubexyzthe upside, if there is one... is the customer will be more receptive to non-microsoft operating systemsDec 19 15:10
oiaohmMy main usage of ssd harddrives is as bcache where the majority of the data is kept on old school spinning media.Dec 19 15:11
XFaCEoiaohm: how are kingston ssds for linux compatibility?Dec 19 15:11
oiaohmXFaCE: From what I have seen of kingston ssds they all had Linux firmware update tools.    Now a problem you can run into with a kingston ssd they don't have os x tools and older drives don't have current version of Windows tools.Dec 19 15:14
oiaohmXFaCE: so kingston ssd is more Linux compadible than anything else.Dec 19 15:14
oiaohmIe not compadible with mostly everything else.Dec 19 15:14
XFaCElolDec 19 15:15
XFaCEwell that's good to know Dec 19 15:15
XFaCEKingston SSDs it isDec 19 15:15
oiaohmXFaCE: I guess you starting to see this SSD stuff has major holes.Dec 19 15:15
XFaCEwell I never even thought of itDec 19 15:15
oiaohmSo a SSD good for Linux can be horible for Windows and OS X.Dec 19 15:15
XFaCEthanks very much for bringing it to our attentionDec 19 15:15
XFaCEthe sdxc thing is just... wowDec 19 15:16
oiaohmAnd you can swap that around.Dec 19 15:16
oiaohmSo when you buy a SSD it better match the OS's you are wishing to use in spec.Dec 19 15:16
XFaCEoiaohm: in an ideal world SDXD would require JFFS or something openDec 19 15:16
XFaCEor YAFFSDec 19 15:17
oiaohmXFaCE: F2FS is from samsung.Dec 19 15:18
XFaCEah rightDec 19 15:18
schestowitzhttps://www.gnu.org/fun/jokes/helloworld.htmlDec 19 15:22
-TechrightsBot-tr/#techrights-www.gnu.org | Hello World! - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF) [ http://ur1.ca/ocp69 ]Dec 19 15:22
oiaohmXFaCE:  JFFS and YAFFS don't have the required size to meet SDXC spec sizes let alown what a new spec could put up.   But F2FS does.Dec 19 15:22
XFaCEyeah I think I was thinking of F2FS oiaohm Dec 19 15:23
XFaCEoiaohm: yep, my badDec 19 15:26
XFaCEthe names can get confusingDec 19 15:26
XFaCEbut yeah I'm using F2FS on my phoneDec 19 15:26
oiaohmI know.   Its only that I watch the australian Linux conference videos that I got it right.Dec 19 15:26
oiaohmcubexyz: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-au/windows/lifecycle   Read down notice Oct 2016 preinstallation of Windows 7 and windows 8.1 is no longer meant to be performed by Microsoft Profesionals.Dec 19 15:28
-TechrightsBot-tr/#techrights-windows.microsoft.com | Windows lifecycle fact sheet - Windows Help [ http://ur1.ca/ocp6l ]Dec 19 15:28
oiaohmcubexyz: and "Retail software end of sales " is the full boxed set editions.Dec 19 15:29
oiaohmcubexyz:  mostly the old OS stuff you find in stores is old stock.Dec 19 15:30
XFaCEoiaohm: writing on the wallDec 19 15:30
XFaCEgentoo for meDec 19 15:30
oiaohmDebian for me.Dec 19 15:30
XFaCEall the timeDec 19 15:30
oiaohmsystemd does not bother me enough to move away from it.Dec 19 15:30
XFaCEthe only windows installation will be in an internet-free KVMDec 19 15:30
XFaCElike studying a virus or bacteria :)Dec 19 15:31
oiaohmFrom what I am hearing is the windows 10 upgrade is being deployed by the Windows 7 and 8.1 update system.Dec 19 15:32
oiaohmIf that is the case Microsoft can declare it a critical update for Windows 7 and 8.1 so kill support to anything that is not 10.Dec 19 15:32
XFaCEyeahDec 19 15:32
XFaCEI feel sorry for the Windows 7 users now - every windows update has to be examinedDec 19 15:33
XFaCEI have an ignore list for what it's worthDec 19 15:33
oiaohmWindows 10 no ignore listDec 19 15:33
oiaohmFor gernal users.Dec 19 15:33
XFaCEyeahDec 19 15:33
XFaCEoiaohm: Windows 10 is not for general users :)Dec 19 15:34
XFaCEor any usersDec 19 15:34
XFaCEas schestowitz would say, it's for the useds(sic)Dec 19 15:34
