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05.12.09

Did Microsoft Bribe Its Way Into Kicking GNU/Linux out of South African Schools?

Posted in Africa, Apple, Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ballmer money
Steve Ballmer in Windows 1.0 advertisement

Summary: Can students be required to buy a particular product from a particular abusive company that virtually bribes teachers to achieve this?

THE OTHER day we showed that Microsoft had paid South African teachers not to use GNU/Linux. It’s part of an ongoing attack on ODF and GNU/Linux adoption in this country. It’s one among several such attacks on the competition.

In order to achieve its goals, Microsoft has already insulted South Africans and used the Live@Edu stunt (paying students to sell out their peers) to restrict choice ans harm GNU/Linux users at the University of South Africa. This strategy is related to EDGI, which is a programme for fighting the competition by dumping software. This may be illegal.

The latest news from South Africa would suggest that Microsoft’s strategy may be paying off because, as the author puts it, “South Africa’s department of education shuts out FOSS.”

The decision by the department of education to specify proprietary Microsoft software as the minimum requirement for the purchase of laptops by teachers runs contrary to the South African national strategy of open standards and open source software. The government-backed Minimum Interoperability Standards (MIOS) for information systems in government, for example, specifies a set of standards for information sharing within government departments as well as between government and citizens, which specifies formats such as text, OpenDocument Format, XHTML and CSV for document sharing but does not include Microsoft’s Word format.

Has Microsoft suddenly reversed the country’s policies?

For what it’s worth, Apple is no angel either. Using the education system in Missouri Apple or its fans appear to be pushing students to buy a particular product from a particular company.

Missouri journalism students required to buy iPhone or iPod touch?

[...]

Before you protest that it may seem ridiculous, lavish, or favoring Apple to force students to pick up one of these expensive pieces of hardware, Brian Brooks, associate dean of the journalism school, told the Columbia Missourian that the requirement “will not be enforced, however, and there will not be a penalty for students who chose not to buy an iPod touch or iPhone.”

So why require it? Brooks said that it’ll helps students review recorded lectures, but the real reason for “requiring” the purchase is for the benefit of students on financial aid.

Say what? Microsoft is already known to be bribing professors and occasionally it shows, but what about Apple? It does have some academic plans (one DRM per child).

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7 Comments

  1. Kabatology said,

    May 12, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Gravatar

    I bet Microsoft played some funny game down there in SA. it’s not the first time. A similar case happened between Mandriva Linux, Microsoft and the stupid or selfish Nigerian gov’t. Here is an excerpt from the Official Mandriva Blog
    “Now, we hear a different story from the customer – - we shall pay for the Mandriva Software as agreed, but we shall replace it by Windows afterward.” More -> http://blog.mandriva.com/2007/10/31/an-open-letter-to-steve-ballmer/

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, it later made the Wall Street Journal.

  2. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 12, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Gravatar

    Notice that the astroturfers are hitting some of the ZA sites with anti-capitalist rhetoric and spin. They have not much to say about the One Microsoft Way: a top-down, one-size-fits-all, centrally-steered, command economy with no choice or dissent.

    http://slashdot.org/articles/980824/0854256.shtml

    http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/osrc/article.php/3809221/Bruce-Perens-Is-Open-Source-Capitalist-or-Communist.htm

    Capitalism depends on a free market and that’s only possible with commodity services and, in the case of computing, commodity protocols and formats. These cornerstones of the free market are things that the Party Leaders in Redmond have been staunchly fighting on both sides of the Atlantic.

    http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=20070127202224445

    In short, M$ is about as anti-capitalism as a group can get.

    Add to that the management’s disregard for US and EU busineses, disregard for the laws in both zones and apparent treason or perjury, you have an anti-government

  3. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 12, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Gravatar

    Notice that the astroturfers are hitting some of the ZA sites with anti-capitalist rhetoric and spin. They have not much to say about the One Microsoft Way: a top-down, one-size-fits-all, centrally-steered, command economy with no choice or dissent.

    http://slashdot.org/articles/980824/0854256.shtml

    http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/osrc/article.php/3809221/Bruce-Perens-Is-Open-Source-Capitalist-or-Communist.htm

    Capitalism depends on a free market and that’s only possible with commodity services and, in the case of computing, commodity protocols and formats. These cornerstones of the free market are things that the Party Leaders in Redmond have been staunchly fighting on both sides of the Atlantic.

    http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=20070127202224445

    In short, M$ is about as anti-capitalism as a group can get.

    Add to that the management’s disregard for US and EU busineses, disregard for the laws in both zones and apparent treason or perjury, you have an anti-government, anti-capitalist movement on your hands.

    Add to that one that uses FUD and extortion, then a case can be made that it is more than just a hostile foreign, anti-government, anti-capitalist movement on your hands.

    Add to that the ongoing economic damage from its activities, including but not limited to bad design, and you have actualized damage hostile foreign, anti-government, anti-capitalist movement on your hands.

    How is it that Redmond is not a smoking crater and the ringleaders + top henchmen not aerosol? It’s not like there isn’t a list of MS employees and their roles nor are we lacking registrys of Certified Gold Partners.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I quite like Roughly Drafted’s take on it.

  4. David Gerard said,

    May 12, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Gravatar

    He did one like that for XP as well:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-8IufkbuD0

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, we have that as Ogg Theora. Brian Valentine is now doing his damage from inside Amazon, so he does not attack GNU/Linux directly from Microsoft (there are antitrust memos that show this).

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