Summary: Encouraging developments in Tamil Nadu, Switzerland, and other victims of Microsoft meddling with corruptible officials
TRANSPARENCY to Microsoft is like sunlight to a vampire. Over the past few days Microsoft has had to deal with countless PR blunders, mostly those caused by Cablegate (Microsoft is already well-connected to saboteurs who harmed Wikileaks). There is a lot more of that to come and we intend to play a role in Cablegate organisation. The good news is that bad policies can be reversed by shedding light on the corrupt people involved. It actually does work. It’s not negativism when one exposes misconduct. It’s not bashing, either.
Last week we had received an exclusive story from an informant who also informed Muktware of something rogue in Tamil Nadu. He also leaked to us the supporting documents. Watch what has happened as a result of all this coverage: a national and international outcry, then damage control from the officials involved. Muktware has some good news now. “Tamil Nadu Government To Put Linux On Free Laptops” says the headline and the rest is reassuring too. Quoting some context/background: “Microsoft’s Windows was selected as the default operating system for the laptops, cutting out Linux and Open Source vendors from participating in the tender.”
Another similar/related story comes from the Swiss government, which “unblocks open source court software release” according to The H (it came to realise that Free software must be embraced to avoid a fiasco). Quoting the article:
The committee that controls the Swiss Federal court has moved to allow the publication of OpenJustitia as open source. The release of the software had been blocked in July as proprietary companies claimed the release of the document management system (DMS) for courts under a GPLv3 licence would amount to the state interfering in the software market by cross-subsidisation.
An OSOR.eu report says that the control committee sent the Federal Court questions about the DMS system to establish the legal basis for the development of the software. The court responded in August saying it was not entering into competition. Because the cost of the development, which began in 2007, has already been written off and anyone wanting to modify the software would have to bear the costs of those modifications themselves, the court said that it considered there was no cross-subsidisation.
Previously, there was a corrupt tendering process in Switzerland — one that we covered in:
- Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
- Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
- 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
- Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
- Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
- ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
- Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
- Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
- Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
- Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
- Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements
- Lawsuit Over Alleged Microsoft Corruption in Switzerland Escalates to Federal Court
- When Microsoft-Only/Lock-in is Defined as “Technology”
- Microsoft’s Allegedly Illegal Swiss Contracts to Take People to Court Again
- Microsoft’s Allegedly Illegal US Procurement Gets Frozen After Lawsuit
The Swiss government gradually realises that even lawsuits will be filed against it if it misuses public funds by handing them over to Microsoft without even tendering. A lawsuit helped expose what was happening and it did not look good. The same goes for our early posts about Tunisia, which received a lot of attention and later resulted in a lot of coverage, including some from Salon and TechEye, which says:
Whistle-blowing site Wikileaks has is “currently under heavy attack” in the aftermath of the latest release of cables.
The infamous site recently released a new batch of documents, and Microsoft is one of the latest to find itself in hot water – as its role working with the repressive Tunisian government comes to light.
According to ZDNet UK, a cable was sent by the US embassy in September 2006 highlighting how Microsoft had been cosying up to the authoritarian regime of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.
It appears that, in its desperation to stop Tunisian authorities using open source in place of its own Windows products, Microsoft set up a program on cyber criminality to cover training, as well as handing over the source code for Windows.
While Microsoft is not the only firm caught misbehaving with foreign governments, with others lending support to the Libyan regime, the support of the Tunisian authorities prior to the uprising which kicked off the Arab Spring is serious stuff.
Watch what Microsoft is doing in some other countries though. Tunisia is hardly the exception and in days/weeks to come we’ll show some similar stories, having just explained [crfe 52994 how Windows cracks will help Iran prosecute and probably execute opposition]. Proprietary software aids tyranny. They both work along similar lines. They both rely on corruption and betrayal of basic public rights. █