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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

Apparent Staffing Problems at the Linux Foundation

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nothing to say since April 25th? What happened?

Linux Foundation quiet

Summary: There are signs that something has changed inside the Linux Foundation, whose chief and main site have not said a thing since April 25th while advertising ‘Microsoft positions’ inside the Foundation

EVER since we started investigating the Linux Foundation we’ve had very positive responses (no negative ones so far). Some readers decided to help us research the Linux Foundation a bit. We now have quite a lot of eyes on the Foundation and we can sense that the Foundation’s leadership is very much aware of it. Through various connections we also have eyes and ears inside. They’re quite secretive at the Foundation, but people occasionally see or hear things they can’t just ignore. Principal Foundation staff started acting rather unusually. They became eerily quiet recently. Is it one of those “I know what you did last summer” moments? It’s very hard to simply dismiss this as a mere chain of coincidences, as we shall explain below.

“We now have quite a lot of eyes on the Foundation and we can sense that the Foundation’s leadership is very much aware of it.”The Linux Foundation and Jim Zemlin have published nothing since April in Linux.com. First time in over a decade or its entire existence? It was never this quiet. Not even news picks! Nothing! “It’s a potentially worrisome development,” one reader told us, “given the recent Microsoft entryism.”

In the Fediverse someone told me he has “been wondering about that also (?) Any updates on this?”

That needs researching. We’re looking carefully at recent publications from the Linux Foundation as opposed to Linux.com, which has been dormant and stale since April. Did the editor resign? Did someone get fired? Help us find out. The Foundation isn’t responding to any of that debate (it wouldn’t have hurt to say a few words of (re)assurance). It’s public and the Foundation was pinged about it.

Mr. Zemlin himself has been quiet (his last tweet was on April 25th, the same day Linux.com went silent; the last post is a link to what seems like the Foundation’s media partner). He not only blocked me in Twitter; it turned out he had also blocked Tux Machines, to which the Linux Foundation gave an exclusive interview some years back. We often wonder if Mr. Zemlin can be excused for still not using GNU/Linux, even after a decade and a half (almost) as chief of the “Linux” Foundation. He was its only chief ever. The Foundation could put someone like Bdale Garbee in charge instead; at least people respect him. At least he actually uses “Linux”, not just as a brand to be sold, licensed and ‘monetised’.

“Sometimes it feels like companies such as Microsoft have more influence in this Foundation than Torvalds himself.”I am frankly becoming concerned that the Foundation is nowadays promoting surveillance rather than freedom, marketing rather than advocacy and proprietary software instead of Free software (or “Open Source” as they prefer to call it).

Months ago we wrote about how the Foundation together with Microsoft/GitHub (the funding source) launched CommunityBridge, which is proprietary software that competes against existing things which are Free software. And here’s the more curious thing. The Foundation now looks for a leader — someone to run this ‘Community’Bridge thing. Days ago the Foundation published a job advertisement for this proprietary software it had launched for Microsoft (i.e. the usual). I found this ad in its Twitter feed, which is also barely active, with less than one tweet per day on average (over the past decade they posted about 7 tweets a day, on average, including weekends). I tested to see how to apply for the job; out of curiosity of course, not genuine interest. It was soon that I got greeted by… yes! LinkedIn! They push people to join Microsoft (LinkedIn) and give Microsoft personal information, employment history etc. So what the Foundation was reduced to in 2019 is rather upsetting. Open an account with Microsoft and give them all your very personal details to apply for a job at the “Linux” Foundation. True story. Wish I was joking…

Did something happen? Transparency would help. Months ago I became more vocal in my criticism of the Foundation and now I’m genuinely worried about its very future. Remember that this is the employer of Linus Torvalds which could, in principle, even fire him. Sometimes it feels like companies such as Microsoft have more influence in this Foundation than Torvalds himself.

