Bonum Certa Men Certa

Why Peter Murray-Rust Should Not Work With Microsoft

Peter Murray-Rust
Photo by jwyg, licensed under the Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence



Summary: An open access hero asks whether or not he should work with Microsoft; Techrights responds

"Should I work with Microsoft?"



That is the question asked by Peter Murray-Rust, who sought a reply from readers. We'll come to this in a moment, right after providing some background.

“Microsoft loves artificial scarcity, on which its entire business model is built.”Peter Murray-Rust is an admirable person and a high achiever. He is at the forefront of the open access (OA) movement and he advocates strongly the sharing of knowledge. Here at Techrights we have great respect for this man, but circumstances at work seem to have led him to the biggest enemy of open source (and by extension one of the principal foes of OA).

Peter Murray-Rust is currently pressuring the British Library to drop DRM. What he may or may not know is Microsoft's role in opposition to his goals. What Microsoft is doing to the British Library is a subject that we covered some days ago (citing Peter Murray-Rust six times in the process). We quoted Microsoft's CEO as saying that "DRM is the future." One article worth reading comes from Forbes Magazine (2007) and bears the title "Microsoft: We Like DRM".

By this point, we pretty much get the picture. Microsoft loves artificial scarcity, on which its entire business model is built.

Peter Murray-Rust continues his fair and balanced struggle to rid the British Library of DRM. He speaks to an ex-Adobe person:

He’s no longer with Adobe and he has written a useful account of the way that scholarly publications should be managed – in the browser, not at the server. I like his analysis. I am not against access control per se, and it works well in most cases – certainly far better than DRM.


Here is his latest post in this long series:

Draft FOI request to the British Library (BL) on Digital Rights Management (DRM)



[...]

I shall be composing my freedom of information letter to the British Library today. A week ago I asked informally on the blogosphere and twittersphere for feedback from academic librarians on the implementation, use, and impact of digital rights management (DRM) systems on the supply of academic material from the British Library (inter-library loans, ILL). This post represents what I shall write to the BL under FOI unless I get more feedback today. (I am stunned by the passive acceptance of the UK academic library system to the BL’s DRM (and presumably DRM in general), but will retain that phrase unless they can show that they have taken action to challenge the system, even if unsuccessful. It also appears that they have no public views challenging any sort of DRM and they accept what is given them).


This is excellent stuff.

As we pointed out on some past occasions (11 separate posts in Techrights cite his blog), Microsoft occasionally works with Peter Murray-Rust's employer or affiliates, which makes it hard for him to have Microsoft estranged. Very recently he published this post which asks, "Should I work with Microsoft?"

These are serious concerns and I will address them. I have previously blogged about the relationship of me and my group to Microsoft (http://wwmm.ch.cam.ac.uk/blogs/murrayrust/?p=2249 ) where I have shown my reasons for working with them. The current concerns are different in that they relate to sponsorship but basically have the same concern that Microsoft are guilty of actions which put them beyond the bounds of acceptability.

I do not know Filippo, but I know Glyn Moody well. He and I share positions on the Open Knowledge Foundation advisory board and most of our views coincide. However he and I differ on Microsoft. I believe his view is that Microsoft is inherently “evil” in a way beyond the natural commercial orientations and activities of any large company. I do not take this view at present although as I have acknowledged some of Microsoft’s past actions were clearly unacceptable.


Let it be clarified that Microsoft is probably worse than before. It just employs a lot of PR agencies to embellish its image and bury criticisms. We have given a very large number of examples and it would require a long time to assemble a long list that convinces the reader/observer (a lot of unethical PR efforts, propaganda, bribed bloggers, and AstroTurfing as exemplified in the previous post are partly documented).

Microsoft's latest strand of offences is racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. People must not be misled by memes like "new Microsoft" because this new Microsoft is more aggressive than ever and more dishonest about its intentions (it's part of the PR spiel, along the lines of a green BP logo or Blackwater changing names).

No proponent of OA should befriend Microsoft. To repeat what we wrote yesterday, "dissociation from Microsoft is a survival skill, not intolerance."

