Renting Microsoft software rather than using Free (as in freedom, or libre) software?
Summary: Equipped with PR about toilets, Gates’ lobbying arm is stepping into a GNU/Linux and Free/libre software vanguard, namely Kerala
It is no longer controversial to say that many foundations set up by rich people have an agenda other than or beyond what they publicly say. Many journalists take that as a given because they have come across stories that convince them of that. The Gates Foundation has been arranging panels around the world and scheduled lobbying journeys for Gates to guard his ever-growing wealth and investments. Last month Dubai was the destination and Gates was scheduled to meet public officials there for lobbying and some investments (he is lobbying leaders as though he is a technology expert because he is wealthy, which evidently is his main skills, monopolising and then profiteering).
“They are lobbying governments to give taxpayers’ money to companies they invest in, essentially a subsidy for billionaires to profit from, as usual”One notable outcome of the meetings in the middle east is a pact of foundations of the super-rich, including another Gates pact with Alwaleed Bin Talal. See [1, 2, 3] for background about those two. They are lobbying governments to give taxpayers’ money to companies they invest in, essentially a subsidy for billionaires to profit from, as usual. That is the business model. As one report in the Indian press put it: “Other participants at the summit also announced their contributions — USD 457 million from Britain, USD 250 million from Canada, and USD 240 million from Norway.”
The headlines all parrot the same taking point about “eradicating polio”, but Gates should not be given credit (he tries to hoard and opportunistically monopolise credit). People in this area of research know he wasn’t the one to eradicate polio, which is almost eradicated anyway. He wants to grab credit for it and funnel further investment/taxpayers’ money to companies he is investing in, for personal gain, e.g. through patent monopolies. Watch the press release health-washing it for reputation laundering benefiting Gates and his plutocrat friend.
With all that said, let us recall the EDGI tactics of Microsoft, and in particular Gates’ role in it. When India was going towards software freedom something disruptive happened. Gates was announcing AIDS-related activities, essentially a lot of hype, to help Microsoft derail GNU/Linux-friendly policy in India. They are buying politicians this way and the hype usually turns out to be in vain some time down the line (a journalist recently gave me an example of this from Microsoft and Gates in Egypt).
Something similar might be happening in Kerala right now. The political camps there can be played off against one another based on new Wikileaks material and Gates seem to be appealing to politicians in Kerala, a famous adopter of GNU/Linux.
” We gave a lot of examples where Gates pushes for Microsoft in libraries in prior years.”The Gates Foundation has announced some health-related stuff and got a lot of fake press (PR) for it, e.g. [1, 2] (publicity and lobbying go hand in hand) , so watch out for politicians who call for Microsoft in schools and government (public sector) again. We saw this before.
Having just lobbied the middle east’s richest nations, Gates managed to impose Microsoft software on many libraries in the region. From last month’s news: “Reach Out To Asia (Rota) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have announced a three-year collaboration deal to increase public access to libraries in Asia and the Middle East.”
So basically that’s more Microsoft in the public sector, courtesy of Gates. We gave a lot of examples where Gates pushes for Microsoft in libraries in prior years [1, 2, 3]. Don’t let him do the same in Kerala with his toilets-themed (“sanitation”) PR. █