Discussion:
: Microsoft files EU Android complaint
(too old to reply)
William Muriithi
2013-04-09 12:31:43 UTC
Permalink
Microsoft files EU Android complaint
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22078746

Interesting coming from Microsoft. Kind of admission they have kind of
lost it.

Now question is, since Google don't charge handset manufacturer for
android, how strong is this argument?

William
D. Hugh Redelmeier
2013-04-09 14:28:53 UTC
Permalink
| From: William Muriithi <william.muriithi-***@public.gmane.org>

| Microsoft files EU Android complaint
| http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22078746
|
| Interesting coming from Microsoft. Kind of admission they have kind of
| lost it.
|
| Now question is, since Google don't charge handset manufacturer for
| android, how strong is this argument?

It's worth reading the FairSearch press release:
<http://www.fairsearcheurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/FairSearch-Announces-EU-Complaint-on-Google-Mobile-Strategy-9-April-2013.pdf>

FairSearch is an international coalition of 17 specialized search
and technology companies whose members include Expedia, Microsoft,
Nokia, Oracle, and TripAdvisor

A bit rich coming from Microsoft.
Oracle is not an attractive complainant either, given its history.
Nokia is now just a Microsoft serf.
I thought that Expedia was owned by Microsoft; in fact, they founded
it but spun it off in 1999 and it has been though a number of hands
and transformations. TripAdvisor was/is part of that.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expedia,_Inc.#History>
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TripAdvisor>
So none of the named members of FairSearch looks to be totally clean.

Google achieved its dominance in the smartphone operating system
market by giving Android to device-makers for ¡free.¢ But in reality,
Android phone makers who want to include must-have Google apps such as
Maps, YouTube or Play are required to pre-load an entire suite of
Google mobile services and to give them prominent default placement on
the phone, the complaint says. This disadvantages other providers,
and puts Google¢s Android in control of consumer data on a majority of
smartphones shipped today.

This seems to be accurate. The quoting of "free" seems to be a
negative insinuation, but it is correct -- the meaning of free is kind
of tricky.

Google¢s predatory distribution of Android at below-cost
makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup
investments in competing with Google¢s dominant mobile
platform, the complaint says.

That's one way of looking at the situation. But Android didn't start
with a phone software monopoly. They did start with a search
"dominant position". So was the growth of Android an exploitation of
a dominant position (and thus against regulations)? Not clear to me.

Linux is distributed "below cost", so the argument is interesting to
us.

It sure looks to me as if Apple's IOS is worse from a competitive
standpoint: the whole iDevice ecosystem locks out or severely taxes
anything that competes with Apple.

Microsoft's Win8 for phones or tablets seems to be just as bad as
Apple (but not yet dominant).

I'd guess that Microsoft Windows XP and Win7 Starter Edition were
sold below cost to netbook vendors to drive out Linux.

Windows Mobile licensing might be interesting for Google lawyers to
study.

Nokia gave Simbian for "free". Ditto Maemo (with all its different
names).
Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-09 14:44:51 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, Apr 09, 2013 at 08:31:43AM -0400, William Muriithi wrote:
> Microsoft files EU Android complaint
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22078746
>
> Interesting coming from Microsoft. Kind of admission they have kind of
> lost it.

No I think they have it exactly right.

> Now question is, since Google don't charge handset manufacturer for
> android, how strong is this argument?

I would think pretty good actually.

You can use android any way you want, but then you only get access to
it after the "good" device makers area ready to release products. And if
you don't do things google's way, you probably won't be allowed to have
google maps and gmail and access to the official android app store.
Those bits are not open source after all.

I certainly think Android is evil and don't own any android devices.

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James Knott
2013-04-09 14:52:40 UTC
Permalink
Lennart Sorensen wrote:
> You can use android any way you want, but then you only get access to
> it after the "good" device makers area ready to release products. And if
> you don't do things google's way, you probably won't be allowed to have
> google maps and gmail and access to the official android app store.
> Those bits are not open source after all.
>
> I certainly think Android is evil and don't own any android devices.

Compare that to Apple where they pretty much tell iPhone users what they
want. Or look at the controls and restrictions Apple employs against
it's customers. This is even before we get started on Microsoft's track
record.

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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-09 17:46:47 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, Apr 09, 2013 at 10:52:40AM -0400, James Knott wrote:
> Compare that to Apple where they pretty much tell iPhone users what
> they want. Or look at the controls and restrictions Apple employs
> against it's customers. This is even before we get started on
> Microsoft's track record.

And that's why i don't own any smartphone yet.

Apple has nice software, nice design, horrible corporate policies that
ruin the experience.

Microsoft wants really badly to do everything like apple and get as much
control as possible.

Google seems to want the same thing, but unlike apple they are not at
all honest about the fact. At least Apple is upfront about the way
things are.

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James Knott
2013-04-09 17:51:03 UTC
Permalink
Lennart Sorensen wrote:
> Google seems to want the same thing, but unlike apple they are not at
> all honest about the fact. At least Apple is upfront about the way
> things are.

You might want to read the current Groklaw thread on this. You'll see
Google doesn't do what's being claimed, as Kindle and Facebook have
developed their own Android based devices, without all the Google stuff.

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20130409095055445
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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-09 18:09:28 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, Apr 09, 2013 at 01:51:03PM -0400, James Knott wrote:
> Lennart Sorensen wrote:
> >Google seems to want the same thing, but unlike apple they are not at
> >all honest about the fact. At least Apple is upfront about the way
> >things are.
>
> You might want to read the current Groklaw thread on this. You'll
> see Google doesn't do what's being claimed, as Kindle and Facebook
> have developed their own Android based devices, without all the
> Google stuff.

Sure, but only after google released the source to that version, and
they don't have access to the official app store as far as I know.

If you want access to new versions first, then you must play by google's
rules. In the cell phone market being behind by 6 months is a lot.

> http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20130409095055445

So the first part the author of the growlaw article apparently doesn't
know how to read and misunderstands what it says. It clearly says that
to use certain google proprietary apps like google map and youtube that
everyone wants on their cell phone, you have to follow certain rules.
Amazon doesn't have those because they made an e-reader and they don't
care about youtube and google maps. Amazon also didn't care that they
didn't get to use the latest and greatest android version, because they
didn't need it for their purpose.

Google's rules don't say what add on applications can do (such as
facebook's home screen app). They do say what the default config of
cell phones have to be to follow google's rules and have permission to
include certain apps and to get access to the new android version before
the source code is released to the public in general. So facebook
changing the home screen is OK. A cell phone maker installing it by
default on the shipping product probably would NOT be OK with google.

I don't expect anyone to do anything about what google is doing, since
all you get from following google's rules is access to new versions
slightly before everyone else. Certainly anyone can take any released
version of android and start making a phone with it. Of course if you
want google's proprietary applications on it, then you have to follow
some rules, but you could always do your own maps and video playback
and all that. Of course given the enourmous popularity of youtube and
google maps and such, you probably would be at a pretty big disadvantage
that way, but oh well.

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James Knott
2013-04-09 18:11:13 UTC
Permalink
Lennart Sorensen wrote:
> Sure, but only after google released the source to that version, and
> they don't have access to the official app store as far as I know.
>
> If you want access to new versions first, then you must play by google's
> rules. In the cell phone market being behind by 6 months is a lot.

Now try it with MS or Apple.

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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-09 18:40:09 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, Apr 09, 2013 at 02:11:13PM -0400, James Knott wrote:
> Lennart Sorensen wrote:
> >Sure, but only after google released the source to that version, and
> >they don't have access to the official app store as far as I know.
> >
> >If you want access to new versions first, then you must play by google's
> >rules. In the cell phone market being behind by 6 months is a lot.
>
> Now try it with MS or Apple.

Who cares? At least they are honest about it.

My problem with Android is that they claim to be all open source and
friendly, but it's all a lie. If you are not one of their buddy
companies, then you get no say in what the next version of Android
will be. You will get it when Google is good and ready to give it to
you and you will be happy with what you get. You can try asking google
nicely to add something, but that doesn't mean they will care what
you think. Android goes where it suits google (and their friends).

At least Apple and Microsoft have the decency to be up front about the
actual conditions they want to impose. I won't buy any of them of course.

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Neil Watson
2013-04-09 19:03:38 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, Apr 09, 2013 at 02:40:09PM -0400, Lennart Sorensen wrote:
>you and you will be happy with what you get. You can try asking google
>nicely to add something, but that doesn't mean they will care what
>you think. Android goes where it suits google (and their friends).

You can ask what you like of the Linux kernel but what goes in is what
suites Linus and his friends. You can fork if you like. Can you fork
Android?

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Linux/UNIX Consultant
http://watson-wilson.ca
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James Knott
2013-04-09 19:21:27 UTC
Permalink
Neil Watson wrote:
> Can you fork Android?

Yes. Both Kindle and Facebook have done that.


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Jamon Camisso
2013-04-09 19:55:36 UTC
Permalink
On 13-04-09 03:21 PM, James Knott wrote:
> Neil Watson wrote:
>> Can you fork Android?
>
> Yes. Both Kindle and Facebook have done that.

And Cyanogen and other major phone ROMs. They work quite well too.
Google is to RedHat as is, I dunno, Arch to Cyanogen?

Jamon

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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-09 19:54:58 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, Apr 09, 2013 at 03:03:38PM -0400, Neil Watson wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 09, 2013 at 02:40:09PM -0400, Lennart Sorensen wrote:
> >you and you will be happy with what you get. You can try asking google
> >nicely to add something, but that doesn't mean they will care what
> >you think. Android goes where it suits google (and their friends).
>
> You can ask what you like of the Linux kernel but what goes in is what
> suites Linus and his friends. You can fork if you like. Can you fork
> Android?

At least I can follow the Linux development and I can provide input and
send patches with a chance of them going in.

I can't see anything of Android until the entire code dump happens.
I can't see any discussions about the development, nor have any input.

Sure you can fork what google has already released and go somewhere else,
but forking isn't great if it can be avoided. And google isn't likely
to let you run their applications on your fork, nor to let you use their
app store with your fork.

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Thomas Milne
2013-04-11 13:25:39 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 2:40 PM, Lennart Sorensen <
lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/***@public.gmane.org> wrote:

> On Tue, Apr 09, 2013 at 02:11:13PM -0400, James Knott wrote:
> > Lennart Sorensen wrote:
> > >Sure, but only after google released the source to that version, and
> > >they don't have access to the official app store as far as I know.
> > >
> > >If you want access to new versions first, then you must play by google's
> > >rules. In the cell phone market being behind by 6 months is a lot.
> >
> > Now try it with MS or Apple.
>
> Who cares? At least they are honest about it.
>
> My problem with Android is that they claim to be all open source and
> friendly, but it's all a lie. If you are not one of their buddy
> companies, then you get no say in what the next version of Android
> will be. You will get it when Google is good and ready to give it to
> you and you will be happy with what you get. You can try asking google
> nicely to add something, but that doesn't mean they will care what
> you think. Android goes where it suits google (and their friends).
>
> At least Apple and Microsoft have the decency to be up front about the
> actual conditions they want to impose. I won't buy any of them of course.
>
>
I have to say, in 99.9% of cases I 100% agree with your judgement. It is
without fail based on a very thorough, logical and reasonable analysis of
the facts.

This might be one of the 0.01% where there is a tiny, almost infinitesimal
flaw. I agree, obviously, that Google is dishonest about the way they
portray themselves. I don't know if I would call Microsoft 'honest' about
anything. Apple, well, yes, they do say up front that they have their own
way of doing things. As far as them being better in any way, that's pretty
shaky ground, you must admit.

