Bonum Certa Men Certa

More Linux and Open Source Infiltrations from Microsoft

Broken fence



Summary: Microsoft may be exploiting the openness of the community to hop over fences and subvert rivalry from the inside

A few days ago, the SFLC said that Microsoft had violated the GPL when it prepared its self-serving [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] loadable module for Linux along with Novell. The usual suspects supported Microsoft's spin only to see their arguments shredded to pieces. There are people out there who pretend to be speaking for GNU/Linux, but they neither use GNU/Linux (Matt Asay for example) nor do they accept the philosophy of GNU [1, 2].



“Novell is going all the way with Microsoft here.”GNU/Linux must be doing terrifically well if foes of freedom attempt to infiltrate GNU/Linux just as Microsoft infiltrated Yahoo!

Yahoo! is currently being called a "Microsoft zombie", at least by SJVN. We don't need to find GNU/Linux becoming anyone's "zombie" right now.

The latest good episode of Linux Outlaws is aptly titled "it's a trap". Skip to the 45th minute and find out just what "trap" Fabian Scherschel is referring to. Although English is not his mother's tongue (so he can't make it sound so eloquent), he raises valid points with regards to Microsoft's intent when submitting code for Linux.

Over at the SFLC's Web site, Kuhn too has just published a great essay which warns about what Microsoft does to Linux. He does not specifically mention Novell's role, but it clearly is a major factor. Novell is going all the way with Microsoft here.

Microsoft has received much undeserved press about their recent release of Linux drivers for their virtualization technology under GPLv2. I say “undeserved” because I don't particularly see why Microsoft should be lauded merely for doing something that is in their own interest that they've done before.

[...]

Someday, perhaps, Microsoft will take a proper place among other large companies that actually contribute code that improves the general infrastructure of Free Software. Many companies give generally useful improvements back to Linux, GCC, and various other parts of the GNU/Linux system. Microsoft has never done this: they only contribute code when it improves Free Software interoperability with their proprietary technology. The day that Microsoft actually changes its attitude toward Free Software did not occur last week. Microsoft's old strategy stays the same: try to kill Free Software with patents, and in the meantime, convince as many Free Software users as possible to begin relying on Microsoft proprietary technology.


As another sign of warning, it is worth becoming aware of this SoftPedia report, which goes under the headline "Free Open Source Silverlight 3 SDK for Bing Available". It almost seems to infer that Silverlight is "Free Open Source" and this is part of a trend we wrote about before. The same misleading words are also used to insinuate that Silverlight is cross-platform, which it is not. Microsoft is harming the "open source" brand; in this case, there is improper use of the word "Free" as well (probably meaning gratis).

"There's free software and then there’s open source... there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with."

--Bill Gates, April 2008



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