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

12.08.10

Microsoft Creates Confusion Around Freedom and Price

Posted in Asia, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 2:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Freedom and price are not interchangeable

Kite

Summary: Microsoft fights Free software adoption in Russia using gratis proprietary software which criminalises the user and to make matters worse, Microsoft also pays companies to abandon Microsoft’s competition

Microsoft assisted the Russian authorities when they started suppressing dissent and when people found out about it, Microsoft Russia NGO spin started to flood the press. It was all PR [1, 2, 3] and a classic case of damage control. CNET’s Microsoft spin blog adds to it with a report which paints Microsoft positively after the bad thing it did and it also neglects to say that gratis is not libre (dumping is not freedom, it’s a suppressor of freedom, which is why Microsoft tolerates and sometimes encourages counterfeiting). From CNET:

A Russian court has dropped piracy charges against environmental group Baikal Wave due to drastic changes made to Microsoft’s licensing program for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) back in October, according to The New York Times.

These NGOs that include the environmental group should learn their lesson and move to GNU/Linux, which puts them in control of their own destiny. Microsoft wants people to view this only as a matter of price, as usual. Carlo Daffara has responded to the latest PR piece with Microsoft's Rajagopalan. “No, Microsoft, you still don’t get it,” the headline says and Carlo explains why:

The question is: is MS interested in an OSS business model? The answer: we already give out things for free. Well, we can probably thank Richard Stallman for his insistence in the use of the word “free”, but the answer miss the mark substantially. OSS is not about having something for free, and it never was (at least, from the point of view of the researcher). OSS is about collaborative development; as evidenced in a recent post by Henrik Ingo, “The state of MySQL forks: co-operating without co-operating”, being open source allowed the creation of an ecosystem of companies that cooperate (while being more or less competitors) and not only this fact increases the viability of a product even as its main developer (in this case, Oracle) changes its plans, but allows for the integration of features that are coming from outside the company – as Henrik wrote, “HandlerSocket is in my opinion the greatest MySQL innovation since the addition of InnoDB – both developed outside of MySQL”.

Microsoft still uses the idea of “free” as a purely economic competition, while I see OSS as a way to allow for far faster development and improvement of a product. And, at least, I have some academic results that point out that, actually, a live and active project do improve faster than comparable proprietary projects. That’s the difference: not price, that may be lower or not, as RedHat demonstrates; it is competition on value and speed of change.

“There’s free software and then there’s open source… there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with,” said Bill Gates in April 2008. He insists on making “free software” just cheap software.

Here is another highlight of an old trick being used again by Microsoft. “Microsoft Offers Cash to Drop Salesforce, Seibel & Deploy Dynamics CRM Online” says the headline of this article:

Microsoft’s (news, site) made an interesting offer this week that promises organizations currently using Salesforce.com CRM or Oracle’s Seibel (CRM) US$ 200 per license to make the jump to Dynamics CRM Online. The question is, is $200 enough?

This is not the first time (even recently) that Microsoft does this and we gave some examples before. It tries to use its pockets to promote lock-in at the expense of smaller rivals (these companies are smaller as a whole).

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

4 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    December 8, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Gravatar

    I left Carlo this comment.

    Thanks for noticing this, but why do you blame RMS for Microsoft’s dishonesty and poor reporting by Linux for you? Microsoft understands the issues of software freedom and open source development. As Bill Gates said, “There’s free software and then there’s open source… there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.” Microsoft’s spokesperson ducked the question to promote their second rate and restrictive development tools. The Linux for you reporter should have followed up to get a better answer instead of publishing an advertisement for Microsoft.

    If you want to help people understand software freedom, you can point to the GNU definition when you mention it. The moral and practical implications are not obvious but the four software freedoms are easy to grasp and the GNU page is concise. If you do this, everyone will eventually understand what RMS did twenty five years ago when he created the philosophical, social and technical foundations of gnu/linux and all the other fruits of the free software movement.

  2. Adrian Malacoda said,

    December 10, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Gravatar

    Carlo Daffara doesn’t “get it” either. It has nothing to do with development (collaborative or otherwise), openness, or source code. It is about the four freedoms as outlined by GNU. It has been about those freedoms for over 27 years.

    He seems like one of those Asay-type “open source business” guys, so of course he’d pinpoint the problem straight on wording like “free.” The problem is that “open source” logically means something different than what OSI wanted it to; it gives the impression of “you can look at the code” (RMS said that in his essay about the phrase, and I’ve had to put up with people who try to label proprietary as open source using that definition). Microsoft’s been having their way with that phrase too, by the way.