I can totally understand why there would be special dislike of Google, and
of course there is consistency in abhorring all of their smartphone
products.

My question is, would it be possible for Google to operate as open source,
at least with Android, and still operate within the globalized capitalist
framework that supports MS and Apple? Someone should write a research paper
on that.

Personally, I don't think a truly open source project would be tolerated by
post-industrial finance/monopoly capitalism. What cannot be monopolized is
universally rejected.

--
Thomas Milne
Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-11 15:26:33 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 09:25:39AM -0400, Thomas Milne wrote:
> I have to say, in 99.9% of cases I 100% agree with your judgement. It is
> without fail based on a very thorough, logical and reasonable analysis of
> the facts.
>
> This might be one of the 0.01% where there is a tiny, almost infinitesimal
> flaw. I agree, obviously, that Google is dishonest about the way they
> portray themselves. I don't know if I would call Microsoft 'honest' about
> anything. Apple, well, yes, they do say up front that they have their own
> way of doing things. As far as them being better in any way, that's pretty
> shaky ground, you must admit.
>
> I can totally understand why there would be special dislike of Google, and
> of course there is consistency in abhorring all of their smartphone
> products.
>
> My question is, would it be possible for Google to operate as open source,
> at least with Android, and still operate within the globalized capitalist
> framework that supports MS and Apple? Someone should write a research paper
> on that.

It very well might not be possible to get a consistent product out at
the pace they are doing it any other way. But guess what, if they were
at least honest enough to not portray android as this wonderful open
source wonder, then I would be OK with it.

> Personally, I don't think a truly open source project would be tolerated by
> post-industrial finance/monopoly capitalism. What cannot be monopolized is
> universally rejected.

Sure, but none of the router makers or set top boxes for video playback
are claiming to be wonderful providers of open source goodness. They
happen to use linux because it fits their price needs and features, and at
least some of them even have the decency to not violate the license terms
and actually release the sources for the open source stuff they used. :)
Google does release the open source stuff they have to, although perhaps
some of the phone makers aren't so good at that.

There were a number of interesting open source smart phone projects taking
off when android arived. Now there isn't much left of most of them.
After all this wonderful android open source thing is here now, so no
need to do these other ones anymore. Except there is.

OpenMoko is still kind of around, and looks vaguely tempting, although
they sure look stupid. Who designed that case shape.

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William Muriithi
2013-04-11 23:56:36 UTC
Permalink
>
> There were a number of interesting open source smart phone projects taking
> off when android arived. Now there isn't much left of most of them.
> After all this wonderful android open source thing is here now, so no
> need to do these other ones anymore.

Think that would have happened either way. The pure open source projects
were driven by Nokia and you know what happened to them. So, without
android, most likely dormant platform would to Windows. I sincerely
wouldn't think of a scenario we would have come out better.

>
> OpenMoko is still kind of around, and looks vaguely tempting, although
> they sure look stupid. Who designed that case shape.

What do you think of Tizen? Open source enough in your opinion? That is
the only viable alternative I think has money behind to live.

On a lighter note, you may end up living your whole life without a
smartphone :) People change views though with time.
>
> --
> Len Sorensen
> --

William
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Christopher Browne
2013-04-12 01:04:07 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 7:56 PM, William Muriithi <
william.muriithi-***@public.gmane.org> wrote:

> > There were a number of interesting open source smart phone projects
> taking
> > off when android arived. Now there isn't much left of most of them.
> > After all this wonderful android open source thing is here now, so no
> > need to do these other ones anymore.
>
> Think that would have happened either way. The pure open source projects
> were driven by Nokia and you know what happened to them. So, without
> android, most likely dormant platform would to Windows. I sincerely
> wouldn't think of a scenario we would have come out better.
>
> Yep, I think that's a mighty good point.

Consider what has happened to the "general purpose" operating system
'market'; between Microsoft salting the earth on the academic side, by
hiring away everyone they could that was doing novel OS research (the most
critical name being Rick Raschid, of Mach and CMU fame), and pretty
actively undermining other OS vendors (VMS->WNT, Novell), and Linux
providing a potent "loss leader", there's vanishingly small room in between
for the survival of anything else, certainly not OSes that are sold for a
profit. (Apple makes their money on other parts of the transaction, much
as is true for all of the remaining UNIX(tm) vendors.)

As much as I liked the idea of OpenMoko, I don't think it was remotely
close to being a mainstream thing. It is amazing to me that they have done
any further upgrades to the hardware. It was an interesting proof of
concept, but I'm unsurprised that they're near impossible to buy.

Nokia's flirtation with Linux was also interesting, but they never got
*close* to serious enough to bet any of the company on it. The moment
things got tough, it was many times more tempting to donate the remains of
their future to Microsoft.

Further, this misses an enormous elephant in the room, namely that the
mobile carriers have history of being dramatically controlling of what they
allow their supplicants^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^hcustomers to have in Their
Ultra Proprietary Service.

It took a paranoid control freak like Steve Jobs, defending the "right" to
have a proprietary Apple App Store that wasn't instead a
fully-controlled-and-labelled product of each individual carrier to make
things arguably a lot more "open" than they were before. (PalmOS was
probably also somewhat involved, tho iPhone was the thing that most visibly
smashed down barriers at the carriers.)

The fact that users of Android phones have a capability altogether to
install packages that weren't distributed to them by the operator of their
mobile network means that there's an "openness" to Android that I don't
have to be squinting sideways to pretend I'm perceiving that indicates that
it, as deployed platform, is orders of magnitude more "free and open" than
things used to be (back in the days pre-iPhone) and generally a lot more
"free and open" than is the case for any of the present mainstream phone
platforms.

That doesn't make Android "free as in 'RMS-would-approve'"; with the broad
rapacity of the mobile carriers, nothing of that sort was ever likely to be
more than a curiosity. I don't think Maemo was "free enough" for RMS'
purposes, and I'm not sure that OpenMoko was, either, as I expect they
still had proprietary bits as consequence of needing to interface to
proprietary radio hardware and the like.

> >
> > OpenMoko is still kind of around, and looks vaguely tempting, although
> > they sure look stupid. Who designed that case shape.
>
> What do you think of Tizen? Open source enough in your opinion? That is
> the only viable alternative I think has money behind to live.
>
I doubt it; that's presumably going to turn out to be filled with Samsung's
"tentacles," and I don't see any reason to think they have a cultural
affinity to produce open source software in the long run (I'm not thinking
of this as a "Korean versus anything else thing; just that Samsung's a
huge, tough-competing conglomerate that's not likely to drop everything to
become all about OSS).

If you require your phone to be "truly totally free software," then:
a) There never have been any mainstream options, OpenMoko being maybe the
nearest, and
b) As long as there are hard-competing mobile carriers prepared to throw
billions of dollars around to try to destroy their opponents, it's unlikely
that any will ever emerge.
D. Hugh Redelmeier
2013-04-12 04:21:31 UTC
Permalink
| From: Christopher Browne <cbbrowne-***@public.gmane.org>

... writes much that I find interesting and agree with. But this message
is about quibbles.

| On Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 7:56 PM, William Muriithi <william.muriithi-***@public.gmane.org> wrote:
|
| > > There were a number of interesting open source smart phone projects
| > taking
| > > off when android arived. Now there isn't much left of most of them.
| > > After all this wonderful android open source thing is here now, so no
| > > need to do these other ones anymore.
| >
| > Think that would have happened either way. The pure open source projects
| > were driven by Nokia and you know what happened to them.

Nokia wasn't pure open source.

| > So, without
| > android, most likely dormant platform would to Windows. I sincerely
| > wouldn't think of a scenario we would have come out better.

Android would have smothered any other choices, so we don't know them.

| Consider what has happened to the "general purpose" operating system
| 'market';

Your points are good.

I wonder if that's sufficiently similar to the mobile world.

In the PC world, things that are shared between users often require
the same OS: (MS Office documents, programs, ...). Not always (.pdf,
...). The network effect exerts a strong gravitational pull.

In the mobile world, shared things less often depend on the OS: web pages,
Facebook, Twitter, DropBox, Amazon, .mp3 files (oh, wait, you are not
supposed to share those). So maybe the network effect isn't the same.

BTW, I actually think your analogy applies to the compiler world too.

| As much as I liked the idea of OpenMoko, I don't think it was remotely
| close to being a mainstream thing. It is amazing to me that they have done
| any further upgrades to the hardware. It was an interesting proof of
| concept, but I'm unsurprised that they're near impossible to buy.

1) The idea that the end user was the customer was alien to the mobile
handset business. Too bad!

2) I was told "systems are like waffles: plan to throw the first one
away". Unfortunately, OpenMoko could not afford to do that.
I was told that they couldn't even afford the retooling to modify
the case. There were a lot of mistakes:

- the quad-band radio they were promised was only tri-band

- the promise of complete specs they were given by the parts makers
were not honored in all cases.

- they changed their GUI framework about halfway in about three
times (so they had four halves of work to do)

- their angel (FIC of Taiwan) withdrew

And those are only the ones I heard of and remember.

| Nokia's flirtation with Linux was also interesting, but they never got
| *close* to serious enough to bet any of the company on it.

Yeah, but the N900 worked, was sold (slightly), and apparently was
wonderful (according to biased reports). Kind of like the Avro Arrow?

| The moment
| things got tough, it was many times more tempting to donate the remains of
| their future to Microsoft.

There is a bitter theory that Elop was a trojan horse.

Certainly they suffered very badly from the Osborne Effect (promising
something long before being able to ship it, and hence killing sales
between now and then). Except there's even evidence that sales didn't
actually pick up at the far side of the valley. Ouch.

| Further, this misses an enormous elephant in the room, namely that the
| mobile carriers have history of being dramatically controlling of what they
| allow their supplicants^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^hcustomers to have in Their
| Ultra Proprietary Service.

It appears to me as if it is a sheep / shepherd relationship. Most
carrier seem to "subsidize" preferred phones. Consumers are stupid
enough to accept this rather expensive financing.

I guess five years ago "Bring Your Own Device" was not always
possible. GSM certainly helped (necessary?).

I don't follow it closely, but "data" has had a bunch of gotchas.

| That doesn't make Android "free as in 'RMS-would-approve'"; with the broad
| rapacity of the mobile carriers

Not to mention that DRM requires at least a closed component, and DRM
seems to be important. Except in music, for some reason that is
surprising but promising.

| I don't think Maemo was "free enough" for RMS'
| purposes, and I'm not sure that OpenMoko was, either, as I expect they
| still had proprietary bits as consequence of needing to interface to
| proprietary radio hardware and the like.

No. The radio is done by a different processor ("baseband
processor"). The smart stuff talks to the baseband using the Hayes
"AT" command set! I understand that is true in all smart phones (or
was at one time).

The FreeRunner had a little proprietary hardware due to suppliers
reneging on promises. I think that the video was part of that.

But really, the FreeRunner is so obsolete that it doesn't matter.
I don't know anything about the update (GT04).

| > What do you think of Tizen? Open source enough in your opinion? That is
| > the only viable alternative I think has money behind to live.
| >
| I doubt it; that's presumably going to turn out to be filled with Samsung's
| "tentacles," and I don't see any reason to think they have a cultural
| affinity to produce open source software in the long run (I'm not thinking
| of this as a "Korean versus anything else thing; just that Samsung's a
| huge, tough-competing conglomerate that's not likely to drop everything to
| become all about OSS).

