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The GNU/Linux-Hostile MSCOSCONF Event (Mis)Uses the “Open Source” Brand

George Orwell
Even Eric Blair would be proud

Summary: MSCOSCONF promotes Microsoft and Windows but claims to be about "open source"

IN ITS typical and shameless Orwellian fashion, Microsoft loves labeling its anti-GNU/Linux efforts something like "open" or "open source". We see it all the time. This strategy makes it a lot harder to point at the offending events, precisely because they go under banners that deliberately deceive and therefore mix one's language and thus connotations. Here is the latest example which Yoon Kit wrote about yesterday:



Apache not good enough? The official website of MSCOSCONF is running on IIS. IIS is a proprietary product. The majority of websites on the web runs a fully fledged Open Source product called Apache as a webserver. When queried on why the mscosconf website is running on IIS, there were rumours that the front facing IIS just a "proxy" however. The other rumour was that it was because one of the sponsors only have Windows machines to host the website. Whatever the case, this is strange because the community have offered to sponsor the hosting of the website with a certified freedom stack.

This fortunately can be resolved easily in the future.

The Microsoft "Competition" Its great that Microsoft has been playing a significant role in terms of sponsorship for this event. Their efforts in publicity and community relations have been positive, together with their support for the 08 event.

What is interesting is that they are currently sponsoring a competition which sports a RM10,000 prize in the porting of popular PHP webapps which currently exist on a completely free stack, to a completely closed stack. Yes, the purpose of the competition is to port webapps which run using Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (LAMP) to Microsoft Windows, Microsoft IIS and Microsoft SQL Server, PHP (WIMP). This contest was a misnomer and spun as LAMP2WIN, as should be more accurately called LAMP2WIMP.

This to me is a bizarre requirement and totally goes against the philosophy of what an Open Source competition should be. I'm not sure what rationale was during the design of the competition, but this could have been easily designed with a more "Free" objective.


For example, and ironically, the "Sponsorship Prospectus" (amongst others) which has the purpose of wooing potential sponsors to promote open source, is written and published using Microsoft Office 2007. It may seem like a normal business decision to use whatever tools they are familiar with, but to us freetards, it seems rather distasteful. Also they need a better copywriter in their social media alerts.

Microsoft did the same type of thing in Japan several months ago. They are using competitions and thus monetary incentives to push software away from GNU/Linux and right into Windows. Is it a coincidence that the acronym of this event starts with "MS"? Microsoft is a very big sponsor and it shows.

"I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows."

--Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO


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