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Microsoft

Microsoft loves Linux — a little too much?

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

Microsoft announces a lot of Linux related stuff, and Maui. Trouble is: Maui is already the name of a Linux distribution and the name of a framework for graphical user interfaces for Linux applications — and, as it turns out, has been a registered trademark for those things for 5 years.

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Microsoft Build: Same old recycled stuff, no upcycling

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GNU
Microsoft

Often, a proprietary software company's silence can speak as loudly as their latest campaign against a computer user's right to freedom. This is the case with Microsoft's developer-centric "Build" event. While Microsoft announced a few more welcome additions to its free software output, it missed the opportunity to demonstrate a real commitment to user freedom by upcycling its recently abandoned Windows 7 operating system under a free software license.

The predictable failure here here fits together well with the corporation's complex history of mixed messaging on freedom, which once compared copyleft to "a virus that gobbles up intellectual property like a Pac-Man," and yet now would have you believe that it "loves [free software]." Our Upcycle Windows 7 petition has given Microsoft the perfect opportunity to take the next step in its promotion of free software, to show that its "love" was real. We are disappointed, but not surprised, that they have ignored this call from us and thousands of potential users.

Although the petition signatures and "special gift" were signed, sealed, and delivered safely to their Redmond, WA headquarters, the FSF has not received any response from a Microsoft representative. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the operations of even the largest companies, but as of yet, we haven't heard anything from Microsoft suggesting this was the reason for the lack of response. They certainly seem to have had the resources to put on a 48-hour video marathon about proprietary software.

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DirectX on Linux - what it is/isn't

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Microsoft

First up clarify for the people who jump to insane conclusions:

The DX on Linux is a WSL2 only thing. Microsoft are not any way bringing DX12 to Linux outside of the Windows environment. They are also in no way open sourcing any of the DX12 driver code. They are recompiling the DX12 userspace drivers (from GPU vendors) into Linux shared libraries, and running them on a kernel driver shim that transfers the kernel interface up to the closed source Windows kernel driver. This is in no way useful for having DX12 on Linux baremetal or anywhere other than in a WSL2 environment. It is not useful for Linux gaming.

From my point of view the kernel shim driver doesn't really bring anything to Linux, it's just a tunnel for some binary data between a host windows kernel binary and a guest linux userspace binary. It doesn't enhance the Linux graphics ecosystem in any useful direction, and as such I'm questioning why we'd want this upstream at all.

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Official Statement Regarding Xamarin.Forms rebranding as MAUI

Filed under
KDE
Microsoft

Today May 19, 2020, we were notified by a couple of users at the KDE Maui Project Telegram channel about a name change of a Microsoft product, the UI framework previously known as ‘Xamarin.Forms’ was rebranded as MAUI (Multi-platform App UI ). This name change is unfortunate as there is an existing project called Maui; evidently, we are referring to the Maui Project (https://mauikit.org/). The word “Maui” often capitalized as MAUI in the Maui Project is also an acronym, and it means Multi-Adaptable User Interfaces taking this as consideration; there’s a reasonable cause of confusion between these two frameworks.

As it is the case, both are UI frameworks to create cross-platform applications, which does not help the situation. We created the Maui Project in 2018, announcing it for the first time on June 10 of the same year, as per our calculations, that is two years before Microsoft introduced this change into their product. The Maui Project’s code was initially at GitHub, and it has code commits dating back to April 29, 2018. Currently, the code of MauiKit and the Maui applications lives on KDE Invent.

Even going back as far as checking the registration of the original domain https://maui-project.org which dates back to 2018-05-06 and the current domain (which is under KDE infrastructure) https://mauikit.org which dates back to 2018-09-21, it’s relatively easy to observe that the Maui Project predates this rebranding by Microsoft.

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Also: Microsoft And A KDE Project Spar Over "MAUI"

Proprietary Software With Back Doors

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Microsoft
Security
  • Microsoft Issues Windows 10 ‘Critical’ Update Warning

    Of these, in particular, Microsoft states that nine of the critical vulnerabilities (CVE-2020-1023, CVE-2020-1024, CVE-2020-1056, CVE-2020-1059, CVE-2020-1069, CVE-2020-1096, CVE-2020-1102, CVE-2020-1117, CVE-2020-1153) enabled hackers to remotely activate code on your computer to assume full control. This is the ultimate end game for any Windows 10 attack, so it’s vital you install these fixes as soon as possible.