I remember seeing a reasonable Samsung contingent at Linux Symposium
some years ago. That's a very modest good sign.

| If you require your phone to be "truly totally free software," then:

I think that some Android platforms are almost open enough to do a
software transplant. Think of OpenWRT as a model. Ubuntu seems to be
trying that, but they probably were invited to sign NDAs and accepted.
That's not going to be offered to XDA folks. Mozilla is also
bootstrapping from Android phones.

Reverse engineering progress is real but it might not match the speed
at which new proprietary subsystems are being introduced.

| b) As long as there are hard-competing mobile carriers prepared to throw
| billions of dollars around to try to destroy their opponents, it's unlikely
| that any will ever emerge.

I think the carriers might welcome customers that don't require a
subsidy. Most seem happy to let you BYOD. I think that their
business models have evolved.

I think that they hate Apple for the level of subsidy that is involved
but have to play that game because a large number of customers want
iPhones. Carriers probably love Android for moderating this effect.


I hate Android (and IOS) for operating in the interest of everyone but
the phone user: advertisers, Google, Facebook, CSIS, NSA, ...

I have a dream that BlackBerry could make an ecosystem where the
phones worked for the user (or perhaps their employer). It would be a
continuation of their past strength. But it is much more likely that
they will desperately try to imitate Android and IOS.

Not that BlackBerry is open. I actually think that the spyware
dimension is more important than the open dimension (but ultimately,
open may be required for trust -- think how much we trust Skype).
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Alejandro Imass
2013-04-12 10:17:40 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 12:21 AM, D. Hugh Redelmeier <hugh-pmF8o41NoarQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org> wrote:
> | From: Christopher Browne <cbbrowne-***@public.gmane.org>
>
> ... writes much that I find interesting and agree with. But this message
> is about quibbles.
>
> | On Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 7:56 PM, William Muriithi <william.muriithi-***@public.gmane.org> wrote:
> |
> | > > There were a number of interesting open source smart phone projects
> | > taking
> | > > off when android arived. Now there isn't much left of most of them.

[...]

> BTW, I actually think your analogy applies to the compiler world too.
>

Interesting point. Could you expand a little here?

[...]

> It appears to me as if it is a sheep / shepherd relationship. Most
> carrier seem to "subsidize" preferred phones. Consumers are stupid
> enough to accept this rather expensive financing.
>

I find it curious that T-Mobile's incorporation of iPhone on the 1700
band is coinciding with the elimination of subsidies on ALL their
smart phones: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57557754-94/on-t-mobile-killing-the-subsidy-its-about-time/


> I guess five years ago "Bring Your Own Device" was not always
> possible. GSM certainly helped (necessary?).
>
> I don't follow it closely, but "data" has had a bunch of gotchas.
>

For the carriers you mean?


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D. Hugh Redelmeier
2013-04-12 16:36:50 UTC
Permalink
| From: Alejandro Imass <aimass-EzYyMjUkBrFWk0Htik3J/***@public.gmane.org>

| On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 12:21 AM, D. Hugh Redelmeier <hugh-pmF8o41NoarQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org> wrote:
| > | From: Christopher Browne <cbbrowne-***@public.gmane.org>

| > BTW, I actually think your analogy applies to the compiler world too.
|
| Interesting point. Could you expand a little here?

There used to be a lot of compiler vendors. Ones that hoped to make a
business of it. Microsoft on one side and GCC on the other killed
that business.

Borland had some good products and went down. Watcom had some, they
too augered in. Etc.

| > It appears to me as if it is a sheep / shepherd relationship. Most
| > carrier seem to "subsidize" preferred phones. Consumers are stupid
| > enough to accept this rather expensive financing.
| >
|
| I find it curious that T-Mobile's incorporation of iPhone on the 1700
| band is coinciding with the elimination of subsidies on ALL their
| smart phones: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57557754-94/on-t-mobile-killing-the-subsidy-its-about-time/

Sorry, I don't understand this. Is this related to 1700 being
T-Mobile-only or the reverse or something else. My own ignorance.

On the surface, T-Mobile's move looks to appeal to people being tired
of the shell game of subsidies. Maybe some sheep are getting a little
wiser in the US. Maybe its just a desperation move.

| > I guess five years ago "Bring Your Own Device" was not always
| > possible. GSM certainly helped (necessary?).
| >
| > I don't follow it closely, but "data" has had a bunch of gotchas.
|
| For the carriers you mean?

That too: SIP over data can mess up their model. Messaging over data
as well.

But what I meant is that the carriers put all sorts of restrictions on
data. I don't know them all, but some include caps on data that are
low, expensive bytes over the cap, forcing proxy use, blocking ports,
traffic shaping.

I also don't really understand all the different data standards that
add to the fragmentation of the market. All GSM phones work with all
GSM carriers as long as (1) the frequency bands match, and (2) the
carrier doesn't intentionally prevent. With data, I think that there
are a whole bunch of technologies, with some level of backward
compatability -- I don't really know the paths through that jungle.

Note: I'm not a cell phone expert. I may be all wrong.
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James Knott
2013-04-12 16:44:53 UTC
Permalink
D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> That too: SIP over data can mess up their model. Messaging over data
> as well.

Actually, that's the plan for 4G. Those phones will use VoIP as the
main voice method. This will allow carriers to phase out the old
UTMS/POTS type connection. This will also bring the various benefits of
VoIP, particularly when IPv6 becomes available on the cell network. For
example, with mobile IP, you could start a call on your home WiFi, then
as you go out the door, switch to the cell network and then onto your
work WiFi, without interrupting your call. It's now possible to run
VoIP over the cell network and video chat too.
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James Knott
2013-04-12 16:54:40 UTC
Permalink
D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> But what I meant is that the carriers put all sorts of restrictions on
> data. I don't know them all, but some include caps on data that are
> low, expensive bytes over the cap, forcing proxy use, blocking ports,
> traffic shaping.
You can get various data plans from the carriers. The more you pay, the
more you can use, though prices in Canada are high, compared to
elsewhere (yeah, so what else is new). I haven't experienced any
blocked ports and can tether my notebook or tablet to my phone for
access to the Internet. What do you mean by proxy in this context? One
thing Rogers does is provide RFC1918 addresses to cell phone users.
This should change when they make IPv6 available.
> I also don't really understand all the different data standards that
> add to the fragmentation of the market. All GSM phones work with all
> GSM carriers as long as (1) the frequency bands match, and (2) the
> carrier doesn't intentionally prevent. With data, I think that there
> are a whole bunch of technologies, with some level of backward
> compatability -- I don't really know the paths through that jungle.

There are different standards as a result of evolution. With 2G phones
(GSM etc.) their was only limited bandwidth available, as the data had
to be carried over standard GSM channels. Then came 3G phones, which
use a couple of generations of HSPA. Now with LTE, there are some, but
not all of the 4G features, including greater bandwidth and lower
latency. As for compatibility, I have a Google Nexus One, which runs
HSPA & UTMS, but can fall back to GSM. The same phone will work on Bell
& Telus, but without fall back to their old CDMA network. LTE phones
will fall back to HSPA etc.
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D. Hugh Redelmeier
2013-04-12 17:08:00 UTC
Permalink
| From: James Knott <james.knott-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org>

| What do you mean
| by proxy in this context?

For example, the way people have get general net access when using
7-Eleven's Speak Out phone plans.

<http://anthonykuong.com/2012/03/23/how-to-get-data-working-on-unlocked-android-phones-on-speakout/>
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James Knott
2013-04-12 18:10:30 UTC
Permalink
D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> | What do you mean
> | by proxy in this context?
>
> For example, the way people have get general net access when using
> 7-Eleven's Speak Out phone plans.

I have never had that problem with my smart phone on Rogers. I have
used many different protocols besides http, including https, ssh, imaps,
smtps, sftp and even 6in4 tunnel, which is IP protocol 41.
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James Knott
2013-04-13 20:22:32 UTC
Permalink
James Knott wrote:
> I have never had that problem with my smart phone on Rogers. I have
> used many different protocols besides http, including https, ssh,
> imaps, smtps, sftp and even 6in4 tunnel, which is IP protocol 41.

Correction, when behind NAT, the 6in4 tunnel uses UDP port 3653 and not
IP protocol 41.

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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-12 18:08:38 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 12:36:50PM -0400, D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> There used to be a lot of compiler vendors. Ones that hoped to make a
> business of it. Microsoft on one side and GCC on the other killed
> that business.
>
> Borland had some good products and went down. Watcom had some, they
> too augered in. Etc.

Windows becoming popular killed a lot of things. A lot of the compiler
vendors (Watcom, Borland, etc) were too slow to see windows as an
important part of the market, and by the time they figured it out,
visualstudio had become entrenched,

> Sorry, I don't understand this. Is this related to 1700 being
> T-Mobile-only or the reverse or something else. My own ignorance.
>
> On the surface, T-Mobile's move looks to appeal to people being tired
> of the shell game of subsidies. Maybe some sheep are getting a little
> wiser in the US. Maybe its just a desperation move.

I would love to see sensible prices for the plans, and phones costing
what they cost. Then you can upgrade your phone when you want to, and
you can keep a phone for alonger time if you are nice to it and don't
care to have the latest and greatest all the time.

> That too: SIP over data can mess up their model. Messaging over data
> as well.

Sure, because they are charging too much for voice calls in the first
place.

> But what I meant is that the carriers put all sorts of restrictions on
> data. I don't know them all, but some include caps on data that are
> low, expensive bytes over the cap, forcing proxy use, blocking ports,
> traffic shaping.
>
> I also don't really understand all the different data standards that
> add to the fragmentation of the market. All GSM phones work with all
> GSM carriers as long as (1) the frequency bands match, and (2) the
> carrier doesn't intentionally prevent. With data, I think that there
> are a whole bunch of technologies, with some level of backward
> compatability -- I don't really know the paths through that jungle.
>
> Note: I'm not a cell phone expert. I may be all wrong.

It certainly does get complicated with so many bands and standards.

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James Knott
2013-04-12 18:13:42 UTC
Permalink
Lennart Sorensen wrote:
>> On the surface, T-Mobile's move looks to appeal to people being tired
>> >of the shell game of subsidies. Maybe some sheep are getting a little
>> >wiser in the US. Maybe its just a desperation move.
> I would love to see sensible prices for the plans, and phones costing
> what they cost. Then you can upgrade your phone when you want to, and
> you can keep a phone for alonger time if you are nice to it and don't
> care to have the latest and greatest all the time.
>

That's what I have done. I bought my phone outright from Google and my
plan from Rogers is much better than what's available with a "free"
phone. I generally get a new phone every 5 years or so, so I have a
couple more to go on this one.

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Alejandro Imass
2013-04-12 20:07:19 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 12:36 PM, D. Hugh Redelmeier <hugh-pmF8o41NoarQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org> wrote:
> | From: Alejandro Imass <aimass-EzYyMjUkBrFWk0Htik3J/***@public.gmane.org>
>
> | On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 12:21 AM, D. Hugh Redelmeier <hugh-pmF8o41NoarQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org> wrote:
> | > | From: Christopher Browne <cbbrowne-***@public.gmane.org>
>
> | > BTW, I actually think your analogy applies to the compiler world too.
> |
> | Interesting point. Could you expand a little here?
>
> There used to be a lot of compiler vendors. Ones that hoped to make a
> business of it. Microsoft on one side and GCC on the other killed
> that business.
>

OK, I see where you're coming from.

> Borland had some good products and went down. Watcom had some, they
> too augered in. Etc.
>

Yep, I remember that time clearly.

