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Microsoft

Google, IBM and Microsoft

Filed under
Google
Microsoft
  • Five Common Chromebook Myths Debunked

    When Chromebooks first came out in 2011, they were basically just low-spec laptops that could access web apps – fine for students maybe, but not to be regarded as serious computers. While they’ve become more popular (the low cost, simplicity, and dependability appeal to businesses and education systems), as of 2018 Chromebooks still haven’t managed to become widely accepted as a Windows/Apple/Linux alternative.

    That may be about to change. The humble Chromebook has gotten a lot of upgrades, so let’s get ourselves up to speed on some things that just aren’t true anymore.

    [...]

    The 2011 Chrome OS was pretty bare-bones, but it’s gone to the opposite extreme since then. Not only is it steadily blurring the line between Chrome and Android, it can now install and run some Windows programs as well, at the same time as a Chrome and an Android app, if you like. And hey, while you’re at it, why not open a Linux app as well? You can already install Linux on a Chromebook if you want, but one of the next versions of Chrome OS is going to include a Linux virtual machine accessible right from your desktop (which is already possible, just not built-in and user-friendly). In sum, Chrome OS has gone from barely being an operating system to one that can run apps from four other OSes at the same time.

  • Like “IBM’s Work During the Holocaust”: Inside Microsoft, Growing Outrage Over a Contract with ICE
  • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E15 – Fifteen Minutes - Ubuntu Podcast

    ...Microsoft getting into hot water over their work with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Plus we round up the community news.

Microsoft and ICE, Major Downtimes Again

Filed under
Microsoft
  • Microsoft says pro-migrant, but no mention of cancelling ICE contract

    Both Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella and president Brad Smith have responded to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement separating migrant children from their parents at the Mexico-US border by issuing strong statements against the practice.

    However, neither has said a word about ending the company's US$19.4 million contract with ICE.

    US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday cancelling the separation policy for the next 20 days. About 4000 children have already been taken from their parents and there is no sign of their being returned.

    About 100 employees had sent a letter to Nadella, asking for the contract with ICE to be cancelled.

  • Microsoft CEO: don't worry, we're mostly helping the parts of ICE that don't involve kidnapping children

    As Microsoft employees grow increasingly furious that their employer is a key technology provider to ICE, providing, among other things, facial recognition software, the company is responding, conscious of the possibility of a repeat of Google's showdown with its employees over the provision of AI for drone warfare systems.

    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella circulated an internal memo to all employees reassuring them that Microsoft only indirectly contributes to ICE's child kidnapping system by providing service to the rest of ICE.

    The child kidnapping crisis has prompted Mike Godwin to temporarily suspend Godwin's law, which allows me to point out that the service technicians IBM dispatched to service the Nazi tabulating machines only helped the Nazis to count the dead -- it wasn't like IBM was servicing gas chambers, just as Microsoft is only supplying adjacent services to an agency that the UN has condemned as "counter to human rights standards and principles."

  • Microsoft Azure suffers 11-hours of borkage across Europe

    The official word is that the downtime, which comes just days after Office 365 went titsup, lasted from around 5.45pm on Tuesday until 4.30am on Wednesday morning.

    However, many customers were still reporting issues today, despite Azure Support claiming that its engineers had "mitigated the issue in North Europe and impacted services should be recovered at this time".

The New Microsoft

Filed under
Microsoft
  • Microsoft ICE Contract Draws Fire

    “ICE’s decision to accelerate IT modernization using Azure Government will help them innovate faster while reducing the burden of legacy IT. The agency is currently implementing transformative technologies for homeland security and public safety, and we’re proud to support this work with our mission-critical cloud,” he wrote.

  • Microsoft faces outrage for blog post touting ICE contract

    As outrage grew online, a Microsoft employee quietly removed mention of ICE from the January press release this morning. Social media users noticed that, too. The company has since restored the press release's original language, and called its removal a "mistake."

  • Microsoft Removes Mention of ICE Cloud Work After Protests

    Microsoft Corp. scrubbed an online reference to its work for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as the agency faces criticism for its role in separating families at the U.S.-Mexican border.

