EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.15.19

Code of Conduct Explained: Partial Transcript – August 10th, 2018 – Episode 80, The Truth About Southeast Linuxfest

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Law at 2:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ask-NoahSummary: “Ask Noah” and the debate on how a ‘Code of Conduct’ is forcibly imposed on events

This a partial transcript from the August 10th, 2018 interview on Ask Noah (Episode 80), with Jeremy Sands entitled, The Truth About Southeast Linuxfest. Below is a partial transcript, lightly edited.

This transcript was prepared by a longtime contributor to the site, who deemed it relevant.

[01:16:10]
JS [Jeremy Sands]: Let’s get to all the things you don’t want to hear about … politics.

The Code of Conduct, it’s been a thing for the last couple of years it’s been pushed pretty aggressively in the open source sphere and other areas totally unrelated to open source as well but the Code of Conduct is kind of a series of guidelines as to what is and isn’t acceptable behavior at an event and what the repercussions are for transgressing those rules et cetera.

Part of the way SELF reorganized after it hit that bankruptcy wall from the party debacle was it’s actually and I’ll get to this in a little bit later it’s not as easy as it might sound to be a 501(c)(3)

“The people pushing Codes of Conduct that have several examples and depending on who it is and their own personal view and there are several out there floating around I want to say one of the bigger ones that’s pushed is the contributor covenant I think I have that right.”[01:17:00]

as a Free Software organization. In fact the IRS is deeply, deeply distrustful of 501(c)(3)s that are Free Software filings. Not my words, the words of Cat Almon [sp?] and I’ll get to that in detail later. But essentially as part of reorganizing, it became abundantly clear that since I was already self-employed, it was dramatically, radically cheaper. like orders of magnitude cheaper, for SELF to simply be a quote-unquote for-profit tucked under my existing LLC that I already knew and already operate and already have to do books for. But deliberately operated in such a way where profit is not part of the equation. I like to say, for profit but deliberately bad at making profit. Because as it turns out because of the way the IRS deals with 501(c)(3)s from Free Software filings, it’s way cheaper to be for profit and deliberately bad at making profit than it is to be non-profit and really, really good at not making profit. Government. So my first reaction, so that was basically my way of saying I have some skin in in the game here. Like if something goes horribly wrong that lands on me. So my first reaction wasn’t well let me read this over my first reaction was I’m going to hand this to a lawyer, and so I did. The people pushing Codes of Conduct that have several examples and depending on who it is and their own personal view and there are several out there floating around I want to say one of the bigger ones that’s pushed is the contributor covenant I think I have that right. I think that was the one I took and had a lawyer review. His words to me were if I were a judge I would ask you just who the hell you thought you were trying to rewrite the law for your little fiefdom and just where you obtained the wisdom of how things should be run around here greater than the collective wisdom of the electorate and the officials that represent them. I didn’t really have a good answer for that. His advice was to be an arbitrator and to resist the temptation to be a judge, and a jury and executioner because when you do that you have essentially entered yourself into the legal fray. He said what you really want to be is a peace broker. You want to resolve the conflict without a determination of guilt either way. Even if it seems painfully obvious who is guilty. You just want to achieve peace. If you can’t do that his recommendation for the safest legal course was simply to eject all parties involved from the event. He said I know as I say that that’s a terrible thing because statistically speaking at least half the people you just ejected were totally innocent. That’s a terrible thing to have to do. But it’s also, legally speaking, from my point of view as a lawyer advising you as counsel, the wise thing to do. He also said you’re running around running an event, how much of your mental capacity can you really bring to bear to slow things down and seriously consider everything unfolding. Not a bad point you’ve got there. My response to the Code of Conduct and it being pushed upon me was to simply ignore it. I ignored it, didn’t put anything up there but eventually the shouts become loud enough that you have to do something. Because it becomes something if you do not have one you will be asked repeatedly about it. And eventually, the act of answering those questions becomes so tedious that you might as well have a policy even if your policy is we don’t have a policy. Because in the absence people are just going to ask questions and insert their own fears into that vacuum. For not having, I think our first official code of conduct policy was kind of a pithy one liner it was kind of a, I won’t, I’ll get it wrong, you can go, I’m sure it’s on archive.org somewhere , but it was more or less don’t be a butthead. If I want to paraphrase it that was more or less our code of conduct.

“My response to the Code of Conduct and it being pushed upon me was to simply ignore it. I ignored it, didn’t put anything up there but eventually the shouts become loud enough that you have to do something.”NC: Then if you need help learning what a butthead is then if you think something might be in question of concern just don’t do that thing and you’re probably pretty safe.

JS: Yeah, so, unbelievably I was actually threatened in private at other events for this for not having a code of conduct that some people deemed acceptable. And not from random people the very first person to threaten me has been a speaker at SELF I think every year and because I accept talks blindly they keep getting talks because I’m not holding that against them because I don’t know who they are when I select the talks. So if nothing else you can’t accuse me of bias in selecting speakers given that I keep selecting a speaker who threatened me. There’s the downside by the way of selecting blind. But because of this when I go to other events to promote SELF or to speak I simply do not have private conversations with strangers any more even people who I somewhat know I will keep other people around me to be witnesses now and it’s terribly tragic that I even have to say that and it’s even more tragic that if you go looking around online I am not the only one who does that any more and that’s even more sad. Given that I got a nasty backlash simply for not having a Code of Conduct that a lawyer told me you would be a fool to have, I started asking why are people pushing this what’s the real message here? And if you start looking around online Googling for Codes of Conduct and insert your own pejorative here, cons, downsides, alternative views, it’s hard not to eventually stumble into a guy named Paul M Jones. He is apparently somewhat infamous as someone who is a vociferous advocate against some Codes of Conduct. If you want to read up about him he is in the PHP-FIG framework interoperability group I think I got that right

“Yeah, so, unbelievably I was actually threatened in private at other events for this for not having a code of conduct that some people deemed acceptable.”NC: We’ve actually had Paul on the show and interviewed him about his views on the Code of Conduct and part of his presentation and all that and we’ll have that linked in the show notes as well.

[01:24:00]

JS: So if you want to read up on some of that nasty past that made him infamous just go read the PHP-FIG it’s all there it’s a mailing list. But my personal take after having skimmed through it was infantile, petty, and a poo-flinging fest that is how I would describe a lot of the just childish battles that occurred over that. So I got put into contact with him and to get his take and given how he has this reputation you might be expecting the worst but not only was he not Hitler and I say that only somewhat tongue in cheek given the nastiness of our political discourse these days but I actually found him to be reasonable and measured and well spoken and that the next year when I was selecting talks there was one on the darker side of the Code of Conduct and blindly I selected it and it was Paul who submitted it. So he gave a talk at SELF on Codes of Conduct and some of the downsides of some of those Codes of Conduct. Boy if you thought it was political before simply by not having an acceptable Code of Conduct the act of having someone speak out against the concept of a Code of Conduct in some cases caused enormous backlash. The fact that it was Paul M Jones giving that talk ramped it up a couple notches. So just for having him speak his personal opinion at SELF there was a targeted smear campaign on social media directly going after SELF’s biggest sponsors telling them to no longer support our event. And it worked. They successfully chased off multiple sponsors. I know of at least two for sure because they they contacted me disagreeing with the decision of their own superiors to no longer support SELF. One of which came back to me with a demand, not their own, but of their superiors, that for them to sponsor the next year, one third of all speakers would have to be female. How can I possibly guarantee you one third of anything, gender, color, nationality, religion, whatever shallow collectivist thing you’re fixated on when I select the talks blindly based upon merit. I can’t even tell you whether or not I can qualify for your demand until after I’ve selected talks because I don’t even know who I’m selecting. In the words of the person who made those demands to me

[01:27:00]

“Given that I got a nasty backlash simply for not having a Code of Conduct that a lawyer told me you would be a fool to have, I started asking why are people pushing this what’s the real message here?”this doesn’t seem to do anything more than merely check a box. That was their own words to me, when delivering these demands. And everyone immediately asked me in private after they hear this talk who is it what’s the company could you tell me? I don’t want to tell you because I don’t want to attract the poo-flinging the other direction at the company. Because it isn’t necessarily the views of the company. It might just be one person in a position of power or as I like to say a cat bird in HR or in marketing who has purchase authority power and they’re using those levers of power to achieve their own means. And to kind of prove this point of how counter-productive it would be to attack the company that made the demand more than a dozen employees from that company that very year decided to come to SELF on their own dime as supporting attendees on their own dime and enjoy the event freely as much as they could without their own company’s backing. So the company formally wasn’t there. All the employees were still there. For me what was insightful was the one time when the rubber really met the road. when it comes to Codes of Conduct. And there are no winners in this story. There are only losers. I had an employee of a sponsor who was at the event it was at the Sheraton so it is in the more recent history of the event but I can’t name off the top of my head which year. This person had diversity in their official job title and they approached me, at SELF, face to face. to say that if our even did not have

[01:29:00]

“So somebody is insulted and this person who was previously so concerned about the safety and well-being of these attendees and your lack of concern for their safety is more concerned about the PR ramifications than the actual event or the actual safety?”an acceptable Code of Conduct to their standards and at the time we had already put in our pithy don’t be a butthead equivalent Code of Conduct. He said that is not acceptable to our standards. And if you do not have one that is acceptable to our standards and he offered again the contributor covenant, the one the lawyer said don’t do that that, they would not be back as a sponsor. And that would be a permanent decision until we acquiesced to that demand. The very next day one of their employees put a business card down the shirt of a female attendee on his way out of the venue. I had an eye witness report from another sponsor and not just any random person but a really smart one a person who is a rising FOSS celebrity who goes on major national shows to talk about FOSS. And I had an actual physical business card in my hand. So with the smoking gun of the business card and an eye witness report I went to be the ax man that the job required of me at the time. I went and pulled in the gentleman with diversity in his official title. I informed him of what happened and I informed him that that person was banned from the event until further notice and specifically by that I mean indefinitely and what was the first thing to spout out of his mouth in response? It wasn’t how is she, how can we help, how can we resolve this. The first response was quote and I quote, “why did it have to be us?”

NC: So somebody is insulted and this person who was previously so concerned about the safety and well-being of these attendees and your lack of concern for their safety is more concerned about the PR ramifications than the actual event or the actual safety?

JS: Shocking. Somebody who claims to care about others really only cares about themselves. Sounds like they would make a great politician. Saddening. Yeah. That response says more than I probably ever could. Now I ended with a bit of a wry, “that didn’t take a Code of Conduct, did it?”

NC: So you said this to the employee?

JS: That was my last word as he left the building. I had him turn around and said that didn’t take a Code of Conduct, did it?

NC: Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic.

JS. He had no response to that. And I was absolutely thrilled to spike the football in his face like that. Because I felt he was duplicitous in the nature of his actions versus his proclaimed beliefs. I enjoyed spiking the football there immensely.

[01:32:00]

Until not even an hour later when I realized I just banned the wrong employee. The business card that was put down the female attendee’s shirt was not the person who did it. It was a co-worker of that person.

NC: It still does not excuse his response though.

JS: Accurate. Very accurate. On top of that this means that the eye witness report from that very intelligent very amazing person was wrong. And they had no explanation for that. And as it turns out this is something any judge or cop could tell you eye witness reports are notoriously unreliable and inaccurate. This is why by the way it is a good idea to put cameras on cops because even trained police officers have a hard time getting eye witness reports correct.

NC: Sure.

[01:33:00]

JS: Insert delete expletive with many, many exclamation points here. fsck let’s to a file system check

NC: Ok. I think everybody gets that joke.

JS: So that is one of the greatest mistakes I’ve ever made. Because I nearly destroyed an innocent person’s career and the lawyer was as right as ever. I was too busy managing an event. I wanted the problem to go away. I didn’t slow down and think skeptically every step of the way and try to be an arbitrator, not a judge. I got swept away in the moment and I nearly ruined that man’s career. If it wasn’t the woman who had the card put down her shirt coming back and saying, “I don’t think that’s him. Could you show me photos?” And then by this time corporate HR is involved from the company in question. When corporate HR is involved you know you’ve entered a new level of Hades and thankfully we eventually got it right but I can’t imagine the horror that that person must have lived in for a day or so while they were in limbo being summarily lynched while being innocent. So yeah. Points to the lawyer and no points to me for following his advice I won’t make the same mistake twice though. So another thing that comes along with this weird politicalized Code of Conduct thing and again I despise labels because people remove nuance and insert group think when you apply a label but speaking as a generalization because I think as a generalization it does apply. The kind of person who would push these contributor covenant style code of conduct would also be a person who would tend to be more likely to self describe themselves as say a social justice warrior or a progressive. So I’m not saying that agenda is right or wrong but I am saying it is an agenda. The bizarreness is the dichotomy of response you get along these lines. So, for example, the Geek Feminism Wiki started an article tracking females speakers in FOSS events and praising the SouthEast LinuxFest for having so many.