> | > It appears to me as if it is a sheep / shepherd relationship. Most
> | > carrier seem to "subsidize" preferred phones. Consumers are stupid
> | > enough to accept this rather expensive financing.
> | >
> |
> | I find it curious that T-Mobile's incorporation of iPhone on the 1700
> | band is coinciding with the elimination of subsidies on ALL their
> | smart phones: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57557754-94/on-t-mobile-killing-the-subsidy-its-about-time/
>
> Sorry, I don't understand this. Is this related to 1700 being
> T-Mobile-only or the reverse or something else. My own ignorance.
>

Up to now Apple had refused to make an iPhone for 1700 HSDPA for some
reason that I still don't understand very well. Smaller vendors such
as Wind here could not provide iPhone until now.

Anyway, the point is that T-Mobile is removing subsidies for ALL their
smartphones almost at the same time it's releasing the iPhone on their
HSDPA networks. Maybe it has something to do with the deal with Apple
and maybe not, but it can be read in many ways.

> On the surface, T-Mobile's move looks to appeal to people being tired
> of the shell game of subsidies. Maybe some sheep are getting a little
> wiser in the US. Maybe its just a desperation move.
>

Well, I'm more concerned on the survival of Wind and surely the iPhone
will get a lot of people on their network. Now both Mobilicity and
Wind are up for sale and apparently Mobilicity is already in bed with
Telus.

> | > I guess five years ago "Bring Your Own Device" was not always
> | > possible. GSM certainly helped (necessary?).
> | >
> | > I don't follow it closely, but "data" has had a bunch of gotchas.
> |
> | For the carriers you mean?
>
> That too: SIP over data can mess up their model. Messaging over data
> as well.
>
> But what I meant is that the carriers put all sorts of restrictions on
> data. I don't know them all, but some include caps on data that are
> low, expensive bytes over the cap, forcing proxy use, blocking ports,
> traffic shaping.
>

That seems to be changing. In the U.S. the FCC has acted both in 2010
and 2011 and probably those 'models' are finding their way here little
by little.

> I also don't really understand all the different data standards that
> add to the fragmentation of the market. All GSM phones work with all
> GSM carriers as long as (1) the frequency bands match, and (2) the
> carrier doesn't intentionally prevent. With data, I think that there
> are a whole bunch of technologies, with some level of backward
> compatability -- I don't really know the paths through that jungle.
>

I think GSM has two distinct frequency options but are all compatible
at some level. For example a current iPhone will work on Wind but will
get only "Edge" speeds because it's missing the 1700 band. Why Apple
didn't make the iPhone a multi-band device and use HSDPA networks.
Maybe that was part of their deal with AT&T.


> Note: I'm not a cell phone expert. I may be all wrong.

Neither am I, but I just want Wind to survive to any news on T-Mobile
is relevant to that end.


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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-12 20:15:50 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 04:07:19PM -0400, Alejandro Imass wrote:
> I think GSM has two distinct frequency options but are all compatible
> at some level. For example a current iPhone will work on Wind but will
> get only "Edge" speeds because it's missing the 1700 band. Why Apple
> didn't make the iPhone a multi-band device and use HSDPA networks.
> Maybe that was part of their deal with AT&T.

It is multiband. But are you going to support 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or what
bands? Each band makes the radio and antenna more complex and more
expensive.

Wind happens to have a band that isn't very common in the world.
That means your choice in phones is reduced unfortunately.

> Neither am I, but I just want Wind to survive to any news on T-Mobile
> is relevant to that end.

I sure hope they survive too.

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James Knott
2013-04-12 20:29:48 UTC
Permalink
Alejandro Imass wrote:
> I think GSM has two distinct frequency options but are all compatible
> at some level. For example a current iPhone will work on Wind but will
> get only "Edge" speeds because it's missing the 1700 band. Why Apple
> didn't make the iPhone a multi-band device and use HSDPA networks.
> Maybe that was part of their deal with AT&T.

Edge is part of GSM. Wind doesn't offer any GSM service, so if you
don't have an AWS phone for Wind, you won't get anything. However, if
your AWS phone supports GSM, you will have GSM/Edge service on Rogers.
>
>> >Note: I'm not a cell phone expert. I may be all wrong.
> Neither am I, but I just want Wind to survive to any news on T-Mobile
> is relevant to that end.

I have done cell site work for both Rogers and Wind.

Also, it'd be nice if Wind and Mobilicity would team up, along with
Videotron, Eastlink and any other AWS carrier to provide better service
coverage for all of them. I can see Public Mobile going with Telus, as
they already roam with them. Regardless, I don't want to see any of
them taken over by Rogers/Telus/Bell, as that would remove sorely needed
competition from Canada. If they can't make it on their own, the
government should allow them to go with a foreign carrier.


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James Knott
2013-04-12 21:17:14 UTC
Permalink
D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> Note: I'm not a cell phone expert. I may be all wrong.


There's a lot of cell phone info here:
http://www.arcx.com/sites/

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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-12 14:50:04 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 12:21:31AM -0400, D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> Not that BlackBerry is open. I actually think that the spyware
> dimension is more important than the open dimension (but ultimately,
> open may be required for trust -- think how much we trust Skype).

I trust skype not at all and won't allow it near any of my devices.
Also the stupid peer to peer protocol it uses is a network admin's
nightmare. That alone is enough to want to ban it.

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James Knott
2013-04-12 15:28:08 UTC
Permalink
Lennart Sorensen wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 12:21:31AM -0400, D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
>> Not that BlackBerry is open. I actually think that the spyware
>> dimension is more important than the open dimension (but ultimately,
>> open may be required for trust -- think how much we trust Skype).
> I trust skype not at all and won't allow it near any of my devices.
> Also the stupid peer to peer protocol it uses is a network admin's
> nightmare. That alone is enough to want to ban it.
>

I prefer Google Talk, but I have Skype because a friend of mine uses
it. She must be one of the very few people in this world without a
GMail account. Also, there's a new video chat method that works with
browsers (currently Chrome and development versions of Firefox).

http://conversat.io/
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D. Hugh Redelmeier
2013-04-12 17:00:53 UTC
Permalink
| From: James Knott <james.knott-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org>

| Lennart Sorensen wrote:
| > On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 12:21:31AM -0400, D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:

| > > open may be required for trust -- think how much we trust Skype).
| > I trust skype not at all and won't allow it near any of my devices.
| > Also the stupid peer to peer protocol it uses is a network admin's
| > nightmare. That alone is enough to want to ban it.
| >
|
| I prefer Google Talk, but I have Skype because a friend of mine uses it.

Google Talk certainly isn't a route to more security. What were you
thinking?

| She
| must be one of the very few people in this world without a GMail account.

Many are coerced into having a GMail account. You cannot get Android
apps without one, for example.
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Scott Elcomb
2013-04-12 17:27:41 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 1:00 PM, D. Hugh Redelmeier <hugh-pmF8o41NoarQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org> wrote:
> Many are coerced into having a GMail account. You cannot get Android
> apps without one, for example.

While I prefer Google's products to most others, I absolutely agree
with the above. I want a smartphone that is not tied to any online
service providers (ie. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry).

I'm starting to get a bit impatient waiting for news about Firefox OS
phones in Canada. As a non-profit, I'd be willing to trust Mozilla a
bit more than the others above.

I'd also still like to try Plan 9/Inferno "Hellaphone"
<https://bitbucket.org/floren/inferno/wiki/Home>, just need to find a
Nexus S.

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James Knott
2013-04-12 18:07:02 UTC
Permalink
D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> | I prefer Google Talk, but I have Skype because a friend of mine uses it.
>
> Google Talk certainly isn't a route to more security. What were you
> thinking?

It's not Microsoft.
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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-12 18:10:53 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 01:00:53PM -0400, D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> Google Talk certainly isn't a route to more security. What were you
> thinking?

And you think skype is?

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D. Hugh Redelmeier
2013-04-12 19:53:52 UTC
Permalink
| From: D. Hugh Redelmeier <hugh-pmF8o41NoarQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org>

| Not that BlackBerry is open. I actually think that the spyware
| dimension is more important than the open dimension (but ultimately,
| open may be required for trust -- think how much we trust Skype).

| From: Lennart Sorensen <lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/***@public.gmane.org>

| On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 01:00:53PM -0400, D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
| > Google Talk certainly isn't a route to more security. What were you
| > thinking?
|
| And you think skype is?

No, I certainly don't. That was my original point. Thanks for
pointing out that I wasn't clear.

Skype was understood to have end-to-end encryption at one point,
exactly what one should want. Nobody actually knew because the
protocol was undisclosed. I now believe that it does NOT have
end-to-end encryption but is open to (at least) "Lawful Access" by
governments.

In any case, because it was closed and undisclosed, nobody could be
sure of anything good. Which means one should assume the worst.

(Encryption is technically easy but authentication is where all the
challenges are. Authentication is the weakest link. Without
authentication, encryption is useless against man-in-the-middle
attacks. I don't know a darned thing about Skype authentication.)

We (most TLUGgers?) give the benefit of the doubt to small players
(the original Skype) but distrust bigger players (Ebay). But we
reserve our greatest distrust for the Great Satan, Microsoft. These
blind us to the fact that any player can do bad or good, often for
reasons unrelated to whether they are bad or good.

| From: Lennart Sorensen <lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/***@public.gmane.org>

| If anyone susggest using skype, I tell them exactly what is wrong
| with skype. I don't indulge people who have made bad choices.

We agree that Skype has bad aspects. Do we agree on what those are?
I've outlined mine above. You object to the distributed nature:
leaching resources from the users, I think.

I'm not sure of the current Skype architecture. I have the impression
that Microsoft has moved a lot of stuff from leached user machines to
their own servers.

Skype is something that one gets dragged into. If you need to talk to
someone who only has Skype, for example. It is reputed to be really
good at getting through NAT and firewalls without the requirement for
a skilled operator. And it is kind of free as in beer.

| I have no problem with SIP,

The SIP infrastructure is a bit weak. It isn't conventional to have
end-to-end encryption and I don't know of universally accepted
protocols for negotiating encrypted links. Furthermore, dealing with
NAT has gotten middlemen involved in each call.

Quality of Service with SIP hasn't been that great in my experience.
Skype is reputed to be better.

Finally, one strength of SIP has been that ITSPs can offer you "DID"s
(plain old phone numbers). But that forces middlemen on you for
those calls.

| and I have no problem with google's video
| chat and use both.

I don't want my communications to be "owned" by a company, especially
one that is a sole provider. Especially one that makes its living
selling user profiles to advertisers.

Even if all your "content" is end-to-end encrypted, traffic analysis
is a powerful surveillance tool. This is the equivalent to "pen
register" for phone surveillance
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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-12 20:13:30 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 03:53:52PM -0400, D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> We agree that Skype has bad aspects. Do we agree on what those are?
> I've outlined mine above. You object to the distributed nature:
> leaching resources from the users, I think.

Actually my problems with skype are:

- The protocol is awful. Random ports doing peer to peer traffic. Even if
you want to allow it on your network, it's hard to do that because it
is totally random.

- Skype clearly has been trying to become the VoIP system excluding
all others. Never mind that SIP and H.323 and all that had existed
for years and everyone else (even Microsoft) was following a standard.
Skype did their own thing and then advertised the hell out of it to get
lots of users locked in to their private VoIP world of no choices.
I am actually not surprised Microsoft ended up owning in the end given
Skype's business practice looked like a perfect clone of how Microsoft
has always operated.

- Of course whenever people start complaining about the lockin, skype
promises to make a SIP gateway. Then when everyone has calmed down
again, they conviniently forget about the gateway promise and go back
to business as usual.

- The protocol isn't open and documented unlike the standards that
predate skype by many years. As I said above, it is obvious the protocol
is garbage. Convinient for skype though that they were able to build
a business on the bandwidth and cpu power of their users. I don't
think they ever made that clear to their users though when they gave
away the software. I believe Microsoft has reduced that though by
choosing to run dedicated super nodes themselves rather than rely on
random users who happen to have a good connection to do that job.

> I'm not sure of the current Skype architecture. I have the impression
> that Microsoft has moved a lot of stuff from leached user machines to
> their own servers.

Yes the supernodes are now dedicated.

> Skype is something that one gets dragged into. If you need to talk to
> someone who only has Skype, for example. It is reputed to be really
> good at getting through NAT and firewalls without the requirement for
> a skilled operator. And it is kind of free as in beer.

Sure. And when we blocked all peer to peer traffic at work the sales
people screamed bloody murder when suddenly skype stopped working.
We had no idea skype was such a piece of shit at the time. When we
tried to look up from skype what ports to allow to keep skype working,
we couldn't find that info, because it doesn't exist. Skype will use
anything at all to sneak its way through a network.

Hence why I said skype is a nightmare for a network admin.

> The SIP infrastructure is a bit weak. It isn't conventional to have
> end-to-end encryption and I don't know of universally accepted
> protocols for negotiating encrypted links. Furthermore, dealing with
> NAT has gotten middlemen involved in each call.

Sure, but it works with lots of software and lots of providers, and you
can run it on top of anything you want (ipsc, openvpn, etc). At least
with SIP we know what we are getting. With skype you just have their
word that your stuff is secure. With SIP by default at least I know it
is NOT secure.

> Quality of Service with SIP hasn't been that great in my experience.
> Skype is reputed to be better.

Depends on the software/codec/connection/etc. It can be quite good too.

> Finally, one strength of SIP has been that ITSPs can offer you "DID"s
> (plain old phone numbers). But that forces middlemen on you for
> those calls.

And skype does that too for a fee. No difference there, except with
SIP you can choose any of a bunch of competing providers. With skype
you can only choose skype.

> I don't want my communications to be "owned" by a company, especially
> one that is a sole provider. Especially one that makes its living
> selling user profiles to advertisers.

Google chat happens to sometimes be convinient for showing the grand
parents the grand kid. I don't use it for anything else.

> Even if all your "content" is end-to-end encrypted, traffic analysis
> is a powerful surveillance tool. This is the equivalent to "pen
> register" for phone surveillance

I don't do anything on google I wouldn't want publicly known.

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James Knott
2013-04-12 20:21:21 UTC
Permalink
D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> In any case, because it was closed and undisclosed, nobody could be
> sure of anything good. Which means one should assume the worst.
>
> (Encryption is technically easy but authentication is where all the
> challenges are. Authentication is the weakest link. Without
> authentication, encryption is useless against man-in-the-middle
> attacks. I don't know a darned thing about Skype authentication.)

If you're really concerned, use a VPN.

> The SIP infrastructure is a bit weak. It isn't conventional to have
> end-to-end encryption and I don't know of universally accepted
> protocols for negotiating encrypted links. Furthermore, dealing with
> NAT has gotten middlemen involved in each call.
>
> Quality of Service with SIP hasn't been that great in my experience.
> Skype is reputed to be better.

The quality of SIP, as with Skype and other real time voice/video
services depends on the quality of your connection. The public Internet
is generally good enough, but to provide consistent good quality, you
need QoS. I have VoIP from Rogers for my home phone and it's actually
better quality than I used to get from Bell. But then, Rogers controls
their network and can provide appropriate QoS. MPLS is one means of
providing QoS over a public network.

>
> Finally, one strength of SIP has been that ITSPs can offer you "DID"s
> (plain old phone numbers). But that forces middlemen on you for
> those calls.
Actually, with 100% VoIP calls, the provider is only used for setting up
the call. Once that happens, they drop out and communications is direct
end to end. Of course, the provider is still needed if you're calling a
POTS phone. to convert from VoIP to the traditional phone network.

> I don't want my communications to be "owned" by a company, especially
> one that is a sole provider. Especially one that makes its living
> selling user profiles to advertisers.
>
> Even if all your "content" is end-to-end encrypted, traffic analysis
> is a powerful surveillance tool. This is the equivalent to "pen
> register" for phone surveillance

How is that any different from the traditional phone network? If
anything VoIP calls are harder for them to deal with.
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James Knott
2013-04-12 20:33:34 UTC
Permalink
James Knott wrote:
>>
>> (Encryption is technically easy but authentication is where all the
>> challenges are. Authentication is the weakest link. Without
>> authentication, encryption is useless against man-in-the-middle
>> attacks. I don't know a darned thing about Skype authentication.)
>
> If you're really concerned, use a VPN.

Forgot to mention, SIP support IPSec, for encrypted calls.

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D. Hugh Redelmeier
2013-04-13 00:44:04 UTC
Permalink
| From: James Knott <james.knott-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org>

| James Knott wrote:

| > If you're really concerned, use a VPN.
|
| Forgot to mention, SIP support IPSec, for encrypted calls.

SIP doesn't support IPSec, IPSec supports SIP and essentially all
other IP protocols.

But you need opportunistic encryption so that you don't have to
pre-arrange all your connections.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opportunistic_encryption>

Here's an RFC we wrote about it:
<https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4322>

It turns out that OE was a hard thing to sell. We couldn't even give
it away. Heck, when I bought a Linksys router with our code in it, they
had disabled those features (and held out on the source code, contrary to
the GPL).
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James Knott
2013-04-13 01:18:48 UTC
Permalink
D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> Forgot to mention, SIP support IPSec, for encrypted calls.
>
> SIP doesn't support IPSec, IPSec supports SIP and essentially all
> other IP protocols.

While SIP can certainly travel over an IPSec VPN, and I have set that
up, that's not what I was referring to. IPSec can also be used directly
by applications, without a VPN.

>From
http://www.softwell.se/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=82&Itemid=131

"A successful IMS AKA Registration is accomplished by two SIP Register
request messages sent to the subscriber's S-CSCF and two SIP Register
response messages to the requesting subscriber. Information neccesary to
performa authentication and set up the two IPsec channels are provided
in the SIP message headers. Some of the SIP message headers are specific
for IMS."

With this, the connection is set up to use IPSec, for carrying the
connection.

And this:
http://pic.dhe.ibm.com/infocenter/wvraix/v6r1m0/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.ibm.wvraix.voip.doc%2Fipsec.html

Or from this book:
http://www1.avaya.com/pc/SIP_for_Dummies.pdf

Pg 45
"Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP) or IP Security (IPSEC) using
Advance Encryption Standard (AES) encryption to provide authentication,
cofigentiality, and integrity for protection of the media

And here's some info on SRTP:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Real-time_Transport_Protocol

SIP normally uses Real Time Protocol (RTP) to carry a call, but it can
also use SRTP to provide end to end encryption of the call. That is
right from one phone to the other, encrypted all the way.

So, bottom line, IPSec *IS* supported by SIP.

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D. Hugh Redelmeier
2013-04-13 21:36:19 UTC
Permalink
| From: James Knott <james.knott-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org>

| D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
| > Forgot to mention, SIP support IPSec, for encrypted calls.
| >
| > SIP doesn't support IPSec, IPSec supports SIP and essentially all
| > other IP protocols.
|
| While SIP can certainly travel over an IPSec VPN, and I have set that up,
| that's not what I was referring to. IPSec can also be used directly by
| applications, without a VPN.

Is that a standard? Is it generally implemented by a reasonable
number of suppliers?

| >From
| http://www.softwell.se/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=82&Itemid=131
|
| "A successful IMS AKA Registration is accomplished by two SIP Register request
| messages sent to the subscriber's S-CSCF and two SIP Register response
| messages to the requesting subscriber. Information neccesary to performa
| authentication and set up the two IPsec channels are provided in the SIP
| message headers. Some of the SIP message headers are specific for IMS."
|
| With this, the connection is set up to use IPSec, for carrying the connection.

I don't know what that is.

Shotwell seems to be a testing company.

IMS <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_Multimedia_Subsystem> seems to
be "IP Multimedia Subsystem" of "IP Multimedia Core Network
Subsystem"(?). It seems t be 3GPP, whatever that is.

AKA <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AKA_%28security%29> is for mobile
telephony. It sounds like it corresponds to IPSec's IKE, but is
different. Not part of IPsec.

Reading between the lines, they may be using ESP protocol.

Does any of this exist? From ITSPs? From ATA devices or SIP phones?

| And this:
| http://pic.dhe.ibm.com/infocenter/wvraix/v6r1m0/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.ibm.wvraix.voip.doc%2Fipsec.html

That is pretty vague, but nothing in that suggests that it is anything
but SIP over an (otherwise negotiated) VPN.

| Or from this book:
| http://www1.avaya.com/pc/SIP_for_Dummies.pdf
|
| Pg 45
| "Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP) or IP Security (IPSEC) using
| Advance Encryption Standard (AES) encryption to provide authentication,
| cofigentiality, and integrity for protection of the media

That document seems to wave its hand in the IPSec direction but does
not imply anything but VPN.

| SIP normally uses Real Time Protocol (RTP) to carry a call, but it can also
| use SRTP to provide end to end encryption of the call. That is right from one
| phone to the other, encrypted all the way.

Last I looked, there was no universal (i.e. interoperable) way of
negotiating security with strangers. SRTP does not protect the SIP
part of the call either.

For this stuff to work in general, Opportunistic Encryption is the
only way to get there in a standards-based environment.

| So, bottom line, IPSec *IS* supported by SIP.

I still don't see this.

BTW, I'm not demanding IPSec. SRTP could be good enough (I haven't
checked). But:

1) as much of the communication as possible must be private and
secure. Including the SIP part.

2) the security must be solid (so much of what passes for security is
known to be weak). Usually this is best accomplished by security
folks designing the protocol, not adding it later or by amateurs.

3) traffic analysis is a hard threat to defeat. A standard should
accommodate countermeasures. Since they are expensive, it probably
cannot require them.

IPSec allows tunnels to be less correlated with call sessions
so enables some approaches for limiting traffic analysis.

4) The authentication infrastructure is a really tough nut to crack
and should not be designed just by techies. It's got to be
user-visible and must be tractable for ordinary users.
On the web, we've punted that and allowed "servers" but not
"clients" to be authenticated automatically (TLS).
I don't want a server/client distinction in general, and
certainly not in telephony.

5) Opportunistic Encryption needs to be considered from the outset.
It is quite hard and made much harder if it must be retrofitted.
It has to include authentication if one wants to be secure from
man-in-the-middle attacks.

6) I want all this to be end-to-end: no designed-in middleman.
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James Knott
2013-04-13 22:57:36 UTC
Permalink
D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> While SIP can certainly travel over an IPSec VPN, and I have set that up,
> | that's not what I was referring to. IPSec can also be used directly by
> | applications, without a VPN.
>
> Is that a standard? Is it generally implemented by a reasonable
> number of suppliers?

SIP can use various encryption methods, including IPSec, TLS and
others. I mentioned IPSec because it is a standard part of IPv6 and
moving to IPv6 will provide benefits to VoIP, such as Mobile IPv6,
mandatory CoS, along with lower latency provided by routing improvements.
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D. Hugh Redelmeier
2013-04-14 02:20:16 UTC
Permalink
| From: James Knott <james.knott-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org>

| D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
| > While SIP can certainly travel over an IPSec VPN, and I have set that up,
| > | that's not what I was referring to. IPSec can also be used directly by
| > | applications, without a VPN.
| >
| > Is that a standard? Is it generally implemented by a reasonable
| > number of suppliers?
|
| SIP can use various encryption methods, including IPSec, TLS and others.

