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07.31.15

Vista 10 Inherently Criminal: Vandalising the Competition (Dual Boot, Rival Web Browsers, Online Services)

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Vista 10, the latest incarnation of Windows, takes its anticompetitive aspects to a whole new level, betraying even so-called ‘partners’ in the process

THERE are many negative things to be said about Vista 10, but what about criminal things? What happens when Microsoft breaks competition laws?

Earlier this year we wrote about how Microsoft’s UEFI ‘secure boot’ attack on GNU/Linux had escalated (see 2014-2015 articles on how Microsoft’s terms got even worse, i.e. more discriminatory) and based on this site which regularly studies Windows’ effects on BSD and Linux installations, Vista 10 can mess GRUB up, i.e. sabotage dual-boot setups. To quote:

Where you might run into some problem is if the dual-boot setup is on a computer still using Legacy BIOS, with GRUB installed in the Master Boot Record, or MBR. On such a system, be sure to back up your file before attempting the upgrade.

In response to this, one anonymous user in Diaspora wrote:

I’ve got W7 dual-booting alongside Slackware (+ test distros) on my not-often-used netbook. It’s never finished its updates because it fails to update the MBR – which, for some reason it wants to. I multiboot with LILO which seems to cause W7 problems – I’m glad to say, because nothing should be updaing the MBR except LILO – when I run it. So…
That’s decided it. I won’t be updating to W10.

Which means W7 goes the way of W95 all those years ago when MS forced me to be 100pc Linux ‘cos XP would only run on new machines.
MS – I love you – you always force me to do the right thing – like deleting your software :D

– don’t mess around with any part of the disk except the partition I give you.
don’t tell me I need a new machine

– Good riddance to bad rubbish – I never used w7.

But it’s not just GNU/Linux partitioning that Microsoft loves to overcomplicate and often wipe/mess up with, the nuisance of UEFI ‘secure boot’ aside. Microsoft apparently learned nothing about fair competition, even when it comes to Web browsers on top of Windows itself (not GNU/Linux). Two decades of disputes and court battles have changed nothing at Microsoft and “Firefox’s CEO is furious”, according to this news headline:

Upgrading to Windows 10 switches your web browser to Edge – and Firefox’s CEO is furious

Mozilla chief exec Chris Beard has penned a tetchy open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, criticizing the Redmond giant for changing customers’ default browser choice when they upgrade to Windows 10.

Internet Explorer users were warned that Edge, Microsoft’s Chrome-chasing new browser, would be the default in Windows 10. But as it turns out, users of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and other browsers, have found their default web clients switched to Edge following the Windows 10 upgrade, too.

In his letter, Beard accused Microsoft of using this part of the upgrade process to “throw away the choice your customers have made about the Internet experience they want, and replace it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have.”

Chris Beard has already written about this not once but twice [1, 2], so he is very passionate about it. Most Firefox users are still stuck in Windows.

Should Mozilla be surprised at all? Microsoft sent Mozilla birthday cakes (publicity stunts), but then again it’s also said that “Microsoft loves Linux” (according to Nadella the liar). Like his boss, Bill Gates, it often seems as though Nadella feels like he’s above the law and any government intervention against gross violations will be too little, too late. Microsoft loves Firefox and Mozilla like it loves Linux and like American Psycho loves women.

Mozilla already helps Microsoft by sending it lots of user activity (even keystrokes) via Yahoo in the Firefox address bar. What has Microsoft done for Mozilla in return? Nothing. That’s just how Microsoft behaves. Some people refuse to learn from a long history of crimes, lies, deceit, and betrayals.

Mozilla should make a stronger alliance with GNU/Linux and other Free software (maybe join the FSF) as opposed to alliances with Google, Microsoft, and others to whom Firefox, the Web browser, is competition.

The European Commission proved to be so toothless and slow (while US authorities unwilling to tackle Microsoft’s recent browser crimes altogether), so no wonder Vista 10 goes further with anticompetitive behaviour. Microsoft knows it can get away with it and make gains by the time technical changes — if any — are made. The European Commission probably won’t take action against Vista 10 any time soon. Entryism is partly to blame (lobbying followed by a coup).

We cannot understand why Mozilla’s CEO is still acting surprised to have found out that Microsoft is a criminal enterprise that won’t obey the law and won’t respect competition, not even on Windows. In a way, Mozilla’s CEO is being punished for being naive, perhaps believing that Microsoft was a partner. As this Firefox advocate points out, all this happens after the Beard-led Mozilla had Firefox divert user keystrokes (like a keylogger) to Microsoft (via Yahoo) without even asking users for their input, opinion, consent, preference, etc. He now gets stabbed in back.

At some later stage we are going to show how Microsoft also suppresses the use of non-Microsoft online services. It’s all “me me me!”

“I think he [Bill Gates] has a Napoleonic concept of himself and his company, an arrogance that derives from power and unalloyed success, with no leavening hard experience, no reverses [...] They don’t act like grown-ups!”

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson

As Microsoft AstroTurfing/PR Budget Runs Dry, Vista 10 Truths Come Out

Posted in Vista 10, Windows at 7:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This is rapidly becoming an Internet meme (source)

Vista 10 bugs

Summary: The media manipulation by Microsoft (to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars spent on ‘marketing’) grows thin as a growing number of growingly angry early adopters of Vista 10 publicly rant

MAKE NO mistake about it. Microsoft has been gaming the press this past week, as it often does but more so when there is a new release of Windows. Budget usually stands at hundreds of millions of dollars, based on past releases. That’s just for “marketing”. Microsoft has already trashed Twitter with “sponsored” links and content, but that’s not a surprise given past observations [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Microsoft is a big source of income for Twitter. Vista 10 enjoys a great deal of fake ‘reports’ from Microsoft boosters. Take for example this Microsoft puff piece which is like Vista 10 advertising, masqueraded as “history”. Over at Ars Technica, Microsoft Peter was chosen to do a ‘review’ of Microsoft’s Vista 10. That’s like Chrysler reviewing a car from Chrysler. It’s clear that Condé Nast isn’t interested in objective reviews. That’s just typical Condé Nast [1, 2, 3]. It now acts more like a “media partner” of Microsoft, not a news site/network. There is a lot of money to be grabbed (hundreds of millions of dollars) in Vista 10 advertising. ‘”This versions is the $superlative yet” formula’ is what iopkh called this pattern of covering Vista 10. We saw it in past years. That’s such a meaningless yardstick. The only positive ‘reviews’ we’ve seen so far of Vista 10 were not reviews. They were advertisements published by longtime Microsoft boosters (with a long track record). Remember that when Vista and Vista 8 were released they too initially received positive ‘reviews’ (‘prepared’ puff pieces, or “marketing”). When Microsoft released Vista 8 it planted some ‘reviews’ (posted by Microsoft boosters), then some other boosters (or Microsoft-funded media) claimed that “people like it”. Staged hype is what it was, as we showed at the time. A lot of the ‘excitement’ over Vista 10 is totally manufactured and staged. The same thing happened with Vista and Vista 8. Some people make a living off these tricks. In Twitter, all I got from Microsoft employees for writing what I have about Vista 10 is ad hominem attacks and insults. They just cannot refute with facts.

