Bonum Certa Men Certa

Befriending the Sworn Enemy

No war



Summary: A quick look at people who welcome Microsoft into the realms of its sworn enemy

IT IS no secret that Microsoft hates GNU and Linux. Its occasional remarks serve as an unequivocal reminder and those who do not notice this are simply not paying attention. This is just the truth, beyond the lying, the spin, and the marketing which saturates the mainstream press.



As we last mentioned a week ago, Microsoft touched the GPL only after threat of being sued. Yes, Microsoft's 'goodwill' was hinged on a lawsuit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], but a lot of people either have not paid attention or simply preferred to ignore the evidence and embrace Microsoft PR instead.

“Some people drank the Kool-Aid from Microsoft and they honestly believe that Microsoft has changed.”In a nutshell, it was an accident for Microsoft. It was an unfortunate accident. Microsoft wanted to avoid being sued so it complied, but it still hates the GPL. How do we know? Well, in the past few weeks we have given many quotes from Microsoft's seniors of utmost importance -- people who expressed their contempt for GPL very clearly. They even compare it to harmful things like "viruses" and poor forms of "communism" (let us ignore the fact that Microsoft's monoculture is akin to communism).

Some people drank the Kool-Aid from Microsoft and they honestly believe that Microsoft has changed. Watch this post for example. It is influenced by pro-Microsoft spinning (the comments are better than the post by the way). How about this one? To quote some comments on it: "When the hyena shows his fangs, don't assume he is smiling." Another person remarks: "...all the while Microsoft has it's hand extended with and olive branch in it, the other is behind the back with a knife just waiting for the right moment. Forget that at your own peril...."

How sad it is to see that some people in the GNU/Linux world are gullible enough to be fooled by Microsoft's PR machine. All these so-called 'gestures' are about obeying rules, nothing like those Microsoft marketing messages that it endlessly emitted about Samba, which Microsoft gave up to only after nearly a decade of court disputes and heavy fines. Like in this case with the GPL, it was about doing what it was pushed towards doing, not goodwill. Glyn Moody has just mentioned the Samba debacle again:

It's a little hard to tell whether the statement “was offered an opportunity” means that it was Microsoft who instigated the project, or whether it flows from the earlier EU investigation into interoperability that led to Microsoft's documentation being made available to Samba for a nominal sum.


It was not even free. Here is another ignoramus statement from ZDNet.

Now Microsoft has officially decided that the GPL is a good thing and is using it to release code for Linux, it's time for the software company to take advantage of the many good things that being a member of the open source club brings.


But wait a second. When has Microsoft "decided that the GPL is a good thing"? That was an accident, it took Microsoft months to comply. Microsoft did not choose the GPL, either; it was a requirement, it was mandatory for Microsoft to do in order to advance sales of Windows Server, along with Novell's help.

Speaking of Novell, watch what Mono and Novell are doing. There's this occasional fanfare of .NET and C#, to which GreyGeek offers some refutations.

One reader brought to our attention this interesting comment from the Mono-Nono Web site:

The classical policy of “Ximian” is that they show a proof of concept, inspire the community, and then walk away. Library infection is the way to guarantee that others have to fix your immature software because they depend on it. Gnome is a dependency hell.

Novell bought Ximian, put their management in charge and then bought the KDE reference distribution SuSe and standardised it on Gnome regardless of what the customers wanted. Also think of the RedCarpet debacle.

When you play “evil” or simply “against the rules” of community conduct people will freak and prepare their knives. Intercultural problems are at the core of so many conflict lines. The “flow” is acceptable behaviour. If you distort it and manipulate people, there will be a slashback for you, a slashback that may even appear absolutely unreasonable.

As of Mono it was clear to us that we have to take care of the patents but Novell denied the problem. Suse always supported the fight against software patenting. What we need is to come up with are strategies to follow Ulyx when you cross the sirens. We need a rope and wax. No, the GPLv3 is not the solution. Maybe we need more of this http://www.patentcommons.org/

We need these committments to protect the developer community.


Our approach here in Boycott Novell is actually to abolish software patents, not to rely on "commons" or pools, which have proven ineffective so far anyway.

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