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09.28.17

Microsoft is Doing to ‘Open Source’ (OSI) What it Did to W3C

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 11:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: The corporate/mainstream media keeps telling us that Microsoft has changed and can now be trusted within its competition, but this media merely plays along with an expensive PR campaign which is intended to shift attention and systematically launder Microsoft’s reputation

THE OSI is responsible for the term “Open Source” and thus the FSD. Jargon and history aside, even though OSI has become pretty irrelevant (it does not do much enforcement of the brand anymore), it still represents something pretty important. It was only a matter of time before Microsoft managed to sneak in (the requirement is basically little more than a payment).

“It was only a matter of time before Microsoft managed to sneak in (the requirement is basically little more than a payment).”We are not interested in writing about Microsoft. We would rather focus on the EPO and patents in general. But seeing what happened to the mainstream media, we cannot keep silent. It not only promoted proprietary Microsoft software in “Linux” (or “open”) clothing but also engaged in rather gross revisionism and misrepresentation of the Free/Open Source software community. It’s almost as though the mainstream media now actively and consciously participates in a PR campaign.

Earlier today the head of the FSFE wrote a couple of tweets. The first one said: “Microsoft is doing a mini-”survey” @OpenSourceLx on their “relationship” with Linux.”

Notice the tongue in cheek-like tone. “Send me your answers,” he wrote, “I’ll use the best ones.”

“Watch what Microsoft does with patents and see what it is doing in Munich, too. There’s no doubt about it; Microsoft attacks GNU/Linux.”“Finally got round to filling in the Microsoft survey,” he wrote later (there are photos with these tweets).

As one can tell, FSFE does not like Microsoft and people out there don’t like Microsoft either. But based on what the mainstream media tells us, we’re supposed to think or believe otherwise. Hence the necessity of this post. Watch what Microsoft does with patents and see what it is doing in Munich, too. There’s no doubt about it; Microsoft attacks GNU/Linux.

The mainstream media, conveniently enough, rarely writes about these attacks. It certainly looks the other way every time Microsoft sends some patent trolls to attack rivals. What happened to investigative, independent journalism? No money in it?

The mainstream media was certainly right on the scene to mention Microsoft joining (i.e. paying) the OSI. We posted links to many articles about it; it’s in our daily links (with some accompanying commentary). It went further with all these ridiculous characterisations of Microsoft as an “Open Source company” which now “loves Linux”. Obviously a lot of people out there raised their eyebrows and shrugged. “This isn’t true,” they said to themselves. The media, moreover, tried to get across the message that FOSS geeks are now “OK” with Microsoft. Even Tim Bray wrote a post to that effect the other day (we argued about it and he eventually accepted my point).

“As these lies keep spreading around the Web people might be misled and therefore a rebuttal may be needed, not just in commenting sections/replies (almost all the comments we have seen are against Microsoft as readers are rejecting the assertions made by the articles’ authors).”Geeks are not “OK” with Microsoft, but a lot of marketing is supposed to give us the impressions that things have changed and only “radicals” still “hate” (they use that word to describe reactionary distrust) Microsoft. Today we even saw LWN writing about it, linking to the party which Microsoft has just paid (obviously it can only say positive things; it’s being paid to do that).

As these lies keep spreading around the Web people might be misled and therefore a rebuttal may be needed, not just in commenting sections/replies (almost all the comments we have seen are against Microsoft as readers are rejecting the assertions made by the articles’ authors). The media keeps writing about it, even today [1, 2], so it’s hard to keep track of all the nonsense and rebut it all in one place. It’s now scattered everywhere. In one example from today Microsoft and/or gullible reporters are trying to reframe “Linux” as just a “feature” of Windows. How about this for a headline today?

On Windows, PowerShell vs. Bash comparison gets interesting

We are saddened to see this. So is Richard Stallman, who is reading Techrights and recently had the opportunity to comment (in the mainstream media) on things like the above.

