EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Reactions to Microsoft’s ‘Embrace’ of Open Source at OSCON 2008

Posted in Corel, Deals, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML at 3:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Embrace’ (to Extend) versus Embrace for Promotion, Contribution

Leaving the spin from the press aside, it’s worth taking a close look at what Microsoft has done at OSCON.

Microsoft wants to blow FOSS developers a kiss while at the same time securing Microsoft’s income. Some innocent developers and passive Microsoft employees/recruits liaise with a company that, objectively speaking, has a criminal past and an appalling history. In fact, even recently it has proven that nothing whatsoever has changed. It is that same old spoiled brat that disregards the law, resorting to bribery, bullying, fraud, extortion, technical sabotage, and blackmail. It’s all well documented.

Bruce Perens and this Web site are far from the only sources that are critical of Microsoft’s latest moves. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, for instance, is not buying it, either.

You see some people still believe that Microsoft offering patented protocols under “reasonable and non-discriminatory terms,” or “for free for noncommercial use without fear of lawsuits” is somehow some kind of olive branch to the open-source community.

As Tiemann put it: “A free-of-cost license that prohibits commercial use is useless to open-source developers. And therefore I cannot understand why anybody would think that Microsoft is doing the open-source community any favors.”

He’s got that right.

There are some more details from Vaughan-Nichols in ComputerWorld

The first announcement, that Microsoft was contributing a patch to ADOdb, a PHP database access interface, wasn’t that big a deal. It is, after all, self-serving. Microsoft’s contribution will enable people to use its own SQL Server instead of MySQL or PostgreSQL with PHP programs. Yawn. Nothing new here.

Apache too was considered over the weekend [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft uses Apache for document lock-in, making its formats more prevalent than the real international standard [1, 2]. Apache might not mind this, but it’s being used against other groups of FOSS developers. Sean Michael Kerner had this to say, based on what he had seen at OSCON.

Ramji also said Microsoft has been working with the Apache POI project, which develops APIs for using pure Java to manipulate various file formats based upon Microsoft’s OLE 2 Compound Document format. Those include most Microsoft Office formats, except for the more recent Office Open XML formats, for which Microsoft has embarked on a massive campaign to see adopted as industry standards.


Overall, Ramji tried his best to ingratiate himself with the OSCON crowd — even wearing a Mozilla Firefox T-Shirt, and telling the audience that he wants to engage openly and honestly with the open source community. That’s a message that he’s been preaching for some time.

Steve Stites writes:

For several years the Microsoft astroturf has periodically reported on the activities of a pro open source faction within Microsoft. This factional fight is probably one of many within the Microsoft bureaucracy which apparently endures constant, intense infighting. But I don’t see what interest it is to anybody other than a Microsoft bureaucrat.

Another comment of interest:

Fourth, it means MS wants to seed the Apache Group with Code that they will attach their IP to. This way, they can extract funds from users in the future, with their contributions.

Is it a good deal for Apache? In the short term, it provides them with cash. Is it a good deal for MS? Of course, it gives them access to a code base and hopefully developers they desperately need. Is it good for the development and user community? NO!!! Why not? It means MS is once again employing their extend, embrace, and extinguish paradigm, which has worked so well for them in the past.

From Rex Ballard:

   Message-ID: <2fee4c71-f8a7-4abd-bc29-654ea71b24f4@x41g2000hsb.googlegroups.com>
   From: Rex Ballard <rex.ballard@gmail.com>
   Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
   Subject: Re: Microsoft donate to Apache
   Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 23:08:59 -0700 (PDT)


> ,—-
> | Microsoft has bolstered its credentials with advocates of open source
> | software.

Microsoft’s credentials and “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” tactics are
well-known throughout the industry.

What’s surprising is that the Apache organization actually took the

> | It has given cash to the Apache organisation which oversees development
> | of open source web server software.

This may be yet another sign that Microsoft’s IIS is not doing what
Microsoft would like it to do. Furthermore, benchmarks between Apache
on Linux or Unix, and Apache on Windows Server NT, 2000, and 2003 have
always been disappointing. Normally, Microsoft sponsors it’s own
benchmarks, comparing ISAPI applications to Apache CGI applications
rather than Apache Plug-ins.

I would suspect that Microsoft is hoping for Apache’s blessings of
OpenXML, as well as the ability to shove Microsoft binary blobs
directly through Apache servers into PCs, where the embedded OLE
objects can run amok on any Windows PC capable of handling the OpenXML

Microsoft is also looking for ways to measure the Linux market more
accurately, because the usual methods used to measure Windows are just
not going to report Linux systems (unless the user has installed
special software to enable ActiveX controls.

Perhaps they are looking at ways to embed signed Java Applets, which
can also be used to install “snitch-ware” and other forms of malware
on Linux systems.

We’ll see.

To Apache, this deal seemed harmless, but it may harm other groups of FOSS developers. Tomorrow, hypothetically speaking, another group might sell out to Microsoft and be happy with it while hurting Apache. In that respect, it is the almost same as the funneling of money into Novell’s bank account, which made some pointy-haired managers happy but almost everyone else in the FOSS world nervous.

Of course Apache will deny all of this because they want to believe, they are being defensive, they took the money and then encouraged to praise Microsoft, which is now their sponsor. Corel too thought it would enjoy its little deal with Microsoft while continuing its development of GNU/Linux. Where is it today? What about MySQL? Honeymoons rarely last forever. Sooner or later, it’s purely down to business, to shareholders.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. Agent Smith said,

    July 29, 2008 at 8:01 am


    And M$ just donated 100 thousand U.S. dollars … Just 100 thousand U. S. dollars… Quick change in the bottom of their pockets… Tsc Tsc Tsc… Even Canonical (Mark “Ubuntu” Shuttleworth could donate more…).

    Apache Foundation sold Apache very cheap…

  2. aeshna23 said,

    July 29, 2008 at 9:38 am


    I hate to say this, but I’m not convinced by the information provided above that Apache has sold out. My understanding of the relevant information is that Apache is letting people interface with Microsoft databases and/or Office documents–which seems to me to make Apache more useful in the real world where some people sadly still use MS. Is there some fact that I’m missing that would change my mind?

  3. Agent Smith said,

    July 29, 2008 at 10:34 am


    No, not sold as a car is sold. But sold as: now M$ is a partner (even worse, a sponsor) and what harm can be done to Apache Server (and all the community as well). I don’t know, but past experiences led me to think that Apache Server will face many difficulties in the near future. And, if they(M$) cannot improve IIS, they will try to make Apache worse. That’s what i think.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 29, 2008 at 11:29 am


    I’m thinking along the lines of Microsoft joining the ODF committee. They want to control or at least influence both sides. There’s plenty of history to teach about such tactics (remember Microsoft and W3C?).

    “We’re disheartened because Microsoft helped W3C develop the very standards that they’ve failed to implement in their browser. We’re also dismayed to see Microsoft continue adding proprietary extensions to these standards when support for the essentials remains unfinished.”

    George Olsen, Web Standards Project

    That was the days of Netscape. Now they have Wilson slowing down HTML5 (bureaucracy and such) while Microsoft prepares its substitute, XAML (Silverlight).

    Novell’s software patent deal too was marketed as “for the customers” (“they want interoperability”). Watch Apache’s explanations.

  5. aeshna23 said,

    July 29, 2008 at 12:08 pm


    Ok. I think I see your points Agent Smith and Roy. What I’m understanding is that you are more concerned about possible future harm than harm from any action Apache has taken thus far. I strongly agree that MS is a treacherous partner and I just hope that the people at Apache have enough historical knowledge to understand this.

What Else is New

  1. Links 22/10/2016: Deus Ex for GNU/Linux, Global DDoS (DNS)

    Links for the day

  2. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Survey Comparison Shows Serious Deterioration and Efforts by PwC to Disguise the Truth

    The latest output from PwC turns out to be even worse than initially thought, indicating that not only did it find a degradation in the EPO but also attempted to hide/obscure it

  3. EPO Teaser - The "Iberian Connection" - Some Photos of García-Escudero and His Royal/Government Connections

    A look at the undeniably close connections between Mr. García-Escudero and the most powerful people in Spain

  4. Disruption to Site's Service

    A technical note about why Techrights has not been publishing many articles recently

  5. Links 21/10/2016: MPV 0.21, Mad Max for GNU/Linux

    Links for the day

  6. EPO Caricature: Battistelli's High Five

    Another cartoon about the sad state of the EPO

  7. Battistelli Ruins Not Only the EPO But Also the Whole of Europe By Ushering in Software Patents That Patent Trolls Love So Much

    Battistelli's bad leadership at the EPO threatens to bring to Europe all the ills and menaces of the patent system in the United States

  8. EPO Spokesman Lies to IP Watch in Order to Save Face and Save the King (Battistelli)

    Rewriting history (revisionism) regarding Battistelli and what was demanded amidst abusive behaviour from him

  9. Unitary Patent (UPC) is Dead, But 'Managing IP' and Selfish Patent Law Firms Still Try to Resurrect It

    The latest attempts to shore up the Unitary (or Unified) Patent Court and who's behind it other than the usual suspects

