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Comment There's more than one way (Score 4, Interesting) 450

Microsoft don't need to have actively created a back door for one to exist, look at the code the call "secure" and how many exploits are found daily for it. This is them supposedly trying NOT to have exploits. They already have back doors for DRM control and instructions to please their real customers ie other companies, as well as their own WGA all for the common enrichment of rights holders. So just because Microsoft don't intentionally create back doors for the NSA means nothing.

Like any other intelligence agency, spying on people who use Windows would be a prime goal, but there's plenty of malware out there to do that, with Microsoft and the security industry formed to fix the holes left by Microsoft's technical incompetence can only fix so much. There's no reason why the NSA couldn't develop their own malware with VB and run it like any other criminals, without any collusion with Microsoft at all.

Given the fact that Windows is as secure as a paper tank at the best of times, and the governments of the world seem to want to insist that people use Windows, it's mot hard to imagine Microsoft suits using the "hey if you force your people to use our software, you can spy on what they do with them much easier" as a reason NOT to support calls for a FOSS / Linux switch.

Given how many crimes Microsoft get away with in more jurisdictions it's also not hard to imagine a meeting where Microsoft agree to turn a blind eye to malware from certain sources in return for cases being dropped, or friendly judges put on the case who will promptly find in favour of Microsoft, and dismiss any logical evidence that they've done anything wrong.

As far as "it's in our interests to make Windows secure as we use it", how much of the US defense network still use Windows? I've noticed some have switched to Linux, while Microsoft had to create a special "secure XP" for them because the regular one wasn't up to the task. How easy would it be for the entire network to switch to Linux to protect itself while endorsing Windows for everyone else as it gives them and easy target to hit if they need to? They could even get Linux to pretend it's Windows when queried so nobody outside would know.

Remember most govt departments are VERY partisan, they don't like to co-operate as much as they should. They don't like sharing stuff that would help everyone because if only they do it and look good, they look even better in comparison to other departments who didn't do it. The contrast is even wider.

Comment The bigger picture (Score 1) 569

The BSA are a lobby group for Microsoft. They act in the interests of Microsoft. A major cash cow for Microsoft's Windows is that you really have to try hard to find any new PC without Windows already pre-installed. Microsoft know that average people don't know how to change that, and that they often sticj with what is pre-installed until it screws up badly enough that they go buy a new PC with the same flaws. They try to ensure that the customer never thinks there is any choice, that all PC's need Windows, when many other alternatives exist. They exploit people's ignorance.

A key part of laws allowing this is the BSA / MS line that "if PCs are sold without Windows already on it, people would install stolen copies of Windows on it". This assumes they are the peoples choice, rather than the default that people can't avoid. The idea is flawed.

People who are so desperate to use a version of Windows without paying for it, and have the skills to install an operating system (it's not hard but it does involve a little more technical knowledge than the average user possesses) will do so regardless of what OS comes pre-installed when they buy their PC. If all they could buy was Ubuntu and they couldn't live without their Photoshop etc they would wipe Ubuntu and put Windows on. If all they could buy was Vista and they wanted a more stable Windows they'd wipe it and install XP.

Microsoft use these lobbying proxies to build pressure, compile favorable studies etc all pushing lawmakers to enshrine their practices, and protect against actually having to compete for customers. Using the emotional linkage to stuff most of us accept is wrong like terrorism, drug smuggling, arms smuggling, people smuggling, counterfeit gangs, prostitution etc they seek to blind us with emotional reactions rather than see the real picture going on.

The whole proprietary model with hype making products the accepted product leader leads directly to illegal copies of software being sought after and installed by people who either can't afford the official prices, or refuse to see them as value for money for what they're getting. When companies "sell" software that's actually not a sale, it's a license to run a copy of that software under strict instructions, it's a deception right from the start. Microsoft have never "sold" a single piece of software in their entire history, yet they still claim to be the best selling OS and Office suite. Again this is exploiting people's ignorance.

