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Vista 10 Under Attack From Media, UNIX/Linux Under Attack From Microsoft

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  • Linux "lockout" tangle snarls Lenovo

    After failing to install Linux on a recent Lenovo laptop, a Reddit user claims to have received a short reply from Lenovo's support team: "This system has a Signature Edition of Windows 10 Home installed. It is locked per our agreement with Microsoft."

    The company is reportedly shutting discussion threads on its official forums to prevent "disruption," though the snarl of links and outrage flying around makes everything rather murky. The core facts at hand appear to be that a) the BIOS is programmed to enforce a RAID setup that is currently compatible only with Windows 10, and Cool there's no technical rationale for it, it's just there to prevent other operating systems being installed. A is, of course, more plausibly true than B.

  • Which? slams Microsoft for Windows 10 update woes

    Which? has called on Microsoft to honour the rights of its customers after a survey found that 12 per cent of those who upgraded to Windows 10 from an earlier version had rolled back and that many more were annoyed with the update.

    More than half of those who rolled back to a previous edition said it was because the new version had caused problems with their devices.

    The problems included printers, WiFi cards and speakers no longer working, files being lost and emails no longer syncing. In some cases the computer required professional repair.

    Many complained that the only reason they upgraded in the first place was to get rid of the constant nagware employed by Microsoft through the GWX system installed on machines that qualified for a free upgrade.

    Many said that they had actually turned down the nagware offers and found that Windows 10 had installed anyway.

  • Windows 10 software condemned by Which? [Ed: Microsoft should stand trial for it]

    Microsoft has been criticised over its Windows 10 software by consumer rights group Which?.

    The body said it had received hundreds of complaints about the upgrade, including lost files, emails no longer syncing and broken wi-fi and printing.

    In some cases, it said, users had had to pay for their computer to be repaired.

    Microsoft defended its software and highlighted that it provided help online and by phone.

    "The Windows 10 upgrade is a choice designed to help people take advantage of the most secure and most productive Windows," said a spokesman.

    "Customers have distinct options. Should a customer need help with the upgrade experience, we have numerous options including free customer support."

    Which? surveyed more than 5,500 of its members in June, and said that 12% of the 2,500 who had upgraded to Windows 10 had later reverted to an earlier version.

True Love...and Microsoft Love

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Stop the patent blackmail

Microsoft has been going to licensees of Android and threatening the licensees with suit if the licensees do not pay Microsoft money for using software that Microsoft says violates their patents. When the companies agree to settle out of court, Microsoft then requires them not to discuss publically which patents are claimed in violation or anything about the settlement. Of course this means that the FOSS community can not study the patents (to see if they are valid or not) or know which sections of code could be re-written to avoid the patents.

This is more important than Microsoft just getting their pound of flesh for some code that they did not write, which may have existed as “prior art” while Bill Gates was still getting speeding tickets in New Mexico.

When companies start to develop products they want to know about as many risks as possible. Therefore they worry about patents that exist in code that could be used to block their product, or make it more expensive than they thought the product would be.

Not knowing what the patents are, or how much Microsoft will charge for them, or even if they are valid, the companies can not make that decision easily. Therefore they might avoid a FOSS (particularly Android) solution.

Another problem with software patents is that it makes it expensive, difficult and/or dangerous for companies to distribute code over the Internet or on some media. If there is patent-bearing code in the distribution, a distribution could not afford even a penny royalty if there are going to be millions of copies of their code downloaded, with (perhaps) only 100,000 actually installed. This is why some distributions have a separate package for royalty bearing code (usually multimedia codecs), and others have a version for the USA and other countries that recognize software patents and another version for “the rest of the world”.

The problem with this technique being applied to Microsoft's claimed patents is that the patents claimed appear to be in the kernel, and the Linux community does not know which patents or to what code the patents apply.

For Microsoft to show their love for FOSS, I would recommend them joining the Open Invention Network, or simply agree to license these questionable patents free of charge to organizations using FOSS. Microsoft could still charge royalties for their patents used in closed, proprietary software. I have heard Apple has a lot of cash on hand.

