Alfonso Maruccia

FSF: diavolo d'un Windows

Non è ancora ufficialmente nato, ma il nuovo sistema operativo marchiato Microsoft deve già vedersela con agguerriti avversari. Che non perdono occasione per presentare la propria versione sulle qualità del nuovo OS

Roma - Microsoft è il male tentatore, e i sette peccati capitali di Windows 7 sono stati pensati per traviare i CEO delle aziende spingendoli a sacrificare tutto (sicurezza, privacy, accesso libero ai contenuti) sull'altare dei dollari di Redmond. Ci va giù pesante la Free Software Foundation con la sua ultima campagna, Windows 7 Sins, punto di inizio dell'ennesima azione lobbistica contro le politiche commerciali della più grande corporation del software e a favore del software libero.

La campagna è partita (oltre che sul sito) da una dimostrazione pubblica a Boston, dove i supporter della causa di FSF hanno incoraggiato le aziende ad abbandonare per sempre Windows e passare alle tante alternative gratuite e di qualità offerte dall'open source. Il concetto è stato poi reiterato con una lettera aperta spedita a 499 CEO delle aziende presenti nella classifica Fortune 500 - con la comprensibile esclusione di Microsoft che pure ne fa parte a pieno titolo.

In particolare, i sette peccati di Windows citati dalla FSF sono: l'educazione, sfruttata da Redmond per perpetuare il suo monopolio sul software piuttosto che offrire alle giovani generazioni strumenti di crescita e apprendimento; la privacy, abusata con tool come Windows Genuine Advantage attraverso l'analisi dei contenuti del disco fisso dell'utente; il comportamento monopolistico per cui Microsoft è proverbialmente nota. E poi ancora il lock-in negli interessi di Redmond attraverso l'imposizione di limiti, requisiti e surrettizie a totale vantaggio delle politiche commerciali della corporation; l'abuso degli standard e il tentativo di bloccare la standardizzazione dei formati di documenti liberi; le restrizioni DRM per far piacere all'industria dei contenuti e limitare le possibilità di fruizione dell'utenza. Infine, la sicurezza del sistema operativo universalmente riconosciuto come più insicuro, rattoppato a esclusivo interesse di Microsoft piuttosto che per quello dei suoi clienti.
Oltre a Windows 7 la FSF prende insomma ancora una volta di mira Microsoft come azienda, denunciandone le (presunte) mancanze e i (presunti) tentativi di abuso di potere a partire dall'ultima versione del suo OS consumer. "Il software libero significa libertà, non semplicemente gratuità" dice il direttore esecutivo di FSF Peter Brown in un comunicato. "La nostra crescente dipendenza dai computer e dal software - continua Brown - impone che la nostra società rivaluti la sua ossessione per il software proprietario che spia le attività dei cittadini e limita la loro libertà mettendola sotto il controllo del computer".

Con la distribuzione di Windows 7, gli sforzi di FSF saranno inoltre incentrati sulla demistificazione dell'idea che il nuovo sistema "è molto meglio di Vista", ragion per cui questa volta Microsoft avrebbe realizzato un prodotto realmente su misura delle esigenze degli utenti. Tutto falso, dice FSF, e i sette, perduranti peccati capitali di Seven starebbero lì a dimostrare che nulla è cambiato e nulla cambierà nel panorama del software proprietario fin quando il codice FOSS non avrà conquistato il mondo.

A parziale conferma del fatto che in fondo con Windows 7 non è cambiato granché ai piani alti di Microsoft, si parla di possibili problemi per chi intendesse acquistare un netbook Vista-powered al momento aspettandosi di poter fare l'upgrade in seguito senza costi aggiuntivi. La gratuità di una siffatta operazione sarà infatti garantita solo a un numero limitato di sistemi, come alcune versioni dell'Asus Eee PC 1101HA con installato Vista Home Premium.

Alfonso Maruccia
Notizie collegate
180 Commenti alla Notizia FSF: diavolo d'un Windows
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  • http://windows7sins.org/#6

    Embrace, extend and extinguish -- that's how Microsoft described its strategy for locking its users into proprietary extensions to standards.

    Microsoft regularly attempts to force upgrades on its customers, by removing support for older versions of Windows and Office, whilst changing the file formats used by its desktop applications, leaving many businesses in a position where they are forced to upgrade to continue to use the software and document formats they've invested time in.

    By removing support from operating systems and other software, such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft leaves companies with no choice but to upgrade to later versions of its software. The later versions of the software have file formats which differ from the previous versions, forcing companies who exchange these documents to also upgrade. Additionally, some applications refuse to run on older versions of Microsoft Windows, forcing complete system upgrades for what is essentially a document exchange format.

    http://windows7sins.org/#7

    Who should your computer take its orders from?

    Most people think their computers should obey them, not obey someone else. Yet, with a plan they call "trusted computing" and software they call Windows Genuine Advantage, Microsoft and others are planning to make your next computer obey them instead of you, and this has serious consequences for your privacy.

    Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) is Microsoft's system for remotely checking your computer. WGA scans various parts of your hard drive to reassure Microsoft that you are running an "approved" version of Windows. WGA is mandatory monitoring system and if Microsoft decides you are not "approved" they can disable your computer's functionality. Currently Microsoft confirms that WGA checks:

        * Computer make and model
        * BIOS
        * MAC address
        * A unique number assigned to your computer - Globally Unique Identifier or GUID
        * Hard drive serial number
        * Region and language settings of the operating system
        * Operating system version
        * PC BIOS information (make, version, date)
        * PC manufacturer
        * User locale setting
        * Validation and installation results.
        * Windows or Office product key
        * Windows XP product ID

    WGA has caused a number privacy related problems, including deletion of software. WGA gets automatically updated as part of Microsoft's critical update procedures, giving users little choice but to accept changes to the systems Microsoft can monitor. Many have claimed that WGA is spyware, and although Microsoft have denied such intent, they retain the power to decide what counts as an invasion of your privacy.

    For Windows 7 they are changing the name of the product to Windows 7 Activation Technologies (WAT), but the functionality remains the same.

    Microsoft's version of a "Trusted Computing" scheme is called "Palladium". Proprietary programs have included malicious features before, but Palladium would make it universal.

    Hollywood and the record companies will use Palladium to ensure that downloaded videos and music can be played only on one specified computer and the sharing of 'authorized' files will be entirely impossible.

    Making sharing impossible is bad enough, but it gets worse. There are plans to use the same facility for email and documents--resulting in email that disappears in two weeks, or documents that can only be read on the computers in one company.

    Imagine if you get an email from your boss telling you to do something that you think is risky; a month later, when it backfires, you can't use the email to show that the decision was not yours. "Getting it in writing" doesn't protect you when the order is written in disappearing ink.

    Treacherous computing puts the existence of free operating systems and free applications at risk, because you may not be able to run them at all.

    Some versions of treacherous computing would require the operating system to be specifically authorized by a particular company. Free operating systems could not be installed. Some versions of treacherous computing would require every program to be specifically authorized by the operating system developer.

    You could not run free applications on such a system. If you did figure out how, and told someone, that could be a crime.
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  • http://www.fsf.org/news/windows-7-sins


    Windows7sins: FSF launches campaign against
    Windows 7 and proprietary software

    Windows7Sins.org: Free Software Foundation launches public awareness campaign against Microsoft and proprietary software
    BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today launched its "Windows 7 Sins" campaign at http://windows7sins.org, making the case against Microsoft and proprietary software. Preceding the upcoming release of Microsoft Windows 7, the campaign's first public action will also be today -- a freedom rally at 12:00pm on the historic Boston Common.

    The campaign outlines seven major areas where proprietary software in general and Microsoft Windows in particular hurt all computer users: invading privacy, poisoning education, locking users in, abusing standards, leveraging monopolistic behavior, enforcing Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), and threatening user security.

    These points are outlined in the text of a letter the campaign mailed to the leaders of the Fortune 500 companies, now published on its Web site. The letter warns "Windows 7 decision makers" about the "lack of privacy, freedom, and security" they will suffer should they adopt Windows 7, and makes the case that they should instead adopt free software such as the GNU/Linux operating system and the office productivity suite OpenOffice.org.

    FSF executive director Peter Brown said, "Free software is about freedom, not price. Our growing dependence on computers and software requires our society to reevaluate its obsession with proprietary software that spies on citizens' activities and limits their freedom to be in control of their computing. There is free software available right now for any activity you or your business needs, and it is better in the most important aspect -- it respects your freedom."

    The FSF is asking concerned citizens to help get this message out by nominating other organizational leaders who are also "Windows 7 decision makers" to receive a version of the letter. Brown continued, "Many people are frustrated by the organizations they interact with and their support for a software industry that works against the freedom of citizens. Our national and local governments, NGOs, and our universities and schools that use proprietary software are undertaking bad public policy, often through ignorance or misplaced values. We hope to alert these decision makers to the positive contribution they can make to society by switching their organizations to free software."

    FSF campaigns manager Matt Lee added, "With windows7sins.org, we hope to make businesses and computer users aware of the growing dangers of proprietary software from both Microsoft and other companies such as Apple and Adobe. With the release of Microsoft's updated operating system, business leaders have the opportunity to escape to freedom and join a growing list of leaders who understand that sinking money and time into proprietary software is a dead-end inconsistent with their best interests."

    More information about the campaign, including the text of the Fortune 500 letter and a mailing list that will provide subscribers with information updates and action alerts, is online at http://windows7sins.org.
        
    About the Free Software Foundation

    The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at http://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.
        
    About Free Software and Open Source

    The free software movement's goal is freedom for computer users. Some, especially corporations, advocate a different viewpoint, known as "open source," which cites only practical goals such as making software powerful and reliable, focuses on development models, and avoids discussion of ethics and freedom. These two viewpoints are different at the deepest level. For more explanation, see
    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-t....

    http://windows7sins.org/#4

    Microsoft has been found guilty of monopolistic behavior all over the world. With Windows Vista, Microsoft worked with PC manufacturers to significantly increase the hardware specifications for the standard user-experience, causing people to require new computers to run the updated OS.



        Microsoft has been found guilty of monopolistic behavior all over the world. With Windows Vista, Microsoft worked with PC manufacturers to significantly increase the hardware specifications for the standard user-experience, causing people to require new computers to run the updated OS.

    Early versions of Windows 3.1, relying on an underlying version of the DOS operating system would throw an error if non-Microsoft DOS, such as Digital Research's DR-DOS, were detected. At one point, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, in an internal memo said "You never sent me a response on the question of what things an app would do that would make it run with MSDOS and not run with DR-DOS. Is there [sic] feature they have that might get in our way?" with Microsoft Senior Vice President Brad Silverberg later sent another memo, stating: "What the [user] is supposed to do is feel uncomfortable, and when he has bugs, suspect that the problem is DR-DOS and then go out to buy MS-DOS."

    More recently, news came that Amazon.co.uk is starting to make refunds on GNU/Linux netbook computers quickly and easily. Whether this will become a growing trend, who knows?

    Worse, most PC manufacturers still do not offer you the opportunity to buy a machine without Windows.

    Traditionally, building your own machine was a way to get around the Windows tax. Microsoft has managed to hurt this, too. Sites such as NewEgg have many of their best deals tied to a purchase of an OEM copy of Windows, penalizing those who actively seek to avoid Microsoft and other proprietary software companies in the name of freedom.
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  • You can help!

    Free software operating systems like GNU/Linux can do the same jobs as Windows, but they encourage users to share, modify, and study the software as much as they want. This makes using a free software operating system the best way for users to escape Microsoft and avoid becoming victims of these seven sins. Software and computers will always have problems, but by using free software, users and their communities are empowered to fix problems for themselves and each other.

    You can get more information about each of the sins and how to escape them at windows7sins.org. Please sign up there for campaign news and action alerts to help raise awareness about Microsoft's abuses, the problems with Windows 7, and the importance of free software!
    How we got here

    Two years ago, Microsoft released Windows Vista, to little fanfare and much disappointment, both from users, facing a battle of broken software, drivers and heavy restrictions, and from developers, scrambling to bring software up-to-date to work with the new system.

    Two years later, Microsoft itself admits Vista failed. Users were not ready to accept the huge downgrade that Vista offered, and Microsoft has attempted to rectify this with the announcement of Windows 7. Windows 7, like Windows XP in 2001, has a more modest requirement footprint, making it ideal for low-powered netbook computers. However, unlike Windows XP, Microsoft have deliberately crippled Windows 7, leaving netbook users at the mercy of Microsoft to control which applications they can use, as well as the number of applications that can be run simultaneously.

    Microsoft is up to their usual tricks again -- only this time, they're also inserting artificial restrictions into the operating system itself. While not the first time they've done this, this is the first release of Windows that can magically remove limitations instantly upon purchasing a more expensive version from Microsoft.


    This is not new, however. In 1996, a furor erupted over Microsoft Windows NT. At the time, Microsoft was selling two versions of its operating system: Windows NT Workstation and Windows NT Server. The server version cost roughly $800 more than the workstation edition of the operating system.

    While Windows NT Server included a series of server applications not bundled with NT Workstation, Microsoft maintained that the operating systems themselves were, "two very different products intended for two very different functions." NT Server, Microsoft claimed, was suited and tailored for use as an Internet server while NT Workstation was grossly inadequate. Aiming to enforce this difference, both the NT Workstation code and the license agreement restricted users to no more than ten concurrent TCP/IP (i.e., Internet) connections; while NT Server remained unlimited.

    Many users noticed that both versions of Windows NT were very similar. Digging further, an analysis published by O'Reilly and Associates revealed that the kernel, and in fact every binary file included in NT Workstation, was identical to those shipped in NT Server. The sole difference between the two products' cores lay in the operating systems' installation information -- the server version contained several options or flags that marked it as either 'Workstation' or 'Server'. If the machine was flagged as 'Workstation', it would disable certain functionality and limit the number of network connections.

    We call such limitations, antifeatures. An antifeature is functionality that a technology developer will charge users to not include -- it is more difficult for Microsoft to limit Internet connections than it is to leave them unconstrained -- and the limit is not something that any user would request.

    Unfortunately, for the companies and individuals trying to push antifeatures, users increasingly often have alternatives in free software. Software freedom, it turns out, makes antifeatures impossible in most situations. Microsoft's predatory NT pricing is impossible for GNU/Linux, where users can program around it.


    A version of Firefox funded by advertisements would be too--users would simply build and share a version of the software without the antifeatures in question.

    Ultimately, the absence of similar antifeatures form some of the easiest victories for free software. It does not cost free software developers anything to avoid antifeatures. In many cases, doing nothing is exactly what users want and what proprietary software will not give them.

    © 2009 Free Software Foundation, Inc

    Microsoft Monopoly graphic, courtesy of The Angry Pixel.

    This page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
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  • Windows 7 Sins: The case against Microsoft and proprietary software

    The new version of Microsoft's Windows operating system, Windows 7, has the same problem that Vista, XP, and all previous versions have had -- it's proprietary software. Users are not permitted to share or modify the Windows software, or examine how it works inside.

    The fact that Windows 7 is proprietary means that Microsoft asserts legal control over its users through a combination of copyrights, contracts, and patents. Microsoft uses this power to abuse computer users. At windows7sins.org, the Free Software Foundation lists seven examples of abuse committed by Microsoft.

    1. Poisoning education: Today, most children whose education involves computers are being taught to use one company's product: Microsoft's. Microsoft spends large sums on lobbyists and marketing to corrupt educational departments. An education using the power of computers should be a means to freedom and empowerment, not an avenue for one corporation to instill its monopoly.

    2. Invading privacy: Microsoft uses software with backward names like Windows Genuine Advantage to inspect the contents of users' hard drives. The licensing agreement users are required to accept before using Windows warns that Microsoft claims the right to do this without warning.

    3. Monopoly behavior: Nearly every computer purchased has Windows pre-installed -- but not by choice. Microsoft dictates requirements to hardware vendors, who will not offer PCs without Windows installed on them, despite many people asking for them. Even computers available with other operating systems like GNU/Linux pre-installed often had Windows on them first.

    4. Lock-in: Microsoft regularly attempts to force updates on its users, by removing support for older versions of Windows and Office, and by inflating hardware requirements. For many people, this means having to throw away working computers just because they don't meet the unnecessary requirements for the new Windows versions.

    5. Abusing standards: Microsoft has attempted to block free standardization of document formats, because standards like OpenDocument Format would threaten the control they have now over users via proprietary Word formats. They have engaged in underhanded behavior, including bribing officials, in an attempt to stop such efforts.

    6. Enforcing Digital Restrictions Management (DRM): With Windows Media Player, Microsoft works in collusion with the big media companies to build restrictions on copying and playing media into their operating system. For example, at the request of NBC, Microsoft was able to prevent Windows users from recording television shows that they have the legal right to record.

    7. Threatening user security: Windows has a long history of security vulnerabilities, enabling the spread of viruses and allowing remote users to take over people's computers for use in spam-sending botnets. Because the software is secret, all users are dependent on Microsoft to fix these problems -- but Microsoft has its own security interests at heart, not those of its users.


    continue on the next message
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  • http://windows7sins.org/letter

    Re: Important notice regarding impending lack of privacy, freedom and security from Microsoft Corporation.

    As a decision maker within your organization, you undoubtedly strive to make choices that seek to improve the working lives of your employees, enhance the relationship you have with your customers and potential customers and secure the independence and freedom for your organization to operate.

    For many years, companies like yours have relied on Microsoft and the Windows operating system. With the release of Windows 7 in October, Microsoft is selling the new version on a combination of fear and threats. They threaten to stop supporting older versions of Windows in the long-term, and because their system is proprietary (not free/libre), you are dependent on them to provide regular security updates and fixes. With the threat to withdraw their support, they try to strong-arm you into adopting new versions of their software even when you don't need them and may have a negative consequence to your ability to operate, once again abusing its monopoly position, explicitly inducing vendor lock-in.

    Like its plans to include DRM restrictions with Windows Vista, Microsoft's continued attacks against the security, privacy and freedom of your organization, are no mistake. Microsoft has a history of manipulating computer manufacturers into installing its products onto the computers you purchase.

    With its most recent actions, it further threatens computing standards by polluting and perverting the OpenDocument standard with its own XML-based file format.

    Because of Microsoft, many decision makers in America are now wholly dependent on the Windows operating system for their business computing.

    The root cause of this dependency is proprietary software (not free/libre) and with the release of Windows7, you have an opportunity to break your organizations dependency on it

    Free software, is about freedom not price. Free software is software that you can use and adapt independent of any one vendor, such as the GNU/Linux operating system or the business productivity suite OpenOffice. Free software provides all of the freedoms Microsoft tries to deny, and is therefore better in all areas: security, accountability and monetary cost. GNU/Linux and OpenOffice are available from numerous vendors ensuring competition for your patronage and your freedom to change supplier.

    Microsoft's recent 10-K reports (June 30th, 2009) speak of free software and tell a similar story:

    "The OpenOffice.org project provides a freely downloadable cross-platform application that also has been adapted by various commercial software vendors to sell under their brands, including IBM, Novell, Red Hat, and Sun Microsystems."

        "Despite these efforts, actual or perceived security vulnerabilities in our products could lead some customers to seek to return products, to reduce or delay future purchases, or to use competing products."

    Free software is more secure because you and the wider community are independently able to read the source code of and customize any program you use in your infrastructure. It saves you from relying on a secretive third party, and the public availability of free software code means that many qualified eyeballs, the security experts and researchers around the world, are continually studying and reporting on its integrity.

    Replacing all your desktop systems with GNU/Linux will give you independence from Microsoft, access to thousands of free software applications, and help break the social ill of proprietary software. Thousands of organizations have already moved to free software. What's your organization's plan?

    Investing in Microsoft's Windows 7 will only get you more stuck and more dependent on them.

    Take the next step -- evaluate your organizations opportunity to use free software -- and sign-up for regular announcements on making the move away from Windows and to receive information about the work of the Free Software Foundation.

    http://windows7sins.org/signup

    A message from the Free Software Foundation.

    © 2009 Free Software Foundation, Inc

    This page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
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