[01:36:00]

“So, for example, the Geek Feminism Wiki started an article tracking females speakers in FOSS events and praising the SouthEast LinuxFest for having so many.”One of the members who was a speaker at SELF that year asked us what we did to have so many female speakers. They were quite shocked when we replied “nothing”. We, ok, almost nothing. Technically we did invite / voluntold Wendy Seltzer to come back and talk. She’s an amazing person. She works with the EFF She may still be on the board of directors for Tor at the time she was and because she’s not as thoroughly embedded in the Linux community as others because for her it is a legal thing, she’s a legal mind not a Linux mind. And that’s where she’s coming into Linux space from, from the law side. And so she’s not normally tapped into this community so we reached out because she might not normally keep herself in this sort of community but we want to hear what she has to say. So that was the only thing we did. We solicited her specific talk. That was it. Now this may have contributed in some part

[01:37:00]

to other FOSS events in the immediacy. Like in the immediate year after that thing went up some other community based events went all out like all female keynotes, all female talk days, all female talk tracks. Like it started becoming a thing within some subsets of the FOSS community events. As though this, I like to call them genitalia based bragging rights. And yes I deliberately say that to be demeaning because I just don’t see the relevance of genitalia to content. Maybe that’s just me. Put more blatantly. At SELF, at least while I’m selecting speakers, genitalia is irrelevant, not part of the form to submit a talk, and if you do submit it, it’s probably in a field which I’ve truncated when I select the talks so I can select them blindly. More into the dichotomy stuff. I was asked by a prominent Google employee, at SELF, how we were able to have so many black people at SELF. Now they said African-American but there’s people in South Africa who apply that label but that label does not fit in the context you are expecting it to be. White’s not a bad term. Black shouldn’t be a bad term either. It’s a simple adjective. So they wanted to know how I quote-unquote did it having so many black people at self and to me this was a segfault. The perspective was so foreign, it was a thought I had literally never even entertained, not even anything tangentially related entertained. For me the thought was, promote the event as best I can, and as wide as I can and whoever shows up shows up. So I looked around and if anything I thought the number of black people there would be less than I would expect from a random sampling for the area. But whatever. I guess I’ll try to help you. So I asked him, well where are you holding the events that you’re holding that you’re not getting this many black people to attend. And the response was “Portland”.

NC: Well, sure, what was your response?

JS: Have you considered holding your event somewhere where black people actually live?

NC: That’s fantastic.

JS: So I went ahead and pulled up the most recent census data. Black people are approximately 35% of metropolitan Charlotte, North Carolina. They are 6% of metropolitan Portland, Oregon. Diversity indeed. I believe Chris Rock had a joke to this effect about Minnesota, Prince, and Kirby Puckett. And I’m going to have a

[01:40:00]

moment of silence here for my broken heart from Kirby Puckett beating the Braves in game seven of the world series. And if you’re looking at the slide deck, I’ve included a link to the direct current comparison between those two metropolitan area’s ethnicity breakdown. Here’s my real life code of conduct conclusions. The rules aren’t nearly as important as the people in charge of enforcing them. Bad behavior is already illegal. Serious transgressions should be met with legal responses. Do the people in charge have the wisdom to avoid being judge and or jury and or executioner. Will you keep your wits about you under intense pressure even when as an organizer you are on day two, day two and a half, maybe day three with little to no sleep. Will you pursue what is right and fair

[01:41:00]

“It’s weird, but you get a large sample size eventually weird things happen.”as event organizer and not what is merely expeditious to make the problem go away. That was a lot of negative that I just unloaded over the previous fifteen minutes or so. So I don’t want you to get the wrong conclusion. Let’s put this in its proper statistical context. Based upon my own data itself you’re approximately five to eight times more likely not to make it to SELF because of a serious car wreck or a serious plane issue, plane maintenance, a missed connection, whatever, than you are to be harassed. And the car one is kind of unreal. We have had at least one or two speakers or staff members either not make it or make it late because of an auto wreck every year. And this past year one of our core team actually had their car totaled on the way to SELF with a carload of SELF equipment and that by the way was part of what set everything organizationally back because that was a carload of equipment we needed. And that set us back almost half to two thirds of a day. You’d be surprised. If you’re worried about your safety at SELF for heaven’s sake drive slow and look around when you’re driving. Because that’s the thing that’s going to get you. Ok. And now for something completely different. And I would like to say that I hope this is the first, last, and only time that I have to be political in the context of this event and organizing it. But I do hope that other event organizers found that valuable. Because that is the kind of information I tried to pull out of other organizers to find out what had happened to them how they had dealt with it what policies worked

[01:43:00]

what policies didn’t and if you try to broach that subject with other event organizers they clam right up. It’s information that does not flow as freely as you might expect from a Free Software group and what I’d like to say is people say that’s terrible the particular woman who had the business card shoved down her shirt, any sufficiently large sample size eventually yields highly implausible results. It’s the whole sampling problem. It’s kind of how it only takes something like 15 to 20 people in a room before two people have the same birthday. It’s weird, but you get a large sample size eventually weird things happen.

Jeremy Sands and his experience may relate to what we published a couple of days ago and earlier this year.

06.11.19

Chapter 10: Moving Forward — Getting the Best Results From Open Source With Your Monopoly

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cover and quick Introduction [PDF]

Chapter 1: Know your enemies– Act like a friend [PDF]

Chapter 2: Work with the system– Use OEMs and your legal team [PDF]

Chapter 3: Playing the victim– Show the world that too much freedom hurts development [PDF]

Chapter 4: You get what you pay for– Getting skeptics to work for you [PDF]

Chapter 5: Open Source Judo– How to bribe the moderates to your side [PDF]

Chapter 6: Damning with faint praise– Take the right examples of free software and exploit them for everything [PDF]

Chapter 7: Patent War– Use low-quality patents to prove that all software rips off your company [PDF]

Chapter 8: A foot in the door– how to train sympathetic developers and infiltrate other projects [PDF]

Chapter 9: Ownership through Branding– Change the names, and change the world [PDF]

You are here ☞ Chapter 10: Moving forward– Getting the best results from Open source with your monopoly [PDF]


In this chapter, there will be no more quotes from the original Halloween documents; hopefully we have already proven that the things that are working now are the same things we talked about doing 20 years ago.

Instead, we will look for ways to go forward from several of the ideas covered in previous chapters– we will take points from each chapter and add an idea to each point. You are encouraged to do the same.

“Developers have less control and less reward for their invaluable contributions than any other point in software history.”

Our companies are still growing, and are forced to adapt to the landscape as each new form of competition presents itself. We knew the Web posed a serious threat, and we fought Java with notable success using the same tactics we are using against Linux. Other companies such as Google have also exploited Java, and it is not dead, but it did not realize the potential that posed so much threat to our model.

The record industry plays victim by talking about the well-being of artists, who are doing fine. The movie industry plays victim by talking about the guys in charge of lighting and editing. The software industry pretends to care about developers. Of course each industry rewards its serfs, otherwise people would be hard-pressed to explain what the point of the industry is. But for example, Microsoft’s yearly growth from 2006 to 2019 is no sad story. We are still at it.

“Above all, the key strategy is not to destroy free software completely, but to break it in enough important places so that it poses less and less of a threat to your near-monopoly.”

We purchase and gut competitors whenever we can. Sometimes we go after a company as large as Red Hat or Nokia, but smaller acquisitions grow our IP and give us raw material to exploit for relatively cheap. Thomas Edison worked in the patent office, where people brought in half-baked, half-implemented ideas all day that were not patentable. He had the knowledge and experience to turn unmarketable and unfinished ideas into products. Very little of what we “innovate” is truly original. We transform useful things into products and IP.

“Marketing isn’t just about highlighting the good points of what you sell– it’s about inventing reasons that people want and need your product, and then convincing people of those reasons.”

People don’t need a good reason to buy our products. They only need a good-sounding reason. Certainly there is talent in leading people this way, but while free software types convince themselves that they should be ethical, we still have the advantage in making up reasons why everything we offer is better. A salesman does this on the storeroom floor, by improvising. We improvise too, but then test our made-up reasons with focus groups, to see what they will fall for.

“A company’s image is an important part of its brand, and you want an overall positive image no matter what… You must look like you care. And nobody knows more about fooling people into thinking you care, than your marketing team.”

Remember to smile. Your smile should come out in your message, the people who are the face of your company, and in the image of your company. Also, when making up reasons that people need your products– be sure to come up with many reasons that make your company look positive. They don’t all have to be convincing. Don’t just use creative spins on the truth to sell the products– use it to sell the company to the customers and the tech press.

Make everything look like a giveaway, even when it is just bait.

“the important thing is that your brand and marketing outweigh anything said by critics.”

Being able to afford saturation in advertising and press coverage is your best friend. Get people in the company to speak for you– get people in other companies to speak for you– get your customers to speak for you.

“find a way to focus on how the probably-unwanted or unneeded features are something the user gains rather than loses by choosing (or remaining stuck with) your product.”

There are no unwanted features– everything is an advantage (for us, if not for the customer.) You can tell people this all the time. They will find it difficult not to wonder if you really mean it, because you believe it yourself. That’s one route to something almost indistinguishable from sincerity.

“people who feel like they’re your friends will share more with you than people you treat like a competitor.“

This includes all the telemetry and handling of personal data that you exploit to reinforce your position in the market. The more people like your products, the more you can get away with.

“By working with hardware manufacturers and lawyers, you can help reinforce and update the rules that keep the world operating in a way that works for you.”

We still need more lobbying and more features in integrated chipsets that favor our companies over open source.

“Hardware and firmware make it possible to add unwanted features that the vast majority of free software users won’t be able to simply uninstall and replace.”

In the future, we may want to get more involved in firmware and move more features from software to hardware. So far, we have mostly used firmware as a way to reinforce our place in the software market. Meanwhile Lenovo has used firmware to actually reinstall unwanted software, features and surveillance directly. We need to learn from Lenovo– but as usual we need to make this look like a boon, not an attack.

“People are afraid to turn off features that sound as if they add security– won’t that make them less secure? Aha, Gotcha!”

Remember: there’s always room for more features related to “security.”

Without “free hardware” (and we know that won’t ever happen) the free software people are stuck reverse-engineering hardware and guessing how to write drivers based on trial-and-error.

Both in theory and in practice (USB, Android firmware) it is easier to attack hardware than software with patents, even if the patents are low-quality. We need to go after hardware more, to prevent free software users from leaving Intel (and their hooks) and becoming more independent.

Also what we failed to control in the server market, we need to work on controlling in server hardware, where we can be sure Intel retains monopoly power as it loses a small amount of ground to ARM and SBCs.

“always stress that to get the most of your hardware, you need industry software– not cottage or basement software.“

We have typically focused on attacking larger Linux distributions, because we are best positioned to complete with them on our terms. As we gain tools to position ourselves with IOT and cloudware, it’s about time to go after smaller, lower-power devices again as Microsoft did with CE and Apple did with iOS.

“When you have a monopoly… you can actually demand [features that favor your company] (or work out deals to get your way.)”

Our image as not just a ruthless industry powerhouse, but a company bridging together other industries with truly flexible and customizable solutions (which of course we will continue to drag people towards and away from again in endless, revenue-producing churn) is more positive now than in many years. We not only have a larger margin to play dirty with OEMs and the press (and customers) we have more plausibility than ever in scamming people to do things our way.

We will continue to make demands, but we are in a rare position to make even our demands and requirements look more like “offers” and “options.” Technically, when we “forced” OEMs with anti-competitive pricing, even that was an “offer” and an “option.” But that wasn’t built on top of the stellar reputation we enjoy now.

