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09.18.10

Haters of Software Freedom Inside Planet Apache

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft at 2:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apache people portraits and Ballmer stuck inside

Summary: The ‘black sheep’ in the Apache bunch is a Microsoft employee who helps Microsoft’s agenda right inside the competition as he promotes its proprietary software; further thoughts on Microsoft’s latest verbal attack on “Open Source”

TAKE a quick look at Planet Apache. “Microsoft is astroturfing Planet Apache,” told us FurnaceBoy in the -social IRC channel a few moments ago. FurnaceBoy referred to a Microsoft employee promoting Office Live Groups inside the Apache community, having had his employer pay Apache for a ticket into the club’s membership [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18].

Only days ago we showed that Microsoft still hates Open Source, based on its words and actions around Brazil [1, 2, 3]. Sites like Groklaw, for example, continue to scrutinise Apache for failing or refusing to acknowledge the obvious problem. Brian calls it “The Smell of Microsoft Desperation” — the headline of his latest post analysing this situation:

[Microsoft's] Rincón’s remarks do seem to put a dent in my idea that Microsoft’s careful re-positioning within the BRIC (Brasil, Russia, India, and China) markets has caused it to ease off the FUD and anti-open source rhetoric. It paints the picture of a company that still has deep animosity towards free software. As well it should: free software poses a huge potential threat to Microsoft’s markets.

We have already seen, for instance, how free software is about to steal away the platforms of the future, so Microsoft is very well aware of the threat to its bottom line.

I wonder, though, if my original theory about Microsoft’s public position on open source was that far off the mark. The country Rincón was specifically chastising in his remarks, Brasil, is the big clue. Brasil has a long and friendly history with free software and has pledged to implement it across their government infrastructure. We’ve heard that before, and usually it’s turned out to be a bluff to get a better deal from Microsoft and other proprietary vendors.

But Brasil isn’t bluffing. The government and the tech community there love free and open source software, and are very happy to be implementing it. It’s almost got rock star status there: I was told by more than a few people that when Linux Torvalds and Andrew Morton showed up to speak at LinuxCon Brazil recently, they were mobbed by adoring fans.

Faced with such a pro-FOSS attitude, Rincón probably feels like he has nothing left to lose. Repositioning Microsoft as open source friendly in the Brasilian market would be like spitting at a forest fire at this point. So, we see Microsoft reverting once more to type and launching the anti-FOSS missiles.

Another company whose ‘openness’ seems like a farce at best is a major ally of Microsoft. That would be Citrix and it’s getting criticised (if not slammed) for it:

Citrix’s Confusing Open Cloud Strategy

Early this week Citrix announced their Citrix Open Cloud framework and ever since I am confused both about their name and also their strategy. Part of my confusion is due to the vague information, without any specifics, on their website and seemingly arrogant response on Twitter by some of their top executives when asked to clarify their position. In this post, I will dig a little bit about this announcement.

Companies which are arrogant about the claims of “openness” often turn out not to be open at all. It’s the questions that make them angry because they are unable to reply sincerely.

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