  10. Links 20/10/2016: Linux 4.10 Preview, ONF and ON.Labs to Merge

    Links for the day

  11. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC 'Study': The Raw Outcome Shows Distortion of the Facts at the EPO's Notorious 'Social Conference'

    Results of the Staff Survey carried out by PwC, in order to provide some propaganda for Battistelli's expensive Social Conference

  12. Addendum: EPO's Alberto Casado Cerviño, WIPO's Francis Gurry, and EUIPO's Archambeau

    Photos taken as part of an IP event which took place in Riga (Latvia) in March 2015

  13. Worrisome Connections Between EPO VP2 Alberto Casado Cerviño and Patricia García-Escudero Márquez

    Exploring the potential conflicts of interests implicating the EPO's Boards of Appeal Committee

  14. Site's Infrastructure Under Attack and Upgrades Ahead of Major New Publications

    Protections for the Web site have been improved and capacity increased in order to avoid or at least prepare for another week of abusive/spam traffic

  15. Team Battistelli's Conspiracy Theory: SUEPO is Behind Everything, EPO Management is Trying to Tell the Media

    Attempts to blame SUEPO, the staff union of the EPO, even though SUEPO has nothing to do with articles that are critical of the EPO while many thousands of EPO employees are disgruntled

  16. Links 19/10/2016: Canonical Livepatch Service, Plasma Plans

    Links for the day

  17. The 'Sarah Sharps' of Microsoft: Not the Kind of Scandal the Media Cares Enough to Write About

    Another example of the large (industrial) scale of sexual discrimination at Microsoft -- a company that tries to advertise itself as diverse or tolerant and stigmatise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) as intolerant and/or not diverse

  18. EPO Caricature: EQE Questions

    The latest EPO cartoon, this time about European qualifying examination (EQE)

  19. The Long History or Seeds of Control by Fear and Punishment at the EPO

    The latest hogwash from Team Battistelli (Pinocchio), the latest instance of software patents promotion by EPO Principal Director, and an old (decade-old) nugget of information from the Forum for Principal Directors

  20. Subject of the European Patent Office's Abuses Raised in European Parliament by Ulrike Müller (ALDE)

    A local copy of a bunch of questions asked less than a month ago by Ulrike Müller at the European Parliament, regarding the unacceptable state of affairs at the European Patent Office (EPO)

  21. French Article About the EPO "Crisis"

    Le Monde, which covered EPO suicides and nervous breakdowns a year and a half ago, revisits the subject

  22. Battistelli Wants Us to Believe a Patent Office in a Freefall (EPO) is “Stronger and More Sustainable”

    Still in denial (or self-deluding for self indulgence), Battistelli writes about the EPO as though everything is rosy and people are happy

  23. Leaked Documents Shed More Light on What Happened to Alison Brimelow and How Battistelli Rose to Power

    How Battistelli's (almost) all-male (and all-white, mostly French) management came into being, not too long after Ms Alison Brimelow got elbowed out the Office

  24. Leaked: Outcomes of 149th Administrative Council's Meeting at the European Patent Organisation

    The raw details or a summary thereof, based on the above which serves to confirm what we wrote about several days ago, right after the quarterly meeting had ended

  25. Danish Press Coverage of the European Patent Office and the Problems Explored by Techrights

    Jesper Kongstad does virtually nothing to deny the arguments (or "accusations") and instead alludes to the style of the writings about him

  26. Links 18/10/2016: Release Candidate of Leap 42.2, Looking Ahead at GTK4

    Links for the day

  27. Links 17/10/2016: JS Foundation, Ubuntu 17.04 Named ‘Zesty Zapus’

    Links for the day

  28. EPO Updates: Battistelli in Trouble, Grossenbacher and Battistelli Having a Fight, EPO Doubles Down on Željko Topić

    Interesting updates from the European Patent Office (EPO), where things have taken a turn for the worse for Battistelli while Željko Topić secures an extension of his notorious contract

  29. EPO Social Conference Another Example of Astronomical Waste of Money by Benoît Battistelli

    Having paid the media and attempted to scare/intimidate staff into silence (even among one another), Battistelli now pays some firms to lie for him and present the lies while staff representatives are blocked from entering the presentation

  30. As Expected, Benoît Battistelli Puts Longtime Ally Roland Grossenbacher on Top of Boards of Appeal

    Benoît Battistelli's predecessor Roland Grossenbacher, who has a track record of protection and support for Battistelli (no matter the magnitude of abuses), reportedly takes a key position with Battistelli's approval, debunking the notion that the appeal boards will enjoy greater (perceived) independence from the Office


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time


Recent Posts