01.19.07

Novell’s Role in a Microsoft Crusade Against Genuine Open Source Software

Posted in Deception, FUD, Microsoft, Novell at 9:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There appears to be a coordinated effort by Microsoft to corrupt the term “Open Source” and make its merits less visible (if at all visible). It’s terminology assassination. There are more and more attempts to corrupt the term through media announcements and strategic moves such as the deal with Novell. To put it simply, Microsoft’s new scheme is:

If The World Wants Open Source, We’ll Pretend to Be Open Source and Thereby Corrupt the Term

The deal with Novell gives people the wrong impression with regards to Microsoft’s intents at heart. Now that the European Commission favours Open Source for savings, Microsoft clearly tries to create confusion. The Novell deal was only the beginning. Have a look at the following article titled “Microsoft and Open Source: The Real Deal?”. It is summed up as follows.

Sure looks like it, based on the company’s partnership with Novell.

Also today I find articles such as:

Why Microsoft should open-source SQL Server and SharePoint

This time, the former Softie is making a case for why Microsoft should consider open-sourcing some of its crown jewels, including SQL Server and SharePoint.

Alas, wait until you see what Microsoft means by “Open Source”. From another headline that appeared yesterday:

Aras Ushering in ‘Microsoft Enterprise Open Source’

Aras Innovator 8 requires Microsoft Windows Server 2003 with .NET 2.0 and Microsoft SQL Server 2005. The software is freely available from the Aras website. The software’s CodePlex project page is located here.

Clearly enough, a Microsoft-exclusive software house claims to be “Open Source”. These press releases have gone too far and wide, especially if one considers the obscurity of the company at hand.

Dave Rosenberg (of MuleSource) was justifiably annoyed by this:

Using open source as a marketing ploy

This is typical trend riding fluff. If you go the Aras website you read about “Microsoft Enterprise Open Source Solutions”, which is comical in and of itself.

He too was surprised to see how far a propaganda machine has pushed this story. Take this one for example:

Soft sell for open source apps

Schroer says there’s no contradiction between open source and the Microsoft software ecosystem. “Microsoft has a particular business model that works for them. But around that they’re encouraging open source development,” he explains.

Now, do bear in mind that Microsoft hired Bill Hilf, who would supposedly earn Microsoft a more tender image when it comes to Open Source. There is also Port 25, the Open Source lab at Redmond. It’s part of the confusion-through-assimilation strategy. It’s a Trojan horse or covert-ops routine.

In case you remain unconvinced at this stage, then we advise that you have a look at the videos here and see how Microsoft truly feels about Open Source. It tries to surround it with a morbid, malovalent aura to alter people’s perception. Also bear in mind that their Open Source labs were possible used to validate that Samba was broken (deliberately). It is just one among other things that they apparently ‘research’ there. As another example of a paradox:

A New Evangelist for Microsoft

When I first heard about this? let’s call it “rumor,” I have to admit that I was rather shocked at the very prospect of Microsoft wanting to bring on an “open source” evangelist into their ranks.

Shall we go back a few years and reminds ourselves how Microsoft really feels about Open Source? Among words that create bigots and stereotypes like “cancer” and “communism” we have this:

Microsoft says open-source software is un-American. Has the company completely lost its mind?

Once upon a time, Microsoft executives confined their criticism of Linux and free software to old-fashioned FUD — fear, uncertainty and doubt. Linux wasn’t good enough for enterprise-class systems, they declared. You couldn’t get quality support, and it was too hard and clunky for average users.

Fair enough. But now, judging by comments made Wednesday by Microsoft’s operating systems chief Jim Allchin (and reported by Bloomberg News), it turns out that free and open-source software is something far worse than anyone could possibly have imagined. It is nothing less than a threat to the American way of life!”

So the whole “patriotic duty” tactic is yet again being used. And it’s not the first time, either.

Buy Microsoft, it’s your patriotic duty

That seemed to be the message at the London launch of Microsoft Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange 2007 on 30 November 2006. Gordon Frazer, Microsoft’s UK managing director, devoted most his opening speech to a gallimaufry of statistics and quotations intended to show that buying these new offerings would somehow make Britain more competitive.

With the Novell deal, among other things, Microsoft will wish to fool prospective customers. Novell’s ‘mixed source’ pitch does not help.

