Freely sharing is evil, apparently
“[T]here is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.”
–Bill Gates, April 2008
Summary: Bill Gates risks ejection from Microsoft, but the lobbying against sharing what’s freedom-respecting carries on
THE company of bribes, technical sabotage, extortion, etc. (with immunity to jail terms) is in the headlines again (celebrity criminal) because there is apparently an initiative to remove the most criminal elements, especially now that there are probes over alleged bribes all around the world (some high-level Microsoft executives risk going to prison). Some pundits think that Microsoft’s #1 criminal, Bill Gates, should be fired to be left working on his fake ‘charity. As IDG put it:
Steve Ballmer has been booted as CEO at Microsoft. Now should Bill Gates be removed from Microsoft’s board of directors? Datamation thinks he should be given his walking papers and sent on his way.
Many people prefer to forget Gates’ role in Microsoft’s competition crimes — crimes that he mostly dodged without a jail sentence, just as he escaped a jail term several decades earlier because his parents were very wealthy. But here is what’s most disgusting about it all; Using a lobbying front, Microsoft is now trying to call Linux/Android anti-competitive — a bogus allegation which KDE is the latest party to respond to. To quote the KDE Web site:
Open Letter to the European Commission: Free Software is competitive
The KDE community is deeply concerned by the wrong notion contained in a recent complaint to the European Commission. The Fairsearch initiative claims that “distribution of Android at below-cost” could constitute anti-competitive behaviour or predatory pricing. Mirko Böhm produced a response (PDF) for the KDE Community.
In part, the Fairsearch complaint is an attempt to reduce the strong competition of Free Software platforms with proprietary offerings. KDE and other free software projects would be adversely affected by a misinformed decision about Android. The Internet itself (a basis for the Fairsearch complaint) is largely a product of Free Software. The KDE Community in one of the largest Free Software communities in the world, a global collaboration of companies and individuals building a free platform and creating programs in an openly governed development process.
In a world where crime is “business” or “success”, it is not too shocking to see sharing and freedom characterised as some kind of a crime. Coming from the fiend who daemonised respecting one’s neighbour (see Letter to Hobbyists), it is not shocking to see those lobbyists. Whether Gates stays in Microsoft or not, he will continue to promote selfishness while pretending to do the very opposite. That’s how effective his PR campaign — just like the above “Fairsearch” (it’s the very opposite of fair) — has been. █