oiaohmOnly way I can see that I can run Windows 10 is run it inside virtual machine some how.Dec 19 15:34
XFaCEKVM yeahDec 19 15:34
XFaCEisolated from the rest of the systemDec 19 15:34
oiaohmSo I can control its internet access so control its update systemDec 19 15:34
XFaCEoiaohm: there is WSUSDec 19 15:34
oiaohmWSUS is only for enterprise editions.Dec 19 15:35
XFaCEthat program enterprises use to control windows updates to machinesDec 19 15:35
oiaohmThat is another change with Windows 10.Dec 19 15:35
oiaohmWindows 7 and 8.1 as long as it was pro you could connect it to WSUS.Dec 19 15:35
*schestowitz takes notes for laterDec 19 15:35
XFaCEoiaohm: well, there's always just downloading updates and installing them via cmd scriptDec 19 15:35
XFaCEaka the Windows 95 and below way :PDec 19 15:36
oiaohmXFaCE: remember Windows 10 auto updates.Dec 19 15:36
oiaohmSo internet connection it getting it themselves.Dec 19 15:36
XFaCEhence why the KVM (or equivalent) should have no or tightly regulated internet accessDec 19 15:36
cubexyzit sounds like utter crapDec 19 15:37
XFaCEpretty muchDec 19 15:37
XFaCEat this point running MS-DOS 10 sounds preferableDec 19 15:37
oiaohmhttp://www.wsusoffline.net/docs/  At least wsusoffline supports Windows 10Dec 19 15:38
-TechrightsBot-tr/#techrights-www.wsusoffline.net | WSUS Offline Update - Update Microsoft Windows and Office without an Internet connectionDec 19 15:38
oiaohmSo you don't need to give windows 10 internet access to get updates for it.Dec 19 15:38
XFaCEgood thoughtDec 19 15:38
XFaCEI forgot about WSUSofflineDec 19 15:38
oiaohmI have worked out that I can perfectly contain Windows 10.Dec 19 15:39
oiaohmProblem is virtualisation stuff like sharing a video card between 2 OS's is still crap.Dec 19 15:39
XFaCEtrueDec 19 15:39
XFaCEI guess Wine would be needed to run those applicationsDec 19 15:39
XFaCEgraphics-intensive onesDec 19 15:40
oiaohmBusinesses use a lot of applications that don't run in Wine.Dec 19 15:40
MinceRbusinesses can afford to have those applications rewritten by people who have a clueDec 19 15:40
oiaohmMinceR: not exactly so.   I wish it could say that.Dec 19 15:40
cubexyzsurely is this the total end of microsoft's dominance thoughDec 19 15:41
cubexyzit's so bad...Dec 19 15:41
MinceRnot unless uefi diesDec 19 15:41
oiaohmMinceR: some applications are forced on companies by stupid governement departments.Dec 19 15:41
XFaCEcubexyz: end of *total* dominance perhapsDec 19 15:41
XFaCEbut not the total end of dominanceDec 19 15:41
MinceRoiaohm: governments can especially afford to have those applications rewritten by people who have a clueDec 19 15:41
MinceRskip buying hypePads for every MP for one year and it's fundedDec 19 15:41


As can be seen above, the discussion went on to a different topic, which is Vista 10. We have been sent the following message from someone who claims that an 'update' happened without even consent. To quote: "I am replying on an ASUS laptop computer using Windows 10. At one time it was a backup to my desktop until Windows 10 destroyed itself on my CyberpowerPC. Windows 10 does updates without asking. Having shut down to do a restart, after one update, it could not find itself. That section isthe part that tells Windows what the layout of the machine is. When this happens windows tries again. It is a never-ending loop. Booting to the BIOS and using backup on memory stick, the same error occurs. This turned this powerful gaming machine into a boat anchor."

Welcome to the world of Microsoft -- a world which Microsoft is trying to impose on everybody. And those who reject Windows get sued for patent infringement.

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