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04.11.07

Open Source Fights Back Against FUD and Lobbying Efforts

Posted in FUD, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenOffice, SCO, Standard at 10:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This short summary of the latest events should hopefully show you that there is still a lot of ‘funny stuff’ going on.

The exchange of fists between Bruce Perens and a mouthpiece defending Microsoft and Novell continues.

“His employer is widely known as a Microsoft shill [ACT]; his goal is not to help but to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about GPL3,” Perens concluded.

Microsoft lobbying campaign against open indutry standards continues as well.

Perhaps Microsoft is feeling insecure about its chances of having its own XML file format approved as an ISO standard, since lawmakers in Texas especially seem to be leaning toward ODF, writing that the file format must be “controlled by an open industry organization with a well-defined inclusive process for evolution of the standard.” Maybe what Yates and Matusow really meant is that open file formats are good (for Microsoft) only if they’re issued and controlled by Microsoft.

The anti-Groklaw crusaders know no boundaries either, so PJ strikes back in an item titled “SCO Moves for Summary Judgment on Slander of Title in Novell Case”.

So, Lyons and O’Gara both seem to stand before the court with an ethical cloud over their heads. And recently Lyons shows up again, in a SCO exhibit, again helpful to SCO’s litigation agenda, writing more baloney about me, but how valuable will that be under these circumstances? I’ve wondered if Forbes wouldn’t print the latest Lyons hate-PJ material now showing up on his blog, and that is why he was forced to join the blogosphere, ironically enough, but I wouldn’t wish to place the Forbes bar too high. I might get disappointed. But if they did refuse, I commend them for mitigating their damages. It was Lyons, after all, who first insinuated a Groklaw-IBM tie. And it was he who first mentioned the court filing with a different date stamp. He seems deeply, deeply involved, no matter how you look at it, from my perspective.

Rumour: Microsoft Wants to Join Open Solutions Alliance

Posted in Microsoft, Rumour at 4:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This is no joke, but it can’t be confirmed either. If true, this is unsurprising, but disturbing nonetheless.

Apparently, Microsoft agrees with me. A trusted source says Microsoft recently attempted to join the Open Solutions Alliance. The organization, which includes about a dozen open source companies, declined to admit Microsoft into the group because members worried about Microsoft’s motives.

The Trojan horse tried to enter more cities.

Open Source Consortium (UK) Against Microvell Anti-GPLv3 FUD

Posted in Deception, Europe, FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Samba at 3:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Here comes yet another criticism of Microsoft — and perhaps indirectly — Novell as well, for their systematic spreading of FUD about the GPLv3.

Mark Taylor, a former head of the Open Source Consortium in the UK, thinks the whole thing is being blown out of all proportion.

He told us: “The only people worrying about the GPL draft are people like ACT. Everyone else is really pleased with the draft. The original GPL aimed to prevent deals like the one between Novell and Microsoft. They just found a loophole. This draft closes it.”

It is sad to see that there is a struggle of minds and interests here, which leads to disinformation. It is inexcusable. It gets some developers unnecessarily scared of GPLv3. Not everyone judges the text for themselves, so judgment is often made ‘second-hand’.

Media manipulation does not stop there. C|Net has recently published two columns from Microsoft lobbyists, who criticise the European Union for its decision on protocols. It is related to Novell’s effect on Samba. C|Net offers no balance at all, which adds insult to injury, given plenty of their Microsoft adverts that give you “the Facts”.

For context and further reading, here are some related articles on the topic of anti-GPLv3 FUD.

Clearing up anti-GPL3 FUD

Some of the bad publicity about GPL3 is deliberate. A particularly bad article by Dan Lyons of Forbes magazine painted an offensive picture of GPL3 and Richard Stallman, even accusing Stallman of having sex with flowers (!!!) after Lyons failed to comprehend a scientific joke.

Perens Lashes Out at Claims GPL 3 Brings Legal Risks

“Let’s make it clear that [ACT] is Microsoft’s lobbying front and that they are going to paint as negative a picture as they can,” Perens told eWEEK in an interview.

“Obviously, GPL software is displacing Microsoft enough to have them concerned, and it’s doing it at customers who are important to them. A lawyer’s job is to scare the other side if they can–because they know it’s cheaper than winning a case in court,” he said.

ACT Warns of Legal Risk with Latest GPL Draft

But ACT, a Washington-based technology lobby group whose membership includes large companies like eBay, Oracle, Orbitz and VeriSign, and which was founded in 1998 in response to the Microsoft antitrust case, is largely dismissed by those in the open-source community as nothing more than a lobby group for the interests of Microsoft and those other large corporations.

Just to repeat some background information that is truly vital:

“ACT has been accused of being an industry front for Microsoft, promoting a Microsoft-friendly agenda in relation to property rights and anti-trust legislation.”

Long before it employed bloggers to do the job for it, Microsoft hired sympathetic members of the public to make its case in online forums, posing as disinterested citizens. Things got much more professional as the antitrust trial unfurled. After hiring DCI in the late 1990s, Microsoft created two new trade groups, the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), and the Americans for Technology Leadership (ALT), and marshaled campaigns such as “Freedom to Innovate” – encouraging Windows users the chance to make spontaneous gestures of support for Chairman Bill.

These weren’t always too successful. A campaign in 2001 to petition 17 state’s Attorney Generals – who had pooled resources to bring their own antitrust action against Microsoft – resulted in supportive letters being written by dead people.

And the astroturf taint continues today.

Most recently, a spoof video portraying Al Gore as a Penguin was reported to have originated from a computer registered to the DCI Group, although the lobby group said it did not fund or approve the video.

Surely, exectutives at Novell will be pleased to see how ACT is trying to save it from the GPL guillotine. ACT’s anti-Free software agenda, on the other hand, is rather damaging. A love-hate relationship? A foe turned into a friend? One thing seems certain. The line that separates Microsoft and Novell is becoming disturbingly distorted. It sometimes seems as though Novell works with Microsoft, rather than against it. So who is Novell’s rival now? Red Hat Linux or Microsoft Windows?

The mind continues to wander aimlessly. There is clearly a conflict of interests here. Novell, having paid the ‘schoolyard bully’ some ‘protection money’, now relies on the bully. The bully attacks other ‘children’, such as the Free Software Foundation, leaving Novell gleeful over its new protection racket scheme.

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