“So long as you have relationships with OEMs you can exploit, you have the upper hand any time the free software devs want to run their software on popular consumer hardware. That translates to their reduced marketshare, wasted time for free software developers, and ultimately– a well-guarded software monopoly.”

In the mobile market, the companies offering mobile platforms actually like having more control than their customers. iOS and Android have provided, we can still explore new deals with providers in countries where iOS and Android have farther from 100% saturation in the market.

Consumer network appliances have not done as well as IOT with focus groups or sales, as network appliances lost ground to mobile. Though we can still explore SmartTVs, Smarthome devices and we rare not remotely done with automotive. We need to work more with OEMs for all of these relatively new device categories– not just the PC.

“The point isn’t to keep them out entirely. It’s to be sure it takes them so long to get in, that by the time they’ve supported the hardware it is already obsolete.”

Being first is a lot like being only. We need to avoid being second in new markets.

“Leasing the use of your company’s intellectual property is the core of your software business– you need to protect that property to maintain control of your customer base.”

Instead of just selling IP, we can sell developer access. Of course we will still sell IP, but we have a new market to exploit (and the latest acquisitions are already helping.) People forget that we own multiple developer and business networks now. We can offer premium advantages within those networks– selling and reselling access, as well as aggregate/business intelligence data we did not previously own. We can maintain control of not only our customer base, but our competitors also.

“instead of fighting to prove that something is ours, we have it in writing– so when we stop bothering with their licenses and terms and co-opt the software in whatever way we choose, how are they going to stop us? We have an agreement! Even the largest Linux-based companies said this is ours! Who’s going to argue then– the little student coders that work for them?”

We need to start gradually explaining to people that we own these things. This has to be done slowly, because done too early or too quickly it will hurt our ability to exploit our allies in Open source. We can afford to take risks now, but not to be reckless.

Now that we have convinced the companies that we own their software, we need to convince the users. If we handle this slowly and with care and close monitoring of progress, they can’t stop us from convincing the world that these things belong more to us than anybody– we can turn their offerings into our next semi-exclusive platform, our brand, our control over details.

“And if somehow the lawyers have nothing else to do– you can always lobby to make new laws, for your legal team to exploit.”

“The important thing is that they’re working for us– and on our terms.”

We may need to preempt some GDPR-like regulations in the United States with neutered versions of the same, drafted by our own lobbyists. This will also help improve our image.

Look how well Mozilla can ramble about new privacy features all day and still drag their users through scandal after reputation-destroying scandal– and look like they still care about users.

“Without control, there is chaos. Even when a competing developer makes a terrible mistake– it hurts people’s trust in the digital connectivity and surveillance we want to put in every home”

We need a new campaign sort of like “better with Windows” but for “trust,” as long as we are doing more with Open source. We need people to know they can trust our “open source” more than theirs for certain applications. This needs to be more subtle than previous campaigns like it, because of our place in the middle of open source development– not the outskirts like before.

“If we want to sell the internet of things, we can’t have people thinking that a bunch of amateurs are creating their software– we want them to know that everything is under control.”

Trust and security and surveillance will be the hallmarks of our IOT strategy. People think they don’t like surveillance, but they do want security. Just as people will put Wi-Fi cameras in their own homes only to have them hacked and used against them, we need to sell our surveillance by making it look less like our technology, and more like their own. But we also need to remind people that our brand can be trusted more than these no-name baby monitor companies.

“Over the years, we have had great success getting people to accept subscriptions instead of purchases”

“A lot of people think that a subscription model is just about charging people over and over again for something they already bought legally. ..but there is a more important angle– we basically “own” (at least control) every machine that uses this model.“

We have developer licenses that give enormous options under what is basically a subscription model. We should create a new tier of subscription that lets customers do more business with us– not a complete subscription to everything, but a higher-tier “user subscription” akin to a season pass for more of our products.

We are not making full use of the subscription model yet, but we have proven that it works.

“this is one more reason that we don’t want software to be free and controlled by the user: if the user controls their files and programs, they can also copy media that the film industry and e-book publishers want to control after purchase.”

“By allying with the media companies and major publishers, we have an additional source of revenue that not only gives us an industry we can first tap into and then gradually become its vendors”

When are we going to get more into streaming, like hulu and netflix and youtube?

“we do it with guilt trips, with lobbying and public-service-like advertising, and (though it’s a subject for a later chapter) by working with schools to indoctrinate students with our pro-monopoly point of view.”

We (always) need more opportunities for education that involve our products. Obviously BillandM are working on the usual school takeover, but we also need our own training centers or tutoring centers– at least a pilot program.

“if your intention is to lead customers by the nose, then you don’t just want to come of as self-righteous. You want to actually make the people who differ from you look like worse people.”

“you’re doing it to protect the customers themselves.”

So far we have done very little to attack people for not giving us as many chances as other companies. We have Torvalds calling that “hate” though we are pulling so many punches about exclusion these days. We can push this a bit harder.

We can protect customers from so much more than lousy software from competitors. We can protect customers from the bigots in the freedom brigade.

“With a little finesse, we can also feed the customer’s fear of not getting enough– to make them afraid of being “ripped off” if they don’t pay anything. We want to take people who think they want to get something for free, and convince them to associate value with spending– not saving– their money.”

We can also explore the freemium model being used in the mobile app market. We should do this with application features, not miniature apps like the failed Metro nonsense. That was nothing but “Active Desktop”/IE4 all over again. People still want real applications.

“The internet allows us to focus more exclusively on the advantages of our products over free “competitors,” and outsource our attacks to fans and useful third parties.“

Considering that we have things like GitHub, we can play this up even more. We can also use it to introduce more advertising, as Microsoft did with Windows 10. We are pushing more advertising of products into Debian, Ubuntu, and open source outlets like Phoronix. Nothing is stopping us any longer in our new home.

“People will always point out that this is cynical. It doesn’t really matter, because this ‘cynical’ point of view is what continues to drive consumers to spend and overspend, year after year.”

We can probably do a little more to paint our critics as cynical– or encourage them to be more open.

“We can control updates; we don’t really care who pirates the ‘starter pack’ for our platform anymore, because we can monitor and update and deactivate whatever parts of the platform we want pirates to have or not have.”

Windows 10 was helped when we made it a free upgrade for a limited time. We could try that with some other things– we could start diluting the term “free” a bit more, now that “open” just means “with Microsoft and Apple.”

“As long as our proprietary and commercial offerings have more perceived value than the free counterparts, we can point out that these charities could do more for people by raising additional funds to send higher quality commercial software to the people they want to help”

Nothing to add to this, really. What are BillandM doing in this regard? What about Apple?

“If we involve ourselves just the right amount in open source, we can use it as a platform to upsell customers to whatever products we want them to purchase.“

“By accentuating the positive and outsourcing our attacks on the competition to sympathetic third parties, we can help people to remember that it’s silly to settle for less.”

“do you want the free version, or the great version? It’s your choice.”

Experience a free trial/free tier of our cloudware subscription. You’re going to fall in love and want more features!

“when we send press releases or hire copywriters, we can throw our values into the conversation and remind people why everything is better when our tools are included

Even when this isn’t true, the tech press has taken our side again and again. We can even push journalists– just like Microsoft did to push OEMs to cooperate– to lean favorably or lose our participation and cooperation.”

Special deals for Instagram / social media influencers? Sell “access–” bundled.

“they keep telling themselves that writers write their own stories. Sure they do– from whatever they glean from our press releases, press events, and corporate evangelists.”

“No matter where you go, you’re going to hear how great we are.”

We can teach more people in social media how to get readers by repackaging our message.

“A superior product is like a politician’s speech– the best way to sell a lie is to put a truth in it, so people assume the rest of it is also the truth. And when you want to sell a new product you can do the same thing: start with a feature people are desperate to have, and you can build a lot of garbage around it as long as the important features are satisfying enough.”

What are the features people don’t have that we can build new products on?

“We also need a ‘path forward’ to our products. Whenever we outline our strategies to feed to our shills and the tech press, they need to paint free software and its authors as true gems– from a bygone era.”

“The future is (always) us, and the products we want people to use.”

Every one of our products should be viewed as an “upgrade” to whatever else people are using.

“The lead developer is free to do basically whatever they want– keeping a project true to its roots.”

We need to keep fighting software stability or consistency by portraying it as selfishness and being close-minded, old-fashioned, uneducated, and uninformed.

“If their personality is not to the liking of other developers, it doesn’t necessarily matter– they don’t have to join and the lead developer doesn’t have to invite anybody. This works for many projects of small to medium size.”

There is no room for impolite or unattractive developers. We should work to get rid of them entirely.

“You can be the leader of your own project and do what you want to with it, but now you shouldn’t– every project should have a community, a code of conduct…“

And we should host it.

“Open source continues to pave the way forward for monopolies to own and direct free software– which was originally created to be independent of control by monopolies.”

Fortunately, most people don’t care about history lesson that would put our rewriting of it into perspective. That was old, this is new, and so on.

“Free software developers seem to care very little about this, because they have their stripped free software versions of everything open source. So what if we make things less modular, more brittle, more bloated, and more poorly designed? They only use projects with a license allows them to clean up after us, so they’re content no matter what we sabotage.”

They view this completely differently. Open source says that we have changed where we haven’t– we just keep getting better. Free software says that we haven’t changed where we have– we can just keep getting worse, and they won’t notice.

“We can overwhelm them and send them to clean up mess after mess, with the remaining effect of steering key projects to work more the way we want, and them accepting our changes.”

Are there any tools they rely on that we aren’t already “contributing” to in some way?

“In exchange for software with more churn, more bloat, less choice and less user control and reliability– they get “cooler” software tools, larger sponsorships, bigger marketing and events that feature their software– everything they would enjoy if we took over their world and did things our way. And we still get royalties and the chance to steer development away from things that help our competitors more than they help us.”

Maybe we can go further and have pages where they can donate…

“We de-commoditize protocols. We add features we want and deprecate ones that people rely on, and we tell them to get with the program. We create the same kind of lock-in (in practice) by decreasing the compatibility with trusted development tools and utilities, so we can move more quickly (and drag users along) from one industry fad to another.”

We could probably use more foothold in the maker/3D printing communities.

“We say this leads to more compatibility– but it’s more compatibility with the things we care about, and less compatibility among the free software ecosystem they created for themselves. Essentially we drag them out of their world, and back into ours.“

“Recently, a company used Wikipedia servers as a blank canvas for their own corporate advertising and message. They were called “bastards” and “vandals” and their changes were reverted.”

“It’s quite different in the world of Free and Open source software. We can behave exactly like The North Face, do just as much to vandalize and be bastardly, we can even stake claim to their work (and have them agree it is our own!) and become wealthier and gain a heroic reputation in the process.”

“Apple was once a small company taking on giants from a garage, and often cares little about compatibility with industry standards. It has used the image of being ‘different’ and rebellious to justify overpriced, more proprietary components in its products.”

“Microsoft, more than Apple, has worked on its reputation of being ruthless and having unfair practices that hurt the computer industry on several different levels.”

“While spying on users and selling their data mined by artificial intelligence and unscrupulous third parties, Facebook continues to work to make itself look like a philanthropic organization.”

“Like with these other companies, the real power is the power they have over the industry and the users of their products. But their brand is about the smaller amount of power they ‘share’ with users.”

“The goal for those fighting against Open source, against the true openness (let’s call it the yet unexploited opportunities) of Open source, has to be first to figuratively own the Linux brand, then literally own or destroy the brand, then to move the public awareness of the Linux brand to something like Azure, or whatever IBM is going to do with Red Hat.“

“Someday, Linux will be no more– we said in those Halloween memos that it’s just a kernel, but by making it into an Operating System we managed to make it stand for less, while making it look like more than it is.“

“the gradual shift in public consciousness from their branding towards our own, is the next best thing to owning them outright.”

Look at everything we said we wanted to do. Look at all we’ve managed from our list. If we had even tried to follow a 20-year plan, it didn’t come out too badly.

Here’s to the next 20 years!