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

Microsoft’s Handbook: Work With the System, Use OEMs and Your Legal Team

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’m thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux. [...] they should do a delicate dance”

Joachim Kempin, Microsoft OEM Chief

Summary: Microsoft’s tactics against GNU/Linux have not changed much in two decades, they’re just framed differently

A LOT of people have been led to believe the “new Microsoft” mythology. A public relations success story? How about “Microsoft loves Linux”? How much money has Microsoft spent spreading this particular lie? Microsoft knows that this lie offends and aggravates geeks, but the target audience isn’t geeks but managers who might choose Azure for hosting GNU/Linux (for supposed "legal peace of mind"), managers who might also think that Vista 10 is now “also Linux” because of WeaSeL (WSL). Who wants to wrestle with UEFI ‘secure boot’ anyway? With those words, here comes Chapter 2.

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

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

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


Chapter 2

Work with the system
Use OEMs and your legal team

The Free Software Movement wants to change all the rules. Don’t forget, it’s companies like yours that made the rules!

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– not a bunch of neck-bearded basement dwellers.

Hardware and firmware keep gaining features. In 2019 we actually need to run firmware updates to keep our CPU chips from being insecure. While monopolies have added unwanted features for their platforms in the past, 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.

Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical refers to proprietary firmware such as ACPI as a “Trojan horse” and security risk. The only security risk is to the user– while your company can be the Trojan army.

For more than a decade, Microsoft has enjoyed an extra intimidating step or two– the user having to disable an important-sounding feature called “Secure
Boot” just to install many versions of the free software operating system “Linux.” People are afraid to turn off features that sound as if they add security– won’t that make them less secure? Aha, Gotcha! A gift from the OEMs to the monopolies.

Hardware OEMs are rarely on the side of these software communists. They exist to make money, and assisting the free software crowd with the full specifications needed to write high-quality drivers for every on-board feature would reveal too much about the designs to competing manufacturers. So 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. What the drivers gain in stability and maintenance, they often lose in features and performance.

So for one, you want to always stress that to get the most of your hardware, you need industry software– not cottage or basement software. The free software people have no retort for this, because they know they often can’t get the full specs. Meanwhile, the OEMs just keep making new designs– which often means that free software can’t even support the latest hardware.

When you have a monopoly, you don’t just have to wait and hope that other vendors do your bidding. Not only are you in a position to ask for features that
favor your company and very few others, but you can actually demand them (or work out deals to get your way.)

Most people expect their computer to come with software already installed. One thing Microsoft was able to do for years, was drop their prices for pre-installed copies of their operating system on new desktops and laptops– but only if the manufacturer agreed not to offer any machines with their competitors’ software–such as “Linux.”

In one fell swoop, Microsoft made use of their monopoly power to stop most people from getting a computer with “Linux” pre-installed.

That’s how you stay on top– work with people you know you can rely on to give you an advantage.

It’s worth noting that not all of these manufacturers actually wanted to do business exclusively with Microsoft. Microsoft pushed them to be exclusive, by
forcing them to choose between a higher price and a variety of software options. Because OEMs care about the bottom line (and what good business doesn’t?) They made the smart decision– and simply went along with Microsoft’s wishes.

Together with Intel, Toshiba, HP, Phoenix and even recent black sheep Huawei, Microsoft participated in the establishment of the ACPI power management system. We just explained that with enough features that aren’t fully or properly documented, free software struggles to keep up with hardware specs. By participating in and extending hardware specifications, Microsoft and other vendors have an opportunity to maintain their influence over not only software
development, but also the machines that people will try to put free software on later.

Of course, this won’t stop the free software authors from trying. Like the Whos in Whoville, if you co-opt all their whatsits, the free software crowd will just keep coding. But new standards that take 10 years to properly implement (or even poorly and inconsistently, but gradually implement) will often take years for the free software community to support. This is not good business between the manufacturers and the free software community– but they know which side butters their bread, and not to forget it.

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. 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.

Free software may demand a ride in your car these days, but remember that you’re in the driver’s seat!

