QuoTW This was the week when Microsoft hit the news in a big way – and none of it very good. First, we discovered that things had gotten so bad between former Microsoft bosses Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer that they don’t even speak to each other anymore.
It seems that Ballmer wanted to hang on in the top spot at Redmond until 2017, but ended up leaving early when he clashed with the board over the proposed slurp of Nokia’s Devices and Services business. When he handed in his notice, no-one was expecting it. He says he told the board:
That was my best idea. If we're not going to do it, then you need to get someone else who will have the next big idea.
Eventually, Microsoft did go ahead with the acquisition but not in the way Ballmer was hoping – and that was when he knew he had to go. Gates had been part of the faction that opposed Ballmer’s plan, and it wasn’t the first time the pair had clashed. Ballmer claimed:
He didn't know how to let me be CEO, and I didn't know how to do it.
It doesn’t look like Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s current CEO, is going to be any less controversial than his predecessor after some shocking comments at a women in tech conference. After being asked what advice he would give to women looking for a payrise, Nadella said:
It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise.
That might be one of the initial “super powers” that quite frankly, women (who) don’t ask for a raise have. It’s good karma. It will come back.
That’s right, women. Shut up and stay in the office on less money than your male counterparts. Naturally, once the conference was over and Nadella realised what a monumental gaffe he’d just made, he was quick to try and clarify his comments on Twitter:
Was inarticulate re how women should ask for raise. Our industry must close gender pay gap so a raise is not needed because of a bias #GHC14— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) October 9, 2014
And then in a memo to staff, he further clarified that what he’d said earlier was completely and utterly wrong:
Today I was interviewed on stage by Maria Klawe at the Grace Hopper Conference ... Toward the end of the interview, Maria asked me what advice I would offer women who are not comfortable asking for pay raises. I answered that question completely wrong.
Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programs at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap.
I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved, Maria’s advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.
Needless to say, the Twittersphere was not kind to Nadella:
I think what Satya Nadella really wanted to say was, don't ask ME for a raise. Probably holds true for all genders.— Kevin G. Dickey (@kgdickey) October 10, 2014
Meanwhile, Lennart Poettering, creator of the systemd management software for Linux, has said that the open-source world is “sick” - and he blames angry top penguin Linus Torvalds for that. He said in a Google+ post:
Much of the Open Source community tries to advertise the community as one happy place to the outside. Where contributions are valued only by their technical quality, and everybody meets at conferences for beers. Well, it is not like that. It's quite a sick place to be in.
I'd actually put some blame on a certain circle of folks that play a major role in kernel development, and first and foremost Linus Torvalds himself. By many he is a considered a role model, but he is quite a bad one. If he posts words like "[specific folks] ...should be retroactively aborted. Who the f*ck does idiotic things like that? How did they not die as babies, considering that they were likely too stupid to find a tit to suck on?" (google for it), than that's certainly bad. But what I find particularly appalling is the fact that he regularly defends this, and advertises this as an efficient way to run a community. (But it is not just Linus, it's a certain group of people around him who use the exact same style, some of which semi-publicly even fantasise about the best ways to, ... well, kill me).
But no, it's not an efficient way to run a community. If Linux had success, then that certainly happened despite, not because of this behaviour. I am pretty sure the damage being done by this is quite obvious, it not only sours the tone in the Linux community, it is also teaches new contributors to adopt the same style, but that only if it doesn't scare them away in the first place.
In other words: A fish rots from the head down.
Poettering said he didn’t mind use of the word “fuck”, but he was concerned that the Linux community was not a friendly place for people to just get on with their work:
My personal conclusion out of all this is mostly just that I don't want to have much to do with the worst offenders, and the communities they run. My involvement with the kernel community ended pretty much before it even started, I never post on LKML, and haven't done in years. Also, in our own project we are policing posts. We regularly put a few folks on moderation on the mailing list, and we will continue to do so. Currently, the systemd community is fantastic, and I really hope we can keep it that way.
And that's all about this topic from me. I have no intentions to ever talk about this again on a public forum.