“Like all proprietary software, Windows 10 puts those that use it under the thumb of its owner.”
      –Free Software Foundation
The good thing is that a day or two after the release Microsoft runs out of steam. the Techrights IRC channel helps show just how much of a mess Vista 10 really is (once the ‘prepared’ puff pieces have ‘run out’). The Register is registering negative feedback from readers and goes with the headline “‘Fix these Windows 10 Horrors’: Readers turn their guns on Redmond”. There are many severe bugs, as we warned weeks ago. Vista 10 is a train wreck with driver issues, as we were told by insiders weeks before the launch. The Register critiques the updates of death (“Unstoppable auto-updates? More like auto-borkage”) and says that one “issue stems from a push-me-pull-you conflict between Windows Update and Nvidia’s own driver and software management tool, Nvidia GeForce Experience. Forbes reports that the latest driver version, 353.54, is only available through Windows Update, it isn’t very stable, and yet Windows 10 installs it anyway automatically.”

What a way to brick an operating system… without even a warning.

Vista 10 “hijacks your internet connection to serve other PCs updates,” DaemonFC wrote. He is a former Microsoft MVP, who is now a regular at various Techrights IRC channels. He is already trying Vista 10 and reporting issues. He complains about “features that are bordering on malware.”

“I don’t think this is “bordering” anymore,” responded MinceR, “earlier versions were perhaps “bordering” on malware. vista10 is clearly malware” (as per definition). Vista 10, explains MinceR, “helps circumvent corporate firewalls that were set up to prevent Microsoft from ***ing up their configurations” (forced updates are also means for back doors).

“Windows 10 Hangover is still unfolding. The new error message from the installer is making the rounds as a new internet meme.”
      –DaemonFC
But talking about software bugs isn’t perhaps the main point. Vista 10 does not just have many bugs. It is a bug. It’s a bugging device masquerading as an operating system. Nadella’s team created a monster and no sane government is ever going to adopt Vista 10 unless they make some magical “edition” for privacy. Detailed images that show privacy violations in Vista 10 have gone viral and there are new articles too. Lauren Weinstein’s Blog calls it a “Privacy Mess”.

“Windows 10 includes keylogging spyware,” wrote DaemonFC, “on by default.”

“Send typing and inking data to Microsoft to improve the recognition and suggestion platform” is just one example of several.

“Apparently,” wrote DaemonFC, “the Windows 10 Hangover is still unfolding. The new error message from the installer is making the rounds as a new internet meme.”

DaemonFC refers to “Something happened. Something happened.” We covered this yesterday.

The Free Software Foundation has meanwhile come out with this press release that seemingly targets existing Windows users and is thus quite gently-worded. To quote the opening paragraph: “The Free Software Foundation urges everyone to reject Windows 10 and join us in the world of free software. Like all proprietary software, Windows 10 puts those that use it under the thumb of its owner. Free software like the GNU/Linux operating system treats users as equals and gives them control over their digital lives.”

Links 31/7/2015: Lennart Poettering as ‘Linux Hero’ and systemd Conference Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 5:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Accuvant researchers to release open source RFID access tool

    Security researchers have long known about the vulnerabilities of the RFID readers that many buildings use instead of door locks, but facilities managers have been slow to upgrade to more secure systems.

    To draw attention to the problem, at next week’s Black Hat conference, Accuvant researchers will be releasing an open source piece of hardware that can be used to circumvent these readers.

  • VA Secretary: Open source is the only way to operate

    Veterans Affairs Department Secretary Bob McDonald voiced his support for open source technology July 30, as he outlined a broad reform plan that includes streamlining information technology and taking a more “holistic” look at customer service.

    “We have over 200 databases with customer information. That means if you want to change your address, you have to go to at least nine places to change your address at VA,” said McDonald during a morning keynote July 30 at a conference in Bethesda, Md.

  • OpenDaylight Project Picks Up Steam
  • Kim Dotcom to create Wikimedia-style open source Mega 3.0

    Dotcom’s first file locker, Megaupload, saw him accused of knowingly hosting, and indeed encouraging the upload and distribution of, stolen films and music. From his new home in New Zealand, he’s fought a long legal battle on numerous fronts, fending off extradition attempts, accusing kiwi authorities of working without warrants end even trying, and failing miserably, to promote a political part .

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Dummy projects for new Drupal hires

      Lakhani’s current role involves promoting the use of applications like Drupal, WordPress, Magento, and Redline through free tools and services. But, this Denver-based executive’s experience shows most in forming the global, distributed team of developers and support staff inherent to success.

  • BSD

    • from distribution to project

      OpenBSD is going through something of a minimalist phase right now, but that wasn’t always the case. There was definitely an era of aggressive importation as well. Times change, priorities change, projects change. I wasn’t involved with OpenBSD during the early years, but I think I can explain the shift in attitudes. This is part three of an apparently ongoing series that started with Pruning and Polishing and out with the old, in with the less.

    • sashan@ on SMP pf progress

      One of our new developers, Alexandr Nedvedicky (sashan@), writes in to tell us about his trip to the lovely locale of Calgary for c2k15.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source part of Bulgarian eGovernment tender requirements

      The Bulgarian government has added open source as a requirement to its ‘Preliminary criteria for the eligibility of eGovernment projects’.

    • IT trade groups protest Slovak licence deal

      Two IT trade associations in the Slovak Republic are objecting the renewal of a proprietary software licence contract negotiated by the country’s Ministry of Finance for all government organisations. Instead of continuing to rely on proprietary office suites, the groups want the Slovakian government to explore a transition to open source alternatives.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • WEBINAR – A standard that is not managed is not a standard

      Through their brief webinar Marijke and Marco will share with the audience how the Dutch Government is promoting the adoption of open standards through BOMOS, a method (initiated by Dr. Erwin Folmer, TNO with contribution from Marijke) which describes how to maintain and manage open standards.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Remote code execution via serialized data

      Serialization and, more importantly, deserialization of data is unsafe due to the simple fact that the data being processed is trusted implicitly as being “correct.” So if you’re taking data such as program variables from a non trusted source you’re making it possible for an attacker to control program flow. Additionally many programming languages now support serialization of not just data (e.g. strings, arrays, etc.) but also of code objects. For example with Python pickle() you can actually serialize user defined classes, you can take a section of code, ship it to a remote system, and it is executed there.

    • To exec or transition that is the question…
    • CIL – Part1: Faster SELinux policy (re)build
    • FCC Rules Block use of Open Source

      The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has introduced ‘software security requirements’ obliging WiFi device manufacturers to “ensure that only properly authenticated software is loaded and operating the device”. The document specifically calls out the DD-WRT open source router project, but clearly also applies to other popular distributions such as OpenWRT. This could become an early battle in ‘The war on general purpose computing’ as many smartphones and Internet of Things devices contain WiFi router capabilities that would be covered by the same rules.