OEMs aren’t your sole ally in the fight against free software; you also have lawyers. Lawyers should always come to mind when you’re figuring out how to get away with murder, whether they’re your defensive strategy or your offensive line.

The best-trained lawyers will help you navigate the thin margins between a strategic lawsuit that will come back to bite you, and one that accomplishes your goal: making it too much trouble for a smaller company or developer to continue their efforts to compete with your monopoly.

Unless you are a service-oriented company like Red Hat, 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. If some upstart comes along and offers a Solitaire game that works like your own, it doesn’t necessarily matter that the game isn’t part of your core portfolio– the best thing to do (as long as it’s in your legal budget) is blow the competition out of the water.

In the past, companies like Microsoft and Apple have had mixed results using patents to achieve this goal. While pro-piracy efforts such as PTAB (the Patent Trial and Appeal Board) in the United States have closed off this avenue for the most part, and software patents are gradually becoming a losing option for pursing directly (via the courts) in Europe, there are two options still worth exploring and exploiting:

First, we have the patent agreements. Legal action from a large corporation isn’t about legal justice or fairness– it’s about maintaining ground and instilling fear in smaller companies. If you are a smaller company, you can still have the upper hand in these actions if you place yourself under the “protection” of a very large company.

Earlier in the chapter it was mentioned that OEMs don’t always want to do business exclusively with a software company– but they can be pushed into deals they don’t always want to be part of. The intellectual property landscape adds an entire playing field for such deals, because no matter what the arena looks like today, nobody knows for certain what tomorrow holds.

Fear of the future is your best ally in this landscape, because you have (or your enterprise partners have) the best lawyers, and they could sue the competition for just about anything.

So don’t worry too much if the patent landscape is evolving– if one door closes, another will soon open. Since nobody can be sure what the future holds, there is success to be had in patent agreements. Here is how that works:

First, a large group of people create a work that violates your software patents. It doesn’t always matter if your patents would be thrown out as bogus in court, the purpose of them is to get people to settle so they don’t have to fight.

Originally, the way to do that was to threaten to sue over an enormous patent portfolio. But in the first chapter, we said to act like a friend first. By all means sue when appropriate– but when possible, be a friend!

Patent agreements are an olive branch we extend to companies, who simply agree that what they are using is our intellectual property. We don’t threaten to
sue when that’s unlikely to bear fruit– instead we say “Hi, we don’t want to sue you– we just want credit for your use of our property. If you will simply admit that what you’re using is ours, we agree not to fight it.”

What’s great about this is that there’s no fight– these companies (who often didn’t even write the software– it was often written by others, such as the Linux kernel) simply roll over and hand us the verdict we couldn’t get in a courtroom.

They admit that what they wrote is really our property!

And while we can’t achieve this in court or with a C&D, we can achieve this as friends. We can’t stop them from using our IP– because the patent offices that would let us do that are too weak. So what they can’t accomplish, we have to do ourselves, with strategy and diplomacy.

They get to continue development, but something important has changed in the landscape– 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?

Second, every big software company is getting into hardware. While software patents are dwindling, hardware gives us a new opportunity to exploit the patent landscape as a means of seeking royalties.

In the meantime, we can enjoy the royalties coming in from every USB stick and Android device.

And patents aren’t the only IP we can throw at them, either. A move towards our own Open Source licenses could let us use license terms to go after companies we want to force into other agreements.

No matter what though, the purpose of your legal team isn’t to ensure that other companies are doing the right thing– the purpose of your legal team is to ensure that other companies are doing what you want them to do. They who have the best lawyers, win!

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 future is nothing to fear– but your legal team certainly is.

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

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

“This memorandum also suggests that Linux could be attacked through patent lawsuits.”

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

“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 — perhaps one initiated by (whisper it) Microsoft itself.”

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

“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.”

“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

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

“Novell retained the Unix patents, and gave the Unix trademark to somebody else.”

“These sorts of factors complicate the release of every piece of Open Source software I’ve consulted on at HP so far, no matter what division it comes from.”