One automatically thinks choice is good. But for interoperation, it
just isn't. We want everyone to have a common
encryption/authentication/privacy/security/... so that they can
interoperate.

In IPSec, a lot of the interoperation rigmarole that makes it hard to
set up is
(a) the options, and
(b) the awkward ways to configure most implementations, and
(c) the awkward way that IKE negotiates.

IKEv2 was meant to address this but I don't know if it succeeds, and
it isn't generally used.

Combinatorial complexity of a program makes it very hard to test all
cases. This is VERY bad from a security standpoint. Options create
such combinatorial complexity.

| I
| mentioned IPSec because it is a standard part of IPv6 and moving to IPv6 will
| provide benefits to VoIP, such as Mobile IPv6, mandatory CoS, along with lower
| latency provided by routing improvements.

That doesn't seem like what you said. I don't remember you mentioning
IPv6 in messages I've responded to.

IPSec is part of most IPv4 stacks already (Linux, Windows, OS X, *BSD,
and iOS already have IPSec under IPv4; I think Android does too).

The rest of the improvements seem to be minor improvements as far as
VoIP is concerned. Unless CoS works surprisingly well. Oh, and if
NAT goes away, that would be really good for peer-to-peer phone calls
(that should be the norm).

The IMS AKA just might be interesting (I cannot tell from the
writeup), but only if it is widely deployed).

Other than that, IPSec can support SIP, not the other way around.

We (the FreeS/WAN project) talked about creating a userland API so
that an application could request or require that a socket be carried
over IPSec. We never got there and I don't know of any other
implementation that has done that. Allowing applications to require
secure channels does seem like a useful facility.
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James Knott
2013-04-14 03:09:44 UTC
Permalink
D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> | From: James Knott <james.knott-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org>
>
>
> | SIP can use various encryption methods, including IPSec, TLS and others.
>
> One automatically thinks choice is good. But for interoperation, it
> just isn't. We want everyone to have a common
> encryption/authentication/privacy/security/... so that they can
> interoperate.

Actually, there's a bit of history, where choice is available. For
example, with VoIP, you often have a choice of codecs and the app
chooses the best common one, though it's also possible to select, such
as G.729a for low bandwidth, G.711 for toll quality or even one that can
provide broadcast quality. There are other situations where multiple
methods are available.
>
> In IPSec, a lot of the interoperation rigmarole that makes it hard to
> set up is
> (a) the options, and
> (b) the awkward ways to configure most implementations, and
> (c) the awkward way that IKE negotiates.
>
> IKEv2 was meant to address this but I don't know if it succeeds, and
> it isn't generally used.
>
> Combinatorial complexity of a program makes it very hard to test all
> cases. This is VERY bad from a security standpoint. Options create
> such combinatorial complexity.

IPSec has been in use for a while and seen a lot of testing. There are
different ways to configure it. For example, I have used shared secret
passwords with several VPNs, You can also use public/private keys, in
the same manner as ssh, certificates, as is used with several services
or a key server. IPSec supports them all and you choose which ever is
best for the application.
>
> | I
> | mentioned IPSec because it is a standard part of IPv6 and moving to IPv6 will
> | provide benefits to VoIP, such as Mobile IPv6, mandatory CoS, along with lower
> | latency provided by routing improvements.
> That doesn't seem like what you said. I don't remember you mentioning
> IPv6 in messages I've responded to. IPSec is part of most IPv4 stacks
> already (Linux, Windows, OS X, *BSD, and iOS already have IPSec under
> IPv4; I think Android does too).

I didn't mention IPv6 specifically in that message, but I have on many
other occasions, both here and elsewhere. I have been running IPv6
myself for almost 3 years and my home network is fully functional with
it (I have a /56 subnet, which is 2^72 addresses or about a trillion
times the entire IPv4 address space). Regardless, IPSec is available on
both IPv6 and IPv4 and is becoming the standard for many uses beyond
VPNs. Also, IPSec was originally developed for IPv6 and then adapted to
IPv4. My Android phone and tablet both support IPSec, PPTP and L2TP.
They also can use IPv6 when connected to my home network and my phone
will also be able to when Rogers gets around to offering IPv6 on their
cell network.

Unlike with IPv4, CoS is mandatory with IPv6. This means that when you
use it with VoIP, your call will be given priority over other traffic on
the Internet.

> The rest of the improvements seem to be minor improvements as far as
> VoIP is concerned. Unless CoS works surprisingly well. Oh, and if NAT
> goes away, that would be really good for peer-to-peer phone calls
> (that should be the norm).

The routing improvements (hierarchical routing, fixed length header
etc.) reduce latency for all traffic, not just VoIP, but reducing
latency is one of the goals when you're using it.

> Other than that, IPSec can support SIP, not the other way around. We
> (the FreeS/WAN project) talked about creating a userland API so that
> an application could request or require that a socket be carried over
> IPSec. We never got there and I don't know of any other implementation
> that has done that. Allowing applications to require secure channels
> does seem like a useful facility.

Compare VoIP using IPSec to the way browsers, email (or even VoIP) etc.
use ssl. It just provides encryption and authentication on a per
application basis, rather than an encrypted tunnel, when used in a VPN,
which leaves the contents unencrypted outside of the VPN. I have never
used FreeS/WAN, but I'm in the process of setting up a StrongSWAN VPN
between my notebook and home network, to see how well it supports IPv6.
Then I'll include my tablet, which already has the StrongSWAN software
installed. If that works with IPv6, then I'll be able to access the
computers on my home network from my tablet, regardless of whether IPv6
is otherwise available. I also have the 6in4 tunnel software installed
on my notebook, so I can use IPv6 to access my home computers when
elsewhere (other than the Mississauga library & community centre WiFi,
where everything other than http port 80 is blocked). As for those
implementations you mentioned not supporting applications, that may be
because they're designed to be used as a VPN and not for directly
supporting apps. Are the required pieces available to be called by an
app? Perhaps we'll have to see what Cisco and others do with this.
Cisco routers certainly support IPSec, but I haven't worked at that
level with their phones. Many of the soft phone apps support some form
of encryption.

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James Knott
2013-04-14 04:23:44 UTC
Permalink
James Knott wrote:
> As for those implementations you mentioned not supporting
> applications, that may be because they're designed to be used as a VPN
> and not for directly supporting apps. Are the required pieces
> available to be called by an app? Perhaps we'll have to see what Cisco
> and others do with this. Cisco routers certainly support IPSec, but I
> haven't worked at that level with their phones. Many of the soft
> phone apps support some form of encryption.

Further on this. A router would generally use IPSec only for VPNs and a
VoIP would only use it for encrypting calls. The devices use it for one
or the other. On the other hand a computer or tablet might use it for
both. Is there a library that can be called for either use? On my
computer, I see the StrongSWAN package includes strongswan-libs0, which
provides the strongswan library and plugins. Might there be something
in there that could be called by a VoIP app for encrypting a call?
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D. Hugh Redelmeier
2013-04-14 05:02:28 UTC
Permalink
| From: James Knott <james.knott-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org>

| Further on this. A router would generally use IPSec only for VPNs and a VoIP
| would only use it for encrypting calls.

IPSec can be deployed on gateways, making the LAN behind them
available, or it can be run on the host itself.

An application is unlikely to be able to conveniently make requests of
a gateway. The API I mentioned would only be for talking to IPSec on
the host itself.

VPN is what IPSec was designed for, in many peoples' minds. It wasn't
what we were aiming for. We wanted each flow that could be protected
to be protected, opportunistically. I repeat, that's not a VPN but it
does fit into IPSec (we took part in the IETF process to make sure).
And it is perfect for VoIP.

| Is
| there a library that can be called for either use? On my computer, I see the
| StrongSWAN package includes strongswan-libs0, which provides the strongswan
| library and plugins.

I don't know much about strongSwan.

I don't even know as much as I'd like to about Libreswan.

Libreswan seems to interoperate with iPhones (I've seen it). But I
don't think that that is Opportunistic since iOS uses Raccoon and that
doesn't do OE. The tunnels are built on demand, but I think that they
have to be prearranged.

Getting Libreswan to interoperate with iOS required supporting another
few "options": ESP over UDP (to deal with NAT, I think), and IKE
fragmentation (not standardized; partially documented in a file found
on a Microsoft server; needed to work around broken firewalls that
discard (legally) fragmented UDP). And some other things I don't
understand. What a mess.

| Might there be something in there that could be called
| by a VoIP app for encrypting a call?

I don't know.
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James Knott
2013-04-14 14:12:41 UTC
Permalink
D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> I don't know much about strongSwan.
>
> I don't even know as much as I'd like to about Libreswan.
>
> Libreswan seems to interoperate with iPhones (I've seen it). But I
> don't think that that is Opportunistic since iOS uses Raccoon and that
> doesn't do OE. The tunnels are built on demand, but I think that they
> have to be prearranged.

Though I'm no expert, my impression is the Linux world is moving to
StrongSWAN for IPSec. There were a couple of previous attempts, one
being FreeS/WAN. I have also used OpenVPN for years and one other (name
escapes me) prior to that.
>
> Getting Libreswan to interoperate with iOS required supporting another
> few "options": ESP over UDP (to deal with NAT, I think), and IKE
> fragmentation (not standardized; partially documented in a file found
> on a Microsoft server; needed to work around broken firewalls that
> discard (legally) fragmented UDP). And some other things I don't
> understand. What a mess.

IPSec supports ESP through NAT, though AH chokes on it. Of course once
the move to IPv6 is complete, we can forget about NAT and the problems
it creates. At that time, any IPv4 only stuff can be treated as the
exception, rather than the rule.


>
> | Might there be something in there that could be called
> | by a VoIP app for encrypting a call?
>
> I don't know.

While it's certainly possible that every app that uses IPSec could "roll
it's own" support, it's certainly better to have a shared library. So,
perhaps a VoIP app that offers IPSec could use that library I
mentioned. Or perhaps someone will come up with a shared library that
everything, including VPNs call on for IPSec support. We'll have to see.

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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-15 15:47:04 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, Apr 14, 2013 at 10:12:41AM -0400, James Knott wrote:
> Though I'm no expert, my impression is the Linux world is moving to
> StrongSWAN for IPSec. There were a couple of previous attempts, one
> being FreeS/WAN. I have also used OpenVPN for years and one other
> (name escapes me) prior to that.

No I don't think so. Redhat even employs one of the libreswan developers.

Strongswan has very few developers, and they don't actually seem to take
security that seriously unfortunately.

OpenSwan has had issues because of legal issues with the developers and
the company that thinks it owns openswan. Hence libreswan, which is
now back to being quite active in development.

Freeswan forked into strongswan and openswan (both are based on freeswan).
openswan has no forked into libreswan as well (taking all the developers
with it by the looks of it).

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James Knott
2013-04-15 15:57:38 UTC
Permalink
Lennart Sorensen wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 14, 2013 at 10:12:41AM -0400, James Knott wrote:
>> >Though I'm no expert, my impression is the Linux world is moving to
>> >StrongSWAN for IPSec. There were a couple of previous attempts, one
>> >being FreeS/WAN. I have also used OpenVPN for years and one other
>> >(name escapes me) prior to that.
> No I don't think so. Redhat even employs one of the libreswan developers.
>
> Strongswan has very few developers, and they don't actually seem to take
> security that seriously unfortunately.
>
> OpenSwan has had issues because of legal issues with the developers and
> the company that thinks it owns openswan. Hence libreswan, which is
> now back to being quite active in development.
>
> Freeswan forked into strongswan and openswan (both are based on freeswan).
> openswan has no forked into libreswan as well (taking all the developers
> with it by the looks of it).

Lots of fun. StrongSWAN is the IPSec package that's currently available
with OpenSUSE. One might make the case there too many projects
happening. It'd be nice if those people would work together and get one
good package going.

As I mentioned, I have used OpenVPN for years and it worked well, but
until very recently, it didn't properly support IPv6 and also there's no
Android version available that I'm aware of.
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Scott Allen
2013-04-15 17:02:50 UTC
Permalink
On 15 April 2013 11:57, James Knott <james.knott-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org> wrote:
> As I mentioned, I have used OpenVPN for years and it worked well, but until
> very recently, it didn't properly support IPv6 and also there's no Android
> version available that I'm aware of.

OpenVPN Android clients:
<https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.openvpn.openvpn&hl=en>
<https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.blinkt.openvpn&hl=en>
Among others.

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James Knott
2013-04-15 17:22:39 UTC
Permalink
Scott Allen wrote:
> On 15 April 2013 11:57, James Knott <james.knott-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org> wrote:
>> As I mentioned, I have used OpenVPN for years and it worked well, but until
>> very recently, it didn't properly support IPv6 and also there's no Android
>> version available that I'm aware of.
> OpenVPN Android clients:
> <https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.openvpn.openvpn&hl=en>
> <https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.blinkt.openvpn&hl=en>
> Among others.
>
>
Those must be fairly recent then, as I search on OpenVPN a while ago and
nothing turned up. I wonder if they support IPv6?

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James Knott
2013-04-15 17:27:23 UTC
Permalink
James Knott wrote:
> Scott Allen wrote:
>> On 15 April 2013 11:57, James Knott <james.knott-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org> wrote:
>>> As I mentioned, I have used OpenVPN for years and it worked well,
>>> but until
>>> very recently, it didn't properly support IPv6 and also there's no
>>> Android
>>> version available that I'm aware of.
>> OpenVPN Android clients:
>> <https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.openvpn.openvpn&hl=en>
>>
>> <https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.blinkt.openvpn&hl=en>
>> Among others.
>>
>>
> Those must be fairly recent then, as I search on OpenVPN a while ago
> and nothing turned up. I wonder if they support IPv6?

Hmmm... I just checked again and I get:

"We couldn't find anything for your search - openvpn.
Suggestions:

Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
Try different keywords.
Try more general keywords."
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D. Hugh Redelmeier
2013-04-14 04:42:14 UTC
Permalink
| From: James Knott <james.knott-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org>

| D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:

| > One automatically thinks choice is good. But for interoperation, it
| > just isn't. We want everyone to have a common
| > encryption/authentication/privacy/security/... so that they can
| > interoperate.

| > In IPSec, a lot of the interoperation rigmarole that makes it hard to
| > set up is
| > (a) the options, and
| > (b) the awkward ways to configure most implementations, and
| > (c) the awkward way that IKE negotiates.
| >
| > IKEv2 was meant to address this but I don't know if it succeeds, and
| > it isn't generally used.
| >
| > Combinatorial complexity of a program makes it very hard to test all
| > cases. This is VERY bad from a security standpoint. Options create
| > such combinatorial complexity.
|
| IPSec has been in use for a while and seen a lot of testing. There are
| different ways to configure it.

Yeah. Been there and got the teeshirt (literally: I've been to
several "VPN Bakeoffs" back in the day, and we always got teeshirts).

Testing can never show the absence of bugs.

Interoperating during testing involved too much shouting back and
forth about settings.

User interfaces bore too much similarity to DIP switches.

Example:
The order of most IKE payloads is unspecified. For a long time, we
only accepted them in one order (that in which they were described in
the RFC). Never once did that cause a problem. I would guess that
many implementations would fail if they received payloads in another
order. This is an example where the spec gave an option that was
worse than useless (at least it wasn't visible to the user).

I would bet fuzzers would find bugs in most implementations (they did
in ours).

| For example, I have used shared secret
| passwords with several VPNs, You can also use public/private keys, in the
| same manner as ssh, certificates, as is used with several services or a key
| server. IPSec supports them all and you choose which ever is best for the
| application.

I think that I'm the only one that implemented IKE authentication with
bare public keys (i.e. not embedded in X.509 certificates). Too bad.
I once bought a Linksys wireless router because the manual said that
it had this feature. But the GUI didn't implement a way to use it
(even though it was documented) so it didn't work. This was GPLed
code and they wouldn't respond to my requests for the source (either
as a customer or the copyright holder). Grrr. (The router was quite
buggy; if they'd been more open, the community would likely have fixed
the problems.)

In any case, I think some options are worthwhile, some not.

Lots of people want pre-shared keys but bare public keys are just
about as easy, way more powerful, and easier to handle safely.
Example: it is safe to distribute your public key in public -- try
that with your pre-shared key. So perhaps pre-shared keys should not
be an option.

We fought for a long time to get DES eliminated (it had been mandatory
to support it in IPSec). Our sponsor even built the DES-cracking
hardware to make the point that DES was too weak (up to then denied by
NSA, even to the US Congress).

(strongSwan, Openswan, Libreswan are all continuations of the (dead)
FreeS/WAN project. I think that Openswan is unlikely to move forward
since the main contributors have started Libreswan. I help the
Libreswan project a bit.)
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James Knott
2013-04-14 14:28:44 UTC
Permalink
D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> Testing can never show the absence of bugs.

That applies to everything.

> The order of most IKE payloads is unspecified. For a long time, we
> only accepted them in one order (that in which they were described in
> the RFC). Never once did that cause a problem. I would guess that
> many implementations would fail if they received payloads in another
> order. This is an example where the spec gave an option that was
> worse than useless (at least it wasn't visible to the user).

That, of course, is an implementation issue, not an inherent problem
with IPSec.

> I think that I'm the only one that implemented IKE authentication with
> bare public keys (i.e. not embedded in X.509 certificates).

StrongSWAN supports self generated certificates in the same manner as ssh.

> Lots of people want pre-shared keys but bare public keys are just
> about as easy, way more powerful, and easier to handle safely.

Pre-shared secret keys are easier, as you don't have to generate a
public/private key pair, but creating the secret password can stand some
improvement. Like other passwords, people often choose a simple on that
may have some connection to them. When I created the secret passwords,
I would generally use ps aux|md5sum to get a string of "random" characters.

> We fought for a long time to get DES eliminated (it had been mandatory
> to support it in IPSec). Our sponsor even built the DES-cracking
> hardware to make the point that DES was too weak (up to then denied by
> NSA, even to the US Congress).

Yep, I recall reading about how easy it had become to break. I also
recall reading a book on encryption where they covered several methods,
including 3DES. What I found interesting was the way they'd take the
168 bit key, split it into 3 56 bit keys then use the parts, in turn to
encrypt, then decrypt and encrypt again. This was done to maintain
compatibility with 56 bit DES systems with the same 56 bits used in all
three steps. This would result in the decrypt stage canceling out one
of the encrypt stages and providing the same effect as a single encrypt
stage.





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D. Hugh Redelmeier
2013-04-14 15:42:42 UTC
Permalink
| From: James Knott <james.knott-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org>

| That, of course, is an implementation issue, not an inherent problem with
| IPSec.

My point was that IPSec has needless options, each one adding to the
room for bugs, and leading to dark untested corners. That is
inherent.

| > I think that I'm the only one that implemented IKE authentication with
| > bare public keys (i.e. not embedded in X.509 certificates).
|
| StrongSWAN supports self generated certificates in the same manner as ssh.

And probably bare public keys since it is based on my code.

| > Lots of people want pre-shared keys but bare public keys are just
| > about as easy, way more powerful, and easier to handle safely.
|
| Pre-shared secret keys are easier, as you don't have to generate a
| public/private key pair, but creating the secret password can stand some
| improvement. Like other passwords, people often choose a simple on that may
| have some connection to them. When I created the secret passwords, I would
| generally use ps aux|md5sum to get a string of "random" characters.

Doing PSK safely requires as much fiddling with tools as generating a
public key. Your example shows this.

Adding certificates to the mix adds complexity. Among other things,
certs are fatter and are less likely to fit in an IKE message
(remember, large messages get fragmented and many firewalls discard
UDP fragments).

I'm not saying that certs don't have their benefits. But one needs to
think about what they are in a particular application.

A number of security bugs in IPSec implementations have been due the
the cert handling code.

| I also recall
| reading a book on encryption where they covered several methods, including
| 3DES.

3DES was a good solution to an unfortunate problem. Only DES hardware was
available and DES was thought to be good at resisting all but
brute-force attacks. 3DES exploited the hardware and made brute force
much less feasible.

AES eventually (many years later) has a bunch of advantages. The
paranoid among us don't know if DES or AES have backdoors. For
example, the NSA got IBM (the designers) to change DES in ways that
have not been explained satisfactorily.

BTW, the US Congress actually forced banks to only use 1DES. Was that for
security or insecurity (allowing the NSA in)?
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Bob Jonkman
2013-04-14 06:55:59 UTC
Permalink
Hugh complained:
> Many are coerced into having a GMail account. You cannot get Android
> apps without one, for example.

There are other, non-Google repositories for Android apps:

http://f-droid.org/ contains only F/LOSS apps.

http://m.aptoide.com/ is a federated series of repositories that seem to
have most everything available from Google and a whole lot more besides.

http://www.amazon.com/mobile-apps/b/ref=topnav_storetab_mas?ie=UTF8&node=2350149011
is "Amazon Apps for Android" when accessed from my laptop (I think the
URL is different when I access it from my Android). I haven't used this one.


When I flashed new firmware on my Android phone I did not install the
optional "Google Pack" which included the App Store app. I have not
needed a Google account since then, because I get most everything from
F-Droid.

However, there are some apps (like the Giles Malet's GRT Transit App)
that depend on some library provided only by the Google Pack. Most of
those have an older version, or a re-compilation for F-Droid so they're
still usable (eg. Transdroid). I do miss the GRT app, tho...

--Bob.

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SOBAC Microcomputer Services Phone: +1-519-669-0388
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Software --- Office & Business Automation --- Consulting


On 13-04-12 01:00 PM, D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> | From: James Knott <james.knott-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+***@public.gmane.org>
>
> | Lennart Sorensen wrote: | > On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 12:21:31AM
> -0400, D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
>
> | > > open may be required for trust -- think how much we trust
> Skype). | > I trust skype not at all and won't allow it near any of
> my devices. | > Also the stupid peer to peer protocol it uses is a
> network admin's | > nightmare. That alone is enough to want to ban
> it. | > | | I prefer Google Talk, but I have Skype because a friend
> of mine uses it.
>
> Google Talk certainly isn't a route to more security. What were you
> thinking?
>
> | She | must be one of the very few people in this world without a
> GMail account.
>
> Many are coerced into having a GMail account. You cannot get
> Android apps without one, for example. -- The Toronto Linux Users
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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-12 18:10:04 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 11:28:08AM -0400, James Knott wrote:
> I prefer Google Talk, but I have Skype because a friend of mine uses
> it. She must be one of the very few people in this world without a
> GMail account. Also, there's a new video chat method that works
> with browsers (currently Chrome and development versions of
> Firefox).
>
> http://conversat.io/

If anyone susggest using skype, I tell them exactly what is wrong
with skype. I don't indulge people who have made bad choices.

I have no problem with SIP, and I have no problem with google's video
chat and use both.

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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-12 14:34:18 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 07:56:36PM -0400, William Muriithi wrote:
> Think that would have happened either way. The pure open source projects
> were driven by Nokia and you know what happened to them. So, without
> android, most likely dormant platform would to Windows. I sincerely
> wouldn't think of a scenario we would have come out better.

I didn't even consider the stuff nokia was involved in. I am sure
there were projects other than openmoko around, although perhaps none
had gotten too far (It seems the makers of cell phone hardware bits are
just highly unfriendly in general).

> What do you think of Tizen? Open source enough in your opinion? That is
> the only viable alternative I think has money behind to live.

Certainly reading about it, it sounds like "certainly not".

> On a lighter note, you may end up living your whole life without a
> smartphone :) People change views though with time.

Well I certainly don't want to dial from a touch screen.

It certainly has been very rare that I have thought a smartphone would
have been handy to have.

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James Knott
2013-04-12 15:23:28 UTC
Permalink
Lennart Sorensen wrote:
> Well I certainly don't want to dial from a touch screen.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wagado.old_phone&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS53YWdhZG8ub2xkX3Bob25lIl0.
;-)

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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-12 15:38:46 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 11:23:28AM -0400, James Knott wrote:
> https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wagado.old_phone&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS53YWdhZG8ub2xkX3Bob25lIl0.
> ;-)

Putting a horrible interface onto a touch screen just makes it worse.

I only want phones that have actual buttons for dialing numbers.

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D. Hugh Redelmeier
2013-04-12 16:56:47 UTC
Permalink
| From: Lennart Sorensen <lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/***@public.gmane.org>

| > On a lighter note, you may end up living your whole life without a
| > smartphone :) People change views though with time.
|
| Well I certainly don't want to dial from a touch screen.

Apparently people don't spend most of their phone time dialing. So
optimizing for dialing is actually a mistake.

For webbish uses, you want all the screen you can get.

But, in fact, most of the time you are just carrying a phone, not
using it. So that application needs to be optimized: make it small
and rugged as possible.

But wait, it is a fashion accessory. Make it beautiful and branded.

| It certainly has been very rare that I have thought a smartphone would
| have been handy to have.

As an old guy, I don't need a phone to be constantly in contact with
my community. I think under-30 folks would be left out without a
phone (and Facebook).

I really like having a smart phone when I'm out of the house. I want
to be able to access the internet. But I leave it off! I turn it on
when I need the internet, which is actually rare but unpredicable.
That makes the smartphone a luxury (but I manage to pay only $0.25/day
for "unlimited" internet access and almost nothing for the phone plan
(because I don't use it)).

Because of needing to handle emergencies, I started to also carry a dumb
flip phone a while back. It has to be on all the time for this
application. It has buttons but I dial it so rarely that I'm not
particularly comfortable with them. I hate that I'm tracked.

If you need a mobile phone just for voice, a dumb flip phone is great:
- rugged (self-protecting)
- long long battery life
- not worth stealing
- has real buttons
- optimized for the task (simple menu etc.)
- cheap
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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-12 18:05:36 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 12:56:47PM -0400, D. Hugh Redelmeier wrote:
> Apparently people don't spend most of their phone time dialing. So
> optimizing for dialing is actually a mistake.
>
> For webbish uses, you want all the screen you can get.
>
> But, in fact, most of the time you are just carrying a phone, not
> using it. So that application needs to be optimized: make it small
> and rugged as possible.
>
> But wait, it is a fashion accessory. Make it beautiful and branded.
>
> As an old guy, I don't need a phone to be constantly in contact with
> my community. I think under-30 folks would be left out without a
> phone (and Facebook).

They might feel left out. That isn't the same as being left out.

> I really like having a smart phone when I'm out of the house. I want
> to be able to access the internet. But I leave it off! I turn it on
> when I need the internet, which is actually rare but unpredicable.
> That makes the smartphone a luxury (but I manage to pay only $0.25/day
> for "unlimited" internet access and almost nothing for the phone plan
> (because I don't use it)).
>
> Because of needing to handle emergencies, I started to also carry a dumb
> flip phone a while back. It has to be on all the time for this
> application. It has buttons but I dial it so rarely that I'm not
> particularly comfortable with them. I hate that I'm tracked.
>
> If you need a mobile phone just for voice, a dumb flip phone is great:
> - rugged (self-protecting)
> - long long battery life
> - not worth stealing
> - has real buttons
> - optimized for the task (simple menu etc.)
> - cheap

For the people I call most, I just dial the number. I can't be bothered
to use the address book. Of course I also don't usually even look at
the phone while dialing, because I can actually feel the buttons.

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D. Hugh Redelmeier
2013-04-10 05:24:31 UTC
Permalink
| From: Lennart Sorensen <lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/***@public.gmane.org>

| If you want access to new versions first, then you must play by google's
| rules. In the cell phone market being behind by 6 months is a lot.

I don't remember the details, but in this session at Linux Symposium
in 2010, real difficulties were partially described. These
difficulties go beyond what is written as Google policies:

Tim Riker formerly the CTO at Lineo and contributor to many embedded
Linux projects and currently the CTO working on the Saygus Vphone will
be presenting his keynote titled "Android - The Bait and Switch OS"
which is certain to be very interesting given his extensive practical
experience.

If I remember correctly, Google dropped out as a Linux Symposium
sponsor when they heard Tim was going to give a keynote. That's hardball.
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William Muriithi
2013-04-10 14:08:01 UTC
Permalink
> If I remember correctly, Google dropped out as a Linux Symposium
> sponsor when they heard Tim was going to give a keynote. That's hardball.

I do agree android is not very friendly to the kernel developers, but
disagree they are worse than Windows and Apple. That argument don't make
sense.

We always make decisions that are not ideal. If you are left, do you go
vote conservative because those standing on the left feel too far on the
other side? Most people don't and that's where we had Blair as prime
minister. Don't some of us here install nvidia binary despite knowing they
are unfriendly?

I actually still believe that if android was publicly available
immediately, nothing much would change because most of the video drivers
are only available to those privileged

Common, lets agree half a bread is better than none. At least Android
increased the # of developers who are comfortable with Linux development.
In the long run that's a gain for anybody working with Linux

William
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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-10 14:13:05 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 10:08:01AM -0400, William Muriithi wrote:
> I do agree android is not very friendly to the kernel developers, but
> disagree they are worse than Windows and Apple. That argument don't make
> sense.

It has nothing to do with Microsoft or Apple. It has to do with Google
being dishonest about what they are doing.

> We always make decisions that are not ideal. If you are left, do you go
> vote conservative because those standing on the left feel too far on the
> other side? Most people don't and that's where we had Blair as prime
> minister. Don't some of us here install nvidia binary despite knowing they
> are unfriendly?

Sure, but they are totally honest about being unfriendly.

> I actually still believe that if android was publicly available
> immediately, nothing much would change because most of the video drivers
> are only available to those privileged

If android was actually developed as an open source community project,
not a secret internal google project, then it might be different.
At least then it could honestly call itself an open source project.

There are arm chips with available drivers these days (although all
involved reverse engineering as far as I know).

> Common, lets agree half a bread is better than none. At least Android
> increased the # of developers who are comfortable with Linux development.
> In the long run that's a gain for anybody working with Linux

In what way are they doing that?

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Michael Hill
2013-04-10 14:24:12 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 10:13 AM, Lennart Sorensen
<lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/***@public.gmane.org> wrote:

> Sure, but they are totally honest about being unfriendly.

Apple and Microsoft aren't evil because they're honest about being
evil? That sounds like the same planet where we should just be happy
about Bell and Rogers controlling everything.

Mike
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Lennart Sorensen
2013-04-10 14:40:21 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 10:24:12AM -0400, Michael Hill wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 10:13 AM, Lennart Sorensen
> <lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/***@public.gmane.org> wrote:
>
> > Sure, but they are totally honest about being unfriendly.
>
> Apple and Microsoft aren't evil because they're honest about being
> evil? That sounds like the same planet where we should just be happy
> about Bell and Rogers controlling everything.

Sure they are evil, but they are honest about it. Google is evil and
dishonest in the case of Android which I consider worse.

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Scott Sullivan
2013-04-10 15:17:58 UTC
Permalink
On 04/10/2013 10:40 AM, Lennart Sorensen wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 10:24:12AM -0400, Michael Hill wrote:
>> On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 10:13 AM, Lennart Sorensen
>> <lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/***@public.gmane.org> wrote:
>>
>>> Sure, but they are totally honest about being unfriendly.
>>
>> Apple and Microsoft aren't evil because they're honest about being
>> evil? That sounds like the same planet where we should just be happy
>> about Bell and Rogers controlling everything.
>
> Sure they are evil, but they are honest about it. Google is evil and
> dishonest in the case of Android which I consider worse.
>

So I feel this has devolved in to an argument of opinions on weather
Microsoft's pot is calling the kettle black.

My view, and to the point.

Microsoft and Apple provide proprietary platforms. Google provides a
proprietary platform (it's branded Apps) on top of an open source base
(the Android Open Source Project). This is my view of it.

Yes, google is the greatest contributor to the ASOP and they choose to
only release their changes once it ships (well within the license terms,
but IANAL). People follow their development releases due to critical
mass. People don't have to use Google's proprietary Apps.

As to what the OEMs to with bundling their own proprietary drivers, well
that's within the scope of the laws. It doesn't meet our ideals, but
again this is a hybrid model.

If you want to get them to change from being all proprietary you've got
to win them over. This is a start, Rome not built in a day and all.

So, from a legal stand point does Microsoft's complain hold water? IANAL

We finally have middle ground and purchasing power to leverage and this
as made some progress with our voices some leverage with the SoC
companies and OEM. Nvidia just released more Tegra source code for their
gpus.
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=nvidia_tegra_3d&num=1

That said, their going to continue with what makes money until we make
it effect their bottom line by taking our business elsewhere.

Some of you have made it clear your following that principle. What I'm
not hearing is effective alternatives, or projects actually attacking
the root issue from the SoC manufactures downward.

Well, except for Rhombus-Tech. It's just slow going.
http://rhombus-tech.net/community_ideas/kde_tablet/news/
http://rhombus-tech.net/allwinner_a10/news/
http://rhombus-tech.net/freescale/iMX6/news/

There are at least two way to change a system.
Application of force (ie, revolution), or learn and practice the
existing one enough in order to build a better alternative that takes
you closer to your ideals.

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Thomas Milne
2013-04-11 13:29:26 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 10:40 AM, Lennart Sorensen <
lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/***@public.gmane.org> wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 10:24:12AM -0400, Michael Hill wrote:
> > On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 10:13 AM, Lennart Sorensen
> > <lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/***@public.gmane.org> wrote:
> >
> > > Sure, but they are totally honest about being unfriendly.
> >
> > Apple and Microsoft aren't evil because they're honest about being
> > evil? That sounds like the same planet where we should just be happy
> > about Bell and Rogers controlling everything.
>
> Sure they are evil, but they are honest about it. Google is evil and
> dishonest in the case of Android which I consider worse.
>
>
Okay, from that perspective I can agree. I think where most people are
getting hung up is Microsoft being called anything positive...

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Thomas Milne
2013-04-11 13:28:19 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 10:24 AM, Michael Hill <mdhillca-***@public.gmane.org> wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 10:13 AM, Lennart Sorensen
> <lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/***@public.gmane.org> wrote:
>
> > Sure, but they are totally honest about being unfriendly.
>
> Apple and Microsoft aren't evil because they're honest about being
> evil? That sounds like the same planet where we should just be happy
> about Bell and Rogers controlling everything.
>
>
Well, I think it's a little more nuanced than that.

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