Gartner Group Comes to Microsoft’s Rescue, Again
Summary: Microsoft’s brigadier Michael Silver helps foil Europe’s migration to GNU/Linux, using lies
WHILE THE Web site was down (more details about it later) we had planned to publish what later on showed up on Slashdot. As it may seem like old news by now, we will take a somewhat unique angle on this and take a deeper look at those who are involved.
This whole thing began on Thursday night when Stefano Forenza got his hands on some really interesting documents, which he then translated into English before/whilst sharing the findings. The documents were not supposed to be seen in public because transparency is not truly a priority to those who are involved in heavy contracts where fairness is merely a luxury.
Here is what Stefano wrote.
An Italian EU deputy, Marco Cappato, had the guts to ask. The reply was they were basing on a study made in 2005. He asked to them to make it public, but his request was refused. Nobody believed he could get the EU to make it public. An well known Italian IT website even called that ‘a miracle‘.
I’m going no further, I’ll just translate Cappato’s post and attach here the document for the world to see. Up to you to judge how good it is.
(not that is that the document is still super-secret, but it has been disclosed very recently and I guess you won’t have many other chances to read it otherwise)
The following day it entered Slashdot’s front page and here is the story’s summary.
For 4 years MEP Marco Cappato tried to get access to the EU Council’s 2005 open source migration study because he is a member of a responsible IT oversight committee in the European Parliament. His repeated requests for access were denied. Now they have finally been answered because the Council’s study has escaped into the wild (PDF in French and English). Here is a quick look. It is embarrassing! Gartner, when asked if there were any mature public Linux installations in Europe, claimed that there were none. Michael Silver said, ‘I have not spoken to any sizable deployments of Linux on the desktop and only one or two StarOffice deployments.’ Gartner spread patent and TCO FUD. Also, the European Patent Office participated in the project, although it is not an EU institution.
The long discussion seen in Slashdot took place in many other sites. It’s truly fascinating, yet typical.
Let us go through some finer details which may or may not have been caught by eyewitnesses who saw this document.
As Stefano put it, the “title of a user comment on the news [is] ‘dirty pigs, just because it’s up to us citizen to pay’.” The original file
[PDF] is in French and English. That, according to Stefano, is “the study the EU used to decide between Microsoft and FLOSS (a study they didn’t want to make public).”
It was not so long ago that we wrote about a study like this which the EU had shelved and we also saw American Microsoft lobbyists deviously invading an EU panel on Free/Open Source software to completely ruin the study which came out. There are other such examples. We are still in touch with the Commission about it [1, 2], but they keeps finding excuses and procrastinating. It’s truly comedy and they also violate transparency laws while using poor reasons to refuse or delay until the requester gives up.
Going back to Gartner, which we have proven to be corrupted by Microsoft [1, 2, 3], don’t the European diplomats know that Microsoft commissioned Gartner for anti-Linux studies, which we know about because we have the receipts? Asking Gartner about migration to GNU/Linux is like asking the Pope if one should convert to Islam.
Anyway, looking at the document, we find that it’s a familiar character in it. It’s the infamous pro-Microsoft Michael Silver [1, 2]. Yes, we saw him many times before. One should skip to page 25 (onwards) to find Microsoft is all over it and also take a look at page 33, which reveals nothing but Windows. In page 39, for example, they also mock GNU/Linux.
“That’s a document the EU didn’t want to disclose,” explains Stefano, “because disclosing may ‘compromise our business agreements with Microsoft’.” That’s according to the Italian man from the EU parliament — the man who fought the EU to disclose this study. Why was it done in secret anyway? Why was Microsoft involved? Well, now we know why.
Here are bits of the correspondence:
From: Silver,Michael [Michael.Silver at gartner.com]
Sent: lundi 14 février 2005 13:55
To: BIANCHESSI Pietro
Cc: Drakos,Nikos; MARIOTTI Jean-Marc (EP); TURPISZ Vincent (EP); LORA-TONET
Pierre (EP); DiMaio,Andrea; Heyneman,Christine
Subject: RE: references for site visit of OSS on workstations
Dear Mr. Bianchessi,
Thank you for your inquiry on desktop Linux and open source office products.
