Summary: Microsoft-imposed corruption of NASA’s obligation to the public carries on as it strives to capture academia too
NASA is going through some rough times at the moment. In our daily links we have included some stories about budget constraints/cuts, so clearly there are no spending sprees over there, not anymore anyway. What some would find infuriating (as several of our readers did) is that Microsoft is using the tax-funded NASA to sell Microsoft products and close the Web to non-Microsoft customers (public NASA data becomes accessible only via Microsoft Silver Lie or patents-encumbered Trojans). We gave examples in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].
Microsoft is doing it again, this time in Texas. Here is the press release:
In partnership with the Texas Business and Education Coalition, the state of Texas and Microsoft, NASA is pleased to invite Texas high school students to participate in the bliink Web design competition.
We could not confirm if this one too involves Silver Lie, but the rules of the competition make it clear that it’s just some more NASA-backed promotion of Microsoft’s proprietary software.
Bliink is a Web design contest (“Contest”) for students that encourages them to dream big and to express their ideas while building their technology skills. Student participants will design and develop a Web site using Microsoft® Expression® suite of software tools.
Silverlight only? Maybe? Like the last time NASA got involved? We don’t quite know, but either way, Silverlight has pretty much failed in the market years after its release and Forrester admits that there is a problem (Microsoft is a Forrester client).
Microsoft needs to build developer mindshare, on top of its efforts to establish exclusive content deals, to fulfill ambition for Silverlight to achieve Web ubiquity, says an industry analyst.
The headline says that “Silverlight still needs more developers” and NASA is giving it to Microsoft (Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza is also trying). NASA is not a private company, which is what makes it so ludicrous. This is not the only area where NASA is serving Microsoft’s interests as of late. It gives public data to Microsoft and requires that the public buys Microsoft products.
Another way of tricking developers into Silverlight is the set of *Spark programmes, which Microsoft uses to achieve something similar (through dumping, especially on young people). From India we learn about a “Microsoft Bizspark Camp”. Where else have we heard of a “camp”? Here’s where: young MSPs in India attending camps with Microsoft gifts.
The camp was sponsored by Microsoft, Indusa Global, and Cogentes.
Returning to science for a moment, following Microsoft's closing of the Feynman lectures (using Silver Lie), we find the company using ‘free’ samples to lock down research [1, 2, 3, 4]. To quote Microsoft’s old friend from the New York Times:
It uses Microsoft’s Windows Azure computing system, which the company recently introduced to compete with cloud computing services from companies like Amazon, Google, I.B.M. and Yahoo. These cloud computing systems allow organizations and individuals to run computing tasks and Internet services remotely in relatively low-cost data centers.
The previous post showed the latest examples of Azure downtime. This can disrupt researchers in the middle of an important and long experiment or simulation. Bad choice, no? The scientific community rarely chooses Windows (for supercomputers in particular, unless Novell gets involved).
Based on this new press release, Microsoft’s deal with Zend (around 2006) is still being exploited, this time to use PHP to promote Azure. Microsoft booster Gavin Clarke wrote about it in his usual promotional fashion.
Zend Technologies has updated its developer framework to improve the way PHP applications float on Microsoft’s Azure cloud.
It is worth mentioning that Clarke has grown very close to Microsoft and he even collaborates with Mary Jo Foley right now. They are defending one of the most corrupt companies in the history of IT. Last night someone posted the following message in USENET:
I’ve noticed for quite a while that Mary-Jo is simply too much of a Microsoft fangirl to be a truly unbiased reporter. I can understand her not being outright anti-Microsoft because that would get her shut out of the company she’s reporting on. But that doesn’t mean she has to defend almost everything the company does. She almost sounds like a Microsoft PR-spokesperson disguised as a reporter, defending M$ and its management no matter how they screw up and always trying to find a positive spin on any news which negatively portrays the company.
I’ve noticed too that The Register, in the past well known for it vitriolic attacks on Microsoft, has taken a much softer stand towards the company. I rarely see outright scathing critcism on them anymore, instead they usually merely report incidents in which the company is invovled (i.e. security lapses) with mild cynicism. Has The Register succummed to the carrot of Greenbacks?
I replied by saying: “The Register signed a deal with Microsoft and it has Microsoft boosters like Kelly and Gavin on their staff. Microsoft’s payments to The Register paid off.” █