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From Novell to Microsoft to Daemonising Microsoft Critics and GNU/Linux Communities

Posted in AppArmor, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell at 3:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

BSoD for Novell

Summary: Microsoft employee Crispin Cowen is using his history to opportunistically gain credibility in his irrational public attacks on GNU/Linux communities

Crispin Cowen is one whom we mentioned before as he promoted Microsoft at the expense of GNU/Linux after he had moved from Novell to Microsoft [1, 2, 3]. How much of a role did the paycheck play? There is coverage from Australia today and it’s not flattering to GNU/Linux. Cowen, now a Microsoft employee (for quite some time) is throwing some myths at the AusCERT 2010 crowd (it is not an event for people who support software freedom). To give one introduction:

Dr Crispin Cowen, who for many years was a vocal Linux security guru and Microsoft critic, recently started working for the Redmond-based software giant. His talk on the first day of AusCERT 2010 was titled “Stranger in a strange land: Reflections of a Linux guy in Microsoft Windows”.

Cowen is of course attacking several straw men. We’re used to it because it’s a shameless debating tactic.

It is very typical for Microsoft employees to mischaracterise the criticism of Microsoft, not speaking about the real issues, such as bribery, collusion, and racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. How can any sane person defend it?

“It is very typical for Microsoft employees to mischaracterise the criticism of Microsoft, not speaking about the real issues, such as bribery, collusion, and racketeering.”We wrote refutations of the same points before, in response to Microsoft employees who tried to suggest that Microsoft was disliked because “it’s big” or because of its logo (and other petty, imaginary ‘problems’).

These tactics whereby all/most criticism of Microsoft is mischaracterised makes sense to those who use these tactics. It makes them feel good about their decision (and choice) to work for Microsoft when they put things in terms that portray critics as deluded and irrational. These are not victims of circumstance (unlike cases where race or gender get involved as these are immutable). They actually chose to work for Microsoft, knowing damn well what Microsoft had done, or maybe fooling themselves about what Microsoft had done before getting convicted three times. There is a difference between Microsoft’s products and Microsoft the company.

To give one example of Cowen’s disinformation:

“Linux communities are shockingly hostile to women and newbies, attack failures to conform to norms and God help you if you top post,” Cowan said. “Everyone is a butt-head.

It’s always pleasant to see Microsoft employees referring to people as “butt-head[s]” and claiming that GNU/Linux communities — not Microsoft — are the bad guys. Remember what Microsoft’s evangelists teach in their notorious indoctrination sessions: “we are the good guys!” (by “we” they mean Microsoft employees).

Microsoft employees are sometimes intolerant, homophobic, xenophobic, and like everywhere that involves software (general issue among geeks), there is an uneven proportion of females. Microsoft is attacking straw men and daemonising GNU/Linux communities. Well, what else is new?

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  1. dyfet said,

    May 19, 2010 at 3:37 pm


    I dislike the company and refuse to have anything to do with them because it’s institutionally sociopathic, and there are many reasons this is the case including the particular way they use the rank system for promotions and bonuses that assure those most rewarded are those employees who are most sociopathic. It happens they produce proprietary software, which is in itself an anti-social activity, but if they produced cement I would feel the same way about them.

    your_friend Reply:

    Non free software is inherently anti-social. The software owner strips the user of right to study the workings of the user’s computer and to make it serve the user rather than the software owner. To enforce these restrictions, software owners typically employ more overtly hostile technical and social methods. Non free software keeps secrets, changes data formats and is often laced kill switches that waste user time and effort, all to keep the users from helping themselves and their friends. Social methods are discussed in my earlier post below, but they extend to raketeering, judicial extortion, bribery and other forms of corruption. You might say, as you did, that these things are not related but they are. Non free software is fundamentally unethical and people willing to screw their customers that way are happy to screw them in other ways and happier still to commit larger crimes against “competitors” and “enemies”.

    dyfet Reply:

    I am simply saying that if Microsoft was not a proprietary software company it would still be a rather ghastly thing whatever it did. I did not mean to say they are unrelated in quite that way though.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    There’s worse than Microsoft.

    your_friend Reply:

    I see that you did not say that, sorry, I missread “It happens they produce proprietary software, which is in itself an anti-social activity… ” as “It happens they produce proprietary software, which is not in itself an anti-social activity… ” ick.

