IN THIS CONTINUED EXPLORATION of influence for sale and various means like pet charities (or charities for business agenda [1, 2]) and lobbyists, we are coming across more evidence that may come handy in the future.
Thanks to the failure of the media, there is a lot of disinformation out there about the Gates Foundation and its actual function (articles are being planted to glorify this foundation). We wrote about it before, so we won’t repeat old facts but summarise a few instead. Apart from a haven that shelters against tax, this money vehicle enables many investments and interests to be carried under an innocent umbrella of philanthropy.
Gates’ proximity to the US government is a subject that we continued exploring yesterday, but this leads to other fascinating areas. We have also just found the following disclosure about Gates’ personal investments, which are made through a philanthropic entity. These investments include oil companies, but more interestingly, there are actual payments made to governments.
A sampling of the Gates Foundation’s largest investments:
Above $1.5 billion
* Berkshire Hathaway**
* Canadian government
Between $1 billion and $1.5 billion
* Fannie Mae
* German government
Between $100 million and $1 billion
* Abbott Laboratories
* Archer Daniels Midland
* British Petroleum
* Canadian National Railway
* Exxon Mobil
* Freddie Mac
* French government
* Japanese government
* Schering Plough
* Tyco International
* Waste Management
*Might include stocks, bonds and other securities
**Warren Buffett committed his first installment of Berkshire Hathaway stock in June.
Sources: Gates tax and Securities and Exchange Commission filings— Los Angeles Times
Who is pocketing this money and what would be the impact? Why are wealthy governments being paid by the Gates Foundation and what are the returns? The Norway story, for example, sure was interesting and it was not an isolated case. █
The Canadian Parliament receives over $1,500,000,000 in ‘charity’ money from Microsoft’s Bill Gates
Quebec’s open-source software association is suing the provincial government, saying it is giving preferential treatment to Microsoft Corp. by buying the company’s products rather than using free alternatives.
The lawsuit by Facil was lodged with the Quebec Superior Court on July 15 and made public on Wednesday. In it, the group says the provincial government has refused to entertain competing bids from all software providers, opting instead to supply public-sector departments with products bought from proprietary vendors such as Microsoft and Oracle Corp.
Defenders of Mono routinely claim that Mono is a wonderful environment for developers, but what happens when its very ‘source’, Novell SUSE, fails to make it work? This appears to be the case, at least based on one personal experience.
I won’t bore you with screen shots of creating a simple ‘Hello world’ application. I will say that monodevelop is crashy. For example, without having created anything, I attempted to see what the Classes tab on the left side of the IDE would produce if opened. Normally it should be blank; that’s what every other IDE in the known universe shows. Instead MonoDevelop crashed and exited. Hmmm…
That being the case, why should GNU/Linux developers embrace .NET? It makes GNU/Linux seem like a cheap Windows wannabe with an IDE that’s years behind Visual Studio and strives to replicate its functionality. It’s like opting for OpenOffice.org with OOXML (as default format), which is exactly what Microsoft wants. It makes Microsoft a leader and rule maker.
Just as surprising as the agreement itself was the enthusiastic participation and defence of the agreement by the developers Novell inherited from Ximian. This enthusiasm was not unconnected to Ximian’s committment to Mono, its own free software implementation of the .Net framework, (which is heavily implicated in future GNOME development), and the fear of many that parts of the Mono implementation may turn out to be patent encumbered, or that support will be compromised in other ways. The participation of Novell’s corporate wonks in such an agreement could feasibly be excused on the grounds of ignorance or indifference. It is perhaps less easy to understand the enthusiasm of the participating free software developers.
Novell claims that the agreement has brought significant advantages to Linux and Novell, which is beginning to show healthy returns on its Linux business. It may also have brought significant damage to SUSE’s long term place in the affections of the community…
Apologies for steering a little off topic. A detailed analysis worth reading, especially to those who have not read it yet, seems almost prophetic these days. It related to topics that we cover.
This situation is not about stock valuation, product quality or whether or not Microsoft has monopoly power in its markets. Nor is it part of a pro or anti-Microsoft movement. This situation is instead a shining example of financial fraud and corruption enabled by bad government policy. If not quickly and aggressively addressed, we will all be losers as credibility in our financial markets is destroyed.
The more things change, the more they may stay the same. █