06.09.19

Chapter 8: A Foot in the Door — How to Train Sympathetic Developers and Infiltrate Other Projects

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cover and quick Introduction [PDF]

Chapter 1: Know your enemies– Act like a friend [PDF]

Chapter 2: Work with the system– Use OEMs and your legal team [PDF]

Chapter 3: Playing the victim– Show the world that too much freedom hurts development [PDF]

Chapter 4: You get what you pay for– Getting skeptics to work for you [PDF]

Chapter 5: Open Source Judo– How to bribe the moderates to your side [PDF]

Chapter 6: Damning with faint praise– Take the right examples of free software and exploit them for everything [PDF]

Chapter 7: Patent War– Use low-quality patents to prove that all software rips off your company [PDF]

You are here ☞ Chapter 8: A foot in the door– how to train sympathetic developers and infiltrate other projects [PDF]

Chapter 9: Ownership through Branding– Change the names, and change the world

Chapter 10: Moving forward– Getting the best results from Open source with your monopoly


Summary: How to train sympathetic developers and infiltrate other projects

Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit, but there are all sorts of edits that you aren’t allowed to make. Free software projects let you copy, fork, change directions, and create entirely new software. It wouldn’t be free software otherwise.

“Open Source stresses that the project isn’t really “open” until there is an entire social pathway for making the contributions allowed by the license.”Open source has a slightly different focus– a lot of it is about the organizational culture of development. This is an obvious “in” for people with experience in organizations and the corporate world.

Free software was formerly allowed to focus on software development– creating organizational overhead only if and when necessary (the majority of free software projects have only a single active developer, or a small handful of contributors.) Open Source stresses that the project isn’t really “open” until there is an entire social pathway for making the contributions allowed by the license.

Free software development Open Source development
License FOSS FOSS
Developers 1 or more 1 or more
Website Optional Basically required
Source Repo Ideal Required
Way to Join / Contribute Not always– just fork or send a patch Basically Required
Organizational Management Optional / As needed / To be co-opted Basically Required / Corporate / Strict

These are not always spelled out and pretty much constitute different attitudes towards software development. Being closer to corporations, Open Source has more corporate culture in its processes.

“Being closer to corporations, Open Source has more corporate culture in its processes.”While the “Open source way” may look better for letting everyone be a contributor, it carries with it extra requirements and additional reasons to exclude projects from consideration or people from projects.

There is a difference between implicit exclusion and explicit exclusion. While free software may implicitly exclude contributors, it (like Open Source) allows anyone to fork. Open Source does more to fight implicit exclusion, but adds more vague rules for explicitly forcing people out of the opportunity to contribute based on organizational priorities, even if that person requires (and has) little or no contact with other developers.

“If someone had a contribution, they could typically contact the lead (or sole) developer and offer a patch or offer to join the project.”Just as an example, free software used to have more focus on the needs of a single developer writing their own project. If someone had a contribution, they could typically contact the lead (or sole) developer and offer a patch or offer to join the project. They would always be free to create their own version of the software without permission (as permission is already granted by the free software license) but this is usually more effort than simply offering to help.

The lead developer is free to do basically whatever they want– keeping a project true to its roots. If their personality is not to the liking of other developers, it doesn’t necessarily matter– they don’t have to join and the lead developer doesn’t have to invite anybody. This works for many projects of small to medium size.

Open Source brings organizational overhead and corporate culture into every project– you can be the leader of your own project and do what you want to with it, but now you shouldn’t– every project should have a community, a code of conduct (which will be applied unevenly between contributors and leaders, though it may ultimately threaten the structure of the leadership in the distant future) and a dedicated website. With free software, these “requirements” only draw resources when they are justified and considered necessary.

“The lead developer is free to do basically whatever they want– keeping a project true to its roots.”Open Source kind of hates on lone developers.

Fortunately, Open Source brings all this overhead to a project in a way that makes it easier to steer or influence (or purchase) the direction of a project. And since for 20 years, companies like Microsoft have sought to buy, charge royalties for, influence or eliminate the work done by competitors, Open Source gives us (and even fights for) the foot in the door that we need to do so.

George Bernard Shaw once said: “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” With the very corporate culture of Open Source, big companies are the pig. Open Source is always wrestling with monopolies like Microsoft, and it is of decreasing concern how dirty everyone gets, or how much the pig likes it– in fact, Microsoft has come out to say they don’t merely enjoy wrestling with “Linux”– they love it.

“They love being able to purchase entire networks of developers, from Linked-In to Github– which probably contain more valuable data about free/open Source developers than Facebook has access to.”And why not? They love royalties from Android devices. They love royalties from USB drives. They love being able to purchase entire networks of developers, from Linked-In to Github– which probably contain more valuable data about free/open source developers than Facebook has access to.

The amount of influence Microsoft has over all projects on Github, all projects that use .NET or Azure Cloud, many projects that use Python, and all software distributions that run on Intel-based hardware is only increasing. And Open Source continues to pave the way forward for monopolies to own and direct free software– which was originally created to be independent of control by monopolies.

Free software developers seem to care very little about this, because they have their stripped free software versions of everything open source. So what if we make things less modular, more brittle, more bloated, and more poorly designed? They only use projects with a license allows them to clean up after us, so they’re content no matter what we sabotage. We can overwhelm them and send them to clean up mess after mess, with the remaining effect of steering key projects to work more the way we want, and them accepting our changes.

“We can overwhelm them and send them to clean up mess after mess, with the remaining effect of steering key projects to work more the way we want, and them accepting our changes.”Free software and Open Source used to have smaller differences between them, and yet for two decades our sponsorships and initiatives (and purchases) have put us directly in the middle of Open Source development.

Since this is fine according to the culture of Open Source, they can’t really point to a reason why we shouldn’t– they adopt our rules, we play by our rules, they can’t complain. It’s too late to change to the rules to exclude us, and we aren’t doing anything they didn’t welcome in the past.

In exchange for software with more churn, more bloat, less choice and less user control and reliability– they get “cooler” software tools, larger sponsorships, bigger marketing and events that feature their software– everything they would enjoy if we took over their world and did things our way. And we still get royalties and the chance to steer development away from things that help our competitors more than they help us.

The plan has never actually changed, but our way of framing it has changed entirely. We de-commoditize protocols. We add features we want and deprecate ones that people rely on, and we tell them to get with the program. We create the same kind of lock-in (in practice) by decreasing the compatibility with trusted development tools and utilities, so we can move more quickly (and drag users along) from one industry fad to another.

“And just as the icing on the cake, we make more money from the development of these projects than the developers sometimes do– it’s as if we hired them ourselves, but all we did was participate and influence.”We say this leads to more compatibility– but it’s more compatibility with the things we care about, and less compatibility among the free software ecosystem they created for themselves. Essentially we drag them out of their world, and back into ours. It’s a reunion we have already monetized, already seized projects with, already used to purchase things that supposedly belong to everyone.

The shift in these projects demonstrate that they belong a little more to us, than they do to anybody else. And just as the icing on the cake, we make more money from the development of these projects than the developers sometimes do– it’s as if we hired them ourselves, but all we did was participate and influence. Recently, a company used Wikipedia servers as a blank canvas for their own corporate advertising and message. They were called “bastards” and “vandals” and their changes were reverted.

“It takes all the professionalism in the world not to quote what Mark Zuckerberg said when he realized how many people trusted him with their personal lives and information.”It’s quite different in the world of Free and Open Source software. We can behave exactly like The North Face, do just as much to vandalize and be bastardly, we can even stake claim to their work (and have them agree it is our own!) and become wealthier and gain a heroic reputation in the process.

It takes all the professionalism in the world not to quote what Mark Zuckerberg said when he realized how many people trusted him with their personal lives and information.

Instead, we will just sum up the majority response to our infiltration and increasing control of free software development, no matter how aggressively we buy up and steer projects the way we did before free software entered the mainstream:

“Suckers.”

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“it provides us with a very valuable look past Microsoft’s dismissive marketing spin about Open Source at what the company is actually thinking”

“If publication of this document does nothing else, I hope it will alert everyone to the stifling of competition, the erosion of consumer choice, the higher costs, and the monopoly lock-in that this tactic implies.”

“The parallel with Microsoft’s attempted hijacking of Java, and its attempts to spoil the ‘write once, run anywhere’ potential of this technology, should be obvious.”

“’De-commoditizing’ protocols means reducing choice, raising prices, and suppressing competition.”

“for Microsoft to win, the customer must lose.”

“other OSS process weaknesses provide an avenue for Microsoft to garner advantage in key feature areas such as architectural improvements (e.g. storage+), integration (e.g. schemas), ease-of-use, and organizational support.”

“To us, open-source licensing and the rights it grants to users and third parties are primary, and specific development practice varies ad-hoc in a way not especially coupled to our license variations. In this Microsoft taxonomy, on the other hand, the central distinction is who has write access”

“Open source software has roots in the hobbyist and the scientific community and was typified by ad hoc exchange of source code by developers/users.”

“to understand how to compete against OSS, we must target a process rather than a company.”

“Coordination of an OSS team is extremely dependent on Internet-native forms of collaboration. Typical methods employed run the full gamut of the Internet’s collaborative technologies”

“OSS projects the size of Linux and Apache are only viable if a large enough community of highly skilled developers can be amassed to attack a problem.”

“This summarizes one of the core motivations of developers in the OSS process — solving an immediate problem at hand faced by an individual developer — this has allowed OSS to evolve complex projects without constant feedback from a marketing / support organization.”

“Because the developers are typically hobbyists, the ability to `fund’ multiple, competing efforts is not an issue and the OSS process benefits from the ability to pick the best potential implementation out of the many produced.”

“Note, that this is very dependent on:

• A large group of individuals willing to submit code
• A strong, implicit componentization framework (which, in the case of Linux was inherited from UNIX architecture).”

“although debugging requires debuggers to communicate with some coordinating developer, it doesn’t require significant coordination between debuggers. Thus it doesn’t fall prey to the same quadratic complexity and management costs that make adding developers problematic.”

“Some very large projects discard the `benevolent dictator’ model entirely. One way to do this is turn the co-developers into a voting committee (as with Apache).”

“The GPL and its aversion to code forking reassures customers that they aren’t riding an evolutionary `dead-end’ by subscribing to a particular commercial version of Linux.”

“In particular, larger, more savvy, organizations who rely on OSS for business operations (e.g. ISPs) are comforted by the fact that they can potentially fix a work-stopping bug independent of a commercial provider’s schedule”

“Strongly componentized OSS projects are able to release subcomponents as soon as the developer has finished his code.”

“Up till now, Linux has greatly benefited from the integration / componentization model pushed by previous UNIX’s. Additionally, the organization of Apache was simplified by the relatively simple, fault tolerant specifications of the HTTP protocol and UNIX server application design.”

“One of the exponential qualities of OSS — successful OSS projects swallow less successful ones in their space — implies a pre-emption business model where by investing directly in OSS today, they can pre-empt / eliminate competitive projects later — especially if the project requires API evangelization.”

“Linux can win as long as services / protocols are commodities”

“The `folding extended functionality’ here is a euphemism for introducing nonstandard extensions (or entire alternative protocols) which are then saturation-marketed as standards, even though they’re closed, undocumented or just specified enough to create an illusion of openness. The objective is to make the new protocols a checklist item for gullible corporate buyers, while simultaneously making the writing of third-party symbiotes for Microsoft programs next to impossible. (And anyone who succeeds gets bought out.)”

“(This standards-pollution strategy is perfectly in line with Microsoft’s efforts to corrupt Java and break the Java brand.)”

Monitor OSS news groups. Learn new ideas and hire the best/brightest individuals.”

“Linux and other OSS projects make it easy for developers to experiment with small components in the system without introducing regressions in other components”

“OSS projects have been able to gain a foothold in many server applications because of the wide utility of highly commoditized, simple protocols. By extending these protocols and developing new protocols, we can deny OSS projects entry into the market.”

“DAV is complex and the protocol spec provides an infinite level of implementation complexity for various applications (e.g. the design for Exchange over DAV is good but certainly not the single obvious design). Apache will be hard pressed to pick and choose the correct first areas of DAV to implement.”

“Systems management functionality potentially touches all aspects of a product / platform. Consequently, it is not something which is easily grafted onto an existing codebase in a componentized manner. It must be designed from the start or be the result of a conscious re-evaluation of all components in a given project.”

Ease of Use. Like management, this often must be designed from the ground up and consequently incurs large development management cost. OSS projects will consistently have problems matching this feature area”

“How can we leverage the client base to provide similar integration requirements on our servers? For example, MSMQ, as a piece of middleware, requires closely synchronized client and server codebases.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween1.html

“These tools are the ‘old standbys’ of the UNIX development world and are widely used across all Unix platforms. This mass commoditization of development/debug tools is a key contributor to the common skillset efficiencies realized by the Linux process.”

