08.27.07

Why Microsoft’s and Novell’s Role Cannot be Ignored

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, SCO at 6:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In the past, the raison d’être of this Web site needed to be explained. There are skeptics around and they are sometimes equipped with false, selective, and/or incomplete information.

Linus Torvalds, like many other developers, prefers to ignore the effects of non-technical issues such as the Novell/Microsoft deal. He is either uninvolved or indifferent. The same goes for some technical writers, apparently. It does not make much sense on the one hand, but on the other hand, you can probably see how programmers get distracted by abuse and sabotage. It is difficult to escape issues that revolve around the technical circles. Should they also ignore the likes of SCO?

There is some detailed information in a response with followups to a somewhat controversial opinion.

Yesterday’s title was “Time to Write About Something Besides Redmond”. I attempted to make a point about moving our attention from non-productive to productive behavior.

Bruce Byfield is no exception. He seems to think that Microsoft’s Linux deals are not a threat, but perhaps he is simply unaware of the deals’ purpose and consequences. The media’s gross bias does not help here. From Bruce’s blog:

Consider, for example, the variety of responses that Microsoft has made to free software in the last year. It’s tried co-opting companies like Novell, Linspire, and Xandros. It’s made unsupported threats about patent violations in GNU/Linux. It’s talked about wanting to cooperate with the free software community. Just ask yourself: Are these the actions of the winning side? Or are they a sign that the company is desperately looking for a winning strategy in a losing fight, or divided internally?

The truth is, free software has come a long way from its days of vulnerability.

Be aware of the scale of damage these Linux deals have brought. To make the argument succinct and easy to consume, a visual mindmap was created. Microsoft would love to see Linux writers claiming victory after the deals and thus remain oblivious to what is actually happening as a result of these deals. Never turn your back on a hostile competitor that has sworn to “slaughter” you. The deals have serious consequences. It’s time to become aware of them.

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4 Comments

  1. Bruce Byfield said,

    August 27, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Gravatar

    I think you meant to write that you believe I am *unaware* of the deals.

    If so, apparently you have never considered that a middle ground exists between being mentally consumed by a threat and seeing no threat whatsoever.

    Another thing: an identity that is based on opposition to another group is an unstable one, unhealthy and stuck in a reactive mode. Personally, I’d like to see a less time in the free software community spent reacting to Microsoft and more spent building an alternative to it.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 27, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    Gravatar

    Bruce,

    Thanks, I’ve proofread the post (I usually put pace before polish) and I had spotted that “unaware” slip just before I read your comment.

    Being “mentally consumed by a threat” is what you get when you become intimately familiar with Microsoft’s predatory past. I have read many memos from Comes vs Microsoft and I see patterns that repeat themselves. I try to share my assessment here and back my contentions using factual proof. If you find something erroneous with the assessment, be specific so that we can improve upon the knowledge that we have.

    Personally, I’d like to see a less time in the free software community spent reacting to Microsoft and more spent building an alternative to it.

    I strongly agree. However, as you certainly know, better products do not always win. Consider many of the standard wars, including Blu-ray and ODF. Money is being used to subvert and affect natural judgment. SCO is used as a bogus legal weapon to hinder adoption of Linux.

    Nice guys finish last. I hate this song title, but it’s true. By no means do I suggest that Linux should stop being nice. We should become aware of the fact that a competitor does not play nice and understand how we can face this.

  3. Jared Spurbeck said,

    August 28, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    Gravatar

    I find it important to keep track of Microsoft’s dealings. They’re tricky and malicious. The last thing we want is to fall into a trap, and they’re _always_ trying to set traps for us. That’s why I subscribed to your blog: It brings useful information to light.

    Reading it, though, I can’t help but feel depressed. With the exception of Do-No-Evil Saturdays, it seems that all you report is bad news. Every day, more and more articles about evil people doing bad things, with the injunction that SOMEONE has to stop them but without any faith that they’ll do so.

    Do you honestly believe good will win in the end? Or do you believe, as you said, that “nice guys finish last?”

    I don’t know if Linux can beat Microsoft. Linux itself can’t easily be killed, but Microsoft can still do a lot to stifle adoption of Linux. They can pass laws, create standards, and bribe international committees in order to lock the world into their technology. Just thinking about it makes me upset.

    Fury with Microsoft is how I got into Linux. I wanted to use anything other than Windows, and I didn’t care what. But once there, I found something more than just anti-Microsoft sentiment and hard-to-install drivers. I found Ubuntu, and the message that they embody. I found a friendly, uplifting community and a real software alternative — not just generic-brand Windows, like Linspire tries to be, but the future of desktop computing.

    I want to help stop Microsoft, by promoting something that’s better. But I can’t if I become so depressed that I decide it’s impossible. That’s why I am unsubscribing from your RSS feed.

    I hope things go well for you, and that you continue to help people to know what’s going on. But I hope you don’t become so convinced of evil’s strength that you decide that their victory is inevitable.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 28, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Gravatar

    I find it important to keep track of Microsoft’s dealings. They’re tricky and malicious. The last thing we want is to fall into a trap, and they’re _always_ trying to set traps for us. That’s why I subscribed to your blog: It brings useful information to light.

    Thanks, Jared.

    Reading it, though, I can’t help but feel depressed. With the exception of Do-No-Evil Saturdays, it seems that all you report is bad news. Every day, more and more articles about evil people doing bad things, with the injunction that SOMEONE has to stop them but without any faith that they’ll do so.

    If you read my postings elsewehere on the Web, you’ll see that I advocate Linux directly (without necessarily mentioning ‘opposition’). Shane created this site and I thought it could be used in a way similar to Groklaw. It is intended to describe the plots and debunk FUD. It’s not necessarily fun reading, but if we remain unaware of the Big picture, we’ll get backstabbed.

    Do you honestly believe good will win in the end? Or do you believe, as you said, that “nice guys finish last?”

    While I don’t focus on these aspects in this blog, Microsoft is in a poor state at the moment, but it’s very, very good at hiding it. Google and Free software are its greatest threats. IBM is another.

    I don’t know if Linux can beat Microsoft. Linux itself can’t easily be killed, but Microsoft can still do a lot to stifle adoption of Linux. They can pass laws, create standards, and bribe international committees in order to lock the world into their technology. Just thinking about it makes me upset.

    The dysphoric nature of the writings here is supposed not to invoke shock or hatred, but to bring awareness. I disagree with Bruce on this.

    Fury with Microsoft is how I got into Linux. I wanted to use anything other than Windows, and I didn’t care what. But once there, I found something more than just anti-Microsoft sentiment and hard-to-install drivers. I found Ubuntu, and the message that they embody. I found a friendly, uplifting community and a real software alternative — not just generic-brand Windows, like Linspire tries to be, but the future of desktop computing.

    I firmly believe that GNU/Linux is better for getting one’s work done, but it depends on the field one is in. To many, it’s about becoming the early adopters and demanding change. It’s about compromises and ambitions.

    I want to help stop Microsoft, by promoting something that’s better. But I can’t if I become so depressed that I decide it’s impossible. That’s why I am unsubscribing from your RSS feed.

    That’s perfectly fine. The information that is posted here is intended to provide insight into areas that are scarcely explored by others. If you ever wish to know more about the story, then stop by. :-)

    I hope things go well for you, and that you continue to help people to know what’s going on. But I hope you don’t become so convinced of evil’s strength that you decide that their victory is inevitable.

    Apathy and complacency are too dangerous. OSI, OOXML, and Linux deals are too hard to ignore. By telling the other side of the story, we can balance people’s judgment. I know about several journalists who read this site regularly. If we broaden their perspective, then we achieve something.

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