Bonum Certa Men Certa

From Novell to Microsoft to Daemonising Microsoft Critics and GNU/Linux Communities

BSoD for Novell



Summary: Microsoft employee Crispin Cowen is using his history to opportunistically gain credibility in his irrational public attacks on GNU/Linux communities

Crispin Cowen is one whom we mentioned before as he promoted Microsoft at the expense of GNU/Linux after he had moved from Novell to Microsoft [1, 2, 3]. How much of a role did the paycheck play? There is coverage from Australia today and it's not flattering to GNU/Linux. Cowen, now a Microsoft employee (for quite some time) is throwing some myths at the AusCERT 2010 crowd (it is not an event for people who support software freedom). To give one introduction:

Dr Crispin Cowen, who for many years was a vocal Linux security guru and Microsoft critic, recently started working for the Redmond-based software giant. His talk on the first day of AusCERT 2010 was titled "Stranger in a strange land: Reflections of a Linux guy in Microsoft Windows".


Cowen is of course attacking several straw men. We're used to it because it's a shameless debating tactic.

It is very typical for Microsoft employees to mischaracterise the criticism of Microsoft, not speaking about the real issues, such as bribery, collusion, and racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. How can any sane person defend it?

“It is very typical for Microsoft employees to mischaracterise the criticism of Microsoft, not speaking about the real issues, such as bribery, collusion, and racketeering.”We wrote refutations of the same points before, in response to Microsoft employees who tried to suggest that Microsoft was disliked because "it's big" or because of its logo (and other petty, imaginary 'problems').

These tactics whereby all/most criticism of Microsoft is mischaracterised makes sense to those who use these tactics. It makes them feel good about their decision (and choice) to work for Microsoft when they put things in terms that portray critics as deluded and irrational. These are not victims of circumstance (unlike cases where race or gender get involved as these are immutable). They actually chose to work for Microsoft, knowing damn well what Microsoft had done, or maybe fooling themselves about what Microsoft had done before getting convicted three times. There is a difference between Microsoft's products and Microsoft the company.

To give one example of Cowen's disinformation:

"Linux communities are shockingly hostile to women and newbies, attack failures to conform to norms and God help you if you top post," Cowan said. "Everyone is a butt-head.


It's always pleasant to see Microsoft employees referring to people as "butt-head[s]" and claiming that GNU/Linux communities -- not Microsoft -- are the bad guys. Remember what Microsoft's evangelists teach in their notorious indoctrination sessions: “we are the good guys!” (by "we" they mean Microsoft employees).

Microsoft employees are sometimes intolerant, homophobic, xenophobic, and like everywhere that involves software (general issue among geeks), there is an uneven proportion of females. Microsoft is attacking straw men and daemonising GNU/Linux communities. Well, what else is new?

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