Recent Techrights' Posts

[Meme] Security is Not a Failure to Boot (or Illusion of Security Due to 'Unknown' System)
Red Hat is largely responsible for this mess
What is Secure Boot?
Security means the user feels safe and secure - i.e. confident that the machine would continue to work following a reboot or a system upgrade (or kernel upgrade)
Links 27/05/2024: Chatbots Generate Hateful Output, TPM Performance Scrutinised
Links for the day
David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) Realises What He Should Have Decades Ago
seeing that DHH is moving away from Apple is kind of a big deal
 
StatCounter (or statCounter) Has Mostly Recovered From a Day's Downtime (Malfunction)
Some of the material we've published based on the statCounter datasets truly annoys Microsofters
Google: We Don't Have Source Diversity, But We Have Chatbot Spew in Place of Sources (and It's Not Even Accurate)
Search engines and news search never looked this bad...
StatCounter (or statCounter) Has Been Broken for Nearly 24 Hours. Who Benefits? Microsoft.
StatCounter is broken right now and has been broken for nearly 24 hours already
Reinvigorating the Voice of GNU/Linux Users (Not Companies Whose Chiefs Don't Even Use GNU/Linux!)
Scott Ruecker has just announced his return
"Tech" in the Context of Even Bigger Issues
"Tech" (or technology) activism is important; but there's a bigger picture
A Decade of In-Depth Coverage of Corruption at the European Patent Office (EPO)
The world needs transparency and sunlight
Delayed Series About Dr. Richard Stallman
A lot of the attacks on him boil down to petty things
Hopefully Not Sunset for StatCounter
We hope that StatCounter will be back soon.
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 26, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, May 26, 2024
Links 27/05/2024: Self-Publishing, Patent Monopolies, and Armed Conflicts
Links for the day
Gemini Links 27/05/2024: Tethering Connection and PFAs
Links for the day
Imagine Canada Enabling Rapists to Harass Their (Rape) Victims
This analogy is applicable because abusers are empowered against the abused
A 3-Year Campaign to Coerce/Intimidate Us Into Censorship: Targeting My Old "Tweets"
This was basically an act of vandalism no better and no worse than UEFI restricted boot
Links 26/05/2024: Google 'Search' Morphing Into Disinformation Factory, Discussion of Maze of the Prison Industrial Complex
Links for the day
In the Pacific (Mostly Islands Around Oceania) GNU/Linux Grew a Lot
Microsoft cannot compete fairly
A Toast to Tux Machines
Food ready for the party, no photos yet...
IBM/Red Hat Failing to Meet Its WARN Obligations in NC (STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA), or Perhaps It's Constantly Delaying the Layoffs
IBM isn't named even once
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 25, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, May 25, 2024
GNU/Linux in Greenland
The sharp increases for GNU/Linux started last summer
The Sheer Absurdity of the EPO's Career System Explained by EPO Staff
"Staff representation has previously pointed this out to management, and the career system has been the reason for several industrial actions and litigation cases initiated by SUEPO."
[Meme] Productivity Champ Nellie Simon: It Takes Me 3+ Weeks to Write 6 Paragraphs
Congrats to Nellie Simon!
It Took EPO Management 3+ Weeks to Respond to a Letter About an Urgent Problem (Defunding of EPO Staff)
The funny thing about it is that Nellie Simon expects examiners to work day and night (which is illegal) while she herself takes 3+ weeks to write a 1-page letter
Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) in The Hague Taking Action to Rectify Cuts to Families of Workers
they "are active in challenging this measure via the legal system"
Links 25/05/2024: Microsoft Adds More DRM (Screenshot Blocking), Another Microsoft Outage Takes Down Everything
Links for the day
Gemini Links 25/05/2024: "Bill Smugs" and OpenBSD Mirror Over Tor / I2P
Links for the day
Microsoft #1 in Gaming Layoffs, Laid Off Workers Receive Another Insult From Microsoft
Many of them never chose to work for Microsoft
In New Caledonia Windows is Now Below 30% (It Used to be Over 90%)
Microsoft's Windows absolutely collapsing and the measures are relatively stable
Forget About India's and Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons and Armament Race, They Need to Abscond Windows and Microsoft (Security Swiss Cheese)
Both countries would be wise to remove Windows as soon as possible, irrespective of the local party politics
statCounter: GNU/Linux Rose From 0.2% to Over 3% in Pakistan
GNU/Linux "proper" (i.e. not ChromeOS) has the lion's share
Red tape: farmer concerns eerily similar to Debian suicide cluster deaths
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Galway street artists support social media concerns
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 25/05/2024: Section 230 and Right of Publicity Violations by Microsoft (Which Attacks Performance Artists)
Links for the day
[Meme] No Microsoft
For fun!
Microsoft Windows Falls to New Lows in Poland
It may mean people delete Windows from relatively new PC
A 3-Year Campaign to Coerce/Intimidate Us Into Censorship: An Introduction
The campaign of coercion (or worse) started in 2021
The "D" in Debian Stands for Dictatorship That Extends to Censorship at DNS Level
Of course the registrar, which charged for domains until 2025, just went along with it
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Getting Stacked by Microsoft
it lets Microsoft write policies
The Parasitic Nature of Microsoft Contracts
Stop feeding the beast
Gemini Links 25/05/2024: Emacs Windows 2000 Screenshots and Little Languages
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 24, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, May 24, 2024