“if OpenMail is released as Open Source, we will have to first sanitise it: remove software that is connected with non-disclosure agreements that we entered, patents that we licensed, proprietary code that we bought but can’t relicense, and so on… We don’t know how big this sanitisation project is yet, if it’s bad, it could cost Millions.”

“Even relatively small proprietary projects, like the open-source release of Borland’s Inprise database require the codebase to be extensively scrutinized to remove licensed third party intellectual property.”

“We don’t know if there are any patent infringements [in this code] with somebody we don’t know. We don’t want to take the risk of being sued for a patent infringement.”

“Patent infringement is much more difficult to detect than other kinds of intellectual property infringement, 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.”

“large software corporations patent everything they can and then cross-license their entire patent portfolio with other companies.”

“SCO has no patents, they don’t own the trademark, copyright won’t serve them and the only contract they have with the Linux community is the General Public License, which SCO is the one violating. So they fall back on trade secrets, which aren’t secret anymore”

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

Microsoft’s Handbook: Know Your Enemies, Act Like a Friend

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger….If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft’s Platform Group Vice President

Summary: Microsoft’s tactics against Free/Libre/Open Source software and other competitors explained, based on its own documents and track record

A reader calling himself Ted MacReilly (we suspect this is a pseudonym) has sent us a preview of his “Handbook” titled, A Handbook for Destroying the Free Software Movement.

Citing modern events and the Halloween documents as inspiration, this quick guide explains how you as a proprietary developer or corporation can systematically reduce the growing Free Software movement to a shadow of its former self.

Techrights will publish this work in serial form, under what appears to be an MIT-like licence.

Previous: Cover and quick Introduction [PDF]

Table of Contents

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

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

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

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

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


Chapter 1

Know your enemies
Act like a friend

Great marketing is the difference between a billion-dollar company and a million-dollar company. Even if you have a great product, if people don’t know they want to buy it they might take their money elsewhere.

Like so many things, with marketing you get what you pay for. From hiring the best minds in advertising to saturating the media, a bigger budget means a bigger market for your software.

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.

Of course if those reasons refer to things that are true– such as new features that actually exist, or testimonials from a few satisfied customers– those truths make it that much easier to get people to swallow whatever you made up or “exaggerated” (let’s say “dressed up”) about the product.

It’s just as important to go on the offensive about your competitors, and we will talk about that in other chapters. But a company’s image is an important part of its brand, and you want an overall positive image no matter what. No matter how much you talk about piracy, inferior products from competitors, or how unfair the antitrust laws are, you still want to appear as a confident, competent– strong vendor with a plainly superior product.

Before you go on the offensive and defend your product, you have to really sell it and make it look like a good thing.

And no matter how much you violate customer privacy, forge partnerships to shut out other competitors (especially upstarts) in the market, or do things solely for the benefit of your company at the expense of users– it is absolutely necessary to look like you care about their wants and needs.

Your brand won’t survive if you keep telling people “we spy on you, we remove features you rely on to force you to update the software you’ve grown accustomed to, we work hard and do dirty things to keep the playing field from ever becoming even or allowing a competitor the opportunity to sell you a better product.” You must look like you care. And nobody knows more about fooling people into thinking you care, than your marketing team.

As important as marketing is to keep your customers like a flock of sheep, good public relations are vital to dealing with competitors and the press.

When you fleece them, you want to always have a smile on your face– so they know you are well-intentioned and friendly.

For example, suppose you want to add a feature that tracks users across every computer they use with your software– even if they haven’t created a user account.

This feature will provide you with more data about every customer than ever before. You can then hand that data to your marketing team or even sell it to third parties, who then sell it to advertisers for companies you aren’t competing with. It also provides insight into what features of your products are most valuable to your brand.

Those are three good-business-sense reasons to include this feature (which thanks to good marketing, actually exists in a growing amount of proprietary software) but it does have its downsides– it might violate European privacy laws, or be used by oppressive governments to find and torture dissidents.

