XP has had longer support than any Linux distro out there (aside the rolling release ones, but that's a little different).
I know this submission is intended to be biased, and I do honestly favour Linux over Windows anyway. But surely FUD like the above is so painfully transparent that it only undermines the credibility of the larger argument?
I do think, though, that it's a valid counter argument to say that users knew (or should have known) the kind of deal they where making with Microsoft when they bought Windows XP. Instead of criticizing Microsoft, they should be pointing out that free software operating systems typically are much more friendly and respectful of the user's rights, even rights beyond being able to modify that operating system.
The FSF has always had a problem explaining to the average user why they should care about the ability to modify their own software when they lack the expertise to do so; Windows 10 is providing a practical example.
This is the exception rather than the rule (speaking in general terms)
You can pay someone else to isolate and secure your XP installation as well (for the minimum amount of stuff you need in there). Put it in a VM, behind a firewall, secure it, prevent unknown services from running in it, etc.
Of course, you can also pay someone to do the same for a free software OS. You might even have more options for safely isolating it. I suspect the main point is that you have options, e.g. you don't simply have to isolate it (that may not work depending on how you use the software), you could also maintain / fork it.
In theory, with enough money, I'm sure you could also pay MS to maintain it for you or (as I've seen done once or twice in the business world) simply buy out the company and have them support it, but it seems like the cash barrier required to getting those things done could be lower than self-supporting the software in many circumstances.
That's true. However, for the majority of cases, it's not worth it.
You theoretically could have an old version of Red Hat running and then self-support there, but I believe the answer is probably something similar to what would be done with Windows XP. Even if what you need to run there is Free Software. Easier and probably more feasible, true. Still, very unlikely.
The last option you pointed out is a possibility as well and it happens, however it's usually a way of throwing a lot of money for very little gain
Frankly it reads like it was written by an angry teenager getting mad at The Man for his injustice. If I were trying to convince anyone to use Linux, I would actively discourage them from reading this.
I'm a bit miffed. The choir is already converted, so to speak, so this is not the intended audience, others, non converts, would mostly be put off by the over the top style and rhetoric.
Moreover, the article focuses on one vendor when other vendors follow similar policies but those aren't visited in the article.
So.... What gives?
It also focuses on Windows because the article is about Windows. :)
In these 8 years a lot of companies and individuals bought computers and then stayed on XP because (1) Windows upgrades cost money, (2) compatibility issues and (3) fear of upgrades (Microsoft never educated its users to upgrade, quite the contrary, they've made Windows users fear upgrades because of their fuck-ups with Windows ME or Vista).
Windows XP reached end of life on April 8, 2014, with people being stuck on it without a migration path. Nowadays 5 year old desktops and laptops are often good enough and don't need to be replaced. If you had a company with dozens or hundreds of computers, what would you do? Would you pay $120 before taxes for the Home edition or $199 before taxes for Pro, per computer? Would you try to negotiate better terms maybe? Or would you stay on XP because it works? The offer for a 1-year free upgrade for Windows 10 is not valid for XP and Vista.
And yes, Microsoft supported XP for 12 years. That's 4 years after those 8 years in which XP was the only choice. That's hardly an accomplishment.
They still have users on XP. For those users they have an ethical responsibility to provide security fixes, or a cheap migration path (why is the upgrade to Windows 10 not valid for XP?), or the source code such that they can fix problems by themselves.
As you said yourself, Windows is a commercial product - you get what you pay for. Microsoft don't really owe anybody anything beyond what they get paid to do - the only reason they kept XP support for so long is that to do otherwise would be a PR nightmare, all their big customers would be angry and all the regular folks would have machines (even more) full of malware.
The only real complaint I have against Windows' support is that it's update utility, "Windows Update", makes the whole process unnecessarily painful compared to the most Linux package managers.
Just as an aside, Windows Home (which you mentioned the cost of compared to Pro) wouldn't be an option for many businesses because you can't join Home editions of Windows to a Windows domain.
I had a reasonably competent machine, and Vista worked great on it from the day I switched (summer '07, only a few months after it released).