Allow FOSS proponents to keynote at major Microsoft events.

Microsoft has been coming to FOSS events for many years now. At first there was always the question of whether a FOSS event should allow someone who has been calling you a “virus”, or “a communist” or talking about your “crappy software” to come to their events, but normally it was felt that for FOSS people to exclude Microsoft personnel from attending or to eliminate them from speaking, or even to refuse to take their sponsorship money was not being very “open”. So Microsoft started coming to FOSS events, having booths, speaking, and trying to hire FOSS programmers.

On the other hand I remember several times where I was chased out of a general purpose computer event by event managers because Microsoft had complained that we were handing out free CDROMs of GNU/Linux to show attendees. At one event I was even forbidden to hand them out on the street corner in front of the event because the side walk also belonged to the venue (or so they said).

One time we allowed a Microsoft product manager to participate in a panel with Linus, and about ten seconds before we went on the stage the Microsoft manager pulled out the results of software tests to prove that for some obscure function Microsoft Windows was some percentage faster than Linux. Linus, of course, could not refute this, but he did go home and investigate the issue, and in the next release of Linux that function was two or three times faster than Microsoft Windows.

Nevertheless, I do not remember Microsoft ever allowing a FOSS person to discuss the benefits of the FOSS model of software at a major Microsoft customer or developer event, and if Microsoft really “loved Linux” (and their customers) you would think Microsoft would want their developer and customer base to know about those values and benefits.

So for Microsoft to really show its love, I think they should invite recognized FOSS advocates to speak as keynote speakers at Convergence, //Build, the Worldwide Partner Conference and Microsoft Ignite. I am sure I could find the time in my schedule to attend one or two of them and there are other FOSS people who could also help out.

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Lenovo reportedly blocking Linux on Windows 10 Signature Edition PCs (updated)

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According to Reddit user BaronHK, it is impossible to install Linux onto the Signature Edition Lenovo Yoga 900 ISK2 UltraBook because the SSD is locked in a proprietary RAID mode that Linux doesn't support, and that even Windows 10 cannot use without an Lenovo driver being downloaded first.

Evidence -- in the form of owner reports and reviews -- has been uncovered which suggests that the Yoga 900S, and Yoga 710S are locked in a similar manner.

To confuse matters further, there is a post from a Lenovo "product expert" claiming that Signature Edition PCs have to lock out Linux users because Microsoft says so.

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Also: Microsoft Reportedly Requires "Signature PCs" To Be Locked To Only Running Windows

Warning: Microsoft Doesn’t Want You To Install Linux On Its “Signature PCs”

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Microsoft hates it when its customers wish to install Linux or other operating systems on its PCs. A Redditor has expressed concern over his inability to install Linux on a Yoga 900 ISK2 Ultrabook. Trying to justify this, Lenovo has said that Yoga 900 runs a Signature Edition of Windows 10 Home installed and it’s locked per our agreement with Microsoft.

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Beware: Windows 10 Signature Edition Blocks Installing Linux

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Microsoft opening the source code of a lot of its projects in the last months convinced some people that the company – under its new management – is now good, and that it “loves Linux”, however, this assumption came to be wrong today with the latest monopoly try from Microsoft.

In a TL;DR format: Some new laptops that ship with Windows 10 Signature Edition don’t allow you to install Linux (or any operating system) on it; the BIOS is locked and the hard drives are hidden in a way you can’t install any OS. Those news are not some rumors from the Internet, Lenovo for example confirmed that they have singed an agreement with Microsoft for this.

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Microsoft 'Love', Openwashing, and More Layoffs

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  • Does Microsoft really love Linux?

    Microsoft has always had an…uneasy…relationship with Linux, to say the least. But a writer at The Verge is convinced that Microsoft does indeed love Linux these days, and that its stormy Linux past is now behind the Redmond giant.

