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Microsoft

Microsoft Privacy Violations

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Microsoft
  • Euro data watchdog has 'serious concerns' as to whether EU deals with Microsoft obey GDPR

    The way Windows 10 is configured is critical, and the report concludes that if the Timeline is disabled and telemetry set to the lowest level, there are "no high data protection risks resulting from the diagnostic data collection in Windows 10".

    The Dutch report on Office 365 is less positive, particularly with regard to Office mobile apps and Office Online, for which "five high data protection risks" are identified. "Until Microsoft takes measures to mitigate these risks, government organisations should refrain from using Office Online and the mobile Office apps included in Office 365 licence," it states. There is also advice that "in order to prevent continued vendor lock-in, government organisations are advised to conduct a pilot with alternative open-source productivity software". That said, if all recommended measures are followed, "there are no more known high data protection risks for data subjects related to the collection of data about the use of Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus", it concludes.

    In July 2019, the Dutch government published a "State of Play" memo [PDF] indicating that Microsoft had largely resolved the issues which prevented Office from meeting GDPR requirements. "Microsoft has now made the most urgent changes in accordance with the improvement plan. These were tested by SLM Microsoft Rijk in June 2019 and found to be in order," it says.

    This explains why the EDPS now states that the agreement forged between Microsoft and the Dutch government is a model for the rest of the EU. "The EDPS is of the opinion that such solutions should be extended not only to all public and private bodies in the EU, which is our short-term expectation, but also to individuals."

  • EU's Microsoft probe throws up 'serious concerns' over GDPR compliance

    "Though the investigation is still ongoing, preliminary results reveal serious concerns over the compliance of the relevant contractual terms with data protection rules and the role of Microsoft as a processor for EU institutions using its products and services," it said.

  • EU data watchdog raises concerns over Microsoft contracts

    Microsoft’s (MSFT.O) contracts with European Union institutions do not fully protect data in line with EU law, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said in initial findings published on Monday.

    [...]

    The EU introduced new rules on data protection in 2018, known as GDPR, applicable to all companies operating in the bloc and designed to give individuals more control over their personal data and to create a more level playing field for businesses.

    “We are committed to helping our customers comply with GDPR, Regulation 2018/1725 and other applicable laws,” a Microsoft spokesman said.

    “We are in discussions with our customers in the EU institutions and will soon announce contractual changes that will address concerns such as those raised by the EDPS.”

    The EDPS has worked with the Dutch ministry of justice, which carried out risk assessments last June and found that public authorities in member states face similar issues

    The two have since set up a forum designed to set up fair rules for public administrations.

    The EDPS said there is “significant scope” for improvement of contracts with powerful software developers and that contractual terms and technical safeguards agreed between the Dutch ministry and Microsoft were a positive step forwards.

Microsoft admits Android is the best operating system for mobile devices

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Android
Microsoft

At an event at Microsoft’s flagship store in London, Panos Panay, the chief product officer for the Microsoft Devices group, admitted that the company is using Android in its upcoming Surface Duo phone because, quite simply, the “best OS for this product is Android”.

It’s a noteworthy admission, as Google’s Android mobile operating system is one of Microsoft’s biggest rivals. In the past, the company has tried – and failed – to take on Android with its own operating system for mobile devices: Windows Mobile.

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While Windows 10 Mobile is no more, it must have been tempting for Microsoft to revive the OS for its upcoming dual-screen handset, so it’s commendable that it has gone for the much more popular Android operating system – while being so frank about its reasons.

On one hand, it seems like Microsoft has acknowledged just how hard it is to compete with Android – which is currently the most-used operating system on the planet – a title Microsoft’s own Windows OS used to have. The failure of Windows 10 Mobile, and the Windows phones that ran the software, was likely a humbling experience that the company is in no rush to repeat.

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Microsoft Embedded Inside Linux

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Linux
Microsoft
  • Linux Kernel 5.4 to Have Kernel Lockdown and ExFAT Support

    The lockdown feature aims to further strengthen Linux security by “restricting access to kernel features that may allow arbitrary code execution via code supplied by userland processes”.

    In simple words, even the root account cannot modify the kernel code. This will hep in cases where a root account is compromised, the rest of system won’t be easy to compromise specially on kernel level. In even simpler words, it enhances the Linux security.

    There are two lockdown modes: integrity and confidentiality.

    In integrity lockdown mode, kernel features that allow userland to modify the running kernel are disabled.

  • Linus Torvalds isn't worried about Microsoft taking over Linux

    But that doesn't mean the Microsoft leopard can't change its spots. Sure, he hears, "This is the old Microsoft, and they're just biding their time." But, Torvalds said, "I don't think that's true. I mean, there will be tension. But that's true with any company that comes into Linux; they have their own objectives. And they want to do things their way because they have a reason for it." So, with Linux, "Microsoft tends to be mainly about Azure and doing all the stuff to make Linux work well for them," he explained.

    Torvalds emphasized this is normal: "I mean, that's just being part of the community."

    As Eric Raymond pointed out in his seminal open-source work, The Cathedral and the Bazaar: "Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer's personal itch."

