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At All Things Open (ATO) Microsoft is Embracing, Extending, Extinguishing GNU/Linux, Hopes to Do the Same to Android (Updated)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 6:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brushing shoulders with one’s archenemy because it paid the organisers

Manchester station

Summary: This season’s large Free/Open Source software (FOSS) conference, which is hosted near Red Hat’s headquarters, becomes an event that is all about Microsoft, by far the biggest foe of FOSS

MICROSOFT does not love GNU/Linux. Microsoft attacks GNU/Linux, and it is still doing this under Nadella's supposed lead (“it came from above” comes to mind). Microsoft is suing both Android and GNU/Linux using software patents — a fact that even Microsoft's Ross Gardler acknowledged when he spoke for Microsoft at All Things Open (ATO) last year. So why are some people still so gullible? How short-term can one’s memory be? One has got to be seriously misinformed (or dishonest) to genuinely think that Microsoft loves GNU/Linux. Microsoft hates GNU/Linux and it does a lot to show it.

“All in all, Microsoft has once again distracted the attendants (almost 2,000) in a FOSS event from the real goals of the conference.”We regret to say that Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols let us down when he published this article (the headline may be the editor’s), in which the Microsoft mole is said to have “explain[ed] to the Linux faithful how Microsoft is now embracing Linux and open-source software.”

Utter nonsense.

Steven (SJVN for short) seems to genuinely believe that there is change of heart here, based on my conversations with him. I beg to differ.

What comes after “Embracing”? Extending? Extinguishing? This situation is no exception and the patterns are all too familiar. Microsoft’s booster Julie Bort, citing SJVN, further accentuated the Microsoft propaganda (emphasised perhaps by the editor at CBS) and went along with another misleading headline: “If you know Linux, Microsoft wants you” (Microsoft wants you… to defect).

Taking note of a “1,700-person crowd”, Bort went on to repeat the Microsoft “loves GNU/Linux” kind of lie. This is not good.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols went even further than this and almost all of his coverage from All Things Open (so far) has been about Microsoft. He is turning (or helps turn) an event near Red Hat into a Microsoft marketing/publicity stunt, with headlines such as “​Microsoft adopts Google’s Go language into Azure”. Adopting? As in embracing? Extending and extinguishing to come? Just like Java back in the days or even Android with Dalvik?

Bort’s colleague, who is also a Microsoft apologist (Matt Weinberger), has meanwhile published this puff piece titled “Microsoft has been quietly laying the groundwork to build its own version of Android” (that’s putting it hilariously softly).

“In order to have any chance at reviving something from the wreckage,” he and a colleague wrote, “Microsoft is going to have to think creatively, which may mean creating a “forked” version of Google’s Android that comes with the company’s own services in place of Google’s.”

This is part of the "Embrace Extend Extinguish" strategy against Android, which culminated in taking Cyanogen while pushing for antitrust action against Google. This is a gross and blatant attack on the Linux-powered Android as a whole, not just on Google.

All in all, Microsoft has once again distracted the attendants (almost 2,000) in a FOSS event from the real goals of the conference. The majority of these attendees will almost certainly be pissed off, but most of them will keep the resentment inside (suppressed in the interests of politeness). “Pitching Microsoft to a Linux Crowd” is how FOSS Force put it (the first such event coverage from FOSS Force). It’s all about Microsoft. “The recruitment pitch,” explains Christine, “came near the end of his talk, when he jokingly invited the audience of mostly developer types to, “Pass your resumes up.””

And now this alone dominates the headlines. It’s almost as though this whole event has become a Microsoft propaganda platform.

What should event organisers do in this situation? They should simply not invite or allow Microsoft to enter (not even if it offers the ‘sponsorship’ bribe, as it typically does), simply because it is still attacking GNU/Linux in the courtroom and outside the courtroom, behind closed doors, where it engages in racketeering. Microsoft has no place in FOSS events because it maliciously tries to derail them and it helps distract the media, too. How did this happen? Microsoft paid the organisers. At Microsoft it’s All Things Open… except the database, the operating system, the applications, the browser and so on. Oh wait, at Microsoft just about nothing is open. So get off the bloody stage already…

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

Update (23/10/2015): We have been watching this closely for the past 24 hours. Microsoft’s ‘embrace’ of this event is not being appreciated by GNU/Linux proponents. Many of them find Microsoft’s actions rather offensive, much as we foresaw, and they also speak out.

“Not as long as the company continues to use software patents as a threat against open source projects,” said one of the comments in FOSS Force. There are many good comments there and after a lot of sceptics commented Dave Lane said, “it does me good to see the comments on this article. So good to see people who aren’t so naive as to think that MS has changed its spots.”

This event is now over and the media seemingly covered nothing except Microsoft at this venue (FOSS Force was no exception in this regard, SJVN too). Mission accomplished? Another event being derailed? Microsoft stealing the thunder? No major articles except about Microsoft?

There is at least one new piece about it (“Azure CTO Says Microsoft Loves Open Source. World Keeps Spinning”). To quote:

He gave examples, including using OpenSSH for remote logins in Microsoft products and Hadoop products for Azure’s big data service, which is also based on Ubuntu Linux.

This is nonsense because, as we wrote yesterday about OpenSSH, it’s more of an example of “embrace, extent, extinguish”, not a genuine contribution. It’s all about proprietary lock-in such as Windows.

Responding to Microsoft’s attempt to recruit GNU/Linux people (or convert them), iophk asked: “Trying to pull another Borland? Hire up developers and then put them on ice?”

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