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.

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.

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.

ThinkPad have been GNU+Linux users first choice for years and now Lenovo is released a ThinkPad with a ready-to-run GNU+Linux. And, not just any GNU+Linux, but Red Hat’s community, Fedora.

Red Hat Senior Software Engineering Manager Christian Schaller wrote:

This is a big milestone for us and for Lenovo as it’s the first time Fedora ships pre-installed on a laptop from a major vendor and it’s the first time the world’s largest laptop maker ships premium laptops with Linux directly to consumers. Currently, only the X1 Carbon is available, but more models are on the way and more geographies will get added too soon.

First in this new Linux-friendly lineup is the X1 Carbon Gen 8. It will be followed by forthcoming versions of the ThinkPad P1 Gen2 and ThinkPad P53. While ThinkPads are usually meant for business users, Lenovo will be happy to sell the Fedora-powered X1 Carbon to home users as well.

The new X1 Carbon runs Fedora Workstation 32. This cutting-edge Linux distribution uses the Linux Kernel 5.6. It includes WireGuard virtual private network (VPN) support and USB4 support. This Fedora version uses the new GNOME 3.36 for its default desktop.

I personally love Fedora. I’m currently a Trisquel user after I found out about Fedora’s discriminatory act (rule) but Fedora is actually one of the best.

Amazon is famous for its extreme efficiency yet behind the curtain is a crippling culture of surveillance and stress, according to a study by the Open Markets Institute.

The think tank and advocacy group that repeatedly takes companies like Google and Facebook to task warned in the report [PDF] that Amazon’s retail side has gone far beyond promoting efficient working and has adopted an almost dystopian level of control over its warehouse workers, firing them if they fail to meet targets that are often kept a secret.

Among the practices it highlighted, the report said that workers are told to hit a target rate of packages to process per hour, though they are not told what exactly that target is. “We don’t know what the rate is,” one pseudonymous worker told the authors. “They change it behind the scenes. You’ll know when you get a warning. They don’t tell you what rate you have to hit at the beginning.”

If they grow close to not meeting a target rate, or miss it, the worker receives an automated message warning them, the report said. Workers who fail to meet hidden targets can also receive a different type of electronic message; one that fires them.

“Amazon’s electronic system analyzes an employee’s electronic record and, after falling below productivity measures, ‘automatically generates any warnings or terminations regarding quality or productivity without input from supervisors’,” it stated. The data is also generated automatically: for example, those picking and packing are required to use a scanner that records every detail, including the time between scans, and feed it into a system that pushes out automated warnings.

Always watching

As with other companies, Amazon installs surveillance cameras in its workspaces to reduce theft. But the report claims Amazon has taken that approach to new lengths “with an extensive network of security cameras that tracks and monitors a worker’s every move”.

Bezos’ bunch combines that level of surveillance with strict limits on behavior. “Upon entering the warehouse, Amazon requires workers to dispose of all of their personal belongings except a water bottle and a clear plastic bag of cash,” the report noted.

For Amazon drivers, their location is constantly recorded and monitored and they are required to follow the exact route Amazon has mapped. They are required to deliver 999 out of every 1,000 packages on time or face the sack; something that the report argues has led to widespread speeding and a related increase in crashes.

The same tracking software ensures that workers only take 30 minutes for lunch and two separate 15-minute breaks during the day. The report also noted that the web goliath has patented a wristband that “can precisely track where warehouse employees are placing their hands and use vibrations to nudge them in a different direction”.

Amazon also attempts to prevent efforts to unionize by actively tracking workers and breaking up any meetings of too many people, including identifying possible union organizers and moving them around the workplace to prevent them talking to the same group for too long, the report claimed.

It quoted a source named Mohamed as saying: “They spread the workers out … you cannot talk to your colleagues … The managers come to you and say they’ll send you to a different station.”

The combined effort of constant surveillance with the risk of being fired at any point has created, according to workers, a “Lord Of The Flies-esque environment where the perceived weakest links are culled every year”.

Stress and quotas

The report said Amazon’s workers “are under constant stress to make their quotas for collecting and organizing hundreds of packages per hour” resulting in “constant ‘low-grade panic’ to work. In this sense, workers are dehumanizingly treated by Amazon as if they are robots – persistently asked to accomplish task after task at an unforgiving rate.”

At the end of the day, warehouse employees are required to go through mandatory screening to check they haven’t stolen anything, which “requires waiting times that can range from 25 minutes to an hour” and is not compensated, the report said.