Making the comments others have said about your choice to exclude Vista as a viable option even stronger.
Even if Windows was way worse than it is now people would still use it.
Also I believe the two distros that have a shot at part of the Windows user base(Ubuntu and Steam OS) could also be defined as malware.
What has to be taken in mind is that FSF is about ideals. Which may explain why they put so much emphasis on concepts as opposed to practical matters.
Why are there are so many defensive anti GNU comments here? Do these actual facts that correctly paint Microsoft in a bad light really upset that many Microsoft users / workers / proprietary software proponents?
Also, what is with legitimate comments being ghosted on this site?
Rolling release distros are a different ball game entirely. If you take a copy of Windows 7 you can install every update from the initial release to present day. It might take you a while, but you could do it. Equally with your standard release cycle Linux distros, you could take a 3 year old copy of Ubuntu LTS (for example) and bring it bang up to date. However if you took a 3 year old image of a rolling release distro, you'd find it hugely more difficult to update (if at all possible).
Rolling release distros don't have a set end of life date because they're always incrementally reaching end of life. Particularly as breaking changes become old and unsupported (eg try taking an Arch Linux ISO before the filesystem, glibc and systemd packages and watch just how poorly that ISO updates). So something being "rolling release" doesn't mean it doesn't have an end of life - it just means you don't have to perform OS release upgrades.
> Why are there are so many defensive anti GNU comments here? Do these actual facts that correctly paint Microsoft in a bad light really upset that many Microsoft users / workers / proprietary software proponents?
Why do some people think you must be a fanboy or an employee to defend a product? If you want my honest personal opinion: I hate Windows. Absolutely despise it. Please bare in mind this is just my personal opinion, but I just cannot fathom it's maze of confusing windows, I don't like that it's command line is crippled and that Powershell is about as succinct as War And Peace. I hate the lack of a proper package manager (I could write a novel on how much I hate Windows Update). I hate the poor support for nix networking protocols. I hate the outdated file system support. I don't even find it aesthetically attractive. So there really isn't much I like about Windows.
At work I run Linux and manage Linux and Solaris servers (I'm devops) and at home I run Linux and FreeBSD. I don't own nor run a single Windows system and haven't done so in any serious capacity since the early days XP. I really couldn't be any further from the "pro-Microsoft" pigeon-hole you presumed.
I know there are people who feel the same way about Linux, and that's fine. I wouldn't want a Linux monopoly any more than I'd want a Windows monopoly. And I'm certainly not going to accuse those people of being Microsoft employees :P I just believe in being objective because nothing is perfect and we can't improve things if we look at everything with rose-tinted glasses.
> Also, what is with legitimate comments being ghosted on this site?
Most of the comments that have ghosted are because they were complaining that the article was factual thus couldn't be FUD. But that misses the point of what FUD is. FUD doesn't have to be a lie, it can also be a heavily biased fact that casts the opposition in an unfairly bad light. I personally felt the Windows XP support argument was one example of that; it was factually accurate but conveniently overlooks Linuxes similar issues of long term support
I do have a great deal of respect for GNU and RMS, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with everything posted in their name.
For run-of-the-mill desktop usage, i.e. Office stuff, eMail, Internet access, yes, not upgrading is either lazy or stupid.
But there are quite a few companies out there who have built applications that are critical to their operations and which do not run on versions of Windows more recent than XP. To be fair, that is just as big a problem, relying on proprietary APIs without even thinking of an upgrade path. It's not like Microsoft ending support for XP came as a total surprise nobody could have foreseen.
But sometimes, for example in industrial automation, once an installation has been certified, you cannot simply upgrade to a newer version of Windows. If the automation software does not run on newer versions of Windows (and it's an all-Windows game, as far as I can tell), upgrading means you also have to newer automation software, which means spending tons of money and then spending tons more for reprogramming the whole thing. Some automation engineers at the company where I work still have to deal with DOS for a few installations (at least on DOS, the lack of security updates is not an issue, but getting it to run on newer hardware is hard if not impossible, and keeping aging hardware going is a nightmare).