  • Microsoft briefly removes blog post mentioning ICE contract after backlash
  • Microsoft's Ethical Reckoning Is Here

    Tech Workers Coalition, a labor group for tech industry employees, urged Microsoft employees to coordinate their opposition. “If you are a worker building these tools or others at Microsoft, decide now that you will not be complicit,” the group tweeted.

"Microsoft may find the developers it just paid so much to reach slipping from its grasp."

Filed under
Development
Microsoft
  • Mixed Reaction
  • After Github purchase, Microsoft remains a relatively untrusted open source player to some
  • What is GitHub?

    GitHub is now the de facto home of open-source software. But Microsoft’s acquisition reignited a debate over the platform’s centrality. Microsoft assures users the service is safe under its stewardship, but many are wary. When Mr Ballmer spoke of developers, he had a specific sort in mind: those using Microsoft’s tools to build projects for Microsoft products. He once called open-source Linux a “cancer”, which would spread uncontrollably. In a sense, his words proved prophetic: today, open-source software is everywhere, from websites to financial markets to self-driving cars. Under Mr Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft has embraced open-source development. In buying GitHub it hopes to gain the trust of developers it once spurned. But some wonder if the change is complete, or if Microsoft will use its newly bought dominance of open-source hosting to push its own products. Alternatives to GitHub—some themselves open-source—wait in the wings. If it is not careful, Microsoft may find the developers it just paid so much to reach slipping from its grasp.

Server: GNU/Linux Dominance in Supercomputers, Windows Dominance in Downtime

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Server
Microsoft
  • Five Supercomputers That Aren't Supercomputers

    A supercomputer, of course, isn't really a "computer." It's not one giant processor sitting atop an even larger motherboard. Instead, it's a network of thousands of computers tied together to form a single whole, dedicated to a singular set of tasks. They tend to be really fast, but according to the folks at the International Supercomputing Conference, speed is not a prerequisite for being a supercomputer.

    But speed does help them process tons of data quickly to help solve some of the world's most pressing problems. Summit, for example, is already booked for things such as cancer research; energy research, to model a fusion reactor and its magnetically confined plasma tohasten commercial development of fusion energy; and medical research using AI, centering around identifying patterns in the function and evolution of human proteins and cellular systems to increase understanding of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, or addiction, and to inform the drug discovery process.

  • Office 365 is suffering widespread borkage across Blighty

     

    Some users are complaining that O365 is "completely unusable" with others are reporting a noticeable slowdown, whinging that it's taking 30 minutes to send and receive emails.  

Microsoft Copying Free/Libre Software

Filed under
LibO
Microsoft
  • Microsoft begins rolling out a simplified ribbon for Office [iophk: "This Microsoft's gratuitous loss of productivity for those who have failed to move to LibreOffice"]

     

    Changes will arrive on Office.com starting immediately, with Outlook Insiders who are blessed appropriately will take part in a limited rollout in July. No plans are in place for the rest of the Office ecosystem, but we'd place a small side-wager on it happening to coincide with Office 2019. In all cases, the old ribbon won't disappear, but it won't be default anymore.

  • Microsoft's Office UI update includes a simpler, cleaner ribbon

     

    Microsoft has given its infamous Office ribbon a much simpler, much less cluttered look as part of its interface redesign for Office.com and Office 365 applications. The tech giant has updated the element to only show the most basic options -- if you need any of the commands the redesign hides, though, you can always expand it to go back to its more familiar 3-line predecessor and make sure you can quickly accomplish your tasks.

  • Microsoft's New Operating System Based On Linux [Ed: Same GNU/Linux that Microsoft is blackmailing using software patents when it's not Microsoft's]

    Microsoft says that Linux kernel has been reworked with security innovations that were pioneers in Windows to create a highly secure environment. We are seeing something that many would never have imagined, Microsoft applying what they have learned from security working in Windows to a Linux kernel implementation.

Microsoft loves Linux so much its R Open install script rm'd /bin/sh

Filed under
Microsoft
Debian

Microsoft had to emit a hasty update for its R Open analysis tool after developers found the open-source package was not playing nice with some Linux systems.

The issue was brought to light earlier this week by developer Norbert Preining, who found that the Debian GNU/Linux version of Open R – Microsoft's open-source implementation of the R statistics and data science tool – was causing headaches when it was installed on some systems.