The nude celebrity photo hack scandal continued this week, with lawyers threatening to sue Google for failing to pull down the stolen private images from its search results. In a letter to the Chocolate Factory the legal eagles said they represented over a dozen female celebrities and they were prepared to take Google to court for profiting from the “victimisation of women”.
We are writing concerning Google’s despicable, reprehensible conduct in not only failing to act expeditiously and responsibly to remove the images, but in knowingly accommodating, facilitating and perpetuating the unlawful conduct.
As a result of your blatantly unethical behaviour, Google is exposed to significant liability and both compensatory and punitive damages that could well exceed one hundred million dollars.
The lawyers claim that Google has failed to comply with DMCA takedown requests on the photos, despite the fact that other smaller sites and hosts have managed to do it. They said that YouTube was refusing to allow the takedown of the images through its expedited content verification process, which would speed up their removal. Meanwhile, the pictures could still be found through the search engine:
Google has exhibited the lowest standards of ethical business conduct, and has acted dishonourably by allowing and perpetuating unlawful activity that exemplifies and utter lack of respect for women and privacy. Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto is a sham.
However, Google said that it is actively taking down the images and has pulled thousands so far:
We've removed tens of thousands of pictures - within hours of the requests being made - and we have closed hundreds of accounts. The internet is used for many good things. Stealing people's private photos is not one of them.
Apple has killed the boyhood nostalgia of many a fanboi by closing a loophole in the next version of iOS 8 that had allowed them to run console emulators on iPhones and iPads. The fruity firm has plugged up a date-time workaround that allowed folks to download the app.
Dario Sepulveda, who runs a website dedicated to the Nintendo emulator GBA4iOS, wailed that Apple "is slowly killing everything we love":
This was a long time coming. We knew this would one day arrive. After the Date Trick became famous earlier last year, our panic subsided and we learned to live a period of peace knowing that even though some of our favourite emulators’ certificates were revoked by Apple, we could still install these emulators by rolling our date back - we came to believe it was something that would last. Apple, it seems, had other plans.
He graciously conceded that Apple needed to respect copyright and trademarks, but said that he would be trying to “adapt and move on” with what they’d learned from the latest iOS8 dev kit.
And finally, we all know that the internet is a great and wonderful thing that allows the free exchange of ideas, businesses to thrive and all of us to have jobs. We also know that the internet is a den of iniquity, populated with trolls, hackers and cyber-terrorists. However, did you also know that the internet is your god?
So claims activist, musician and newly minted religious leader Alexander Bard, who’s founded a new religion called Syntheism. The Swede told The Guardian:
In Christianity, one of the last things Jesus said to his disciples was ‘I will always be with you’, meaning that the Holy Ghost is the manifestation of God when the believers are together. The internet is 7 billion people connected together in real time, and if that isn’t the holy spirit then I don’t know what it is.
Religion is first practised then formulated. Saint Paul wrote his letters after Christianity was being practised across the Roman Empire. I firmly believe that Syntheism is already being practised and we are just formulating it.
He goes on in a slightly more histrionic vein:
What we have been lacking up to now is the storytelling. Someone has to do the fucking Immanuel Kant for the new age. So Syntheism is preparing the way for a new elite and I am one of its storytellers. For my friend Julian Assange what Syntheism does is to create a bigger story for WikiLeaks. It is the popular movement that could support something like WikiLeaks eventually.
At the moment it is a hybrid of old individualistic models and the new ones where people really get involved with each other and do something together with them. This is called interactivity and is a key part of a participatory culture... (continued pg.94)
All of this enlightenment came to Bard while he was “lying next to a beautiful naked actress at Burning Man”. But it’s not all flowers, candy and sweet hipster living in the Syntheist’s life. There are dark forces at work that could spark a religious war:
The state and the big corporations will want to control the web – the new netocracy will want it to be free and open.
It will be a physical conflict and it is the Netocrats online who will start the revolution, not the workers in the factory. We don’t know who will win but we hope it is the young people, unless they throw too many atomic bombs.