Give X to charity, get 2X in return
Yesterday we wrote about some of the charitable work whose main purpose is to stifle the growing adoption of GNU/Linux, to which youngsters are increasingly introduced and exposed. Moments ago we brought up this highlight again because there are follow-up stories (further manipulation in Europe). By this stage, several articles on the Web have emerged and they speak about the intent to have children ‘addicted’ to Windows, just as Bill Gates wanted (by his own admission). There is an new article in Forbes which explains why Windows does not belong in schools. To quote a portion:
The current school system makes this hard, however. To see why, picture Microsoft Windows. It, like schools, is highly interdependent–you can’t build or change one component unless you build or change the others, because each component affects the way the others function. Changing just a few lines of Microsoft Windows’ code would necessitate rewriting thousands of other lines. A custom-configured version of Microsoft Windows would therefore cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
Contrast this with Linux, which is a modular system. Anyone from the open-source community can tinker with one part of the code and produce a custom-configured operating system. Modularity allows for affordable customization, while the economics of interdependence mandate standardization.
To educate every child, schools must migrate to a modular architecture–from the current teacher-centric classroom to a child-centric classroom–so they can customize for each child. Computer-based learning offers a way. It is inherently modular and therefore easier and less expensive to customize to the way each child learns.
It was worrisome to see that this article got published only after Forbes had let Bill Gates sneak his own column in, It was self-promotional, as was the ‘plug’ Intel got into the Wall Street Journal last week. Intel used its corporate influence and control of media to defend itself after its malicious abuses against a charity. Its own employees wrote articles that got published in attempt to rewrite history and restore the company’s image.
Such media control is nothing out of the ordinary and it often comes to show who controls (not just indirectly funds) a publication. The BBC’s Web site, despite being a taxpayers-funded site, now gives room for Bill Gates to sell his products as well. It needn’t be said again that the BBC has been serving Microsoft ever since they entered a partnership. And speaking of such activities and misconduct, check out this new bit of spin on the iPlayer. As Groklaw puts it:
This blog post by the VP of Digital Content Services at VeriSign celebrates the success of the iPlayer launch, but does not mention that viewers prefer the streaming version over the Kontiki version 8 to 1.
Moreover, the BBC shows that it’s willing to do what it is too little, too late.
Ok, so I know that people think that Dirac disappeared into a black hole some while ago but we’re still hanging in there and getting it done. We’re just coming up to some really major milestones and things are looking really exciting. First, Dirac (or part of it) is going to be an international standard. Yay! We made a cut-down version doing intra coding only and this has only just been submitted to the SMPTE. If it goes through it will become VC-2 (Windows Media 9 became VC-1 when they standardised it). After a lot of hard work fighting SMPTE’s preferred Word format (yuk) it went in just before Christmas and is being voted on as a Committee Draft as I write this.
Think of it as self defense. The BBC is being ripped to pieces at the moment for misuse of public money.
Going back on topic, we have received a couple of E-mails from a reader who wishes to express his opinions about the latest move by Microsoft. He saw a headline in the local paper and it sais “Bill Gates touts ‘creative capitalism’“. While
Dana Blakenhorn Paula Rooney sees this as a sign of embrace of Free software principles (as in “Microsoft is learning from us”), our reader has a different idea. Here is what he says:
The story itself is fairly content-free with all of the appropriate sound bits about “making capitalism work for the poor people” and “the world’s getting better, but not fast enough”, etc.
I did a quick search and it appears that this so-call “Red PC” (from communist Mikrosoft?) is just a rebranded Dell PC with Vista. It comes packaged with stuff from a bunch of other companies as well including some Microsoft rivals. There is some tie-in with the Gates Foundation, so I suppose this is yet another example of use of the Foundation to further Microsoft’s competitive interests. I believe the real target here is Free Software.
“Clearly, by donating PCs bundled with Windows, they aim to create a dependency of the recipients on Windows.”Now that I think of it, it ties in with with the above assertion if you take the Gates Foundation as an example of a well-established, liberal organisation. Clearly, by donating PCs bundled with Windows, they aim to create a dependency of the recipients on Windows. It’s a sort of variant on the quote “if there’s piracy, I’d rather that they pirate ours … then we can figure out how to collect later.” Longer term, Gates thinks that, if these currently “third world” countries can emerge, they can become loyal Microsoft customers by virtue of accepting all of these donated PCs running Windows and of having a populace that knows and expects Windows.
Whereas I see that free software has an aim closer to what Nietzsche advocated. Empower the users. They should not allow themselves to become subservient. It’s better to teach a man to fish than it is to give him free meals day after day.
I realise using Nietzsche may be controversial and that he’s a frequently misunderstood philosopher. He had the misfortune of having a sister who inherited his estate after he died, was interested in his philosophy but was also incapable of understanding it. Thus it later was used to justify things that he explicitly denounced, such as nationalism and anti-Semitism. It’s akin to how Microsoft would like to marginalise free software. Free software is a fundamentally good idea, but beware if we allow hostile entities to define it. █