    The wording does matter. Unfortunately, in this case, Daffara does have sort of a point – we traditionally consider that “things” are free-of-charge and that people are free-as-in-freedom, so it’s difficult for “Joe Average” to wrap his head around the idea that software (which is a “thing”) can possess “freedom.” Which, of course, isn’t really true. The software itself doesn’t have freedom, the software grants the user that freedom. So “free software” is sort of a misnomer (although, given that we haven’t come up with an alternative in 27 years, it’s probably the best we’ll be able to do in the English language. “Open source” doesn’t count). Benjamin Mako Hill explains this in http://www.fsf.org/appeal/2009/mako/.

    I put the blame squarely on whoever decided to introduce the word “liberty” into the English language without taking “libre”/”liber” along with it.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    You’ve put that very well. People may notice that I say “software freedom” as much as I say “Free software” (or say both interchangeably) to emphaise that the software grants freedom. People cannot view “freedom” as a matter of cost.

    Fortunately (in a tongue-in-cheek way), Apple and Microsoft help explain freedom to a lot people by showing to them what happens when freedom is taken away (DRM and kill switches for example). It’s just that freedom is one of those things you can only define or demonstrate in its absence. Freedom is the lack of something (barriers), so explaining ‘it’ — being an absence — is like trying to provide proof to a theist that something does not exist.

    twitter Reply:

    The short and sweet of it is that it’s not the software that’s free, it’s you. The term “free software” does as good a job as possible to deliver the ethical implications of software freedom to new users.

    The only point that the “open source” movement has is that people are often afraid to talk about freedom and “politics”. Businesses that are hierarchical and overbearing especially are not convinced by talk of freedom. For these kinds of people, the associated benefits of freedom are more appropriate to talk about. Peer review, efficiency, competition and all that are more convincing and useful to them. RMS described the problem with that:

    The rhetoric of open source has … extended our community—but only at the superficial, practical level. The philosophy of open source, with its purely practical values, impedes understanding of the deeper ideas of free software; it brings many people into our community, but does not teach them to defend it. … Sooner or later these users will be invited to switch back to proprietary software for some practical advantage. … [they will refuse only if they] value freedom in and of itself rather than the technical and practical convenience of specific free software.

    He also says that the answer is to say “free software” more rather than less.

    The term “free software” is prone to misinterpretation: an unintended meaning, “software you can get for zero price,” fits the term just as well as the intended meaning, “software which gives the user certain freedoms.” We address this problem by publishing the definition of free software, and by saying “Think of ‘free speech,’ not ‘free beer.’”

    There is also a practical arguments against non free bait, such as Adobe Trash, on a free system – that any amount of non free software fundamentally compromises your privacy, security and freedom. By it’s nature, it immediately restricts the user in the task it is designed to perform. It also opens the user up to keylogging and other problems the same way malware does. A computer with even a single piece of non free software is basically rooted.

    The term “free software” was deliberately chosen to echo cold war rhetoric about the “free world” and the “non-free world”. This was a point everyone at the time could identify with and understand. Non free software is centrally planned and controlled and puts restrictions on users that are in the best interest of the owner alone. Richard Stallman also compared software owners to Soviet officials who put a guard at every copy machine.

What Else is New


  1. Links 24/11/2014: Linux 3.18-rc6, Qualcomm Eyes GNU/Linux Servers

    Links for the day



  2. Boycotting Micro Focus International

    Microsoft's "Partner of the Year" is taking over the patron of SUSE and all of Novell's remains, except the patents (Microsoft has already grabbed those)



  3. Vesna Stilin's Remarks on Željko Topić: Part XI

    Vesna Stilin speaks about her confrontation with EPO Vice-President Željko Topić, who has criminal lawsuits against him in Croatia



  4. Links 22/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1, Ubuntu MATE

    Links for the day



  5. Links 21/11/2014: Problems at Debian, Jolla Tablet

    Links for the day



  6. Links 18/11/2014: Linux 3.18 RC 5, New DigiKam

    Links for the day



  7. Special Report: Many Criminal Charges Against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić

    The abuses of Željko Topić, who has gained notoriety in his home country, are rapidly becoming public knowledge across all of Europe



  8. Links 16/11/2014: Xfdesktop 4.10.3, GNU Hello 2.10

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft is Going Into the Anti-Whistleblowing Business, Dodges Criticism Over 19-Year Bug Door in Windows

    With Aorato acquisition Microsoft helps protect the criminals (from whistleblowers) and with lies about .NET Microsoft distracts from a bug that has facilitated remote access into Windows (by those in the know) for nearly two decades



  10. Reaffirming Microsoft's Long-Known Hostility Towards Net Neutrality, Microsoft Crashed Juniper

    Steve Ballmer is ranting against net neutrality and Juniper's business is in trouble after a lot of executives from Microsoft took over most top positions there



  11. Another Massive Step Towards Elimination of Software Patents as Even CAFC Rules Against Them

    After SCOTUS gets involved in the Ultramercial case, the CAFC finally decides to actually serve justice rather than dogma



  12. The GOP's Patent Reform Plan Not Effective Enough to Stop Massive Patent Trolls Like Microsoft/Nokia

    The corporations-serving GOP says that it wants a patent reform, but another reminder is needed of the futility of the suggested changes



  13. How the EPO's Executive Branch (Battistelli and Topić) Banned Scrutiny and Created Authoritarian Model of Control: Part X

    A look at highly dubious moves by EPO President Battistelli and his right-hand man Topić, whose abuses are becoming hard to oversee or even report



  14. Links 15/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1 Release Candidate, Popcorn Time 0.3.5

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: October 26th, 2014 – November 8th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  16. The Terrible Joke Which is Microsoft 'Loving' Linux: Nightmares With UEFI 'Secure' Boot (i.e. Windows Monopoly Imposed) Continue to Affect GNU/Linux Users

    A reminder of Microsoft's sheer hostility towards GNU/Linux and long-reaching sabotage of GNU/Linux installations



  17. Patent Lawyers Worry About Section 101 in 'Alice' (and Other Patent News)

    A quick roundup of news of interest regarding software patents



  18. Will Write for FUD (Against FOSS)

    Black Duck rears its ugly head again, serving to show that it is in the business of changing perceptions and not in the information or analysis business



  19. Debunking Several Days of Never-Ending Lies About Microsoft and .NET

    .NET is not "Open Source", it cannot be forked (there remains patent threat), Visual Studio is still completely proprietary and it is expected to come to other platforms only because Windows has lost its dominance and Microsoft wants to perpetually control APIs (with software patents) and hence reign over developers



  20. Links 14/11/2014: LibreOffice 4.3.4, Ads Now in Firefox

    Links for the day



  21. Links 14/11/2014: GNOME 3.14.2, PulseAudio 6.0

    Links for the day



  22. Microsoft Windows is Still Designed as a Paradise of Back Doors, Intrusion, Wiretaps, and Interception

    At many levels -- from communication to storage and encryption -- Windows is designed for the very opposite of security



  23. Forget the FUD About Bash and OpenSSL, Microsoft Windows Blamed for Massive Credit Cards Heist

    Home Depot learns its lesson from a Microsoft Windows disaster, but it stays with proprietary software rather than move to software that is actively audited by many people and is inherently better maintained (Free/libre software)



  24. Windows 'Update' and NSA Back Doors, Including a 19-Year Bug Door in Microsoft Windows

    The back doors-enabled Microsoft Windows is being revealed and portrayed as the Swiss cheese that it really is after massive holes are discovered (mostly to be buried by a .NET propaganda blitz)



  25. Revealed: Microsoft is Trying to Corrupt the UK in Order to Eliminate Its OpenDocument Format-Oriented Standards Policy

    Microsoft interference with Britain's preference for ODF is now confirmed, thanks to a valuable news report from Computer Weekly; OOXML lock-in is being unleashed by Microsoft on Android users



  26. Links 13/11/2014: Ubuntu MATE 14.04.1 LTS, New KDE Plasma

    Links for the day



  27. .NET is NOT "Open Source", But Microsoft's Minions Shamelessly Openwash It Right Now

    The openwashing of .NET continues with yet another publicity stunt that is intended to lock in developers



  28. Links 11/11/2014: GNOME Trademark Dispute Settled, Mozilla Embraces Tor

    Links for the day



  29. Patent Reform Subversion After Republican (GOP) 'Win' in US Senate

    The Grand Corporations Party, or the political party which serves large businesses that are funding it, continues to just focus on a mirage of a 'reform' rather than tackle the real issues where culprits include very large businesses such as Microsoft and Apple



  30. Microsoft-Armed Patent Troll MOSAID (Now Conversant) Wants to Sweep up More Patents for Litigation

    Reports about patent trolls and scope of patents serve to show what the foes of Free software are up to right now


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