Just a short post to anyone considering Spotify, don’t.
List of reasons (for me anyway):
Their Linux support is a joke. To access their API you have to agree to have proprietary software installed which can’t legally be bundled with software under the GPL. Their official statement appears to be “use Wine”. My reply: “Fuck that.”
Their monthly fee is several times more expensive than Last FM’s.
The artists get basically nothing from the fee you pay. (Same is true for other internet radio services though. The MAFIAA keeps most of the money and gives the rest to the Billboard Top 10, so Justin Bieber gets paid for your listening to Alice In Chains.)
Oh yeah, their Android app crashed my tablet several times.
They require you to sign up with the voluntary spyware company called Facebook to get a Spotify account.
I scrubbed and I scrubbed, but they just don’t make water hot enough!
The uEFI Forum is largely a bunch of SOPA promoters hoping to turn your PC into a locked platform using DMCA anti-circumvention laws.
Unfortunately, the next generation boot firmware for the PC not only fails to completely replace the PC BIOS (which will continue to be used for power on self test and hardware initialization). Those in the know, beyond the corporate media spin doctoring, know that uEFI is just a layer of DRM and corporate lock-in that rides on top of the 30 year old legacy BIOS that starts the computer in real mode just like it did in the 1980s.
uEFI is not a next generation PC boot firmware, we’re being sold a bill of goods. The biggest particular problem is “Secure Boot”. Users are being mislead into believing it has something to do with securely booting a computer while its true purpose is to lock the user into running whatever corporate-sponsored OS that came with the computer, and turning them into a criminal by forcing them to commit a US federal felony by circumventing it to install free software as the computer’s operating system instead.
For the latest lies from the corporate-sponsored media, we go to The H Online which has declared that “Securely booting Linux [is] a “difficult” proposition”. The H is becoming less of a legitimate news source about free and open source software, and becoming more like just any other anti-free and open source rag that mindlessly recites anything that Microsoft pays for. The Register is another example of such an occurance. Over time, Microsoft starts writing their Linux news and you get libellous headlines instead of information. It’s not like the Red Hat employee that they cite is helping dispel this propaganda. (more in a moment)
uEFI “Secure Boot” (which should be called Restricted Boot since it is designed to lock you into an ISV’s operating system software), is is a complex specification. It relies on a nebula of assumptions about the state of the hardware and the bootloader that are not necessarily true and are easily forged. Even if that was not the case, it relies on an assumption that there are no firmware bugs which can be used to subvert and bypass it. It will not provide any meaningful level of additional security to users of any PC operating system, even if it agrees to boot the operating system that the user is trying to use at all. It is designed to turn anyone who cracks it into a criminal, by forcing them to violate Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and being liable to be sentenced to prison for trying to use their computer in freedom.
Cited in the contemptible malarkey is Matthew Garrett, a Red Hat employee. Red Hat is a member of the uEFI forum so that they can sign RHEL and won’t be stopped by Restricted Boot on any workstation or server that comes with their software. I’m pretty sure that this is why we won’t be seeing the GRUB 2 bootloader on RHEL any time soon. GRUB 2 is licensed under the GPL version 3, which protects users from what the FSF refers to as “Tivoization”, which refers to the practice of using free software in a manner that locks the user out of their system with free software, by using DRM in that software.
If Red Hat shipped GRUB 2 and did not disclose their signing keys as teh GPL 3 requires(to protect the user from exploitative hardware/software vendors), they would be in violation of the GPL. The Free Software Foundation could revoke their rights to use the GRUB 2 software. Red Hat has a lot of resources and can probably maintain their fork of Grub 0.97 indefinitely so that they can cooperate with hardware makers to restrict the user. Red Hat benefits from user lock-in just as surely as Apple and Microsoft do if only their signing key is in the uEFI Secure Boot implementation on hardware that ships with their operating system, because there won’t be any of that pesky competition on any system that comes with RHEL.
So right off the bat, I don’t think Matthew Garrett can be a trusted source of information because he is obviously tainted by his employer, and has the same reasons to lie and mislead you as Stevan Sinofsky of Microsoft.
Canonical (Ubuntu) is also a member of the uEFI forum and can probably use Secure Boot on embedded ARM systems to trap people in Ubuntu. They can’t use GRUB 2, but there are bootloaders for ARM, some of them proprietary, which can be used instead. They can probably also sign Ubuntu LTS releases and get their signing key into workstations and servers that ship with Ubuntu, for much the same end result as the RHEL situation I described above. They could even use Grub Legacy in that situation. It didn’t just disappear, it’s still being carried by them if you look up “grub” in their software repository.
A better news flash would be that there never was, is, or will be a way to securely boot a PC, and that corporations are salivating at the prospect of using it to lock end users into their operating system software, to keep the user trapped with whatever their computer happened to come with. The headlines designed to smear Linux are just paid for by Microsoft. The “bootloader attacks” that Secure Boot is supposedly meant to deal with are mostly attacks on the Windows Activation system that rely on bootloader exploits to make Windows believe it is an OEM copy that came with the PC so that the user may use a copy of Windows without paying for it.
Microsoft isn’t interested in stopping the malware of the week from stealing your identity or subverting your system and using it to display (sometimes pornographic) advertisements, which are just two of the things that Windows is known well for. They are interested in stopping the user from being able to run their own software on their private property and from getting away with using a less crippled version of Windows than what came with their computer without forking over more money through the Anytime Upgrade scam.
I don’t believe the corporate ambitions of Red Hat or Canonical are any different.