Microsoft PR money (or covert ‘bribes’) to supposedly FOSS-centric organisations can show that we’re not any more immune/robust to subversion than W3C was (the DRM crisis). “Microsoft loves Linux” is nothing but an expensive PR campaign designed to disguise/distract from a patent attacks (like the Novell deal of 2006). I spent many years of my life refuting their lies about that.

“Microsoft PR money (or covert ‘bribes’) to supposedly FOSS-centric organisations can show that we’re not any more immune/robust to subversion than W3C was (the DRM crisis).”As I put it yesterday, I had stopped writing articles about Microsoft a few years back. But I find it hard when they (1) attack GNU/Linux secretly and (2) bribe media for PR. Meanwhile, Microsoft is blackmailing GNU/Linux for billions of dollars; what does the media say? Hey, let’s focus on millions of dollars it invests in W3C-type entryism and frame it as “altruistic”.

This morning we saw Mike Milinkovich‏ (Eclipse Foundation chief) linking to this article. Responses to apologists of this move are more revealing than the apologists. Just see the comments; “since Microsoft is now paying your foundation,” I told him, “you would rather think it won’t stab you in the back like it did W3C” (the DRM thing).

“Now they have effectively kill[ed] the web, they move on to OSS,” one comment said.

“No amount of sponsorship will make the Halloween documents from Microsoft disappear down the memory hole,” said another comment. “This is just another EEE play” (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish).

“Meanwhile, Microsoft is blackmailing GNU/Linux for billions of dollars; what does the media say? Hey, let’s focus on millions of dollars it invests in W3C-type entryism and frame it as “altruistic”.”I added: “How can we ignore Microsoft blackmailing Free software and GNU/Linux using software patents in 2017?”

Citing a famous video that we used before, another person wrote [1, 2]: “Sir Humphrey Appleby explains why Microsoft is joining the Open Source Initiative: You have to get behind someone in order to stab them in the back. Windows and Office are proprietary. Microsoft doesn’t respect user freedom” (or even openness).

In 2017 Microsoft’s strategy is:

  1. Pass patents to trolls.
  2. Blackmail/’monetise’ GNU/Linux
  3. Bring money to LF/OSI/Linux OEMs
  4. “That’ll keep em quiet!” (3)

Microsoft is now behaving like Monsanto or Saudi Arabia. It now gives money to those who criticised it and pays the media to commission ‘articles’ (PR) while gagging itself when it comes to criticism (biting the hand that feeds). Quite a few writers who cover GNU/Linux now need to wear a badge (or add a disclosure) to the effect of (partly) “Microsoft-funded” because those who pay them to write articles are receiving a lot of money from Microsoft. That includes the Linux Foundation, which sometimes ‘forgets’ to add disclosures.

Based on comments that I have seen online (not so-called ‘journalists’ paid/commissioned by Microsoft-funded organisations), people aren’t falling for the PR campaign. Not many people bother reading comments, however, so the PR might still be effective.

“Paying the media to relay messages (and sometimes graphics/banners) like “Microsoft loves Linux” may be a waste of money.”Microsoft will learn the hard way that GNU/Linux users aren’t stupid enough (or stupid as Microsoft needs them to be). Maybe MBAs who make technology choices are sometimes gullible enough, but not technical people. Paying the media to relay messages (and sometimes graphics/banners) like “Microsoft loves Linux” may be a waste of money. It sometimes only angers if not enrages those who truly care about — not merely exploit — GNU/Linux.

Here is one comment from Phoronix:

Microsoft is charging Android manufacturers $1B/yr for Linux patents, and giving a couple million back in PR (and to keep that revenue stream going). And if you don’t think that Microsoft’s lawyers are working on figuring out how its contributions in software and dollars can be used to claim ownership, then you’re probably too young to remember the thousands of companies that Microsoft consumed to get where it is. Remember, patent law allowed a company to take away the lawn string trimmer (“Weed Eater”) from the man that invented it. It’s not about logic or what’s right, it’s what lawyers do.

Whatever you read about Microsoft these days, be careful. They’re pouring a lot of money into PR and a charm offensive. They are literally paying to relay lies about themselves. There’s a whole industry which does just that and in the US alone it’s valued at over a trillion dollars.

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