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01.25.08

FUD, Litigation, Unsubstantiated Accusations Against GNU/Linux

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, SCO at 12:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Liberal institutions straightway cease from being liberal the moment they are soundly established: once this is attained no more grievous and more thorough enemies of freedom exist than liberal institutions.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

The quote above goes well with articles which involve free market think-tanks (i.e. like the Alexis de Toqueville Institute, which accused Linus Torvalds of code plagiarism). It certainly brings back memories of the dying SCO and also of Microsoft, which secretly attempted to fight Linux from legal fronts (the ‘pawns’ include Tanenbaum, who was too ethical to be ‘corrupted’). This has never truly stopped. There is almost nothing that would stop unethical companies from making self-promotional lies and accusations.

Sam Varghese has just made us aware of an article where this phenomenon gets further explored and exposed. He refers to another element of it as FOSS spinmeistery.

In August 2003, a little more than three months after the SCO Group had filed a lawsuit against IBM, seeking damages for alleged breach of contract, I had an email exchange with Blake Stowell, who was then the public relations manager of the former company.

[...]

But the spinmeister cannot do this – he or she has no skills in this direction and there are few companies which are looking to hire incompetent “advocates” or “consultants.” One thus finds that the spinmeister, in many instances, sets up his or her own consultancy and actively uses his or her position in the FOSS sphere to generate business. Self-promotion comes easy to this breed, dishonesty and a lack of integrity is close behind.

The article as a whole is worth a read. There is also this other new essay which addresses the FUD Microsoft has used against GNU/Linux.

My favorite, classic FUD comes from Steve Ballmer. “There’s no company called Linux, there’s barely a Linux road map. Yet Linux sort of springs organically from the earth. And it had, you know, the characteristics of communism that people love so very, very much about it.” Here, Ballmer went to the route of the American psyche. How many Americans, to this day, still cringe a little in fear at the voicing of “communism”? If there’s anyway to turn Americans off from buying a Linux PC, it’s to emblazon the image of a big, red, Soviet Flag on the face of Linux, to conjure up an image of Fidel Castro reciting his communist propaganda from a speech he’d written on his openoffice,org word processor, to strike fear into our hearts at the thought of a Wisconsin Senator named Joe McCarthy barging into our houses in the middle of the night to send us away to prison for life because we owned an Ubuntu PC. I can’t say if this FUD actually worked; it was so preposterous, and so few people give any credence to what Ballmer says anymore, that people might have just laughed at it. But it does show the depths to which proprietary software makers will go to keep the Linux and open source software threat out of their wallets.

As we found out recently, the company goes further than this. ‘Thanks’ to Novell, Microsoft now makes money from so-called ‘communism’. It also dumps 'donations' in order to ‘save’ the world from so-called ‘communism’.

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