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OSCON and Microsoft

Posted in Deception, Finance, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Novell at 5:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[Bill Gates] is divisive. He is manipulative. He is a user. He has taken much from me and the industry.”

Gary Kildall


eing an OSCON skeptic does not mean being an open source skeptic or an opposer to it. That said, there are quite a few reasons to question OSCON’s goals [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. It’s a business, it’s a conference. it serves the commercial agenda of those that sponsor it. The same goes for OSBC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. OSBC and OSCON are both notably sponsored by Microsoft and the former was even initiated in part by Microsoft, which is among the top funders.

It’s clear that Microsoft wants to approach and sidle with “open source”, but the motives are not benign. Given enough sponsorships, Microsoft can cloud open source and rewrite the rules. It’s already happening. The one side of Microsoft will act friendly (“good cop”), whereas the other will say the truth (“bad cop”). Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer have played this manipulative game for ages. Here’s how Lora put it:

Awhile ago, when Microsoft was aggressively asserting its patent threats against Linux — and also crafting a partnership agreement with Novell — Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin described the company’s approach as schizophrenic.

That conversation immediately came to mind when I saw this piece from vnunet.com: “Microsoft Warns of Open Source Threat.” Huh? Didn’t Sam Ramji just do a good will tour at EclipseCon, OSBC and then OSCON? (I quoted him as saying the heart of Microsoft is right in the middle of its open source activities.)

How quickly people forget what Novell’s founder once said. it’s the same game with different characters playing the same roles.

“Pearly Gates and Em-Ballmer
One promises you heaven and the other prepares you for the grave.”

Ray Noorda, Novell

Watch what else has struck a nerve in this ‘open source’ conference:

…thanks to O’Reilly and (of all people) Microsoft, you can spend a good while learning about what the speakers had to say at OSCON.


As to file formats, things are similarly confused. If you want to be able to read everything, you need to be able to open PDF, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Open Office ODP files. This shouldn’t be a huge hurdle, though it is a bit annoying to see quite so many PowerPoint presentations here.

Watch the first comment. Other observations (e.g. in InfoWorld) include photos requiring Flash (no JPEG or Ogg). For the openness Freedom argument, last year O’Reilly had to publish/produce the session with Eben Moglen separately, as Ogg.

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A Single Comment

  1. gggggg said,

    August 8, 2008 at 1:55 am


    Since the beginning of the year Microsoft has trowing away money right, left and center in the hope of finding someone who can be bought in the open source world.

    Have you made a list of causalities?

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