04.03.10

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Microsoft Hijacks “Open Source” From GNU/Linux Just Like It Hijacked “Standards”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 1:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The only thing necessary for the triumph [of bad] is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

Summary: Using examples from the past week alone, we show and we explain in simple terms how Microsoft is taking over “Open Source” using former employees, existing partners, Novell staff, and naïve/careless people who allow this to happen

IN VERY RECENT days we wrote about an admission from Alex Brown that his beloved Microsoft was not serious about OOXML [1, 2]. Comments on this shocka’ range from borderline spin from former Microsoft employees to criticism from the <No>OOXML Web site, Slashdot, and Glyn Moody, who writes:

This is truly staggering – not so much that Microsoft should so publicly thumb its nose at the ISO and the entire standards-making community, but that in doing so, it confirms all the worst predictions that many made at the time. It suggests a level of arrogance that is breathtaking – that having obtained the coveted and presumably irrevocable ISO approval, having won its little game, it just doesn’t care what anyone thinks.

[...]

There’s little we can do about the fact that the ISO standard has been granted, but we can make sure that people fully understand what has happened here. In that sense, Microsoft’s actions are truly a gift to all those promoting truly open standards.

The Source claims to have struggled to find a proper headline which describes a case where one of the main people behind the OOXML fiasco turns out to be a skeptic if not a basher. Why did it take him several years?

Team Apologista is very big on “context”, so allow me to accommodate:

Dr. Alex Brown was the convenor of the OOXML Ballot Resolution Meeting back in Feb of 2008. Dr. Brown constantly poo-pooed concerns about Microsoft’s manipulation of the standardization process, often defending Microsoft directly and attacking ODF specifically along the way.

I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that without his efforts, OOXML would not have passed the standardization process.

So, when Dr. Brown says “Microsoft Fails the Standards Test“, and then goes on in detail to explain how Microsoft has either broken or failed to follow up on promises made – promises crucial at the time to getting OOXML through the standardization procees – it is truly a giant shock! No one could have seen this coming!

As The Source correctly points out, Microsoft tries the same with “Open Source”. A corresponding headline would be “Microsoft Fails the Open Source Test“. We’ll explain just why in a few moments, using new evidence.

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

As neophiles may be aware, Vancouver produced many headlines when it made it a policy to move to Free software (it used the term “Open Source”, which is broader and more blurred). Well, guess what? Vancouver is moving to “Open Source”, so Microsoft masquerades as “Open Source” and changes what it means to Vancouver, just like it changed what “open standards” mean to governments, in order block migrations to ODF/Free software

Microsoft Corp. courts open-source community with Vancouver project

Microsoft Corp.’s Richmond development centre is helping mend fences between the international software giant and the open-source software (OSS) development community.

[...]

Within Microsoft’s new “open-source strategy” is work that the company’s Richmond development centre has done using City of Vancouver data to expand the catalogue of OSS applications.

That’s not Open Source. This whole “open-source strategy” thing is a crock and with headlines like “Microsoft Corp. courts open-source community” it is implied that Microsoft almost owns these developers.

More of the same from Microsoft Canada was seen last month. Microsoft sent unsolicited mail to arbitrary Free software developers whom it asked to to create/increase the Canadian government’s Windows lock-in. Just shameful. In addition, we previously covered what Microsoft was doing in Indiana [1, 2, 3, 4], including Indiana University. Under a deceiving disguise of “academic” press, the Microsoft-affiliated/motivated media company is now cheapening “Open Source”, along with other publications.

Indiana U and U Hawaii Pursue Open Source Help Desk System

Indiana University and the University of Hawaii are wooing partners to help build an open source IT support solution specifically for higher education.

This has nothing to do with “Open Source”. Neither is this new promotion from Mary Jo Foley:

Microsoft is continuing its efforts to attract more open-source developers to make their wares available on Windows. The latest component of that strategy is CoApp, a new open-source package-management platform that one of the company’s developers is starting to assemble.

CoApp is about co-opting developers and it’s not about “open-source” (notice the dash or the minus that is used there). It’s all about pretending that Windows is friendly to “Open Source”. If the definition of the term continues to be bent, then it would mean just about anything.

