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. Brand Dilution in Action

    Microsoft's proprietary software which spies on people and businesses is getting a "free ride" on the "Linux" brand; and nobody seems to care, nobody seems to notice how perverse that it



  2. At the EPO Money -- Not Quality -- is King

    Financiers are ruining quality



  3. The EPO's Strategic Failure 2023

    Potemkin social dialogue



  4. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 11, 2019



  5. EPO Promoting Software Patents in Countries Where These Are Illegal

    The EPO's vision of 'unitary' software patents (patents on algorithms in countries that disallow such patents, as per their national laws) won't materialise, but in the meantime a lot of Invalid Patents (IPs) are granted in the form of European Patents (EPs) and this is wrong



  6. We Support GNU and the FSF But Remain Sceptical and Occasionally Worry About an RMS-less FSF

    Richard Stallman (RMS) is not in charge of the FSF anymore (it's Stallman who created the FSF) and there's risk the decisions will be made by people who don't share Stallman's ethics or the FSF's spirit



  7. Links 11/12/2019: Huawei Lobbied by Microsoft (Because of GNU/Linux) and Microsoft Still Googlebombs Linux to Promote 'Teams'

    Links for the day



  8. Links 11/12/2019: Edge Native Working Group, CrossOver 19.0 Released

    Links for the day



  9. Instead of Fixing Bug #1 Canonical/Ubuntu Contributes to Making the Bug Even More Severe (WSL/EEE)

    Following one seminal report about Canonical financially contributing to Microsoft's EEE efforts — celebrated openly by GNU/Linux opponentsclosing bug #1 Ubuntu basically decided not that it was fixed but that it would no longer attempt to fix it (“wontfix”)



  10. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 10, 2019



  11. Today's Example of Microsoft's Faked 'Love'

    “On 7 September 2017, users began noticing a message that stated “Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams”. This was confirmed on 25 September 2017, at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference,” according to Wikipedia



  12. Links 10/12/2019: Kubernetes 1.17, Debian Init Systems GR

    Links for the day



  13. 'Cancel Culture' as 'Thoughtpolice' Creep

    Richard Stallman spoke about an important aspect of censorship more than 2 decades ago (before “Open Source” even existed); it was published in Datamation (“Censoring My Software”) 23 years before a campaign of defamation on the Internet was used to remove him from MIT and FSF (censoring or ‘canceling’ Stallman himself)



  14. Microsoft Still Hates GNU/Linux and Mark Shuttleworth Knows It (But He is Desperate for Money)

    We're supposed to believe that a PR or image management (reputation laundering) campaign alone can turn Microsoft from GNU/Linux foe into friend/ally



  15. Actions Against EPO Corruption and Unitary Patent (UPC) Injustice/Lobbying

    The EPO is apparently going on strike again and an action against the UPC is scheduled for later this week (protest in Brussels)



  16. “The Fifth Freedom as a Meme”

    The issue with systemd (or SystemD) has provoked or at least stimulated discussions about the limits of the famous Four Freedoms



  17. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 09, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 09, 2019



  18. Demonstration Against Unitary Software Patents, Thursday 12 Dec in Brussels

    FFII's call to demonstrate against the UPC



  19. Links 9/12/2019: China on GNU/Linux, Canonical Wants Help to Improve Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  20. Links 9/12/2019: Linux 5.5 RC1, EasyOS Buster 2.1.9

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 08, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 08, 2019



  22. Mandatory Education for Those Who Use and Misuse Buzzwords Would Go a Long Way

    In an age of substitution — where marketing terms replace meaningful words and concepts — it has gotten more difficult to have honest debates, for example about the scope of patents



  23. Once Upon a Time Banter Was Allowed on Mailing Lists

    Hours ago Torvalds announced RC1 of the next Linux (kernel) release; it has been a while since he last said something ‘controversial’ (following his month at the penalty box); free speech deficit can make us weaker, not stronger (advantage to those who work in the dark)



  24. Links 8/12/2019: Debian Init Systems GR, NomadBSD 1.3

    Links for the day



  25. Can We Quit Celebrating DRM in GNU/Linux?

    Over the past couple of days various news sites and "Linux" sites expressed great satisfaction [1-5] over the passive embrace of Disney's DRM ploy (Disney+), even when Disney itself rejects DRM, seeing the harms practically caused by it [6,7]



  26. You Know WSL is Bad for GNU/Linux Because Anti-Linux People, Microsoft and Its Propagandists, Want People to Use That

    Microsoft and its boosters (and media partners) haven’t grown tired of spreading falsehoods to stigmatise and take control of GNU/Linux by creating their own versions and traps for it



  27. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 07, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 07, 2019



  28. 5 Years Ago the Linux Foundation Turned Linux.com Into a Non-Linux Site

    One can leverage the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to better understand how, over time, the Foundation called “Linux” deviated or diverged away from its mission statement for the sole purpose of raising corporate funds and selling influence to corporations (passing the community’s hard work to them — a form of tacit privatisation)



  29. Microsoft Redefining Ownership and Identity of GNU/Linux

    The idea that “Microsoft loves Linux” is as insane as it gets; but the lie which is “Microsoft loves Linux” is a powerful enabler of Microsoft entryism, e.g. if Greg steps down, does a Microsoft employee become the deputy of Linus Torvalds?



  30. Things That Cannot Be Said

    The limits on what we can say are mostly defined by what sources permit us to say publicly (for the sake of source protection)


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