Microsoft Views Free Software as Free Labour/Free Workforce

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Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Duo shows Linux is the future — not Windows

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Linux
Microsoft

Windows is a massive failure -- in the mobile world, at least. Microsoft should have been a dominant force in smartphones and tablets, but no, it let Apple and Google eat its lunch with iPhone and Android. While Windows 10 is still a decent enough desktop operating system that keeps chugging along, Windows Phone died a bloody death -- consumers barely paid attention to it. Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile were utter embarrassments for Microsoft.

What can Microsoft do to save its mobile dreams? Turn to Linux, of course. Yes, with the upcoming Surface Duo smartphone (you can read about the dual-screen device here), Microsoft will be using the Linux-based Android operating system. This is a smart business move, but it must be absolute hell for the Microsoft faithful -- if Bill Gates was dead, he would be spinning in his grave.

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Proprietary Software and Microsoft

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Microsoft

Microsoft Loves Linux Needs More Work Argues Open Source Leader

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GNU
Microsoft

Microsoft has increasingly embraced Linux in recent years, enough for Redmond to run under the mantra, “Microsoft Loves Linux”. Of course, the reason for the sea change from hating open source to embracing it is simply good economic movement.

Despite its new-found love for Linux, one expert believes Microsoft has a long way to go to atone for past problems. Specifically, free-software leader Richard Stallman says Microsoft’s top execs previously targeted open source in the past.

Most famous of the Linux attacks was former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who described the platform as a “cancer”. Former Windows chief Jim Allchin said the open source idea was both un-American and a killer of intellectual property.

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ICE, Microsoft and Windows

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Microsoft
  • Software Company Chef Won’t Renew ICE Contact After All

                     

                       

    Come Monday, Crist reversed course.

                       

    In a new blog post, Crist said that Chef won’t renew contracts with ICE and the US Customs and Border Protection when they expire next year, and that the company will donate this year’s revenue from the contracts to charities that help families affected by the agencies’ family separation and detention policies. The ICE contract was valued at $95,500 for an 11-month period through August 2020. Chef declined to comment on the value of the CBP contract.

  • Coder deletes open source add-on for Chef in protest over ICE contract

    On September 17, Seth Vargo—a former employee of Chef, the software deployment automation company—found out via a tweet that Chef licenses had been sold to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) under a $95,500, one-year contract through the approved contractor C&C International Computers & Consultants. In protest, Vargo decided to "archive" the GitHub repository for two open source Chef add-ons he had developed in the Ruby programming language. On his GitHub repository page, Vargo wrote, "I have a moral and ethical obligation to prevent my source from being used for evil."

    That move, according to an all-hands email sent out by Chef CEO Barry Crist—later published on the company's website—"impact[ed] production systems for a number of our customers. Our entire team has worked to minimize customer downtime and will continue to do so until we restore services to 100% operation."

  • KDE Connect on Windows - Sneak a peak

    Linux, Windows, what. More like awesome Linux software on Windows, what. Behold a review of KDE Connect for Windows, including setup and configuration of the nightly build, functionality and associated glitches, usage testing with SMS, file sharing and music playback, some other observations, and more. Enjoy.

  • Mutation testing by example: Failure as experimentation [Ed: For the second day in a row Red Hat is pushing Microsoft .NET]
  • Microsoft Outs .NET Core 3.0 With Continued Linux Support & Better Performance [Ed: Phoronix helps Microsoft openwashing (Open Core) stunts again. Disappointing.]

Microsoft Distrust, Lock-in, and Openwashing

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Microsoft
  • [Old] Microsoft, there is a way to win our trust

    The purpose of this post is to explain why I think it's both justified and crucial to be very skeptical of these claims from Microsoft, and what Microsoft can do to allay our well-warranted doubts. And Microsoft, in keeping with the open source tradition from which it arises, I hope you take this unsolicited tunking in the way it's intended.

  • Why not GitHub?

    GitHub has investors who do not care a whit for free software principles, and eventually the company will get acquired—maybe tomorrow, maybe next year—and as we all know, money changes everything.

    Don’t leave your project’s nerve center—its primary address, its means of contribution, its issue tracker, its website, its primary documentation, its continuous integration, everything—in a way you can’t redirect!—at the mercy of people who merely want a return on their investment, and do not care about the principles of a minority of angry nerds.

    Using Git does not require GitHub!

  • Introducing Microsoft’s AirSim, an open-source simulator for autonomous vehicles built on Unreal Engine

German ministry hellbent on taking back control of 'digital sovereignty', cutting dependency on Microsoft

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Microsoft

The Federal Ministry of the Interior (Bundesministerium des Innern or BMI) in Germany says it will reduce reliance on specific IT suppliers, especially Microsoft, in order to strengthen its "digital sovereignty".

In an official statement, the Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer states that “in order to ensure our digital sovereignty, we want to reduce dependencies on individual IT providers. We are also considering alternative programs to replace certain software. This will be done in close coordination with other EU countries.”

BMI commissioned a strategic market analysis from consultants PwC, resulting in a paper that was published last month. The paper examines the risks inherent in IT dependency on commercial software vendors, with a particular focus on Microsoft because of the heavy use of its products and the way they are interconnected, especially Microsoft Office, Windows, Windows Server and Office 365.

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