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04.26.11

The Lobby Against Linux

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google at 4:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FUD attacks on Linux are increasing, particularly in “patent” flavour

Diagram

Summary: The role played by Microsoft (and parts of the media it controls) in daemonising Linux, not just in the form of Android but Red Hat servers too

EVEN though the world has a lot to gain from Linux, there is a virtual coalition that has a lot to lose, so it really hates Linux. Microsoft is not alone among those haters, but it is a major part of it and it has a lot to lose. For example, if Linux becomes a dominant operating system on large devices that are not servers, then Microsoft’s Office franchise is at great risk.

It is abundantly clear that, just as in many cases, the media plays a major role in shaping people’s opinions and thus can affect outcomes, defining winners and losers based on who it sidles with. It is therefore not too shocking that a lot of former Microsoft UK staff occupied the MSBBC, which even in this new article about Stars completely fails to mention Microsoft and Windows as that would damage the brands. Likewise, the MSBBC is misrepresenting a legal case in order to create fear of Linux. It’s Maggie Shiels again and she calls Microsoft Florian “Intellectual property activist” while quoting his tripe. Why does she even quote him and his FUD? Anyway, Groklaw once challenged Florian Müller to say he does not get paid by Microsoft or a Microsoft partner and he refused to do so multiple times (about a dozen times). We know that he is injecting anti-Linux bias into the news by mass-mailing journalists, but good journalists should know how to avoid being used. The Register, for example, does not do it this time around. Dana Blankenhorn, who has been sympathetic towards Müller, berates him now. Yes, he does this despite the fact that he previously helped Microsoft Florian get his FUD a platform. To quote:

This did not stop some from taking Florian Mueller’s Oh Noes as gospel. Florian’s German, not Texan. He knows there are courts there who can be as loony as any in Texas, but the appeals process there is shorter, and what happens in Germany usually stays in Germany. (He’s also a very nice guy, as I learned when I visited him in Munich last year, where this picture was taken.)

[...]

But don’t let that stop a reporter from scaring the pants off people. Especially a lazy one. Don’t spend a half-hour with the Google, guys. Write first, and ask questions later.

Thanks to Dana and his honesty. He is not afraid of expressing him mind on this and maybe even change sides; “thought it was a good write up to counter the recent patent FUD,” wrote Barnie Giltrap, who gave us the link in IRC.

Watch how the MSBBC ignores Linux even in mobile unless there is something bad like a "virus" (malware) in it. There is clearly bias here and it is always against GNU/Linux; the BBC got slammed a few years ago when it finally, after many years, reviewed a GNU/Linux distribution and actually bashed it using unsubstantiated myths. Those who ignore the origin of the editorial team will probably think these convictions are very innocent and coincidental; they are not. We covered this thoroughly around 2008 when a lot of Microsoft folks took positions of power inside the BBC. The whole broadcaster is shooting itself in the foot by accommodating corporate bias, which is what it was designed to be resistant to. What we need are more independent sites.

Wayne has decided to write about Pamela Jones and he also mentioned some of the types who belittle and taunt her. To quote:

Her background as a paralegal meant that she knew about little details like Pacer, and could tell us about them. And things like how to ask for courthouse filings. She knew there were local court rules. We didn’t even know there were local courts. She knew about the need for lawyers to be admitted to the local courts to practice. The sort of details that if you hadn’t some experience with the legal system, you just wouldn’t know.

And let’s face it. Most of us had little experience with the legal system. Sure, at one time or another most of us had hired lawyers for one reason or another. Real estate. Wills. Business setup. But in most cases we hadn’t had to deal with the courts. Most legal issues never go near a court.

[...]

Contrast that with my sparring partner Florian ‘The Sky is Falling’ Müller (who can’t even spell his own name correctly – he spells it Florian Mueller). He’s always willing to give you the 100% benefit of his non-existent expertise. Out of all of the articles he has written on the Fosspatents blog which have made predictions I cannot remember a single one which was correct.

Or take Rob Enderle, who once told me in email that he knew that Linux programmers had ‘stolen Unix code’ and put it into Linux (sorry, I no longer have that email, the account went dead when we moved and our ISP messed up the transfer of our broadband connection). How many times has Rob been right in his predictions?

Or Maureen O’Gara who kept writing the most fascinating accounts of how The SCO Group was bound for victory, only to watch them sink like a stone. We now know from her deposition which was entered as evidence in court that she was being fed false information from inside the company. Some of her articles were demonstrably based on that information, which is why she got it so wrong. Rather than following the facts, she trusted the people, and it turned out that the people involved at The SCO Group weren’t very trustworthy.

Another reason has to do with PJ’s legacy. A lot of people have a lot of money tied up in companies like Microsoft. Many of you know that I’ve predicted Microsoft’s filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the fall of 2014. One of the reasons I made the prediction is the Network Effect.

Most people think that the Network Effect favors Microsoft, the industry leader, with a huge market presence. This is incorrect. What the Network Effect actually favors is an open market using open systems, using open standards, where Free Software Darwinism can drive innovation at faster and faster speeds.

PJ’s backing of the Gnu General Public License, the Free Software Foundation, the Creative Commons, and other forms of openness is dangerous to those who have their money invested in legacy businesses like Microsoft. It may also be dangerous to Apple, I think that it’s quite possible that Apple may peak within the next five years, and unless it adopts Steve Wozniak’s suggestions, may begin to fail.

In short, by being honest, and telling the truth as she saw it, Pamela Jones annoyed some rich and powerful people. Rich and powerful people don’t like being annoyed. They have a tendency to strike back.

There are more challenges ahead and even though Groklaw declares victory, there is a lot left to be done, especially now that entities like CPTN get formed, owing to Novell’s sellout. CPTN also includes SCOracle and Apple, which is apparently feeling the pinch from Linux even in tablets now, not just phones. To quote the sceptical Register: “The iPad sold 4.69m tablets, fewer than the 6.1m predicted by analysts or the 7.3m of the holiday quarter. It remains to be seen whether this is a short-term supply issue or an indicator of limited demand for the form factor.”

No wonder Apple is suing Samsung. But Apple does not have patent superiority. In fact, the CPTN too may get defanged, in which case it won’t do much to help Apple’s cause. The patents there won’t be effective against Linux, so both the FSF and the FSFE replied and the latter’s response opens with encouraging words:

Competition authorities in Germany and the United States today highlighted the fundamental role that Free Software plays for competition in the software market. After several months of discussions, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the German Federal Competition Office (FCO) have allowed a consortium of Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and EMC to acquire 882 patents from Novell only subject to conditions clearly intended to prevent their use against Free Software players.

“This is an historic step”, says Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe, which was involved in the FCO investigation since the beginning. “The regulators acknowledge that Free Software is crucial to competition; that patent aggression can well be anticompetitive behaviour; and that fear, uncertainty and doubt serve to push smaller competitors out of the market.”

This is a struggle against big proprietary software, which naturally favours patent monopolies. In the next post we will explain and introduce our preparations for the next steps in this battle for software freedom. We might create another site for this. As in Sunday's morning post, this text is intended to gather links of interest and we encourage readers to follow them. In the future we plan to have in-depth analysis of issues rather than aggregation with commentary. I am currently writing 80 pages of technical text documenting computer science research, so my time contributing to Techrights is limited.

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