05.20.08

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Microsoft’s Response to GNU/Linux Adoption: Roundup of Latest Incidents

Posted in Africa, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 11:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Time seems limited and tight today, but here are a few themes and brand-new stories you might not want to miss. These are categorised using satirical headings, accompanied by quick commentaries. Perhaps tomorrow — just perhaps — time will permit to elaborate further. This stories are all new, so it’s important to at least throw them out there for attention and proactive response/rebuttal.

All Your FOSS Are [sic] Belong to Windows

For background on this issue, see the recent Blender conundrum, whose outcome we don’t know yet. Some decent further analysis of the takeaways from South Africa, which we last mentioned this morning, comes from Glyn Moody. As a reminder, Microsoft is pressuring the government to abandon plans of freedom and crawl back to proprietary prison. That’s the gist of it anyway.

One of the interesting things about Microsoft is that its official commentary on the way things are tends to reveal, rather, how it perceives them. In this case, a completely general open source mandate is morphed into an insane government plot to replace Windows by GNU/Linux.

It’s nothing of the kind, of course; it’s just about regaining control over a core part of government infrastructure, something that open source provides automatically – and that the proprietary Windows never can. But Microsoft just can’t bring itself to admit this, because its entire business model is based on dictating to the customer: Thou Shalt Upgrade to Vista, etc. Instead, it has to frame things in crude, Manichean “Us vs Them”, terms. Let’s hope that its 2015 strategy is a little more nuanced.

Glyn might not be aware of this, but the government indeed plans to move to GNU/Linux. Here is an older reference of interest: (highlight in red is ours, but the article is not longer locatable)

SA Government’s OSS plans revealed

Migration of current systems is also planned. This will be done in a phased approach, beginning with applications such as replacing MS Office with Open Office or KOffice and replacing Internet Explorer with Firefox. This will in time lead up to the operating system, replacing Windows with a Linux distribution. Migration to Apache for the running of government websites has already occurred within a number of departments.

Regarding that latter bit from Glyn (about Microsoft and “Open Source”), Dana Blankenhorn too has commented on that “2015 open source strategy” fluff from The Register, which we critically commented on here.

2015? (Spit take.)

20-ohmygoodness-15?

[...]

Jinkies, even John McCain now says he can get us out of Iraq by 2013.

[...]

In his post, Ramji calls the decision to deliver automated management through System Center across heterogenous environments a “great day.” Great for Microsoft maybe. For the rest of the world, not that big a deal.

That indeed happens to be very self-serving (leaning outwards, to Microsoft’s benefit).

Further to this, consider the tongue-in cheek proposal of a response to Microsoft’s plot.

So, Microsoft puts out its hand and offers help with porting open-source software, to make it run best on the Windows platform. How mean. Understandable from marketing and business point of view, but mean anyway (and hey, that’s my opinion!).

I have a proposal then, a simple one. Since Windows users are already used to trial versions, time-limited, feature-limited, shareware and other pieces of software which they constantly have to “unlock” by using codes found on the net (or keygens), so let it be!

Let’s give Windows users what they already know:

1. Limited editions of Free and Open-Source Software for Windows.
2. Full-featured versions, including source code, for all other Operating Systems.

Aras: Putting the Sheet in Bull-Something

Remember SourceForge and Microsoft? It seems like O’Reilly may be jumping on that same wagon now (been told this half an hour ago). Either way, Microsoft continues to use its partners/fakers to further dilute the meaning and intensity of “Open Source”. It’s a good thing that more people begin to wake up and finally identify the role of the likes of Aras, whose attempt to be associated with “Open Source” (and rave about Microsoft love) seems malicious at best and Microsoft-centric/faithful by the more conservative of yardsticks. Here it is summarised in IT Business Edge:

OStatic blogger Reuven Lerner reiterates that the problem still exists today. Despite OSI’s best efforts and intentions, there really is no one meaning for “open source.” The only way to know what you’re getting is to “read the fine print,” he says, and ask the vendor a lot of questions regarding what open source means for its business.

Microsoft Lawyers: Linux is Illegal!!!11

Not much is new under the Sun. The “patent terrorism” (not our own term, but one that was used by a Sun executive, in reference to Microsoft) is a tactic that lives on. Watch the stance Microsoft’s lawyers continue to take against GNU/Linux.

So here are eight things Microsoft could do to add real teeth to its commitment to openness:

1. Reveal the patents allegedly being violated by open source products, or take back claims that Linux and other open source software violate at least 235 of Microsoft’s patents.

While we haven’t heard more on any patent threats from Microsoft in recent months, they’re still out there. “This is in no way removing the issue of patents in the context of infringement,” one of Microsoft’s top intellectual property execs told me earlier this year, when chatting about Microsoft’s recently announced interoperability principles.

Classic Microsoft: You Win? We Dump.

In other less related news, watch out for Microsoft’s attempted comeback that combats motherboards with embedded Linux. And no, it’s not a EULA this time. It’ll just dump and dump and dump. Microsoft rarely competes. It attempts to just suffocate others. It can be easier because crime pays, assuming there’s poor or absent oversight.

Quick update: The source which brought up that latest one suggested that motherboards were targeted, but that’s not the case. It sure doesn’t look like it.

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