Remember the BSA's audience is lawmakers and Microsoft's corporate partners, not end users.

Comment An outing of shills (Score 1) 414

This type of look back is great for one thing. It outs the shills. All of the glowing reviews around this pre-release stage for Vista were done by MS shills and partners who all sought to convince people to go buy-buy-buy. People's real experiences started to get in the way after it was released and the balance changed. Then MS's perception management had to start earning their money by trying to shout louder than real users and of course mod bombing sites like /. and digg to ensure reality never gets much attention. The sites who did glowing reviews had to gradually shift their initial praise in the face of losing credibility with their readers.

Switch forward to the same point in the Windows 7 pre-release, and it's history repeating itself, with all the same sites doing glowing reviews of Windows 7. The agenda is the same, they just hope you won't notice it. If MS are to be believed, Windows 7 is an awesome release with a lot of improvements. In that case the paid shills will (for once) be reporting something close to the experiences real people will have. If however Windows 7 is what many suspect it is, the Mojave Experiment in a box, then they will have exposed themselves as MS shills once again.

The Mojave Experiment for those who don't know was an advertising ploy by MS to try and reverse peoples perceptions about Vista. They told people who had a negative opinion about Vista that they were getting a chance to play with the new OS from Microsoft called Mojave, and that Microsoft wanted feedback to make it better. They secretly filmed people playing with an OS for a short time, then afterwards asked them what they though of it, only to reveal it was actually Vista and capture their "wow" responses on film. Like all MS ploys it's based on deception.

1 - They deceived people that it wasn't Vista when it was.
2 - They tweaked the (no doubt REAL high spec) PCs to ensure all the hardware worked perfect, with all the UAC warnings etc already pre-configured not to give any hassle.
3 - They have plenty of MS employees floating around to ensure the users only play with the parts they are intended to play with, leading their actions.
4 - They only allow people a short time with a pre-configured PC so the likelyhood of any normal "Windows reality" events like a new infection alert happening in that time frame are almost zero.
I wouldn't be surprised if the experiment used an intranet and blocked the internet to make double sure.
5 - They gloat about the ability to deceive people. It was designed as an advert.

Mojave did teach them a couple of things, the result is Windows 7.

1 - Vista is skinable.
2 - People are gullible enough to believe slick deceptive sales staff feeding them a heap of BS.

These people are shameless. They will say whatever they feel they need to to get their pay cheque from Microsoft. They will also never admit to being paid to praise Windows. The label of "independent" carries more weight in the readers eyes. These reviews put the spotlight on who has sold out, and consequently should receive a backlash in terms of readership, sponsorship, partnership etc

They also serve as a fortune cookie, as you can bet these same sites will already be gushing over Windows 8 in draft documents, no doubt without ever having seen or heard anything about MS's next vaporware OS.

Obviously the MS astroturf army on ./ are gonna mod this down as flamebait, they're only doing their jobs after all but the evidence is there for all to see. The interwebs is good at archiving evidence. Watching how those sites handle Windows 7 now, and comparing that to the user perception of Windows 7 will be another indicator.

Remember that MS try the same tricks with EVERY new version of Windows. Up until Vista, people's perceptions haven't been so at odds with the marketing image. Yes ME was very bad, but the size and affordibility of a PC with an internet connection has changed dramatically since then. The world ME was released into was a very different place. MS are following a HUGE flop, shoveled down people throats with deception and lies. Will they continue the same tactics and shove even more to alternates like Linux and OSX? Time will tell, but I suspect the answer will be yes.

Comment Re:Obligatory Open Source comment (Score 1) 260

An OS is needed to run a PC. Windows is not. There are plenty of OSs including Windows. The car analogy only works in this case if you say we force retailers to sell cars with a choice of engine makers, or a choice of wheel makers. In the case of cars, they are designed to only work with their own wheels and engines so it wouldn't work. PC's work with any OS, it's only software after all.

You can buy a PC without Windows, plug it in and it's all ready to use. That is of course if an alternate OS like Linux has been installed instead of Windows. It's about giving consumers the choice, which is something MS are terrified of.

