EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.12.10

Why Microsoft is Still the Biggest Enemy of “Open Source”, Not Just GNU/Linux

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, VMware at 5:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft has gotten so big that it can put out a Preview that will install itself without checking first to see if it has expired. The message here is that Microsoft’s time is worth more than yours…. no start-up company could get away with being that arrogant.”

Jerry Pournelle, Byte columnist

Summary: A look at how Microsoft and its former employees/current partners have been subverting the “Open Source” label while redefining what it actually means

A LOT of projects and companies are said to have ‘diluted’ the impact of “Open Source” by calling things that have no source code “Open Source”. The newest examples we found are “open-source media project”, associating “Open Source” with transparency as an answer to corruption, and “open-source game developer”. To quote one example:

US open-source media project TEDTalks is being made available to television networks around the globe.

When it’s written as “open-source” (minus, not dash) it usually means that the source code was omitted or never existed. They are trying to ride the wave of buzzwords because “open source” has connotations like ethics, sociability, and trust.

“Microsoft has deliberately hijacked the term “Open Source”, which it continually subverts and uses to market proprietary software under false or misleading labels.”The above uses of the term “Open Source” (or “open source” or “open-source”) are mostly harmless as they do not encourage proprietary software in disguise of the very opposite. That’s where Microsoft comes in.

Microsoft has deliberately hijacked the term “Open Source”, which it continually subverts and uses to market proprietary software under false or misleading labels. That’s just what makes Microsoft so unique, even though SAP is doing something similar these days.

One company/firm that routinely participates in corruption of terminology is the Gartner Group, to whom Free/open source software does not constitute a source of revenue, unless of course it’s just pseudo-open source or what Novell calls “mixed source”. One example of that is Talend, so Gartner is willing to make the exception.

This has not been lost on the VC community, who have invested in Talend to the tune of 28m dollars. Nor has it been lost on Gartner who have placed Talend in the highly desirable visionary quadrant in their most recent Magic Quadrant for data integration.

Let’s remember that Gartner got sued for granting such status mostly to companies which pay the “analyst tax” [1, 2, 3, 4]. Not so long ago we saw the proprietary software company known as Black Duck (still masquerading as “Open Source”) also promoted by the Gartner Group (Black Duck is turned again into a Microsoft booster for CodePlex). One of Microsoft’s favourite open source fakers (Aras) is also receiving legitimacy from Gartner, which Microsoft and Gates help fund.

Aras still describes itself as “Enterprise Open Source” [1, 2], but it’s just a Microsoft stack disguised as “Open Source”. It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

“It’s revealing that almost nobody in the GNU/Linux world is gullible enough to fall for Microsoft’s charade…”A lot of former Microsoft employees seem to have turned to the ‘other side’ only to ‘reform’ that side to be more like Microsoft, their former employer. We previously wrote about Ohloh for example [1, 2], noting that it was promoting Microsoft in all sorts of ways under the disguise of “Open Source”. They are now adding features to SourceForge, having already tilted SourceForge more in Microsoft’s direction. Microsoft too is adding features to its Microsoft-centric parallel universe of “open source”, where merely every piece of software is just some ‘addon’ to proprietary software. See the comments in LWN. It’s revealing that almost nobody in the GNU/Linux world is gullible enough to fall for Microsoft’s charade; but Microsoft’s target audience is probably managers who are not aware of/familiar with technology, or even clueless developers who think that by adding function to SQL Server and .NET they are really doing “Open Source”. They don’t.

As we showed in some previous posts, Microsoft Austria and Microsoft Canada apparently target GNU/Linux users in their country and try to get them to abandon their preferences/beliefs, then embrace Microsoft. Here is a brand new example of this, from the United States for a change. This GNU/Linux blogger received a sort of invitation from Microsoft, so he responds with:

The irony is the fact that this email came out around the same time as Microsoft decided to utilize closed source patents in IE9 instead of public domain codices such as Theora. Apple even followed suit. To make matters worse, Microsoft is waging a patent war against Android smartphones, claiming that they infringe on their patents. So with all of this activity against open source, how can Microsoft claim that they are committed to it?

The thing is, nothing about this makes sense. At first, I got the impression that they are planning to destroy Open Source while masquerading as supporting it. That would make sense, given their patent wars against open source software. Then again, if they really wanted to get word out that they support open source, wouldn’t they push this nonsense to more sources? What exactly are they trying to achieve?

Microsoft has a history of not making sense when it comes to open source software. First, they submit code to the Linux kernel knowing that it would never be accepted anyway, and then they opened up the Outlook file format. After that, this year Microsoft starts their war with Android and HTC, bullying companies into buying license agreements for things that haven’t been proven to be under Microsoft’s ownership, and then announcing that IE9 will use proprietary media formats.

Watch the second comment which says: “Open source is simply a ‘buzzword’ for Microsoft. They know it’s good for marketing. While the FOSS software market has been growing very slowly, it is still growing. Users are more aware and are beginning to request ‘open’ things such as open standards, open hardware and yes open source software. Microsoft as “pro open source” is plain and simple marketing. They just really don’t want to have to deal with not being able to charge for every line of code.”

“When Microsoft was just publicly mocking “open source” every other day (i.e. not pretending) it was possible to rebut with logic.”Another case of “Open Source” fakes from Microsoft is one that’s to do with biology and “open”. We wrote about it some days ago, having previously given more examples which the Seattle press is promoting and Dana Blankenhorn falls for (we have been writing about this whole “biology” trick for months). He implies that Microsoft is “leading the open source bioinformatics movement,” but they don’t lead it, they hijack and fake it, selling proprietary software with a false label of “open source”. As the commenters point out, Microsoft only pretends to be a leader (there are prior movements) and this is not even “open source”; it’s just Microsoft’s proprietary software with some ‘dressing’ on top of it, intended to give it some luring label like “open source” (many companies do this with the word “cloud” and Microsoft sometimes does that with the word "Seven").

There is still a difference between fakes and the spreading of fear. When Microsoft was just publicly mocking “open source” every other day (i.e. not pretending) it was possible to rebut with logic. In this case, Microsoft is embedding itself in everything and then redefines what things mean. This way, people get confused and may in turn become apathetic towards “Open Source”. Watch this new DLP project which is labeled with the “open minus source” label:

Until last week, there really were no open-source agent-based DLP tools. There have been several open-source discovery tools, including Spider, Senf, and Find_SSN, but they had to be run on individual systems. Workarounds were created to use them in a distributed manner across many desktops, but the attempts were often very specific to a particular environment, kludgy, and required constant care and feeding.

The irony is that it’s Windows-only GPLv3-licensed software, as pointed out by IDG:

OpenDLP runs on an Apache Web Server using a MySQL database. This version only works on Windows computers via an installed agent. The project is hosted on Google code and is licensed under the GPL v3.

They will hopefully port it to Free/libre platforms. At the moment, just like Chem4Word, this project urges users to buy proprietary software from the company that attacks “Open Source” more than anyone else.

Watch another IDG article where Microsoft employees make it abundantly clear that they don’t understand or don’t want to understand what Free/open source software is:

“It’s something we talk about a lot,” he [Microsoft employee] says. “We release quite a lot of stuff through open source agreements so people can access them and lift the covers off. You can download F# and run it as a standalone without Visual Studio on other operating systems and stare inside.

It’s not about visibility. It’s not about “lift[ing] the covers off”. It’s supposed to be about freedom — something that Microsoft cannot or will not ever accept.

As one last item from the news, the Microsoft executives-run VMware carries on scooping up “open-source” and “Open Source” companies/projects, only to receive encouragement from the 451 Group.

The analysts at New York-based 451 Group have been pushing VMWare to buy, buy, buy, even offering a helpful list of targets, which includes Terracotta, Chordiant, and Mulesource, among others. (Yes, Gemstone was on the list.)

This is not something to be encouraged. VMware is where projects like Zimbra come to die, apparently [1, 2], at least as “open-source” projects. VMware never cared about Free/open source projects. It just wants more source code and the Microsoft folks who run the company after Tucci had overthrown the old management are not doing much to advance GNU/Linux (the old management did). There are allegations that VMware is also a GPL violator. It’s truly a shame that VMware too was ruined by former Microsoft executives.

“We are going to cut off their air supply. Everything they’re selling, we’re going to give away for free.”

Paul Maritz, Vice President, Microsoft (now VMWare CEO)

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 12, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Gravatar

    If you look up ‘bluster’ in the dictionary you get a picture of Steve Ballmer. One of the topics of more than a few hot-air sessions was the stated goal to pick up the pace of destroying FOSS companies. If I recall correctly he was told to target 5 per year.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s not just Ballmer though. Bill Gates travels with Ballmer to perform these acts of extortion.

    The main difference between Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer is that the latter hasn’t yet employed vast amounts of PR people to work full-time on reputation laundering. It’s ironic given that Ballmer — not Gates — married a woman from Waggener Edstrom.

What Else is New


  1. Links 2/9/2014: GNU/Linux in BBC, Calls Against systemd

    Links for the day



  2. Links 1/9/2014: Poettering on systemd, ITNews on DBMSs

    Links for the day



  3. Moving Away From Windows to GNU/Linux and the Abandonment of Windows as the Modest Proposal These Days

    Morale of GNU/Linux and an embrace of GNU/Linux is very high, despite recent propaganda from Microsoft MVPs and boosters (primarily security-themed and Munich-themed FUD)



  4. Korean Press Slams Microsoft Over Patent Extortion Against Linux/Android as New Abuses Resurface

    Harsh words from the national press of South Korea as Nokia's role in Microsoft's anti-Linux tactics becomes more apparent



  5. More Good News About Patents and Their Demise in the United States

    A roundup of news about software patents and patent trolls in the land where these thrive



  6. Links 31/8/2014: Linux 3.12.27, Akademy 2014

    Links for the day



  7. Links 30/8/2014: Jailhouse 0.1, *buntu 14.10 Beta

    Links for the day



  8. Links 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

    Links for the day



  9. We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

    The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents' demise



  10. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

    A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software



  11. Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

    Links for the day



  12. FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

    In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft



  13. Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

    Media in Microsoft's pocket is telling Microsoft's lies and deceives the public for Microsoft's bottom line



  14. Microsoft's Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

    A new report about Microsoft's admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft's criminal aspects



  15. Links 25/8/2014: China's Linux Revolution Imminent

    Links for the day



  16. Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  17. Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

    Links for the day



  18. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  19. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  20. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  21. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  22. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  23. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  24. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  25. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  26. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  27. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  28. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  29. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  30. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts