Fighting water with fire
The last time we wrote about Microsoft’s 'dumping crusade' against GNU/Linux was just under a fortnight ago. This collective item included a new incident and references to our previous writeups about Microsoft’s DreamSpark [1, 2] — essentially another attempt to further close the World Wide Web, making it more Microsoft Windows-dependent.
DreamSpark is more of a NightmareSpark and it’s not gone just yet. You might wish to know that Microsoft is seen dumping ‘lock-inware’ again. This time it’s spotted in Greece.
They’re at it again…
“Microsoft is the first company that will offer free development tools and design software to the Greek academic community through new service Anafandon of the National Research and Technology Network (GRNET).”
All those tools that Microsoft gives away for ‘free’ (gratis) are typically weapons of dependency. They betray all known standards and are very rarely cross-platform (unless you go by Microsoft's own definition of "cross-platform").
“Those wishing and successfully mimicking that ‘standard’ get extinguished by Microsoft.”It remains very important for Microsoft to make Windows a de facto standard, if not an ISO standard now that ISO is just a shop. Those wishing and successfully mimicking that ‘standard’ get extinguished by Microsoft. We were reminded of this just last night thanks to this blast from the past from a reader.
As reader “CoolGuy” wrote just moments ago, “Microsoft has done more harm to the industry than any one else. They have killed a lot of excellent products and companies just to maintain their monopoly status.” Let’s keep an eye on all these latest moves. Microsoft found itself trapped in an increasingly hard situation and it just copes with its poor shape in this fast-changing market — a shape which it skillfully hides. We will shortly post links to damning evidence about the latest vapourware stunt. █
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“The days of open standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are getting “standardization by corporation”, something I have been fighting against for the 20 years I have served on ISO committees.”
–Martin Bryan, former Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 WG1
We have had our share of complaints about OSBC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], which is sponsored by Microsoft seemingly for Microsoft to strut its presence in front of an audience comprising players Microsoft views as the disruptive wave which it wishes to envelope. It’s also a show for the media.
Increasingly, what used to be referred to as the “Free software movement” seems to be commercialised only in the sense that a “business” slant of it receives broader attention. In a way, businesses and various semi-unrelated waves like SaaS steal the thunder from the very same foundation on which they were built. This is nothing new and the danger here is that companies which fear Free software will try to pull developers onto a middle ground they gradually change.
Have a look at this new writing which speaks about that trend.
Each year it seems that there are more and more grumblings about how commercial Open Source conferences are moving further and further away from Free Software and Open Source communities. Incongruously, some of the loudest (or at least most noticed) complaining comes from some of the most consistent participants on the conference circuit. I myself have joined in the guilty pleasure of kvetching about how this year’s iteration of a given conference just doesn’t have the same soul as some previous year.
Here is another new take on the situation.
Historically, as far as I know, commercial open source was first practiced by MySQL, even though the term was only invented later by SugarCRM. A core go-to-market approach is the dual-license strategy. Only commercial open source can apply this strategy. The term professional open source was invented by Marc Fleury of JBoss to give open source a better reputation; mostly it refers to the provision of services around some particular open source software.
Both commercial and professional open source are go-to-market approaches and core strategies of a firm’s business model. Community open source is not a business model.
As we stressed before, the concern here is that companies like Microsoft and maybe even Sun Microsystems will attempt to paint Free software with a new brush that includes shades of software patents and a relationship too close to a single vendor, which in turn gains great control and influence. Another issue is of course the dilution of the term “open source” — a dilution to which Microsoft contributes 'generously'. Microsoft is not alone, however, because its partners Novell and Aras, for example, have the very same negative effect. And here comes yet another new example of this dilution:
I am often dismayed by the misappropriation of the term open source. Companies apply the term to products that are free though not open source. It’s a classic marketing maneuver to leverage a brand that already has broad recognition.
A clothing company sent me a release not too many months ago about their new open source clothing line. After close inspection they meant design your own outfit from their catalog of designs that they owned. It wasn’t open source but I recall a number of open source trade publications picking up the story. Good marketing stunt but not accurate.
If the “open source” term isn’t repaired or policed more properly, it will continue to devolve and be assimilated to something that already exists: proprietary software. And at that stage, it no longer matter if even Microsoft’s Partner [sic] Groups says that open source will dominate. At that stage, open source would have absolutely nothing to do with freedom, let alone control by the user/customer. The same bruise had its effect standards, particularly after what Microsoft had done to ISO. █
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