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06.07.10

Microsoft Has Already Hurt LinuxTag by Paying It

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 8:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

Summary: Microsoft is sponsoring LinuxTag in order to be end up “injecting Microsoft content into the conference” and putting people off

HERE WE go again. Linux Outlaws is a recommended GNU/Linux-centred show which we last mentioned two days ago. In its latest episode the duo states that Microsoft sponsors LinuxTag, not only attends it to deter and repel “Linux people”. Microsoft even uses the word "infiltrate" to describe what it’s doing there.

Now that we know it’s a payment which bought Microsoft this ‘ticket’, the story becomes very familiar. It becomes a lot clearer that Microsoft actually paid with “sponsorship” to get that spot, i.e. it publicly speaks to the opposition’s crowd because of money. Fab from Linux Outlaws won’t go to LinuxTag this year, partly because of that action from Microsoft. He’s probably not the only person who feels that way and he said that would rather have Novell attend. He says that “everything is better than Microsoft” and that he will be the first who shouts “no”. Well, that’s just what Microsoft intended by its own admission (see quote at the top).

For those who listen to the audiocast/oggcast from which the quotes are extracted, skip to around 1hr:10min when this discussion takes place. Dan plays the apologist’s role (or devil’s advocate) to add some balance, which is fair enough. Neither of them is excited to “go across Microsoft logos” and someone in their IRC channel writes: “what about if there are conditions attached to the sponsorship?”

Well, they have already injected a public talk. We saw this several times before. Microsoft is essentially buying itself a talk by offering sponsorship. It’s as though there are strings attached. This is very deliberate.

Fab says: “I’ve been… even in the time I do this podcast I read about so much abuse… I don’t like them as a company.”

“Over my dead body, Ballmer.”
      –Fab from Linux Outlaws
He asks rhetorically: “Why do they do that?” Well, that’s because they are Microsoft. They like to break things, even events of their competition [1, 2].

Dan says that it “looks good for them if we rant about them.” Yes, that’s just part of their plan. “Give them ammunition… [to say about GNU/Linux people that] they are crazy,” Dan adds.

Fab angrily replies with: “Over my dead body, Ballmer.”

Dan persists by presenting the other side: “I don’t know whether this will change the event.”

“It makes me sick” is the response.

It ought to be emphasised that this is not the first time they are involved. Fab speaks about a Microsoft guy at the Novell stand — one who kept staring and made him uncomfortable in prior events that he attended. And again, this very much deliberate. Microsoft knows what it’s doing and it uses friction to drive people against one another and come out looking like the professional “saint”.

Dan says: “it’s difficult… I didn’t feel like having a Microsoft logo on my shirt.”

Of course. Nobody likes that. It makes people angry and resentful towards the event, which is really being victimised, sometimes coerced. They do this also to Apple and they explain how to grease up the organisers, who later regret what they do.

Microsoft wins either way because if the organiser says “no”, then Microsoft will publicly throw a fit and daemonise the organiser/event. The solution is to publicly agree that Microsoft is forbidden from accessing such events as a matter of cross-event/events-wide policy, for the simple reason that it admitted quite explicitly that it wants to sabotage such events. Novell would of course stand in the way of such policies.

As a side note, Dan has not been keeping up with Microsoft. He thinks their Xbox was successful even though it’s an utter failure. To be unaware of the reality is fair enough if the big media/PR is all one has to rely on. Sometimes it’s better to just concentrate on GNU/Linux, i.e. the positives.

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