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9 Comments

  1. shane said,

    January 19, 2007 at 11:38 am

    Gravatar

    "Open Source" is Dead

    "Open Source" died on November 2 2006, and the next frontier in the language battle will be the word “Free” as in Freedom:

    “I agree with you. This was the week ‘Open Source’ ceased to be a useful phrase because it denoted everything up to and including Microsoft’s attempts to destroy free. Language is subject to this problem. Since the beginning of time uprising movements have taken pleasure in perverting the language of criticism used against them by the ancien regime – the ‘brave beggars’ of the Netherlands, and Yankee Doodle, and the Whigs and the Tories – it’s all the same terms of dis-endearment turned into a weapon. But the game is also played by modern propaganda in the other direction – by turning language into the property of the guy on top: Fox News “Fair & Balanced ™”.

    “What Microsoft did to ‘Open Source’ was what Stallman always said could be done to it: first you take the politics out, and when the veal has been bleached absolutely white, you can cover it with any sauce you like. And that’s what Microsoft did, and ‘Open Source’ became the sauce on top of Microsoft proprietarianism. And once that process has been completed they have to go after the next vocabulary.”

    And now?

    “So now they’re going to try the hard work of cracking ‘Freedom’. Free, well that means stuff you don’t pay for…”

    Further evidence that Novell is now Microsoft’s Linux Division, here were Stafford Masie’s words on the differences between OSS and FOSS during the Q&A session, sounds like Novell is beginning Microsoft’s assault on “Freedom”. A member of the audience asked if Novell Linux Desktop and/or SLED were at this moment compliant with a “FOSS” software policy, and this is Masie’s response:

    what is foss compliancy mean? that its free and you never pay for it? Yeah, you can get derivatives of that, we can give you that , weve got derivatives of that technology that competes with Ubuntu, Red Hat, Fedora, those things, but we’ve got the enterprise versions of our technology too.

    Now, it is clear to me he is referring to OpenSUSE as FOSS compliant, he understands that the enterprise versions of their products are not FOSS, and have proprietary software as well, but I take issue with his interpretation of a FOSS policy. The “F” is for Freedom, and Novell is assisting in diluting the term by inferring it has any other significance.

  2. Draconishinobi said,

    January 20, 2007 at 1:01 am

    Gravatar

    “If The World Wants Open Source, We’ll Pretend to Be Open Source and Thereby Corrupt the Term”

    Well, I suppose nothing is impossible to M$, but this would be quite difficult. I mean open-source means you have access to the source code and can do with it what you like. Not sure how that can be corrupted … leave it to M$ to think of a way :)

  3. Shane Coyle said,

    January 20, 2007 at 1:33 am

    Gravatar

    "I mean open-source means you have access to the source code and can do with it what you like."

    Open Source != Free Software

    Open Source means you have access to the source code.

    Free Software means you can do with it what you like.

  4. Matthew said,

    January 20, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Gravatar

    Open Source = Distributed under GPL

  5. shane said,

    January 20, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Gravatar

    That is untrue, the GPL is not the only open source license. What about BSD? MIT? CDDL?

    There are numerous "open source" licenses, even Microsoft has a few. Here is a listing of OSI approved licenses.

    The difference with the GPL and many other "open source" license, is that the GPL designed to not allow you to restrict the rights of downstream users – you must pass on to them the same rights you have, including source code access.

  6. Draconishinobi said,

    January 21, 2007 at 1:45 am

    Gravatar

    then it must be “Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS)”

  7. shane said,

    January 21, 2007 at 3:21 am

    Gravatar

    Agreed.

    Stafford Masie (Novell Country Manager of South Africa) also makes a point to differentiate the OSS and FOSS streams of Novell’s products.

    The only problem is, "free" can be diluted as a term – made to mean no cost rather than liberty in the minds of the masses. In that vein, FLOSS is a bit more descriptive and perhaps a better acronym.

  8. Draconishinobi said,

    January 21, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Gravatar

    “Free/Libre/Open-Source Software (FLOSS)” is better only because free is ambiguous while libre is not … unless it’s free as in freedom.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 21, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    Gravatar

    @Draconishinobi: Good point. Personally, I ceased to tag items as “Open Source” as often as I used to. I now prefer the term “Free software”. Let’s see the fakers beat Free (not freeware). The wave-hopping phenomenon ought to stop, but it’s not properly enforced. There are also some ‘Open Source’ projects on our side of the fence, which push definitions to their limits. Example may include EnterpriseDB and Sugar CRM. Then there’s Tivoization and Novellization to consider.

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