Microsoft made their schedule for ending XP support public years before it actually happened, and, say, three years should be enough even for a large company.
And even if one has to support legacy software, eventually hardware support becomes an issue as older devices start dying.
If upper management vetoes a migration/upgrade for cost reasons, that is one thing, but not having a plan at all is... kind of frightening.
Any company that was paying attention knew that they had a migration problem as soon as Vista appeared in beta. That was 10 years ago.
"After Longhorn was named Windows Vista in July 2005, an unprecedented beta-test program was started, involving hundreds of thousands of volunteers and companies. In September of that year, Microsoft started releasing regular Community Technology Previews (CTP) to beta testers from July 2005 to February 2006."
For comparison, that was before Twitter was founded (March 21, 2006) and before Facebook was opened to public access (September 26, 2006).
If you bought a copy of Windows XP at release it likely cost you around that much and patches and fixes were available to you for fourteen years at no further cost. The equivalent from Red Hat would have run $4200.
In addition, with redhat you get excellent support included (that's what you are really paying for). No such luck with microsoft, you just get crappy bottom tier tech support.
Finally, if you don't like paying redhat switch to centos. Free and no support.
The only thing you get at the low price point is access to patches, ISOs, and their KB/bug tracker.
How do you know this? I find it likely that they tested them for the specific use cases of the 0.1% who are actually going to receive the patches, since they are providing a specialized solution.
> And it's also just pointing out another instance of proprietary software and why it's bad, which if that is fud, well the core of linux and gnu are fud too.
You can want to use free software for some things without thinking proprietary software is bad for everything.
It seems highly unlikely. They are not writing custom ordered security patches. They are selling general security support to whoever can afford it.
Are you really uncertain about whether Microsoft will EOL your current Windows version, or what that will mean for legitimate businesses who need it to continue to function?
If you don't want to hear what the FSF has to say, that's fine. But their statements are carefully worded in the hopes we can have a calm, logical discussion about the issue -- user freedom has become impossible with Microsoft's latest OS.
This submission is not intended to be biased.
For example, the backdoors are required by government, and Microsoft is not above the government and cannot really refuse if it is a legal requirement for national security. They're not exactly designed as backdoors either - mandatory security updates are necessary to prevent the spread of botnets. There is a valid argument that users should not be allowed to stop these essential security updates. Unfortunately, there are far more changes than only security updates.
DRM is pretty much required for Microsoft to be able to get into distributing media for a fee. The same applies to a lot of the rest - it's all for being competitive in a world where Apple and Google are doing the same thing.
However, that they are all legitimate doesn't actually change that it really is malware at the end of the day and this page is pretty much true.
So, the Yuppie Nuremberg Defense? 
Regular malware-malare has a valid business reason for showing you ads and exfiltrating private data too. It's harder to defend because it isn't bundled with a featureset the user also likes. But nobody downloaded BonziBUDDY or hot screensaver packs because they wanted the ads.
Is it legally required?
Is that why Linux and FreeBSD both do the same thing?
A person or company has the right to cease to work on a particular program; the wrong here is Microsoft does this after having made the users dependent on Microsoft, because they are not free to ask anyone else to work on the program for them."
Microsoft did not make anybody dependent on them, and should have zero obligation to open source Windows XP. There are thriving alternatives to Windows like OS X, Android, Chrome OS, and iOS that XP users could have moved to in the last 14 years.
Microsoft releases new versions of Windows just about every 3 years. Businesses shouldn't be surprised that Microsoft has moved on.
That said I don't see any problem with MSFT dropping support for XP, they supported it much longer than any software by any vendor closed or open sourced.
GL getting support for RHEL 10 years down the line if you haven't upgraded your OS, and Linux from 10-15 years ago has as much in common with Linux today as Windows XP has with Windows 10.
Technically, they are preventing you from legally doing most work on it, since (in the US, at least) creating (not just distributing) a derivative work is an exclusive right under copyright for which they do not license you.
The alternative is to take your chances with free software where outside of any commercial support agreement with a specific provider you generally have no actionable guarantees of any kind that your support will last as far as the time your installation completes.
