In 1983, when I started the free software movement, malware was so rare that each case was shocking and scandalous. Now it’s normal.

To be sure, I am not talking about viruses. Malware is the name for a program designed to mistreat its users. Viruses typically are malicious, but software products and software preinstalled in products can also be malicious – and often are, when not free/libre.

In 1983, the software field had become dominated by proprietary (ie nonfree) programs, and users were forbidden to change or redistribute them. I developed the GNU operating system, which is often called Linux, to escape and end that injustice. But proprietary developers in the 1980s still had some ethical standards: they sincerely tried to make programs serve their users, even while denying users control over how they would be served.

How far things have sunk. Developers today shamelessly mistreat users; when caught, they claim that fine print in EULAs (end user licence agreements) makes it ethical. (That might, at most, make it lawful, which is different.) So many cases of proprietary malware have been reported, that we must consider any proprietary program suspect and dangerous. In the 21st century, proprietary software is computing for suckers.

What sorts of wrongs are found in malware? Some programs are designed to snoop on the user. Some are designed to shackle users, such as Digital Rights Management (DRM). Some have back doors for doing remote mischief. Some even impose censorship. Some developers explicitly sabotage their users.

What kinds of programs constitute malware? Operating systems, first of all. Windows snoops on users, shackles users and, on mobiles, censors apps; it also has a universal back door that allows Microsoft to remotely impose software changes. Microsoft sabotages Windows users by showing security holes to the NSA before fixing them.

Apple systems are malware too: MacOS snoops and shackles; iOS snoops, shackles, censors apps and has a back door. Even Android contains malware in a nonfree component: a back door for remote forcible installation or deinstallation of any app.

What about nonfree apps? Plenty of malware there. Even humble flashlight apps for phones were found to be reporting data to companies. A recent study found that QR code scanner apps also snoop.

Apps for streaming services tend to be the worst, since they are designed to shackle users against saving a copy of the data that they receive, as well as making users identify themselves so their viewing and listening habits can be tracked.

The Free Software Foundation reports on many more cases of proprietary malware.

Microsoft tightens privacy policy after admitting to reading journalist’s emails

Read more

What about other digital products? We know about the smart TV and the Barbie doll that transmit conversations remotely. Proprietary software in cars that stops those we used to call “car owners” from fixing “their” cars. If the car itself does not report everywhere you drive, an insurance company may charge you extra to go without a separate tracker. Meanwhile, some GPS navigators save up where you have gone in order to report back when connected to update the maps.

Amazon’s Kindle e-reader reports what page of what book is being read, plus all notes and underlining the user enters; it shackles the user against sharing or even freely giving away or lending the book, and has an Orwellian back door for erasing books.

Should you trust an internet of proprietary software things?
Don’t be an ass.

The companies that sell malware are skilled at spinning the malfunctionalities as services to the consumer but they could offer most of these services with freedom and anonymity if they wanted to.

It is fashionable to recognise the viciousness of today’s computing only to declare resistance unthinkable. Many claim that no one could resist gratification for mere freedom and privacy. But it’s not as hard as they say. We can resist:

Individually, by rejecting proprietary software and web services
that snoop or track.

Collectively, by organising to develop free/libre replacement systems and web services that don’t track who uses them.

Democratically, by legislation to criminalise various sorts of malware practices. This presupposes democracy, and democracy requires defeating treaties such as the TPP and TTIP that give companies the power to suppress democracy.

For exhaustive lists and reviews of FOSS (Free and Open-Source Software) Alternatives: osalt.com

We gotta start taking the plunge at some point.

3

A Good Gardener, a relaxing and intriguing game made for the Ludum Dare 32, has you tending to mysterious plants during a war.

A war is going on in the world. You have become a prisoner who must spend their days in solitude, planting strange seeds for the war effort. You are not told what these plants do or why you are planting them. A supervisor comes to visit you every once in a while, but most days are the same. You receive a package of seeds in this broken building with no roof. You can plant these seeds and water them, then go to bed. 

When the supervisor comes to visit, he talks about your work and how well you are doing. He even harvests the plants, without much comment. As you continue playing, he starts to like you. You can even win a medal for your wartime efforts. Being in such a beautiful, flowering area during the war is somewhat lucky. You have quite the simple and pleasant existence pottering away in the garden. Stick around and find out what these plants are being used for!

