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10.18.07

Other Reasons for Microsoft to Invade the Linux and Open Source Worlds

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Novell, OSI, Steve Ballmer, Xen at 11:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Monopoly has money

A few days ago we saw Microsoft successfully invading the OSI. This came a couple of weeks after Steve Ballmer had said that he wants all open source to happen on top Windows (with no planned support for other platforms).

Mind the following bits of news. Microsoft now independently says that it plans many small acquisitions and Steve Ballmer has just saed that Microsoft will buy open source companies.

“We will do some buying of companies that are built around open-source products,” Ballmer said during an onstage interview at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

They have already (virtually) snatched XenSource for half a billion dollars, using the Citrix proxy. They had put some Microsoft execs inside XenSource before that acquisition was made. Also mind the following new article:

Dan Kusnetzky: If we look at Citrix’s portfolio, every single piece, service or product offering is matched by something Microsoft is pushing now. That, in essence, means that Microsoft is trying to acquire the business Over 800,000 High Quality Domains Available For Your Business. Click Here. that Citrix has and slowly remove Citrix from the limelight and off to the sidelines. … needed a broader strategy, one that wasn’t focused solely on access mechanisms. The acquisition of XenSource gives them a broader story.

“We have already seen how Novell was used by Microsoft to affect the GPL, patent FUD, virtualisation, and OOXML.”Microsoft cannot compete, so it buys out the competition. This is classic abuse of monopoly power through elimination of rivals (Linux primarily). Proxy strategies are evasive and the FTC won’t spot them, either. Instead of producing software to rival threats, Microsoft wants to acquire the threats and then never have to compete against them. It was months ago that a Microsoft executive admitted that Microsoft does not usually develop software; it buys it instead.

So, what have we here at the end of the day? Someone that fears virtualisation, which is a disruptive trend by all means, snatched XenSource (by proxy), made a deal with a company that brings open source software to Windows, and paid Zend to optimise PHP for Windows (at the expense of Linux, i.e. discrimination by acquisition).

This is all happening just days after the Microsoft ‘Trojan horse’ entered the Open Source Initiative (OSI) with its own self-serving licences (and quite possibly, Microsoft board members to join and influence the OSI). We have already seen how Novell was used by Microsoft to affect the GPL, patent FUD, virtualisation, and OOXML.

What will it be now that OSI has surrendered to Microsoft? And why is Bruce Perens keeping so quiet on this issue (I did raise the question in his site yesterday, but he never uttered a word)?

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5 Comments

  1. Eric Gearhart said,

    October 19, 2007 at 8:45 am

    Gravatar

    “Invading the OSI”? They submitted licenses for approval, they checked out OK, and the OSI approved them. What is the alternative? It would have been hypocritical for the OSI to just say “You’re Microsoft, so you don’t get to submit licenses to us.”

    From the article you linked to:
    “The Open Source Initiative has announced that the OSI Board has approved the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL) and the Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL) as satisfying the criteria of the Open Source Definition, following their submission in August.”

    License was submitted. License satisfied the definition of being an Open Source License. License is certified by OSI as an open source license. Where was the OSI “invaded” by Microsoft?

  2. aw shit said,

    October 19, 2007 at 8:58 am

    Gravatar

    Perhaps on the fact that those licenses govern use and are full of patent FUD friendly stuff. But hey, I am just guessing.

    I’ll begin to call my stuff Free software or “Libre software”, Thanks to OSI now “open source” does not mean anything at all.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 19, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Gravatar

    Eric,

    What what the other Eric (Raymond) said:

    This is not behavior that we, as a community, can live with. Despite my previous determination, I find I’m almost ready to recommend that OSI tell Microsoft to ram its licenses up one of its own orifices, even if they are technically OSD compliant. Because what good is it to conform to the letter of OSD if you’re raping its spirit?

    But hey! What is Eric Raymond to the OSI anyway? [sarcasm /]

  4. Eric Gearhart said,

    October 19, 2007 at 9:55 am

    Gravatar

    What I’m saying is if the past actions of an entity, be it a company or person, has anything to do with them submitting a license for approval by the OSI, it should be explicitly spelled out in OSI’s definition of “What an open source license is.”

    If a license conforms to the definition, then it shouldn’t matter who submits it. If they rejected it based on the submitter “not adhering to the spirit of Open Source” then “adhering to the spirit” should be specifically spelled out in the OSI’s definition and requirements.

    Do you see what I’m saying here? I know the community screams “Microsoft is the devil” but that shouldn’t matter when it comes to certifying a license as an OSS license.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 19, 2007 at 10:19 am

    Gravatar

    Do you see what I’m saying here?

    It depends. The ISO faces a dilemma similar to that of the OSI. Both of them are watching a system that is clearly being misused and/or abused (see Raymond’s comment above). Because their rules are too weak they just wind up saying: “well, we made a mistake here, so we shall go down with the ship rather than fix the holes.”

    Another similar dilemma was tied to the GNU GPL. Novell found a way around the license and whilst it complied with the rules of the licence, it broke and violated its spirit.

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