You can even argue that all of the things there end up being the users fault as they choose so for convenience.
I really want to support GNU and FSF but they seem to be constantly fighting some 20 year stale war against a company that is in many ways way more open than Google, Facebook, and Apple.
Either way it's kind of irrelevant. "He shot my dog!" "Not an issue, other people are shooting dogs all the time."
Other people being at fault does not absolve you of fault.
As for your question, it's better to attack a hypocrite that claimed to champion privacy when in reality they did just the opposite.
What bothers me is the dishonest implication that Microsoft is good for privacy, and that the anxiety they wish to arouse for Google shouldn't be placed back on Microsoft.
We take the question seriously and have banned accounts for astroturfing in the past. Alas, what's far more common is commenters lobbing the accusation merely to attack someone they disagree with, and that's emphatically not allowed here.
Also, some of your other comments have been outright uncivil. We ban accounts for doing that, so please re-read the site guidelines and stop doing that.
And, as far as I know, binary blobs for bootloader ate not made by Google
They add the following disclaimer about that:
> A person or company has the right to cease to work on a particular program; the wrong here is Microsoft does this after having made the users dependent on Microsoft, because they are not free to ask anyone else to work on the program for them.
which if that is the case, means the whole spiel at the beginning about non-free software not automatically being malware in the FSF's eyes pretty empty if "non-free software not supported forever" is malware.
Although XP is unfortunately used for some other medical equipment. However I think the problem there was using a consumer desktop operating system as an integral part of a medical device in the beginning.
It wasn't an argument that your comment was wrong, so it wasn't a strawman, it was just an example of something. And then you later go on to agree with me that should be supported because it's proprietary and no one else can support it is subjective and changes based on the use case, eg. medical equipment which runs xp.
Some days I'm pretty sure bash is malware, too.
I think there are better ways to educate and spread this message. Whoever wrote this page is a bit too emotionally vested imo.
I love open source software, and I even like the GPL a fair amount.
Do I think this goes too far? Absolutely. The Free Software position is that the benefits of Free (libre) software outweigh all of the disadvantages, so anyone who chooses proprietary software has already made a big mistake.
Given that the mistake has been made, there's no particular advantage in castigating the manufacturer of that software for living up to the FSF's predictions. It's not a surprise, and the FSF is much better off pointing out that, sure, enough, they told you so, and it happened. Make a better choice next time. Here are some alternatives to help you out.
This is a tactical mistake.
Nope nope nope. They've publicly been the biggest voice to erase "open source" from the map since it was coined. All while acknowledging that it has mostly the same goals as the free software movement. http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.e...
Words matter. See "pro life" vs "pro choice", see "terrorist" vs "criminal" see "migrant" vs "alleged refuge", etc. etc.
The tech press are mouthpieces for the big corporations, and all of the big corporations do not want free software messing with their profits, so they use and coin words which align with their interests. It's perfectly natural for fsf to use different words.
Stallman feels the same way about Facebook as well. He got mad at Berkeley when he came to speak and found out someone posted a Facebook event about him coming to campus to speak lol.
He also feels cloud computing endangers us because we aren't in full control or fully aware of the computations being done with our data.
(He told us this at a meeting in Berkeley back when I was in school)
So he has similar views on Google, Apple, Facebook but only Microsoft is being hated on here lol
His views are a little extreme. even if his points are valid they seem impractical given the computing paradigms and cultures of today.
Don't get me wrong I work at Microsoft in hybrid cloud storage in a team that's a startup that got acquired and I think not having the NT kernel under a GNU v2 license is sad. Any kernel imo should be open source but I don't want to get into a debate on this at least not today.
But I'm glad people like him still exist.
Stallman is basically like Richard Altmayer from the Asimov short story "In a Good Cause—" .
Far from "coming around", the invention of "open source" was specifically a way of removing the moral tub-thumping "philosophically- and politically-focused" aspect of Free Software and the FSF.
I think he's done a lot of good work on DRM and software patents in general, but a lot of people have had the same or similar worries without his involvement.