“Additionally, due directly to GPL + having the full development environment in front of me, I was in a position where I could write up my changes and email them out within a couple of hours (in contrast to how things like this would get done in NT). Engaging in that process would have prepared me for a larger, more ambitious Linux project in the future.”

“The endless customizability of Linux for specific tasks – ranging from GFLOP clustered workstations to 500K RAM installations to dedicated, in-the-closet 486-based DNS servers – makes Linux a very natural choice for “isolated, single-task” servers such as DNS, File, Mail, Web, etc. Strict application and OS componentization coupled with readily exposed internals make Linux ideal.“

“There are hundreds of stories on the web of Linux installations that have been in continuous production for over a year. Stability more than almost any other feature is the #1 goal of the Linux development community (and the #1 cited weakness of Windows)”

“Linux developers are generally wary of Sun’s Java. Most of the skepticism towards Java stems directly from Sun’s tight control over the language – and lack of OSS.”

GNOME — Next generation UI initiative for Linux loosely based on X-windows+CORBA . More info at http://www.gnome.org. Many of the key developers for Gnome work for RedHat.”

“A lot more thought and work needs to go into formulating Microsoft’s response to Linux. Some initial thoughts on how to compete with Linux in particular are contained below. One “blue sky” avenue that should be investigated is if there is any way to turn Linux into an opportunity for Microsoft.”

“A more generalized assessment of how to beat the Open Source Software process… is contained in the ‘Open Source Software’ document.”

“Relative to other UNIX’s Linux is considered more customizable. Addressing this functionality involves more than just the embedded Windows NT project. Greater componentatization & general dependency reduction within NT will improve not only it’s stability but also the ability of highly skilled users/admins to deploy task-specific NT installations.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween2.html

“Linux is a philosophy as much as technical phenomena. On the positive, and Microsoft is interested in better understanding and finding ways to accommodate this dynamic, it provides for extensive peer review, and for a lot of independent parallel work on a variety of features.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween3.html

“We should line up some small acquisitions here to jump start this if we do it. We should also do this ASAP. Microsoft also indicated there was
a lot more money out there and they would clearly rather use Baystar “like” entities to help us get signifigantly more money if we want to grow further or do acquisitions”

“The will help us a lot and if we execute we could exit and Unix componients we have build potentially back to Microsoft or MCS.”

“There you have it. At least a third of SCO’s entire market capitalization, and their entire current cash reserves, is payoffs funnelled from Microsoft. Their 10Qs reveal that every other line of cash inflow is statistical noise by comparison. The brave new SCOsource business model is now clear: sue your customers, shill for Microsoft, kite your stock, and pray you stay out of jail.”

“Five days after this memo was written, SCO’s PR chief Blake Stowell responded to widespread speculation that Microsoft was behind the Bystar deal by vehemently denying it.”

“We think the kindest interpretation we can put on these events is that Blake Stowell isn’t lying through his teeth, but was kept out of the loop so he could honestly deny all knowledge of Microsoft’s involvement. If so, we wonder what else SCO’s director of PR doesn’t know…”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween10.html

“(Writing code that doesn’t suck always has to be our base-level and most important response, but the propaganda war matters too. If it’s not already obvious to you why, keep reading.)”

“Let’s start by reminding ourselves of the stakes. For Microsoft (or at least its present business model) to survive, open source must die. It’s a lot like the Cold War was; peaceful coexistence could be a stable solution for us, but it can never be for them, because they can’t tolerate the corrosive effect on their customer relationships of comparisons with a more open system.”

“Because coexistence is not a stable solution for them, it cannot be for us either. We have to assume that Microsoft’s long-term aim is to crush our culture”

“They seem to have abandoned using the “open source is intellectual-property cancer” argument directly. This follows the advice their own survey group gave them two years ago that this tactic was backfiring badly. Instead they’re pushing this line through bought proxies at SCO and elsewhere.”

“Like the dog that didn’t bark in the night-time, these omissions are significant, because Microsoft marketing is thorough and ruthlessly opportunistic. You can bet money that the reason they’re not making these arguments is because they tried them on smaller focus groups, or individually with key customers, and they didn’t fly.”

“Microsoft’s underlying problem is that it employs about 22,000 programmers; the open-source community can easily muster ten times that number. That means the capability gap that has opened up between the open-source codebase and Windows is only going to get worse from Microsoft’s point of view, not better. Time, technology, and market forces are not on their side — so, to survive, they’re going to have to change the game so that market forces and the opensource advantage in technology become irrelevant.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween11.html

06.08.19

Chapter 7: Patent War — Use Low-Quality Patents to Prove That All Software Rips Off Your Company

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 11:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cover and quick Introduction [PDF]

Chapter 1: Know your enemies– Act like a friend [PDF]

Chapter 2: Work with the system– Use OEMs and your legal team [PDF]

Chapter 3: Playing the victim– Show the world that too much freedom hurts development [PDF]

Chapter 4: You get what you pay for– Getting skeptics to work for you [PDF]

Chapter 5: Open Source Judo– How to bribe the moderates to your side [PDF]

Chapter 6: Damning with faint praise– Take the right examples of free software and exploit them for everything [PDF]

You are here ☞ Chapter 7: Patent War– Use low-quality patents to prove that all software rips off your company [PDF]

Chapter 8: A foot in the door– how to train sympathetic developers and infiltrate other projects

Chapter 9: Ownership through Branding– Change the names, and change the world

Chapter 10: Moving forward– Getting the best results from Open source with your monopoly


Summary: Patents in the United States last for 20 years from the time of filing. Prior to 1994, the patent term was 17 years from when the patent was issued.

Patents in the United States last for 20 years from the time of filing. Prior to 1994, the patent term was 17 years from when the patent was issued.

Bill Gates was originally against the use of patents for software, because of the problems they create for developers in every company, including Microsoft:

“It’s important to point out that there is no such thing as “patentable ideas” in the United States.”“Amazingly we haven’t found a way to use our licensing position to avoid having our own customers cause patent problems for us. I know these aren’t simple problems but they deserve more effort by both Legal and other groups. For example we need to do a patent exchange with HP as part of our new relationship. In many application categories straighforward thinking ahead allows you to come up with patentable ideas.”

This was from a confidential 1991 memo which was published by a court.

From http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Bill_Gates_on_software_patents

It’s important to point out that there is no such thing as “patentable ideas” in the United States. Utility patents can be issued for a process, a machine, a “manufacture” or a composition of matter (for example, if you develop a new non-stick coating for pans.)

A patent cannot be issued for something too abstract– From an IP standpoint, the worst-case scenario is to have a copyrighted program classified similarly to a recipe or worse, a mathematical equation.

“The copyright is on the expression or implementation of the recipe (the wording) or the program (the code.) There is no copyright on the process or the concepts implemented.”When Intel patents a physical device like a CPU, their IP covers some of the processes and physical designs, the goals of which are to carry out computer instructions. When we write computer instructions, we get a copyright on those instructions– similarly to how a recipe is copyrighted. The copyright is on the expression or implementation of the recipe (the wording) or the program (the code.) There is no copyright on the process or the concepts implemented.

Thus, if people have access to our code they can implement some of our programs in a slightly different way. To prevent other people from creating a taskbar, or a search engine, or some other software we want to be the sole providers of, we need to find a way to apply patents to our work. One way to do that is to define a “computer implemented process” (a program) using patent terminology.

“To prevent other people from creating a taskbar, or a search engine, or some other software we want to be the sole providers of, we need to find a way to apply patents to our work.”The CPU is already designed (and granted a patent) for performing its instructions, which makes for an interesting legal challenge to get a second
patent on doing things the CPU is already designed to do– for example, Toyota may already have a patent on a car, but if nobody has a patent on using a car to deliver pizza as part of a business model, there is a possibility of threatening competing pizza places for infringing on that process.

Another limitation we run into is that patents have to be on things that are novel and non-obvious to people in the field. To get around this and the other requirements, we have our legal team apply for countless patents using the most absurd, drawn-out, vague language possible.

If we drag a competitor to court using such patents and they have a competent legal team to defend them, we will probably lose several of these patents and possibly the case against them. However, if we have a very large company and a very powerful legal team, the competitor may decide (upon receiving threats about such a lawsuit and a request to stop infringing on our very large portfolios containing thousands of vague patents or more) to simply give up and cede to our demands for compliance— whether it is to pay royalties or stop offering a particular feature altogether.

“Still, as recently as 2014 Microsoft was still enjoying what amounted to an End-User-License-Agreement attached to the .Net framework– enforced through an agreement to no sue over patents.”Such patent battles have allowed Apple to harass companies with design patents over such trivial matters as rounded corners– and to claim they invented a “slide-to-unlock” feature— which has existed on barnyard gates for hundreds of years at least, but never before on the screen of a smartphone! In fact you could say that their “slide-to-unlock” feature is really just the “scrollbar widget” that was probably invented by Xerox in the 1970s, but never before was it used to unlock a screen– you get the picture.

Several efforts were made to reduce the viability of these strategic patent portfolios, and give legitimate companies a chance to thrive despite our larger businesses and more powerful legal teams. Prior to 2000 it was difficult to address these challenges, but with lobbyists working to reshape Washington to suit our needs above others, we can fight against laws that put smaller companies on more comparable legal footing.

Still, as recently as 2014 Microsoft was still enjoying what amounted to an End-User-License-Agreement attached to the .Net framework– enforced through an agreement to no sue over patents. Even as software patents lose their potency, the agreements companies were coerced to participate in under these patent-protection schemes remain.

“Another possibility is to simply tie the license for certain high-value proprietary components to similar EULA-esque agreements as Microsoft did in the past.”As said early, one possible avenue is to continue to offer protection against future, hypothetical patent aggression, based on the possibility of overturning Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International/35 U.S.C. § 101 (whether or not that could happen) or based on global enforcement of patents in Europe or Asia.

Another possibility is to simply tie the license for certain high-value proprietary components to similar EULA-esque agreements as Microsoft did in the past. With new investments from Apple, IBM and Microsoft into cloudware, overt proprietary licensing has taken a backseat while covert threats of strategic patent litigation are relied on. So if the patent angle falls apart, a simple return to “Shared Source” or cloudware/freemium-like access to certain enterprise features could form the basis of similar agreements in lieu of patent threats.

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“The primary threat Microsoft faces from Linux is against NT Server.”

“UNIX’s perceived Scaleability, Interopability, Availability, and Manageability (SIAM) advantages over NT.”

“Linux can win as long as services / protocols are commodities”

“Linux’s homebase is currently commodity network and server infrastructure. By folding extended functionality (e.g. Storage+ in file systems, DAV/POD for networking) into today’s commodity services, we raise the bar & change the rules of the game.”

“Via tools such as enterprise agreements, long term research, executive keynotes, etc., Microsoft is able to commit to a long term vision and create a greater sense of long term order than an OSS process.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween3.html

“The effect of patents and copyright in combatting Linux remains to be investigated.”

“It plants the idea that any MIS manager so foolish as to use Linux will find his operating system yanked out from under him by a future patent lawsuit”

“Microsoft truly behaves as though it corporately believes that there’s only a fixed pool of key ideas, most already discovered, which software designers must squabble over in zero-sum competition until the end of time. In that game, the only definition of `winning’ is cornering enough goodies to guarantee you a monopoly lock.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween3.html

“We need to keep hammering on the difference between source that you can see only after signing a Microsoft NDA or non-competition agreement and source that anyone can examine, modify, and redistribute.”

“The risk that Microsoft will go on a patent-lawsuit rampage, designed more to scare potential open-source users than to actually shut down developers, is substantial. The language about “concrete actions” in relation to IPR has the same ominous feel”

“Seventy-four percent (74%) of Americans and 82% of Swedes stated that the risk of being sued over Linux patent violations made them feel less favorable towards Linux.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween7.html

“Our SCOsource licensing revenue to date has been generated from license agreements that are non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free, paid up licenses to utilize our UNIX source code, including the right to sublicense.”

“SCO holds no Unix patents; the state and disposition of the Unix copyrights is unclear and presently disputed between SCO and Novell”

“When a company decides to release existing proprietary code as Open Source, the show-stopper is almost always the other parties outside of that company who are involved. Such parties become involved through patents that have been licensed, proprietary code that has been produced by a third party and embedded into the product, and existing contracts relating to the product that have been entered into with customers or other vendors.”

“because it’s possible to infringe a patent you’ve never heard of: you can never be sure there isn’t some patent somewhere that you’re infringing among the millions of patents granted annually.”

“SCO has also repeatedly made and withdrawn allegations about patents in the trade press.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween9.html

“Caldera/SCO has a long history of lawsuits over obsolete technologies stripped out of dead companies — starting with DR-DOS from Digital Research and continuing through USL’s System V into the present with the IBM lawsuit.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween10.html

06.06.19

Chapter 6: Damning With Faint Praise — Take the Right Examples of Free Software and Exploit Them for Everything

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cover and quick Introduction [PDF]

Chapter 1: Know your enemies– Act like a friend [PDF]

Chapter 2: Work with the system– Use OEMs and your legal team [PDF]

Chapter 3: Playing the victim– Show the world that too much freedom hurts development [PDF]

Chapter 4: You get what you pay for– Getting skeptics to work for you [PDF]

Chapter 5: Open Source Judo– How to bribe the moderates to your side [PDF]

You are here ☞ Chapter 6: Damning with faint praise– Take the right examples of free software and exploit them for everything [PDF]

Chapter 7: Patent War– Use low-quality patents to prove that all software rips off your company

Chapter 8: A foot in the door– how to train sympathetic developers and infiltrate other projects

Chapter 9: Ownership through Branding– Change the names, and change the world

Chapter 10: Moving forward– Getting the best results from Open source with your monopoly


You might not believe me if I tell you that we decide what “cool” means, unless you look at the results in real life. We have the press working for us, we have open source doing what we need even as they believe they are fighting us. We can keep the press obedient in exchange for access, we can enjoy allegiance from open source from other deals that we make.

If our research shows that something is cool, we buy it or we produce it. One thing you can’t do is make the same thing look cool forever. No matter how happy some customers are, or how much they rely on our software, we are still going to lead them away from one thing and towards another– it isn’t just because it’s better; it’s because if we let them rely on what they already have, we won’t get to sell them anything new.

Now with cloudware, we control the access to the software. But it is still necessary for people to perceive that we are working to make improvements. The most convincing way to do this is to keep chasing what’s new– and dragging people from one thing to the next.

Once again we do this as friends, with a carrot of features and not just the stick of walled access and fees. We aren’t just forcing people to pay, but leading them to want their subscriptions and feel good about them. We make promises about the new features being useful, but we also need the press and our marketing to make our products cool. No matter how much of a monopoly we work to maintain, there are other companies out there looking to create something before we can. We need to be sure we own and control it– otherwise, it belongs to them.

Another great thing about what’s new is that people don’t know anything about it. We can write our own narrative about new products, and until enough people gain access and knowledge (and preferably first-hand experience) they can’t say very much about the product that we can say twice as much about. New products let us run circles around people who claim to know about them– they give us a unique advantage.

As for lack of familiarity, we can actually use that to increase interest rather than lose business. If the product is attractive enough, we can use the people who are familiar with it against the people who aren’t, and make the latter look like they are ignorant if they are unfamiliar with our product line. So the incentive to do business is to continue to appear knowledgeable. This tactic works notably well among enthusiasts and professionals.

If you ask people to define “cool,” they can’t always come up with something concrete. But you don’t have to be a cool person at all to know what definition of “cool” matters to us– “cool” is what’s new and what people want. That’s as cool as we will ever need to be. That’s what keeps us where we are, and everyone else where they are. And that’s what we have to keep control of, if we want to stay where we are.

On the other side of the coin we have what’s not cool: stuff that’s not new, or stuff that people don’t want. That’s what we have to avoid offering– if that’s all we have, we need to buy or develop new things to offer.

A superior product is like a politician’s speech– the best way to sell a lie is to put a truth in it, so people assume the rest of it is also the truth. And when you want to sell a new product you can do the same thing: start with a feature people are desperate to have, and you can build a lot of garbage around it as long as the important features are satisfying enough.

It should be more than obvious that some of these features– even some of the best features– are going to be proprietary. So it becomes imperative if we are going to compete with and also infiltrate open source that we need to loosen the hold that free software has on the narrative.

A schism can be hashed out and resolved– what we want is to widen it to a chasm and actually hand the reins of free software over to open source, so that all “open source” is forever a way to steer people towards our features.

Everything cool (that we care about) is new and wanted, and everything uncool is old and boring and standard. To keep churning out cooler, newer products (not always cool like Apple, sometimes just cool like an update with a few new features) we need to use our shills to show everyone how uncool the alternatives are. As long as we look cool and friendly, people will be reluctant to care that we need to go after our competition in this way. After all, cool is also about winning, and winning means someone loses somewhere.

By the time people are convinced that our competitors aren’t cool, they won’t want to side with them anymore and won’t defend them from us.

We need to turn rich against poor, as mentioned two chapters ago– and we need to turn inexperienced users against experienced ones, to prevent skeptics from handing down their stories to potential customers. It is essential to paint seasoned experts as gray and irrelevant, as has-beens who don’t understand the genius of our new offerings. And it is essential to paint every tool we used to offer or never offered as outdated and obsolete.

When dealing with open source, the most important person to paint as a has-been is Richard Stallman. He and Gates are decades-long rivals, diametrically opposed to each other in their philosophies. But more relevant is that he leads the movement that opposes us– we need to keep open source on our side, and lead them further away from free software.

Fortunately, Stallman and his followers are tightly-knit in their ideology. Attacking any of them is like attacking all of them– we can play up their hacker style as social ineptitude, their adherence (where it exists) to standards and interoperability as a refusal to evolve, their playful culture as a refusal to grow up and be professional, and their self-reliance and independence as being non-team-players and even toxic masculinity.

Their hacker philosophy is about putting certain values first– just as we use new features to get people to accept new flaws that we can promise to fix later (and then say that we have a greater commitment to security) and use open source to bring people to our exclusive software lines, we can use their values to steer the next generation of customers (and critics) towards a more corporate culture.

Any social values that we are saddled with keeping up appearances about in the workplace, we can instill through open source and then claim the rest are not putting enough emphasis on. Of course, some of these values are good values in and of themselves. But as much as we have “social value theater” in the workplace and have to play along, we can dump the same corporate culture onto anyone who will call it professionalism, and then say everyone else is just unprofessional and toxic.

In the short run we can use this against Stallman and his organization, but in the long run we can even use this to shackle Linus and gradually push him out the door. In our culture, it doesn’t pay to be eccentric except when it makes us billions– get with the program or get out. A leader that isn’t making us money is a leader who has let us down, and we need to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

The values of free software developers and the values of free software itself go hand in hand. We need to denigrate most of their software, along the same lines that we denigrate the people who create it. As said over and over, we need to rely on shills, fans, and “useful third parties” to denigrate these people and their work. We also need a “path forward” to our products. Whenever we outline our strategies to feed to our shills and the tech press, they need to paint free software and its authors as true gems– from a bygone era.

“Yes, that was really great. But now, it’s time to look to the future.”

The future is (always) us, and the products we want people to use. There’s no rise in quarterly revenue for tried-and-trusted, except when it’s merely the glue holding our new products together.

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“OSS poses a direct, short-term revenue and platform threat to Microsoft — particularly in server space. Additionally, the intrinsic parallelism and free idea exchange in OSS has benefits that are not replicable with our current licensing model and therefore present a long term developer mindshare threat.”

“However, other OSS process weaknesses provide an avenue for Microsoft to garner advantage in key feature areas such as architectural improvements (e.g. storage+), integration (e.g. schemas), ease-of-use, and organizational support.”

“OSS process vitality is directly tied to the Internet”

“The OSS process is unique in its participants’ motivations and the resources that can be brought to bare down on problems. OSS, therefore, has some
interesting, non-replicable assets which should be thoroughly understood.”

“Open source software has roots in the hobbyist and the scientific community and was typified by ad hoc exchange of source code by developers/users.”

“Credit for the first instance of modern, organized OSS is generally given to Richard Stallman of MIT. In late 1983, Stallman created the Free Software
Foundation (FSF) — http://www.gnu.ai.mit.edu/fsf/fsf.html — with the goal of creating a free version of the UNIX operating system.”

“Commercial software development processes are hallmarked by organization around economic goals. However, since money is often not the (primary) motivation behind Open Source Software, understanding the nature of the threat posed requires a deep understanding of the process and motivation of Open Source development teams.”

“In other words, to understand how to compete against OSS, we must target a process rather than a company.”

“These individuals are more like hobbyists spending their free time / energy on OSS project development while maintaining other full time jobs. This has begun to change somewhat as commercial versions of the Linux OS have appeared.”

“Coordination of an OSS team is extremely dependent on Internet-native forms of collaboration.”

“OSS projects the size of Linux and Apache are only viable if a large enough community of highly skilled developers can be amassed to attack a problem.”

“Common goals are the equivalent of vision statements which permeate the distributed decision making for the entire development team. A single, clear
directive (e.g. “recreate UNIX”) is far more efficiently communicated and acted upon by a group than multiple, intangible ones”

“Because the entire Linux community has years of shared experience dealing with many other forms of UNIX, they are easily able to discern — in a non-confrontational manner — what worked and what didn’t.”

“Having historical, 20:20 hindsight provides a strong, implicit structure. In more forward looking organizations, this structure is provided by strong, visionary leadership.”

“Raymond posits that developers are more likely to reuse code in a rigorous open source process than in a more traditional development environment because they are always guaranteed access to the entire source all the time.”

“Treating your users as co-developers is your least-hassle route to rapid code improvement and effective debugging.”

“Release early. Release often. And listen to your customers.”

“Because the developers are typically hobbyists, the ability to `fund’ multiple, competing efforts is not an issue and the OSS process benefits from the ability to pick the best potential implementation out of the many produced.”

“Universities are some of the original proponents of OSS as a teaching tool.”

“Linus Torvalds is a celebrity in the Linux world and his decisions are considered final. By contrast, a similar celebrity leader did NOT exist for the BSD-derived efforts.”

“What are the core strengths of OSS products that Microsoft needs to be concerned with?”

“The single biggest constraint faced by any OSS project is finding enough developers interested in contributing their time towards the project. As an
enabler, the Internet was absolutely necessary to bring together enough people for an Operating System scale project.”

“Like commercial software, the most viable single OSS project in many categories will, in the long run, kill competitive OSS projects and `acquire’ their IQ assets. For example, Linux is killing BSD Unix and has absorbed most of its core ideas (as well as ideas in the commercial UNIXes).”

“One of the most interesting implications of viable OSS ecosystems is long-term credibility.”

“Long term credibility exists if there is no way you can be driven out of business in the near term. This forces change in how competitors deal with you.”

“a product/process is long-term credible if FUD tactics can not be used to combat it.”

“OSS systems are considered credible because the source code is available from potentially millions of places and individuals.”

“The likelihood that Apache will cease to exist is orders of magnitudes lower than the likelihood that WordPerfect, for example, will disappear. The
disappearance of Apache is not tied to the disappearance of binaries (which are affected by purchasing shifts, etc.) but rather to the disappearance of source code and the knowledge base.“

“Inversely stated, customers know that Apache will be around 5 years from now — provided there exists some minimal sustained interested from its
user/development community.”

“The GPL and its aversion to code forking reassures customers that they aren’t riding an evolutionary `dead-end’ by subscribing to a particular commercial version of Linux.”

“The “evolutionary dead-end” is the core of the software FUD argument.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween1.html

06.05.19

Chapter 5: Open Source Judo — How to Bribe the Moderates to Your Side

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, OSI at 4:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cover and quick Introduction [PDF]

Chapter 1: Know your enemies– Act like a friend [PDF]

Chapter 2: Work with the system– Use OEMs and your legal team [PDF]

Chapter 3: Playing the victim– Show the world that too much freedom hurts development [PDF]

Chapter 4: You get what you pay for– Getting skeptics to work for you [PDF]

You are here ☞ Chapter 5: Open Source Judo– How to bribe the moderates to your side [PDF]

Chapter 6: Damning with faint praise– Take the right examples of free software and exploit them for everything

Chapter 7: Patent War– Use low-quality patents to prove that all software rips off your company

Chapter 8: A foot in the door– how to train sympathetic developers and infiltrate other projects

Chapter 9: Ownership through Branding– Change the names, and change the world

Chapter 10: Moving forward– Getting the best results from Open source with your monopoly


IN 1999, Bruce Perens left the Open Source Initiative that he co-founded with Eric S. Raymond. In his letter to the community, he explained:

“Open Source has de-emphasized the importance of the freedoms involved in Free Software.”

