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

08.04.10

Richard Stallman Explains Why Microsoft is ‘Infiltrating’ Free/Open Source Software Events

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 8:24 am 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: The freedom of the software we all sometimes use is under attack, in part thanks to companies like ACCESS and Microsoft, which found a partner in Tim O’Reilly and others who take money to change the direction of Open Source (taking it further away from Free/libre software)

FREEDOM is essential for GNU/Linux to actually achieve something in the market. Lacking the values of freedom, we may end up with kill switch-enabled Android devices which self-destruct upon modification (yes, we are looking at you, Motorola). The Free Software Foundation (FSF) — and Richard Stallman prior to this foundation’s inception — has spent literally decades preaching to people all around the world the importance of digital freedom (autonomy, independence, liberty, equality). Attacking Stallman we’ve seen hostile companies such as ACCESS, which allegedly spreads its tentacles to other platforms like GNOME (claims that are somewhat harder to back now that they run to Android for rescue). DigiTimes indicates that LiMo is dying this week:

As Vodafone has decided to forgo the planned launch of the LiMo-based 360 H2 and will not offer any LiMo handsets, the future development of LiMo has turned pessimistic and the best choice for the LiMo Foundation is to merge with the Linux Foundation, Taiwan-based handset makers have commented.

Is anybody surprised at this point? One discouraging aspect of LiMo is that it promoted/endorsed software patents. It disregarded freedom even more than Google, at least based on its representatives. This brings us to the main point of this post, courtesy of the wonderful folks at The Source. In recent months we wrote a great deal about Microsoft's attempt to "infiltrate" (Microsoft's word) Free/open source software events, even Linux events such as LinuxTag [1, 2]. The Source lists some important points regarding another Microsoft sponsorship of a Free/open source software event:

[A]lthough Mr. Savluc defends Microsoft’s sponsorship role, he simultaneously confesses that:

* Microsoft is “not right”
* Microsoft’s speakers “lack passion”
* Microsoft “is wrong”
* Microsoft speakers “pretend they love FLOSS”
* Microsoft “will try hard to slow down FLOSS adoption”
* Microsoft “will not change if we talk to them”

The Source has also spoken to Stallman, who offered insightful, concise, and toned-down remarks about Microsoft sponsorships. Stallman says:

Accepting the money from Microsoft would, in itself, do not harm. But Microsoft typically demands a price for its sponsorship, a price that implies a change in the nature of the event.

The price might be, let someone from Microsoft give a speech. The price might be, don’t say that proprietary software is evil. The price might be, present Microsoft sponsorship in a way that inhibits you from denouncing Microsoft’s software as unethical.

One way or other, Microsoft wants us to stop saying the most important thing to say: “Proprietary software is an injustice and we want to help you escape from it.”

This issue does not arise for OSCON because that is an open source event. “Open source” is the term used by those who do not wish to take an ethical stand against proprietary software. OSCON did not need to sell out its principles in order to accept Microsoft’s money because it never had such principles. I heard that O’Reilly Associates distributes manuals with Digital Restrictions Management. which can only be read using nonfree software. I don’t know for certain if that is accurate, but it would not conflict with any principles ORA ever stated.

OSCON is the sort of event Microsoft would like our community to have, one that avoids raising the issue of the injustice of proprietary software. If eLiberatica is to live up to its name, it must not take OSCON as a model.

As another example of the harm of proprietary software, consider this ripoff from the news:

The days of finding Windows discs nestling at the bottom of a PC box are fast coming to an end.

Current practice does away with backup discs, with vendors instead taking the cheaper option of installing recovery software on a hard disk partition, leaving the buyer with no physical copy of the operating system they paid for.

[...]

Beneath an offer to buy backup media for £15 the company says, “a recovery disc is the single most important accessory to have with your new laptop”.

The world needs less proprietary software and more Free software. Some people inhibit this. Tim O’Reilly ought to be thinking what vision of the world he helps promote because the last time he commented in Techrights he expressed no regrets about taking money from Microsoft to help Microsoft. He shifted the question to other companies in order to cover up selfish, misguided deeds.

“We cannot hope to own it all, so instead we should try to create the largest possible market and insert ourselves as a small tax on that market.”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft at the time (now a patent troll)

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

34 Comments

  1. Florian Mueller said,

    August 4, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Gravatar

    I can’t comment on any of the others but I don’t think there’s any reason to assume that Tim O’Reilly compromises his values just for a conference sponsorship or his recently-formed Microsoft Press alliance. Tim once supported my efforts in the EU through an endorsement; but he disagreed with me strongly on the bnetd case where I sided with my friends at Blizzard.

    Concerning RMS’s point about ““Proprietary software is an injustice and we want to help you escape from it”, I would encourage everyone to take a close look at the sources of funding of the FSF and affiliated organizations such as SFLC and to realize the discrepancy between that condemnation of proprietary software and the actual business strategy of some of those sponsors.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Now you’re flogging a dead horse used also by the Stallman/FSF antagonists from ACCESS or Microsoft.

    You can find many rebuttals to it.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    The OSDL is controlled and driven by companies whose core business is in almost all cases proprietary, and the SFLC resulted from an OSDL IP fund. Just one example. I also heard from industry colleagues that the FSF constantly tries to raise funds from proprietary software companies.

    Concerning Tim O’Reilly again, please consider he’s independently wealthy. He sold a minority stake in an early Web company in 1995 or so for $40 million and his publishing company has been profitable for a long time according to what others in the computer book industry think (I still have contacts in that field, it’s basically where I started).

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    OSDL was renamed the The Linux Foundation, I forgot to mention. Still the same problem.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    And it has nothing to do with the FSF.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    You would argue the SFLC, whose OSDL connection I mentioned, has nothing to do with the FSF? No overlap in terms of key persons etc.?

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    Is there even one example in the world where the FSF, FSFE, SFLC or any other FSF affiliate refused to take money from a company whose core business (or even entire business) is proprietary software?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    You should politely ask them, don’t ask me. If they had refused, they would not publicise it though (for obvious reasons relating to tact).

    Jose_X Reply:

    As is mentioned below, can Muller or anyone point to cases where the FSF has changed their position in any significant way? When you do, then we will consider looking for a money trail.

    I understand why proprietary companies would donate money to groups that attack these companies’ most profitable business approaches. It allows them to say they contribute and support openness, competition, and the community. It serves as a teaser of potential increasing amounts that would come if the message by the attackers were to be changed.

    verofakto Reply:

    You can find many rebuttals to it.

    Could you provide one? All I remember were apologetic semantic gyrations that exonerated the FSFS based on the presumption of moral purity yet did nothing to actually address the hypocrisy itself.

    Your hostility towards O’Reilly has a long history IIRC, and is probably fueled more by your fury at his promotion of Open Source, which in typical cult fashion, you consider an apostate movement that must be stamped out through any and all means so that “free software” and your hero Ricky can be given their rightful due. As usual you’re so angry about imagined slights and conspiracy theories that you can’t see the forest for the trees.

    verofakto Reply:

    Incidentally, you might want to disclose that “the wonderful people at The Source” is just the one guy who used to spend all his waking hours logged in to your chat room. You know, in the interest of disclosure, which you seem to require of everyone but rarely if ever seem to do yourself. That reminds me of the time you called your friend’s “Goblin” blog a “lone voice” while he was probably chatting with your on IRC. lulz.

    twitter Reply:

    Florian ignorantly or maliciously invites us to:

    I would encourage everyone to take a close look at the sources of funding of the FSF and affiliated organizations

    The Free Software Foundation gets almost all of its meager budget from member subscriptions. We can be sure they would never accept a donation that restricted them in the ways that RMS rejects above. Perhaps Florian should donate to the FSF and read up instead of slandering them.

    It is interesting how this topic attracts Microsoft defenders and offensive trolls who seek to change the subject in comments. They really hate the basic message,

    One way or other, Microsoft wants us to stop saying the most important thing to say: “Proprietary software is an injustice and we want to help you escape from it.”

    It is one which more people are realizing is correct. I expect this to be expressed more frequently despite obvious harassment by Microsoft representatives. Source code is useless without software freedom and those who oppose software freedom harm others for their own benefit. Non free software is an injustice that can only survive by other crimes.

    It would be better to take the conferences back than it would be to cancel them. Go there, get what you need from it, share it with others who are interested and protest the things that are wrong.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Florian is receiving ‘backup’ from Novell staff now. :-)

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Oops. Use this link.

    twitter Reply:

    I am more surprised that Florian called the FSF corporate toadies than I am to find out that Novell or Microsoft employees would use Twitter to smear Boycott Novell again. Florian can’t help what other people say but what he said for himself is clearly wrong and divisive. It might echo around the fauxpen source crowd’s talking points, but it won’t fool anyone.

    Having thought more about this and what taq says, I’d recommend people save their travel money for a better free software conference. If the money is spent and can not be refunded, go and protest. In either case, let the organizers and everyone else know why you don’t like what they are doing. The goal of software freedom is served by telling people that software freedom matters.

  2. taq said,

    August 4, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Gravatar

    Roy, check this out: http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/linuxcon-brazil/pt/programacao

    Look at the third keynote. That guy was from SCO and seems that played an important role when “finding” the Linux “infringing” code, and at ApacheCon he talked about run Open Source tools on Windows Server.
    Since LinuxCon is an event about Linux, I’m not sure if he will talk about the same thing, but if he will, I really don’t see a point what Linux, the kernel, will have related with his speech. LinuxCon is a conference about Linux!
    Anyway, I’m canceling my registration there.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, Groklaw wrote about this man many times. He stayed with SCO almost until the end. Now he helps Microsoft strategise versus Linux (same thing he did at SCO).

    This is not the first time that the Linux Foundation gives a platform to Microsoft. I reckon that Microsoft is playing the “intolerant” card (as in, “you zealots should invite us too or accept our invitation of ourselves”).

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    Concerning Groklaw and funding from companies with proprietary core businesses:
    http://floatingpoint.wordpress.com/2007/03/27/osdl-payments-to-pamela-jones/

    verofakto Reply:

    Well now, I bet that was never featured on BoycottNovell.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Dan Lyons, who has a long anti-Groklaw and pro-SCO agenda, does not name a source

    “Between late 2005 and early 2006, OSDL paid “$40,000 to $50,000″ to Groklaw, my source says.”

    Just a rumour then. Never verified.

    I’ve also noticed that you follow/befriended Maureen O’Gara.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    Over the years, Maureen O’Gara has written things I agreed with and things I disagreed with. Concerning SCO, I once saw that “war pay” quote, and it might as well have been a joke.

    Concerning Dan Lyons, if OSDL and Groklaw both declined to comment, that’s interesting per se.

    verofakto Reply:

    Just a rumour then. Never verified.

    Lo and behold, burden of proof is suddenly important.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    @Florian Mueller

    How do you know they declined?

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    The article to which I linked says so: “Peters ducked me for a few days and then refused to comment. The foundation’s PR rep also refuses to provide a statement.
    PJ did not respond to an email from me on this.”

    I can’t imagine that a senior Forbes editor would make this claim without actually having asked. He’d put his whole reputation as a journalist at stake.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Forbes editor, eh? You mean, the guy who was systematically attacking Linux for years before that? If I were in Peters’ shoes, I would not “duck” him, I would told him to sod off.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    She apparently did talk to him but told him she wouldn’t comment. If she talked to him, she could also have denied that they funded Groklaw, but she didn’t. I don’t know about his history of attacking Linux. The key thing is that Forbes is a high-profile magazine and whether one agrees with one of their editors on a particular issue or not, it’s a safe assumption that they don’t lie if they claim they asked someone for comment who declined.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Do you have links about that?

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    Links about what? I provided a link to that Dan Lyons blog. Concerning your tweet, I didn’t say that Groklaw is an IBM drone, but I said that it’s interesting per se that neither OSDL/LinuxFoundation nor Groklaw (nor IBM, for that matter) denied Dan Lyons’ story even though he asked all of them.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Fake ‘Steve Jobs’ is not a valid source and I too would not speak to this troll if I were her. Just because she didn’t respond doesn’t mean she has something to hide. I could mail steveb@microsoft.com and ask him if he paid you; after a while with no response I’d deduce that you work for him?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Oops. Wrong nesting. Response was to:

    Links about what? I provided a link to that Dan Lyons blog. Concerning your tweet, I didn’t say that Groklaw is an IBM drone, but I said that it’s interesting per se that neither OSDL/LinuxFoundation nor Groklaw (nor IBM, for that matter) denied Dan Lyons’ story even though he asked all of them.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    With the greatest respect (under the circumstances) for you, Roy: there’s a difference between Forbes asking a question and you (let alone me with my much smaller blog) doing so. Moreover, the OSDL/LinuxFoundation not only remained silent but refused to comment, as Dan Lyons reported.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s not Forbes, it’s a troll who used someone else’s name to get attention (Steve Jobs).

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    He also ditched this blog of his years ago.

    http://technocrat.net/d/2007/4/6/17445/

    Mr.Ironic Reply:

    Too late, you’ve already tried that tactic with Mono:

    http://techrights.org/2008/10/09/shopping-for-mono-protection/

    Oops. Guilty of something you are trying to accuse others of. Anyone actually surprised? I’m not.

What Else is New


  1. The Sickness of the EPO – Part II: Background Information and Insights

    With a privatised, in-house (sometimes outsourced and for-profit) force for surveillance, policing, justice, public relations and now medical assessment (mere vassals or marionettes of the management) the EPO serves to show that it has become indistinguishable from North Korea, where the Supreme Leader gets to control every single aspect (absolutely no separation of powers)



  2. EPO Cartoon/Caricature by KrewinkelKrijst

    A new rendition by Dutch cartoonist and illustrator KrewinkelKrijst



  3. Inverting Narratives: IAM 'Magazine' Paints Massive Patent Bully Microsoft (Preying on the Weak) as a Defender of the Powerless

    Selective coverage and deliberate misinterpretation of Microsoft's tactics (patent settlement under threat, disguised as "pre-installation of some of the US company’s software products") as seen in IAM almost every week these days



  4. The Sickness of the EPO – Part I: Motivation for New Series of Articles

    An introduction or prelude to a long series of upcoming posts, whose purpose is to show governance by coercion, pressure, retribution and tribalism rather than professional relationship between human beings at the European Patent Office (EPO)



  5. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part VII: EPO Hypocrisy on Cancer and Lack of Feedback to and From ECPC

    The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), which calls itself "the largest European cancer patients' umbrella organisation," fails to fulfill its duties, says a source of ours, and the EPO makes things even worse



  6. Links 21/2/2017: KDE Plasma 5.9.2 in Chakra GNU/Linux, pfSense 2.3.3

    Links for the day



  7. EPO Caricature: Battistelli's Wall

    Battistelli's solution to everything at the EPO is exclusion and barriers



  8. The 'New' Microsoft is Still Acting Like a Dangerous Cult in an Effort to Hijack and/or Undermine All Free/Open Source Software

    In an effort to combat any large deployment of non-Microsoft software, the company goes personal and attempts to overthrow even management that is not receptive to Microsoft's agenda



  9. PTAB Petitioned to Help Against Patent Troll InfoGation Corp., Which Goes After Linux/Android OEMs in China

    A new example of software patents against Free software, or trolls against companies that are distributing freedom-respecting software from a country where these patents are not even potent (they don't exist there)



  10. Links 20/2/2017: Linux 4.10, LineageOS Milestone

    Links for the day



  11. No, Doing Mathematical Operations on a Processor Does Not Make Algorithms Patent-Eligible

    Old and familiar tricks -- a method for tricking examiners into the idea that algorithms are actual machines -- are being peddled by Watchtroll again



  12. Paid-for UPC Proponent, IAM 'Magazine', Debunked on UPC Again

    The impact of the corrupted (by EPO money) media goes further than one might expect and even 'borrows' out-of-date news in order to promote the UPC



  13. Lack of Justice in and Around the EPO Drawing Scrutiny

    The status of the EPO as an entity above the law (in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and so on) is becoming the subject of press reports and staff is leaving in large numbers



  14. Links 19/2/2017: GParted 0.28.1, LibreOffice Donations Record

    Links for the day



  15. The EPO is Becoming an Embarrassment to Europe and a Growing Threat to the European Union

    The increasingly pathetic moves by Battistelli and the ever-declining image/status of the EPO (only 0% of polled stakeholders approve Battistelli's management) is causing damage to the reputation of the European Union, even if the EPO is not a European Union organ but an international one



  16. Patent Misconceptions Promoted by the Patent Meta-Industry

    Cherry-picking one's way into the perception of patent eligibility for software and the misguided belief that without patents there will be no innovation



  17. As the United States Shuts Its Door on Low-Quality Patents the Patent Trolls Move to Asia

    Disintegration of Intellectual Ventures (further shrinkage after losing software patents at CAFC), China's massive patent bubble, and Singapore's implicit invitation/facilitation of patent trolls (bubble economy)



  18. Links 17/2/2017: Wine 2.2, New Ubuntu LTS

    Links for the day



  19. Bad Advice From Mintz Levin and Bejin Bieneman PLC Would Have People Believe That Software Patents Are Still Worth Pursuing

    The latest examples of misleading articles which, in spite of the avalanche of software patents in the United States, continue to promote these



  20. Patents Are Not Property, They Are a Monopoly, and They Are Not Owned But Temporarily Granted

    Patent maximalism and distortion of concepts associated with patents tackled again, for terminology is being hijacked by those who turned patents into their "milking cows"



  21. SoftBank Group, New Owner of ARM, Could Potentially Become (in Part) a Patent Troll or an Aggressor Like Qualcomm

    SoftBank grabbed headlines (in the West at least) when it bought ARM, but will it soon grab headlines for going after practicing companies using a bunch of patents that it got from Inventergy, ARM, and beyond?



  22. Technicolor, Having Turned Into a Patent Troll, Attacks Android/Tizen/Linux With Patents in Europe

    Technicolor, which a lot of the media portrayed as a patent troll in previous years (especially after it had sued Apple, HTC and Samsung), is now taking action against Samsung in Europe (Paris, Dusseldorf and Mannheim)



  23. Michelle Lee is Still “in Charge” of the US Patent System

    Contrary to a malicious whispering campaign against Lee (a coup attempt, courtesy of patent maximalists who make a living from mass litigation), she is still in charge of the USPTO



  24. Our Assessment: EPO Wants a Lot of Low-Quality Patents and Low-Paid Staff With UPC (Prosecution Galore)

    The European Patent Office seems to be less interested in examination and more interested in facilitating overzealous prosecution all across Europe and beyond; The Administrative Council has shown no signs that it is interested in profound changes, except those proposed by Battistelli in the face of growing resistance from staff and from ordinary stakeholders



  25. Links 16/2/2017: HITMAN for GNU/Linux, Go 1.8

    Links for the day



  26. Yet More Complaints About the European Patent Office in the Bavarian Regional Government

    Some German politicians do care about the welfare of EPO staff, a lot more so than the EPO's management that is actively crushing this staff



  27. EPO Staff Representatives to Escalate Complaint About Severe Injustices to the EPO's Secretive Board 28

    In a new letter to President Benoît Battistelli it is made abundantly apparent -- however politely -- that Battistelli's gross abuses could further complicate things for Battistelli, who is already embroiled in a fight with his predecessor, Roland Grossenbacher



  28. New Survey Reveals That High Patent Quality, or Elimination of Bad Patents, is Desirable to Patent Holders

    A new survey from Bloomberg BNA and AIPLA reveals that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which still grows in prominence, is supported by people who have themselves gotten patents (not those who are in the bureaucracy of patents and self-serving politics)



  29. Open Patent Office is Not the Solution; Ending Software Patents is the Solution

    Our remarks about the goals and methods of the newly-established Open Patent Office and what is instead needed in order to combat the menace that threatens software development



  30. New Scholarly Paper Says “UK’s Withdrawal From the EU Could Mean That the Entire (Unitary Patent) System Will Not Go Into Effect”

    A paper from academics -- not from the patent microcosm (for a change) -- provides a more sobering interpretation, suggesting quite rightly that the UPC can't happen in the UK (or in Europe), or simply not endure if some front groups such as CIPA somehow managed to bamboozle politicians into it (ratification in haste, before the facts are known)


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