Where are these? I use Windows 10 at home and work, and what you're referring to doesn't ring a bell at all. I already have Office on both machines though, so that may explain one portion.
In task manager I found a running program (which I can't recall the exact name of but the purpose was obvious) that was for posting ads to install Office. I searched for the name and found instructions for uninstalling it.
I don't know if there are others or not. I only ran Windows 10 for a few hours to check it out.
Are you sure you don't have malware?
I'm finding this claim from the article to be very true and it's a pity. Users are often powerless in fixing the software they bought, or the services they subscribed for, with the cost of switching to something else being often very significant. Users are also often uneducated or ignorant in what the software does, not realizing the long term consequences of their interactions with software.
And because users are often powerless or uneducated or ignorant, software developers feel empowered to move the boundaries, preferring to ask for forgiveness than for permission as they say, with current casualties being the loss of privacy and even the loss of freedom of speech. And then it isn't a wonder that intelligence agencies get a free pass to spy on everybody's communications, I mean if the software makers and the service providers are doing it themselves, the government would be stupid to not be a part of it, given that we've made it so easy.
I've always disagreed with Richard Stallman's stance on Free versus Nonfree software, preferring Open-Source instead and being relaxed about developing and using nonfree software. I've always said to myself that many companies are doing a good job and software developers have to eat, including myself. But some of FSF's arguments hold very true and it makes me wonder. Maybe Free Software is the only ethical choice.
Even if people do not produce material objects, I think that products of labor especially those can be exchanged for material wealth do require legal protection. (Note that this is separate from Intellectual Property, as in simply thoughts and ideas)
If you want proprietary software to go away, you should pay people to write even more open source software and then give it away. You should not have an agenda that demonizes people trying to earn a living. Calling someones means of living as illegitimate/immoral/unethical is simply going to ensure that they never support you.
I would claim that there is not only room for non-free open source software sans abuse, but even closed source software. When it comes to something you want to use as a core foundation on which to build (whether you are building software, general business, academic work etc.) I completely understand how this is very likely to lead to you being exploited. This applies for example to an operating system, or a programming platform (JVM, .NET, etc.). But there are plenty of places where you can use closed source software that don't put you in such a disadvantageous position.
One example is non-required tooling like an IDE. If Jetbrains goes Dr. Evil on everyone tomorrow (though I guess some would argue their recent pricing model changes have done that), there is still Eclipse and plenty of room for someone else to break into that space. Changing IDEs isn't nothing, but it's not like I'd have to rewrite my code.
Another is various general XaaS offerings. If Heroku (or more likely Salesforce) goes off the deep end tomorrow, worst case is that I have to administer some servers myself. Again, I don't lose anything that I would have had before anyway.
The current trend is already building everything on top of open source infrastructure. Even the JVM and .NET are open source now, as are most other pieces of the development puzzle (Databases, libraries of all shapes and sizes, etc.). In fact, I don't think even a big player like Microsoft would have much luck trying to get people to invest in another closed source platform. So if we walk this line between open and closed software, what do we lose by using some replaceable closed source tools or services? That is one question I think the FSF doesn't have a good answer for.
You'd have to rewrite any IDE code you've written, which isn't nothing (that pain is a good part of the reason why emacs is still stuck on elisp instead of Common Lisp).
From my personal opinion, it's not better than and maybe worse :
- Obligation of having a G+ account. Disable it is NOT straighforward at all and it will try to recreate himself often.
- Personal content publicly uploaded/displayed in G+ account
I had the bad surprise, and few friends also to see that the photos taken with my android phone were automatically published on my G+ account !
When you notify what it's visible, you are are afraid about what is not visible...
In contrary to Windows 10 were you can't deactivate several phone home and cloud features. Severals apps are only shipped as cloud-only. The Windows update is forced on you and cannot be deactivated. And to top it, every feature update (like Threshold 2) resets your personal privacy settings and more as it is basically a system upgrade that often also replaces device drivers. So Android, iOS, OSX and all other OS incl. Windows up to v8.1 are way better for the end user - as there they still have the choice and decide for themself.
Report finds Android/iOS apps regularly 'spy on users'
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard, and Carnegie-Mellon universities studied 110 apps available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
They found 73% of the Android apps shared users' email addresses, and 47% of the iOS apps shared location data.
Android health app Drugs.com shared medical information - including words such as "herpes" - with five third-party domains, including doubleclick.net and googlesyndication.com.
The research also found that 93% of the Android apps tested connected to the domain safemovedm.com
>In contrary to Windows 10 were you can't deactivate several phone home and cloud features.
Configure telemetry and other settings in your organization
On any system, Microsoft says that Basic level telemetry doesn't send any identifiable information.
Win10 firewall especially has a hardcoded whitelist for Microsoft phone home IP address ranges and domains - how evil is that? You would have to patch the kernel mode network driver dll to make sure Win10 won't phone home, a software firewall would still have to rely on Microsofts kernel mode dll. And why would one trust them anymore - they were the first company that handed over their data (Hotmail/Outlook.com) as we learned last year (neither Apple nor Google cooperated). And I always thought Microsoft has a solid business and has no reason to rely on advertisement business and therefor label the user data as products, things have changed since Ballmer. Fact is Win10 on PC and mobile is impossible to secure without running it behind a hardware firewall (or Enterprise license) - and who is running around with a hardware firewall device connected to their phone/notebook?
> to make sure Win10 won't phone home
Windows 10 is "Windows as a Service" and is continuously updated from the web, based on telemetry. It also runs on smartphones and games consoles. It includes notifications, cloud (OnDrive) integration and an intelligent assistant (similar to Siri, Google Now and Alexa).
The problem is Microsoft trust their metrics too much. Since Office XP and WinXP the collect usage statistics (which can be turned off in all of their software except Win10!). Of course most power users and companies turn them off, that's why we got Ribbon bars in Office and Windows, and weird UI designs - based on skewed statistics. Windows as a service is probably a tipping point for Microsoft, we will see how it goes. WinPhone7-10, XBoxOne and Win8x aren't very successful. A new CEO, a new head of PR & brands and a new head of user interface design would do wonders.
Great way to make sure that your views and usage patterns don't contribute to the development of the software.....
Perhaps you're talking about Google services instead
1. There is no need for a Google+ account. Why you would say this makes me wonder if you even use the platform.
2. You don't even need a Google account and can use the phone without one.
3. Getting back to the Google+ account. If you don't want one or would like to delete your existing one then there's a simple way to do it.
The problem is not really what is possible to do but how much effort is needed to protect his privacy using google tools.
And public sharing us disabled by default.
If they have been uploaded and made public us because you did it.
Moreover, If it was only me, I would say that I'm too stupid for understanding how it works but this happened to friends of mine also who are way too smart for doing that :)
But you're now changing the goalposts, facts are:
- There is no obligation of having a Google Plus account
- Picture backup is disabled until you opt in
- By default all the picture uploads are private
Personally, I understand the main reasons people have issues with this though, because very often they simply haven't actually taken the time to think of computing as a philosophical choice as well as a practical choice.
As the surveillance and control engine enlarges itself though, those who are more closely aligned with GPLv3-esque ways of computing will have more freedom and control over their systems than others who accept fuedal walled gardens will be, and it is at that point that the walled garden people will start to understand the real impact of what are often considered frivolous arguments like BSD vs GPL.
Enjoy your locked down BSD playstation/iBrain/iHome etc, I for one intend to stick with GNU/GPL, and the FSF, as much as possible. The reality is that we have been locked in so much though that this process takes time and should be started now and not later. For example, in my various workflow pipelines, I still have a handful of apache, mit, and bsd licensed programs, but I have at least dramatically reduced the number of them...
If you haven't taken the time to understand the differences between BSD and GPL you owe it to yourself, as I consider it foundational knowledge for modern computing, the same way I consider history foundational knowledge of current events.
I use OS X, Ubuntu, and sometimes Windows 10.
I want security updates as often as they are released.