He continued: “One of the unfortunate things about Open Source is that it overshadowed the Free Software Foundation’s efforts. This was never fair – although some disapprove of Richard Stallman’s rhetoric and disagree with his belief that _all_ software should be free, the Open Source Definition is entirely compatible with the Free Software Foundation’s goals, and a schism between the two groups should never have been allowed to develop.”

This schism is ripe for exploitation. As mentioned in the previous chapter: “we can stir contention between ‘open’ and ‘free’ and get open source to defend our model…” Getting fans and amateurs to first fight our battles for us, and then blame the very people they’re attacking for disagreeing with them– is an important step and makes open source an unlikely if valuable ally.

Since no one involved with open source is stupid enough to think they can change the minds of hardened free software zealots, it seems obvious they only use rhetoric to make themselves look like the more reasonable option and to gain the hearts and minds of people who are still on the fence. Those are the same people we want to bring to our side.

Nonetheless, this is an industry. The ideal would be to have industry people on our side. And just as crime glues people to the nightly news, the drama between open source and software idealists gets people reading about whatever open source has to say this week.

The tech press loves open source, because it has greater affinity for the industry the press represents. If you love this business as much as we do, you quickly get tired of all the self-righteous whining of nerds and long for the can-do, easygoing and corporate-positive attitude of open source geeks. They might not appreciate an irreparable, proprietary kernel as much as we do– but they understand that not all improvements are free or open. These are people we can work with. And if we can work with them, we can take advantage of them.

Proprietary software has to be marketable, and immediately this gives us an advantage with people who want to write about it– our titles are more fun to cover, lead to more interesting stories and more interesting headlines.

Moreover, when we send press releases or hire copywriters, we can throw our values into the conversation and remind people why everything is better when our tools are included– we can take anything and use our market research and our clout (and leverage) with other companies to create a product ten times better than free software can hope to compete with.

Even when this isn’t true, the tech press has taken our side again and again. We can even push journalists– just like Microsoft did to push OEMs to cooperate– to lean favorably or lose our participation and cooperation. Time is money; in journalism, doubly so. But without our help, the tech press often doesn’t get their story as fast. Just as we can do more favorable business with OEMs, forcing them to dance for us– the same game works with journalists.

If an author becomes too critical, we can drop them– stop handing them stories, and even use their employers against them (favoring another publisher entirely, until they learn from their mistake.) Apple has done this in the past, and their national-security-like commitment to security under Steve Jobs meant that journalists who wanted a story had little hope of getting it without staying loyal to Apple Inc.

But it can’t be said enough times, that just like with everything else (customers, competitors, partners, even open source itself) that our relationship with journalists should be friendly on the surface– and appear friendly as a rule. Even as we subtly threaten writers not to push too hard or they will fall out of favor, we need to smile and tell them “Look, we aren’t here to tell you what to do. You have a business– we have a business. We just want to be sure that what you write is good for both of us.” They’ll get the picture. The vast majority of them always do, and the people who pay them always do.

Open source provides us many new opportunities to make these exchanges and representation in the press look more organic and less staged. The endless, cloying premise of making everything “more open” is the perfect trojan horse for delivering more of our exclusive products to an audience that thinks that it is seriously changing the way we do business.

And they’re right, on the surface– we have changed to make full use of their model, their rhetoric, their vague pseudopolitical nonsense designed to market freedom from our monopolies, to our monopolies. Two decades or more into this dance, we still use the same playbook and we still do it with a smile and thinly-veiled displays of our power.

If they doubt our friendship, we can help them make money in the process. Why not? They help our business. We are in this for control, just as much as money– we pretend to share control through carefully meted partnerships, but the value we generate is sustained by our position staying on top. As long as we remain powerful, we have our budget for advertising, our budget for lobbying, our budget for bribing– not that we need to call it that.

Big business means going to lunch, hosting dinners, sending out promotional items, and so on. We bribe customers with special deals, we bribe journalists with meals and events and parties, we like to treat our friends well– even if later we make it clear what the terms of treating us well are in turn.

It’s not “bribery” if we don’t put the two together. The ultimate hallmark of discretion is that if we pay you to act the way we want you to– even you won’t notice. So we dance around the margins of what is ethically and legally acceptable, and just like we do with consumer rights– sometimes the dance gets a little wild and risky. Business is about taking chances, and if we go too far, we just pull back. Don’t forget that the entire point of this dance is to be treated favorably by the same people who would call us on our behavior. As long as we have enough of them, the rest wont matter.

And if our companies can actually purchase and literally own some of the corporations that talk about us– well, most people don’t care about that. After all, they keep telling themselves that writers write their own stories. Sure they do– from whatever they glean from our press releases, press events, and corporate evangelists.

We don’t just have the tech press treating us kindly– we have the organizations they interview where we want them, and even the other people the tech press gets their information from. No matter where you go, you’re going to hear how great we are.

That’s the power of the press– our press. All we ever really have to do, is figure out what we want people to hear.

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“It’s a handful of amateurs, most of us unpaid and almost all part-time, against an entrenched multimillion-dollar propaganda machine run by some of the top specialists in the technology-marketing business.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween1.html

“Shall I go to the town of Nottingham, Linus, and with smooth words recruit the gossips and trade press to our cause?”

“Why don’t we write software so complicated and protocols so obscure and undocumented that only we can figure them out?”

“Yes! Then we will use our superior marketing forces to cram them down everyone’s throat, and neither Linus’s outlaws nor any other competition will be able to get a toehold in any IT shop anywhere, ever again!”

“Exactly, master. I call it de-commoditizing.”

“Various press shills and Microsoft lackeys, alerted, begin pointing fingers at Linus and his little band.”

“those hippies will never build anything really complicated or difficult!”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween4.html

“We also get some whining about ‘lack of fairness in media coverage,’ which appears to be Microsoft-speak for ‘the trade press isn’t behaving like our poodles anymore.’”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween5.html

“Microsoft has never been famous for reluctance to tell lies when that suits corporate purposes.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween5.html

“Microsoft has been trying to sandbag Linux with supposedly ‘objective’ studies by third parties that turn out to have been bought and paid for by the boys in Redmond.”

“Microsoft got the benchmark results it wanted – only to be embarrassed when it came out that Mindcraft had apparently run them on Microsoft-supplied machines, at a Microsoft site, with the benevolent assistance of Microsoft technicians tuning both Windows and (even more helpfully) Linux – and then neglected to mention in its press release that Microsoft had paid for and hosted the whole exercise.”

“This time, its date for the dance was a respected name in IT forecasting, the Gartner Group.”

“Sometime before 6 October, the Gartner Group published on its central corporate website, www.gartner.com, a series of five reports slamming Linux and predicting that its appeal would fade once the inevitable Service Pack 1 for Windows 2000 came out. These reports quickly spawned Linux-is-doomed articles like this example from 15 Oct on the IDG Australia website, which promoted them as objective studies by independent Gartner.”

“On 19 October Gartner changed the copyright on the reports to no longer mention Microsoft, while publicly insisting that the research had not been funded by Microsoft.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween6.html

“Provide detail on the writer and their media who are writing the story, i.e. are they technical, political, sensational”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween8.html

“since Microsoft hired Mindcraft to discredit Linux.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween9.html

“I also expect a serious effort, backed by several billion dollars in bribe money (oops, excuse me, campaign contributions), to get open-source software outlawed on some kind of theory that it aids terrorists.”

“We need to make the cost of suppressing us higher than the sixty billion dollars Microsoft can afford to pay.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween11.html

“For close on twenty years I have watched Microsoft peddle inferior technology with slick marketing, destroy competitors with dirty tricks, and buy its way out of trouble.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/faq.html

“Sleazy behavior, covered by utterly brilliant marketing, has been a pattern in Microsoft’s business practices since they were a garage outfit”

From http://www.catb.org/~esr/not-the-osi/halloween-rant.html

06.04.19

Chapter 4: You Get What You Pay For — Getting Skeptics to Work For You

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cover and quick Introduction [PDF]

Chapter 1: Know your enemies– Act like a friend [PDF]

Chapter 2: Work with the system– Use OEMs and your legal team [PDF]

Chapter 3: Playing the victim– Show the world that too much freedom hurts development [PDF]

You are here ☞ Chapter 4: You get what you pay for– Getting skeptics to work for you [PDF]

Chapter 5: Open Source Judo– How to bribe the moderates to your side

Chapter 6: Damning with faint praise– Take the right examples of free software and exploit them for everything

Chapter 7: Patent War– Use low-quality patents to prove that all software rips off your company

Chapter 8: A foot in the door– how to train sympathetic developers and infiltrate other projects

Chapter 9: Ownership through Branding– Change the names, and change the world

Chapter 10: Moving forward– Getting the best results from Open source with your monopoly


Summary: You could never upsell a customer, without a variety of price points. And there is no price more enticing than free, unless it’s nearly the exact amount that a customer hoped to spend

You could never upsell a customer, without a variety of price points. And there is no price more enticing than free, unless it’s nearly the exact amount that a customer hoped to spend.

Getting customers to spend more money is a cornerstone of retail enterprise, no matter how many people expect to get all their software for free. What you want everyone to think is that spending more money will always result in additional value.

The truth is that a lot of people can get what they need or even want, without spending additional funds. Our goal is to be creative with that truth, and once again “accentuate the positive.” The positives we are going to focus on, are the positives of spending more. With a little finesse, we can also feed the customer’s fear of not getting enough– to make them afraid of being “ripped off” if they don’t pay anything. We want to take people who think they want to get something for free, and convince them to associate value with spending– not saving– their money.

One advantage we have in this is the Internet. The Internet allows us to focus more exclusively on the advantages of our products over free “competitors,” and outsource our attacks to fans and useful third parties.

One party we can make use of in this effort is the “open source” fanbase. Unlike the quasi-religious free software groups, open source offers us a cooler, more practical, more open-minded audience that isn’t interested in getting everything for free if there is a good argument for spending money.

Their philosophical difference with the free software crowd means that we can stir contention between “open” and “free” and get open source to defend our model, as proof they understand more about software and the computer industry than their more idealist counterparts.

When free software zealots insist that the user should have full control of their computers and software, we can count on open source to needle them about each aspect of their position that rejects our distribution model– we don’t have
to reduce free software users to simply being cheap, we can get open source fans to do that for us. We don’t have to say why our product is better to free software users that are against us completely– we can tell their open source opponents that our product is better, and they will do the rest of the work as it vindicates their mixed approach to free and proprietary software.

And we can prove that spending money adds value even in the free software landscape– Red Hat, Inc. built a multi-billion-dollar company out of selling services with software that was already free. All we have to do is continue to demonstrate and argue that our development of proprietary software is an equally valuable service, resulting in even greater value.

Social websites like Facebook and Twitter have resulted in a new term, called “FOMO” which stands for “fear of missing out.” In the marketing world this is an ancient concept– FOMO doesn’t just apply to events or social updates, it can also apply to “missing out” on special promotional offers, better products and the myriad features we add to our software so that if you don’t get the latest edition– you will “miss out” on everything that makes the new version so much better.

Consumers are wonderfully competitive as individuals. If your clothes tend to look cooler or more expensive than someone else’s clothes, sooner or later you’re going to feel like a cooler person or even a better person than they are. Software products work the same way– this is no news to Apple, who built an industry on having “cooler” (also more expensive) computers than the standard fare. Why would you buy a Leaf, when you can afford a Tesla?

So we want everyone to feel like the price tags are not only justified, but guarantee a better level of satisfaction. The fact that so much software is now free (and unlimited, even improvable and redistributable) has absolutely no bearing on this feeling– on the contrary. Open source fans know they can always shell out a few dollars and be instantly cooler than the ideological nerds and other stuffed shirts they love to argue with. We in turn, can deliver the very goods they need to feel superior.

While free software tries to convince the world that free is somehow better, we can remind the majority of the world what marketing has conditioned them to believe for years: greater spending translates directly to greater value and better products; using better products translates to higher social status– both of these translate to a happier customer. Spending more is what makes you happy!

