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11.09.09

Some New Examples of FUD Against Linux, GNU, and the GPL

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft at 5:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Microsoft tries to abolish the GPL and the Free desktop; FUD against Stallman and distortions about Linux development are combated by Groklaw

DANA Blankenhorn has asked what it would take for people to trust Microsoft. His post is very theoretical and conveniently it seems to be ignoring Microsoft’s constant attacks on GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Microsoft has entire teams dedicated to fighting against GNU/Linux (and the GPL). Some years ago it brought someone called Sam Ramji [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] from SaaS in order to justify the whole practice of giving free code to proprietary vendors and Microsoft products that render it non-free, just like so-called “clouds”. It is worth remembering that Sam Ramji does not come from an area that he pretends to understand (he actually was caught spreading disinformation about the GPL, maybe not deliberately) and having just quit he goes back to the same area he came from and it’s not “open source”. This latest post from him — “Does open source still matter in cloud computing?” — is yet more indication that Microsoft never cared about Freedom, and hardly even openness. The same goes for its buddy the Gartner Group, whose discrimination against Free software is being noticed by more people, some of whom sue the firm [1, 2]. Here is a new Twitter item: ‘A jewel from Gartner: “Definition: open source for IP telephony is the use of public-domain programs to create IP PBX..”. Public domain ????

They cannot tell Free/open source software, even if it hit them in the face. Regarding CodePlex, Groklaw links to an analysis from Andy Updegrove and states:

Andy gushes on, but I note that this is a foundation that intends to outnumber the GPL. I don’t know if it means their only weapon left to kill the GPL is money, or if this is just adding another quiver to their bow. But it’s obvious they don’t mean to include the GPLv2, from this paragraph:

Open Source Licenses. The Foundation will maintain a list of recommended Open Source licenses for projects and maintain information necessary to understand how code can be shared between projects with the purpose of avoiding unexpected restrictions in how the final code can be used or redistributed. This includes maintaining information that makes clear how projects can incorporate external code. It should be possible, for example, for a project to incorporate appropriately licensed code without requiring a formal contribution of that code.

So, the development model that has served the community so well will be avoided by Codeplex in large part, and it looks like a way for corporate sponsors to buy programmers’ time so they can get them to write code that the sponsors would find useful. So you can write for Microsoft and its fellow Corporate Cougars, and in return for their largesse, what do you get in the end? I suspect what Steve Ballmer said was Microsoft’s goal, that all the open source applications you want run on Microsoft’s operating system, not the Linux kernel, which is GPLv2, not v3, and then who needs Linux? They’ve paid you to get out of the bazaar and back into the cathedral, just with a bigger, professionally maintained yard.

Consider the fact that Microsoft apparently violates the GPL and grabs code from CodePlex — code which it then proprietarises.

“…Microsoft apparently violates the GPL and grabs code from CodePlex — code which it then proprietarises.”Some days ago we wrote about Microsoft paying $100,000 to Apache [1, 2], Groklaw’s response to which is: “As long as it gets its money’s worth, I suppose?” To Microsoft, this is a simple case of buying influence [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17].

To say more on the GPL, Groklaw complains about this post from Jack Wallen, who Pamela Jones claims to “ha[ve] written a list of the 10 biggest failures in IT history, including two, BeOS and WordPerfect who many of us would say were killed off by Microsoft, and he includes as Number 7 Richard Stallman.”

Jack Wallen is truly an advocate of GNU/Linux, but he does not agree with the FSF. That’s okay, but he has just insulted Richard Stallman and Groklaw replied as follows (in News Picks, to which there is no fixed URL):

Jack, if you are going to write about history, you should read some first. Stallman is associated with Free Software, not Open Source. He has never been a “champion of open source” so you have made a very deep and frankly humorous error. Free Software is also Open Source, but Stallman distinguishes his and the FOSS community’s work from the breakaway group that decided business would never accept the GPL or Stallman, and so they decided to hide those bits, because to them acceptance by business was more important.

Look at the results. Would you say it has been beneficial that corporations discovered Linux? Post-SCO and the Novell-Microsoft peace pact, what arguments would you offer that it has been a good thing? And now Microsoft would like to kill off The Real Thing and substitute its own Brand X “Open Source”, as per the Codeplex Foundation, and smearing Richard Stallman is the latest coin of its realm.

I note that Jeff Gerhardt, presumably the Jeff Gerhardt of the Linux Show, sounds off as well, not to correct the mistake, but to pile on, including the following: “But the problem with Richard and many in the die-hard FOSS community (many who are close friends of mine), is they in their desire to spread the good of FOSS (and there is indeed good) they also close the door on ANY other option.

That is often the problem with radicals. The first thing that happens in a socialist state as an example, is a change in the ability of the media to be critical of government.”

Nice FUD, bringing in “radicals” and “socialist state” words. Vicious FUD, actually. Without Richard Stallman, there’d never have been a Linux Show. Or Red Hat. Or Linux. Or any of this.

Richard Stallman will go down in history for changing the world, because it was all his idea. And when either Jack Wallen or Jeff Gerhardt wins a MacArthur Genius Award, as Richard Stallman did, send me the memo. Before you criticize someone who won an award for being a genius in his field, you might ask if you have the chops to even understand what he is doing. Meanwhile, note carefully who really understands FOSS and who doesn’t grasp even the foundational concepts. It’s important to know who your real friends are and who is just making a living.

In News Picks, Groklaw also claims to be “Answering some OSNews FUD”. Jones says:

The link takes you to the beginning of the thread, where Gordon posts his desire to submit his FatELF code to the Linux kernel guys, who quite correctly point out some important reasons not to do that. Gordon then posts that he ran into a “buzzsaw”, which I consider inaccurate, but you can read it for yourself. And the OSNews publishes it all as if it were a crying shame the Linux kernel meanies didn’t accept the code, without even mentioning the patent issue. What’s with OSNews, anyway?

It’s not OSNews in general, it’s Thom Holwerda.

Holwerda is the reason I chucked out OS News from my reading list, being a semi-official FOSS basher and Windows booster. It is sad to see such a distortion being used to make Linux look bad.

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