The organizations I mentioned in my presentation are in their infancy, if that, in their open source
desktop deployments. I have not spoken to any sizable deployments of Linux on the desktop and only
one or two StarOffice deployments. Here is the status of the ones you mentioned.
-City of Munich – in the planning phase
-City of Bergen (N) – this organization is not doing Linux desktop. I mentioned these people as an
example of the Linux hype. There was an erroneous press report and since then the CIO has been
trying to correct it, saying that they are doing servers, not Linux desktops.
-Allied Irish Bank – Sun and AIB put out a press release last year, but Sun informed me a few months
ago that AIB was not doing reference calls. You can ask your Sun representatives to connect you with
-NSW RTA – This is another Sun reference, but they are only doing StarOffice, not Sun Java (Linux)
Desktop. Again, Sun should be able to connect you.
I continue to work with my colleague, Andrea DiMaio, to find references at these and other
government organizations. We will keep you in mind as we speak with other organizations that might
be appropriate references and ask their permission to give you their contact information. Unless I hear
otherwise, I will assume we are free to give them your information and ask them to contact you.
I would be happy to discuss your Linux desktop plans with you on an ongoing basis if you like and I
believe Ms. Heyneman can help you arrange a call with me. I recently spoke with a large bank that
had been seriously considering Linux for a large portion of their users but found that staying with
Windows would be less expensive. There may be other benefits that government organizations have
considered that companies cannot (like economic benefit) and we can discuss that, but I cannot share
this organization’s name or contact information at this time.
Vice President and Research Director
Gartner Hardware and Operating Systems
56 Top Gallant Road
Stamford, CT 06904
ph. 203 316 1200
fax 203 316 6560
Click Here for Gartner’s Latest Client Platforms Research
From: BIANCHESSI Pietro [mailto:pbianchessi
Dear Mr. Silver,
recently I attended a Gartner presentation in Brussels by Nikos Drakon on OSS. I told him that at the
European Parliament we would be interested in visiting one or more sites where OSS workstations are
implemented on a large scale. He was kind enough to send me your presentation titled "Client OS and
Office: is Open Source in Your future?". I find this presentation brilliant, and very useful.
At the European Parliament we often receive questions from Members on "why have we not migrated
our workstations to OSS?" and we are examining the possibilities. We definitely do not want to embark
in a migration without having verified that others have done it successfully before us, and that the
benefits would exceed the disadvantages. In this spirit, we would like to visit 2 or 3 successful sites, if
We have a base of 11.000 PC's (in the process of migrating from Win NT + Ofiice 97 to Win XP +
The question is: can you help me obtaining the name and e-mail or adress of a contact person
in some of the main Organizations that have installed, and are working with, OSS workstations ?
I am thinking of the Organizations you quote in your slide:
-city of Munich
-city of Bergen (N)
-Allied Irish Bank
-Ville de Paris
head of Office Automation and IT support Division
SUTI - DIT (Parlement Européen)
tel 00352 4300 22185
fax 00352 4300 27108
On a purely factual level, Gartner is very wrong, but it is no surprise given the hypothesis delivered by the paying clients of Gartner, including Microsoft (Bill Gates is an investor in Gartner too). Regarding GNU/Linux deployments in Europe, how about French police? This success story alone boasts over 100,000 desktops/laptops running Ubuntu.
In other news, Gartner seems to be advertising Vista 7 after some negotiations with Microsoft regarding Windows Vista. Here is what they say:
The Gartner comments come with speculation rampant that Microsoft could ditch Vista in the wake of what appears to already be a groundswell of positive reviews from early users of Windows 7.
One thing is for sure. We have just looked at 2 weeks of news about “Microsoft” (judging by the headlines). For “Windows 7″ we get 56 matches and for “Vista” just 8 matches. Microsoft is trying to prevent discussion about Vista and have people talk about vapourware instead. █