Summary: A batch of stories that deserve greater attention
THIS IS A SET of new observations about Microsoft’s affairs in international establishments and governments.
Beware the Black Ducks
It is worrying to find that a purely proprietary software company created by a (former) Microsoft employee is becoming some sort of a self-appointed speaker for FOSS. A few days ago we found Black Duck Software cited in some major publications where its take on open source is embraced without question, despite the company’s sheer hypocrisy (it doesn’t even do open source) and occasional FUD, which is exactly how it makes business for itself. It’s the classic business model to offer medicine which combats perceived risk and newly-created problems.
ISO SC34, now heavily controlled by Microsoft people who go to ISO meeting happening all over the planet, has published a report of defects of the pseudo ISO standard ISO29500. They do not provide a definition of what is an “existing document”.
That’s what happens when ISO gets controlled by Microsoft (at least the relevant parts of it).
In previous writings about the Bharatiya Janata Party (in India) [1, 2] we placed insufficient emphasis on this party’s level of posturing (potential stunt). We first witnessed it a few days ago and we have readers provide us with more evidence that includes:
The BJP’s awkward embrace of Free Software
The IT manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party has created ripples among software circles with its support for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), and its opposition to “digital standards.” While the Kerala government has a policy that makes the use of FOSS in government and education mandatory, Tamil Nadu has implemented it in a few departments. Left parties have for long backed the Free Software movement politically. It is surprising that the BJP, with its strong pro-corporate and pro-patent leanings, should back this cause.
Consider this. As late as January 2009, the BJP government in Gujarat, led by Chief Minister Narendra Modi, inked a deal with the global proprietary software giant Microsoft that includes a Microsoft-developed IT curriculum for high school students, teacher training, certification programmes, and offers free Microsoft software development tools to universities.
We’ve just learned that the exclusive benefits to Microsoft are inquired by MPs at the Portuguese Parliament, despite existing complaints about Microsoft corruption in the country. Microsoft also mocks GNU/Linux and publicly frowns upon Free software advocates over there.
Speaking of government affairs with Microsoft, Tectonic reports that one of Microsoft’s nightmares in South African has just departed.
SA government loses key OSS advocate
Besides being the chairperson of the government’s open source workgroup Raffee was also a prime advocate of open source software and standards in government circles as well as more widely in South Africa and the world. Over the past two years he and his department played a key role in the opposition to the OOXML standards process at the International Standards Organisation, hosted the second OpenDocument Format workshop in South Africa and led the battle for South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission to open up its website to all South African citizens.
The South African government is still home to many staunch open source advocates but losing Raffee will undoubtedly leave a noticeable hole in its ranks.
We already know what Microsoft did in South Africa [1, 2, 3], which it treated in its fashionable cult-like approach. It even insulted South African people and did everything within its power to derail ODF and GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3] in this strong, stubborn nation which understands the detrimental impact of colonialism.
Knowing what Microsoft did in India and in Massachusetts, namely the overthrow of opposition [1, 2, 3], we decided to check why the man above left the government and asked the author about it. Publicly he replied: “I don’t think he was pushed. But never say never.” Who will replace the guy? That may be the key question. █
“No other large companies as far as I know use their employees as attack dogs to silen[ce] dissent. It’s time for Microsoft to stop this nonsense.”