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05.12.13

Formerly Microsoft, But New FUD

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 11:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Let us tell you about FOSS…”

Retired man

Summary: Microsoft FUD by proxy; or, how the old claims that FOSS is complex and dangerous are now coming from firms created by people from Microsoft Corp.

The other day we mentioned OpenLogic, which had most recently played a role in a wave of claims that FOSS is where high risk exists. This two-part [1, 2] FUD piece from Jilayne Lovejoy (from OpenLogic at the company’s own site) is yet more of the same. Behind the company we have one man, a man who came from Microsoft. Coincidence?

“Behind the company we have one man, a man who came from Microsoft.”As Alex Woodie (pro-Linux) helps remind us, proprietary software is where dangers lie, not FOSS. To quote his article: “Enterprises shouldn’t be surprised to discover they’re having trouble understanding their enterprise licensing agreements. While Oracle, SAP and other big players publicly tout transparency and fairness in their licensing and pricing policies, customers often disagree when they get to the bargaining table or open the results of an audit.

“Oracle and SAP are in unique positions as the two biggest and most respected enterprise software companies in the world. Combined, they account for more than 40 per cent of the worldwide ERP market. No other enterprise software vendors offer software lineups that are as broad and deep as those of Oracle and SAP.”

Be wary of Microsoft FUD campaigns that portray FOSS licences as complex and dangerous. It is reality distortion, just like the manufactured anti-Google smears. Consider some of the other new Microsoft FUD, portraying online office suites as bad even though Microsoft too is going in that direction (Microsoft is behind). As AOL put it: “After Bing and its Scroogled campaign, Microsoft is now taking aim at Google Docs. Jake Zborowski, Microsoft’s senior product manager for Office, actually published two anti-Docs blog posts today: one homes in on document fidelity, and the other, which includes a number of user testimonials, argues that Google Docs isn’t quite ready for primetime.”

“Over a decade ago Microsoft released many whitepapers demonising FOSS for licensing risk. It got chastised for it.”What about Office 360? That pile of garbage cannot even stay online, let alone process documents reliably and deal with formatting correctly. To Microsoft, the hypocrisy matters not.

Over a decade ago Microsoft released many whitepapers demonising FOSS for licensing risk. It got chastised for it. There was blowback. Now Microsoft has partners like Black Duck absorbing the flames and making those same old claims seem more legitimate.

Let us mention again the caution needed when dealing with Coverity. The company is not a proxy, but output was “initiated between Coverity and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2006 and is now managed by Coverity.”

Well, where is Coverity’s own code? The matter of fact is, one has to be careful legitimising voices whose interests are not clear. Sometimes these proprietary software companies make business out of fear — a fear of FOSS driven by hyped-up articles that alter perceptions.

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