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

07.29.08

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
money.

> | 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
format.

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

5 Comments

  1. Agent Smith said,

    July 29, 2008 at 8:01 am

    Gravatar

    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

    Gravatar

    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

    Gravatar

    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

    Gravatar

    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

    Gravatar

    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 1/10/2014: OPNFV Goes Public, PDF Reader Pullout

    Links for the day



  2. Links 29/9/2014: OpenDaylight Helium Release

    Links for the day



  3. European Patent Office Disorganisation: Problems With the Audit Mechanisms - Part IV

    A prelude to a long article about a thug called Topić, his controversial Battistelli-sponsored appointment, and the removal of auditory functions by Battistelli



  4. More Good News About Demise of Software Patents and Along With Them, Consequently, Patent Trolls

    A weekly roundup of news about patents in the United States and elsewhere, with special focus on software patents



  5. IRC Proceedings: June 22nd, 2014 – September 13th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  6. Links 28/9/2014: Moto X, End of OpenSUSE 11.4

    Links for the day



  7. CBS Continues to Get Heavily Occupied by Microsoft Staff to Spread Microsoft Propaganda

    The CBS-owned ZDNet continues to hire people who have worked or are currently working for Microsoft and unsurprisingly enough they use their newly-acquired positions to praise Microsoft and bash Microsoft's competition, usually with no disclosure of their conflict of interest



  8. Links 27/9/2014: Linux (Almost) Everywhere, Features Of Linux 3.17

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft Fakes 'Charity' and Uses Religious Groups to Acquire Lock-in in the Public Sector

    Microsoft's involvements with NGOs and with governments lead to more distrust, more surveillance, less freedom, and ultimately systemic corruption



  10. Bill Gates' Privatisation Crusade

    Mr. Gates, seeking to increase his huge profits and political power, reaches out to Catholic leaders and David Christian



  11. Tux Machines Under DDOS Attack

    Most of Tux Machines continues to work as usual, but some parts are temporarily restricted to keep the server running



  12. Links 26/9/2014: LibreOffice Celebrations, Betas of *buntu

    Links for the day



  13. Links 25/9/2014: KDE Roadmap, Bash Bug, GNOME 3.14 in Next Fedora

    Links for the day



  14. Links 24/9/2014: GNOME 3.14 Released, Bash Has a Bug

    Links for the day



  15. Links 21/9/2014: Fedora 21 Alpha

    Links for the day



  16. More of Bill Gates' Investments in GMO and Mass Indoctrination Under the Disguise of 'Donations'

    Microsoft's arrogant and famously corrupt co-founder is taken to task by those whom he is trying to bamboozle for monopoly, unlimited cross-generational power, and never-ending profit without risk



  17. Home Depot Confirmed a Victim of Microsoft's Bad Security, Microsoft Lays Off Security-Related Staff

    News reports circulate showing that Home Depot was knowingly careless with its Windows dependency while Microsoft lays off staff focused on security



  18. European Patent Office/Organisation - Suspicion of Improper Collusion Between EPO President and Chairman of the Administrative Council: Part III

    A preliminary look at Battistelli's reign and how regulatory powers got abolished, leaving the EPO reckless and largely unaccountable



  19. Links 21/9/2014: xorg-server 1.16.1, Linux Kernel 3.16.3

    Links for the day



  20. Links 20/9/2014: GNOME 3.13.92, Android L

    Links for the day



  21. Scanning Patent Troll Implodes; Is the Podcasting Patent Troll Next?

    MPHJ loses and Personal Audio LLC perhaps wins for the last time since software patents are quickly losing legitimacy in the United States



  22. If CAFC is Not Above the Law, Then it Should be Shut Down Now

    A long series of abuses in CAFC may as well suggest that this court has become broken beyond repair



  23. The Latest From Microsoft Patent Trolls and Patent Partners

    Microsoft-linked and Linux-hostile trolls continue their relentless attacks (albeit with little or no success) while patents as a weapon lose their teeth owing to a Supreme Court ruling



  24. Microsoft Proves That Its Massive Layoffs Are Not About Nokia

    Microsoft is laying off a lot of employees who have nothing at all to do with Nokia



  25. Links 19/9/2014: Another Red Hat Acquisition, Netflix Dumps Microsoft Silverlight and Brings DRM to WWW

    Links for the day



  26. Links 18/9/2014: Windows Copying GNU/Linux, Germany Moves to Security

    Links for the day



  27. Web Site 'Patent Progress' Now Officially 'Powered by CCIA' (FRAND Proponent, Microsoft Front)

    After talking a job at CCIA, "Patent Progress" and its chief author should be treated as dubious on real patent progress



  28. Articles About the Death of Software Patents in the United States

    Recent coverage of software patents and their demise in their country of origin, where even proponents of software patents are giving up



  29. The Death of Software Patents is Already Killing Some Major Patent Trolls

    VirnetX seems to be the latest victim of the demise of software patents in the United States



  30. More Microsoft Layoffs

    More Microsoft layoffs go ahead as the company is unable to compete


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts