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


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


  1. Florian Mueller said,

    August 4, 2010 at 8:33 am


    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


    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:

    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.


    Mr.Ironic Reply:

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


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

What Else is New

  1. Links /11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

    Links for the day

  2. United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

  3. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  4. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)

  5. Response to Bogus Accusations That EPO Staff Protests Are Really an Attempt to Derail UPC

    Common myths about staff protests in the European Patent Office (EPO) debunked, with some additional background and general perspective on recent events, the unitary patent (UPC) and so on

  6. New Heise Article Makes It Clear That 'Nazi'-Themed Accusations Against the Suspended Board Judge Were Insufficiently Substantiated

    The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called 'house ban') increasingly look like the management's own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

  7. Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

    Links for the day

  8. European Central Bank Staff Committee Adds to Growing Pressure on Abusive EPO Management

    The staff representatives of the European Central Bank E-mail their colleagues -- with European Central Bank managers' approval -- regarding the European Patent Office and its attacks on staff unions

  9. Gross Violation of Workers' Rights in EPO: Denial of Christmas Vacation/Leave for Slower Workers

    A look at an E-mail from within the EPO which shows how Christmas is used to squeeze staff, urging them to work even faster (despite speed gains) or lose their Christmas leave

  10. The Bogus Narrative Floated by EPO Management: Our Judges and Examiners Are Armed and Violent

    A look at the union-busting and protest-crushing moves from high-level EPO managers, who are trying to convince politicians that they do so in an effort to stop terrorists and neo-Nazis

  11. Support SUEPO or End Up Like They and Some of the Boards Did

    SUEPO, the fast-growing staff union of the EPO, increasingly needs the support and protection offered by action and participation from staff

  12. NRC Handelsblad (Dutch Evening Newspaper) Speaks About EPO's Refusal to Accept Court Orders From The Hague

    Article explains the depths of the issues inside the EPO and the unacceptable immunity that management at the EPO continues to exploit, shaming or discrediting the very notion of the rule of law in Europe

  13. HeBS Digital and Black Duck Press Releases Treated Like Articles, Used to Muddy the FOSS Waters

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is under attack again, and it's the proprietary software lobby that's responsible for that

  14. EPO President Battistelli Now Intimidates Even National Delegations

    Report about an embarrassing incident implicating Benoît Battistelli and some angry comments cast over the witch-hunting of a judge, using all sorts of questionable tactics

  15. A Look at the Latest Gross Deletionism at the EPO's 'Media Partner', French Newspaper Les Échos

    The EPO's bogus 'journal of record, which Team Battistelli likes to cite in order to bolster its warped version of events at the EPO while maintaining a close secret relationship with the publisher, keeps censoring its own reporters (spiked paragraphs, silently self-censored or censored after publications)

  16. Rumour About Efforts to Dismiss a Board Judge by Intimidating Boards of Appeal

    Comment found online accuses the Administrative Council of pressuring, by threats, Directorate-General 3 to dismiss a judge who is silently accused (with selective 'leaks' to the media, reportedly orchestrated by EPO managers) but not even proven guilty

  17. President Battistelli Now Pressures/Threatens Politicians Who 'Dare' to Complain About Abuses and Unacceptable Conditions at the EPO

    Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, a French politician, unleashes an angry letter from Benoît Battistelli and reveals just to what lengths the EPO's Team Battistelli is willing to go in order to crush political backlash

  18. EPO: It's Like a Family Business - Part IV

    Some more background information about Elodie Bergot and Gilles Requena, who are married whilst also sharing positions of power at the EPO (and also strong connections/ties with the EPO's President, Mr. Battistelli); Rumours afloat at the EPO -- some with ever-increasing circulation too -- are worth noting

  19. Translation of Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann's Article in the German Media, Urging European Politicians to Intervene in EPO Chaos and Lawlessness

    Frankfurt-based media presents an opinion piece written by a Munich-based economic correspondent, Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann

  20. German Press Says Broken EPO Lets President Severely Punish Staff Not Even Guilty of Any Wrongdoing

    Juve publishes an article which attempts to be 'balanced' (meaning it believes everything that EPO officials say) but at the same time reveals unacceptable practices that go in inside the EPO

  21. German Media Reveals That Out-of-Control EPO Management is Even Threatening and Abusing Lawyers Now

    The EPO's longstanding fight against justice escalates to an unprecedented war on lawyers themselves; “After this latest move,” says a German newspaper, “even lawyers are starting to feel threatened by the Office.”

  22. Washington Post Only Entertains Debate About Patent Trolls (But Not Patent Scope) Whilst US Lawyers Trick the System to Patent Software

    The Bezos-owned Washington Post continues to help those who wish to eliminate patent trolls (which bother Amazon amongst other large conglomerates) but remains void of any coverage about patent scope, including software patents that patent lawyers work so hard to defend

  23. It Pays (Off) to 'Bribe' the Media: Watch How Les Échos Covers EPO Matters and Self-Censors

    French newspaper Les Échos is self-censoring yet again and it is framing the EPO scandals as the fault of employees, not the fault of abusive managers who are working with Les Échos as a so-called 'media partner' (the EPO management is French-dominated)

  24. 'Leaked' PDF Shows How EPO Management Tried to Crush Judge Who 'Dared' to Criticise EPO Management

    The EPO's management continues to chill potential critics and is now making an example of a board's judge, despite having no such authority over him

  25. Links 21/11/2015: Community Appreciation Day, Jolla's Problems

    Links for the day

  26. EPO: It's Like a Family Business - Part III

    A look at how the EPO's management (Željko Topić in particular) defended the unprecedented promotion of Ms Bergot (wife of the president's close assistant), even in the face of outcry from EPO staffwarning

  27. In an Effort to Counter EPO Staff Narrative (After ~2,000 of Staff Protest) EPO Management Portrays Staff as Violent But Provides No Evidence

    The EPO's management has a poor record on accuracy and truth and the latest staff-shaming tactics serve to reinforce that track record

  28. Gross Aggression by EPO Management Shows the Urgent Need to Remove Immunity From EPO

    The increasingly militant approach of EPO management (with counterterrorism staff added to interrogate EPO staff) serves to show an organisation gone truly bonkers

  29. Patents Roundup: Alice Decision Still Upsets Patent Lawyers, Microsoft AstroTurf Group Lobbies on FRAND, Google and Red Hat Recalled

    The reaction of patent profiteers to scope/boundary restrictions, the FRAND lobby by Microsoft's longtime front group, FRAND matters in Korea (affecting Android), Google's response to patent threats, and Red Hat still keeping quiet about its patent agreement with Microsoft

  30. Links 20/11/2015: DockerCon EU, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2

    Links for the day


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


Recent Posts