Amazon also allegedly fails to account for any injuries, the report said, to the extent that “Amazon employees feel forced to work through the pain and injuries they incur on the job, as Amazon routinely fires employees who fall behind their quotas, without taking such injuries into account.”

It quoted another piece of reporting that found Amazon’s rate of severe injuries in its warehouses is, in some cases, more than five times the industry average. It also noted that the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health listed Amazon as one of the “dirty dozen” on its list of the most dangerous places to work in the United States in 2018.

The report concluded that “Amazon’s practices exacerbate the inequality between employees and management by keeping employees in a constant state of precariousness, with the threat of being fired for even the slightest deviation, which ensures full compliance with employer-demanded standards and limits worker freedom.”

Being a think tank, the Open Markets Institute listed a series of policy and legal changes that would help alleviate the work issues. It proposed a complete ban on “invasive forms of worker surveillance” and a rule against any forms of surveillance that “preemptively interfere with unionization efforts”.

It also wants a law that allows independent contractors to unionize and the legalization of secondary boycotts, as well as better enforcement of the rules against companies by government departments including America’s trade watchdog the FTC and Department of Justice, as well as a ban on non-compete agreements and class action waivers.

In response to the allegations in the report, a spokesperson for Amazon told us: “Like most companies, we have performance expectations for every Amazonian – be it corporate employee or fulfillment center associate and we measure actual performance against those expectations.

“Associate performance is measured and evaluated over a long period of time as we know that a variety of things could impact the ability to meet expectations in any given day or hour. We support people who are not performing to the levels expected with dedicated coaching to help them improve.”

(original post)

On a GitHub issue chat, a man stated that he lost 1400 bitcoins (worth $16M currently) from a Electrum wallet scam when phishing exploit disguised as an update proceeded to sweep his Electrum wallet off his bitcoins.

The crypto community tried to offer help, with Binance vowing to block the addresses involved. “My coins propagated. I attempted to transfer about 1 BTC however I was unable to proceed,” he said. A pop-up message appeared asking the holder to update his security prior to being able to transfer the funds. “I installed the update which immediately triggered the transfer of my entire balance to a scammer’s address.”

According to Electrum developer Thomas Voegtlin, the exploit is nothing new and has been around since 2018. Voegtlin said the Electrum website displays a warning about the exploit and that warning has been up for the last 18 months. “The user was scammed because he used old software, susceptible to phishing,” Voegtlin told news outlet Decrypt. The publication noted that this is the largest amount of Bitcoins stolen through the exploit.

Blog Day (sometimes stylized as 3l0g Day) is an unofficial holiday celebrated by bloggers across the world on August 31. It was first marked in 2005.

The date of August 31 was chosen because 3108 (31st day of the 8th month) can be read as “blog”. The concept of the holiday is quite simple. On this day, bloggers are encouraged to recommend five blogs they consider interesting. A recommendation should contain a short description and a link to the recommended blog.

It is suggested that bloggers recommend blogs that are different from their own attitude, point of view and/or culture, because Blog Day is all about diversity! It is also important to notify the bloggers you’ve recommended and congratulate them on the holiday.

Sadly, Blog Day has not gained considerable popularity in the blogosphere.

If you don’t write a blog, start right now and join us. A blog doesn’t need to be technical or about a specific category/subject. You can use you blog to express your opinions or just to communicate with people, they way social networks can’t do. For many years, I’ve been writing different blogs and I have an amazing experience, you should experience it too.

You can check my blogroll to see blogs I recommend and like.

Gizmodo reported that one of the most popular bookstores in Portland will stop selling books online on Amazon for the sake of survival of independent booksellers.

CEO Emily Powell released a statement to customers yesterday announcing the move, citing concerns over the future survival of independent bookstores.

“So many independent booksellers around the country fight for their survival and wonder what their future may hold,” Powell wrote. “For too long, we have watched the detrimental impact of Amazon’s business on our communities and the independent bookselling world.”

Amazon’s marketplace has become the big box retail chain for consumers and authors alike to sell or find books—either traditional hardcovers and paperbacks, audiobooks, or ebooks.

Powell notes that in many communities Amazon has become the only means of accessing books. But for communities with local, independently-run bookstores, the ease and accessibility of online marketplaces, particularly Amazon’s, has taken away a lot of business. In order to survive, many have had to pivot to selling their books on Amazon. While many were able to survive despite Amazon’s massive growth, others were put in a precarious situation due to the covid-19 pandemic.