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. Rumour: EPO in Berlin the Next Casualty of Battistelli's 'Reform' (Organisational Suicide Plan)

    Months after we learned that a former staff representative in Berlin had been dismissed we come across an anonymous claim that Berlin's 'branch' of the EPO will be folded onto Munich's



  2. Caricature: the Maas App

    The failure of Maas to even bother with regulation of Battistelli (among others) earns him this cartoon



  3. Links 5/12/2016: Linux 4.9 RC 8, DeepMind as FOSS

    Links for the day



  4. Leaked: Battistelli Acknowledges Bunk 'Justice' in About 100 Cases at the Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO

    A look at Battistelli's response to the latest from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), exceptionally delivering two decisions at the very end of last month



  5. The UPC Scam Part V: Unitary Patent Regime a Fantasy of Patent Trolls

    "Good for trolls" is a good way to sum up the Unitary Patent, which would give litigators plenty of business (defendants and plaintiffs, plus commissions on high claims of damages) if it ever became a reality



  6. EPO at a Tipping Point: Battistelli Quarrelling With French Politicians, Administrative Council Urged to Act, Staff Unrest Peaking

    The latest messages about Battistelli's regime at the EPO, which faces growing opposition from more directions than ever before



  7. Quality of Patents at the EPO Dependent on the Appeal Boards When Battistelli Assesses Performance Using the Wrong 'Production' Yardstick

    A look at some recent articles regarding patent quality in the US and in Europe, in particular because of growing trouble at today's EPO, which marginalises the appeal boards



  8. Microsoft's Push for Software Patents Another Reminder That There is No 'New' Microsoft

    Microsoft's continued fascination with and participation in the effort to undermine Alice so as to make software patents, which the company uses to blackmail GNU/Linux vendors, widely acceptable and applicable again



  9. Links 5/12/2016: SparkyLinux 4.5 Released, Kondik Exits Cyanogen (Destroyed After Microsoft Deal)

    Links for the day



  10. Software Patents Continue Their Invalidation Process, But Patent Law Firms Try to Deny This in Order to Attract Misinformed (or Poorly-Informed) Clients

    A roundup of news about software patents and demonstration of the sheer bias in the media, which is mostly controlled or steered by the patent microcosm rather than actual inventors



  11. Patent Trolls of Microsoft and Ericsson Are Trying to Tax Everything, Especially Linux Devices

    An update on Intellectual Ventures and Unwired Planet, whose operations pose a growing problem for Free software and Linux-based products (e.g. Android)



  12. Asia's Patent Litigation Chaos Getting Worse, Reaching Countries in the West, and Sites Like IAM Actively Promote This

    The race to the bottom (of patent quality) in China, the growth of patent trolls in the region, and the ruinous litigation strategy which now spills over even to the US -- through the Eastern District of Texas -- and may inevitably come to Europe (especially if the UPC ever becomes a reality)



  13. More French Politicians Are Complaining That Benoît Battistelli is a Disgrace to France and Urge for Action

    The backlash against Battistelli spills well outside the EPO and is now apparent even at the French National Assembly



  14. Links 3/12/2016: Mageia 5.1 Released, Mozilla Revenue at $421.3M

    Links for the day



  15. Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) Sees Decline in Patent Applications and It May Actually be a Good Thing

    Challenging the false belief that the more patents society has the better off it will be, citing examples and news from north America



  16. Blockchain Domain Infested With Software Patents, MasterCard Among the Culprits

    Worrying signs that an area of Free/Open Source software innovation is getting impacted by the plague of software patents



  17. Dutch Media Covers Latest EPO Scandals, German Media Totally Absent (a Media Blackout of Convenience)

    Our observations regarding the apparent media disinterest in EPO scandals, especially at the very core of the EPO (principal host country)



  18. Relocating the Boards of Appeal to Haar is a Poisonous Priority at Battistelli's EPO

    Revisiting Battistelli's effort to chop off the appeal boards that are necessary for ensuring patent quality at the EPO



  19. Links 2/12/2016: Mint Betas, Chrome 55, KDevelop 5.0.3, PHP 7.1.0

    Links for the day



  20. The Rule of Law and Justice Don't Exist Inside the EPO, Confirms the International Labour Organisation (ILO)

    Further analysis of the latest rulings from the ILO -- decisions that were long expected



  21. A Day in the Life of... Battistelli's Banana Republic

    This is part 5 of a fictional diary from the EPO



  22. Links 1/12/2016: Devuan Beta, R3 Liberates Code

    Links for the day



  23. Two ILO Decisions on EPO Cases Are Released, at Least One Judgment is Considered Good for Staff

    Years later (as justice is too slow, partly because of the EPO, being the principal culprit that clogs up the ILO's tribunal system) there is a couple of new judgments about EPO abuses against staff



  24. Dutch and French Politicians Complain About the European Patent Office, British Media Coverage Regular Now

    Pressure from the political systems, the scientific community and from the media is growing, as it becomes abundantly apparent that the EPO cannot go on like this



  25. Links 30/11/2016: Git 2.11, GOG Surprise Tomorrow

    Links for the day



  26. The UPC Scam Part IV: Bumps Along the Road for UPC, With or Without the UK and Brexit

    A sobering reality check regarding the UPC, no matter what Lucy Neville-Rolfe says under pressure from Battistelli and some selfish law firms that are based in London



  27. The UPC Scam Part III: The “Patent Mafia”

    Bigwigs like Lucy Neville-Rolfe and Benoît Battistelli, together with Team UPC and its tiny minority interests (self enrichment), are conspiring to hijack the laws of Europe, doing so across many national borders with unique and locally-steered patent policy in one fell swoop



  28. The UPC Scam Part II: The Patent Echo Chamber at Work, Prematurely Congratulating Itself in Its 'News' Sites





  29. The UPC Scam Part I: EPO-Bribed Media Outlets Lie to Brits (and to Europeans) About the UPC

    An introductory article in a multi-part series about UPC at times of Brexit and Lucy Neville-Rolfe's bizarre sellout to Battistelli



  30. European Public Service Union Asks EPO Administrative Council “to Re-establish the Rule of Law at the European Patent Office”

    The chinchillas of the Administrative Council are assertively asked to tackle the abusive management of the EPO, which gets condemned not only by CERN but also EPSU, which is working with the Dutch government to end lawlessness at the EPO


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