Play A Good Gardener, Free

3

Lucid is a charming platforming action adventure set across a vast land in which you must collect 13 eggs, featuring superb pixel art animation and a great soundtrack.

The open exploration and audio/visual design of Lucid is fondly reminiscent of Fez, as you explore the picturesque world at your own pace, uncovering it’s secrets and beauty.  There are dangers in this world, such as spikes and bats, but on the whole it’s a very pleasant place to be.  

Lucid’ is actually a very fitting name and it really is a joy exploring this well crafted, chilled out platforming adventure.

Play the Full Game, Free

4

The Hard Rock Riffs is a very cool musical action game in which you must use combinations of keys on your keyboard to strum classic rock riffs, fending off your adoring fans long enough to make it to the limo.

The current build has two levels, each with different riffs sampled from classic songs (Back in Black & Sweet Child of Mine) and featuring charming little pixel art representations of Angus Young (AC/DC) and Slash (Guns & Roses) who are making a dash for their limo after a gig.  Unfortunately for them, their fans have other ideas and start to mob them, clinging on to them and slowing them down – if twenty manage to grab a hold of you at the same time you can kiss that limo goodbye.

To fend off your adoring fans, you can strum out riffs on your guitars, you have a choice of your different riffs, available through different button combos.  Aside from sounding cool, these riffs help you shake off fans, with each different riff used to shake off a different type of fan (so you can’t just keep paying the same riff over and over again).

Created for Ludum Dare 32, The Hard Rock Riffs is a fun game that we’d love to see expanded on with more characters and songs.  The Innovative riff-based gameplay is a joy to play around with and the pixel art animation of the rock stars is adorable.  Rock on.

Play The Hard Rock Riffs, Free

2

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Parallax is a first-person puzzle game with two overlapping worlds. Weave back and forth between black and white as you try to be in the right place, in the right dimension, at the right time. Use switches, boosters and gravity to help you reach the exit. Can you conquer every mind-bending level?

Buy at IndieGameStand https://indiegamestand.com/deal/

Available for Mac, Linux, and Windows

Если бы вам предложили встречаться с девушкой или поставить Линукс, то какой дистрибутив вы бы выбрали?

speeldoos asked:

Do you think the benefits of using Linux outweigh the disadvantages? (For me, I do miss gaming a bit but at the same time, I like using my current distro because I can do things that I wouldn't be able to get away with in Windows. For example, I like having an easily accessible command prompt and I feel more productive with my hobbies such as programming, hardware and other things.)

Personally, I use Windows as well as Linux. One of the only reasons I had Linux on a laptop is purely because having the machine readily available to find bugs and fix stuff when I was a Funtoo developer. I love Linux on servers. I know a lot of people have given me shit for also using Windows, but I like to game and Linux just isn’t there yet. And the amount of money I’ve spent on games can’t justify switching to a platform full time that does not support most of them. And some days, I just want to use something that is going to work. Windows has it’s purpose, as does Linux and OS X. That’s my subjective reply.

The objective reply would be that I think that Linux has it’s benefits and it’s disadvantages, but whether or not either/or outweighs each other is purely based on the persons own opinion. For me, I’ll continue to use Linux on laptops because Windows is so heavy, that even on some higher-end hardware on laptops it lags a bit. And I still help out with Funtoo, and for writing code or connecting to servers, etc. it’s much easier. But it all really boils down to the person.

Some people are completely satisfied for using Linux for everything, while others either dual-boot (which I hate and won’t do), or have a machine of Windows/OS X and Linux. Others, don’t like having to constantly use alternatives for other software that sometimes just is not as good as the original. Both of these are okay, there’s nothing wrong with using either. As i said, each has a purpose. The attitude that some Linux users hold really annoys me, and really need to get over the elitism. But, that’s just my two cents.

tl;dr It depends on the person.

The inmates are using Linux, which is very cool!

“So perhaps it’s no wonder that San Quentin is now a place where over the last month, these 18 inmates have begun learning to code, line-by-line, on discarded state office computers that have been refurbished as Ubuntu desktops.

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