Bonum Certa Men Certa

Attacks on Software Freedom Usually Mean That It is Winning

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."

--(Usually attributed to) Mahatma Gandhi



Summary: The Microsoft camp is throwing FUD at OpenOffice.org, GNU/Linux and Java this month, just when the company crumbles at an increased pace; Apple too starts getting increasingly worried

THAT quote at the top sure has become a cliché, but it is worth repeating just to remind people what recent events may mean. First of all, Microsoft's #2 man has just quit. Yes, Ozzie was supposed to be Microsoft's next superstar, but he fell on his sword, leaving just Ballmer to handle the disasters which are Bong [sic], Vista Phone 7 [sic], and AZune [sic] (Fog Computing). Nothing new from Microsoft seems to be profitable.



Anybody knows that when a person or animal feels threatened and cornered, he or she attacks. That's what appears to be happening at Microsoft right now. Earlier this month there were those tactless OpenOffice.org videos (Microsoft got blowback and retreated), a short while ago we saw GNU/Linux FUD from Windows Vista Magazine's editor (as well as others who echoed his talking points), and Microsoft was recently seen hiring a FOSS guy who attacks Java in his blog (just weeks after being hired). Groklaw has already rebutted this voice. And now, having exaggerated the impact of Oracle's lawsuit, our reader Patrick says that Microsoft goes further. "I love how Microsoft attacks Java popularity, real classy," he wrote last night.

There has been an "unprecedented wave" of exploits against vulnerabilities in Oracle's Java during the third quarter of this year, according to data from the Microsoft Malware Protection Center.


Let's see now; FUD attacks from the Microsoft movement against OpenOffice.org, GNU/Linux, and now Java? What's next? This whole strategy is highly misguided because Microsoft alienates existing customers. Many Microsoft customers also use OpenOffice.org, GNU/Linux, and especially Java.

The blowback carries on. There is the propaganda video against OpenOffice.org with a whole show focused on it and this new article which references Techrights:

Meanwhile, the Ars Technica Web site did some digging and found the quotes were actually from case studies and press articles from the last four years, most of which were hosted on Microsoft.com.

Writing in his Web site Techrights, Roy Schestowitz notes that one case study involving the Scotland police force, was a “success” story about a migration in 2006 to Windows XP, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Windows Server 2003, products that are now ancient history. “Not really a good way to convince customers now,” he adds. But then again, the video doesn’t tell you this.


OStatic shrewdly refers to Bill Gates' and Steve Ballmer's attempt to extort the OpenOffice.org community using software patents:

If you've ever wondered whether Microsoft considers the OpenOffice suite of productivity applications to be competition, last week we took note of a new video from Microsoft showing customers criticizing the suite. It's not the first time the company has targeted the open source suite. In this post from Sun Microsystems' ex-CEO Jonathan Schwartz, he recounts the story of a visit with Microsoft's then-CEO Bill Gates, where Gates displayed highly territorial behavior toward the OpenOffice suite. So does OpenOffice really represent a threat to Microsoft's ubiquitous Office suite?

[...]

It may be a good thing to see Microsoft trash OpenOffice, but the day still isn't here when a free, open source suite of productivity apps might acually topple Microsoft Office. For now, we should be thankful that there is at least competition.


The author links to this good post from Dana, whom we referenced yesterday. Dana says Microsoft's attacks are good news; it's basically the idea that if "then they attack you" it means that soon "you win". Remember this: the worst thing is to be ignored. It's even more insulting and degrading sometimes.

Eleven is Louder has meanwhile responded to the FUD piece from Windows Vista Magazine's editor:

All in all, the article was bogus. People need to be weary of FUD like that. Too many credible news agencies are starting to churn out drivel like this PCW article.


Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has to be polite because he too works for IDG, but he calmly responds and concludes:

In the new desktop, where applications and content are more often than not provided by Linux-based servers, Linux will do quite well whether your main interface will be on a laptop, desktop, smartphone, or a tablet. It's Windows, not Linux, that has reason to fear this future.


Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, who used to write negative things about desktop Linux (several GNU/Linux FUD pieces almost identical to the above from a Windows Vista Magazine editor), no longer seems to agree with all that FUD he used to spread himself:

Secondly, Linux isn’t as bad at media as Strohmeyer makes out. Playing DVDs on distros such as Ubuntu is a snap. Sure, there’s plenty of DRMed media that won’t work on Linux, but there’s also plenty of stuff that will.


In conclusion, the Microsoft movement is running out of material and its talking points have expired. Well, all that a company can do is attack the competition like Android was attacked by ACCESS trolling or lawsuits from Apple and Microsoft.

Speaking of Apple, Android is now being attacked directly by Jobs and a transcript gets served by Charles Arthur, courtesy of Seeking Alpha. Yes, Apple too is scared as it sees the writings on the wall. Fabian A. Scherschel says: "Awesome. Steve Jobs: The worldwide authority on openness. What a joke...."

Glyn Moody responds by saying, "first MS fretting about OpenOffice, now Jobs on Android..."

Yes, software freedom is winning. Just don't expect the losers to accept it lying down.

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