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
– 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
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This is rapidly becoming an Internet meme (source)
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 FoundationThe 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.”
–DaemonFCBut 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.” █
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“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
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. █
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Corporations rely on people remaining ignorant, apathetic and docile like 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. █
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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.”
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This is how buggy Vista 10 is (source)
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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