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Microsoft Appoints Robert Duffner to Fight Freedom and Harm GNU/Linux

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 9:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mission “imprison OSS inside Windows”

Lookng out for the gullible ones, Microsoft is trying to sell a familiar storyline. To a degree, Microsoft succeeds now that it sends another hawk, just it did some months ago in order to threaten GNU/Linux with patents. They seem to be pushing out their new people who soon tell a story, a fairy tale. It’s another one of those legends about Microsoft loving and serenading to open source developers, much like that tune about children in Africa, which we wrote about yesterday.

“They seem to be pushing out their new people who soon tell a story, a fairy tale.”Regarding that story, told us one reader, “I’ve read a few Swedish novels in translation of the West and how it relates to Africa. A couple of them are from Henning Mankell: “Eye of the Leopard” and “Kennedy’s Brain”. They both provide good synopses of living conditions in Africa. The first is more in-depth about conditions in Africa, but the latter focuses on AIDS and speculates that some of these private foundations allegedly set up to find a cure for AIDS are not so good as they appear. The other is “Black Path” by Åsa Larsson. Only a small part of it is in Africa, but the main suspect in the story reminds me of Bill Gates. He doesn’t care so much about what effect his actions have on the world, because the only thing that matters to him is to prove his superiority.”

In the latest pursuit for affection, Microsoft seems to approaching journalists with a sob story about the economy and how Microsoft can help the poor with proprietary software (as in, “they’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade,” said Bill Gates). This is covered not only by InfoWorld (they cite Boycott Novell) but also by eWeek, which plays along with the same old storyline that almost deliberately confuses “open-source” (the dash is intentional) with “cheap”. There is of course not even a morsel of freedom in Microsoft’s pitch because it’s scared of this notion.

Anyway, here is how the eWeek story goes:

So not much will change in the way of messaging regarding Microsoft’s outlook on open source. It didn’t change much when Jason Matusow handed some of the handling of the Microsoft open source strategy to Bill Hilf, or when Hilf handed it off to Ramji.


Microsoft has appointed a new point man to put a face on its interaction with the open source community. That man, Robert Duffner, takes on a big task as senior director of Platform and Open Source Software strategy at Microsoft. His IBM and BEA roots will help him place his mark on the Microsoft strategy, but the core message remains the same.

This mentions Bill Hilf. Yes, the same guy who threatened GNU/Linux with patents before quitting his role. With people like these in change, it’s clear that they hate GNU/Linux and Free software. They try to modify existing terms and ideologies like “open source” [1, 2]. People like Sam Ramji put a happy face on [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] whilst doing work of malice. They might actually manage to convince themselves (lie to themselves) that they do something good in exchange for generous wages from a law-breaking company.

Going back to that eWeek article, the song Duffner is on about is not necessarily for journalists, some of them won’t even buy it. It’s for them to publish it and for few readers to be deceived, misguided or confused as a consequence.

I met with Duffner and my former eWEEK colleague Peter Galli for lunch here in New York.

Peter Galli is now working for Microsoft. He was doing his Free software damage from inside eWeek before he 'vanished' and then got hired (to unleash his damage directly from Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4]). The eWeek-Microsoft link appears to be tightening and eWeek is known to many as Ziff|Gates, which reflects on the same bias one finds in ZDNet (Microsoft sends its employees to participate there). It’s an issue of ownership and sponsorship.

Here is part of the article which was probably most telling:

Duffner also pointed out that today there are more than 80,000 open source applications that run on Windows, 30,000 of which were built specifically and only to run on Windows.

That’s their goal. It’s an anti-GNU/Linux strategy, turning "open source" developers into just another bunch of Windows ISVs.

I want you for money

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  1. MisterMeister said,

    December 16, 2008 at 2:11 am


    Protecting the reach of Microsoft in Africa is nothing new, even if it causes the deaths of a few million in the process:


    by Greg Palast
    July 14, 2003


    “Stephanie, let me let you in on a little secret about Bill and Melinda Gates so-called “Foundation.” Gate’s demi-trillionaire status is based on a nasty little monopoly-protecting trade treaty called “TRIPS” – the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights rules of the World Trade Organization. TRIPS gives Gates a hammerlock on computer operating systems worldwide, legally granting him the kind of monopoly the Robber Barons of yore could only dream of. But TRIPS, the rule which helps Gates rule, also bars African governments from buying AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis medicine at cheap market prices.”


  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 16, 2008 at 3:51 am


    The issue as I know it is a little different.

  3. mpz said,

    December 16, 2008 at 6:28 am


    On a related note – I think just about any project that reaches some level of maturity will have some pressure applied for it to be ported to work on windows. And I don’t think it’s at all nefarious – it usually seems to come about due to some wish to become popular, or go ‘mainstream’, or attempt to please lusers who keep asking for it.

    For some projects it can attract new developers, but I think on the whole the MS eco-system is basically incompatible with free software – and all you end up with is a lot of less-savvy and less-polite users giving you hassles. Users want everything for nothing (no real difference to GNU users really), but developers from that side rarely seem to want to do anything without some direct recompense.

    One only has to observe the Java eco-system compared to the .NET one to see the embodiment of these ideas. Even large and complex enterprise software is now basically a commodity and freely available on Java, on .NET you have to pay for every little extension widget or shitty ‘framework’ that fixes some short-coming in the basic system. It seems the only driver for ‘innovation’ is money – and no crappy little one-man ISV will ever make enough money on their ‘shareware’ to get anywhere, so they’re really just pissing in the wind while the only winner is Microsoft, who is also pissing in the wind – up-wind to everyone else.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 16, 2008 at 9:07 am


    On a related note – I think just about any project that reaches some level of maturity will have some pressure applied for it to be ported to work on windows.

    It’s more than just a port. It’s also hosting, licences, proprietary formats, patents etc. Microsoft doesn’t view it so simplistically.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 16, 2008 at 1:23 pm


    Here is an interesting comment that arrived later:


    It is interesting that the article does not mention Martin Taylor when discussing the history of Microsoft’s attempts to co-opt Linux:



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