09.01.08

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FUD Warning: Mirosoft Casts “GNU/Linux” as “Piracy”

Posted in Africa, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Open XML, Windows at 6:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU in the wild

Fear and loathing of innocent gnus

Microsoft loves to claim that GNU/Linux does not exist. Where it exists, Microsoft pretends that it’s just ‘pirated’ Windows running and we recently covered such propaganda from Ina Fried and CNET [1, 2]. Kenya now seems quite likely a similar example.

Whenever Microsoft announces price drops, believe not the pitch about “poor students” and “to reduce piracy”. When and where Microsoft reduces its prices, it’s often because of Free software, which gains attraction that Microsoft is trying to stop.

There are at least two articles out there at the moment which claim Microsoft discounts in Kenya are intended to reduce copyright infringement. Microsoft compares this to the violent activity which is piracy. The original article pitches the news just like some obedient PR people from Microsoft rather than address the real market dynamics and share the details that Microsoft is not willing to talk about. The first post/article is a good example of this.

Microsoft’s plan to combat piracy in Kenya is pretty simple, really. Instead of trying to sue it away, they’re lowering prices to make Microsoft software more affordable, according to an IDG report.

Cherish the mercy of Microsoft. It prefers not to sue poor people.

This links to the IDG article, which resides in Network World.

But Ndung’u said that the corporation has developed a pricing structure for cyber cafés that requires them to pay US$10 per desktop annually.

Well, well…

It was widely publicised a while ago that cafés in Kenya were moving to GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3]. It’s not so much about so-called “piracy” then; it’s not about goodwill. It’s about being more competitive and reduce adoption of Free software. In other words, now they try dumping of Non-free software (or cheap giveaways) and they call it “fighting piracy”, not “fighting GNU/Linux”. They cast usage of GNU/Linux as something illegal that they kindly try to put an end to.

Why can’t Microsoft simply permit the Kenyan people to have freedom with Free(dom) software? It’s the same in South Africa where a new managing director has just been appointed. It has been a messy affair there [1, 2].

Need it be repeated that Microsoft allegedly blackmailed Kenya for OOXML support [4]?

____

[1] Kenya: Copyright Board Takes Piracy War to Cyber Cafes

Cyber café operators within Nairobi are torn between legalising their Microsoft software operating system, shifting to Open Source Code or closing shop all together following the crack down on illegal software.

[...]

According to Mr Kasani, the software will manage all aspects of cyber café billing such as Internet time, printing, items, accounts, discounts, the programme will be across platform , it will be possible to run it on both Linux and Windows computers connected on the same cyber works.

[2] Linux cutting software costs in Kenya

Entrepreneurs in Kenya are putting Linux to work to cut costs and maximise profits as they look for new ways to bring computing to users.One of these entrepreneurs is Patrick Mathenge, CEO of Mullard Electronic Limited, a firm trading in hardware and software from its Mombasa Road offices. The company is distributing Linux software that can turn a single computer into up to 10 workstations.

[3] Open source opportunity on the road to Nairobi

Open source is facing a great opportunity in the cyber cafes of Nairobi, Kenya.

[4 ] Microsoft Denies Threatening to Withdraw Funding

[5 ] Kenya: How Software War Will Hurt Consumers

[6] Kenya Linux Group Challenges Procurement Policies

[7] Africa: ‘Microsoft is Imperialistic’ Says Open Source Advocates

[8] Swahili Blogosphere: State of education in Tanzania, M-Pesa and Open Source Movement in Kenya

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15 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    September 2, 2008 at 5:48 am

    Gravatar

    M$ has been doing that for ages. When they first started shaking businesses down for money via the BSA, they made quite an effort to convince legislators that any companies not using M$ products were pirating.

  2. Needs Sunlight said,

    September 2, 2008 at 5:50 am

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    Also, Oregon’s schools got shaken down, too. They were running a mixed environment and M$ lackeys decided that it should be 100% and threatened to sue. The schools capitulated, not having the funds to spend in court, and then dropped M$ as soon as could be managed to avoid similar risks in the future.

  3. pete said,

    September 4, 2008 at 4:14 am

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    Your article contains nothing to support the headline. It comes across as merely an unfocussed rant against Microsoft. Yes you will get some support from individuals who think that everything in the Linux world is good (read: free) and everything that Microsoft does is bad.
    You will realise, when you venture out into the real world, that the MS/Linux arguments are over – no-one cares anymore. We all just want to get our work done.

  4. Liviu-Theodor said,

    September 4, 2008 at 6:51 am

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    In fact, what wants Microsoft, and also want also software giants? They want, nothing more, nothing less, than you (I mean everyone) to buy every piece of software you ever use or need from them, even if you are a programmer and use your software just in-house (no distribution intended). So, Linux (and any free or open-source software) is a direct threat to their dominance. And if such software wouldn’t exist, be sure the prices for software will be ridicule high (as for now they are “very cheap”). And they came with the so-called “software piracy”, when it is just “copying and/or using software not in accordance with the EULA”. Probably, they think the fact of merely copying a CD (even a Linux CD; probably for them, especially a Linux CD) for a friend is equivalent with killing people and raping women (as pirates did).

  5. Jose_X said,

    September 5, 2008 at 10:01 pm

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    Microsoft is not lowering prices. They are trying to create revenue from what used to be $0 effectively, now that their product has gained psychological traction among the population.

    >> You will realise, when you venture out into the real world, that the MS/Linux arguments are over – no-one cares anymore. We all just want to get our work done.

    pete, $0 is very good, but the control over the software is VERY good.

    You are correct that in numerous quarters, Linux has taken over and the adopters are not looking back [NYSE just recently + many individual users each and every day].

    Linux is control and potential that closed source software by definition cannot give. $0 is nice. A fast acting and growing community is also nice. Appearing much more frequently on mainstream machines pre-loaded is convenient and will help it spread even faster. That’s nice too.

    And from such humble beginnings too. Just a few computer programmers “scratching their itches” it has ballooned to now include support from most major vendors, except Microsoft.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 6, 2008 at 2:10 am

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    Regarding cost, see the third comment here:

    To quote:

    “Annually? So over 5 years its $50 and seven years (as per XP) its $70 and so on. Soon they will pay 70% of the original cost. How nice of you Microsoft. Now you are a rental company.

    “My question to M$ is this. What the hell are you going to do with boot time computers that are cheaper than your Operating system? I think you are clutching at straws trying to sell a polished turd as cheap until you realise the TCO is on par with a Company in the US.

    “Even if it sounds like you are giving it away, you aren’t. You are not nice people! “

  7. LinuxCanuck said,

    September 6, 2008 at 6:34 am

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    After reading the article, I went to the home page of your site. Irony of ironies, on the top of the Boycott Novell page is an ad for… Novell, courtesy of Google. So while to talk a good story, you are advertising for Novell. Is this a joke?

    Stupid is as stupid does, as Forrest Gump would say. If you insist on mocking yourself, nobody will take you seriously.

    Oh, yes, at the top of the page for this story is a Google Ad for Anti-piracy software which probably runs on… Windows! How about getting real and having no ads.

  8. M.Marcas said,

    September 6, 2008 at 10:48 am

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    Pete:
    MS/Linux arguments are over – no-one cares anymore. We all just want to get our work done.
    /Unless you own a private/public limited company, you are in no position to make that statement. What office lackeys care about however “in the real world”, really doesn’t matter to anyone.

    LinuxCanuck:
    So while to talk a good story, you are advertising for Novell. Is this a joke?
    /Presumably when you sign up for AdSense either you give preferences to the subject discussed on your website, or Google automatically (not deliberatly) decides on an Ad. When I went to Roy’s site it was advertising up.times5 (easy server monitoring etc). Anti-piracy software? Theres no such thing… when you make something up, at least make up something credible… Whatever runs on Windows, can run on Linux via Wine. Now shut the hell up you fricking noob.

    Your article was fantastic, well thoughtout, well excecuted, – brilliant. Also, I’ve looked at some of the rest of your articles they’re really quite interesting, I usually skim read news headlines looking for something vaguely readable, I found myself reading each heading and description with your articles.

    Congrats on getting on LinuxToday.

  9. txtechdog said,

    September 6, 2008 at 12:17 pm

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    The article would have been much better if he didn’t insist on the stupidity about the word piracy. It is not uncommon for words to have more than one meaning and this word is a perfect example. The meaning of piracy depends on the context and the author’s refusal to recognize this just makes him look like a moron.

    Microsoft isn’t the source of the term piracy in the software context, so just drop it already. The statement that they are comparing copyright infringement to raping and plundering is simply stupid. And what they are talking about isn’t copyright infringement anyways. It is violation of the licensing agreement. It is the software license that is being violated when you install multiple copies of Windows on different machines, not the copyright. The copyright says that the software belongs to Microsoft and you can’t claim otherwise. Software pirates aren’t doing that. They are violating the license agreement, which says that you are licensed to use the software on one machine only.

  10. M.Marcas said,

    September 6, 2008 at 12:38 pm

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    txtechdog:
    /Piracy means the use of someone else’s work without their permission (e.g. license). Use the dictionary next time you see big words like this…

    Roy Schestowitz did not make the claim that Microsoft was the source of piracy. Period.
    You.Are.Wrong. Copyright infrigment, is when you use the work of others unlawfully. For example. If I were to download Mac OS X or Windows Vista using torrents or DC hubs, then go on to install them on computers using cracks/key gens, that would be piracy because I’m stealing someone elses work. Regarding the ignorant statement about “software pirates” – You can NOT violate the license agreement, when there was NO license agreement in the first place, i.e. pirated software.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 6, 2008 at 2:16 pm

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    LinuxCanuck,

    Shane attached these AdSense bits because he pays the hosting bill (about 50 gigs a month). I’ve just passed him an E-mail because I hope to get rid of the ads once and for all (they have nothing to do with me and they damage credibility). He has already blocked quite a few domains that intruded such as ads from Microsoft.com (anti Linux). The binding to ads is not controlled by the site BTW (blame Google)

  12. psychicist said,

    September 7, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Gravatar

    I can understand pete’s point of view in so far as that applications that many businesses require only run on MS Windows and maybe not yet on WINE or not well enough, so you need that operating system. If that’s the case you can virtualise it and treat it like an appliance (or like the toy it is) as long as there is no replacement that runs on GNU/Linux.

    But what must be done is creating these replacement applications so they run at least on GNU/Linux so the MS Windows (and to a lesser extent Apple’s OS X) operating systems can be written out of existence and the history books. For now the pragmatic choice is to keep both of these for the tasks only these can handle, but in the longer term they shouldn’t be necessary (and neither the x86 architecture).

    And I say that as a free software developer and advocate who sometimes reluctantly has to make the choice of deploying non-free software in a business setting.

  13. Neo said,

    September 7, 2008 at 10:53 am

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    i don’t care which OS you use. just don’t ask me to work on Windows machines, because i’m not going to waste my time.

  14. nero said,

    September 8, 2008 at 8:39 pm

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    shut up microsloth! your just jealous because someone made a os that way better than anything you could make so you claim infringement of some imaginary non valid software patents. if it wasn’t for the fact that xp has the best games then i would of ditched it for pure linux a long time ago. Someday wine will be able to do this job and or vmware will get 3d acceleration and when it does bye bye microsoft…

  15. Liviu-Theodor said,

    September 10, 2008 at 12:48 am

    Gravatar

    txtechdog said:
    Microsoft isn’t the source of the term piracy in the software context, so just drop it already. The statement that they are comparing copyright infringement to raping and plundering is simply stupid.

    Indeed, not just Microsoft is the source of the use of the word piracy in the software context. It is BSA (Business Software Association), which is an organization that represent the interest of Microsoft, Adobe, Corel and other software giants. And they have choosen this word exactly to compare not only copyright infringement to what sea pirates did, but also any move of a potential customer that do not end with the purchase of one license from them, even they qualify use of GNU/Linux (and other free OS-s, such as BSD) as piracy and fight against it.

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