    • Hacked Jeep Cherokee Exposes Weak Underbelly of High-Tech Cars

      The Jeep Cherokee brought to a halt by hackers last week exposed wireless networks as the weakest link in high-tech vehicles, underscoring the need to find fast over-the-air fixes to block malicious intrusions.

      Features that buyers now expect in most modern automobiles, such as driving directions and restaurant guides, count on a constant connection to a telecommunications network. But that link also makes cars vulnerable to security invasions like those that threaten computers in homes and businesses.

  • Censorship

    • David Cameron wants to block non-age verifiying porn sites

      PRIME MINISTER David Cameron is looking to ensure that adult websites, the sort that MPs like, will abide by age verification standards and make sure that fumbling punters are of adult age.

      Cameron has a thing about these sites, as does a huge chunk of Westminster, and would like to see adult content subjected to bondage and inspection. He would like to give it a firm political going over and a good legislative seeing to. He wants to take it in hand.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC has already gotten 2,000 “net neutrality” complaints

      The Federal Communications Commission received about 2,000 net neutrality complaints from consumers over a one-month period, according to a National Journal article today. The overarching theme of the complaints is that customers are fed up with their Internet service providers, often due to slow speeds, high prices, and data caps. In a sampling of 60 complaints, the most frequent targets were AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.

07.30.15

Links 30/7/2015: Apache Spark on Z System, Elive 2.6.8 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 2:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • CoreOS CEO: Security is fundamental

      In an interview, CEO Alex Polvi claims his company invented the cloud-native OS category and discusses how CoreOS’s update strategy differs from the likes of Red Hat

    • IBM Promises Apache Spark for Linux on Z Systems

      Expanding the z Systems ecosystem means data scientists can use Apache Spark’s common programming framework and get the full use of the mainframe’s advanced analytics capabilities – without having to get sidelined by any specific format for data.

    • IBM to Deliver Apache Spark for Linux on Z System Mainframes

      IBM has announced support for Apache Spark for Linux on z Systems, as part of its effort to expand the reach of its mainframe platforms. Among other benefits, the z Systems will now have a lot of appeal for data scientists that can leverage Apache Spark’s advanced analytics capabilities–all running on Linux.

    • Why Docker is Not Yet Succeeding Widely in Production

      Docker’s momentum has been increasing by the week, and from that it’s clearly touching on real problems. However, for many production users today, the pros do not outweigh the cons. Docker has done fantastically well at making containers appeal to developers for development, testing and CI environments—however, it has yet to disrupt production. In light of DockerCon 2015’s “Docker in Production” theme I’d like to discuss publicly the challenges Docker has yet to overcome to see wide adoption for the production use case. None of the issues mentioned here are new; they all exist on GitHub in some form. Most I’ve already discussed in conference talks or with the Docker team. This post is explicitly not to point out what is no longer an issue: For instance the new registry overcomes many shortcomings of the old. Many areas that remain problematic are not mentioned here, but I believe that what follows are the most important issues to address in the short term to enable more organizations to take the leap to running containers in production. The list is heavily biased from my experience of running Docker at Shopify, where we’ve been running the core platform on containers for more than a year at scale. With a technology moving as fast as Docker, it’s impossible to keep everything current. Please reach out if you spot inaccuracies.

    • A New SysAdmin Pledge in Honor of SysAdmin Day

      In fact, history is filled with examples of great people declaring a holiday for themselves. Take Christopher Columbus, for example. Upon discovering “The New World”, Columbus immediately declared the second Monday in October to be “Columbus Day” (to be celebrated with cake… and balloons… and confetti). It took a year or two to catch on, but before the decade was through, most of the world was already celebrating this new holiday. It’s true. Look it up.

    • 10 Job Interview Questions for Linux System Administrators

      SysAdmins of all experience levels, then, can benefit from brushing up on their job interview skills if they want to find and land a great new job.

  • Kernel Space

    • Systemd Is Launching Its Own Conference

      Lennart Poettering today announced systemd.conf 2015, its inaugural conference devoted to the future of systemd.

    • AllSeen Alliance Welcomes Philips as Premier Member

      The AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry collaboration to advance the Internet of Things (IoT) through an open source software project, today announced that Philips has joined as a premier member. Philips joins more than 170 members of the AllSeen Alliance, including premier members Canon, Electrolux, Haier, LG, Microsoft, Panasonic, Qeo (a Technicolor company), Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc., Sharp, Silicon Image (a Lattice Semiconductor company) and Sony.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE at FISL 16

        Many of you already know that FISL (The International Free Software Forum) is one of the biggest FLOSS conferences in the world. From 8 to 11 July 2015, 5281 free software passionate people met in Porto Alegre (South Brazil) for the 16th FISL edition, enjoying activities such as talks, panels, hackathons, workshops, and community meetings. All kinds of FLOSS-related topics were in place: development, translation, artwork, education, robotics, entrepreneurship, audio-visual, women and gender, politics, academia and research … Phew! that’s tiring :) KDE has a long and memorable history at FISL and it wasn’t different this year.

      • Busy is fun!

        The beginning of the day was reading some social media in the morning with breakfast catching up with the times. While going though my Google+ feed I saw a post that I seen before about the a bug with a krunner plugin. The plugin in question was this which Riddell, Dan and I debugged to find some more info about the bug such as that is effects Kubuntu, Arch and openSUSE so it is upstream related.

      • Akademy Day Trip
      • KDE Akademy 2015 Videos Are Now Appearing Online
      • Akademy 2015

        The organising team have done a fantastic job: we’ve had free busses running from our accommodation to the venue, video recording of talks (which I’m sure someone will post about soon), easy to access food, two parties and people always on-hand to provide information.

      • The Failure of KDE Activities

        KDE Activities are multiple desktops. While easy to understand, they open up the possibility of new methods of workspace organization as well as new ways to layout the desktop. They deserve to be recognized as an innovation as important as tabbed browsing, and should be a part of every desktop environment, yet most users have only vaguely heard of them, and even fewer have tried them.

        When a feature so elegant is ignored, something has clearly gone wrong — but what, exactly?

        One thing is certain: Activities are one of the least unpublicized features on any desktop. From their introduction in KDE 4.0 to their implementation in Plasma 5, Activities have never had any online help. If you go to the desktop toolkit, you can click on Activities, but nothing suggests why you should bother. How to create an Activity is reasonably obvious with a little exploration, but why you would want to is never explained.

      • KDE Plasma Goes Mobile

        While FOSS Force gave you a look at setting up KDE Plasma on the desktop in Don Parris’ article last week, KDE recently jumped into the mobile fray by announcing KDE Plasma Mobile at their Akademy conference this week in Spain.

        While it joins an already crowded field, with the likes of Android, Ubuntu Touch, Firefox OS and others already in the mobile OS space, Plasma Mobile “offers a free — as in freedom and beer — user-friendly, privacy-enabling, customizable platform for mobile devices,” wrote Sebastian Kugler, a lead architect, on KDE’s website. “Plasma Mobile is currently under development with a prototype available providing basic functions to run on a smartphone.”

