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Microsoft

True Love...and Microsoft Love

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

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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Linux
Microsoft

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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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

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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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

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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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • 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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Microsoft
Mac
  • 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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Microsoft

Proprietary Giant (All Core Products Proprietary) Linuxwashing and Openwashing Using GitHub Spin

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Microsoft
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Leftovers: Software

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