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03.29.10

Misleading PR Campaign From Microsoft About “Open Source”

Posted in Asia, DRM, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenOffice, Patents, Search, Servers, Virtualisation, Windows, Xandros at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft still tries imposing itself upon its #1 competition

Beginning

Summary: Debunking the increasingly-widespread myth that Microsoft has changed and that it has an interest in Free/Open Source software

THERE seems to be some kind of “Open Source” PR effort from Microsoft. Usually, reporters are not gullible enough to fall for it, but Microsoft partners like like Ziff Davis [1, 2, 3] and IDG [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] have accommodated Microsoft-sympathetic people who run their “open source” sections and comply with Microsoft’s publicity stunts, even linking to Windows- and Microsoft-only fluff. They probably do this out of ignorance, not deliberate deception. Another Microsoft apologist from Ziff Davis, Darryl Taft (they got rid of people who tell the true nature of Microsoft, such as SJVN), is parroting PR messages and not paying attention at all to deeds. Then again, eWEEK coverage is rarely accurate and when it covers “open source” is seems to be focused even on Mono promotion (for Windows). To be fair, eWEEK did not have this obvious bias in the past. It had different writers and we rarely found it striking deals with Microsoft, such as those deals that promote Windows Vista in exchange for payments from Microsoft and Dell. What’s really sad is that such publications are deceiving the public through repetition and those who appeal to authority are then able to cite such Web sites and justify Microsoft sympathy or a decision to help Microsoft at the expense of peers’ liberty.

“What makes Microsoft exceptionally hostile towards Free software is also what puts it in a rather unique position.”It was disheartening to see Borys Musielak (of PolishLinux), for example, neglecting to account for Microsoft’s corruption of ISO, instead stating that Microsoft “started to work with standarization bodies like ISO”. It sounds like comedy, but he probably meant it. What makes Microsoft exceptionally hostile towards Free software is also what puts it in a rather unique position. Most proprietary software companies are not in this position because they don’t rely on proprietary operating systems for their revenue (Office, for example, still relies on Windows). Microsoft wants to hurt GNU/Linux after a series of illegal activities (with convictions) against other rivals.

Additionally, Microsoft is obsessed with software patents because of the increasing abundance of source code out there. We’ll expand on that point in the next post about Microsoft’s lobby for software patents in India, South Africa, and of course Europe. Microsoft is also a DRM proponent and one of the least ethical companies out there, based on present deeds. Musielak’s post did receive some responses, such as “Microsoft has made noises and PR about it being OSS friendly, but it’s all show.” Oiaohm says that it “reads very much like a MS supporting PR guy,” but it’s far from it. All it shows is that Microsoft’s PR campaign is deceiving some people whose judgment is usually sound.

“All it shows is that Microsoft’s PR campaign is deceiving some people whose judgment is usually sound.”Matt Asay, for instance, was going to go to work at Microsoft (true story) but instead he ended up working for Canonical and we continue to worry as we repeatedly find that he indeed had something to do with a Microsoft and software patents booster [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] attending OSBC with him [1, 2] (he once invited Microsoft too [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]). They are trying to emulate proprietary software and still call it “open source” (or “open core”, which is far from Free software but sometimes defended by Mac users and others who believe in “open source” as just a component of proprietary systems). Microsoft too has this type of vision where Windows, Office, SQL Server and other proprietary software become the services on which “open source” relies. This is not software freedom because the developers are locked into a platform which is controlled by a vendor (no less than an evident bully, too).

On a separate note, Canonical makes the mistake of still tying (via Yahoo!) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] its GNU/Linux distribution with Microsoft’s lie machine, also known as “Bing”. It’s not a search engine and it wasn’t intended to be one. It’s heavily censored in a way that favours Windows and demotes GNU/Linux, even Free software. It’s probably not a violation of any particular law, but it is a reason to drop this service like a hot potato. At the New York Times, calls were even made for a boycott of Bing.

Here is a new post that’s titled “Is Microsoft Bing Trying To Kill Open Office?”

Microsoft Bing has many flaws, but this one seems to be the most outrageous one. If you try to search for OpenOffice on Bing, it will not show you the actual OpenOffice.org website but will show pages from random websites like OpenOffice.com or other non-OpenOffice.org websites.

On the other hand Google search shows OpenOffice.org as the first search result. Bing has gone to an extent that in fact you will not find the OpenOffice website even in the 5th page. So, a Bing surfer will never land on OpenOffice.org website.

Microsoft really loves “Open Source”, eh? It loved OpenOffice.org so much that it decided to extort its users behind the scenes. Microsoft’s illusion of search does the same thing to “Ubuntu”, according to readers of ours (we have not checked to verify this because it would only feed Microsoft).

Ultimately, Microsoft is trying to demote GNU/Linux, sometimes with Novell’s help and some help from Xandros. This new Microsoft whitepaper shows that Microsoft is still trying to manage GNU/Linux from the Windows side, using “System Center”.

It was approximately two years ago that Microsoft announced that customers running System Center would be able to leverage automated management across mixed source environments. It was at the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) 2008 that Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft, revealed UNIX and Linux support in System Center. Fast-forward a couple of years, and it appears that customers are asking about the Redmond company’s plans to support future releases of UNIX and Linux as they will be released, according to Robert Hearn, Sr. program manager Customer & Partner Community System Center Cross Platform & Interoperability.

The headline and article above come from a known Microsoft booster, who also publishes “PHP on Windows Training Kit Gets Updated”. Let’s not forget Microsoft’s vision. It’s described by Steve Ballmer as follows: “I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

They are already trying to use software patents to suppress uptake of GNU/Linux. Fortunately, it’s not working for them, not just because people distrust Microsoft and Windows is expensive. Microsoft products are generally very flaky, so PHP applications, for example, are deployed on GNU/Linux almost all the time. Nearly 4 years of a relationship with Zend have brought Microsoft next to nothing and here is new food for thought:

In 1991, during the Gulf war, American Patriot missile was deployed to combat Iraqi scud missile. In one of the incident, Patriot missile missed the Scud and that resulted the death of 28 American soldiers and 100 others got injured. There was an arithmetic error during calculation which resulted inaccurate calculation since Boot.

[...]

Microsoft’s Zune player stopped working on December 31, 2008 because of a simple software bug. The software was written in such a way that it would never terminate if the year is leap year and the total number of days is 366.

Had more servers run Microsoft software (the majority of Web servers run GNU/Linux, with confirmed estimates hovering at about 60% and probably more than that for Apache), where would the Internet be? The client side, i.e. Windows desktops, is where most issues occur. Should we not spread GNU/Linux on desktops then? “Open Source” or “Free software” developers should focus on technical merit, not Microsoft’s ‘religious’ beliefs about platforms that it totally controls (that would be surrender, not a liberation of developers and users).

“Microsoft allowed us to [remove Internet Explorer from Windows] but we don’t think we should have to ask permission every time we want to make some minor software modification. Windows is an operating system, not a religion.”

Gateway Computer Chairman Ted Waitt

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A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    March 30, 2010 at 2:23 am

    Gravatar

    Pay attention to the role of M$ Partners in this campaign.

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