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Why Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation is a Promoter of Proprietary Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Servers, Windows at 6:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The goal of the CodePlex Foundation is to sell more proprietary software like Windows, Visual Studio, and SQL Server

ON A COUPLE of occasions since Thursday, we have written about Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation [1, 2]. It is getting more exposure now.

Independently, Jason saw just what we pointed out earlier — that Miguel de Icaza took a shot at the FSF. He also wrote about it in his newer Web site, The Source. Here are some of the best parts:

Could that have anything at all to do with the decade of misinformation and FUD Microsoft has directly and indirectly funded, including the Best Buy disinformation campaign running at this very moment?

The chutzpah it must have taken for the author to actually type out that sentence, knowing full well that his own employer is the overwhelmingly largest single engine of misinformation, lies and destruction aimed at the Open Source community! You almost have to admire a man you can look you right in the eye and lie, knowing that you know that he knows that you know he is lying!

And there we have the fatal flaw of the CodePlex Foundation revealed: because it is a Microsoft mouthpiece, it can not speak directly and honestly about the single biggest challenge Free and Open Source Software faces – the aggressive hostility and lies spread about it by Microsoft.


The amazing thing is some people believe it! I guess some people fall for Nigerian scams, order Vigara from links in random email, and franticially dial 1-800 numbers during infomercials so they can get the deal that is ONLY AVAILABLE TO CALLERS IN THE NEXT 5 MINUTES!!!

In ZDNet, Dana Blankenhorn argues that Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation is akin to “open source Astroturf.” Our reader Goblin thinks further:

In the meantime Microsoft is looking for a new open source person to fill the space left by Mr Ramji.
My money is on Mr De Icazza – he has sure earned it (IMO).

Here is the analysis found in JupiterMedia:

The foundation is initially being funded by Microsoft and will be led by Microsoft’s Sam Ramji (**UPDATED** Ramji is leaving Microsoft on September 25th) . Novell’s Miguel de Icaza will be part of the new foundation’s Board of Directors (don’t forget Microsoft and Novell have an interop and patent deal).

So why does Microsoft need its own open source foundation? And what’s the difference vs what they are doing with Codeplex.com anyways?


I understand that CodePlex has its own ecosystem, but I would have expected the path to commercialization might have been better served through Microsoft itself rather than some shell open source foundation.

Even Ryan Paul, who vigourously defends Mono, is apparently a skeptic. Watch this Glyn Moody Twitter retwit, which is tagged “#fakeOpen #failOpen #openFail #fauxOpen”. Moody writes:

Microsoft has created a new foundation, the CodePlex Foundation which claims to be about bringing open-source and proprietary software companies together to participate side by side in open-source projects. Yeah. Right.


Besides, just like the snake in the story, Microsoft is more than happy to poison open-source software even as it proclaims that it wants to co-operate with open source. Just off the top of my head there’s the revelation that Microsoft’s ExpertZone training for Best Buy and other retailers is stuffed with anti-Linux lies.

And, then there’s Microsoft’s patent attacks on open-source using companies like TomTom and its thwarted efforts to sell anti-Linux patents to a patent troll. According to Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, “The details are that Microsoft assembled a package of patents ‘relating to open source’ and put them up for sale to patent trolls. Microsoft thought they were selling them to AST, a group that buys patents, offers licenses to its members, and then resells the patents.” What actually happened was that Microsoft ended up selling the patents to the Open Invention Network, a pro-Linux intellectual-property organization.

Strangely enough, Roberto Galoppini interviews Microsoft’s Hank Janssen, who is trying to move Free software developers off of GNU/Linux and over to Windows instead. This is done by embracing Zend/PHP for example (see the Janssen videos cited here). Janssen also writes hooks for Hyper-V, thanks to Novell.

“Essentially, Microsoft wants free labour to add value to Windows and the rest of Microsoft’s stack.”David Williams speaks to Microsoft’s Sara Ford, whose goals are pretty much the same. As Steve Ballmer put it 2 years ago, “I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.” Essentially, Microsoft wants free labour to add value to Windows and the rest of Microsoft's stack. That’s not “open”.

Likewise, a company called Likewise (former Microsoft employees) uses the “Open Source” label to market Microsoft patents, as we pointed out before. They have a new release that they announce now.

Speaking of abuse dressed up with the “open” label, read this new blog post.

Jonathan recently wrote about the availability of open dictionaries. In a recent comment to that post someone pointed us to Macmillan’s “Open” Dictionary (the reasons for the quotes will soon be apparent).


Such potential for abuse of the “open” label is a major reason we created the open definition — where open content and data are clearly defined as material that you, and others, are free to use, reuse and redistribute without restriction.

Here is a dictionary project which does it the right way.

The purpose of this project is to create a free, open simple dictionary for students to use. This dictionary will ultimately be published in a variety of formats and for multiple platforms.

To Microsoft, “open source” should ideally mean that the user is required to buy proprietary products like Windows and SQL Server merely to run the program/s. That’s what CodePlex is about.

“Based on years of conversations, I am convinced that part of the cause of the problem is the tendency to call the system Linux rather than GNU, and describe it as open source rather than free software.”

Richard Stallman

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  1. David Gerard said,

    September 12, 2009 at 6:07 am


    I’m thinking it would be fun to certify CodePlex apps for use on Wine.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Better yet — you could certify them for this machine.

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