Former Microsoft Staff Xuxian Jiang Spreads Android FUD

13 12 2012

Summary: A former Microsoft Research Intern is spreading some more “malware”-themed FUD about Android

ABOUT a year ago we wrote about lawyer who was spreading Android FUD after he had removed evidence (from his CV) of former Microsoft employment. He just sort of airbrushed it out of his career history, and just in time for an attack on Android. He then collaborated with a Microsoft lobbyist (who routinely pushes journalists to publish Android/Linux horror stories) in spreading his FUD. This is not a coincidence. It’s a pattern we learned to recognise.

Several weeks ago, former Microsoft staff crafted another piece of “malware”-themed FUD against Android. They try to play an angle which is clearly neglecting to account for trusted repositories and such. If one really insists on installing malware on one’s system, then harm is self-inflicted.

A couple of days ago, Android-hostile sites flooded the press with the “malware” talking point again, attributing the claims to someone who came from Purdue University. His old homepage is gone from the Web now. It was removed recently, but Google still has a cached copy that says:

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Linux Has Not Won, Microsoft is as Dangerous as Ever, Fie on Secure Boot

5 12 2012

I think UEFI Secure Boot is a shuck and a bald-faced Microsoft anti-competitive tool. I’ll get to my reasons in a moment, because my most important point comes first:

Every purchase of a Windows license is an attack on Linux. Linux has not won, and Microsoft is as dangerous as ever.

Every time you buy a computer that bundles a Windows license just to save a few bucks over buying a Linux machine, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. It doesn’t matter that you blow Windows away and install Linux– it still counts as a Windows sale, which reinforces your vendor’s belief that they need Windows users and can safely ignore Linux users. It sends money to Redmond. It rewards all the junkware, adware, and spyware vendors that load their garbage on Windows PCs. And it cements the anti-competitive status quo more firmly. Buying Android devices sends a significant revenue stream into Microsoft’s pockets– Linux PCs and bare hardware are almost our only remaining options to avoid paying the Microsoft tax.

Independent Linux vendors like System76 and ZaReason do more than stuff Linux into off-the-shelf machines. They do their own engineering and design, build with quality components, and use hardware that supports open drivers. So you don’t need to worry about custom drivers or lockin, but can use your machines however you see fit. You’re not going to be plagued with strange errors and bad performance from sub-par electronics. You get good stuff that you control and better service.

UEFI Secure Boot is More Microsoft Abuse

Microsoft has a long history of gaming and bullying standards organizations. Probably the most egregious example was their scorched-earth all-out assault on the ISO/IEC during the MS-OOXML standard debacle, including costing Massachusetts CIO Peter Quinn his job, and flooding ISO with new members whose sole purpose was to vote for MS-OOXML.

Microsoft scored a quiet coup when they got their proprietary, closed exFAT filesystem (essentially it’s FAT64, an extension of the creaky antique FAT12, FAT16, and FAT32 filesystem line) made part of the SDXC specification for Flash storage media. The Free exFAT driver is immature and its developers are working in the dark because the spec is closed. Nor is there a commercial exFAT for Linux users, but only the Tuxera driver for OEMs.

Those are just two out of many hundreds of possible examples. And now we come to the UEFI Secure Boot. A lot of people are all excited over the phrase “Secure Boot” because it sounds like a good thing. Sure, who wouldn’t want a secure boot to keep all those pre-boot malwares off their nice Linux boxes?

What Linux pre-boot malwares? If you’re multi-booting Linux and Windows, then you’re at risk for everything. If you’re not running Windows I can’t promise that you’re immune. But your risk is magnitudes lower.

The biggest flaw in Secure Boot is the spec requires a single Platform Key. You can add more keys, but they must be signed by the Platform Key. This is the cause of all the woe from Microsoft requiring all Windows 8 systems to ship with Secure Boot turned on– if you want to multi-boot Linux and Windows 8 you have to disable Secure Boot, or figure out how to generate keys for Linux that are signed by the Windows Platform Key. You cannot easily use Secure Boot for Windows 8 and disable it for Linux.

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Microsoft dragging its feet on Linux Secure Boot fix

23 11 2012

Linux Foundation’s workaround held up by roadblocks

By Neil McAllister in San Francisco • Get more from this author

Posted in Operating Systems, 21st November 2012 23:21 GMT

The Linux Foundation’s promised workaround that will allow Linux to boot on Windows 8 PCs has yet to clear Microsoft’s code certification process, although the exact reason for the hold-up remains unclear.

As The Reg reported previously, the Secure Boot feature of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) found on modern Windows 8 PCs will only allow an OS to boot if its code has been digitally signed with a key obtained from Microsoft.

That’s a problem for many Linux distributions, because some lack the resources to purchase a Microsoft key, while others simply refuse to.

To help get around UEFI’s restrictions, the Linux Foundation has been developing a signed “pre-bootloader” as a stop-gap measure that will allow Linux distributions to boot, until such time as open source developers can come up with more effective solutions.

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Microsoft por detrás do caso de Antitrust contra a Google

10 09 2010

A Peek Behind the Curtain of the Texas Antitrust Complaints against Google – Updated 3Xs

Sunday, September 05 2010 @ 12:58 PM EDT

I guess you heard that the Texas attorney general has opened an investigation into antitrust complaints against Google, complaints lodged by Foundem, SourceTool, and myTriggers.com. Them again? Their complaints are not new. Here’s Google’s blog post about it.

And likely you heard about that utterly tasteless ad in Times Square from Consumer Watchdog, a cartoon of a creepy looking Eric Schmidt handing ice cream to children and asking for their secrets.

I think I can explain both events, because they are part of one campaign. Or as American Lawyer describes [PDF] the lawyers behind this, they are on a crusade against Google. The article is titled “The Google-Slayers”. Guess who the lawyers on this crusade have as a client? Microsoft. They handle Microsoft’s antitrust work. Guess who sent the first complainant to these lawyers, which led to this crusade? Microsoft. The jumping off point.

So. A crusade to destroy Google. By folks who count Microsoft as an important client, with new clients, at least one of them directly referred to the “crusaders” by Microsoft and the rest now under their umbrella. My stars, gentlemen. Where is your subtlety?

But there’s more.

The Cast:

Here are the three whose complaints the Texas AG is investigating, as Google highlights each one:

Foundem — the British price comparison site that is backed by ICOMP, an organization funded largely by Microsoft. They claim that Google’s algorithms demote their site because they are a direct competitor to our search engine. The reality is that we don’t discriminate against competitors. Indeed, companies like Amazon, Shopping.com and Expedia typically rank very high in our results because of the quality of the service they offer users. Various experts have taken a closer look at the quality of Foundem’s website, and New York Law School professor James Grimmelmann concluded, “I want Google to be able to rank them poorly.”

SourceTool/TradeComet – SourceTool is a website run by parent company TradeComet, whose private antitrust lawsuit against Google was dismissed by a federal judge earlier this year. The media have noted that TradeComet is represented by longtime Microsoft antitrust attorneys, and independent search experts have called SourceTool a “click arbitrage” site with little original content.

myTriggers – Another site represented by Microsoft’s antitrust attorneys, myTriggers alleges that they suffered a drop in traffic because Google reduced their ad quality ratings. But recent filings have revealed that the company’s own servers overheated, explaining their reduced traffic.

Read Full Story @ Groklaw