      • KDE Started Working At Fiber, A New QML-Based Internet Browser
      • Fiber Update

        The original plan was to allow an extension to handle the more crazy form-factors, but as I was blueprinting the APIs on paper I quickly found the tab-bar becoming a nightmarish monster which would have made custom tab extensions painful. Ultimately as a shortcut until a nice API can be made (and many more critical APIs can be rolled out) I’ll be adding sidebar tabs as a native feature. I may look at some sort of button form-factor as well, such as the ones commonly seen in mobile browsers.

      • Porting Qt applications to Wayland

        During Akademy I hold a session about porting applications to Wayland. I collected some of the general problems I saw in various KDE projects and want to highlight them in this blog post, too.

      • Evolving KDE – survey results
  • Distributions

    • Zorin OS, consider me a Linux fan for life

      After what now seems forever on a Windows based OS (most recently, XP and 7 for desktops, Vista for laptop), I decided to move away from XP and install Zorin OS 8 core. Although I am still on a learning curve, I cannot stress enough how much I love the OS and have not had a moment of wanting to go back to any Windows version.

    • New Releases

      • Elive 2.6.8 beta released

        Beta versions are not so optimized as the Stable ones due to debug flags and developer profiles, you can encounter errors and incomplete things, if you want a more polished system try the Stable version instead.

      • Webconverger 31 Kiosk OS Is Now Using Firefox 39

        Webconverger is a Linux distribution used for deployment in places like offices or Internet cafes, which provides users only with web applications. A new important upgrade has been made available and is now ready for download.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat augments presence in Malaysia

        Senior director and general manager, ASEAN, Damien Wong Yok Weng said Malaysia was an important market for the company and it had much potential for the adoption of open source technology across industries.

        Speaking to reporters at the official announcement of the subsidiary here, Wong said in terms of expansion strategy, Red Hat had looked at all the surrounding factors in the information technology (IT) industry.

      • Zacks Rating on Red Hat, Inc.
    • Debian Family

      • Parsix 8.0 Test 2 Is Based on Debian Testing and GNOME 3.16

        Parsix GNU/Linux, a live and installation DVD based on the testing packages from the Debian project that’s using GNOME as the desktop, is now at version 8.0 Test 2 and is ready for download and testing.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Says Ubuntu-Based Docker Images Are Not a Copyright Violation

            Canonical said through the voice of Dustin Kirkland that you can use Ubuntu with Docker without violating any copyright policy, contradicting what Matthew Garrett said in a blog post just a week ago.

          • Snappy Ubuntu Core 15.04 Gets a Second Stable Release

            A second Snappy Ubuntu Core 15.04 iteration has been released by Canonical, and the new version comes with a reworked boot logic for BeagleBone Black, among other features.

          • Ubuntu Touch Finally Gets a Regression Fix for Nexus 4 and Aquaris Phones

            Canonical has recently released a new OTA update for Ubuntu Touch and it brought a large number of new features and improvements, but also a nasty regression that caused the telephony function to fail on BQ phones and Nexus 4. That fix has finally landed.

          • Review: Ubuntu 15.04

            Perhaps that’s a sign that it’s time for Canonical to take the opposite tack to Microsoft and move to less frequent releases, or at least less arbitrarily timetabled ones. Ubuntu is stable enough now not to need constant updating, and in this case waiting on the Linux 4 kernel would have made for a much more compelling release. Canonical’s engineers, meanwhile, could benefit from spending more time working on long-promised upgrades, and less time patching and polishing half-baked versions of things for a biannual release.

            If you’re looking for a free, friendly and powerful OS for desktops and servers, Ubuntu is still an easy Linux distribution to recommend. But even for established Ubuntu users this update is neither practically nor emotionally compelling. If Canonical seriously wants Ubuntu to make more of a mainstream impact, Ubuntu 15.04 – a barely necessary update rolled out to serve a timetable rather than a strategy – is precisely the sort of thing it needs to stop releasing.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 On The Tegra X1 Yields Even Better Results, More Benchmarks

            Earlier this week I posted some initial benchmark figures for the NVIDIA Tegra X1 on Ubuntu Linux. Those results showed much promise for this 64-bit ARM big.LITTLE SoC that also bears a Maxwell GPU, but that wasn’t tested for the initial comparison. Here are a few more benchmark results from this Tegra X1, including an Ubuntu 15.04 installation to show the difference against the Tegra X1 on Ubuntu 14.10.

          • Canonical’s Alan Pope Proved That Porting HTML5 Games To Ubuntu Touch Is Easy

            Alan Pope, or Popey, Ubuntu’s new Community Manager of Engineering at Canonical has proven in this article that porting HTML5 Games to Ubuntu Touch is not such a difficult task after all.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu MATE Will Offer a Choice Between Ubuntu Software Center and App Grid

              Ubuntu MATE devs recently decided to remove the Ubuntu Software Center from the default installation. The decision was met with some resistance, but a lot of users expressed their support for the removal of the Ubuntu Software Center. Now, the team has explained what are they putting in its place.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Carrier adds Arduino and MCU hooks to Zynq ARM/FPGA COM

      Avnet released a carrier board for its Linux-driven, FPGA-enabled MicroZed COMs featuring an Arduino shield interface and hooks to an optional MCU board.

      The MicroZed Carrier Card Kit for Arduino extends Avnet’s SBC-like MicroZed computer-on-module with Arduino and MCU expansion. The $89 kit is designed for Internet of Things applications such as industrial control, remote sensing, and embedded vision.

    • i.MX6 hacker board features M.2 and wide-range power

      SolidRun has revamped its line of sandwich-style, community-backed HummingBoard single board computers, adding a new high-end HummingBoard Edge model. Like the other HummingBoards, it runs Linux on swappable “MicroSOM” computer-on-modules running various Cortex-A9 based Freescale i.MX6 SoCs. SolidRun’s open-spec HummingBoard placed 21st out of 53 Linux- and/or Android-friendly hacker SBCs in our recent SBC reader survey.

    • Phones

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • 5 Reasons I Lost $9,000 On An iPhone Game

    If you’ve watched television recently, you’ve probably noticed that Kate Upton’s tits really want you to play a smartphone game called Game Of War: Fire Age. That ad campaign cost approximately 40 million dollars, or about 5 million more than the entire development cost of Borderlands 2. They can afford their “it’s like Game Of Thrones, but, somehow, even more sexual!” marketing because, as we write this, Game Of War is raking in more than a million dollars each day. Jason Croghan has spent several thousand dollars on it, and he told us all about how games like Fire Age sink their claws into you — and don’t let go.

  • SAP CRM problems prompts 95% loss in British Gas operating profit

    British Gas Business has suffered a 95 percent loss in operating profit during the first half of this year, following a transition to a new SAP billing and CRM system.

    The utility firm said in its profit announcement this morning: “British Gas Business was impacted by issues following the implementation of a new billing and CRM system in 2014, which has resulted in significant delays to issuing customer bills.

  • Hardware

    • The case against SSDs

      Flash-based SSDs have revolutionized enterprise storage. But SATA SSDs have serious problems that show that after more than 50 years of disk-based storage, our ancient I/O stack must be rebuilt. Here’s why.

  • Security

    • Get root on an OS X 10.10 Mac: The exploit is so trivial it fits in a tweet

      Yosemite, aka version 10.10, is the latest stable release of the Mac operating system, so a lot of people are affected by this vulnerability. The security bug can be exploited by a logged-in attacker or malware on the computer to gain total unauthorized control of the Mac. It is documented here by iOS and OS X guru Stefan Esser.

      It’s all possible thanks to an environment variable called DYLD_PRINT_TO_FILE that was added in Yosemite. It specifies where in the file system a component of the operating system called the dynamic linker can log error messages.

      If the environment variable is abused with a privileged program, an attacker can modify arbitrary files owned by the powerful user account root – files like the one that lists user accounts that are allowed administrator privileges.

    • Secure Server Deployments in Hostile Territory, Part II

      There are a few other general security practices I put in place. First, as I mentioned before, because each host has a certificate signed by an internal trusted CA for Puppet, we take advantage of those certs to require TLS for all network communications between hosts. Given that you are sharing a network with other EC2 hosts, you want to make sure nobody can read your traffic as it goes over this network. In addition, the use of TLS helps us avoid man-in-the-middle attacks.

    • Hackers Can Disable a Sniper Rifle—Or Change Its Target

      At the Black Hat hacker conference in two weeks, security researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger plan to present the results of a year of work hacking a pair of $13,000 TrackingPoint self-aiming rifles. The married hacker couple have developed a set of techniques that could allow an attacker to compromise the rifle via its Wi-Fi connection and exploit vulnerabilities in its software. Their tricks can change variables in the scope’s calculations that make the rifle inexplicably miss its target, permanently disable the scope’s computer, or even prevent the gun from firing. In a demonstration for WIRED (shown in the video above), the researchers were able to dial in their changes to the scope’s targeting system so precisely that they could cause a bullet to hit a bullseye of the hacker’s choosing rather than the one chosen by the shooter.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Michael Moore film to attack US government’s state of ‘infinite war’

      Michael Moore’s new film, Where to Invade Next, explores how the US government maintains a state of “infinite war”, according to the Oscar-winning documentary film-maker.

      Moore revealed rough details of the project, which he has been making “in secret” since 2009, in his first Periscope broadcast. He answered questions from fans posted on Twitter and started by saying he’d like to “say ‘Hello!’ to my NSA friends that are watching right now”. He’s been a vocal critic of the agency’s mass surveillance practices – revealed by the Guardian in 2013 – and called whistleblower Edward Snowden “the hero of the year”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • PacifiCorp Superficial Climate Change Effort

      PacifiCorp and Berkshire Hathaway Energy should really consider a much more loftier goal but ultimately these companies are at the beck and call of shareholders so making large investments will reduce short term profits and that is why they are not going bigger. Another thing in addition to increasing these goals that PacifiCorp could do and should be doing across its grid is replacing transmission infrastructure with a smart grid where power can be stored when capacity exceeds demand. This in turn would reduce emissions significantly but also they could take steps like installing smart meters at all ratepayer locations (which PacifiCorp is behind on and only rolled out in a few small markets).

  • Finance

    • I went to Athens to see what economic catastrophe looks like on the ground — and what I saw shocked me.

      Like many other proud Greek-Americans, I’ve visited the country of my ancestors many times over the years. I even lived in Athens for two years while working for the U.S. government.

      I recently returned to Athens for a week to help the Greek government draft a new whistlebIower protection law. It was my first trip to the country in nine years — and suffice it to say, a lot’s changed.

      I followed the news of Greece’s financial collapse as closely as anyone. I’d heard the numbers — I knew that 40 percent of Greeks now live in poverty, for example, and that half of all young people in the country are unemployed. Seeing it in person was something else entirely.

    • Prof. Wolff and Cornel West talk about Capitalism and White Supremacy on GRITtv

      A conversation about capitalism with two brilliant minds, Cornel West and Prof. Wolff, together in a rare joint appearance.

    • British Gas owners Centrica to axe thousands of jobs

      British Gas owner Centrica is axing up to 6000 jobs despite reporting that profits were up 44 per cent to £656 million during the first half of 2015.

      Profits were boosted by higher household gas usage because of colder weather and the falling price of wholesale gas. Centrica nonetheless decided to slash its interim dividend by 30 per cent and aim to cut costs by £750 million in the next five years.

    • Prince George’s £18,000 birthday gift speaks volumes about Britain’s widening wealth inequality

      Normal children would be excited by a low roofed plastic wendy-house to hide away in and stew pretend tea. Some privileged toddlers may dream of a more stable wooden playhouse – big enough to host non-imaginary guests and less likely to blow away in a gust of wind. But no child other than Prince George could conceivably be the owner of a magnificent £18,000 cottage on wheels.

      The royal tot was given a luxury Victorian-style outhouse as a second birthday present from Dorset based company Plankbridge that started up with the help of The Prince’s Trust. It is positioned on the edge of the Prince of Wales’s wildflower meadow at Highgrove, probably in the hope that scenic views will inspire George to inherit his grandfather’s love of botany.

      While you’d expect the average wendy-house to be cluttered with plastic chairs and bowls of fake fruit, this one is fitted with a wood-burning stove, oak floors and a day bed. To make matters more laughable the souped-up shed is known as “The Shepherd’s Hut”, a title which carries with it connotations of rural poverty and humbleness.

    • For NYT, US Labor Abuses Abroad Are a Thing of Decades Past

      Usually investing in other countries is thought to both increase returns to the country doing the investment and diversify risks, since it is unlikely that foreign countries will be subject to the same problems that may be hitting China (or the US) at the same time. It is interesting that the New York Times seems to hold the opposite perspective.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Corporate lobbying expense jumps as U.S. trade debate rages

      Washington lobbying by companies and groups involved in global trade boomed in the past nine months, records show, as Congress debated a landmark trade pact proposed by President Barack Obama, the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

      Lobbying expenditures by members of a pro-TPP coalition increased to $135 million in the second quarter of 2015, up from $126 million in the first quarter and $118 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to Senate Office of Public Records reports reviewed by Reuters.

    • The Attack on Planned Parenthood, a View from Inside ALEC

      When I went to work for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) in 2003 as their legislative director, I was unprepared for the attacks this organization experiences on a routine basis. There are organizations solely dedicated to shutting Planned Parenthood down, and more pop up every day. Even before the 2010 tea party takeover in state Capitols around the country, including ours, the relentless legal and political attacks on Planned Parenthood were unending.

    • On The O’Reilly Factor, Sarah Palin Accuses Planned Parenthood Of Targeting Minority Women
    • Media Activism Wins

      We’ve had a lot of recent success at getting the corporate media to respond to criticism, in great part due to your letters and emails. The fact that this correspondence is individually generated by you makes it all the more effective.

    • NY Times Echoes Judith Miller’s Iraq War Excuse By Blaming Sources, Not Reporters

      One of the most baffling elements to The New York Times botched story about a fictional “criminal” investigation bearing down on Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email account is the seemingly shrug-of-the-shoulders response from the Times editors who are ultimately responsible for the newsroom’s black eye.

  • Censorship

    • BBC forced out team behind Savile exposé, says ex-Newsnight journalist

      BBC journalists will be afraid of speaking out about the next big BBC scandal after seeing how those who tried to expose Jimmy Savile were forced out, according to the former head of investigations at Newsnight.

      Merion Jones said the way he and other journalists who complained about the way the BBC handled the scandal were pressured to leave.

      “We were told at the time that you won’t be sacked but over a year or two years you’ll realise you are being treated as an outsider, that you will never be trusted because you blew the whistle, and you will find yourself leaving,” he said. “I didn’t believe that, but I started watching what was going around me.

    • 500 and counting: websites blocked by order of UK courts

      Darren, who currently sits as a Deputy District Judge and holds the title of Managing Associate with law firm Simmons & Simmons, has blown the dust of his abacus and actually totted up how many websites British browers aren’t supposed to be able to reach any more.

    • David Cameron calls to shut down porn sites without age-restricted controls

      Open Rights Group has responded to David Cameron’s call to shut down porn sites that don’t have age-restricted controls.

    • The O’Reilly Open Source Convention Was a Twitter Disaster

      O’Reilly media’s social media manager Josh Simmons further inflamed the situation by installing “GGAutoblocker,” a mass-blocking tool developed by Harper, onto the convention’s official Twitter account. The tool has been criticised in the past for labeling a vast number of innocent Twitter users as “harassers.”

      This criticism is supported by peer-reviewed research on the autoblocker, which found that just 0.66% of users blocked by the tool can be accused of genuine harassment. The autoblocker operates on the basis of guilt by association, with users automatically added to the blocklist based on who they follow.

  • Privacy

    • Google: Lock up your Compute Engine data with your own encryption keys

      Google will now let enterprise customers of one of its Cloud Platform services lock up their data with their own encryption keys, in case they’re concerned about the company snooping on their corporate information.

    • The Crypto Wars Have Gone Global

      Recently, Congress heard testimony about whether or not backdoors should be introduced into encryption technologies, a technically problematic proposal that would fundamentally weaken the security of the Internet, according to a recent report written by eleven of the world’s leading cryptographers. But while Congress is reliving these debates from the nineties (we hear they’re in these days), the Crypto Wars are very much alive and well in other parts of the world.

      The United Kingdom, Netherlands and Australia have gone farther than the proposals put forward by the FBI by introducing new regulations that seek to weaken and place limits on the development and use of encryption. These efforts, made ostensibly to protect citizens against terrorism, are likely to have severe economic, political and social consequences for these nations and their citizens, while doing little to protect their security.

      According to the cryptographers’ report, encryption in fact has a critical role to play in national security by protecting citizens against malicious threats. The harm to the public that can be presented by lax digital security has been illustrated a number of times over recent months: data breaches such as the hack of the Office of Personnel Management compromised the personal information of tens of millions of Americans, while weak or flawed cryptography led to vulnerabilities such as Logjam and FREAK that compromised the transport layer security protocols used to secure network connections worldwide. Encryption is not only essential to protecting free expression in the digital age—it’s also a critical part of national security.

    • Peru’s Ministries of Health and Commerce at Odds Over TPP Data Protection Rules

      In Peru, there is an internal confrontation between ministries due to the data protection provisions of the TPP. The Ministry of Health opposes to the extension on data protection due to the effects than it can have on access over medicines for Peruvians, as many international organizations such as Medicos Sin Fronteras have claimed. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Commerce, in a document published puts this statement in doubt. The document contains 105 questions about TPP. Regarding access to medicine the document raises a question: will the TPP affect public health? Then the document states that the same concern was made during the Peru-U.S. FTA negotiation, but that to the moment those concerns have not been rejected or accepted by the Ministry of Commerce.

    • Even the Former Director of the NSA Hates the FBI’s New Surveillance Push

      The head of the FBI has spent the last several months in something of a panic, warning anyone who will listen that terrorists are “going dark”—using encrypted communications to hide from the FBI—and insisting that the bureau needs some kind of electronic back door to get access to those chats.

      It’s an argument that civil libertarians and technology industry executives have largely rejected. And now, members of the national security establishment—veterans of both the Obama and Bush administrations—are beginning to speak out publicly against FBI Director Jim Comey’s call to give the government a skeleton key to your private talks.

    • NSA Will Destroy Archived Metadata When Program Stops

      Four months from now, at the same time that the National Security Agency finally abandons the massive domestic telephone dragnet exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, it will also stop perusing the vast archive of data collected by the program.

      The NSA announced on Monday that it will expunge all the telephone metadata it previously swept up, citing Section 215 of the U.S.A Patriot Act.

    • After Two Years, White House Finally Responds to Snowden Pardon Petition — With a “No”

      The White House on Tuesday ended two years of ignoring a hugely popular whitehouse.gov petition calling for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to be “immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon,” saying thanks for signing, but no.

      “We live in a dangerous world,” Lisa Monaco, President Obama’s adviser on homeland security and terrorism, said in a statement.

    • Senate majority whip: Cyber bill will have to wait until fall

      Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Tuesday said the upper chamber is unlikely to move on a stalled cybersecurity bill before the August recess.

      Senate Republican leaders, including Cornyn, had been angling to get the bill — known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) — to the floor this month.

      But Cornyn said that there is simply too much of a time crunch in the remaining legislative days to get to the measure, intended to boost the public-private exchange of data on hackers.

      “I’m sad to say I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he told reporters off the Senate floor. “The timing of this is unfortunate.”

    • Surveillance of all citizens: French government has now carte blanche

      On 23th July, the French Constitutional Council adopted a historical decision, standing out by its disregard for individual freedoms, right to privacy and freedom of speech. The “elders” have decided to avoid a real analysis of the proportionality of the new surveillance laws, and have shown their will to not stand in the way of the political game, becoming a mere rubber-stamping chamber.

    • Does the Kremlin Have a New Way of Hacking the West?

      A highly-capable Russian hacker group with links to Russian intelligence and that is known for going after high-profile foreign and corporate targets is deploying a powerful new data theft tool against Western systems, according to a new report by a prominent American cybersecurity firm.

    • New report: Scotland can ensure its data sovereignty with new ‘national open source transition plan’ after repeal of spying ban on MSPs

      A REPORT published today by Common Weal proposes a new plan to ensure Scottish data security and sovereignty after the revelation in the Daily Record on 24 July that the UK Government had revoked the spying ban on devolved parliaments, leaving MSPs at Holyrood open to hacking of communications by GCHQ.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • You wouldn’t steal a car: Criminalisation of IP

        Criminalisation throws up a number of questions. Do existing laws cover the area to be criminalised? (For example, trade secret theft in the US is often covered by wire fraud laws.) Will criminalisation have the desired effect on incentives? Is it an appropriate use of police and public resources? Does harm exist? Is there a victim? How do magnets work?

      • Answers needed from the Copyright Police

        The City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has been the subject of controversy following take-down notices sent to overseas domain registrars. We believe they need to strengthen their commitments to due process, independence and transparency.

      • RIAA and Friends Accuse CNET of Hosting ‘Pirate’ Software

        Several prominent music groups including the RIAA, A2IM and ASCAP have accused CNET of hosting infringing apps on Download.com. In a letter sent to the CEO of parent company CBS, the groups urge the company to reconsider whether it’s wise to offer “ripping” software.

Microsoft’s Mouthpiece Mary Branscombe Tries to Shoot Down Free Software, But Fails Miserably

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL, Microsoft at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: At the CBS-owned ZDNet, which is Free/Open Source software-hostile, new FUD surfaces, but the FUD is so flawed that a full rebuttal is easy and almost imperative

Microsoft still chronically hates Free/libre software (especially classic copyleft) and it is desperately craving for some ‘dirt’ on it, no matter how hard it is to find. Microsoft propagandist (for nearly a decade now, or at least half a decade, both at CBS and at IDG) Mary Branscombe decided to pick on Free/libre software. The result is laughable. It’s a terrible piece. ZDNet, part of CBS, published this nonetheless. The editor (probably Larry) was apparently OK with that.

With fair use in mind, we are going to deconstruct everything in Branscombe’s article and show that it’s just a pile of baloney. Let’s start with the headline:

“Open source: Free as in speech, beer – or puppy?”

Not even original. Sun’s old CEO used this analogy (“puppy”) a very long time ago, before Sun defected to Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and got a new CEO. Branscombe is just copying or even ‘stealing’ the analogy without any attribution.

“It’s hard to give developers more control over how their work is used and still keep it open source.”

That’s an insane talking point. It’s like saying that the needs of the developers to oppress the users outweigh the needs and the interests of users. Branscombe encourages and advocates user-subjugating software. How ethical does it make her seem? Moreover, as we shall explain later, this affects all types of software, including proprietary software. It’s not a FOSS issue at all.

“When you put your code out under an open source licence, how much control can you expect over what it’s used for?”

Free software developers are developing because they want people to use their software. If Branscombe had spoken to any developers (even those of proprietary software), she would quickly realise that exercising control over the users is not the goal of these developers. Exploiting users is often the job (or the goal) of non-technical managers, who sometimes share users’ data with marketers, spies, etc.

“Open source has often been described as ‘free as in speech, rather than free as in beer’. Yes, it’s software that’s free to use, but the lack of a price tag isn’t always the main point.”

That’s quoting Richard Stallman without naming him. But to say that free software means “free to use” is to show lack of comprehension of his points. Free/libre software isn’t about “free to use”; the four freedoms which Stallman speaks about are what it’s really about.

“For some it’s about not being encumbered by limiting commercial licences or patents and royalties, for others it’s about the importance of being able to see and modify the source code of what they’re running (or distributing source so users can see it).”

By “commercial licences” she means proprietary licences. That’s a different thing. Regarding “patents and royalties”, this may inadvertently refer to software covered by the terms described under the text of the GPLv3.

The point about “distributing source so users can see it” is bizarre because visibility alone does not make software “Free software” or even “Open Source”. That’s just how Microsoft fraudulently openwashes a lot of its software. Branscombe helps this villainous mirage.

Now comes some of the more horrid stuff, as Branscombe probably believes that she kindly introduced FOSS in a fair and balanced fashion.

“And as I’ve long said, open source can also be ‘free as in puppy’; you take on the responsibility of care and keeping when you start to depend on open source software.”

Right, because nobody ever comes to depend on proprietary software? Whose stewardship and maintenance are both monopolised by people whose agenda differs from yours? This, if anything, is a point against proprietary software.

“You can run into problems if the project is no longer developed, or pulled suddenly when the company is bought by Apple and you discover you were using open source components that depended on a closed source core like FoundationDB, and that core is no longer available.”

Because proprietary software companies never get bought? Or discontinue a product? Oh, wait, they do. And often. If it’s Free software, then you can at least take charge or rely on others to take charge (e.g. forks or newly-created successors). Again, if anything, this is a point against proprietary software. Branscombe twists a problem with proprietary software as one exclusive to Free software. We saw other examples of that shameless spin very recently, as recently as one week ago.

“That makes it vital to always look carefully at the licence for open source software, especially if your business is involved (that’s part of the care and keeping of the free puppy).”

Right, because proprietary software licences never change? Or the EULA (see how Vista 10 trashes privacy this week)? You don’t even get to vote on or reject those. If a Free software project diverges from a licence in a way that people are opposed to, they can then fork while maintaining the more desirable licence. This, in turn, puts more pressure on the developer to obey the needs of the users. It keeps developers honest and obedient to their users; they cannot merely ‘occupy’ and thereby mistreat users. Isn’t that a positive thing in a moral society?

“But for some software developers, the free speech comparison is getting more relevant.”

The example she thus provides is irrelevant to free speech:

“Take the GIMP project, which stopped using SourceForge to distribute the Windows installer for its open source image editor in 2013, because of the ads that started appearing on the site featuring download buttons for alternative versions of the software.”

Advertising is not a matter of free speech and denying advertising is not a matter of free speech, either.

“GIMP left the site up because there were so many links to it online, but stopped updating the installers there. SourceForge deemed the product abandoned and started mirroring the releases from GIMP, but it also ‘experimented’ with wrapping the GIMP installer with adware.”

Therein lies the problem. Adware. It’s not just about ads on a page. It’s proprietary garbage that is not wanted and is improperly bundled.

“The GIMP team wasn’t happy (and SourceForge stopped wrapping the installer, although it didn’t stop mirroring it). But because GIMP is under the GPL and LGPL licences SourceForge did nothing wrong: those licences allow software to be repackaged.”

Nobody ever alleged that SourceForge had violated any software licences, so it’s unclear where Branscombe is going with this. No point is being made except the fact that developers can revoke endorsement (not distribution) of some piece of software if inappropriately packaged. GIMP developers packed up and moved. That’s a good thing. Some call it “free market”.

“Android tool developer Collin Mulliner was equally upset to discover that Hacking Team (an Italian company that sells surveillance tools to governments) had used his Android framework to build their Android voice call monitoring software.”

That is a licence violation. So what’s her point?

“”For the future I will use a license for all my software that excludes use for this kind of purpose,” he said in the blog he wrote to make it clear that he didn’t work on the Hacking Team tool. But that might be hard: writing a licence that lets people use your code freely means they can use the code for anything they want.”

But Hacking Team violated the terms of the GPL. Therein lies the main issue. Proprietary software would not have done any better at preventing use for malicious purposes, so how is this even relevant?

“Douglas Crockford famously added a line to his licence for JSON that said it couldn’t be used for evil (and just as famously said that IBM had asked for a variation because they couldn’t guarantee that their customers wouldn’t use it for evil).”

Is that a bad thing?

“Yes, the GPL has repeatedly been used in court, but mostly to force companies to comply with the rules about open sourcing their own code if they’ve published software based on GLP-licenced code.”

The typo/bad English aside (the verb has an “s” in it, but maybe this poor pieces was composed in a rush), is Branscombe trying to insinuate that honouring a licence is a bad thing?

“Commercial use is easier to police, but anyone who is going to use open source code for evil is unlikely to pay much attention to licences that say they can’t, and having people use your code for purposes you don’t approve of is pretty much the definition of free speech.”

