08.11.07

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A Wooden Horse Knocks on the Door of the Open Source Initiative City

Posted in Formats, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, OpenDocument, OSI, Xandros at 12:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Just as OSCON had promised, Microsoft has just submitted its shared source licences to the Open Source Initiative. Will these be approved? Hopefully not. The reaction is worth quoting.

“Look at it from my perspective. If I told customers we were working with open source and the OSI and they went to opensource.org and saw all the anti-Microsoft messages, what would they think? It just didn’t make any sense,” he said.

Is it an attempt to quiet down a storm?

We wrote about it several times before (even yesterday) because the situation resembles the deals with Linux vendors. It is almost identical. Nobody should interpret this as Microsoft changing its ways and becoming friends with “the Free World”, as Microsoft disrespectfully calls its fiercest competitor. Au contraire — Microsoft wants the OSI’s nearness so that it can pull the rug under rivals’ feet, subvert and change directions taken by the competition, and steal mindshare. Need it even be mentioned that LinuxWorld 2007, which ended a just couple of days ago, was poisoned and corrupted by the Microsoft money?

In LinuxWorld, Microsoft dismissed Linux, got a little too cozy with the industry, and hosted Windows sessions (Yes! In LinuxWorld). The expo just followed the money, as The Register puts it.

Linus Torvalds, who did not attend LinuxWorld, had something to say about the separation between Free software and open source.

From this perspective, Torvalds’ views highlight a fact that has often been overlooked in the recent GPL debates: free software and open source supporters are allies. They may be uneasy allies, blowing raspberries at each other and slinging mud at each other at every opportunity, but they are allies all the same. It’s a fact worth mentioning, simply because it hasn’t been repeated much recently.

This is very much true. We are great supporters of the OSI. Every critique here is just a word of warning because we do not wish to see the OSI turning against us under someone else’s rule. We already saw that happening with Xandros, Linspire, and Novell. These companies are actively working against the adoption of ODF and they encourage patent deals, which not only adds to uncertainty; they also serve as an accusation against ‘non-Microsoft’ Linux distributions. Recall the remarks from Kevin Carmony.

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