Read more

Also: Microsoft Fixes Faulty Debian Package That Messed With Users' Settings

Openwashing and Microsoft EEE Methods

Filed under
Microsoft
OSS

Linux Foundation: Microsoft Entryism, Open Network Automation Platform

Filed under
Linux
Microsoft
  • Session Agenda Announced for The Linux Foundation's Open Source Summit North America [Ed: Another "Linux" event has been infiltrated by Microsoft. So while Microsoft is blackmailing Linux users and bribes officials to dump GNU/Linux it's now "part of us".]

    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the schedule of sessions and speakers for Open Source Summit North America, taking place August 29-31 in Vancouver, BC, including expanded pre-event lighting talks, workshops and tutorials on August 28.

  • Open Source and Standards Organizations Collaborate to Enable Digital Transformation

    TM Forum Catalyst projects showcased during the recent Digital Transformation World event in Nice France have highlighted the value of combining open source with open standards and contributed valuable improvements to The Linux Foundation’s Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Beijing Release, availability of which was announced on the 12th June.

  • Linux Foundation seeking ONAP rollout boost

    The Linux Foundation unveiled the second software release of its Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) project, which it said delivers improvements in terms of scalability and ease of deployment.

    ONAP Beijing also includes enhancements covering security and performance in real-world deployments, new training for Virtual Network Functions (VNF) developers and backing for operators commencing rollouts.

    Mazin Gilbert, chair of ONAP’s Technical Steering Committee and VP of Advanced Technology at AT&T Labs, said in a statement the upgrades are another step toward “establishing ONAP as the de facto standard for automation”.

NSA could have access to data on Microsoft-owned GitHub

Filed under
Development
Microsoft

The NSA could have access to the code repositories residing on GitHub, which is now owned by Microsoft, if past practices of the Redmond-based software giant are any indicator.

Microsoft announced its acquisition of GitHub on 5 June. The company said at the time that GitHub had about 28 million developers working on 80 million repositories. Microsoft has been one of the bigger code contributors to the site.

The reaction from open-source developers to the acquisition was not exactly been salutary as can be seen from comments on Linux Weekly News.

Read more

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Today in Techrights

Security Leftovers

  • The Internet of Torts

    Rebecca Crootof at Balkinization has two interesting posts:

    • Introducing the Internet of Torts, in which she describes "how IoT devices empower companies at the expense of consumers and how extant law shields industry from liability."
    • Accountability for the Internet of Torts, in which she discusses "how new products liability law and fiduciary duties could be used to rectify this new power imbalance and ensure that IoT companies are held accountable for the harms they foreseeably cause.

    Below the fold, some commentary on both.

  • Password Analyst Says QAnon’s ‘Codes’ Are Consistent With Random Typing

    “The funny thing about people is that even when we type random stuff we tend to have a signature. This guy, for example, likes to have his hand on the ends of each side of the keyboard (e.g., 1,2,3 and 7,8,9) and alternate,” Burnett wrote in his thread.

  • Uber taps former NSA official to head security team

    Olsen, who served as the counterterrorism head under President Obama until 2014, will replace Joe Sullivan as the ride-hailing company's top security official.

    Sullivan was fired by Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi over his handling of a massive cyber breach last year that happened during former CEO Travis Kalanick’s tenure.

  • Malware has no trouble hiding and bypassing macOS user warnings

    With the ability to generate synthetic clicks, an attack, for example, could dismiss many of Apple's privacy-related security prompts. On recent versions of macOS, Apple has added a confirmation window that requires users to click an OK button before an installed app can access geolocation, contacts, or calendar information stored on the Mac. Apple engineers added the requirement to act as a secondary safeguard. Even if a machine was infected by malware, the thinking went, the malicious app wouldn’t be able to copy this sensitive data without the owner’s explicit permission.

  • Caesars Palace not-so-Praetorian guards intimidate DEF CON goers with searches [Updated]
  • Amazon Echo turned into snooping device by Chinese hackers [sic]

    Cybersecurity boffins from Chinese firm Tencent's Blade security research team exploited various vulnerabilities they found in the Echo smart speaker to eventually coax it into becoming an eavesdropping device.