As we saw some months ago, Microsoft and its lobbyists change what “Open Source” or “standards” actually mean in Europe so as to inject software patents and proprietary software into the continent while complying with once-strict policies. See the following posts about EIF:

  1. Former Member of European Parliament Describes Microsoft “Coup in Process” in the European Commission
  2. Europeans Asked to Stop Microsoft’s Subversion of EIFv2 (European Interoperability Framework Version 2)
  3. Patents Roundup: Microsoft Patents “Guardian Angel”, Subverts EIF; 20 Years Wasted on One Patent
  4. European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Corrupted by Microsoft et al, Its Lobbyists
  5. Orwellian EIF, Fake Open Source, and Security Implications
  6. No Sense of Shame Left at Microsoft
  7. Lobbying Leads to Protest — the FFII and the FSFE Rise in Opposition to Subverted EIF
  8. IBM and Open Forum Europe Address European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Fiasco
  9. EIF Scrutinised, ODF Evolves, and Microsoft’s OOXML “Lies” Lead to Backlash from Danish Standards Committee
  10. Complaints About Perverted EIF Continue to Pile Up
  11. More Complaints About EIFv2 Abuse and Free Software FUD from General Electric (GE)
  12. Patents Roundup: Copyrighted SQL Queries, Microsoft Alliance with Company That Attacks F/OSS with Software Patents, Peer-to-Patent in Australia
  13. Microsoft Under Fire: Open Source Software Thematic Group Complains About EIFv2 Subversion, NHS Software Supplier Under Criminal Investigation
  14. British MEP Responds to Microsoft Lobby Against EIFv2; Microsoft’s Visible Technologies Infiltrates/Derails Forums Too
  15. Patents Roundup: Escalations in Europe, SAP Pretense, CCIA Goes Wrong, and IETF Opens Up

BoingBoing has published an appeal to readers which it titled: “Microsoft trying to gut EU IT policy, replacing open standards with proprietary junk – your letters needed!”

Microsoft’s booster Gavin Clarke takes advantage of a special day and spins for Microsoft as though it’s a friend of “Open Source”. Microsoft uses its own licences and one proprietary platform to embrace and extend the Ruby community for example.

IronRuby offers options for .NET developers, brings open source to Microsoft

[...]

“It’s a big step for Microsoft’s participation in the open source community.”

See what we wrote about IronRuby in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12].

Last week we wrote about a misleading PR campaign from Microsoft about “Open Source”. It comes from the press, courtesy of Microsoft partners like Ziff Davis [1, 2, 3] and IDG [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], whose new “Open Source” team is not one that we can trust. For writers, the editors are choosing people who do not actually do “Open Source”, just people who exploit it or want to write about it.

Network World [part of IDG] has launched a new Subnet community, the Open Source Subnet. Open Source Subnet will showcase news and blogger opinions for enterprise users of open source software. As you may have noticed, with this addition, we have added three great new bloggers to the roster: Phil Odence, from Black Duck Software, a company that helps enterprises manage and secure their open source tools, is writing the Look to the Source blog. Alan Shimel, a serial entrepreneur who has founded several security software companies (such as StillSecure), is writing the Open Source Fact and Fiction blog, and Amy Vernon, a journalist and social media personality, is writing the Pragmatic Open Source blog.

Let’s remember that Black Duck, for example, was started by a Microsoft employee and it produces only proprietary software [1, 2, 3, 4] and software patents, using these to monetise other people’s Free software (which it labels “Open Source”). Here is IDG promoting the Novell/Microsoft relationship, as seen in this new video. They even speak about Mono and Moonlight, which are only helping Microsoft. But to quote from ComputerWorld UK (IDG, only days ago):

MS Office started it all, Open Office has followed suit but really a Word Processor, a Spreadsheet and a Presentation package have little in common. Supposedly they are an ‘integrated’ suite but what sense of this word impacts on real life…a live spreadsheet in a word processing document?

Bundle-itis really got going with .NET which provides a glue-like layer to stitch together programs with disparate code heritages. In the Open Source world MONO seeks to extend the idea.

Yes, “MONO seeks to extend the idea” not just of bundling software within a platform but also enveloping GNU/Linux and Free software inside Windows, using hypervisors and .NET integration. Who is still promoting this type of vision? Novell employees of course, those who are paid to make the media player in GNU/Linux tied to Mono and to Moonlight (and dependent on parts of Mono which Microsoft explicitly excludes from the Community Promise). They can brag about committers as much as they want, but all those who help a project like Novell’s Banshee are helping Microsoft hijack GNU/Linux. And that’s just sad. Truth hurts sometimes. Anyway, enjoy Easter.

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