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02.10.10

British Library and Microsoft Corrupt the Meaning of “Open Source”

Posted in DRM, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Open XML, OSI at 5:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft is once again using the British Library to promote its own agenda and extend its grip over society’s assets

THE British Library is tied to a lot of Microsoft scandals [1, 2, 3, 4]. This post won’t discuss these older scandals, but readers can rest assured that the British Library, which is funded by taxpayers, played a role in the OOXML corruptions. It also promoted Microsoft products and DRM. It’s really that bad. The British Library sometimes seems like a victim of Microsoft infiltration into key positions (a bit like the BBC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]), but we do not have the names of such people, except Adam Farquhar who has been pivotal to the Microsoft scandals at the British Library).

The British Library is now embarking on a project that not only brings Microsoft deeper into the heart of the public’s common property but also helps Microsoft pretend that it’s “open”. Here is an article on the subject:

The Research Information Centre (RIC) Framework v1.0 released this week has been designed to help international researchers collaborate more effectively. Hosted via Microsoft’s open source Codeplex project and based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Platform, the “virtual research environment” allows researchers to create and share content and also work on specific issues such as funding proposals, the organisations claim.

As Dana Blankenhorn correctly points out:

OK, where’s the catch?

Built on top of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007, the RIC extends the core MOSS functionality to meet the needs to academic researchers engaged in collaborative research projects

Gee, doc, you’re not a Microsoft shop? Even if you can connect with these resources, you’re always going to be second-class in a group project that depends on them.

Which is sort of the point. To Microsoft open source is not an end in itself. It is a marketing tool. It is a way to gain lock-in with important customer sets.

Glyn Moody, a Brit, calls the British Library the “Betrayed Library”. It’s getting easier to see why.

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