People will say these things sooner or later, but the important thing is that your brand and marketing outweigh anything said by critics.

Later we will talk about how to dismiss critics and win the press to your side. But for this chapter, the key lesson is:

Accentuate the Positive!

“Our software has new features which ensure a better experience and help us understand the changing needs of users.”

Even if several people are sharing a laptop, third parties want accurate data on each individual user. This can be spun into the usual lines about how the invasive technology is “new, innovative, unique, helpful, useful”– any good adjective you can think of– 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.

Focus on your fans and sycophants in the press first– you can deal with critics later.

Demonstrating this attitude is just as important with other vendors and corporate partners, as well as customers and the press. Always put your best face forward, so this is your brand and image when it’s time to show your “good offense.”

Dealing with everyone this way first leads to trust, and trust leads to opportunities. People like to know they have a good thing, and many of them will stick with you through the hard times, once you’ve lead them through a superficially positive experience.

This is even more likely, if they have made a profit along the way. Many vendors like you, care only about the bottom line. Of course it’s a billion-dollar industry to make it look like something more than that– but that’s the point of this chapter:

If you want to have a billion-dollar company, you have to bullshit like a billion-dollar company.

We are all friends here.

And people who feel like they’re your friends will share more with you than people you treat like a competitor. It is a natural human response to let the guard down and trust people eventually. So come on, everybody– can’t we be friends?

Always remember, when you start to take advantage of your friendships and corporate partners– to do it with a smile, a friendly word, and a focus on the positive. Your smile is contagious, it’s your best asset– your sheep’s clothing. Wear it well.

You look great!

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“Sleazy behavior, covered by utterly brilliant marketing, has been a pattern in Microsoft’s business practices since they were a garage outfit running on subsidies from Bill Gates’s wealthy parents.”

“Bill Gates pretends to defend “innovation”, and if he did I’d love him for it. But there’s very little evidence that Microsoft even knows what the word means.”

“he’s conditioned computer users to expect and even love derivative, shoddily-implemented crap. Millions of people think that it’s right, it’s normal to have an operating system so fragile that it hangs crashes three or four times a week and has to be rebooted every time you change anything deeper than the wallpaper.”

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

“for Microsoft to win, the customer must lose.

“The great fear at Microsoft is that somebody will come behind them and make products that not only are more reliable, faster, and more secure, but are also easy to use, fun, and make people more productive.”

“Programs built this way look user-friendly at first sight, but turn out to be huge time and energy sinks in the longer term. They can only be sustained by carpet-bomb marketing, the main purpose of which is to delude users into believing that (a) bugs are features, or that (b) all bugs are really the stupid user’s fault, or that (c) all bugs will be abolished if the user bends over for the next upgrade.”

“Perhaps we’re fortunate that `organizational credibility’ looms so large in the Microsoft world-view.”

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

“Rule One of public relations: when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.”

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

“when Microsoft brings you flowers, they’re likely to end up decorating your
grave one way or another.”

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

“Microsoft should avoid criticizing OSS and Linux directly, continue to develop and aim to eventually win the TCO argument, and focus on delivering positive Shared Source messages…”

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

“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.”

“Do I even need to point out that most of the factual claims are blatant lies brought to you by the same people who got caught faking video evidence in their Federal antitrust trial?”

“Semantic warfare — struggles over the meanings of words as proxies for political or market positions — is just like other kinds of warfare; you want to fight it on the other guy’s turf, not yours.”

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

06.02.19

A Handbook for Destroying the Free Software Movement

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 11:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Oradour sur Glane site

Summary: Introduction of a new satirical ‘handbook’ published exclusively here (by a pseudonymous reader)

Developers are the source and the lifeblood of any software project. But today, when more computers are in use than ever, developers have less control and less reward for their invaluable contributions than any other point in software history. Competition is great–it’s the thing that puts your company on top! But free software has turned competition into something anybody can win– and that’s not good for business or your bottom line.