I don't often use my Windows 10 laptop but when I do the first thing I always do is to update the system and anti-virus definitions.
I also frequently check and update OS X and Ubuntu.
I happen to trust Apple and Microsoft to perform automatic updates, but that is my personal decision.
Even if we trust MS, do we trust MS to keep these keys safe from outside hackers?
BitLocker can fail, simple things like a UEFI/BIOS updates will cause it to fail, playing around with your boot loader or even boot order will cause it to fail, anything that will trigger the TPM will cause it to fail, sudden powerloss/crash can cause it to fail.
BitLocker is quite more reliable now but when I was using it with Widnows 7 about 4-5 years ago I had to use the recovery every 2-3 months usually so I had the key printout stored in my wallet this is probably quite less safe than storing the key in OneDrive.
Most people use encryption not to fight state level surveillance but to ensure that if they lose their devices or they get stolen they don't need to worry about all their accounts being compromised and their life being penetrated to a point where they need to worry about identity theft, fraud, and extortion.
However FDE also puts you at risk for not being able to access the device when you need to, at like usual it will fail at the worst possible moment, the chance of losing all access to your device and data is a big hurdle which prevents people from using FDE and OneDrive-BitLocker integration kinda solves this quite well while still providing tamper resistance/detection.
I laughed. I don't think its their choice that the app store is horrific.
Speaking as a professional software developer who typically does not write free software: [expletives inappropriate for HN deleted]
The allegation that any developer who does not share the FSF's views on the advantages or otherwise of free software is inherently more tempted to screw their users is not only wrong, it's offensive. I have never imposed any of the kinds of malware listed in this article on any user of any project I work on, nor would I be happy to do so in the future. This is more than can be said for several popular software products that also happen to be FOSS.
Also, the idea that Microsoft, or any other commercial software provider for that matter, should be responsible for supporting its software indefinitely, entirely at its own expense and regardless of context, is just silly. I think it is sensible to expect and if necessary legally require a basic level of support for commercial software products that were defective when first supplied, for some reasonable period that will probably vary greatly with context. In practice, actual regulation or legislation has rarely been necessary as most major software vendors have volunteered such support anyway, though the unwelcome trend is for this to change and so the regulatory/legal framework may need to change to match. However, Microsoft has, at least until recently, gone far beyond that industry norm in terms of long term support for its older software, and far beyond any major Free Software project. It might have been fair to say that Microsoft was the last very large software company that should be criticised on this score, but for their recent shifts in policy to much more user-hostile terms.
In terms of outreach and informing new generations of users... I think adopting that style would be a big win. Even non-technical users have a multi-year investment in Windows, and in spite of all the polish of modern distros, the jump to FOSS is still a big one. Help people make it.
I do agree about the privacy aspects, but unfortunately most users do not care about security or privacy and "most users" (the mainstream of the market) pays the bills. Until users care and vote with their wallets, companies will continue to disregard these things.
One of the greatest benefits of purchasing software instead of using SAAS products is that you can keep using your purchased software regardless of changes the vendor may make in the future. If you're not free to reject updates, you've lost this advantage.
> Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software company, provides intelligence agencies with information about bugs in its popular software before it publicly releases a fix, according to two people familiar with the process.
The implication being made in the gnu page is that Microsoft delays fixing bugs so that the NSA can exploit them. The source article says something slightly different though, that they inform "various" agencies prior to the patches going live. I suspect the linux kernel devs do too, or Firefox, or any number of open source projects. I'd be more surprised if none of the people on the security lists for those groups don't have a list of agencies (both US and otherwise) they send bugs to .
Smaller business costumers (pretty much any one with a TAM) will get notification before patches are released and in some cases will get the updates prior to the normal release window on "Patch Tuesday".
Microsoft isn't the only company that does that, you can't expect businesses with 1000's of machines to be able to roll out patches on a moments notice so they share information before it becomes a Zero-Day issue for their clients.