    Needless to say, such a suggestion will send shivers down the spines of many Windows 10 users. The operating system has been notoriously unreliable for some time and deleting user data, breaking Chrome security and losing user profiles are just some of the recent highlights.

    On the flip side, Microsoft has promised important upgrade changes are coming to Windows 10, while the company is also reprioritizing plans to bring Windows 10X, an all-new platform, to laptop and desktop PCs. So yes, change is needed but it is coming.

  • Ransomware Forces Shutdown of Texas Judiciary Network [iophk: tweets in place of official communications Sad ]

    Texas revealed on Monday that a ransomware attack has forced the shutdown of its judicial branch network, including websites and servers

    [...]

    “The attack began during the overnight hours and was first discovered in the early morning hours on Friday. The attack is unrelated to the courts’ migration to remote hearings amid the coronavirus pandemic,” the notice reads.

  • The Confessions of Marcus Hutchins, the Hacker Who Saved the Internet

    Vinny wanted him to do the work of integrating the other programmer's web injects into their malware, then test the rootkit and maintain it with updates once it launched. Hutchins says he knew instinctively that he should walk away and never communicate with Vinny again. But as Hutchins tells it, Vinny seemed to have been preparing for this conversation, and he laid out an argument: Hutchins had already put in nearly nine months of work. He had already essentially built a banking rootkit that would be sold to customers, whether Hutchins liked it or not.

    Besides, Hutchins was still being paid on commission. If he quit now, he'd get nothing. He'd have taken all the risks, enough to be implicated in the crime, but would receive none of the rewards.

    As angry as he was at having fallen into Vinny's trap, Hutchins admits that he was also persuaded. So he added one more link to the yearslong chain of bad decisions that had defined his teenage life: He agreed to keep ghostwriting Vinny's banking malware.

FOSS Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

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Microsoft

Proprietary Traps and Entrapment by Microsoft

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Microsoft
Software
Misc
  • SoftMaker Office 2021 Hits Beta, is Free to Download (For Now)

    A beta release of SoftMaker Office 2021 is available to download for free on Windows, macOS and Linux.

    For those unfamiliar with it SoftMaker Office is a paid, closed-source productivity suite created by SoftMaker, a Germany-based software company founded in 1987. The company also produce a free (as in beer) office suite called ‘FreeOffice by SoftMaker’.

    The SoftMaker Office suite boasts ‘seamless compatibility’ with, and indeed native use of, Microsoft Office file formats by default. The suite is comprised of a word processing program, TextMaker 2021, a spreadsheet program, PlanMaker 2021 and a presentation making tool, Presentations 2021.

  • Wireless mesh networks: Everything you need to know

    While Wi-Fi remains standardized, and extremely and reliably compatible among equipment from different makers, no two mesh systems on the market work with each other. An early mesh protocol, 802.11h, wound up being not just insufficient to the task, but entirely ignored by companies as they pursued better results and competitive advantages—and higher prices than for regular Wi-Fi gear.

  • Updatable Ubuntu Server Live Installer [Ed: Nothing says "Ubuntu" like Microsoft GitHub in your INSTALLER! Even if Microsoft is upset to have lost billions on GitHub (and it's still operating at a massive loss), the NSA will be happy. So much control over so many programs and systems worldwide.]
  • VS Code in Ubuntu [Ed: It is not Open Source; see the associate licence and what it is designed to help sell.]

    VS Code, developed by Microsoft, is a cross platform open-source editor...

Windows by the numbers: Windows share shrinks, Linux surges ... wait, Linux?

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Linux
Microsoft

According to analytics company Net Applications, Windows accounted for 86.9% of global OS share in April, a decline of 2.3 percentage points. That was the largest loss by Windows since November 2017, when Net Applications made major adjustments to its numbers after purging its data of bogus traffic originating from criminals' "bots."

The decline of Windows overall had a ripple effect, causing individual editions, such as Windows 10, to have similarly large losses. When measured as a portion of all Windows, however, the editions' declines, if present at all, were much less significant.

And because operating system share is zero-sum - when one OS goes down, another has to go up - April saw major advances by two non-Microsoft operating systems. Apple's macOS climbed by eight-tenths of a percentage point, reaching 9.8%, its highest mark since March 2019. And Linux - all distributions - shot up by a remarkable 1.5 points to end April at 2.9%, its highest mark since October 2017 (and just before the Net Applications data revamp).

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Microsoft Entrapment, Entryism and More Bad News

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Microsoft
Security
  • And Helm makes 10: Package manager graduates Cloud Native Computing Foundation [Ed: Linux Foundation as Microsoft vehicle]

    According to the project’s announcement blog, Helm started in 2015 as a hackathon project at startup Deis, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2017. Its makers initially aimed at making the deployment of cloud native applications easy for those new to Kubernetes and providing package management at enterprise scale.

  • Python’s migration to GitHub - Request for Project Manager Resumes [Ed: Python 'bought' by Microsoft and Microsoft 'donates' towards the takeover]

    The Python Software Foundation is looking for a Project Manager to assist with CPython’s migration from bugs.python.org to GitHub for issue tracking. CPython's development partially moved to GitHub in February 2017. All other projects within the PSF's organization are hosted on GitHub and are using GitHub issues. CPython is still using Roundup as the issue tracker on https://bugs.python.org (also known as “bpo”). To read more about the rationale behind this migration, read PEP 581.

    Thank you to GitHub for donating financial support so this project can begin.

  • Open-source Android mobile platform Lineage OS hacked

    In another incident of online breach, hackers gained illegal access to the open-source operating system for smartphones Lineage OS. The online intrusion was confirmed by the company. As per the company, the OS was hacked on Saturday last week around 8 pm US Pacific coast. It said that the hack was detected on time and that the attack did no harm to the source code of the operating system. Builds and signing keys too remain intact, it added.

  • Software flaws often first reported on social media networks, researchers find

    At the same time, those vulnerabilities present a cybersecurity opportunity for governments to more closely monitor social media discussions about software gaps, the researchers assert. Their findings were published recently in the journal PLOS One.

    "Some of these software vulnerabilities have been targeted and exploited by adversaries of the United States. We wanted to see how discussions around these vulnerabilities evolved," said lead author Svitlana Volkova, senior research scientist in the Data Sciences and Analytics Group at PNNL. "Social cybersecurity is a huge threat. Being able to measure how different types of vulnerabilities spread across platforms is really needed."

  • 5G Infrastructure Requirements: Supporting Ultra-Low, Deterministic latency [Ed: Proprietary]

    One area that 5G will directly affect is the design and architecture of the Radio Access Network (RAN). Simply put, the RAN is a collection of edge located functions that connect a mobile device to the CSP’s core network. But there is nothing simple about it. The latency requirements and network load of 5G will put a great deal of strain on the RAN, and the traditional ways of deploying RAN equipment are not well suited for the new needs. A new, cloud- based Virtual RAN (vRAN) approach will be required, as enabled by the Wind River Cloud Platform. This solution provides the necessary functionality for 5G; performance, flexibility, and cost-efficiency that isn’t available in existing fixed-function RAN equipment.

I don’t want to be patronized and much less by a software vendor

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft

So it happened again: I feel being patronized by a large SW vendor who forces me to automatically run his software on my system after each login. As an open source developer and advocate I hate if I don’t have control over these kind of things and no option to turn them off. Unix know-how to the rescue, though. Read on.

The members of a project I am currently working on to make a living are now widespread over the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. Project management has decided that the communication should happen over a product called skype. It’s not free and open, but hey, come on, I have to make some money somehow so that I can manage it with KMyMoney. Fortunately, I found out that there is a version for Linux and it even works quite well.

Nevertheless, I wondered why it starts after login without me doing anything. OK, this could be the default setting and I started the KDE system settings to turn it off. Not thinking about it further, I started and stopped skype for a few days until there was a kernel update and I had to reboot my system.

After login, I was surprised that skype started automatically. I thought, I had turned it off. Well, unmark that checkbox again in system settings and guess what: it returned without me doing anything except starting and using the application. That ~/.config/autostart/skypeforlinux.desktop file, which is responsible for the autostart, just re-appeared every time one starts skype manually.

Using the search engine of choice, I learned that this is a known problem and cannot be turned off with an option. This is the time, when patronization starts and I get angry.

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Also: 10 Best Video Conferencing Software for Linux in 2020 [Ed: Martins D. Okoi promotes proprietary software malware in a site called "FOSS"]

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