    Thanks for the great parody. I was just thinking about that movie as a source of a cartoon parody of the downfall of Microsoft. Everyone in the Gates Foundation Bunker as the empire crumbles and the tax man comes knocking … the conquered lands of Yahoo and other Axis powers failing … SCO murder suiciding their children (developers and customers) … Novell doing the same thing with exactly the same pictures when SCO’s demise fails to fix things … Microsoft’s customers and developers huddled in subway stations … TEs run around hanging people who say the wrong thing … the victorious iPhone toting hoards rushing in from the heavily GNU subsidized East while Allied forces of Freedom from the West tear things up from the air … secret super weapons like Miguel, Mono, Zune, Bing, XBox and others failures bing hurled to destruction with no effect. The EFF beat me to the punch, good for them!

  2. your_friend said,

    May 19, 2010 at 6:27 pm


    You will find some of the problems described but much of it can be attributed back to Microsoft. Microsoft TEs will pollute every community they can to harass perceived competitors:

    (there are always sources of tension between allies), so that we can find ways to split ‘em apart Reading the trade press, lurking on newsgroups, attending conferences, and (above all) talking to ISVs is essential

    So, Microsoft does not just accuse the GNU/Linux community of these bad things, it actively creates and encourages them. They will suck up to people they think make decisions but the purpose, of course, is to destroy things that are useful to others:

    At independent conferences, subvert them. Find the people who choose who goes on the agenda and who doesn’t. … Love those people. Just suck up to them so hard your face collapses. … get somebody.. .some shill to go up and ask the [challenging and ugly] question for you.

    you want to love those conferences to death. I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. First there was the Mac App Developers Conference. … I worked to try to turn it into a cross-platform developers conference, and I did. I managed to make it.. their last conference was very cross-platforn, both Windows and Macintosh, which of course turned off their Macintosh audience; half of the conference was irrelevant to them. They didn’t care about Windows. … the Technology and Issues Conference. it had been going on for, like, ten years. It was an independent conference. it was by invitation only. … by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?

    The author of the above also talks of infiltrating news journals that are not directly controlled by Microsoft to do the same kinds of things, and boldly admits to blanket control of Microsoft friendly conferences in the same two documents:

    There are two kinds of developer conferences. There’s those that are controlled by the platform vendors, such as our PDC. We control everything that goes on there nobody says nothing that we don’t approve beforehand. … Again, there’s two categories. There’s those that are controlled by vendors; like MSJ; we control that [use Microsoft favorable publishing in them as bribes and to establish "experts"] …. The ones that third parties control, like the WinTech Journal, you want to infiltrate.

    This is the kind of toxic mess and distraction that Microsoft people love to create. They distract from Microsoft’s larger crimes and waste “enemy time” by creating petty fights for them among themselves.

    Novell efforts like Mono make a lot more sense in this light. They get to inject Microsoft into the GNU/Linux community and stoke huge rude fights that make everyone look bad. “Turn off” is exactly what Microsoft aims to do. The uglier and more hostile their monkey friends are, the greater the distraction and havoc.

    The key to deflecting these kinds of attacks is to realize that Microsoft has nothing a competent developer would want. Why debate “cross platform” when Windows is so second rate as to be worthless? There is no value to Microsoft developer tools, SDKs and all that other bait the TEs like to throw around. Even being established as an expert in various Microsoft tech is something of a disgrace when everyone knows that Windows is a dead end that should be abandoned as quickly as possible.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Microsoft loves to accuse others of using subversive words like “infiltrate” but Microsoft itself explains that it wishes to “infiltrate” (as in “you want to infiltrate”).

    It’s also known as “killing with kindness”.

    your_friend Reply:

    Microsoft also uses the word “subvert” to describe their own activity. The company is depraved and anyone promoting them is either ignorant or equally vile.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    “At independent conferences, subvert them.” –Microsoft

    dyfet Reply:

    Institutionally depraved, and it is very much a consequence of and inherent to how they are organized, as well as the fact they engage in the anti-social activity known as proprietary software, and that was my point.

  3. Agent_Smith said,

    May 20, 2010 at 12:18 am


    The worse thing: William Henry said once he fetch trash cans for code. Yeah, the man was an open source advocate on his early years. And now, what do we see ??? All this shameful company acts against consumers, competitors, governments(tax evasion). Name the felony, M$ does it…

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