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02.03.20

Free Software (as in Copyleft/GPL) Will Eventually Win for the Same Reasons GNU/Linux Did

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft at 1:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘old guard’ is merely ‘buying time’ for itself (at great expense, e.g. loss-making GitHub for $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock, which is grossly overvalued based upon sheer financial misconduct)

The night's fog
Their proprietary software is up in flames, but they hope we won’t smell the smoke

Summary: The “OS war” may be over (Linux — typically with GNU — as de facto standard in most technical sectors including Microsoft's), so the war on this inevitable paradigm change has shifted to licensing and GitHub is a major attack vector

THE FREEDOM of Free (libre) software is not so simple a concept to grasp. It is further complicated by intentionally misleading media that conflates freedom with all sorts of other things, which is why the word "rights" is preferred by some. Several betrayed Microsoft partners are begrudgingly coming to grips with the difference between “Open Source” and freedom. Microsoft is trying to swallow the competition and so-called ‘liberal’ licences (unlike so-called ‘resctrictive’ licences, surely a misnomer) enable that. They’re basing proprietary malware (and spyware) such as “Edge” on such code.

“Microsoft is trying to swallow the competition and so-called ‘liberal’ licences (unlike so-called ‘resctrictive’ licences, surely a misnomer) enable that.”When Richard Stallman went to Microsoft to give a talk (a few weeks before the media ‘canceled’ him) he stressed the importance of helping GPL/GNU (or copyleft in general) at GitHub. Microsoft managers have told me how much they dislike such licences; they intend to discourage them in GitHub (which is itself proprietary software) and Microsoft-connected firms which keep telling us — sometimes through the media — that GPL is ‘dying’ are in fact basing it on GitHub primarily (as if any project that isn’t controlled by Microsoft does not exist and should not be counted).

“Microsoft managers have told me how much they dislike such licences; they intend to discourage them in GitHub (which is itself proprietary software) and Microsoft-connected firms which keep telling us — sometimes through the media — that GPL is ‘dying’ are in fact basing it on GitHub primarily (as if any project that isn’t controlled by Microsoft does not exist and should not be counted).”“Here are the suggestions I gave to Microsoft,” Stallman wrote. “Publicly take back Microsoft’s attacks on copyleft made in the 2000s. Ballmer called the GPL a “cancer”. Allchin called it “un-American”.”

Based on my conversations online (e.g. in Twitter) with Microsoft managers, none of that has changed. They advocate BSD-type or MIT licences and they’re eager to use their control of GitHub to push towards proprietary software (with “openwashing”-themed marketing). Do not for a second believe that Microsoft has become any ‘softer’. Its strategies against the inevitable rise and domination of Free software have evolved. Removing Stallman was just a little milestone along the way for them. I personally find it rather ironic and sad that as a ‘reward’ for his talk — an extension of an olive branch so to speak (even at Microsoft’s own back yard!) — Stallman had his name tarnished by Microsoft-aligned media which needed to distract from Bill Gates connections to pedophilia — the real MIT scandal. Money can buy narrative. It often does when the media is owned by few very rich people.

“People sooner or later witness the great deceit, as even Microsoft ‘partners’ have. Let’s welcome them to our fold.”Stallman and I still talk sometimes. He will be giving a talk here in England “between mid-Feb and mid-March.” I am a pessimist by nature — like he is — but I am very optimistic about software freedom because our story and our mission is a lot more attractive for far more people. Sure, few greedy executives loathe software freedom, but they cannot mobilise millions of people, not for long anyway. People sooner or later witness the great deceit, as even Microsoft 'partners' have. Let’s welcome them to our fold.

When I started advocating GNU/Linux about 20 years ago (as a teenager) it wasn’t certain that GNU/Linux would take over the world. It faced a lot of dangers even before the SCO lawsuit. Half a decade before the Novell/Microsoft patent deal (in effect the start of the patent war on GNU/Linux — a war which covertly persists to this day). Two decades ago not many people and not many companies participated in Free software development; but today it is pretty much the norm. Even Microsoft was forced to pretend that is is participating (even if all the major products are proprietary). Microsoft loses money in GitHub (in an effort to control and police the competition) and may also (still) be losing money in Azure according to Microsoft insiders. This is not sustainable. Microsoft’s strategy is a late effort to salvage what’s left of its ‘crown jewels’. WSL was a miserable failure. Doing a “E.E.E.” on something that is largely GPL-licensed is exceptionally difficult.

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