  • PerfView is now Open Source On GitHub [Ed: Microsoft uses PerfView in an openwashing effort in order to market proprietary Visual Studio, which adds surveillance to compiled code]

    The readme associated with the GitHub repository has getting started information (how to fetch the repository, how to build, test and deploy the code. We use Visual Studio 2015. You can download a free copy of Visual Studio 2015 Community Edition that has everything you need to clone, build test and deploy PerfView. Thus you can get going with PerfView RIGHT NOW. The instructions on the PerfView repository tell you how to get started even if you know nothing about GIT (although knowing something about GIT and Visual Studio certainly helps).

  • Microsoft will close its Skype office in London [Ed: in recent years, as Microsoft pretends to be "Open" (it's the opposite), layoffs have become routine at the company]

    Microsoft is going to close Skype’s London office, in a move that could impact the jobs of the nearly 400 people employed there. The company told the Financial Times that is will “unify some engineering positions,” but that it “will be entering into a consultation process to help those affected by the redundancies.”

    The London office is a key part of Skype’s history, since it was the primary engineering site and headquarters of the company before Microsoft acquired it, and it also survived Skype’s strange interlude under the ownership of eBay before it was acquired by the big M.

    While the move is no doubt a blow to London’s tech scene, some former insiders told the FT that it’s also not a surprise to see it go, largely because a steady stream of executive departures over the last few years have foretold a shift in the locus of power at the company. Post-acquisition, Microsoft has also done a lot of product work on Skype, with plenty of integration with Office 365 and a number of feature introductions that bring it closer in line with Slack.

Microsoft and Apple

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  • These Microsoft veterans are on their way out

    This year, a handful of Microsoft veteran employees are retiring and/or moving on. Over the past couple of weeks, here's who has left or is in the midst of leaving the company:

  • Microsoft fiddles results to show Edge is 'better' than Opera and Chrome

    THE DANCE-OFF over which browser has the best battery life goes on in a war that has turned some parts of the internet into an uninhabitable zone in the hours of darkness.

    Opera pwned everyone in its own tests, taking particular beef with Microsoft's Edge half-browser, but Google then came forward to show that version 53 of its Chrome browser pwned all the things.

    Microsoft has now re-run the tests and, not entirely surprisingly, claimed that Edge beats everything else.

    Microsoft conducted tests against its three biggest rivals, and said that Edge, when used with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, uses 24 per cent less power than Chrome, 32 per cent less than Opera and 43 per cent less than Firefox.

    Edge managed 527 minutes of video playback against 429 for Opera, 365 for Chrome and 312 for Firefox, according to Microsoft.

    However, closer inspection reveals that Microsoft used Chrome 51 (not 53), Opera 38 (not 39) and Firefox 36 (not 38).

    In other words, Microsoft's methodology has been tainted by pitting the latest version of Edge against earlier versions of other browsers.

  • Microsoft Corporation Is Giving Up on Fitness Bands [Ed: The number of dead products at Microsoft keeps increasing]

    According to ZDNet, all signs indicate that the Microsoft Band 2 will be the final product of the software giant's foray into smart fitness trackers. The original Microsoft Band from 2014 was poorly received by the market, as was the follow-up successor, even though it was redesigned and improved in many ways. Band 2 even got a price bump and launched at $250, which didn't help its chances. The company has since reduced the price to $175, presumably in an effort to clear out inventory.

  • Microsoft Corporation: Microsoft and Tuxera strengthen partnership through Tuxera SMB Server[Ed: helping Microsoft's patent fight against Linux and the GPL]
  • Microsoft Azure borkage in central US leads to global woes

    At its height, the fault affected API management, web apps, Service Bus and SQL database services in the central US region, and Azure DNS globally.

    Microsoft's Azure status page has just now reported that SQL database is still affected in the central US region.

    As is often the case, however, customers noticed confusion with Microsoft's messages, as Azure Twitter feeds and status pages seemed to disagree on the speed of recovery.

  • [Reposted] FSF, RMS Issue Statements Over Libreboot's Accusations [Ed: There are a lot of examples of sexism, homophobia and other abuse inside Microsoft and Apple but unlike FOSS communities they hide it. Here are examples of Microsoft sexism [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and Microsoft homophobia [1, 2, 3]
  • Leaked Apple emails reveal employees' complaints about sexist, toxic work environment [Ed: apropos the above and new report, too]

    Danielle* didn't expect her workday to begin with her male coworkers publicly joking about rape.

    Danielle is an engineer at Apple — and like many of the women in the company, she works on a male-dominated team. On a Tuesday morning in July, when men on her team began to joke that an office intruder was coming to rape everybody, Danielle decided to speak out about what she described as the "very toxic atmosphere" created by jokes about violent sexual assault.

    The coworker who first made the joke apologized, repeatedly assuring her that something like this wouldn't happen again. But his assurances did little to instill confidence. This wasn't the first time Danielle had allegedly seen something like this happen on her team, nor was it the first time she complained that the office culture at Apple was, in her words, toxic. Despite repeated formal complaints to her manager, Danielle said, nothing ever changed.

    But this rape joke was the final straw. The next day, Danielle escalated her complaint about the offense to the very top: Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • After 23 years, the Apple II gets another OS update

    You can test-drive ProDOS 2.4 in a Web-based emulator set up by computer historian Jason Scott on the Internet Archive. The release includes Bitsy Bye, a menu-driven program launcher that allows for navigation through files on multiple floppy (or hacked USB) drives. Bitsy Bye is an example of highly efficient code: it runs in less than 1 kilobyte of RAM. There's also a boot utility that is under 400 bytes—taking up a single block of storage on a disk.

More Microsoft EEE and Layoffs

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More in Tux Machines

DevOps Handbook and Course

Leftovers: Gaming

Android Leftovers

  • Off We Go: Oracle Officially Appeals Google's Fair Use Win
    It was only a matter of time until this happened, but Oracle has officially appealed its fair use Java API loss to the Federal Circuit (CAFC). As you recall, after a years-long process, including the (correct) ruling that APIs are not covered by copyright being ridiculously overturned by CAFC, a new trial found that even if APIs are copyright-eligible, Google's use was covered by fair use. Oracle then tried multiple times to get Judge William Alsup to throw out the jury's ruling, but failed. In fact, on Oracle's second attempt to get Alsup to throw out the jury's ruling, citing "game changing" evidence that Google failed to hand over important information on discovery, it actually turned out that Oracle's lawyers had simply failed to read what Google had, in fact, handed over.
  • On iMessage’s Stickiness
  • Physical RAM attack can root Android and possibly other devices [Ed: Memory flipping is not at all an Android problem]

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Enterprise Open Source Programs Flourish -- In Tech and Elsewhere
    If you cycled the clock back about 15 years and surveyed the prevailing beliefs about open source technology at the time, you would find nowhere near the volume of welcome for it that we see today. As a classic example, The Register reported all the way back in 2001 that former CEO of Microsoft Steve Ballmer made the following famous statement in a Chicago Sun-Times interview: "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."
  • 5 More Reasons to Love Kubernetes
    In part one of this series, I covered my top five reasons to love Kubernetes, the open source container orchestration platform created by Google. Kubernetes was donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in July of 2015, where it is now under development by dozens of companies including Canonical, CoreOS, Red Hat, and more. My first five reasons were primarily about the project’s heritage, ease of use, and ramp-up. The next five get more technical. As I mentioned in part one, choosing a distributed system to perform tasks in a datacenter is much more complex than looking at a spreadsheet of features or performance. And, you should make your decision based on your own needs and team dynamics. However, this top 10 list will give you my perspective, as someone who has been using, testing, and developing systems for a while now.
  • Bankers plan to give Corda blockchain code to Hyperledger project
  • Are European Banks Falling Behind in Blockchain Development?
  • Hyperledger adds 10 new members to support open source distributed ledger framework
    The Linux Foundation's Hyperledger project has announced that 10 new members have joined the project in order to help create an open standard for distributed ledgers for a new generation of transactional applications.
  • The Blockchain Created By Ethereum's Fork is Forking Now
    A blockchain that was born out of the rejection of a contentious technical change is on the cusp of making a decision some argue contradicts its core values. That's the situation the developers behind ethereum classic face ahead of a hard fork expected to be enacted on its blockchain on 25th October (should network participants approve the upgrade). Originally formed in reaction to a decision by the ethereum community to edit its "immutable" ledger, the fork caused an ideological schism among its enthusiasts. Alarmed by the action (or seeing a chance to profit by continuing the original network), miners and speculators began running its blockchain, which developers named "ethereum classic". Other investors then bought into the vision, and today, there are currently 85m classic ethers (ETC) worth $87m.
  • Red Hat: OpenStack moving beyond the proof-of-concept phase
    Red Hat’s annual poll found that 43 percent of respondents have deployed the cloud platform in production, compared to just 16 percent one year ago. The company reckons the increase reflects efforts by the community to address complexity and deployment issues that were previously known to have been a major roadblock to adoption. The study also noted that the steep learning curve for deploying OpenStack is being addressed as a growing number of engineers become certified to operate the platform. In addition, Red Hat cited cloud native application development as another driving force in enterprise adoption of OpenStack.
  • OpenStack Summit Emphasizes Security, Interoperability
    From security to interoperabilty to use cases and everything in-between, this week's OpenStack Summit from Oct. 25 to 28 in Barcelona, is set to illuminate the cloud. This year's event, which brings together vendors, operators and developers of the open-source cloud platform, will offer more sessions than ever before on securing OpenStack clouds. The Barcelona Summit follows the release of the OpenStack Newton milestone, which debuted on Oct. 6. While discussions about the most recent release are always part of every OpenStack Summit, so too are case-studies from operators of OpenStack clouds.
  • A complete view into application security must include open source [Ed: Black Duck spam (self-promotional marketing) takes form of FOSS FUD, as usual]
  • While Other Cities Go Linux, Toronto Bets Big on Microsoft Software [Ed: Toronto joins the Dark Forces]
    "" The partnership between Microsoft and the city of Toronto certainly comes at the right time, as other authorities across the world already announced decisions to give up on Windows and Office and replace them with open-source alternatives. Munich is the city that started the entire trend, but it wasn’t at all a smooth transition. Some of the local officials proposed a return to Microsoft software, claiming that training and assistance actually impacted productivity and explaining that in the end it all pays off to use Microsoft software because of the familiarity that users experience, which translates to a substantial productivity boost. And yet, the transition off Microsoft products is happening and more authorities are willing to do it, not necessarily because of the costs, but also due to security concerns, as is the case of Russia.
  • Open-Source Toolkit Lets Communities Build Their Own Street Furniture
    Despite the vast amount of customization options technology has allotted us, it can still be difficult to create projects that are community-centric. For example, though 3D printing can help us personalize our own jewelry, it has limited use for outfitting parks with trash cans or equipping bus stops with comfortable seating. Still, hyper-customizable tech has taught us the convenience of managing our own products, eliminating the bureaucratic complications of mass produced, production-line assembly. Leveraging this ideology to better the community, the Better Block Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to building local communities, has developed an open-source toolkit for creating a variety of fixtures for communities. The platform, called Wikiblock, allows designs ranging from benches to beer garden fences to be downloaded and taken to a maker space where a computer-aided machine can print the design from plywood. Similar to Ikea’s simplistic, DIY approach, the printed wood can be assembled by hand, without glue or nails.
  • How to make a lighted, porch bag for Halloween
    While I typically go all out for Halloween decorations every year, I'll admit I'm feeling tired this year. I still wanted to delight the neighborhood kids with simple details, so I decided to make lighted bags for my front porch railing this year. If you are someone who has a paper cutting machine like the Silhouette, this project will likely be a lot easier. Simply import the SVG file, resize for whatever size box you want, cut out, and assemble. However, for those of you who don't have one, I've included instructions on how to make this project without any machine at all. The box was created with the help of artists who share their art at OpenClipArt. I also used Inkscape to create the SVG file. If you don't like bats, you could modify the SVG file to include other types of clipart in the center of the bag.