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05.06.08

Microsoft Gets Into Board of Open Source Business Foundation

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft at 4:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Preluded by the discomforting subject line “Microsoft infiltrating into open source world,” we have just received a headsup from an anonymous reader. On the face of it, Microsoft continues to exploit the flexibility in the term “open source” to render the whole ‘movement’ rather pointless with its anti-FOSS conditions that essentially lock Free software out of the “open source” umbrella and make everything taxable, using software patents.

“We also saw how the company essentially hijacks and redefines the term “open source”.”We recently saw Microsoft’s stubborn attempts to become part of the Open Solutions Alliance, having been repeatedly rejected to obey its existing members’ demands. We also saw how the company essentially hijacks and redefines the term "open source". This bring us to the message from our reader, which is quoted below, verbatim:

Microsoft keeps insisting on their infiltrate-divide-and-conquer strategy injecting themselves and their marketing mindset (in the form of useless “interoperability” -taxation of compatibility through bogus patent rights claims and fearmongering-)

This is why it is most important to highlight the prevalence of “freedom” over just “openness” of FLOSS:

There is an article in German. It says that Microsoft has now a sit on the board of the “Open Source Business Foundation” and is responsible for interoperability.

No, it is not a joke. I wonder what kind of Open Source Business Foundation this one is. Does anyone have more info?

“There’s free software and then there’s open source… there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.”

Bill Gates, April 2008

Gates on SUSE

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13 Comments

  1. Google said,

    May 6, 2008 at 6:59 am

    Gravatar

    Roy whatever you have been predicting for long time has finally come true ….

  2. Schmidtchen said,

    May 6, 2008 at 7:29 am

    Gravatar

    What? That Microsoft finally has joined the good side of the force, eh source?

  3. John Wilson said,

    May 9, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Gravatar

    Among the other members of the Foundation is Red Hat. Does that mean they’re suddenly on the dark side too?

    Of course things like journalism and research aren’t your strong points, Roy.

    It’s also hard to infiltrate anything when you walk in through the front door in front of anyone.

    Naturally, you’ll add the SAMBA team to your growing list of whipping boys as they’ve also met with MS techs and actually broken bread and a few brewski’s with them.

    I’m not saying that MS should be trusted in any way shape or form, by the way. They haven’t earned that yet and I don’t think they ever will. Still, if the best we can do is paranoia then they’ve already won and we’ve lost.

    ttfn

    John

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 9, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Gravatar

    Watch the latest take on Samba over at ZDNet. I don’t criticise collaboration of this type, but what Samba’s Allison *did* explicitly confirm is that Microsoft attempts to sideline the GPL, “which we [Microsoft] disagree with” (said Gates a fortnight ago). That’s just part of Microsoft’s attempt to force Free software out of the “open source” umbrella, which is wants to define itself (including paid-for protocols, software patents, anti-FOSS RAND, binary bridges, ‘Linux tax’, and exclusionary OSPs).

  5. John Wilson said,

    May 10, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Gravatar

    I’m certainly aware of Microsoft’s stand regarding the GPL. That hasn’t changed in years though the method of attack has to some degree.

    Nor am I surprised or particularly concerned about whatever attempts Microsoft makes to separate the GPL from other open source and free software licenses because they’ll be about as successful as they have been for the past 15 or so years of trying.

    (Incidentally whacking at free licenses means whacking at their own Ms-PL license which GNU considers free and is compatible with GPL v3.)
    http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html

    As for paid-for protocols and RAND to some extent MS is responding to anti-trust rulings that have gone against them in the EU. Attempts to be anti-FOSS would mean that RAND isn’t RAND and could very well land them in the soup again.

    Anyway I’m not all that sure that anyone really wants to pay for 99.99% of their private protocols.

    Patent threats are just that. Though they are empty threats as Microsoft refuses to reveal which patents are violated which, in itself, breaks even American patent law by not giving the infringer an opportunity to correct it. Of course, that presupposes that the patents themselves are valid. A dubious presuppostion at best.

    On the other hand, patent threats do make great copy for lazy reporters/bloggers on sites like ZDNet or C|Net.

    My concern here isn’t that MIcrosoft will continue their silly shenanigans. Of course they will. It isn’t that they won’t continue to corrupt processes as they did at ISO which they will continue to do. It’s not like any of this is new or parlticularly suprising.