To put computing and profits back into their rightful hands, this handbook will assist developers and employers alike in taking back computing from the so-called “Free Software” movement–because as we all know, the best software is NEVER free!

Don’t be worried about Microsoft or their new Open Source initiatives–this book will tell you how to make the most of these forays into enemy territory and even use their own politics to bring users and platforms back under your influence. Instead of mourning these losses, you can turn them into real gains for you and your company.

You may have heard of the Halloween documents–a series of leaked internal memos from Microsoft on how to deal with problems just like these. This book will outline some of those ideas for you, and even show you how to take these solutions to the next step and infiltrate both the communities and their projects, to the point where their development is stalled for months or even years at a time.

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.

Too many people are discovering free software as a way to avoid doing business with your company. Your mission, if you choose to accept it: is to show the world that free software isn’t worth the trouble nor does it live up to the hype–so they can give up and go back to using YOUR software (maybe you can even poach a few of their developers for your own company.)

Because profit is nothing without the control of your customers!

Copyright (c) 2019 Ted MacReilly

All rights reserved. Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this work for any purpose with or without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies.

05.31.19

GNU/Linux in 2019 and GNU/Linux in 2009 Face Entirely Different Worlds (and Challenges)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘proprietary-but-source-available’ syndrome makes a comeback (openwashing)

Come closer

Microsoft: Come closer. So I can stab you in the back.

Summary: We need to resume coverage of Microsoft abuses and attacks on GNU/Linux; their thinly-veiled attacks are intensifying while media that Microsoft is paying relentlessly cheers and ‘perfumes’ these attacks

ABOUT A DECADE ago “cloud computing” (as a term, as that is for the most part what it boils down to) had started securing a foothold. Businesses were ridding themselves of servers that they had long controlled and instead used something akin to a terminal (or browser) to access some servers they neither owned nor controlled. Let’s not even bring “edge” and “smart” and “AI” and other nonsense into it. The world of so-called ‘IT’ (another controversial term) changed; whether it’s due to marketing buzzwords or vice versa (in reverse) isn’t what’s important right now.

“In our view, simply ignoring what Microsoft is up to (in 2019 in particular) is no longer an option.”Some of our readers bemoan the OSI; some even blast the FSF, saying it hasn’t kept up with emerging threats. The emergence of systemd and various forms of Microsoft entryism (e.g. in Python) would sometimes be cited. We don’t bring up these issues often enough. That’s mostly because we focus on software patents, as we have since 2006. Our intention is to gradually change that and return to focusing on Microsoft threats; Novell is long gone, but the same tactics are now resurfacing with Azure‎ (Microsoft tries to sell it using promises of “IP peace of mind”). At the same time Microsoft’s takeover of GitHub can be seen as an abduction of developers and development. Satya Nadella merely continues the strategy laid forth by Bill Hilf‎ and Sam Ramji (under Ballmer) a decade earlier. Months ago Microsoft got itself a seat on the Board of the OSI; these people now promote, from various such seats, alternatives to “Open Source” (various other terms) and are connected to the managers of “Open at Microsoft” — the same managers who phoned my employer to condemn me and caused me trouble. They know what they're trying to achieve and how. It’s the same old Microsoft; there’s no “new Microsoft”, only new PR.

“It’s the same old Microsoft; there’s no “new Microsoft”, only new PR.”In our view, simply ignoring what Microsoft is up to (in 2019 in particular) is no longer an option. That’s why we began writing a lot more about the Linux Foundation and we shall revisit other topics, such as Apache‎ being hijacked. Even the chief of Eclipse has begun complaining about it in public (there were some press reports about it earlier this month). Recently, corporate media spent more time and space covering WSL (WeaSeL) than GNU/Linux itself. Microsoft’s sponsorship of the media pays off. They want developers to use Vista 10 with extensive NSA surveillance and Visual Studio (openwashing through “Code”) while UEFI ‘secure boot’ makes it hard to even boot GNU/Linux on a new laptop/desktop.

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