09.15.07

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Destruction Through Assimilation

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Standard at 6:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Competition and collaboration coexisting in harmony is not a fantasy. However, close collaboration where one side has the upper hand can harm competition and therefore harm the consumer. With “technical cooperation” that involves and revolves around tax-ridden protocols and exclusionary deals, only two parties (at most) can benefit. What is truly needed are vendor-neutral and free standards.

In the following new article, there is yet another attempt to spin collaboration with patents and ‘binary bridges’. Microsoft strives to make it seem as though it’s an embrace of open source, for which Microsoft has an allergy (BSD being an exception).

“We want to compete with the products of open source,” he [dela Cruz, Microsoft] said.

To show its willingness to collaborate with open source developers, dela Cruz said the company is working with Novell Inc. for technical cooperation in the establishment of an open source interoperabi-lity laboratory.

As we explained before, such a lab in intended to tighten Novell and Microsoft code, but it leaves Linux out in the cold. OOXML, Moonlight, Port 25, and “shared shared”, which is sometimes wrongly called “Open Source” in the press, are neither open nor free. To illustrate this, consider this.

Riddle me this: how does a small company that is an all MS development shop, with a press release or news piece every 2-3 months get that kind of PR? My guess is that the Microsoft machine kicked in–portraying Microsoft (and Microsoft technologies) as legitimate open source community members. The whole thing is a sham, but great marketing.

Microsoft’s attitude towards Free software has not changed, but it knows that for its perception in the public to be changed, it has to either pretend to like “Open Source” or simply bend the meaning of “open source”. It’s a case of diluting a term through assimilation. It is easy to be fooled and it is easy for Microsoft to subvert the direction of “Open Source”, especially if it ever enters the OSI.

Here is what Jim Allchin had to say some years ago:

Microsoft says open-source software is un-American. Has the company completely lost its mind?

Once upon a time, Microsoft executives confined their criticism of Linux and free software to old-fashioned FUD — fear, uncertainty and doubt. Linux wasn’t good enough for enterprise-class systems, they declared. You couldn’t get quality support, and it was too hard and clunky for average users.

Fair enough. But now, judging by comments made Wednesday by Microsoft’s operating systems chief Jim Allchin (and reported by Bloomberg News), it turns out that free and open-source software is something far worse than anyone could possibly have imagined. It is nothing less than a threat to the American way of life! ”

Thank you, Mr. Allchin, for reminding us why Microsoft cannot be trusted.

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