Comment The BSA are just one of MS's shills (Score 1) 569

What would you expect the MS official line to say? They need people to be suckered into paying for 3rd rate software, not getting it free of charge, so they use the same old lines about it containing malware, supporting terrorism etc. Like any upstanding corporate crooks, they will pull figures from thin air to support their agenda and exagerate whenever possible. Their role is to pressure governments into giving their backers even more legally backed powers to shaft consumers and will use whatever sob stories (fact or fiction) to get that. When you see a story from BSA you may as well read that as a story direct from MS themselves.

Comment Re:US only (Score 1) 310

Yep, like the Indian workers who are given training in entertainment shows and sports references to fool the caller they didn't just dial half way round the world.

"Hello my name is Hank"

I'm guessing it'll force the non-English native writers to be better at pretending, and force the US based writers to add more mistooks in to try and make people think they're not in the US, so the laws don't apply to them.

Gotta love these honest corps huh? Anytime a law comes in that forces them be be honest they'll seek a way round it to continue shafting people.

Comment Re:Obligatory Open Source comment (Score 3, Insightful) 260

That would be the subsidized trialware model. If you have plenty of companies paying to have their 30 day trial shit installed on every box, it offsets the cost of Windows, giving the illusion that Windows is free when it's not. Retailers should be forced to provide a Windows refund form with every sale of a new PC, since they refuse to offer the customer the choice of actually buying it without Windows. They should also be forced to list it as a separate item in the pricing, as it's not a requirement to run the PC.....of course doing that would let the whole trialware racket out of the bag too.

Comment Re:Not really... (Score 1) 267

"The first rule about the backlash from last time, is that you don't talk about the backlash from last time. Seriously, if never happened. Any employees caught even hinting that there was a backlash will be punished severely."

Anonymous memo from inside Apple HQ. /sarcasm.

On a more serious side, maybe they decided that the reason it went wrong before was that they weren't sneaky enough, not that people took exception to the act. Remember Apple still own that expensive shiny object, not you. That has to factor into the mindset of deciding whether or not the owner of the unit can make those decisions, or whether it should be left to a mere user to know what's good for them.

Comment Re:First post... (Score 1) 830

Are you breaking the terms & conditions of the party if you don't cripple Ubuntu and OSX to ensure Windows 7 is the clear winner in every case? The last thing Microsoft would want after giving you a free randomly generated number on a sticker is their software actually getting a fair comparison. They don't pay a fortune on astroturfers for nothing you know.

Comment From a certain popint of veiw (Score 1) 205

This part could also describe MS's very own "Get The Facts" site.

'used malvertisements to distribute malicious software or present deceptive websites that peddled scareware to unsuspecting Internet users.'

Their site does not distribute MS software, but it is nothing but lies and deception aimed at pulling the wool over unsuspecting internet users by scaring them into using Windows which leave them and their private more prone to every piece of malware going today, and the millions created from today onwards.

Comment Re:It doesnt matter... (Score 1) 304

Market share done by sales in the US alone is inaccurate, not to mention being done by companies to favor their customers. If you extend that count outside the US, then Apple hardly gets a mention in many countries because people simply can't afford them. They do have a presence in the developed nations where some people can afford them however.

Even if you take a ratio of hits to a website it's not accurate as some websites will appeal more to some users than others. If you take the count of downloads of a linux distro to equal one sale that's also inaccurate as the same disc can be used as a live CD only, or installed on several PCs. If you count by IP address it can also be inaccurate as many PCs are behind routers, so one IP address may account for 100's or 1,000's of PCs behind it. One download = One sale could be a decent guide on the theory that each use will average itself out to a one-to-one. Now all we need is to have each distro count every download, which many don't (or can't) from every source.

In short I don't buy the BS put out by partners of MS or Apple about market share. I reckon both Apple and Linux are pretty close in numbers. I'm not going to explain mono culture for a third time just because you didn't understand it.

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