DRM: you don't control the data you post to a site, can't necessarily change, update or remove it at will, and you're subject to arbitrary terms of service which may have the site assert ownership over user posted content.
sabotage: there is nothing you can do if an online service decides to close and take your data with it - you can't simply fork it. Sites can remove or monetize formerly free parts of their API and hold your data hostage.
jails: because the site itself runs on a remote server, you are limited to interacting with it through whatever API the site owners see fit. You cannot download it in its entirety, inspect the code, modify it for any purpose and redistribute it, unless it's entirely static. But, of course, as the code is on a remote server, there's no way to verify that either.
What an apropos marketing campaign.
RMS produces an opinion piece -> everyone denounces it as extremist -> some time passes -> something horrible happens that proves RMS was right (like the NSA disclosures) -> everyone freaks out at what's happening -> some more time passes -> RMS produces another opinion piece -> repeat
For example, the article says:
> Windows 10 sends identifiable information to Microsoft, even if a user turns off its Bing search and Cortana features, and activates the privacy-protection settings.
And links to an Ars Technica article. If you follow this link, you will find that it says nothing of the sort: Windows 10 doesn't send identifiable information to Microsoft as far as this article is concerned.
This is just yet another FOSS fan talking about things they seem to be to arrogant to even try to understand, towards a crowd they don't really know.
"For example, even with Cortana and searching the Web from the Start menu disabled, opening Start and typing will send a request to www.bing.com to request a file called threshold.appcache which appears to contain some Cortana information, even though Cortana is disabled. The request for this file appears to contain a random machine ID that persists across reboots."
"if Web searching and Cortana are disabled, we suspect that the inference that most people would make is that searching the Start menu wouldn't hit the Internet at all. But it does. The traffic could be innocuous, but the inclusion of a machine ID gives it a suspicious appearance."
That's as personally identifiable as you need when you have an identifier locked to the machine that is sent even across reboots. This is even more identifiable than an IP address, even for static IPs (since you can have multiple machines behind it).
Is that sufficient for the claim or do you still reject it? I'm most concerned that you hold anger at FOSS people's "arrogance" over complaints about a bad software package that many people are unfortunately hooked to.
Anti-FOSS advocates here in these comments are behaving poorly; a conclusion they don't like which is supported by facts that are referenced isn't being taken well.
Here's some examples of where it is going wrong in these comments: attacking the messenger, claiming things are false / unsupported when they are, trying to find any minor flaw in what was stated in order to discredit the whole thing, ignoring facts and misleading people about what the source actually says.
That's some nasty stuff. That's Us vs. Them stuff, not "yeah that is a concern, I'm upset about that too!"
(As a brief aside: I don't like calling the FSF supporters in this particular case FOSS people. FOSS is a broad field and not all of it are anti-commercial zealots)
So this leaves me with a problem of defining what "personally identifiable" is. If it's comparable with an IP address, then the argument is so watered down, it's a non-starter. If you say that sending a random 128-bit number into the Internet somehow severely violates my privacy and degrades the usefulness of the software, then it's wrong.
The reason why I call FSF zealots arrogant, is that they don't seem to ever consider the needs of users, but rather try to dictate them. They assume some moral and technical superiority and never consider the possibility that people are OK with the proprietary software's trade offs. I use Windows 10, OS X, and Adobe Creative Cloud among other things. Open source alternatives to those products (in my opinion) are shit. I really don't miss literally days of configuration -when I used to run Linux and FreeBSD machines exclusively 7 years ago- and still being in a constant state of subtle, changing brokenness.
But it is a logical thing. FOSS is a philosophy, and not a business. Expecting it to produce polished end-user products is wrong: it is very hard and people doing it would like to get paid regularly, thank you very much. But that's the economics of it. Look at Ubuntu: they start to move towards a more polished, more coherent product, they become less libre and more commercial. Should we criticize them for it? No.
So unless Windows 10 is tracking my bank transactions, I'm OK with it broadcasting a different GUID to the Internet now and again. If I'll get paranoid about my privacy, I will buy a rugged laptop, put OpenBSD on it and start living in the wilderness.
And if people really want to commit to FOSS, then they should focus on writing clear and good software under public domain or MIT license and stay away from the cheap, patronising, rms-inspired politics.