    What is new and more intense is the number of eyes on them reporting what they’re up to in a (mostly) rational and calm way. They’ll continue their games but in the full glare of publicity because there are just too many people watching them now.

    What isn’t needed is sensationalist bordering on paranoia. And that’s far too often what I read here.

    You’re better than that, Roy.

  6. John Wilson said,

    May 10, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Gravatar

    I’m certainly aware of Microsoft’s stand regarding the GPL. That hasn’t changed in years though the method of attack has to some degree.

    Nor am I surprised or particularly concerned about whatever attempts Microsoft makes to separate the GPL from other open source and free software licenses because they’ll be about as successful as they have been for the past 15 or so years of trying.

    (Incidentally whacking at free licenses means whacking at their own Ms-PL license which GNU considers free and is compatible with GPL v3.)
    http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html

    As for paid-for protocols and RAND to some extent MS is responding to anti-trust rulings that have gone against them in the EU. Attempts to be anti-FOSS would mean that RAND isn’t RAND and could very well land them in the soup again.

    Anyway I’m not all that sure that anyone really wants to pay for 99.99% of their private protocols.

    Patent threats are just that. Though they are empty threats as Microsoft refuses to reveal which patents are violated which, in itself, breaks even American patent law by not giving the infringer an opportunity to correct it. Of course, that presupposes that the patents themselves are valid. A dubious presuppostion at best.

    On the other hand, patent threats do make great copy for lazy reporters/bloggers on sites like ZDNet or C|Net.

    My concern here isn’t that MIcrosoft will continue their silly shenanigans. Of course they will. It isn’t that they won’t continue to corrupt processes as they did at ISO which they will continue to do. It’s not like any of this is new or parlticularly surprising.

    What is new and more intense is the number of eyes on them reporting what they’re up to in a (mostly) rational and calm way. They’ll continue their games but in the full glare of publicity because there are just too many people watching them now.

    What isn’t needed is sensationalist bordering on paranoia. And that’s far too often what I read here.

    You’re better than that, Roy.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 10, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Gravatar

    Most of the message here was from a reader, with whom I happen to agree to a degree. The matter of fact is that Microsoft has /already/ found itself working around the GPL and it now extracts money via SUSE and the likes of it. It’s not theory or speculation, but a lesser-publicised fact,.

  8. John Wilson said,

    May 10, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Gravatar

    Sorry for the double post, Roy.

    If that’s what you’re referring to as the Linux tax then I’d agree. That it’s lesser known is debatable my suspicion is that it’s become that invisible elephant in the room that everyone knows is there but chooses to ignore.

    As for MS working around the GPL or simply just using GPL’d software and not bothering to tell anyone about it, I’m not at all surprised by that either. They do have a track record of doing things like that.

    Thing is that MS seems to be doing much better at failing than succeeding these days. Yeah, they got that fiasco of OOXML through and continue to wine and dine big wigs at ISO. As I’ve said before, that is likely a Pyhrric Victory not a real one. Vista is a PR nightmare. Yahoo is still an independent company even after MS said sell to us or else.

    Linux is still growing in enterprise space at a far greater rate than IT spending in general in spite of FUD campaigns.

    If reports are true that Sun is working on the final stages of moving OpenSolaris to GPLv3 then back office installations of free software will increase at an even greater rate.

    It’s not going to stop them. Just that it freezes them into reaction mode. Against FOSS, against Google, against an increasingly hostile world where they have to buy friends. Not really for much of anything anymore.

    There are cracks in their wall. Small ones to be sure, but stress fractures start out that way and suddenly get much much larger.

    It’s up to us who think the world is a bettter place with FOSS, with some real competition rather than monopoly to keep an sane and calm eye on them and keep them in the light rather than the shadows and dark they’re so used to operating in.

  9. Niklas (eat the 'o') Koswinkle said,

    May 10, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Gravatar

    > GPL and it now extracts money via SUSE and the likes of it. It’s not theory > or speculation, but a lesser-publicised fact,

    Or rather utter nonsense and a blatant lie.

    > It’s up to us who think the world is a bettter place with FOSS

    Yeah, people like you who play no part whatsoever in any project but of course absolutely know how to do things better. No, thanks.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from a possible incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  10. Victor Soliz said,

    May 10, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Gravatar

    Hmnn, eet, your posts are getting more and more into the non-sense unjustified one liners area.

    You probably missed that one video in which MS and Novell representatives were mostly gloating about how they worked hard to bypass the GPL, also, what part of “MS charges for SLED” is a blatant lie?

    And yep, your random nick + inaccurate attack towards this site combination has made it quite easy to spot you.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 11, 2008 at 2:17 am

    Gravatar

    John,

    If reports are true that Sun is working on the final stages of moving OpenSolaris to GPLv3 then back office installations of free software will increase at an even greater rate.

    I’ve just spotted an interesting new quote. Have a quick look and see what you think:

    Sun Promises Regular Open Source Solaris Updates

    “We see it as one platform, two releases,” he said during a press roundtable at the JavaOne conference. Solaris is the stable platform with long-term support for long-term mission-critical application deployment, while the open source version is the fast-evolving, innovative operating system that reaches out to developers and computer science students who want to learn about the technology.

    http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/145739/sun_promises_regular_open_source_solaris_updates.html

    I’m not typically critical of Sun, but this seems to me like the ‘free sample’ tactic (for “computer science students”), which is intended to sell a proprietary Solaris at the end of the day. With MySQL and Virtualbox there are proprietary addons for all I can tell, so this isn’t Red Hat-like (and hopefully Sun doesn’t become the ‘big Red Hat’ — a replacement it wishes to be).

    With Fedora and RHEL it’s different. You can get CentOS.

    Further, to quote an E-mail exchange that I had a few hours ago and can probably share here with anonymity:



    | Overall and like you I think SUN belongs to the good guys but precisely
    | for this reason I think SUN should be monitored even more carefully.

    True. I criticise OSolaris. A lot of the legacy is proprietary and Sun
    wants to steal Red Hat’s thunder.

    | 1- SUN in the past wasn’t always amongst the good guys.
    | 2- SUN has the bad habit to hire open source developers. And if like
    | everybody else I don’t exactly how should function an ideal company in
    | a the open source ecosystem of the future, I’m convinced that hiring
    | FOSS developers -at least too many of them- is very bad. Remember, SUN
    | stance (50% of presentation involving open source is about influencing
    | the community). The wor itself is scary.

    They bullied an OSS project too. They are control freaks.

    | 3- I’ve seen the ravages that an aging organization makes on good
    | engineers. One day they are creative people full of initiative, 3 years
    | later they are proud of the process that makes SUN deliver patches 6
    | month behind everybody else (good: they know how to defend true quality
    | as opposed to MSFT delivering more bugs and vulnerability in every
    | patch) but at the same time they’ve lost all creativity, and they have
    | substituted the pride they were getting from the community to the salary
    | and the modest -but stable- position SUN offers. I’m not saying that SUN
    | is a bad place for a good engineer, I’m saying that SUN (or any other
    | company) is a bad place for open source developers. OS developer should
    | contract for companies on a short to middle-term basis, not being employed.
    | 4- The recent mess with OpenSolaris (the name) plus the hesitating
    | wobbling around MySQL and the proprietary components thing is troubling.
    | OpenSolaris because obviously it shows how much influence the current
    | organization of sales/marketing etc. has at at SUN. And well, after all,
    | they bring home the money so it’s difficult even for JS to have them
    | embracing open source as much as I’m sure he wants. This might be one of
    | the main reasons why JS kept insisting on keeping MySQL relatively
    | “autonomous”. A way to protect them from the remaining of the organization.
    | 5- SQL team: If you give 100M dollars to anybody, it’s likely they are
    | going to loose they inner fire; whether it’s after 3 months or 2 years,
    | it’s bound to happen (Monty seems to resist very well so far, I’m not
    | sure about Marten). So here we are, with MySQL kept wisely alongside SUN
    | for its own good but with a somewhat “dullified” management with
    | obviously no clue as to hiow to leverage SUN to make it really big both
    | in terms of community (DL doesn’t favor good community management) and
    | in terms of business (short of we’re going to do exactly the same thing
    | but now we have SUN to back us up). And obviously this is bad since JS
    | has this RedHat thingie in the mind and wants SUN to become a bigger
    | RedHat somewhat.

    Yes, I agree.

    | I really think that’s where we should express our concerns a bit more
    | loudly. But at the same time I see your point. Rattling is moot. It’s
    | time to DO something…

    Yes. It’s better to bash the binaries. Think of it as a child that
    misbehaves. You don’t throw it out of the house, but try to improve the
    child’s behaviour instead. Sun can be used to hurt the bigger
    troublemakers, one of which is Google. DiBona’s attitude kind of annoys
    me. Google brainwashed him.

  12. John Wilson said,

    May 11, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m not sure where to go with Sun, honestly.

    I’d agree with the notion that there may be tension between the software side wanting to go open and the marketing people not knowing what to do with that.

    Sun seems to have taken a lot of flak over and inhouse decision by MySQL to go closed with parts of their latest release. MySQL reversed that stand though I doubt we’ll ever know if that was done on their own or after some pressure from Sun.

    That Sun would want to compete directly with RedHat doesn’t surprise me nor does it alarm me any. RHEL is the big boy on the Linux block so they do become the people to beat. As long as everyone remembers the real guy to beat remains Microsoft then a little *Nix competition is a good thing. Even better if everything is done under free licensing.

    I do want to watch what Sun is up to and how they go ahead now. I also understand that moving from a strictly proprietary world to FOSS is a lot harder than the other way around. At least in theory. Someone taking GPL’d software proprietary is likely to face a rebellion or a fork or both. That’s how we got Joomla and how Mambo seems to have faded to near nothingness in short order.

    I’m hoping Sun follows the path they say they will regardless of people in the company more comfortable around closed source. It will be fascinating to watch as they are, after IBM, the biggest closed source company to make the move.

    They’ll make mistakes, face plant more than once. take a few steps back every once in a while though I do think they’re genuine in their oft stated desire to become a FOSS company. Reversing course now would cause them more damage in the long run than any short term pain encountered in the transition.

    We need to remember that Sun makes a significant portion of their profits from a combination of software and home brew hardware. In that sense they were in the services game long before RedHat ever thought about it.

    It’s going to be very interesting to watch. I do wish them well and success if nor for their own sake but for the sake of FOSS as a whole.

    ttfn

    John

  13. Sai Saswand said,

    August 18, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Gravatar

    SUSE. Only going post what I read and seen after installing SUSE 11.0. Not gonna make any further comment and let others know. I Have installed and am a firm reader of all information on install of linux and its sourcing. Only LINUX Operating system I have installed and read theses terms outside of Microsoft software is NONE…SUSE is only one.

    On first eula it has kinda sketchy. But it is when you do the update for SUSE without Notice to what the EULA is for but that is vague in general meaning SUSE as whole are written in 2nd EULA.

    Users Terms: This property is leased to you and does not belong to you. Intelliect and properiiety of this software belongs entity by already set in state law the corperation which it is destributed from.

    Best Regards to Users of SUSE. But I am not paranoid. I just NEVER want to read THAT on my operating system period after leaving microsoft.

    Microsoft see’s world how they believe life is and follow a marketing pholsphy. The do not look at it evil/good. They set there choice long ago as men and this is who they are. As did ones using open source. and when linux starts treatning there way of life they are left with no choice to what they feel is right and best for whole. As any dominate lead being does.

    As younger man I watched bills take over of PC-DOS and even 2 kids that went to devry that created first spreadsheet. And yes majority of all programs running on windows today and ideals for basis of it did not come from microsoft. Amiga produce a windows looking enviroment before windows 95. and list goes on. But in the end it does not really matter. Bill gates is just name of one person that is a large group of Intelligent men that do not believe the world can or will or does work any other way.(not because there evil but because of there Ignorance.)

    They are right in that control and world power and balance is achieved with there beliefs. They are wrong in that they don’t see that Marketing and the patent and control and prosecuting and taking of brilliant minds work and limiting to make it under there control slows Technology and advancement of life. In this aspect I fall away from there belief.

    No competition is very bad for society. a economy with only a focus on Profitablity entwining til curtiles of marketing til technology and growth is slowed. This is where we are at today.

    LINUX has no rules outside of ones implemented by others that want it and don’t control it. LINUX is open for all mankind to program develop and move it forward in technology.

    I will be removing suse not out of fear or pretence. But because the words I have to aggree to subject me to what I do not want in my household or in my familys home.

    And for thoses that wish to use it and can explain there reasoning. Best of wishes to your kids and your grandkids and so on.

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