People will always point out that this is cynical. It doesn’t really matter, because this “cynical” point of view is what continues to drive consumers to spend and overspend, year after year. If we drive this point forward any further, many people will start to forget that things that are “free” are worth anything at all!

In developing nations, people will be more likely to discover the perceived value of free software. In the past, we have fought so aggressively to stop people in impoverished countries from copying our software illegally, that they have nearly been forced to choose free options over ours. To some degree, that may have been a mistake.

There are a few things that we can do to counter that previous mistake– one is to take advantage of the subscription model. We can control updates; we don’t really care who pirates the “starter pack” for our platform anymore, because we can monitor and update and deactivate whatever parts of the platform we want pirates to have or not have.

Complete control of the software after purchase means we don’t need to care so much about control of the software before or even during purchase– particularly in developing nations where we want the growth of our market.

We can also work with charities to deliver (and pay for) our software. Obviously, these charities could simply put free software on computers and deliver those to developing nations– just like OLPC wanted to do. But is it really charity to deliver software that can barely compete with the quality of our own?

As long as our proprietary and commercial offerings have more perceived value than the free counterparts, we can point out that these charities could do more for people by raising additional funds to send higher quality commercial software to the people they want to help– just as they would have done before all this free software was dumped onto the landscape.

As for people who want to help the poor in industrialized (sometimes called “First World”) countries, the message is a simple one– an important part of pulling yourself out of poverty is to use the same expensive software that everyone else uses. Don’t accept and resign yourself to use software for impoverished people– save your money and invest in better tools that you can use to pull yourself up and succeed like everyone else! What better way to thumb your nose at your own modest means, than to buy top-quality tools that enhance your life and help you to make more of yourself?

If professionals find no reason to settle for free software, and people in developing nations find no reason to settle for free software, and the poor in “First World” countries find no reason to settle for free software, then who honestly does have a reason? Only those foolish enough to invent one, and even open source knows better than that– sometimes, (very often, really) it’s just better to pay more.

The vast majority of consumers expect this to be true. If we involve ourselves just the right amount in open source, we can use it as a platform to upsell customers to whatever products we want them to purchase. We simply need to keep our pitches modern and relevant (fine-tuned) to today’s consumers, many of whom know what their free options are. By accentuating the positive and outsourcing our attacks on the competition to sympathetic third parties, we can help people to remember that it’s silly to settle for less.

These days, the old “shareware” concept is reborn as the “freemium” concept. With both, you get something for free and you pay money to make it great. So ask yourself– do you want the free version, or the great version? It’s your choice.

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“OSS process weaknesses provide an avenue for Microsoft to garner advantage in key feature areas such as architectural improvements (e.g. storage+), integration (e.g. schemas), ease-of-use, and organizational support.”

“Commercial software is classic Microsoft bread-and-butter. It must be purchased, may NOT be redistributed”

“Limited trial software are usually functionally limited versions of commercial software which are freely distributed and intend to drive purchase of the commercial code. Examples include 60-day time bombed evaluation products.”

“Recent case studies (the Internet) provide very dramatic evidence in customer’s eyes that commercial quality can be achieved / exceeded by OSS projects. At this time, however there is no strong evidence of OSS code quality aside from anecdotal.”

“Commercial software development processes are hallmarked by organization around economic goals.”

“OSS projects the size of Linux and Apache are only viable if a large enough community of highly skilled developers can be amassed to attack a problem.”

“because OSS doesn’t have an explicit marketing / customer feedback component, wishlists — and consequently feature development — are dominated by the most technically savvy users.”

“How can OSS provide the service that consumers expect from software providers?”

“Product support is typically the first issue prospective consumers of OSS packages worry about and is the primary feature that commercial redistributors tout.”

“By declaring the HTTP server a commodity, IBM hopes to concentrate returns in the more technically arcane application services it bundles with it’s [sic] Apache distribution”

“OSS development process are far better at solving individual component issues than they are at solving integrative scenarios such as end-to-end ease of use.”

“In the short run, IIS soundly beats Apache on SPECweb. Moving further, as IIS moves into kernel and takes advantage deeper integration with the NT, this lead is expected to increase further.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween1.html

“Long term, my simple experiments do indicate that Linux has a chance at the desktop market but only after massive investments in ease of use and configuration.”

“Current Linux users are wary of commercial products”

“Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Red Hat’s business model is their extremely active and continuing contributions to the Linux community. Several prior initiatives spearheaded by RedHat have been released as OSS for modification. In most cases, these code releases were simple fixes or additional drivers.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween2.html

“Microsoft should avoid criticizing OSS and Linux directly”

“Overall respondents felt the most compelling reason to support OSS was that it ‘Offers a low total cost of ownership (TCO)’.”

“Use the Forrester report to claim that Linux is insecure”

“Belittle the quality of the toolset available on Linux”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween11.html

06.03.19

Playing the Victim — Show the World That Too Much Freedom Hurts Development

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 11:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chapter 3 [PDF]

“Where are we on this Jihad?”

Bill Gates

Summary: What the Halloween documents teach us about Microsoft’s mindset and strategy

With billions of people relying on software every day, letting just anybody write code is like putting small children behind the wheel of a car. Quality software requires quality control, and this is best left to professionals.

Up to a point, if professional developers want to make use of the growing number of people interested in producing rough sketches of functioning software, we could exploit “crowd-sourced” codebases if we are willing to supervise and make certain that nobody hurts themselves with a keyboard. The important thing is that they’re working for us– and on our terms.

Moving towards the world mentioned in the previous chapter will help, where every free software distributor that’s large enough “confesses” inquisition-like, that the software they wrote is actually ours. We still need to demonstrate ownership by moving their codebases onto our own servers. With the acquisition of Github, Microsoft has demonstrated to the press, to developers and to the rest of the world just how much free software they own (or at least control.)

Microsoft Github will bring all software development that much closer to a world where not only is there a computer on every desk, as Bill Gates once put it– but where there is a Microsoft developer sitting at that desk. You didn’t work for them a year ago, but congratulations– you do now.

And it would be great if we could say that every developer is a Microsoft developer, for one because it would mean there is no competition at all. It would be great if when people stopped developing software for the largest and most powerful software company, they stopped developing altogether– because without the largest company with the best developers, how else can we weed out quality issues like the concerns Apple has with dangerous battery-charging software, or network security issues in the workplace?

Without control, there is chaos. Even when a competing developer makes a terrible mistake– it hurts people’s trust in the digital connectivity and surveillance we want to put in every home, car, phone, wristwatch, pacemaker, thermostat, doorbell, front lock, pedometer, camera, speaker, television, refrigerator, dishwasher, power meter, radio, and e-book reader, for starters.

If we want to sell the Internet of Things, we can’t have people thinking that a bunch of amateurs are creating their software– we want them to know that everything is under control.

Over the years, we have had great success getting people to accept subscriptions instead of purchases– the world remembers Steve Ballmer with derision, but if he accomplished one invaluable thing during his time at Microsoft it was the transition from software in boxes to the subscription model. Today with Windows 10, that model is now realized.

A lot of people think that a subscription model is just about charging people over and over again for something they already bought legally. This is definitely one of the nice things about the new way of doing business with software, but there is a more important angle– we basically “own” (at least control) every machine that uses this model. You can’t buy that level of control, you have to fool millions and then billions of customers into trusting you with it.

In some ways, Apple has had greater success with the subscription model than even Microsoft. Leading the way with songs that you had to buy again for every three devices you listened to them on (even if they caved into consumer demand about that later) they still control customers’ copies of films and books. And this is one more reason that we don’t want software to be free and controlled by the user: if the user controls their files and programs, they can also copy media that the film industry and e-book publishers want to control after purchase.

By allying with the media companies and major publishers, we have an additional source of revenue that not only gives us an industry we can first tap into and then gradually become its vendors, we have yet another contemporary reason to control users’ computers after they purchase them with our software.

“This is great,” you say, “but how do we get customers to think of proprietary software this way?”

The answer is that we do it with guilt trips, with lobbying and public-service-like advertising, and (though it’s a subject for a later chapter) by working with schools to indoctrinate students with our pro-monopoly point of view. We make certain that if someone says “Wouldn’t it be nice if all software were free?”– whether they’re in a classroom or an online chat or their own dinner table, that someone is ready to make them feel stupid for even suggesting it– try it with your own family, and see what they say. Chances are, it’s something we told them.

However, if your intention is to lead customers by the nose, then you don’t just want to come of as self-righteous. You want to actually make the people who differ from you look like worse people. And the way to do that is to play the victim.

You’re not “being greedy and only caring about profit”– you’re “struggling to survive as a company in unsure times.” You’re not trying to control the lives of your customers for your own selfish reasons– you’re trying to protect not only a wonderful business model that ensures high-quality software and tools and services for your customers; you’re doing it to protect the customers themselves.

When other people attack your company, you know, they’re really attacking everything good about software (including security.) By trying to stop you from delivering the highest quality software on the market, they are not just ensuring their own suffering; they are ensuring that everyone (the entire market) suffers.

If you are stopped from doing what you do, for whatever reason you think is best, the cost is to the economy, the well-being of millions of people, and the entire industry– not just your company. What they are doing by standing in your way, is being selfish and destructive and greedy. What you are doing by offering the best proprietary software that keeps tabs on your customers– is keeping the world turning. Who would want to interfere with that?

Once you’ve made it clear though, that whatever you need to do for the good of humanity itself is exactly what you’re going to do, and that anybody that disagrees is just trying to stand in your way and destroy your company (the best company there is– that’s the reason why it’s so giant!) Then you can play their little game and say you’re doing it just to show them how it’s supposed to be done–

Just like invading a backwards country and then bringing in construction companies to rebuild when the war is over, after we have declared war on free software and asserted our reasons for taking control back for ourselves– we can make “peace” and be “friends” who work together… if it’s on the terms that we set for them.

After all, what good are friendships if you can’t exploit them?

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“the intrinsic parallelism and free idea exchange in OSS has benefits that are not replicable with our current licensing model and therefore present a long term developer mindshare threat.”

“’De-commoditizing’ protocols means reducing choice, raising prices, and suppressing competition.”

“somebody might spend money on a non-MS – product”

“MS might lose its monopoly position”

“people might actually write software for a non-MS product.“

“Microsoft perceives a product to be a ‘threat’ if it presents itself as any of these”

“Because derivatives of Linux MUST be available through some free avenue, it lowers the long term economic gain for a minority party with a forked Linux tree.”

“What the author is driving at is nothing less than trying to subvert the entire ‘commodity network and server’ infrastructure (featuring TCP/IP, SMTP, HTTP, POP3, IMAP, NFS, and other open standards) into using protocols which, though they might have the same names, have actually been subverted into customer- and market-control devices for Microsoft…”

“The `folding extended functionality’ here is a euphemism for introducing nonstandard extensions (or entire alternative protocols) …even though they’re closed, undocumented or just specified enough to create an illusion of openness… while simultaneously making the writing of third-party symbiotes for Microsoft programs next to impossible.”

“We’ve seen Microsoft play this game before, and they’re very good at it. When it works, Microsoft wins a monopoly lock.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween1.html

“One ‘blue sky’ avenue that should be investigated is if there is any way to turn
Linux into an opportunity for Microsoft.”

“A more generalized assessment of how to beat the Open Source Software process which begat Linux is contained in the ‘Open Source Software’ document.”

“Systematically attacking UNIX in general helps attack Linux in particular.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween2.html

“no intellectual property protection means that the deep investments needed by the industry in infrastructure will gravitate to other business models.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween3.html

“For Microsoft (or at least its present business model) to survive, open source must die. It’s a lot like the Cold War was; peaceful coexistence could be a stable solution for us, but it can never be for them, because they can’t tolerate the corrosive effect on their customer relationships of comparisons with a more open system.”

“Expect Microsoft to ally even more closely with the RIAA and MPAA in making yet another try at hardware-based DRM restrictions — and legislation making them mandatory. The rationale will be to stop piracy and spam, but the real goal will be customer control and a lockout of all unauthorized software.”

“I also expect a serious effort, backed by several billion dollars in bribe money (oops, excuse me, campaign contributions), to get open-source software outlawed on some kind of theory that it aids terrorists.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween11.html

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts