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08.07.08

Microsoft’s Aggressive Push to Assimilate FOSS to Microsoft

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, ISO, Microsoft, OSI at 5:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

First, some quotes:

“Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer [...] I can’t imagine
something that could be worse than this for the software business and the
intellectual-property business. I’m an American; I believe in the American
way, I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don’t think we’ve
done enough education of policymakers to understand the threat.”

–Jim Allchin, Microsoft

“There’s no company called Linux, there’s barely a Linux road map. Yet Linux
sort of springs organically from the earth. And it had, you know, the
characteristics of communism that people love so very, very much about it.
That is, it’s free.”

–Steve Ballmer

“Thanks to Mr. Gates, we now know that an open Internet with protocols anyone
can implement is communism; it was set up by that famous communist agent, the
US Department of Defense.”

–Richard Stallman

Earlier on today, we wrote about OSCON and OSBC. Their role is increasingly becoming a commercial one, not a community or a dominantly-functional one. Microsoft now participates in merely any such event.

Regarding the previous post, said one reader: “It was well timed since now Microsoft has started targeting conferences.

“Also the shills seem to be pushing several related talking points / myths. e.g. the myth that Microsoft is all goodness and talent ruined by a few bad apples, or that Microsoft staff is all goodness and talent, held back by the executives. [But] only the lazy, stupid and greedy go into employment at Microsoft and the toxic work culture there harms any subsequent place they spread to afterwards.”

There is an element of truth to that, but it may seem a little blunt to some.

Bruce Perens loses some faith in LinuxWorld, too. It’s very commercialised, it’s managed and powered by a Windows/Microsoft Web site (which used to carry blatantly anti-Linux ads at one point) and Linus Torvalds appears to have not attended for years. The problem seems broader though, which may explain why so many organisers currently sell out to Microsoft. As Perens put it:

Trade shows worldwide are doing poorly. The web has taken over their function, to a great extent. Fuel prices and economic downturn aren’t helping either. And Open Source is so mainstream now that a show concerning Linux is redundant with other IT shows. Of late it’s seemed more like a virtualization and data-center show than a Linux show.

Community folks on the show floor are asking: Why do we need IDG, the operator of this moribund show? Rather than focus on the business of Open Source, why not focus on the Open Source projects, and other forms of collaboration like Wikipedia, Creative commons, etc? It’s time for a community show to replace the commercial ones.

Web sites may be replacing booths while blogs replace press releases and newspaper, to an extent.

Now it’s time to approach the main concern though. A rather spineless OSI caught the attention of Free Software Daily.

The OSI is willing to extend the olive branch to the likes of Microsoft, granting the benefit of the doubt, even while there is no doubt that Microsoft is actively attacking software freedom.

Likewise, Microsoft is willing to engage the OSI as well because they know the OSI is more receptive to Microsoft than the Free Software Foundation.

The other odd thing was how the woman who gave the introduction volunteered information about a new OSI board member from Africa.

She said the new board member was still feeling bruised after participating in OOXML process. So, what does it take to gain a seat on the OSI board? I’m not sure, but apparently, advocacy for OOXML doesn’t hurt your chances much.

The coverage first appeared in Linux.com, which people must remember is now indirectly funded by Microsoft. Very recently, a post from Michael of the OSI was about Microsoft. It could raise a brow.

“Remember that Microsoft also sponsors and visits Linux conferences these days, not just open source ones.”Perens warned about this. The open source definition is often attributed to him, so he matters.

Remember that Microsoft also sponsors and visits Linux conferences these days, not just open source ones. Recently, Perens published an analysis that echoes criticism of this, in relation to Apache.

It’s worth repeating what we wrote this morning about Microsoft playing “good cop, bad cop”. Gates is arguably gone (he still lobbies behind the scenes), but the same aggressive tactics remain. One reader E-mailed us his thought about this: “[Gates] seems as active as ever. He’s just trying distance himself from the group’s all-around lousy reputation while still letting it work for his agenda.”

Time Magazine very recently put up some Gates glorification articles. 3 of them! Only at the bottom of the pages, a conflict of interests was clearly stated. This was somewhat of a placement, plated there by the husband of the former head of the Gates Foundation. It was another fine example of self glorification and ‘public opinion manufacturing’.

last but not least, watch this new article about Microsoft creating a so-called “open-source lab”.

Microsoft is now preaching interoperability, announcing it will open its first open-source lab in Asia Pacific in the country.

[...]

An upcoming update to Microsoft Office, for example, will enable support for the Open Document Format (ODF), which rivals Microsoft’s Open Office XML.

Abet Dela Cruz, Microsoft Philippines platform strategy manager, said Microsoft now recognizes open source as a “first class” citizen, alluding to the movement’s growth and adoption.

To support this claim, he noted SourceForge, an online repository of applications built by the open source community. Out of 147,000 projects, he said 77,000 of these applications run on the Windows platform, which far outnumbers those built for Windows alone.

Microsoft? Open Source?!?! Well, that last quoted sentence reveals their intent/motive, which is of course to steal FOSS from GNU/Linux and other Free platforms, making these projects an exclusive part of Microsoft's revenue streams.

To sum up, it’s important to ensure that GNU/Linux is not neglected because of Microsoft’s gifts. It’s also important to ensure that Microsoft does not police open-source by invading the OSI just like it took over ISO and like it tries to infiltrate OSA relentlessly. SCO too was getting cozy with the Linux community prior to those lawsuits. It wanted to show what a good citizen it was.

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