Microsoft’s source code for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 has leaked online. Torrent files for both operating systems’ source code have been published on various file sharing sites this week. It’s the first time source code for Windows XP has leaked publicly, although the leaked files claim this code has been shared privately for years.
It is time for Microsoft to show the world how much it really cares for software libre (and open source) and how much they really regret calling open source “cancer”.
While ago, when Microsoft announced that they won’t support Windows XP anymore, the Free Software Foundation sent them a hard drive and asked them to liberate the Windows XP so people would have the benefit of software freedom.
So far, Microsoft didn’t respond to FSF and refused to liberate the software. Now, after the source codes are leaked, Microsoft has the second chance to just give the OS a free license (such as GNU GPL) and show us how much they care about open source (and more importantly software libre).
Microsoft is one of the least favorite companies in software libre communities and by liberating the Windows XP operating system, it can make the situation and its public face better.
In 1969, Leila Khaled hijacked her first airliner, commandeering TWA flight 870 and becoming the first woman to hijack an airplane. The hijacking was undertaken in support of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an organization designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State in 1997.
Today, a half century later, two faculty members at San Francisco State University had planned to host — via Zoom — a “roundtable conversation” and “Q&A discussion” with Khaled, described as a “Palestinian feminist, militant, and leader.” Critics of the event, however, argued that the discussion would be unlawful, even criminal. The planned discussion was condemned by dozens of pro-Israel organizations, including the Zionist Organization of America, which urged that the “program be cancelled immediately, since a violent terrorist has nothing of value to offer your students.”
Yesterday, Zoom refused to allow the university to use its service for the discussion — a cancellation praised by FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, who said there was no “need to hear both sides.” It is not yet clear whether the organizers of the event will switch to another channel of communication.
Yesterday, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Thomas Massie introduced H.R.8336, the Unplug the Internet Kill Switch Prevention Act, which would prevent the President from using emergency powers to cut off America’s access to the internet and undermine Americans’ Constitutional protections.
The bipartisan, bicameral bill was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Rand Paul, Ron Wyden, and Gary Peters. “The oath that I took as a Soldier and as a Member of Congress was to support and defend our Constitution. The freedoms enshrined in our Constitution cannot be taken for granted. Our legislation would fix a WWII-era law that gives the president nearly unchallenged authority to restrict access to the internet, conduct email surveillance, control computer systems and cell phones.
No President should have the power to ignore our freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and violate our civil liberties and privacy by declaring a national emergency,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
“When governments around the world turn off internet access, they do significant harm to their national economies and their citizen’s civil rights,” said Rep. Thomas Massie. “This bipartisan bill will ensure that no future American president can unilaterally trip an ‘internet kill switch.’ Americans do not have to accept the premise that one person can deprive them of their 1st Amendment rights by flipping a switch.”
Who would have thought that Microsoft, a company that once branded Linux “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches” have condescended to adding its browser software in GNU+Linux?
This means software libre world has definitely won, doesn’t it?
Ignite Microsoft will release its Edge browser for GNU+Linux next month, initially through the browser’s Dev preview channel.
The Windows giant, which has warmed to GNU+Linux in recent years, made the announcement at its Ignite 2020 conference, conducted virtually this week on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our mission to bring Microsoft Edge to the platforms our customers use daily takes its next step: starting in October, Microsoft Edge on [GNU+]Linux will be available to download on the Dev preview channel,” said veep Liat Ben-Zur in a blog post. “When it’s available, [GNU+]Linux users can go to the Microsoft Edge Insiders site to download the preview channel, or they can download it from the native [GNU+]Linux package manager.”
Initially, Microsoft will provide Edge for GNU+Linux through Debian and Ubuntu distributions, with others to follow.
I don’t know what will be the license of the browser and if Microsoft releases the software under a proper license like GNU GPL but I’m not optimistic about it. Microsoft doesn’t like the software libre world as we threaten its interests in violating people’s rights.
However, it’s still good news. It means Microsoft now knows more people are informed and interested in their rights.
The London pan-Arab daily al-Quds al-Arabi (Arab Jerusalem) reports that the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, voted down a proposed basic law introduced by Yousef Jabareen on behalf of the Joint List. It aimed at altering the constitutional basis of the Israeli state, requiring democratic principles, cultural pluralism, and complete equality for all citizen on both civil and national levels.
During the past year, the Knesset has shot down numerous proposals to amend the National Law to forbid discrimination against non-Jews.
What follows is a paraphrase of the article with a few comments by me. One comment by me to begin with: Israel has all along had a choice between being a democratic state for all its citizens or being an ethno-nationalist oligarchy with second-class citizens at home and Apartheid subjects in the West Bank. This is not the first Knesset vote to demonstrate forcefully that the Israeli majority wants the latter.
The bill aimed at providing existential and democratic human rights, especially complete equality and the recognition of the Palestinian-Israeli ethnic identity. Israelis of Palestinian heritage comprise about 21% of Israel’s citizen population.
The Knesset roundly rejected the bill, with both the Likud-led far-right coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Blue and White bloc of his foreign minister and sometime rival, Benny Gantz, voting against it.
Amnesty International called for an end to the death sentence and a fair retrial for Heydar Ghorbani, a political prisoner sentenced to death in Sanandaj prison, Iran.
Noting that Heydar Ghorbani is in danger of being executed, Amnesty International wrote intelligence, prosecution, and judicial authorities have severely violated the principles of a fair trial in his case and the court cites confessions that are not true. Amnesty International also wrote that Heydar was confessed under torture and he had no lawyer.
Recently, the Supreme Court rejected the request for a retrial of Heydar. Mr. Ghorbani had previously been sentenced to death by the Sanandaj Revolutionary Court on charges of “violation of the rights of others,” and the sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in August.
One thing I should mention is that we are surrounded with proprietary software and companies. Almost all of the major tech and publishing companies are proprietary ones. Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, IBM, and Amazon (GMAFIA) are constantly working to protect the proprietary software and patents of theirs.
Sadly, the majority of people use almost only proprietary software and these companies are benefiting from them. Now, what we do (supporting the free culture) is against their benefit so they have to advertise against it and target people with false accusations against software libre world.
For instance, the Google page about the AGPL details inaccurate (but common) misconceptions about the obligations of the AGPL that don’t follow from the text. Google states that if, for example, Google Maps used PostGIS as its data store, and PostGIS used the AGPL, Google would be required to release the Google Maps code. This is not true.
These companies don’t like software libre. This is actually one of the reasons that they use the term Open Source instead of software libre.
Now, if they have to pretend to like a software libre, they prefer the ones they can control, the ones like MIT that can be used proprietorially. An example is BSD. One of the major developers of BSD is Apple which benefits a lot from the weak BSD licenses.
Copyleft restricts big tech from benefiting and not giving back to community so these companies don’t like it and do everything they can to weaken the copyleft culture so they can survive on benefiting from our community and violating people’s freedom and rights.