This work by Ryan Farmer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Today on The Heise Online, there is an article under the title “Microsoft opens Messenger up to XMPP”
Before you celebrate, it’s not exactly XMPP, they’ve just found a way to hijack it and exploit it for their own gain. In effect, “pulling another Microsoft Java” on the open XMPP chat protocol.
From the article:
Microsoft is supporting the core protocol (RFC6120), instant messaging and presence (RFC6121) and XMPP Standard extensions for vCards, chat state notifications and delayed delivery. Microsoft has, though, also implemented a custom OAuth2 authentication scheme which means that developers will have to add support for that authentication mechanism and obtain an application ID and secret. That requirement also stops existing XMPP clients from connecting to the Microsoft service without modifications.
What this means is that Microsoft gets the benefit of allowing users of its proprietary ad and spyware-laden Windows Live Messenger to add contacts using a real XMPP server and communicate with them, but users of free and open source software cannot use Microsoft’s “XMPP” to connect to the Windows Live Messenger network.
All hail the new Microsoft, same as the old Microsoft….
Facebook has also mutilated the XMPP standard for their own benefit, theirs doesn’t have federation support so you can’t use it to talk to non-Facebook users.
Big companies as usual, exploit and adapt open standards to make proprietary offshoots.
If you’re considering using XMPP, two servers that I recommend are the original Jabber.org or using your Google Talk account (doesn’t have to be Gmail, and you don’t need their Google Talk software to use it, just as long as you have a Google account and an XMPP compliant client software). Real XMPP services that implement the protocol faithfully can communicate with each other allowing a decentralized chat network. This is how the protocol was designed to be used.
The only benefit that users of the open standard XMPP will get from Microsoft’s announcement is that if they have any contacts that are unable, unwilling, or too dense to get rid of Microsoft’s secret Windows Live Messenger protocol, they can now talk to those users. But those contacts can never use XMPP in freedom with any Microsoft software or servers. It really serves to try to stop the exodus of smarter Windows Live users that get sick of being exploited by Microsoft and leave for the much superior open standard that unadulterated XMPP provides them with.
Thoughts about software license abuses. No benchmarks, the practice of patenting and copyrighting formerly free software, and NO BENCHMARKS! (Did I mention no benchmarks?)
(Abusive clauses in software EULAs, and the frequent abuse of permissive non-copyleft software and “content” licenses)
I see “no-benchmark” clauses in proprietary software a lot…it makes me stop and wonder “What kind of crazy messed up shit are you making if you don’t want anyone to benchmark it?”.
If your software was good, you would probably want people to benchmark it and tell others how good it is, and how much of a fool they are if they don’t use it.
So it’s probably no surprise that the kind of software with these clauses are mainly from companies such as Microsoft and Apple.
I wish I could say such a stipulation was the biggest problem of using non-free(dom) software and “content”, but if you think about it, it is the most amusing. The presence of such a term implies that the product in question is inferior and that the only justification for such a term of use is as a preventive measure against exposure. (Internet Explorer, Windows, and DirectX prohibit public benchmarking without Microsoft approval, but it has never stopped anyone)
They’re like an insecure man at a urinal that shouts “STOP LOOKING AT MY TINY PENIS!!!!? DID I TELL YOU YOU COULD COMPARE MY TINY PENIS WITH YOUR MASSIVE PENIS!?!?” “DON’T LAUGH AT ME!!!!!!!!” “STOP IT!!!!”
They get to hide all their performance problems under a “thou shalt not benchmark our crappy products or we shall surely sueth thou” clause.
Microsoft and Apple EULAs have these in almost all of their products. Apple EULAs forbid developing nuclear weapons with their software. The BSD and MIT licenses let you benchmark anything you like and even use their software to make nuclear weapons to drop on Australia (hooray!).
Unfortunately, “permissively” licensed code often ends up buried under Microsoft and Apple EULAs. A recent example exists in AMD porting the open source Linux/X11 drivers to Windows CE.
Although these practices sometimes have indirect benefits to free(dom) and open source software, the users of the resulting non-free(dom) products usually don’t get the software under free(dom) or open source terms.
If they ever do, it’s almost always under a more restrictive license that serves the parasite company’s own interests, and not the interests of the people who contributed to it in good faith while it was free(dom). Any contributors to AMD’s drivers, for example, can have their work hijacked and put into Windows for profit of Microsoft even if their only goal was to improve free(dom) and open source software.
There are more nasty surprises with non-free(dom) software from such companies. For example, you can’t run any version of OS X under emulation or on a non-Apple PC. You can’t virtualize any edition of Windows, spare the most expensive “Ultimate rip-off” edition.
It is for these reasons, and many others, that most of the people arguing in favor of permissive non-copyleft licenses actually represent the type of company that wants free labor for their their own proprietary software offerings. The BSD, MIT, and other “permissive” licenses have nothing to do with freedom or open source software. Unfortunately, there are a lot of rather Dalek-like promoters of these licenses promising your work will be “more free” if you use them. It won’t be. The software and “content” under these licenses are not so much free(dom) as they are a staging area for your next iPhone or a future Verizon advertisement.
There are also people who are essentially zombie-like promoters (today is Halloween, I need to work in a zombie reference) of non-free(dom) software and “content” (including the re-wrapped formerly-free software that populates most Apple products) that seem to add a sort of quasi-legitimization to these societal problems, though they too can be, and often are, the victims.
I could probably go on and on and on about this, but I’m off to go benchmark Internet Explorer DirectX acceleration in Windows Starter running under Parallels in Mac OS X under VMWare while making nuclear weapons to drop on Australia.