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06.22.19

Microsoft Apparently Did a Patrick Durusau on Wim Coekaerts to Broaden Its Control Over GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 11:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patrick Durusau
Patrick Durusau. Source: Twitter (personal profile).

“This public orientation changed recently. As best I can figure it, on returning from a conference in Seattle in late January, Patrick was a changed man. Patrick is now an enthusiastic OOXML supporter and is eager to inform the world of his delight in OOXML at every opportunity. He posts his “open letters” on his web site, which are linked to, often within minutes, by the various Microsoft bloggers, and then sent around by Microsoft employees to the press and the various JTC1 NB’s. [...] Microsoft will not be so careful to distinguish Patrick’s personal opinions from his professional affiliations. So a post from Patrick’s personal web site is retold on a Microsoft blog as “The ODF Editor says….”, and then the next day is sent in an email to NB’s with a larger set of “endorsements”…”Rob Weir, 2008 (covered here at the time)

Summary: Microsoft tactics for defection and takeover of the competition (without coming across as hostile) aren’t new tactics; internal documents from Microsoft explain how to achieve this

It is difficult to forget what happened more than a decade ago, namely Patrick Durusau promoting the competition after he had met Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4] (similar to the ‘Linux’ Foundation promoting Microsoft Azure and sometimes Vista 10/WeaSeL). What would motivate something called “Linux Foundation” to help longtime opponents of GNU/Linux (who still try to sabotage GNU/Linux, e.g. by bribing officials)? Are people in key positions being bribed? Are promises made (e.g. post hoc favours)? We’ve long seen incidents like these in the European Patent Office (EPO) and it’s likely how António Campinos, for example, is being controlled (to perpetuate Battistelli’s policies, promoting software patents in Europe and so on).

“Then came a big money offer…”The other day we noted that "The Linux Foundation’s New Vice Chair, Wim Coekaerts, Worked for Microsoft" (that’s a fact); he had already served in a key position inside the Foundation, so why did Microsoft award him with a top position (Vice President)? Why did he join? We’ve asked around (people who might know because they know Coekaerts in person) and got this reply from the editor of FOSS Force. “I can’t remember all of the details,” she said, “but he was wined, dined, and seduced in a series of secret meetings in the Redmond area by two Microsofties. I wrote something about it at the time but can’t remember the details. Can’t find the article, but it’s on FOSS Force.”

She later recalled it was something she had written elsewhere and added this article from a dedicated Microsoft booster, Matt Weinberger.

“Earlier this year, Coekaerts met with Microsoft executives Scott Guthrie and Mike Neil in a Seattle-area Starbucks,” he wrote. Scott Guthrie is the man shown at the bottom with the Linux Foundation’s chief. On it goes: “So when Coekaerts, Guthrie, and Neil talked over coffee, Coekaerts was surprised to find that they actually had a lot in common, including their love of open source. Combined with the realization that he’d never really worked anywhere other than Oracle, he found himself receptive to what Microsoft was saying.”

“These tactics are described in leaked Microsoft presentations/manuals.”Then came a big money offer: “It resulted in a job offer: As of April 2016, Coekaerts, is officially Corporate VP of Enterprise Open Source at Microsoft, what he calls his “second career” after more than two decades at Oracle. And later in August, Coekaerts will be keynoting the LinuxCon mega-gathering of Linux fans worldwide, representing his new employer.”

It was then that I recalled what had happened with Durusau a very long time ago.

These tactics are described in leaked Microsoft presentations/manuals. Microsoft’s internal document [PDF] said it rather clearly. “Schmooze” is what they call it (to this date, even under Nadella!).

In their own words (as HTML):

“Any time you can make somebody feel cool, that’s good. The sig leaders are very important people. They are people who choose. They choose who speaks and who doesn’t speak at these sig conferences. They set up the agenda. They have influence over twenty, thirty, a hundred, however many people come to this sig. And however many people are on the mailing list, which is also a valuable commodity. So those sig leaders are like consultants. They are very valuable people that you want to schmooze with.”

“I don’t know if everybody recognizes that word “schmooze” there at the bottom. Schmooze is, I think, a Yiddish word. Basically it means suck up to, socialize with, take care of; love and so forth, go to dinner with, get drunk together, talk about your girlfriends and boyfriends and whatever. I mean, just socialize like crazy, and pump for information, and leak little bits of tidbits of information that think…make them feel special that they’re hearing it and work the crowd and so on. Schmoozing is a very important part of an evangelist’s job, and the better you are at it. the better, because everybody who meets you should think—you know. OK, I hate Microsoft like everybody else, I’m a good member of the Computing Society, I hate Microsoft, that’s what you have to do to get in. But, you know, I like the individual people I’ve met from Microsoft. You know, you’re all ambassadors of Microsoft, and they should…if we can’t help them hating Microsoft, at least we can have them like the individuals, and that’s a big step in the right direction.”

This hopefully helps explain scenarios like the one shown below.

Jim Zemlin, Microsoft and GitHub
Jim Schmoozemlin?

LF, Microsoft and Github
LF, Microsoft and GitHub years before the takeover (Source: Microsoft, via)

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