Proprietary software (commercial software as Branscombe calls it) has exactly the same issues, so what is her point anyway? Where is that “free puppy” point ever coming into play?

“It’s going to take some careful writing of licences to give developers more control over how software they open source is used in the ways they want, without stopping the open uses they want to enable.”

Again, nothing to do with “Open Source” (Free software) at all. Branscombe takes an issue that applies to all software and frames it as one pertaining to Free software. But why? Just look at Branscombe’s history of badmouthing Microsoft’s competitors.

People of New Zealand Must Rise Up to Defend Sovereignty and Stop Software Patents

Posted in Australia, Law, Patents at 6:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Corporations rely on people remaining ignorant, apathetic and docile like sheep

Sheep

Summary: The TPPA serves to override (launder) the law of New Zealand, allegedly legalising patents on software in the process

MUCH of the software patents debate in New Zealand happened 2 years ago and about 5 years ago. We also wrote about it the other day, having noticed revisionism in the media.

Well, software patents are now being pushed from the back door (bypassing public debate), as today’s ZDNet article serves to remind us:

Negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement appear likely to undo New Zealand’s ban on software patents.

[...]

The president of the New Zealand Open Source Society is “livid” that New Zealand’s Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiating team appears to have already conceded the country’s newly-minted ban on software patents.

[...]

Lane said leaks of the negotiating position show that at one point only Mexico was holding the line on software patents and New Zealand appeared to have already conceded.

The implication is New Zealand’s new software patent law, passed just two years ago, will need to be reversed if the TPPA is inked.

“I think it would be fair to say that I haven’t seen any indication that there is anything positive for New Zealand in this at all,” Lane said. “The only motivation that I’ve been able to discern for taking part in the process is the somewhat dogmatic idea that if we are not part of this then we are going to miss out on something.”

It is clear that corporations and plutocrats always get what they want unless people fight back. We encourage people in New Zealand, not just software developers, to rise up and resist this injustice. It’s a nonviolent coup attempt.

Microsoft Illegally Evades Billions of Dollars in Tax, Says IRS

Posted in Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 6:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The criminal enterprise known as Microsoft finds itself embarrassingly exposed in the courtroom, for the IRS belatedly (decades too late) targets the company in an effort to tackle massive tax evasions

AT the end of last year we wrote about the IRS setting its sight on Microsoft, in spite of Microsoft’s influence in the United States government. Microsoft then attacked the IRS using its lawyers, for merely investigating Microsoft (i.e. doing its job), thus wasting taxpayers money in the courts. Can anyone not see the sheer arrogance of Microsoft? Having already been caught engaging in serious financial fraud (reported to the authorities by an insider) and despite being notorious for taxation/tax violations, Microsoft thinks it has moral ground and believes it can sue the IRS for merely investigating a criminal. Criminal companies with the “God complex” apparently believe that they don’t need to pay tax (because they are very politically-connected) and if you say that they do, they threaten you and bully you. It’s a form of SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation). Microsoft already loses billions of dollars and it sued the IRS for alleging that Microsoft owes billions of dollars to US citizens (easily provable).

This new article from The Register, based on legal documents, reveals the latest in this saga:

The ongoing squabble between Microsoft and the US Internal Revenue Service is heading to court, beginning with a hearing to take place in a Seattle federal court on Tuesday.

The case is gearing up to become one of the largest-ever legal battles between tax authorities and a US corporation over the practice of shifting assets to overseas subsidiaries as a way of avoiding US tax.

The IRS has alleged that deals Microsoft struck with subsidiaries in Bermuda and Puerto Rico between the years of 2004 and 2009 have potentially cost the US Treasury billions in tax revenue. But Redmond thinks the top tax agency’s snooping has gone on long enough and it should either produce a hard figure or drop the whole matter.

Microsoft also claims the IRS acted improperly when it hired two outside law firms to help it in its investigation, which the software giant describes as improperly delegating a government function to a private firm.

Microsoft has filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to see documents exchanged between the IRS and the law firms it contracted, including Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Boies Schiller & Flexner. The IRS has provided some such documents but Microsoft thinks it should be compelled to produce more.

Even if Microsoft goes bankrupt (it suffers losses already), people like Bill Gates, who became rich owing to the company’s criminal activities, should be able to (if not forced to) pay what was looted from the public. More of the corporate media should have the courage to cover the above news, but seeing how Microsoft uses SLAPP against the messengers, maybe the media chooses to stay silence and let only official documents (buried behind paywalls) speak.

“We’ve got to put a lot of money into changing behavior.”

Bill Gates

Vista 10 Very Buggy Upon Release, Just as We Have Repeatedly Warned for Weeks

Posted in Vista 10, Windows at 6:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This is how buggy Vista 10 is (source)

Vista 10 bugs

Summary: Vista 10 is prematurely pushed out the door (in order to meet a deadline), way ahead of it being stable, even remotely polished, let alone supported by hardware companies (there is a serious drivers issue)

Based on what developers from Microsoft whispered to us (loyalty to Microsoft is down even inside Microsoft), Vista 10 is very buggy (critically even, with fatal crashes) and was definitely not ready for release. Microsoft’s management was too shy to postpone the release, having just announced billions in losses, layoffs, and other bad news. When Microsoft developers sort of blow the whistle over the common carrier it definitely speaks volumes about the severity of the issue.

Microsoft now pays the price for releasing a semi-baked pig that maintains the testers' privacy-infringing antifeatures, as even Microsoft's friend Tim Anderson acknowledges the huge problems. The editor chose the headline “MORE Windows 10 bugs!”

An issue with the new Windows 10 Start menu means that those with more than 512 application shortcuts will have missing entries.

In Windows 10, the Start menu includes an All Apps list, which you can search for quick access to installed applications.

Start menu shortcuts are still shortcut files placed in the same special locations as previous versions of Windows, but the Start menu app appears to be driven by a database on which some optimistic Microsoft coder has placed a limit of 512 entries.

Based on what people are saying online (real people, mostly in forums, including in our IRC channels), Vista 10 is a mess which is possibly even worse than Vista. It may be hard to encounter such reports in the corporate media because Microsoft pays a lot of money to continuously flood this media with puff pieces and 'prepared' articles from well-paid (by Microsoft) PR agencies.

Microsoft is now trying to push people to ‘upgrade’ to Vista 10 for ‘security’ (despite universal back doors in it (see this wiki page for many examples) and two days ago we saw this report that can help convince Windows XP users to rush into Vista 10. “Next month at DefCon in Las Vegas (August 8),” says this report, “a group of security researchers say they’ll demonstrate how to crack one of Brink’s CompuSafe digital safes in under 60 seconds.” The title of the article is “Brinks has a safe that runs Windows XP and hackers say they can crack it in 60 seconds”, but would any other version of Windows do any better?

Windows is not secure. It was never designed to be secure. Microsoft deliberately lets crackers get in, e.g. via NSA back doors. What reason would anyone ever have for ‘upgrading’ to such a buggy platform with so much more surveillance (the very opposite of security)?

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